So it’s now that funky crossover period between rivers closing and fish beginning to move here in the south, but there’s a lot you can do to ensure that you’re ready when those rainbows run...check it.
1. Practise your casting, because we know you haven’t been. Winter fishing often requires longer casts and bigger mends, usually with way more weight than you’ve been used to these past several months. It’s no use waiting until your Turangi mission to find you’re lacking, or arriving at that river mouth and not getting your flies beyond the drop off. And practise with weight similar to what you’ll be fishing. A bit of fluff won’t help you much once you tie on that Ugly Mother and glo bug combo.
2. Socks, thermals, gloves and hats. Dig them out and check their condition. Worn out / worn down garments won’t provide the same insulation and wicking benefits as they would new. And if you’re cold, chances are your fishing’s going to suck too.
3. Check waders for leaks. You need to be comfy. For Gore-Tex it is but a simple spray test. Checking for leaks in Toray / non Gore-Tex waders is a little more complicated but still an easy DIY fix.
4. Sort your fly box. With cold hands you don’t want to be wasting time, poking around for that special fly so have your box sorted neat, practical and accessible, which may mean leaving extra space between flies so cold, clumsy fingers can get to them. Likewise check your leaders and tippet. Chances are your 0-3x doesn’t get much of a workout over a low, warm summer so make sure your spools are still full and ready to go.
5. Finally, clean and dress your lines. Grit, scum, slime etc from last winter will affect the shootability of sunken lines, and the buoyancy of floaters. A wipe through a damp towel and a touch of Whizz Lube and you’ll be casting like the wizard you tell your mates you are.