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Outlook for Easter, whatever the weather

The forecast can sometimes put us off completely, but bad weather can often lead to good fishing

We anglers tend to be highly tuned into the weather. Turns out that this can be both a help and a hindrance. Helpful in that certain weather conditions will give the promise of good fishing, such as overcast with a light breeze; depending on the time of year this can indicate potentially cracking sport with a team of Buzzers or dry fly.

However, a weather report can also put us off unduly. This time last year I was on the banks of Rutland Water. It was Easter weekend. Every man and his dog, bike, yacht and sailboard descended onto and around the water, despite the weather being cold and miserable. However, the very next day (another Bank Holiday) a yellow weather warning for torrential rain was issued and this produced a shocking result. I jumped in the car and went fishing anyway, only to discover that I was virtually the only person out on the water. No walkers, bikers or fellow anglers. It hardly rained that day and I caught 12 trout to 6lb from the bank.

It can be great to fish in nice weather. However, that said, some of my best and most memorable fishing has been during the really inclement stuff. Indeed, the ferocity of the weather actually made the experience more memorable. I was once fishing a remote Scottish loch. As it started to rain, the feeder stream high up on a hillside became increasingly more visible, until it became a gushing torrent of white water. However, when our boat was at the top of the loch, out of the wind, we would stop and brew up a cup of tea only to find ourselves basking in glorious sunshine. Whenever we drifted down past the middle of the loch it was as if we had awakened  an angry Weather God once more, and the wind would pick up to the point when we were being tossed about in a strong wave, and this was accompanied by torrential rain. At the very end of the drift, I was fortunate to hook into a nice salmon, and at the same time that my boat partner hooked a decent brown trout. The ensuing fight was epic, and all the more memorable as we battling not only two great fish, but were also battling the elements. It did not seem possible that the rain could get any harder, but it did. The wind was constantly trying to ground us as we were pushed rapidly towards the shore. Somehow, half rowing, half fighting a fish each, we managed to prevail. After that we headed back to the top of the loch, drenched and exhausted, only to be greeted once more by a warm, sunny interlude and a cup of tea.

Destination fishing can really mess with your head. You pay thousands of pounds to go to the Bahamas only to find that, rather than the usual endless blue skies and windless conditions, the islands are having a bout of “freak” weather. It’s very windy with low dark cloud, which makes spotting bonefish extremely challenging. You’ve paid good money to get there, so you fish anyway. You are doing weird, short flick casts off your non-dominant shoulder to cope with blustery gusts of wind as you wade the flats. Yet you find that you can now get much closer to the bonefish, and they are far less wary in the wind and low light. You also find (later in the week) that when the conditions are a “perfect” – that sunny, flat calm and blue skies, that the bones and permit can see you coming from afar, which requires not only increasingly longer but more accurate casts. The next day, the flats are overrun with huge numbers of bonefish: the freak weather has again worked in your favour (by holding tides in check) and you end up with an extraordinary red-letter day.

Have a productive Easter, whatever the weather!

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