They are lies, damned lies, and statistics! My calendar tells me that this morning is the first of May yet everything else outside tells me that it is still Mid-April… But the Mayfly isn’t far away…!
After a cold winter we have had one of the coldest Springs for a long time and as I write it is still cold here on the western seaboard of Ireland. With these conditions, nature has responded accordingly and everything is around a fortnight later than usual or thereabouts.
Outside my house, the big Ash tree is only now beginning to shoot out its leaves, Mount Gable, the mountain across the lake, still wears her Winter coat of brown vegetation, no sign yet of green growth and most importantly, the whitethorn bush tells its tale! I say most importantly because the Whitethorn, or May bush is the great barometer here for the Mayfly, when its vibrant white flowering blossom appears, this virtually always coincides with the hatch of Mayfly. A couple of years ago it came into blossom here at the end of April and this was also the time when there were fish caught on the dapped natural at the same time. Well the Whitethorn are only just in leaf a week or so and in my estimation 10 days or a fortnight before we see the flower.
Still, the month of May is very special here on the Corrib for, whether all is late or early with it comes the much-awaited Mayfly and all its glory. This wonderful fly will make her appearance at some stage of the month and the Fly-Angler waits in anticipation.
Personally, whenever I can, I like to fish the dry Mayfly and it quite often can outscore any other method. My set up is normally two dry patterns on a 16’ cast with 8’ between the 2 flies, occasionally I might go to 20’ with 10’ between them. The patterns? I have to say I am a huge fan of Wullfs and have been for a long while.
One other important factor about the choice of Wulf patterns is the choice of colour, especially that of the flies wings. This as much for the anglers benefit as for the trouts benefit! Not all trout take your flies with a great boil and splash, sometimes it is only the slightest little dimple, a mere sip, even in a big wave! Quite often these are the better fish, the ones that have got bigger by learning that it is better to expend the least amount of energy possible to acquire their intake of protein. If you miss these takes, you’re in trouble, could miss the best fish of the day. Different light conditions and light reflecting off the water means that different coloured Wulf is a must as some colours will only blend in while others will stand out. For example, there are times that the Fulling Mill Green Drake pattern with its darker wings is far more visible than those patterns with lighter wings. I will, in these light conditions, put this pattern on the point where it will stand out clearly for me and I will see any take on it a lot better.
I can’t wait to get a rattle with the new Davey McPhail Wulffs in particular, the big wave versions. A lot of first time visitors to the Corrib are surprised at the conditions in which we will fish dries, I fish them in a gale! The problem can be floatability so with the extra hackles they will keep the fly afloat better and keep it in the zone longer, a huge advantage.
So hopefully the next week will see a rise in temperature, warm the water and bring on the Mayfly and we can have some great dry fly sport!