An unusually mild hazy morning in Foxford, wind promised later. I’m a member of a little fishing club here in Foxford, in the closed season we try to keep doing something. Last weekend we went Beach angling and while we did not catch a lot we all had an enjoyable afternoon in a beautiful place. Just something different, we often overlook whats on our doorstep. This weeks blog is a little bit on spinning, its nothing major but I hope you can take something from it. Next Friday I will do a bit on what is probably the most controversial Salmon bait ever “The Prawn”
Spinning: At some stage of their life most anglers have tried spinning. Again it is often mistakenly considered a thoughtless or simple method. To be successful with the spinner the angler needs to employ a level of skill, knowledge and thought. If I was to pick one characteristic of a successful angler using any method I would say it’s thought. The angler who thinks is the angler who will be successful. Yes it’s nice to go fishing and just switch of, forget your worries for a while. I do know and i fully agree with the sentiment that there’s a lot more to fishing than catching fish. I often do it myself, just head to the river with the rod. Perhaps stand up chatting to another angler for a while and then have a few casts. It’s nice but it’s not exactly the most productive way to fish. No, the angler that catches fish, Thinks. I can hear a few of you already asking what do you need to think about in order to chuck a lump of metal across that river and wind it back? Of course we have all met the guy who pulled an old nameless spinner from a rusty tin had 3 casts and caught 3 salmon. Yes, I would say he was Lucky not necessarily good. There’s actually quite a bit to be taken into consideration if you want to take it seriously and get it right. Water conditions including height, clarity, temperature, speed and depth. Light, wind, Time of season, location, and target species, choice of type and colour of spinner, there’s a whole list of things. To go through all these factors and the different scenarios would require a chapter in a book as opposed to a few lines in a winter time blog but we will look at a few basic thing’s that should be considered.
Whether it’s a naturally deep pool or you are fishing in a big flood you will need to get the spinner down in the water. Most Salmon are lying close to the bottom of the river. Yes they will come up for a bait and will move to attack a bait but in most cases we need to bring our bait pretty close to them to get a reaction. This is especially true early in the season when we are after Springers. A Toby spoon that fishes at a depth of 1m is not going to be a lot of use in a pool that’s 3m deep. The same Toby can be deadly in slightly shallower water especially if it’s fast flowing and the current works the spoon vigorously. A great spoon when fished in the summer months. I remember one sunny day while guiding an English man we saw a grilse turn a few times in a shallow run. He tried the fish several times with a flying c. without reaction. I had an old 12 gram copper Toby in my box which i shined up with some silt. I put it on for him and standing on the top bank i could see it swim erratically across the river. After a few casts suddenly the fish darted after it. I believe it was the glinting erratic action that sparked this attack. In the next few hours he took four grilse from that streamy run. I don’t believe the flying c would have had the same effect.
In the deeper water and early season, Low and slow is the way to go. I always say that if you are not getting stuck occasionally you are not fishing correctly (and not just because I sell tackle 🙂 ). Years ago it was difficult to get a spoon that fished well in the deeper parts of the river. The choice was not great, Swinford spoons either Large or Medium size. The Large was used in spring and the Medium in summer, the effezett Spoon, the Toby, the salar, the Devon Minnow, Rapala and Mepps were about what was available. They had to be wound slower to get the depth and they lost action due to the reduced speed. Certain parts of the river became known as spots that were good for spinning. This was due to the depth of the water and speed of the flow. Around the mid-80s the Flying Condom made its first appearance or should I say became known. A certain few anglers had known for many years previously about these baits but and guarded their secret well. I have a good idea of who eventually “Popularised” the Flying C on the Moy and he himself told me the story of how it got its name but again the story is enough for a chapter.
We can say for sure that it has its origins in Brittany where it was known as “La Quimperloise”. Named after a famous region for salmon fishing. It wasn’t christened the Flying Condom until it arrived in Ireland, it certainly didn’t get that name on the Tweed. It has become the standard spinner for Salmon anglers and there’s probably a few reasons for this. It certainly is effective. It arrived at a time when other spoons, spinners, minnows and whatever were pretty expensive. I can remember when a Swinford spoon cost almost five pound and a Rapala was costing almost seven pound, a lot of years ago! The flying C was cheaper and hit a price point that combined with its effectiveness made it an overnight success. Anglers took to using it and the more that used it the more fish were taken on it, the more popular it became and the demand soared. So much so that in the mid-80s I recall one September when Black been the popular colour, could not be got as the supply of black rubber ran out. We started using black permanent markers to change our supplies of red flying Cs to black. Over the years the Flying C has taken over completely. It has become difficult to find suppliers of spoons and other spinners. The range of weights and colours available has increased significantly and we have a few very trusted brand names. On the Moy two brands rule supreme Ian’s spinners https://themoy.com/product/ians-spinners/ for the “Original” flying C and “Rolla” https://themoy.com/product/silver-bullet/for the silver bullet which itself is an evolution of the original. Most of us have a mixed selection of these baits in our boxes.
With the range of weights and colour combinations now available it is very easy to find a bait that will satisfy our need in all situations. For the critical factor of getting down to the fish at various levels we have at least 4 different weights to choose from. In deep or high water we can choose a 22gram which is a pretty heavy bait, as the water levels get lower or when fishing shallower pools it’s easy to change to a lighter bait and still achieve this without constantly getting stuck in the bottom. In the last few years the popularity of Mini lightweight Flying c like the Rolla 6G has exploded, anglers use them in very low water conditions and they are also excellent for trout. Another advantage of the flying c is that because of the colour combinations available we can easily make choices that fulfill our requirements for success in a variety of conditions. For a start we have 3 main blade choices, Silver, Copper and Gold. Silver been very effective for fresh run fish and in dirty water, Gold seems to work well later in the season and in clear water while copper is effective in peat stained water and during sunny periods. If we combine these blade choices with the colours available in the rubber tails we will cover a lot of scenarios. Although Purple and Green are highly effective, Black, red, yellow and pink seem to be the most effective colours. We laughed at Pink when we first saw it but it is now the new Black and accounts for more fish in any year than any other Flying c.
I’ve often been asked if i had to pick one Flying C what would it be? Well if i had to pick just one it would be a Pink and Silver 16 gram. However if I had to pick one and stick with it and wanted to be successful I would have to be creative and “Think”. I would have to think about when,where and how to use it. This brings me back to where I started, anglers have been successful for many decades using different baits and methods. The choices available in the variety of our modern Flying Cs make it easier for us. The only thing we need to do for success is think, but remember the 12 gram Toby? Sometimes it’s good to Think outside the box 🙂