Friday, March 18, 2011

Waist deep in a clear mountain lake, floating imitation flies to surface feeding trout, all action is focussed on the water skin. Ripples refract and distort the image of the fly, aiding deception; breeze from behind eases the cast; side wind drifts a fly naturally with ripples that still play on closed eyelids before sleep.

Fly-fishing on sea is similarly dependent on wind and wave but on a larger scale, tides an added factor. Light breeze off land aids casting and flattens the sea, little or no wave gives clear water for lure visibility, rising tide brings fish to newly submerged shore. Tide tables and tidal clocks plot a lunar cycle ill-fitted to routines set by spinning earth. Finding windows between these two cycles and favourable sea conditions demands forecasts, clocks, and charts. Wading into clear cold sea with a light breeze behind is a privilege, only adding to anticipation of sudden tug and explosion of excitement tempered by fear of losing sea-hardened Bass.

Here on the coast, progress and variety of clouds approaching over sea, forming over mountains, and playing light and shade over hills is ever-changing and various, often dramatic and impressive. Named cloud categories each have clearly defined characteristics but are only points on a continuum with all intermediate stages between. Barometers and Meteorological Office synoptic weather charts help work out why each cloud of vapour condenses or freezes at a particular altitude or coalesce and darken to produce falling rain or ice.

Just now, looking at charts of swirling air masses, it will be interesting to see which pattern brings first migrant birds to these parts. Southerly wind with clear skies under moonlight should help Wheatears to follow the coastline northward: looking forward to their sleek, upright forms once again on rabbit-cropped turf behind the dunes.

Wildlife Wales Activities:

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