AT long last the 2021 season is on us.

In the coming weeks, many of our best known fisheries and favourite waters will once again open for anglers.

Permits are available from your club or FishPal directly right now and through tackle shops once the Covid restrictions lift. Soon after, travel and trips outside your council area will be back on the menu and I can’t wait.

It is at this time of year that I like to take stock of my fishing bag and check over all of the essentials.

The basic maintenance tasks include checking over rods and reels, cleaning any fly lines, checking braided loops and replacing where needed and finally throwing away flies which have fallen victim to rust over the winter period.

It’s an opportunity to refill my fly boxes with some trusted patterns and try out new ones for the new year.

Like a lot of you in past couple of seasons, my fly collection has moved towards flies tied on barbless hooks, phasing out barbed versions as I go.

I can tie flies, but for innovation, variation and precision I’ll stock up with shop flies too. The Fario Fly team have produced some of my favourites in recent years. I spoke to them to find out some early season tips and the 2021 must-have patterns.

“Early season fishing usually consists of slow and deep – be it fishing lures or more natural buzzers.

“The ever-favourite colour combination of black and greens in a lure pattern will catch plenty of early season stocked rainbows, but is equally effective for those harden early season brown trout fishers too.

“Fished on medium sinking lines and using the ‘sink and draw’ retrieve, this tactic is a dead cert for any water in the coming weeks and into early spring.

“Other patterns to try would be a black and silver humungus, Black Krystal Dancer and Mini Black Snake. We are particularly proud of the new Apps and Eggstacy worms, these ultra-modern patterns are a must for anyone visiting small water fisheries.

“As the season progresses dry flies, like the Yellow Owl, the CDC Grunter and the fabulous Fario Foam Daddies will certainly take care of rising fish.

“Finally, a new addition for 2021 is a range of barbless river flies featuring a selection of tungsten nymphs suitable for fishing the hugely popular euro nymph method.”

Fario Fly have been a major supporter of competition angling in Scotland, this year there’s a new pairs event on the calendar and it’s an exciting one.

“We’ve just announced the new pairs competition at Harelaw Fishery.

“With a prize pot of £5000 this competition will be sure to offer some exciting summer sport on a venue renowned for its top of the water fishing.

“For further details speak to the fisheries manager Ross Murdoch on 07598970615.”

I’m considering finding a boat partner who can catch the fish to make up for the ones I’ll miss but whether I try a competition or not I’ll be happy just being able to get back out afloat.

THIS week’s winner of the Daiwa Fish of the Week is Kevin Benton with this lovely little lumpfish. While fishing in his local marina with the LRF gear, a friend spotted something cruising around slowly on the surface.

After tempting it with his lure twice and it dropping off on the lift it was third time lucky and he ticked a species off and swung her to hand.

Send your entry to: Fish of the Week, Glasgow Angling Centre, Unit 1, Point Retail Park, 29 Saracen Street, Glasgow G22 5HT, or email with a photo and your full address to [email protected]