Tackle Advice

Anglers new to fishing the Blackwater should note some points concerning the mechanics of fishing, observing that, as always, exact choice of tackle is dependent on water conditions.

Early in the season, the water can be cold, although it does not usually carry any grue, or floating ice as the Blackwater is rain fed and not snow fed. Nevertheless, whilst the water may not often be particularly cold early on, it is often high and may also be coloured. In such conditions, spinning with rods of 10 or 11 ft or so armed with spoons, Flying Cs or fairly large minnows will be needed and likely be more successful than fly fishing. But in suitable conditions, even early in the season, fly fishing will be an appropriate choice with rods of around 15 ft loaded with sink-tips, intermediate, or sinking lines armed with flies ranging in size from 4 or 6 through to 2 or 2.5 inches in length.

The Blackwater in its lower beats is a large river and the same rods, or lighter ones if preferred, can be used for most of the rest of the season in conjunction with lighter lines, probably floaters or low density sink-tips. Flies then should range in sizes 6 or 8 to size 12. In the event of very low water or for grilse generally, a light double-handed fly rod or even a single-handed rod may be best with corresponding light line and flies from sizes 8 down to 14.

A similar transition takes place from heavy to light in regard to spinning tackle as the season progresses.

It should be noted that some beats are restricted to fly and spinning only and to fly only when the water is below a certain height; other beats allow natural baits to be used.

Some beats can be fished from the bank, but on most of them chest waders will be required. In general, wading in the Blackwater is not difficult and is often over an even gravel bottom, although a wading staff may be found helpful. As always, a buoyancy aid should be worn whenever wading.