Lessons     Safety        

Generally, the sport is very safe with low risks but there are a few important considerations that should be observed when fishing in rivers and lakes.

Eye Protection   This caution cannot be over stressed.  Linked with the unpredictabilities of wind gusts, this is a prime consideration for both active fishermen and close onlookers. Never fly-fish without wearing glasses.
Head Protection   In warm conditions, protect your head from direct sunlight and aid vision with a long-peaked cap.  In cold conditions, minimize body heat loss through the head and wear a cap.
Adverse Weather Conditions   Cold - Dress well in cold conditions.  Use plenty of layers for body insulation; a vest as a first layer, a shirt as the next, a pullover and then a waterproof and windproof outer.
Wet - Make sure that your outer layer is waterproof.  You should still stay dry if someone threw a bucket of water over you!
Wind - In cold conditions especially, the wind-chill can be very significant. Also, be wary of the effect of wind gusts and your casting direction.  Always ensure that the wind is blowing into your non-casting shoulder blowing the air-borne line away from and not into your body.
Storms -  Never fish with the threat of a thunderstorm.  Carbon fibre is a very effective electrical conductor so rods should be kept packed away with any threat of lightning.
Other People   Study the path ways and tracks around the lake or along the river bank. Are these paths open to the public? Try and get into the habit of looking behind you before you cast.  If others want to watch your activities, make sure that they are outside the intended and wind affected paths of the fly line.
General Conditions   Take note of the general conditions of your location. Has any recent rain made the banks muddy?  Are there any sloping muddy banks close to areas of deep water?  Are all bank areas hard under foot? Are there any overhead power cables in any potential casting areas?
Is there a supply of clean running water? Are there any buoyancy safety rings at the bank side? In hot sunny weather, are there any areas of shade available? What is the location of the nearest public telephone? If you have a mobile ‘phone, what is the local reception like and has the ‘phone been charged?? If you are with children, can they swim? Have they been told about the limits of the area that are safe for exploration? Are there strong fences protecting them from any adjacent roads or railway lines? Check the condition of any casting piers at the chosen venue. Slatted wooden surfaces can become very slippery in wet conditions and should be covered with wire chicken netting to prevent skids and slips. Does the pier structure wobble when you walk on it? Check the stability of any floating casting pontoons.
Disease   Be sure that any open cuts or other skin abrasions are protected with waterproof plasters. Any river or lake water could be contaminated with rats’ urine and if this water infects an open wound, then Weil’s disease is a possibility.  The symptoms are persistent flu-like conditions and medical help should be sought as soon as possible as the progressive condition can be fatal.
Boats   If you are to use a boat on a big lake, loch or reservoir then make the following checks:
General conditions of shore-line. If you are not familiar with the water, then obtain the services of a ghillie who has good local knowledge of any areas of submerged rocks as well as good potential fishing drifts.
    Weather- Have any thunderstorms been forecast?  If you are in a boat and get caught in stormy conditions, dismantle all rods and lay them flat in the bottom of the boat and head for the nearest landing position.
Sea-worthiness of boat - Check the boat’s condition.  Is there any water inside the boat?
Lifejackets - If the fishery provides boats then they should also provide lifejackets. Check their availability. If you are in a boat, always wear a lifejacket.
Motors - If the boat is equipped with an outboard motor then make sure that you are familiar with the controls and check the level of the fuel in the fuel tank.
 Bailer - Check the availability of an effective bailer.
Oars - Even if the boat is equipped with an outboard and you don’t intend to do any rowing, make sure that the boat is equipped with a pair of serviceable oars and check the condition of the rowlocks.
    Etiquette - When you have reached the position of the first chosen drift, establish a casting etiquette with your boat partner to ensure that sufficient casting line clearance is maintained.
Casting -  If you are in a boat, never stand up to cast.
Rivers and Wading  

If you have chosen to wade in a river, then always wear a life jacket and not a buoyancy aid.
Waders - Check the condition of your waders and ensure that they are serviceable for their intended use. If the boots have replaceable soles, then ensure that the material of the sole best suits the prospective condition of the river bed.
Wading Staff - If you are wading and are unfamiliar with the nature of the river-bed then always use a wading staff. If conditions change and the water becomes coloured, then check the condition of the river bed with prods of the staff.
Wading and Night Fishing in Spate Rivers.  If you choose to wade in fast flowing rivers at night in pursuit of sea-trout, then carry out a check of the nature of the banks river pools and areas of deep water in good light before you start. Ensure that you have a head or pocket torch in your equipment and that its batteries are not flat! If the stretch of the river is not normally used by boats, then as an added safety precaution, securely peg out or tie to trees on opposite banks a strong rope across the river at the end of the intended beat. This could be a life saver!  Make sure that it is removed when the fishing has stopped!



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