The Doge & His Daughter - Celebrating St. Mark's Day

With the Easterly winds starting to die down later this week we should start to see some more prolonged hatches on the water, the one to look for in the next week or so is the Hawthorn Fly - you know they are on their way when you see Hawthorn bushes in full bloom (see above photo - taken yesterday morning - our dog is just out of shot!).

The Hawthorn Fly (or Bibio marci) is the first of the terrestrial flies the trout look up for, it's a small (no larger than 1cm) black fly, noticeable by its long gangling legs.

Hatches of Hawthorn flies usually start in late April - some say it's always on St. Mark's Day, the 25th April - the Hawthorn fly is also commonly known as the St. Mark's Fly.

St Mark the Evangelist, copyright 2013 by Corbert Gauthier

St Mark is the patron saint of Venice and there is a lovely tradition (in Venice) which also falls on the 25th of April called The Rosebud Festival - which you may be able to use to help you get a little more time on the water this season!

Copyright © 1995 - 2018 by Weekend a Firenze

The Rosebud Festival (also known as Festa del Bocolo) is celebrated in Venice on the 25th April where every man gives a rosebud to the woman he loves, this stems (pardon the pun) from a love story dating back to the mid-1800s:

Maria, daughter of the Doge of Venice (an elected civic and sometimes military leader), fell in love with a young man of very humble origins.

The Doge did not approve of his daughter's relationship, so the girl suggested to the young man that he enlists in the war against the Turks and earn her father’s respect.

The young man fought bravely and gained great notoriety, but he was mortally wounded and died in a rose garden.

Before he died he entrusted his friend with a rosebud stained with his blood so that he could hand it over to Maria as a last token of his love.

On April 25, Maria was found dead in her bed - the rosebud lying on her chest. Since then, every Venetian man pays homage to the one he loves with a rosebud.

Q. "How does this help me with more time on the water?"

A. "Think of your other half this weekend, give them a gift on St. Mark's Day. It just might build you up a few brownie points for when the fishing really starts!"

If you do manage to get out and about (on or around the 25th), you will need a few Hawthorm flies in your box - especially useful in both Stillwaters and Rivers, as these flies are always blown onto the water and we've a bit of a deal for you - for today only (see below for details): 

The Hawthorn fly can also be used as a suggestive pattern for a number of different insects, it can imitate a Heather Fly, Daddy Long Legs/Crane Fly and even an adult buzzer. Once the hawthorn hatch starts near your local water, make sure you have these in your fly box these are also great flies to try when searching rivers, small sillwaters & reservoirs.

The legs on these flies seem to act as a trigger to the fish. These flies are tied on size 12 and 14 barbless hooks with bushy hackles, this allows them to create a wake on the surface when retrieved on stillwaters, again another trigger point the fish home into.

These flies are also surprisingly effective when fished as a wet fly, so don't be too quick to keep these flies dry, once wet and submerged, if on a stillwater, gently "figure of 8" them back (on a river try fishing them as you would a spider), and hold on!

Our NEW Hawthorn Selection contains:

  • Hawthorn Fly - 2 each of sizes 12 and 14
  • Hi-Float Hawthorn - 2 each of sizes 12 and 14
  • CdC Hawthorn - 2 each of sizes 12 and 14
  • Suspender Hawthorn - 2 each of sizes 12 and 14

Top Tip: Fish these flies in the surface film, do not apply any floatant on them.

Our new selection of Hawthorns contains 16 Hawthorn imitations - all the flies in various patterns and sizes - all you need for a great day on the water this April (and early May).

The Hawthorn Selection is a selection of 4 of the most popular Hawthorn patterns used in both rivers and stillwaters today - in total there are 16 flies in this selection.

Special Offer For Today Only:

Our NEW Hawthorn Selection is available from our website for only £20 - the regular price for this selection will be £22 from tomorrow, which includes FREE delivery in our eco-friendly packaging to anywhere in the world.

Go on, you know you want to!

Tight lines & have fun.

P.S. Look out for the full-blown Hawthorn Hatch Chat coming to your inbox on Saturday.

P.P.S. As this email has a very Northern Italian flavour, why not learn some of the specialist casts which the Italians use on their fast flowing mountain rivers - these casts are perfect for the 'less than ideal' conditions we face here in the UK:

Don't ever again walk past that fish that's confidently feeding tight up to the bank, and under a tree. Using the Italian Style Casting techniques will give you the skills to target fish that were out of reach before.

Massimo Magliocco takes you through all of the basics of Italian Style Casting, building 'from the ground up' each cast. Showing you the dynamics which make up the cast. Including when and where to use each one.