Archive for the ‘Fly Fishing’ Category

Bohemia – Fly fishing Utopia

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BOHEMIA – FLY FISHING UTOPIA

I have just returned from a five-day fly fishing trip to the Otava River in the Sumava National Park, Czech Republic. This area, better known as Bohemia, is a continuation of the Bavarian Forest of Germany, where I spend my summers. However, mainly due to the language difficulties, I had not previously thought of visiting the area, despite it being so close by.  I decided to put this right and contacted Jan Siman at goflyfish.cz   Jan runs a Fly Fishing School and Guide Service as well as an on-line fly fishing shop from his Fly Fishing Tackle Shop in Susice.  Jan was a member of the famous Czech Fly Fishing Team that won Gold at the 10th World Fly Fishing Championships in Wales, he therefore knows a thing or two about the sport!

One of the perceived problems of fishing in the  Czech Republic is the subject of licensing, but Jan is used to dealing with foreign fly fisherman and has dealt with the ‘problem’, just leave it to him.  That is exactly what I did!  I left Jan to sort out my accommodation, licensing and permits after booking a package which included accommodation, permits and licenses, a small box of flies and a day exploring the River Otava. 

I duly arrived at the charming Hotel Gabreta in beautiful Susice on the Sunday afternoon and found that it was only a hundred meters from Jan’s shop, where I was due to meet him the next morning.  That afternoon Jan visited me at the Hotel to sort out the question of permits and licenses, there being a number of options available, including a visitors one month license.  Living so close to the area, I opted to join the local fishing club and take a 10 year license and annual permit.  This required that I pass the State Fishing Examination, which, with Jan’s assistance  as translator, was accomplished without problem.

The following morning I met with Jan at his shop and drooled over the fly tying materials and tackle on display.  We completed the paperwork and whilst Jan’s associate went off to sort out my permits and licenses, we set off to explore the Otava River.  

This beautiful river, centered on Susice, has five beats, over 58 Km, one of which, the ‘Trophy Stretch’, is private and there is an extra fee to fish it. The Otava is the most significant and important river in the western part of Sumava.  The river has native Brown Trout and Grayling and is stocked with Rainbow Trout and American Brook Trout, also known as Brook Char, and in Germany as Saibling.  The upper part of the Otava River has a typical mountain stream character with rapids, fast streams and deep pools, whilst the middle and lower stretches, from Susice to Strakonice is more gentle in character, with longer pools. Jan took me to each beat of the river and pointed out where to gain access, likely fishing spots and local amenities.  Jan cautioned me that there had recently been bad flooding in the area and it was possible that the fishing would be adversely affected.  How wrong he was! By the end of the day, when I collected my licence and permits, I was bemused as to which spot I wanted to fish first.  

The following morning I awoke at dawn and together with my faithful dog, walked the 200 meters to the weir at Susice, where Beat 7 flows slowly through the park until dropping over the weir.  For the next few hours until breakfast-time, I had great fun with a dry-fly.  After breakfast, we set off for a mornings fishing, setting the pattern for the next three days. My four days fly fishing on the Otava resulted in a haul of thirty-five fish, four small native Brown Trout, one Rainbow Trout and thirty American Brook Trout.  The majority were caught on nymphs and on three occasions, I caught two Brook Trout at the same time.  Jan was right in one respect, the flooding had affected the river, but on the lower stretches, this was to the fly fisherman’s advantage, as Brook Trout had been washed out of a local fish farm!

The Sumava area of Bohemia is a beautiful area to visit, and even better if you intend Fly Fishing, it is a veritable Utopia, and now that I have discovered it, I will be returning to the Otava River at every opportunity.  Have a look at the YouTube video and see for yourself.

Tight Lines – the Silver Fly Fisherman

 

 

Fly Fishing Bavaria

Gschwendtnermuehlweiher

Gschwendtnermuehlweiher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still-water or small lake fishing is a part of Fly Fishing that can be an art unto itself.  There is nothing more frustrating than fishing a small lake and watching others take fish after fish whilst you just stand and watch. Don’t worry, this quickly changes once you become familiar with the various techniques available to you.  Here in Bavaria, the Fly Fisherman is the odd man out on most still-waters, whether they be natural or ‘put and take’ lakes.  If you are a novice fly fisherman, try a ‘put and take’ lake that has been stocked with rainbow trout, you will almost certainly catch your fish as long as you persevere.  Once you become proficient and find the right technique, you will be able to hold your own, even here in Bavaria where they are using spinners, as well as worms, normal maggots and giant Bee Maggots, which are the larva of the Bee Moth.

Angelteich Gschwendtnermühle

This small lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout. Brook Trout and Arctic Char, it is located at Eppenschlag, near Grafenau, full address below.  Fishing starts at 07:00 hours and a half day card allows you to fish until 12:30 hours or 12:30 until 18:00 hours, at a cost of €15. A half day card allows a catch limit of 5 fish. A full day and 10 fish limit costs €25.  Spinning is not permitted! 

On my first visit to the lake, I inquired whether fly fishing was permitted, the owner confirmed that she had no objection but had never had any fly fisherman on the lake and doubted if artificial fly would catch fish there.  Oh ye of little faith!

On my last visit to stock up on trout for the smoker, I arrived at 07:00 in light rain and had landed my first fish ten minutes later.  Within an hour, the lake was full of fisherman, but I was the only one using a fly rod. One of the fishermen saw that I was being fairly successful, he therefore put down his course rod and got out his fly fishing gear.  He made cast after cast for about thirty minutes before putting the fly rod away. He had obviously not decided what type of fishing he wanted to do, and catching fish was his only priority.  For me, how you catch the fish is very important, I never eat trout that I have not caught myself, and then only on a fly.  Before 10;00 hours I had caught my limit of five fish comprising four good rainbows and one arctic char, I had also lost two fish which of course, were even larger! 

A young lady fishing beside me informed me that her daughter had told her not to come home without fish, however, she had not been successful.  Having reached my limit and not wanting to leave straight away, I watched her technique and asked if I could help her.  She readily agreed so I watched her float and told her when bites were indicated.  She was not seeing the subtle indications at all, her float was far too heavy.  I advised her to change to a lighter float but she did not have one with her.  I then suggested that she take off the float completely, take up the slack in the line and hold it in her hand.  She now had direct contact should a fish take her maggot, she missed a few bites but within five minutes had caught her fish.  I told her she was almost czech nymphing, one of the techniques we use in fly fishing and suggested that she might enjoy fly fishing.  Having cleaned my fish, I was back at my fishing hut in Eging am See by 10:30 hours.  

This was one of those really successful fly fishing trips, caught my limit, helped a novice and outpaced the course fishermen with their giant maggots.  It’s not always like that, the previous trip the course fisherman were hauling them out whilst I had a blank until I had a look at the giant maggots they were using.  Changing to a fly of the same color worked a treat.

Franz Buchecker
Spiegelauer Strasse 15
94536 Eppenschlag
Tel. 09928/1512

franz.buchecker@web.de 

http://www.gschwendtnermuehlweiher.de/

Tight Lines from the Silver Fly Fisherman

 

Fishing the Ybbs in Lower Austria

The River Ybbs is located about 50 Km southeast of Linz, in Lower Austria.

In 2006, suffering from withdrawal symptoms, having not had the opportunity to do any fly fishing for some time, together with wife, Barbara and dog, Oniks, we boarded a plane at Tenerife South Airport and flew to Linz in Austria, where we hired a car for the 50 Km journey to the Ybbs Valley.

Taking our young Dobermann, Oniks, was, we believed, going to be a slight problem, but luckily we had found dog friendly accommodation at Jagdhof Breitenthal (Breitenthal Hunting Lodge), Sankt Georgen am Reith. The journey through beautiful countryside took less than one hour, and our arrival at the Lodge was a pleasant surprise. The Lodge and grounds were stunning, and we were met by the Owners, Fritz and Eva, who showed us to our ‘dog friendly’ room on the ground floor, with easy access out to the garden and the adjacent pathways through the fields and woods.

Fritz and Eva help arrange our Fishing Licence from the nearby town of Opponitz, where there was a good Fly Fishing outfitter.  Not knowing the area, I engaged the services of a local guide for a day, mainly to get local knowledge of the best areas to fish.  The river that day was in spate, there having been quite a bit of rain before our arrival.  Undeterred, the guide  gave me quite a number of useful tips, including how to use small bright red and white floats attached to the leader to aid bite detection.  In the past I had used a dry fly in a similar way, however, the little, almost fluorescent floats attached to the leader not only governed the depth of the fly below the surface, but made bite detection astonishingly easy in the fast flowing water.  I now always have a packet of these little floats in the pocket of my Fly Vest.  

For two days the fishing was, to say the least, a little demanding, but as the river returned to normal and the sun came out, fishing the Ybbs was a delight.  The water was almost turquoise in color and exactly what you imagine of a ‘Alpine Mountain Stream’.  There were weirs, waterfalls, fast flowing sections and placid mirror like pools, a fly fisherman’s paradise.  One day, I caught a lovely brown trout, photographed it, intending to put it safely back in the water, when it suddenly wriggled and It dropped from my hand.  Oniks, my faithful Doberman was at my side, opened his large mouth and caught the fish head first and swallowed it whole.  I was so stunned that I just looked at him without saying anything.  Pleased with himself, Oniks sauntered up the bank and laid down for a well-earned nap.

Another day, we went to a tributary of the Ybbs suggested by the Guide, it was a lovely trout stream running through a forest.  Initially the fishing was normal, catching the odd trout every now and again, but then we moved to an area with a shingle bank and everything changed.  I caught thirty-four (Yes 34) brown trout  on dry-fly with only slightly more than thirty-four casts.  All were returned unharmed!  They were not the largest I have caught, but certainly the most prolific outside of a stocked pond.  At thirty-four fish It was starting to become ridiculous, it seemed the fish were attempting to commit suicide, so we left that stream in search of larger, more wary fish.

I look back on our trip to the Ybbs very fondly, not only because of the memories of Oniks gulping down the catch and suicidal trout, but also because of the scenery, the welcome we received at Jagdhof Breitenthal, which included a trip up into the mountains, when Eva, the owner took my wife deer stalking, to make up for my absence on the riverbank.  I especially enjoyed getting back to the Lodge in the evening, tired from a hard day fishing, to a wonderful meal prepared by Eva, which I ate with a heavy Doberman laying under the table, head resting on my feet. 

Tight Lines – The Silver Fly Fisherman

 

Fishing the Catskills

The Catskill Mountains are an area of New York State, northwest of New York City and southwest of Albany, and normally just known as the Catskills.

In August 2001 I was lucky enough to be making a business trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin via New York. Having researched the area I decided that I really could not fly over one of the greatest fly fishing areas in the world and not take the opportunity of dunking a fly or two. Once business was complete we took a domestic flight to LaGuardia Airport New York, which overlooks the infamous Rikers Island prison complex and hired a car for the week. We drove through the Bronx and across the Hudson River, passing West Point Military Academy,  The amount of traffic encountered prior to crossing the Hudson was phenomenal and not a pleasant experience, however, once out of New York City the situation, as well as the scenery, changed dramatically. 

Not too far from Woodstock, famous for its legendary music festival in the 60’s, we arrived at our cabin, right beside Willowemoc Creek, a lovely trout stream. We checked into our cabin, which was really quite nice with everything you need for a short fishing holiday.  I would have no hesitation recommending Creekside Cabins to anyone visiting the area. Outside, there was a BBQ and a decked area around an old tree, which over the years, fly fisherman had adorned with flies by attaching the hook into the tree bark. What a great place, absolutely no signal for a mobile phone and a short walk through a wood down to the creek.  One of the most memorable features of the cabin was ‘Eddie the Eagle’, a ginger cat who in his attempts to get into the cabin spreadeagled himself on the fly screen of the back door waiting to be let in.

We had to travel to Roscoe to arrange a New York State Licence and to brush up on the regulations for fishing in the area. Suitably armed with official permission and a fishing map of the Catskills, it was time to set up the rod and start fishing.  What an experience it was.

Junction Pool, Beaverkill:  This famous pool just had to be fished, but even better was the sight of beavers pushing logs across the pool. Many of the rivers have ‘kill’ in the name, this comes from the Dutch and means creek or river.  The Beaverkill is toasted as the birthplace of American Dry Fly Fishing and was the fishing revier of the famous Lee Wulff, inventor of one of my favorite flies, the Grey Wulff.  The Wulff family still have a Fly Fishing School at Livingston Manor, Wulf School of Fly Fishing.

Willowemoc Creek: This is a great fly fishing stream, especially at dawn and dusk.  The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum situated just along from Creekside Cabins is well worth a visit.

Delaware River:  One of the most memorable days was a canoe trip down the East Branch of the Delaware River.  We hired a canoe for the day from Al’s Sports Store, and set off down the Delaware.  The first amazing sight was Downsville covered bridge, well worth a visit.  Most of the time we were able to paddle gently down river, wondering at the divers wildlife on display.  Whilst traversing one pool I noticed a Beaver Lodge and decided to take a close look, it was an amazing construction.  Not so happy about our intrusion was the Beaver, who came up, looked at us in an irate manner and noisily chased us off, flat tail beating the water.  Anyone who believes Beavers are small cuddly creatures needs to see one in the wilds of the Catskills, they appear to be enormous and not to be trifled with. One of the highlights of the whole trip was about half-way down river, we stopped for lunch where the river was a little narrower and flowing over a rocky ledge. We lifted the canoe clear of the water and I scanned the river, saw an overhanging tree which looked to be an ideal lie for a fish, so collected my rod from the canoe.  I dropped my fly just upstream and two seconds later the water exploded and I was into the biggest fish of the trip.  That’s the way fly fishing should be, one cast, one fish! The canoe trip was fabulous, such an experience, but not all plain paddling downstream.  As the river progressed, there were weir-like sections of rapids, not very fast or deep but it was necessary to get out and assist the canoe to negotiate the small boulders.  All great fun!

Many other fish were caught that week, most were released but two were taken for our evening meal.  We converted the BBQ at the cabin into a smoker and had a wonderful meal on the decking, beside the Fly Tree. I have very fond memories of the Catskills and if you get a chance, you really must go, if only to experience the magic display of fireflies at night, now there is an opportunity for an inventive fly tyer!

Before leaving, I attached my most successful fly to the Fly Tree, hoping that perhaps someone else would use it.  We traveled back to the Big Apple, and whilst waiting for our flight from JFK Airport, did a sightseeing trip of New York, during which we passed and marveled at the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  Who would have known what was to happen on 9/11 only a few weeks later.

Where to obtain your Fishing Licence:  A New York State Fishing Licence can be obtained from most Fishing Outfitters, who will also provide, or sell you a fishing map of the area.

Tight Lines – The Silver Fly Fisherman

German Fishing Licence & Examination

 

 

CAN YOU NAME THESE FISH? (Answers below)

Living on Tenerife in the fabulous Canary Islands, with blue skies, blue sea, a wonderful climate and abundant fishing available, all year round in the sun, you would be forgiven for believing that life was completely fulfilled. Yes, it is paradise, or would be if there was Fly Fishing for Trout! Unfortunately, sunshine all year round means an arid climate with no rivers and water in the ponds too warm to sustain my favourite game fish.

So what to do? Easy, find a summer holiday home in Europe, somewhere where there are mountain streams and lakes, as well as rivers and streams running through forests. That is exactly what I did, and being fairly fluent in the German language, decided to look at the Bavarian Forest in Germany. My wife and I found a permanent caravan site in Eging am See, not far from Passau and the Austrian and Czechoslovakian borders. The site, Bavaria Camping, is a lovely park at the edge of the Bavarian National Forest and the River Ilz, a fly only river, is only twenty minutes away. A little closer, five minutes by foot, is Eging Lake which permits all types of fishing and has rainbow trout stocked. Permanent sites at Eging are quite large, the one we found not only has a large caravan but also a purpose-built hut attached, a large front garden, and a rear garden adjoining the forest, where there is pergola for outside dining, another hut for additional accommodation, a tool shed and outside facilities. Sorted, my Fishing Cabin in Bavaria!

Fishing base sorted out, we moved in and I started checking out the requirements for permits and licensing, and found that as a visitor, I could get a license allowing me to fish for four weeks. That was great, but we intended staying for five months, what about the rest of the time? The answer was clear, visitors four weeks only per year, if I wanted to fish the rest of the season I would have to take and pass the State Fishing Examination. I found that this was a six-day course, over three weekends, with the State Examination to be held centrally. Although I consider myself quite knowledgeable, I realized that I would have to do some studying over the winter before attempting to join the course, even if only to be able to identify the fish in the German language. It was soon clear to me that just knowing most of the species of fish was insufficient, it was necessary to be able to identify all of the species and sub-species of fish, including those we do not normally try to catch, from the humble stickleback upwards. If that was not enough, Bavaria and the Donau region have species of fish not found elsewhere. Further, it was not only necessary to be able to identify the fish from a picture, it was also necessary to be able to identify them from a written description and identify its habitat and feeding habits. This was only one section of the examination – ‘Fish Science’ or Ichthyology – the scientific study of different aspects of various fish species, including history, behavior, growth patterns, and their place in the ecosystems. There were four other sections to be studied:

Hydrology or Water Science
The scientific study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water, including the water cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability.
Protection & care of Fishing Waters & fish breeding
Fishing gear, fishing practices, treatment of fish caught
The Law relating to Fishing, Animal and Fish Welfare, Fish Diseases – Symptoms and Treatment

By any stretch of the imagination, the syllabus was demanding, even for a native German, but armed with my studies over the winter I presented myself to the Fishing Association in Plattling and enrolled on the course. I sat in the classroom for about an hour, not understanding a word that was said. I raised my hand and said to the Instructor ‘I thought this class was in German?’. He smiled at me and in his thick Bavarian dialect replied, ‘No, it is in Bavarian!’. I subsequently learnt that the Bavarian course and examination was considered the hardest to pass in the whole of Germany, and some residents elected to take the examination further north. I was not to be deterred, at least I could understand the slides and hand-outs, they were in German! During day two of the course I actually started to understand some of the dialect, I also believe that the Instructors took pity on me and attempted to speak slowly and clearly, although still in the local dialect. Despite my many years fishing, I took in an abundance of information that I had not previously considered, especially about the quality of the waters we fish and how to maintain them, the identification of the plants found in and around lakes and on the river bank, as well as the wild-life.

Without looking them up in a book, can you identify the fish in the Gallery above?  Answers at the bottom of the page!

It surprised me that Entomology was taught to everyone on the course, not just those interested in Fly Fishing. The practical elements of the course included knots, setting up equipment, including leaders with droppers, attaching hooks of various types including the dreaded spade hook, and a whole afternoon on what was considered one of the most essential elements. How to humanely kill a fish, which each of the students had to demonstrate in order to pass the course. The method which I, and perhaps most of you have used in the past would not be accepted in Germany, and would leave the way open for a possible prosecution for cruelty to animals. I will describe the accepted method under ‘Top Tip’ below. Having completed the course and been recommended to sit the examination, I waited with bated breath for my Summons to the State Examination. The letter duly arrived and on the appointed day I presented myself, with about thirty other candidates, to the examination center in Regen. Photographs in passport or identity cards were checked to ensure that candidates were genuine and that no proxy had turned up to ensure a pass. The examination was strictly invigilated and consisted of twenty questions in each of the five sections, a total of one hundred questions in all. I completed my paper well in time, checked it twice and handed it in. I then waited whilst the Examiners checked my paper and was relieved when I was called forward and received my grade of 98%! Having passed the exam, I had to wait about a week for the official notification from ‘The Ministry’, which had a very nice and ornate Certificate attached. Armed with the notification that I had passed, I attended the licensing office at the local Rathaus or Town Hall, where my State Fishing License, a legal photo identification document, valid for life (due to my age) was issued to me.

Despite my initial reservations about needing to attend a course, I believe that the fishing course was very worthwhile, and I am so glad that I did attend. My knowledge of my chosen sport has been extended, especially in areas that I had not previously considered studying, such as Water Science, the Law relating to the sport, plants and aquatic life. I was extremely surprised at the level required of every applicant for a fishing license in Germany, every holder of the German State Fishing License should feel proud of their achievement, I know I do!

Answer to Fish ID

1 – Sterlet – a small species of Sturgeon (Acipenser-ruthenus)

2 – Huchen – Danube Salmon (Hucho_hucho)

3 – Nase or in English: Nose or Sneep (Chondrostoma_nasus)

4 – Ziege or in English: Goat Carp (Pelecus_cultratus)

How did you do? 

100% = You have obviously done the course!

75% = You probably only just passed the course!

50% = You probably live in or near Germany!

25% = You are probably a Visitor to Germany!

0% = It is time you did some fishing in Germany!

 

Top Tip

How to humanely dispatch (kill) a fish
Please Note: I recommend Catch and Release!

If you intend taking the fish for the pot or smoker, it is essential to dispatch the fish without causing it to suffer.

As quickly as possible after being caught, perhaps whilst still in the net, hold the fish steady on the ground with a wet hand and give it a sharp tap above the eyes to stun it with a priest or wooden implement.

Whilst the fish is stunned, insert a sharp blade between the gills, severing the main artery and allowing the fish to bleed out.

Never handle the fish with dry hands!
Do not keep the fish out of the water for extended periods!

Fishing Cabin in Canada


In 2013, I had to travel on business to Kelowna a city on Lake Okanagan in the Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia.  A trip to this region without Fly Fishing was unthinkable, so I set about researching the possibilities for a field trip.  Lake Okanagen is a very large lake with many cities and towns, not my sort of fishing place at all, but the areas surrounding it, just a forest wilderness, bejeweled by hidden lakes.  I took my fly fishing equipment with me, all except the rod.  I had broken too many rods on airport conveyor belts, despite being encased in tubes and my travel rod had a section missing.  Nothing for it but to buy a rod in Kelowna, so I did my research and chose a Redington five peiece travel rod in a very handy travel tube, which I duly ordered and picked up in Kelowna.  Now fully equipped and accompanied by my wife, we drove up into the mountains.  Getting to Oyama Lake Wilderness Resort was interesting, but not too difficult, although we saw a couple of large Motor Caravans that were having quite a lot of difficulty getting up the steep gradients.

When we reached the resort and were shown our cabin, we were not disappointed at all.  Very much ‘back to nature’, no hot water, except in the two shower cubicles set in the woods.  The Cabin was comfortable in that it actually had a bed, table and chairs and a small electric cooker, although the fire-pit outside was intended as the main cooking area. The toilet facilities were a short distance away in the woods and shared with a number of other cabins.  But most important, each cabin had it’s own aluminum fishing boat with small outboard motor.  I made the usual inquiries as to how the locals caught their fish and found that using Fly or Spinning Rods, they trolled streamers or lures over the transom of the boat.  To my mind, that is not ‘proper fishing’. So I stuck with my traditional methods, particularly dry fly at dusk and dawn or when I saw fish rising. A fellow fisherman who arrived at the same time as ourselves was bragging about the twelve fish he had caught on the troll. I didn’t like to tell him that traditional methods had produced even more fish!

In total we spent four days in that magic wilderness resort, the shower facilities were a joke and the comfort factor non-existent.  But chopping logs for the fire-pit, lighting the fire ready for cooking the evening meal of freshly caught trout whilst sipping a Jim Beam and coke, what an experience, one that every Fly Fisherman should experience at least once!

 

 

An Average Fly-Fisherman

I started Fly Fishing in the mid-seventies on the Wiltshire Avon, and was very lucky, as a member of HM Forces, to be able to fish the stretch owned by the Services Dry Fly Fishing Association (SDFFA) and managed by the famous Frank Sawyer. That remarkable, crystal clear chalk stream, brought to life by Frank Sawyer, taught me that fly fishing has all of the elements associated with hunting game, and far from being a sedentary sport, just sitting and waiting on the river bank, you are mobile, stealthily hunting your fish, in some of the most beautiful scenery that it is possible to image. I have been very lucky to have fished in some amazing places, and the reason that I started this Blog, was to share my experiences, as an ‘average fly fisherman’ with others, particularly those just getting started in this, the most rewarding of all types of fishing. I don’t say that lightly,I have experience of Course Fishing, Sea Fishing, including Sea Fly Fishing and for many years I was an IGFA Certified Fishing Captain and current IGFA World Record Holder for a rather poisonous fish caught off of the island of La Gomera.

My mentor, when I started Fly Fishing, was a Gentleman called Michael Kitchen, who, from my perspective was indeed an expert Fly Fisherman. Not only did he cast superbly, he used the flies that he tied himself to continuously catch fish, irrespective of the conditions or location. I learned an awful lot from Mike, who taught me the art of Upstream Dry Fly and Nymph Fishing.  When ‘nymphing’ we of course used Frank Sawyers Pheasant Tail Nympth or PTN, which we had tied ourselves in the original form without using thread. After many blank weeks on the Avon, I quickly learned the art of ‘stalking’ the fish and subsequently caught my fair share of brown trout and grayling.

My first Fly Fishing rod was of course made of the tried and tested GRP or glass reinforced plastic, cheap and quite suitable for a novice like me who was still finding difficulty in keeping the fly line in the air.  Mike of course had one of thFly Fishing River Ilze ultra expensive and newfangled carbon fiber rods which came with a warning not to take them anywhere near electricity pylons.  But at that time, carbon fiber rods were quite prone to breaking and that, combined with the initial purchase cost, put them out of my reach.  To upgrade my fishing rod at a reasonable cost, I decided to build my own split cane rod from a kit.  I spent an entire winter building the rod, customizing it with my name and varnishing it to perfection.  The end result, even if I say so myself, was  pretty good, it was just a pity that I had chosen the wrong tip action, as I really didn’t understand that it was important.  That being said, I was extremely proud of that rod and persevered with it for many years.

I can recall a hot summers day on a Hampshire fishery, where Mike was teaching me to fish with sub-surface buzzers.  He had already caught more than a dozen fish while I had only caught the sun.  He then decided to concentrate my mind and sat beside me, instructing me to concentrate on the water above the buzzers and on the line, which I was holding too loose.  ‘Did you see that?’ he asked, I of course had seen nothing, but eventually, after missing many fish, I started to see the subtle movements on the water and the almost imperceptible twitch on the line.  I was as pleased with the one fish that I did catch as Mike was with his bag full.

Over the years I have been lucky to have fished in England, Wales and Scotland, but also the Catskills in the USA, British Columbia in Canada, the Pyrenees in Spain, Austria and Germany.  This year, I will fly fishing in Bavaria, Austria and Czechoslovakia.  I consider myself a bit of a purest, preferring Dry Fly & Nymph, seldom resorting to a wet fly or streamer, but even so, it is insufficient to just fish upstream.  You don’t catch many fish using the upstream method when fishing a fast flowing river such as the Ilz in Bavaria or the Ybbs in Austria.  When fishing rivers, I always return the fish to the water unharmed, much to my wife’s chagrine.  Therefore, to keep the peace, and to provide fish for the table, I make regular visits to ‘put and take’ lakes where the fish are bred for the purpose.  Although I am not a great lover of eating fish, who could resist fresh trout fillets, cooked in butter and sprinkled with almonds? Even better, hot smoked trout, direct from my smoker, served with brown bread and butter!

I will be writing regular Blogs about my past experiences whilst waiting patiently for the season to commence, when I can Blog about current fishing trips.  I will also be reviewing some equipment and providing a few Top Tips.

A Tip from the Seventies: 

We Fly Fisherman spend good money on various substances to make our leader sink or float, why not consider using the old methods i.e

LEADER SINK PASTE

Fuller’s earth is a fine clay material in powder form, that has the capability to de-colorize oil or other liquids without chemical treatment.  The cost from your local chemist is negligible and a small box will last for years. Just mix a teaspoonful of the powder with washing up liquid until it forms a smooth past.  Use this paste to keep your leader sinking and when the paste goes solid, just moisten it with water or saliva to make it usable again.

Tight Lines from the Silver Fly Fisherman