Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Střela in time of Ice Men

Messrs. Pankrác, Servác & Bonifác are traditionally referred to as the three Ice Men, as the period around their name days (May 12th, 13th and 14th, respectively) usually coincides with a time of unusually cold days in the Central Europe. This year was no exception, only with the addition that the weather was not only cold but rather wet as well.

In this time I was having a visitor, Fran Friesen from Vancouver, BC, to whom I promised a close encounter with the European Grayling. For this purpose I selected river Střela, where the chance for an off season grayling seemed the most reliable.

My original hopes for a caddis hatch were quickly brought to reality at the sight of the river, which was high and muddy after a recent rain. No hatch was going on and the situation clearly called for a nymphing approach.

Fran introduced me to the Tenkara fishing, which seems to be the next hip thing on the other side of Atlantic. I was rather surprised how easily the rod converted to Czech nymphing tactic - perhaps not what the samurai fishermen intended initially, but very effective.

Later in the day the water cleared a bit and the temperature increased somewhat (to whopping 8°C), which brought up a hatch of smallish mayflies. This allowed us to drop the cumbersome CZ nymphs and start catching grayling as they were meant to be fished - fine and far off on delicate dry flies.

By the end of the day the two of us caught and released some twenty fish, most of them on the dry fly. Given the challenging environment I considered this result a success. The best producing fly turned out to be my Hare's Mask Emerger mayfly imitation.

The tie:
#19 TMC103 BL hook
tan UNI 8/0 thread
three strands of orange Krystal flash
body of Hare's dubbing
#16 UNI Mylar tinsel, color gold
2 smallish CDC feathers
thorax area lightly dubbed with scruffy hairs from Hare's back