Saturday, December 31, 2011

PF 2012

I wish a very happy New Year and good 2012 season to all my friends

Tight lines!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The last trout of 2011

The 2011 trout fishing season in the Czech Republic is now officially over. Today the trout waters closed, not to open until April next year.

The winter frosts have arrived, and cold weather is slowly making fishing unpractical. The night temperature on upper Vltava, which has brought me so much sport in September and October, has dropped to -10°C and the river is thick with ice; the ice cover makes the grayling safe from raiding North Sea cormorants though, which is not entirely bad.

For my closing day fishing trip I decided to visit the river Ohře. It is a tailwater fishery, with relatively warm water flowing from the Nechranice dam. As such it had a decent hatch of Blue Winged Olives even in late November. But the fish were already feeling sluggish and the steady flow of #18 duns was met with very few rises.

After trying the dry fly for some time with no success I determined that my last good chance to get in contact with a fish was a deeply fished nymph. I tied on a heavy pink bug, looking as a cross of a maggot and a strawberry, and was rewarded by a couple of fish. This brownie, caught at half past 3 on November 30th was my last fish of the 2011 Trout season.

The tie:
#12 TMC 2302 hook, debarbed
3,3 mm Tungsten bead + flat lead underbody
red Benecchi thread
pink embroidery thread for the body

Sunday, November 27, 2011

An Order Clearly Spoken

While browsing the wares of an embroidery shop I discovered a spool of olive thread. And the thread just spoke to me; it felt like a scene in a film, when an old relic speaks to an ordinary guy and he goes to pull a sword from a stone or what not.

The word the thread spoke to me was "Baetis". I dared not disobey such a clear order, and so I purchased the thread and went home to tie some medium sized olives.

Baetis parachute
#16 Dohiku 301 dry fly hook
8/0 UNI thread tan
Coq de León tails
Olive embroidery thread body
Tiemco Aero Dry Wing wingpost
Hare dubbing for thorax
Olive dyed rooster hackle

Monday, November 21, 2011

The end (of 2011 season) is nigh

The season is definitely getting to its close, and it will be soon that I will turn in my season's tickets and reduce myself to the tying table only. But until that time comes (the Czech season closes on November 30th) I am trying to get as much fishing as possible.

As thick layers of smog descended on Prague I headed with some friends to fish the river Ohře in north western Bohemia. This river, also called Eger in German, is one of the finer Czech tailwaters fisheries. The days of its former glory are past now, but it still retains aura of certain mystique as river where it is possible (though unlikely) to catch brown trout in the 50+ cm range.

It is also notorious as a moody river, where blank days happen to even the best fishermen. The news we had through the fly fishing grapevine was that a hatch of olives was going on and that the fish were rising freely. Thus we overcame our natural laziness and temperature just slightly above freezing and headed to the famed river.

The the reports turned out to be correct; but one thing the grapevine failed to mention was that even though the fish were indeed freely rising they were awfully choosy in what they put into their little mouths. The sound of fish splashing carried well over the waters and the huge riseforms were impossible to miss. But the wily fish utterly ignored all my fancy offerings, only to rise again once my imitations passed. Frustration rode high.

At the end - after trying out most of my grayling fly box - I decided the imitative approach had failed and turned to attraction. First with my pink Barbie dun and then a little Goldie fly.

The Goldie, while not imitating anything particular, turned out to be just what the fish wanted. Why should the fish prefer such thing to #18 Olive dun when #18 Olive duns were drifting by and being eaten is one of the great mysteries that make fly fishing so alluring.

I was rewarded by several fine grayling and also some rainbow trout. This one has evidently suffered a close encounter with a predator (perhaps a small pike?) in his youth.

Little Goldie Fly:
#14 Hanák 130 BL hook
tan elastic tying thread
UNI 1/32 " tinsel Gold
3 natural CDC feathers

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Aspects of Angling

I have recently experienced two very different visits to upper Vltava. On my first I travelled alone and had a great sport - the conditions were just perfect: a sunny day after overnight frost brought up a strong BWO hatch, the fish were active on the surface and my size #18 Olive Quill met their appetite exactly. I had great time, having caught several fish over 40 centimeters on a dry fly.

The next week I returned south again with two friends. I had shared my enthusiasm with them, so naturally the expectations ran high. Martin and Dalibor were looking forward to some quality grayling fishing and I wanted to play the perfect guide.

Unfortunately the fishing conditions did not repeat themselves. A cold front was passing over the Czech Republic, which brought a strong wind and put a stop to the BWO hatch. The fish were loath to rise and sudden gusts of wind made havoc of our light lines and long leaders. We really struggled to connect with any fish, and the big ones were out of the question.

The surprising thing about all this was that the second trip turned out a great success, but in a different way than the first. The misery that we all shared has brought us all together and as the fishing was no good we could afford to take some time off, enjoy a streamside lunch, tell stories of better fishing and really drink in the eerie beauty of late season Šumava.

The sun cast long and dramatic shadows over the dry meadows, the willows were already bare, the birches still full of colors and the three of us were about as far from civilization as is possible in our densely populated country. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, despite the fact that the fish turned out rather uncooperative.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No Hackle Olive Quill

A new tying sequence has been added to my SBS pages - No Hackle Olive Quill. It is a neat little fly, a great favorite of Czech grayling and sure to work wonders when the autumn generation of Baetis sp. hatches (i.e. about this time of the year).

I will award a special price to the first person to correctly guess the currency on the picture! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Optimism

The gloomy days of early October have passed, and the mist and drizzle were replaced by sunny, if crisp and cold, autumn days. Nothing awakens grayling appetite like a combination of overnight frost and a good BWO hatch, so I headed to the mountains of Šumava to pay a visit to what is arguably the best grayling fishery in Czech lands.

By the village of Dobrá the Vltava river meanders through fields of sedge (locally called "pineapples", quite challenging to pass through). In its gentle flow grows ranunculus and other plants, supporting a variety of aquatic life. The banks of the river are littered by concrete bunkers, now overgrown by the forest but still serving as mementos of darker times.

By about noon a mixed hatch started, with blue winged olives and little stoneflies. Even an occasional big sedge (Rhyacophila sp.) could be seen, but it did not seem to find any risers. The most productive imitation were #18 green quill & CDC mayfly and #18 Hare's mask emerger. Especially the green quill was very hard for the grayling to resist.

Over the stretches of Ranuncul I caught several fine fish on a dry fly The surface activity peaked by about 2 PM, but I could see occasional rises until about 5 PM.

The fish showed a surprising variance in color - some were very light, with only a few blackish scales, while other were of very dark complexion.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October Gloom

After an unusually warm and sunny (and fishing-wise very dull) September the Czech Republic was hit by the old fashioned dull October drizzle. The temperatures dropped about 15°C - from over twenty to just about 6°C - and the fine autumn gloom settled in.

The same change in weather has also signaled the start of proper Grayling season, and as such was eagerly anticipated by many fly fishermen. We are strange creatures indeed...

For the weekend I headed north of Prague to my favorite rivers Kamenice and Jizera. The thin drizzle has caused a slight rise in the water, but as there has been hardly any rain in the past few weeks the countryside was very dry and soaked the thin rain very easily. The rivers were thus still rather low and only a little off color. A hatch of lightly greyish Baetis mayflies started to appear very predictably at around 1 PM and woke up the grayling to action.

I struggled in trying to catch a sizable fish, chiefly because of the sheer numbers and activity of the grayling youths. After a while I stopped my casting and settled to watch the drift of hatching duns and their slaughter by hungry fish. From my place on an old tree stump I could not see any surviving dun passing by alive. The Baetis duns came down like little sailing ships, drifting very gracefully downstream and the grayling picked them off one by one as some sort of sea monsters without showing any hint of mercy.

In a wilder stretch of the Kamenice river I happened to catch an out of season brown trout lady. I released her quickly and carefully, and she rewarded me by posing for a while in the shallow water, so I could make a picture of her in the slow drizzle.

On the Jizera river I caught a smallish Rainbow trout. It has quite surprised me by its unexpected beauty - I am not partial to stocked fish, grossly overweight with their short stubby fins and foolish need to attack anything remotely resembling a food pellet. I was however reminded how graceful they can grow, if stocked as small fry and left to grow feral. Not to mention the unmatched fighting spirit of a nature grown rainbow,

The best imitation of very lightly colored duns proved to be my Eagle Owl emergers, tied in size #18 with wing of CDC and bodies of Eagle Owl herl.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Grayling Candy

A couple ties for the Ladies, all tied on #18 Hanák 130BL hooks:

A little redhead

The tie
#18 Hanák 130BL hook
14/0 Sheer thread gray
Heron herl
3 CDC feathers
70 dernier red Danville thread to cover the head

Green Quill

The tie
#18 Hanák 130BL hook
14/0 Sheer thread gray
pardo Coq de León tail
3 CDC feathers
a pinch of natural hare fur to make the thorax

Hare Emerger

The tie
#18 Hanák 130BL hook
14/0 Sheer thread gray
3 strands of twisted orange flashabou
body of dubbed hare ribbed with #16 UNI gold tinsel
3 CDC feathers
a pinch of natural hare fur to make the thorax

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Washing Line on Bohdaneč

Organizing the wedding has seriously cut into my fishing time, but with the affair done I decided to seek some quiet - and to replenish my stock of slivovitz - on my favorite small stillwater fishery in Bohdaneč. By this pond is a small distillery specializing in fruit brandy - plums, apples, apricots and the kind. Very much like the lochside distilleries in Scotland, but with a definite Central European twist.

The conditions were not perfect, as it was still quite hot and the water was full of algae, of almost coffee color. The sun was shining brightly and there was no wind. Few fish were active, taking hatching buzzer pupae. In order to connect with them I had to either offer them either a brightly colored orange lure - an effective, but not overly satisfying method - or a midge imitation fished very close to the surface.

At the end the best tactic proved to be the washing line method - using a very buoyant foam buzzer on point and two smaller "catching" buzzers on droppers, with a floating leader and line. My catching flies sank just a couple centimeters below the surface. Thus I was able to have some good sport without having to depart from imitative fly fishing.

Imitative buzzer:
#12 TMC2487 BL hook
Olive UNI 8/0 thread
Olive UNI stretch to form the body
Pearl UNI #16 tinsel
Burnt Orange Neon UNI 1/0 thread
White TMC Aero Dry Wing
Black Opossum dubbing

Buoyant buzzer:
#10 TMC2487 BL hook
Tan UNI 6/0 thread (thicker thread in order not to cut the foam)
White Booby foam post
Hare + Seal dubbing mix dyed Olive
Pearl #16 UNI tinsel

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Most Important Knot

This Saturday, in the chapel of Holy Trinity in the gardens of Červená Lhota chateau, I will be tying the most important knot of them all.

As a result I spent more time in recent weeks preparing these:

Than tying or fishing any of these:

And if my married friends are right it is not likely to get much better soon. But I am still looking forward to the moment... :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Translation widget

Many readers of these pages are using Google Translate tool. I am flattered by the trouble they take to understand my ramblings and to make it easier for them I have added a Translation Widget to the blog.

Out of curiosity I tried to translate the page into my native Czech, and the result was very entertaining - it seems that fly fishing texts are not regular items on menu of the translation robots.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Spreading the Word

A friend of mine is a keen coarse fisherman, but I have a feeling there is a chance of making him see the light, cast aside his boilies & tripod and convert to Fly Fishing.

I hope a gift of this little fly box - made to suit the taste of trout on our local stillwater - would be enough to tip him to the dark side.

#10 Kamasan B110 Buzzer, Chinese Red

#10 Kamasan B110 Buzzer, Black, Pearl and Orange

#10 Kamasan B110 Buzzer, Dennis the Menace

#10 Black Lure

#10 Orange Lure

#12 GRHE Wet Fly

#12 GRHE Dry Fly

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grayling season is nigh... its best to get back to the vice and tie some specks of grey dust.

Here are a couple size 20 mayflies of CDC and Muskrat dubbing, taking a rest on a match.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Orange Chickabou

Even though I live in a big city I am lucky to have friends and relations who still raise chicken, thus giving me a good supply of home plucked chickabou feathers. These take dye very well, and once dyed Orange they make a sure killing lure for bashing stockies on stillwaters.

I found out that by using the same material, while slightly alternating the hooks and beads used, I can target a somewhat different quarry.

This set of earrings will make a gift to a lady friend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Canon Foam Spinner

I have been recently forced to buy a new camera - the old one ending its life in a trout stream as direct result of gross negligence on part of its owner.

An unexpected consequence of the purchase was that the new camera came in a very handy foam protective packaging, which just screams "wing material" to any self respecting fly tier :)

The tie:
#14 Dohiku 301 dry fly hook
8/0 UNI thread tan
3 badger hairs for tails
orange dyed peacock quill
Canon G12 package foam wing
a little natural hare for thorax

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Caddis Pupae

A bunch of caddis pupae for a swap. Although the swap is in the UK the flies are of a local pattern that has turned to be successful on Ohře, one of the most enigmatic of Czech rivers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Memories of BFFI 2011

This year was my first as a featured tier at the British Fly Fair International, and in addition I was invited to give a presentation on tying the Czech style nymphs in the Fly Tying Theatre. No wonder the show left me with some very strong memories.

I was tying next to Scott Kane from Scotland, a true gentleman and a genuine master of the Clyde style fly dressing, and Roger Salomonsson of Sweden, a versatile tier of both Trout and Tarpon flies. It was both inspiring and fun company.

It was good to meet with a fellow East European tier Stoyan Filipov (who - unlike the civilized Britons, appreciates the qualities of a fine Sliwovitz) and the fly tying legend Alice Conba.

I met with Patrick Del Fatti from Switzerland, an unassuming gentleman and a wet fly tier of uncompromising perfection.

I truly appreciated the full dress Salmon flies tied entirely in hand by Jens Pilgaard. Jens is truly unique in being able to change his personality from tweed clad English country gentleman to a bare chested Viking blacksmith (and back again).

And for the whole BFFI weekend I was truly grateful for the warm welcome of the UK Fly Dressing Forum gang, who graciously made a stranger with a foreign accent truly welcome.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Almost ready for the BFFI...

... just hope the customs people don't come asking me funny questions at the airport. The contents of my bag might be hard to explain to the uninitiated :)