Thursday, November 13, 2014

Revisiting GRHE

Feeling too lazy to create something new, I have been playing with my camera and revisiting old flies. I am a great fan of the gold ribbed hare's ear concept - be it a nymph, a wet or even a dry fly. I have a number of such flies around, and they do make interesting subject for fly photography...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pink Tag

It is difficult to make a general statement about grayling fly preference. There are dry fly days, deep nymphing days and even an occasional wet fly day. Which is a good thing, for the fickle Fortune in its unpredictability is certain to reward a fisherman who is willing to experiment and not to take anything for granted.

Having said that some fly features have more appeal than others. On most days the grayling prefer small flies over large ones, and a hint of pink is usually appreciated. Combining these two characteristics in a single fly increases its appeal even further.

This little fly has served me well. As a funny side note: I have been told the fly - when viewed sideways with a squint in the eye - resembles a thistle flower. I wonder what my Scottish friends think of that...

The tie:
#18 Hanák H130 BL hook
2mm gold bead (brass in this case)
a tag of 4 strands of Glo Brite floss
gold Gütermann tinsel ribbing
red fox dubbing, lightly teased out with a velcro strip

Sunday, November 9, 2014


The river Vltava has special meaning to me. Long before it enters Prague as a mature river, where I watch it daily, it is a small stream in the border mountains. As it gently meanders on the mountain plains it makes an excellent grayling habitat. It is a long drive, but each year I come over there to fish the wild fish in wild country.

The 20th century has not tread lightly on the area. The river is littered with concrete bunkers, which were built in the 1930's in a vain attempt to make the river a defensive line to stop the imminent German expansion, and after the war they kept operational as a defense against a possible attack by NATO forces. Now abandoned they make for an eery atmosphere...

For most of the latter half of the century the area was off limits, and as a side result the river has been reclamed by nature. The access to the river is bad, and the fishing excellent.

This year I was a little late, as the fishing is usually at its best in the middle of October. But this year was not an usual one, and with warm weather persisting long into Autumn I postponed my visit. I knew that the time of the highest grayling activity on this river comes only after the first frosts, and this year the first frosts were overdue by almost a month. I was not wrong with my diagnosis.

What did surprise me - though it should not really have - was that I discovered that I had two hours less fishing time compared to my regular time in mid October. The weather did feel like mid October, but one hour of fishing was taken from me by the Daylight Savings Time and another by regular passing of the year.

In the end I did manage some quality fish on the dry fly, with my Olive Quill being the best performing. After the hatch dropped off I kept on with nymph, and succeeded in catching my best fish of the day as a total surprise: it took a huge 4,5 mm tungsten beadhead, which I originally intended as a purely sacrifical fly. So much for the old saying that the grayling will accept only tiny offerings...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


This is an older fly, one that I chose to shoot to test my new macro toy: an old EL Nikkor 50/2.8 enlarger lens. A fascinating piece of Japanese optical engineering, it promises to raise my macro photography to another level. And with the demise of the wet process it came very cheaply - a nice bonus!

I chose the fly for the shot chiefly because it was buggy, and I wanted to see how my new lens would display the hare hairs sticking out. I was pleaseantly surprised, not only with the technical aspects of my picture but with the fly as well.

The tie:
#12 Hanák H260BL wet fly hook
tan elastic tying thread
2.8mm tungsten bead, dull black
red rooster hackle fibers for tail
UNI 1/69" gold mylar tinsel
shaggy fur from hare's back, teased out with a velcro brush

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Orange Hotspot Nymph

This simple tie has performed well with grayling, and in slightly bigger sizes with grayling's cousins the trout. In the Czech competition circles, who appreciate a nice story and a fancy name it has been called the Belgian. I have little idea about its origins, but no doubt about its effectiveness.

For some reason it seems to associate well with the Icelandic 10 aurar coin, a little piece of copper that subtly reminds me of scary tales by H. P. Lovecraft.

The tie:
#18 Hanák 130 BL dry fly hook
2mm copper bead
14/0 grey Sheer tying thread
rooster feather tails
body from peacock wing feather
a prominent collar of brignt orange 6/0 Danville's thread