Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stalking beetle-eaters

Hot and windy days are the best for terrestrial fishing. During the past week I gave my glass and graphite rods a good workout, stalking wild browns on the nearby spring creek. You need to fish far and fine to get good results. I usually carry a pair of small binoculars to spot good sized fish. Tuesday was really windy with gusts up to 30 mph. This made precision casting a bit challenging, but I had the whole river for myself. Fish were turned on and I enjoyed one of the best days this year.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Streamside Idyll

Each year when water buttercups (Rannunculus sp.) blossom in the stream bed, I think of one of the best definitions of the chalkstream by Ron Wilton, a river keeper on the Itchen. According to Wilton, the chalkstream is "a flood under control." At this time of the year the fishing is shifting from the full force dry fly action to the more technical fishing among the weedy channels. While the weeds provide food and protection for trout, they represent a challenging obstacle as well. For the past couple of weeks I lost several nice fish deep in the weeds. One particularly large trout managed to straighten the hook after I patiently tried every trick to get it out. Amy fished with me several times and caught fish each time!

I savoured each day on the stream during the past several weeks. Light Hendrickson/Pale Afternoon Dun hatches were incredible, and the caddis are still very active during the day. Other mayflies I encountered sporadically were E. needhami and Baetis spp. During the best hatches the fish would switch from one species to the next, even though soft hackled imitations proved to be the most consistent producers during the day. With the abundance of caddis flies, it's no wonder. I haven't had a chance to fish any spinner falls in the evenings, but a wide variety of caddis and mayfly emergers were productive during the day: Rabbit Foot emergers, CDC cripples, Soft-hackled pupae, Parachute caddis and Klinks, CDC Loopwings a la Urban, plain PT nymphs, etc. On the left (bottom) is a picture of myself with the nice fish taken a couple of weeks ago

Today's weather was almost perfect, with considerable cloudiness, so unlike many of the recent bright and sunny days. Above the weed-choked stretch, I found a flat in the meadow section of the stream with active fish (see the pic). They would not take dries, but went for a tiny size 20 soft hackle fished on the greased line just under the surface. Each time the fly would tighten before the swing, the fish would take it gently. They took it dead-drifted upstream just as well. Every time the sun would peek through the clouds, the fish activity would suddenly die.

I have also been working on several glass rods during the past month. Today I have just received a very interesting vintage glass blank-7'6" dark brown Lamiglas 5 piece travel model. According to the seller it was made in the late 1970's-early 1980's. It is much stiffer than the honey E glass blanks, and Lamiglas made plenty of S glass fly rod blanks at the time, so it might be one of those. I will write about my progress with the latest rods in one of the upcoming blogs. I need to finish them soon and take them fishing!