a little something to change from the norm for you today.
it’s all about fish but not the kind that typically pops up when we think of our slimy friends.
clever, charming, a simplicity of filming that greatly flatters the subject and really-really funny.
it’s in the now but also in the then all the while being timeless; the Charlie Lyne/Caspar Salmon duo have produced a real gem. here’s Fish Story, if this doesn’t bring a smile i don’t know what will, enjoy !
this 51cm – 20″ beauty from a northern England limestone creek was a special fish, a two fisher fish.
i had spotted it holding in its shallow lie and covered it several times with several generic mayfly imitations but it wasn’t in the least bit interested so after a while i insisted that it was buddy Mark Legget‘s turn to temp it.
several “no, you spotted it, its yours” and “yeah, but it doesn’t like me and i really want you to catch it”s later, he not-really reluctantly gave in and positioned himself while i spotted from up on the bank and two perfect drifts later hooked up. after a good fight from both parties i landed it for Mark and we where able to briefly admire it from close up.
memory’s poor, i’ve always had a hard time remembering numbers, but i believe it was around 1,6kg – 3 1/2 lbs. that’s no record by any means but its really an awesome fish for such a small stream but a lot more than that, this was the nicest catch in ages.
Mark was of course happy but something deep inside tells me that i was a lot happier, reminding me of my youth and Hugo my godmother’s husband who was a ‘second father’ for me of sorts who so frequently brought me along on his fishing trips and who was always ecstatic when i’d manage to bring a fish to the net, no matter its size.
we’re of about the same age and Mark and i of course don’t have the mentor/parental or whatever else connection i had with Hugo but this fish left a similar feeling; of having shared and completed a scenario with its wished-for outcome as a team making it a much greater sum than its parts. the circle is complete.
Bubbles reminded me of being a little kid in the local lake just sitting there, feeling the water, head just above the surface blowing little bubbles because blowing little bubbles is tingly, they make a heck of a lot more noise underwater than above and it just feels good and exciting.
Bubba is more than comfortable with subsurface bubbling. i’m told it’s a skill that just gets better and better with age so, i guess i’ll just have to go see if that’s true.
this is probably the most beautiful fish film i’ve ever seen.
no more words are necessary nor could they do it justice… enjoy !
no, you’re neither hallucinating nor seeing a fish who can actually simultaneously open and closed its mouth. this dark and beautiful highland-like, yet caught in somewhat southern Scotish brown trout’s strange powers come not from the trout itself but from the stacked-focus macro thingy the fishing camera can do. in geek talk…
it takes about eight images that all later blend in together but since they’re shot in sequence, those eight images need a lot more time than a standard one image so, if the subject moves during the exposers, the camera will register all the combined images similar to the trippy double/multiple exposures that where common before the digital era and thats for my eyes, a pretty darn cool thing to see pop up, specially when it ‘just popped up’ instead of being planned.
I’m having a great-great trip in Scotland this year and Mikey was gorgeous. this image doesn’t do it justice, specially in the Highland-like description I tried to give him above but just take my word for it please.
or did i just dream all that up ?
Louis Cahill’s article made me realise that i’ve never or at least can’t remember ever having dreamt of fish, fishing or anything loosely connected to one of the activities i like doing so much when awake. following through with the theory explained in Louis’ piece that dreams are there to ‘file away’ information then that leaves two possibilities: that info is already filed away or the info is unfilable. for all i know and that ain’t much, i decided long ago that as far as dreams are concerned, i don’t want to know how or why. they’re intangible beings that operate on their own on their own schedule, sometimes entertaining, sometimes not but always interesting as long as we don’t try to make any sense of them and just take them as they are.
“I don’t know what fish dream about. Maybe they dream of the Mothers-day hatch or of shad kills. Perhaps they dream of herons or bears. Maybe they dream that they are birds soaring in the clouds. I like to think that once in a while they dream of me.
“I was just there, in that big slow run, you know the one. I was eating caddis flies and all of a sudden I was just yanked up out of the water. It was like I was swimming but I wasn’t going anywhere. Nobody would help me and I just kept getting hauled up out of the water and then, from nowhere, there was this big guy, like huge with a beard. He picked me up with both hands and he kissed me. There was a bright flash of light and I was back in the water. I think he was God. What do you think it means?”
that was just the end of this thought-provoking read. click the image for the complete article and as always great stuff on Gink & Gasoline. thanks again Louis !
a real gem from Alan Bulmer at Active Angling New Zealand for your trout-hunting pleasure. Alan proposes that rise form recognition is ‘a lost skill’ and even if it isn’t completely lost, it’s a subject that’s rarely touched upon in contemporary fly fishing literature whether that be in print, on the net or among anglers themselves.
in a roundabout way, the average fly fisher will see a rise or rings and assume that the fish is feeding on or in the surface film and instantly tie on a dry fly or emerger but the keen observer will notice that there’s a lot more to it than that.
as we’ve previously seen in How fish eat, and how Alan astutely points out at the end of his piece, “The peculiarities of a rise form are not easy to observe. Often it cannot be said with certainty what fly has been taken; the rings of each pattern proceed so rapidly outwards that the pattern is always in a state of change”, as with most things in life, there are no absolutes and there’s always countless, unavoidable variables but the more we know, the better we can react to that knowledge and simply get better at what we do while feeling a bit more fulfilled.
all this hopefully inciting to spend more time observing and not just randomly looking, this article’s subject is about trout but the same principles with a few variations of course can be applied to other insect-eating fish.
here’s a few morsels to wet your appetite:
“There is one chapter in particular which is fascinating and that is a sixteen page treatise on analysing rise forms. This chapter summarises much of what had been learned through observation by the masters*, GEM Skues, Harding, Lamond and Taverner himself. These fly fishermen pioneered the sport and their observational and analytical skills were legendary. This book was published in their hey day so it must have been cutting edge at the time.
Back in the day analysing trout rise forms was considered a necessary skill for dry fly and nymph fishermen. Those skilled in the art could look at a surface disturbance, characterise it as bulging, humping, tailing, sucking, sipping, slashing, pyramid, kidney, head and tail, porpoise roll or spotted ring and accurately determine what the trout was feeding on and where in the water column it was feeding. In some cases they even counted the number of tiny bubbles appearing within the ring formed as the trout rose to determine what fly to use. This is a skill which I fear may no longer be in the repertoire of most anglers.”
click on either image for the complete article. this is really-really good stuff, enjoy !
* note how there’s absolutely no mention of the redundant Halford…
or, could that be Dick and Phillip or, Jane and Dory ? to tell you the truth i couldn’t care less about their names or genders, they’re both beautiful and doing what we love to see them do: peacefully slurping down bugs and getting fat.
filmed road-side on the Goulburn river Victorian Alps-Australia, these two video treats are wonderfully unpolluted by fisherman, their gear or raunchy music. maybe they’re there to remind us that its not all about us but whatever they are… i hope you’ll enjoy.
tip- resize the image and watch them both at the same time, its really cool.
i’ve always pondered that. some of us accept we come from the sea (and i firmly intend to go back) but it’s not so clear which creature we evolved from.
MinuteEarth‘s video suggests its fish and whether it’s exact or not i like the idea as its somehow more pleasant than thinking we have our roots in kelp or some other drab organism.
whilst some of my friends appear to be direct descendants of the infamous Pink
i like to believe i came from a butter-brown trout.
here’s an interesting short film i hope both big and little will enjoy.
even if the only image in the article appears to be a cod,
based on Atlantic salmon research, MCX goes a stretch further on explaining and going into great detail (and be sure to follow the adjoing links !*) on, eh, there’s no way i can add any more info on this subject so here’s a few excerpts:
“The underwater sound environment is entirely different to that in which we live in air. Accordingly, when thinking about the underwater world we have to dump our experience and preconceptions. Simply, salmon don’t ‘hear’ like us, because they don’t have ears”
“The key features of sound in water are that it:
– Is about 800 times more intense than in air, because the water is incompressible and therefore a much more efficient transmitter. In addition the surface layer reflects sound back into the water.
-Travels far further than in air: relatively minor events are detectable at ranges measured in kilometres, but the level of background noise is relatively very high because it is drawn from a much wider area.
-Goes about 4.4 times faster.
-Is influenced by the composition of the water.”
“So much, so interesting, but what is its relevance to the angler?
If certain frequencies can stimulate a salmon to attack oceanic prey, can we exploit this in fresh water? In thinking about this it helps to grasp what 300 Hz sounds like in air : for comparison Middle C is 261 Hz. It is certainly much higher than the dull thrum of commonplace line vibration in fast water, which is in the range 10-30 Hz.”
“The moment you step into a pool the salmon’s formidable sensors will detect your activity, even if you have felt soles and a light step. However, they don’t know it’s you or what you’re doing, because in evolutionary terms humans haven’t been angling long enough to achieve any genetic impact on salmon. Unlike the calls of whales, seals and other fish, salmon anglers’ noises aren’t in the salmon signal library. Certainly they wouldn’t be able to connect the crunch of your studs on the gravel and the clink of your wading staff on the rocks with the drama of being caught, except perhaps if they’d been caught shortly before by another heavy-footed fisherman.”
but there’s a gazillion more fascinating things to read on this noisy subject and to do so simply click the cod ! enjoy !
* and one of those happens to be a really geeky but eversocool Beeps, Chirps and Noise channel on youtube where i found this little brown noise treat ! (yeah, that’s sounds a little idon’tknowwhat but don’t be afraid, you won’t have to go clean up after listening to it… )
“Brown noise is noise with a power spectral density inversely proportional to the frequency squared. It decreases in power by 6 dB per octave or 20 dB per decade. The sound of brown noise mimics a waterfall or heavy rainfall.”
sounds cliché but how cool is this ?
Sound recordist and Montana local, ‘Fishman’ Mike Kasic, has an unmatched obsession for the underwater wilderness of the Yellowstone River. In this 10 minute essay film, Mike swims the Yellowstone like a human-fish through swift river canyons, watching trout in fast currents filled with frothing water tornadoes, stopping only to body surf river waves.
but his face told her things which she was glad to know.”
best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh, it’s pretty clear Milne knew a thing or two about perch as well.
this film is really interesting and not something we get to see very often.
the purists will moan and groan that this study was done on stocked fish using stocked fish flies but even if its ultimately possible, its also highly improbable that someone is going to go through all the effort and time to get the same footage on wild stock, besides, i don’t think it would make for a big difference. also, wild fish of the same size don’t tend to congregate so much, further decreasing the competitive agressivness seen in this video so, let’s just take from this what we can.
firstly, seeing fish attack flies is well, exciting. its one of the major reasons we do what we do. also, from a practicle aspect, this vid says a lot about how fast they’ll spit that fly back out; something we tend to not like as much !
i didn’t bother counting but what seems more than obvious was how fast the deer hair muddler-headed fly (the first in the series) was spit out. after viewing this several times there even seemed to be a panicked expression (i know, i know. that’s dangerous ground but please bare with me on this one, here’s my point)-
take a muddler head fly and hold it between your fingers; its prickly and stiffish and doesn’t feel like any ‘normal’ fish food and that leads me to this, at least for the moment, conclusion.
its not to say that muddlers aren’t great flies because they are but the spit-out rate and how fast its spit out ratio seems higher than with non-prickly adorned flies and this from what the purists are calling ‘dumb fish’…
fly no. 2 and 4, generic non body-hackled wooly bugger type lures (for lack of a better name) are kept in the mouth longer. had the hook point been there these would have produced more hook-ups because the angler would have had more time to react to the takes.
enough rambling, whether we come to any practicle conclusion regarding fly designs or not, its still something i’m sure you’ll enjoy watching.
ok, but what’s in it ?
as a fisher who doesn’t kill fish its not a question i regularly ask myself but its indeed an interesting topic. i’ve always heard of weird things like license plates, beer cans and whatnot showing up in shark bellies but it seems like our slimy friends have a diverse appetite that goes far beyond the typical insect or smaller fish.
“A friend of mine was trolling in Loch Long, and hooked a seithe. An enormous cod seized the seithe, and paid the penalty by being brought into the boat himself. His girth seemed unnaturally large, and, upon opening him, a brown paper packet of sandwiches, enough for luncheon for a pretty large party, was taken out. They could not have been less injured, mustard and all, had the cod’s stomach been a sandwich-box.
No-one knows whether they ate the sandwiches or not. The fish can consider itself lucky it didn’t meet Colquhoun himself – bloodthirsty old rascal, he would probably have shot it. Cod are the dustbins of the sea and will eat almost anything, accounting for how, in his 1895 Sea Fishing, John Bickerdyke remembered how a captain called Hill accidentally dropped a bunch of keys over the side in the North Sea and thought them lost for good, only to recover them several weeks later in the belly of a cod he trawled up many miles distant – but I guess in those days cod were so abundant that the idea of a dropped set of keys not ending up inside one must have seemed fairly ludicrous. Then there is Dr. Day’s story of a seven inch candle found inside a cod which may have been in search of enlightenment; and others said to have swallowed guillemots, partridges, turnips and even whole hares. The mind boggles at how or where a cod would come across a hare, but then again…”
click here for the complete gastro-piscatorial article on Thefishingmuseum online. enjoy !
* yes, Fround…
we’ll change colours, flop around in the sand and squirt gooey stuff all over each other but first, let’s dance !
– Brisure faite à la surface de l’eau par un poisson happant un insecte.
– or, translated from French to English: ‘a disturbance of the water’s surface caused by fish seizing an insect.
– or, more commonly ‘a rise.
this lovely short by super-talented fisher Nicolas Germain shows us a gorgeous striped brown trout having a little snack in its beautiful home. it’s hard to say but said snack seems to be a shuck but the specifics are neither here nor there; this kind of image gets any trout angler’s heart pumping a little faster, curls up the corner of our mouths and gives us the incredible urge to tackle up and go away from the screen. a lot of us are in areas of the world where trout waters are closed right now so, i guess we’ll have to skip the tackling up part but its still ok to dream… enjoy !