here’s a little something different from Lee Spencer, way different.
i can relate to Lee’s story as i used to live right next to a wee stream in the french Pyrenees that apart from making lovely gurgling noises, had a very healthy population of gorgeous native brown trout. they weren’t of course, but these where ‘my’ trout if you see what i mean. i’d go look at them every day to see how they where doing, dream off into that dream place that being streamside takes one and of course learned a lot about how they lived, behaved and interacted socially, some of them even had names.
by wee i mean that at this level the stream was often no more than one metre wide. being completely wild and untouched by man and with lush vegetation abound, the stream itself was more often than not a green tunnel with a flow. once the obstacles of actually getting an imitation into their feeding spots where figured out, this being a Bow and Arrow cast nine.nine times out of ten because that was the only possible solution, getting these beauties to take a fly was relatively simple, they didn’t know anything about fishing pressure and in their world things that look like food generally are food but hooking up quickly became a problem, something the Bow and Arrow cast only tactic might have alluded to; there was no room to move the rod up, across or down to fight and land the fish. at this point i was already getting into the ‘it’s more about the strike than the fight and land‘ frame of mind so, the idea of cutting off the whole hook bend of a completed fly came to mind and was perfect for this particular situation.
i got my strike thrill, the little fishies i loved so much never really knew what was going on and remained where they’re supposed to be and i could do all this without breaking any more rod tips…
of course, i’m not expecting a lot of other anglers to go fishing without hooks but it’s a little something to think about. like mentioned earlier, it’s different, enjoy !
“Back in 1998 Lee Spencer did two things that changed his relationship with the big steelhead of the North Umpqua River.
He agreed to become the first full-time FishWatch guardian of the Big Bend Pool on Steamboat Creek, where as many as 400 large steelhead spend the summer in startlingly plain sight after swimming up the North Umpqua to spawn.
And he started cutting the points off the hooks on his flies… “
actually, just the points:
“Everybody thought I was crazy, To me the whole peak of everything is the strike or the boil. Everything after that is downhill. Especially if you have to wait a long time to land the fish.
When you get a fish on, you get a run and a jump and at the jump it will throw the hook. That was satisfying enough for me.”
-click the image for the complete article on Deseret News-
first of all, Bhutan’s here-
secondly, filmed somewhere around 1996/97, perhaps a quasi-prehistoric era by contemporary fly fishing film standards, this adventure to what’s basically an unheard of trout fishing location brings us back to basics; there are no bells and whistles, gopros or drones that attempt to intensify the viewer’s experience.
what we do get however, is an honest and simple documentary of what must have been a unique and extremely rewarding experience: the kind that can’t be forgotten or compared to another.
its thirty minutes long so please reserve a quiet time to view this. actual fishing starts seventeen minutes in but then, and they do find gorgeous brown trout, that’s just a reminder that it’s all/mostly about the journey.
thirdly, 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.
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.
ah, the joys of going back through old photos and finally seeing them correctly for the first time ! taken last fall in the Scottish Highlands, i had left mates Al and Bob to search ahead for any trout that might want to play, did a quick turn-around before passing the peak to take in the scenery and take a quick phone pic. distinctly remembering at the time that i would probably edit out my buddies because they’re just far away indistinct spots (sorry guys… ) and just keep the image for its lanscapeness but a closer several-months-later look revealed that at the very same instant the shutter button was pressed, as we can see from the ring, a trout had taken Al’s fly.
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.
for trout anglers browns are a special colour even if brown trout colours aren’t generally dominated by brown tones. for sure, these beautiful creatures take on much darker tones in higher latitudes to match the peat-stained waters they live in but my very much subjective aesthetic preference goes towards the very same brown trout that live a bit more towards the south where light is a given, not something that happens only half the year, where nature and trees are more diversified, where fish get to reflect and display the myriad tones of colour of their surroundings both in and above the water because, well, they want to and i’m very certain that they’re a happier fish because of it.
for a while i lived in a part of the world where white was the colour of winter but having gained my senses, moved away from that frozen hell i’m back to where winter is more of a brown affair. there’s some greens here and there but where those greens become the dominant a little later on the year, the browns are the boss until.
barren trees, plowed fields, high-water floods and the incessant leaves from last year are but a few examples yet all combine, flow and unintentionally and symbolically get me to thinking about those beautiful brown trout that aren’t really brown…
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
here’s an interesting short film i hope both big and little will enjoy.
– 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 !
in a nutshell, that’s what underwater fish portraits are about, specially when the camera’s held at arm’s length and i’m not looking at the screen or viewfinder while playing ‘my third eye is in the palm of my hand’ and gently holding a slippery/slimy creature that would rather not be held all the while trying to keep most of me above the water and not loose anything to the watery gods in the process.
this lovely out of season she-chunk wasn’t in an area known to have trout making it an even lovelier surprise even if she didn’t like posing, but that’s part of fun and joys as well. just as fly fishing itself and about a gazillion other things in life, getting a good portrait is hit or miss. best not to get expectations up too high.
just to show that our friend Peter does a lot more than just splish-splashing, here he is catching a lovely golden brown in a tricky spot.
in the end he doesn’t stay completely dry but that’s just part of the fun.