Ceramic flies- What they are, what they do and how to make them

they don’t look like anything in particular, just some general bug-type shape with just enough bug-type elements that suggest food and colour contrasts to set them apart from river debris and nothing more. in a sense, they epitomise the presentation over imitation concept. here’s a few examples:

ceramic nymphs flyfishing.co.uk.jpg
at first glance they look like nuclear waste candies and as always and specially when dealing with non-immitative flies, colours are mostly up to the tier’s whim. personally, and since i never specifically target grayling because i can’t stand the f’n things… preferring to focus my attention on trout and other less offensive creatures, i like them best in naturalish tones with a black head. that’s my whim.

these things consist of a lead or lead substitute wire wound around the hook shank to form the body followed by several layers of ceramic hobby paint to finish the fly. Pébéo seems to be the preferred brand, it’s available in small pots and even in pen form. i’m not familiar with the pens but it seems to be a fast, easy and maybe less expensive alternative for the person who might want to just try these out or make just a few.

there’s no traditional ‘tying’ involved in the process. traditionalists will of course poo-poo these things and not even consider them as flies but the hell with them. traditional flies can’t do what these do which brings us to the ‘what they do’ part-
apart from the Perdigon style of nymphs, every other style of nymph that i know of has sink-restraining elements: feathers, fur, dubbing, rubber or whatever protuberances that slow down and make it more difficult to get the flies on or near the bottom and that’s what these deep-divers are supposed to do. sink-restraining flies can get to the bottom too but they need more time and an enormous amount of weight to counter their sink-restraining properties but once there, and even if they catch fish sometimes and look ‘good’, they’ll tend to drift like big lifeless, unnatural lumps.

sleek deep-divers like Perdigons and Ceramics do indeed have some form of weight but much less. being super-sleek they cut through currents faster, get where they’re supposed to go faster, meaning the angler doesn’t have to cast as far upstream and wait for it to settle, making the presentation a lot more accurate in drift management while freely tumbling downstream with the current much closer to what a natural would do and that’s a lot more important and fish-catching than bits and pieces wound on a hook that attract the angler more than the fish.

an added bonus is lighter flies are a lot easier to cast (and safer) specially when using industry standard fly lines as opposed to Dynamic/Euro/TightLine/monofilament-only rigs.
ceramic nymphs 2 flyfishing.co.uk.jpg

as we’ll see in Stanislas Freyheit‘s video below this particular type of paint has some really interesting properties, the only drawback might be that its best (and highly recommended!) to wait approximately 24 hrs between coats. this means making them in batches and being patient, sort of like making babies and having to wait nine months before they pop out.

lastly, a bit of unofficial Ceramic nymph history. this kind of info with any kind of veracity isn’t easy to obtain but i can confirm their French origin. although relatively new to the global fly fishing world, i’ve known about them for about fifteen or so years.
frogs tend to not share their secrets… however, Stanislas, who ties these bugs commercially happily shares all his trade secrets for all to see, all in a very understandable english, big kudos for that. enjoy !

fly images via flyfishing.co.uk/Google images

Beth and BillyBob are hungry !

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.

Mystery Casting Pond X

this little farm pond has had many names in the past. it started as Mystery Pond X but that’s so common it was regularly confused with all the other Mystery Pond Xs around the globe so i had to get a little creative.

it used to have stocked rainbow trout in it so Lake Trouto seemed to make sense, at least in a non-confusing yet highly mindless and tacky way. the owner, a very kind, gentle and very old man whose nose is the same colour and size as a basketball stopped stocking trout a while back and the ones that where left-over eventually turned into food for furred, winged and slimy two-legged creatures but there had always been grass and common carp in there so Trouto turned into Carpo.

Lake Carpo sounds cool but after ten or so, yes, ten or so years… i’ve yet been able to properly hook one of these scaled giants. i did foul hook a grass carp whilst targeting trout years ago but it broke off the tippet in about as much time as it takes to say Lake Carpo three times really quickly. the carpers out there will scoff at my lack of success but that’s something i can live with. i’ve caught plenty of carp but just never in this little ghost carp pond-hell and that’s ok too because maybe that’s what will make Carpo so memorable.

next up was the small yet always fun and forever beautiful perch that seemed to thrive in there. i’d had several 50+ perch landing days with a personal best of 76 but they seem to have teleported themselves wherever it is that perch teleport themselves. i almost forgot, at that stage the pond of course took on the Lake Percho nomenclature. normal.

i’m probably wrong but for the moment i consider this pond to now be fishless to the point where i still go regularly to practice my casting but don’t even bring any flies to not be distracted if some fish happened to magically appear.

you got it, things go full circle so in a fit of total lack of renaming creativity, this little cutie has a new name:

Casting Pond X.

greenwave m.fauvet-TLC 3-2-16_edit_edit_edit_edit

this is the back view at CPX. funny, i’d never noticed how beautiful it could be…

the SloMo Tricos of the Bitterroot

this gorgeous short from Joe Cummings doesn’t need any words except, enjoy !

 

for previously posted trico tying tutorials click here.

Return of the Warrior II

a few days ago we’d seen this lovely fish’s gill plate with a ‘part One’ suggestion there’d be more in the form of its return to its home.
neither film needs any comment but i wanted to explain the ‘King of the Pond/Warrior’ bit.

Lake Trouto (my name for it) is a farm pond i regularly visit when wild trout season is closed. being a private and closed environment (to natural waterways and wild fish), french regulations allow these types of waterways to remain fishable year round which means i can get my trout fix without being the miserable git that goes through trout depression throughout the closed months like so many of my friends.
it is of course a stocked fishery mostly consisting of rainbow trout but there’s also perch, rudd, a few sunfish and monstrous yet uncatchable grass carp. i’ve tried… they don’t seem to eat grass but i haven’t given up !

Trouto has never been a high-pressure fishery. the owner always considered it a small sideline to his farming activities and as such, stocked it maybe once a year and irregularly at best, never did much bank-side grooming and basically let it and its dwellers take care of themselves. fisher convenience came last. this is just about as close to a wild environment as we can find in an artificial system. the trout here all came from a fishery that never fed them industrial pellet food but natural things like bugs, worms and whatnot. these fish switch over to natural feeding habits instantly.
blobs and boobies and whatever typical flashy, fluorescent, over-saturated stockie reservoir-type flies don’t work here and put the fish down. in fact they scatter as if they’d seen thunder.
they want real food and their imitations. a local entomologist once told me there’s approximately 40 (yes 40) different species of Ephemeroptera/mayflies in this small area (if that isn’t a fly fisher’s nightmare i don’t know what is… ), stoneflies, caddis, bibbios, younameits, several species of dragonflies and chironomids galore. a favourite pastime in the warmer months is to go there and watch the trout race after the dragonflies, jump out and grab them on the fly.

as you’ll have guessed, these are not the dumb stockies we so often hear about. they’re as tough-fighting, resistant, cunning and glorious as their wild-borne counterparts and that’s why having this resource close to home is priceless to me. over the last ten or so years Trouto has become not only a great place to have fun but also a place to test flies, techniques, equipment, observe all of the dweller’s behaviours and “try” to break the semi-wild stillwater code but to be honest, i’ll never break that code and don’t want to.

to conclude, on friday 10th of October 2014 the Warrior measured in at 55cm/22″ and weighs 1,25 kg/2,75 lbs. most would smirk at such a little fish but it happens to be the biggest catch on record at Trouto in four years.
it managed to thrive, escape and remain beautiful throughout, fishers, cormorants, otters, osprey and the occasional poacher that sneaks in at night: he’s the King of the Pond and i’m humbled to have spent a little time with him.

the magic of giffology allows us to see the same film in C&R&R&C mode. i hope you’ll like it too.

Return of the Warrior backandforth M.Fauvet:TLC

At last

don’t know if its Etta James’ lovely voice, cannibalism caught on film or the sight of all those super-excited Alaskan trout slurping down eggs like there’s no tomorrow that makes this short underwater video interesting. probably all three.

brought to us by deneki.com, bon appétit !

the Fish Cannon

“What’s a fish to do? Swim into a cannon, perhaps, which will launch it over the dam and allow it to get on with its migration.

This is not a parody. It’s not even just a crazy Internet idea. It’s a real-life solution currently undergoing testing in Washington with the cooperation of the Department of Energy and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The vacuum tube technology was originally designed for fruit, but according to biologists at the Yakama Nation Fisheries, it appears to be safe for fish (researchers are continuing to study the long-term effects).”

too cool ! i’d love to be shot through a soft tube like this.

click here for more info.

edit- a little research shows this idea isn’t exactly new although i think i like the newer version better…
fishcannon

How fish eat

schullery_rise_2
fascinating stuff here from Smarter Every Day via The Ozark Fly Fisher Journal showing us just how cool and more importantly, how our slimy friends have adapted and evolved their eating methods through time.

i’d found the image above years ago on the net (sorry, no source) where the explanation behind it was that in many cases, trout will suck in a bug from quite a distance through a vortex created by opening the mouth and thrusting the water out through the gills effectively sucking the prey in instead of munching down on the meal with its teeth as most of us mammals do.
the videos below show and explain this action in high-quality slomo video confirming the ‘vortex’ method of feeding.
note that this method is mostly used by toothless or smaller-toothed fish. in the case of trout, a lot of bugs and smaller stuff will get sucked in and use their teeth when they go for forage fish.
an example of a (very) toothed fish that clamps its prey are pike. they’ll typically chomp, grab and hold their prey for a while until its stunned and later turn it so its facing them and then swallow it whole. yum !

but then, some fish aren’t all that smart and sometimes they get a little confused on which technique to use…
fish eat fish

a small stream dream

“Growing up where the rivers where virtually always chocolate brown, I dreamed of crystal clear mountain streams that I occasionally got glimpses of on TV and in books. I finally got to the most beautiful crystal clear stream with my good friend and fishing buddy”
filmed in South Africa here’s a drop-dead gorgeous environment with what appears to be a very healthy and eager population of rainbow trout. the stuff that dreams are made of…

this one’s a real gem, enjoy !

for regular news and all sorts of other South African fly fishing goodies be sure to check out and subscribe to Tom Sutcliffe’s site The Spirit of Fly Fishing

Finding trout in the shade

Hunting Trout in the Shadows by Ross Purnell, illustrated by Joe Mahler via Fly Fisherman

“Trout use shadows for concealment and for feeding, and it’s a particularly important feature on small streams with large trout. Small trout can conceal themselves pretty much anywhere, but a big trout in a shallow river is “naked” in bright sunlight. In the broken light of the shadow line, it’s much harder for predators like fly fishers, herons, and osprey, to see the trout.”
a most excellent double-plus good article on trout fishing tactics, fish behaviour and tips to take into account in sunny situations.
for tip no. 2, in the same manner that its no good for us to be looking at bright lights and losing our ‘nocturnal vision’ when fishing at night,  i’ll add that during the daytime the angler should avoid looking into bright areas when their eyes have adapted to looking into the shade.

be sure to click the image below for the full article and video, enjoy !

hunting trout in the shadows - joe mahler

The canary in the coal mine.

ever heard of southern California steelhead ? neither had i until this film.
as noted in the beginning, we all know of this wondrous species but it’s basically all from much further north along the Pacific coast or north-east Great Lakes region. much more than just a ‘save the fish so we can fish it… ‘ type of effort, these people are interested in simply trying to restore a balance between a thriving human presence and nature. if the steelhead do well, then it’s the whole ecosystem that does well. the canary effect.

i hope you’ll enjoy this very informative film and feel moved enough to pass it on. as mentioned, few people know of the presence of these fish in this region of the world and the more people know, the more chances we’ll have to give them the possibility to go have fish sex where fish sex is supposed to happen: in their upstream bedrooms.

we can worry about how to catch and release them later if all goes well.
lets hope it does.

“It’s enough that I feel your presence or see your commas swirling around me.”

~ Haruki Murakami, The  Elephant Trout Vanishes

'that little swirl M.Fauvet:TLC 2-1-14

that little swirl at the beginning of this trout’s lateral line made my day.

‘bulged-out, flaring and ready to go

'bulged-out, flaring and ready to go M.Fauvet 26-12-13

this image reminds of a comment some bobo left here a while back. among other nonsenses, one of things he liked less was the fact that ‘my mutant fish had sick bulging eyes’.
at the time i was too busy sort-of laughing at all this silliness but in hindsight i should have suggested he go soak his head once in a while, that is, go have a look at how fish look when they’re at home underwater instead of judging their appearance when they’re lifted out of it for the all-important ‘grip & grin’ shot.
quite simply, when they’re in their environment their eyes bulge out and so do their nostrils. i’m waiting for a confirming reply from an ichthyologist friend but i’m fairly sure that the fact that both of these organs retract when exposed to air has to do with lack of water pressure but then it might also have to do that they don’t want to see or smell us. considering how many ugly-stinky anglers i’ve met throughout my life i can’t really blame them…

“The fish in the creek said nothing. Fish never do. Few people know what fish think about injustice, or anything else.”

~ Ursula K. Le Guin, Catwings

i’m in the middle of a hmmm, that’s an interesting quote that conjures up images of strange waterside conversations and then, hmmm, that’s overly romanticised bullocks… moment.
at first my thoughts are the fish feel the same but then, this means i’m going along with the quote, playing Ursi’s game and i’ll have none of that, thank you.
although i’ll keep trying i’m also quite sure i’ll never make any sense out of these matters any time soon but in the meantime…

here’s a fish. a silent fish. a fish that doesn’t produce metaphysical migraines.

taliking trout TLC 13-11-13

Put and Take

by Bob Wyatt

nothing like a grumpy ole’ article from a grumpy ole’ man to brighten up a dismal sunday afternoon. enjoy !

With the demise of so many great fishing waters, and increasing pressure on the remaining wild fisheries, the best thing that has come down the pike for fly fisherman is the put and take fishery. Let’s face it, who has the time these days to put in the hours, years for chrissake, necessary to catch sufficient numbers of wild trout to be able to call yourself an angler? Well, nowadays, with these fantastic put and take fisheries, all that lore and experience stuff about flies and hatches and so on is just a bunch of boring old crap preached by boring old farts. No wonder the kids aren’t interested in fishing anymore.

And, even better, the P&T waters are just getting better all he time. No nettles, brambles or mud, all nice green grass and neat wood and concrete jetties to fish from, no need for waders and all the paraphernalia. Your nice expensive Nikes stay as clean as when you stepped out of the car, only feet away from the old fishing hole. And the fish keep getting bigger! We no longer have to work so hard for weenie little sprats like on the so-called wild waters. Now the time put in is worth something, all these fish are whoppers, easy two pounds and up. Some are real hawgs too, over twenty pounds of fighting rainbow swimming around out there in plain sight, with its mouth open. It’s better than Playstation!

No, there’s no two ways about it, ‘wild’ trout fishing just ain’t worth the candle. I have to admit though, catching hawg after hawg can get a bit samey. But I was thinking these same operators could provide something with a bit more edge for all of us who have logged the hours on the trout. You know, just for a change of pace. For a bit more money you could fence an area and stock it with chickens. They’re better eating than trout anyway. You go in there with a golf club or two and pay for a limit of, say, five. You don’t want it too big an area, because you’d never get a good swing at them, and of course you’d have to think about the disabled, maybe have wheelchair access.

Anyway, that would really get the blood running, so to speak, don’t ya think?. Good aerobic exercise, too, for the heart or whatever. There’d be all the same really interesting stuff about tackle and tactics, just like fishing. You know, what action you prefer, swing weight and so forth. No end of fun. And hey, if it caught on, which I’m sure it would, you could graduate to ‘big game’ – have an area stocked with pigs or something. Use a range of hammers. Sporting stuff, say 1.5 pound ballpean for light corner work, and heavy sledges for long range. You could have a weight class competition.

You can imagine the chat around the artificial campfire up at the lodge. “Man, that last one was a real stonker. I was going too light, definitely. Struck too hard and he broke me. I know where he’s hiding though. I’ll sneak up on him at dusk with the post maul.” 
Best yet, who doesn’t prefer BBQ ribs to fish farm trout? If you get a big bag, you could donate the catch to charity, hospitals and old folks homes and such, who are probably getting mighty sick of rainbow trout by now…

i feel better now, thanks for allowing me to share this Bob.