if like me you’re a little befuddled by the present and consterned we can’t go into the future, then maybe a little trip in the past might do the trick and balance things out.
at one hour and thirty-seven minutes long, be sure to set aside the time to see it in full, it’s a nice place to get lost. enjoy !
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:
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.
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
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-
reproduced in full with Mac Brown‘s kind permission, here’s a rant but it’s a good thought-provoking rant.
aimed at certain professionals in the fly fishing industry and other, as Mac calls them, profiteers, it’s about fishery welfare in the warmer months where water temps are simply too high and oxygen depraved to responsibly fish species such as salmonids that are poorly equipped to deal with the situation in it’s natural state and even less when they’ve had to also deal with having been caught.
now, most experienced anglers will know that once the water temps reach 68°F/20°C its time to back off but that’s not always the case. for local fishers who live in warmer climes and care to know, it’s a given but what about the well-intentioned novice or not-so-well-informed fishers or, traveling anglers ?
as an example, when i lived in Sweden the concept was completely unheard of as water temps tend to always stay cool enough even when air temps can be quite -actually downright- hot, and i’m guessing the same example can be equally valid for anglers in other parts of the world and all that leads us to the ‘Stewardship‘ part which is everyone’s responsibility. in my opinion it’s not just about setting professionals and profiteers right (actually, shaming sounds better… ), but also of sharing this information with those who don’t know. experience has taught me that if we take a minute, explain things simply with a good positive attitude, nine times out of the ten the message gets through and it’s readily accepted and everyone’s happy, specially the fish.
thanks again, Mac. keepem’ coming.
This short piece is my attempt to increase awareness about problems facing many of our trout waters, in my region as well as many around the globe. In our hemisphere, high summer water temperatures stress the local trout fisheries, and should be a sign to concerned anglers that it is time to leave the stream for another day.
Independent guides and fly shops who book trips should be ardent advocates for keeping streams healthy. But often they’re not. Conflicts arise because the summer tourist season occurs when most of our trout streams become stressed. July and August for trout fishing in Western NC is the off season! When the early morning water temps approach 70 F, it is best to look for something else.
Warm water fishing for smallmouth bass, perch, bluegill, is a better choice. Carp is one of my favorite species to target during summer.
Shops and outfitters who tell you different are profiteers, not stewards of the resource. They look at the short-term, since even they know that trout caught in 70+ F water have a very dicey chance of survival.
These profiteers actually hurt the resources they claim to love and protect! This becomes an ethical decision for those customers that are hell bent on trying to catch a mountain trout during the wrong season!
If you want to trout fish in July or August for vacation then head to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, or Colorado! Fly fishing has more appeal in recent years, and now vacationers throw it into the mix of rafting, horseback riding, zip-lining, mountain biking, hiking, and many other great activities the Smoky Mountains area offers. The difference with angling when it is too warm is that in no way can it be good for fish or angler!
Shops and profiteer guides should be offering clients a change of species during the hot summer months. Guides can teach learning to read water, casting, rigging, stream-side techniques, and a host of other aspects of the sport.
This might provide opportunities like targeting Chub for learning nymphing techniques through the middle of the day. Chub provide plenty of subtle strikes just like trout! Here is a trophy from a few days ago on one of my favorite streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with my 10-year-old son.
Excessive fishing pressure is an increasing problem on many delayed harvest trout streams, due mostly to the increasing number of new fly fishers as well as an excess of fishing guides and outfitters. There is a big difference between how much room to leave fellow anglers on a Delayed Harvest stream versus a wild stream. The wild stream requires perhaps a mile or more out of sight. On the Delayed Harvest stream that may be only a 30 feet. Delayed harvest waters receive many numbers of trout that tend to stay together when they are first stocked.
Often, local guides work when and where they can, through shops or other outfitters. Part of the issue is that these guides’ experience levels are all over the place. In my region, The Smoky Mountains, there are too many fishing guides. An Ozark term my grandfather used to say is “the market is glutted.” Many shops and outfitters just look for bodies to fill slots on their books, regardless of experience and knowledge of the area. In my area, guide prices range from $80 to well over $500 for the same trip on the same water.
The difference of what you come away with learning and also catching is quite obvious if you really do your homework first. In fly fishing especially, you get what you pay for.
Most area tourists would hope the local shop will give them credible information. And this is typically true in the Western states for the hundreds of reputable shops.
But, in my opinion, the Southeast is a circus show, with the exception of a few quality shops. People pay hard-earned money for a quality trip. The older I get, the more twisted our sport seems to be growing.
And it’s happening all over the globe. Social media — like advertising on Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram — can enable anyone to compete for clients in their region or create a website or blog by paying SEO experts for internet exposure! I am sure you have all heard that if it is on the internet “it must be true”!
The important question folks should be asking is can the instructor teach casting and line control to provide a drag-free float? Can they teach techniques that will stay with you for a lifetime of enjoyment fly fishing? Will your trip have guides that are enablers to improve your overall skill set on the stream? Will it be a mundane afternoon of bobber lobbing with hearing only the words “mend it, mend it again, mend it” rather than adjusting to the rigging and tactic appropriate for the moment?
Another important question –, regardless of skill, teaching ability, qualifications, certifications, does it even matter to the client? Is it only about who is the cheapest price overall? So this Disney approach to the sport is something that will take me a while to get my head around since I have pushed hard for very high quality trips for close to thirty years now.
It seems to me that down the road this has to “Make America Dumb Again” in regards to tourism fly fishing mayhem.
Light Saber- Epic 580 + Barrio GT125
StinkyStream- a small urban trout stream somewhere around Glasgow. it didn’t stink.
photo- Campbell Stuart
generally speaking, i’m not a fan of flags. however, i like things that flap around in the wind… and have been working on a small series of wind-flappers that have no national, regional or societal connotations but instead are an attempt to, and this is a big word, to glorify nature. here’s the Rainbow flag.
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.