Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fly-fishing Tradition

Importance and role of the tradition in fly-fishing is substantial. There are flies and methods used by anglers hundreds of years ago, the reel is pretty much similar in design as it was when first invented, and the reason to fish is pretty much the same as is was before as long as we are talking about fly-fishing.

march brown wet fly

About a month ago I tied a few March Browns, winged wet flies dating back a long time. In the 80s I was with my parents fishing the Ruunaa Rapids in Eastern Finland. I had a fly rod and had bought, or at least whined to my parents long enough that they had bought me, a package of of three wets, pretied in a leader. I remember the horrible mess the rig was after a few minutes of serious rod waving. One of the flies was a March Brown Silver. I caught couple of fish. They were bleak, no trout for me back then, thank you.

I intented to visit the Ruunaa again last August but instead decided to go to the very heart of Finnish brown trout fly-fishing tradition, the Huopana. It is not a big river, or at least long, only about 1.2 km or .75 miles.


But its every pool and channel has been named and there are even rocks that have names. Those rocks are named after fishermen. That is what I call tradition.


The whole milieu of the river is unique. The houses, the old bridge, and even the old hydroelectricity plant just belongs there. As well as the fishermen (no more than 10 per day with the current regulations) and the brown trout.


The all time sport tackle record trout from Huopana was landed by Mr. Bruno Alanko on 22nd of August 1933 using "a yellow fly". That was 8.3 kilograms or 18.5 pounds of lake-run brown trout.

I visited the river exactly 74-years later. After a short but good night sleep in my car I saw two fly fishermen with a story to tell. "I just lost the trout of my life" was the first thing the younger man said to me when we met. With wide eyes and stunned expression on his face he told me about the trout he hooked and played for good thirty minutes. The hands of the older man were wide apart when he estimated the size of the fish with his hands. At least 5 kilograms he said. The fish broke of just when they thought that they could finally land him.

The tradition of fly-fishing is not static. It lives and evolves as we read, write, talk, and dream about it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

After the sunset


River flows gently, almost silently, under a bridge. Fish from the bridge as there is no sign to deny it. Although never really searched for it.

Have the feeling that nothing will be caught. The certainty. Don't fight it, not this time.

A sudden splash of water made by a big fish. Move to the left bank and cast. Nothing. The fish splashes somewhere else now, out of sight, out of reach.

Return to the bridge, and watch the light fade.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Trout Rigs & Methods by Dave Hughes


Dave Hughes has always had systematic approach in his books. In Trout Rigs & Methods (Stackpole Books, 2007) he divides trout fly fishing techniques into set of rigs and methods to fish these rigs. The result is an explanation of lots of ways to fish trout. Its downside is certain amount of repetition as different rigs and methods do have lot in common. To my eyes this book is a valuable source book for hardcore fly fisher--over 300 pages of rigs and methods is not for sissies (and I did read it all).

This is starting to sound like a review. I don't want to do that. I simply want to make a few comments about the book. I'll keep it simple: a) lots of fishing techniques in the book, b) some good history stuff but not very much, c) I'm sure I'll put some of these rigs and methods in good use, d) no really deep insight but there are other books for that purpose.

Well, maybe this is a review.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Buster had coped with the misery of their childhood by escaping to the swamp or river to fish."

Linda Anderson writes in her book When Night Falls:

"Buster liked to fish. Jeb and Buster had coped with the misery of their childhood by escaping to the swamp or river to fish.

Not that his cousin ever knew he was having a miserable childhood. Buster was an idiot. He was mentally deficient, except for processing data and operating computers."

And perhaps fishing?

Now there is a group of bloggers still trying to cope with childhood traumas by fishing. I'll bet that Linda Anderson hasn't heard any of them, and they hardly know Linda. I'll introduce them: Linda, meet Buster. Buster, meet Linda.

Read what they have to say at Buster Wants to Fish.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Deep Sparkle Pupa Variation

Green Deep Sparkle Pupa

My favourite caddis pupa pattern is Gary LaFontaine's Deep Sparkle Pupa. Green has been most effective color for me. I have replaced the hackle fibres of the original pattern with lively CDC fibres. This fly is fast to tie and ugly enough for trout to love it.