Thursday, November 23, 2017

Egg Yarn Streamers

With some Autumn river trips recently, my bank season for rainbows is a bit later starting than most.So over the last few days I have been stocking up on some old trustworthy patterns. Here is a neat little fly that has always produced fish for me and one worth having in the box for the season. 
I always try out different ways to work with materials and this was a good discovery. I find the body is highly UV reflective and has a lovely meaty look to it as it puffs a little when wet. The hot collar is also Egg yarn and is a great hot spot on any fly. 
Hook: Dohiku 302 size 12-10 
Bead: 2.5 - 3mm sliver bead 
Thread: Kevlar 50D thread 
Tail: Dave Downie white Marabou 
Body: Yellow egg yard (tie in a fraction of the yarn and spin it to form a floss like look, this gives it extra strength). 
Wing: Dave Downie white Marabou 
Collar: Hot red egg yarn (cut up small chunks of yarn and pull apart to make a dubbing)
I find this fly fished best on a fast or slow intermediate line and vary the retrieves till you find what the fish want. A very slow retrieve is often most effective on a long leader.

Another good fly that I use this hot collar on is one of my top nymphs on the river. Egg yarn is a very versatile material that can add to many of your fly's. As dose a lot of other materials so it is worth messing around with some and you never know what little things you might discover that make a huge difference to your flies. 
I hope you enjoy tying these fly's and enjoy catching fish with it even more. If you have any questions please feel free to give me a shout on my contact details and if you are interested in Dohiku hooks, top quality tungsten beads, or Syndicate competition Fly Rods drop me a line or check them out on my website. Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wild Smoky Mountain Trout

This was truly one occasion where beauty outweighs size. I got the opportunity recently to spend some time in Tennessee fishing the rivers that rise in the Smoky Mountains with Mark and Eric owners of the Syndicate Rod Company.
We (I brought the wife) headed over in late October, as at this time of the year the climate is manageable for us fair skinned Irish folk. The summer temperatures can be extremely high and unbearable even for the locals. A plus side to this time of year is the foliage on the trees appear to be blazing with flames from the colour transformations of autumn, making it quite a spectacle from the viewing points.

As for the fishing end of the trip we began in the lower regions of the Mountains on the Stoney Creek and the Watauga River which means "beautiful river" when translated. This river certainly lived up to its name, as it made its way through the foot hills of the range. It had a large stock of mixed sized rainbows and some larger browns that move into it this time of year to spawn. Here you have two options to fish this river, either from drifting boat with a guide or as my preferred choice was wading it from the banks and was quite pleasant to wade at that. We spent a full day on the Watauga River catching countless rainbow trout averaging around the 10 inch mark with some larger fish to be found occasions. The river was stuffed with fresh water shrimp and using a gammuras style nymph you were in the business straight away.
However, my first experience of fishing this region was on Stoney Creek which is a tributary to the Watauga and joins the larger river just outside the city of Elizabethon. A stunning little river that boasts a nice stock if sporting rainbows and browns with rewarding 20 inch fish in there also for the angler that fishes the runs and pools with caution. We had a large number of fish from the first two days and our approach of nymph fishing was the very same as that of our home waters here in Ireland. For me simple pheasant tails and hares ears worked a treat for the Tennessean trout.

For the rest of the week we headed further into the National Park where the natural beauty was second to none. With the leaves putting on a spectacle for the eyes, I was brought to a creek for a real treat and one I won't forget for a while. Through out this region in the Roan Mountians, brookies or brook trout can be found in many rivers and creeks. During the Autumn months these fish begin to adapt an array of colours that has to be seen to believed, from pinks, purples, reds, and oranges making up the markings on the skin. The river was a small wild creek that had man made or natural dams, waterfalls at certain locations so as to protect the strain of fish and preserve it's purity from being mixed with other trout. These little beauties have been here for thousands of years and makes an angler feel pretty special to hold one in your hands if only for a moment to admire.
They are a very spookie fish and you must approach each pool with extreme caution, best option was using a single fly. Only a few casts in each pool or behind a boulder and hopefully it would provide a fish or a take at the least. If you are lucky enough to land one them more than likely that pool is finished and you move quietly to the next. Before long when moving from pool to pool you will find yourself lost in the woods creeping among the history of its floor and forgetful to all the insignificant crap we fill our lives with. This for me is what fishing is truly all about and a lesson I have to keep teaching myself from time to time. 
Our final location for the trip was just outside the holiday town of Gatlinburg, we spent an hour or two talking to the guys in the Smokey Mountain Angler tackle shop, where we pick up some cool souvenirs and information on the hot spots to fish in this area. After which we spent an evening session on a near by creek which was good sport for small brown before returning to our log cabin in the wood and the resident raccoon for the night.  The next morning we set of for the Cherokee Indian Reservation and the river know as the Little River, with an amazing drive over the mountains. 
In this area of the park a close encounter with Elk or wild Turkeys is a common occurrence and to be standing in the river with a large female elk cross twenty yards below you surely makes you feel appreciative of where you are, a moment you just stand a watch never mind taking a picture. 
I traveled to this place for several reasons one for the fishing and also to meet up with the syndicate boys, with some of the guys that are involved with its emergence as one of the top rod brands in the States. Personally I cant recommend the rods highly enough and as for the guys who are responsible for them, well we had one hell of a trip and I look forward to returning back soon. Over the week we met some great people and shared some of the local brew over an open fire with a banjo playing. But for me the highlight of the trip was to hold that small wild beauty of an Appalachian brook trout and understanding the history I was among, this beats size hands down every time. 
Thanks to all the people that took time to say hello over the trip it was great to meet you all and fish your waters. For me traveling and experiencing fly fishing is more important than expensive gear, I am glad to share these experiences with you all and hope it encourages every one to go and see it for them selves. You wont be disappointed I promise.  
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the blog, my website link is to the right if you are looking for Dohiku Hooks, Tungsten beads, or the amazing Syndicate rods check it out. If you would like any more information in traveling to this location please feel free to give me a shout. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sarca River Italy. Brown Trout Hunting

Recently my-self and a group of fishing buddies headed over to Italy to fish the fabulous Sarca River. The Sarca is a river rising in the Adamello-Presanella mountains, in the Italian Alps and flowing into Lake Garda in Northern Italy. We went there for five days to fish this region and take in the Italian river competition called the "Pialla Cup". The river itself has similarities to that of the rivers I grew up on in the Wicklow Mountains, the water flowed over Granite bed rock and as it made its way through the rocks and boulders it created beautiful pocket water ideal for brown trout and pocket nymphing. 
This river will host three sessions of next years Fips Mouche World
Fly Fishing Championships in September and as the Irish Captain I was eager to see as much of it as possible. We practiced for two days on the river before the competition and we weren't disappointed. While the fishing was not easy; it was very rewarding to the angler that took notice of the runs and pockets where the fish might sit, getting the right angles to attack the fish lies. 
The scenery here was exceptional and the hotel we stayed in was right on the banks of the river. Hotel Belsit was a lovely friendly hotel at very affordable prices. It was around a two and a half hours drive from Milan airport were we flew into. Our good friend Alessandro Freschi had all our arrangements made for our trip and competition. He also kindly tied us a stock of his lovely Sarca Nymph. 
The competition was ran on a team approach where two anglers fished the same beat for one and a half hours while being stewarded by another team. Following that session the anglers who fished would watch over the other team on a different beat. This allowed us the opportunity to witness some of the great Italian anglers in competition mode and see how they would approach this style of river. The scorning couldn't have be simpler, once you hook the fish and net it then it is counted on your card, all sizes count. A good measure taken by the organizers in keeping the competition open till the final session was, which ever team topped their group in their first session would get the worst beat in their next sector depending on the results that came in from that sector. The
competition as a whole was very well organised and very sporting. A total of 56 teams entered the competition and they were very friendly and welcoming to us Irish lads. 

With the possibility of some rising fish the dry fly rod was always on hand but for the most of the trip Nymphing was the most successful method to hook up with fish. My-self and my good friend David O'Donovan teamed up again and we were first on the water in session one on beat 1. The mornings were cold enough till the sun managed to find gaps in the mountain tops to peak through and warm up the water so fishing the early sessions was a bit slower. However we crawled our way through the rocks and took a good second place for the morning with 15 fish.
After lunch we moved down river to the second hardest beat in the next sector. We again found nymphing up behind the rocks and in the noticeable pockets of water the most productive places to catch fish. Following day one, two of the four Irish teams were very well positioned with Damien Walsh and John Willis lying in 5th place, me and Dave sitting in 7th place over all on 4.5 place points. 
All to play for on the second day; a tough draw for the morning saw us slip down to 10th over all with only four fish in our beat. For the final session we managed to get back up to second place in our group again which secured us 7th place over all. With some of the other Irish teams featuring in the top 20 and winning sessions along the way, not a bad result out of 56 teams with some of Europe's top river anglers in the field. 
Looking at the other teams during the competition we were set up very similarly, fishing light rods and fine leaders. The nymph selections ranged from small back nymphs with sliver beads to fine thread bodies and large beads, gold and copper; all adopting a very simple style to their dressing. For me my top nymph was a red butt pheasant tail nymph on a size 16 Dohiku jig with 3mm gold bead, it also had a black CDC hackle on it, this along with the Sarca Nymph did the business. What I did take from being a steward was how the Italians were switching from up stream nymphing to down stream nymphing in the same cast.  Not that this is a new concept but the way they executed the movement of the rod was interesting and was producing fish for them in the final sessions when fishing gets that bit tougher. This is something I look forward to trying out over here next season. 
The well deserved winners with a stunning bag of fish of 138 was Edgardo Donà and his partner Alberto Vignati winning 2 of their 4 sessions.
This was a great trip and certainly a right taster of what is to come for the World Championships next September. This part of Italy is easily accessible for anglers from here and if you would like any information on going to fish this fabulous river please feel free to give me a shout for more details. As always a Pleasure to travel with my fishing pals who make every trip full of adventures and mishaps. 
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the blog, my website link is to the right if you are looking for Dohiku Hooks, Tungsten beads ect. Also make sure to give me a shout at the coming Fly Fair in Galway this November to check out the amazing Syndicate rod range and much more.