Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Boys strike Gold:


The Ribnik has treated us to some very special days when B-WOs emerged like no tomorrow.  Best of all the whole group tangled with decent sized grayling with specimens topping 2lb.  And whilst these fish are technically “European Grayling” they exhibit a rich golden hue, unlike those found closer to home.  First to strike was Paul Mercer (right), he even managed to raise a smile for the camera…grumpy old sod… Next up was Brian Garner, who tangled with several notable fish.  Then Mark Whitmarsh, Paul Maxwell and Pete Legge got amongst them.  Best of all though they all scored using dry flies.  And whilst identifying fly life couldn’t have been easier, presenting your imitation totally drag free was perhaps our greatest challenge.

Brian Garner contemplates the best way to address rising fish on a mirror like surface which afforded grayling an age to deliberate on whether to take your fly or not…?

P1010365 P1010376 



With B-WOs hatching on most afternoons, we relied heavily on the Pearly butt Shuttlecock to charm Bosnian grayling




Once you landed your prize, you could only marvel at the exquisite golden hues found on their flanks…picture postcard stuff!


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Big in Bosnia:


Our initial visits to the Ribnik proved beyond doubt that “big is best” in every way.  Firstly the fly life beggars belief as huge stonefly nymphs and cased caddis carpeted the underside of every stone.  Then there’s the epic hatches of Blue-Winged Olives too.  Granted this small ephemerid might not be considered large by any means, but they’re present in ‘big’ numbers.  In fact, during a hatch, you stand opened mouth and marvel at their sheer numbers.  No wonder then that these spring fed streams produce stonking great trout and grayling.



…Blue-Winged Olives emerged in their thousands.  Curiously they’re livery is more a mahogany shade than out and out olive…




With so much invertebrate life, little wonder that Bosnia is home to enormous grayling like this thumping hen fish.  Incredibly specimens like this were nothing out of the ordinary… P1010310

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Bosnia Bound:

Preparing for Bosnia and heading out this weekend with 2 groups.  We’ll be hoping for bumper hatches of B-WOs and Pale Wateries, which should get the vast shoals of grayling on the chew!  Word has it the rivers are in fine fettle.  Coverage permitting, hope to post during our stay

…Ribnik grayling grow fat on a diet of upwinged flies…


Monday, 16 September 2013

Aptly Named…


Apologies, the temptation to play on “Aptly Named” was too much… Anyway, I’ve been fooling around with my Nondescript Terrestrial by incorporating a turn (or two) of hackle and come up with the APT (All Purpose Terrestrial).  Of late this modest pattern has been doing some serious damage amongst our wild trout populations, including several notable specimens.  Incidentally, grayling have an eye for it too.  Depending on what fish are feeding the APT may pass for a black gnat, beetle, ant or any other small, dark terrestrial.  The original boasts a fluffy CdC wing.  However, when fish are feeding hard, it’s easy to become impatience by wanting your fly back in the mix.  Now, a version tied with TMC Aero Wing floats more readily and requires far less maintenance.  An added bonus is brightly coloured yarns can be used to deal with bad light.  One sporting a fluorescent yellow wing is a particular favourite.  This coupled with a hackle (clipped underneath) gives you a fly capable of floating in the rougher parts of any trout stream.  Spinning (literally dubbing) the herl around your thread achieves a durable abdomen.  Dabbing the hook shank prior to winding this rope helps no end too.  My first choice of hackle shade is pale dun, simply because this might pass for the splayed wings of a trapped natural rather than just suggesting legs.  That said, fish will happily pounce on a black hackled dressing without a second glance.  In truth, you can ring the changes to whatever suits your needs.  A good, honest pattern, you shouldn’t encounter any drama when dressing this fly, giving you more time to get on with the important things like fooling trout.

~The original APT~


Hook: TMC 2488 #16-18

Thread: Veniard’s 14/0 black Sheer

Abdomen: Peacock herl (3 strands)

Wing: Beige or Natural CdC

Hackle: Pale dun or black cock

Thorax: Orvis peacock Ice Dub

~APT Variant~


Hook: TMC 2488 #16-18

Thread: Veniard’s 14/0 black Sheer

Abdomen: Dyed black pheasant tail fibres (3 strands)

Wing: TMC Aero Wing-white, fl yellow or orange

Hackle: Pale dun or black cock

Thorax: Orvis peacock Ice Dub


~A handful of APTs ready for action~


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Black Gnat Bonanza:


My journal shows that Black Gnats have been tumbling to the water day after day for over 2 weeks now and there’s little sign of any let up…  Such are their numbers that trout are sitting out for long periods as gnats get filtered downstream, often tight to banks(right).  Surrounded by topping trout, it’s easy to assume they’re a pushover when in reality having seen and eaten so many naturals they hold a PhD in detecting impostors!  To fool them then, your imitation has to behave just as the real thing.  Even a slight hint of drag would put them down and in many cases these fish quietly slip away a few minutes later.  Introducing some sort of slack into your delivery became the key and is best done by instantly lower the rod tip as soon as you’ve tapped it forward.  This partially collapses the loop allowing it to drop to the water in a series of wiggles.








Get it right and trout like this were in the offing…









Grayling too were on the cards and come this time of year they’re in peak condition



By and far my most successful pattern was the APT (All Purpose Terrestrial)…

full dressing will appear in next blog post


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Brave, or just plain stupid?



When we were pursuing salmon in the frozen north, Icelander Stjani Ben always changed flies with impressive speed (right) . His dexterity in a biting wind must be down to his Viking blood…  However, one query I have is about where he to chooses to hold the hook (below) when doing a fly swap, especially considering it’s a treble. I can’t make my mind up if he’s brave, or just plain stupid…?



…A mere flinch, sneeze or cough and this treble could easily end up stapling Stjani’s lips together…


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Dry Fly Bliss:


Arriving back from Iceland, it seems the second brood of Black Gnats are in full swing.  Over the last week we’ve experienced top drawer dry fly fishing when thousands of gnats carpeted our rivers for up to 6 hours a day (right).  Given their numbers, obviously trout were out on the chew.  However, a large scale event like this often tempts those huge more coveted fish out of their hidey holes. That said, you still needed to be on your game as seeing so many naturals, trout could spot any impostors a mile off whether it be a poor imitation or the way you presented it.  The APT (All Purpose Terrestrial) came up trumps on many occasions to help me bag some pretty hefty fish.



Bibio johannis (Black Gnat) up close and a single adult amounts to very little.  Yet, when scores of them tumble to the surface, trout populations tend to go bonkers over them…




Keeping low was only part of the answer, a sound imitation coupled with careful presentation got me amongst fish





A solid specimen with huge pectoral fins and in absolute prime condition…stunning!





Bragging Rights…and why not?  This lunker was the best of a special week.  He snaffled my fly in water all of 18” deep.  The ensuing fight left me a gibbering wreck for several minutes afterward