Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lough Owel on the Duck Fly

 I went to Lough Owel in the spring for a days fishing and practice with a good friend, when we arrived at the lake shore we were meet by thousands of duck fly hatching in the early morning sunshine.

The fly's were accompanied by a light sunshine and a gently spring breeze, most of the ingredients needed to bring on a good days fishing. We headed out of Jack Dolans mooring and headed to the north eastern shore, the ripple on the water here was less due to protection from the wind by a shore line of trees, but this gave good protection to the emerging duck fly and the trout were waiting in force.

I have fished this lake a good few time and it has proven to be a challenge at times to produce good fishing. It is stocked with good brown trout every season and holds a nice number a wild browns also. We began our first drift towards Brabazon Point and there was fish everywhere heading and tailing on duck-fly emerges, casting an orange bibo and some small duck fly's into the shoal of fish it was only seconds when the first fish was in the boat.
Using a mixture of fast intermediate to slow glass fly lines and a very slow retrieve with long leaders the fishing was super. For the next hour or two we both connected with numerous fish and there was fish following every retrieve chasing and snapping at the flies, hooking good fish in doubles and even trebles was good sport attempting to land them, we moved to the western shore for a period of time along by the pump-house and did several drifts that normally give the angler good sport, but on this occasion the fish were harder to locate.

As the day grew older we gave our starting drift one more go and it produced the same fishing as before, moving down the lake to our ladies island and closer to home, the lake opened up once again and we were catching fish all over the place on duck fly patterns, the orange bibio again and some other small black flies with bright tails. Again we got into the car to head home and managed to flush out the fogs of flies from inside we had caught 15 - 20 good fish each and had a wonderful experience of seeing a full hatch of duck fly and trout gorging themselves on the same.

Here is a few of my best Duck Fly patterns generally use the rule of not being to tidy looking in my tying of these flies they are often more effective when they are dressed roughly.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lake flies

Lake Flies & Lough Style Fishing 
Lake fly fishing is practiced through the world in several different forms, some use drogues when drifting alone in the boat, some anglers fish from the shore and some lakes stock wild fish where others stocked farmed fish. Lough style fly fishing is all about covering the water and finding the place and depth of the fish once you have the right fly of course.  The general thought is that because it is a large body of still water then there must be bigger fish in the lake therefore an angler should fish bigger flies, there is some truth in this way of thinking but an angler must never rule out that the natural insects that live on the lake are just the same size as the ones on the rivers.
Lake fishing is mostly done with 5 to 7 weight rods 10 to 11 foot long in order to cast from a boat or shore and normally there is wind which these larger rods will aid the angler to getting his or her flies out on to the water. For traditional Lough style fishing from drifting boat anglers normally use three to four flies on a cast and the location of each fly on that cast is important, some flies will work better on the dropper than the point position. When in the boat the angler is drifting and casting with the wind at his back and retrieves the flies pulling the flies through the waves or ripple and before he lifts off the flies from the water the angler should pause and let the fly dabble on the surface, if a fish was following the flies then this could induce a take from the fish.  Depending on the time of year and the natural feed for the fish in the lake an intermediate, floating or sinking line can be used on the lakes to find the fish.
Shore angling is done in a similar fashion without the boat of course. The angler wades out in to the shallows if possible and cast slightly down and across the wind retrieving at different speeds to find out what way the fish will prefer the presentation of the flies. The shore angler will then slowly work their way along the bank covering the lake as it comes. If the angler has to fish into a wind then the use of a 8 weight rod and 9 weight fly lines will be a huge assistance in reaching the fish out on the lake.
Here are some of my successful lake wets.

The Leggy Bibio
Tail is orange Krystal flash with an orange wire rib. the dubbing on the body is two parts black and the center part spectra orange, while the body hackle is black cock. The legs are black cock pheasant and the shoulder hackle is orange partridge hackle.

The Sparkle Octopus
The tail is yellow glo-brite and Perl Krystal flash; it has a gold rib and golden olive seals fur dubbing body. the body hackle and sholder hackle is a dyed orange/golden olive cock hackle with some long strands of Krystal flash for the legs.

Sliver Dabbler
This variation of the traditional dabbler has a red tag under the bronze mallard tail, with a sliver rib and metallic Hends dubbing to form the body. The body hackle has brown/ ginger hackles with a cloak of bronze mallard and sliver Krystal flash also.

On a curved hook, tie in a sliver rib and black UV blend dubbing, with a black cock body hackle and brush out a little dubbin at the but of the fly to form a slight tail. The wing is Perl Krystal flash and the cheeks are bright yellow Hends cheek. Another turn of black hen hackle before two turns of spectra orange as the head.

Brown Muddler 
A simple Perl Krystal Tail with brown deer hair body trimmed to form shape of fly.

Green Dabbler 
The tail is pheasant tail fibers with a green wire rib tying down a ginger body hackle over a green holographic tinsel body. The cloak id bronze mallard with some green Perl Krystal flash in the wing.

GP daddy (Dark)
A red ass and gold rib with a dark olive hackle over dark olive seals fur body. add in some daddy legs and paired hen pheasant wings. Finish the fly with dark olive hackle.

Dark Olive Dabbler 
The red tag is under cock pheasant tail and a gold rib with dark olive body hackle. The body is dark olive seals fur and the cloak is bronze mallard with hends yellow cheek.

You can see more good lake flies on this blog, take a look at sedhogs and the Green Peter articles.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Czech Nymphing
Today there are many schools of nymphing such as the French Nymphing, Polish Nymphing etc, and all are very effective in their own right but for now lets take a look at this method. The "Czech Nymph" is a term now known throughout the whole flyfishing world. The term itself has two elements. Firstly the actual nymphs which are quite slim, weighted, tied on gammarus hooks with bent shanks. Secondly is the actual technique, when these flies are led, short under the rod. Virtually no actual fly line is used outside the top ring and the assistance of a spiral indacator helps the angler to identify the fish takes. By this method it is possible to lead a much broader scale of weighted flies and many different nymphs in this way. It is generally effective in waters depths ranging from 18inches or less and up to 6ft. When you get deeper than 6ft, you are at a point where you need to lengthen the leader and begin loosing contact with the flies which will not allow you to detect takes or strikes effectively. 
Generally though, if the water is 6ft deep it is probably not moving that fast and is better suited for a more stealthier long line method like the Spanish nymphing. I find that when i an fishing effective Czech Nymphing the nymphs are on the bottom of the river and not in mid rift.
The first great success of the short line nymph technique was recorded at the World Championships in Belgium in 1986, where it brought a gold medal and the World Champion trophy for Slavoj Svoboda. Even though his winning fly at that time was the Hare's Ear Nymph in sizes between 10 - 12. Czech Nymphs as a global pattern of the fly then broke through at the World Championships in Wales in 1990 for the first time. Here it brought the title of World Champions for the Czech Team.
But for short line nymphing it all began in 1984 on the Dunajec river in Poland, where the flyfishing tournament between teams of Poland and the team of Czechoslovakia was held. The Polish fishermen were fishing a short line technique, which was surprisingly easy. At that time most of them did not have a flyfishing line. They substituted a thick nylon line of about 0.5 mm in diameter, which they bound to the tip. The flies they used were imitations of the caddis larvae. Hydropsyche a body made from natural hare fur and Rhyacophylia which had a green body and green tail. The backs were bound from peacock fibers on both patterns. Straight hooks were used, possibly with a gentle bend.
The flies moved on over this period as more fly tyers strived to design new tying products and patterns and the the big emphasis was on the development of the back, and it started being bound from the sausage skin, later the skin of the catfish or the eel were used. These first fat nymphs were called ""Bobesh""and they belonged to the bugs category.

Radical changes occurred in the appearance of the nymph were brought about by the use of ultra thin leaded wire, which led to a massive slimming of the nymphs. They also started to use the Gammarus hooks called Admiral (=Kamasan B100). The next improvement was the use of thin rubber on the back of the nymph and its advantage was durability, transparency and easy tying. Firstly they used rubber strips cut from surgical gloves. Later directly prepared vinyl strips in different colours. Special plastic foil backs were the next innovation, with different printing strong colours or glitter.
Next the Hares Ear fur, even the rabbit fur in many colourful variations started to be used. By using seals fur a further new innovation started, and it has brought experiments with many different furs of exotic animals. Originally monotonously dyed bodies started being enlivened by red spots. One of the first who tried this was way the competitor Lukas Pazdernik. The real innovation the use of the craziest of colours was brought about by Pavel Machan (European Champion 2002) and also Tomas Starychfojtu (Holder of three different individual medals from the World Championships) who used many new and nontraditional materials in his nymphs. Today many new and exciting dubbings are ready available online and the choice of colors grow day by day.
Remarkable improvements in these flies required innovations in gammarus hooks. Nowadays people demand chemically sharpened hooks from companies Hayabusa, Kamasan, Mustad, Tiemco, VMC. Competition rules require barbless hooks and it has given the stimulus for local manufacturers, where hooks from Mr. Skalka or Mr. Knapek are highly appreciated.

Even the leader material for this type of Nymphing technique has made big progress. At the beginning it was bound as tapered, when it was assembled from several parts of nylon line from 0.40 mm, through 0.30mm, 0.20mm, 0.16mm, possibly to 0.14mm in diameter. Most finished at 0.18mm and it was fished with two nymphs. Leaders tapered in this way sink badly. When the next new invention came to the world, which was a one-diameter leader, which was down to a contemporary diameter of 0.10-0.08mm. Of course these modifications were made possible because of the creation of completely new fishing rods as well, without these it would not have been possible.
Czech nymphs are today a real term. In magazines there is always some information on them. They are becoming the property of the World flyfishing family. I do not think that their development will stop, but on the contrary I would say that we will witness their next improvements and surprises of which we have no idea so far (Karel Krivanec).
When you are starting out or going Czech Nymphing it works best in fast moving water that is not to deep and where there is pockets or rocks, broken water allows you to fish under the rod tip and you wont spoke fish. allow the nymphs to trot down stream from you upwards cast till they are in line or slightly below you standing position, then with one movement strike the nymphs ad drive them upriver into the water hard to help them get to the bottom as fast as possible. it is preferred that the heavier fly goes on the point of the leader and in deeper water use large anchor flies to get to the bottom and also drag down the smaller nymphs to where the trout are feeding and lying.
The leader setup best used is as follows, the leader overall length is 2/3rds the length of the rod and the fluorocarbon tippet is usually 4 or 5X, 4X would be used in heavy water, 5X in normal conditions. If the water is really clear and fish are easily spooked then use 6X. So the leader is made up of a 50inch butt section of either 4,5 or 6X, then 20inches of 5X, and another 20inches of 5X and the dropper lengths are normally 7-9 inches in length. some anglers use the rollers to stop the leaders and droppers wrapping around each other when constantly rolling the nymphs up stream.


It was on Lough Corrib a number of years ago when I was first introduced to the Sedgehog, Mike Keady from Moycullen and myself were fishing during a nice mayfly hatch and Mike was nailing fish on a green peter sedge hog, being so impressed from the results Mike had on the fly I returned home and tied some that very night and sense then the fly is one of my most dependable lake and river patterns.
This fly to the left is a Peter Ross half hog and is a super fly through out the entire season but more so when the trout are on the fry, it also accounts for a lot of sea-trout also. The metallic sliver and red dubbing brushed out give the fly great effect coming through the water.  
I use the fly on the right during sedge hatches on both rivers and lake tied in various sizes and natural colors as either a dry fly or on intermediate lines as wet fly's pulled through the waves, giving a nice disturbance and getting the fishes attention when they are looking up. It is similar to a peter sedge it had a UV blend red tag and peter olive body with natural deer hair wing and a soft light brown shoulder hackle. The fly on the left however is a hog dabbler and fished on a floating line during the olives is unbeatable it is a light olive dabbler body as usual with an under-wing of Krystal Flash and an over wing of natural deer hair. 
This dubbing material for the body is produced from soft metallized fibres. It's suitable, especially for adding to common dubbings, which makes this material very effective. We can also use these on their own as a dubbing for making heads of wet flies, nymphs and streamers. It is also very suitable to use just the fibres, which we can add to the bodies of streamers, lures, etc. Hends Metallic dubbing is fabulous when it is brushed through a body hackle or as you can see up into the deer hair wing. Again a  super fly when the trout are on fry.  
The claret fly on the left is a generally all round fly I find it works well in the summer months and on the lakes where the run of trout is a bit smaller, and on hill loughs. The bibo hog on the right however is a cracking variation of the already super fly, it give the fish something a little different when they are on the black stuff. This style of tying lough flies is well worth exploring and will produce some great fishing through out the year and don't be afraid to experiment in the tying or the meathod of fishing them.
The perfect team of sliver sedgehos, this is the stuff fishes nightmares are made of.