Slack Line

A hungry backcountry brown.

At last! A long and deep pool of gin clear water! After a very long, sweaty hike upstream, where the river looked much more suitable for whitewater sports than for fishing, this was a really relieving view. I started scanning the water in the tail slowly progressing upstream. Nothing. I was close to the head of the pool when I saw the fish: a big brown trout patrolling the slow water in the far bank, lazily taking bites from the full of debris surface

With all that defeaning chirping from the cicadas around it wasn’t hard to choose a fly pattern. At its head, the pool was narrow and with a fast tongue of current in the middle. In its search the fish was following a rather inconsistent upstream-downstream-upstream path; always beyond the strip of faster water, of course. I had to wait for the trout to be looking away from me to make a cast. Some good casts were useless, as the fish changed direction unexpectedly. And when things were right in that regard, drag resulted in just a number of disdainful looks. A reach cast wasn’t enough to counteract the big difference in speed between the two pieces of water and I couldn’t wade more upstream of my current position. Not an easy challenge.

Finally, the trout decided to search farther downstream. Following it I got to a place where the problematic current was slower and, by presenting my fly downstream instead of across, I had a much better angle to make a successful reach cast. Soon after the brown was posing for the picture above.

When everything was finished I reflected on how many times the thrill of the moment doesn’t allow us to think clearly. Why didn’t I use a bucket cast in the first place? Placing a good amount of slack line in a heap just beyond the fast water tongue of the pool would have resulted in the longest drag-free drift possible. Simply I had not remembered it. I tend to be too affected by the sight of big fish.

What distance should I be looking to achieve?

Long distance hook up. River Pliva

That above is a common question in fly fishing forums. So common that, in fact, it is the title of a thread I read recently. And the most usual reply to that question goes along these lines: “Most fish are taken within 35 feet.”

But, what happens when the fish are active 20+ meters away? Do you pack all gear and get back home?

In the occasion shown by the following video there were some nice brown trout rising in the middle of the river. By the way, if you share the popular view that you can’t hook fish on a dry fly at such a distance… well, just think twice. I caught quite a few browns that were rising just upstream of that bridge; the best one weighed 1 kg (McLean dixit), and a similar one came off the hook while I tried to prevent it to go downstream of the bridge, rubbing the line against one of the pillars.

It is always a pleasure to see my mate Prpa in action:


Plop. De inmediato la gran trucha vuelve la cabeza y comienza a moverse —sin prisa pero con evidente determinación— hacia mi ninfa. Un destello blanquecino de la boca marca la parada del pez en el punto donde —intuyo— se encuentra mi imitación. Templar la línea activa un mecanismo que instantáneamente pone a la trucha a hacer acrobacias a un par de metros sobre el agua. Tras el salpicón compruebo enseguida que ya no hay nada tirando al otro lado de la línea. Sonrío. Las dudas sobre nuestra elección de este diminuto spring creek —justo una corta línea en el mapa— empiezan a disiparse.

Boring? Are you kidding?

It happened again yesterday. While having a wine with some friends it was mentioned that I like fishing, and even travel far away to practice it.

—Fishing? —said somebody—. It is so boring!

When people hear the word “fishing” what invariably comes to their mind is some guy sitting at the sea shore, listening to some football match in the radio while waiting for hours for any sign of life in the rod planted in front of him.

Trying to explain that the fly fishing approach is exactly the opposite is normally a waste of time. However, I remembered a couple of clips I shot in New Zealand recently and decided to edit them and keep the video in my phone. Will it succeed in showing all those laypersons that in fly fishing there is no time to get bored? Great job by outstanding fisher Álvaro G. Santillán.

A Relaxing Activity?

The hard fighter that ran upstream

It was a week ago that we got back home from our fishing trip to New Zealand. Time to browse through thousands of pictures, delete a lot of them and keep the good ones, while savouring the memories that each photo brings back. Also time to reply some emails, messages and phone calls. A question is prevalent: how is the fishing over there?

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New Zealand on my Mind

Visiting New Zealand is in the dreams of every fly fisher. Traveling there for the first time doesn’t relieve the itch. In fact, you can’t wait to get back!

Not an easy feat, to be honest, as money and spare time are hurdles difficult to overcome.

But, when more than a year ago I received an invitation from Chris Dore for some fishing in the South Island, I decided that it was time to jump those hurdles. So almost two years after my first trip to the sight-fishing paradise, I was there again.

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