Fly of the year!
A new addition to the fly box made the season one to remember.
Every now and then a very nice light appears in the Gaula valley. This light, coupled with the cognac colour of the water and the brown-yellow rocks on the river bottom create an incredibly exciting colour. This usually occurs following rain when the river is a bit coloured and the sun again rises in the sky. This light is just incredibly beautiful! I prefer the river not to rise too much, then the combination of the light and the brown-yellow rocks poking up higher in the water becomes even better for this fly.
This fly is not really brand new to me, the truth is that I have had a nymph in my nymph range for many years with the same colours as this new tube fly. I have had good catches on this nymph in certain conditions, and I have often though about trying to tie it in other variants. The 2007 season brought several smaller summer floods, making the brown-yellow water colour appear several times. My fingers were itching as I sat down to tie the new fly I had pictured in my mind. I had also taken a picture of the river when the light was at its best in terms of this fly pattern, which I printed out using high quality colour photo paper. This picture was right next to me as I tied the fly so that I could make sure the colours were right at all times. Fly fishing is often a total experience that begins at the fly tying vice, and as I later would find out, this story would also end well, very well in fact.
My flies are all very simple in terms of pattern and colour combinations, and also technically, I do not see any reason to be too detail-oriented in my fly tying style. I am concerned with the flies “swimming” well and being durable. The new fly could probably be named Brown and Yellow or something like that, I don’t really care about that. But I am very strict in terms of having the right combinations of colours, this is because I have a certain idea of what the fly should look like in relation to the light conditions above and below water. Other things also affect the patterns and fly tying, such as temperature, water level and whether the fish is running upstream or not. But in this particular instance I wanted an anonymous fly that would “sneak up” on the fish, thus it would have to be partly camouflaged. This is how I got the inspiration to tie the fly with a yellow/brown colour combination, as this is how I perceive the combination of colours of the sky and the river to be in certain conditions. This fly is tied without any flash, but can be tied in all sizes from a small nymph to a large tube fly with a wing length of 14 cm.
”Look at that exciting light”.
It’s strange how the excitement during the car ride to the river can affect the adrenaline levels when you have a new fly in your fly box, and you cannot wait to show it to the salmon! And this particular car ride was exciting enough from the onset, as we were starting to film and fish the second period in the middle parts of the River Gaula in medium water level conditions. I can tell you that hooking a salmon with cameras all around you is a breeze. Often we drive home empty-handed when salmon fishing, so what are the odds that we should succeed with a cameraman right behind us? But it helps a lot to have faith in a newly tied fly and you just know that the salmon cannot possibly resist it. This particular day we were going to fish two different beats, the first one was a normal public beat. We were there early, I thought the beat looked great and river conditions were good, but the light just wasn’t right for my new tube fly so I decided to use something else. It’s strange how this happens. I had been dreaming about the moment when I were to cast my new fly out over the river for a long time, and when I finally get to the river I just cannot bring myself to put it on, I glance at the fly box and then at the sky and then back, it’s just like something in your head is telling you “wait a minute, this is not quite right yet”. There were a few salmon around on the beat, but these fish were not easy to catch as the fishing pressure on this beat was high, so these salmon had seen a lot of different flies drifting past them. A salmon that has stopped to rest in a pool will receive a lot of offerings from fishermen fishing with different gear during a day. Additionally, they will have been swimming for around 50 kilometres from the sea to here, and they surely saw a few flies and lures on their way upstream as well. This is indeed the biggest problem in terms of catching salmon, the salmon becomes almost immune and also stressed by all the gear it must relate to throughout the season. During the day more fishermen arrived at the beat and soon it was almost filled up with people, and the whole mood of the beat was heightened with fishing chat around the fire. It is very nice to meet people on the river, we chat about flies, rod actions, and a good fishing story is never far away.
People on the beat used all kinds of equipment, but the salmon was just not in the mood this day. I noticed that the river was slowly but steadily dropping, the light was also changing, and these changes got more and more of my attention. It was just as the fly box was heating up in my pocket, now the time was right! I had seen that a few salmon had splashed and jumped at the tail of the pool, and I had also received a tip from Bjørn Bolin himself that I had to try to cast as far as I could out towards the tail of the pool as soon as I saw a salmon gliding up into the pool. I waded out into position, pulled the whole running line off the reel and stood there, ready to cast. When I saw a nice salmon swim up at the tail of the pool I wet the fly and the leader. A powerful spey cast with the sinking line brought the fly out where I wanted it to be, and I was all excited when I saw the nice loop flying through the air. The fly landed perfectly and started its journey towards the bank. It never got that far, I felt the great feeling of the fly line tightening up as the salmon took my new fly during the first cast! Even though this was not the biggest salmon in the world, the experience was incredible and I looked forward to the rest of the season with my new “buddy” in the fly box.
That same afternoon we moved a bit further up the river valley. When we arrived at the beat the light was just like I wanted it to be, but up here the river was a bit smaller as we had moved upstream of the larger tributaries. Again I had the great feeling, now the new fly was tied to the leader straight away. I managed to adjust the aerial mend just the way I wanted to at the first hot-spot of this pool, and another salmon grabbed the fly and the double-hander was thoroughly tested by a much bigger salmon than the first one. What a day this turned out to be, as I went to bed I saw a beautiful Cognac coloured light just as I fell asleep.
I can promise you that this was not the last salmon on this fly during the 2007 season.
”Happy fisherman, satisfied with both fly and salmon”.
The fly is tied using clear tubes, and is tied using the same technique as for my short-bodied tube flies with the fold-over wings. See the menu "flies" > "tube flies", and the articles "Short tube bodies" > "long wings" > "the fly box for…".
Body: Silver mini flatbraid, 70 % of the body. Apply some clear varnish at the back of the body.
Front body: Copper wing`n flash.
Front hackle no 1: Sun yellow soft hen hackle.
Underwing: Sun yellow blue fox hair, one section.
Overwing: Brown silver fox, one section.
Front hackle no 2: Brown and generous hen hackle.
Have a great evening at the fly tying vice!