The days grow shorter and there is a crispness in the air that signals the end of the trout fishing season is getting near. This is a good time for you to reflect on the season that was, like always Bill and I had some wonderful trips and some not so good.
One trip that will stay in my mind until the day I die was into the Western Lakes. We were blessed with two and a half days of brilliant blue sky. The second day we had walked for around two hours, caught a fish or two - nothing special and decided to rest on a bank overlooking a very picturesque tarn and have a snack. It always pays to have a vantage point when looking for fish.
From this point Bill and I could see quite some distance out into the lake- we ate and watched for an hour or so and saw nothing. We wondered whether we should go on or stay and watch -there might not even be any fish in the lake. As the day was superb and being of a very inquisitive nature, we decided to explore a little further and upon walking onto quite a small bay I saw a few black spinners hatching along a steep drop-off bank. It didn't take long before there was a dark shape moving into the area. A large brown trout started taking these tiny insects quite freely and it wasn't long before several fish between one and a half and two and a half kilos joined him.
It was a sight to behold - these large fish just rising and rolling over after the delicate little insects. We spent the best part of the afternoon there, all fish caught and released. What a glorious day.
The next day was identical so we headed for a different area and saw quite a number of fish. The fly would be presented carefully - without spooking the fish. It would often accelerate to the fly and look, and then speed off without the slightest touch. What turns them on and off? I suppose if I knew that my enthusiasm would die.
I will cherish these moments through those cold winter days. On writing this article there have been very few gum beetles, but I have heard of quite a number of jassids which can create good rises.
There are many jassid patterns. The following tie is a very simple one and takes its fair share of fish.
Hook - Kamasan B160 size 14
Thread - Black
Body - Narrow strip of orion bag string colour bright red with waterproof texta
Wing - Grey partridge
Hackle - Black cock
Method: Take a thread to bend of hook, tie in orion bag string, bring thread forward two thirds of the shank length. Now bring body material (orion bag string) forward overlapping with each turn, finish the body where the thread is hanging two thirds the way along the shank.
Strip the fluff off the butt end off a single grey partridge feather. Now pull around sixteen of the feather fibres back towards the butt.
Both lots of fibres need to be pulled back at the one time, hold very firmly on top of the fly body and tie down very firmly, at least three turns of thread pulled down very tightly.
With scissors cut gathered points and butt of feather away, there will also be some feather fibres protruding from the tail of the wing feather. Cut this away being careful not to cut into the wing. If you have done all this carefully you should now have what is called a Wonder Wing.
A black cock hackle is now tied in, make 4-5 turns with this, winding towards the eye, don't take hackle too close to the eye as this makes it too hard to whip finish with a nice little head.
When writing this article there were still quite a few caddis around, more late evening than early morning. The following pattern is a good all-round pattern. There is one thing I may change from time to time, that is to tie the hackle on the underside with a figure eight with the thread - thus making the fly sit very low on the water.
Hook - Kamasan 400 size 14
Thread - Pale green fine floss
Wing - Shimazaki Wing material
Hackle - Medium grey dun cock hackle
Antennae - Two fine peacock herl tips
Place floss thread onto hook shank taking in the full length of the shank, now bring the floss two thirds the way back towards the eye.
With the wing material cut a 1 cm width and the length needs to be the same as the hook shank. Fold material in half lengthwise. Shape the wing to desired shape. Now cut along the fold around two thirds the length of the material, this will give you two exact wings and enough material left at the front to tie down onto the top of the hook shank. It is important to tie things down firmly, this will make the wings cock up slightly.
Trim away any excess material that may be extending forward.
Tie in hackle and make 4-5 turns making sure not to over crowd the eye. Tie the peacock antennae in one at a time making sure they are directed in opposite directions over the eye. Form a small head with floss, whip finish and varnish.