a vulgata weekend

a vulgata weekend

t.z. | Friday, 8 June 2018

Fire. Always one of the four or five elements, depending on which book you read, so let us talk about fire. I actually must admit that I mainly moved to Scandinavia because one has the right to light a campfire here. Cooking coffee on a small fire is a Norwegian and Swedish custom. The local fishing shop even sells coffee. So fishing and campfire are closely knit up here. Many of the YouTube films made by the Vikings feature at least one “campfire and coffee pot” scene.

But now we have a problem. The risk for forest fires is very high. The very hot and sunny spring dried the forest that much that any open flame is banned. Pretty much. Paul asked me why everything is so very dry? It seemed counter intuitive that in an area where the snow piled up in meters just 4 weeks before, it should now be dangerous to light even the smallest of a campfire.

Actually frost is the reason. When water freezes, it crystallises. Nothing new here. In that form it cannot get inside any cell structure and part of the the water inside a cell structure is pressed outside by the water which is freezing. Ice crystals need more space than liquid water. In short that's my very simple understanding. I learned about this when being a winemakers apprentice. The wine from frozen grapes has the least amount of water and the highest sugar content. The famous Eiswein is made from the grapes. A dessert wine delicacy almost like a sweet a liquor. Get a bottle if you come a cross. It goes very well with a good, strong blue or other soft cheese.

I found a good text on the web which is going more into detail of the phenomenon. http://www.conservationphysics.org/cool/suprcool.php

So back to the fire, or better said campfire. When I had my first proper trips to Sweden I really had to learn to make a fire. I never thought about it really. Making a good fire and building a proper fireplace is becoming a lost art. And I’m not talking about the huge bonfires, big enough to burn 3 witches at once. Paul, the master of the carbon rod seems fond of these big fires. Its very hard to cook on such a big fire. The small ones are the thing for me. One can sit very close and actually get warm and not burned in the face while having a frozen butt.

Sorry ... I am not putting a manual out here. This would go too far. I manage a good fire for myself, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert. I am just reasoning about this while I am waiting for the wind to settle and the E. Vulgata hatch to start. Lars has described that the E. Danica is the most important hatch for the Scandinavian flyfisher, but this is not entirely true. I would say that the Norwegian flyfisher is waiting for the E. Vulgata hatch. Same bug pretty much, just that the Vulgata lives in lakes where as its danish cousin is found in flowing water only. The lake version is darker in colour. Huge, beautiful bugs.

Me and many other fish for them from belly boats on the small lakes around. One can see the emerging nymphs coming up right in front and often one is then witness of a murder scene. Fish aren’t shy of the belly boat either. Which is a psychological torture by its own. Fish, some of them pretty big too, so close should be easy to catch one might assume. Far from it. This might be one of very few fishing situations where the fly design is more important than the presentation. My go to fly is either a Klinkhamer in a rather large size or a version of the Mohican Mayfly. In the latest comparison the Mohican outfished the chenille version which was so successful in recent years. Very strange. It might be the differences in color or the the tails.

The fish seem very partial about the right look of the fly. Nobody can tell you why. Doesn’t matter anyway. It just a fact to accept and adopt to. Nature has its own rules. Trout get accustomed to a certain situation and key on a food item mainly caused by its abundance. Getting used to is a funny thing. The lake has a humming power line right over the middle over it. I don’t hear this hum mostly, just as my lovely partner mentioned it, I started hearing it again. I wonder what other noises and bullshit I am suppressing. Right when that thought hit me I was looking at a small flock of sheep. The adults had cowbells around their necks. Poor creatures. Imagine having a insanely loud bell tied around you neck making hellish noises with every of your moves. They don’t even do that to the Guantanamo prisoners, I hope. Torture of humans is sort of frowned upon when detected. We don’t care about the sheep. Let their little brain deal with it. Maybe sheep think its part of their nature making that noise. They don’t know any better. Like us humans being raised with all these funny shit we have to get used to. Like getting up in the morning and join the morning parade known as rush hour. How come this is called rush hour? Everybody just seems stuck standing still in a traffic jam. No rush here. Just stress. Anyway, back to the important stuff.

Once you think you have it absolutely right, and found the perfect fly, all is changed and you need a slightly different pattern the next season, or maybe already half an hour later. The periods in which one can fish a E. Vulgata hatch are rare and it all happens so quick that it would be arrogant to draw hasty conclusions. Quick relating to a) the hatch is maybe going on for a week or two and b) the action is short but intense. To my little experience the hatch was going on for an hour followed by a spinnerfall a few hours later. Fish are easier caught during the emergence. When they are hunting spinners it can be a tad more tricky bringing them to the net. Anyway, great fun ... when one catches fish that is. It can be extremely frustrating though when one has not cracked the code and managed to stay calm. It can be so many fish rising around your little red rubber boat that it is easy to loose your mind. Best is to try picking a fish which rose a few times in a similar area. These fish are often the bigger ones too. So it is about focus and tactics.

The other part of the story is to trying to sync with nature. Big words, I know, but this is what this type of fishing is about. You can of course paddle around all day and wait for things to happen. Remember, the action is short but exciting. It is best to hit the water right before the action starts. No worries, the waiting time can be put to very good use and should be spent doing other things. Cooking, fixing your tackle or maybe even tying flies, taking pictures or knotting some spare leaders. A good fisherman makes his own leaders of course. Can’t trust these shop bought things, you know.

So there is maybe 2 hours rising fish during the day. That’s a short period, specifically when you have to untangle your leader for the better part of 15 minutes, because you lost your mind amidst a feeding frenzy and wiggled your HT4 around rather helplessly. Tight loops and long casts aren’t a too good approach here either. That fish rising right beneath you little ship crushes that ego you just build up with that 20 meter cast with that leader twisting Mohican at the end of you 6x tippet. Mr. Fish gave a fuck. About you, the cast, you damn fly and everything else. He’s just feasting loud and proud what is on his table. The feeding noises during these hatches are vulgar. Maybe that’s where the name of the insect comes from ... Vulgata, the vulgar.

We had a campfire talk about the name of the insect. Vulgar, nothing vulgar about these insects Konstanse thinks. She can get totally lost in watching them hatch and do their mating dance. 6 legged creatures were not really her thing until she saw this for the first time 2 years ago. I have to agree, the show nature puts on is mesmerising. And thought provoking too. How on earth do these creatures sync? Thousands of them all hatching at the same time. Doing their mating dance and then lay eggs all together. Crazy. Imaging this would happen in the human world. That people are working together. It feels like that the 6legged species on this planet do have something we have not the faintest idea about. Oh I’m sorry, I forgot about the rush hour.

Which brings me back to the fire. We discovered making fire. Maybe we are the only species on this planet with this skill. So what have we done with this? Have we developed much? What is it with the human species? Adipose thumb so we can create things, articulation and language, science ... what are we using it for? Mostly to kill each other and Mother Nature too, it seems. Ah well, can’t do much about it part from trying not to have to much part in it. I’ll wait for the wind to calm down and fish another one of these epic hatches. It might take a while though, so normally I’d enjoy a coffee in the meantime. Not this time becaue of the fire ban. No fire - no coffee. Iguess I have to revert to Scottish highland instead the next time.

Recently I started cooking on a device which shows that the human brain is put to good use once in a while. Making coffee and charging my phone with the fire. Isn’t that something? A small light at the end of tunnel maybe ....

Oh, last note. I caught a fish as well. It fed the whole family. The stupid trout thought the piece of foam and feather i chucked in front of it's nose was good to grind its teeth in.

some pics ...

original and fakes

usb campfire - not this time, even such a small flame is banned

vulgata on fillet knife

the tortured creature

and her kids

let's run - this guy looks weird

not only Vulgata ... a lonely caddis made it's way to the bugnet for meassurring

Tying instructions for the wicked. 

09 CDC Mohican Mayfly from Thomas Züllich on Vimeo.

This fly and video are part of "Fly Tying - Modern Classics for Trout and Grayling - by Thomas Züllich" https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1333532292 The book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device. Multi-touch books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS…

(c) t.z. - 2018

on a side note - I'll be hosting a weeks fly fishing fun @Skålestrømmen in Norway. Sign up quickly, there's only 6 rods total - here's the link http://www.skalestrommen.no/?p=263&lang=en


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