Asp Flyfishing

Asp Flyfishing

Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Last year I caught lots of small to medium sized asp in the large German river Elbe. This year I aimed to catch some bigger ones as well. In order to succeed I checked what the smaller ones were feeding on by looking into their mouth. Surprisingly they were feeding on flat fish babies. So I had to find out where exactly flat fish are spawning in the Elbe and where best feeding grounds for eating these small flat fish then would be.

I found all the important information pretty soon. Most flat fish spawn in February on shallow muddy banks. The small babies will then be available in large numbers in May - yes, right now. So I concentrated on fly fishing those spots below such banks where I thought the strong tidal current should bring down a lot of these flat fish while some serious asp should be waiting for them. Since I thought this small flat fish to mainly move slowly with the current I decided to start with a slow retrieve opposite to what nearly all asp experts told me to do. I indeed had significant success catching some proper asp directly. I also tried a fast retrieve but it didn't work at all this time!
The best working fly was a medium sized Gammarus version. I yet have to tie an imitation of a small flat fish baby. Since the water is very muddy I don't know if anything but the size of the fly and the movement count in the first place. But it's fair to say the Gammarus flies worked excellent compared to the typical popper flies which are often fished for asp. As soon as I could spot asp along the drop of next to the shallow banks I caught them on the Gammarus flies, while they refused all popper flies. Yes, some serious asp involved this time!

Inbetween studying asp, Marina and I were fishing for pike and pike perch as well as for carp. On Saturday I will start a weekly fly fishing trip for Atlantic salmon in Denmark. Hopefully we will meet Viking Lars again and share some casts on the Skjern river.

The next two days I will further study asp behaviour trying to get closer to crack the code on these fish. I yet have to meet a true expert having the full picture of catching asp available. Fly fishing for asp still has a short history and yet there are lots of questions to be answered.

Fly fishy week to all of you!

All my best

Some pictures of a great fishing, casting and teaching week.