Part I.: Getting familiarised after one year
October 2004 was a month which I will remember for long time. The Month which extended the summer and invited me, ten times with my fly-fishing rod to Dobra world under the Stozec Mountain in South Bohemia. To call the Stozec a mountain is maybe too much, it is just such a higher hill with top about one thousand meters above the sea level. Anyway - when I watch him from my old cottage in Stogerova Hut, it is a lovely and pleasant view. Early in the morning a mist was going up and Stozec looked like it was wearing a white scarf. It went away quite quickly and a golden, sunny autumn day was revealed. Dark green spruces on the top of the hill, contrasted the sky-blue sky above the Sumava hills, together with light green meadows and brown sedges fields on Vltava river banks.
I have not been in Dobra since last autumn and I was really surprised by a new narrrow bituminous road. I was driving on it and enjoyed the view both close and far of the neighborhood. Close to the local restaurant "U Nemecka" the big furry brown dog brought me back to reality. He attacked my Ford car, hit my mudguard with his paw and forced me to decrease my speed under 20 kms. This is probably the speed limit tolerated by the dog. It was end of September, time of deer estrus. I could not make my mind where to go for my first fishing trip. Finally, I stopped in Dobra at the transformer and started to change for fishing.
After I got to the Vltava river, the water level was still high after heavy rains, but clean already and setleing down. This was the best grayling time. It was cloudy and a strongish wind,. I went to Dobra footbridge. To the locality where some unknown natural protector put the sign "Protected fishing area". This locality was never announced as a protected one and that’s why I did not respect this sign. I knew that the only limitation was the entrance into the river and the reason for this was planting of some aged pearl oysters there. They did not have any practical chance to reproduce there, because the only host of their larvaes is the brown trout which very rare occurrence there.
I took the brand new fishing rod, number 2 rod Sage XP 260 cm and I was really curious how big a difference against the longer 3 size from the same manfacturer it would be. Nobody is perfect and life is not fair – I took the reel with size 3 line. I just did not buy the new reel with size 2 line as I never found the right one. I had just an old and used Hardy Viscount 130 II, with orange floating line but without the leader. This I took away sometimes in the middle of May. I had just some tiny 0,18 mm nylon which was too fine for it.
In one of my pockets I had a roll with 8X fluorcarbon but I did not want to use a sinking butt.. I found some floating Airflo polyleader in another pocket, one and half meter long and then I connected the tipet. The whole leader was almost half a size longer that the rod. It would not be a problem at the lake, but here in the wind and close to the small river with banks covered by high grass – it was killing combination. Grayling rose right under my legs, close to the river bank and I was not able, in this wind and with too gentle a rod and long leader to cast it close to their mouths.
I would rather fish from the other river bank, but the Vltava river was very narrow there and water was so high that it was not possible to wade. To walk to the nearest ford would mean to walk through high grass for tens of meters and this I did not like. Grayling were rising at a couple of second intervals and according to the circles on the surface, they were no small fish. Maybe ten times I hit the grass before I caught the first 35 cm fish and afterwards two more. Then I admitted finally that I could not stay there. I decided to leave this nice place and went through bushes and grass to the other place where I proposed to fish from the other side without problems.
It was one of my five favorite sites where grayling of 40 cm up could be expected. First I did not go there because it was too far from the fishing path and further I wanted to know precisely what graylings want today.Definitely they did not want olives. It seemed to me that fish reacted on light grey upwings and this trend changed consequently to dark grey samples. I tried different upwing flies size 18 – 20 and the best results I got was with the leader tipas fine as 0.08 mm in diameter. My favorite nylon in this size, is Snap Quatron. Unfortunately I used them fast and it is then just matter of time to look for something else because it is not available in our country.
I caught about ten smaller and middle sized grayling and was waiting for something bigger. A couple of daces were rising, close to the opposite riverbank and they "talked" to me as well. Now I was sure I had everything balanced. Suddenly in the middle of the stream appeared big circle from bigger fish and I cast immediately a Silver Grey Dun. Fish rose and took it. A short break and my cast was unsuccessful. Maybe I should wait a little bit more. I tried again. Further two-three casts and again, unsuccessful. I changed the fly, fish started to take it and again nothing. I tried a couple of duns and beetles but I just scared the grayling. He moved lower and closer to the opposite river bank.
"Should I not catch you??" I talked to myself and I went through my box with dry flies. Petite 20 sized Dun with two dark grey wings which can be found on the fat glands of ducks with mysteric abbreviation CDC – this fly attracted me. Besides just a mark of the olive chest and those wings. Nothing on it – no body neither legs. That’s why it is called No Body Dun. I had been given it by Slavoj Svoboda and for more than eighteen months it had been in my box and never used it. Maybe now was its special time?
During my fly changing, the fish calmed down and came back to the original site. It took some time for me, it was so petite that I needed two, sometimes three times attempts. The clock cannot be stopped, believe or not. I tried very hard, carefully measured by false casts the distance from the fish. Then I tried more and the last cast stopped so that the Dun settled on the surface as gentle as possible. On the terminal breaking strain I even succeeded to make a little bridge and the nylon was not laying on the water, goes through the air. Just a dark wad of wings laid on the water and stream took it directly to the grayling. Now it had to come!!! I was thinking, waiting what would happen next.
A markable circle, where my fly was a second ago, showed that the fish got it. I waited a little bit and then I lifted the rod. It was there! The top of the gentle rod was moving in circles and fish tried shake his head trying to get rid of the Dun. Two jumps of the purple grayling above the water showed that is was a really nice fish. I estimated it for about 38 cm. I was holding it carefully on the tiny nylon and waited until the fish got tired. A couple of rotations around the long axis followed and grayling escaped against the stream. I did not hurry and just enjoyed the fight with the wild fish which I would release anyway. But the grayling did not know it and he was fighting for his life, until the last second. I got him now at my legs and I took out of his mouth the barbless hook. It was a female with smaller flag and she was slowly leaving and could not believe it.
The rest of the "Slavoj secret fly" was just couple of little hair. It was not possible to dry it between two plates of amadou neither with blowing. It was just too gentle, a little thing. Suddenly I got an idea to look into another pocket of my jacket where there would be something that Mike Childs gave me in England in summer. He smiled mysteriously and asked me to try it. This was the first opportunity. I opened the plastic tube and saw a couple of light small marbles, about 1 or 2 mm in diameter. I closed my destroyed fly with a piece of tipet nylon into the box together with balls and shook it. Really courious I opened the top and took out a dry and almost new upwing out! Just with some dust on it. After I dusted it gently I could continue in fishing. How simple, the expert would say and I appreciated the effectivity of this new thing.
I caught a couple more grayling on my new fly and I went down the river and took out many other fish because the rise was over for this day. I was very careful not to loose this special dry fly in the branches of surrounding alders. I succeeded to protect it and I better put it back in the box because this little thing should be used just to catch difficult and experienced old fish. For younger fish it was something so trustable that they took it immediately.
After three hours of fishing I went back. Through the grass and bushes of mountain blueberry and then on the pass for tourists to the little bridge. I met another fisherman there. After we said hello to each other I whispered just "It was nice fishing today" and the colleague just shaked his head to agree. I was very satisfied with my new fishing rod but I told myself that I should solve quickly problem with reel, line and leader. All October was still ahead me, the weather could stay nice and I was looking forward to other fishing in Sumava mountains.