Yesterday I fished the Ager, a fine trout stream
over in Austria. The section that my buddy and I fished in the
afternoon had changed since the severe flooding in August. On the
fishable side of the river, you used to be able to wade out at least
a little way all along the shore. But now about half of the stretch,
along the lower half of the run, was deep, over your waders, and
flowed right up to the undercut bank, which was about three feet
over the water.
Standing on this bank and looking down, I
noticed a couple of rises close in among the countless drifting
leaves, including what appeared to be the rise of a pretty good
fish. I tied on a dry and cast it right from the bank, without
getting into the water. I picked up a couple of bows, about 12" and
14", but I was not sure if either of those had caused the mighty
rise I had seen earlier.
Soon all was still among the leaves.
Since there were no more rises, I found a place slightly above this
area where I could get into the water and I changed my rig to a
Serendipty nymph, small split shot, and a strike-indicator. Wouldn't
you know it, just then a good rise occurred again, in the spot I had
just left. Apparently I had missed this fish before. Yet as I didn't
feel like changing back to a dry, I set the indicator at a shallow
depth, cast downstream, gave a little slack to the line, and let my
fly drift into the target zone.
When the "bobber"
went down, I pulled up and realized immediately that I was onto a
bigger trout. The fish tore off across the river, I brought her
back, she made another couple of half runs, and I finally brought
her in. She was too big for my little catch & release net, but I
was able to pick her up briefly for a quick photo and measurement by
my buddy, who fortunately had come to see what the ruckus was about.
The fish was a
beautiful rainbow hen of exactly 51 cm (20"). As I held the fish in
the water to get my fly out before releasing her, I noticed another
fly, a bead head, on the other side of her mouth. Obviously, this
gal had been around the block. Unfortunately, I was clumsy at trying
to remove the flies: she gave a thrash, snapped my fly, and slipped
away with both flies - now tokens of past battles.
Serendipity was tied with brown z-lon. I used to tie them small,
sizes 16-18. If I'm not mistaken, these are supposed to be
chironimid patterns. But lately I've also been tying 14s, and
yesterday's adventure showed me that this larger size can work too.
I've really become a believer in Serendipities, originally in
Montana and then on my home waters as well. And (though this may
sound like I won an academy award *G*) I really want to thank Fred
Bridge for turning me on to these