Alex Vulev | Thursday, 12 November 2015, via


I didn't get too many live fly fishing lessons, so I would rather mention as my mentor someone who impressed me when reading his books. In fact the only fly fishing lesson I got was when I was 12, just after I started tying wet flies with some hackles pulled out from my grandmother's pillow. My father introduced me to a local angler who was supposed to show me how to fly fish. His name was Kotse and one day he took me with him to a trip to my home town river Maritsa, Plovdiv. His tackle was a simple wooden rod with no reel, a metre or so of sort of braided line and a mono leader. The fly was a live male honey bee.

Kotse stored a couple of dozen male honey bees in special boxes to keep them alive. The male honey bees don't have a sting, so they are harmless, but when cast on a fishing hook they are vibrant bait for the chub on the top of the water. Kotse was quite effective and hooked a dozen decent size chubs for an hour or so, then he solemnly proclaimed to me : "This is fly fishing! The male honey bee is your fly, but you may use artificial flies too!" Not a bad lesson one may say, having in mind the deadly effectiveness of the "fly"! I have to add that even being only 12 at the time, I didn't buy it that using live male honey bees was real fly fishing and I felt a bit disappointed. Even now, I know Hemingway would refer to it as fly fishing, but I would still consider it cheating!

During the next years I didn't made any progress in fly fishing, aside the fact that I was fishing my Soviet made fly rod - my first real fishing rod - with a spinning reel and a french buldo with 2 or 3 trailing wet flies, and sometimes even with spinners, until one day I broke the rod while using it with a feeder for carp!

For obvious reasons in the years to come after that I didn't have a fly fishing mentor from blood and flash, so I was reading - firstly magazines, than books. There are some fine fly fishing anglers turned writers, but the one that I am certain deserves attention more than anyone is G.E.M.Skues. This guy should be studied in the Universities! I have nothing more to add to the above, except that the bright minded tactician, Skues, made the dry fly a minor tactic for any wild chalkstream!

Tight lines!

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