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ESSENTIAL SKILLS: VOLUME 1 CZECH NYMPHING & UPSTREAM NYMPHING
Author: Oliver Edwards
Publisher: DGP PRODUCTIONS, Mar 2003
Two programs on one DVD. CZECH NYMPHING: Learn the secrets of Czech Nymphing. This is the devastatingly effective technique Oliver bought back from the 1996 World Championships in the Czech Republic. UPSTREAM NYMPHING: Upstream Nymphing can be hard work in fast riffles but more often than not, it is a very rewarding method. Fishing the famous old North Country Spiders square across and drifted is a very deadly technique and a first choice for many fly fishers on Northern Freestone rivers. DVD, 177 min.
Theres a saying - 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the anglers. Entomology, tying and fishing imitative patterns are not just for advanced anglers. They are the Essential Skills you will need to become one of those anglers who catch 90% of the fish. They are simple practical skills that you can learn easily from watching these videos
Classic upstream nymphing was once the preserve of southern chalk streams, however it is also very effective on fast flowing freestone rivers. It is often quite strenuous fishing fast riffle but more often than not, your hard work is rewarded both in terms of numbers and size of fish. For me there is also something very special, almost magical fishing this way - tightening on to that slight stab of the fly line and feeling the solid thump, thump of a fish.
North Country Spiders
Most fishermen prefer wet fly fishing 'across and down', probably because it is an easy relaxing way to fish, but it is not the best way in my experience. I prefer to cast virtually square across the current using an upstream reach cast, holding the rod high I track it across my body allowing the spiders to drift with control not just swinging round in the current. This way I avoid those plucks and pulls and connect with many more fish.
My Introduction to Czech Nymphing at the 1996 World Fly Fishing Championships
The Czech nymphing story in the UK really started in 1990 when the World Fly Fishing Championship was held on the Welsh Dee. The outcome was a runaway victory for the Polish and Czech competitors, no one came anywhere near them, they dominated the individual placings and of course walked away with Gold and Silver team honours.
The fly fishing press laid much emphasis on the fast sinking woven nymphs said to have been used by the leading competitors. These woven nymphs were described in the angling press like some kind of secret weapon. Very little however was reported about the technique used to fish them. What little coverage there was, referred to this style erroneously as 'Rolled Nymphing'.
"The initiation into this deadly technique was soon to happen."
In 1996 the Czech Republic hosted the World Fly Fishing Championships and I was there as a member of the England Team. The initiation into this deadly technique was soon to happen.
Our official guide for the duration of the visit was Vt Misar, whom we discovered had only narrowly missed selection to fish for his country in the Championships. We were in the hands of a very skilful fly fisherman as we were about to find out!
"Vit on the other hand had caught almost thirty."
Our first practice session was on the upper Vltava, as near perfect a trout stream as one could imagine - gin clear, swift, nicely braided with weed and a bed of light coloured gravel and cobbles. This was going to be a breeze, we all dashed off to empty the river. When we all gathered some hours later for a beer and sandwiches, our enthusiasm had been somewhat dampened. Our attempts to extract grayling from the huge numbers in the river was frankly abysmal. Vit on the other hand had caught almost thirty. It was obvious that this Czech fly fisherman knew something we didn't. Instructions from our captain for the rest of the day were superfluous; Vt had our undivided attention!
The spot he picked to demonstrate the technique was a fairly uninteresting shallow riffle. It was barely calf deep and lightly laced with trailing fronds of weed. Not a single fish could be seen on the light bottomed streambed, why on earth was he going to do the demo here?
" Within two or three feet of the drift there was a minute 'tick' of the fly line."
Vt slipped into the shallow margin, pulled off a yard of line beyond the end ring and lobbed the three nymphs in upstream. The short length of fly line was held off the water and Vt deftly tracked the rod tip just ahead of the advancing braided connector. Within two or three feet of the drift there was a minute 'tick' of the fly line, Vt tightened instantaneously and grayling number one was soon unhooked and slipped back.
What happened then was a procession of fish, one after the other, then a couple of drifts with no takes, Vt moved a yard or two, lobbed in and proceeded to catch more grayling. After about grayling number ten he was almost manhandled out of the river, his leader makeup inspected and he was temporarily separated from his fly box - we had some urgent tying to do!
"Our mentor taught us well, the crash course paid dividends in the Championships."
So that was our introduction to the deadly art of 'Czech Nymphing'. Our mentor taught us well, the crash course paid dividends in the Championships. Several members of our team gaining high section placings and I had a first and third.
"What is more I was hooking good fish in places I hadn't previously considered worth fishing."
Naturally I was looking forward to trying my new 'find' back in the UK. Would it work as well in Yorkshire as it did in the rivers of the Czech Republic? Yes of course it did! It was devastatingly effective, what is more I was hooking good fish in places I hadn't previously considered worth fishing. More to the point, until now I did not have the method to fish those places. Fast turbulent areas are now the places I look for, and by tying nymphs in various weights, I can fish fast and deep, or fast and shallow, giving me even a broader range.
"You have to get it into your head that fish can be hooked at very close range."
For the newcomer to this technique there are three obstacles to overcome. The first is psychological, you have to get it into your head that fish can be hooked at very close range - this is the biggest obstacle. Second, get used to having a virtually redundant line hand and thirdly you must resist the temptation to cast - this is short line fishing, only one to three feet of line beyond the tip ring.
THE OLIVER EDWARDS APPROACH TO IMITATIVE FLY FISHING
Trout and Grayling 'learn' from an early age what is edible and what is not. They make this identification in a flash by the outline or silhouette of the food items. These silhouettes are a combination of the shape of the abdomen, thorax and head - the body of the insect - and I have christened this the 'Primary Trigger'. It is the foundation of all my artificials.
"Fish have very acute vision, even in fast broken water they can snap up minute organisms."
There are however other bits and pieces attached to aquatic creatures. How important are legs for instance? Do these also play a part in confirming edibility? Fish have very acute vision, even in fast broken water they can snap up minute organisms such as very early instar nymphs that are less than 1mm long.
"I am convinced these add considerable fish deceiving qualities to my artificials."
These are not accidentally sucked in but are picked off one by one. So it is reasonable to assume that fish see legs, tails and wing pads very easily indeed. These details I call the 'Secondary Triggers'. I am convinced these add considerable fish deceiving qualities to my artificials.Copying the primary and secondary triggers are the cornerstones of imitative, or as I prefer to call it, superimpressionistic fly tying.
"It is the only way to match the insects on your local rivers."
This video covers entomology, tying and fishing. You don't have to go the whole nine yards from the beginning and tie the patterns before you start to fish. But don't skip the fly tying. Watch how I design and tie the flies and you will acquire the knowledge to make the correct choices with shop bought flies. However, I would urge you to tie your own, it is the only way to match the insects on your local rivers but more importantly, nothing comes close to the pleasure you get from tying your own flies and catching fish with them - it's your choice!
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING:
Fly Tyer Winter 2001 - David Klausmeyer
"...These tapes are well produced with clear photography and well planned tying sequences; learning from these videos is a pleasure."
Fly Fishing and Fly Tying
November / December 2000
"It's quite simply the best and most complete fly-fishing / fly tying tapes I have ever seen."
Trout and Salmon
"If mastering the intricacies of the Czech Nymph style or North Country Spiders is your target, then who better to ask than Oliver Edwards?"
"The Daily Star (Scottish edition)
20th January 2001
"Hand on heart - this is the BEST instructional video I have ever seen."