World Wide Fishing!

Welcome Friends!

Don't duck the issue!

Text and art by Mike Pratt

All in all fly fishing for trout is not really an earth shattering pastime.

Apart from the various cross-country hikes required to gain access to some of the more remote mountain streams it's a fairly sedate affair. Not too much to disturb the tranquillity of the scene. The occasional - very infrequent - trauma of a four pound trout on a one pound tip, but not much else. A shoe full of water; a tangled leader; a hook in the finger; a dropped box of flies - open, of course; the wind knot discovered as you see the 'big one'. Just the normal, everyday events. Except . . . Well . . .

It shouldn't happen, but it can happen; well it does happen. In fact it did happen. To me.


There were the usual water fowl about; Coots upstream arguing amongst themselves; moving on to their next dispute before settling the one they had just started. Do they ever stop quarrelling? The odd Mallard and Tufted duck skulking in and out of the waterside vegetation, some with young in tow. A pair of Grey Wagtails hunting flies for their young and a vivid flash of bright blue as a Kingfisher rushed past. But, although the day was a lovely summer day, there was no definite hatch occurring and the Mayfly were very few and far between. In spite of this the trout were on the move all the time, searching for the larger flies.

The day did however, provide me with an experience which I don't particularly wish to repeat, although it was exciting at the time. I was fishing up-stream of the Copper beech tree on the island, almost opposite the keeper's cottage.

I had spotted, close in to the bank up-stream of the point, what looked to be a fair size trout lying at the tail end of a clump of ranunculus weed. I cast several different patterns of fly to it with little reaction and had put on my own size 12 'Perseverance' pattern. (A small Grizzle hackle at the eye, a gold body, a large Badger hackle at the bend. It sits up high on the water) When put to it the fish moved on two casts to inspect this offering; on the second opportunity, turning and following 4 or 5 feet down-stream before returning to its station behind the weed.

I thought that if I cast slightly further up-stream than is usual it might give this diffident character a little more time in which to ponder upon the mouth watering morsel that I was presenting to him. Nothing ventured . . .

The fly landed on the water some 12 feet up-stream of where it was lying. As soon as it touched the water there was a great splashing take of enormous proportions and I was into - a duck!

An unseen Mallard had shot out of the reeds and taken my fly from the surface.

The initial reaction is of sickening dismay. All sorts of horrible thoughts crowd the mind, not least where the fly might be. Then, the world went mad.

Now, this was a wild duck, and I do mean wild - really wild. Not just upset. And when a wild duck decides to put the brakes on - leaning back with those two webbed feet straight out in front and wings flapping - it's like having a very large trout indeed on your line. It soon became apparent that wherever the fly was lodged it wasn't having too much effect upon this birds desire to fowl (sic) up my day.

Now, landing a wild duck which luckily had little predilection for flight is, I would subscribe, a dying art. It is not something which features with any great prominence in the modern angling journals. The stalwarts of yesteryear? Yes, they would doubtless have taken it all in their stride, but for the present day tyro certain questions needed very quick answers. How do you play a duck? Do you keep the rod tip up? What do you do if it takes to flight, play it like a kite? There are no dimly remembered library references to call upon here. No way. You are on your own.

One thing that the duck catcher has to contend with which the trout catcher does not, is the vociferous nature of his catch. Not only is it distracting, not to say disquieting, it appears designed to attract every other duck within a two mile radius to come and join in the festivities.

It eventually took me about five minutes to bring this concatenation of bad tempered beak and feathers to the bank where, with help from a friend who had appeared, puzzled by all the noise, it was netted. We could see now that the fly, thankfully, was caught in the hard tip of the beak. A deft twist with the surgeons artery forceps which I always carry with me (well, you never know) soon had it released and the duck sent on its way, muttering darkly but none the worse for wear just as the keeper appeared mentioning something about 'green peas and orange sauce'.

The trout for which I had gone through these nerve wracking moments had moved not one inch from it's position whilst all was happening about it. I put the fly over it again. ~ Mike Pratt

More Fly Fishing in Europe:
Zulu's - By Alan the Highlander
Teal Blue Variant - By Alan the Highlander
Green Highlander - By Alan the Highlander
North Donegal, Ireland - By Arthur Greenwood
Marble Trout in Slovenia - By Tomaz Modic
Red and Cinnamon Sedge - By Alan Goodwin
Rogan of Donegal - By Arthur Greenwood
Bug Tank Benefits - By Peter Lapsley
River Piddle, U.K. - By Paul Slaney
A Day on the River Test By Mike Pratt
Ladyís Fish Finder Fly By Mike Pratt
Cast Again? - By Mike Pratt
Just Good to be There - By Mike Pratt
Why Fish? - By Mike Pratt
The pleasure of anticipation . . . - By Mike Pratt
A Pleasant and Surprising Day - By Mike Pratt
Donít duck the issue! - By Mike Pratt
To Russia with Love - By Ron Gras
Just Simple Pleasure - By Mike Pratt
Rich - Beyond the Dreams of Avarice - By Mike Pratt
The Good Place (Ireland) - By Jim Clarke
The Elusive Lake - By Jim Clarke
The Big Rod - By Jim Clarke
The Bank Manager's Fish - By Jim Clarke
Catch and Release . . .or not - By Jim Clarke
Fish On Half a Rod - By Jim Clarke
Sockeye the Easy Way - By Jim Clarke
The Odd Couple - By Jim Clarke
Fly Fishing Scotland - By Franz Grimley
The Artist - By Jim Clarke
One to Remember - By Jim Clarke
The Italian Secret - By Ralph Shuey
Opening Day on an English Chalk Stream - By Roger Ellis
Kolpakova River, Western Russia - By Rob Merrill
Fishing in the Czech Republic - By Tim Baldwin
2004 Fishing Season in the Czech Republic - By Tim Baldwin

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