Skues and Halford to the Present New Zealand Day
Skues was a nymph man, then Halford went dry.
When we see the way the press and media go on about events in our lifetime, you have to shake your head. And think fly fishing is the best. Wet or dry. A kind of escapism with the best possible conclusion. A fish. Be it a brown coloured one or a rainbow coloured one or a funny coloured one. They all count be they small or big.
So, it’s refreshing to know that for some of us the only argument going on in life is the nymph and the dry argument. Things could be much worse.
The history of angling has come far. I think that’s why it’s called History.
Skues, whose full name was George Edward MacKenzie Skues, had a mouthful of a name and so stuck with just Skues. But despite the name he managed to write “Treatyse of Fysshynge Wyth an Angle” in 1885. Whether our language has progressed since then is debatable. He also wrote “Minor tactics of the Chalk Stream” in 1910. More major tactics are required these days. Booking flights to NZ notwithstanding.
Both books make excellent bedtime reading though.
In those days they used the term “angle”. Which was all well-and-good when you had a mobile sundial and a good angle on things. Especially an angle that hooked you a fish for dinner in the days prior to Catch-and-Release.
He wasn’t a bad tier of the fly either.
Interim: A good song to have running through your head when the fish are Spooky or Spooked though is this. And if the music doesn’t tickle your fancy the images are a pretty good representation of the best films ever.
Rod technology has come a long way, too. From silly underwear with spears, to greenheart rods, to hexagonal bamboo, then impregnated hexagonal bamboo, to high-tech graphite, all in the space of a few decades or two on our human timescale. I’m just hoping that it will never come to wearing Kevlar vests and using bazookas.
Yet we find ourselves in not a dissimilar situation to our casting brothers from times gone by. And we still catch fish like they did. The bloke with the fish-stick is entirely responsible though, and what he can hook he can land under the right circumstances. Even with a horrible Nor’ Wester.
And if all else fails, there’s always the trout-tickling option, although I’ve never seen it done myself. My last experiment with the TT maneuver was most amusing, but sadly just had me lying in a prone horizontal position tickling algae-covered rocks all afternoon.
Now, obviously, I’m not fortunate enough to have lived through the generations of those that have been amongst us fisher-people who love to simply be by a river with a rod and await a hatch.
So, I’ll continue with the not-so-latter-day-take on recent fishing events.
To the Land of the New Zealand Land. The Land of the Beautiful Scenery, with the fish that care not a dot about Skues’ or Halford’s issues about dry vs wet.
At the end of the day, trout, whatever their colour, are much like ourselves:
They need to eat.
As humanoids we have decided to put this into a 3-part daily thing. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
Trout however are far cleverer than us and just eat all day. They don’t pay for delivery and don’t worry if the food hasn’t arrived in 30 minutes as one of their brothers or sisters downstream will happily pick up what’s missed, clung to a small rolling stone or just floating by on the surface.
I’m not a statistician, but I reckon the chances of one of those bugs whizzing past with a hook attached to some furry or feathery size 20 and up hook is pretty remote. Yet we land the odd one sometimes.
The Nymph v The Dry
Nymphs run deep
I’t's their very nature
Dry flies float high
It’s there nature, too
But both get gobbled from under or above
By fishes that want a meal
And hence the Human invention of the hook
Funniest River Names
Nile. Should have been called Miles and Miles and Miles River. ‘Cos it is.
Wangapeka. Beautiful river to fish on even if you catch no fish. You can always have a giggle about Woodpeckers and Rivers.
Ribble (Lancashire, UK). Never ripples. Always in flood.
Upukerora. When I first heard the name I was baffled by the sound. Later on though I realised it meant, “If you pack her, you gotta wear her”.
And I’m lucky enough to have a wife who doesn’t mind a day out fishing.
Tight Lines to anyone who reads this. And slack lines to those that don’t.