Thursday, February 7, 2019

Fly Fishing Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is the third largest of the Canary Islands and a true "miniature continent" as it has 14 micro climates. Accordingly, the flora varies from dense laurel forests in the north, over barren slopes, partly covered with conifers in the central area to the desert-like vegetation in the south of the island. Gran Canaria, La Gomera and Teneriffa also have freshwater reservoirs.

Since the island has a relatively dry and mild climate, there were created around 60 artificial lakes to serve as a reservoir for the orchards and vegetable fields. The roads are winding and bumpy. Nestled in the ravines and valleys are dreamy mountain villages. Palm trees, agave and cacti can spread here unhindered. The peaceful tranquility that covers the entire region makes you feel that the clocks are slowing down here.
Global warming has also left its mark on Gran Canaria. Persistent droughts made the lakes alarmingly small in recent years. The stocking of lakes mainly consists of carp and black bass. In some lakes, however, tilapia and other perch species have been exposed and have increased well over the years. 

During autumn 2018, I spent the holidays with my family on the island. Fishing was not the No.1 goal of my visit to Gran Canaria, but a welcome bonus. We decided to have some hiking days in the mountains in the Tejeda area not far away from Pico de las Nieves and Roque Nublo then we went to the coast and had some sunny days on the beach.

The fresh water reservoirs in the mountains are very popular among British carp fishermen but since a few years there is a small but keen fly fishing community on the island that is fishing these waters with great results. Two of these fly fishermen are Marek and Javier. They are fishing for carp and bass as much as their free time allows them.
It was a great September day. Dave, a British gentleman picked me up, then we met Marek and Javier and drove in the mountains to one of those magic places. We started the fishing, after a rich Canarian  meal on the lake shore. A common fly pattern used in this waters is the bread fly, fished slightly under the water surface. For this type of fishing we used cdc patterns (a deadly fly), tight on strong carp hooks. The wet cdc makes the fly sink slowly, imitating wet bread. Not after long time we sighted the first fish, some of them having a capital size.

The hot climate can easily be underestimated by inexperienced fly fishermen. Proper apparel (long sleeves shirt, high UV factor sun screen) is a must in this region of the globe. Even during late autumn the temperature rise over 30-35 degrees Celsius, that's why a tropical fly fishing line is more helpful. Sometimes long casts were required (over 20 meters), placing the fly very accurate about half a meter in front of the fish. In this situation, a short fluorocarbon leader with a small indicator worked best.

First capture was not the targeted fish, a small bass found the cdc fly also very appetizing but after a few more casts I saw a slightly movement of the indicator and set the hook. It felt like I hooked a train. The game was on. Putting a lot of pressure on the fish was not easy but a must cause of the sharp rock edges under the water. During the time, fish learned how to use well this tool while fighting fishermen. For a few moments I thought the fish will win the fight but with a little bit of luck and some help from Marek, the fish landed in the big carp net. A capital specimen estimated around 13 kg. After a brief photo session the fish was released. While I was still enjoying the moment on the shore, smoking a pipe, Marek managed to catch a smaller but very "wild" carp.

All of us caught and lost great fish during the entire day. Late evening, fish started to feed very voracious on the surface and short time after I lost a big fish, another great fish bent my 7wt rod to the edge, making my reel scream. While fighting the fish, I saw Marek fighting a fish too a few meters away from me. Both of us managed to land the fish, two beautiful big wild Canarian carps around 10 kg. After some pictures the fish had been gently released into their habitat, letting behind two happy and exhausted fly fishermen.

Gran Canaria is a beautiful island with a great potential for fly fishing on wild carp and different bass species. Size of the fish should not be underestimated, that's why a strong 7/8 wt rod is minimal required on carp fishing. I managed to catch during this trip my biggest carp on fly and it was hell of a fun. Don't forget to buy your fishing licence. And last but not least many thanks to Marek, Javier and Corsican Dave. 

© Pictures by Fly Fishing Gran Canaria - Photography & V.A.Rusu

Monday, July 23, 2018

Summer time / Foam time

Returned from our salmon fishing trip on the River Byske, we found the home waters very low. Fishing spots changed a lot during the last weeks but the river was still fishable. Hot weather and low water level made vegetation grow fast. The river carries during this time of the year a lot of candy from insects to small brood fish and mussels. The big specimens are lurking in the grass for the goodies, places where a proper presentation of the fly is a little bit more difficult to do but not impossible. 

I got a phone call from Silviu who went for a few hours on the water and had a good time hooking some nice fish on foam flies. After watching some pictures of the fish, I got itchy hands and thought that I need to go out as soon as possible, at least for a few hours. 

Two days after our talking I was on the water. Fishes where rising from time to time. I put some of my big rubber leg foam flies and cast over the grass sheet, letting the bug drift downstream. Suddenly a wave appeared and the foam was merely inhaled by the monster. I rose the rod and the fish went immediately into the thick grass labyrinth. It wasn't easy to get the big ide out of it's hiding spot but after a few minutes the fish was in the net. During the few morning hours spent on the water I managed to catch one more ide and a chub and lost two more nice fish. 


1. Don't fish too light on hot summer days. Fight the fish hard, don't play them too long especially if you don't plan to take them home. We always use a 7wt rod on waters that holds big fish.

2. Don't go with your tippet under 0,18 mm on spots with lots of vegetation. You'll have some snags and with a thicker tippet you'll manage easier to get the fly out of the grass without to spook the fish.

3. A 9 foot tapered leader is more then enough.

4. Big fish will take a big a foam fly tied on a hook size 2-4 will produce most of the time big fish.

5. Rubber legs are a big extra. Longer legs are better then shorter ones.  They move naturally and the fish like that.

6. Experiment with colors. For example, orange and beige flies works best on the waters I fish nowadays, while green and black worked best on the rivers I fished years ago in Transylvania. Find out what is the best choice for your water.

7. Be creative with your presentation... try everything from dead drift to skating the fly. If you're fishing the fly in a dead drift and the fish rise but does not take the fly, just give it an extra move with a short pull in the line. That usually helps.

Pictures by S. Stricat, V. A. Rusu

Monday, May 21, 2018

Reconditioning Graphite Rods (Part I)

A few months ago, one of my working colleagues told me, she found in the cellar of her new home some fishing gear, some rods, and reels. Two of the rods looked like a fly fishing gear in her opinion and asked me if I don’t need them. Of course, I said yes. Big surprise when I saw the rods, two ultralight graphite spinning rods from the beginning of the 90’s. Without to think too much about, I took them and let them rest in a corner of my room. Some weeks after, on a sunny day, I had the muse to put a fly fishing reel on them and to make some casts on the loan. I was surprised about the smoothness of these blanks, so I thought it would be nice to give them a second life.

First of all, I removed the duplon grips and the guides. The rods have been built on asymmetric blanks, one of them with a length of 8’, the second one 6’8’’. Brought the blanks to Theo Matschewsky, a very skilled german rodsmith. He measured them, the smaller one corresponding to a 2wt and the longer to a 3wt rod with a medium-fast action. Theo exchanged the tips with solid carbon tips (Solitip, a method he developed during the years) and enforced the cuffs with carbon fiber (Solicuff). Next step was to remove the coating of the blanks and put on them a thin polyurethane coating, making them look vintage. 

Mounting the Ritz cork grips and lightweight reel seats have been the next step. Now that the guide spacing is also done, just have to wrap the guides and finish the rods. Stay tuned for the next stage of this two rods. 

For more information about the Solitip take a look at Theo's webpage:
...or watch him on youtube: Solitip

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mayfly time...

"Fairies are invisible and inaudible like angels. But their magic sparkles in nature." - Lynn Holland

May time is their time. I can lay in the grass, on the bank of the river and watch them dance for hours. It's pure magic. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Kola Peninsula - Part II

After long discussions about the situation, we renounced to the rotation on Eastern Litza. There was nothing left to do but to take the boat and try to catch some fish from the deep pools in the middle of the river. Heavy tackle, extra fast sinking lines, big weighted rabbit streamer, a long and tiring battle started, like the siege of a fortress. We managed to capture some fish between 2-4lbs but the result was unsatisfactory. 

One day we went to Oset to try our luck on one of Kharlovka's tributaries, a small creek. After a good walk, we reached that place. The creek was a wild river. After another day without the desired results, we slowly headed towards the base camp, passing by a snow wall of impressing dimensions. On the day before the last day, insects began discreetly to hatch, first some brown caddis, then small and medium-sized stoneflies. Fishing from the shore not far away from Andre, I saw he needed help. His rod was bent to the edge. After a few minutes, he managed to bring a superb male fish to the net.

Looking on the water surface, I saw a suspect move a few meters offshore. I tied a Kola Killer and cast into that place. After the second strip, I felt a heavy pull in the rod and the reel started to scream. Suddenly the fish stopped its race and then turned quickly into the shore direction. With long strips, I managed to keep the tension in the line. The fish swam in front of me and headed for the branches of a submerged tree. I knew that if it came into the branches, the battle was lost so I put more power into the bent rod. With an annoying sound, the last segment broke a few inches away from the ferrule. The fish managed to win the battle, breaking the tipped.

Fortunately, I was able to recover my broken segment before it plunged into Kharlovka's deep and wild waters. As I arrived in the camp, I headed for my tent. I was tired and disappointed. The last day arrived. After breaking the camp, we decided to spend the hours before the helicopter arrived at the home pool. Fishing with the two-handed rod, I managed to capture a beautiful trout around 5lbs on a caddis pupa, the biggest fish I caught during the whole week and also my new trout best personal record. The helicopter arrived much earlier than expected, then started the long and tiring way home.

The Russian tundra is a wild and unpredictable backcountry in all aspects. Although the expedition was planned for the week that over the years proved to be the most prolific, this time it was not so. I traveled so far to fish with the dry fly for capital trout specimens. Unfortunately, insects didn't hatch (especially ephemerids) and the fish were all caught with a heavy streamer or deep-fished nymphs. The number of catches was extremely small.

The first two fishing weeks offered by the organizing company were canceled due to the weather conditions and the high water levels. All of our group and most of the other groups felt that this week should have been canceled too and reprogrammed, later in the summer or for next year considering the disability conditions in which we started and continued the fishing week. It would have been a different situation if the weather conditions were suddenly broken during the week. The rest of the organization was good, the logistics side evolved smoothly and the tents were in good condition. The Kola Peninsula is a great place and I can recommend it to any fly fisherman who is looking for big brown trout. Fishing in Kola is not cheap, but the sensation you have when you're there is unique. I definitely know, one day I'll return.

© Pictures by V.A.Rusu, Andre Hesselrot
For more pictures visit Andre's blog: FLYSLINGERS