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2012

Slovenian Graylings are not grey

Everything gleaming IS gold (in one way or another)!

Slovenian graylings are not grey. Their almost golden scales will light up even the darkest of days and size doesn’t always matter when beauties like these are lifted to waiting cameras. Today, I was hunting Slovenian gold and there was even something golden about the day, the weather and my state of mind………..

I’m always a sucker for absolute contrasts. Yesterday I was fishing a deep and narrow pool with a five weight rod and a rather heavy nymph. Short upstream casts, free drift with my eyes glued to the tip of the line and the natural lift when I regained contact with the line about 45 degrees downstream. On the sixth cast my spine felt something indecipherable before my eyes saw the invisible movement of the tip of the line and I struck. The fish went down, stayed down and I still hadn’t seen it as the fly lost grip of its conqueror about five minutes later. Following the well-known principle about fish you lose, I instantly overestimated the beast to “at least three kilos”. Full of adrenalin, anger and disappointment I swore revenge over the river and got ready to attack its inhabitants with even more focused intensity, when something flashed close by and the roar of thunder followed almost instantly. Then it started to rain. Not the cheerful drizzle of a Norwegian summer, but the intense Mediterranean down-pour that soaks everything before you even start thinking of running for cover.

The two hour rainstorm had washed away yesterday’s humidity and low air pressure, cleared up the new day and, even more important, increased the water level by a few centimeters. As I was walking downstream in the lower parts of Sava Bohijnka, I carefully studied the different pools for surface activity. I have no aversions towards nymphing, but my preference for dry fly fishing is embedded deep in the core of my ineffective soul. I was going to fish lighter today and was bringing only one rod; a Brook three weight measuring only seven and a half feet.

“There. That must have been a rise”. The pool was about 20 meters long; deep and narrow at the top and gradually turning shallower and wider towards the end. I crouched down and tip-toed the last meters of the pool so that I could I could watch future events unfold without being seen. During the next few minutes, I saw a number of rises and felt the effect of small doses of adrenaline being pumped into my blood. I started with a small ant Juré had given me. A black, two-bumped body with a couple of rounds of grizzly hackle between the bumps, tied on a size 18 hook.  I casted up-stream with enough angle to keep the fly line away from the eyes of the fish and aimed for a nice one towards the end of the pool. It took on the second cast and I managed to wait just long enough with the strike. The first time it jumped, I saw the glint of gold and screamed “yes”, loud enough to scare even myself and mentally crossed my fingers. A big golden grayling was one of the main targets for this trip and I had just hooked one of them. Five minutes later I lifted the fat, yellowish creature and instantly experienced the characteristic smell of thyme. During the fight, Juré had arrived with his camera and took as nice pictures it’s possible to take with me inside the frame.

The next fish grabbing my ant was not a grayling, was not landed and was a great deal bigger. The frantic rainbow took the fly and immediately raced for the bushes on the other side of the upper part of the pool. I couldn’t do anything and before I knew, about 4 seconds after, it went around a branch and was gone. “Wow”, Jure said. “That was a very nice rainbow”. I had to take five to regain my composure. The ant was history and because we could see several big graylings further up in the pool, still feeding from the surface, he told me to tie a small, Slovenian Red Tag on the leader; size 18, grizzly hackled and with the well know red tail.

I managed to catch three more of the golden delights before the fun was over; the largest well over a kilo. The Brook three weight rod was a perfect choice for these conditions and had no problems whatsoever at handling the fish. My thirsty soul was temporarily quenched by the golden scales, the smell of thyme and by the unquestionable beauty of my immediate surroundings. Oh, happy day!

 

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