Franconian Switzerland - fly fishing on the Wiesent

Franconian Switzerland - fly fishing on the Wiesent

It is considered one of the best fishing waters for trout and grayling in Europe, the Wiesent River in Franconian Switzerland. So it's no wonder that while driving along the river, we notice numerous fly fishermen on the bank, who are trying their hand at fishing with the unique casting technique, sometimes more and sometimes less professionally.

A little later, an expert in the field of fly fishing tells us that the casting technique of fly fishing is the be-all and end-all of this fishing sport.

Tying these "flies" becomes a hobby in its own right

DSC 2512Compared to normal fishing, where a fish prey is lowered or thrown into the water by its own weight, sometimes with additional weights, fly fishing differs mainly in that the bait is too light to throw, which is why the weight of the special Fishing line is used here as a casting weight. In order to fish successfully with this equipment, you need a sophisticated casting technique and also a special fishing tackle. Since the bait can be seen as an imitation of a fly, it is called fly fishing, but other flying, land and water insects or small prey fish are also imitated. Some fly fishermen even use very creative in-house developments with colourful feathers or even pieces of fur to fish successfully. In the meantime, tying these “flies” has developed into a hobby in its own right, and even into a profession.

As already mentioned, fly fishing is not based on the casting principle of other fishing techniques. Instead of accelerating a lead weight with a leader (as in bottom fishing) or using the dead weight of a spoon (as in spin fishing), only the weight of the line is used here to transport dry, wet flies, nymphs or streamers to the target.

Place the fly properly

DSC 2515The rod arm is angled at the beginning and the tip of the rod points towards the water surface. Then, in one fluid motion, the tip of the rod is raised and moved back and forth to the line of sight. It is important that the wrist - if at all - is not opened before the stop.

Compared to a dial, the throwback is stopped at around 1h and the final throw between 10 and 11h. After that, the rod is slowly lowered to 9 o'clock. It is absolutely necessary to provide sufficient resistance so that the line unrolls completely and the fly can be placed in the right place.

On the Wiesent we even come across a training center for fly fishing

DSC 2522In order to reach greater distances, additional line is held in large loops in the line hand. Then the line is extended in the air until the rod is well loaded, then after the stop at the final cast, the loops in the line hand are released.

Due to the accelerated mass of the line, these additional meters of line are ripped out of your hand, which means that the cast can be significantly lengthened. This means that throw distances of up to 30 m can be achieved with conventional equipment. Professionals achieve even greater distances. We even come across a training centre for fly fishing on the Wiesent and can speak briefly to a "fly fishing apprentice" from Dresden, who spends a few days on the river and has booked the fly fishing seminar offered here together with his son.

Fly Lines

DSC 2530The fly lines are available in different cross-sections, which are identified by special abbreviations. The usual forms are:

    L (level, the line cross-section remains the same over the entire length)
    DT (double taper, tapered on both sides)
    ST (shooting taper, shooting head)
    WF (weight forward, also called club line, the line gets thicker towards the front like a club)
    TT (triangle taper, similar to the WF with a longer front taper)

TT taper lines are ideal for dry fly fishing

DSC 2534WF lines are the most popular today. These can be thrown easier and further and have differently shaped clubs depending on the intended use. TT taper lines are ideal for dry fly fishing because they unroll particularly easily and evenly due to their club shape. DT lines are mostly used on rods with a fully parabolic action. They also allow the line to be laid down gently on the water, which can be advantageous for small bodies of water and shy fish. In addition, a DT line can be used in the opposite direction for the same length of time if one end is badly worn. However, only if you never use more than half the line length (small streams) and take good care of the line.

The cords are further divided according to their buoyancy behaviour into floating (F, floating) and sinking (S, sinking) cords. Various sinking speeds are offered for sinking lines, and there are also so-called sink tip (the first few meters sink in) and intermediate (floating at a defined water depth) lines. Floating lines are the most common because they are easier to use than sinking lines and most water conditions can be navigated with a floating line.

Floating lines are the most common

DSC 2536Fly fishing, we are told, is possible on almost any body of water and for almost any fish. However, the most widespread is fly fishing for trout, grayling, char and salmon, so that this type of fishing is mainly found in the natal rivers of these fish species. The artificial flies used float on the water surface as prey. Inevitably, the “flies” must be made of floating material such as deer hair, or the materials must be additionally greased. Dry flies usually imitate adult (aquatic) insects, either those that sit on the surface film of the water to lay their eggs (imagos), those that just hatch out of the larval shell and break through the water surface (emergers). to emerge) or insects that have died after laying their eggs and float on the water surface with outstretched wings (spents). In addition, dry flies also include replicas of land insects (terrestrials), such as grasshoppers, ants or beetles. Dry flies can mainly be used to catch fish that "rise" when approaching food, i.e. eat insects from the water surface.

Eat insects from the water surface

DSC 2538Wet fly fishing is the historically oldest form of fly fishing. Wet flies are artificial flies that do not swim and thus imitate nymphs ascending to hatch under the water surface or dead insects floating. Nymph fishing means fishing with special flies that sink just like wet flies. However, unlike wet flies, nymphs mimic the larval stages of aquatic insects. Nymphs are often weighed down with lead wire or something similar in order to be able to fish in deeper water areas. Classic-type wet flies are unweighted, but nymphs are weighted in most cases with a gold head, tungsten ball, or lead wire.

Nymph fishing means fishing with special flies

Streamer fishing represents the boundary between fly fishing and spin fishing. Streamers are artificial lures that imitate small fish, mice or the like (imitation streamers) or are intended to tempt the predatory fish to bite with their bright colors (stimulation streamers). "Flies" are these lures only in that they are made from fly tying materials such as feathers, hair or yarn. Streamer fishing is aimed at predatory fish and is therefore usually done with heavy fly gear.

So it's the sportier way of fishing

DSC 2547The main aim of the fly-fishing seminar is to train the anglers in such a way that they can successfully cast short, medium and long distances without using too much effort. This is especially true with regard to obstacles in the water, where, in addition to executing the cast and guiding the nymph correctly, you also have to concentrate on your own stability. In addition, there is the timely detection of a bite. So it's the more sporty type of fishing that requires great physical skill and active behaviour.

After all this knowledge, we were able to look at the fly fishermen along the Wiesent with different eyes and see them more as athletes than as pure anglers. The meadows along the Wiesent, which are easy to walk on, also invite you to go fly fishing.

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