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A summer fish
Evening in August
It is evening and the light winds of a late summer sweeps around my face. I smell the different flowers and the sea as I walk along the beach. The sand has this golden tone and the water is clear and very calm. Too calm? I cannot tell. Sea trout in the autumn can be picky under all conditions and I don't think one is better than the other. The season will close sooner than I like and this evening might be on of my last before three months of quarantine forces me into, fly tying, socializing and what have you.
A couple who are obviously very much in love, lie on the beach and don't see much of the world but themselves and the intimate action which is about to start shortly - so it seems. Wondering if I should hide and spice up this article with some new photos for GFF, I stroll along the beach, heading for the first reef after the golden bay.
The gear I use is a 9' , #5 rod with a floating line being either WF or shooting head set-up.
9' leaders with a 3-4' tippet being 0.20 mm.
The flies aren't the most advanced ones. I use small nymphs and gammarus patterns like Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, Red Tag Nymph, foam beetles etc.
I have caught ide from April to September at the spots where I normally fish for sea trout.
It does not take me long before I am at the place. I sit down on a rock just behind a big bunker.
My eyes look at the water. At first, close to where I sit, then I look further. A fin is breaking the surface, quietly and with a stealth attitude, some 40 meters from the shore. Then another one. I wait. Are they staying or are they fast swimmers? It seems they are not moving fast as two more fish appear in the water.
I make my way to the best casting position and crosses some deep under water channels, slippery rocks and weeds of betrayal. I am there. Ready. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting…. The fish have moved on and I can start thinking of what timing means to fishing or life in general.
The fly makes its way through the air and ands with a small plop 25 meters out. Nice. It is a wonderful to use the light class five rod in such a nice, evening of August. I cast and cast and the fly seeks the water in a fan-shaped pattern.
After I have fished the water thoroughly two times I decide to make short break and I start wheeling up my line, when a fish takes my fly. It is heavy and feels a little lazy. It is not a trout, that is for sure. The fight is over in a glimpse and I can land a beautiful, copper colored ide. A quick photo is taken and it get back into the water. I followed it, while it slowly mades it's way over the sandy bottom and at last disappears behind some rocks and sea weed on slightly deeper water.
I don't now how big it is. I estimate to be around 3.5 kilos, which I consider a decent size. The fly is a very neutral, light brown gammarus pattern. Not my favorite kind of fly, but I have tied it some years ago and why it now was at the end of my tippet was not clear - not even though I have tied it on myself, not long ago.
The gammarus gets wet a few times more before the next bigger ide takes it. Brilliant. What an action packed hour just started. It is digitized within a few minutes. Bigger fish are patrolling and feeding on the small shrimps. Some of them must weigh more 4+ kilos I think, when I compare the size of the fish I just released with another one cruising around not ore then 6-7 meters from me. My fly is presented perfectly at least ten times but the bigger fish show no interest at all.
The school is growing bigger and there must be 50-70 fish now
The school is growing bigger and there must be 50-70 fish now. Some of them coming quite close to me while others seem to take their precautions more seriously. I have a few more takes but I didn't set the hook. Then another one gets on and I fight it hard as I want to get a photo of in while the sun is still in the horizon, but disappearing rapidly. It is strong. Much stronger than the others. YES! It is a trout and it takes off in a splashing "swwwuiiish", when it sees me and vice versa. It is a good fish. 3-4 kilos. It is a tremendous fight and I still get surprised how strong these autumn fish are. No doubt, he will make it a long way up in the river systems showing this power.
After 15 minutes, maybe more it is finally ready for landing - I think, but when it comes close to me it takes off one last time and the hook gets out with a metallic and vibrating sound. Well, it felt so. Arrrghh!! The disappoint and dissatisfaction is the same whenever you loose a fish and it only grows bigger when the fish is of good size. Unexpected to get a trout, but what a fight and what a landing I had done and what pictures I had taken of it, when it all suddenly just disappeared and vanished as the splash was washed away by new waves from the Baltic Sea.
I do fish more concentrated know. Maybe there a school of bigger fish going to the rivers were coming close now. It wasn't so.
The trout was a lonely wolf of the sea, so I had to be easily satisfied with the ides I got, and I was.
The fist meeting
When I first caught an ide, I didn't know what it was. It looked like a big and fat roach. It happened in July some 10 years ago. I was with my friend Alex fishing for grayling in the mid part of Sweden and we have fished a long stretch of rapid and white water and was now at this pool, where the water was calm and slow flowing.
We were sitting on the bank and drinking water and eating apples looking at the surface, trying to see if the life in the pool was different from the fast water. Ants were falling into the water on the other side of the pool, and small fish were making rings in the surface when they raised to get the black little, snack.
Not much happened and I tied on the smallest ant I had in my box - a size 20 with a short, white wing of poly yarn. It drifted free and slowly, following the speed of the current. When it was at the dropping-ants-place it was sipped in by one small fish. I raised the rod and I did feel a much heavier fish than I expected. After a short fight I could land my first ide, not knowing what exactly it was.
Because we were camping, sleeping in tents and did not bring in much food, we decided to kill it and make it our dinner. We caught a few more and kept yet another one.
Back at the camp we fried them and spiced them up with salt, butter and chili pepper and made it come with rice on the side. I cannot recommend it! Ides are not for eating. The ones we caught tasted "swampy" and we ended up having rice, butter and biscuits.
Warning - the ide is not good for eating. It has a odd taste!
I have ran to schools of ides or individuals every now and then. Sometimes they are fairly easy to get onto the fly and sometimes they are just lethargic. Frustrating can it be, that is for sure. They may be like zombies for a day and two and then suddenly they move back into normal fish mode and again are fairly easy to catch. When they are in the difficult mood I have had most success using smaller cdc-like dry flies but my I haven't fished them that hard, so giving concrete advices might be a little over the top.
They can be just as teasing and provocative as mullets, which has a rumor of driving anglers to madness when big schools of 2-4 kilos fish just pass the fly for days, and days and days. Due that fact, the ide is sometimes referred to as the fresh water mullet.
Years ago Martin and I did some city fishing and we ended up fishing south of Copenhagen center. It was a kind of a bay and a small island was making an interesting formation into the water. There were plenty of ides chasing insects, mostly beetles and midges. Schools of perch were chasing fry and the water exploded in silver fireworks, when they attacked the poor fish from beneath.
It should be an easy job to get an ide to take the fly. We fished and fished and fished. Tried the whole pina collada with sliced fruit, paper umbrellas and everything we had in our boxes were thrown at them. Martin tied on a Foam Head CDC and Elk. It sat nicely on the surface. No fish were around, but when the first one cruising by saw the fly it sipped it in, slowly and with no drama. Martin set the hook perfectly and the first ide was a reality - after 3 hours of non-stop fishing.
I changed to a green nymph and got a few small perch but no ides. Martin did not get any more either, even though there were hundreds of fish. Amazing.
Flies and Facts
The ide (Leuciscus idus), or orfe is a freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae found across northern Europe and Asia. It occurs in larger rivers, ponds, and lakes, typically in schools. The name is from Swedish id, originally referring to its bright color (compare the German dialect word aitel 'a kind of bright fish' and Old High German eit 'funeral pyre, fire').
The body has a typical cyprinid shape and generally silvery appearance, while the fins are a pinkish red in varying degrees. The tail and dorsal fin can be greyish. In older and bigger fish the body color can turn to yellow/bronze.
Ides are predators, eating insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and small fish. In the spring, they move into rivers to spawn over gravel or vegetation; the eggs may be found sticking to stones or weeds in shallow water.
The big "roach" a has yellow eyes and reddish stomach and reddish dorsal fin. The ide can weigh up to 4 kilos but fish weighing more than two kilos are considered rare. In mid March and April the ide spawns in rapid flowing streams. The female spawn up 100,000 eggs on sand and gravel. The eggs will hatch after fourteen days. A part of the big fish dies right after spawning like salmon.
In Denmark the ide becomes more and more rare and only inhabits in a few streams and rivers. The ide lives in every area of the water, but prefers to hunt at the bottom for benthos and remains of plants. The ide feeds on caddis larvaes, small mussels, snails, worms, gammarus and fry. Bigger ides even eat small fish.