Monday, 29 July 2013

The Trout Bohemia NZ Fly Fishing Book Review, Trout Diaries, Stu Tripney

The Trout Bohemia - avaiable @ Stu's Fly Shop

My nose is so cold and it is supposed to be summer here in Yellowstone Park - maybe the bears are hibernating this summer? Deciding there is no choice, I gently roll over and push my nose into the cheap Walmart pillow. It is now I am wishing I had purchased the more expensive, softer one but the scottish blood in me got the better of me.

It was full moon last night and maybe that was the cause of the constant chatter of the Canadian geese most of the night in the meadow beside the tent.The red stuff is starting to circulate round my ever increasing nose of old age and it starts to feel normal again.
I smile as the noisy geese take flight to pastures new, all is quite again. Drifting off into a dream of bears sniffing round the tent after my prized fly tying material, my mind plays tricks on me.
Suddenly my eyes are open as I feel the corner of my new travel book dig into the side of my neck, left there from the night before.

The Trout Bohemia is the book spawned from Derek Grzelewski's first book The Trout Diaries. My mind wanders back to some of the chapters that were dreamily read late last night - until my hands got too cold.
Smiling and staring at the condensation on the roof of the tent, casting my mind back to some of the interesting and juicy bits. "Wonder if I know that guy in the North Island? Surely I know that river? So that is where and how the jet boat engine started its life!
"Those bohemians must have come through the shop at some stage over the years. I must know most of them!"


The battery life in the lantern was gradually dying but that did not matter. The sun was rising and its warm rays started to light up the inside of the tent. Great! Enough visibility to read and to be taken for another great adventure in the pages of the book before it is time to string up my fly rod and chase some small Yellowstone grayling.

Closing the book, I unzip the tent with a smile on my face, the fish are calling. Or is it just the fresh air? Whilst playing with water and the creatures that live in it on the other side of the world, my mind seems to be constantly going back to different chapters in the book. 
Only two other authors have ever managed to do this to me, a great travel writer, Paul Theroux and fly fishing legend author John Gierach.

Derek Grzelewski is writing his way to greatness and has yet again crafted another awesome book.
He has an unique gift of taking the reader on a true journey. A thought provoking love story about trout, bohemians, emotions, love, knowledge and a dog he sleeps with.
Just like The Trout Diaries, you will end up reading The Trout Bohemia book more than once and using it as a reference guide in more than one way. 

Warming up after a cold night camping

Your mind will wander back and forth whilst reading it and for months after. I can promise you that part.
How is my casting? What can I do to improve my love life? Do I like dogs? What do I want out of life? Do I have the right fly tied on?Am I really here for the fish?
Once Derek Grzelewski has finished writing about NZ and its trout and people, I personally can not wait until he wanders off to other continents to chase other species of fish - and  meets the bohemians that chase them. I hope he takes his pen and paper with him, the world is his oyster! The Fly Fishing Bohemians Vol 1 - 100!

Thank you for your great work Derek.

Though maybe he has found his true love?
A book worth the wait.
Thank you for your great work Derek.

Stu Tripney
Owner of Stu's Fly Shop, Stu's Superior Flies and NZ Fly Fishing School.

The book is available here.

Quotes from the book:

"Stu travelled to have her look at his casting, a twelve hour return drive for an one hour lesson. That meeting was a turning point and it led Stu on an adept journey from one teacher to another."

"Then - ah, shit! he said, lowering his weapon. What? He knows we are here! Has it spooked? I can still see him! Yeah, but he won't eat anymore. How do you know? See his dorsal fin?"

"Life had its own natural velocity, he told me and no amount of impatience, of rushing or pushing things along would change that. 
You couldn't rush a sunset or a hatch, you could only be there to witness and experience it in its own time."

"I drove around asking about him but no one, not even as it turned out, his closest neighbor could tell me who and where he was. I asked two men repairing an old Bedford truck, a rust bucket that looked freshly salvaged from a west coast swamp and they replied with blank stares: Evans. You know, the gold diver? I persisted? Ah, cave man! One of them lit up. Sure, we know cave man, he is in the house next door."

"The Trout Bohemia has priorities different from those of most other people, and often a different set of values, which can be at odds with those of society. By definition, Bohemianism is unconditional even be nonconformist and might even be seen as an escape from reality. If not a subscription of a different kind of reality altogether."

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Carp Fly Fishing, Best Carp Flies, Carp Fly Fishing Books, Fly Fishing for Carp, Superior Carp Flies

Stu's Superior Flies - the full Stu's Superior Carp range will be available soon


There is something absolutely magical about sight fishing. It is all about the visuals, watching the fishes' behavior as you try to tempt it with your hook covered in thread & feathers. "Come on fish "
"This  is the best tasting morsel you will ever eat."Trust me!"
More often than not you will get the famous carp rejection. It is this part of the game we play with nature, that I am sure that keeps us coming back. We Humans love the big R, I am sure.
The bonus part is when we do not get rejected and the fish moves gracefully towards your fly and inhales it. That fuzzy warm sensation comes over us and for some a heart attack is not far away.

sexy rubber lips!

                                           KISS OF DEATH

With carp fishing here in the USA on some of the gin clear waterways in which carp may be found, the visuals of this type of fishing are the draw card.
You will get rejected, humbled and once you have experienced it, you will keep coming back. Because when you get your fly accepted and engulfed by miss rubber lips, you will be converted. And you will dream about those rubber lips.


Stu's Deadly Gimp
Keep your rod tip low, strip strike and your new 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser will take off.
Very few carp take to the air when hooked, they just seem to go and go with amazingly strong thrust of their very powerful tails.
Like most fly fishing, you can use any rod and reel to catch carp. Though if you have a stiff fly rod with a fighting butt and a good drag on your reel, you will enjoy it even more so. A 6wgt is OK, though a heavier wgt rod will help you cast into wind and control the fish more easily. You will also be able to cast some heavy weight flies out with more ease.
Although it's great casting light flies out, I have found that in deeper water with carp that primarily feed on the bottom, you will need to use heavy flies at some point - to get down into the zone.

                              FOOL THE WARY BUGGERS
"come and eat me strip" - success!!

Carp feed by smell and sight mainly. If you have for example a carp moving along the bottom looking for food, you need to intercept the fish with your fly and make the fish see it. Do not cast on top of it.
Cast far enough in front of the fish and let your fly sink to the bottom. Be patient. Wait for the fish to be pretty much on top of the fly and then give it the "come and eat me strip."
Remember carp and most other fish do not like flies attacking them so always try to get your fly looking like it is trying to escape from the carp. This will trigger the predator instinct of the fish.

                                  THE TAKE- STRIP STRIKE

Dylan is doing some fancy yoga moves to get this one in.
You will see the carp dart towards your fly and slightly tip up upwards as it inhales your fly off the bottom. Strip strike and hopefully you are connected. If not - provided you have made a strip strike  and not a trough strike, your fly should be still in the zone and the fish may give chase and drill down on your fly again. Giving you another chance, normally I have found the second chance is your last chance.
Once you feel the fish, keep a tight line, adjust your drag settings quite high and hang on for a powerful fun fight.

                                        STRONG HOOKS

12lb-  20lb Fluorocarbon tippet and saltwater bone fish leader and flies tied on the best strongest hooks! are recommended. Knowing this will help you fish and fighting the fish with confidence. I like to push my gear to the limits when carp fishing and not exhaust the fish. Very rarely do I see my backing, though it is needed.
The few occasions I have seen my backing is when I have connected with a 15lb+ fish on a still water - when even with a lot of pressure on. The big ones you just can not stop.
I have a been a carp junkie for over 9 years, coming over to the States in my quest for my visual carp fishing fix.
Months at a time has been spent working out how to catch these awesome fish. This carp season I have managed to put the finishing touches to my go -to Superior Carp flies.
They all should be available through the web site by November 2013.
The  carp fly range will have bottom flies, mid column flies and surface flies - all especially designed for  fooling our rubber lipped wary carp friends.

All my flies are tied on the best strongest Tiemco hooks.

There are more and more resources available nowadays. Two of my favorite are books: Carp On The Fly and the latest one released in 2013 called Fly Fishing For Carp by Kirk Deeter.

Kirk Deeter & I @ ICAS Las Vegas - thanks for signing my copy.

A few DVDs have also been made, though I feel none are that special. One I do remember and it was an old one, showed carp all over the place in a lake,though they struggled to catch a few. That was great to view, though I do not think that's what they were trying to show.

                                       CARP FLY LINES

This year also sees two of the main fly line companies releasing carp fly lines. RIO was the first in 2012 and this year Cortland has also released a line. Both lines are floating and are capable of fishing over medium weighted flies.

                                          CARP GEAR

I have purchased two carp fly fishing t-shirts over the years from USA fly shops. Derek De Young - the fish artist from Livingston, Montana has now carp scale iPhone covers. Lots of USA guides and shop owners on their days  off prefer to go for a carp fish rather than trout.

                               INTRODUCED TROUT & CARP

An interesting point from the book Fly Fishing For Carp was the reminder that carp were introduced. To the USA from Europe at the same time as they introduced brown trout.
The two main species of carp I fish for are the common and the mirror carp. There are also grass carp which I hear  are even harder to catch as they feed on vegetation only. The mirror and common carp are very opportunistic and will feed on nymphs, minnows, crayfish and midge and hopper from the surface in some areas.
Give another species a try and you will find out why they are known as the fresh water bone fish and fresh water permit.
I hope this has helped some of you and got you twitching.
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Book your guiding trip for this year - the NZ Fly Fishing School is taking bookings now. November is nearly booked out, some days are available in October.

Monday, 8 July 2013


It has always been a bit of a dream to go to Florida and fly fish for Tarpon. 
Why? Maybe it's just guiding so many people who have been there and recommended it, tempted fate. Also know it is not known as the easiest place in the world to catch a Tarpon - so for me that makes it even more of a challenge. Friends have been there over the years and in 10 - 14 days guided fly fishing 2 fish landed has been the norm, although many have also blanked. Many have hooked and jumped fish but never get them to the boat.

A very kind customer this year recommended that I  must go and experience the fishery and offered to help me out when I get there with his knowledge and use of his own flats boat.
Arriving in Key West and it was raining - soon dampens my thoughts a wee bit. Now my friend would also not be able to make it and my fishing plans were not going to be as smooth as I had hoped. Realizing that not having local knowledge and use of a flats boat it was time to scramble around and see to hire some guides. 
Most of the guides were booked out even though there is over 150 guides working on the Tarpon and Permit fishery with many more out of star guides - also coming working the area during the busy season May - June. But with some more great help, a few good guides were available for the odd day here and there.

Over the space of ten days most of the days guiding that I had managed to book were cancelled due to the rain, clouds and strong winds. This made me realize that no matter how the conditions can be in NZ, very rarely I need to cancel a guided trip as there is always a place to fish somewhere.
Down here not so, the ocean does not have many hiding places. In total, I got out 4 days. The first day out was a dream day - sun, no wind, no clouds. We staked out a clear white sand flat amongst turtle grass in a known tarpon migration channel. It was not too long before I got a glimpse of my first Tarpon. The size of a grown man with a mouth that could inhale a 40 inch pizza in one gulp!! Over 120lbs - Bear, my guide, estimated. Cast! Cast! he shouted, one o'clock, 60ft etc. 

I fumbled with excitement and did my best to get a cast out. The fly landed, I stripped it and the huge shape swam past. It was then when I realized now what happens if I hook such a thing!! I also realized that the tarpon were not actively feeding as such and you have to sort of force feed them your offering and make them remember to open their mouth and eat.
Over the next 3 days of tarpon guiding, I got 4 - or so  - fish to have a look at the fly and for me that was even awesome. It was just awesome to be there and experience the fishery and the stories of the guides and fly shops. Weather is weather and it is always a gamble. This time the unpredictable weather and the tarpon won. And yes, I would still love to return some day, so I best start saving as it's not the cheapest place to go in the world. The very last day we probably also should have cancelled but Rob, my guide, reckoned we should try the backcountry side of the peninsula for permit. Despite the rain we wrapped up and headed out and I was just so happy to be out the motel. 

After 4 hours of slowly poking along staring for fish in the overcast conditions, a forked tail of a permit broke the surface. I made the cast and Rob's secret shrimp fly descend into the path of the permit. A few twitches and a strip strike and all hell, let loose. After some strong blistering runs and a large knot in the fly line, it somehow managing to go through the eyes of the rod. The battle was nearly won until at the very last moment the permit got wrapped around a rock right beside the boat! Rob jumped in the water to free it but a second too late and the line cut clean on the rock. I was so near to landing my first permit and it was an amazing experience. Poor Rob had worked so hard to get me onto one, he was more upset than me so I had to comfort him with a shot of whiskey. I never knew a guide abusing fish tht much than Rob!

The next day in the local fly shop I realized how lucky I was as 4 weeks previous the world famous March Merkin Permit Competition had been held. 30 of the best permit fishermen and guides from all over the world descending. After 3 days of hard fishing (which equals to 90 actual fishing days), only one permit was landed that won the competition. 

So now it's time to leave the saltwater, wind and rain behind and head for summer in West America with my tent and my quest for the freshwater permit - yes, the carp! 
In my first week of camping Idaho, it was freezing one night and the dew on my sleeping bag as I slept under the stars, turned to ice. I even slept with my rain jacket on to keep warm.


After many great years Don Fraser has sold his company to Tore Nilsen, ex Manic Tackle. Thanks heaps Don, for all your great work with SAGE and RIO.

The shop will be re open in the first week of August. So please wait until then with your orders. Sign up for the newsletter and also follow us on Facebook or Instagram (stusflyshopnz). Keep sending all your great fish photos and comments, it is all very much appreciated.