Well, fly fishing’s been pretty thin for me since I moved out of the Poconos, but brother J-P threw me a lifeline and we had some fun fishing some of his home waters in the South of France last weekend. I was in Barcelona on business, so a quick train ride from there and I was at the station in Beziers, headed for his home in Montagnac.
Saturday was overcast with alternating light and heavy rain in the AM, but getting better in the PM. With the uncertain weather, we decided not to chance it in the higher altitudes, where the clouds were already hiding the peaks, but rather to stay lower and fish the rivers and streams closer to home.
We started on the river Lergue, but didn’t really have much luck at two spots where we stopped; a couple of good hatches in the rain, but no rising fish; they all seemed to be holding deep and acting pretty much asleep. The scenery was nice, but the fish were definitely AWOL!
So, after lunch, it was on to the Marguerite; a small stream with a series of linked riffles and pools; home to the European Chub and Dace. Here’s a pic of J-P playing the water; it was tight quarters, but our 9’0” 5 wts. provided us with the ability to fish well ahead of ourselves; particularly useful with skittish fish in skinny water.
I can’t say that we didn’t hook a few tree fish and that we didn’t have several LDR’s, but there were some nice fish there. It’s all sight fishing in these shallow waters and being able to see a mouth open on a fish like a Chub; branded the “bucket mouth” by some Europeans, is a big help in landing one of these, because the takes are very soft and the rejections are very quick. Another pic from the Marguerite:
And there were fish; I got about a dozen and J-P was closer to 20. Here’s one being brought to hand:
Sunday was windy and J-P decided that it was time for some larger fish, so off we went again to some other spots on the Lergue. There were fish, but none were finding their way squarely onto my fly (not quite true; I missed one fish that had my fly and at least 2 ft. of my leader in his mouth! But, true to form, I set late and he was gone.) J-P got a nice Chub that filled up my net; definitely the fish of the day:
In the afternoon, we decided that numbers might be more important than size, so we headed back to the Marguerite to see what had come back out of hiding overnight. It is definitely “stealth” fishing in these pools.
And it helped being able to cast up into the head of the pools from the tail; which with the overhangs, was fun, but challenging.
The fly of the weekend was the “Batistou Special”, a fly designed by one of J-P’s fishing buddies. Very simple fly; black foam body, black mid-section hackle and a white signal wing. It hangs in the film, but is just visible. And the fish loved it! It’s on my “to tie up” list; I want to see how it does here in the US (if I can ever find trout water here in coastal Maine). Message J-P if you want to try one out on your home waters. He’s got a new tying station, so he’s probably ready to tie up some more; not to mention the fact that I used up his last one on the last fish of the day – more on that below.
Here’s a Chub coming to hand:
I had a train back to Barcelona that evening, so we had to stop fishing around 4:00PM on Sunday. I was looking for the last fish of the day; a good sized one. We had 15 minutes to go, the pressure to catch was on; we took the car to another spot, no fish rising and not many in sight; cast once, twice, three times – empty. Cast again and it was fish on! A nice sized Chub! I was holding it up for the record, but the camera man was OTL; so, just imagine that last fish (which you can actually see swimming away right after the release on the right side of the pic – nice pic j-P!!)
Yup, that’s the “you missed that fish?” expression on my face.
It was a great time fishing with J-P on the Lergue and the Marguerite. Sight fishing is something that I don’t do enough in the US and it’s great to sharpen those skills on water where sight fishing in the rule, not the exception.
Thanks again to J-P, for opening his home to me and showing me some great fishing! Now, when can we get him to come to the US………………………?
I’ll be back…………………………… !