The French Chronicles - Autumn in the Balkans
In his latest 'French Chronicle' Stan introduces us to his colleague Cédric Nolin, who has just returned from one of his regular autumn sorties to the Balkans.
You guys are really lucky because I have hired one of the best French fly fishermen to design and test my ceramic fly patterns. I spend too much time on the vice, so I need someone to check the quality of my flies and Cédric Nolin is one of the best sight nymphing fishermen I know - he’s able to spot fish in any kind of clear water.
Cédric loves to go to the Balkans in autumn, because he’s a grayling maniac and he knows that grayling are particularly greedy before winter time. Moreover, fishing in the Balkans in October allows him to escape the crowded spring and summer months when the rivers can be particularly busy.
Once again Cédric has been terrorizing the big bottom-feeding trout and grayling with ceramic flies. It is true that fish are getting more educated in the Balkans; you can go to Idrijca river in Slovenia, the Gacka river in Croatia, Ribnik river in Bosnia, San river in Poland, or the Lim river in Montenegro and you will notice that the bigger fish are always feeding on the bottom. Well, in fact you can check all around the world, big fish are nearly always feeding on the bottom!
I’m a dry fly lover, but this is down to pure biology : big fish are clever fish, and they know that they are safer when they feed on the bottom. Fortunately, Cédric was raised near the Loue river in France, was born with a fly rod in his hands and witnessed the second wave of the sight nymphing revolution in France, just after tungsten beads arrived on the market.
But Cédric was also among the pioneers of the ceramic fly explosion in the 90s, and he understood that if he was catching educated fish in the north east of France on legendary rivers such as the Doubs, the Loue or the Ain rivers with ceramics, that this new generation of fly would also please the educated fish from the Balkans.
The most interesting fact in this story is that ceramic flies catch even more in the Balkans than in France because there are many chalkstreams in the Balkans that are far deeper than French rivers.
When, for example, you are fishing the Pliva river in Bosnia, the water is so crystal clear that you think that your classic pheasant tail - or any nymph made out of natural material - will do the job. But when fish are in 3 to 5m deep pools, believe me only ceramics will do the job! Cédric returned from the Balkans again this autumn with another load of killer pics, thanks to the ceramic flies and, of course, to his impressive visual acuity!
I hope you’ll enjoy looking at these picturess, I’ll see you again in a few months for another chronicle, and I hope to meet some forum members at one or more of the international fairs; I will be with my ceramic flies in Stafford for the BFFI, in Dublin at the Ireland Angling Show, and also in Paris, Charleroi, and Munich.
About the author
Stanislas Freyheit is a French professional fly-tyer and writer, specialising in the production of hand-tied French original nymphs.
He has travelled in many different countries during the past ten years, fishing with both dry flies and nymphs, and has decided to specialized in the production of nymphs designed to fish what he has called the ‘four fundamental nymphing methods’ namely:
- Czech nymphing
- Klink and dink nymphing
- French nymphing
- Sight nymphing
You can find his tungsten and ceramic nymphs HERE Stanislas also shares his fly fishing experiences on a colourful blog HERE describing ten years of nymphing around the world in texts, pictures and tutorial videos.