Testing the waters on the Soca river

With so much anticipation, I rarely get a good night’s sleep when I’ve been planning a trip, like this one, to the Soča River and its tributaries. Have I packed everything I need? Are the flies going to work? Are my rods indeed in their respective tubes? It just goes on and on, so at around 3am I decided it was time to start my adventurous exploration. I grabbed my gear and set off to meet up with my friends Uroš and his brother Matej. Still dark we met up on the western side off the majestic Vršič mount pass, loaded the gear into the vehicle and set off up the mountain. As we summit the pass the sun starts to peak out.

“Wow what a view”, I said, “I never get tired of it”. The normal stresses and worries of life just seem to melt away. The descent was pretty fast as we all knew well what lay below. The incredible Soča Valley. We quickly made our way to the starting point with lots of banter and eagerness.  Gearing up next to the river we quickly started to spot fish here and there and we each chose a particular Marble trout as our mark. Heading off for my fish it wasn’t long before I was reaching for my net to land my mark… A beautiful Marble … Lots of shouting and air punching later, the game was now in full play. The fly was working and probably had some lady luck on it as my wife Nina said to me the night before that’s the one. She was right.

As the day pushed on we made our way spotting and testing various fly patterns for the upcoming season…….needless to say we weren’t disappointed at all. We all covered as much river as we could and the fishing was great, with multiple double ups and many Marbles and Rainbows landed. So many, that we all ran out of battery power and storage space! What an adventure and awesome day out with the fishing nuts Uroš and Matej.

It’s my dream and passion to share as many a day like these as possible…..
A river definitely runs through my veins.

Radovna, the river of Browns

I received a call from my good friend Uroš Kristan asking if I would be keen to go on an adventure.  Never one to turn down an adventure, I just said “YES”, without even knowing where we would go or when. I realized then we were going to go to Radovana. A bucket list Brown trout water, high up in the Alpine Bled area with crystal waters and free stone base. I’d always heard of this river in particular about its very pure strain of Dunabe Brown trout, this also always seemed to follow with “They are small but perfect”.

So off we went and we both decided that the river less waded was our direction of destination. We both took 10ft nymphing rods as well as 9ft dry fly set ups. First flick on the dry fly and we both raised fish. It was one of those moments where we both looked at each other and realized that this was to be a great day. Uroš landed a gem of a brown and mine came undone on a barbless stone fly. We both landed a few fish in little pockets of water before heading to that “there has to be fish in there” spot.

We moved down stream skipping more popular spots to fish to the more unknown sections. Lots and lots of small Browns were caught along the way and we were having an absolute blast. Unfortunately we checked the clock and realized that we were far down steam and time was not on our side. So we started the walk away from the river only to be stopped by a local resident who wanted to chat. I don’t think she saw many fishermen come down this far. Turns out that she knew a short cut that would save us around 45 min on the return to our vehicle.

Delighted we set off on the path ahead and that’s when it happened. I saw her, a big sow of a Brown. She was right next to a very steep bank just feeding adlib. I’d lost a big fish earlier in the day and wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass so I made my way down the bank on all fours. Slipping and sliding, I had to be cautious to not spook her. The only way to get a chance was to approach her straight up front in her line of sight. Uroš gave me lots of encouragement and kept an eye on her from a way off. I manage to sneak in behind a tree but still had lots of brush in the way. I was going to have to get her with a nymph as that is how she was feeding but was stuck with this almost impossible cast ahead of me.
If I tried a dry fly I was pretty positive that the line would have spooked her. So swinging the secret nymph I gave it a go.

Too short. Far off. Just right. She was turning to the fly.

Bang …..out of nowhere a smaller Brown hit the nymph just before she got to it. I was on but not to the right fish. So I landed him and after a quick photo released him. Still, I felt the joy!
Well we can’t always get the big fish but rather return to some unfinished business in the future!

Well until the next time………..

 

Chasing the Ladies

Late summer, just as the trees are starting to turn amber and the rivers are holding stable with medium levels, it was time to chase some ladies. Slovenian Grayling aka “ladies of the river” have to be some of the most eye popping fish around. With their brilliantly coloured oversized dorsal fins and campfire red tails, one would think that they would stick out like neon lights at the local disco but they don’t. They blend and they blend in real well.

After rigging up my Guide ll 3wt and ECLIPSE 001, loaded with Rio WF3F INTOUCH line, I sat down next to the river and waited. Whilst watching the water, I started to notice one after another Lady grayling give away their position after chasing or sipping at mayflies or flying ants on the surface. Choosing to go as fine as 6X tippet I joined onto my tippet ring, which I believe helps hide the line in the gin clear waters, and put on my version of an F FLY.


Moving slowly and deliberately I placed my first cast. Bam I was hit with some vigour as the fly hit the water, soon to be taken for a fantastic waltz around the large gin clear pool. Grayling put up a great show once hooked with lots of colour flashing as they flare up their fins. I was fortunate enough to be able to repeat this process more than a dozen times in the same pool before letting the ladies go back to their normal routine. This had been a rare occasion when my stars had lined up and the everyday stress has disappeared. I also found my Xplorer to be the most forgiving of rods with zero line slapping the water and its matt green finish, blending in perfectly to the background never to spook a fish. It’s was truly a fantastic session and one I would wish to repeat.

Till next time from a cooler Slovenia, tight lines