5 years ago I went the for the first time to Rügen. Many times I thought not to come back and check out something totally different but I’m coming back year after year because of a unique chance. The chance of the really really big one. It is still waiting for me, unfortunately! Someone is calling it the pike wonderland and that’s actually a pretty sweet description for it.
Calm weather on the Bodden. btw.. The Bodden, the so called water area was a former glacier and sometimes you can find leftovers from that time.
This year was an extreme trip to the pike wonderland. In many ways it was. I had until this year every possible condition you can somehow imagine and I thought nothing can stop me. I know the best, the good and as well also the worst spots. Most of the time the wind is your worst enemy but not so this year. In late fall/ early winter wind is never an issue if you can deal with the situation. The island is huge and there is always a fishing spot sheltered from wind. This is a kind of a learning process. I remember my first encounter with the constantly blowing wind. I was freaking shocked. You can easily have that the wind blows the entire week with 20-30 knots from the same miserable direction. If you stick to old patterns you’r will fail. Experimenting with new spots is the key to success.
But why was this year so difficult? The wind was not an issue. Two, maybe even three things went wrong this year. First it rapidly cooled down with immediate affect on the water temperature. The water was freezing cold for early winter. And second due to a for unknown reason the water got more salty than usually. All this was something the pikes didn’t like at all and they stopped feeding. Especially the cooled down water was a real issue because it forced the pikes to move into deeper water limiting fly fisher to fish only the edges and drops. Lets say limiting to fly fish only 10% of the available spots. Additionally but this I rate as only a minor issue. The water was clear and when I mean clear I really mean Gin clear. It reduced the number of takes and increased the number of followers that swam up to the rod tip. For some reason unobtrusive fly patterns didn’t work better else than conspicuous ones.
Nice one caught far out
Over night the water froze
A really nicely colored one
When we started fly fishing the first days we still recognized less but evident activity close the the shore and this totally flattened down to zero activity a few days later caused by the dropping temperatures with the upcoming ice. I have never seen ice on Rügen, at least not so early in winter. I was stunned but also scared. And you can’t believe how cold this can be fly fishing at -5 to maximum 2,3 degrees. Luckily there wasn’t any really relevant wind. The water was already cold enough. Normally I’m wearing 2 layers on the legs and 3 layers on the upper body before putting on waders and wading jacket. I did the same thing and increased a layer with each new day. And still it was f.,?!%ing cold. After one hour I got frozen toes that I thought that even on the Mt. Everest it could not be colder. Next year I will prepare with the thickest socks I can find.
Deep frozen morning on Rügen
Close to the magic meter mark
Another nice one close to the shore
This year I did the trip together with my father. A so called father & son trip. It was for him the first fly fishing trip to Rügen and absolutely the first time fly fishing for pikes. He is and wasn’t the best fly caster on earth but he did a very good job in chasing German pikes. The first days were clearly more in his favor, chasing the pikes more close to shore rather than fishing the edges. The last 3 days we were forced to fish the drops and there even more casting distance strikes. That worked more or less good in average 2 hands full of fish every day. And somehow the pikes got bigger. I like this kind of fishing not so much but it is more effective I must confess. But there is something I really adore. It is hooking a big pike far out at the end of the fly line.
In total number of caught pikes we didn’t land not as much as in the last years but its the situation we mastered rather than the number of pikes. And this makes me proud. We had good numbers of pikes from 75 to 95cm and many in the range below. No really small ones but also not the really big mamas.
We left the island and rain came. Bad luck for all who went no fishing. Was it a bad week? Absolutely not but a very challenging week. It forced me to check out new spots, do things different and yes it is a kind of experience gathering for the next years. When the time is right the big ones will come and play the game at the end of my fly line.
An average pike made me happy. Actually this was a very windy day but the spot I have chosen is totally calm. Success
The pikes getting bigger Check out how far outside we fished.
The hat is little extraordinary but the fish is nice :) Old but tough!!
Nice one too
Last light of day
Not the biggest one but nothing to complain
the rod and the litter box
Have fun and tight lines
Amazing pictures, I would love to chase some Esox species sometime.
Hi, wie immer tolle Bilder. Ich glaube, diesmal wäre mir das zu kalt gewesen, brrrrr – lG Matthias
WOW, this is insanely informative! I too, have hopped on the fly fishing train and I am SO glad I did. Thanks for sharing. Once you start with fly fishing, it’s impossible to stop =)!
Great post! You killed it! And I’m so glad you are finally on board with fly fishing- yay!
Rügen keep on being a magic place, nice pikes and beautiful landscapes. Thanks for sharing :)