Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

Best Fly Fishing Hatch Matching Story Ever

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

FlyTalk
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

January 11, 2013

Best Fly Fishing Hatch Matching Story Ever

By Kirk Deeter

Greetings from Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, where Tim Romano and I are enjoying a brilliant week of fly fishing for goliath sea-run brown trout from the legendary Kau Tapen Lodge. It's a surreal experience to be standing in the iron-gray currents of the Rio Grande, with the wind buffeting across the stark, austral landscape, casting two-handed rods as you're being watched by guanacos and condors. And the take by a fresh brown is sheer thunder.

As always, the greatest "catches" of the week have been the friendships forged with other anglers of like spirit. In this case, those who have literally traveled throughout the world to dally with trout.

Lilla Rowcliffe may well have the greatest fishing stories I have ever heard. She's easily among the most intrepid anglers I have ever met. She has traveled from England to many parts of the world to chase fish with flies, including taimen in Mongolia, mahseer in India, and Atlantic salmon throughout Europe (she's holding a photo of a beast she landed on the River Spey some years ago). To say Rowcliffe has "game" is an understatement. She's out-fishing me at around a 10-to-1 clip at the moment (she's had her guide piggy-back her across the river to get in the best spot to cast). But I am not alone. Several years ago, she set a remarkable benchmark at Kau Tapen by landing over 600 pounds of sea-run trout in one week, with the average fish being 13 pounds. I should probably also mention that she is 87 years old.

I asked her why women are often naturally better anglers than men. It's true, after all. Rowcliffe agreed and shared an anecdote that a certain angling expert, befuddled by female prowess on the water, once theorized that women have a pheromone effect that attracts fish. He believed this so much that he took to carrying his wife's undergarments in his pack as he cast.

"What men often don't understand is that fishing is not about power," she said. "A woman will feel the fish take, and her natural instinct is to do exactly the right thing at the moment... let the fish go."

Women are often better hatch-matchers than men, and Rowcliffe may be the best in history.

To wit, I'll relate her story from the River Cauvery in India. Having caught the mighty mahseer, she and her guides shifted attention to tricking carnatic carp. Though they saw rises and whorls, none of the fishing guides could dial in on the exact pattern to toss. Then one morning Rowcliffe woke to find monkeys jumping about in a banyan tree overhanging the river.

"I noticed one monkey dropping poo in the river, and up popped this carp right there. I thought 'Lilla at last you know the secret!' As I knew what monkey poo looked like (apparently gray and round) I found a muddler minnow in my fly box and, still in my pajamas, I went out to fish. On the second cast, I caught one. I ended up catching seven that morning and thought, now at last, I am a proper fly fisherman, because I know how to truly match the hatch," she said. (The story is another example, by the way, of how the muddler may indeed be the most versatile fly in the world.)

Some years later, the tale made its way into an angling book of some note in the U.K. When her daughter described the episode to a ghillie at the Scottish fly shop she stopped at to buy a copy of the book, he exclaimed: "My goodness, I did not know your mum was the monkey s*** lady!"

We of course, will remember Rowcliffe for far more than that.

Comments (9)

Top Rated
All Comments
from upacreek333 wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Glad you're having a great time, and tell Lilla "thanks" for the tip on those tricky Indian carp... just one more to add to the bucket list.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Certainly the best match the hatch story I've ever heard.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hoski wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

I'd be in Heaven if I could only do a small portion of what she's done.
Thanks for sharing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

fishing is absolutely more about intuition than power. The masculine attempt to "will" a fish to bite drives you nuts, and makes you fight with everyone if you are getting skunked. However I wouldn't say that women anglers are any more intuitive than there male counterparts.

"FEEL DON'T THINK". same in hunting and shooting. An intuitive hunter fires and calmly waits an hour then pursues. power hunter (if he gets the shot off) screams, scares the animal miles away, never finds it. Everything is a balance and we need both masculinity and femininity balanced within ourselves. Both are totally necessary. Action and Openness. The Yoga of Fishing.

Of course fly fishing proves this better than most other angling methods. but fish live in water, and water is obviously feminine. thats why we love it. smooth, curvy, gentle, unforgiving, life giving and terrible in its anger.

Matching a carp hatch is an ultimate experience.
ha. great article..

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

I saw trophy carp all over a lake in Brooklyn, though between me and the polish carp mafia could not get a bite for weeks. Until I just sat and watched the lake.... oh yeah duhhhh. use a bread imitation where all of the kids are feeding the geese. 35 pounder within an hour.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

F and s writers, please look to Foxfire magazine as an inspiration and continue to bring us young people tales from older generations to pass the wisdom down. just loved reading this. Thanks

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Now that's matching the hatch! What a cool lady! I bet she's a trip! 600lbs of trout in a week is serious fishing!
Look forward to seeing some pics of your trip and the stories to go with them.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael Shuey wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Could it be that there is a book written about her? I would love to read it. Anyone?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from yanzi wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Asian Dating-Love each other is happiness. So simple, so difficult. www.lilydating.com

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from the Preacher wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

F and s writers, please look to Foxfire magazine as an inspiration and continue to bring us young people tales from older generations to pass the wisdom down. just loved reading this. Thanks

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Now that's matching the hatch! What a cool lady! I bet she's a trip! 600lbs of trout in a week is serious fishing!
Look forward to seeing some pics of your trip and the stories to go with them.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from upacreek333 wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Glad you're having a great time, and tell Lilla "thanks" for the tip on those tricky Indian carp... just one more to add to the bucket list.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Certainly the best match the hatch story I've ever heard.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hoski wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

I'd be in Heaven if I could only do a small portion of what she's done.
Thanks for sharing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

fishing is absolutely more about intuition than power. The masculine attempt to "will" a fish to bite drives you nuts, and makes you fight with everyone if you are getting skunked. However I wouldn't say that women anglers are any more intuitive than there male counterparts.

"FEEL DON'T THINK". same in hunting and shooting. An intuitive hunter fires and calmly waits an hour then pursues. power hunter (if he gets the shot off) screams, scares the animal miles away, never finds it. Everything is a balance and we need both masculinity and femininity balanced within ourselves. Both are totally necessary. Action and Openness. The Yoga of Fishing.

Of course fly fishing proves this better than most other angling methods. but fish live in water, and water is obviously feminine. thats why we love it. smooth, curvy, gentle, unforgiving, life giving and terrible in its anger.

Matching a carp hatch is an ultimate experience.
ha. great article..

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

I saw trophy carp all over a lake in Brooklyn, though between me and the polish carp mafia could not get a bite for weeks. Until I just sat and watched the lake.... oh yeah duhhhh. use a bread imitation where all of the kids are feeding the geese. 35 pounder within an hour.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael Shuey wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Could it be that there is a book written about her? I would love to read it. Anyone?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from yanzi wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Asian Dating-Love each other is happiness. So simple, so difficult. www.lilydating.com

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment