by Tony Orman
I recently came across a short article on the internet about brown trout after dark. The writer said “Leave it to the French to coin a nifty phrase for dusk: entre chien et loup, “between the dog and the wolf,” the transition zone between day and night, between furry family pet Fido and dagger-toothed predator.”
Big trout can come on the feed at dusk and into the night. It’s a favorite time for me to be on the river. It goes back to my teenage years when in the USA “Field and Stream” I read an article “Pig Boat on the Furnace.” The “Pig Boat” was a super-duper fly, the “Furnace” was the local river, the author fished after dark. I remember he wrote of after nightfall, big splashes like someone throwing railway sleepers in a pool.
Back then it fired my imagination to go listen and fish after dark in the Manawatu River. Yes, I heard railway sleepers being tossed in.
Big trout were feeding.
Bigger trout are the lure for an angler. But there’s intangible bonuses to be got too.
The encroaching darkness is comfortable. The sun lowers and slides behind the mountains and both water and air cool and any wind usually whispers away to make casting easier. It’s somehow more peaceful and any “busy-ness” of the day and the bullshit quotient from the evening’s TV news is instantly forgotten as you adjust to the dark and focus on fishing. Focus is a key attribute, for night fishing demands concentration.
The eyes amazingly adjust to the night. “Touch” becomes a greater sensation in fishing after dark. You feel the fly via the line between the fingers to detect a trout’s quiet take.
The trout at night may sometimes slash but I find it’s more likely to be a quiet, almost imperceptible take. Trout under cover of night probably feel more secure, not nervous and not so easily spooked. In a hot dry summer it makes sense for trout to feed at night when its cooler especially after 33 degree scorchers.
I’ve been tying up a few flies such as the late John Morton’s Hobnail Boot which has become a favourite of mine for nocturnal fly fishing. It’s tied using black possum fur
and important to keep it sparse.
A point to note. Bright moonlight puts trout down. So you need to pick the moon phase to suit.
Sure, I delight in daytime fishing with the nymph or dry fly but night fishing has a special sort of magic to it too.