Auf der Suche nach dem Glück – Trout Hunting, Bob Wyatt (2004)


Bob_Wyatt_Trout_Hunting1Müsste ich eine Wette abgeben welche Buchveröffentlichungen des 20. Jhdt. den Test der Zeit überstehen, ohne mit der Wimper zu zucken, setzte ich mehrere der immer zu wenig vorhandenen Euro auf Bob Wyatts ‘Trout Hunting – The Pursuit of Happiness’. Eine knapp 200 Seiten lange Veröffentlichung an Gedanken, Erinnerungen und Überlegungen zum Fliegenfischen – von Kanada, über Schottland nach Neu Seeland, von Fluss zu See – die eigene Erfahrungen dem Kontext überlieferter Praktiken gegenüberstellt. Nicht selten wird dabei Position bezogen, die wenn sie schon keinen Bruch mit bestehenden (Halb)-Wahrheiten vollzieht, zumindest mit Überzeugung die eigene Haltung und die Sicht der Dinge deutlich absteckt.

‘Trout Hunting’ ist sicherlich kein Buch, dass dem absoluten Anfänger in verständlichen Schritten das Wie-Wann-Wo des Fliegenfischens vermittelt. Die praktischen Tipps – nicht selten Abweichungen etablierter Thesen und Methoden – sind verpackt in Erzählungen klar definierter Themen, die aus dem Erfahrungsschatz einen Anglers schöpfen, der fünfundvierzig Jahre seines Lebens, im Wasser stehend, im Boot sitzend, ständig Fisch und Fliege im Kopf habend verbrachte. Und dennoch bin ich froh, dass Bob Wyatt einer der ersten Fliegenfischen Autoren war mit denen ich in Berührung kam. Entfesselte ‘Trout Hunting’ in mir nämlich die Neigung, Dinge – Taktiken, Theorien, Philosophien – von allen Seiten zu betrachten, kritisch zu hinterfragen und meinen eigenen Ansatz beim Fliegenfischen zu entwickeln.

Doch genug der Ausführung und lassen wir Bob Wyatt am besten mit einigen Auszügen aus ‘Trout Hunting – The Pursuit of Happiness’ zu Wort kommen.

Nach fast fünfzig Jahren am Wasser kann der Autor eine sicherlich gute Einschätzung zur Psyche von FliegenfischerInnen machen.
The better heeled and fanatic amongst us are putting flies in the way of every species possible, in every conceivable type of water, all over the planet…it no longer seems exotic or strange to read a photo-essay on the sporting qualities of some unheard fish in the swamps of New Guinea. Somebody says, “Man, those Honduran bat-fish will spool you in ten seconds flat!” We go, “Yeah? Sounds good. How much is the airfare to Honduras, anyway?” This is such a prevalent attitude that everyone I fish with, regardless of economic circumstances, feels that they will fish for tarpon and bonefish, sooner or later.

Das Verlangen nach Unberührtheit hinterlässt Spuren – nicht immer die saubersten für die, die nach uns kommen.
Unfortunately, it is the human condition to be incapable of recouping lost innocence…this is already the case on some of the highly publicised waters, including some that appear to be in danger of being loved to death, and there are almost no last good places undiscovered. Places where one can be amongst the bears are still out there, but the bears are getting pretty used to living on our leftovers.


Fliegenfischen macht süchtig – der beste Stoff ist vielfach nicht zu haben
Compared to the time spent thinking, arguing, reading, tinkering with tackle, tying flies planning or just daydreaming about fly fishing, our real-time on the water is laughable short.

Warum ‘Trout Hunting – The Pursuit of Happiness’ wurde, wie es ist.
The current level of expertise is almost frightening and appears to be predicated on the idea that fish are getting smarter. The tradition would be vastly poorer without the ‘how-to’ books and just about any of the new ones will get one started. The best of them focus on specific situations, and are really excellent accounts by anglers who know their subject, but some just add to a growing body of quasi-scientific jargon and craft-shop minutiae. To venture yet another book on fly-fishing and hope to make it interesting is to walk a tightrope between cliche and iconoclasm, and any attempt to cover the entire range of situations an angler might encounter is doomed to the elephant’s graveyard of general information guides. Trotting out the old workhorse of the genre will only bore or insult those who have put a lot of time in on the water, while to argue against expert opinion is to invite indignation, or worse, public embarrassment.

So nebenbei werden ein bis zwei Dutzend Titel und Autoren erwähnt – von praktischen Anleitungen bis romantischen Erzählungen – die sich ihren Platz im Olymp der Angelliteratur gesichert haben.
North American anglers in particular have embraced the new attitudes with evangelical fervour. With few truly ancient cultural narratives to worry about, Americans have never displayed the slightest hesitation toward making some up. But then, the re-invented life is as American as chicken-fried steak. The North American angler has been reconstructed, from a bucolic and somewhat puritanical Ted Trueblood character to a suave, athletic, articulate, well informed, politically aware, sympathetic and somewhat ironic world adventurer, and she looks good. British anglers have always been a little more conservative. Perhaps in terms of ancient traditions, they feel they have more to conserve but things are changing there as well and in more ways than just swapping the tweed deerstalker for a baseball cap.

Die heutige Klassik, war einst die Moderne und Traditionen befinden sich ständig im Umbruch.
A deep source of pleasure for many fly-fishing enthusiasts in itself, tradition can narrow the creative and open-ended inquiry in favour of tried and tested methods and crystallises into orthodoxy…despite the threnodies of a few recidivist Halfordians, the fly-fishing tradition is a progressive, generous and inclusive one, and it pays to be mindful that not everyone will be interested in the stipulations of your personal code.


Die Up-stream vs. Down-stream Nuss
In Britain and Ireland, trout fishing is essentially a stillwater pursuit. It is fairly common in the British Isles to meet anglers who have not developed much river technique, relying essentially on a simple downstream wet fly approach to running water. This is usually referred to as the traditional wet fly style, despite its being at complete odds with the classic upstream wet fly techniques of Stewart, Pritt, Edmand and Lee, et al, not to mention Skues’ arguments for its use on the southern chalk streams. Although the classic Scottish wet fly approach is distinctly upstream, most wet fly anglers I’ve met in recent years are of the across-and-down persuasion. On a river they’ll invariably face downstream, fishing a line as taught as a bowstring. The intermittent reinforcement of an occasional fish and the positive feel of the tight line are what keeps them from turning around and facing the current.

Warum der Up-stream Ansatz größere Fische ans Band bringt.
What we call play in a kitten is really an instinctive and adaptive hunting response. Like kittens, trout sometimes can’t resist the escaping-fly stimulus, part of the reason for the effectiveness of the bob fly in traditional loch style fishing. A fly fished in this manner presents the aspect of vulnerability of a creature in trouble and trying to escape. The impulse to take the the bob fly is also a factor in river fishing, but most experienced fly anglers agree that the larger river trout, experienced, territorial and wary, will usually spurn a dragging fly. It’s rather like the old cat on the hearth that regards the teasing bit of yarn with no more than the twitch of its tail.

Über ‘selektive’ Fische
Limited attention characterises the formation of a predatory search image, which partly answers the old question of a related behaviour; why trout are sometimes observed to prefer one species of prey to another that appears to be as good or better. Such narrowly focused behaviour is just the most efficient way for the trout to capitalise on a food source. It’s not selectivity we’re observing – it’s tunnel vision.


Where the food supply is restricted to a single type, or for short periods during one phase of a sustained hatch, trout may develop narrowly constrained feeding habits, but the exclusively selective trout is a rare beast at the extreme end of the spectrum of fly-fishing problems. It’s a mistake to think of all trout as picky eaters. Unless you specifically target selective feeders, and restrict your efforts to spring creeks or chalk streams during major hatches, what you are far more likely to encounter these days are disturbed and spooky trout, which is not the same thing as suspicious and selective trout.

Ein Spaziergang kann oft mehr Dividende auszahlen als ein Angeltag.
In itself, river watching is a source of deep pleasure, but it goes without saying that it is best practised on water that you have to yourself. The usual situation these days is, unfortunately, to have at least one other angler pounding his way up stream behind you. The new etiquette, such as it is, probably demands that you either let the other angler through or urgently get to it yourself. Use it or lose it. If not a complete barbarian, the other angler will politely walk around you and leave that particular stretch to you, but you can’t count in such etiquette anymore, even among fly-fishers. If you have the place to yourself, you can learn more in an hour of watching than in a week of just fishing.

Aus der Reihe tanzende Fliegen
Former Commissioner of the Tasmanian Inland Fisheries and a trout biologist with a lot of fly-fishing experience, [Rob] Sloane claims that trout display what we call selectivity only when a specific food is super-abundant, in other words, preoccupation with a single food source. Even in those situations it does not necessarily mean that striving for a perfect imitation of the natural should be our main objective. Even if it were possible, is it necessarily the best strategy to add another perfect natural to a plethora of perfect naturals?

Forellen und die Vermenschlichung ihres Verhaltens
After all it can’t be the case that the trout are eating your nice parachute Adams because it looks more lifelike than the naturals. It must be that, within certain parameters, the trout will will accept a variety of things that look roughly like familiar prey, but which stand out from the rest enough to attract attention. It is a matter of primary and secondary stimuli, or what we fly-fishers refer to as triggers. The prey image theory hypothesis is not a new idea for behavioural ecologists, but accounts for feeding behaviour that anglers have traditionally treated as mysteries, or attributed to very un-troutlike capabilities such as suspicion, reason, even taste.

Manchmal ist weniger mehr
My criteria for a great fly are that it is made of cheap, abundant and easily acquired materials, as easy to tie, and above all, catches a lot of fish in a wide range of circumstances. I regard flies to be just as important and just as expendable as ammunition to a shooter, but a great fly should have some durability built in. Excellent flies as they are, most parachute hackled, or CDC emergers don’t meet all of these criteria.

Bob Wyatt Flies

Neue Künste – alte Mysterien
Wet flies have been somewhat neglected. They’ve always been with us of course, but somewhat neglected. The Americans have generally preferred the nymph, at least since the Second World War. The W.C. Stewart style, soft hackle wet spider has life and translucency provided by the mobile game bird hackles and the use of dubbed fur in the bodies. Sylvester Nemes sort of reheated the wet spider for North American anglers with a book on soft-hackle flies, although they were still alive and kicking on the rivers of Yorkshire and central Scotland. These old-time patterns are excellent catches of trout, fished dead-drift or on the lift.

Klasse Fliegen – dämliche Bezeichnung
On the same principle V.S. Hidy designed impressionistic, soft-hackled flies that he rather unfortunately named ‘flymphs’, a name that never really caught on, mostly because you feel so stupid when you say it.

Glaube versetzt Berge
Some biologists, who have found no basis for it in nature, have refuted the theory of the subcutaneous gas. Maybe it’s another of those fly-fishing lacunae, that black-box thing, something yet to be explained. Despite the positivist counter claim, thousands of fly-tiers have been happily designing flies based on the gas bubble concept, and thousands more anglers have been happily catching trout on them, ever since Caddis Flies appeared.

Glück und Freude – einzig legitimer Grund für das Fischen!
On the ecological account, the energy and resource expended to catch the calories contained in a trout are ridiculous, if not technically insane. Anyway, the element of pleasure is undeniable. Otherwise, why fly fish? The argument must be that the pleasure is unintentional. a posteriori, and therefore guilt free, an intellectual conceit presented most sincerely and elegantly in Fishing and Thinking, a fine book by religious scholar A.A. Luce.The ‘innocent angler’ position amounts to something like Brer Rabbit’s briar patch. Once someone holes-up in there you ain’t ever going to argue them out of it. Besides, splitting philosophical hairs still gets you fishing as pleasure. Philosophically and morally, the strongest argument for fly-fishing is as a form of happiness.  Food for the belly is one thing; food for the spirit is something else. Forget the worthy Puritanism of the food argument. That dog won’t hunt.

‘Trout Hunting’ ist ein Buch ganz nach meinem Geschmack. Zwischen den Zeilen finden sich Perlen der Weisheit – solche die einen grübeln lassen, die den einen ansprechen, beim anderen Kopfschütteln hervorrufen werden. Doch an keiner Stelle erliegt Bob Wyatt dem Versuch seine Wahrheit als einzig glücklich machendes Dogma zu präsentieren. Seine Erfahrungen, ob als Fliegenfischer oder Fliegenbinder – stimmige, funktionelle Muster mit Farbtafeln und Bindeanleitung – kann man aufgreifen. Man kann natürlich dabei bleiben was man schon immer machte, denn letztlich verbindet uns alle nur eine einzige Sache: “The Pursuit of Happiness”


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