Thursday, June 14, 2007

ERNIE SCHWIEBERT

as a trout-fisherman, as an entomologist-manque, as a librarian....today is a day of celebration.

volume 1 of ernie schweibert's last work on trout and aquatic insects, NYMPHS, arrived today.

it is the first half of his summa theologica.

i don't recall when i first encountered ernie. but up until that time, i was a fly-fishing nymph fisherman who was ridiculed by the dry-fly purists. even though i hooked[and released] more fish.

in 1973, ernie published his first commentary on these submarine trout delicacies.

it is in my angling library. it is a classic. along with ernie's masterly 2 volume study on TROUT.

now, this is not to say that i spurned the dry-fly. not at all. but i noted as a very young man that trout consumed more insects under the water surface than on it.

in fact, one of my favorite fishing stories was my first foray into new zealand. in the nelson district. and then the lochy in the wakatipu district. in each instance, my spotters advocated only nymphs. and argued against my ever using dry flys.

i loved it when i took a 8 pounder in the wairau on a #20 barbless elk-hair caddis.

and my favorite sty was putting a #12 rockhopper into an outfall into wakatipu on a cold and rainy day. what a hit. it was like saltwater fishing. when the hook struck, a monstrous fish went airborne, and within seconds he had taken me into the backing. the reel exploded. then my 6 wt loomis rod fractured. the fish was gone. i shall never forget it when it exploded out of the water upon feeling the barbless hook....a good 48 inches long. and very muscular. not a normal trout.

in one sense, i hated being beaten up. in another sense, i loved to see that strong desire of a wild thing to be free.

the next day, i fished the lochy only with dry flys. the toughest presentations imaginable. to get into a position for a drag-free dry fly was tough. i think i hooked and released 4 very large fish. and my gillie/spotter was going bananas. he did not advocate the usage of dry flies. why? because he knew that virtually 90% of the trout diet was underwater[nymphs].

at the end of his life, ernie schweibert distilled much of his entomological observations into what will be a large 2 volume set entitled NYMPHS.

if you have entertained the notion that fishing is just an excuse for goofing-off, i suggest that you delve into ernie's disquistion on the natural world, and how it works.

what a great gift to the world this study is. i would have loved to have talked to ernie in his last years. to have learned what he thought about the bushit "sportsmen" and the murdering of the rivers and streams that he knew.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jill said...

Mr Champion, would you please write using proper capitalization? It would make your posts easier to read.

8:45 AM  
Blogger albertchampion said...

no

8:27 PM  

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