THE SEA TROUT
In Galicia, Cantabria and mainly Asturias inhabit anadromous fish that year after year trace its beautiful rivers to perpetuate the species. These three regions of the Iberian Peninsula contain unparalleled landscapes at the southernmost tip of the European continent. Smooth and undulating mountains and hills with endless greens that flow into the same sea coast, contrasting with the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean.
Green and blue is the soft and prodigious contrast of two almost homogeneous colors that merge into the wild Cantabrian Sea. The sensation that the sea awakens is of an indefinable impact. The sea is immense, mysterious, formidable, incalculable and of total indifference. The prodigious depth of the ocean is appalling and has always caused the utmost dread.
The coasts of these Cantabrian regions often end in cliffs and rocky cliffs dressed in dark greens and blues and among this rocky complexity of sharp stones unlink the rivers converted into estuaries constantly marked by the influence of the tides. Narcea, Sella and Cares; Eo, Tambre and Ulla; Deva, Pas and Asón; short, almost hermetic names, of an age difficult to calculate and deeply rooted in an ancestral culture where the practice of fishing penetrates deeply into a large number of its inhabitants. Most houses and small houses in the surrounding villages have one or several fishing rods behind the door. Nowhere on the peninsula is there such an inordinate fondness for fishing. Passion and love for and for fishing had not met her anywhere in the country. Atlantic salmon, trout, eels and lampreys captivate all the people of the region.
Many years ago I arrived at one of these Cantabrian rivers with my fishing gear with the intention of catching a sea trout with dried fly. When I arrived by the river I did not know what to do. So flat, so smooth and crystalline, so dark green. It completely puzzled me. Shy barley of some fish were glimpsed there and far away, and in no way could I calculate their size. The next morning I went back to the river and it was covered by a fine rain of imperceptible sound but that if you didn’t wear a good garment you would end up soaked to the bone.
-It is the orbayo sir and it will last all morning. Take the opportunity to fish because this weather is very good and fish like it.
-Yes?. so it catches well.
-Very good when it’s raining sweetly.
-You know what? I don’t like it to get wet and besides that what was sold to me as a raincoat in the store in the capital is completely soaked with water.
So I took the car and went downstream where the Sella widens to a place called Toraño. The sun was starting to rise there and the annoying moisture in my shirt was almost gone. I walked to the bridge across the great well and that’s where I saw it for the first time. There were three fishermen chatting in the immediate vicinity of the bridge, all wearing green raincoats and water hats of the same color, one of them carries a fish hanging from the hand of a respectable size. It was a sea trout. Elongated, silver and small head, with X-shaped spots scattered on the skin. I had never seen such a trout. It fascinated me completely. The next day, a fish of the same size as the one was nailed to the dry fly, on the pool of the Alisu that, after an acrobatic jump, was released from a tiny caenis that had offered it in its tail. But the day after the miracle happened. When I was about to abandon fishing because it was already night, I saw a small bait near a stone on my shore and there I threw a small trico that swallowed like a saint and after a continuous struggle I managed to catch it. Sea trout is not a fish that stands out precisely because of its colorful appearance, it stands out for its compact slenderness, for its discretion, for its savagery and especially for its scarcity. In short, both riverside and foreign we want to fish an enigmatic and sparse fish.
For the fly fisherman who has fished in any corner of the world, nothing better for a personal test and a humility cure when trying to fish one of these specimens of dried sea trout. A dry fly, here is the key. Nowhere in the world that I know can marine trout be caught on dry fly with fine lines and threads. The rise of one of these trouts is very special. They go up the dry fly shyly almost vertically, sometimes moving backwards following the fly’s path before swallowing it and disregarding any imitation that is not opportunely well presented. The slightest dredging of the artificial or simply a faint and inadequate turn of the fly will cause the most absolute rejection. And the most outrageous: bad presentation, rejection and disappearance; We will not see the fish again for many hours. Definitely sea trout is a terribly suspicious fish and a great brutality if caught by a hook.
It is for all these reasons and for its unpredictable and wild behavior, that I recommend any worthy fly fisherman to try to catch one of these trout in absolutely wonderful rivers surrounded by a formidable fishing environment, in a landscape of greens infinites between waters that smell like saltpeter and funds covered by millions of pebbles in an omnipresent marine environment.
There is always a great discussion about the identity of marine trout. Many say that they are river trouts that migrate to the sea, others that it is a cross between a female salmon and several males of Atlantic trout and even more: there are estuaries that live in a mixed environment of fresh and salt water but that are clearly distinguished from sea trout by their tiny silver scales in contrast to the larger and thicker scales of sea trout. Sea trout is red meat like salmon, but trout has white meat. When marine trout enters the river, it is not only silvery but its sides are bluish like those of the Atlantic salmon and when they have been on the river for the same time, it happens to the salmon: the silvery flake characteristic of the fish becomes reddish like the sea fish. The essence of fly fishing does not reside at all in the number of pieces achieved, but in the how, in what and where. Sea trout fishing is extraordinary for that experienced dry fly fisherman who looks for an extraordinarily difficult fish to be deceived in a charmingly different environment that will require him to be patient, precise and constant both in the launches and in the choice of his flies artificial and especially in appreciating what can sometimes be caressed without being fully achieved.
~ Carles V.