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If Gaudi was a fly fisher

STEVE KYLE plays a trout with his new tenkara fly rod. Notice it has no reel. The line is tied to the end of the rod. Submitted photo

STEVE KYLE plays a trout with his new tenkara fly rod. Notice it has no reel. The line is tied to the end of the rod. Submitted photo

By Bill Lynch

If the late architect Antoni Gaudi had been a fly fisherman there is no doubt that our rods, reels and flies would have a different look than they do today. This passed through my consciousness several times while Dottie and I walked through the examples of his awe-inspiring work in Barcelona earlier this month.

Before I saw his creations in person, I assumed that his work was marked by unnecessary and extravagant ornamentation. I was wrong.

An observer of nature with a particular fascination for the sea, he attempted to use nature’s own designs and patterns in both his engineering and the images he created.

I cannot possibly describe what I saw when I visited the home, apartment and great Sagrada Familia Cathedral that we visited. Words on paper simply cannot do it.

That Gaudi was a one-of-a-kind architect and genius there is no doubt, but what impressed me most was how well and practically his breath taking designs functioned. The buildings were not just monuments to his vision but meant to be used and enjoyed.

So after walking through my third Gaudi building, I tried to imagine a Gaudi-designed fly. It would probably not be on a hook, but some kind of imitation of a wild burr that would catch in a fish’s teeth. It would look very much like a real bug and capture the natural light of the rippling water. Because all of his work is beyond imagination until you see it, so was my Gaudi fly. If he hadn’t died in 1926, his flies might have been offered by Orvis.

If you go to Barcelona, allow at least two or three days to see Gaudi’s work. There was no fishing (except in the ocean) nearby, and most of the seafood restaurants relied on sardines, squid, octopus and cod (of course) to fill out their menus. I did not break out my fly rod, but we did enjoy the food and ambience of that lovely city.

While I was in Spain, my fishing buddy Steve Kyle spent a couple of days successfully fishing for trout on the Truckee River, and then a day on the Sacramento River catching shad.

Here is a synopsis of Steve’s reports.

“Steve Starke and I took our pontoon boats up to Tahoe and did a float down the Truckee. It was one of those, ‘… you should have been there.’ Everything fell into place. We fished nymphs, dries, swung streamers and all caught fish. About 30 fish into the day I took out my Tenkara rod for the first time and landed four trout with it.”

Kyle then joined Sonoman Steve Arelt for a day on the Sac fishing for shad with guide Hogan Brown. As usual Kyle waxed poetical on the experience.

“It’s hard not to like spending an afternoon in the warm shade of large cottonwood trees with a cold one in your hand and fighting a fish with the other hand while floating on the Sacramento River. Hogan has a great set-up for this type of fishing, which creates no pressure to cast until your arm falls off. You can wade or stay in the boat where you don’t even have to get out of your chair or stand up to cast. Just a simple one stroke back cast, roll it forward and let the fly arc out and across the water where it quickly begins another swing toward where you hope a nice shad is waiting to ambush it.

“The locals call shad the poor man’s tarpon. While they are great fun to catch and will grab a fly with much gusto, we didn’t catch any fish that might be confused with being tarpon for the simple reason that a tarpon can get up to 100 pounds, while a good sized shad might reach six. However, their small size in no way diminishes their fighting ability and like a tarpon, show great determination in avoiding the net.”

Fishing closer to Sonoma this week has concentrated on the Sonoma County coast, where rock and ling cod, plus crab limits, continue to provide plenty of action for clients of Rick Powers, of Bodega Bay Sportfishing. The only negative has been the wind, which also affects fishing in San Francisco Bay, where good halibut action can be had when the wind doesn’t blow too hard. Keith Fraser, at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael, said this weekend looks good around Paradise and Angel Island for halibut. You may also catch some striped bass in the same area, Keith said.

This may be the time to beat the summer doldrums that will prevail in trout streams around the state due to low water conditions. Bob Grace, at the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir, said the water on the Upper Sacramento is low, but cold, and there are lots of wild, small native trout.

Other rivers fishing good right now include the McCloud and Pit.