Archive for July, 2011


Ernest Schwiebert

“I fish because of beauty” Ernest Schwiebert

I recently received an early edition of Ernest Schwiebert’s Nymphs, published in 1973. The artwork is extraordinary and the information requires study by today’s spoon fed standards. But, in studying Schwiebert, I discovered he was so gifted in expressing his recollections. I like that. As a rule, I am drawn to the visual for inspiration. But, I also am drawn to simple recollections that provide a glimpse of early inspirations and good times. I must confess that beyond techniques, I have not studied the fly fishing legends. I have a propensity to not idolize much these days, because it eventually leads to disappointment. But, Schwiebert seems to have been a bit of a Renaissance man with regard to fly fishing: science, art, literature, persona.  


Fly Fishing: Mending a fly line…what’s the big deal?

“One of the difficulties in mending for most anglers is that their technique eliminates slack in the line and leader, rather than creating slack or moving it to a new position. If the angler starts with no slack, and starts yanking on the line at the rod tip, the fly will move. At worst, the mend will negate casting accuracy by pulling the fly out of the fish’s feeding lane or cause enough drag to spook the target fish. “Mending Your Ways” by Brant Oswald

Middle Fork Willy: To mend now will move the fly as it moves along that far seam. An earlier, bigger mend would have kept the fly in the zone longer. The fish were rising along a 10′ stretch of the seam. I was maybe presenting to half that distance without drag ensuing. Notice the competing current speeds on the fly line. (SwittersB)

Oswald writes a nice beginner’s tutorial (intermediate’s reminder) on mending the fly line. The effort is to develop a balance in feeding line up trough the guides and/or adjusting the speed of the fly, via mends, without disturbing the fly and alarming the fish. The correct tension upon the fly line that maintains natural speed (moving at the speed of the current, not speeding up because of drag on the flyline/fly) is a skill that is much more important than how long a cast you can make. It is an important act that is often performed too hard.


Drano Bottle Bombs

I generally shy away from alerts re computers viruses, scams or Obama’s birth certificate. I thought this one interesting to share considering cleanup projects.  A little scrutiny of suspicious bottles. Would be hard in major cleanup.

Drano Water Bottle Bomb Alert (SwittersB)

Bottle Bombs & Snope’s Confirmation………………The Dipshits That Make These


Fly Tying & Fishing: On The Edge…Hoppers

Hot Summer days and the dusty shoreline and grass are buzzing with grass hoppers. This is a perfect beginner’s pattern where presentation may be more important than size, shape or color. Whether it is a Joe’s, Dave’s or some other buoyant hopper pattern, work it near the shoreline, close to the edge. Depending upon the size of the river, primarily focus within five feet or so on windy days. When it is hot and still, cast right in toward shore. If the waters allow you to safely wade in, then wade out a ways and cast in toward shore. If you are lucky enough to get an invite on a friend’s drift boat, then a hopper pattern will be a nice morsel to throw in off the grass and dirt banks. Hopper patterns are also, as you may have read in your studies, part of the touted Hopper/Dropper set up, providing an indicator/dry fly offering with a trailing subsurface pattern. Some people also fish two dries, say a Hopper and a Caddis pattern. I know an older gent, who years ago traveled the West, while working for the U.S. Forest Service, and primarily fished the Joe’s Hopper. There are newer Hopper patterns constructed of the new synthetics as well.  

Joe's Hopper (Montana Riverboats)


Fly Fishing: Size Matters (Don’t Be Sad)

The common factors for the beginning-intermediate fly fisher in fly selection are commonly stated as size, color and shape for trout. 

For the beginning fly fisher, the best advice I can offer is identify size as best as you can  (usually smaller than you would think, save those Drakes and Hex hatches). Then color and then shape or stage. This is important whether fishing a nymph, larva, pupa or dun/spinner.

Study up on the hatches for the bodies of water you intend to fish and then study those hatches for size, variances of color and overall shape.     

Also, not to be forgotten is action/presentation. This can be movement to suggest life or lack of movement, but presenting the fly, untroubled, into the zone. Fly above: I tied a smaller version of the Zug Bug. 


No Tell Motel Fly Tying

On the road. Near good waters, but no time to fish. All the gear is with me. Trout, Steelhead…I have it all save my pontoon boat. Sitting on a beaten down mattress. No high end here. Those nights in $130.+ rooms are gone. Lower rates. Lower expectations. Not even a muffin in the morning. Near the railroad tracks. Near the ebb and flow of vacationing transients. 

Year ’round, I have some form of  fly tying materials with me. I usually forecast ahead what I would need to have with me for Spring, Summer or Fall tying. I load up my little containers with materials for whatever I have not tied enough of earlier (usually after that long Winter tying binge).

Now I know this is really only applicable to the guy primarily confined to a vehicle or checking luggage on a flight. I drive the I-5 Corridor between Portland and Medford. I stay in motels, not hotels. More often than not, my outdoor experience is having the room window open to better hear the sirens.

I rarely wet a line. But regardless, I do keep tying, imagining and planning. If you can tie in a No Tell Motel, with all the noise, door slamming, yelling and trains rumbling by, you can certainly tie just about anywhere else, except maybe in an upriver, afternoon wind.

When the economy turns, if ever, I will be able to stay at a place with that skinny bacon, instant scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy. Geeze, those were the days.  


Fly Tying: Tippet Spool Tenders (Hair Ties)

Hair Ties Used for Tippet Tenders (SwittersB)

If you have ladies in your life with longer hair, you no doubt come across these little gems everywhere. On the floor, in beds, counter tops…they seem to be everywhere except in their hair. Well, as they inadvertently discard them, you should gather them and use them to wrap around tippet spools as the original rubber bands break. They work nicely on the Maxima size spools and even the smaller, more prevalent tippet spools.

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July 2011

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