Archive for November 5th, 2011


Fish & Habitat Management by Mote Marine Laboratory

“Why, after a century of stocking marine fishes into the wild, is there still so little understanding of the effects and effectiveness of marine stock enhancement? Historically, little emphasis has been placed on understanding the impacts of stocking on fisheries landings. The approach to marine stock-enhancement during most of the 20th century can be characterized as the Production Phase, the period when all of the emphasis and accountability in stocking programs was focused on aquaculture production and release magnitude. This emphasis on production is pervasive, even today, and has overshadowed critical questions about stocking effects on fisheries landings and fish populations.”

MOTE MARINE LABORATORY is not only involved in research re aqua culture but also the production of wetland plants. They are growing fish and plants. Interesting to see how this habitat/stability concept works for the Atlantic/Gulf Coasts.


Fly Fishing: Balloon Strike Indicator

Passing the afternoon watching bad TV. An episode of Fly Fishing the World (#110, 11/1/2011) shows the host fishing the Missouri during high waters in Montana. He is using an 11′ switch rod with a nymph presented beneath a toy balloon. At one point he is fighting a nice fish and is encouraged to strip the balloon up through the top guide to enable the fisher to strip the fish in toward the drift boat. The torque of the strip breaks the rod tip. It is the only long rod in the boat that day. Probably has its avid proponents. Probably those with rods to burn. 


Fly Tying & Fishing: Are Cheap Hooks Really That Big a Deal?

“…I went through a period with “inexpensive hooks”.
It was good for tying numbers of flies. But not so good for catching fish.
Poor quality control, and lower carbon steel leads to misses with fishes!
Personally, I find this unacceptable, or maybe unbearable is more accurate..
I learned long ago, a bargin isn’t a bargin, if it doesn’t work.”  Jim FF Forum 

At first take, it might seem quite obvious to not buy cheap hooks because they may/probably will fail while fighting a big fish. But, what’s the big deal for smaller fish. You will notice that a few hooks out of the box have a malformed eye or no eye, yet they were packaged. Also, according to some, the hooks are so dull they don’t penetrate the jaw of the striking fish. Rust, brittle, aesthetics all seem to add up to missed opportunities. You get what you pay for when it comes to hooks. It is one thing to drop down a notch to find mid level priced waders, rods, reels so you can afford the sport. With hooks you are talking about saving what, dollar wise, in the course of a year? Unless you are commercial tier, I doubt you will buy that many hooks in a year, nor save that much money.

Roman village excavation near Yorkshire produced this probably fish hook, point damaged.

For the price of a case of good beer, invest in quality hooks this Winter and once fishing, periodically touch up that hook point (with a file) after dredging the bottom or playing a fish and removing that hook, especially with a tool. You could get a deal, but it could end up being a big deal. 


Fly Fishing: Pose that Fish & That Odd Growth

Ok, I admit, if I caught that fish of the year or life time, I would love to have a picture of that fish and me. I would cross my fingers that the shot turned out perfect and that it was there to look at years later. I have such pictures and love looking at them. Especially now, that for a variety of health and stages of life reasons I cannot get out as often. 

There is posing and then there is posing... (SwittersB)

But, Martin Joergensen at Global Fly Fishers came up with a collage of pictures that, when viewed together, presents an odd, recent dynamic of what to do with the rod when posing the fish. It looks silly when seen in a group setting. Sometimes that rod does get in the way of those taking the shot. Should you decide to forgo the behind the neck pose (please, at least in a group setting) and set the rod down be very careful it is not stumbled upon. 


Fly Fishing: Snagging, Flossing and other ways

Mike Nutto, an avid fly fisher and hunter is now living on the East side in New Jersey. Outspoken, independent, often misunderstood by his brashness, Mike is opinionated and often has the interesting topic in his sights. Mike sent me a link to his blog (The Wayward Drifter) about  his recent posting. He delves into the limited hunting options/management in New Jersey and then swings over into ‘combat’ fishing and the often attendant snagging. 

There are a couple things here that are easy to mix together and that shows the presentation divide amongst fly fishers as well: using lead to get down with egg patterns (nymphing technique of sorts) is fine by me. Strike indicators etc. are part of the mix. But, if you are new to the sport you can see that there is a group of fly fishers that swing the fly (steelhead and salmon presentation & wet fly swing for trout/grayling). They will appear to be criticizing the technique of nymphing for fish, particularly steelhead. Many are. If you are a trout fisherman, only, this will seem confusing because a major portion of fly fishing presentation, for trout, is nymphing regardless of the fly ‘pattern’ (insect, worm, egg, scud patterns). 

It is important to separate out the most important issues that I believe Mike is most focused upon. His need for solitude is apparent. The pressures and population densities of the big city are not for Mike, whether he lives on the East Coast or West Coast. He needs room to roam and ‘combat’ fishing is off putting.

Steelhead-Salmon Close Quarters Fishing (Shin Deep, Visiblilty Good, Snagging Frequent?)

I have purposely suffered through shoulder to shoulder gear fishing on rivers on Oregon’s coast, as well as only slightly more spaced out fishing with fly fishers dredging pieces of orange yarn or egg patterns for salmon. I believe the real issue, for me, is…are the fish on the move (not on a reed) and is the set of the hook in response to a visible take or visibly close enough to appear to be a take? When I swing a sinking line or dredge a nymphing rig into a visible, moving or holding group of salmon, I will feel a movement from the fish. Is that the fish taking the fly? Is that bump from a take of the fly or your line brushing over the back or belly of a fish? Is that bump from your leader ‘lining’ or ‘flossing’ through a fish’s mouth? Sometimes you can tell by seeing the fish in low, gin clear water or sometimes you can only feel and set the hook with the bump.

Often on late Fall days, while fishing for salmon on Oregon coastal rivers, I have ‘hooked’ into several dozen fish. Of those hooked fish, half+ were snagged in the cheek or dorsal fin (they were released and/or won the tug of war). While doing the same sort of fishing for steelhead, I have rarely snagged a steelhead. I don’t know why the difference beyond numbers of fish (not unusual to have a larger pod of salmon together and fewer steelhead near each other). 

So, the question is do you avoid all this potential snagging of fish not on a redd by only swinging a fly? It can be elevated as a noble presentation option for steelhead because it avoids the confusion  re fair takes. It can rightfully be set aside amongst various options as a worthy presentation option to take a fish clean and righteous. I have friends that only fish wets on the swing and with a dry fly like presentation for trout, so averse are they to nymphing. Decisions, decisions.

There is a great deal to debate here. Mike raised interesting points about why he fishes, why he swings a steelhead fly and learned a two handed presentation style. Most importantly, all can agree: no fisherman should ever stand over spawning fish on a redd and purposely snag or set any hook into those fish…EVER! It is equally problematic to swing or nymph through known pods of fish on the move and set at every bump. This last scenario is something I have personally had to work through. I have no qualms about fishing blind for trout by nymphing and have rarely snagged a trout. Indicator/nymphing presentations for Steelhead (by Mike Gorman) is popular in the NW and the East Coast.

For me, the best part of Mike’s post was his passion for learning a fly fishing technique (two handed rod and swing the fly) and his passion, his pursuit for “The Moment”. All practiced and enjoyed with room to roam and a sense of freedom. Lots of food for thought, debate, pursuit, for solitude. Ain’t It Grand!

•´¯`•.¸. , . ><(((º>`•.¸¸.•´¯`•.¸><(((º>


Fly Tying: Copper John S-B-S

For a small nymph pattern, that sinks quickly, it is hard to beat the Copper John. In smaller sizes, it will cut the surface tension and sink quickly. Use it by itself, as part of a multiple nymph rig or as a dropper below a dry fly/indicator set up. I have tied this with the traditional copper colored wire and the with black and lime green copper wire. Blues, reds, well there are many colored fine wires out there now in shops or online. Here is a nice S-B-S (step by step) at SwedneckFlyFishing on tying the Copper John. My advice: keep the Biot tail less than the length of the shank, and keep the partridge legs about half the length of the shank (both as depicted here).

Copper John Nymph at

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