Archive for May 28th, 2012

28
May
12

The Barb, The Pliers, The Same Old Question

This post is about two things related to fly tying and fly fishing: the barb and the pliers needed to remove a hook from a fish. It usually should be an easy deal right? You barbed all the hooks as you tied the flies or you barbed the flies as you stuck them into your fly boxes. Right?

My waders hanging between uses. The telltale sign of hardware store pliers sticking out of my chest pocket.

Admission: Note to self to correct! I have at some point fallen into a habit of not barbing my hooks at the vise. I have become neglectful re this simple task. I rationalize that I will ‘simply’ de-barb the hook out on the water..no muss, no fuss. I suppose that is alright, but I have taken to using old, needle nose pliers. The groves extend up to the very tip and getting the barb between the grooves and flattening the barb has not been effective. How do I know this?

 When I hook a fish, the hook, which should, if de-barbed, easily back out of the fish doesn’t. It stays stuck because of the slightest elevated barb my pliers failed to flatten. I also notice this on the off chance the hook catches fabric. Again, the hook should back out through the fabric without snagging. Hmm? it seems to snag. So, I ask ‘the same old question’ Why don’t you barb the hooks at the vise where the process is easiest? Well, I kind of ask it like that…it is more like a sigh, an utterance and some thought of me at the table blowing off the process and pay for it now.

Beautiful Fly…but, there sets the barb.

So, two, no three obvious solutions: (1) barb them all at the table (2) buy barbless hooks (3) buy better pliers.

I cannot, personally, justify the $125.-175. spendy/trendy pliers suitable for freshwater/saltwater applications you see in shops. I imagine I would if I dealt with heavy wire, heavy mono etc. I know there are less expensive needle nose pliers out there so I will find them, if for nothing else removing the occasional fly that is inhaled deeply by the fish charging up from the rear.

So, the best solution for me, if I am adhering to Catch and Release, is to buy barbless hooks or de-barb all the hooks in advance and then proceed to tie….really no big deal. I just need to break the lazy habit I adopted.  

A Euro style Barbless Hook…Barbless hooks have been available for sometime. I never bought them preferring to barb my own. We see where that went……

Another side note here…a practical on the water issue: if you are teaching someone else and providing them the flies, a problem arises when they hook a fish on a fly you did not earlier barb and did not barb on the water. You assume they know to do that. They don’t. They might not be fully outfitted. Now if they get that fish in, they will most probably stress the fish repeatedly attempting to remove the barbed hook. If they hook themselves the hook will not back out nice and easy. If you are teaching someone make sure they have the tools and that their flies are barbless.

28
May
12

Hiking the Grand Canyon Story by Damian Koshnick

I came upon a story by Damian Koshnick describing his first time hike of the Grand Canyon. It is well written and perfect for anyone that entertains hiking into the canyon or other remote destinations. There are also the very well done photographs along the way.

Damian Koshnick seems to stand apart doesn’t he?

Some thirty plus years ago, I entertained doing the same thing. I was an avid backpacker. I had read works by other hikers that had traversed the Pacific Crest Trail and seriously considered doing the same. I even studied maps and the intersecting highways where food caches could be established.

But, also, I had read Colin Fletcher’s works on not just the Pacific Crest Trail but also the Grand Canyon. The adventure of it all was alluring. The solitude. The self sufficiency drew me in. I read every thing I could about both trips. I wrote Fletcher, but he never replied. He was probably standing naked (his normal hiking attire I recall) in some desert canyon.

Colin Fletcher

Suddenly, life got complicated and although it all begged escapism, I hunkered down, stalled out and the glorious plans evaporated. Later, I would re-emerge and continue to back pack but the wanderlust of a truly grand expedition gave way to the Cascades, Eagle Cap, the Strawberry’s…gentler yet still remote enough locations. Fishing became a pronounced subplot to hiking too.

I still enjoy reading about others who venture forth in varying degrees to any part of these systems. Damian Koshnick’s writing (“composing”) seems very interesting.

28
May
12

Penny The Cat

Perhaps you recall my coming home on more than one occasion to fly tying materials strewn far and wide. Predatory release at my tying materials, and mine, expense. Penny the Cat was at it. She is so on alert, hyper vigilant. It is seldom I see her snooze although she disappears for much of the day, beneath the bed or hiding in some cranny snoozing. But, every once in awhile she comes out of hiding to plop down and snooze. My wife captured this shot today…Penny in a trusting, restful pose.

Penny the Cat and Harley the Maltipoo chase each other often. One baits the other into attack. What is interesting is Harley for such a little butt is quite Alpha like. Yet, Penny thinks nothing of rousting Harley out of his high spots.

28
May
12

Marjin Fratnik’s “F” Fly Revisited

I have highlighted Marjin Fratnik’s F fly series before. I think it is a perfect beginner’s fly pattern that has many variations in color, size and applications (caddis, mayfly, chironomid, stonefly). My only personal caveat is regarding cutting the ends of any feather. I would rather spend the time to stack/sort the feathers so they are uniform in length rather than trim them….just my personal choice. None the less, it is a simple tie and the CDC is magical. I am linking to the always helpful FlyForumUk for the step by step (SBS) visual tutorial on tying the F Fly.

Fratnik’s F Fly at The Essential Fly

 

28
May
12

‘ns’…natalia sarkissian photography

I came across this dramatic photograph by ‘ns’…from there I traced ‘ns’ to ‘natsar’ and finally to Natalia Sarkissian. What beautiful work from this woman. A pleasant discovery…

Please visit the other work by Natalia Sarkissian

28
May
12

Wes Wada Damsel Fly Pattern

Innovative stillwater damsel pattern by Wes Wada

Visit the Fly Foundry blog authored by Wes Wada. His work is innovative and inspiring.

28
May
12

Fly Fishing: A couple distractions

Well, of course, the photograph is a distraction…right? Beautiful fish quickly brought in and released. The fish can be over taxed with long runs and thrashing about once netted or in the shallows. This Rainbow Trout was taken on a Green Cope’s Damsel. Below are two links: one is to Tony Bishop’s piece on how to play & land a fish and the other is to video by Jerry Criss re a Damsel pattern utilizing Arctic Fox. Both pieces have very useful information.

BISH FISH: HOW TO PLAY and LAND TROUT CORRECTLY

JERRY CRISS & THE DAMSEL FLY NYMPH AT THE WEEKLY FLY




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