Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing strategy

26
Jan
12

Fly Fishing: Small Sticks on Cricks

Several times a year, I find myself up logging roads toward upper drainages/tributaries of big rivers. I string up the 9′ to 9’6″ rod and set forth weaving my way, this way and that way, through the trees toward the waters edge. Once on the water, I scout the canopy and other over hanging growth to not only avoid hanging up the fly + tippet, but also to avoid smacking the rod tip.

The confines of a small stream quickly reveal the tangled web we weave when at first we use too big a stick on a small stream. Recently, I was privileged to review some DVD’s by Ed Herbst and in those DVD’s I noticed he was wielding short rods on narrow streams. He moved with ease, in stealth mode, and waved the little wand to delicately present his flies.

Now, this initially contradicts my impulse toward bigger waters, longer rods and more power. I have those rods and love them. But, those small streams are another enviro that beg the small stick. So, I invested in a couple Loomis rods, both 3 weights and shorter (7′ and 8′). For the last few years, I have used a 3 wt. (9′ St. Croix Legend) more and have handled some substantial trout on the 3 wt. These shorter rods have a softer, medium action and will most probably meet few fish beyond 14″….more like 6″ to 10″. If I do connect to a larger fish, it will be an epic story.

These are not rods for big rivers and big fish, which to my thinking would be potentially irresponsible if I am seeking a humane catch and release. These are sticks for little streams, the intimate confines and small flies. I am excited to use these on those private little escapes. Some of my best life time memories while fly fishing were on small streams.

22
Jan
12

Beginning Fly Fisher’s: Keep Your Eyes On…….

Beginning Fly Tying Courses at Fly Shops and Community Colleges

If no shops are nearby then find those Podcasts & other on line resources

Find Hatch Charts for Your Local Streams or Planned For Destinations

River Levels & Gage Station Reports for Your Area or Destinations

Reporting Stations for Mountain Passes

Hire a Guide Someday…Save Your Dinero

Identify a FF Club in Your Area and Attend a Meeting to see if it fits 

Check Fly Shops and News Papers for Fly Tying Expositions & Attend 

All these are practical planning ideas to spend the Winter months planning for open waters or Spring  openers. Tying, Watching others tie, safe road trips, planning for a trip, anticipating ice-off, hiring a guide and watching the river levels are all part of the planning process. Find the resources and keep your eyes on the charts, gages and levels. Part of the fun! Did I mention ‘planning’?

17
Jan
12

Fly Tying: Less is More? OMG! I forgot I had that……

This Midge Pattern is tied sparse and lively. One turn of hackle, an extended dubbed body and a few strands of trailing shuck. It would ride low and have considerable movement. Size 20

This Midge pattern has the same trailing shuck material, a dyed peacock herl abdomen, a touch of dubbing for the thorax, and a CDC wing faced with one turn of Starling. It is tied medium bodied. Size 18

This pattern is fully, maybe even over, dressed and better suited for the edges of riffles and seams. Midges prefer the slower glides of tailouts and silty bottoms. The same trailing shuck material is perhaps over done. The abdomen of herl is obscured by the dubbed collar of Snow Shoe Rabbit fur. I would still fish it with confidence. To the eye, on a size 20 hook, it looks tiny and white.

I am not going to write any thing too profound here. Conditions (type of insects, location of feeding, how the fish are feeding) often dictate the pattern selection. I offer up these patterns as experiments in the early tying season. I was experimenting, and as I often do, just having fun with the materials.

I love finding a plastic bag, opening it to find materials I purchased and forgot about…”Yeehaw! I forgot about that stuff”. I loaded up on some cool stuff last year. The task now is to stay on task and tie more than a couple of each pattern before jumping to the next pattern…like a fart in a windstorm.

I still have to tie several dozen unweighted, earth tone Woolly Buggers to compliment the weighted ones. How boring a prospect is that…of course, until this Spring when I am fishing the shoals with those slower sinking morsels.

07
Dec
11

Fly Fishing: Studying the Water

Killroys Fly Tying has an extensive four part series by Bryant J. Cochran, Jr.  on Reading Water.  

03
Dec
11

Fly Fishing: Spotting Fish by Tom Sutcliffe

This morning, I awakened to a nice email from Ed Herbst, the managing editor of Piscator, a journal highlighting the works of the Cape Piscatorial Society in South Africa. The history of the Cape Piscatorial Society is a good read. Ed graciously offered up for consumption the works of several notable Cape fly fishers and tiers. I recently presented Tim Rolston and his wonderful e-book how to tutorials on fly tying.

Today, I want to present a fascinating series of posts by Tom Sutcliffe at The Spirit of Fly Fishing. The series delves into Spotting Fish. I think you will enjoy all the work by Mr. Sutcliffe and the photography is most fascinating! Again, a special thanks to Mr. Herbst. Take some time to study both the Piscatorial journal and Sutcliffe’s interesting work.

A concept that Ed Herbst shared is for a variety of reasons, South Africa’s fly fishing heritage has evolved in a degree of isolation. This has often resulted in unique, innovative methods of fishing and fly design. Today, with the ‘net’ much blends together with the ease of discovery. So, dig into any South African fly fishing site, as you would a SE Euro FF blog, a Aus/NZ/Tasmania or say Kamchatka site. I mention those spots because, there is a often a flavor of difference. Don’t you agree? It would be a shame if there was a sameness to it all.

26
Oct
11

A ‘howdy’, a ‘hey’, a nod,….move on.

Nothing too philosophical. Realize the pro’s and con’s of solitude, privacy, singular purpose. 

22
Sep
11

Fly Fishing: ‘Bow To the fish’

Well, I was going to write something about bowing to fish, should you be fortunate enough to hook a larger, airborne missile. So I queried ‘bow to fish’ and to my surprise there was a different take on bow to fish.

Some how 'bow to fish' produced this imagery. She does seem to know what she is doing.

So, I kept looking for the visual to best clarify my written words about fighting the bigger fish that goes airborne and how to lower the rod (‘bow’) toward the water. This provides slack in the fly line because the theory goes the fish will crash down on the water and below upon a slack leader thereby reducing the chances the line tension would break the leader or dislodge the hook. After the fish hits the water you regain tension to the fish. If a fish, as some species do, has a tendency to jump a lot, it is important to learn this technique whether fishing for tarpon or chasing airborne Kamloops trout while sitting in a pontoon boat. Slack does not mean too much slack…a learned, intuitive response to provide just enough slack then regain it to keep pressure on the fish. Side pressures versus upward pressures are beneficial in steering the fish. Of course, if you are hanging on for dear life then make sure you enjoy ‘the moment’. 

So you can see this whole bow to the fish is only as close to fly fishing as the fletchings on the butt of that arrow.

20
Sep
11

Drop Shot Rig & A Fly? (Lots of Knots)

Drop Shot Rig & Palomar Knot  

I have not tried the drop shot rig with a fly line. I wonder how it would work for a vertical presentation, whether anchored up or drifting/kicking along and bouncing the bottom. The typical bare hook would be replaced by a fly with lots of action. The weight could be a simple split shot. The rig would not be cast via the normal casts, but rather lobbed or just dropped down as line is let out. I would be interested if anyone has experimented with this set up on lakes. Also, check out all the other knots at the NetKnots link.

Perhaps a pattern like these damsels would be a good choice to drop shot with. Any pattern with a bit of movement in the tail or body.

12
Sep
11

Fly Tying & Fishing: To Weight, To Not Weight

This weekend, I highlighted one of my favorite stillwater patterns, the Little Fort Leech. One of the materials on that pattern is a shiny gold bead. Beyond that the pattern is unweighted but that bead does allow the pattern to break the surface and start a descent, nose first because of the bead. The retrieves will cause the fly to undulate in an up and down swimming motion. Not to be discounted is the marabou tail.

But, there are times where one is fishing shallower water. The fish are up onto the shelf/shoals and feeding. The weeds are a factor. It can be problematic if the fly dives too quickly beyond the feeding fish and gets hung up. Now the ubiquitous Intermediate Line (1.0-1.5 IPS) will eventually reach bottom, but the intent of the line is a slow descent and you may also want to use a fly pattern that is not weighted (bead head or wire wraps around shank). I would advise tying patterns for deeper/faster descents.  If you only weight your flies around the shank, some suggest a unique colored tying thread for weighted patterns to differentiate them beyond their feel in the palm of your hand…say red thread head etc. 

But, also tie unweighted flies that sink slowly and travel on a more horizontal plain. These unweighted flies will provide a slow descent when fish are feeding in shallow waters. If a bead must be used, perhaps go to a much smaller bead.

When you cast out a larger, unweighted fly, it may lay atop the surface weighting for the weight of the slowly descending fly line to pull it beneath. This creates an unnecessary downward bow in the line. I suggest taking the fly in your fingers and swishing it in the water, squeezing it and saturating the materials. Then cast it out. Give the fly a smart tug and it will usually break the water’s surface tension and sink…slowly sink in the higher zone for longer exposure to the fish.

 

03
Sep
11

Yellow Water Lily Umbrellas

A Yellow Water Lily on a late Summer afternoon on an Oregon lake. Big trout cruised beneath, toward the reeds, looking for those emerging damsels and dragons.




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