Posts Tagged ‘how to fly fish

03
Apr
12

FLy Fishing’s Spring Outing: Zip, Zero, Nada…But, Not Entirely

Well, for months I tied with anticipation. For months, I envisioned the preparation, the packing, the outing, the success of it all. Today, I am sitting with a different outcome than I had anticipated. 

My go to lake lines were loaded with care.

The original plan called for one of my son’s to come along, but life’s duties intruded. So, my wife thought it would be nice to get away…’maybe even fish’. Hmm? A novice into the equation. Suddenly, the whole idea of a total newbie into the mix changed my planning. I couldn’t just throw her out there alone and go my way. I must admit my selfish side silently came to sit upon my shoulder. Ok, I packed for both. I planned for both as I had for years for my sons. I didn’t necessarily pack my instructor’s hat….at first.

As we left Portland, it had rained for days but was a balmy 44 degrees. As I crested Mt. Hood's shoulder at Government Camp it was a little cooler.

The Open Road beckoned. Traffic was light on a Sunday morning once past the turnoffs for Timberline & Meadows.

We arrived with no one else on or around the lake. That can be a lucky moment or a bad sign on a weekend morning. The mountains in the distance were obscured with low hanging tentacles of some kind of moisture. The wind was steady and gusting. I will mention it for the first time here….the wind can be a problem on a lake. Duh! you say. Just wait.

The gear was set up for two....just like the old days. Years of enjoying my sons being able to fend for themselves was missing. I once again had to wrap my head around the double preparation that results when you are setting up another and realizing they know nothing about most aspects of the sport. I'm not complaining; just relaying my mental journey for the outing.

The push/pull of my desire to fish (compulsive addiction) vs. changing my expectations for the outing became evident. Months of anticipation & imagery became suddenly muddled in my brain. Having been down this road before and selfishly hurting those I love, I knew I had to stop and settle down. Do you understand? Seems evident I know. But, sometimes I so yearn for that fishing fix that intrusions into it make me selfish. Not who I want to be.

My wife was none the wiser over my selfish little self sitting on my shoulder. She was excited and relaxed. I realized I had to set aside some of my energy to just fish and get lost in the moment. I had to 'patiently' teach.

The weather kicked up to a steady roll of waves. Not huge, but steady enough to make kicking for my wife (actually for both of us) difficult. I was struggling in the pontoon and realized I really had to stay with my wife rather than row for some shelter in a far cove. So, eventually I decided to find some likely place to drop anchor.  

We wouldn’t be trolling/kicking along, casting/retrieving etc. We would anchor up and maybe the winds would die down. Nope!

A steady wind pushed hard at the back. Anchoring up was the only hope of not getting pushed to the far bank and a long walk back.

The reality hit that I had to start from the beginning on casting, retrieving actually everything while a strong wind pounded from the rear. We could barely hear each other talk and positioning my pontoon beside the tube, while anchored, eliminated both of us fishing at the same time. So, I started from scratch. My rod was setting down beside me. The focus was on my wife attempting to grasp the grip, the loading, the line manipulation, the roll casts, the components of a cast….all along me thinking the conditions could not be much worse and, selfishly, ‘I need to fish’.

Eventually, I got her anchored in about eight feet of water on a slight drop. I put on floating line, a strike indicator and a Chironomid pupa off the bottom. She seemed to have a basic roll cast working and the wind helped propel the rigging outward. I thought maybe I can move out aways and anchor and work my Intermediate line. 

I anchored up and flailed away with all those special patterns I had tied. I varied the retrieves, I varied the depths, I varied the patterns. Nothing. Not a tug.

My wife was having a good time gabbing away. With the wind howling and my flaps down, hood up, I was having a hard time hearing all that she was saying. She reminded me of that commercial from a few years ago, where the woman talks on and on. I missed most and had to keep asking ‘what?’. Apparently my tone suggested my frustrations. Eventually, the tangles ensued and I had to up anchor to go help her….again. Patience I reminded the selfish self on my shoulder. Patience.

I don’t want you to think I was a total jerk. I was mostly fighting this little battle inside my self. She was, fortunately some would say, none the wiser.

Then suddenly my anchor rope is missing something! The anchor! The ten pound pyramid anchor that had been securely on the end of that rope for years was gone. I had to rig something up with a rock. But, most of the rocks in this area are light for their size….save one I found up in the woods.

Field Expedience! At the end of the day, this was my trussed up rock anchor. It worked.

The fishing never turned on. The only fish I caught the entire day was while I was reeling in to go help my wife. Of course, I experimented with faster retrieves…to no avail. I could say the day was a bust. Certainly based upon the months of anticipation I had invested it was. But, in the end, my wife said what a great time she was having. She thought ‘this is great!’ I reminded her that at some point she would have to have her on flies, her own nippers, her own re-rigging, her own solitude….I know, I know there was my little selfish side again. She said ‘all in good time’. She just liked ‘visiting’ the most.

She was very happy with the whole experience. I set aside my frustrations. It was an inner struggle, but thinking back to the times I have been impatient with others, I knew the correct response.

The lessons of this outing were not anticipated through the Winter’s day dreaming about big fish, solitude and the feel of ‘The Moment’. The gear was good (save the anchor), the little I got to fish went reasonably well. The new pontoon boat was great, but I need to fine tune where the packs sit on the sides and I don’t like the apron’s tension…too saggy. The flies looked good in the water, if not in a fish’s jaw.

No, the lesson, which I have alluded to here over the years, is patience. Patience in life for sure. Patience with loved ones you are teaching. Patience with self.

"Trophy Shot" perhaps? I envisioned a large Rainbow Trout, but in the end the trip was great for all the reasons I never anticipated during the Winter's planning.

24
Feb
12

Basic Fly Rod Waving w/ Lefty Kreh

GREAT BASICS BY LEFTY KREH FOR THE BEGINNER’s Fly Casting

Nice easy going basics on handling the rod to move the line. Look how nice and easy he makes it look. 

Legend Lefty Kreh throwing the line

17
Feb
12

Imagine My Surprise: Hunting Trout by Tom Sutcliffe

I had recently heard from Ed Herbst that I might receive a generous offering from Tom Sutcliffe. In fact today, I did receive a package from South Africa and inside was an aut0graphed edition from Tom, complete with a nice handrawn Adam Dry Fly on the inside page. This personalized presentation is available to you by ordering directly from Tom Sutcliffe.

This past year, I have been most fortunate to receive inspiration from the works of Tom Sutcliffe, Ed Herbst, Tim Rolston and Craig Thom, all of the Republic of South Africa. All these gentlemen are well read in the history of fly fishing and tying, well beyond today’s contemporary offerings. I am quite thankful for their generosity and look forward to reading Tom’s fine book, Hunting Trout. Thank you Tom.

20
Dec
11

Fly Fishing Tips: Wintertime Advice

Here is a compilation of tips for those fortunate enough to venture out in the Winter to wet a line (it assumes colder conditions):

“Use a Net – The air temperature tends to be colder than the water temperature during Montana winters.  By using a net you can prevent shocking or freezing the gills by keeping the fish in the water during a release.” (more)

Deschutes River (Evan Muncy, SwittersB)

“If  you are hiking into remote areas, keep track of the time and if you are catching fish it is very easy to forget about the time. Remember, the sun goes down much earlier in the winter especially if you are in the woods or in a valley.  Even an experienced angler will easily lose track of the time so be prepared by carrying a flashlight; it will come in handy.”  (more)

“…you need to look for different kinds of water. Fish generally vacate fast moving riffles and runs, and spend their days in deep, slow pools. This allows the fish to hold their positions without using too much energy. For this reason, you should focus on slow water, and move past water that has a high gradient. Also, winter fishing tends to be best on rivers and streams where water temperatures are relatively stable. The best waters are spring creeks, and tailwaters. The water temperatures in these areas generally stay comfortable even in the coldest weather, and you will catch more fish.

It is important to fish during the warmest part of the day. Although during the summer you probably spent most of your time fishing in the early mornings and late evenings, you should do the exact opposite now. Generally, the best fishing occurs from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. This is especially important on free-flowing rivers that get very cold in the winter, but it applies on any trout water during the winter.” (more)

“The majority of fly fisherman coming into the sport today did not spin or bait fish. So they don’t have the basic instincts of someone who has learned something about streams and fish before they get into fly fishing. They are overwhelmed by the amount of equipment, websites, information, books, magazines that’s thrown at them. Television programs make it appear that trout and especially large trout are easy to catch.  What they don’t tell the viewer is that it may have taken them a week of fishing to get 20 minutes of video show the experts catching fish.”(more)

05
Dec
11

Fly Fishing: Teaching The Kids Good Ju Ju

For many, the fly fishing season is over until next Spring. It is time to clean  and stow gear, tie flies, study and plan for next year and get through the grey days of Winter. 

In that planning, are you considering the beginning process of teaching your child or a child how to fly fish? Depending upon the child’s learning style, you can introduce some how to materials during the Winter? I would advocate less how to written material and much more visual materials such as videos and movies.

It is a good time to assess what gear you have to share. Rod, reel, fly box, tools, float tube, fins, etc. will need to be put together. Do this in advance and turn over possession of these items to the child. Let them have a sense of ownership, whether new or used.

If you are somewhat intense, focused, self absorbed: realize a trip with the child must be primarily about them…start to finish. Relax and enjoy the teaching experience. More than once, I have wanted a fishing experience to be so perfect that I ended up ruining the experience for a loved one as my negative energies emerged, because the trip was not turning out as I had hoped. Of course, this only compounded the negative vibes. 

It will be easier to anticipate frustrations, missteps, tangles, bloopers and just give the day over to patient teaching, then have to apologize for being an intense, demanding, impatient task master. 

Pick a pond, lake, small stream that is safe, probably productive and go forth and teach and enjoy. Make the planning process fun for the child and create the magic now that will carry them through life. They will remember your gentle hand and encouragement years later. How would you want them to teach their children?

26
Nov
11

Trout TV & Hillary Hutcheson

Hilary Hutcheson, Trout TV Co-Host

I certainly remember Hilary’s brief stint as a news anchor in Portland, Oregon. Little did I know, she had the outdoor cred’s in her resume. She is now co-hosting on Trout TV. I have watched a few episodes, and Ms. Hutcheson definitely carries herself well in front of the camera, both while fishing and while interviewing guests.

 

Hutcheson comments: “Getting more women into fishing is more about getting them out and letting them fall in love with being on the water,” she said. “The next thing they know, they’re good at it.”

Hutcheson said she makes a point of avoiding top-of-the-line equipment.

“We use affordable rods and gear that gets the job done,” she said.

“I’ve been fishing all my life and I’m still a hack and I always will be. I go into every trip excited to learn something new.” (I like this!)

The term “hack’ is an exaggeration, but it helps her make a point.

“A lot of people are intimidated to go into a fly shop and ask the right questions,” she said. “That’s not a good bridge into the sport.”

21
Nov
11

Fly Fishing: The Agitated Angler Is Conflicted

The Agitated Angler recently wrote about his friend seeking ‘how to’ advice upon how to fly fish. Read his sincere remarks on the awesome responsibilities in disrupting/improving another’s life. Also, note that often passed on defective casting gene…I know I have done my fair share with three sons.

 

11
Sep
11

Fly Fishing: Retrieves to Entice

As a beginning stillwater fly fisher, you might want to consider a few factors that I frequently access while out on the water. What, where and how? What insects or creatures are apparent or possible in the water? Where are the shoals, drop off’s, structures, cover that might harbor the trout while feeding or resting? And, how will I present my offering to suggest the insect/creature that the fish are likely to feed upon?

The above questions are constant parts of the stillwater puzzle. Now you can enjoy a lazy day (no big winds and waves) of kicking about and trolling a fly with no retrieves beyond that provided by your kicking fins. It is ok to do that, of course, it is your time to enjoy as you will.

But, I would suggest a few alternatives to the trolling/search technique. Whether you troll, anchor up or just drift/kick to stay in an area, pay attention to your retrieves of the fly and think about the actions you are imparting to the fly. What life suggesting movements are you trying to impart to the fly: darting, rising & diving, slowly inching along or hanging vertical from the surface.  

The Figure 8 Retrieve. I often use this with Callibaetis patterns or to slowly entice fish in the shallows. I cup the line in my hand, but unlike many, who keep all the line gathered in their hand, I drop the line to the apron every four or five grabs. A figure eight retrieve will draw the fly 3-5 inches each grab assuming you are not kicking as you retrieve (kicking will add distance and increased movement to the fly). At all times, I am alert to the take. The right hand will tighten, the right hand fingers will tuck the line to the rod handle. The left hand fingers will tighten and strip set, then the right hand will raise the rod to play the fish. (PP)

This does require you to do a little studying on the movements of stillwater food sources. How does a Chironomid emerge; a Caddis rise to the surface or dive to lay her eggs; a Mayfly act beneath the surface or trying to get to the surface; how do Damsels swim just beneath the surface toward shoreline structure; leeches pulse and wiggle in the shallows; how would a predatory Dragon fly nymph act…on an on. Study their movement. Then visualize this as you retrieve the fly line onto your apron: short/fast… long/slow… pull/pause,  wait, pull…figure eight/inching it along…long/fast.

All the combinations of retrieves are to entice a take. The fly has to look like a possible food item and then you have to keep it in the zone and make it look real by the retrieves you use.

Remember that trout are, almost always, horizontal or looking up feeders. Use a line that keeps the fly in the zone longest. Too heavy of a line or too heavy of a fly will take the fly deep and possibly past the feeding fish. 

04
Sep
11

Fly Fishing: Posing the Fish & You

Deneki Outdoors (Photography-Hero Shot) has some real life, useful tips on setting up and taking that trophy shot. Often there is a glitch in the presentation or the taking and the opportunity is lost for others to see and for you to refresh your memory. In addition, Deneki Outdoors (The Best of Deneki) has compiled a sizable list of immensely useful information about various aspects of fly fishing and fly tying.  

The rush, the feel of the pull, 'the moment'. The fish is played and brought to hand, or net, or somewhere in between. You played it quickly, so as to not overplay and stress the fish. So, now it is thrashing about, still pivoting about on the tension of a tight leader. The photographer is attempting to get closer. The camera is being readied, the angle of sun considered. Words of encouragement are offered. The angler makes the attempt to control the fish....and it all ends in a thrashing, splashing plunge. Captured from too far away, but still a glimpse of thickness and beauty. Thank goodness there are often opportunities to repeat this fire drill, and yes, they will often end the same way. (PP/SM)

04
Jul
11

Fly Fishing: Observe & Study

One of the enjoyable aspects of fly fishing (and also of fly tying) is the why of it all. This is then followed by the how, what, where, when of it all. You observe as you pass through the wild. You take it all in. Insects on the rocks, on the water, in the air, on the shore side bushes. Birds scurrying about and maybe the fish visibly feeding.

You observe what is going on and make a selection or many selections in attempting to solve this transitory puzzle. Maybe you are partially or totally successful; maybe you zero out. If so, only a few will really be certain of the why. The rest will ask why and launch into followup study.

This past week, I had occasion to work over a sporadic hatch of PMD’s and two types of Caddis. I worked the convergence of currents below an island. As I watched the slashing rises down stream, I noted the pattern of rises just inside a seam on the slightly faster water side.

I only saw a few insects alighting and steadily drifting toward shoreline vegetation. I put on an a PMD emerger, a PMD dry, a PMD floating nymph. Nada. But, a greenish yellow bodied, brown hackled wet fly sporadically took fish as it swung into the area of the seam. But, there were a lot of missed/hits and bumps. Why? I noticed drag. I noticed when I reached beyond with longer casts, I through quite a few upstream mends to avoid the drag. This resulted in the wet fly sinking more before it came around and started to rise….bang.

Now, I kind of new, by now the theoretical why of this…the fish turned off by drag; the rising fly simulating an upwardly emerging something. But, I wanted to study the why a bit more. I turned to David Hughes fine book: Matching Mayflies.

SwittersB

 I researched the why and reaffirmed and improved some of my correct but muddled thinking about how mayflies emerge toward the surface. This studying of the various ways mayflies emerge from the nymphal confines was beneficial as to how I would tie various patterns in the future and as to how I would present them.

Also, tucked in Hughes book was a bit about presentation in exactly the same kind of shoreline slack water/adjacent to faster water I had encountered that same day. The casts were perfect but the offered mends did little to get the fly down or avoid drag even while I missed fish after fish. Hughes offered up: present from farther upstream and inside more; reach cast with a wiggle stack.

So, my why’s from the stream were researched when I got home to research (or you could call a friend, talk to a fly shop). I developed some what, how, where, when info (I am the who) and am eager to get back out there and try it out. This is, as I say, one of the enjoyable parts of the sport. Observe and then ask why as you pass through. 




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