Posts Tagged ‘instruction

07
Aug
11

Fly Fishing: Wicked Knots & Leaders

”Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”

Fly Line-Butt Section Connection (Kind of....)

When you buy a fly line and have it put on the reel, at the shop, insist on the shop employee attaching a butt section of 18″ not 6″.  Not with a loop, without! Learn the Surgeon’s Knot or Blood Knot and attach your nice, new tapered leader to the butt section via one of those two knots. From there repair your own leader by replacing lost sections with sections of progressively smaller mono. Carry these small spools of mono, in various sizes to repair the last half of your leader (depending upon the type of fish you are chasing) I usually have larger diameter spools of mono back at the rig should disaster strike and I have to rebuild the leader from scratch. Do not keep buying new leaders every time you break off 3′ of tippet/leader. This is your choice, your money, but over the long haul you save some money and develop the knot tying skills to avoid the disaster above.

There are previous posts here on SwittersB re leader construction and formulas. The ‘net has lots of information re formulas of so much (a % usually) of this X and then that amount of a different, smaller X. Study up on leader construction. May I admit to never having adopted the X concept? I have a basic memorization of X = # line size. I was a gear guy as well as a fly fisher for years. Leaders were built with so many inches of 10#, 8#, 6#, 4# mono. The fly fishing industry feels compelled to continue with the X diameter system and for you to memorize certain X diameters are equal to certain fly sizes etc. Whatever. If you chase trout, or whatever you pursue, have a good idea of the approximate pound strength of your mono related to the X factor. From there your finger tips will sense the approximate thickness (X or #) you have broken off at, on the leader, (my fingers feel the line is about 6# or 4X) and I am going to rebuild the leader/tippet with a section of 4# or 5X to maintain a taper and proper turnover. If my fly is of the miniscule variety then I will factor in a section of 6X as well, and so on. You should have the 3-4 spools you need with you on the water. If you travel ultra light, you may only carry a couple of spools.

Everything About Leaders at GFF…Excellent Resource

Nail Knot, Nipper, Hook Eye Poker

The above knot does not lend itself to proper, quiet presentations. It gets hung up on the guides as you pull your line through to string the rod. Hell, it looks terrible! I infrequently tie this knot myself, so I am by no means as adept as the kids that spool an re-spool lines all day and tie on new butt sections in a shop. There is a handy tool, I have had for years, and use four or so times a year (usually for some one else’s mess) is the ‘nail knot’ tyer device. Sometimes this comes with a nipper and a stylus to poke through hook eyes that have been glued shut. A handy little gizmo, it is well worth the initial expense. Of course, if you want to use a nail/needle then have at it. ‘Tie Fast Nail Knot’ is an excellent little tool as well and used by shops all the time.      Tie Fast Knot Tyer by DPruitt

'Tie Fast' gizmo

It you are going to deceive the fish, then no tangled webs…learn your knots and use them! These gizmo’s will help….if you practice.

23
Jul
11

Beginning Fly Casting: Take a Lesson

Casting with Cushion Under Arm

“Some teach no movement in the wrist, or no movement in the elbow or no movement in the shoulder. Some teach the old method of holding a book pinned between the elbow and the body so as not to drop the book. Some use an analogy of pulling a light chain down to turn on a light. There are all types of devises and theories that were created in the past in an attempt to restrict the movement of those three joints in one way or another.

In establishing the certification program the Federation of Fly Fishers is attempting to standardize and improve casting instruction across the country. During this process a study in fly casting is emerging that is gradually clarifying the most important basics and how they can best be taught. This process is ongoing.

One fact that is becoming increasing clear is that each of us have unique body mechanics which must be taken into account.”  Floyd Dean…FFF Master Fly Casting

Fly Fish Louisiana

For the better part of my fly fishing life, I taught myself. No, that isn’t really true. I didn’t really teach myself. I adjusted. I tried to present a fly to a target and attempted to adjust the stroke to get it, the fly, there. I had no idea how my casting stroke looked. I tried to make sure I didn’t catch grass or trees behind me and out front, I wanted to land the fly ahead of the fish and entice a take. That was it.

Years later, at a shop, I stood looking at a rod in the shop. I did the usual tip shake. I looked at the handle and judged how it felt in my hand. I looked at the color…nice. All you really need to fork out a tidy sum? Not really. The shop owner said let’s string it up and have you cast it out in the parking lot. Well, I resisted as it was akin to taking a car for a test drive. Pressure to buy…just looking…thank you.

Well, there I stood in the parking lot with rod in hand and I proceeded to cast. My the rod loaded so sweet and I snapped that piece of yarn out there easily. Then it started…the casting critique. Hmmm? I was defensive at first. I didn’t need any stinking critique, thank you.

Fly Fish Louisiana

But, the shop owner, an accomplished guide, could immediately see my faults (tailing loop) and started the process of teaching me drift and a softer forward stroke…. It was my first impromptu lesson. Since then, I have had others, especially with a two hander. I don’t mind now. But, my bad habits are pretty well established. I study more on line now. But, wouldn’t it have been nice, way back, to have had lessons?

So, I advise you to take classes. Several. Be patient as each instructor pushes you, and your stroke, this way and that and learn the basics, the basics that always apply regardless of your (or the instructor’s) personal quirks. Take a lesson..take more than one.

Also, when you take on the effort to teach others, make sure you know what you are teaching. Your prior lesson(s) will help you impart the correct advice. Encourage the newbie to attend fly casting instruction events (FFF sponsored usually) and/or visit their local shop.

01
Jun
11

Manly Trivia & Minutiae…Worth a Look


The Art of Manliness~Interesting Boyhood Minutiae of Old & Now

23
Apr
11

Fly Fishing’s Wisdom at Water’s Edge

Now, I am saying the following knowing there are exceptions, but in my life time not many that I can recall: almost every true learning experience for fly fishing came standing beside a man older than me. I have watched younger anglers and studied their ways, but to actually stand at the water’s edge and receive advice, suggestions, see into a fly box at a suggested pattern….that has, for me, for the most part come from men older than me.

Just an observation from my life. So, if you are an older beginning fly fisher, you are going to have to work harder (humor intended) to find that elder fly fisher. Now, as it were, the other day I encountered such a fine gentleman. I was exploring the access points to suitable fly waters around Eugene/Springfield, Oregon. Killing time, wasting time probably, while on a business trip. As I attempted to look at the river and not run over a jogger, I saw a silhouette out in the river. I thought pull over and go watch. I couldn’t fish at that moment, but at least I could spend/waste a few minutes watching someone else. I parked by the only rig in the area (his) and donned my coat. It was still brisk out. I walked a trail until I came in line with him, then made my way down to the river. Now, what did I learn by eyes and ears:

The man was fishing a spey rod, running line and a smaller head. He effortlessly cast out against a rock outcropping that plopped the smaller, darker fly into a quiet slot, which then took it swinging downstream into a seam and the nicest, chattering riffle. He let the fly hang after the swing and twitched the rod tip. Then he would strip in the running line, gather the loops into his bottom, steering hand on the butt and start over.

He was using a wading staff that he managed to use and then secure out of his way. He was fishing some 40′ out from shore, and the current was hitting him right above the knees. The pressure of the water against the back of his legs suggested the current was faster than it appeared and he moved with caution while using the wading staff.

He soon reeled in and tethered the dark fly and put a neoprene reel cover over his Sarcione (spendy) reel.  Once the reel was protected he turned the rod around with the tip to the rear, secured his wading staff and started a slow wade toward me.

As he arrived to land, I could see he had all the accoutrements of a more seasoned fly angler that been used and broken in. We exchanged all the pleasantries and he chuckled as he maybe felt obligated to answer what I had thought, but really didn’t know the current status: he explained why he was out steelheading alone  in April for Summer fish. He explained what site he went to in order to check numbers of fish over the falls below; he told me how many had come over and statistically how many fish he thought likely had made their probable way to the area. Then he again chuckled that he was trying to find just one of those maybe one hundred fish. Just a low probability gamble on a low probability pursuit.

He was happy, bubbling, vital. Just into his 70’s he had that energy. Probably why he proudly had that SB decal on his rig. So, now we talked and it was an easy going conversation. He talked about the oversized turbo disc on his smaller dark fly for agitation/animation; he talked about his travels (impressive bona fides), he remarked about the river being about a foot to high, hence the slower wading; and how it taxed him (would probably me too then). And, the explained contours, and buckets and tubs and ledges and skating flies with riffling hitches. He did all this in the softest voice. No brashness. No arrogance. He had no clue what I knew or didn’t know, but out of all this observation and hearing I learned several knew things for this spot and the area. It was an easy going encounter of the perfect order. 

This is the type of encounters I have had over the years. I can picture the old gents on the Wilson, Trask, Deschutes, Crooked, Minam, East, Tunkwa….I met and who shared their subtlest of tips that changed my success and enjoyment of the sport.

As I made my way back to my rig, I felt lucky to have met that man. I hope I have that vitality and twinkle when I am his age in the not too distant future. And, I hope I continue to share with reckless abondon (no, no I won’t give up the spot…that’s just understood).  

Grog’s Knots     Turle Knot      Riffling Hitch     Sarcione Reels (Oregon Made)

12
Apr
11

Food Time: ‘Can You Stay for Dinner?’

Andrea Mitchell at Can You Stay for Dinner has some very tasty treats on her blog. Her story is inspiring and her recipes are perfect heading into Summer.

CAN YOU STAY FOR DINNER?

06
Apr
11

Fly Tying & Fishing Instruction

I was stuck in beautiful Eugene, Oregon and ended up in a Borders book store. There were, surprisingly, a scant dozen or so books of fishing. Surprising because Eugene sets amongst several excellent fishing venues within minutes of town.


I came upon a nice book by John Barr entitled Barr Flies. It is a glossy, large sized book with great visuals and a bit spendy. I liked the S-B-S tutorials on several nymph patterns and  I bought the book. I couldn’t fish, so I perused the Barr book and planned my tying to incorporate some of Barr’s patterns.

Another excellent book is Rick Hafele’s Nymph Fishing Rivers & Streams. Hafele provides a gazillion interesting facts about insects that trout eat and how to fish them.



24
Feb
11

Fly Tying: Are The Materials Sacred?

I was just recently talking to a friend about a beginning fly tying class they had just completed. My friend remarked how the instructor embarrassed the beginning tier in front of the classmates for failing to properly cut the material for use on the fly. The not so delicate implication was the student was being disrespectful to the material, wasteful and to the creature that had given up its hide in the process by not cutting the material from the hide close enough. Hmmm? Seriously?

Now, I appreciate there are endangered critters out there protected and hence we most probably should not use the critter’s fur, hair or feathers because of that protected status. But, beyond that is it coming to the point that now the materials are sacred?

BS I say. My $$$, my choice to hoard, waste or share. Such foolery! Like moralizing away over the waste not, want not, ways of utilizing every ounce of a harvested whale or cariboo.

Save it righteous one for bigger issues. Like all the premium hackles being scarfed up for head bands, hair weaves and earrings. What say you pious one to that?




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