Posts Tagged ‘preparation


It’s time to…

fiddle with the gear, review checklists, anticipate the start of the season….the trout season in the Northern latitudes. Time to replace leaders…finally patch that small leak in the foot of your waders…assess your fly boxes…study up on where you plan on fishing. As the daffodils push upward (at least in some areas), the mind seeks nature, seeks exercise, seeks the magic of rivers and lakes. Pull out that tattered checklist (or finally create a meaningful one) and fiddle & fuss over the gear…all part of the fun.

rainbow trout-fish-release-Oregon-SwittersB-fly fishing

Trout caught/released in Oregon.


Brain Scans, euphoria & exercise….of some sort

Interesting to see the below brain scan (MRI) images of person at rest and later after a twenty minute walk. The pleasure centers are glowing from the bout of exercise. I imagine this is equally true for various other forms of exercise (indoors and outdoors) that are extended enough to elevate the juices and provide that euphoric feeling post exertion.

brain scan, MRI, brain waves, exercise, rest, SwittersBAs I read this morning of 6 climbers swept to their deaths on Mt. Rainier, I am reminded to stick to ‘safer’ modes of exercise and celebrating the outdoors. Hiking, rowing, kicking, wading, walking, waving that rod are quite enjoyable to me. After many hours of that, I feel physically challenged and pleasantly fatigued…my MRI would be glowing too.

Photography-Macro-Lightning Bug-Calibaetis Nymph-SwittersB

Now I don’t exert much energy fly tying. Not everything has to be a physical challenge. But, the anticipation of presenting the morsel is preparatory to the outing.

Pre-planning, gear already organized and ready to stow in a car, truck, boat, pack is part of the enjoyment whether fly fishing, photography, hiking, backpacking, etc. Once you arrive and pull out the gear and set forth the pulse quickens and the challenges as they develop usually only enhance the entire experience. 

Trout-Kamloops Trout-Photography-Fly Fishing-Bucky-SwittersB

Caught & Released Kamloops Trout…caught on a Callibaetis Nymph pattern.

It is time for my yearly cautionary admonition…safety, risk management, preparations.

danger-collage-images-safety-SwittersBEvery year, I do this for myself as much as for SwittersB visitors: are you prepared for your outdoor excursions: fitness, hydration, maps, first aid, over night stay considerations, falls, tumbles, snakes/scorpions/yellow jackets/ticks, all the what if’s should at least be considered. Where is the nearest hospital? How would I request emergency assistance? Do I know where I am right now? Dead battery? Flat tires? Did I tell anyone where I was going? Risk avoidance & a little planning without over thinking it will enhance your outdoor experiences.

That out of the way, it is time to elevate that pleasure center and set those brain cells to humming!


Life: Know Your Place (Or Secret Places When Fishing)

No…no earth shattering how to mend your ways or gain peace of mind here. No angst or poetry to help you commiserate.

No, this is about knowing those special places that we revisit because of successes, beauty, peace, familiarity. The ‘holes’, the ‘secret places’ in our fishing successes that we feel we are most likely to be dialed in on. “Most likely” is used because if we are wise, we know that things change. The why’s are why we often over analyze this pursuit but part of the enjoyment in moderation.

back bay paradise swittersb

Above, is a back bay at a favorite lake we frequent a few times a year. It is inviting because, as I have learned, it is often wind sheltered in the afternoon, it is frequented by deer on the North side and geese on the South side. At the upper end is a brush/rock pile that is a Damsel fly & Callibaetis strong hold in the Summer. Along the edges, lined with snags and reeds are productive if patiently plied with a dry Damsel or Callibaetis dry.

The back bay is two to three feet deep at the upper end and ever so slightly drops to ten feet toward the mouth of the bay and then, into the lake, the bottom drops off to thirty feet in a hurry. Big Trout and  Bass compete in this drop off area.

Trout Gill- Plates SwittersB

This is one part of one lake, of many lakes and streams that we fish and each one is a study to develop patterns. Not foolproof patterns, but rather to create options of strategy. There is comfort in that. 


Final Trout: Time to Reflect

Photography-Trout-Fly Fishing-Images-Summary-Planning-Preparation

Final Trout SwittersB BuckyFor many the trout season has just closed. Some of us have streams open all year, but for many the season has just closed. This is a good time to reflect upon your successes, your shortcomings, your planning, your gear, your skills and what you might want to do through the Winter months to prepare for the season opener next Spring.

bow net bugger Bucky SwittersB I might suggest the following: stow your gear away in an orderly manner so next Spring you don’t have to search for the primary items. Make a checklist of all items needed and put it in your gear bag on top for next year. Cleanup those fly boxes and take inventory of what is left. What worked? Do you need more of that successful fly pattern? What broke and needs repairing now? Tears, ruptures, breaks and leaks should be fixed now. Now is a good time to check out local fly shops and community colleges for scheduled fly tying classes. What items should be on your holiday gift list? Yes, some of us will venture forth into those open waters this Winter or brave the elements to chase Steelhead. But, if you don’t, make the effort to tidy up now for next year.

speckled beauty Bucky

In the meantime, we will day dream of what was and imagine next year’s possibilities. All Trout Caught/Released


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 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.

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