Posts Tagged ‘Stillwater Stuff

15
Jan
12

Stillwater Presentations: ‘Keep your tip down’

If I had a buck for every time I’ve cautioned….  Well maybe not that many times, but it is important to your stillwater presentation to keep the tip of your rod down toward the surface. Less slack is imparted to the fly line (above, there is a fair amount of slack to take up in a strip set or by swing the rod to the side to set the hook) if the tip is down to, or even in the surface (Intermediate /Sinking lines). 

If you cannot pick out your fly in the distance, then focus on where the line enters the water and watch for the line’s bow or sag to tighten or jerk away. On smoother waters you can see ripples or pulses jolt out from the sides of the fly line indicating a take. All this is easier to maintain if you just ‘keep your tip down!’ Geeze that lake looks inviting about now.

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.

18
Sep
11

Fly Fishing: Sing A Different ‘Toon

My Buck’s Bag South Fork Pontoon is at least 15 years old. It has with stood the rigors of lakes and rivers and never failed me, until recently. I will probably send in the leaking pontoon to get it fixed and keep it as a backup. It has become too heavy for me to lift by myself, up onto my rig.  

So, I decided to spring for a new ‘toon, a new South Fork, with a slightly lighter frame. I transferred my spare rod holder over to the new rig along with my ginormous, side storage packs. I still have to transfer the oar holders and I will be good to go.

Can you see where the darn boulder hit the RRQ of my rig?

I will finish off with my pyramid anchor. I use the over size bags, less for the typical fly fishing stuff and more for clothing, camera gear and food. There is a ton of room for fly boxes. I am trying to pare down my quantity of fly boxes that I take out onto a lake. Rather than trying to cover all the bases, I try to think more and refine my fly boxes down a bit. If I really need it that bad, it will be back in the truck. 

Less fumbling about re-rigging one rod with multiple lines. I have two rods out on the water. Yes, it looks like an antenna, and every once in awhile I catch it while casting, but rare. I can switch out rods quickly and present the dry/emerger/suspended patterns with the floating line.

Oar Holders (SwittersB)

Bucks Bags out of Idaho have a great reputation. I researched other suppliers and several have good reputations. I stayed with Bucks because 15 years of abuse on my other pontoon boat speaks well of the product’s reliability.

11
Sep
11

Fly Fishing Lakes & the Slip Strike

SwittersB

Beginning Fly Fishing & A Slip Strike: When you are using a sinking line, the rod tip is best kept at the surface or even a few inches under. You are attempting to remove slack, which will maintain a straighter connection to the fly. When the fish hits or taps at the fly you are more likely to feel it.

When you fish a floating line and dry/emerger fly pattern, you are accustomed to raising the rod until you feel the fish is on. This is even more pronounced if you developed that hard hook set as a gear guy. Your well honed reactions to raise the rod to set the hook are not as productive when fishing a sunken line. Yes, you will sometimes hook the fish, but often you will pull the fly away by a considerable distance. 

It is better to use a modified slip strike technique used by saltwater fly fishers and guys that throw big streamers at fish with big teeth. This short video explains the technique for an angler that is standing. When you are seated in a tube or pontoon boat the concept is similar but more confined. 

Keep the rod tip down at the water or slightly submerged. The rod hand always has the line secured between the cork handle and the stripping/retrieving fingers (except when casting and shooting line). The retrieving hand should attempt to be always in control of the line (there is that vulnerable moment where one retrieves and lets go of the line to then reach forward for the next retrieve).  Side Ways Slip Strike

When the angler feels the hit, resist the temptation to elevate the rod. Instead point the rod to the fish and pull back toward your belly. Often you will set the hook. If you miss the set, the fly has maybe only moved 1-2 feet versus the greater distance of a raise the rod/pop the hook set. Once you feel the pulse of the fish raise the rod up to play the fish against the rod. This releases some of the tension of a straight pull/fight against the leader/tippet’s strength. 

If it is a big fish, it will often take line up through the guides. That line on your apron needs to shoot up through the guides. Use just enough tension with your rod hand to control the rapid movement of the line upward…not too loose, not too tight. Enjoy the fish at this point. Is the drag set too tight, too lose? This is ideally done in advance, but truthfully you won’t know how that drag is until you hook enough bigger fish to feel the surge and know how your reel’s drag performs. But do know how it is adjusted and think…how would I tighten or loosen the drag if I needed to (will you have to momentarily switch hands?).

If it is a smaller fish, you can strip line down the guides, onto the apron and in essence strip the fish toward you. If the fish is a bit stronger than you figured the line, pinched against the cork handle and your rod hand, can be gently allowed to slide upward through the guides for an unexpected run.  

THE WIND

Wind from the east, fish bite least.

Wind from the north, don’t go forth. 

Wind from the south, fish will take it in the mouth. 

Wind from the west, fishing is the best.

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. 

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.

03
Sep
11

Fly Fishing Amongst the Riff Raff & Caddis

I escaped before the Labor Day weekend to get a little solitude and renewal. Folks were out in abundance and the banjo’s were playing the twangy sounds. I wasn’t too concerned as I was lost in my reverie. I fished and caught my share. I enjoyed the pattern puzzle, the weather was perfect (not too hot; a mild, cool breeze that produced a riffled chop to the surface). Hatches were consistent and continuous offerings of damsels, dragons, midges and a few Callibaetis spinners. Also, there was a nice flurry of longhorn sedges. 

First fish of the day to a Little Fort Leech.

For the most part, I excluded the current challenges in my life and was absorbed in the moment. The moment included certain segments of our society that need to assert their sphere of perceived influence via cussing, long kerplunking casts (heavy sinkers and spinners…seriously even I know how to rig a lighter slip sinker, treble hook and PBait) and dirty looks coupled with head shakes. I was so mellow, I didn’t get too uptight. I did not let anything get to me on the water. But, it is tempting…..

I ran the gamut of black, green, brown, mottled colored Woolly Buggers to start searching with, while I looked about for signs of insect life. In the end, it was black, black and black with a dash of red Buggers. Sunken caddis pupa patterns stripped to the top near the drop off produced some savage strikes (about that: when you do have those savage strikes…check your tippet! Somehow, I continued to fish on sans fly for several minutes in the midst of a perfect FF scenario…only when I decided to change flies, because of a lack of hits, did I notice the reason the hits had stopped…no fly!).

September & October loom: less crowds, steelhead marching toward Sherar’s Falls (Deschutes R.), lakes still inviting, October Caddis starting soon.




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