Getting lost in Mr Hardy’s lost World

if like me you’re a little befuddled by the present and consterned we can’t go into the future, then maybe a little trip in the past might do the trick and balance things out.
at one hour and thirty-seven minutes long, be sure to set aside the time to see it in full, it’s a nice place to get lost. enjoy !

A (very short) history of Landing Nets

i hope you’re not too excited as the (very short) part of this post’s title should give you a clue that unfortunately and after several hours of research, there isn’t a whole lot available on the subject.
there’s of course the more than obvious dictionary definition with a tentative origin date:
landing net def.

and a few more tidbits such as these-

Izaak Walton and his scholar - 16hundredsomething (those outfits !)
Sir Izaak Walton and his scholar – 16hundredsomething
(those outfits !)
Claes Jansz Visscher - 1630
Claes Jansz Visscher – 1630
BrookesFrontpiece1790
Brookes Frontpiece – 1790

but it was only through The History of Silk, Cotton, Linen, Wool, and Other Fibrous Substances which interestingly enough isn’t credited to any authors… that i was able to back a bit further in scoop-net time to find this sorta-quote from Oppian of Anazarbus, a Greco-Roman poet-dude who lived in the 2nd century. alas !!! (remember, i spent  few hours on and off the landing net topic and this is as exciting as the subject gets)Oppian

apart from a variety of different materials used throughout history to create the basic hoop, bag and handle, very-very little has changed and i guess that even the creative mind will have a hard time improving whats basically perfect as it is. with so many objects/tools/things of all types that could do with a little redo, i really like the idea that this one is something we don’t have to think about.

to finalize today’s mostly useless yet hopefully pleasant history blurb, the image below is an offshoot of a series of images i took of a very traditional and exquisitely hand-made landing net review i’ll publish in the following days.
the historical curiosity, i guess, a direct tactile connotation of having handled, twisted, turned and scrutinized this lovely object/tool. history aside, this one’s easy to pick up but hard to put down…

netmesh m.fauvet-TLC 20-3-16

Fly Fishing Literature: Fishing with the Fly

by Charles F. Orvis – A. Nelson Cheney 1883

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” What comfortable satisfaction or foreboding premonitions do you image possess the noble lord while he is taking his recuperative rest in the middle chamber, after passing from his matriculation in the sea ? Faith ! you can almost read his emotions in the slow pulsations of his pectoral fins, and the infliction of his throbbing tail ? Perhaps he shrinks from the barricade of rock and foam before him ; or hesitates to essay the royal arch above the gorge, which reflects in prismatic hues of emblematic glory the mist and mysteries of the unattempted passage.
And his doughty squires around him ; do they share his misgivings, or are they all royal bloods together, sans peur sans reproche, in scale armiture of blue and silver, eager to attain the land of promise and the ultimate degree of revelation ? Ah, the way is indeed beset with difficulties and crucial tests, but its end is joy and fulness of knowledge : and “knowledge is the beginning of life.”

boy that’s schmaltzy but what  great schmaltz !

fishingwithfly00orvi_0007

along with assorted goodies such as: Fly Casting for Salmon, The Angler’s Greeting and close to my heart, Why Peter Went A-Fishing
this isn’t your average collection of angling literature.

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there’s also a few of these but the real gems are in word form.
to access the 302 other pages on Internet Archive click either pic. enjoy !

fishingwithfly00orvi_0016

Palmering, Pilgrims, fly tying history, the Worm and the Plague

thanks to this great comment left by reader Phil Foster on yesterday’s brainwashem’ young- Julian’s Wouf-Wouf salmon fly in regards to my mentioning “in the fly tying world, ‘palmering‘ means winding a hackle around the hook shank, not pulling hackle fibres back before winding/palmering the hackle to the hook shank.”

palmerworm 3“Per “The Fly Fisher’s Illustrated Dictionary” authored by Darrel Martin…….PALMER
A forward-spiraling hackle, a running hackle, with or without stem gaps; also called a ‘buzz hackle’; any fly tied with palmer hackle. The tying technique of spiraling a hackle laterally along the shank or body of a fly; the hackled, artificial fly resembling the Palmer worm, dated 1651; an artificial resembling a Palmer-worm, a hairy, wandering tineid moth larva. The term ‘palmer’ comes from the wandering pilgrim-beggar or palmer, “… the Palmer got its name from the pilgrims who walked …to the Holyland in fulfillment of a vow. When they came back home they wore pieces of palm leaves in their hats to signify they had made that long journey and were called palmers….Because a caterpillar , with all it’s legs, does a lot of walking, it likewise became a palmer” ( Harold Smedley, ‘Fly Patterns and Their Origins'[1950]. The medieval Palmer wore crossed palm leaves to indicate his travels.” The Palmer Worm is a small worm covered with hair, supposed to be so called because it wanders over all plants”( Charles Bowlker, ‘The Art of Angling’ [1839]”

which got me to wondering about how the verb ‘Palmering’ originated (actually, i’ve been wondering about this for years but never took the time to do a little research…) and found some interesting if not mostly completely non-fly tying related results yet they’re all related to this very stylish and hairy bug. enjoy !


Dictionary

palmerworm
noun palm·er·worm \-ˌwərm\
Definition of PALMERWORM
: a caterpillar that suddenly appears in great numbers devouring herbagepalmer worm

“I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured [them]: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD”

“Ancient Palmer Worm. THE Palmer-Worm, or Pilgrim-Worm, mentioned in Joel i. 4, and Amos iv. 9, was a voracious, hairy caterpillar, which was, with the locust, a scourge of the East. Even before it reaches the winged state it is very destructive, but after it attains that period, its ravages are terrible.”

“That which the palmer-worm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the canker-worm eaten; and that which the canker-worm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.”

suffice to say, and for our fly tying purposes, even if it is somewhat amusing to see how our prickly friends where transformed into crawling, earth-sucking  Mothra-esque demons, we can completely ignore all this biblical stuff, safely continue our fly tying activities and sleep well at night knowing how the hackling technique got its name.
 
palmerworm 2 it’s a little sad to see such a lovely creature get so much bad press but in the end, we’re still around to admire its beauty and be thankful for inspiring early fly tiers to create what is one of the most basic tying techniques there is.

When asked why she tied flies she replied, “Because they’re pretty”

“In a cottage in northern Scotland, Megan Boyd twirled bits of feather, fur, silver and gold into elaborate fishing flies – at once miniature works of art and absolutely lethal. Wherever men and women cast their lines for the mighty Atlantic salmon, her name is whispered in mythic reverence and stories about her surface and swirl like fairy tales.

With breathtaking cinematography and expressive, hand-painted animation, this film both adheres to and escapes from traditional documentary form, spinning the facts and fictions of one woman’s life into a stunning meditation on solitude, love, and its illusions.”

Kiss the Water, embrace the beauty. this one’s more than special.
reserve yourself an hour and be sure to watch it in full screen HD. enjoy !

EDIT– sorry folks, the video has been removed.
hopefully its replacement will be available soon. stay tuned !

Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice

dryflyfishing cover halfordanother doozy from the infamous “Detached Badger of “The Field” *,  Frederic Michael Halford, first printed in 1889 via openlibrary.org

while all of us in the Northern Hemisphere are secretly hating all those that aren’t, impatiently waiting for open waters and better days… here’s a more than amusing and informative and oh boy, once again reminder that while certain details have changed through fly fishing history, the bigger picture hasn’t evolved that much.

a few tidbits-

reels

rod action

changing

rod length
and if those don’t get your interest, this one on rod-holding ‘butt spears’ should do the trick.

butt spears

click either text/image to access the complete 400 or so page book. its well worth the read, besides, well, its well worth the read.
the guy sure had a lot to say about everything one might want to know and then more. enjoy !

* please don’t ask. i have no idea and i really don’t want to know.

Floating Flies and How to Dress Them

by Fredric M. Halford 1886 via Thefishingmuseum.org

halford 1

cold, depressed by closed rivers and the oncoming xmas onslaught ? here’s a little something that should distract you for at least a little while. regular readers will already know of my lack of affection for this Halford character but that doesn’t mean that he was all bad. the book is after all a classic and well worth the read, specially at work or hidden away in a back room during family festivities.

halford 2

see ? anyone that says grayling are silly can’t be all bad. click either image to access the complete online book. enjoy !

old salts

by Michael Marshall and The American Museum of Fly Fishing

a very interesting eighteen minutes with some of the most renowned saltwater fly fishers both past and present.
full of anecdotes, history and a lot of wrinkled charm, this is well worth the watch. enjoy !

“ALL HAIL THE BLACK PRINCE !!!

if you got here via a skull & bones/sucky music worshipping-type freak search go headbang elsewhere.

on the other hand, if you’re interested in the re-vamping of historical flies and beauty on a hook read the few excerpts below !

“The Black Prince wet fly is an old pattern. It is shown on the Lake Flies in Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, by Mary Orvis Marbury. It is also in Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman. It was a popular pattern and has appeared in other publications as well. The Orvis version has a body made entirely of flat gold tinsel, while the later version in Trout sports a black floss body with a gold tinsel ribbing. Both have red tails, the version in Marbury’s book also has a jungle cock cheek.”
black-prince Don Bastian
“Like so many classic wet flies, trout do not see them, and one ace-in-the-hole trick you can tuck up your sleeve is to hit the water with something different than what everyone else is fishing. How about the Black Prince?”

those being the opening and closing lines of yet another great page on Don Bastion‘s Wet Fly blog, click His Majesty for the complete article, materials list and more on this classic fly’s history. enjoy !

Fly Fishing History- The Dry Fly

via Dr. Andrew N Herd’s great A FlyFishing History

“The first mention of the dry fly in print is in the issue of The Field dated December 17th 1853. In an article by-lined “The Hampshire Fly Fisher” the writer says: “On the other hand, as far as fly fishing is concerned, fishing upstream, unless you are trying the Carshalton dodge and fishing with a dry fly, is very awkward.” Dry fly patterns certainly became commercially available around this time; the firm of Foster’s of Cheltenham selling dry flies with upright split wings as early as 1854. It is, however, unclear who actually developed the first dry fly, if any one man can be said to be the inventor. James Ogden, another Cheltenham tackle dealer, claimed to have been the first to use a dry fly, stating that he used dry patterns during the 1840’s.”

drymay

ok, it doesn’t take a brainiac to figure out that in order to catch surface feeding fish one needs to make a surface imitation however, this is where the whole journey becomes really interesting:

“One reason why the dry fly took so long to catch on was that it wasn’t very easy to fish it. The dry fly of the 1880’s had several glaring deficiencies. When cast, traditional dry flies frequently landed on their sides, or even upside down. Another problem was that the that flies became waterlogged and sank, often in fairly short order. Again, flies were most often tied to gut, which not only made bodies bulky but positively encouraged them to sink, a process which was speeded up by the tendency of silk lines to become waterlogged.

Another key development was the acceptance of the single-handed split-cane trout rod. The 1850s marked the beginning of the end of long double-handed trout rods, although they didn’t  totally fall from favour for at least another forty years. Apart from their length, the worst fault of these early and mid-nineteenth century rods was their excessive pliability. Six strip split-cane fly rods, which were stiff enough to false-cast a dry fly repeatedly, didn’t become cheap enough for general use until the 1880’s.

The term ‘false-casting’ wasn’t adopted immediately, although the technique was widely practised, and for many years after its invention, the process of drying a fly by false-casting was known as ‘spreading.’ The technique led to the development of stiffer rods with pliant tops that could generate the line speed necessary to perform the manoeuvre and had a far-reaching effect on the design of dry-fly rods. These were pioneering days, and one school of thought held that in the absence of paraffin flotants, it was necessary to ‘crack’ the fly at the end of every false-cast in order to dry it properly, a method known as ‘flicking’.” and very probably leading to several un-gentelmanly comments muttered under their breath…

fascinating indeed when we see that the creation of the dry fly was the roots that basically conditioned everything we can still consider to be contemporary fly fishing.

this is special. for the complete article click HERE. enjoy !

Pierre Miramont – Papy fait mouche.

i know full well that most of you don’t understand french and for once that’s a real shame as this wonderful little film on Pierre Miramont is about as good as it gets.
although he died a while back, Pierre is still a leading figure and a great inspiration on everything fly fishing in France. author, half artist/half poet/half chocolate and pastry maker/half fly tier/half entomologist/half fisher, he knew how to combine all of that while sharing the good word and and enticing folks of all ages to enjoy our activity.
merci Pierre, i would have liked to meet you.

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with Michel Flenet, world renowned fly tier pmiramont0

at almost an hour long, here’s a little time machine sequence full of magic. enjoy !

The story of a Knot: the Duncan Loop – Uni Knot – Grinner

first published here on the 15th of November 2011 with the diagram above and great video tutorial, i was very pleased when Norman Duncan, the creator of this classic knot joined in on the comment section.
an even better surprised happened yesterday when Norman graciously sent in the story and evolution of his ‘Duncan Loop’ that was missing from the original link that i had found.

now, when talking about the ‘Duncan’, most anglers around the world will say that’s it’s just a Uni knot and in the UK it’s typically referred to as the ‘Grinner’.
they are indeed the same knot as explained here on animatedknots.com
this all fits in well with Norman’s description and also explains that Dunaway’s invention was simply realising that the knot could be used other purposes than just tying on a fly…

Duncan (Uni) Knot Details

The Duncan Knot is named after its inventor Norman Duncan and is also known as the “Grinner Knot”. It was also popularized under the name Uni Knot by Vic Dunaway as a versatile knot which can be adapted to many purposes including snelling; joining two lines; and connecting hooks, swivels and lures with a loop. It is described as being the same as the Hangman’s Noose. Although the two knots are tied differently, the Duncan (Uni) undergoes a transformation as it is tightened. The outer wraps become internal and the resulting knot is the Hangman’s Noose.

for sure, the angling community can be quite grateful for Dunaway’s invention because the basic knot is outstanding and is as good as any other from the reel all the way to the fly (securing backing to the reel spool – backing to fly line – fly line to leader butt – joining leader materials – terminal end to the fly) but adapting the exact same thing, renaming it (even if Uni/Universal really fits the bill) and claiming it is pretty lame so, with the intention of giving credit where credit is due and of sharing a little piece of fishing history, here’s Norman’s story. enjoy !


In the early 1960’s I was trying to develop a new way of tying a nail knot between the fly line and the butt end of the leader, I wanted to eliminate the need for using a nail. Someone had started using a small tube instead of the nail to facilitate the tying of the nail knot which allowed you to start pulling down the knot with the coils of mono tighter than with a nail. Any method of tying a nail knot in a boat was difficult especially if the fish were hitting. Alternatively, I tried tying the nail knot with tension on the fly line so that it would function like a nail. Although it worked it was also difficult since it required three hands and two sets of pliers. Then I started tying an overhand knot with the mono around both the fly line and the mono leader, passing the end of the mono through the loop three to six times then pulling it down with tension on both the mono leader and the fly line. When the mono folded over and started snugging down I then slid the knot down to the end of the fly line and cinched it. This worked alright if you were in a hurry but the mono loops would usually pinch up some of the fly line coating in the process. I then tried the same technique on heavy mono in order to improve my methods. It was when I used these techniques to tie the nail knot back on the mono itself that I realized this created an entirely new knot that could have many different applications. I then started experimenting with different methods of tying this knot finally developing the following as the easiest:

First grasp the end of the line with your lead hand and pull it through the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand toward then around the base of the little finger to form a loop. Hold the two lines lightly with the same thumb and forefinger pull the end out about 8 inches and circle around to create a 3 inch diameter loop with about 3 inches sticking out. Pass the tag end over the three lines and through the loop at least four times for mono over 100 pound test and successively more times with successively smaller line sizes. Pull the tag end and standing line together snug enough so that the knot will set and not loosen. Then put the loop on something smooth and solid like a small cleat or a gaff hook under foot. Grasp the tag end with pliers and the standing line with the other hand then apply equal tension on both lines in the same direction, pull slowly and hard to control the loop size until the knot folds over its self and snugs up to the desired tightness. The loop size can then be adjusted smaller by putting your pliers loosely against the top of the knot and pull the leader till it slips down. The tag end is cut off by pressing your cutters against the top of the knot between the leader and the tag end at about a 45 degree angle. When cut in this manner, the tag end will make a smooth slope from the leader to the knot and pass through the water without picking up as much grass or debris.

This knot has many possible applications; however it is limited by the low knot strength. In some types or brands of mono the knot strength may be as low as fifty percent depending on how well the knot is tied. If the leader strength is close to the line strength you may want to experiment with the intended application by testing as many of the various sizes, brands and number of turns combinations you expect to use. This can be accomplished by tying the knots then using a line testing machine or just weighing a bucket of water when each different knot combination breaks and recording the results. The best applications that I found for this knot are; it is the easiest knot to tie in very heavy mono, heavy mono or steelon tippet to the fly, loop on fly tippets, mono leader to live bait hooks or trolling lures, the knot can replace metal crimped sleeves.

I invented this knot around 1962 and first started showing it to my friends, then to the various fishing clubs, the sportfishing community in South Florida quickly caught on and started calling it “Duncan’s Loop”. Everyone knew I had invented this unique knot that applied to many of the terminal tackle innovations that were developing during this time period. This name became well established through the years eventually becoming known as the “Duncan Loop”. One day in the mid 1970’s Vic Dunaway the local outdoor writer called me and asked if I could explain and show him my knot, I went over to his house in Cutler Ridge sat on his back porch and explained how I developed the knot, showed him how to properly tie it and demonstrated numerous applications along with the pros and cons of each. I was very surprised when a few months later Vic published an article in a sportfishing magazine in which he claimed to have invented a new knot that he called the “Uni Knot”. I understand that he justifies this by claiming that he adapted the knot to other applications. I have never confronted him regarding what I consider as his stealing and renaming my knot because he acquires notoriety and makes money by publishing articles related to the “Uni-Knot”. Since none of the sportfishing publications have seen fit to publish any of my writings I must find some way to document the innovations that I have made in the sportfishing arena. In this case the outdoor writer published his article about what I had invented over ten years earlier; meanwhile, none of these writers have quoted or published anything that has given me proper credit for the innovations that I created.
Norman Duncan


you’ll find the original article and knot tutorial video published here on TLC by clicking the knot image at the top of the page.