10 foot Spiders

in the UK the ‘traditional’ way to fish Spiders/North Country Wets/soft hackles is upstream or across stream and that’s how i like to fish them best. it doesn’t have anything to do with the tradition aspect because i couldn’t care less about tradition but because this manner presents the fly(s) in a dead drift/natural way just as one would with a typical dry fly. from that perspective, the two, wets and dries are fished exactly the same, the only difference is the unweighted wets are either drifting  just under the water’s surface film on faster water or just a little bit deeper on slower flows.

Luke Bannister‘s great just-out video shows us the up and across on pretty slow water to sighted fish holding under the surface and not rising to eat. true to form, Luke’s videos are always in gorgeous settings with gorgeous trout, all to the soundtrack courtesy of some lovely little winged musicians: a real treat.
watch it to relax, get excited or to learn, whichever way, it’s all good. enjoy !

How to Fish Emergers for Trout

the title says it all. filled with very excellent tips, this great fishing technique tutorial by Peter Charles warants no more additional comments on my part apart from the suggestion that this is an absolutely fantastic and very fun manner to fish traditional North Country Wets or Spiders or their contemprary counterparts and variants. continuing that thought, the very same fishing techniques will be just as effective with the use of other types of wet flies, unweighted nymphs or in a pinch if you don’t have any just-subsurface flies in your box that day, a ‘drowned’ dry. (just soak it by pinching it underwater till it doesn’t float anymore)

enjoy !

Fly Casting Accuracy- Think Small

practicing to very small targets
think small m.fauvet:tlc 22-4-14

until a few years ago i was a keen archer and although i had to stop due to a shoulder injury and its consequent surgery, there’s a few things i’ve brought over to my fly casting world that have helped a lot in getting better and more consistent fly placement results.
whether we’re shooting arrows, throwing darts, balls or rocks or fly lines, there’s one constant we need to strive for or we might as well be blowing hot air and that’s accuracy because if we can’t get our flies to the fish, we’re not really fishing. productive and consistent fly casting isn’t just about waving our arms, we have this wonderful mushy thing called a brain. it’s kinda hard to forget it at home and it’s always with us so, let’s put it to good use.

hopefully some of these ideas will help you get your flies where you want them to go.

Archery_targetthe Invisible Target-
right in the middle of the yellow 10 point zone of FITA targets there’s a teeny-tiny cross that’s used to separate match finalists. even if the two archers get all their arrows in the 10 point zone, the arrow(s) closest to the cross gets the win. now, where this becomes interesting is this cross is impossible to see with the naked eye at 70m (229.65 ft) but in order to hit it or get very close to the cross the archer needs to envision it, see it with her/his ‘inner eye’ and to be really accurate in fly casting it really helps to do the same.

archery targets are angled to be in the same plane as the incoming trajectory of the arrows, the whole target is in good view of the archer but when fishing we’re faced with a different set of problems regarding perspective, target acquisition and target placement. contrary to FITA style archery we don’t have known and precisely marked distances and we’re casting to a horizontal plane target.
we rarely have a fixed target point to concentrate on, specially in moving water. we very often need to cast our flies above the water to enable them to land gently and not splash and spook the fish. even if we’re casting to a sighted fish, we’ll almost always cast somewhere away from the fish so that our fly will drift towards it or in the case of induced takes, have time to settle before being pulled in front of the fish. there are other variables like induced slack for specific drift qualities which is the most difficult accuracy-wise but for the moment let’s just concentrate on a standard straight line/leader presentation.

back to archery targets- one of the first things we learn when starting off is to not shoot for the whole target but for a very specific point within the target: it’s centre. (shooting for the whole target is very common among beginners)
when we shoot for the target we’re not focusing on a specific area and even if the archer has good form they’ll be lucky to place an arrow anywhere inside it. as soon as we train our focusing capabilities (i refer to it as ‘critical focus’) we start getting our arrows grouped towards the centre and get better scores. later on, when we learn to abstract the whole target and even the colours (in this case the yellow) and focus exclusively on the unseen-yet-known centre cross our arrows seem to magically and consistently get closer and closer to it.

of course there’s no magic involved, as predators our bodies are made to be most efficient in acquiring targets that are in front of us. our major acquiring/hunting senses: hearing, smell and in our case the most important, vision, are all geared to what’s in front of us. precise target acquisition: distance assessment, angle of projectile trajectory, etc first start with our eyes and to be very precise we need to focus on very small areas and in fly fishing, what’s maybe the oddest form of projectile throwing, we very often need to cast our flies precisely to an area that is not our target. just as with the little cross, to place the fly precisely we need to abstract everything that is not the very small target we are aiming at. this can be a challenge when there are distractions such as the targeted fish, peer pressure, obstacles, mooing cows, branches etc, etc, etc.
to regularly and predictably reach our target we need to be aware of and keep all of those distractions in mind but for a few seconds, keep them in the background and favour only the very small target zone until the fly has landed.
just as with the little cross, we’ll need to envision this target area and critically focus on the most minute area we can actually see or imagine where we want our fly to go.
on rivers we can sometimes aim for a bubble or something else floating downstream but most often this target area will be (if we’re lucky enough to have something to lock our vision on) something way beyond but in the same eye/target plane: the tip of a branch, a flower, a stone in the water, a far away tree top or cloud. the possibilities are endless and innumerable but there’s almost always something there, we just need to look for them.
and then sometimes there’s nothing at all to focus on and this is where the little cross and using our imagination comes in. we’ll need to make up/imagine the little cross in our mind.

just as with the arm-waving part of fly casting, teaching the brain to work in a different manner takes some practice and a little time but lucky for us, this time there’s no risk of sore joints, muscles, back pains or cramps.

Advanced Nymphing Techniques with George Daniel

dynamic nymphing
i recently purchased George’s book and after reading a few pages and several “woW ! this is really good, no, GREAT stuff !”, i did a quick video search and came up with these three gems to share here because frankly, even though there might be a whole lot of books and videos on fly fishing techniques it’s not very often to find one that doesn’t seem to be someone else’s rehashed methods or basically that can help us add to our game and improve our fishing capabilities in any coherent manner.
as you might have guessed, this book does the exact opposite and delivers and delivers a lot. highly recommended for any river angler that isn’t one of those sticky dry-fly purists, this one’s not to miss.
until you do (and you should!), here’s about 45 minutes worth of nymphing specific lectures that George does all around the USA to wet your nymphing appetites. the book obviously has all the missing parts of the bigger picture. enjoy !

click the book image above to purchase George’s book. you can also find it on Amazon in paper and Kindle formats.

River Streamer Fishing 101

excellent article here from Marshall Cutchin at MidCurrent with tons of very good tips from very good anglers for the river angler wanting to include streamer fishing to their bag of tricks.

streamer 101 MidCurrenta short extract from Kelly Galloup-
“First remember that line control is everything in all fly fishing and especially with streamers. Start close, streamer fishing is not hucking a fly as far as you can and hoping for a fish. You have to learn to control your fly and move the fly with your rod. So start close, say thirty feet max and then watch your fly. You should be moving your fly in small 6 inch movements with slight pauses between each six inch pulse. Cast across stream and always have a tight line. Don’t worry about getting the fly deep, most fish are less than 3 feet of water, if the fly is moving properly the fish will come and get it. Cast across stream and always keep the fly moving back across stream, do not allow the fly to swing tail first down stream. In other words this is not a wet fly swing with a bigger fly, you look for likely hold areas and then stalk and cast that area keeping the moving across the current. Make the fish come and get the fly by its erratic movements.”

click the back of the happy oarsman’s head for the complete article. enjoy !

going down deep

where most anglers would walk on by.

here’s a little excerpt from the video’s page, underlined is the interesting part for us fly fishers-
“The snow is melting in the high mountains, flooding the lower rivers. The lowest, clearest water lies in the upper river tributaries. This pool is usually a bit easier to swim in low water, but today powerful rapids create a vortex of currents. Beneath the churning rapids lies a surprise- 15 feet of deep calm water.” where the fishes are !

now, getting our flies down to 15 feet in fast water isn’t the easiest thing to do (and in most cases impossible given the short drift times and adding that the faster water above is pulling the line/leader downstream, etc, ) but, these calm and fish-holding zones aren’t always that deep. sometimes it’s just a few feet and that’s very feasible.
how ? by dumping heavy/hydrodynamic flies (sleek and slender, nothing bushy !) into the very base of the waterfall using CNT ‘contemporary nymphing techniques’ (i’m trying not to use the term euronymphing… ) and letting the falling water push those big-heavy-nasty flies down deep where the fish are holding up in the slower waters waiting for just that:
food being pushed down to them.
finding the right approach position is crucial here or we can’t keep contact with the flies. it can be from upstream or usually to the side of the deep zone but for once we have an easy job discretion-wise as there’s a lot of bubbles, debris and stuff obstructing the fishes view. i wouldn’t go stomping the ground or rocks but it’s a safe bet they won’t hear us or detect unnatural vibrations either given all the ruckus created by the falls.

we’ll notice in the video all the smaller, curious and oh-so cute trouties hanging out by the diver but rest assured that the bigger dominant fish scuttled off before being filmed. these zones are prime holding areas for the bigguns because its a perfect place to eat in peace and stay away from predators.

another treat from River Snorkel i hope you’ll enjoy.

Presentation Fly Casts- Getting more action out of your flies through line control

by Phil Monahan via Orvis News

its been a loooooong time since i’ve read an article with so much insightful, out of the box, and all around great line/fly control tips. woW !

i had to include this in TLC’s Presentation Casts category because P-casts are about different manners to present our flies fly but ! the lazy caster needn’t worry, apart from rolls and a reach cast that every single fly angler should know anyway, these tips aren’t really about casting in itself but more about controlling and affecting a fly’s movement after delivery through simple but well thought-out mends.
mostly intended for sunken nymphs and streamers we’ll also see that certain floating flies can really benefit from these techniques as well. as noted, we’ll maybe first think of skittering caddis but lets also add mice, frogs, terrestrial insects and even slithering snake imitations and other whatnot critters to the list.
worth noting as well is, since the casting part is reduced to a minimum, all of these methods will be a great asset in low light and dark situations whether your using a single or double-handed rod.

Fly-Fishing-Streamer-Illustration

“But once you’ve learned to use line mends to render your drifts lifeless, it’s time to think about using these same concepts to give patterns life—to activate the presentation. Rather than counteracting the effects of current on your line, you can instead use this tension to make a streamer dart erratically without pulling it out of a good lie, make a nymph rise in the water column, or work flies into spaces that you could never cast to. Using the current and your line to work the fly means you can keep it in the strike zone longer, fishing slower, or make multiple presentations within the same drift.” and that’s just for starters…

be sure to click the image for the complete article that’s sure to open a few eyes and help think out of the box.
this stuff’s the Shiz, enjoy !

Finding trout in the shade

Hunting Trout in the Shadows by Ross Purnell, illustrated by Joe Mahler via Fly Fisherman

“Trout use shadows for concealment and for feeding, and it’s a particularly important feature on small streams with large trout. Small trout can conceal themselves pretty much anywhere, but a big trout in a shallow river is “naked” in bright sunlight. In the broken light of the shadow line, it’s much harder for predators like fly fishers, herons, and osprey, to see the trout.”
a most excellent double-plus good article on trout fishing tactics, fish behaviour and tips to take into account in sunny situations.
for tip no. 2, in the same manner that its no good for us to be looking at bright lights and losing our ‘nocturnal vision’ when fishing at night,  i’ll add that during the daytime the angler should avoid looking into bright areas when their eyes have adapted to looking into the shade.

be sure to click the image below for the full article and video, enjoy !

hunting trout in the shadows - joe mahler

Invisible Stripping

or, the ‘basketless stripping basket’  by Joe Mahler

some nice and simple line-management tips from Joe are on the menu today and these just might reduce a lot of swelling: the kind of mind-bloating-swelling exasperation we sometimes get when the line gets bunched up and catches the rod guides on the final delivery shoot or simply gets caught on the ground, grass, boat, bushes, shoe laces, rocks, vest (add your favourite anything because if it simply exists, it exists to catch our lines while we’re casting… )

another more-than-nifty use of Joe’s method is on rivers where retrieved line gets sucked downstream by the current which isn’t as bad as the list above but its still a pain.

anyhow, its all good but be sure to give this a little practice at home before the big trip so’s to avoid dextrous confusion whilst fishing. enjoy !

simple nymph and wet-fly fishing

pretty much based on the use of a Tenkara-style rod*, regardless of what kind of rod you’re fishing, if we disregard the silly stuff like “let the wind load the line” and the rather mindless “constant tension cast” concept, there’s several very-very good drift techniques in these videos well worth adding to your bag of tricks. the kind of stuff that can make or break a day on the water. enjoy !

*several comments from born-again tenkarists have been removed from the Youtube comments section. it’s funny how easily they get ruffled when their venerated style evolves…

How to sharpen hooks

excellent ! dear old Krusty says it all and there’s absolutely nothing i can add except: this is THE way to do it. enjoy !

if you don’t understand the ‘pup tent’ shape, its a triangle. once combined with the inverted pup tent (base to base) it gives us this profile when we look at the hook point straight on: a tilted square. this is the shape we want.
hookpoint shape

(i know, the drawing ***** but i hope you’ll get the point… )