so, you’ve accidentally caught a bird and not the fish. now what ?

that’s maybe not so far-fetched as it might seem at first as it’s hard to think of a place where we fish that isn’t also inhabited by birds and these birds will more often than not want to eat the very same things the fish do.
so far, i’ve managed to not hook any but a bat caught my fly on my back cast once and since i was fishing/casting upstream, by the time i first realized what happened and then brought it back to me it had drowned. sad moment.

in the video we’ll see an unfortunate fish-chasing gull who gets out of this predicament seemingly just fine, yay !
i can’t help but remember all the countless times i’ve had to yank out a fly during a drift when it was approached by ducks. this brings grrrrrs but a few grrrrs are a million times better than accidentally catching a creature that will probably fly off…

as noted, if this happens to you stay calm, be gentle yet firm and try to wrap the bird in a towel, t-shirt or something just as you’d wrap up a wounded cat or other animal. if you can, cover their eyes. being wrapped and temporarily blinded usually immobilizes them, giving you a better opportunity to get rid of that hook. speaking of hooks, it’s obvious once again that a barbless hook will a lot easier to remove if it already hasn’t come off as you retrieved the animal.

this isn’t an enjoy ! post but something to keep in the back of the mind. enjoy anyway.

 

 

Fly Fishing- Top 10 Trout Fishing Tips

by Steffan Jones via Fulling Mill blog

lists of fishing tips get bandied about regularly but its rare in my opinion to find one that gets a 10 out of ten grade. written as a guide for river fishing in the UK, i can’t think of a single area in the world where the same tips wouldn’t prove to be invaluable.

here’s a few extracts:

1. Time of day; simply put – don’t be hungry when the trout are hungry! You often see people heading off the river between 1-3pm early season when any hatch to speak of is likely to happen. You also then see people coming off the river at around 7pm in the summer, when the main action has probably not even begun yet – certainly in dry fly terms anyway. Be on the water when the fly life is most abundant; the trout may well be dormant before and after these times, awaiting and feeding hard when the banquet arrives.

10 top trout fishing tips - Fulling Mill
10. Paraphernalia; don’t laden yourself with accessories, but some bits are vital and should never be left at home. In my jacket I would always have; fly floatant, mucilin, sinkant/leader mud (more for taking the shine off the leader than actually sinking it), amadou for drying flies out, leader material in 0.10-0.18mm, forceps and snips, then some spare leaders and tippet rings. Leader holders can also be of great use, and I would always advocate the circular ones to avoid leader kinks. (don’t forget your net !)

be sure to click the image to access the complete article. use it as a starting guide for beginners or as a refresher for the more experienced, there’s more than a few somethings for every angler of every level to adapt to their particular location and needs. enjoy !

Transporting Fly Rods Safely

today’s great tips and tricks comes to us from Brad Harris via FlyLife.

as we’d seen previously in Understanding how fly rods break“so, why do rods break ? it can be through improper use under load or by banging it with a fly (vulgarly referred to as ‘Clousering’). another reason i suspect and something i rarely hear about, because nobody wants to admit it… is a lot of anglers damage their rods when they’re not even fishing or casting. bings and bangs during transport, throwing them down (yes, throwing them down… ), the ever-present beer and it’s consequent mind-numbing and slipping and sliding effects and who knows what else, must account for a lot of “huh ?! WTF happened ?” reactions when they’re using them for real later on. in a sense, they’re recreating a ‘Clousering’ without even having the fun of casting ! “

in Brad’s well explained and thought out Racking It For The Road article, we’ll see several options with their respective pros and cons on how to avoid at least some of life’s misery with as bonus, a simple, effective, practical, inexpensive DIY option featured in the image below which particularly caught my eye. click on the pick to access the complete article, and safe travels !

 

rodrack DIY

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks- Analysing Trout Rise Forms

a real gem from Alan Bulmer at Active Angling New Zealand for your trout-hunting pleasure. Alan proposes that rise form recognition is ‘a lost skill’ and even if it isn’t completely lost, it’s a subject that’s rarely touched upon in contemporary fly fishing literature whether that be in print, on the net or among anglers themselves.
in a roundabout way, the average fly fisher will see a rise or rings and assume that the fish is feeding on or in the surface film and instantly tie on a dry fly or emerger but the keen observer will notice that there’s a lot more to it than that.
as we’ve previously seen in How fish eat, and how Alan astutely points out at the end of his piece, “The peculiarities of a rise form are not easy to observe. Often it cannot be said with certainty what fly has been taken; the rings of each pattern proceed so rapidly outwards that the pattern is always in a state of change”, as with most things in life, there are no absolutes and there’s always countless, unavoidable variables but the more we know, the better we can react to that knowledge and simply get better at what we do while feeling a bit more fulfilled.
all this hopefully inciting to spend more time observing and not just randomly looking, this article’s subject is about trout but the same principles with a few variations of course can be applied to other insect-eating fish.

here’s a few morsels to wet your appetite:

“There is one chapter in particular which is fascinating and that is a sixteen page treatise on analysing rise forms. This chapter summarises much of what had been learned through observation by the masters*, GEM Skues, Harding, Lamond and Taverner himself. These fly fishermen pioneered the sport and their observational and analytical skills were legendary. This book was published in their hey day so it must have been cutting edge at the time.
bulge rise
Back in the day analysing trout rise forms was considered a necessary skill for dry fly and nymph fishermen. Those skilled in the art could look at a surface disturbance, characterise it as bulging, humping, tailing, sucking, sipping, slashing, pyramid, kidney, head and tail, porpoise roll or spotted ring and accurately determine what the trout was feeding on and where in the water column it was feeding. In some cases they even counted the number of tiny bubbles appearing within the ring formed as the trout rose to determine what fly to use. This is a skill which I fear may no longer be in the repertoire of most anglers.”

rise-table

click on either image for the complete article. this is really-really good stuff, enjoy !

* note how there’s absolutely no mention of the redundant Halford

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 Fishing Tips and Tricks- Weight shift/Attitude adjustment

Davy Wotton needs no introduction. for me, he’s one of those few people that when he speaks and shares his wisdom, i’m all ears because those words are the fruit of many, many years of experience and always lead to not only learning something new but also a new mental approach to that particular subject and today’s ‘Attitude Adjustment’ does just that.
it’s not just a super-easy way to very quickly get our flies at the right depth but also gets us thinking about how flies move and how we can alter those moments during the drift or retrieve.

here’s just a few text tidbits to wet your appetite:

“There is no doubt that bead headed fly patterns have a place but not always. That said by a simple process the fly fisher can for the same fly pattern used have many options in so far as altering how that fly will fish and by what attitude or movement it can be presented be that dead drift or with animated movement such as fishing wet fly, soft hackles and streamers.”

Davy Wotton 'Attitude Adjustment'
“So here is the deal. l carry with me a box which contains tungsten beads of different sizes and colors, size of bead is of course related to the weight. Many of my fly patterns are not adorned with a bead head included on the hook shank.
l now have many options to change the fly by the addition of bead size and color, or number of beads used, more to the point by the addition of the bead to the tippet or leader above the hook eye it will cause the fly to fish hook up.”

click the pic to access Davy’s complete article. enjoy !
and HERE for previous articles on Davy’s wisdom posted here on TLC

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks- Fitting Braided Fly Line Loops

to celebrate TLC’s shiny new face here’s some more than excellent tips on installing braided loops from Mike Barrio of Barrio Fly Lines.
the trick with the monofilament ‘threader’ really makes it easy to snug up the fly line end inside the braid and get it just right. enjoy !


Personally, I prefer to connect my leader directly to my fly line with a constriction type knot, in my experience this offers me a better transition from fly line to leader and better presentation. But braided leader loops are a very popular alternative method and I am frequently asked how to fit them.

There are numerous braided leader loops available on the market, many of these are too long and too heavy for most fly line tips and can cause them to sink, especially when fitted to lower weight lines. A lot of them are also very poorly made and can fail on a good fish. In my experience, the Roman Moser Minicon Loops are the best that I have found.
2-160515124137These are easy to fit. I usually grab 10 inches or so of nylon, thread it through the loop and hold it back in a ‘U’ against the loop ( loop through loop ) then I slide the red sleeve over the loop so that the sleeve is mostly sitting on the nylon.
2-160515124440Then I insert the fly line inside the braid at the other end and feed it up through the braid until it reaches the point where the loop is formed. Sometimes the end of the braid can be a bit tight making it difficult to insert the fly line, but if you push or prod the end of the braid with your finger this will help to loosen and expand the braid a little.
2-160515124718

Now hold the nylon and slide the sleeve back over the loop and along the braid until it reaches the other end, I like to have about 3/4 of the sleeve sitting on the braid and 1/4 on the fly line.

A braided loop works by constriction, so the harder you pull the braided loop from the loop end, the more it will tighten and grip the fly line between the loop and the ‘sleeve anchor point’. Don’t be tempted to add a spot of glue at the loop end, as this could cancel out the constriction of the braid.

Braided loops work well when simply fitted like this, but some folk like the added assurance of a spot of waterproof superglue. If you wish to add waterproof superglue, stop sliding the sleeve just before you reach the end of the braid (picture 5) add a little glue to the end of the braid and then slide the sleeve over this to the 3/4 – 1/4 point. Only use a very small amount of glue, as slightly too much can cause your fly line tip to sink.

Hope this is useful 😎

Best wishes
Mike


as for TLC’ shiny new face, it was time to do some spring cleaning and since the rags and cleaning solution where out i thought i’d find a simpler, cleaner looking page layout that also works faster and better at home or with mobile devises.
since feedback always helps, please let me know if you’re having any viewing, navigation or whatever issues and i’ll work them out.
here’s hoping you like the new look and thanks again Mike !

understanding Water Surface Tension

we often read or hear about the water’s surface tension and how it affects fly-leader-fly line floating/sinking abilities and also how aquatic insects can have a hard time breaking through it on their way to the surface and other insects can use it to literally walk on water. often described as some sticky, gluey thing that’s between water and air but what is it exactly ?

since i probably won’t be able to explain it without making any silly mistakes.., i’ll let this silly young lady do it for me !

“Africans do this with mosquitoes to help stop the spread of Malaria, material (soap) is put in the water to break the surface tension. Mosquitoes use water tension to land on the water so that they can lay their eggs. Without the water tension, they sink like that spring.”

so, how does this help us in our fly fishing world ?
apart from something cool to know and yet another example of how amazing water is, if you’re a fisher that doesn’t think that a floating tippet near a dry fly makes a difference and you still catch fish, then this won’t help.
however, if you want to up your game, specially on fish that aren’t on a feeding rampage or on slower waters or on any types of waters and you’re dealing with fish that might be in a mild-alert stage then one of the best ways to have a chance with them is to degrease a good 2-3 ft of your terminal end leader or tippet with sink paste to get it to break the surface tension as soon as the fly alights on the water.

as a reminder, sink pastes are typically made of three ingredients- liquid soap, glycerine and clay powder. the powder acts as a binding agent (it’s also a very mild abrasive that removes a little surface shine from monofilaments), the glycerine keeps the paste from drying out and the main ingredient is as seen in the accompanying videos: soap, which allows the tippet to sink under the surface rapidly and not be so visible and light reflecting and/or create nasty shadows on the riverbed on a sunny day.
if currents aren’t too strong sink paste also greatly helps unweighted wet flies and nymphs to get into the feeding zone without having to weigh down the flies themselves or use split shot or whatever resulting in a free moving, more realistic impression of life to the fly. this last point is no secret but it’s rarely brought up and it’s a real gem to have in your bag of tricks.

since science and trippy often go hand-in-hand, here’s another eye candy example of surface tension experiments,

and how even water itself can be subject to the sticky-gluey barrier.

Fly fishing Tips & Tricks- Getting a Fly out of a Branch

let’s just say it happens, but ! this great tip from Leafbranch Studios shows us a way to get the fly back without:
a) risking breaking the rod
b) loosing the fly where it might snag an animal* whilst emptying the fly box and breaking leaders
c) spooking fish by shaking branches back and forth or going there to unhook it
d) feeling a little less dumb for having snagged the tree in the first place…

sometimes the tippet and fly wrap themselves around a or several branches or the hook point can be deeply imbedded in wood so this method doesn’t always work and we’ll have to similarly point the rod straight at the snag and instead of plucking, pull the line until something snaps but Kurt’s technique should be the first thing to try. enjoy ! (and STOP casting into branches !!!)

EDIT- embedding rights for this video have been removed since this article was posted but you can still see it by clicking HERE

* from the ‘STOP casting into branches’ link above- “Lastly, I’d like to point out that flies left in trees obviously don’t catch fish but can catch, wound and/or kill a whole host of other animals like birds, small mammals, bats, monkeys and whatever else that climb or fly through trees and waterside vegetation and let’s not forget other anglers and people that like to enjoy the waterways as much as we do. Much more than the flies themselves or the gutting shame that occurs when I snag obstacles, its this last point that makes me want to be extra careful.”

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks- Adjusting the Loop size of a Perfection Knot

as a recap and to start off, here’s a reprint of an article on how to construct a Perfection Loop from a while back.

Tying the Perfection Loop

this loop is ‘perfect’ for loop-to-loop line-to-leader or leader-to-leader connections for anything but the biggest of fish. super easy to tie, the loop stays in line with the standing end of the monofilament and not ‘kinked’ to the side as with a Double or Triple Surgeon’s Knot. to be honest, i’m not sure it really makes any difference in leader/fly presentation to the fish but it does because i believe it does. offset kinks look messy !

i really like this video by Jim Thielemann. rarely found on any step-by-steps or diagrams is the trick we find here of passing the line around the thumb to create the second loop. this keeps the whole knot visible with the loops separated as opposed to pinching the ensemble together and then trying to pull the second loop through the first to finalize/tighten the knot. this also makes for a better control of the size of the final loop.

______________________________________________

now, for today’s great tip. mostly intended as a strong, quick and easy connection point between the tapered part of the leader and its tippet giving us the advantage of not having to continuously reduce the tapered part’s length as we change tippet, we’ll be creating the Perfection Loop exactly as in the video above but this time we’ll see how to easily reduce the final loop’s size, something that’s rather hard to do when using the ‘standard’ method.
we’ll notice that he uses a headphone jack plug to determine the loop size and to give us a bigger visual understanding of how to do this however, getting a very-very small loop size is the goal so, a largish sewing needle or safety pin helps get  the correct size. an added bonus is these pins are tapered and smooth and this helps slide the loop off.

alexisdepuis‘s video is in frog but don’t fret, the visuals are very clear. what we’ll want to pay special attention to is how the loop size is reduced/adjusted by pulling on the tag end before later seating the knot completely by pulling the standing line, just as in the ‘standard’ version. as with any knot, be sure to lube it up with gooey saliva before pulling anything tight and seating. in this case it would need to be applied before pulling the tag end.
to conclude, a common way of terminating the loop when doing this at home is to add a very small drop of glue and letting it completely dry before adding tippet. that’s not really a necessity but it can augment the ‘confidence factor’.
finally, these teeny-tiny loops aren’t appropriate for a loop-to-loop connection, we simply tie the tippet to the loop with our favourite knot as if it where a hook eye. enjoy !

How to properly crush hook barbs: Part Two

we’ve recently seen the how-to video and today, sent in by friend Alan Bithell is a detailed explanation why it’s way better to crush barbs with the pliers inline with the hook point rather than across. thanks Alan !

De Barbing

for more of Alan’s goodies previously contributed to TLC so far click here enjoy !

a variation of the ‘Figure of Eight’ retrieve

as all fly fishers know, once the line’s out there we have to bring it back in one way or another and we don’t depend on our reels for this.
whether for retrieving the fly to impart some ‘life’ to it or simply bringing the line back in to cast it out again, some form of retrieve is necessary and to do this well (to avoid tangling the line or have it washed away by current) we need to find the right line management for the particular situation of the moment.

among many, the figure of eight retrieve is quite common and here’s a very clever variation of the ‘8’ as it not only brings line in at a regular speed (but nobody says you have to retrieve it at a regular pace !) but it’s all stored where we need it most: right there at our fingertips and not on the ground or water. particularly suited for situations where we’re fishing rather close (a non-conclusive example might be upstream dry or nymph fishing in rivers), here’s a great tip from Peter Hayes on how to combine retrieve and temporary line storage at the same time.

as a child, i was taught a very similar technique to the one below with the biggest difference being that the line was brought in between the four fingers instead of using the thumb. the inconvenience of this method being that even though we don’t have to twist our wrists as much, less line can be brought in and because of the narrower gap of the fingers it doesn’t shoot out as well but the basic principle is the same as the one below.

as Peter writes, this is a:
“Constant speed retrieve as an alternative to the standard figure 8.
Benefits. Very Fast, Never tangles.”

enjoy !