Fly Fishing Strategies- No Fish, No Glory, No Nothing.

first of all i’d like to point out that i’m not sharing this as a ha-ha thing but rather as a hopefully constructive analysis as to why none of these fish where landed.
lets have a look at the video first.

as always, considering the countless variables involved, it’s not the easiest thing to give exact causes without having been in there in person but here is a list of most probable reasons why all these fish came off.

– hooks
hook sharpness is very often completely ignored whether before or after tying or while fishing. a lot of hooks are dull out of the box and need to be honed before being fished.
simply put, dull hooks don’t go in well and if they don’t go in well they can’t stay there until we remove them.
add to that some barbed hooks have ridiculously big barbs… barbwhich means that even more force needs to be imparted to the line for them to set properly. of course, we don’t have that problem when using barbless hooks.
i’ll quickly check the hook point every single time it comes to hand or when it has touched a branch, grass, waterbed, stone or whatever. the finest hook hones i’ve found are Arkansas stone small-tool sharpening wedges. a few light licks and the hook is as good or better than new. yup, it’s anal but it means hooking up with a lot more fish: well worth the minor trouble.

– striking
indeed, simply lifting the rod can sometimes be good enough to set the hook but for sure wasn’t in this video. most strikes are well, wimpy when ‘setting it good’ should be the norm as we need to transmit authority from the beginning of the strike till the fish is in the net.
striking properly in these conditions includes taking into account the current’s speed and direction, the slack line on the water and also how we perform the strike itself.

– on the water line management
we’ll notice a few times that mends where put in near the rod tip in the slower water while the fly was in the faster. it’s not going to help the fly’s drift in any way and the only thing that can do is give even more slack to pick up before actually pulling the line tight to set the hook. by that time the fish has either spat out the hook or the fly is only partially in its mouth. no good.
for sure, very often we need to have slack in the line system to achieve the desired drift of our flies but we need to keep the slack to an absolute minimum while still having the necessary amount doing what its supposed to do: that is, just what’s needed but no more or we won’t be able to strike effectively when the time comes !
to do this we need to ‘multi-task’ a little and be in control of this slack while spying the fly or fish. this requires matching the whole rod/line unit to the current’s speed and direction and by retrieving line with the line hand and by always keeping the rod tip low near the water’s surface, tracking the line on the water.
the exact same principle of starting a cast with the rod tip low applies here. the more line sag at the rod tip we have, the more we need to move the rod before line tension is regained.

– rod position during the strike and fight
striking with an inert line hand means having to displace the rod tip much further to pick up slack before starting to add tension to the line/leader system to set the hook. the typical scenario involves bringing the rod tip towards the vertical (and often behind the angler !) while the line hand follows the rod grip and then floundering with the line hand above the head to regain control of the line. not only is this clumsy and one of the best ways to loose fish but it’s also rather well… dumb. the line hand is already there holding the line so why not pull the line down as the rod goes up ? if you think about it, pulling the line down should be instinctual but somehow the opposite has become the norm. interesting.

– rod angle
when the rod tip is vertical we’re only using a short length of the rod’s line tension potential as only the finer, weaker tip is bent. rod characteristics vary but that’s typically about 1/5 to 1/4 of the rod length.
if we apply the same line tension force by keeping the rod at say, 45°, we’re using about 2/3 or more of the rod’s line tension potential. that’s a lot more and this not only gives more line tension but we also have a much longer ‘spring’ as a shock-absorber to help us not break off the tippet.
the same +/- ’45° ideal rod position applies to the fight. apply more line tension on the fish and the less chances it has of coming off, we tire it faster, we control the fish instead of it controlling us and we get to release the fish in a much healthier and stronger state.
as a side note, apart from instances where there are obstacles between us and the fish such as rocks, little islands and such and we want to avoid our line from tangling or cutting, i can’t for the life of me think why the rod tip needs to go up high. ‘down and dirty’ gets the job done better, we get to pull the fish in the direction that we want/need and we also get to use water current to our advantage. a few little somethings to think about.

in a nutshell, the comments above are the basis of the ‘Strike-Fight-Land’ demo i’ve been sharing for the last three years. there’s of course a lot more to the demo in real and it includes viewer interaction where they immediately understand and feel the line tension differences but i hope these few words will get the notion through. you’ll notice that the tactics above come straight from large fish or salt water tactics. they’re simply a cross-over adaptation to smaller waters and smaller fish that have become universal because they simply make my fishing more efficient. to conclude, the good thing about today’s video is i didn’t need to include landing tactics… 😆

FREE AND NOT FOR PROFIT

via today’s just-pressed logo

this introduction note by Pete Tyjas caught my fancy as this topic goes hand in hand with the little 60 or so posts of the ‘brainwashem’ young’ series here on TLC designed to attract our younger friends to our passion. i can’t really figure out the ‘why’ aspect but i like the idea that each one of us does a little something once in a while to share fly fishing to someone else. sure, its quite possible we all might be eaten soon by zombies but on the other hand, we might defeat those ugly/stinking-sticky/disgusting creatures and get to continue on with our normal fly fishing lives. something tells me it’s probably worth doing.


” I’ve had some interesting conversations recently about the average age of fly anglers in the UK. It sounds like it comes in near to retirement age and has given cause for concern.

I have worked professionally in fly fishing for over ten years now and when I first started I am pretty sure these numbers were being quoted back then. Before this I have to be honest and say I had no idea.

It was a shock when I first heard this and it still is. Look at the scene in the US or Scandinavia for instance which seems to be booming. Fly fishing in these places is seen as cool, hip and trendy and works hand in hand with the whole “great outdoors” thing.

In the UK we generally don’t have access to big expanses of wilderness but we are lucky to have large areas of wild fishing where you might not see another angler. I count myself lucky to have one such example on my doorstep – Dartmoor.

Not everyone has though and it is where our reservoirs and put and take stillwater fisheries fill a gap. Small stillwaters also work well for the occasional angler who wants a few rainbows for the pot too.

But what of those of us whose lives revolve around fly fishing? We dream about it, tie flies when we can’t go, read books and enjoy magazines to fill the void. Are we a minority?

Not so long ago I was starting to think this but now I am not so sure. We have great schemes like Get Hooked which introduces youngsters to all forms of fishing, Mayfly in the classroom and numerous days run by the likes of the Environment Agency and Salmon and Trout Association. I wonder how many schemes like this were being run 30 years ago?

It seems to me that the dynamic has changed a little and there is a wide range of activities that parents take their children to. When I was younger I’d play football in the winter and cricket in the summer and do some fishing for carp too. That was about it. Nowadays, there are musical instrument lessons, horse riding, ballet, football, rugby amongst many other pastimes, along with tennis which also is enjoying a resurgence too. All along with the often-mentioned computer games.

Fishing has always been there in the background and sometimes the love for it is lost for a while and then rediscovered a little further down the line. It might be one of the reasons the average age of anglers is higher but since embarking on ESF I have met plenty of fly anglers in their 20s to 40s who fish hard, sleep in cars, chase the hatches and live for fly fishing.

It has left me far from despondent about the state of fly fishing and those entering it. We have to be honest and say it is a niche pastime but I have been greatly encouraged to see not one but two new TV shows featuring fly fishing in the last few months. One of those was on terrestrial TV too which is surely a positive. Kudos to TV execs for making such a bold choice.

So, we enter 2014 and I can’t wait to go fishing in the company of friends and hope I get the chance to bring more people into our great pastime.

Good fishing! “

Pete Tyjas


and that’s just the front page of this great online magazine. be sure to check out all the rest by clicking the logo above or HERE 

for the love of water,

because after this short resumé of Mel Krieger’s life-long passion for fishing and helping others to discover this fascinating aquatic world, that’s what it all boils down to. thanks Mel.

related articles

Fly Fishing Films
For the Love of Water
Humour

HIS DAMSON JUNO

here good folks, a rare gem sure to distract you from this tedious weekend. (take a deep breath and) enjoy !

— — —

” Once passed over, those who survive the sucking mosses of the wild windswept wastes of the west rarely return by the same perilous pathways.

But here there are fish of fable.

For those with the unshakeable courage to brave the meery passages across the bleak Willesden Witch marshes and whose destiny is to catch….there are prizes far beyond the dreams of common casters.

Standing foresquare againt the brutal gusts that shook her diminutive partner as he fought his piscine foe, a puce pink PVC body suit clinging wet and tight as plum peel to her every curve, Marjorie Whelpton Pills was a proud colossus amongst the marginal tussocks.

Line tore from the reel and tension ripped a wild roostertail of spray across the surface of the water, blown back by the whipping winds into the smarting eyes of the desperate diminutive angler. Forced by the uncontrollable power of the mighty fish to relinquish his secure position on a high sedge tuft, he found himself trapped and slowly sinking in the marginal mud…. which, thick, cloying, mucoid, closed ominously about his well oiled knees and brewed with rising vapour.

The imminence of an irretrievable submergence forced the bog beleaguered bantam to deploy the emergency self pump floatation spokes on his ZA “No Snag” Aquasheer Wading Kilt thus preventing any further descent into the mire.

Briefly reassured of his safety, Uncle Wilf Whelpton Pills sucked contentedly on his pikerel pipe and resumed the battle.

Behind, his damson Juno knew, engrossed as he was in his vital personal duel, her short but valiant and glisto-lusted knight had failed to recognize the hideous potentialities of the gaseous crisis that was developing below his midriff and she re-doubled her grip on his rawhide “EZY Train” kilt guidance reins for fear that with one ember brightening pull on that smoking bone he may inadvertently cause himself to be accelerated at velocities sufficient to reach a low earth orbit.

Sealed at the edges where it had penetrated the surface of the morass, the, (perfectly manufactured and consequently totally impermeable to fluids and gases) “No Snag” began to billow like the skirts of an early ZA “Cockerell Experimental” as the volatile fumes, unable to escape, accumulated beneath and began to place the neck sealant gland grommets under an intolerable pressure.

Shortly before the explosion, Wilf Whelpton Pills had a momentary sensation that he was suspended over a chill and abyssal void. Although he was satisfied that his feet were properly positioned below his head, he felt a small regret that he had chosen to follow tradition with respect to kiltish undergarments and therefore had no protective gusset.

Shortly after the explosion Wilf was pulled briefly taut between fish and his devoted damsel. He felt the tethers tighten and the connection to the fish part. Thus released he described a sudden and very rapid arc of a kilt rein radius landing with some considerable force amongst the tattered remains of the self pump spokes and gabardine which spread about him like a grey smoking marsh daisy.

In the aftermath, it was clear that Wilf, aside from having to wear a ZA “Will o’ the Wisp” Medicated Lunghi Wrap for the forseable future, had lost a record Rudd.

And, as his ample ally applied soothing Knoxit globules to his blistered buttocks in the blimp on the way back to Pills Manor he knew his big error was to refuse the ZA “Marsh Safe” Wide Fit No Sink Punt Frunts in favour of the Self Pump Aquasheer Wading Kilt Floatation Spokes.

It was a small consolation that he would not have to wax “below” for quite some time to come. “
Stoats

za1 Mark Surtees

The revolutionary ZA Urban Angler Aquasheer Wading Kilt, 1886 “Split Crotch” model, with fully inflated self pump safety spokes, here demonstrated as a back alley anti garrote device.

ZAPPP LTD WADING SAFETY SYSTEMS Often copied never bettered.


Mark Surtees (Stoats)

i’d be hard pressed to say what i love most about Mark; his insatiable hunger for fly fishing, manly belly or his mad, creative, genius mind.
for a slightly less convoluted… apercue of Mark’s greyer matter click the links below.
Fly Casting Physics: Casting Mechanics, What Do We Need To Know ?
Fly Casting- One for the Wrist Breakers
 The Sexyloops Fly Casting Model

Exploring and Water Music

some great thoughts from Paul Harps.

“How much do you need to know before you go fishing somewhere? Knowing the regulations is an obvious need, but what else is required? It’s good to know a basic target species so that you can be prepared with the size of rod and fly. But assuming you are in an area with trout, do you research Google Earth ahead of time to find where the best looking pools are? Do you search the web for every fishing report? Do you go to some fly shops and ask subtle or not so subtle questions? There is something grand about exploration and discovery with your boots in the dirt, walking no known trails. But as I sit here behind a desk for too long, there is some else inspiring about looking at contour lines on a map, guessing if they direct a little stream down a hill. There is an excitement that comes with looking at a tree lined image on Google Earth, guessing the size of trout that might live in the shadowed waters. The idea of turning blindly down a road, only knowing that it goes downhill to some little creek is grand; no other preparations but an explorer’s mind, a rod in the truck, and the knowledge that eventually gravity and terrain will force the water into something that can hold fish. But also the idea of following those hastily jotted down notes or that printed map from Google Earth, down a road also never traveled, to a creek never seen. Either way, it’s a trail you’ve never explored, and when you reach the creek, you are never disappointed. Fish or no fish, you attained greatness, you became a dying breed; an Explorer.
Harps

some might start debating whether it’s ethical or not to use satellite maps or whatever other gadget to plan a fishing trip and i’ll leave them to argue on their own as i have no problems with this as long as the locations don’t get shared in public.
Mystery River X is the was to go.
now Paul’s piece got me thinking in a traverse wave sort of fashion, and maybe because i can’t help but mix up my waves in one way or another but this exciting exploring stuff reminds me that this is precisely the subject of the book i’m currently reading and very much enjoying although there aren’t any electronic devises as it happens in the sixteenth century and they where far from being invented yet.

water music TC Boyle cover

 excerpt:

SOFT WHITE UNDERBELLY

“At an age when most young Scotsmen were lifting skirts, plowing furrows and spreading seed, Mungo Park was displaying his bare buttocks to al-haj’ Ali Ibn Fatoudi, Emir of Ludamar.  The year was 1795.  George III was dabbing the walls of Windsor Castle with his own spittle, the Notables were botchings things in France, Goya was deaf, DeQuincey a depraved pre-adolescent.  George Bryan “Beau” Brummell was smoothing down his first starched collar, young Ludwig van Beethoven, beetle-browed and twenty-four, was wowing them in Vienna with his Piano Concerto no. 2, and Ned Rise was drinking Strip-Me-Naked with Nan Punt and Sally Sebum at the Pig & Pox Tavern in Maiden Lane.  
Ali was a Moor. He sat cross-legged on a damask pillow and scrutinized the pale puckered nates with the air of an epicure examining a fly in his vichysoisse.  His voice was like sand.  “Turn over,” he said.  Mungo was a Scotsman.  He knelt on a reed mat, trousers around his knees, and glanced over his shoulder at Ali.  He was looking for the Niger River.  “Turn over,” Ali repeated.
 

While the explorer was congenial and quick-to-please, his Arabic was somewhat sketchy.  When he failed to respond a second time, Dassoud–Ali’s henchman and human jackal–stepped forward with a lash composed of the caudal appendages of half a dozen wildebeests.  The tufted tails cut the air, beating on high like the wings of angels.  The temperature outside Ali’s tent was 127 degrees Fahrenheit.  The tent was a warp-and-woof affair, constructed of thread spun from the hair of goats.  Inside it was 112 degrees.  The lash fell.  Mungo turned over. 
 

Here too he was white: white as sheets and blizzards.  Ali and his circle were astonished all over again.  “His mother dipped him in milk,” someone said.  “Count his fingers and toes!” shouted another.  Women and children crowded the tent’s entrance, goats bleated, camels coughed and coupled, someone was hawking figs.  A hundred voices intertwined like a congeries of footpaths, walks, lowroads and highroads–which one to take?–and all in Arabic, mystifying, rapid, harsh, the language of the Prophet.  “La-la-la-la-la!” a woman shrieked.  The others took it up, an excoriating falsetto.  “La-la-la-la-la!”  Mungo’s penis, also white, shrank into his body.”

click the book for more on this well-knit, randomly wavy, highly recommended, entertaining book.

blanking, fish coffee and worms.

last time i went fishing i blanked. now onto more interesting stuff.

apart from the mandatory rod, reel, line, well organized chest-pack with nippers (well sharpened), forceps, floatant, net, sink paste, extra tippet, extra leaders, some flies, hand rag, tippet rings, a do-whatever needle, hook sharpening stone, lip gook, extra nippers, amadou patch (from Troutline), knife, emergency whistle, lighter and smokey things, hat, polarizer glasses in amber & yellow, buff and whatever clothing needed for the day and a million more things (basically all the above in double or triple) safely tucked away next to the mattress and the chocolate box in the van, the absolute most biggest necessity for a successful day on the water:

TLC espresso maker isn’t really the custom engraved, on-the-go espresso maker but the van.

see, what happened is, not only had i not brought the coffee maker (which isn’t such a big thing considering i didn’t yet own this beauty at the time) but since the van was at the doctor’s i took another car for the day. a Mazda.
i did miss two strikes, one on a dry and the other on a nymph and i did actually see one whole fish within range but wasn’t able to present a fly to it it before it wandered off out of sight: meaning that even if it was all trickle, drop by drop slow, the fish hadn’t all mysteriously disappeared into some weird, black, worm-hole (more on that later) but simply that my good mojo had been sucked out by the freak replacement vehicle on the trip to the water.
going back through my fishing journal at home i realized that blanking hadn’t happened in the last year and a half. i believe that’s a first for me since i started fishing something like 47 years ago so i’m actually quite pleased. blanking in itself isn’t any problem whatsoever, it’s actually a good thing as it makes one think a lot more about why one blanked as opposed to when having a good day where i’ll find myself running on ‘automatic’ and all seems to happen in a blur. sort of.  besides, thinking doesn’t hurt.
anyhow, on that particular far away day i happened to have gone to the water in someone else’s car and it happened to be a Mazda.

random occurrences are only considered random because our brains aren’t sufficiently developed to encompass all variables and we comfortingly use it as an excuse so, what remains is, things don’t happen without a cause and finally, we can deduct through scientific proof  (of sorts… but these two incidences are more than enough for me to reach this conclusion) that blank fly fishing days are caused by Mazdas.

as for the worms, Worm 2 thanks to our friends at Fly Fish Food in what might just be the most important reminder a fly fisher should keep in mind at all times: ie, that all fish love worms in one form or another and will eat them any time, anywhere and even just for heck of it, perhaps with the idea of embarrassing the more ‘noble’ insects such as mayflies: double-meaning that if we chose to try to entice them with anything else, it’s just a matter of irrational wishful thinking. combine the latter with a deep mojo-sucking Mazda and you’re screwed from the get-go.Worm 6

to conclude, firstly as a public service/good will thing to my fellow fly anglers and mankind in general, i sincerely hope the Mazda company collapses. something like a big huge-monsterous tsunami tidal wave while the employees are out having coffee would do the trick nicely i think. i don’t really mean them much harm as i’m sure fly fishing mojo probably isn’t very high on their list and they’re not doing it on purpose but fuckem’ for making me blank.

related articles

Why you should Always wear Glasses and Only use Barbless hooks.

the images speak for themselves…

ft_fly-in_the_eye
755_eye 250664_10150899939505186_573756238_n 374548_2559520602579_67724225_n 487690_3523193360814_277192784_n 525804_10150977636619210_1119082281_n 545753_356389161114475_160658588_n 552444_447941398603011_684347760_nhook in eyelid 559016_422195607816972_1299459440_n 644602_356388527781205_1181476481_n 728157 afp20030401p1481-f7 fishhok injury to the eyelid of right eye hook ear-ringKiefer's fishing hook miracle 008[3]

lip-fish-hook-3tumblr_maml1j1H5i1rvbgyxo1_500 tumblr_mb4x1h1CA51r8vrhxo1_r1_500wpid-mh1Ndl

flhYR
this last one shows permanent damage several years after the hook was removed.

 

and if you’re thinking that glasses aren’t necessary for fly casting practice, think again.
even without a hook the line and/or leader could very easily slice through an eyeball should it come across the face as in the video below. my friend Aitor was very lucky he didn’t get hurt.

eye protection sticker