Loops versus Coils

a while back i’d posted this managing running line video

and as the dozens of questions i got by email said, “what the heck is he doing ? we can’t see !”

after a lot of searching i finally found this ‘loops vs coils’ video below that will hopefully clear things up. as we see and is well explained, it’s simply a matter of alternating palm-up to palm-down which places loops on both sides of the retrieving hand instead of around the fingers.
smart and simple, this is one to practice at home before heading out to the water because as we all know, the fish waits for the angler to f’up to grab the fly…. 😉  enjoy !

“Look Ma, no threads !”

from David Edwards’ blog DEESOX
as we’ve been seeing all over shops, catalogues and the ‘net for the last couple of years, UV cured resins are all the rage in the fly tying world but like just about anything else, it’s a shame to reserve one product to just one use. having been following the long term test of this rod rather closely, i think it’s more than fair to class this method as a sure fire one and something we’ll probably see a lot more of in the future.
interesting that a lot of rod builders, specially on the bamboo side, use silk threads to wrap rod rings with the intention that the silk will visually disappear when the epoxy coating is put on when they could just bypass the silk wrapping and epoxy entirely… 😉

“For regular followers of BUG-BOND you’ll be aware that in order to prove the strength and flexibility of BUG-BOND I built a 9ft 9wt on a Harrison Advanced Rods Lohric blank with NO thread on the guides. The rod was built out in less than 2 hours and then fished. The rod was built in August 2010 and within a year of testing had caught 50 fish to 16lbs without any failure in the rod or “whippings”. The rod was inspected at Harrison Advanced Rods for defects – there weren’t any!”

pretty cool, huh ?

and just as another example of what these resins can do, there’s also a fly line loop making tutorial at the bottom of the page.

click either pic to access Dave’s tutorial page and let your imagination flow.

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 !

Spectra and Super Braid Fishing Knot

via animated knots.com

at first look, the fly angler will probably think this of no use or something solely reserved the for the Anal-Angler, but ! what got my attention with this one was:
a lot of the smaller trout reel spools leave very little room for backing and even though it’s almost never i get to see the backing when fighting a trout-type fish i like to have some there just in case ! to make up with this lack of backing space i’ve been using very thin braided line from the luring/spinning industry as it’s incredibly thin for it’s strength. the connection to the fly line is a loop to loop with a loop big enough on the backing end to be able to easily slide a reel or line spool through it to be able to change lines quickly. now, what that leaves me with is a very fine, un-stretching connection connected to a much bigger and softer one. it hasn’t happened yet but i’m pretty sure that if enough force was put on this connection the thinner braid would just cut through in the manner a wire cheese slicer does. not good !
placing a sleeve over the braid as in the video below before making the big loop would keep the cheese slicing from happening and also make it easier to pull the loops apart when changing lines. good !
speaking of cheese, i’m off to have a quick snack and off to try out some new fly lines that came in yesterday. enjoy the day !

How to remove a Barbed Hook from your Finger

or, Catching and Releasing the fisher !

“Don’t worry: Only a tiny bit of flesh is behind the barb. It won’t hurt too much. Clean and bandage.”

needless to say, us less-than-manly barbless hook users don’t have to worry about these things and can giggle silently when it happens to others. if we get a hook inside us, we gently slip it out.
just a reminder that barbless hooks aren’t just good for fish…

via Art of Manliness   :mrgreen:

Fly Tying Techniques- Whip it Good !

by Hans Weilenmann

as much as possible i’ll always try to use a whip finishing tool because i find they give better control and precision, specially with the smaller flies but the hand finish is sometimes the only option available, for instance, when tying off at the back of the fly or when the materials are all over the place or bulky or when the tool has mysteriously disappeared…  anyhow, the hand finish is a must to know and learn and Hans’ video tutorial is the best i’ve seen.

as a side note, the ‘secret’ to a good and strong finishing knot, whether using a tool or by hand is to place the locking wraps side by side, in touching turns (we see this on the video) and not on top of or overlapping each other as this encourages them to roll off during the tightening sequence, reducing the effective locking surface. as Hans demonstrates on almost all his tying videos, a good, three turn whip is more than enough for most flies and a properly executed knot usually never needs any kind of varnish or glue to hold it together in time.

if you’re learning this technique, do yourself the favor of practicing it first with just thread and hook and not while tying an actual fly. done this way most people get it perfectly after two to three tries. enjoy !

post note- i wasn’t aware of the following video at the time of the original post. here’s Hans demonstrates the exact same knot but by using just one finger.
the guy’s impressive, to say the least…

Fly Rod Reproduction and How to Prevent It.

just the thought of having my rods screwing around while i’m being dead serious just gets my goat.
this silly situation just doesn’t fit in with the proverbial ‘extension of my arm’ connection a flyfisher expects of their rod and it’s about time someone did something to right this horrendous wrong.

to be honest, i don’t really understand Tom’s advice but i’ll forever be in his gratitude for attempting to do something about this despicable situation. thanks Tom.

The Wariness Scale – part 1

by Carlos Azpilicueta

one of the more interesting fish-behaviour concepts i’ve ever come across, an ever-present approach i’ve adopted no matter what species or water-type fished.
this goes a lot further than the simplistic and typical “Pattern vs Presentation” that most authors have re-hashed over centuries. something the dedicated angler should most definitely consider to add to their ‘bag of tricks’.

”  Imagine the following situation: a brown trout feeding near the surface in front of you. Moreover, it’s large (this requires some imagination). You have the perfect imitation. You know that because, during previous hatches of this same species, this pattern worked consistently. With a careful, accurate cast, you make a perfect presentation. Drag-free, it drifts into the trout’s window at the right place at the right time. Everything is perfect. It couldn’t be better. But… (now you don’t have to imagine anything, just remember the many times you’ve experienced this) it doesn’t take your fly. So, what do you do now? You tie on a different fly, and then another and another. You lengthen your leader to see if it’s that darn micro-drag. You carefully move into a different position and cast at a different angle. Zilch.

During the two last seasons, I’ve verified that there is one more parameter that we generally don’t take into account or we simply don’t pay enough attention to. Consequently, we don’t deal with it as something separate from the other two. I’m referring to the trout’s degree of wariness in such a critical situation as feeding on the surface. Conditioned by a heap of circumstances, the trout passes through states in which its feeling of security or awareness of vulnerability vary constantly. These states enormously condition the trout’s willingness to take your fly, independently of the pattern or the presentation.”

click HERE for Carlos’ complete article.
Part 2 will follow shortly, enjoy !

Salmon and Sea Trout Recognition

via The Atlantic Salmon Trust

which is the Atlantic Salmon, which is the Sea Trout ?



for me, the simplest method is to compare tails, markings around the lateral line and specially the corner of the mouth/eyeball relationship. this latter seems to be among experts the more sure-fire method as markings and fin shape may vary.

in short:
– salmon don’t have dots below the lateral line, have a pointed concave tail and the corner of their mouths stops around the center of their eyeball.
– the spots on brown trout extend below the lateral line, their tails are either flat or a ’rounded-off’ concave and the corner of the mouth extends past the eyeball. simple !

click either image for a full yet simple to remember explanation and other good to know groovy-fishy-slimey things like Salmon Facts and Sea Trout Facts.

as an aside-  although sporting very similar lifestyles, a Sea Trout is an anadromous (migratory) Brown Trout whereas a Steelhead is an anadromous Rainbow Trout.

Hinging or Myth

brillantissime Jim Williams once again !  Jim’s one of those big things that pays attention to the little things in life and here’s a doozy !

this time it’s about connecting loops:

(don’t worry and yes, that’s the WRONG way. it’s only there to hopefully peak your interest enough to click the pic to find the correct way once you’ve finished reading here)

but more importantly and the real gem of this article because hardly ever mentioned: loop size, monofilament stiffness/suppleness and how they all go together as a whole to create a flawless energy-transmitting non-hinging  connection. enjoy !

” a little ear wax will get you through “

from Captain Jim

” What’s the quickest way to break a fly rod?

Some might say- putting too much pressure on the rod while fighting a heavy fish. Another might say- holding the rod butt above your waist while fighting a strong fish. Still another might answer- holding the rod blank above the cork grip to gain additional leverage while fighting a heavy fish. All answers are good ones but from my experience the quickest way to break a rod is to not apply a paraffin-type wax to the male ferrule sections of the rod where they seat into the female sections.

Candle wax works great, as does dubbing wax if you have a supply from tying flies. Bowstring wax (if you are an archer) also works great, and if you are really in a pinch while on the water and you lack any of these types of wax, a little ear wax will get you through.”

ok, the last part particularly caught my attention and at the same time made me wonder how to achieve this state of waxyness without piercing my eardrum in the process.
a little research and the best i could find is the how-to video below. it’s not what i was expecting but i hope you’ll nevertheless enjoy.

anyhow, back to ferrules and rod breakage… lots of good points in the complete ferrule lubricating article.
from now on i’ll never again clean my ears !

fly fishing at night

some really good ideas and insights on night fishing here by Lee Cummings.

it’s all good but maybe no. 1 is the most important 😉

Ok, In no particular order…

1 Dont watch stupid horror movies in the weeks leading up to when you might be out night fishing for Sea trout on your own. :)

5 If you smoke, carry multiple lighters and store it all in the highest/driest and most easily accessible pockets.

2 The last song you hear as you lock up your car is something that will probably be in your head all night, make sure that it was not some rubbish off the radio that will just go round and round your brain, tormenting you to distraction whilst you fish!

8 If you do not have to wade at night

 then don’t!

to find the more ‘traditional’ fishing-related tips click HERE, enjoy !

Welding, Adapting, Looping and Single-Hand Shooting Heads

by Lee Cummings

Lee’s one of those rare people you meet once in a while that really thinks outside the box and comes up with brilliant solutions whether it be about casting instruction, fishing or tackle. forever on the hunt to customize and optimize his fishing and casting, he’s been working on short-short shooting head systems for the last few years and here we get a juicy preview on some of these findings and an awesome how-to tip for welding loop systems to these lines.
randomly cutting up some heavier line doesn’t mean it will handle well and turn over properly, and judging by the videos this system does both extremely well. this kind of set up is a real boon for anyone trying to fish in confined spaces, or with heavy wind and i’m thinking that they’ll be a big bonus for night fishing as well and all that whether your using aerial casts or rolls and speys: awesome.

” Short headed lines “around 20 – 25 ft” for single-handed use are not in production and I needed a short head that integrates the sink tip range into its total head length. The Versi leaders and tips I use are between 10 and 15 ft, so ideally I want shooting head bodies that are between 5 and 10 feet long. To enable this, we are going to need a reasonable amount of mass over a short distance to provide the driving impetus, my choice here in this example then, is to utilise the first 9 ft of a factory looped steep back taper off a damaged Scandinavian style shooting head and then weld a loop on the thick blunt end in the following way. “

as a little teaser, here’s Lee casting one of the above mentioned rigs-

click HERE for the full article, loop tutorial  and extra video. enjoy !

Making a Strike Indicator

another great video by Tightlinevideo

not usually one to use any kind of  indicator as i prefer to use a floating fly to hold up wets and nymphs because after all, it is a fly with a hook meaning it can catch fish.
it also, at least in my eyes has less chances of spooking fish because even if it is a crude or over-sized imitation  of something that usually floats by it fits in better with what the ‘conveyer belt’ is washing down to the fish than some strange unworldly fluorescent gizmo.
however, sometimes one of these aberrations can be of great use as they can be made to hold up the biggest and heaviest of flies and streamers in fast currents and the gaudy colors can help a lot in hard-to-see or low light situations.
after all, if we can’t see the indicator there’s not much point of using one.
adjusting the indicator’s height is often a lot easier than snipping or adding leader material with a fly indicator.

there’s a few interesting points to the indicator below. it’s cheap, easy to make and works very well. the bobbin threader trick is pretty slick. if you don’t have one you could always find an old guitar string and fold a piece of it in half or use some pretty thick mono. they’ll work just as well.

Fighting fish for a quick caring release

by Peter Morse via Sage Blog

Peter, more commonly known as ‘Morsie’ is one of those rare people whom you can just about blindly believe and trust on just about everything he says.
his reputation as a big fish specialist, guide, master casting instructor is as big as his smile. here he shares his wisdom on a particular aspect of fish fighting: using the rod optimally to tire the fish as soon as possible. being in control, ‘showing who’s the boss’ is what it’s all about when it comes to successfully landing all fish of all sizes and not breaking equipment with the bigger ones.

here’s how to break rods, lose fish and feel stupid…

to read more and see how not to break rods, lose fish and feel stupid click here !

be sure to check out Morsie’s site Wildfish.

It’s in the detail…

by Jim Williams

“Whilst reviewing my line to leader connections this core nail knot has been one of the most rewarding thus far in terms of the ‘likey factor’.”

and we all know how important the ‘likey factor’ is !
Jim had impressed my ‘likey factor’ a little while back with his great Fly line tip ring- step by step and here he does it again, this time with an ingenious method of attaching the butt end of a leader to the line with a very nice energy transition between the line and leader and without having a big knot-bump snagging against the rod tip when we pull in line or when a fish wants to run away from the net, always a tricky moment as these ‘bumps’ can easily jolt a leader enough to break it at the hook, specially when using light tippets.

“Threading the butt section into the fly line when needle knotting amongst other things expanded the diameter ever so slightly which really did bug me (I know it’s being pretty anal but it’s the detail I look for very much in the same way fly tiers do with their flies
 who’d criticise that?) So stripping the line to the core, sealing it and then nail knotting on all but the last few millimetres has given me exactly what I’d hoped for.”

click here for the rest of this great article. enjoy !

Fly line tip ring- step by step

by Jim Williams

one of the absolutely coolest tips i’ve seen in ages, here’s how to add a tippet ring to the end of your fly line to enable quick, easy leader changes without some big nasty and dumb looking loop-to-loop connection. give this one a try, it’s  modern !

click the pic or here for the full step-by-step. thanks Jim !

If you’re not a fan of the tip ring, just omit it and leave a small loop as an option.

Stripping (line/fly retrieval techniques)

of interest to just about any fly angler as these methods are one of the keys to success for both fresh and saltwater and not just with streamers (yes ! think outside the box, most creatures we try to imitate move in one way or another !).
combining retrieves and footage of how they effect the flies, we’ll discover a few of these ‘bring-to-life’ methods in this nice little tutorial from Angelo Peluso.

FISH ON ! fish off…

here’s a very classic example i’ve seen bezillions of times that explains why so many anglers lose a lot of fish on the strike and it’s due to improper control of the line prior to the strike and  ineffective rod angle.

– instead of having the rod tip at water level, the line is dangling straight down and the rod tip is as high as his waist when he initiates the strike.
just as when casting and we pick up the line to initiate a back cast, whatever distance that is required to regain tension is a waste of both reaction time in the case of striking a fish and in either scenario, a waste of effective rod travel which needs to be compensated by going much further backwards than is ideal.

he does indeed do a scissor strike (pulling on the line as in doing a simple haul while simultaneously lifting the rod) but the amount of line pulled in just can’t make up for the amount of slack that’s there at the beginning.

if we take into account the induced slack on the water that’s quite normal when trying to achieve a natural drift and add more slack to that due to negligence we’ll quickly realize that it’s a no-win situation that would basically require running backwards to set the hook properly. definitely fun but not always possible and it’s a really good way to crack your head on a rock or fall in the water ! (don’t ask… )

we’ll also notice  secondary negative effects to this excessive rod arc:
– when the rod tip went high and behind the fisher’s head, the only part of the rod applying any pressure to the line is the very tip-end of the rod, it’s weakest/bendiest  part.
– what we see at the end of the clip is the line sagging leading to the subsequent ‘long distance release’.
double-whammy !

– keep the rod tip low and always anticipate the strike. (i call it ‘being in the Zone‘)
for those who have the old habit of raising the rod tip, a good way to not start creeping up is to consciously position the rod tip right on the water, lightly touching the surface.
– keep slack line at the rod tip to an absolute possible minimum and learn to include the Scissor Strike for most fishing and specially when there’s a need for slack line on the water.
– try not to lift the rod tip high but rather at an approximate 45° to the water’s surface. this bends the rod further down the blank where it’s a lot stronger putting higher pressure on the fish and also leaves room to move the rod to react  to the fish’s movements. we can’t go any further back if we’re already as far back as we can go !

as a side note, putting more pressure on the fish sooner on in the fight generally tires it out faster, leaving it in better condition to be released.
and speaking of, there’s no better way to learn to strike and hold fish than by using barbless hooks 😉
thanks Joakim for sharing this video !

making fly line loop connections

this excellent video is about adjusting shooting heads but the same loop making method is perfect for either the line tip, to be able to change leaders easily or at the back of the line to be able to easily detach it from the backing when changing lines.

take note that this method only works for hollow braided cores. if you’re in doubt, check the manufacturer’s website or catalogues and if you’re still unsure, cut off a short piece preferably at the back of the line and strip the coating.

Fly Casting- “DON’T look at the branch” !!!

because what invariably happens is we’ll cast our fly right into it… *

as a follow up to Turn Around ! where the subject was about looking where our fly line is throughout the cast, this time let’s see how we can use our vision to not only stay out of trouble but to cast the fly exactly where we want.

an example i always bring up with students of all levels is: ‘if i want to throw a ball at you and hit you on the nose, i’m not going to look at your feet !” see the point ?

since childhood we are conditioned to look where we throw things and fly casting isn’t any different. however, while casting we don’t always have the luxury of a nose to aim at. we’ll have to be a bit creative, sometimes picking out a far away object as a cloud or maybe a treetop. it doesn’t matter what but find something specific to look at and focus on just that and your fly will go there.

in the case of obstructions such as the branch above on the bank we need to train ourselves to NOT look at the fly snagger but in a nice, open snagless place instead. if the casting space is between two trees, concentrate on some object in between and behind them. this usually is a bit more difficult as we all have lost flies to trees and have those memories deeply engrained. i guess we could call it a form of ‘fear’, the apprehension of loosing yet another fly but fear not ! once we practice this a bit and get used to selective visual aiming we’ll find it quite amazing how easy and safe it is to cast in situations where we didn’t dare cast before, opening up a whole lot of fishing possibilities.

the important thing to remember is that in throwing, and casting fly lines is a form of throwing, our body automatically reacts, adjusts and compensates to deliver the object where the eyes are focused. trust your body to do the work that your eyes are telling it to do.

* yup, the pic wasn’t staged. i unwillingly reverted to looking at the thing i wanted to avoid as described above and bingo

related articles

Do it yourself net leash

originally published on PlanĂ©te Mouche.com, a now defunct francophone site and forum i ran until a few months ago, here’s a DIY landing net leash that’s cheap and effective.

the idea here was to make a single connected unit, easily removable from the chest pack, vest, wader, float-tube or jacket without having the leash dangle and catch on branches and other assorted goodies that like to grab our nets as we access waters. the handle-down position of the net makes it easier to grab when needed and easier to put back but it’s biggest advantage is that the large part of the net is behind the wearer’s back instead of over the hips or butt when worn handle-up, making the whole unit swing back and forth (and snag) a lot less.

made of a recycled telephone cord which contains wires inside making it a lot stronger than the all-plastic variety found on the market. i used to make wrist bracelet Kryptonite lock key holders with these cords when i was a bike messenger and they never failed me once in seven years of abuse. the net leash on the pic is about ten years old.

the handle end of the cord gets a figure-eight knot which is glued inside the handle with epoxy. the length of the cord is then adjusted so that the handle, when pulled from the magnet hangs close to hand so as not to have to fiddle around when it’s time to scoop the fish. as seen on the pic, the magnet end connects to the attachment point ring with a loop held together with several whip-finishes similar to how we might make loop-to-loop connections on fly lines. the whip-finishes where covered with a small piece of shrink-tube in a fit of aesthetic analness…


Trash Flies !

Brad Sprinkle’s site sure caught my eye. the title is quite unusual and shouts out

‘Click and open the link !’

very much in line with my own ideas that most tying materials are a rip-off as soon as they are repackaged from their original intention and relabeled as fly tying materials, this site might give a few ideas on how to save a little money. good on ya Mister Sprinkle.