drying off

by Takashi Kuwahara

false casting drawingreminds me of something my fishing mentor repeated several hundred times when i was a kid:
“You may think you’re fishin’ but that fly aint fishin’ if it aint in the water”

which also leads to this tip: if you need to dry off a fly by false casting, do this away from the fish to keep the flying line, its reflections and shadows away from their view. off the shoulder, side casting, whatever it takes, there’s almost always space somewhere around you to do this. when you feel the job is done switch back to the original casting plane and present. bingo !

romanticized mathematics


source unknown, author ‘Barnes’

i have the feeling this was written a while ago. i would love to read what Barnes came up with but then, maybe a lot of the romance would have lost it’s way between all those numbers

“The Essentials of a Good Fly-Hook: The temper of an angel and penetration of a prophet; fine enough to be invisible and strong enough to kill a bull in a ten-acre field.”

~ G.S. Marryat


it’s funny, every once in a while i feel the need to do some Halford-bashing.
of course, i can’t help but feel sorry for poor Eileen but TheLimpCobra isn’t about attempting to solve marriage issues: if anything, it’s about celebrating fly fishing in all it’s forms and not imposing simple-minded, self-glorifying rules like Halford the Horrid did with his chalkstream-upstream-dry-fly-only ethos which he deeply impressed into the gullible minds of the tweed-worshiping simple-minded of his era: dry fly purists…
now, had those ideas of ‘purity’ stayed in the past we could just read about it say, when the dishes are done and we really don’t have anything better to do, and just smirk about it all. but ! just about everywhere i go, i’ll regularly get the born-again dry-fly-only preaching and guess what ? not only is it mind-numbing boring beyond belief but only a fraction of them have heard of and much less read from the Halford so all this ‘purity’ is ‘handed-down purity’ handed down by the tweed-worshiping buffoons mentioned earlier. the bastard just won’t die.
sure, the neo-purists have replaced the tweed by recycled synthetics and a lot have had the ‘Dry or Die’ credo tattooed (sorta like permanent bumper stickers) somewhere on their bodies for all to see,'dry or die' tat Jon Hson

but even if they might drive a sensible automobile and banned french fries from their menus, the fly fishing part of the brain hasn’t evolved. the blinders are still on but those blinders are good for the rest of us because, while they’re sitting there looking upstream for weeks and weeks dreaming and waiting for a Danica hatch, we get to go chuck bad-ass streamers and stuff, catch the big ones and spook the pools before the hatch even begins. ok, all that sounds a tad intolerant and maybe a little unsocial but it sure is fun !

anyhow back to Marryat. in what’s yet another chalked-up point against the over-popularized, Anti-Cobran Frederic M. Halford, here’s further proof of his…, ummm, ahhh, just fill in the blanks yourself, i’ve insulted him enough for today.
“Halford’s first work, Floating Flies and How to Dress Them, was published in 1886. Halford tells the reader that he drew heavily on Marryat’s natural talent and experience and he never made any secret of the fact that he wanted Marryat to be joint author, but the latter, ever keen on avoiding the limelight, declined. The extent of Marryat’s influence on Floating Flies can only be guessed at, but it must have been immense, given that Halford had comparatively little experience of fly-tying techniques – and, ironically, of fishing the Mayfly – at that stage. Indeed, in those early days, the majority of what Halford knew about fly tying was learned from Marryat. Dr. Thomas Sanctuary said, for example, that the idea of tying dry flies with paired upright wings was Marryat’s, rather than Halford’s, and although this was actually a much older idea, it shows how little Halford knew about fly design at the time of the pair’s first meeting.”

Marryat was a complete angler, one who was hungry to know. (and a wearer of fine hats) click the pic for the complete article on Thefishingmuseum online.

“Listen to the sound of the river and you will get a trout.”

~Irish proverb~

'listen to the sound of the river' TLC 9-6-13
River Wye, England (don’t tell anyone but the method works just as well outside of Ireland)

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nature photography

“I look into … my fly box, and think about all the elements I should consider in choosing the perfect fly: water temperature, what stage of development the bugs are in, what the fish are eating right now. Then I remember what a guide told me: ‘Ninety percent of what a trout eats is brown and fuzzy and about five-eighths of an inch long.'”

~by Allison Moir, “Love the Man, Love the Fly Rod”, in A Different Angle: Fly Fishing Stories by Women~

interestingly enough, in many if not most conversations amongst fellow anglers it would seem that those two ‘philosophies’ or rather, approaches fall into an either/or category. maybe because i have a hard time sometimes making my mind up about some things… i rather prefer to take the longer route and combine both.
after-all, observation, and not only for the sake of being a more efficient fisher is just part of the whole experience, besides, staring at the water all day makes me dizzy.

there really isn’t much to say about the ‘brown & fuzzy’ approach. pick, tie on, cast and present but before doing all that the lookers however have the possibility to use at least two more senses, vision and hearing (ok, it’s not like we can usually differentiate different species of bugs by their sounds but at least we can be alerted to their presence if they buzz around nearby). the more obvious methods being turning over stones from the riverbed, watching hunting birds, using a kick-net, or simply see what’s floating downstream or flying by.
Moir’s quote reminded me of another trick i was taught as a kid: search for spiderwebs. our little eight-legged friends do a great job at collecting and giving us the chance to have a rather perfect view of what the fishes might be eating.
if we’re lucky we might even get the chance to see the spider coming in for the feast ! (which is of course enthralling and would probably mean missing out on some fish and finally resorting to using ‘brown and fuzzy’ to make up for lost time…. )

bugweb Speyside TLC 5-13
Speyside chironomid display, Scotland

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“In the lexicon of the fly-fishermen, the words rise and hooked connote the successful and desirable climax; landing a fish is purely anticlimax.”

~by Vincent C. Marinaro-1950

left-hand tenkara 1 TLC 25-5-13

which is a good thing because while i was doing some left-handed Tenkara shenanigans at Lake Trouto (and for some reason trying to get this on film) all three of these fish came off…

left-hand Tenkara 2 TLC 25-5-13 left-hand Tenkara 3 TLC 25-5-13

“He said that Brown Trout (sic) have adapted, through recent evolutionary shift, the ability to change colour, very much like a chameleon does. The ‘red spots’ are only visible under a certain spectrum of light and only under water which is why we can’t see them in our photos. It is thought that this is an anti-predator adaptation and, that in time, Brown Trout will develop the advances in this ‘technology’ similar to the alien in the “Predator” movie. Effectively this will mean that at some time in the future when you hook a Brown Trout and it jumps from the water all you will see is pixellated shit that is indistinct. It will also mean posting photographs of ‘trophy’ fish will be impossible as basically all you will see is a rod, net and some bankside vegetation. It’s true. “

overheard yesterday and just too good not to share, this and countless good-natured comments are to be found on Mike Barrio’s Fishing The Fly Forum. home-based on the banks of the river Don in Aberdeenshire, Scotland but with members from all over the globe, be sure to check it out and join up.

as for the Predator-like digi-camo fish, i get the feeling that our lives as fly fishers is about to pass on to a whole different level. level of what, i have no idea but it sounds like a challenge, to say the least…

%22digital camo%22 lillamalma 4+kg 'bow_2

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“The great point, then, in fly-dressing, is to make the artificial fly resemble the natural insect in shape, and the great characteristic of all river insects is extreme lightness and neatness of form. Our great objection to the flies in common use is, that they are much too bushy; so much so, that there are few to be got in the tackle-shops which we could use with any degree of confidence in clear water. Every possible advantage is in favour of a lightly-dressed fly; it is more like a natural insect ; it falls lighter on the water, and every angler knows the importance of making his fly fall gently, and there being less material about it, the artificial nature of that material is not so easily detected; and also, as the hook is not so much covered with feathers, there is a much better chance of hooking a trout when it rises. We wish to impress very strongly upon the reader the necessity of avoiding bulky flies”

an excerpt from W.C. Stewart’s infamous The Practical Angler  1857

brave and authoritative statement to say the least, any thoughts ?

thanks to Dennis Shaw for reminding me of this quote.

“The key to being a great fly fisherman is loving the things about it that most people hate.”

~ anonymous

not surprised the author chose to remain anonymous. it’s obvious the person has never been fly fishing because there’s nothing to hate about it: it’s all about love

“Do not blindly accept statements about 95 and 98 percent knots. Even if a claim is the product of rigorous testing, it indicates what a knot can achieve rather than what it will always achieve.”

Art Scheck via MidCurrent

or in other words, take your time, inspect and test. it’s well worth the extra seconds.


for a selection of recommended knots that suit our fly fishing needs click on the mess above.

“From glints and bits of foam, unlikely pale angels ascend to emerge scattered and briefly incandescent. Leaning upstream, shrugging off cold water a fish tips up, dimples the water, and whispers the meaning of mayflies.”

~ Anthony Naples

rise from below

“I am not against golf, since I cannot but suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering trout.”

-Paul O’Neil-

and as further proof that anything’s better than golf or graylinging, even the flu

“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”
by W.C. Fields

‘On Fly Making

” To frame the little animal, provide
All the gay hues that wait on female pride;
Let nature guide thee. Sometimes golden wire
The shining bellies of the fly require.
The peacock’s plumes thy tackle must not fail,
Nor the dear purchase of the sable’s tail;
Each gaudy bird some slender tribute brings,
And lends the growing insect proper wings;
Silks, of all colours, must their aid impart,
And every fur, promote the fisher’s art.”

-The Northern Angler or, Fly-Fisher’s Companion- by John Kirkbride 1837

“Those anglers who think trout will take no fly unless it is an exact imitation of some one of the immense number of flies they are feeding on, must suppose that they know to a shade the colour of every fly on the water, and can detect the least deviation from it – an amount of entomological knowledge that would put to shame the angler himself and a good many naturalists to boot”.

some interesting points there. Stewart was said to be an old grump that didn’t hesitate to yell at people who didn’t share his opinions.

just to be on the safe side, from now on i’ll tie all my flies in either fashionable Black

or in multi-colored swirls as this Starl’-Wing Cripple so the fish can pick and chose their color.

i don’t like being yelled at…

quote by W.C. Stewart