People Fish

a little something to change from the norm for you today.
it’s all about fish but not the kind that typically pops up when we think of our slimy friends.

clever, charming, a simplicity of filming that greatly flatters the subject and really-really funny.
it’s in the now but also in the then all the while being timeless; the Charlie Lyne/Caspar Salmon duo have produced a real gem. here’s Fish Story, if this doesn’t bring a smile i don’t know what will, enjoy !

‘I want to believe’

i’ve always found that to be somewhat of a strange statement. it seems to me like we have three options; either we believe or we don’t and instead of wanting, it might be more reasonable to say ‘I’m open to believing’ but that makes for a dull poster. wanting, specially when it concerns alien sheep, already tips the scales towards belief but i never wanted to believe in alien sheep, they wanted me to believe in them.photographed last spring along a stream that holds surprisingly large brown trout in northern England just a few days before the Brexit referendum, i’ve been wondering ever since if there might be a connection but then, it just might be something I’d like to believe.

the little guy takes the cake

was out streamside seeing things that aren’t really there,

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when out of the corner of the eye i saw this beautiful little puff look up in my direction and continue towards me picking up wee morsels along the way, chomping them down quickly.
the main camera and tripod where precariously balanced on a pointy boulder so i grabbed a few images of Mr. Mouse with the phone. its not the smallest of phones but i can only imagine that it probably must have seemed as a wall to him but that was neither here nor there for this guy, he was on a mission, a straight-line mission.mr mouse 1

here he is bottom-right pushing against the phone to get through ! 😆
take care Mr. Mouse, you made my day.

mr mouse 2

Once you’re finished sucking out the marrow

you can go all DIY and carve your very own EDC BoneFishing rod ! coming out soon will be a carbon-reinforced sinew reel to complete this outstanding outfit, until then, let’s enjoy something quite novel.

ps- note the complete absence of bone loading yet very nice and tight loops. it kinda makes one wonder why loading and unloading a fly rod is so often referred to as the end-all in fly casting.

better late than never ?

or was it better safe than sorry ?

 

whatever it is and considering i can’t really distinguish between the two, this little animiobjectophiliac* greeting card in an abstractosymbolic way signifies or at least points to the end of winter and the beginning of spring. spring is a good thing because trout waters will open up again around here and i can continue my fishing cycle in peace and leeks and fish can be as one.

fish leek valentine

* ok, i made that up but it’s a combination of Animism, the belief that non-human entities—such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects—possess a spiritual essence and objectophilia, a sexual fetish focused on particular inanimate objects or as they say; for the lover of fine things…
and yes, its indeed been a long winter.

the Infernal Triangle of the Nymph World

first of all, the Sanford and Son episode that inspired these magical nymphs-

ok, that was to a) get you throught the “Oh, No ! Not Another PT Tutorial !!!” feeling you probably had when you opened this page and b) a little Sanford and Son rerun every ten or twenty years doesn’t hurt.
so, now that we have the historical background and ermm feelings covered, let’s have a look at this lovely trio of nymphs through yet another awesome video from Davie McPhail.

all three are based on the very same Pheasant Tail nymph design. one’s a straight-up PT and the other two are variants.
these two variants, in my mind, aren’t really necessary because as we all know, no other nymph will outfish a PT but they’re there to remind us that if we keep the same concept and proportions as the OGPT, we can play around and customize and make ourselves feel good and feel special and still end up with an equally succesful, inexpensive and dead-easy to tie nymph.
on a more practicle note, while the variants will necessitate more than just two materials, these materials are also stronger than pheasant tail fibres making for flies that will resist a little better to tiny teeth, forceps, angler clumsiness, underwater rocks abrasion, etc.
a lot of tiers will have an iffy feeling about tying a complete fly with wire instead of the classic thread but trying is believing. keep in mind that the wire’s weight actually weighs the fly down quite a bit or at least a heck of a lot more than it might seem at first. that weight is also distributed throughout the fly’s body instead of the usual just-behind-the-head of the typical beadhead nymph and results in a more realistic movement through the water. for even heavier versions, lay a lead wire base in the thorax region before attaching the tying wire and and skip the wire build-up sequence.

here you go, you’ll find the materials list below, enjoy !

materials used in the video- (feel more than free to improvise)
Hook, Kamasan B175 (something barbless is of course better)
Thread, Extra Small Copper Wire (thinner is better, specially if you want more weight. the smaller spaces between wraps means filling in those spaces with wire instead of air)
Tail, Pheasant Tail Fibres
Body, Pheasant Tail, Natural Dubbing and Killer Bug Yarn (this one’s hard to get but there are several equally effective substitutes available)
Thorax Cover, Pheasant Tail and Natural Dubbing

remember the last time you where swimming in the sea at night,

the inevitable ‘duh-DUHHHHHH’ playing over and over in your head getting louder and louder further increasing the super-creepy yet i love it and i don’t care, that only happens to others feeling ?
well, you couldn’t see it but this is what was going on beneath you.

Fly Tying- The Klippies en Kolgaans

most of the tying videos i share here are about the whats (flies) and how-tos (techniques),

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but this little doozie from South Africa’s pride and joy, Fanie Visagie (a.k.a Gordon Van Der Spuy) is more about the how or rather…  give a totally nutter yet completely lovable guy a vice, tools, video cameras and some exotic fluff and see how he manages to put them all together in his own very particular style and in other words, this is a real treat. enjoy !

better Wading through Yoga

for most anglers, this is about as close to any kind of exercise as they’ll get…

%22power snap%22

but fear not ! and even though i know for sure 99.9% of you will just laugh and scoff the mere idea i’ll reach some sort of blogger’s nirvanaish bliss if just the 0.01% can relate you can still work on your ‘power-snap’ and also become a little fitter or at least live with a little less pain and have a freer movement range that’ll of course make your days on the water better and also improve your posture, tv watching experiences, driving comfort, your work day, gaming, sex and all the other trivial things in life thanks to a few rather easy stretch routines.

forearmplank
Forearm Plank (think of it as full-body SLP)

“Colorado lakes and rivers lure fly-fisherman with natural beauty, peaceful waters and hard-fighting trout. But, as serene as fishing may be, overuse injuries are common. Many anglers complain of pain in the shoulder, elbow and wrists that can last for hours or even days after a fishing trip.”

A number of factors lead to overuse injuries. Casting technique, rod weight, rod design and physical stance can all affect the likelihood of developing overuse injuries. For most anglers, some amount of pain is difficult to avoid. But just a few minutes a day spent opening and strengthening the shoulders, elbows, forearms and wrists will help avoid overuse injuries.”

have a beer or three, don your waders and click either pic for the complete article while trying not to break anything in the process. enjoy !

upplank
Modified Upward Plank – “Push it all Into the Clouds”
gorilla
The Gorilla ! grunting is recommended.

Strange Things Fround Inside Fish *

i have a bream

 

ok, but what’s in it ?

as a fisher who doesn’t kill fish its not a question i regularly ask myself but its indeed an interesting topic. i’ve always heard of weird things like license plates, beer cans and whatnot showing up in shark bellies but it seems like our slimy friends have a diverse appetite that goes far beyond the typical insect or smaller fish.
 
“A friend of mine was trolling in Loch Long, and hooked a seithe. An enormous cod seized the seithe, and paid the penalty by being brought into the boat himself. His girth seemed unnaturally large, and, upon opening him, a brown paper packet of sandwiches, enough for luncheon for a pretty large party, was taken out. They could not have been less injured, mustard and all, had the cod’s stomach been a sandwich-box.

No-one knows whether they ate the sandwiches or not. The fish can consider itself lucky it didn’t meet Colquhoun himself – bloodthirsty old rascal, he would probably have shot it. Cod are the dustbins of the sea and will eat almost anything, accounting for how, in his 1895 Sea Fishing, John Bickerdyke remembered how a captain called Hill accidentally dropped a bunch of keys over the side in the North Sea and thought them lost for good, only to recover them several weeks later in the belly of a cod he trawled up many miles distant – but I guess in those days cod were so abundant that the idea of a dropped set of keys not ending up inside one must have seemed fairly ludicrous. Then there is Dr. Day’s story of a seven inch candle found inside a cod which may have been in search of enlightenment; and others said to have swallowed guillemots, partridges, turnips and even whole hares. The mind boggles at how or where a cod would come across a hare, but then again…”

click here for the complete gastro-piscatorial article on Thefishingmuseum online. enjoy !

* yes, Fround…

Demon Death Ghoul Streamer

what the heck… i don’t usually go for all this halloween goofiness, flies with multiple hooks and even less whatever type of music this might be considered to be but ! this just-out streamer tying tutorial by Michał Zapał of Live 4 Fly Fishing in Poland really stands out from the crowd. in fact it just might be a first in the genre and as such is much welcomed. let’s just consider it as a loud breath of fresh air. congrats Michal, we’re hoping to see more. lots more.

be sure to check out his page on Facebook for a large variety of very nicely tied flies but in the meantime, sit back, crank up the volume and enjoy !

ps- should you really want to go all-out with this Evil Death Ghoul stuff i couldn’t think of a better match to cast this Evil fly than the Stickman Rods Evil Black T8 9′ 8wt 😉

Fly Casting Instruction Breakthrough- How to control someone else’s casting arm with your brain

you’ve attempted everything; you’re trying to help out this lost soul with his casting but whatever you do he has no control whatsoever over his wrist and it’s flip-flopping-flailing all over the place, so is the rod and of course so is the fly line.
he’s embarrassed, frustrated and is having second thoughts about suicide and you, poor instructor are wondering how this guy has gotten through life so far without swallowing his own tongue.

casting hammers

snickering blatantly, motherly insults and verbal threats start the healing process but remain sterile. the Casting Hammers aren’t working (one for each knee), there’s blood, snot and tears all over the rod you lent him for the course (he doesn’t know it yet but he’s just bought your whole outfit at four times its original cost), your Xanax bottle is empty and if you’re not lucky to be bald yet you’re probably pulling out enormous grey tufts whilst trying to figure out what to do next when low and behold, all of a sudden some science geeks in the form of helping angels working out of their parent’s garage have come to save the casting world with just a few old radio parts, suction cups, alligator clips and a low-end model iPad, the whole lot is easily transportable to the casting field in a messenger bag.

wipe the sucker down (be sure to over-charge him for the towels and antiseptic) plug him in and finally get him to cast properly for the first time in his life. at this point it doesn’t really matter if he’s conscious or not because we’ll be working on electrically-induced muscle memory that’ll automatically be stored in his inner him. you’re now in charge, just as it should be.

yeah i know, that was silly (except for the Casting Hammers. i do use them frequently and they work a charm, believe me) but you know, casting, fishing, chocolate, science, dreams and realities all blur into one at a certain point…

My seatrout mojo is a bad mojo

here’s the scene- i’m on a lovely Scottish river that’s noted for having a good run of seatrout. there’s also a lot of golden-bellied brown trout and salmon but since seatrout are far and few between in my part of the world i decide to spend the evening trying to catch what’s been so far an elusive species for me or who knows, maybe a salmon. on the way to a promising looking run, all of a sudden mayflies started popping up, dancing all around me and all-exciting rings started to happen all over the pool. a lot of them.

those rings where created by the aforementioned golden-bellies. the as-yet unstrung rod was an 8wt more than capable of of handling the biggest seatrout this river might offer and the flies in my box where all seatrout/salmon type things which could never be confused with the mayflies that where dancing about and being chomped by my buttery friends.
the little voice said: pursue the quest and persist ! so i listened, got ready, waded in and started the evening wilfully thinking that one specie’s appetite was sure to be wetted by another’s.
the hatch got stronger and stronger and the feeding frenzy carried on relentlessly despite all my line-thrashing and Spey swoops and whomps right over the trout’s very heads. i even tried swinging and retrieving my seatrouty morsels in front of their noses and they’d just continue sipping the bugs away, sometimes right next to my offering and at others, right next to the line that was moving in front of them. these guys where in gluttony mode and nothing could put them down… you’ve already guessed that once again, seatrout where only a bittersweet, delisional dream that never came through.

once back at the camp, my friends where very happy to tell me in great detail of all the lovely browns they caught, released and took pictures of and that made me very happy for them. i showed them my ‘trophy pic’ above and since they are friends and good friends, i guess no-one felt the need to say “should have taken the trout rod instead, Marc…” and i fully agree with that unstated statement.
fishing for seatrout is a boring, fruitless and frustrating endeavour. they’re not even pretty and i know this because i’ve seen countless photos of them that other people have caught. i’ll probably never do it again but then, i just might if i ever get in better terms with my mojo.

It is Traditional.

during my recent UK stint big buddy and today’s special guest blogger Mark Surtees invited me to fish two historical southern England chalkstreams; the Avon and the Wylie, both part of a handful of rivers in the Salisbury area that where some of the play and testing grounds for all the famous chalkstream fly fishing authors/forefathers: Skues, Sawyer and Halford the Weird just to name a few that still mostly established our manner of fishing as we see it today . although there’s a lot to learn from the past, i tend to not get all gooey when it comes to visiting historical places but i’ll have to admit that the day was a bit of a fishing highlight and i left it with yes, a certain mushy yet very pleasant aftertaste: the good kind, the kind that says mmmmmm… and brings a smile.
i’d heard of these famous waters all my life and they and their inhabitants, keepers and fishers have often been subjects right here on TLC but for one reason or another, never got to grace their exquisitely manicured banks.


i was lucky to just catch the tail end of the Mayfly season, the ‘real’ mayfly as it’s often considered in England, the big, milky-yellowish Danica. as another treat, the ranunculus where still flowering and we where able to enjoy them just in time as the weeding started just the next day. there’s a certain irony to this culling as the water weeds are a great breeding/hiding ground for all the insect groups the fish love to eat but these slow-flowing waters can get completely covered with the stuff making it unfishable. although i was an invited guest, keeping in mind the exorbitant prices it costs to fish one of these beats, i guess it’s understandable that fishers prefer to cast their flies on water instead of catching weeds on every cast. they do make life a bit difficult drift-wise…

i’m realising that my intended short introduction to the main event of this post is turning into a tirade… but i have to add a little more. hopefully you’ll consider my words as an appetiser or foreplay for the main course ! but since these rivers have special rules, and that’s what all this ‘tradition’ stuff is about i’ll be quick.
i didn’t get to keep the booklet that was allotted to me for the day but it basically goes like this: fishing from bank only (pretty cool not to have to wear waders) with either dry flies or nymphs (i’m equally cool with that specially that there was a decent amount of bugs flying here and there and fish where feeding happily on or near the surface) and the really weird and very unnatural one to me: upstream only.
from a practical point of view, considering the above rules, the slowish water with no special currents, the mowed paths above water level and easy casting space, my go-to approach would be my usual across-stream presentation while keeping a low profile. it’s by far the easiest and most efficient manner to get a great drift. if the fish takes the fly, great ! and if it doesn’t we can easily try another presentation or several without ever lining the fish or spooking it by lifting the line to recast. etc, etc, etc.
we had a good talk about the whys and what-fors with not only Mark but several other friends we met along the banks during the day and no other could come up with any other explanation apart from Tradition

“It is traditional, when discussing the southern English chalk streams, to speak, or even to write, in a tone of thatched and rose bowered wistfulness. It seems impossible to talk of these beautiful rivers in anything other than worshipful whispers. They represent an angling wormhole, a time passage back to the days of horsehair, cat gut and silk. Places where an angler, too twisted and tight wired by modern living, can kneel amongst the meadow flowers and cast at fat trout rising in the pale flint knuckled channels between the ranunculus beds, romancing across the years with the saints of the chalk streams who kneeled on these very same banks a hundred years ago.
Sadly, such a communion is beyond me because my knee isn’t up to bending much. This is due to a nasty “improperly ironed trouser turn-up” incident which caused me to whack it on the corner of the kitchen table last Saturday. Not being able to kneel and, with the added disadvantages of middle age and considerable bulk ruling out any possibility of demonstrating how to make oneself completely invisible behind a buttercup or a handy clump of meadowsweet, the prospects of a wistful riverbank commentary on the joys of chalk stream angling with a Frenchman seemed somewhat limited.
Via his book, Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice, Frederick Halford had an enormous influence over the regulatory framework for chalk stream fishing. For example, whilst some rules can seem a little odd to the uninitiated, it remains the case that fish in these waters have to be approached with some discretion or they will leg it in to the safety of a weed bed or under a reedy bank. They are exceptionally easy to spook. Applying a little common sense will tell you that in this kind of environment, if you stand upstream of a rising fish, wave a stick about and hurl a string at it, then it will generally clear off.
It is commonly believed that this perfectly rational thinking is the root of the “upstream only” rule. Astonishingly, it seems not, this more subjective analysis, scornful of the wetties, probably is:-
“On one point all must agree, viz., that fishing upstream with fine gut and small floating flies, where every movement of the fish, its rise at any passing natural, and the turn and rise at the artificial, are plainly visible, is far more exciting, and requires in many respects more skill, than the fishing of the water as practiced by the wet-fly fisherman.”

Mr Halford is also very firm on another matter, that of dress. He advocates that one should only ever fish these rivers in elastic garments made of wool. Stockinette stitched wool to be precise. Our Fred had an entire suit constructed from material which must have been a form of exceptionally hairy Victorian Lycra. It cannot conceivably have been comfortable, warm summer evening spinner falls must have been a distinctly tickly affair and it surely caused some significant difficulties with “unnecessary dampness”.
So, whilst his view of upstream casting remains influential and an amusing irritation to French visitors, his proclivities with respect to itchy elastic body wear have been discarded over time, no doubt due to irritation of an entirely different nature.
However, interestingly, a stockinette stitch is used in some forms of compression bandage and this would obviously be extremely useful for my knee. So, by channelling the spirit of Halford as my sartorial guide, and accepting that modern technology can better the fabric, I propose to have made a full body Lycra fishing suit decorated with butter cups and meadowsweet.
Although it may present some minor difficulties in the pub at the end of the day, or on the bus home, this will provide injury support and offer a perfect blending with the bank side vegetation. In fact, because it will make me all but invisible to the fish, I may even be able to cast downstream.
Just like Marc…  *
”vive la revolution”

and just to show that Mark is somewhat of a rebel himself, here he is performing a Traditional Downstream Grayling Release (untraditionally known as the Grayling Flop) on one of those very hallowed upstream-only chalkstreams…


* you’ve probably already guessed: i was fishing slightly upstream to a semi-regularly rising trout when all of a sudden a nice big boil happened straight downstream on my side of the bank no more than two rod lengths away. close to fifty years of instinct/habit/reflexes (and you can add every other knee-jerk reaction action to the list) instantly kicked in and i thoughtlessly did a Snake roll and placed the fly dead centre of the still small ring and had an instant take from a beautiful golden-bellied brown and i don’t feel the slightest remorse from my heinous crime…

thanks for such a lovely day, Mark. it’s always a treat to see you but this was really special.

BEWARE THE BACK CAST- or, More on Jean Dujardin

for the third time now, Pete Tyjas at Eat Sleep Fish asked me to send a little something to be included in issue 41 that came out last week.  this breaks the ‘more than twice’ barrier, meaning that ESF is kinda turning into a home away from home and i couldn’t feel more honoured because it’s a really nice place to be and i’m very grateful towards Pete for inviting me in.
so far my contributions have been fly casting related: the first was Poetry Grace Fluidity and the state of Relaxed Butt, the second on How to Loose your Fly in Trees and now this one about this goofy french movie actor.
here’s a preview-

“Fishing in tight spaces is always a tricky situation because casting and therefore fishing successfully involves thinking and more precisely, thinking before acting. What I’ve noticed in life so far, is that thinking after the fact usually doesn’t do much good because contrary to popular belief, most people don’t really learn from their mistakes.

Lefty’s still saying that God won’t let you cast this way or that, we still burn our tongues biting into a hot pizza and rap is still a popular music form…

When encumbered by trees and brush, cliffs, girlfriends/boyfriends and livestock, to get the fly out to the fish in an inciting manner the successful angler needs to look around and be aware of all those dumb things that nature surounds us with and puts between us and our slimy friends before going about it or they’ll just have to risk being as silly as the guy below.”

for more silliness briefly interspersed with hopefully-helpful mind-set casting/fishing tips click on the frenchman above and while you’re there, be sure to check out the whole edition for a more than fine as-always selection of great fly fishing related articles from around the globe. enjoy !

Delving into the Different- FurBirds

in a world (mine) where fly fishing and everything else somehow manages to combine i’m often confronted with difficult mind-numbing decisions such as:
– will this particular food enhance my day on the water ?
– are socks made by a fishing brand capable of outperforming (whatever that means) or be more comfy than non use-specific socks ?
– shall i shave before going to the river and other mojo-enhancing or destructive maybe make-or-break weirdnesses like,
“where’s that lucky cap, i’ll blank if i don’t have it !”,
taking the 9′ 5wt that caught that big brown instead of the 9′ 5wt that’s only caught little perch so far,
the “wait, this spot’s never fished well when the wind’s coming in from the Mediterranean”,
“you could be going out on a lunch date but you’d rather go out and wave a rod around instead ?!”
(i’m single. going out on dates means a lot more to us than you married/hooked-up lot)(at least it should, among other reasons, we don’t have that roll-over, “wanna ?” taken for granted convenience)

and then realising that Tuesday wasn’t open to fishing after all as there where several non-fly fishing things spread out throughout the day planned well in advance that had been duly noted in the agenda that hardly ever if ever gets read which in the end leaves a dour D’Oh, a sour taste, a lingering smell of anticipatory sweat and several bags laying by the front door looking stupid and lonely that remind me of a dog one would have gotten all excited by telling it they where going for that long-needed relief walk, had grabbed the leash and then at the last moment yelled feckit all ! and deciding to watch videos that have absolutely nothing to do with fly fishing instead.
something like these FurBirds

Fly Casting- Santa’s Underpowered Curve

if like most people you’ve always wondered what Santa Carlos (Azpilicueta) looks like when he’s fly casting here you go.SantaCarlos' Underpowered 180° Curve

often referred to as a good upstream presentation cast, the Underpowered Curve goes directly to the bottom of my list of actual casts to use. even if the final line layout seems really good from a theoretical point of view we’re throwing a whole lot of line directly over the fish whilst false casting and at final presentation and we’re left with an enormous, even ridiculous amount of slack to attempt to tighten up if we didn’t put off the fish and managed to get a strike. if we don’t get a strike, the whole leader and all that line will pass over the fish on its way back downstream before we can pick up and cast again and if that doesn’t put off the fish then its a really dumb fish not worthy of being caught !
accuracy wise, its also probably the most difficult cast to get just right in any repeatable manner even in ‘ideal’ conditions. any kind of wind severely compromises its success. in a sense, its one to keep in your bag of tricks as a last-resort presentation. at best.

none of that sounds very good, right ? but here’s the but and the however: just as with the underpowered Controlling Casting Stroke Force (please read or reread as both articles are directly connected), the Underpowered Curve is a more than excellent manner to learn to use the correct amount of force in your other casts. just as with the overhead version: “practising to cast lines that don’t turn over completely and ‘relearning’ to add a little more force, just what’s necessary to get the job done as we go along. this is an additive method. we start with ‘not enough’ and add-on little by little until it’s’just right’.  it’s quite easy to control because adding-on seems to correspond better to human nature than subtracting; we tend to ‘want more’ as opposed to ‘want less’ is equally valid and productive and might even be considered as the next step, or part II of the overhead drill as it’s trickier.
we need to adopt a slower casting rhythm while casting off to the side in a lower plane all the while keeping line, leader and fluff from hitting the ground. on the delivery cast, the underpowered bit needs to be controlled very precisely. although we can’t push strings or in this case fly lines and this will get the physics geeks tsk-tssssking, it helps to think of it as if we where pushing the rod leg only. (i know, that might be a weird way to visualise the motion but it works for me and hopefully for you too)

as in the gif, don’t forget to ‘kill the cast’ by immediately lowering the rod tip to prevent loop unrolling. be sure to try the exact same cast with and without lowering the rod tip to see how it greatly affects line layout/turnover.
lastly, similar to the overhead drill, the Underpowered Curve also teaches an important aspect that’s rarely brought up; varying the casting force between the back cast and the front cast (or vice-versa). a typical but non-conclusive example of this casting force variance would be when fishing with a strong tail wind. we’ll need  to have a higher line speed on the BC going into the wind, requiring more force and a greater casting arc and less speed, force and arc on the FC where the wind will help push it out.

since practicing without any kind of target is generally pointless, as with the overhead drill, place little targets or reindeer here and there in front of you and place the unrolled loop over them.
even if it’s just a few minutes, do yourself the favour of including both drills every time you’re out practicing. these are seemingly strange and quirky things to do but they really pay off. i guarantee.
whether or not you decide to don the Santa suit is up to you but keep in mind that it would make the occasion that much more special.

video graciously provided by Carlos Azpilicueta. thanks buddy !

post note- i’ve always wondered what the person strolling by in the background of the gif was thinking as they saw this…

A few thoughts on streamer fishing

shared here in its entirety with Mac Brown‘s kind permission.

it’s rant-o’clock ! but i don’t see it as ranting for the sake of ranting, more like a hey, lets kinda forgo the commercialism and sensationalism of contemporary fly tying/fishing for a while and get real about flies, fly design and fly fishing in general.
Mac’s parting words sum up how a lot of us feel quite well, enjoy !  “and remember it is more about your technique than the fly!”…

Bullhead-Sculpin-Gary Borger

“Streamer fishing has been around for a very long time in fly fishing. The workhorse patterns I used mostly as a youngster include the simplistic Black Ghost, Mickey Finn, Wooly Bugger, and Muddler Minnow. There are hundreds of new streamer patterns the past decade with so many new choices of materials. Many of the newer patterns have eye appeal more for the tying community than the fish!
A successful pattern is the one you can tie simply and fast and that is what I think is lacking more today than in years past.

A lot of egos at play in this game of fly fishing to think of lashing a different material to a piece of wire and a new invention that every one tries to get in a catalog for their pride basically. It is actually quite funny when you think about it.
Think about judging your streamer patterns by how many steps does it involve? Can you produce it in a short time period? Naturally color, shape, and size are also at play just like every other recipe in fly tying. The action of the fly may be important at times, however there are also times it really does not matter! I remember tying up some really bizarre streamer patterns in the mid 90’s when I capitalized on what I refer to as “impulse strikes”. These patterns made use of things like a silver beer tab glued to a hook or a piece of coffee cup Styrofoam attached to a hook. One material basically attached to a hook! They worked on many test occasions for trout just like the simple buck-tail streamers used in 1930’s. Keep it simple with your patterns and you will get more time on the water, which is always better than time at the vice as far as I am concerned.

There is no doubt that streamer fishing puts up the majority of really large fish throughout the year. It is also among the simplest technique to learn for a youngster. Both of my kids have had plenty of action at very young ages swinging streamers over active fish. One of the reasons it is the perfect technique for folks new to fly fishing is that the fly line remains under tension as the pattern swings in the current. When a fish strikes it virtually hooks itself!

Here are a few other streamers that have served me well over the years. The Bullhead Sculpin from Gary Borger (you can find it on his blog) is one of the best producers on the stream and is among the most simplistic patterns to tie. One of the best days on the lower Nanty a few springs ago had 6 brown trout to the boat while floating that all went over 6 pounds. Not a bad day to kick off the season since this is no New Zealand in Western North Carolina. We have to compete against hardware fisherman, worm drowners, and corn chunkers-many of our best tailwaters in the Southeast are open game with little regulation.
The acoustic footprint and color of the bullhead sculpin make it among my favorite overall streamer patterns! The other fly is a pattern I learned from Rich Brostic here in Bryson City back in the early 90’s. It uses only two materials which include black chenille body and an olive marabou wing as long as the hook shank. This simple pattern has caught thousands of really big fish all over the globe. You can tie it in under a minute at the vice. Mike Sexton’s “Blank Saver” is another smallish streamer that works great and deserves a row of them in your flybox! You can tie a ton of them in one evening!
I think over time folks progress to really big streamers that are articulated. I know I went that direction in the late nineties tying 6-8 inch streamers. The drawbacks of getting too big include air resistance increases may require a much heavier line. I am sure that over the years the one to three inch streamers have been the most productive. I have hooked many Muskie in western North Carolina when fishing for trout with three inch streamers.

Streamer fishing is all about movement so over time you will play with all kind of retrieval rates and mends on the water. Changing direction of the streamer through use of mends is more advanced but it often can be productive against a bank or differential water current. Play around with different fly line configurations and densities for streamer fishing. One of the most common mistakes I see is the overuse of floating lines used for attempting to catch big fish that hold near the bottom in big water. Build some high density lines that get your flies down where the fish are holding.
When fishing with other folks try to get your group to mix it up rather than everyone chucking thingamabobbers all day long! Your group will learn far more about a watershed throwing nymphs, dries, streamers, and wets! They will all produce fish. Bigger nymphs are often fished like a streamer just for the sake of mixing it up. Enjoy playing around with streamer fishing and remember it is more about your technique than the fly!”

Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice

dryflyfishing cover halfordanother doozy from the infamous “Detached Badger of “The Field” *,  Frederic Michael Halford, first printed in 1889 via openlibrary.org

while all of us in the Northern Hemisphere are secretly hating all those that aren’t, impatiently waiting for open waters and better days… here’s a more than amusing and informative and oh boy, once again reminder that while certain details have changed through fly fishing history, the bigger picture hasn’t evolved that much.

a few tidbits-

reels

rod action

changing

rod length
and if those don’t get your interest, this one on rod-holding ‘butt spears’ should do the trick.

butt spears

click either text/image to access the complete 400 or so page book. its well worth the read, besides, well, its well worth the read.
the guy sure had a lot to say about everything one might want to know and then more. enjoy !

* please don’t ask. i have no idea and i really don’t want to know.

Five Fly Fishing Chuckles

fly fishing in itself isn’t inherently funny but a few chuckles along the way sure make our activity that much more special.
defining what funny or chuckelish is, is an extremely suggestive endeavour but the good thing about this, and where it correlates with fly fishing is; just like the fish, we see it or we don’t.
here’s a selection of previously posted articles that will hopefully raise a few lip corners. enjoy !


Catch & Release the funny way.
sent in by Lucian Vasies at troutline.ro from a recent fishing trip in Italy, this has to be my all-time favourite c&r selfie ever !

“I tried to make a photo and the camera was set at 3 sec. So in that time interval I was able only to fall down and not to make that classic photo with a big smile and my trout in my arms… “

Lucian Vasies c&r

here’s hoping we get to see many more images like this my friend !


“The distance between your head and your hand can be a long way”
Mel Krieger

what a nice way to say “what i think i’m doing isn’t really what’s happening”, something many if not most of us are guilty of when it comes to fly casting (and a lot more… )
see, and just as an example, i had made no plans whatsoever to make an enormous, five minutes-to-take-apart series of knots in my fly line in front of all those people while doing a casting demo. dumb brain…


Fly Casting a Rubber Chicken on the Snow in Copenhagen.

i_love_rubber_chickens_tshirts-r8109adebc38d4792b597b238e1a8756d_8nhma_324

 who doesn’t ?

in a fit of “why not ?” (and maybe mostly “damned right ! i’ll showem’ it can be done !”), Lasse Karlsson is once again the man of the hour with these not-only-amusing but eye-opening rubber chicken fly casting sequences.
outside of the semi-absudity of casting a 60 gram ‘fly’, what we can take away from this experiment is there aren’t as many limits in fly casting as we might usually think and that a little practice when adapting  to something new is mostly a matter of a little practice and dedication. some little somethings to think about if you’re planning to cast big bushy pike flies or saltwater patterns. enjoy !


“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


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

thoughts on fly tying and art

Art Led Me to Fly Fishing by Cheech at Fly Fish Food

gotta love the colder months. people are inspired enough to take the time to dish out some real gems and here’s yet another.

“We didn’t have guns to shoot, ATVs to ride, or animals to feed. I really was fueled by sports, mainly soccer, through my younger years but I always had access and drive to create art. In about 5th grade I realized that I couldn’t draw anything that was realistic, so I’d draw and create caricatures and abstract stuff (like the flyfishfood logo) that would freak out my teachers. I guess the sculpture of a figure in a hooded robe with his mouth sewn shut was the kicker for her… ”
Art Mascots Cheech FlyFishFood

and it gets groovier and groovier from thereon.

click the moustache for the whole bit and be sure to dig through the Fly Fish Food site for tons of awesome reggae-inspired flies. enjoy !

Entomology- Fish were the first Fornicators

“That is a really big step.” indeed. that’s right folks, contrary to what our mammalian pride might have us believe, recent research suggests our slimy Microbrachius dicki… friends beat us at doing the do about 385 million years ago.

“Constrained by their anatomy, the fish probably had to mate side by side.

“They couldn’t have done it in a ‘missionary position’,” said Prof Long. “The very first act of copulation was done sideways, square-dance style.”

fish first sex BBC
we won’t hold it against them but starting off by doing it side-to-side instead of the natural, universally accepted from-behind was a brave yet stupid move and Evolution rightly punished them for this nonsense. “Surprisingly, the researchers think this first attempt to reproduce internally was not around for long. As fish evolved, they reverted back to spawning. It took another few million years for copulation to make a come-back, reappearing in ancestors of sharks and rays.” dummies…

“It is very remarkable that we haven’t noticed this before.” 

click either image for the complete article on BBC News Science and Environment. enjoy !square-dancing BBC

these guys look like cute little robots with sporty sunglasses. i think this would make a lovely tattoo.