Brainwashem’ Young: Kheiran’s Special Fly Tying Challenge

be warned, she’s too cute for words. this is a fly tying tutorial like you’ve never seen before.
sit back, try to remember the combination of serious and creativity all mixed in with a serious amount of goofy we all had as kids but mostly, enjoy!

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 wonder what it is.

countless hours and days spent in the woods streamside all over the globe and i’ve never seen a tree like this. how little i know; i need to get out more often…

‘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

Fly Tying- Like Jim Said

as promised, here’s a special-guest fly tying nugget via buddy Tim Trengrove from Wellington, North Island New Zealand.

Wellington happens to be as far away on the other side of the globe from me as possible, any further and he would have to come from space !, and i know this because i have an app on my phone that once leveled, shows what’s on the other side of our beautiful planet as if we where looking straight through it. it looks like this. cool, huh ?

wellington
hmmm, spelling isn’t all that but i still think this is really cool…

ok, now that i’m finished with my pointless interjection… today’s topic is about traditional influences in contemporary fly tying and durability and more specifically, hackle durability by using the Reversed Hackling method. Tim’s explanation is straightforward and should suffice in itself but if it isn’t i’ll include the link to previously posted video in the comment section that explains it well. enjoy !

thanks for your contribution Tim, it’s greatly appreciated. i know your trout season’s about to start and i hope it’s a grand one !


Like Jim said
Tiny caddis were already crawling up my back when the first trout began rising. In the Southern Hemisphere summer, no rain for some weeks meant the flow was much lower for the post-Christmas period. Perhaps that and the extra hot day brought the caddis on as daytime hatches in this river were an unusual sight.

My normal fly choice would have been a caddis pupa but, having tied up some Partridge and Yellow spiders, I was keen to use them instead. The results were astounding, but unfortunately not for all the right reasons.

Browns and rainbows up to 3.5 pounds grabbed the fly and tore off down the pool. Some cartwheeling across the surface, others leaping high. There were break-offs and other midstream releases. What upset me way more than losing fish was the sight of seeing some of my flies unravelling. Flies that looked pretty in the box, but now were not surviving these fish. My spider tying technique was rubbish.

Later, after reading The North Country Fly by Robert L Smith, I adopted the traditional tying method for spiders. This made for much more robust flies and I’ve been waiting for another daytime caddis rise since then.

tim-trengrove-3
Photo by Paul Slaney

The whole “robust” thing got me thinking about fly construction. There will always be a place in my fly box for North Country fly designs like this Woodcock and Hare’s Ear.

The hackle is tied using the traditional tip-first method then wound once the body is constructed.

What I wanted was a fuller-bodied fly which was as strong as or stronger than the umbrella-shaped spider.

tim-trengrove-2
Photo by Paul Slaney

Starling with hare’s mask on a Kamasan B160 #16. Something along the lines of a Stewart’s Spider but not as unruly in appearance. This led me to reading how Jim Leisenring constructed his flies in The Art of Tying The Wet Fly & Fishing The Flymph. Jim typically used the reverse hackle tie-in for his soft hackle wet flies and instead of making a narrow collar of hackle, he spiralled the hackle rearward. The tying thread was then wound forward through the hackle to the tie- off position. This gave the hackle a fuller appearance and helped make the fly incredibly strong. I took those ideas and incorporated them into spiders.

If you can see differences in hackle construction looking at the two photos, your eyesight is very good! When both flies are moved about in the water together, the differences are seen more clearly. I tie these in #16 for slow, clear water and #14 for faster water. In the last season this pattern accounted for brown trout in slower rivers near my home in Wellington and the Mataura in the South Island, and rainbows in the fast flowing Tongariro. So long as I tie a decent knot and work on not being stupid after hooking fish, most of these flies make it back home. That is a big improvement on my first spiders.

When it comes to tying wingless wet flies, I like to tie the hackle in a similar way.
tim-trengrove-1

As Jim Leisenring has been such an inspiration, I will leave the last words to him.

“The art of tying the wet fly rests upon a knowledge of trout-stream insect life, a knowledge of materials used for imitating the insect life, and an ability to select, prepare, blend, and use the proper materials to create neat, durable, and lifelike imitations of the natural insects”.
(The Art of Tying The Wet Fly & Fishing The Flymph by James E. Leisenring and Vernon S. Hidy, 1971, page 34)

Tim Trengrove, New Zealand

A Revolution in Fly Fishing Films

found on Fly Lords facebook page, here’s a more than welcome change from the usual, virtually always the same, and getting boring as hell trend in fly fishing videos.
there’s no droning higher ground morals or self-validating or ethics speech. no fancy, costing an arm and both legs travel to what once used to be an exotic location nor brand names being hashtagged down our throats.
just a simple, normal T Rex catching a catfish with a fly rod: nice, nice and nice…   enjoy ! XD

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.

Underwater Zombie Frog Ballet !

warning to the squeamish: the video below is exactly what the title says so you might want to refrain.

for the others: enjoy !
although it can include frogs, this little dancing film isn’t so much about fly fishing… but this is something really special and well, different to say the least.

the Fish Cannon

“What’s a fish to do? Swim into a cannon, perhaps, which will launch it over the dam and allow it to get on with its migration.

This is not a parody. It’s not even just a crazy Internet idea. It’s a real-life solution currently undergoing testing in Washington with the cooperation of the Department of Energy and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The vacuum tube technology was originally designed for fruit, but according to biologists at the Yakama Nation Fisheries, it appears to be safe for fish (researchers are continuing to study the long-term effects).”

too cool ! i’d love to be shot through a soft tube like this.

click here for more info.

edit- a little research shows this idea isn’t exactly new although i think i like the newer version better…
fishcannon

deep-throat sunday

nothing’s better than having a good breakfast before heading out for a hard day’s fishing. bon appétit !

what Piranhas sound like

when they’re about to eat you.

piranhas attack!
half way between a honking snore, beating on a coffin with the palm of your hand and a speeding fly saucer, here’s eleven seconds of something you’d probably never want to hear in real.


“The clip features three sounds. The first is a “bark” produced in what the researchers called a “frontal display”, meaning where two fish swam quickly towards each other and stayed still, aggressively intimidating and staring at each other. The second is a “drum beat” produced by the largest fish in the group when circling the shoal, mostly when there was competition for food. The third “croak” was generally associated with a piranha chasing and biting another fish.”

via The Cabinet of Freshwater Curiosities, click the pic for more on the Red-Bellied Piranha.

hi friends ! i was away at a fly casting meet in Spain for the better part of a week and while i’m still settling back in and sorting photos and seemingly billions of other stuffs… well, in the meantime here’s a massage.

ahhhh, the things one finds when traveling. enjoy !

Fly Fishing and Sex

First-Ever Fly Fishing Sex Survey by Scott Bowen via MidCurrent “In the first study of its kind, the Federal Institute of Human Sexuality and Sexual Health (FIHSSH) surveyed 2 million American fly fishers about their sex lives, in a search for data about the potential impact of fly fishing on human sexual behavior.” masters-and-johnson_640 when it comes to fly fishing with all the sexy thises and sexy thats branded about freely, it’s hard at times to really know what’s up. for the complete the lowdown you’ll have to click HERE but in the meantime here’s a few choice morsels.
“1. How satisfied are you with your sex life?
2. How often do you engage in sexual activity with a partner?
3. What would you change about your sex life?
4. What is your main fly-fishing endeavor?”

“Nationwide, more fly-fishing hours are spent angling for trout, but the dry-fly group and general trout ranked sixth and fifth respectively in overall sexual satisfaction and frequency. “Hardcore dry-fly fishers also often wish their partner would embrace, or at least accept, a fetish for tweed.” “A fly box full of bass bugs is indicative of a slower-paced sex life, with bass fly fishers scoring a 3 in sexual satisfaction, and indicating monthly sex frequency, on average. We have a theory about that,” Dr. Dangerfield says. “Hot weather. You’ve got people fly fishing for bass across the South, and it’s just too humid to get it on, you know?”
as for those who get it the most, you’ll have to visit the page. enjoy !
ps- we’ll notice that nymphing isn’t even mentioned. i wonder why…
pps- even if this was posted on April 1st, i still believe its true. (specially the nympher part)

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 !

mysteries…

that leave me baffled as well but these are well worth the read.
besides, there’s a few chuckles to be had.

Euro Nymphing...  pfffft.  I only fish dry flies.
Euro Nymphing… pfffft. I only fish dry flies.

for a really good rant about some fly fishing sillinesses (well, there are just five although we could easily add several 0’s to those five), head on over to Fly Fish Food to read Cheech’s page by clicking the image above. enjoy !

opening day

for trout waters in France was last saturday.

not including stocked fisheries, i know plenty of areas where trout go past the official ‘trout sections’ (downstream) and even if i target other species of fish, the maybe more than occasional wild brown or escaped rainbow will eventually take the fly so, opening day to me isn’t so much about trout themselves but more about being able to fish the lovely areas that are closed off from the end of September through early March where these lovely-slimy creatures live.
add to that the beginning of spring, a healthy increase of sun rays, birds coming back from warmer climes, happy bees, tree buds and not having to dress up like an inuit and it all adds up to a ‘oh yeah, this feels good’ type of feeling. usually.
from an outsider’s point of view (read non-fisher’s), last Saturday was what might be considered as a gift of the gods. after a normal chilliesh early morning, by 10 or so the temps where already at 18°, there was no wind (rare), the sun was doing it’s spring thing, i was wearing  just a long sleeve t-shirt instead of four sweaters and a jacket and then… the hoards started to come out of wherever hoards come from and it seemed like there must have been enormous flashing signs at malls, supermarkets and wherever it is that the hoards usually hang out telling them “Sorry, we’re closed for business, please go to the nearest trout water and disturb the peace until we replenish stocks“.

being rude is well known around the world as being typically french. they take great pride in it and probably consider it as a public service. it’s definitely considered a right. not being as french as i could be, i find this greatly annoying.
having fellow anglers thrash through the water and crowding me within less than a cast’s distance without even the slightest thought of River-Side Etiquette to a) announce their presence, b) the normal “hey mate, are you working upstream or down ?” c) “mind if i pass in? d) casting a spinning lure over my fly line (yes, that actually happened three times) and when the noises of kids throwing rocks in the water, their parents encouraging them to throw the rocks harder all the while shouting at the top of their miserable lungs in a poor attempt of be understood over blaring music to the point that the river’s sounds become a distant murmur even though i’m standing in the middle of it and even if there are a few rises here and there, this guy needs to escape. quickly.

now, you might be thinking: “geez Marc, why didn’t you go to more remote places to start with ?” and i’ll congratulate you on your logic but the thing is, i was in the more remote places. instead of the usual 100km round trip, Saturday, i drove 300+km trying to find some peace. throughout about a dozen stops i managed to catch three little trouties in some not-so-crowded areas and the only real peace was found in a fishing reserve (not allowed to fish)(and for some reason, completely overlooked by the hoards).
hopefully it will rain or snow next year for opening day.

opening day 2014 mf:tlc

a caddis imitation that doesn’t look at all like a caddis.

well, not in this guy’s eyes anyway. but ! whatever it may be, this Screaming Banshee originally designed by Charlie Craven sure is buggy-yummylishious and since i usually can’t help but see transformations of what i’m looking at…
the idea of adding a marabou tail, flashing LED lights, an internal rattle and maybe a few rubber-leg appendages here and there just might turn this attractor thing into a Super-Attractor Thingy. enjoy !

btw, does anyone else feel that it’s strange to consider deer hair as fibres ? 😆

Tickled by Boars

i don’t know about you but i could take a break from the common weekend frame of mind that seems to permeate the world right now. what follows should do the trick at least for a little while and it won’t leave you with either a hangover, bad after-taste or any sticky fluids to clean up.
from the continued series of deliriously thoughtful fly fishing insights from the unique mind of Mark Surtees, enjoy !

_______________________________________________________

Deep in the lower Clitterhouse woods, in a bower of Summer Lilac and Dog Rose, Major Buckram Cropstwattle the aged, but otherwise debonair, doyen of the Finchley Church End and Temple Fortune Cuttlefish Fanciers Bridge club twisted and groaned like a wild woodland spaniel tickled by boars.

Beside him the bounteous, bumptious, Bellini fueled widow Mrs Winky Wilberforce shifted her pulchritudinous rump in an act of voluptuous paisley patterned enticement that no simple Cuttlefish fancier could ever hope to resist.

“Migod Winky” he moaned, clutching the agate grips of the trusty ZA self jerker and blinking helplessly…..”we must stop before I infarct”

With one hand gripping a glistening self whittled weaseling trident she leant across the erubescent Major and slowly slipped the other between the studded straps of his battered old ZA “Pulvermachers Bi-pole electro” Casting Support.

“Stop, Bucky ?…” she whispered close, husky…maraschino sweet, “…nnnooo, my love, we have only just begun.”

Expertly teasing apart the pouch elastics, her every touch peach syrup soft, she probed once again with the cherry tipped trident tines at his pre-stressed Pulvermacher dangling gimbals and tensioned the suspensory appliance silks.

The Major, hypermetropic and pent, could resist no more and he rammed down the belt mounted ZA “Castassist” Ergonergy release plunger with all his remaining power.

Plasma slashed between the positive and negative bolt connectors of the Pulvermachers bi-pole personal teslas.

“AaaWOOOO…FORWARD!!>>>CHARGE THE GUNS!! …” he roared, lurching violently beneath the bucking branches of the ominously creaking Lilac and thrust the crackling self jerker forwards in one final, and enormous, effort.

Afterwards, he span happily from the ZA “Pulvermachers” Dorsal D. Smiling wetly, spent, in a gently falling shower of blue blossom cinders.

“Winky, I say… WHAT A CAST!!…A HUNDRED FOOTER !!…A HUNDRED FOOTER !!..WHAT ?..”

Not too far away, a wild eyed weasel whippet vibrated, tail tucked and a solitary Brent Valley moose considered, just for a moment, making an early start to the annual rut.

Mark

bipolar electric belt

TROUBLE “BELOW” WHEN CASTING FOR DISTANCE ? “DON’T RISK YOUR KNACKERS…..WEAR ONE OF OUR PULVERMACHERS ” FROM ZA PPP LTD PERSONAL CASTING SUPPORT PRODUCTS ZA PPP LTD A “WE’LL HELP YOU HOLD IT UP” KIND OF COMPANY.

Slint the Red Hooded

red-hood

by Jake Keeler at 20acrecarcass,
a guy who seems to have worked out the perfect proportions in making a great fly-fishing/painting/beer-making cocktail.

Salmon Fails

it’s usually funnier when it’s blondes, fat dogs or drunks bumping into walls and falling over but this one has it’s own charm, of sorts.
filmed on the Nalón river in the Asturias region in Spain, until the local government sets up better passage ways let’s send our slimy friends a little mental push…

hitting a wall

whatever activity it may be it happens to all of us at one point or another. in fact, it happens to me several times a day… but ! today’s fly casting analysis video, while still remaining a bit obscure to me shows us a creative test of doing this wall-hitting on purpose with a fly line:

“Fly leg momentum after the loop is obstructed”

interestingly enough, i’ve done the very same thing many-many times in more of a “i can, therefore i will” mood and because the loop ‘crumpling to bit’s looks cool but there was never any actual study of fly line dynamics type of thing intension involved. leave it to the creative curiosity genius of Lee Cumming‘s brain to try to come up with a purpose with things like this. i’ll view it a few hundred more times to see what i can get out of this before smashing me own head against the wall…
https://vimeo.com/17270656

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.

Unless you’re good at casting, it’s useless to tie flies…

messy flies

well conceived, amusing and leaving a belly full of food for thought, here’s a fantabulous fictional ‘interview’ on Presentation vs Imitation, the Age-old debate parts 1-2-3 by Carlos Azpilicueta that i hope you’ll not only enjoy but benefit from.

“In this special article, I moderate an interesting, entertaining talk session on one of the most debated and less resolved issues in the history of fly fishing. Far from trying to solve anything, the participants contribute various original points of view that are bound to give more than one reader and flyfishing enthusiast something to think about.”


Quillan and Rodney are keen fly fishermen and staunch defenders of two different positions and approaches that, although they can complement each other, usually clearly and vehemently define which type of fisherman you are.

Some consider and defend the imitation concept as the key to success in fly fishing. They’re the Imitators (Quillan) and their main endeavor is to fill their fly boxes with all kinds of patterns. They’re usually great fly tyers and are very knowledgeable of everything having to do with fly dressing techniques and materials. Many of them are avid entomologists and some even use aquariums and binocular magnifying glasses to study aquatic macroinvertebrates.

The so-called Presenters (represented by Rodney) heartily defend their approach. The presentation approach gives priority to technical skill in casting and presenting the fly. Besides casting, they also love to read and understand the currents in the stream and everything related to how the angler manages on the stream.

Surely no other debate has filled more pages of fly fishing literature. And, to the satisfaction of many, I’m afraid it will continue to do so for many years to come.

Part 1
…positions get defined

Mod: Good afternoon, Quillan and Rodney. Since we already know your respective positions, we can dispense with presentations.
Rod: What we really need less of are imitations.
Mod: Sorry. It was just of way of getting started. I certainly didn’t intend to…
Quill: You certainly are touchy, Mr. Presenter.
Mod: I’m touchy?
Quill: No, I don’t mean you. I’m referring to my debating opponent, the expert flycaster.
Rod: Well, that’s precisely where I think the first error lies.
Mod: What do you mean?
Rod: Associating the idea of presentation with only casting.
Quill: Well, I relate my idea of imitation almost exclusively to dressing the artificials.
Rod: And that’s one of the great limitations of the position you defend. Presentation spans a whole series of concepts and approaches that are much more far-reaching than the simple cast: the fisherman’s position in the stream, reading the water, interpreting the insects, adapting the leader, etc. There are a lot of things you have to do before your dry fly is ever seen by a trout. And they’re all part of the concept of presentation. If you do them right, the fly will be successful; otherwise, you won’t have the slightest chance. I like to quote Gary Borger, “Presentation can be defined as the culmination of everything you are and everything you know and understand about the world of fly fishing.”
Quill: Then, no matter what you tie on the end of the tippet, if you do all those things right, the trout will take it, right?
Rod: Just as long as the size is right, and often not even that.
Quill: Your passion for what you do best, casting, besides revealing your clear limitations as a complete fly fisherman, blinds you and, thereby, irresponsibly confines any further development.
Mod: Let’s start focusing the issue and analyzing some of its more important points.

…historical view

Trout vision curiosities

  • The trout devotes almost half of its small brain to using and controlling its vision
  • Professor Muntz’ experiments show that trout not only perceive colours but also tones of the same color. The colors they most clearly distinguish are, in this order, red, orange and yellow.
  • Trout fry have four types of cones (vision cells responsible for color). This endows them with very good chromatic vision, thus increasing their ability to locate food. When they grow, their retina reverts to a three-cone system, like in human beings.
  • Fish stop feeding for a little while just after sundown. They need a few minutes to adapt their visual system to the new light.
  • Because the cornea of a trout’s eye sticks out a bit from its head, it’s much more prone to be damaged by careless manipulation or leader tangled around its head.

Rod: Hold on, Mr. Moderator. I’ve just been called irresponsible and limited. Me and several legends in the history of fly fishing, such as Charles Ritz and Marryatt.
Mod: All right. Defend yourself. Briefly, please.
Rod: Charles Ritz spent most of his angling life expounding that technique was 85% while the other 15% was imitation. Marryatt, for many, the greatest fly fisherman in history, used to say, “It isn’t the fly, it’s he who presents it.” And remember. He worked closely with Halford, the epitome of the imitation approach.
Quill: Come on, Rod. Insinuating that you’re to be lumped together with those great names, worthy of all my respect and admiration, is pretentious, to say the least. Your quotes date from a period in which the best imitations, what we would call realistic patterns today, were dressed by the great scholar, Halford. They were crude, floated poorly, hardly used any synthetic materials and didn’t apply a lot of the transcendental scientific criteria that appeared later. With imitations like those, it was logical to think that their presentation was decisive. They had to justify their frequent failures.
Mod: What scientific criteria are you referring to?
Quill: The research on light reflected and transmitted by insects and materials and the important advances in our knowledge of trout vision. One of the weak points of all of Halford’s patterns was the opaqueness of the materials be used: quills, floss, horse hair… Seen from below against the light of the sky, these bodies were inexorably dull and lifeless.
Mod: Do you maintain then that imitation has been gaining in importance in fishing over the years?
Quill: Absolutely. The most realistic imitations of only 10 years ago can’t hold a candle to some of today’s patterns. We’ve got a whole new category today, the clones.
Rod: Your thinking isn’t logical, Quill. Today’s reality isn’t just a shortage of trout. For reasons irrelevant to this debate, a lot of insect species are waning. So lots of the copious hatches we used to know are rare now. Which goes to show that imitation is a lot less important today.

Part 2
…the steak theory

Rodney: Maybe you think those clone patterns of yours are less prone to drag. If you do, you’re completely mistaken. The fish reacts primarily to the presentation and only to a lesser degree to the fly. Let me tell you something else. Only when the presentation is good does it make sense to consider the imitation. And always in that order. I’ll give you an example. It isn’t mine; it’s Nick Lyons’. The name’s bound to be familiar. You get served a nice, thick steak. And just as you’re about to cut off the first morsel, the steak budges a fraction of an inch to the side. I bet the fright it gives you is enough to kill your appetite. At any rate, I’m sure that steak doesn’t look so succulent any more.
Quillan: That’s a pretty funny example, Rod, but I see it differently. If a thick, dark red, rare steak were to suddenly move on my plate, I’d think someone had kicked the table. So I’d gobble it fast in case somebody’s after it. Now, if it was scrawny, tough and overdone, even if it lay there stone still, I sure wouldn’t even taste it.
Moderator: Hey, you guys are making me hungry.
Quill: Obviously for the first steak, the dancing Daisy one.

…the dry fly myth

Flies declining in English chalk streams

Only streams with such highly alkaline waters and such regular flows and temperatures can support such an enormous quantity of insects and rich aquatic life. Nevertheless many mayfly species and species of other orders have been declining in recent years, causing alarm for English chalk streams. One of the more bizarre theories attempting to explain this decline points to the great amount of unused contraceptive pills poured down the drains. They dissolve in the water and affect the reproductive capacity of many female insects.

Mod: One thing is certain, fellows. Halford’s flies haven’t survived the passage of the years. And they caught thousands of extremely selective trout, feeding on duns and spinners on the surface of the crystal-clear waters of the mythical English chalk streams.
Rod: True. But they can’t have caught so many trout when they ended up disappearing. Walt Dette says that a fly pattern that doesn’t catch trout ends up disappearing no matter how pretty or how well-dressed it is.
Quill: Only a tenth of the hundreds of Halford’s patterns ever proved to be really effective.
Many hours on the stream have convinced me that today’s realistic patterns always work much better than a general pattern. When the insect is available to the trout, of course. I also maintain that the only realistic imitations that function as such are underwater patterns. I’ve got a theory about the dry fly.
Mod: Please be so kind as to share it with us.
Quill: Certainly. For some time now, I’ve been convinced that dry fly fishing has never existed as such.
Mod: Do you realize the transcendence of that statement?
Quill: I certainly do. The dry fly, taken as an imitation that floats like a mayfly dun, for example, is a myth. There is no way you can make an artificial float the way a natural fly floats. Try as you may, it’s physically impossible. Because of the weight of the hook, because of the materials (all absorb more or less water) and because it’s tied to a tippet that unbalances it, falls from above and adds extra weight.
Rod: Put that way, it sounds logical.
Quill: All the innovative patterns that have attempted to achieve this floatability have failed throughout history. What I’m saying is a cinch to prove. Take your best dun imitation and gently place on the water in a glass. Observe it for a few seconds. Do the same with an inverted hook pattern, a single-wing (thorax type), a palmer, a funnel dun, a compara dun, whatever you want. See the huge difference between the way they float and the high-floating, subtle, graceful subimago? Once you place them on the water, they all break through the surface tension to some degree. Note the tail filaments. Those of the natural flies barely touch the water. Those of most artificials are grotesque, indecipherable, semi-submerged appendages. And you placed the imitations on the water gently. Now tie them to a tippet and drop them from a certain height. Dismayingly revealing.
Now try it with one of Halford’s classics. I can’t understand how this fellow could think trout took these imitations thinking they were adult ephemeropteras. Those hooks were quite a bit heavier than today’s too. And the materials he used weren’t as hydrophobic as today’s either. In spite of all this, a beautiful, romantic story was born: the dry fly.
Rod: Sadly enough, I think the leader often makes them more stable. It’s funny. I set out the other day to count all the patterns, current and old, that try to imitate a Baetis Rhodani subimago. I soon had no less than 24 different imitations for this fly. And, except for the possible size variations, it’s undoubtedly one of the best defined in color and physiognomy. Nobody uses many of those imitations anymore. It’s certainly makes you think.
Mod: What does it make you think?
Rod: That there are only two possibilities. Either, like my debating opponent says, it’s absolutely impossible to even come close to properly imitating these insects or, as I’ve been saying, the root of the problem lies elsewhere, in what really makes the difference between the success and failure of any fly. At any rate, I thought you defended the imitation concept above all.
Quill: I do, and well above presentation. But referring almost exclusively to today’s realistic patterns.
Rod: Current realistic, underwater patterns.
Quill: Exactly. Although CDC gives you very good floatability—usually the first two drifts, you’ll get very few drifts with the artificial floating like a dun.
Mod: Then, when you tie on a dry fly or what you think is a dry fly, what are you actually tying on?
Quill: An emerger at some floatation level of all the various possible levels. Just that. Definitely not a dry fly as we’ve just defined it, in any case.

Part 3
…about magic wands

Rodney: Aside from this interesting “theory”, as you so aptly call it, I think the pattern-buffs, whether they extol exact imitations or not, are actually trying to compensate deficient casting techniques. The worst is that lots of them aren’t even aware that they’re doing it.
I’ve got another theory.
Moderator: Your turn then.
Rod: I call it the magic wand syndrome. Man constantly strives to find utensils to make life easier and save toil and sweat. Even knowing there are no miracle products for losing weight or lightning-fast systems for learning Russian in 6 months, we’re always willing to try out something new, just in case. No matter what…to avoid suffering and pain. Fly fishing has two magic wands. Rods that cast yards and yards almost by themselves. They make unbelievably delicate presentations, even against a headwind. Then you have the infallible flies that no fish can reject.
Quillan: I hope you aren’t insinuating that I go around selling magic wands.
Rod: In a way, you do. What you defend can be bought. That’s why most all fishermen change the fly before changing the cast or the presentation. And that’s why most angling forums, debates and discussions always focus on this or that pattern. It also explains why there’s a lot more literature about fly tying than any other angling-related topic. Fishermen keep trying to replace practice and training with a new rod or a new pattern. So they keep failing. They refuse to accept that the only magic wands in fly fishing are training, study and hours of effort. And, Quillan, you can’t buy those in a store.
Mod: Mmm, interesting.
Quill: And quite wrong. There’s a lot more skill involved in the option I defend than in yours: knowledge of fly-tying materials, manual dexterity, creativity, imagination, an artistic flare and, particularly, knowledge of entomology. Though I’m sure you consider how you handle the butterfly net more important then recognizing exact species of mayfly under the binocular magnifying glass.
Rod: He who fishes better catches more fish than the guy with the better imitations.

…slight point of encounter

Mod: Don’t you guys believe that, in the ultimate analysis, the guy that makes the best presentation with the best imitation will catch the most fish?
Quill: Yeah, but that hardly ever happens.
Rod: You’re right there.
Mod: Hummmph! Please enlighten us.
Quill: The angling styles of the great majority of fly fishermen are much closer to one option than to the other.
Rod: Almost always closer to imitation. Obsessed with changing flies to solve all their problems.
Quill: More and more anglers are focusing almost exclusively on presentation and stock their fly boxes with only a couple of patterns.
Rod: Yeah, but they’re still a small minority.
Quill: It’s funny but usually the guys that catch the most fish know little about casting. I think I know why.
Mod: Why?
Quill: Because they make the best presentation they know how to make. They get as close as they can to the fish and, with little more than the leader, they drift the fly past the trout’s snout. No technique, no special training. That’s all they do. And once the fish sees the fly, either it looks a lot like what it’s eating or see you later, alligator. And that, Rodney, summarizes everything you’re trying to defend.
Rod: You’re describing a special type of fishing done in certain streams under specific conditions. That kind of fisherman does catch fish in his usual streams but he’s very limited in any kind of river where he can’t get so close.

…dragging isn’t always decisive

Quill: I maintain that a realistic imitation doesn’t need an impeccable presentation; it can even drag a bit.
Rod: Never. The trout, for example, is much more finicky about a poor presentation than about a specific fly pattern. If a trout knows anything, it certainly knows how to tell the difference between something that floats and drifts naturally from something that’s forced.
Quill: What poor presentations do is highlight the deficiencies of a given imitation. Natural insects are continually subject to whimsical eddies and micro currents. They rarely drift in a straight, predictable line.
Rod: True. That’s what makes a proper presentation so difficult. The imitation has to follow the not-so-uniform drift of the natural insect.

…conclusions

Mod: Let’s try to wind up with some last thoughts, OK?
Quill: I’d like to end on this note: the vast difficulty, study and work required to create almost perfect imitations always pays off on the stream. Very few fishermen systematically use this type of fly, but they undoubtedly catch the most fish. Today’s artificial fly, with current knowledge of the art of fly-tying, stands out as much more important than presentation. Never, until very recently, has this been so clear.
Just about anybody knows how to cast and make more or less presentable presentations. But very few can tie patterns that truly imitate natural insects and then use them for fishing. That’s the real source of this controversy.
Mod: Your turn to finish up.
Rod: Fly fishing is about placing a fly on the water without spooking the fish and making it drift naturally. No matter how good your imitation is, it’s always going to be tied to a tippet, which, in turn, is tied to a thicker leader and a much thicker fly line. Between you and the fish, there’s almost always going to be a multitude of currents that are sometimes absolutely indecipherable. You’ll be surrounded by vegetation and obstacles and the wind is rarely going to be your ally. This whole reality interacts with itself and changes with each step you take and each minute that goes by. In the stream, I sincerely prefer to rely on my skill and knowledge more than what I have in my fly box.
Mod: Many thanks to both of you for this interesting debate. Happy fishing until next time.

The Angler and the Loop-Rod

by David Webster 1885 via OpenLibrary

“Loop-Rod and Loop-Line” 

what a nice descriptive. i like that and i like it a lot. it seems just right and somehow more appropriate than our usual ‘fly rod and fly line’ but fear not friends, this isn’t about changing what we call them but about sharing a really cool find.

the angler and the loop rod TLC 2-12-13
filled with a lot of experience and insights, tips and tricks,

angles at which to cast

you’ll also discover funny ways to talk to the fish to get them to take the fly, it’s a great read. click either image for the online book or HERE to download the file in various forms to read offline. enjoy !striking

Put and Take

by Bob Wyatt

nothing like a grumpy ole’ article from a grumpy ole’ man to brighten up a dismal sunday afternoon. enjoy !

With the demise of so many great fishing waters, and increasing pressure on the remaining wild fisheries, the best thing that has come down the pike for fly fisherman is the put and take fishery. Let’s face it, who has the time these days to put in the hours, years for chrissake, necessary to catch sufficient numbers of wild trout to be able to call yourself an angler? Well, nowadays, with these fantastic put and take fisheries, all that lore and experience stuff about flies and hatches and so on is just a bunch of boring old crap preached by boring old farts. No wonder the kids aren’t interested in fishing anymore.

And, even better, the P&T waters are just getting better all he time. No nettles, brambles or mud, all nice green grass and neat wood and concrete jetties to fish from, no need for waders and all the paraphernalia. Your nice expensive Nikes stay as clean as when you stepped out of the car, only feet away from the old fishing hole. And the fish keep getting bigger! We no longer have to work so hard for weenie little sprats like on the so-called wild waters. Now the time put in is worth something, all these fish are whoppers, easy two pounds and up. Some are real hawgs too, over twenty pounds of fighting rainbow swimming around out there in plain sight, with its mouth open. It’s better than Playstation!

No, there’s no two ways about it, ‘wild’ trout fishing just ain’t worth the candle. I have to admit though, catching hawg after hawg can get a bit samey. But I was thinking these same operators could provide something with a bit more edge for all of us who have logged the hours on the trout. You know, just for a change of pace. For a bit more money you could fence an area and stock it with chickens. They’re better eating than trout anyway. You go in there with a golf club or two and pay for a limit of, say, five. You don’t want it too big an area, because you’d never get a good swing at them, and of course you’d have to think about the disabled, maybe have wheelchair access.

Anyway, that would really get the blood running, so to speak, don’t ya think?. Good aerobic exercise, too, for the heart or whatever. There’d be all the same really interesting stuff about tackle and tactics, just like fishing. You know, what action you prefer, swing weight and so forth. No end of fun. And hey, if it caught on, which I’m sure it would, you could graduate to ‘big game’ – have an area stocked with pigs or something. Use a range of hammers. Sporting stuff, say 1.5 pound ballpean for light corner work, and heavy sledges for long range. You could have a weight class competition.

You can imagine the chat around the artificial campfire up at the lodge. “Man, that last one was a real stonker. I was going too light, definitely. Struck too hard and he broke me. I know where he’s hiding though. I’ll sneak up on him at dusk with the post maul.” 
Best yet, who doesn’t prefer BBQ ribs to fish farm trout? If you get a big bag, you could donate the catch to charity, hospitals and old folks homes and such, who are probably getting mighty sick of rainbow trout by now…

i feel better now, thanks for allowing me to share this Bob.

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 !

“I love it when this happens

to others… ”  :mrgreen:

be sure to check out Dave Wiltshire’s great blog River Fly Box for some very nice fly tying and lots of pics of fish that didn’t come off.

past sex

a couple of what where probably happy chironomids encased in amber while doing the do several zillion years ago.
let this be a reminder to be sure to be our best at all times should this sort of thing happen to us,  you never know if someone might reblog your frozen acts in the distant future…

past sex TLC 27-8-13

“I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.”

Britney Spears…

'Britney TLC 26-8-13

Catch and Release D’Ohs and Don’ts…

thimk_hats-r7a9e836a036646808c4e7b8ee26125bd_v9wfy_8byvr_324today’s highly-coveted Thimk cap award goes out to this, what’s after all, a pretty lucky guy.

13 Ways to Peace.

or

13 Habits of Unaccomplished Anglers

by Kirk Werner/Unaccomplished Angler via Deneki Outdoors

it’s not every day we get such awe-inspiring tips on how to have a better day on the water. this is the voice of experience, humility and wisdom at its best.

Count your knots. During the course of a day your leader/tippet will amass a considerable number of “wind knots.” First of all it’s important to note one thing: There are critics who will refer to these as “casting knots” in an attempt to place blame not on the wind, but on the caster. Poppy-cock, I say. When the Unaccomplished Angler goes a-fishin’ the wind will blow. There will result multiple wind knots. Count them. There’ll be more knots than fish. At the end of the day the angler with the most wind knots wins.

Let the fish eat someone else’s fly. The Unaccomplished Angler is the consummate conservationist. By being way too slow—or in many cases premature—on the hook set, they inevitably catch far fewer fish than their compadres. There’s nothing wrong with that as it leaves the fish for the skilled anglers who deserve their just reward. Relax and take comfort in the knowledge that your buddies and the fish appreciate your inabilities.

When in doubt, fish on. Unaccomplished Anglers don’t allow themselves be distracted by things they cannot change, such as but not limited to tailing loops and fouled hooks. As an example, when stripping an articulated streamer through a weed bed, the several inches of vegetation that become affixed to the hook are a good thing. Not only does it serve to increase the profile of the fly, additionally weeds are an important part of a fish’s life. What angler hasn’t observed small baitfish scurrying about the water collecting weeds for their nests? Big fish chase these diminutive weed gatherers because why? Because they want their weed.

there’s ten more gems and all you have to do to study them is click HERE. if you too want to be as Unaccomplished as it gets, be sure to visit Kirk’s site regularly.
UA_header_NEW2011d

“They bite because they’re hungry, and testicles sit nicely in their mouth,”

via The Telegraph

in our severely overpopulated world, this just might be a good, natural solution ?

“Mr Carl said that the discovery of one pacu – which is currently undergoing DNA tests to confirm its identity – should not keep Swedish men out of the water. But if more were found in the area, it could become a serious issue, he suggested.
“This one was the first, but who knows, it’s probably not the last.”

ball-eating Pacu

“And its mouth is not so big, so of course it normally eats nuts, fruit, and small fish, but human testicles are just a natural target. It’s not normal to get your testicles bitten off, of course, but it can happen, especially now in Sweden.”

considering how they usually go ‘in pairs’ (or in this case maybe a threesome), what’s interesting is that these fish home in on the testicles and exclude the penis. ok, swedish waters are darn cold year-round but it shows pretty good selectivity and aiming skills from our toothy friends. be sure to click the pic for the rest of this juicy article.

Fly Pattern Alert !

” Apparently the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes Albopictus) will be invading ponds, lakes, birdbaths & all forms of still water containers along the Eastern US this summer. As a voracious feeder (sucking blood in broad daylight), this fly pattern should be in every longrodders flybox.  Click on the image for more photos including larval shots. “
quote ~ Steve Silvario

gotta hand it to the hard-core fly tiers !
whatever it may be, natural, artificial, dead or alive, it’s either something to tie flies with or an inspiration to tie something different.
in Steve’s example, this relatively new insect to the eastern US is probably getting most people worried and buying bug spray and other nasty shit by the gallons and he’s here thinking about using guinea fowl feathers to imitate the legs of what must be a very long-toothed, snarling flying monster… good man !


mccannclick the pic for more beautiful buggy shots (including a human blood-filled female)

or HERE more Tiger Mosquito info

On waterproof fly boxes:

and of the interesting things said about them on fly fishing forums.

– ” Been thinking about ‘waterproof’ flyboxes. The only real advantage I reckon is that they should float.
Otherwise this waterproofing stuff is just a method on how to ensure that moisture cannot escape the flybox. How to get nice and rusty flies if you don’t open your boxes to dry after getting home… ” *

– ” I know from experience. They have two advantages they can make your hooks rust faster, and you can watch them drift off on the current, rather than see them sink out of site! If you paint them bright orange, so you can see them better, you can see them float away into the extreme distance. 
The worst of all worlds are ones that only float for a short while. They drift off to where you can’t reach them, then sink. There is an inverse square law with the probability of loosing a box being dependent on the cost of the box and the time effort and expense put into filling it.
Not that I’m cynical about it at all ;)  ” *

i’m eager to see if anyone comes up with any solutions that aren’t overly complicated…
fly box leash TLC 26-6-13

* (names where withheld to protect the innocent)

“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…

 

related articles

Gathering

around the knees ! 
or
Heed the Pants !
or
Vision waders don’t hold up with time.
or
Fly Lines Fall at the same rate whether they’re close or far away.

an excellent demo by our beloved friend Mike Heritage. not sure what the problem was with the water pants but it was a welcome distraction from all that distance casting silliness. thanks Mike !

droopy-ass Mike H

related articles

Andreas’ Klinkhammer

by Andreas Lestander

first, a pointless grump. i do not like these flies.
they catch a lot of fish and i really respect Van Klinken for coming up with something that stands out from from the crowd. it is in fact one of the rare, real and unique and different fly designs to come around for many, many years so, hats off to that.
however, my beef(s) is that although i have plenty of them and use them and do catch fish with these things, i really don’t like their visual appeal. to me they look like something that was haphazardly put onto the transporter bay on StarTrek but didn’t come back as it was supposed to when it reached destination. they fuck with my sense of organization.
klinkhammer from below
further more, this fly was initially designed to catch loathsome odiferous grayling. as noted on previous posts here, it takes an ugly fly to catch an ugly fish so in a way, i guess they get what’s coming to them. fair enough.
my second beef is that it’s creator had, has and will probably keep on having: a beard.
no, not one of those full and jolly things like Santa or Charles Manson but some scraggly undefined mess of strands all over the cheeks. this is most untidy and as with people who wear watches, i simply can not trust them, specially when they tie flies to catch grayling. on purpose.
of course, i could go on and on with my lack of fish/sex/and mostly-that-someone-completely-fucked-up-a-custom-rod-build-i-was-supposed-to-have-soon induced rant but you’ve probably had enough as it is so, my friends, here’s a lovely fly tying tutorial of this notorious fly by my Swedish friend Andreas. there’s a lot of fine tips and tricks to pick up here. enjoy !

cool underwater pic via tinaflies.com

“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

related articles

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Heraclitus

im_falling_into_that_whiskey_river

although that might sound philosophically correct, it’s not entirely true and goes to show this guy wasn’t a fly fisher.
apart from one or two, most ff’ers don’t just sit there staring at walls trying to think of the next clever thing to say. among other goodies we literally immerse ourselves in a deceivingly peaceful yet hostile element while pretending it might as well be bath water with non-slip rubber thingies at the bottom of the tub. “unity of opposites” doesn’t apply to us because we have to deal with slimy stones and “the path up and down are one and the same”  for sure didn’t come out of the mouth of someone who has bad joints and had to go from a floundering situation to an upright one on those same slimy stones all the while trying to avoid breaking his Evil Black stick..

anyhow, yesterday afternoon while concentrating hard on not blanking again i managed to not only step in the same water but also fall in it in the exact same place and manner* as i did a few months back. not having a camera crew or a gopro to be able to show the World every single thing i do in life…, i’m sure you’ll take my word for it.

for the  philosophers out there, it looked a little like this.

* this particular method was named “the slow collapse” by it’s creator and ‘He who turned it into an art form’, my very dear friend Mark Surtees.

“Going fishing without being able to Spey Cast is like making love with your clothes on – you will achieve only half the pleasure”.

~ Mike Daunt

4561656075_525x233
and if he goes about it the same way he casts there’s bound to be a few knots involved as well… 😆

related articles

Monsieur Hulot goes Fly Fishing.

J Tati 1ok, it isn’t really Jaques Tati but Luke Bannister. (excuse me, sometimes i forget to put my glasses on)

Luke makes lovely-lovely split cane rods and here he’s fishing one of his ‘SuperFast 7′ 4wt  in a lovely-lovely place, somewhere in the northern UK. there’s beautiful rivers and streams all over the World but for some reason, these Highland landscapes with their exuberantly beautiful golden brown trout hold a special place for me.
watching how that rod reacts throughout the cast makes it look like a very special taper and design and one i know my casting hand would love to have a special relationship with. ’nuff said for now, i’ll be wiping tears and other stuff and let you watch this lovely-lovely short film.

if you’re not familiar with Jaques Tati’s famous persona Monsieur Hulot, here’s a few tid-bits pulled from his outstandingly funny and quite surreal film ‘Mon Oncle‘ from 1958. enjoy !

related articles

“If a polar bear can do it I sure as hell can’t see why you couldn’t”

ffs, that’s better casting than what i’ve seen a lot of people do and the goofy beasts don’t have thumbs or even hands for that matter…

‘Somebody left this behind…

another lovely drawing from Takashi Kuwahara that brings a thought:

when returning a captured fish we give it the chance to grow, reproduce and then we all get to capture it and it’s offspring again and continue the cycle.
when we loose a fly to a tree we’re giving another angler the opportunity to try it out and hopefully find success with our dearly departed, continuing the fly’s life cycle…

'somebody left this behind

the Cobra Effect

 

“The cobra effect occurs when an attempted solution to a problem actually makes the problem worse. This is an instance of unintended consequence(s). 5headed cobra

The term cobra effect stems from an anecdote set at the time of British rule of colonial India. The British government was concerned about the number of venomous cobra snakes in Delhi. The government therefore offered a bounty for every dead cobra. Initially this was a successful strategy as large numbers of snakes were killed for the reward. Eventually, however, enterprising persons began to breed cobras for the income. When the government became aware of this, the reward program was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the worthless snakes free. As a result, the wild cobra population further increased. The apparent solution for the problem made the situation even worse.
A similar incident occurred in Hanoi, Vietnam, under French colonial rule. The colonial regime created a bounty program that paid a reward for each rat killed. To obtain the bounty, people would provide the severed rat tail. Colonial officials, however, began noticing rats in Hanoi with no tails. The Vietnamese rat catchers would capture rats, lop off their tails, and then release them back into the sewers so that they could procreate and produce more rats, thereby increasing the rat catchers’ revenue.”

well, at first this might seem like it might put a damper on things here at TLC (specially in the fly casting ‘debunking myths’ section) but au contraire ! i’ll just have to strive to find and learn more and better info and find ways to convey new concepts in contemporary fly casting to a slightly greater public. it’s the Year of the Snake, time to start rattling some tails !

3013 cobra gif

 

quoted text and images via Wikipedia, gif found on Tumblr

How to start a fire with pee-pee.

we’d recently seen Cell phone Emergency Calls- How to get through and to continue with this new series of vital Outdoor Skills for the Fly Angler today’s featured video shows us how to make fire without the usual gadgets

far more important than base uses such as keeping warm, preparing pasta, chasing away zombies or using it to signal your presence when lost, fire,

the second most important element to the fly angler (after water) is there for us to stare at and conjure up images of enormous leaping trout (or insert your favorite fish here) and keep the dream alive when we’re not actually fishing. one of the most important aspects in survival situations is to keep the hope and as such, these joyful images we all long for and dream about wil keep us going and going and going when the going gets rough !the title may at first seem a little contradictory and we’ll notice that lady fire-starters will have to show a bit of ingenuity for this to work but it works, it’s fun, messy and will for sure bring up an enormous “Ah-Ha ! I did it !!!” afterglow when achieved, all the elements that make for a great day on the water. enjoy !

The Price of Poor Casting

Death…
and a well deserved one as well.dead caster

i mean, just look at how he’s holding the rod. what a creep !

“One could identify a number of plausible reasons to relish in Matthew’s demise: his perfectly combed hair (even in the foxholes), his smirk that wavers between knowingness and idiocy, his decision to pursue the deflowered Mary when the late Sybil was so much nicer and better looking.

We just didn’t think that Matthew would slap the rod down on the water like he was engaged in a joyless bit of sadomasochism with a switch and Lady Mary.  Does he lack a proper casting stroke because of his more modest upbringing?”

for more of this lovely, casting analysis by Chris Santella via Angling Trade click the pic.
enjoy !

something different.

ok, here’s a first for the Cobra. something that apart from being listened to on the way to the water has nothing at all to do with fly fishing: a six+ hour mix of progressive tekno. see, i’m going out to the river today and some unexpected chores have popped up, i’m not about to give up the first part but it also means i won’t have the time to write this most explosive rant i’m preparing on very poor online fly casting instruction.
anyhow, i hope you’ll enjoy this and if you’re into bluegrass i hope you won’t hate me. (rest assured, i’ll probably never do this again* so it’s safe to come back ! :mrgreen:)

* (that of course means i just jinxed myself for eternity so, i guess you can expect more progressive in one form or another somewhere in the future… 😆 )

Takashi Kuwahara

nothing i could say could do justice to these wonderful drawings so i’ll stick to one word: enjoy !

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Takashi obviously knows a thing or two about fly casting. respect.

Takashi fly castingfor more of his gorgeous work click HERE

The Trout Fly Dresser’s Cabinet of Devices

or How to Tie Flies for Trout and Grayling Fishing by H.G. McClelland  “Athenian” (yes, Athenian) 1898%22Athenian%22

some say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, i completely disagree.
i’ve been doing this all my life and to be honest, i seriously doubt that i’ve abandoned a book in mid-read more times than i have fingers on either hand (five) and two of those have been the miserably boring Moby Dick. (i wanted to be sure it wasn’t just a momentary ‘not in the right frame of mind’ thing).
anyhow, if today’s fly fishing literary blast from the past doesn’t entice by it’s understated mysteriousness and greenness then i don’t know what does…
book cover

quirky author names and greenness aside, (and  quite a few great ideas and suggestions on fly dressing that may or may not have held up through time), what brought me and undoubtedly you too to this page is ‘Athenian’s’ Machiavellian decision to use “Cabinet of Devises” in the title. that’s twisted but it’s a good twisted that did the trick.
a very fine read indeed filled with goodies such as advocating the use of peacock quill, how it “shows a well defined rib of color” but also how the young author met his untimely demise “just when the doors of manhood where opening to him… “

click either image to access this complete ebook gem on openlibrary.org
enjoy !
%22cabinet of devices%22

Sunday’s Cake

Fly Tyin’ with Uncle Ken – The Fatty Longtail via Fly Fish Food

sundays are just another day in the week but with a different name: nothing special.
rituals and sickly-sweet treats however, (as long as there’s cake, chocolate and coffee involved) are something to be performed on a daily basis: and that’s special.
considering that today is sunday and no longer saturday and not yet monday, and that i’ve promised to share some fantabulous new tying videos a treat is in order so here goes !

PA Roya Gurgle Fuck lightshift19

today’s tasty molasses-filled exotic-materials stuffed cake come straight to us from the land of Corn between your teeth. bon appétit  !

Fishbrain-waves and Shinola

Shinola |SHīˈnōlə|noun trademark
 a brand of boot polish.
• informally used as a euphemism for “shit”: there’ll be the same old Shinola on television.
PHRASES
“not know shit from Shinola” vulgar slang used to indicate that someone is ignorant or innocent.

from a strict scientific point of view, i have absolutely no idea what these images might mean… but ! an overwhelmingly strong gut feeling tells me that apart from a very few and feeble electrical impulses bouncing around incoherently there isn’t a heck of a lot going on there and this is a good thing for us fly fishers !

yes, we can safely continue casting out our ‘anything-goes’, messy blobs of fluff, feathers and fur that look like nothing at all with the supreme confidence they’ll work majestically because our slimy-innocent friends most probably (well, i’m positive) can’t tell the difference between (figuratively speaking) shit and Shinola

videos via Barry Ord Clarke’s TheFeatherBender. enjoy !

“This fly has guts”

the Gutbomb Bloodworm, a chironomid larva pattern by Curtis Fry at Fly Fish Food

a lot of high quality tying step-by-steps and videos have been coming out in the recent weeks and to start off a selection of the best, today’s little gem certainly has the required qualities we’d expect from a midge larvae: the curvy shape, size, slim profile and what maybe most tiers neglect and to me what really makes or breaks the effectiveness of these imitations: translucency, meaning that not only we and the fish can see what’s inside the bug but that light is seen coming through the bug by the fish looking up at it through the water column on their squigly-wiggly way to the surface.

“In my way of thinking, the chironomid larva is the hotdog of the stillwater trout world. Plump, juicy, full of tasty goodness and they’re all over the place.”

gutbomb bloodworm flyfishfood

personally, i can’t get excited about hotdogs but i like his point. it’s a well known fact that fish love them and that’s more than enough reason to have a nice selection of these ‘dogs in the box !

as a bonus, during the video we’ll notice an interesting comment about fish having “x-ray and UV eyes and they “shoot UV rays out”. now, i’m not about to go into commenting on that… 😆 except for it added a special touch to what is already a great tying tutorial and fly.
i hope you’ll enjoy this as much as i did.

be sure to check other great videos and articles at Fly Fish Food while you’re there. good stuff indeed.

American Trout-Stream Insects: A guide to angling flies and other aquatic insects alluring to trout

by Louis Rhead  1916 am. trout-stream insects 1
 it’s hard to tell how much humor was originally intended by the author but here’s an amusing 177 page blast from the past with all sorts of goodies such as:
Trout flies in April- When insects first appear
Why it is best to copy nature
Shiny Devils and
Artificial frogs that wiggle their legs and float

amer. trout-stream insects 2

once past the silly giggles we’ll notice that Rhead was quite the modern and even avant-garde angler, completely understanding the successful fly fisher will not solely fish with surface flies but also larval and nymphal imitations and that typical ‘trout-insects’ aren’t the only food item our slimy friends like to eat.
he also didn’t have any qualms criticizing his peers when need be and thought that sticking needles into insects wasn’t the best way to study a living creature.

a really nice informative and entertaining read, click either image to access the complete e-book on internetarchive.org.
enjoy !

Fly Casting- Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the S.R.B.

here’s a reprint of an article i wrote last year for Eat, Sleep, Fish ‘s issue no. 3 on fly casting.
i hope you’ll enjoy and even more benefit from these words. i also wish to thank Jim Williams once again for the opportunity of sharing these thoughts to a wider audience on this great ezine.


POETRY, GRACE, FLUIDITY AND THE S.R.B.

BY MARC FAUVET

In my absence, having trekked off to colder climbs to run a dog race, I asked Marc Fauvet to come to my rescue with this month’s casting article… suffice to say the man has delivered – and how! … Not with the normal ABC of a fly cast but some physiology… Thanks ~ Jim Williams

As fly fishers we’re always going on about this or that piece of kit, the best rod, line, reel or whatever new goodie and how they’re going to increase our fishing performance, but you’ll notice that the most important element is always left out: The Caster
Ok I’ll agree, it would indeed be a little strange to go to a pub and start telling your mates all about your wrists, biceps, thighs and heaven forbid, butt cheeks… but if we step away from that silly image a bit and consider that fly casting is about putting a fly rod in motion while applying forces to it through body movement, we’ll realize that not much good can happen if we don’t move the rod correctly and as far as we are concerned ‘correctly’ is directly related to the all important smoothness that makes or breaks fly casting.
Poetry, grace and fluidity are often used to describe fly casting but I’m sure that if you take the time to look at other anglers while they’re casting you might think twice before using those lovely words to describe what they’re doing.
So, what might be the number one cause to this less than gracefulness? My observations and experience says it’s tension. Body tension. Tension that was in the system before the cast even began.
Tension has many forms. Life and work stress, competing with your friends for the biggest fish, the excitement of finally getting away for the trip that took so much hard work and saving to get to. You name it, there can be a multitude of reasons and it’s quite certain that they’ll combine at one point or another but the one I want to focus on today is the tension related to stance and more specifically, stiffness through improper stance. By stance I don’t mean it in the usual casting terminology of right foot or left foot forward or both feet square to the intended casting direction but rather the dictionary’s definition: ‘The way a person stands, especially when deliberately adopted’ or alternatively, posture.
Let’s see what stiffness does and how a few simple suggestions can greatly reduce these negative effects.
Stiff bodies just don’t move well. We will one part to go in one direction, and another wants to pull it back.
Stiffness constrains. Being constrained yields complete opposite results than those lovely three words we cherish so much. Stiffness also promotes pain, fatigue and hinders recovery.
The idea is if we relax some of our muscle groups instead of tightening them up, we’re more fluid, comfortable and in better control of all our movements.
We’ll be able to disperse the work force and use more muscle groups instead of just a few. We’ll let the bigger muscle groups do most of the work and use the smaller ones to refine those movements. We’ll bend, twist and straighten better, all the while being smoother and more precise in the way we move our whole body.
This leads to not only performing better but this also reduces the possibility of cramping up and injuries from over-exertion and repetitive motions, ailments that are not exclusive to but are quite common amongst those of us who aren’t so young anymore or who have some impairment such as back problems or arthritis.
Now for the good part. It’s easy and we can all do it. It’s not very high tech but it has worked to great effect on just about every student I’ve suggested it to,
It’s called the S.R.B. (State of Relaxed Butt) so let’s start relaxing those cheeks !

Ok, hopefully you’ll have stopped giggling by now so we may resume !
The SRB thing is quite simply combining a slight flexion of the knees and relaxing the butt muscles or Gluteus Maximus, our biggest muscle group who’s main function is to help hold our torsos erect. This last information should give a clue to its importance for our purpose and why this area is the core of this method. Of course we want to stay upright but we want to do this without ‘pushing’ up. Because of their size and role, we tend to gather a lot of tension in this muscle group through unconscious pushing-up resulting in spine and leg stiffness. Take that tension away and we become swaying, dancing springs. Springs ready to smoothly and precisely jump into action!
Another aspect of this relaxed position is that it also leaves our bodies in a ‘ready’ position. Ready to move and ready to react, something once again, a stiff body has a hard time doing.
A slight flexion of the knees helps maintain the torso in a more upright position further increasing our stability and flexibility, not only in vertical and back and forth movements but also in torsion as when looking at our back cast when casting between branches, going for distance or when doing Spey casts.
If we take the examples of skiing, golf and tennis, sports whose flexion movements are often assimilated with fly casting, we’ll note that none of these are performed with locked knees or backs. If they did they’d either fall over or break a bone or two !
Luckily enough, as fly fishers the negative results of being stiff won’t be so extreme but I was just trying to emphasize how these two relaxation movements are very common and that assimilating them to our technique is just, well… common sense.
All of those sports include swinging and swaying, balance, power application, precision, maintaining control and a constant realignment of the body, all the things an effecient fly caster does.
Doing these two things loosens up the whole spinal column and legs and it really helps most people stay consistent with all the aspects of their casting whether it be accuracy, special line layouts or distance. As a side bonus, this leads to greater comfort, tends to relax the shoulders, neck and somehow the mind as well. If you feel a certain tensing-up while you’re out practicing your casts or fishing, take a little break, do some stretching and conscious controlled breathing and you’ll be good to go in peak condition in minutes.
Get up and try these two simple things right now, there’s no need for a fly rod. First, stand straight as a pole and pantomime the casting motions, try to turn around and watch you back cast, then try all this in the relaxed form. I’m sure you’ll feel the difference and just might have a ‘wow’ moment. Be sure to take this with you next time you’re out fishing and remember to relax !
To finalize this introduction to the S.R.B. method here is a very Zen-like “Be one with the rod” type quote from Jim Williams that describes this all perfectly:
“Perhaps we bend and move as the rod does, become flexible as it becomes flexible…
we don’t cast with a broomstick so don’t be like one !”

 

an ugly fly for an ugly fish

if ever there was a friggin’ ugly and stupid looking fish, this is it.
uglylipsgrayling

grayling  (Thymallus thymallus):  their flaccid, distorted, insecure ‘Angelina‘ lips and biology class dead frog expressions are the disgrace of the animal world.
often referred to as “The Lady of the Streams” by what must be myopic, sexually repressed, football or hockey-on-tv-watching anglers, we’ll note that this expression is a horrible insult to women of all kinds.  i’d gladly sucker-punch the ******** who came up with the term and greatly incourage you to do the same next time you hear those despicable words.

these things often live in pods where there can be hundreds of them scrounging around meaninglessly right around your feet. once found, the hardest challenge for the angler is to avoid stepping on them while wading. once hooked, they fight like they look: like a flip-flopping one-legged sheep with butt cancer and to make things worse…  just like vampires, a lot of these creepy things don’t even show up on film leaving the impression that the whole thing was just a bad dream  !

no grayling

anyhow, a lot of us live in areas where trout fishing is closed during their reproductive season and we’re left to resort to  this soggy species if we want to fish in rivers so, as pitiful as these creatures may be they still need to eat and to trick them we’ll often need to resort to ‘flie’s that match their looks, personalities and lack of  taste.
along the same lines as a Happy-Meal placed in front of a pimply kid, this strange, unnatural and otherwise all-around offensive ‘discodildo on a hook’ wakes up these stupid fish’s appetites and gets them to open their disgusting mouths long enough to set the hook.
this fly-thing is very heavy and it’s not really safe to cast. it’s lobbed Euro-Nymphing style through fast and deep pools and holes and we dredge the bottom where these horrid fish hide in shame waiting for something ugly to be swept downstream into their gross mouths.
the line/leader  is tight and takes are usually lacking in subtlety so all we have to do is lift the rod and slide the slimy thing to the net, slip out the ‘fly’ and let it go back where it belongs. job done, next.

disco-dildo (a grayling fly)

made with-
no love whatsoever but a deep sense of desperation mingled with an overwhelming urge to offend any dry-fly purist i might meet on the water.

hook– Partridge “pre-leaded for ugly fish, grub style” #12.
flatten out the round body with pliers so it doesn’t look like a jumbo hotdog when finished.
be sure to sharpen the points as they’re pre-dulled at the factory.
under thread – anything white and cheap, it’s just to make a nice smooth discodildo shape that will be covered by:
abdomen‘ –  Glitter Thread chose the color to match your own tastes, these fish are too dumb to see the difference
head–  Demmon Hot Spot Thread in orange. they’re attracted to orange and considering there’s no orange food available to them naturally, this makes perfect sense.

i’m always fond of saying that “any fish is a good fish”, except for grayling…

Fish Portraits – the Anglerfish “a rainbow of… Ugly”

as part of  the “Let’s get to know our slimy friends a little better” series here’s quite an interesting character, the Anglerfish.
master of deceit, this despicable creature has more than one trick up it’s sleeves, meaning that it most probably has a bigger brain than most other fishes. cool.

lesson learned ? never trust someone uglier than yourself…

Blooper-Loops

from buddy Roger Håkansson

far from being knee-slapping funny like watching drunks make fools of themselves or seeing puppies falling off of cliffs, this is as far as i know the first Fly Casting Bloopers video and as such i hope you’ll enjoy this historical moment !
on a practical side, fault analysis (specially other people’s faults… ) are an important aspect in understanding how casting works and learning how to not make faults so, apart from “D’Ohing !”, the avid caster can always try to figure out what went wrong.
happy day folks, i’m off to (hopefully) tease some fish !

thoughts on the CCS system, combo feelings, The World of Death (things?), the soul, kicking loops, witchcraft

and a whole bunch of other things in this most insightful bit from my guitar thrashing/flyline flinging/yellowfish aficionado and buddy, Zoran Marinkovic.
the man’s got a point. what it is i’m not sure… enjoy ! :mrgreen:

“All that technical measurements and judgments represent only 49% of rod performances .

The rest of 51% belongs to out-comings  from achieved bond between Caster (suppose to be live thing ) and rod (suppose to be not exactly  alive) .

Once the rod wake up from The World of Death (things?)   , loops become alive as well , getting on the stage of system energy exchange  . 
And Hop -Miracle – all  these separate things become combo , exchanging the energy on  the same frequency levels .   

In the best case scenario, very good caster and very well matched rod for him -become ONE thing ,producing alive , kicking loops .

Now tell me is now that combo alive or dead thing ???

More ,does The Caster has right if he says  :”This rod has a soul , fuck the CCS’s and mesurements “

So, I think rod has a soul ,which  is pretending to be  dead before interaction with Caster , and before it becomes one nice and  alive  part of the combo .
With the soul . 

Such a Rod soul cannot be measured , the other part of combo  have to FEEL it – like a combo feeling  :???: 

One day , when scientists find a way to measure the feel and the soul, you will say: ” Fuck,  Zoran was damn right , he said that 345 years ago  !  :p  “:laugh: 

But , it was not me , people said that 10.000 years a go , that everything has a soul, but it seems we forgot on  it …. …just a little bit .  ;) 

Marry Christmas and Happy New Year , the life has a beautiful soul ! 

disclaimer :
btw, I am not African Sangoma or Serbian  Witcher neither (as you might think reading this  fairytail story for Good Night”)   :closedeyes:  , but bloody M. Sc. in Chemical Engineering by education .

In total  49% of stupid Eng. and 51% of vintage and  rebel and  still curious Soul  :laugh:  :cool: “

don’t drink and swim !

just a little reminder my friends, be sure to have a designated swimmer if you’re out holiday festing and plan to be fuzzy-feathered.
swann-champagne

Grassing the Salmon !

here’s a little light-hearted, big bellied and strangely Pythonish spey casting tutorial by “Spey Casting is like making love to a difficult woman”  Mike Daunt* that’ll hopefully relieve a bit of this festive stress.
it’s really not worth going into what might or might not be valid or useful spey casting instruction, so, let’s just take it for what it is, a funny, tacky, bank-side 4 min 44 sec acid trip. sort of…enjoy !

* yes he really said that… 😆

Great News !!!

shitty reel sounds
just think, until now you’ve been annoying the shit out of everyone with your Rihanna, Depeche Mode, Elton John, Star Wars, Salsa and who knows what other horrid cell phone ring tones wherever you go but now, thanks to our Deutsch Freundens at FlyOnly you’ll be able to up the game and bring this incivility to a new level !
as a bonus, you’ll have the supreme pleasure in noticing the looks of extreme curiosity mixed with fear and anger when strangers will hear rusty-ratchet sounds coming out of your pant’s front pocket.

click the pic to access to download these clickety-clackety fly reel ringtone sounds in MP3 or directly for iPhone. enjoy ! :mrgreen:

 

Rubbing it Raw.

as a continuation of the mini series: Rod Builders (And why they’re so Dorky), this one’s about line friction and 70’s style porn-flick music.

as far as fly casting goes, line friction through the rod guides is both a bad and a good thing.
bad, because it simply has to slow down our thick and heavy fly lines (compared to monofilament) while fast casting and shooting line.
good, because and in the case of shooting line for the delivery cast, if the caster doesn’t have perfect control of rod and line, the rod leg of the loop (the part of the line between the rod tip and loop face) will often develop slack in the form of waves and this leads to poor turnover and results in what can be considered “a long range Pile cast”. at best.
what we see in the video is that a full ceramic ring lets the line slide optimally and creates virtually no line friction wear. in an ideal world all our rod rings would be fully equipped from tip to butt with similar rings, specially when we consider our thick and heavy fly lines and how we would benefit from this a lot more than the spinning rod/lure types, BUT ! even though line glide and line wear might be orgasmic, the added weight of these rings makes for a rod that feels like crap to cast and a likely increase of rod rebound which makes even more waves in the rod leg. until someone develops rings that will have a combined effect of the ceramics and the lightness of our standard fly rod rings we’ll be stuck with the latter. yet another case of ‘deal with it’…

anyway, we’ll note that in the video the mono is slid back and forth at an angle that would never be used in a fishing situation and as such, i believe it better to appreciate it’s all-around surreal aspect and of let yourself  be inspired by the music… enjoy !

Wanted: Pigeon Fly

Catfish_pigeon

“In Southwestern France, a group of fish have learned how to kill birds. As the River Tarn winds through the city of Albi, it contains a small gravel island where pigeons gather to clean and bathe. And patrolling the island are European catfish—1 to 1.5 metres long, and the largest freshwater fish on the continent. These particular catfish have taken to lunging out of the water, grabbing a pigeon, and then wriggling back into the water to swallow their prey.”

i’m thinking a disgusting dirty grey full neck hackle wound around a block of foam with a zip-tie will do the trick and i’m packin’. Albi is about an hour away…

big thanks to Agitated-Acey for the tip-off !

the Royal Wulff: an interesting paradox

in fly selection, once we take away the fish-enticing elements and practical issues aspects we’re left with what’s to me at least, the most important.
the fly’s aesthetic appeal and the confidence that goes with it: two very combined elements. if i feel ‘inspired’ by a certain fly i’ll not only enjoy fishing it more but will believe with a much higher degree of (semi) certainty that this is the one that will fool the fish.
now, to define exactly how that aesthetic appeal happens is about as intangible as trying to explain why i prefer to do it from behind or why chocolate tastes so good. it’s simplistic to say but simply put, it feels good and that’s about it.

anyway… today’s paradox has to do with the Royal Wulff. it’s a mega-classic fly all over the world, has caught tons and tons of fish and will continue to do so. legions of fly fishers swear by it and will probably have several at all times in their box. it’s the kind of fly that can bring far-away gazes, images of epic catches and produce buckets full of drool.
well, i happen to think it’s butt-ugly, is as devoid of mojo as it gets and i wouldn’t want to touch one with a stick.
seriously, for the life of me i can’t think of another fly that has the same effect. it’s almost as bad as if i where told that to continue fishing i would have to fish with worms.
experience has taught me that ‘never say never’ is a pretty good saying but as with the worm, i’d prefer to put the tackle away and take photos or just sit there and watch the water than to tie on that fly, let alone present it to some lovely fish.
now, Jeff Kennedy recently put up the image below on facebook stating that it was only half way done and several of us quickly suggested that he should stop right there. (“It’s PERFECT ! STOP !!!”)  and here i am with what i think is the nicest painting of a fly ever, and the big and blown-up subject is none other than the dreaded Royal Wulff…

DF&F52_48

who knows, maybe i just exorcized the Royal Wulff within me and may get to like it some day. not.