Salmon ears, Sound and vibration in water, Fish Communication and Noisy noises

and a whole bunch of other really cool/interesting/thought-provoking/andjustplaingoodreading fishy-science facts from MCX Fisher via buddy Pete Tyjas’ always great Eat Sleep Fish ezine.

even if the only image in the article appears to be a cod,

codsalmon

based on Atlantic salmon research, MCX goes a stretch further on explaining and going into great detail (and be sure to follow the adjoing links !*) on, eh, there’s no way i can add any more info on this subject so here’s a few excerpts:

“The underwater sound environment is entirely different to that in which we live in air. Accordingly, when thinking about the underwater world we have to dump our experience and preconceptions. Simply, salmon don’t ‘hear’ like us, because they don’t have ears”

“The key features of sound in water are that it:

– Is about 800 times more intense than in air, because the water is incompressible and therefore a much more efficient transmitter. In addition the surface layer reflects sound back into the water.

-Travels far further than in air: relatively minor events are detectable at ranges measured in kilometres, but the level of background noise is relatively very high because it is drawn from a much wider area.

-Goes about 4.4 times faster.

-Is influenced by the composition of the water.”

So much, so interesting, but what is its relevance to the angler?

If certain frequencies can stimulate a salmon to attack oceanic prey, can we exploit this in fresh water? In thinking about this it helps to grasp what 300 Hz sounds like in air : for comparison Middle C is 261 Hz. It is certainly much higher than the dull thrum of commonplace line vibration in fast water, which is in the range 10-30 Hz.”

and lastly,

“The moment you step into a pool the salmon’s formidable sensors will detect your activity, even if you have felt soles and a light step. However, they don’t know it’s you or what you’re doing, because in evolutionary terms humans haven’t been angling long enough to achieve any genetic impact on salmon. Unlike the calls of whales, seals and other fish, salmon anglers’ noises aren’t in the salmon signal library. Certainly they wouldn’t be able to connect the crunch of your studs on the gravel and the clink of your wading staff on the rocks with the drama of being caught, except perhaps if they’d been caught shortly before by another heavy-footed fisherman.”

but there’s a gazillion more fascinating things to read on this noisy subject and to do so simply click the cod ! enjoy !


* and one of those happens to be a really geeky but eversocool Beeps, Chirps and Noise channel on youtube where i found this little brown noise treat ! (yeah, that’s sounds a little idon’tknowwhat but don’t be afraid, you won’t have to go clean up after listening to it… )

“Brown noise is noise with a power spectral density inversely proportional to the frequency squared. It decreases in power by 6 dB per octave or 20 dB per decade. The sound of brown noise mimics a waterfall or heavy rainfall.”

Eat Sleep Fish’s Happy Birthday Dun !

ESF 4th b-day

48 issues and 4 years old today !

that’s really big and a wonderful example of perseverence and passion resulting in a simple, good-natured, non-advertising, no glits and glam, always great to read fly fishing ezine.

in a way, Eat Sleep Fish has the feel of your local newspaper but with contributors from around the world and that’s why i like it so much. it’s a combined effort of peers just like you and me and not the same-old hotshots over and over again.

saying how much i enjoy reading a magazine without having adverts shoved down my throat might sound like i’m ranting about most other ezines (all?) but birthday’s aren’t about ranting, they’re about yummy celebrations and what’s better than chocolate cake ? well, nothing. or rather, chocolate cake with a big scoop of chocolate ice-cream on top ! but neither Pete Tyjas who runs ESF nor i can slip you a slice via the web so let’s just slurp down Warren McCarty’s non-fatteneing #20 Olive Dun instead but first you’ll need to tie some up and here’s how to do it.

take special note of steps 10 & 11. i’d never seen this method before and its really special.

click either pic to access the birthday issue and HERE for an archive of all previous issues. enjoy !


#20 Olive Dun Step by Step by Warren McCarthy

“A smaller than average dry fly this month and one which takes inspiration from the dedicated ‘small fly’ websites. Although a size 20 is hardly small compared with the miniscule flies some tie it certainly is as small as I need to go for almost all my fishing. I love all the materials used in this pattern, the natural materials and colours produce a fly which to me, looks and feels right both in and out of the water.

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I have been tying duns with quill bodies and long split tails for a while, my patterns having the popular CDC wing with a hackle. But once I started to drop out of my comfort zone into a #20 and even smaller I started to use a thorax/hackle that I had come across whilst reading Andy Baird’s excellent ‘small fly funk’ website. Andy used a mole fur thorax with his hackle in his ‘generic olive’, which when I tried looked great. By doing away with the wing the tie was simplified. Less materials equalled less turns of thread and therefore less bulk, essential in smaller flies.

The extented tail is without doubt a trigger point, much has been written on the subject and I for one have been converted to the silhouette this type of pattern creates.

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Material choice is especially important to me with with this pattern.

The hook is always down to personal preference but to me the Partridge hook is a ‘proper’ size 20. I also go a bit smaller with the Tiemco 103bl #21. But I have to confess to using the Flytying Boutique dry fly light hook (which is essentially the same as the Tiemco but cheaper) more and more these days.

Although a #20 is by no means miniscule, the size still creates problems with the tricky tail and making sure there is no excessive thread build up throughout the tie. The excellent veevus thread has great strength for its diameter which certainly helps.

Yes I am afraid it’s another fly with a Polish quill body, but I’m quite honestly struggling to find anything that looks as good in this sort of ‘natural’ pattern.

I find most capes have a fair few tiny hackles at the base which are fine for a #20. Finally, not much to be said about the mole fur except don’t overdo it.

Materials

Hook – Partridge SLD #20 or Flytying Boutique Dry Fly Light #20

Thread – Veevus 16/0 AO5 Olive

Tail – Tan Microfibbets

Body – Polish Quill Yellow

Thorax – Mole Fur

Hackle – Cock Cape – Brown

Tying

1. Vice up your hook and catch in the thread.

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2. Carefully wind down the shank with touching turns until in line with the point.

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3. Now carefully separate two microfibbets and lay together so as the tips align and then lay on the shank leaving the tail at least twice the length of the hook shank. Carefully catch in the microfibbets with your thread and wind down until just short of the bend. Make sure the microfibbets remain on top of the shank.

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4. Follow the same procedure to split the tails as described in detail in my June ESF article ‘Olive Variant’

With the waste trimmed and covered the thread should be left just short of the eye.

5. Wind the thread back down to the bend where the microfibbets split. Select a quill and carefully catch in, then wind your thread back up covering the waste quill finish three quarters of the way up the shank and trim off waste quill.

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6. Now using your hackle pliers carefully wind your quill up the shank to form the body, tie off three quarters of the way up the shank leaving enough space for your hackle.I now use a couple of whip finishes to hold the body in place for varnishing. DO NOT cut the thread.

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7. The quill, as always, needs varnish to offer protection and to bring out the colours. For such a small body I use a sewing needle to apply a very fine coat of ‘Hard As Nails’.

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8. While the varnish is drying select a small hackle. Take a bit of time and care: the individual fibres should be, if possible, no longer than the length of the body.

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9. Catch in the hackle with the stem towards the bend, give a couple of turns of thread then trim off waste. Continue to wind the thread up to the body covering the waste and tidying up.

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Catch in.

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Trim waste and tidy up.

10. Wind on three or four turns of hackle snug against the body catch in with one or two turns of thread.

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11. Now dub on a tiny amount of mole fur (I apply a tiny amount of wax). Carefully wind the dubbed thread in between the hackle fibres leave thread at eye ensuring and spare dubbing is removed.

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Lightly dub.

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Wind the remaining hackle back through the previous wound hackle/mole dubbing foundation towards the hook eye.

12. Push back hackle and whip finish.

Trim thread and apply varnish with a sewing needle.

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13. I like to give the hackle a haircut and trim off underneath to ensure the fly sits well in the water.

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The finished fly

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Look out for these:

Take time to ensure the tail microfibbets sit on top of the shank and split with a nice wide ‘v shape’.

Although easier said than done with a small body, try to ensure the quill body still has the definition showing the black edges.

As mentioned before do not overdo the mole fur dubbing.

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Summary

To me the most important part of the fly is the long split tail; it helps the fly sit well in the water and definitely acts as a trigger point as mentioned before. Although not a ‘classic’ technique I like running the dubbed thread through the hackle, it splays the fibres out giving an uneven finish. And when trimmed underneath the hackle takes on a ‘hedgehog’ effect.

Although I have made reference to the small fly websites, this fly is by no means the ‘work of art’ type patterns seen on these sites. Their creations go down to staggering #28, #30 and even smaller. The thread I use and no doubt the tying technique would be over the top for these tiny masterpieces.

However it is still fun to tie and more importantly, fish with, whilst being a step in the right direction of even smaller creations. After tying a few, a #16 seems enormous.

Now where did I leave the box of #26 !!!!”

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 !

Fly Casting- How to loose your flies in trees.

last month i had the honour of being invited to write a little piece for Eat Sleep Fish‘s third year anniversary.
here’s the article in its entirety. enjoy !


Catching trees and not fish is every fly angler’s dream

Let’s check out a few ways on how to do this and up your game.

'snagged' M.Fauvet:TLC 11-14

– One of the best ways to snag everything thats snaggable around us is to be completely oblivious of our surroundings.
Get to the water, jump in and start presenting your fly immediately. See a fish or a rise ? Forget everything else and cast to it instantly ! Somewhere deep inside us we know that fly casting takes roughly the same amount of space behind as it does in front but who cares ?! There’s a fish that needs tending to right away and we can’t be bothered with all that ‘theoretical‘ stuff at the moment. Follow those simple rules and you’ll be one of the best snaggers there is, loose a maximum amount of flies, turn a few hairs grey(er) and gain the highest respect among your fellow snaggers.

– Stage Two:  Snag Mastery
Through experience most probably acquired from the realisation that more trees have been caught than fish, we’ve also noticed that there are yes, trees and bushes but also a whole host of other snaggables such as barbed-wire fences, shores, fellow snaggers, rocks, the guy at the oars and more than a few cows and/or sheep. This has to be a conspiracy, they’re everywhere !
Even if we don’t want to publicly acknowledge it, Stage One left us some empty fly boxes and long-term bitter memories but we’re still intent on snagging everything that can be snagged so to get even better at this we start by staring at the snaggable with the idea that some magic will occur and the fly will just travel through or around the snaggable and the end result a less than fifty per cent chance of finally presenting the fly to a fish (at best). Non productive wishful thinking at its best !

Ok, I can hear you snickering and I completely agree: Enough with the reversed psychology silliness ! But, lets see why those two tips aren’t so silly after all once we’ve reversed them.

– Stage One is quite obvious but let’s think about why this phenomenon occurs.
Most of our senses, with vision being the most important for our fly fishing needs, are geared towards what’s in front of us. It’s just the way we’re made. Of course we all know this but its something that’s very easy to forget. Add the ‘buck fever’ effect, the senseless panic that can happen when seeing say, a rising or tailing fish to the equation and even that forward vision gets blurry and greatly reduced and its all downhill from there but luckily, solutions are easy and just need a little work.

– Firstly, practice your casts (and I do hope you do this at least somewhat regularly) by watching your back cast because we can’t know what’s going on there if we don’t look. As a first result of this observation, what inevitably happens is there’s a much greater overall control of the line. All the little details that aren’t details at all start getting better.
The timing of the Pause which tells us when to start the reversal stroke and helps preserve Line Tension and, Stroke Length and Rod Tip Trajectory which will give us better loops, specially tighter loops that are really necessary when aiming the cast in between obstacles. Add in working on efficient Power Application and there you have The Five Essentials of fly casting that lead to great line control and accurate placement of the fly.

A great way to do this exercise that I highly recommend is to cast across the body from left to right / right to left instead of front to back / back to front. Not only does this allow us to easily see the whole cast even with a very short line but maybe more importantly, this enables us do all this without any special neck twisting or back breaking contortions and wait ! There’s yet another bonus to this drill: You’ll also be practicing an essential cast that’s a real necessity when casting in tight places such as under trees and bushes: Side casts that keep the line low and to the side through those lovely tunnels we’ll so often find in small stream fishing.

This time I’m hearing mumbling but don’t fret ! All I’m suggesting is to learn to look at the back cast and be comfortable with turning back now and again to be sure everything’s spot on. We all know that watching the back cast isn’t what we typically want to be doing when we’re actually fishing but what we’ve learned throughout the practice sessions will follow us to the stream. Call it muscle memory, conditioned reflexes, magic or whatever you want but its real and its there to help us when we need it most but most definitely won’t be there if we don’t practise it. It’s just the way fly casting works.

One more thing before moving on to Stage Two. As noted above, we don’t always have the possibility to look behind at each back cast but a very simple tip that we can always do and seems to work for everyone is to look where the back cast will go before starting the casting cycle. We seem to have a sort of short-term spacial recognition memory within us and this looking back before keeps us out of a lot of trouble and that all sorta fits in with Stage Two.

– To be honest, this is the trickier one but it can be controlled and needs a bit of practice as well but its a mind-thing, not a casting one but one we’ll want to work on after the casting part is down pat. Here’s why.

Simply put, we’re conditioned to throw things at objects which we look at. As I often point out at courses, “if I want to throw a bowling ball at your nose I’m not gonna look at your feet”…
The more we concentrate on an object before and while we throw a projectile at it, the more chances we have of reaching our target. Apart from the inevitable casting motions, this is in my opinion the real key to consistent fly placement accuracy. Give it that ‘death stare’ and it goes straight to the target, but ! As far as the snaggables go we want to do the exact and very unnatural opposite which means being completely aware of the snaggable(s) without actually looking at it/them or we end up with what happened in the photo at the top of the page.
How do we do this ?  Easy. Given the above, look elsewhere !  (couldn’t help it.. ) But more seriously, just as with the ‘death stare’ accuracy tip above we simply need to learn to shift our focus away from the branch, to that empty space between those two sheep and most definitely away from the guy with the oars or the pole if you want to get home in one piece or to a lesser extent, not loose flies. Luckily, we’ll often have some other object behind and out of casting range to aim at. A leaf on a tree, another far away sheep or a blade of grass on the bank or a cloud or whatever. Give those things your ‘death stare’ and your line will go there and you’ll miss the obstacle. The biggest challenge happens when there’s absolutely nothing to aim at such as a blank sky or a snow covered bank but it still works well if we concentrate really hard on that ‘nothing’.

Lastly, I’d like to point out that flies left in trees obviously don’t catch fish but can catch, wound and/or kill a whole host of other animals like birds, small mammals, bats, monkeys and whatever else that climb or fly through trees and waterside vegetation and let’s not forget other anglers and people that like to enjoy the waterways as much as we do. Much more than the flies themselves or the gutting shame that occurs when I snag obstacles, its this last point that makes me want to be extra careful.

Marc Fauvet

Post Note- The image at the top wasn’t staged for this article and was a direct result of Stage Two. There was absolutely no other obstacle anywhere within casting range except this dead stupid stump and for some reason, I stared at it just long enough to catch it from 18 or so metres away on my back cast. Yes, this indeed happens inevitably a few times in the year and its almost always because I let my concentration slip. No-one’s perfect, specially not me…

 

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for a variety of fly casting related articles click HERE

FREE AND NOT FOR PROFIT

via today’s just-pressed logo

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good fishing! “

Pete Tyjas


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