hookless fly-fishing

here’s a little something different from Lee Spencer, way different.

i can relate to Lee’s story as i used to live right next to a wee stream in the french Pyrenees that apart from making lovely gurgling noises, had a very healthy population of gorgeous native brown trout. they weren’t of course, but these where ‘my’ trout if you see what i mean. i’d go look at them every day to see how they where doing, dream off into that dream place that being streamside takes one and of course learned a lot about how they lived, behaved and interacted socially, some of them even had names.

by wee i mean that at this level the stream was often no more than one metre wide. being completely wild and untouched by man and with lush vegetation abound, the stream itself was more often than not a green tunnel with a flow. once the obstacles of actually getting an imitation into their feeding spots where figured out, this being a Bow and Arrow cast nine.nine times out of ten because that was the only possible solution, getting these beauties to take a fly was relatively simple, they didn’t know anything about fishing pressure and in their world things that look like food generally are food but hooking up quickly became a problem, something the Bow and Arrow cast only tactic might have alluded to; there was no room to move the rod up, across or down to fight and land the fish. at this point i was already getting into the ‘it’s more about the strike than the fight and land‘ frame of mind so, the idea of cutting off the whole hook bend of a completed fly came to mind and was perfect for this particular situation.
i got my strike thrill, the little fishies i loved so much never really knew what was going on and remained where they’re supposed to be and i could do all this without breaking any more rod tips…

of course, i’m not expecting a lot of other anglers to go fishing without hooks but it’s a little something to think about. like mentioned earlier, it’s different, enjoy !


“Back in 1998 Lee Spencer did two things that changed his relationship with the big steelhead of the North Umpqua River.
He agreed to become the first full-time FishWatch guardian of the Big Bend Pool on Steamboat Creek, where as many as 400 large steelhead spend the summer in startlingly plain sight after swimming up the North Umpqua to spawn.
And he started cutting the points off the hooks on his flies… “

actually, just the points:

pointless-fly
“Everybody thought I was crazy, To me the whole peak of everything is the strike or the boil. Everything after that is downhill. Especially if you have to wait a long time to land the fish.
When you get a fish on, you get a run and a jump and at the jump it will throw the hook. That was satisfying enough for me.”

-click the image for the complete article on Deseret News-

Stewards Of The River Or Pillagers ?

reproduced in full with Mac Brown‘s kind permission, here’s a rant but it’s a good thought-provoking rant.

aimed at certain professionals in the fly fishing industry and other, as Mac calls them, profiteers, it’s about fishery welfare in the warmer months where water temps are simply too high and oxygen depraved to responsibly fish species such as salmonids that are poorly equipped to deal with the situation in it’s natural state and even less when they’ve had to also deal with having been caught.

now, most experienced anglers will know that once the water temps reach 68°F/20°C its time to back off but that’s not always the case. for local fishers who live in warmer climes and care to know, it’s a given but what about the well-intentioned novice or not-so-well-informed fishers or, traveling anglers ?
as an example, when i lived in Sweden the concept was completely unheard of as water temps tend to always stay cool enough even when air temps can be quite -actually downright- hot, and i’m guessing the same example can be equally valid for anglers in other parts of the world and all that leads us to the ‘Stewardship‘ part which is everyone’s responsibility. in my opinion it’s not just about setting professionals and profiteers right (actually, shaming sounds better… ), but also of sharing this information with those who don’t know. experience has taught me that if we take a minute, explain things simply with a good positive attitude, nine times out of the ten the message gets through and it’s readily accepted and everyone’s happy, specially the fish.

thanks again, Mac. keepem’ coming.


This short piece is my attempt to increase awareness about problems facing many of our trout waters, in my region as well as many around the globe. In our hemisphere, high summer water temperatures stress the local trout fisheries, and should be a sign to concerned anglers that it is time to leave the stream for another day.

Independent guides and fly shops who book trips should be ardent advocates for keeping streams healthy. But often they’re not. Conflicts arise because the summer tourist season occurs when most of our trout streams become stressed. July and August for trout fishing in Western NC is the off season! When the early morning water temps approach 70 F, it is best to look for something else.

Warm water fishing for smallmouth bass, perch, bluegill, is a better choice. Carp is one of my favorite species to target during summer.

Shops and outfitters who tell you different are profiteers, not stewards of the resource. They look at the short-term, since even they know that trout caught in 70+ F water have a very dicey chance of survival.

These profiteers actually hurt the resources they claim to love and protect! This becomes an ethical decision for those customers that are hell bent on trying to catch a mountain trout during the wrong season!

If you want to trout fish in July or August for vacation then head to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, or Colorado! Fly fishing has more appeal in recent years, and now vacationers throw it into the mix of rafting, horseback riding, zip-lining, mountain biking, hiking, and many other great activities the Smoky Mountains area offers. The difference with angling when it is too warm is that in no way can it be good for fish or angler!

Shops and profiteer guides should be offering clients a change of species during the hot summer months. Guides can teach learning to read water, casting, rigging, stream-side techniques, and a host of other aspects of the sport.

This might provide opportunities like targeting Chub for learning nymphing techniques through the middle of the day. Chub provide plenty of subtle strikes just like trout! Here is a trophy from a few days ago on one of my favorite streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with my 10-year-old son.

Excessive fishing pressure is an increasing problem on many delayed harvest trout streams, due mostly to the increasing number of new fly fishers as well as an excess of fishing guides and outfitters. There is a big difference between how much room to leave fellow anglers on a Delayed Harvest stream versus a wild stream. The wild stream requires perhaps a mile or more out of sight. On the Delayed Harvest stream that may be only a 30 feet. Delayed harvest waters receive many numbers of trout that tend to stay together when they are first stocked.

Often, local guides work when and where they can, through shops or other outfitters. Part of the issue is that these guides’ experience levels are all over the place. In my region, The Smoky Mountains, there are too many fishing guides. An Ozark term my grandfather used to say is “the market is glutted.” Many shops and outfitters just look for bodies to fill slots on their books, regardless of experience and knowledge of the area. In my area, guide prices range from $80 to well over $500 for the same trip on the same water.

The difference of what you come away with learning and also catching is quite obvious if you really do your homework first. In fly fishing especially, you get what you pay for.

Most area tourists would hope the local shop will give them credible information. And this is typically true in the Western states for the hundreds of reputable shops.

But, in my opinion, the Southeast is a circus show, with the exception of a few quality shops. People pay hard-earned money for a quality trip. The older I get, the more twisted our sport seems to be growing.

And it’s happening all over the globe. Social media — like advertising on Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram — can enable anyone to compete for clients in their region or create a website or blog by paying SEO experts for internet exposure! I am sure you have all heard that if it is on the internet “it must be true”!

The important question folks should be asking is can the instructor teach casting and line control to provide a drag-free float? Can they teach techniques that will stay with you for a lifetime of enjoyment fly fishing? Will your trip have guides that are enablers to improve your overall skill set on the stream? Will it be a mundane afternoon of bobber lobbing with hearing only the words “mend it, mend it again, mend it” rather than adjusting to the rigging and tactic appropriate for the moment?

Another important question –, regardless of skill, teaching ability, qualifications, certifications, does it even matter to the client? Is it only about who is the cheapest price overall? So this Disney approach to the sport is something that will take me a while to get my head around since I have pushed hard for very high quality trips for close to thirty years now.

It seems to me that down the road this has to “Make America Dumb Again” in regards to tourism fly fishing mayhem.

Mac Brown

the Circle

this 51cm – 20″ beauty from a northern England limestone creek was a special fish, a two fisher fish.

i had spotted it holding in its shallow lie and covered it several times with several generic mayfly imitations but it wasn’t in the least bit interested so after a while i insisted that it was buddy Mark Legget‘s turn to temp it.

several “no, you spotted it, its yours” and “yeah, but it doesn’t like me and i really want you to catch it”s later, he not-really reluctantly gave in and positioned himself while i spotted from up on the bank and two perfect drifts later hooked up. after a good fight from both parties i landed it for Mark and we where able to briefly admire it from close up.

memory’s poor, i’ve always had a hard time remembering numbers, but i believe it was around 1,6kg – 3 1/2 lbs. that’s no record by any means but its really an awesome fish for such a small stream but a lot more than that, this was the nicest catch in ages.

Mark was of course happy but something deep inside tells me that i was a lot happier, reminding me of my youth and Hugo my godmother’s husband who was a ‘second father’ for me of sorts who so frequently brought me along on his fishing trips and who was always ecstatic when i’d manage to bring a fish to the net, no matter its size.

we’re of about the same age and Mark and i of course don’t have the mentor/parental or whatever else connection i had with Hugo but this fish left a similar feeling; of having shared and completed a scenario with its wished-for outcome as a team making it a much greater sum than its parts. the circle is complete.

the beauty of not fishing

or rather, those moments when we’re not actually fishing; concentrating hard on a good presentation, drift, bug detection/fly selection, animation, current seam, rise or sometimes simply the annoying fly that’s caught in a branch because we got too excited by something fishy and forgot to take our bearings before reacting to that fishy thing.

in other words, the break where we put the fishy stuff temporarely aside and get to fully take in our surroundings.

these breaks are a welcome and in my opinion, necessary interlude to the play of the day. eyes, mind and body relax and that relaxed state helps to remind us that there’s so much more to what we do than just try to catch fish.

winterfield m.fauvet-TLC 20-2-16_edit

this image of an impending storm behind the stream isn’t anything special, in fact it was taken with my iPhone (which is quite an amazingly good camera for a phone) but landscape photography greatly benefits from higher lens resolution and tone separation: the little phone tries hard but can’t do the scene justice.

it’s a far cry from one of the grandiose images of wild places taken from renowned and respected photographers with fancy-ass equipment but it still managed to capture the mildly-dramatic moment and i still like it because it’s yet another example of how important it is to focus-shift regularly and take a break.

Hey Ho, Let’s Go ! – Skunking down with Gink & Gasoline

its not like i’m attracted to this type of music but this song came to mind when i was trying to come up with the name for the new and long overdue ‘shoutout’ section here on TLC. over the years i’ve been honoured by quite a few of these shoutouts by some really cool blogs so the not very liked song title comes up after-all as a high energy reminder to get my stuff in gear… and as an invitation for you to Hey Ho, Go ! visit some of these awesome blogs.

first up and one of my all time faves, Gink & Gasoline: this one’s hotter than a hot-rod.
always on the move, whether it’s off somewhere cool fishing or finding great ways to share thoughts on our activity, today’s gem by Louis Cahill stands out from the crowd. no glim, no glamour but a real sense of honesty, despair, steelhead fishing and humour and it’s about our great friend, Le Skunk.

Skunk-G&G Hey Ho, Let's Go!

“The cost of this mania, as anyone who has ever done it knows, is the ever present risk of getting skunked. It’s always right there with you. It’s on the plane next to you. It’s in the boat. It’s low-holing you in every run. It snuggles up next to you in the bed, its awkward boner pressed against your backside. It’s in you dreams. Dreams where suave Disneyesque skunks bring you heart-shaped boxes of goose eggs. From the minute you pick up the long rod with two feet of cork, the skunk is riding shotgun.”

want more ? click on Pepe and Go ! 

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!”

Fly Fishing and Fly Casting- a Zen Approach

this kind of stuff is very close to my heart. its part of the intangibles that not only go into fly casting, fly fishing and to a much lesser extent fly tying but also manage to reach out to just about every other aspect in life. in a way, its what smoothes yet connects everything all together while making it all work better. call it a mind-frame, attitude, hippy shit or whatever you’d like but after all, its our mind that controls our acts when we know how to control our minds.

just one of the goodies you’ll find on Christopher Rownes’ great site The Perfect Loop, this great piece by Guy Turck of Turck’s Tarantula fame offers another perpective to some of my own writing- How to loose your flies in trees and Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the S.R.B. and other articles in the Body and Mind section of the Fly Casting page here on TLC.

i hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from this. in my opinion, there’s a lot more to learn and gain from these words than any fishing or casting manual. its one i come back to regularly when i start to go astray…

” How do you make virtually any beginning or intermediate fly fisher improve immediately? And without a single casting tip or hint on tactics. You may be surprised to learn that it doesn’t require any physical changes whatsoever, yet has the potential to dramatically improve your skills. Whether it be getting your fly to the target more often, achieving a better drift, or hooking more fish the secret, in a word, is focus. And the lack thereof is responsible for more missed opportunities than any other single factor in fly fishing. We now tend to use modern colloquialisms for what singularly used to be referred to as concentration. I like the word focus because it most accurately evokes a feeling for the state of consciousness I am referring to. It seems to me that the modern conception of concentration implies a willful act (that of concentrating) on a singular point of interest while “being focused” refers to a similar state of being, but in a perhaps broader sense. But that’s just my interpretation of modern day language. Whether you prefer the word concentration or focus, it matters not. For the purposes of this column they are one in the same and will be used interchangeably throughout. I’m in the zone, Man, I’m in the zone! Focus is sometimes called “being in the zone.” “The zone” is a state of consciousness characterized by your total awareness converging on the task at hand. That task may require the assimilation of stimuli from a number of various sources (for example, knowing where all four of your teammates are on the basketball court at the same time) or it may require you to concentrate on a single point of interest when you determine it is in your best interests (for example, the front rim during a foul shot). You may well vacillate between a singular interest and a broader awareness. At the same time irrelevant stimuli (such as the screaming crowd) are filtered out. Whatever you do, it is imperative that said task be the most important thing in the world to you at the time.

Focus does not involve thinking and cannot be forced. You can only allow it to happen. In other words, if you are concentrating on concentrating, you are not concentrating at all. To put it all in plain english, too many fly fishers are simply not paying attention to what they are doing! Their thoughts are on the last fish they missed, the stock market, the last fish their friend missed, the bond market, a fish they hooked and lost ten years ago, whatever. Their mind is everywhere but in the present, the here and now. As a guide I am often regaled with someone’s “greatest day ever” fishing story while the storyteller is missing copious opportunities and perhaps an even greater day because of their constant chatter and corresponding lack of focus. I once had a client spend over half an hour on a yarn about a bowl of soup he once enjoyed. I’m not making this up. In the meantime he was missing fish after fish yet complaining he hadn’t gotten a big one yet. Sure enough, a well-endowed cutthroat finally gobbled his fly and … well, I really don’t need to tell you what happened next, do I? Other than what immediately followed was total silence (as I choked back the urge to scream).
Concentration and/or focus is a form of meditation where all but the task at hand is allowed to fall away. Responsibilities and worries are temporarily forgotten. The passage of time goes unnoticed. I often have clients who can’t believe how quickly the day is passing. I view this as a good sign. They are, at the very least, absorbed in the act of fly fishing which, to me, indicates a desire to learn, a very good starting point.

zen and stuff ftlow m.fauvet:tlc 26-1-15

Chill out and take a deep breath.


Over the years I have found that proper breathing is of great benefit in helping one achieve the proper focus whether it be on the stream, the golf course, or on the sharp end of the rope as the leader on a rock climb. Focus requires a relaxed (but not limp) body, in conjunction with an alert mind. As tension insidiously creeps into the body one has the tendency to hold one’s breath.
If time permits, three slow deliberate deep breaths will melt away the tension. It also helps tremendously to exhale just before performing an athletic act, such as casting a fly rod. As the last bit of air leaves the lungs, make your move.
This critical moment is when the body is most at rest and tension free. Another technique I can relate helps me focus on my target while casting, which translates into more accuracy. If you’ve ever been a baseball or softball pitcher, this will come naturally.
Pick out a target, and keep your eye on it until your fly arrives there (please read this sentence again).
If you do not allow your focus to waver from your target, it is truly amazing how the mind will make the muscles hit the mark with pinpoint precision. With good casting technique and practice you will eventually develop a feel for nailing your target simply by focusing on it. Think of it as willing your fly to the spot.
I’m reminded of a story I heard long ago which illustrates the importance and depth of concentration required for achieving pinpoint accuracy. The two best archers in the village were to test their skills against one another by attempting to hit a fish which had been hung on a somewhat distant tree. When the first archer was asked what he saw, he replied he saw a fish hanging from a tree. When the second, and ultimately victorious, archer was asked what he saw, he replied, “I see the eye of a fish.”The moral of the story for the focused angler is that when choosing a target, choose the exact location where you want your fly to land.
Don’t merely cast to a pool where you know a fish lies, cast to a one inch square within that pool. Focus on that one inch square. Be precise in your aim so that your cast can be precise as well, Capitalizing On Your Opportunities.
I don’t know how many times we’ll finish a day on a river and feel that while it was a slow day overall, had we capitalized on the opportunities we were presented, it would have turned out pretty well. This is because it is difficult to maintain focus on slow days when strikes might be separated by thirty minutes or so. But over an eight hour day, that’s sixteen strikes. Land half those fish and it’s not a half bad day. Air traffic controllers know this. They don’t work eight hours straight because it’s impossible to maintain the degree of vigilance necessary to perform their jobs at the level required. While lives are not on the line when fly fishing, there is still a lesson to be learned. Focus is difficult to maintain for long periods at a time. When fishing is slow and your attention is wavering there are two things I like to do to help keep my mind in the ball game. The first involves visualization. After a long period of inactivity most anglers will miss that first strike when it finally comes. To help prevent this from occurring, try visualizing a fish rolling up to eat your fly as it drifts along unmolested. This keeps your mind alert and your muscles in a state of readiness so they will react faster when the take eventually does come. It may sound obvious, but another good idea is to develop the habit of always paying attention to your fly when it is on the water. I have a rule for myself in this regard. Never leave a fly in the water unattended. If I want to look at the scenery, or take a drink of water, or perhaps watch my fishing partner, I take my fly out of the water. Why do that when I might actually get lucky by leaving my fly on the water? You know the old adage, you can’t catch a fish without your fly on the water. The reason is this … I want to develop the mind set that when my fly is on the water I am going to be paying attention to it at all times. It has to do with habits. I readily admit that I don’t always follow this rule, but I try to. Perhaps you’re skeptical at this point. The notion that concentration alone will make you the next Lee Wulff overnight might be stretching it a bit. You’re right, It won’t. But you will improve. With practice and good fundamental casting technique, you will get successively closer and closer to your target, ultimately willing your fly to the spot. By paying attention to surface currents you will get better drifts because you will instinctively know when to mend. And by not letting the mind wander you will hook more fish because your mind is alert. Putting it all together will still take time and practice, but your improvement can begin immediately, if you let it happen. “

 

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.

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)

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 !

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 

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.

behind.

go on, say that it’s about living in a world where we want everything and everything happening at the same time and i’m just a sucker like almost everyone else but, fly fishing, at least when we’re fishing is mostly about looking down.
sure, we’ll look around for casting obstacles and such and check our back cast (you better !) but most of the time is spent staring into the water, tracking our flies, looking for natural bugs or baitfish and trying to not fall in by sliding on round-slimy rocks and logs and shit.

on the other hand, if we had something like this:

behind-the-head-vision (and a built-in super-duper telescope) we could enjoy observing the whole Universe while doing the things we love and still catch a few fish.
maybe one day…

The Swift Manifesto, or HOW TO FLY FISH AND NOT MAKE US ALL LOOK BAD

from Carl McNeil – Swift Performance Fly Fishing

rather harsh ? nope, spot on.

  • Stop holding that rod butt in your teeth – you look like an idiot.
  • Fly fishing is not an extreme sport – if you somehow think it is, you need to get a life or get out more (probably both)
  • Welded loops are for little kids – learn to tie a nail knot. (Ok, they can be handy in the salt)
  • Loose that ‘grin n grip’ – Holding your fish out at the camera is just a projection of your extremely small penis. The ‘grin n grip’ while holding the rod in your teeth clearly states “Idiot with Small Penis”
  • Pictures of fish in the water are extremely  cool.
  • Nothing will make you look like more of a doofus than being all gear and no cast. Work on your fly casting – it will do more for your fly fishing than anything else you could do.
  • Stop being a tight arse and buy some decent gear – start at the pointy end and work back.
  • A stiff rod will not make you a better caster.
  • An expensive rod will not make you a better caster.
  • My fly line will not make you a better caster.
  • A lesson will make you a better caster.
  • My fly casting DVD’s will make you a better caster.
  • Practice will make you a better caster.
  • A Gin and Tonic will make you feel like you are a better caster.
  • Fast and stiff describe two different things – learn ‘em.
  • Understand what a standard weight forward line is and that it is ABSOLUTELY USELESS for casting distance.
  • “Todays modern fast action rods” Do not need a line that is half a line weight heavier in order to load the rod.
  • The correct advertising blurb for “weight and a half lines” should be “Buy this line, it will make you seem like a better caster than you actually are”
    OR
    “Buy this line, it will make our ridiculously stiff fly rod actually bend”
  • The secret to fly casting is knowing how to bend the fly rod correctly. Honestly
  • Be aware that weight and a half lines are for little kids. You’re a big kid and are being fed marketing crap – you’re better than that.
  • “Designed in (insert country here)” – means made in China.
  • If we all put as much effort into actually looking after the places we fish that we put into talking about our sport,  the world would be in much better shape. Please, don’t just be a talker – Have some balls, be a doer.

post note-
i’m not quite sure how the ladies that do “The ‘grin n grip’ while holding the rod in your teeth” will deal with the small penis bit but i guess they’ll just have to work that out for themselves and find a proper equivalent…

The View From Coal Creek

-Reflections on Fly Rods, Canyons and Bamboo-

what a nice treat and just in time for the holidays ! one of my all time favorite fly fishing writers, Erin Block the woman behind the awesome Mysteries Internal blog has just finished what i’m more than certain will be by judging her wonderful writing, a milestone in fly fishing literature.
if you’re not familiar with Erin’s world, click the link above and you’ll see what i mean. magical…

“The View from Coal Creek is a reflection on fly rods, fishing, and life seen from the vantage of a canyon in Colorado, but these are props in a larger story about life, love, and tradition. Erin Block is a young, powerful voice carrying the torch and passing on lessons, values, and history of this great, literary and vibrant sport.”

 the view from coal cree- erin block

available in just a few weeks, click the pic to pre-order yours from Whitefish Press at a special price as soon as possible as i’m sure they’ll go fast.

as extreme examples:

” on the stream where i lived i repeatedly observed wild brown trout not only being put down but altogether disappearing for four days because i discreetly threw 5 or 6 wood grubs in the pool for them to eat.

and then walking through a school of grayling, catching several, walking through the school again and still catching the dumb things from the other side…

perch:awereness scale quote

however astute the observer there are no conclusions or rules in attempting to understand animals but it’s all fun and informative if one keeps an open mind all the while remembering that there are no absolutes. it is however good to keep everything in an easily accessible folder in the back of the mind and add it all to our bag of tricks because they sometimes make a difference. interesting paradox…
anyhow, thinking about fish makes a nice distraction from thinking about sex although combining the two makes for a better experience. “

source

Purist

WoW… from yesterday’s post on The River Keeper

” It must be nice, discovering such a handy niche.. a decision has been made, evolution stop.. comfort, I would love to try your way, seems highly effective but unfortunately I am a purist. Purist, possibly an early Galic term for fear, anxiety, lack of self confidence. A tool that explains away failure, lack of achievment or simply the desire to no longer evolve.. what a tool, a word like a mother with a lazy child, enabler.. “

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