Doubters Strike Back at Grip and Kill Article

Trout dying to get a good photo?

My Grip and Kill (GAK) article received a huge amount of support from the fishing community. Links to the article reached many hundreds and is still growing. Many out-takes from the article were, and are still, being published by a large number of sites, big and small. The article has been published, (by permission), in a great many fishing club newsletters, etc.

The GAK page blew my site bandwidth cap out the window, and if it was not for a friend in the business mirroring the page, I would have had to shut the site down for a while. Even today, the page receives over 200 – 250 unique visits, every day.

But of course, being on the Internet, GAK attracted a significant group of nay-sayers and doubters.

So I have written answers to the more rational doubts and this is in the side-bar of the original article.

Streamer Fishing for Trout – 5 Techniques

From Deneki Outdoors a good run-down on five streamer fishing techniques that target bigger fish. A really worthwhile read.

“… However, we’ve found that most anglers fish streamer patterns using only one technique before giving up on the streamer and reaching back for the nymphs. Every day, every river, and every run is different, and successful anglers know that changing up retrieves is key in fooling more trout. Here are 5 ways to fish a streamer more effectively…”

Full story Here

Simple to Make Fly Holder for Fly-tying batch tasks.


OK this is not about to be earth shattering, but I was looking for a fly holder that would hold flies securely, so I could “batch” process tasks i.e. adding UV cure resin, or head cement.

So I grabbed an old fly-line spool, joined the two halves together, put a blob of 5 minute epoxy regularly spaced around the outside edge, and added line-testers. Just one thing, make sure the  clip of the line tester is parallel to the edge of the spool.

Jobs done. ‘

Now I can hold the spool in one hand and do what I have to do to finish off the flies. It is also good for taking outside on a sunny day to get a really good UV resin cure.

Why Does No-one Bow to a Trout Anymore?

I recently noticed I was losing more hooked fish by way of broken leaders or hooks pulling out. Why? I checked the leader material I used and found no problem. Still tough as old boots and broke just over the line weight. No answers there.

Maybe it had something to do with today’s ultra fast-action rods? Rods I mostly used over the last ten years.

I think I am on to something. Here is why.

Nymphing: Get Even More Hook-ups

Hatch Magazine has a nice little article on allowing the nymph to swing at the end of a drift before picking it up for a re-cast. It is a tactic I have used for many years and have had great success with it.

“…The beginner nymph fisherman dutifully focuses on drag, drifting the fly through the water as long as he or she can prevent drag from setting in by mending the line, following the fly with the rod tip and so on. Once that battle is lost, and the fly starts to drag, most anglers will immediately lift the rod and recast. Instead, try this: once drag sets in, let the fly continue to drift downstream while stopping the line, allowing it to come tight. The nymph will swing around…”

Really worthwhile read.

Last second thought: Using nymphs with soft hackles (flymphs) or rubber legs  makes this technique even more successful.

Securely handling trout without causing stress or damage

An article I did on ‘Grip and Kill’. how not to hold a fish for photographs went mini viral. Got me thinking that one thing I left out of that piece was how to hold a fish by the tail securely but without damage to the fish.

Well there is already a fantastic article on my site by Tony Entwistle that explains just how to get a good grip on a fish’s tail. It is important because a good tail grip means the pectoral area does not have to be held in a vice like grip.

And here it is:

 Securely handling trout without causing stress or damage

One of New Zealand’s best known guides, Tony Entwhistle, writing in the New Zealand Fish & Game Magazine, has one of the best descriptions I have read on the proper handling of a trout.

Securely handling a trout without causing stress or damage is a matter of a gentle touch, not a tight grip.

To pacify a landed trout, simply place a hand vertically in front of its nose to prevent it  from swimming  forward and fold the palm to cover both eyes. This acts as a mask and immediately calms it down. Trout relax quickly when their eyes are covered.

Next grasp the fish’s tail with the other hand, without excessive force. Some anglers use a piece of stocking for grip, but with good technique this isn’t necessary. Securing a trout needs only gentle pressure between the thumb and forefinger, applied directly over the base of the tail, applied where it joins the body (hypural joint).

Apply pressure top and bottom through the first joints of the forefinger and thumb, rather than along the sides. The mistake is grasping the tail too far forward and using too much hand in doing so. Squeezing hard does not help as the fish slips more easily.

Now test the grip by lifting the fish slightly by the tail, keeping the other hand over the eyes for the moment. If the grip is secure the trout will not slip, but if it does resist grabbing at it with both hands. By quickly slipping a hand in front of the nose, and covering the eyes again, a lot more fish will be saved from premature release.

With a positive grip on the tail it is now possible to begin lifting the trout safely for a photograph or release.

Avoid squeezing the fish around the soft belly area behind the pectoral fins because this causes discomfort and can potentially cause serious damage to internal organs. Instead slide the free hand under the pectoral fins, orientating the hand so that the trout’s head rests along the index finger, with the pectoral fins spread out between thumb and little finger.

The trout will be nicely balanced and the soft tissue in the belly area will no be supporting any weight. Lifting the trout this way, and returning it to the water between photographs minimizes any distress which could reignite its struggles. Turn the fish belly up when removing the hook.

Handle trout gently and with respect and they won’t panic or stress, ensuring their revival for release without damage and a minimum of fuss.”

© Reproduced by permission – ‘New Zealand Fish and Game Magazine’

Understanding line weight.


This short but very clear video explains why it’s ok to up-line or down-line your rod depending on the distance you’re fishing. Use the rating on the rod as a guideline and find the line that suits YOU.

I was especially surprised by how little weight difference there is between fly-lines – how about the weight of a business card for one line type/weight.

How to Correct 5 Common Casting Mistakes

Orvis have a nice video up on correcting the five most common fly-rod casting mistakes. Very quick and clear explanation of the problem and equally quick and clear demonstration of the solution.

My recurring casting ‘sin’ is tailing loops. The fix is clear and simple – now all I have to do is remember to do it!

Highly recommended.

Blast from the past night fishing article, Updated

The New Zealand Fishing Website have just published an article of mine that appeared way back in 1997 in the New Zealand Fisherman magazine on fishing for trout at night.

The article was actually the first article in four about night fishing in lakes and rivers.

I updated all four articles in my book Fishing Smarter for Trout, which you can read for free on my site.

Since the book was published I have continued to update the articles as I learn more about night fishing – and like all fishing there is always something new too learn.

The correct way to remove a fishing hook from a human, painlessly and safely.

There seems to be a rash of videos about removing hooks from people, all feature the  ‘line-loop’ method. Some even show some brave souls sticking hooks in themselves to demonstrate the method.

Unfortunately all these videos make a mistake that almost certainly means the hook extraction will be painful to a lesser or greater level.

All the videos make a point of placing the loop at the middle of the bend and then pulling straight back in-line with the hook shaft. This is wrong, if pain is to be avoided.

The loop should be in the upper half of the bend, and the pull should be up and away, at about 30 degrees to the shaft.


Because the hook will roll out the same way as it went in, the barb will not catch, and a barb catching is what causes pain.

To see the whole story see this (link corrected), and see:

  • a method that uses forceps to achieve pain-free hook removal
  • a method for removing a hook in yourself, even if you cannot see it.