A magnetic little tip for finding fumbled flies

There are in this fishing world of ours thousands of hints, tricks, and tips to make things easier or more effective. Most of us I guess read them, say to ourselves, ‘now that is a good idea, I must use that’ – and promptly forget around 99% of them!

Well a couple of months ago I read a tip in a UK fly-fishing magazine that was simplicity in itself, designed to solve a problem that affects us all, sometime or other.

So there I was on a nice piece of water, catching a few nice trout on a new fly I was trialling, till one a bit better than my skills took it away. So I opened my fly box and the other one of the two I tied fell into the grass at my feet. Do you think I could find it – no chance.

Now back to that tip that drifted out of my memory when I was not looking. Simply tie a small  but powerful magnet onto a length of string, and when you drop a fly ‘troll’ the magnet around the area where the fly fell. Beautiful – but forgotten. So no magnet, not string, no fly. Bugger.

OK, so just when I needed it, the magnet on a string tip snuck back into my memory. But as I said no magnet, no string. But I finally thought, my landing net is tied to a magnet, that connects to another magnet attached to the loop  behind my neck.  I detached my net and slowly ‘trolled’ the magnet through the grass at my feet, and a fly attached itself. Actually not my fly but a well trampled previously dropped specimen by someone as clumsy as me.

I can report that I did find my fly – but also have to report that despite the fact it’s brother caught a number of fish, the ‘lost’ fly failed to live up to the promise of the former. Still I did manage to cement the magnet tip into my brain cells, and at my age that is a good capture in itself.

Postscript:  If you tie flies, the magnet on a string tip has another use. When you drop a hook on the floor, as you do, especially a carpet covered floor, and more especially the dropped hook is small, a magnet on a string finds the little blighter quickly.

Does Fly or Lure Colour Matter

This article on the Midcurrent site is an excellent insight into the way fish see colours, and how this information can be used to refine flies and lures, and select lures and flies for varying fishing conditions.

While the article was primarily aimed at saltwater flies, it offers much to learn for all kinds of fishing.

There is one telling comment in the article – “Selecting a fly based on contrast, rather than on specific colors, is often the key to enticing a fish to strike.” (Someday they might learn how to spell colour 😉

Easy Way to Dry Fishing Hooks and Flies

Those little packets that seem to come in all pill bottles, and a myriad other products, contain a desiccant, moisture absorbing beads. Usually known by the name “Silica-Gel”, these little packets are ideal for drying used hooks and flies, and keeping them dry.

Placing one in your fly box will help stop fly-hooks rusting, and fur and feather detiorating. I have a small, lidded box with two or three packets of Silica-Gel inside, into which I drop wet flies. By the time I get home the flies are dry and ready to go back into their fly-box.

And once safe and secure, I add a couple of the gel packs to ensure the flies in my fly boxes do not rust.

I also have a small lidded box for my used salt-water hooks. A couple of Silica-Gel packets in the box stops salt-water doing any mischief.

Used Silica-Gel packets can be ‘refreshed and renewed’ by ‘cooking’ them in a microwave for ten or twenty seconds. If you need more Silica-Gel, good places to try are, camera stores, garden supplies, dried flower supplies, and local pharmacy.

what is the true right bank of a river

The following is not going to change the face of fishing, but it is a question I get asked very regularly.

Which side of a river or stream is the right side?

The right bank or side is always on the right side of the direction in which the water is flowing ie facing downstream, and the left bank is always the left hand side facing downsteam.

This is usually called the ‘true’ right bank or true left bank. True river sides are not just used in fishing, all outdoors activties use the same appellation to avoid confusion.

Fly Casting: Start Slow, Finish Fast, Stop Dead

You would think that after 50 years flicking a fly rod I would be able to cast properly, every time – unfortunately it is not so.

Sure, despite the fact that I am self-taught, I can get my fly out pretty near where I want it most times, but too often when I really need to get it to where it needs to land I duff it up and watch the fish I was aiming to catch dart off where ever fish go when spooked.

I can most times get enough distance, but when the situation calls for an extra 3 or 4 metres I can almost guarantee the line wraps around my head, or collapses in a series of rings in front of me.

Then I got a bit of inspiration from Tiger Woods, when I read that this truly gifted golfer has spent much of the previous year re-building his swing. Good enough for Tiger I thought, good enough for me – so I grabbed a mate who is a very good caster, and club instructor, and we settled in to some rebuilding of my casting stroke.

My friend hit on my problem almost immediately when I fired off a demo cast. “Too fast, too slow”, he observed.

What was he on about? Find out in my new article.