Introduction to ‘Czech Nymphing’

There is one nymph fishing technique that is highly effective but little used outside Europe. This technique has become known as Czech nymphing. Using this technique has placed Czech and Polish anglers right up amongst the top performers in World Fly Fishing Championships. It is a great technique to use in roily or turbulent water.

So what makes it so effective? – read the new article up on my site.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing how-to

The Last Link – wet a knot or not

A very good article, actually a chapter from the book Fly Fish Betterby Art Scheck, on knots. Scheck describes some of the myths surrounding tying good knots, and covers the primary differences between most of the most-used knots, and when they should be used.

The chapter is very detailed in approach, and is a very worthwhile read. There is however something I take issue with in the chapter. Art Scheck goes in to all sorts of detail about knots and does many tests. But he states that knots must be moistened before tightening, and offers no evidence to support this claim – is he perpetuating a myth? Here is my view, from my bookFishing Even Smarter

To Wet The Knot Or Not?

One of the more enduring myths, sadly perpetuated in the fishing books, magazines and videos – still being published – is the ‘wet your knot’ myth.

When mono lines were first introduced, they were thick and stiff, for their breaking strain. The line surface was, by today’s standards, very rough. The stiffness and thickness of the line made pulling the loops of the knot up tight correctly difficult. Pulling up a knot built up friction and hence heat. Heat is a line killer. It reduces line strength markedly. Saliva proved to be an ideal lubricant.

Modern lines are more supple, and thinner for similar breaking strains. They form into knots much more easily. The surface of the line is very smooth, and has very little friction quotient. It is because modern lines are thinner and more supple, that you should not wet your knot.

The best method of tying a knot is to tie the knot carefully, ensuring there are no hidden line cross-overs. Then pull the knot up slowly but firmly, allowing the twists to form up properly. If you wet the knot there is a distinct danger of forming what is called a ‘liar knot’. A liar knot is a knot that has not formed properly. Saliva allows the twists and turns to slide over themselves. Deep within the knot a piece of line has crossed over another piece. This will act like a scythe when the knot is jerked tight.

An end to the ‘wet or not’ dilemma may be at hand. There is a rapidly expanding range of knot glues coming onto the market. These glues lubricate and coat the line within the knot, and then sets, to produce a knot that achieves very near 100% of the line breaking strain.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing how-to

Fixing a Broken Rod Tip Guide

A broken rod tip-ring is pretty common, jamming the rod tip into something solid usually does the trick quickly and efficiently.

As usual the most efficient method of fixing a tip ring is to take it to a tackle shop who should fix it while you wait, and at no charge. But if you must go it alone, here is how:

If the tip ring itself is broken gently heat the tip with a cigarette lighter or match, and gently is absolutely critical, too much heat and you will soften then rod itself, and this is unrecoverable. Once the glue that holds on the tip is softened by the heat the rod tip should easily slide off.

Then using hot melt glue, melt some glue and rub it over the rod tip area, then slide on the new tip, make sure it lines up with the other guides and that is it – easy! (whatever glue you use, but I recommend hot melt glue, make sure the glue will release if the tip gets broken again).

If the rod tip is broken, clean up the tip to make sure there are no loose strands of fibreglass or graphite. Roughen up the rod tip where the new rod tip ring is to go with sandpaper, then glue on a new tip as covered above.

Posted by Tony Bishop in Articles and stories on fishing in general

New Book – ‘Fishing Even Smarter’

I have finally got my new book to the publisher to be prepped for printing, and on retailers shelves before Xmas.

Here is what the Publisher is saying about ‘Fishing Even Smarter’:
“Tony Bishop’s first book, Fishing Smarter was first published in 1997, and has been reprinted at least once a year since. Now Tony has completely rewritten the original book and added over 50% more content.

Some changes are simply updates brought about by changes in the technology and equipment. Other changes are in the way the original ideas are presented. Tony admits to many “I wish I had written that better” feelings moments after his first book hit retailer’s shelves.

There is plenty of new material too – new stuff that pops up continually in the fishing world as fishermen share their knowledge. He has tried to separate the current ‘fads’ from the things that will have longer-term benefits in increasing catch rates, and separate marketing hype from the truly useful, (much easier now he is no longer in the tackle business!). All the many illustrations are new, drawn by Tony using computer graphics software.

Some things stay the same, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. “

Posted by Tony Bishop in fishing media

A Hole in One, Then the Other

I have just returned from a five day fly-fishing trip to the Taupo area (central North Island, New Zealand). The weather was just great, in fact too good, the rivers all being low and clear, not usual in Winter in this part of the world.

But, I persisted, fishing in the Tauranga-Taupo (usually shortened to the ‘TT’) river about 30 minutes south of Taupo for three days. The walk-in is quite long, about an hour, and if you fish the pools out from the beaten track as I do, the walk-in time multiplies rapidly, as does the times the river must be waded. Walking the river-side is not easy as it is boulder strewn. But the rewards are fewer anglers, great surroundings, and because of the low clear conditions, the ability to fish to visible fish.

The fishing was ‘hard’, but I managed to hook a number of fish each day, even landed some to be quickly released. Most of the fish were around 2 kg. or 4 pound-ish in the old numbers, but a couple of Jacks would have nudged 2.5 – 3 kg (5 -6lb.)

On the second day, I had walked for about an hour, fishing the odd pool from the bank without having to get my feet wet, but when I did have to wade in to a pool, I got the nasty cold and wet feeling as a leak in my waders made its presence known. Up and up the water rose to the level of the thigh-deep water I was standing in. There was nothing for it but to soldier on, sloshing on up the river. But the water ‘wicked’ up my clothes and the waders, so by the time I got back to my accommodation I was soaked.

I dried off the waders, slapped on some Aqua-Seal and headed off next morning confident of a dry day. Maybe over-confident. The other leg decided it was time to allow water to inside, so day three was a repeat, of day two. Bugger!

That night I spent more time inspecting the waders, making repairs to the obvious holes, and reinforcing some dodgey looking areas, day four and five were dry.

I was cursing the waders, but considering they are around 12 years old, had a very hard life, with minimal care from myself, I should not have been so unhappy. Like all fishing gear, an ounce or two of care and if necessary repair, will protect from gear failure, if not accidents. So does a bit of careful inspection prior to a trip.

Guess it just goes to prove that even in my advanced years I am not immune from learning something new everyday.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing gear

No Casting, is it Fly-fishing?

I was talking with a friend about a small river we regularly fish, but not together. We were swapping lies we had found, that is lies as in where trout lie, not the lies we tell after a fishing trip. In the course of the conversation I revealed that in one section of the river I did not cast. Using a wet line I would let the line out, and then by swinging the rod, swing the fly into likely fish holding spots, while slowly moving down the river – a very successful technique it is too.

Now this little river is not easy to fish, there is undergrowth up to the waters edge, and overhanging vegetation problems too, mainly dreaded blackberry bushes. The bottom of the river is a veritable minefield of fallen trees and branches, and nearly all the best lies are under the overgrowth, and in behind the bottom fixtures.

Despite all the problems of casting and manipulating the line to go where it should go, my friend was horrified at my ‘confession,’ “That is not fly-fishing,” he squawked.

“Damn right it is,” I replied.

“But you are not casting,” he retorted.

“What are you on about, I am definitely fly-fishing, and also definitely not fly-casting. If you want to indulge in fly-casting go to somewhere where there are no fish, and cast away happy in the knowledge you will not be interrupted by a fish,” I replied, a tad miffed.

You see my view is that fly-fishing is about presenting a fly to a fish that is in the right place and looks edible, the fly that is. If casting on a stretch of water is an exercise in frustration because of the encircling vegetation, and even if you can get a cast away then trying to manoeuvre the fly in front of the fish is nigh on impossible, it is time to be acutely aware of the difference between fly-casting and fly-fishing.

To me, wasting valuable fishing time swearing and cursing each time a hook-up is achieved on a tree, bush or Triffid, just to cast a fly is pointless.

Unbendable rule about fly-fishing, the longer your fly is in the water the greater your chances of catching fish – the more often your fly is in water likely to hold fish the chances of catching fish sky-rocket. Another unbendable rule, no trout has ever been caught while a fly is in the air being cast. So I will persist with quietly moving downstream, leading the fly into dark shadows, and places no cast will ever place a fly, and regularly being interrupted by some trout who lets it guard down for just a moment to munch my fly.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing how-to

Bead Fly Update

A short article I wrote on my site in 1998 had been near the top of site visit numbers ever since. But the information contained in the article needed updating, and some additional explanation.

So finally I have found my round-to-it and updated the article and included some photos of this dead-easy fly to tie, well actually not really tie, more like assemble.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly tying

Its Raining – Time to Go Fishing

There is strong anecdotal evidence that fish start feeding strongly as the barometer drops, I am a believer, but just why this is so is as yet not scientifically proven. In fact the science seems to show that dropping barometric pressure is undetectable by fish: see Pressure Myth.

From the quotes on my fishing quotes page: “There are only two good times to go fishing when it is raining, and when it is not”

Posted by Tony Bishop in Articles and stories on fishing in general

Water, Water, Everywhere…

I am in the throes of compiling over 500 (now 1000 08-2010) quotations and aphorisms on fishing, fishermen, rivers, sea, boats and the whole damn thing, to go on my website. One particular quote has been rattling around the dark recesses of my mind and it won’t seem to go away – “If you want to know the priorities of a nation and the effectiveness of their government, test their water quality.” – Jim Slinsky.

It is just so simple a judgement. Water is absolutely fundamental to human life that anything that reduces or contaminates this precious resource, contaminates our very existence. Yet all of us who fish in rivers, streams, lakes, or ponds are confronted on each trip with the clear, irrefutable evidence of of the harm we are doing to our water supplies.

Rubbish in the water, on the banks, on the foreshore. Run-off from farms containing fertiliser and animal excrement that feeds explosive growth in weed, choking streams, rivers and lakes, growth that alters natures balance. Industrial waste literally poisoning the water supply. The cutting down of native trees to make way for pine forests, poisoning the water with tannin and chemical fertilisers. Allowing the use of weed killing chemicals in catchment areas adding more poison to the system. Allowing the “development” of lake foreshores – too often leading to waste products leaching into the water – “development” indeed, bah and humbug!

Many Governments, local and national, claim that it is economically unfeasible to police contamination of waterways, except in the instances of gross pollution. One could hope that these same Governments could explain the economic gains that might be made by spending money on making water fit to drink.

Unfortunately the problem is growing exponentially. Water quality around the world is declining at an ever increasing rate – the cost of processing that water to make it drinkable is also increasing at an ever upward spiralling rate. How long will it be for Governments abrogate their accountabilities altogether and leave it up to households to treat their own drinking water, or buy it in bottled form? This unpalatable fact is now very wide-spread around the world.

So why has this quote struck such a chord in me? I guess it is because the simplicity of the notion reveals, to me at least, how far the people who govern us have retreated from the notions of governing in the best interests of the people, for the good of the people – and how far they have retreated from any concern over the basics that determine our well-being at the most fundamental level, the water we drink and the air we breath.

But then of course the famous ‘they’, the Government, is us. That sad fact whacks me around the ears just thinking about it!

Posted by Tony Bishop in environment and conservation