Promises, Promises

by Tony Bishop on May 24, 2006

Paul, my brother-in-law is, a very keen fisherman and hunter. He does the fishing report on a local radio station. He also works in a tackle shop. Which is where I visited him an hour or so ago.

I was hoping he would tell me he had a bunch of mallard feathers, as promised, from his shoot on the duck-shooting opening day a couple of weeks ago.

He greeted me with a reminder of an article I wrote a year or two ago about the dangers of promising someone, anyone, a feed of fish. It is a certain way of ensuring no fish. So it was for Paul – he was skunked for the first time in over 30 years shooting.

So no ducks for Paul, no mallard feathers for poor old Bish. But all is not lost, you might get a chuckle, (and a warning) out of the Promises, Promises article.

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From FlyFish Magazine :

Women anglers are getting into fly fishing in great numbers. It seems that they are not only using their new found knowledge of the sport to catch trout or bass, they are using it to catch men! Behold Gail Ruben’s book “A Girl’s Pocket Guide to Trouser Trout.”

“The trout hunts by sight. Men and fish are attracted by visually stimulating lures. Look your best, and wear eye-catching accessories that start conversations, such as unique jewelry or outrageous cowboy boots.”

I call foul on this tactic! Any woman who would resort to trying to lure a man by wearing some sort of high heels or cowboy boots, or cheerleader costume…or leather …….. sorry, I just lost my train of thought completely.

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Double Trouble Jigs – For Fish That Is

by Tony Bishop on April 9, 2006

Several months ago I was reading either a website or magazine based in the US, memory fails me as to exactly where, but I came across a method of using jigs, which by that account was very effective indeed. Most saltwater species, many similar to ours here in New Zealand, were all falling to the methods charm.

So I have been using the method and it sure works… read about it here.

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According to the IGFA – (International Game Fish Association) – the people who administer the World’s fishing records – there are two species of yellowtail kingfish.

One that seems to swim off the West Coast of the Americas – the so-called Californian Yellowtail – and one for the rest of us, called the Southern Yellowtail Kingfish.

Here is the problem:

Virtually all the World Records for the Southern Yellowtail Kingfish are held in New Zealand. Fact is that they grow to prodigious size here.

Average size in New Zealand is 90-120cm, reaching over 150cm, weighing to over 68kg (150lb). The current world record is 52kg (115lb) .

But years ago someone convinced the IGFA that the species that grew in the South Pacific was different to the species off the West Coast of the Americas. Problem with this is that it has now been proved conclusively well over ten or more years ago that the species are the same: Seriola lalandi.

The second reason given for separate records for kingfish were held was that the two populations do not intermingle. You say what!? Does this mean that if any fish specie populations do not mingle then they should have separate records? Of course not!

This would mean we should have separate records for Atlantic and Pacific Tuna, Atlantic and Pacific Marlin. Can you imagine different World Records for trout, salmon, or bass depending on which river or lake they were caught. It is a nonsense of course.

World records are just that. The biggest fish of that species in the World – not just where you happen to fish.

So, c’mon IGFA, get real and scrub those separate records for yellowtail kingfish.

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Fishing Woolly Buggers

by Tony Bishop on March 27, 2006

I guess if I had to pick just one fly to fish with, it would have to be the Woolly Bugger. I could use it in lakes, rivers, streams, and saltwater. I could fish it with a floating or sinking line. I could fish it as a baitfish imitation, a nymph, a damsel, koura (NZ freshwater crayfish) – you name it and a Bugger will catch it.

Midcurrent have an excellent article by the creator of the Woolly Bugger, which provides some valuable insights into the way this wonderful fly can be fished. Of particular note is the section on fishing the Woolly Bugger upstream as a nymph – too many anglers see the Woolly Bugger as a downstream fly.

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Over the sixty plus years I have been fishing I have seen many funny things happen, but for some reason, launching a boat at the boat ramp seems to produce the most funny incidents; most as in number and most as in high giggle factor.

A few years ago myself and a number of others watched one of life’s little dramas unfold on a ramp, and it stuck in the back of my mind for a long time. There just had to be a story behind the story of what transpired on the ramp, so here it is…

They’d ‘had words’. Their faces and body language told the story, even to a casual observer.

Milly’s face puckered into that ‘I was weaned on gherkin’ look, that some women practise to perfection. She stared out to sea, her mind a seething riot, as it reviewed events leading to this situation.

At the top of the boat ramp, Ted stomped about the boat, preparing for the trip. His jaw was clamped, his nostrils flared.

Yes, definitely, trouble at mill. Trouble that began brewing two weekends ago.

Ted was preparing his boat and fishing gear, ready for an early start the following morning. Milly, watching his eager work, fired the first shot, “You think more of that boat and fishing gear, than you do me.” Ted, realising that full-blown hostilities could erupt at any moment, raised the truce flag, “Don’t be silly Milly, you know I love fishing, and it should be a good day tomorrow. That’s why I’m excited.”

The truce held for 3 or 4 minutes, so Ted was beginning to think the truce might hold, when Milly fired another shot. “You used to take me fishing, but you never do now.” Ted thought, “That was thirty years ago, before we had kids, and she said she didn’t really like fishing, and she made me put on bait and take fish off hooks, and, and…’

Ted thought that, but instead said, “Would you like to come fishing the weekend after next?” It just popped out, and there was no way of taking it back.

Milly pounced, “Oh, really? I’d love to.”

 There it was, set in concrete…..continued here.

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Wonderful Fish Photos from the BBC

by Tony Bishop on March 9, 2006

While not exactly fishing, these underwater photographs by the BBC’s Photographer of the Year 2005 are riveting stuff. Well worth a peek.

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The Eyes Have It

by Tony Bishop on March 5, 2006

I really do not know if there is any scientific proof that eyes on flies or lures make any difference to a fish’s bite or not decision, but I do know that many fishing writers believe that eyes give the predator fish an ‘aiming point’. I also know that if I have lures or flies with eyes to choose from those without, eyed ones are going to be tied on every time.

Gloabal Flyfisher has a very clear, well illustrated and simple to follow article on adding eyes to freshwater and saltwater flies, and the technique could be used on lures as well.

Just a little tip from my days as a commercial artist; when trying to dab on the paint, place a small block of wood under the base of your hand, so that the base of your hand is a little higher that the fly you are painting. It helps control the ‘shakes’. This works for all age groups, but is especially helpful to us over-50’s. It is good technique to use when applying head cement with the fly off the vice.

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Time was that the world was a really, really big place and New Zealand was a really, really small place in a really big ocean, a really long way from just about anywhere, except Australia which back then really did not count.

But times change, and with the advent of superfast communications and the net, the world has become really small place, in information dissemination terms anyway.

A few days ago I was searching the net for information on a particular aspect of fishing that I had written about in an article about way back in late 2000. This article appeared in a NZ fishing magazine and a couple of months later I put it up on my website. My research was to help me update that original article.

So I was surprised to find an article that was a very thinly disguised version of my original article, even containing many sentences and phrases copied verbatim, written in 2005. Not only written in 2005, but apparantly it won an award from an outdoors writers association in the US.

I am not going to name the article or the association, they are reacting swiftly, responsibly and thoroughly.

This is the third time I have come across my writing under someone elses name.

The real thrust of this piece is to ‘warn’ budding writers, illustrators, and photographers in the outdoors (and other) fields that once your ‘products’ are published on the net, it is freely available to be ripped-off by unscrupulous web-sites and other writers. But you can take some steps to protect your copyright against plagiarism.

Back up your articles etc. onto non-rewritable CD’s or DVD’s. Also back-up a copy of the webpage onto the same CD or DVD. Both these will show the date the files were saved, and these dates are almost impossible to forge and very expensive to do so.

Make it a habit to search for subject matter and key words from a few of your articles at least every week, to make sure there is no rip-off occuring.

Thirdly, have a very clear copyright statement on your site, with clear contact information so people wanting to use the article (or commision an article) can contact you. (I allow non-profit organisations to use my articles, but only after seeking prior permission, and with an appropriate copyright message, and linking to my site.)

As someone who gains most of my income from writing, it is more than just feeling angry about having my work stolen, it is more that someone is out there using my work under there name, and getting the kudos for it. Very naughty indeed.

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How to Land a Trout

by Tony Bishop on February 28, 2006

It is one of the most important aspects of fly fishing, yet it is one of the most often ignored in books, magazines, videos and the like – sadly, my books included.

You can read and view plenty about flies, fly tying, knots, casting, presentation, finding fish, tackle selection, et al, but what about playing and landing the fish once you have inwardly digested all that stuff and actually find yourself attached to one of these fabled fishes? Help is at hand.

O.K. so there you stand, thinking about how much you would like to be back at work, stripping the line in through you rod-hand forefinger. Suddenly your reverie is broken by some damn-fool fish grabbing your fly. What happens next?

Find out more in a new article on my site, see this.

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