Seek and You Will Find Fish

by Tony Bishop on March 26, 2008

In my book ‘Fishing Smarter for Trout’, (now on my site and free to read), I wrote under a chapter on finding trout…

Ask Questions on The River

A “I wonder if you could help, I am visiting the area and having trouble choosing the right fly,” question usually gains a positive and helpful response. I could not begin to count how many times that question has gained me a ‘guide’ for the day from locals only too willing to share the secrets of their river. Many times I have been able to return the favour when those fishermen visited my water. Some of these encounters have lead to long friendships.”

Well a couple of weeks ago I was fishing on the Tongariro and was experiencing a hard morning, I had caught nothing, hooked nothing. Then I started fishing below a lad of around 17 fishing the top end of a long pool. I watched as he hooked five fish and and landed three.

My feet were getting cold so I wandered up the bank, heading to the next pool, but as I passed the lad he also came out of the water to warm up.

We started chatting and he recognised me, and became keenly interested in the flies I was using. I quickly made it clear that I was much more interested in finding out what he was using, because whatever it was it was at least five times better than anything I had tied on.

Once I looked at his flies I quickly realised that it was not so much ‘what’ fly, as “what size’ fly. He was using size 14 and 16 nymphs, no gold bead, un-weighted, behind a thumping great heavily weighted ball of lead disguised as a nymph.

Now normally in a big river like the Tongariro I would not go below a size 12 nymph, usually weighted and always sporting a shining gold bead. They get to the bottom alright, but I guess they move pretty unnaturally once they get there. The little un-weighted nymphs, I surmise would really move about as the big currents moved them, much more naturally.

What ever the reason, they worked. So my new fishing companion and I moved on up the river catching a heap of fish, all on the little beasties. Fish I guess I would not have caught that day if I had not asked a question.

So, with a simple question I shattered my myth, ‘big water, big flies’, – a myth I had obviously been carrying around too long.

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Fishing the Way Real Blokes Do it!

by Tony Bishop on March 12, 2008

Fishing Jones put me onto to this video which makes us, who fish with rods and reels, look like pansies and sissies.

You just have to take a look at this madness. Link

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New Fishing Quotes and Sayings – Mar 5, 2008

by Tony Bishop on March 5, 2008

The number of quotes, with a bunch of new ones (8) just added, brings the total to 648.

My favourite of the new additions:

“Far away Tongariro! Green – white thundering Athabasca river of New Zealand! I vowed I would come again down across the Pacific to fish in the swift cold waters of this most beautiful and famous of trout streams. It is something to have striven. It is much to have kept your word.” – Zane Grey 1927

My choice has nothing to do with where I live of course!

Had three days on the very same beast of a river, the Tongariro, a week or two back. Got lots of fish, got tested and beaten time and again, got eaten by little black beasties, got fish by chucking and ducking tiny nymphs behind a kilo of split shot, got fish on tiny dry flies, got fish on heavy Prince Nymphs, got leg-sore, arm sore and exhausted, got to have a hell of a great time. It is a great river!

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Fishing in Baseball Caps – Words Of Warning

by Tony Bishop on March 3, 2008

Last week I had some pre-cancerous lumps removed from my ears, and back of my legs. These were ‘burnt’ out using liquid nitrogen. Another two on my neck had moved a bit too far past the ‘pre’ stage and had to be surgically removed.

Unfortunately this has become almost routine over the last 15 years. Every couple of years another lump or two pops up that has to be removed.

Part of this is down to the the unhappy fact that here in New Zealand we lead the world in the incidence of skin cancer per head of population. This is not just down to the fact that we have virtually no airborne pollution to filter out the bad rays, but also down to the fact that we spend a great deal of time out in the sun.

Unfortunately for old farts like me slipping past 60, we did not know about the dangers of long-term unprotected exposure to the sun back when we were young, but we are paying the price now.

While the doctor was treating my lumps we were chatting, he was a keen fisherman, so a subject wasn’t hard. So I asked him about skin protection  for fishermen – and he trotted out the usual; cover-up exposed bits, slap on heaps of a total sun-blocker on bits unable to be covered, and re-slap every 30 minutes.

But it was the last bit of advice that got my attention – throw away your baseball cap and buy a wide-brimmed hat. Most of the skin cancers he sees on out-door people are on the face, neck and ears.

To use his own words, “baseball caps do not cover neck, ears, cheeks or throat – they are about as much use as chocolate tea-pot. Any one who spends a lot of time in the sun, like  a fisherman, who wears a baseball cap is simply a bozo.”

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New Fishing Quotes and Sayings – Feb 14, 2008

by Tony Bishop on February 14, 2008

I recently added 10 new quotes and sayings to the quotes page, bringing the total to 640.

Of the new quotes, this one caught my eye, a rather good twist on and old quote:

“Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Give a fish a man, and he’ll eat for weeks!”

– Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata, Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005

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Picture of Fisherman with Seconds to Live

by Tony Bishop on January 24, 2008

boat name

 

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Prompt Release Critical to Fish Survival

by Tony Bishop on January 24, 2008

Catch and release is promoted as a way to enjoy angling for years to come. Catch one, take a picture and set it free. But two recent studies, including one by researchers at the University of Illinois, concluded the practice works only if fish are released promptly.

In the journal, “Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A,” researcher Cory Suski suggests that keeping a fish out of water for even 4 minutes might be too long to ensure its survival. Variables include the length of time it takes to land a fish, Suski said. The longer it takes, the harder it is for a fish to recover from even short periods out of water.

Water temperature also determines whether the fish lives or dies. The warmer the water, the longer the recovery, he said. Meanwhile, the fish is easier prey for predators looking for a meal.

I go along with the ‘hold your breath’ guide to how much time a fish should be out of the water – as you lift the fish out of the water hold your breath – when you need to take a breath put the fish back in the water.

For more on releasing fish see this.

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Looking at Water

by Tony Bishop on January 24, 2008

Ok, so you are a fisherman driving alongside a river or sea – how hard is it to keep your eyes on the road?

Nice little piece of philosophical writing from Flyfishmagazine…

“My wife just doesn’t understand why I always feel compelled to look at water. Many times as we drive down a road that just happens to be running along the bank of a small stream or river, I have to be reminded to keep my eyes on the road and not glued to the creek to our left or right…” [More]

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Wading Woes Overcome

by Tony Bishop on November 18, 2007

It was not a big river, but bigger than a stream. The water was around mid-thigh deep, pouring downstream at a fair clip, over a solid rock bottom, strewn with smallish boulders.

A strong wader would take about five or six strong, surging steps to cross the deep bit with little or no trouble. My fit, 30 something, son went first and made it look easy, so off I went, but not with Jason’s confidence, unfortunately.

About 3 years ago a got a bionic hip and a marvelous piece of engineering it is too – I now have much more flexibility, and no pain – a wonderful piece of machinery. The only side affect is a slight but occasionally noticeable decline in balance when all my weight is on the titanium equipped leg.

I allowed this small factor to become a big factor over several months and my wading prowess had declined rapidly, to the point where I stuttered and fumbled my way, tentatively feeling for good footing while trying to balance on the leg not shuffling.  It was of course odds-on that my lack of aggression in tackling the water would lead to my downfall – and fall down I did.

There I was doing my impression of a tightrope walker, sliding my forward leg ahead tentatively ahead, when my anchored leg slid and I sank down on my bum into the water. The river moved me a metre or so downstream, before my feet reconnected with the riverbed, and I lurched to my feet, spraying water hither and thither.

A couple of steps and I was home – and dry!? Jason was preparing to help me back across the river, back to the car and back into dry clothes, but his concern and help was not needed. I was wearing a rain jacket over my waders, and as I fell with my back facing into the current, the water pressure must have pressed on the jacket effectively shutting out the river. So we fished on, and the crossing back over the river proceeded without incident.

On the drive back to our accommodation, Jason gave me a few well-meant observations on my deteriorating wading ability with strong emphasis on my feeble, foot-fumbling. “Wade like you used to, full head of steam and keep going”, he admonished. I made some excuses about age, my tin hip and so on – but with only a little conviction.

The incident and conversation was not forgotten. So, last week I took off by myself for a couple of days of river thrashing, and a really good fishing it was too – spectacular in fact.

But the really good thing about the trip was the fact that I made many river crossings in fast flowing, and deep water, and sometimes both. The excellent thing was I took my son’s advice and strode out with firm resolve, and kept my legs moving at all times. If my feet caught briefly on unseen traps my momentum kept me balanced and moving ahead.

I read somewhere that walking is the process of thrusting your legs forward to stop yourself from falling forward. By maintaining motion and momentum, we maintain our balance. If like me you are pushing your body through the barriers that ageing is imposing seemingly on a daily basis, don’t give in to temerity, meekly doddering about will almost certainly get you wet and cold, and in a worst case scenario, dead.   Stride out with purpose and stay dry, and alive.

But, and it is a big but, the chances of you tipping over as you get older does increase almost exponentially. Investing in an unobtrusive, and activated only when you need it, flotation device such as the SoSpender, is a wise and safe move. A wading staff helps enormously too, and should be a must-use device. This is especially true given the less secure footing non-felt soles provide.

One thing that getting older tends to teach us is that being wise before the event is a proven method of avoiding trouble.This knowledge put into practice is even more effective.

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Loop to Loop Line Connections

by Tony Bishop on August 29, 2007

The MidCurrent site has a very good video and step by step photos on tying the Perfection Loop, a must for loop to loop connections.

Once you have tied the loop the diagram nearby will show how to make a loop to loop join that will result in a perfect ‘figure 8′ connection every time.

Learn this way of making a loop to loop connection and you will never suffer from a break-off at the loop. Take the fly-line a few centimetres behind the loop lightly held between your forefinger and thumb. Take the leader just behind the loop in the same way. Then push the fly-line loop through the leader loop until the leader loop touches your fly-line thumb and forefinger and pinch them together. With your other hand take the end of the leader and thread it through the fly-line loop and pull it all the way through until just like magic the two loops form a perfect figure-eight loop-to-loop connection.

This method avoids the possibility of the end of the leader-loop flipping over the end of the fly-line loop, and effectively acting as a guillotine on itself, when the join comes under load.

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