Atop the Angling Mountain: The Five Stages of Fly Fishing

“I don’t remember when I first heard the phrase, but for a while now experienced fly fishers have been regaling new anglers with tales of “The Five Stages of Fly Fishing.” These are the levels we all go through at one point or another in our fly fishing careers; at least if we stick around long enough to move up the ladder…”

Nice article on the Hatch Magazine site, on  the five stages of fly-fishing – guess we all go through them or are going through them.

Mind you I am not sure that the five stages only apply to fly fishing – pretty sure they match all forms of fishing and fish.

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

Five More Fishing Quotations and Sayings: 30 May 2014

Just caught 5 more quotations and sayings about fishing, fish and fishers: Numbers 1201 – 1205. See all 1205 quotes here.

“When I take a fly out of my vise I nearly always say, ‘I can do better.’  And on every fly I tie, I honestly try to do that.”
– Charlie Craven

“… it takes several years of serious fishing before a man learns enough to go through a whole season with an unblemished record of physical and spiritual anguish.”
– Ed Zern

“Silently observing the water, choosing the right fly and the constant casting appeared to me like a certain form of choreography.”
– NA

“The river reflected whatever it chose of sky and bridge and burning tree, and when the undergraduate had oared his boat through the reflections they closed again, completely, as if they had never been. There one might have sat the clock round lost in thought. Thought –to call it by a prouder name than it deserved– had let its line down into the stream. It swayed, minute after minute, hither and thither among the reflections and the weeds, letting the water lift it and sink it until –you know the little tug — the sudden conglomeration of an idea at the end of one’s line: and then the cautious hauling of it in, and the careful laying of it out? Alas, laid on the grass how small, how insignificant this thought of mine looked; the sort of fish that a good fisherman puts back into the water so that it may grow fatter and be one day worth cooking and eating.”
– Virginia Woolf

“I do not know anything more beautiful in nature than the head-and-tailing trout.”
-  Harry Plunkett-Green

Posted by Tony Bishop in fishing quotes

Five New Fishing Quotes and Sayings: 25 April 2014

Yea, I know it has been a little while since the last bag of fishing insight, comment and some  wisdom, but the total number of fishing quotes is now up to 1200 and new stuff is getting harder to find. But I soldier on!

“The angling fever is a very real disease and can only be cured by the application of cold water and fresh, untainted air.” 1196
Theodore Gordon

“Fishing provides time to think, and reason not to. If you have the virtue of patience, an hour or two of casting alone is plenty of time to review all you’ve learned about the grand themes of life. It’s time enough to realize that every generalization stands opposed by a mosaic of exceptions, and that the biggest truths are few indeed. Meanwhile, you feel the wind shift and the temperature change. You might simply decide to be present, and observe a few facts about the drifting clouds…Fishing in a plaons of life… I fish to scratch the surface of those mysteries, for nearness to the beautiful, and to reassure myself the world remains. I fish to wash off some of my grief for the peace we so squander. I fish to dip into that great and awesome pool of power that propels these epic migrations. I fish to feel- and steal- a little of that energy.” 1197
Carl Safina The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World

“There will be no end to angling controversies for there is no one best way for everyone to fish.”  1198
Lee Wulff

“It (fishing) engages on so many levels: physically, mentally, even spiritually. You can make it to any level and it will never let you down. There is always more to explore or experience, whether you do it for a few days a year or months and months at a time.” 1199
Derek Grzelewski Interview with Otago Daily Times

“The river is of the earth and it is free. It is rigorously embanked and bound, and yet it is free. “To hell with restraint,” it says, “I have got to be going.” It will grind out its dams. It will go over or around them. They will become pieces.” 1200
  Wendell Berry

See all 1200 quotes and sayings here

Posted by Tony Bishop in fishing quotes

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.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing, fly fishing gear, fly fishing how-to, fly fishing tips

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.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing, fly fishing how-to, fly fishing tips

Five More Fishing Quotes and Sayings: 10 March 2014 Now 1195

“Best time to go fishing – any time water is liquid.” #1191

“Water is peculiar stuff. It circulates mysteriously, rising invisibly from the sea as vapour, forming clouds, falling as rain, creating streams and rivers that return again to the sea. You can swallow it in sips, but it can swallow you whole if you fall into a deep place. You can’t catch hold of it, but it can catch hold of you, even if you just look at it” #1192

“The previous night, a warm, calm summer’s evening, Yates stepped out of his home in Dorset and sat with his rod by a pool until gone 2am. "When the line moved, there was a little blister on the surface of the water, lit by the moon. You think, ‘What is that?’ and it can be completely terrifying. Even after 50 years of fishing, that makes my heart stop. That’s my extreme fishing – getting into an intimacy with this unknown world and not knowing where it’s going to lead, and what apparition you will behold.” #1193

Quoting Chris Yates

“Fly-fishing is not difficult, but it is complex; there are a lot of small things that have to come together and unless they add up, nothing really happens in regards catching fish” #1194

Quoted in Otago Daily Times

“The truth is that trout fishermen scheme and lie and toss in their sleep. They dream of great dripping trout, shapely and elusive as mermaids, and arise cranky and haggard from their fantasies. They are moody and neglectful and all of them a little daft.  Moreover they are inclined to drink too much.” #1195

Robert Traver – Anatomy of a Fisherman

See all 1195 quotes here.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fishing quotes

Five More Fishing Quotes and Sayings 13 February 2014

Up now for your education and edification – 5 new fishing quotations and sayings, bringing the total to 1190.

"Fishing is a gift you give yourself! A released fish is a gift you give others!" – Steelhead Manifesto (Num 1186)

"In this ever changing world, there are few things that have remained constant for me. The chance of hooking a nice trout still excites and thrills me to this day….just as it did when I was a kid. I like that!" – M A Bookout (num 1187)

"I can’t bear fishing. I think people look like fools sitting watching a line hour after hour–or else throwing and throwing, and catching nothing." – George Eliot (num 1188)

"As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler" – Izaak Walton (num 1189)

"Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you" – Wendell Berry (num 1190)

See all 1190 quotes here.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fishing quotes

“Damsels in Distress” on a New Zealand Stream

Absolutely amazing footage…

“ My wife and I were fishing with friend/guide Dean Whaanga in New Zealand when a combination of bad weather and good timing resulted in a fish giving us the experience of a lifetime. I crawled on my stomach with my camera to the water’s edge, hit record, and watched what was one of the coolest moments I have ever witnessed.”

It only runs for two and a bit minutes, but my guess is you will repeat view several times. Watch in HD and full screen.

See it here.

Posted by Tony Bishop in Fishing Travel, Fishing Videos, fly fishing, New Zealand Fishing

Five More Fishing Quotes and Sayings Jan 23 2014

Five more fishing quotations for your edification and maybe education – Quote Numbers 1181 to 1185.

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”

–  Hermann Hesse  Siddharth

“Lyin’ is lyin’, be it about fish or money and is forbid by Scripter … Billy Matison’s got to give up fish-lyin’ or he won’t never get into the kingdom”

–  Ellis Parker Butler

“I should never make anything of a fisherman. I had not got sufficient imagination”

–  Jerome K Jerome

“The number of fishermen today who go out on a boat with the intention of catching fish is very disenchanting. It degrades fishing into a hobby”

–  Bauvard  The Prince of Plungers

“We caught him,” I said. “That’s the fun part.” For us, at least. I doubt the fish would agree”

Kathy Reichstest

To view all fishing quotes and sayings, go here.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fishing quotes

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’

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing, fly fishing how-to, trout information