fly fishing how-to

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.

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

Fly Fishing How-to: A Mending Primer

Another excellent article from midcurrent.com covering the art of mending a fly-line to ensure flies are placed in front of fish.

The article makes a point that I enthusiastically agree with, learning to cast does not mean that you have learned how to fly-fish. Until an angler learns how to mend a line, the best casting technique in the world will be of little use.

The article is not just a worthwhile read for a novice, old fishing farts like me willl learn something too.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing how-to

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

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

Belt Up When Wading

In your book “Fishing Smarter for Trout”, chapter on Night Fishing , page 125, You mention wearing a tight belt around the outside of your waders. Why? The book that spawned the question : Fishing Smarter for Trout

My First answer:

Wearing a belt round waders helps stop water running into your waders when you first fall in, in a river. If you do get washed away after you fall in the air trapped in the waders will greatly help to keep you afloat. Then you can concentrate on getting and keeping your feet facing downstream, and moving yourself as quickly as possible to shore by moving across the flow, (never try to go up against the flow).

The next question:

Thanks for your reply, it created quite a good discussion and questions at work regarding the use of a belt with waders for safety reasons. We agree with your idea of using a belt if one is wearing PVC type waders. But if the fisherman were wearing the Neoprene type, would he still need to use a belt? I was under the impression that these Neoprene waders float no matter what, possibly a wrong assumption.

Next answer:

Your comments about PVC or Gortex type waders are spot on – you should always wear a belt with these waders. In fact the better quality waders of this type come with a belt built in.
Neoprene does float, but its ability to support the body depends on the amount of clothes the dunkee is wearing. In any event it is not the floatation that is usually the most pressing issue – but safety from getting knocked about on rocks, trees, etc. Waders full of water make movement in the water very difficult indeed. It is imperative that you try and keep your feet pointing downstream, to avoid being hit in the head on rocks, tree trunks, etc. Anything that hinders this is not good. Secondly when you get back to the shallows trying to climb out of the river with waders full of water is very difficult. You can minimise all these problems by wearing a belt.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing how-to