For North Island, New Zealand, fishermen it is coming up to the peak
rainbow trout season.
From May through to November, our Winter through into Spring, these beautiful silver fish, rainbow trout flecked with red, fat with autumn feeding will make their way from the lakes up the rivers and streams to spawn. Top fly-fishing time, top fish, and time to make sure your gear can handle it.
Check out waders and check for leaks.
A quick and effective way to check for holes is to go into a dark room, close the door, and shine a torch into each leg. Even the smallest beams of light will soon reveal a leak. Mark the hole with chalk and fix the leak, soon! While you are at it, check out the clips and fasteners. Or you can clean your waders as described below and check-out leaks at the same time.
If your waders are smelling like a Sumo wrestlers jock-strap, because they have not been cleaned for a while, fill them up with water and some detergent, plus a dollop of disinfectant. Kills two birds with one stone, cleans your waders and shows up any leaks.
Match up your woolly socks and replace those with holes. Does anyone actually darn socks any more?
If you are as old as me, or just not very happy when cold, get out the thermal underwear and give it the once over.
While at this job run through all the warm gear, shirts, jackets etc. Please dont forget the woolen cap or hat.
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Hey, didnt you promise yourself a pair of neoprene or Thermalite gloves last year. Dont wait till your hands are frozen to remind yourself again.
Now would be a good time to check out your rods for any nicks and scrapes that may need repair. Check out the guides and if they need rebinding get them into the tackle shop soon, time is running out.
If you are going to invest in a new rod do it now.
Buying a new rod now, and getting in some practice before you use it on the water where you will be fishing, means you will be right up to speed from the moment you get to the river or lake.
New rods take some time to get used to, and even longer to get the maximum benefit from new modern materials.
Check out your reels and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Give the pawls the once over, they wear out faster than you think. If your reel has a drag system, check it out. Tiny bits of sand and pumice can wreak havoc.
How long is it since you have checked the backing?
Is it really worth waiting for that really big fish to test whether you should have changed that yonks-old backing?
Give your fly lines a wash in a very weak solution of dish detergent
and dry thoroughly.
Then rub on one of the many good line conditioners available today, let the conditioner dry, and then buff with a soft cloth.
Talk to your tackle shop about which conditioner to use on your line. Many newer lines can react badly to the wrong conditioner.
Fly-fish Fanatic has a good article on cleaning your line.
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You can try and persist with damaged floating fly lines, but frustration will beat you. Lines that are nicked, cut, abraded or worn will allow water to wick up the Dacron core of the fly line, turning the floating line into a sinker. This will make the line heavy and difficult to cast. It will eventually separate the core from the line and the line will break.
Fix for Cracked Line
Here is a quick tip for fixing a cracked fly-line. Get hold of some thin walled heat shrink tubing, pull it up the line and into position. Then very carefully so as not to apply too much heat and damage the fly-line further, heat and shrink the shrink tube - magic - line like new again.
If you are buying a new line, do it soon so you can practice with it before heading away for your fishing trip.
Just like new rods, new lines can take a bit of getting used to. Why waste time, fishing time especially, coming to grips with new tackle while fishing?
If you are still using the same braided end loop from last season, replace it or have your tackle shop replace it. Braided loops do wear out.
All your leaders should be checked.
The shampoo test is a good guide. Just like the shampoo TV ads say, if your leader material is dull, lifeless and lost its shine, it is well past its use-by, replace it.
Check out your fly box and give any flies that are showing any sign
of rust the heave-ho.
Any flies that have become flat or matted can be tarted up by holding them over the spout of a boiling kettle. Don't hold the fly near the spout, but up above where the steam is visible. The steam treatment will work wonders. Let the flies dry thoroughly before replacing in your fly box.
Save up those little packets of desiccant that come with
packets of anything that needs to be kept dry.
Popping one or two in your fly boxes helps to keep the flies dry. Occasionally 're-charge' the desiccant by heating the packet in a microwave for a few seconds.
If you keep your reels in a reel bag, a bag or two of desiccant is a good move, but for longer term storage keep the reel in a dry place out of the bag. Reels can 'sweat' in a bag damaging the reel and growing mould on the line - not good.
Give the landing-net a once-over.
A quick tug or two on the netting will tell you if it needs replacing. Trying to re-fight a fish through a hole in a landing net is not one of fishings great pleasures.
If you night fish, check out your torches. Yep two torches, the one you use and a 'just-in-case'. Replace the batteries, and put a fresh unopened set for each torch in your fly vest.
The time spent checking your tackle, before you get on the water, is the most valuable time you can spend. Don't wait for that big fish to test your preparation - and find it wanting!
My first trout fishing book Fishing Smarter for Trout is now up on this site and
free to read. Includes regular updates and new stuff.
Bead 'hot spots' on flies
Of course we all know that beads are very common now at the hook eye, mostly to add extra weight to the fly to help it sink.
But beads can add real extra 'eat me' signals to a fly. Many flies now include 'Hot spots', a spot of colour or shine to attract the eye of a trout to the fly. Coloured beads added either weighted or made of glass are a great way of adding hot spots.
In the example above the black tungsten bead at the eye provides weight, the red glass bead behind it provides a hot spot.Read More
Grip and Kill
The way a trout is held when taking a photo, (aka 'Grip and grin'), can easily turn into 'grip and kill' if the fish is not handled carefully and correctly.
The area above the pectoral fins, (the fins just behind and below the gills) contains the fish's heart and other organs; too great a pressure applied to this area can lead to the death of the fish.Read More