fly fishing gear

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

Understanding line weight.


This short but very clear video explains why it’s ok to up-line or down-line your rod depending on the distance you’re fishing. Use the rating on the rod as a guideline and find the line that suits YOU.

I was especially surprised by how little weight difference there is between fly-lines – how about the weight of a business card for one line type/weight.

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

Tippet Rings: Use Them

I have been a big fan of tippet rings for 5 or more years now for fly fishing. To see all the reasons why you should use tippet rings head over to the excellent Hatch Magazine site and get the full story.

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

Taupo and big browns, here I come.

Am leaving in the morning before the first sparrow un-tucks it’s head from under it’s wing and completes it’s ablutions for Taupo, (central North Island NZ).

With Autumn now fully entrenched it is around this time big brown trout start to move into the rivers that flow into Lake Taupo. Big fish, but not easy to catch, still, I like the challenge.

Will also be trying and reviewing two new Sage 5wt, 10’ rods.

Watch for more.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing gear, my fishing trips, New Zealand Fishing

Tenkara and European nymphing, a link?

Tenkara fishing is getting a lot of press, but the link to an ancient Japanese method to ‘modern’ techniques is very interesting.

Tenkara and European nymphing – where the old becomes new.

Sometimes it happens that some apparently disconnected events come together to open a door to something new. A case in point.

First apparently disconnected event.

I had been reading a lot about the Japanese Tenkara style fishing, and had bought a Tenkara rod and used it a few times, with some success. It is fun!

Then a few months on I was reading an UK fly-fishing magazine. Two articles in the same edition of that magazine, apparently disconnected, except that both were about fly-fishing, melded together to open a door neither author knew tenkarafly1existed.

The first article by a well known fly-fishing author and fly-tyer, was taking someone to task about his notion that wet flies tied with hackles pointing forward over the eye of the hook were ‘invented’ about 25 years ago. Not so wrote our eminent author, they were invented about 50 years ago in the Clydeside area, in the UK.

Both these gentlemen were only about 2000 years out. Japanese ‘Tenkara’ fishermen have been using wet and dry flies with hackles tied forward for around that many years.

O.K. So a marginally interesting, piscatorial and historical matter cleared up.

However this historical fact becomes more interesting when melded with the second article, on the ‘European’ fishing style.

Read on..

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

Fly-rod ‘actions’ – what do they mean?

I guess one of the more confusing elements of fly-fishing is the hotchpotch of terms used to describe the “actions” of fly-rods. Hopefully I can dispel some of this confusion and help making a decision on what fly-rod to buy easier.How rods bend

Pared right down to basics, the term ‘action’ describes the way a rod bends. But don’t all rods bend the same way I hear you mutter? Well no, they don’t. It would all be very easy if rods bent in one constant arc from butt to tip (parabolic), but most don’t.

They don’t bend in a constant arc because a rod is tapered from butt to tip – the thin section of the rod near the tip bends much more than the thicker mid-section of the rod, which bends more than the butt section. Rod makers are able to control the ‘action’ of a rod, the way it bends and flexes, by making adjustments to the way the building material is laid-up.

A fly-rod has to perform two main functions, cast a fly-line and help land a fish once it is hooked. The casting action of the rod is the prime function, and should be seen as being way more important in freshwater trout fishing than its ability to help land fish… See the full article here
Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing gear

10 best ways to break your fly-rod

Over the fifty and more years I have been fishing and sometime guiding I have seen some truly inventive ways of breaking a rod, here are ten of the most common:piontloading

1. Hold the rod tip up to near vertical with the line running down parallel to the rod while trying to net a fish over three or more pounds – it’s called ‘Point Loading”.

2. While walking in to the river, hold the rod with the tip lower than horizontal to the ground – when you trip the rod turns into a javelin, and a four piece into a many more piece.

3. When your fly is snagged, heave back on the rod, with the rod tip behind your head – it’s called Point Loading’, again.

4. When pulling the leader and fly-line out to get ready to cast, pull the line near -parallel to the rod, yes, it’s “Point Loading” again.

5. Lay the rod on the ground, anywhere, anytime, taking a photo, changing a fly, eating a sandwich, staining the bank – you just have to know, you, or your about-to-be ex-friend is going to stand on it. Most effective in long grass.

6. Fail to make sure the rod joints (spigots) are firmly seated. Best outcome, the joint separates – annoying at worst. Worst outcome, the shortened overlap of the joint area breaks – heart break at best.

7. Forgetting to check if the motel has a ceiling fan while you gear up for fishing tomorrow has lead to many a long morose trip home.

8. Strongish breeze, open vehicle door, fly-rod in immediate vicinity – say no more.

9. Hook-up on the blackberries on the back cast again – rod rage – say no more, again.

10. Most spectacular fly-rod demolition? Two words – helicopter blades!

Would love to hear about your rod-breaking experiences.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing, fly fishing gear, fly fishing tips

Avoid back pain and damage from wearing waders

When wrote my post yesterday about my new hip pack which has replaced my fly-fishing vest to help keep back pain under control, I forgot to mention something else my bad back Doctor, (the back is bad, definitely not the Doctor), advised.

He recommends, and remember he is a nutter fisherman like us, that when you are walking to and from the river or or stream, or from pool to pool, or wading in less than waist deep water, unclip your wader straps, and roll the waders down to your wader belt.

He advises that this is especially important if you use neoprene chest waders as the weight can really exert some nasty force on you neck and back muscles and joints. Neoprene waders, wet from wading, even if you are not much more than thigh deep, hold a lot of water and get heavy, bad news for your back as that weight is pulling down  on the wader’s straps when you leave the water.

But he also advises unhooking light chest-waders as well as most waders do restrict bending motion and it is this lack of full motion that leads to back pain.

Got to be worth a go – especially if you are a lot younger than this old fart, and before real damage is done.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing, fly fishing gear

Do 10 foot light line-weight fly-rods make you a better angler?

As an ex-tackle-store owner I guess I got to handle and trial way more fly-fishing rods than most. That included all that was touted to be the latest and greatest. Fact was that handling so many rods lead to the perhaps jaded view that all new rods were merely slight advances on a rod building theme, and big advances in the persuasive power of the rod-makers advertising and marketing people.

Maybe this jaded outlook was the reason for the fact that the rod I used most was a 9′ Sage RPL+ 6 weight that I bought around 20 years ago.

So when I was offered a chance to trial a new 10 foot single-handed 6 weight rod, I accepted, but my marketing hype and BS detection systems were on high alert.

Here is what happened.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing, fly fishing gear

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