fly fishing how-to

How to Land a Trout

It is one of the most important aspects of fly fishing, yet it is one of the most often ignored in books, magazines, videos and the like – sadly, my books included.

You can read and view plenty about flies, fly tying, knots, casting, presentation, finding fish, tackle selection, et al, but what about playing and landing the fish once you have inwardly digested all that stuff and actually find yourself attached to one of these fabled fishes? Help is at hand.

O.K. so there you stand, thinking about how much you would like to be back at work, stripping the line in through you rod-hand forefinger. Suddenly your reverie is broken by some damn-fool fish grabbing your fly. What happens next?

Find out more in a new article on my site, see this.

Posted by Tony Bishop in fly fishing how-to

Hook Removal From Humans – Update

I have just updated the hook-removal article to include information on how to use both the ‘loop’ and ‘forceps’ method one-handed to remove hooks from yourself. This is usually required when the hook is buried in a hand or arm.

When using the loop method, make the loop long enough to go over some immovable object, such as a tree branch. Hold down the eye of the hook and pull your hand away in the direction shown in the diagrams in the article.

If using long-nose pliers or forceps, hold the hook eye down with the thumb of the hand holding down the forceps.

Full details here.

Posted by Tony Bishop in Articles and stories on fishing in general, fly fishing how-to, salt water how-to and tips

Sharpen Your Hooks Myth

It is amazing how some tackle myths persist way past their use-by date.

A case in point is contained in this article Sharpen Hooks
This advice is so out-of-date, by twenty or so years.

Books and articles sadly written just two or three years ago still contain encouragement to sharpen hooks before fishing with them. ‘No hook is sharp enough to fish straight out of the packet’ is the advice. If you use ‘laser’ or ‘chemically’ sharpened hooks which have been around for twenty something years now, this advice is bad. In most cases trying to sharpen chemically or laser sharpened hooks will actually blunt them.

Chemically sharpened and laser sharpened hooks are made in much the same way. Once the hook is formed, the points are treated with a chemical and then introduced to a laser beam, or other control source, which wears away the metal leaving a very sharp point. Mechanical methods cannot get the hook any sharper.

If you do sharpen non-laser or non-chemically treated hooks there are a number of factors to bear in mind.

All sharpening produces heat. Too much heat will reduce the temper of the hook and can soften the point. This can lead to points bending over, or breaking off. It is important when sharpening hooks to use a slow stroke with the file or stone.

Be careful not to remove too much metal from the point. There is a fine line, no pun intended, between a sharp point and a weak point. It is too easy to think of a hook point as always being pulled into a fish in a straight-line pull. However, this is not always true. Many times the pull is at an angle to the point. If there is not enough metal in the point it can break off or bend over.

One piece of advice about sharp hooks worth following is to check each hook before using it to ensure an un-sharpened hook has not sneaked through the manufacturer’s Quality Control systems.

For more information on hooks in general see this:The Sharp End

Posted by Tony Bishop in Articles and stories on fishing in general, fly fishing how-to, salt water how-to and tips

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

New Method to Remove Line Twist On Land

Line-twist is a real pain, but it is easy to get rid of if you are on a boat or have a river nearby. But if you are on land it can be really difficult to get rid of. But I have just stumbled across a method that works well on land – go here.

Posted by Tony Bishop in Articles and stories on fishing in general, fly fishing how-to, salt water how-to and 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

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

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