Sometimes at night it can be difficult to tell just how much line you have out from the rod tip. It can be very frustrating to pull the leader through the tip guide.
Try dabbing a few dots of Twink typing correction fluid on the line at the point where you want to stop your retrieve. As you pull the line through your fingers it is very easy to feel the bumps and stop the retrieve.
This trick works well when using shooting heads, where a matter of only a few inches of backing out from the rod tip can blow a cast. A few dabs of Twink on the line at the correct distance acts as a good guide.
Some of the new shooting heads with built in backing include a hump in the line to indicate the optimum amount of line of to cast before releasing the backing line.
Gold beads seem to be all the rage when nymphing, and there are even a few gold-bead wet-fly patterns appearing. Beads are even making it onto the night fishing scene.
Lumo beads are now available. These beads are designed to be added above the hooks of sea fishing Sabiki type jigs, but they make an excellent bead to slip over a fly hook prior to tying.
Lumo beads are soft so they fit over just about any hook shape. You can tie your favourite pattern on behind.
A pinch of BluTak, that sticky putty-like stuff, on the side plate of your reel, is a great leader holder. Stops that nuisance of trying to pick out your leader from the coils of the fly line.
Substitutes should be part of your fly tying. Many of our traditional rabbit patterns can be tied to great effect with some of the newer furs coming onto the market.
Arctic fox fur, mink, polecat and stoat fur have a softer more sinewy action than rabbit.
Try Marabou in place of rabbit.
Using some of the longer softer furs as hackles on wet patterns can give extra life and movement.
Who knows you may build a famous fly. (Just on this subject, have a look at what fish may see that we cannot.)
Curling leaders are a pain, but easy to remove. Tuck a piece of real-rubber glove, or an eraser with a slit cut in it in your fly vest.
Pull the leader, gently, through the slit in the eraser, or the piece of rubber glove pinched lightly between your fingers, and bingo, a straight leader.
But gently does it, too fast or too hard, and you will heat up the leader and lower its breaking strain.
Nothing will succeed in losing a good fish like using yesterday's knots.
Knots put the line under tension, and mono under tension tries to recover its shape placing the line under more tension. The longer time a knot is left the more the tension builds up, the weaker the knot becomes.
Always un-rig a rod after a days fishing and re-tie your terminal rigs on the next day out.
The better fishermen we know will even go to the trouble of re-tying traces and terminal rigs after a good fish.
They know that the fight of a good fish will terminally damage any knot, and the next fish they hook may be that prized trophy fish. [More on knots]
Fly casting purists will scoff and jeer, but one of the most effective ways of 'loading' the rod when casting heavy nymphs is to let the fly hit the water on the forward false cast. The grip of the water helps to fully load the rod so you can get the line up to speed.
One of the most frustrating things about fishing in weed filled lakes is the fact that you can hook up on the stuff so often. Instead of pulling hard on the line caught in weed using a steady pull try this.
Grab hold of the line near the stripper guide, that is the guide nearest the reel end of the rod, and with the rod tip pointed where the line eneters the water, give the line a short, hard yank. Very often this will cut through the weed leaving the fly weed free.
Be prepared for some action, it is amazing how often a fish will hit the fly very soon after you have used this weed whacking manoeuvre. It may be that the sudden movement of the weed attracts trout.
A few years ago I was guiding an American client, sight-fishing for trout around the shores Lakes Taupo and Aniwhenua. Over the course of the first morning, I noticed that every time we took a break for some reason or another, he would face away from the direction of the sun and take off his Polaroid's for a few minutes.
In fact I began to notice that every time we approached a likely lie he would take off his glasses for a moment.
I questioned him about this and he theorized that over time our eyes adjust to take account of the differing light characteristics reaching them because of the glasses.
He believed that by removing them regularly, the heightened ability to detect contrast changes that occurs when you first put on a pair of Polaroid's was re-stimulated.
So I tried it and it works for me.
Sometimes trying to separate the joins on two (or more) piece rods can be an exercise in frustration, the joint just does not seem to want to come apart.
I do not know how or why this works, but put the rod behind your back and pull the joint apart - works most times.
Most aspects of human endeavour have collected their share of dogma and cant. Trout fishing is one sport where a short-sighted, blinkered view of how things could and should be done is rife amongst a self appointed elite.
There are some in this sport of ours, thankfully only a very few, that consider it some kind of duty to mystify and ritualize trout fishing. Most of these seem to be in the fly-fishing fraternity.
They try to imbue trout fishing with an almost religious mysticism, complete with rituals and conventions. These purists attach themselves to one form of trout fishing and will brook no deviation from this pure practice. Bah and humbug!
If you are new to fishing for trout and you encounter someone who tries to convert you to one way, quickly run one way away.
But sometimes, it can take years for lessons learned on the water to filter through the dogma and cant that getting older seems to build up in the brain cells. We are supposed to get wiser with age.
As my boys persist in reminding me, my broad mind and narrow waist have swapped places.
I am struck more and more often by the realization that we humans love to make and apply rules to all sorts of activities, and fishing is no exception.
Trouble is, we extend this desire to apply rules to try and cover creatures that have no knowledge of our rules. More damning of our arrogance is that we try to imbue wild animals, such as fish, with human traits that are derived from the human ability for abstract thought.
Abstract thought, the ability to link apparently disparate things together to form a whole, is supposed to be the thing that separates us from animals.
So we go on perpetuating the dogma, cant and rules, forgetting one rule that has no exceptions. To do anything that is exceptional requires by definition breaking the rules.
Catching an exceptional fish means doing something out of the ordinary, something outside the rules, something exceptional.
Article written by Tony Bishop
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.
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 much pressure applied to this area can lead to the fish's death.
For the full story on releasing fish with best chance of survival:
Reading the Water
Most fishermen have a few pet theories about what catches trout and what does not.
One of my theories, some call it an obsession, is that it is not what you fish with, but where you fish, that is the prime factor in determining fishing success or failure.
'Reading the water' to find trout is essential if you want to become a good or better angler.
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.