|Posted on November 29, 2018 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on October 24, 2017 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
While we really like fishing the swung fly, and try to focus on spey techniques when possible, there are simply sometimes when conditions or the preferences of people fishing with us mean fishing an indicator rig. When we do fish an indy rig, more often than not at the end of the line you might see a little thing we refer to as "the item"- a colorful plastic bead pegged in place above a hook. I first started fishing a bead in Alaska in 2008 and quickly saw just how useful it would be back on my home streams. Over the years, I've tweaked my rig a bit so I can change things out (the hook or bead) without cutting my line. Here's my bead rig:
Step 1: What you need is your bead, tippet (already tied onto your leader), a hook ( for steelhead or lake run browns I prefer size 2 or 4 octopus hooks- bigger for beads 12mm or more, smaller for smaller beads, while if I'm fishing stream trout a 4 or 6) and a toothpick.
Step 2: Slide the bead onto your tippet, then tie a figure 8 loop in the end of your tippet. The loop will be what holds the hook on the end and should be about 1 1/2 - 2 inches. Why I like a loop is because I can then trade out hooks and even beads without cutting the line. Simply unloop the hook and pull the toothpick stopper from the bead and it will slide over the knot.Here is how to tie a figure 8 loop:
Make a loop in the tippet first:
Wrap the loop around both the tag end and main part of the tippet twice:
Pull the single loop through the double loop formed in the line:
Pull the knot tight:
Step 3: Use the toothpick to "peg" the bead. Push it in then snap off the sharp point. This will keep the bead from slipping down below the figure 8 knot. Later if you need to change the bead, poke the sharp end of a toothpick down the other side of the bead to push out the little piece of the toothpick that is broken off and it will pass over the figure 8 knot.
Peg the bead:
Snap off the toothpick:
There will be a piece stuck in the bead that holds it in place:
Slide the pegged bead down to the figure 8 knot to hold it in place:
Step 4: Pass the loop through the eye of a hook, wrap it over the shank, and secure it to the tippet:
Step 5: Bead up fish:
Notes: The rig above is tied with an ungodly large hook and 30 pound high viz big game leader. That is not my normal setup but was done so it would show up better in pics. I usually use 8-10 pound clear fluoro and a size 4 hook. Please do not fish a 3/0 saltwater hook with a bead.
Though again, not our preferred way of fishing, but an incredibly effective method that has its uses as conditions or the preferences of others dictate.
|Posted on October 16, 2017 at 1:05 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted on November 8, 2016 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
Good fish handling: keeping a fish wet and slightly upright for a nice pic. If the fish kicks, it'll swim away unharmed.
Everyone talks about this topic. But it seems like every time I go out, I see people mishandling fish. So gonna beat a dead horse anyways. It is really important that we handle our fish in as safe and careful a manner as possible. Especially when fishing smaller systems, where a fish can be caught several times over the season. While catch and release mortality remains low, mortality from catch and release can almost always be attributed to improper fish handling tactics. So here are a few tips:
1. Use a landing net or tail a fish in knee deep water when possible. Beaching a fish can result in the fish flopping around and injuring itself, especially hitting its head. A study on steelhead in BC found that almost all mortality from catch and release when fly fishing occurs when the fish thrashes in the shallows and hits its head. The fish would swim away strongly, but the radio trackers would find it washed up dead later. So be careful. If you do need to beach a fish, look for a spot with a sandy or pea-gravel substrate and no large rocks if possible.
2. It's okay to take pictures. Everyone loves a good fish pic. But make sure you minimize the amount of time the fish spends out of the water. Remember, they are gassed. They just struggled as if their life depended on it and exerted a ton of energy. They need to be sucking down some water to recharge. Having the fish out of water for long periods of time increases the risk of mortality. If you want a nice pic holding the fish up, have your buddy get ready for the shot, then just quickly lift the fish. Shoot to have the fish back in the water in a couple seconds. Keeping the fish in the water is another option, that really adds a nice aspect to the shot.
3. Spend the time the fish needs to be revived. It's actually nice to cradle such a beautiful fish and spend time with it in the water. That's what the whole experience is supposed to be about. It's not just for the pic or the fight. You caught the fish, now you need to spend however much time the fish needs to be properly revived. They'll let you know when they're ready, and will kick away strong.
4. And for the love of God, keep your hands out of the gillplate. Lately, I've seen this a lot more than I can remember: FLY ANGLERS lifting a fish by the gillplate. And judging by their technique, gear, and general appearance, these are anglers who should know better. There have been some pics going around the web showing off BIG fish this year, and one way anglers are holding them is with the gillplate-tail grip. This may look good in a photo, but it hurts the fish. The oils and salt on your hands harms the gills and the angle of lift causes the head of the fish to arch upward, straining the neck and back. None of these things are good things. Is it going to kill every fish? Probably not. Can it hurt them? It sure can.
Poor fish handling can cause death after release. We found this guy in a catch and release stretch where bait can't be used. Careless fish handling is likely to blame for mortality.
Final thoughs- have fun out there and be nice to our finned friends. They really are super cool animals, and it's a privilege to fish for them. If you see someone carelessly handling a fish, it's always a good thing to give them a few pointers for the future. We were all noobs once. But it shouldn't be anything to start an argument about. Some people just don't give a shit, and that's sad. But the people that do are generally greatly acceptive and appreciative of pointers.
|Posted on October 21, 2016 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on October 20, 2016 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 20, 2016 at 2:20 PM||comments (0)|
Unfishable. It's a term that we anglers apply to conditions that are so adverse the likelihood of success has dropped to near zero. It means different things at different times to different people. It can mean the stretch is unfishable, the river is unfishable, or it might be better to stay home and tie flies. But the likelihood of success cutoff between heading out and staying home is different for anglers. Most people consider the very top end of fishability on the grand to be somewhere around 700cfs. At those flows and above, you will likely have most the river to yourself if you do decide to swing the big water, especially if the other area creeks are prime.
This morning the grand was flowing at 1170 cfs and between 8 and 10 inches of visibility. Far frome prime, but I got a long head scandi line for my bamboo spey rod and wanted to try her out on the big water. She cast slow and beautifully, but the line couldn't turn over a tip heavier than 7 1/2' of t-11. And the grand needed more like 10' of t-14. So I strung up a 12'6" 6wt graphite rod and started chucking the heavy tip. There are places on the grand where even flowing at over 1000 cfs and limited visibility, I would say that I have a legitimate shot at getting bit. The first place I fished, I got smashed in a slow water seam below an island, but didnt hook up. It was a tough long cast to the far bank while standing in waist deep water, but I made the cast and as the line tightened to swing the fish grabbed it. I have to say, I was surprised at the fury of the take, considering the water temp must have been in the upper 30's.
After fishing out the stretch without another grab, I jumped in the car and drove lower down to a wide, long run. When fishing high and dirty, many people kill their swing the moment they start to feel bottom. NEVER DO THIS. Fish will sit in water that is a foot deep. To drive this point home, the second grab I got was while stripping in to cast again. The fish took on the strip less than ten feet from the bank in water that at most was a foot and a half deep. Unfortunately I didnt get a great set and the fish threw the hook shortly after coming up to the surface.
When the water conditions are less than prime, stack the deck in your favor. Fish a stretch you know well with a large dark pattern that you have confidence in. Today, both fish took the whiskey hangover. And always, always fish well. Don't get down on your luck of fishing when the conditions aren't great. Remember that looking down into the cloudy water against a dark background does not give a good perspective of what a fish actually sees. They are looking through cloudy water up into a light backrground. To illustrate this better, next time you are drinking a dark beer or a red wine, set it on the table and try to look down through it. Probably cant see the bottom of the glass. But if you hold it up to a light and look through it that way, you can see the top of the glass. It just goes to show that fish in murky water see better than we give them credit for.Finally, we as anglers learn more on tough days than perfect conditions where we walk in, use the same techniques and fish the same lies.
One last thought: most of my biggest steelhead have come on days when conditions are tough. Think about every big fish story you've ever heard. They all start with "it was pouring rain..." or "the river was flowing over the banks..." or "I went out not thinking I'd hook anything...". There's a reason for that. Big fish like big water and cover.
All in all, two grabs in unfishable conditions isn't bad.
Check out the flex of bamboo-
|Posted on February 4, 2016 at 8:55 AM||comments (0)|
Welcome back to Fish Lake Run! After what was a mild winter, it looks like spring is just around the corner! January was quiet, and we typically don't fish much if at all. Because we really focus heavily on the swung fly, side ice and anchor ice means cold, cold water and lethargic fish, though most rivers in the area didn't completely freeze over. But things are starting to warm up already, and with how long the last two winters lasted, it is a welcomed relief. In fact yesterday broke 60 degrees! Though we will still have a few weeks of cold temps, it's time to start thinking about spring steel. From the way the winter has been, things are probably going to run a couple weeks early this season. Last year peak spring fishing occurred from mid april through the first week of may. This spring, our Ohio rivers will probably hit their peak sometime around the beginning of april, but with plenty of fish around in march and probably quite a few hanging in the rivers until the first or second week of may. To say the least, we are pretty excited about this spring, and a new drift boat might have something to do with it...
To pass the few cold weeks, I have been working on a bamboo spey rod build! I just finished the last touches on her this past weekend, and I couldn't be more proud! Can't wait to swing up some steel this spring on bamboo!
Check out some pics of the rod build.
At the workbench
Shaping and fixing the cork.
First time painting words...
Check back soon for spring reports and fish porn! Wont be long now!
|Posted on December 10, 2015 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
Starry Night is tied in a classic hairwing style on an intruder hookshank. It is a solid clear to light murky water fly that takes steelhead where ever they swim. It's a fun fly to swing in the upper half of the water column, plus it's a quick tie on the vice!
- Medium sized hookshank and intruder wire
- Purple anadromous brush
- Purple diamond braid
- Purple krinkle flash
- Natural Guinea Fowl
- Jungle cock swords
Step 1. Tie and glue in intruder wire.
Step 2. Cut off a small clump of the purple anadromous brush fibers and tie in as a tail.
Step 3. Tie in and wrap the purple diamond braid up the hookshank up to just behind the eye.
Step 4. Cut off a larger clump of the anadromous brush spin it in a dubbing loop, and wrap around the shank.
Step 5. Tie in 4-6 strands of purple krinkle flash over the wing.
Step 6. Tie in natural guinea fowl as a collar.
Step 7. Tie in the jungle cock swords, tie off, and glue.
|Posted on December 9, 2015 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
Over the past few weeks, we have experienced very good steelhead and to a lesser extent lake run brown fishing. There are solid numbers of fish in every river as we speak, and with mild temperatures and rain in the forecast, the next few weeks should be fantastic fishing!
Tying Demo- Whiskey Hangover (AKA Black & Blue Steel). This is one of the best big river steelhead flies in my arsenal.
- Medium hookshank and intruder wire
- Weighted Eyes
- UV Polar Chenille
- Peach or orange chenille
- Pink, Blue, and Black Craft Fur
- Rainbow Flashabou
- Jungle Cock Swords
- Yellow and Orange Barred Rabbit Strip
Step 1. Tie in the intruder wire and weighted eyes. A lot of people like to fold over the wire and tie it back down, but I tie it in with loose wraps and then glue it to the shank so I don't waste the wire.
Step 2. Tie in the polar chenille first, then the peach chenille. Wrap the peach chenille about two thirds the way up the hookshank, then use the polar chenille as hackle through the peach chenille.
Step 3. Cut off a chunk of pink craft fur.
Step 4. TIe the pink craft fur in backwards (so it hangs over the eyes) then fold it back over the shank and tie it down.
Step 5. Cut off a larger chunk of blue craft fur and repeat the process.
Step 6. Cut off a chunk of rainbow flashabou (around 8-10 long strands).
Step 7. Tie the flashabou in half, then fold the forward section over the hookshank.
Step 8. Tie in the black craft fur the same way as the pink and blue craft fur.
Step 9. Tie in a pair of jungle cock swords. I like to strip the fibers off the quill so then I can fold the quill back and lock it down tightly.
Step 10. Cut off a chunk of yellow and orange barred rabbit fur from the pelt (or strip), and spin it in a dubbing loop. (The photo is before the fur has been spun).
Step 11. Wrap the spun fur behind the eyes and tie it in. Glue when done. (Finished product shown).
Step 12. Swing up steelhead.