Take a short moment to look over my shoulder while I work on some custom, hand-made bamboo fly rods!!
I've just put together a fresh, new video showing you just a few of the things that go into making a bamboo fly rod by hand. This isn't intended to be a "how-to" video, but just a quick peek behind the curtain into the rod shop.
Take a short moment to look over my shoulder while I work on some custom, hand-made bamboo fly rods!!
If you would limit me to only two flies that I could ever use to catch fish - be it trout, bass, panfish, etc - the gold ribbed hare's ear nymph would be one of the two (a black woolly bugger would be the other, but that's for another day). It is one of the most useful patterns ever created for catching fish, in my opinion.
So, it's no surprise that there are a lot of different versions of this pattern out there. If you've recently began the journey (re: madness) into tying your own flies, then this nymph is one you want to know how to tie.
Here is a really well made video showing a very nice way of tying up this pattern. You can't go wrong by following the directions here & this version of the nymph is a great one to carry in your fly wallet.
So sit back & enjoy. I seriously wouldn't want to spend a minute on the stream without having one of these nymphs with me, because it's just one of those patterns that will work on days when nothing else will.
Most nymphs move along the stream bottom in a start & stop fashion. Some crawl some swim, some scurry very quickly in undulating motions. No matter how they move, they will get caught up in the water current, losing their footing, & tumble down stream for a bit. When you're fishing with a nymph imitation, you want to try to mimic this movement.
Gary Borger, in his classic book "Nymphing" describes a technique called "The Strip / Tease" (we just called this 'working the nymph' when I was a kid). The method is pretty simple: cast your nymph across - up or down & across, wherever - so that it gets to the bottom in the part of the stream where you think the trout are laying. The, very slowly, strip in short amounts of line (using the hand twist retrieve). Start & stop the retrieve often, allowing some time for your nymph to drift down stream. This will mimic the natural nymph movement well - if you're on the bottom.
You can also use this tactic casting straight down stream, if you're in lower water. It makes your fly look like a nymph struggling in vain to move upstream.
This strip / tease method is very effective in the early season, when there's more water in the stream & the water temperature is colder. Also, use this method anytime & anywhere you see the trout flashing their sides. When you see trout flashing their sides, it most likely means they are rooting the bottom, trying to dislodge some nymphs from the bottom.
One thing about this technique - most anglers do it TOO FAST. You must go very, very slowly!! As a general rule of thumb, the colder the water the slower you must retrieve. Give your fly plenty of time to sink.
As you retrieve the line with the hand-twist method, keep the line under your index finger of your rod hand. You need to be in constant contact with your fly to feel every bump & titch of the line so you don't miss any strikes.
Finally, if you're using any weight or split-shot to get your fly down to the bottom, you need to think about where you put your weight on the leader. In order to mimic the real nymphs, you need to know how far off the bottom they're coming when they lose their footing. There's no way to know for sure, so you must experiment with how far up or down on your leader you put the weight. Keep moving your weight up or down your leader until you start picking up strikes. If you move to another spot on the stream, you might have to move the weight again, but at least you'll have a reference to start from.
So, to summarize:
1.) Cast your fly so it gets to the bottom where the trout are. Give it lots of time to sink.
2.) Slowly retrieve your line in a start & stop manner.
3.) Experiment with where you place your weight (if any) on your leader.
4.) Keep in constant contact with your fly & line so you can feel the fly.
5.) Remember to go slow. Most anglers fish this method too fast.
Today's fly fishing quote comes from John Gay, a British poet who lived from 1685 to 1732. He was a self-made man, growing up in an impoverished family, eventually coming to be a contemporary of famous British writers like Swift & Pope. This quote comes from a poem he wrote titled "Rural Sports", which was published in 1713 in two small volumes - one about fishing, the other about hunting.
As spring gets closer to arriving we start to anticipate another season of trout fishing. Quotes like this one make me anxious to wet a line.
(Note: this stanza was the inspiration for the name of this blog many years ago)
"Around the steel no tortur'd worm shall twine,
No blood of living insect stain my line;
Let me, less cruel, cast feather'd hook,
With pliant rod athwart the pebbled brook,
Silent along the mazy margin stray,
And with fur-wrought fly delude the prey."
-Jon Gay, Rural Sports, 1713
There have been a lot of books written about fly fishing in Pennsylvania. Some of the famous books on the sport were penned by PA anglers, changing our approach to the fish. It's a big state with trout streams in every county, providing a place to fly fish nearby wherever you happen to be in the state. It stands to reason that, through the years, many 'guide books' about PA streams have been written. Now there is another one - but this one promises to be different.
"Keystone Fly Fishing" - soon to be released - takes a different tact on the guide book genre. Here the state is broken up into regional sections (that's been done before), & has a different author & local fly fishing expert write about each region (a new approach). That, to me, sounds like a good approach. Pennsylvania is too big, with too many streams, for any one angler / author to know it all. This book promises to give much more detail about the smaller, less known trout streams. It leads me to believe that it will give more local knowledge on each part of the state.
As it's not out yet, I haven't read it so I can't say if it's any good or not. It does pique my interest a lot & sounds very promising to me. If you fly fish in PA or make regular trips here & want to bring the fly rod along, this might be the book for you. It's supposed to become available on February 1st & you can pre-order a copy HERE.
In a previous post, we discussed the book "The Trout and The fly" by Brian Clarke & Mike Goddard. In it they show the results of years of study & experiments into how trout feed, their behavior, how they see their underwater world, & what it all means to the fly angler. After the book was published, a short film was made based on the concepts by the authors. Here, then, is that film divided into four parts. Enjoy!!
"The Trout and the Fly" was a groundbreaking work by British authors Brian Clarke & Mike Goddard. Although it was published back in 1980, the information in it is still very relative to fly anglers today. The book focuses on trout behavior & how the angler's interactions with the trout, via the fly, effect the trout's behavior. Basically, the book looks to establish how trout naturally behave & then makes points on how the fly angler can take advantage of those behaviors to better fool the trout with the artificial fly. Trout behavior hasn't changed all that much over time, so even though this book came out in 1980, it's still right on the mark.
Trout can be very difficult to see in the water. One of the most useful parts of this book teaches us how to find & see trout in their environment. To me, this was very helpful information. Trout are very well hidden & easily frightened, so finding & seeing them without scaring them away is a difficult task. I've always believed that I scare more trout than I ever see or catch in a day on the stream. But, there are certain things to look for, certain flaws in the trout's camouflage that anglers can exploit to find the trout. This book goes into great detail about these techniques. Finding & seeing trout is a skill all unto itself & takes practice. This book will help you improve those skills a lot.
The other part of the book discusses how trout see. In this part, the authors take us into the world of the trout & we get to understand what it is like for the trout living under water. This is especially helpful, as the book teaches us just what a trout sees as our flies enter into their field of vision. We can't fool very smart trout consistently if we don't know what the trout is seeing & how. This part of the book, too, is especially helpful & will be eye opening to many anglers.
This book wasn't written in a season. The authors worked for years, doing exhaustive research both on the stream in in books. The result is this book which really uncovers all the layers of the mystery to what trout actually see & how they disguise themselves from predators. It's a well written, concise book filled with extremely valuable information to any trout angler.
Don't be put off that this book is over 30 years old. Trout still act the same as they did back then. Don't think the book won't help you because the authors are British, living & fishing across the ocean. The natural behavior of trout & their physical vision is the same anywhere trout live. You don't need this book to catch a lot of trout, but reading it & doing exactly what the authors say will most certainly help you to catch more trout, more often, & especially those very difficult experienced trout who aren't easily fooled by us anglers.
In a future post, we'll show & discuss some videos demonstrating the author's ideas expressed in this book. Stay tuned......
Leonard wright wrote a handful of fishing books in his lifetime, but none raised more hackles than this one. Appropriately subtitled "A Thinking Man's Guide To Trout Angling" Wright took a close, logical examination of how we traditionally fish the dry fly & why those methods may be the least productive.
Traditionally, the dry fly is fished by casting upstream over a specific rising trout. The fly is then dead-drifted, completely drag free, over the fish with no movement other than what the current provides. In this way the dry fly is to float past / over the trout. An exact imitation of the natural insects the trout has been eating truly helps the angler here to fool the fish. This was the method popularized & standardized in England 100+ years ago (on their smooth, gentle chalk streams) by Frederick Halford. This method came to America & became the most fished method of the dry fly here, too.
Enter Leonard Wright who, looking unbiased at the situation, concluded that on most of our streams & rivers here in North America the best way to fish a dry fly is actually down & across stream or across. His studies also showed him that a totally motionless fly drifting with the current was not very productive. Instead, Wright insisted that the natural insects floating on the surface (duns, not spinners) move & wiggle as they try to take flight. Plus he noted that that they almost always move in an upstream direction. Armed with those observations he set about a new way of fishing the dry fly, which I'll paraphrase here:
Cast down & across, or across, & put an upstream mend in your line during the forward cast (curve cast) to reduce drag. Allow your fly to drift the few feet it will without drag. Then, as your fly begins to drag &/or approaches a trout (or a probable place a trout might be if you're prospecting) give the line a very slight pull upstream. You only want to move the fly an inch or less. This motion gives you another foot or so of drag free drift & it draws the trout's attention to your fly as a living, moving object.
Of course, to use this method you'll need a fly that can stay afloat after you give it the "sudden inch" of movement - as Wright calls it. In the book he gives various recipes for flies to accomplish this.
He also delves deeper, showing how blind fishing, or prospecting, with a dry fly can be the most successful method for most of the season - especially in the low, slow waters of summer.
All in all this book is one of the best ever written on the subject of dry fly fishing. It was published in 1972 & I'm sure that there are folks fishing the dry fly downstream who never heard of Wright, but he was the pioneer. Done correctly, the "sudden inch" can be deadly. If you haven't read this book - & especially if you want to get better at fishing dry flies (as I do - I need all the help I can get), do yourself a favor & pick up a copy. I would go so far as to say that any fly fishing library is incomplete without a copy of "Fishing The Dry Fly As A Living Insect" on it's shelves.
Okay, sit back & have a laugh as you watch our old friend Goofy show us how to fish. I think some of this has happened to all of us at one time or another while fishing! Enjoy!!
It's been over 60 years since Vince Marinaro introduced the thorax style dry fly to the world. I wonder just how much these flies are fished any more these days? This design of dry was described in Marinaro's legendary book "A Modern Dry Fly Code".
A thorax style dry fly is, basically, a dry fly that has the hackle wound about the thorax area of the fly. It also has splayed tails for a more realistic look & better floating.
These days, thorax dries don't look very strange to our eyes, but in 1950 this was a revolutionary design. It really set the dry fly world on fire.
Marinaro designed these flies for a more real-looking imitation to fool the wise trout on the limestone streams of Pennsylvania. However, these flies will perform well over any difficult trout, - especially at those times when the trout have become selective, choosing only one specific type of bug to eat when there are others on the water. These flies are also good in low & clear water or any place the trout has very good visibility & plenty of time to inspect your fly before it decides to eat it or not. Obviously, this style of fly can be tied to imitate any species of mayfly.
There is one down side to these dry flies: they are difficult to tie. This is not a pattern for the beginner tier. But with some practice, time, & patience anyone can learn to tie these flies.
To that end, check out this video below showing how to tie these thorax dries. So far, this is the best video I've found for this pattern. Videos for thorax flies are great, as it can be difficult to learn how to tie these even with the best of books.
The Pliant Rod
News from the shop of Chris Lantzy, Custom Rod Maker along with industry news, profiles of interesting characters, reviews, history, & whatever else strikes our fancy. Your comments & feedback are welcome. Please email me your thoughts.
These rods are available right now. please Go to the "Available rods" page for more details:
6'-0", 2/2, 3wt