It's always good to hear from Lefty. After all these years spent in fly fishing & the outdoors, we would be wise to take what he says into account.
In the very short video below, legendary angler Left Kreh talks about the equality that fly fishing imposes anglers. I couldn't agree more with him. The one thing that always amazes me about this sport is how it brings people from so many different backgrounds together. The fish will rise for the rich as well as for the poor; for the old & the young alike.
It's always good to hear from Lefty. After all these years spent in fly fishing & the outdoors, we would be wise to take what he says into account.
Fly fishing with poppers for smallmouth bass in the summer is some of my favorite type of fishing. I love the hard-fighting action of these fish & their strength. They can give you some fantastic sport, for sure.
I like to go after these bass in streams & rivers. In fact, some of these bass will be in the same places I fished for trout earlier in the year. The methods are the very similar to trout fishing as well, but poppers are their own breed of fly & require a few different techniques then "normal" flies. Of course, I like to pursue bass in ponds & lakes, too but there's just something about the moving water of a stream that makes fly fishing for bass so much fun.
If you haven't ever tried your hand at fly fishing for bass, you're missing out. They are not easy to catch & require planing & skill to fool. Read up about smallmouth bass & then go after them. If you haven't before, you will have a new respect for these fish. To me they are what the dog days of summer are all about.
Here is a short video showing you some of the techniques you'll need to think about when you fish for smallies with poppers:
In the spring of the year, I'm probably a trout purist, but in the summer some of the most fun I'll have all season long will be going after these feisty bass (& other warm water fish). They'll have any angler smiling from ear to ear on these hot summer days & nights!!
Here is a very cool, short video showing the life cycle of the midge. I've always found these little bugs to be the most frustrating to hatch to fish - mostly because they're so darn small it's hard to see!! I like how this video shows the hatch from the trout's angle & in a point of view we anglers never get to see. Check it out:
Recently, my friend Mike took a little trip to Scotland, & had the opportunity to fish the River Tweed there. He was fishing the upper part of the river, on a section of land once owned by the famous poet Sir Walter Scott.
Spey casting for large salmon & sea trout in the rain may not be for the non-angling crowd, but when you're fishing in Scotland, you can expect some rain.
Mike was gracious enough answer all my questions about fly fishing in Scotland & sent back several photos, too!! I wish I could have been there with him. By the way, the sea trout pictured below that Mike landed was over two feet long & weighed five pounds!!!
Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with me, Mike!!
Do you have an angling adventure you'd like to share? I always love to see your photos & hear your stories from you folks. So please, feel free to share them with me & everyone else on the Beyond The Rod Shop page of this website.
Well, here in Pennsylvania it has been a very wet & cold start to the trout season, but with some really nice days thrown in there, too, luckily. At the very beginning of the season the streams were all very high & blown out. Then the month of May began with almost biblical rain!! What's an angler to do?!!?
Fortunately, things seemed to level off, weather - wise, & conditions have been fairly decent for the last week or so. As you would expect, it put all the hatches off schedule &, because the streams were not fishable for some time, we even missed some of the hatches coming off. That said, nature always does a balancing act, & the cool nights have helped to delay a lot of hatches, buying us anglers some time for the streams to come down to good levels.
In fact, the other day I happened to see a small Light Cahill hatch in a place where the Cahills should have been done for the year about two weeks ago. On that part of the stream you can tell when the Cahills are just about done with their run for the year, as the hatches get a lot smaller. They can last for three weeks or so on that stretch of the stream, but when they start to go, there's a lot less of them coming off the water every evening.......& here they were still hatching two weeks or so late. It has been a strange year. I'd say it's been a "fish 'em when you can" type of trout season here.
How has it been where you are? Have any great fishing photos or stories you'd like to share? Please feel free to share them with me & if you want, share them with everyone on the Beyond The Rod Shop page of this website.
I always love seeing your fishing photos & hearing your tales of adventure, so please feel free to contact me & let me know all about what you folks have been up to on the water.
I hope you're all having a fantastic fishing season so far!!!
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.
I hope you've all had a successful 'springing ahead' of the clock. With the time change they say that on this day there are more heart attacks, strokes, & car accidents than usual. I can believe that, since even though it's only an hour, the loss of sleep can have a big effect.
My loss of sleep brought to mind a funny story my dad tells of a time he went fishing....
He had been working the night shift at the time & was finding it difficult to squeeze any daylight hours in for fishing. As it was the peak of trout season, he decided enough was enough & that he would take his rod & reel to work with him one night & go fishing for a while on his way home, after work, in the early morning. That's just what he did, too.
Well, as any of you who've ever worked the night shift know, it can make you feel like a zombie - sleeping in the daylight hours, never seeing the sun. But on this particular day dad stopped off at a favorite little stream of his that happens to run through a cow pasture. Being tired from the full night of work, he sat down with his back against a tree by the stream to fish a small pool that was known to hold many trout.
As things will go, he nodded off to sleep - for how long he's not sure. When suddenly he became conscience of something very warm & wet against his cheek. He opened his eyes to see that he was, literally, nose to nose with a full grown bull. He screamed, the bull screamed, & both of them took off in opposite directions until they realized what had happened, haha!!!
Just imagine waking up to this right in your face:
For those of you unfamiliar with cows, they are, by nature, curious animals. Most of the time they're completely innocent creatures that mean you no harm at all. In retrospect, dad believes he was probably snoring & the bull, seeing this strange thing by the tree, making a weird noise, probably went to investigate when it got the you-know-what scared out of it......it didn't do a bad job on dad, either!!
So, by all means nap along a trout stream. It can be some of the best napping you'll ever do. Just be careful where & which stream you choose to nap beside or you could wake up face to face to a cow!!!
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
You know the old saying about the month of March, 'if it comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb'. Well, in my part of the world March came in like a raging, angry lion for sure. There were heavy rains & high winds all across the middle & eastern parts of the country. Now, it's always tragic when there is loss of life & property damage, but storms can have a big impact on our fishing as well.
The one constant about any trout stream is that it is always changing. The flow of water will change over the course of time. The runs, riffles & pools that you know & love to fish will not always be there. Sometimes it can take years for this to happen, sometimes it only takes a few seconds. When there are strong storms along a trout stream, you can be almost certain that it will have at least a small effect on the steam itself. This might very well change how we fish a part (or parts) of those streams.
Besides the erosion caused by heavy flooding, one of the biggest impacts from storms that will effect us anglers are downed trees. It's important to note the trees along the streams you like to fish & look at their condition. A section of stream you might have passed over before, devoid of any fish, might become a great spot for trout or bass after a windfall lands in the water.
Take a look at this photo. How much longer do you think that tree is going to remain upright & out of the water? I don't know if you can see it or not, but the water here isn't very deep at all. What will happen to the water there after that tree comes down into the stream?......I think it's going to make a very nice, deep pool there someday that will hold a lot of trout.
Now take a look at this tree on the right side of the photo. I know it's hard to tell what's behind that tree, but I can tell you that it's actually very well rooted in the ground. Those trees seem to have a very firm grasp & so it might be a while before they come down. They've withstood some massive flooding so far & they're still hanging in there. I don't look for those trees to come down into the stream anytime soon. Now, having said that - mother nature can do some awesome things. She certainly can take those trees down at anytime, so you can never be too sure. Ultimately this is just a guessing game.
Finally, let's look at this photo. Here you can see the passage of time & see the past & the future all at once. On the left side of the photo is what's left of an old windfall that a storm blew into the stream years ago. For many years this windfall stuck out into the water, breaking up the water flow just right so as to create a seam in the current that trout loved (I also have a funny story about that windfall concerning a certain angry squirrel, but that's for another time). Then came a very nasty flood that was so forceful it pushed that entire windfall onto what would become the stream bank after the water receded back to normal flows.
That same flood also started to compromise the integrity of the far bank on the right side of the photo. In the next few years, that tree began to lean more & more towards the horizontal. Sooner or later, it's going to end up in the stream, creating another seam for the trout to stack up under......until another powerful flood comes along & pushes it out of the way......& the cycle continues.
If you have the time & the means to, it's never a bad idea to scout out your favorite fishing streams before the season begins. It will give you an idea of how your streams have changed over the winter. Also take note of the trees & any beginning signs of erosion along the stream bank. It could give you new opportunities to fish in places that just didn't hold sizable fish before. The only thing you can truly count on along a stream is that, eventually, it will change.
Believe it or not, soon the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission will begin stocking adult trout into the streams, rivers, & lakes of PA. Are you planing a fishing trip to the Keystone state this year? Well, if you are you can plan to hit your favorite spots at a time when they're filled with trout for you to match your wits against.
The list can be searched by county. Simply enter in the county that you'll be fishing in & you can see when & where the Commission will be stocking these trout. To view the list, click HERE.
Additional info can be had on the Commission's website, including interactive maps showing each stocked water - with GPS coordinates to boot. You can read all about the different fishing seasons in PA, buy a PA fishing license, & even watch some videos, too.
No folks, it won't be too much longer before the trout are going from the hatcheries to the streams & you know what that means - it won't be too much longer before we're casting our flies to rising trout!!!! I can't wait for that!!!
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.
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6'-0", 2/2, 3wt