I saw this very short video & wanted to share it with you. It from the folks at National Geographic. In the video they show a generalized description of the lifespan of a mayfly. The footage is gorgeous & offers us anglers some new views of what goes on with these flies, in general. It's a gorgeous, short video that proves once again that those beautiful mayflies truly are the bottom of the food chain.
I've said it many times & I'll say it again: if you've never gone fly fishing for bass, you just don't know what you're missing. Catching bass on a fly rod is some of the most fun you can have on the water. They fight like monsters! While they're an easily accessible fish, they can sometimes be very difficult to fool. You must approach them with the same caution & carefulness that you sneak up to trout with. In fact, in the heat of summer you'll often find that bass have moved up into many of the places where the trout were earlier in the year.
During those hot, sticky evenings of summer, catching bass on a fly rod is a blast. You don't have to slow down in your fishing just because the trout have slowed down their feeding - if that's the case where you are. No, a summer spent fly fishing for bass is fantastic!
Below is a longer video from the Orvis company. It's their primer on fly fishing for bass hosted by Tom Rosenbauer. It gives very sound advice & is aimed at the fly fisher who's never tried for bass before. Check it out & give those bass a try - you'll be glad you did!!
I love to see photos of rivers, streams, fish, & folks out fly fishing. I also enjoy a good fish story, too. That's why it always makes me happy when folks share their fishing adventures with me. In a way it allows me to see places through you folks I might never get to fish myself. I learn a lot from you all, too. Plus, it makes me happy to know you're all out there catching fish & enjoying yourselves in beautiful places.
If you have any fishing stories to tell & feel like sharing them with me, I'd love to read them. In fact, you can see some of the adventure a few rod clients & friends have had all over the world on the 'Beyond The Rod Shop' page.
As this fishing season progresses, & if you feel like sharing any stories & photos of your fly fishing journeys with me, just know that I welcome them. I'd love to hear from you & see all the beautiful places you folks wet your lines. I hope you're all having a great fishing season out there!!
I hope you're all having a fantastic trout season so far & that you've been able to get out & enjoy the streams. In my area we've had it pretty good overall, but this year seams to be one of those seasons where you need to be ready to fish when conditions are good. It looks like we're in a weather pattern where it rains, the streams become too high & muddy, then a few days of acceptable conditions - then the cycle repeats itself with more rain.
So what's a fly angler to do when stream conditions are in transition & the water is a bit high & with color? One solution to find trout in these situations is go where they're almost certain to be no matter. Two types of stream locations come to mind: bridges & seams. Both bridges & seams are good any time of the season, but they are especially good to try if the water is high, fast, & off-color.
Trout love to hang out around bridges for several reasons, not the least of which is that they provide cover & protection from predatory birds & other threats. The water around & beneath a bridge makes a great home for trout. You'll find trout both just upstream, in front of a bridge & just below it, too. I think they get a sense of security knowing that they can always duck for cover back under the bridge.
Bridges also can give you a sense of what bugs will be on the water. Often the mayflies will collect on the supports of a bridge to molt. Study those bugs, as they'll soon be falling spent onto the water after they've mated & laid their eggs. You can also see the bug activity pick up at a bridge, as both the bugs & the birds that eat them become more active under & around the bridge & its supports.
Another reason why trout like bridges is because the water 'piles up' above them. Often the water gets channeled down at a bridge into a more narrow flow which creates deeper spots & changes in the water flow. Here slower water meets faster water (which is also why they're good spots to fish when the stream is high). These spots where faster flows butt up against slower water creates what we call a "seam"...........
Seams in the stream flow are the golden spot for trout anglers. Trout love them because it makes their life much easier. You see, trout like to hang out in the slower flow, which requires less effort on their part, & let the faster water bring them food. All types of aquatic insects get caught up, pulled into the flow & get channeled into the seam. The trout, watching & waiting in the edge of the slower water, can see every piece of food that the seam has collected.
When you fish a seam, you typically want your fly to travel the water just on the edge of the slower flow. It's much easier to managed your line here & besides, it's where the trout are. You should look for seams every time you go fishing, but especially in marginal conditions when the stream is high. You'll know that the trout would rather hang out in the slower water rather than work their tails off in the faster flows.
Arthur Ransome, in his old book "Rod & Line" has a chapter on dealing with adverse fishing conditions. His approach to poor weather & conditions is to not look at the obstacles, but rather to look for the elements of the stream conditions that are good - the elements you can work with. You still might not catch a trout, but you've done your best to put as many odds as you can in your favor. At least by looking at it from that perspective, you stand a chance of catching a fish no matter what shape the stream is in that day.......
......And if conditions are so bad that fishing is all but impossible, at least you can explore & enjoy the wildlife, plants, & beauty that surround the stream!
Good luck on the water to all of you this season!!
The double surgeon's knot is a great way to attach your tippet to your leader. For those of you new to fly fishing, or those who have been maybe using a different knot for your leader-to-tippet connection, give this double surgeon's a try. Once you get onto it, you'll find you can tie it up very quickly along the stream. Below is a short video that makes it very easy to see how this knot is tied.
Rarely do I like to get sentimental about things, but if you'll bear with me, I'd like to a little bit here. I always feel a little emotional at the beginning of another trout season & this year is no different. I think most of us get this way at one time or another. So, if you'll indulge me, here are a few reflections on my love of trout streams.
I'll admit it: trout streams draw me to them. They always have, ever since I can remember. I think it's a combination of the mysteries they hold about what's going on underneath the water's surface & just the shear beauty of them. I have fished many streams in many places & have yet to find any single trout stream that did not reflect a sense of dignity.
I love a trout stream because you never step into the same stream twice. It is always changing. As in life, sometimes that change is gradual, other times sudden. It can be a benefit to you, or it can ruin one of your favorite spots to wet a line. But the change is there, always & you never know what you will experience each time you go there. You must always be willing to adjust to it's changes.
I love a trout stream because there's something compelling about moving water. It's always going somewhere. If it's an unfamiliar stream I'm always torn between moving along the banks to see what's up ahead or staying where I am to enjoy the great new pool I've found. I want to get the most out of it each time & learn as much as I can about it. It's a new place, with new experiences & lessons to be learned.
I love trout streams because time stands still when I fish them. I'm not my age - or any age. It could be any year in time. The bird songs are the same for me as they were for my great Grandpa. Just one good looking rock, one decent windfall that looks as though it would be home to a trout can easily take an hour or more of my time, & to me it feels like only a few minutes have passed. No matter how hard I'm concentrating on the flow of water, or my line, or the fish, my mind never fatigues along a stream. It's only along a stream that this happens. Nowhere else in life will I willingly stand in the cold, heat, or rain for hours on end without moving.
I love a trout stream because of its natural beauty. I have never seen an ugly one - even one that flowed next to a parking lot was gorgeous in it's own way. Each stream has so much more to offer than just the fish. The plants, birds, trees, & overall surroundings are something to be observed & can provide you with a full day of entertainment. A stream is always a busy place, if you look around. And this is just the parts of it we can see! Below the water's surface there's a whole other world with all it's drama playing out. And if I'm lucky enough I might hold in my hand one of the most majestic, gorgeously decorated creatures the Creator of the universe saw fit to put on this planet. To release a trout you've caught back to the water, watching it disappear into the flow, is both a very rewarding & peaceful feeling.
I love a tout stream because no matter what is going on in my world, I feel at home along the stream. I go there to celebrate life's good events; to heal wounds; to contemplate any problems or obstacles. Mostly though, I go there to fish, to learn what it has to teach me that day, & to make lasting memories. I can honestly say that some of my most cherished memories have been made along a trout stream.
And those are some of the reasons why I love a trout stream. Thank you for indulging me. Why do you love a trout stream?
Work continues in the making of a film about the famous angler & writer Joe Brooks. In the video below we see the impact he had on fly fishing in Argentina & Patagonia. These locations are now destinations for fly anglers, but 60 + years ago when Joe first went there, they were unknown to all but the locals. Joe fished there, wrote about it, & as a result helped to create a whole new haven for anglers & economy for the locals.
If you're unfamiliar with who Joe Brooks was you need to do yourself a favor & pick up any of the books he wrote. In the last half of the twentieth century Joe was a legend among fly anglers. He changed the way many folks fish. The techniques that many of us use today were his. If you've not read any of his works, you seriously owe it to yourself to check out his writings. I promise you it will make you a better fly angler.
Enjoy this short film about how Joe Brooks put fly fishing in Patagonia on the map & learn a little about what an incredible angler he was.
Since today is a day for shenanigans & tomfoolery, I'm re-posting this oldie but goody from years ago. Enjoy........
Once upon a time, a faithful fly angler named Norman was fishing in his favorite stream. He was an especially faithful angler because he hadn't caught a fish in five years. Others had, he knew.
For five long seasons he watched as the rods of his fellow anglers bent with life to the power of fighting trout. Always pleasant to others, Norman congratulated the other anglers on their catches & was happy for their success - in spite of his own lack of luck. They were in there, teasing him - mocking him it would seem. Through the five years Norman tried everything he could think of. He read all the fly fishing books & magazine articles he could, following their advice & directions to the letter. He even went so far as to hire a guide on his home waters, but was declared a hopeless case.
Finally one day, Norman couldn't take it anymore. He sat down along the stream bank & wept at his terrible streak of fishless days. This was the end of the line for him. He made up his mind to sell his rod & all his gear when he got back home.
He wasn't sure how long he had been sitting there when he heard approaching footsteps of someone coming thorough the woods. Wiping his eyes & trying to hide his shame, Norman saw him emerge from the bushes. He was a tall man, decked out in a flannel shirt with an old fishing vest stained from years of use. His old rubber hip waders had been patched so many times you couldn't tell where the patches began & the original wader ended. He smoked an old broken pipe & wore a torn & rumpled felt hat on his head that his long grey hair stuck out from underneath. His long grey beard was twisted & gnarly. Even though this was his home stream, Norman was sure he had never seen this mystical angler before.
The strange angler approached Norman & stood above him. "I understand what you're going through", he said. "For five long years I've been watching you go without a fish. Many times I thought of offering you some advice, but I could see nothing you were doing wrong. However, your faith & persistence in attempting to catch a trout have earned you this prize." The mystical angler then pulled an old tin from his vest pocket & produced a fly for Norman. "Take this & cast it down & across in front of that log on the other side of the stream over there. It will only take one cast. Your hard times are over if you'll fish this fly." Reaching up & taking it from his hand, Norman saw that it was the strangest fly he had ever seen. It had a deer hair tail of translucent green, a body of what looked like fur from a tabby cat, & polka-dotted hackle of red & white. "Thanks," said Norman. Looking up he saw the angler was gone without a sound - as if he had vanished.
"My goodness, I must be cracking up" thought Norman, but there was that bizarre fly in his hand. Figuring he had nothing left to loose, he tied on the weird fly to the end of his tippet & waded out into position to cast.
The fly landed on the water. It took a good drift as Norman mended his line to get a good swing in front of the log. Suddenly his line stopped dead in the water & he felt the pull. Setting the hook, the fight was on. The fish dove down & Norman played him well. Swimming in figure eights Norman pulled the line to straighten him out. The fish went for some underwater branches, but Norman moved it away. Suddenly the trout surfaced for only a second & as he gave slack line he thought the trout looked different somehow, but didn't have time to ponder it at the moment. For every trick the trout tried, Norman knew a counter-move. Back & forth they went like this for hours.
Finally, tired & worn out from the fight, Norman brought this prize trout to hand. It was then that he noticed it was blue!! It was a blue trout!! How could this be?
While staring in stunned silence at this rare sight, suddenly the fish spoke to Norman. "You put up a good fight" the trout said. Startled by this Norman dropped the fish & his fly snapped off his line, but the fish didn't swim away. It floated in the stream with it's head above the water & said, "I have not been played with such care, grace, & skill by an angler as you. I have been bested by you, sir. It has been an honor to be brought to your hand. For your skill & sportsmanship I will grant you three wishes before I swim away. However, choose your wishes quickly, as a hatch will soon be on & I must leave you."
He couldn't believe this was happening. Certainly he must be loosing his mind, but there was the trout, blue as could be in front of him. Norman's thoughts began to race as a grin formed on his face.......
No one knows what happened after that, but Norman never had another fishless day in all his years. So despair not fellow anglers who may be struggling to catch a fish. If you are faithful, persistent, & celebrate the successes of other anglers, regardless of your bad luck like Norman, you may just be lucky enough to find the blue trout.
Seriously though, folks, blue trout do exist - in hatchery trout. This is a naturally occurring, but rare, abnormality found mostly in rainbow trout & in a few brown trout as well. It's believed that this mutation occurs because of an abnormality in the fish's thyroid that produce hormones that cause the odd coloration. At PA Fish Commission hatcheries, they separate these trout out from the others that will be stocked. That's why you never hear of anyone catching one. These blue trout can be found swimming in the pools at the hatcheries. If you want to see a blue trout, contact a PA Fish Commission hatchery to see them.
To read more about blue trout, please click HERE.
There's nothing magical about a blue trout....or is there??..........
In researching some older bamboo fly rods, I recently stumbled upon an article written by Michael Baughman which appeared in the May 5th, 1980 issue of Sports Illustrated Magazine. The article is titled "Old and Unimproved As They Might Be, Split-Cane Rods Can't Be Beat"
In the article the author proclaims that out of all the fishing & outdoor gear he owns, if he had to pick just one piece of equipment to keep, it would be his bamboo fly rod. He gives a brief history of the development of the bamboo fly rod & then goes on to extol the delights of fishing with bamboo compared to graphite & fiberglass rods.
"Most of the anglers who prefer split cane are motivated partly by the tradition of the sport, but they are also of the opinion that, contrary to popular belief, a good cane rod still casts better than anything else. I think they're right."
In his comparisons of bamboo rods vs modern rods made of synthetics, he hits upon a point that I believe is so very true about cane rods - a point that those new to bamboo realize & leads to them loving the feel of a bamboo fly rod:
"If you can't time your casts, if you don't have the proper motion and rhythm, the rod will let you know it. It won't perform. But if you take the time to learn to use it, a cane rod will give you a straight, smooth, accurate cast, one that simply feels much better than a cast that you might make with anything else."
I've seen this myself so many times: an angler, new to bamboo, begins to cast a bamboo rod. Then they lock into the rhythm of the rod & their eyes light up - it's like nothing they've ever felt before!
The article, short in length, is a delight to read. You can read the entire piece on the SI archives website HERE. For those of you who already know & love bamboo fly rods, this article is just preaching to the choir, but for those of you who have yet to toss a line with a cane rod, it's yet another testimony to why you should give bamboo a try.
I just put together another video for you to enjoy. It's just a 2 minute slide show of some gorgeous trout streams & some custom fly rods I've been honored to make. There's some video of the streams mixed in as well.
The idea behind this video was that we'd have something to watch on those cold winter days that are surely coming. When the snow is falling & the wind's howling outside we can sit back & escape for a couple of minutes by visiting some beautiful trout streams & looking at a few fine fly rods. Enjoy!!
If you liked that video, be sure to check out all my other ones over on my YouTube channel. There you can see more videos like this one, but focusing on different topics like bamboo fly rods or take a look into the rod shop & even see some of the accessories that are made in my shop as well. Thanks for watching!!
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:
10'-0", 4 pc, 5/6 wt