Thursday, 31 May 2007

A great picture captures more than the moment.

Anyone heard any good fishing quotes lately?

My brother once offered this one when we arrived at a camp. "Early to bed, early to rise; fish like Hell and tell some lies".

I always liked it but this one from Steven Wright made me laugh out loud, "There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot." A good caption for this post's picture.

"There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot."
It was taken by my brother Dave. When I look at it the whole of the trip when it was taken comes back to me, the smell, the sounds, everything. Its amazing how some photos/photographers can do that. It captures one of my favourite places. It is getting dark fast and I've just cast to cover a big, swirling, roll.

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Saturday, 19 May 2007

Shad on the fly

big shad on a pink fly
Some people asked me to talk a bit more about Shad on the fly.

Here is the basic set-up I use early in the season. An eight-weight rod with a sinking line and a very short leader, about four to six feet of straight, six pound mono.

The flies are unique to the business of catching Shad but would probably work for warm water Small Mouth Bass too.

 I'll add a picture of one of the simplest to tie. It is not a coincidence that this is the fly I use most often.

If you don't lose a handful by catching on bottom you are not fishing deep enough. That's the only secret to the game that I know.

shad fly -try lots of different colours
Get the fly deep. I try and look for places where the current will carry my fly deep into a pool and slowly raise it. Fish will usually take on the rise. If they don't, let it dangle at the end of the cast and give it a few twitches. They will sometimes take there.

If no takes just retrieve it in varying patterns of short and long strips with lots of pauses to let the fly get deep. That's about it.

You will see the schools of fish moving around the water and can figure out how to intercept them.

 I like an overcast day for Shad fishing or on a bright day early morning and evenings.

I'll go to a light, five-weight set up as the water warms and the river starts to drop back from the early spring freshets. A big Shad on a five weight is a real hoot.

 The world angling record for American shad weighed 5.1 kg (11.2 lb) and was caught in the Connecticut River, Massachusetts, in 1986. The average I see is between four and six pounds at a guess.

 Shad fishing is very social with loads of anglers on the banks. It is about the opposite of a trout fishing trip to the back woods. Not a lot of subtlety or craft just a load fun and a great way to introduce a beginner to fly-fishing.

 It is also a great way to start to teach someone about salmon fishing. We all know that getting a salmon to take is only a part of the game. Being able to land one is a major challenge too, especially for someone who has never experienced a big, feisty fish on a fly rod.

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Sunday, 13 May 2007

The poor man's salmon

Fly-fishing for Shad has become a spring ritual for me. If you have never tried it I encourage you to give it a go.

I've heard them called "the poor man's salmon" and its true. When you are playing a big Shad they fight amazingly like a grilse. They don't jump as often but are great to tangle with.

A guy I chatted with at streamside said the other night "they are a great tune-up for Salmon season". I like to fish them because they are very forgiving about taking but demand all your skill to land.

 It is not uncommon to hook three or four to every one landed, especially in the first of the run. As you get more skilled and your gear tuned up, you'll see that ratio quickly reverse.

If you can comfortably handle one of these silver demons you can confidently fish with a fly for anything that swims here in the East.

Wait a second; I've never caught a big Striped Bass on a fly rod so I'll reserve my earlier comment. I have caught some small stripers, they are called 'schoolies' I think, about twelve or fourteen inches and very plentiful in mid-May in some of our rivers.

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Saturday, 12 May 2007

Getting started in fly-fishing

It is interesting how consuming fly-fishing can be. I've been at it for years and I still learn something new every time I'm out.

 Recently I've been fascinated by the pleasure of just making a cast. A young fellow at my work brought in his fly gear to show me. He is just getting started in fly-fishing. I looked it over and offered some comments on knots and terminal tackle. Of course we ended up out in the parking lot flicking a few casts.

What's funny is that two grown men spent about forty-five minutes standing in a parking lot casting with all the care and attention we would if there was a salmon lurking under every parked car.

The feel of a good cast is such a pleasure in itself. The only thing that took us back inside that day was that lunchtime was over and we had to get back to work.. I wonder if people would still practice casting if for some reason there was no more fishing allowed?

I remembered another quotation but I'm not sure who said it, "The only time I am really confident that I'm using the right fly is when there is a fish attached to it."

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Fishing in general and fly fishing in particular

There are some wonderful quotations around the subject of fishing in general and fly-fishing in particular.
One I heard recently went something like this," The biggest fans of fly fishing I'm aware of are worms" another that I really like is from Thoreau. "A man has to believe in something; I believe I'll go fishing."

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