Saturday, 28 February 2009

Rotating a Salmon Pool

I was having a chat the other day with a new fly fisher. During the course of the conversation I mentioned a salmon river I fished where pools were not rotated as was the custom because there were so many fish that the need for conventional etiquette was just not a factor.

He had no idea what I was talking about.
For the benefit of those of you new to the game of salmon fishing here is an explanation of how and why we rotate the pool.

Covering a Salmon Pool

First let’s review how to cover a salmon pool. Assume we are fishing conventional wet flies.

Salmon will lie throughout a pool at different locations and depths, if you know where they are: fish through the area as usual. If you do not know where the fish might be: start at the top of the pool with a short cast, across and down. Lengthen by a foot or two and make the same cast. This is repeated until you have cast as long a line as you are comfortable with.

Then, take a couple of steps down stream and start again with a short line working it out a few feet at a time. In this way you can progress through the length of the pool with reasonable confidence that you have shown your fly to any fish in range.

When fishing alone you can take your time and as my Father would say,” paint the pool” with your fly. But, when a pool is being fished by others too, you should “rotate the pool” so that everyone has an equal chance to fish.

Sharing a salmon pool
When sharing a new pool it is wise to observe the other fellows for a few minutes. What you want to know is, where does the pool start and where does it end? Take note of where the anglers enter the stream, where they make their first cast and how far down stream they fish before leaving the river and walking back to try again.

On most rivers with popular and well known pools there are usually a few fellows idling around, waiting their turn and shooting the breeze.
It is normally a collegial bunch with lots of information on how good the fishing was last week, when you were not there.

Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions about customs on the river and at this particular pool. It is better to listen to the chat and figure out, from the clues dropped in conversation or by observation, what tactics and flies are catching fish. Information earned by ten thousand casts is rarely tossed out to a stranger, no matter how annoying or prying their questions may be.

When your turn comes, walk to the bottom of the pool without disturbing other anglers. Enter the river at the appropriate spot with as little disruption as possible and start your cast. You should have watched long enough to see how quickly the average fellow is fishing. That is, whether they are painting the pool or just fishing to a seam or current.

The Rule

Either way the conventional rule is to enter the pool at its upstream limit, take one or two casts then a step down stream. You progress through the pool with this step, cast, step, cast pattern until you reach the end then walk back to await another pass.

It sounds a bit regimented but it is loads of fun. You are covering the pool, meeting other folks with your same interests, hearing some outrageous lies, lots of jokes and usually some very good tips and observations about salmon fishing, the weather and life in general.

I like to work the water above or below a pool a little farther than the usual exit point. It is often productive and one can take their time.

Keep in Mind

Some things to keep in mind when fishing a rotation:
Always respect the other anglers.
If someone has raised a fish be patient while he works over it.
If someone has hooked a fish, reel in so that there is no chance of your lines becoming entangled.
Always offer to assist another angler in the landing of his fish or snapping a photo before the release.
Be generous with flies and advice to new comers but only if asked. Most of all - be courteous.

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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Float Tube Repair and Maintenance

Well I am starting to feel a little better after the surgery. Having started a rehabilitation program also sparks me up a bit. I’ll be finished the exercise and education part just about the time May Flies are starting to show in our local lakes. This got me to thinking about float tubing and how much fun it is. Man, I just can’t wait.

Preparing for your first float of the year:

Lay the tube out and remove everything from the various pockets. Do an inventory. These are some things you should always carry with you:

A fire source
Some duct tape
20 feet of soft rope
A mesh bag
A noise maker or whistle
A small hand or foot powered air pump

Some rope is handy for many things such as tying off to a bush or by putting a few rocks in the mesh bag you have an anchor should you need one.

Work all of the zippers a few times and clean them with a lint free cloth and a little Armor-All. Silicon fly-line cleaner works great for this too.

Repair any loose threads or rips in the nylon shell. I use a big darning needle and leader material for this. When finished, a quick touch of the loose ends with a lighter or match will lock all of the knots in place.

Check for leaks:
Remove the air bladder and partially inflate it. Make a solution from dish soap and water then paint the whole inflated inner bladder with it. Any leaks will show as bubbles form from the escaping air. Make a circle around the leak with a Sharpie or other water resistant marker. Pay special attention to seams and air valves.

With luck there will be no leaks but if there is, here is what works for me.

Repairing pin holes in vinyl or PVC:

Deflate the tube and locate the marked leak.
Clip a bit of the excess bladder material from the side seams where it overlaps.
Using a bit of fine sand paper, lightly rough up a one inch circle around the leak. Put a light coat of contact cement on this area. Rough up the patch material and coat it with contact cement as well. Let the cement set for ten minutes or so on each piece and then firmly press the patch over the leak. To hold the patch in place while the glue sets
A bit of waxed paper laid over the patch will let you put a weight on it such as a book or two with out the weight getting stuck to the patch.
Let the patch set up over night.

For a tear:
You can try the same method as above but most replacement air bladders will only cost in the area of $40.00 or so and is probably the best way to go.

A leaking seam:
Here is a spot to start looking for a replacement tube air bladder:

For a good old-fashioned rubber tire inner tube just use a bicycle tire repair kit to repair any leaks. In my experience the rubber tubes are almost indestructible under normal fishing. The PVC and Vinyl bladders are a bit more delicate but lighter and easier to inflate and deflate.

A few more things:
Be sure to shake all of the dirt and debris out of the tube shell to avoid future punctures or abrasions.

When you put the bladder back in the shell, be very meticulous about making sure the inflation valves line up perfectly with the openings for them in the tube shell.

Remember not to over inflate your tube when setting out, or under-inflate it for that matter. Check your owner’s manual to see what is optimal.

Drop me a line or leave a comment if you have any questions about tubing. It is a fun way to enjoy warm weather fly rodding. If you have never tried it, you are in for some excitement when you do.

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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Another Salmon Guide Story from Newfoundland

Seems there was a sport, who was a little bit more than difficult to work with. No matter what the guide suggested this city businessman knew better (well, thought he did) and didn’t hesitate to say so.

By the last day of the trip everyone in the salmon camp had filled their tags, saving just one so that they could continue to fish catch and release, everyone that is except our know-it-all friend.

He had not so much as raised a fish.

As the dawn broke over the river the guides drew straws to see who would be his guide for the last and likely fishless day of a fishless trip.

Miracles do happen on Newfoundland salmon rivers as proven by the fact that our sport managed to hook-up despite ignoring a weeks worth of the good advice offered by his guide.

The fight was on and the dime-bright grilse cart wheeled across the pool in the early morning light. All hands stopped to watch as the drama played out.

The guide tried to offer counsel on playing the fish and generally to assist the sport to land his prize.

All of his efforts fell upon deaf ears. The sport simply started to reel in his line until while everyone watched in amazement the last few inches of leader were pulled through his rod tip. The grilse spun and thrashed until the top half of his rod broke and the current swept the whole sorry mess down stream, reel screaming and fish still thrashing.

The guide made a desperate grab at tailing the fish as it went by leaving him with one hip boot full of the icy river water and the other sagging down below his knee, slowly filling to match.

By now, everyone watching is in stitches except for the guide, who is furious at the sport and the sport himself who is simply oblivious.

“What do I do now?” screamed the sport, a death grip on his rod, reel still spitting line.

The guide looked him up and down and said, “ You haven’t done anything I’ve said yet but try this: Reel him up again just as tight as you can, then run out to the end of the rod and stab the fooker to death”

He sloshed back to shore and grabbing a landing net managed to scoop the grilse the next time the sport dragged it within reach.

All agreed it was a great day on the river.

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Monday, 2 February 2009

Fishermen are Stand-up Guys

While recovering from surgery I have been watching a lot of television…I mean a lot!

One of the things I can’t help but notice is that the commercials shown on fishing shows have to do with fishing gear; ATV’s, rods, new lures, boots. It is all stuff like that.


Golf shows on the other hand mostly have advertisements for things like Viagra, men’s hair dye, hair plugs and Metamucil fibre supplements.

Now, I’m not drawing any conclusions here about the reliability of a fisherman’s tackle over a golfer’s shaft but ya’ gotta’ wonder what’s up (or not, as the case may be) with that?

The best comment I’ve heard recently about golf is that it keeps a lot of folks busy who would otherwise be out cluttering up the trout streams.

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