The weather has been glorious, England has reached the semi finals of the World Cup – so what’s the problem? Well there is little or no water in the rivers and small still waters are too warm – so unlike that classic musical number – the cotton may or may not be high – but the fish are definitely not jumping!
My local water is Grafham and as usual it has been particularly unpredictable – according to the books the bright sun will push the fish deep – but as our rainbows cannot read this is not very helpful! Twice this week I have been out on a floating line and had some excellent sport – even using dries! I have to admit a good Easterly breeze helped giving a nice ripple and creating some wind lanes which brought fish up to a healthy hatch, some terrestrials and snails.
So all my tying has been focused on hoppers, bobs bits, black and peacock spiders and Shipmans buzzers all of which have been taking fish. We all have our favourite dry patterns and all are effective – but I have been using a two fly set up on fluorocarbon a Shipmans on the point and a Bob’s bits on the dropper – this had been very effective in the evenings at Grafham; I had a double hook up and managed to get a cracking brown to the net.
As soon as I typed in the word fluorocarbon I knew I was in trouble – surely I meant copolymer – no I use a fluorocarbon leader with a very buoyant fly on the point holding things up and the Bob’s Bits sitting down in the film. Each fly is 6ft apart on a 12ft leader. Even if I do use a copolymer I use a fluorocarbon coated leader designed for sea fishing – this I find sits well in the surface and is less prone to damage and tangles.
Dry Fly Materials
We all love those glorious genetic capes – but they are a big investment – as I am sure that I will never use all the hackles one gives you. So Whiting 100’s offer a useful way to get a selection of the best hackles from a cape.
I have a limited number available from £12.50
These Indian cock capes provide a wealth of hackles in a range of sizes. I have a selection of these in natural colours.
On sales at £5.50
If you are looking for some top quality hackles for very small dries you might be interested in these packs of cape tops in an assortment of colours.
After a year of thinking about making a gallows tool for over a year and having experimented with a couple of designs I watched a demonstration of tying a paraloop fly and finally came up with a flexible design for a gallows tool.
The tool can be used for tying clink-hammer, paraloop and detached body flies, it can also be use as a bobbin holder. The design sets the tool away from the vice to minimize it’s interference while tying it is also very rigid and the horizontal bar can be used with other accessories.
These photos are of the prototype – the retail version will be in our usual black powder coating.
We now have in stock Softened Bees Wax for fly tying. This product is available in two formulas -the standard formula provides an easy to use product for treating tying thread at room temperature. It is also available in a super soft formula that is tacky at room temperature and can be used in colder environments.
I have been doing a lot more catch and release fishing lately and while nine times out of ten removing the fly is not a problem – in fact it is often in the net! But there is always that time – particularly if you are using a lure or a blob the trout manages to get the fly right in the back of the throat you need something to get it out.
Increasingly catch and release fishing is becoming the norm – even in competitions and if trout are to be released the sooner they are unhooked and back in the water the better.
There has been a great deal of research on survival of released fish – mainly in North America and there are some critical factors that should be born in mind. One of the most commonly mentioned is water temperature and most researchers agree that higher water temperature increases the mortality rate of rainbow trout – however this is outside the anglers control. Two other key factors are not, time out of the water and handling deep hooked fish, the longer a trout is out of the water the higher the chance it will not survive release, while we can all relate stories of fish being out of the water for photo’s, being weighted etc. swimming away – but researchers study survival for more that the time it takes to swim away.
Deep hooking is also something the angler can control – if you are fishing passively or using buoyant flies on sunk lines there is a greater chance of the deep hooking. So what do you do if you deep hook a fish? You could consider cutting the line and releasing both fly and fish, in a study more than half the fish released with deep hooks still in place had shed them within 4 weeks. Further research found that removal of hooks from deep hooked fish did more damage than the hooking – so if you are going to try to unhook a deep hooked fish be prepared to kill it, which is the final alternative.
So if you are fishing catch and release the more quickly and efficiently you can get your fly out of the fish and the fish back in the water the better. The disgorgers available are plastic and will not fit over a fly – so all in all they are unsatisfactory and prone to breaking . By contrast see anglers have some awesome tools to remove their bait hooks – so for the fly fisherman their should be something in between, this is my first offering. The business end is a simple loop like a rod tip ring but with an opening allowing your leader to slip in. The overall length is 24cm, which should allow a trout to be unhooked in the net, which will reduce any risk to the fish.
Having had a bit of down time after the christmas rush I have had a chance to look around the net to see what has been going on. One of the things I came across was a really comprehensive sight just for knots.
Net Knots not only gives you instructions on how to tie all the knots you will ever need – but they also give animations and video clips on how to tie them. They have also ‘productized’ the site by offering sets of cards with illustrations and instructions that you can slip into your pocket as an aid memoir. And for the techies you can get a knot app for your phone or pad.
What really interested me was seeing the knot I swear by to secure my flies with shown as the Davy Knot – I was introduced to it as the ‘Figure 8 knot’ – but since using it in preference to the blood knot I was shown when I first started fishing a cannot remember loosing a hook.
A really interesting site and I am sure that any angler will pick up something new.
Have been flat out this week getting orders out for Christmas – it seems that Scottie rotary has been more popular than the Scottie this year – which is an interesting development.
Many thanks to all my customers and retailers who have helped sales growth for us here at PWW Designs. A special thanks to staff at the magazines who have helped with our advertising which has really raised awareness of the Scottie vices.
A few more packages to get to the Post Office today and then back to the workshop and another batch of vices!!