Tom Keer 10/26/2011 This past weekend my family and I went away to New Hampshire. We live at the beach, but we head to the mountains for a change of pace. For this trip, my daughter and son wanted to bring along a few friends, […]
Month: October 2011
There isn’t much that’s more frustrating than getting into position to drop a fly in front of a fish and having your line and leader** turn into spaghetti. Any self-respecting fish darts for cover, and the odds of catching a fleeing fish is slim to none. A leader that matches your fishing situation helps you catch more fish.
Leader length is really important. On a spring creek, pool, or pond you’ll usually need a longer, finer leader. Those slower moving waters give a trout more time to look things over. Long, fine leaders have delicate tippets, and it’s easier to beguile a fish. If you start fishing in deeper water or in faster moving water, the clarity is worse. Shorter leaders work better because they’ll help you swim or drift your fly more naturally. In faster water, trout have to make their mind up quicker, so you can get away with a heavier pound test.
Stiffer leaders are helpful when turning over big, wind-resistant flies for freshwater or saltwater bass. A light leader doesn’t have the backbone to flip a spun deer hair or balsa wood popper. Use a stiff material to help present large flies properly.
As you mix and match your materials, make sure that you look at the diameter and not just the pound test on the decal. The 20-pound test diameters for Stren Fluorocarbon is .018, while Berkley Trilene is .017 and Orvis Mirage Fluorocarbon is .015. Knots don’t seat properly when there is too big of a difference in the diameters. And they pull when a fish tugs at the other end.
Match your leaders to the situation and you’ll lay out a great presentation every time. At least you will until the wind blows, and more on that later….
(**Fly leaders are tapered monofilament strands that connect the fly fishing line to the fly. They’re designed to cast (present) flies the way the fish expects to see food items.)
Kirk Deeter 10/20/2011 A lot of us are starting to pack up some of our fishing gear for the winter (just don’t stow all of it; there’s still good fishing to be had). One of the most important things you can do is clean your […]
Andy Whitcomb 10/18/2011 An Airboat Tour at the Sawgrass Recreation Park. I recently passed a truck pulling an “airboat” on a trailer. Another intriguing boat to consider in my boat quest. I have yet to drive one but have seen footage of the flat-bottom hull […]
September is a difficult month for fishermen. Everything converges all at once. Freshwater fish like brown, rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout feed aggressively, preparing for the long winter ahead. When you land one, take an extra minute to study their vibrant colors – it’ll help you through the long winter ahead. Warm water fish like bass and panfish prowl the shallows for the smorgasbord of damselflies and dragonflies
and dace and shiners. The Northwestern waters come alive as steelhead runs gain momentum. Pacific salmon crowd the rivers and Atlantic salmon return to their homewaters to spawn. The Northeast saltwater offers striped bass, bluefish, False albacore, bonito, skipjack, tuna and more. The fall run spans from Maine to North Carolina. The fishing list goes on throughout our country.
For fishermen, the only difficulty with September comes with Labor Day. It’s the time of year when schools are either in full swing or are just getting underway. Kids replace fishing rods with footballs, field hockey sticks, and soccer balls. Activities soak up freetime. For adults, work picks up after a slower summer season and coupled with busy kids, September flies by. If you blink you’ve missed one of the best fishing months of the year.
Not to worry, October may be an even better fishing month. It seems to me to be broken into two parts. In the first half of the month there are still many warm days to be had. Indian summer can bring balmy temperatures, with winds still blowing from the south-southwest. With hot temperatures come light winds and casting and boating is about as perfect as it can get. The second half of the month brings a wind shift. Colder Northern winds can drop temperatures overnight, and a morning frost coats many boat decks. The t-shirts worn in the first half of the month are replaced by wool and fleece.
October has all of the great fishing that September does, but without the frenetic pace. If you can shake free from some of your many obligations you may find a better month on the water. That may be hard to believe, but give it a whirl and see if it’s true. Let the fish be the judge.
All fishing is good fishing. But sight fishing — where you see the fish before you cast — is one of my favorite challenges. It doesn’t matter if I’m casting to trout in a river, or bass or pike in the shallows of a lake. If I can see the fish… make a perfect presentation… and “get bit,” well, I think that’s “top of the game.”
But seeing fish is not as easy as it sounds. Sure, sometimes they show themselves in clear water, like this cutthroat trout I saw in a mountain stream the other day. But most of the time, the telltales are subtle.
I once went fishing with a friend who had hawk eyes. He’d say, “There’s a fish there, by that rock… over there, against the bank, you see?” And I’d say, “NO! How in the heck can you see those fish?”
He then gave me the best piece of fish-spotting advice I have ever heard.
“The secret to spotting fish is knowing where to look,” he said. Yogi Berra couldn’t have said it any better himself. But the point was well taken. You see… fish like to be in certain areas — where currents converge, on drop-offs, around structure, and so forth.
When you are looking for fish, make a mental picture frame, and focus on “suspicious” areas. Move your picture frame, methodically from spot to spot, covering the water, one section at a time.
You want to remember that you’re looking for “pieces” or “signs” of a fish, and not the fish itself. It might be a bright glint in the water… a shadow that moves… a tiny wake on the water surface… a sudden flash… or even just a color contrast that doesn’t quite match the water and the bottom.
It also helps to learn to eliminate the distractions that are NOT fish. Waves, birds, shadows, weeds, etc. If you factor out the things you aren’t looking for, you can focus in on the fish you are looking for.
The most important lesson: Slow down and take your time. If you can see your target and make an accurate cast, your odds go up dramatically. Sight fishing will make you a better angler… and it’s a lot of fun.
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