When we are floating the smallmouth bass river or climbing the mountain trout stream we usually carry a lunch and drinking water in our vest. After fishing for several hours our hands may be grubby. I carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my vest and scrub my hands good before eating lunch.
Here are two simple steps that can easily double the number of successfully hooked fish on your streamer fishing. (1) Always follow the sweep of your streamer with your fly rod so the rod tip is pointed in the same upstream-downstream plan where the line leaves the river. This enables you to quickly feel the strike. (2) The instant you feel the strikes set the hook quickly with a quick line hand strike and a firm rod lifting motion.
In order to catch large bass consistently on hard surface bugs it is very important to be able to adjust the bug action to the type of water we are fishing. I have designed the Shenandoah Surface Bugs with this goal in mind. (1) For example, we often find bass feeding in water two feet deep along the shaded banks and a gentle teasing bug-action is very effective. The Shenandoah Slider with its long slim pointed nose is very productive here. (2) Four feet deep banks with fast currents produce large bass to a bug that can create a loud water-throwing action. The Shenandoah Chugger with its fat body and deeply cut face quickly brings these bass to the surface with a firm stripping action. (3) Grass beds and gentle current areas hold many bass that will take bug-action between these two extremes. The Shenandoah Popper with its long tapered body and up-sloping face will take many of these bass.
The most valuable skill a smallmouth angler can develop is learning to read the water accurately. The few minutes spent analyzing a section of a river in this way will give you more bass on the spot and a better understanding of all sections of the rivers in the future.
I see this as a three step process. First I strive to determine where the bass will be holding. The best of these areas are a combination of a feeding station and a holding area. The second step is determining where to present my fly so I can fish it effectively through the basses feeding station. The third step is positioning myself at the precise spot which will enable me to make my presentation accurately and swim my fly convincingly through the basses feeding station.
My angler’s calendar is very large, having about two inch square spaces for each date. This allows plenty of space for me to write in where I fished that day, the water temperature, the hatches, water level, my catch and any other important information. Each January when I get a new calendar I write in the above information from previous years. This brings back wonderful memories as I record these previous trips. It also helps me plan future fishing trips as I correlate the present stream conditions and hatches with what I did on past trips under similar conditions. Great fun!
“I am new to fly fishing and need advice on rods for freshwater fishing”. This question came in as email and I believe many anglers are at this point. In order to answer this in a meaningful way I will discuss the outfits I use in various types of fly fishing and why. I will break this down into four separate blogs and post one each week:
(A) Small Mountain Streams
(B) Large Eastern Trout Streams and Western Spring Creeks
(C) Large Western Trout Streams
(D) Bass Streams and Lakes
Part (B) Large Eastern Trout Streams and Western Spring Creeks
In answering my beginning anglers question for help on “selecting tackle: let us look at the ideal outfit to use on large trout streams in the East. This could be the Beaverkill in New York, Big Spring Creek in Pennsylvania or The Jackson in Virginia. I use flies as small as 24 Tricos on 7X on these streams and go up to nymphs as large as size 8. Accuracy in fly placement as well as delicacy is very important on these streams, as is drag-control on the drifting of the flies. I find that a delicately tipped 9 foot 4 weight rod is perfect for this eastern fishing as well as fishing Western Spring Creeks. For me personally rods which require lines larger than four do not give me the delicacy I like and rods shorter than 9 feet long rob me of drag control. My favorite rods are the Scott G2 9 foot 4 weight 4 piece and the Scott Radian 9 foot 4 weight 4 piece.
I have a good friend who injured his right shoulder badly. Since he cast with his right hand he was very disappointed that he would loose a season’s fishing while he recovered from surgery. I encouraged him to just switch over and cast with his left hand which he did and he was able to fish the whole season.
In my fly fishing schools I have always had to cast with both hands to help all of my students. If you have not tried this give it a go. You will be pleased how well you do. After all you already know the proper casting technique.
When you are fishing streamers across stream for trout or bass as you wade downstream stop and stand still before stripping your fly back. This enables you to quickly detect the strike and set the hook.
Folstaff Wading Staff $132.00
A good wading stick is a great aid when wading fast streams and I don’t mean just large rivers. If you accidently fall down in water waist deep you get wet, if you fall down in water ankle deep you can break bones. I use a Folstaff Wading Staff in all streams I fly fish. If, however, you need to wade across a waist deep fast river and don’t have a wading stick here is a method which has helped me in the the large rivers we fish in the Rockies. Point your fly rod downstream with your downstream arm extended full length so the tip and six inches of the rod tip rest on the surface of the river. Maintain this contact point, just brushing the surface of the stream, as you wade slowly across the fast water. This simple method improves your balance greatly and helps you keep from falling.
Watch Harry’s Video on the Folstaff Wading Staff and the benefits of using a wading staff while fishing on the river.
This photo essay will cover the steps to clean and dress your fly line to ensure optimum performance.
Strip the fly line off of your reel. Be careful to strip it into an area that is clean and safe from feet. I like to make 3-4 foot strips and thoroughly inspect the fly line as I am going. I look for nicks in the coating and check my knots for signs of weakness. I make it a habit of re-tying all of my knots once a year, especially the line/leader knot.
Strip the fly line through your soapy towel. I strip the line through twice. Once from tip to butt and then from butt to tip.
After cleaning with soapy towel, remove soap by stripping fly line under running water. Again strip form tip to butt then butt to tip.
Dry the fly line thoroughly.
Strip the fly line through the applicator pad/ line dressing. Again work from tip to butt and then from butt to tip. This will help to ensure all of the microscopic nicks and dings are filled with line dressing.
Remove the excess fly line dressing with a clean soft cloth by stripping the line from butt to tip and then tip to butt. We are then ready to wind the line back onto the reel.
As the season progresses and you notice that your fly line begins to feel sticky or that it just doesn’t shoot right. When this happens, follow the steps above to restore the performance of the line. Depending on how dirty your streams or ponds are (i.e. grass, moss, pollen, mud) will dictate how often you should clean and dress your fly line. We use Scientific Anglers Fly Line Dressing or Glide Line Dressing on our personal and school outfits and have been pleased with the results. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us (email@example.com) or give us a call at 540-984-4212.
Thank you to our valued customers and friends for allowing us to share the joy of fly fishing with them. Â We have been blessed with the opportunity to meet many new and wonderful people and to strengthen friendships along the way. Fishing, especially fly fishing for us, is not as much about how many or how big the fish are; it is about the journey and those we choose to share it with.
As for the new year, we would like to wish everyone a healthy and prosperous 2010. Â Whatever resolutions you may make, be sure to include some time for friends and fishing.
Tight Lines and God Bless,
The Staff at Murray’s Fly Shop and Jeff and Harry
Always carry several band aids in you billfold when you are fishing to fix your cuts and to make small tackle repairs.