Saturday, October 29, 2011

Big Fish Eat Tiny Meals - Midge Fly Time Is Here

Last winter I made a decision to get very tiny with my presentations for late fall and winter.  By tiny, I mean using flies size 20 and smaller.  Because there are over 700 different non biting midge flies in North America, finding the best colors is going to be a trial and catch situation.

In addition to the simple larval form of the life cycle you will want to tie very small versions of flies like Pheasant Tails, Hairs Ear, Copper Johns and various Chironomid imatations.

During our regular season from spring to fall these tiny midges will go through a complete life cycle from egg to adult in a 2-3 week period.  This is why very tiny flies are all that fish will eat at certain times.  When I find myself in a situation where I know the fish are eating, and I can't get a hook up, I will get smaller and smaller in my selection and hope that size 22 and below will not be necessary.  You will have this happen more often in tail water locations.

At the end of the season the complete cycle will stop and suspend in the larval state through the winter.  November will start as the smallest and April the same pattern will have grown a bit.  I have been fishing for Land Locked Salmon at the end our New Hampshire season, and a very successful fly is the Olive Jailbird by Marla Blair in sizes 18 and 20.  I tie them from light to dark in color with dubbing as well as a very thin version with thread for the body.  Finding the red wire for the rib in a small enough size is a key element.

Because there are so many different possibilities for these flies, When trout and salmon fishing, I carry at lease 100 with me me at all times.  I build them in olive from light to dark, copper bodies with different dubbing for the heads, red from bright to blood, green from pale to dark, brown from tan to mahogany, with and without beads, with or without weight, with or without ribs, with or without flash and many different hook shapes as are made.  Over time I expect that I will keep track and learn what works best on the rivers I fish on a regular basis.

I have found that using a larger fly with a bit of weight and the midge as a dropper has been working the best.  Because of the size of the eye on these tiny flies I must use a lighter tippet.  For the weighted fly I make the size larger and use a heavier tippet.

23" Salmon #18 Jailbird
Because these insects go through a complete egg to adult cycle you will want to have a few dry flies that will work at times.  Because of the higher water temperatures on tail waters it is possible to have a need for emergers as well as dries.  A size 18 or 20 Griffiths Knat in black, grizzly and brown should work just fine.  I always have a few dries available because you never know when the condition  will be just right.

Don't let the tiny size of these flies intimidate you.  You will get used to the size and a pair of magnifying glasses is a big help.  Big fish eat small meals and at times it is the only thing they want.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fly Tying Tip #122

Wilde One 
A hook has a natural balance and weighting so that the point rides down.  Many of us are now using nymphing techniques that have flies with weight as well as adding shot to leaders.  Grabbing the bottom and loosing many flies becomes an all day affair.

One thing that we can do when building flies is to top weight so the fly will ride up side down.  At the same time tying the fly up side down will make things look right side up.  By laying one or two strips of weight along the top edge of the hook you can easily throw the hook out of balance and maybe loose a few less flies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Czech Nymph Style

Picture From The Jersey Angler Blog
Yesterday was a very interesting day, here in New England, for more than one reason.  First it was one of the top ten looking and feeling days of the year.  October can be an unsettled month and the last three days have proven record high temperatures and beautiful sunshine.  Not the best fishing weather but very comfortable to be alive and on the water.

Second, I watched an angler use a three fly Czech Nymph set up who was taking more fish than all the other rods combine. The only thing that was added to a standard Czech set up was a small wool indicator.

This is a very simple concept to understand and at the same time offers the most complete river coverage possible.  First you determine the depth of the water that is close at hand as you will be high sticking with as little line on the water as possible.  Only the indicator would be the best.  The indicator is usually a change in color of the top section of your leader system or a colored sleeve or spring that fits on the line where the leader starts.  Next you tie in three flies using the water depth as the total tippet length.  The middle fly will be a weighted Copper John or Bead Head fly that suits the location and will bounce the bottom.  Then in secession up and down you will put the other flies eight to fifteen inches from the middle fly.  The flies determined by location and condition.  You can also try to put the weighted fly on the bottom.

By the use of Triple Surgeons Knots you can create droppers off the main leader.  The leader is a flat line and all the same pound test.  The bottom fly is on the main line and the others are off droppers.

As you can see, this is not a very typical situation.  The weight is at the middle or bottom.   What I see most anglers doing is putting the weight higher up the leader and bouncing the weight with the flies hanging below.  This style is only fishing close to the bottom while the Czech style is covering three different water colums on every cast.  You can have your Stone Fly in the middle with Pupa below and  an emerger above and cover river bed to top.  This is the opposite concept of using a dry fly with a dropper.

All I can tell you is that this rig was doing the job well and tomorrow I will be giving it a solid effort myself.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fly Tying Tip #121

As you are inserting a hook into your vise, never let go of the shank until the bend is firmly in place between the jaws.  I have shot hooks clear across the room when applying final pressure. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Federation Of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor

As you can read on my Fly Casting Page, I have worked very hard to complete this stage in becoming a quality single hand casting instructor.   This ability and understanding is necessary for me to feel good about who I am and what I am capable to be.  And especially what I can do for other anglers.

I am very proud to report that I have accomplished this beginning goal. This weekend I passed the written as well as performance tests to become a Certified Federation Of Fly Fishers Casting Instructor.

I want to say thank you to Rich Kovars CCI for keeping me on track and giving me the understanding that with a set plan and a dedicated practice schedule it is possible to be a good quality caster with the skills necessary to teach.  I will continue to learn and work to be better because as we know in this wonderful sport there is no limit and no end to what we can share.