Friday, April 27, 2012

Fly Tying Tip #128

For a long time I have been making all sorts of modifications to hooks and Waddington shanks to create a good way to make articulated flies.  Now I am happy to have found  a product from The Flymen Fishing Company that is worth purchasing.

They come in three sizes and can be used hook direct or as stingers.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Below The Suckers

Spring is here and oh what a season it has been.  The Fish Club Crew have been out in force since January first and the numbers of  big fish angled has been the best ever.

Now, that is saying a lot.

Even with the low flows all over New England, the fish are there and what is making a big difference, for me, is the combine experience my friends are sharing.  I have so many options that it is impossible to get to every location right now unless I skip out on work.

One of the events that happens at this time is the migration of large quantities of spawning Catostomids.  Commonly known as Suckers because of their downward facing mouth.  The Rainbow Trout have been in the river on their own migration for a month or more and the Landlocked Salmon have just arrived.  The aroma must be screaming that a big meal is on the way.

One of the most effective forms of lure is the multitude of flies that imitate the roe of the suckers.  Sucker Spawn patterns can be made with a number of materials that are readily available.  For the rivers I fish a pale yellow combination with a tinge of light green or olive seems to work best.  Pearl core braid in combination with light yellow yarn and a sprig of marabou seems to be quite effective.  You can use Sharpie markers to add highlights in red to the under portion of the fly.

I fish these flies no different than any dead drift presentation.  The trout and salmon will move and follow as the water temperatures have been on the rise.

So along with all the other pieces to the puzzle, the Sucker Spawn has a place. A great addition to eggs and leeches as effective springtime flies when the big ones lie below the Suckers.  The window is short and taking advantage of the feast is now.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Pursuit Of Salmo Salar

Angling the day away has it's rewards.  Getting out there makes me feel alive and I love the reflection I go through for days after.  Having a long week end adds a substantially heightened emotion because you can lock into a location and have the time to figure out what is needed for success.  I have also stayed at some very high quality lodges where your every need is taken care of and you and your guide spend the day on private water.  These trips to places like Toms Brook on the Restigouche, Camp Brule, Salmon Lodge and others have been memorable indeed.  A week during the fall season in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia can be spectacular.

The most number of days that I have fished Salmon  in a row has been ten.  I spent these days on some of the most important rivers in Quebec and for a number of those days the locations were legendary.  The rivers included York, Dartmouth, Grande Cascapedia and Matapedia.  If these were the only rivers available to me in the world I could be happy.

Right now there are a number of us who have booked into lodges, won the lotteries for water access on the rivers in Quebec or are using the vast access to public water that is available all through Eastern Canada.  The dates are locked and extending a trip means working with  public pools, seventy two and forty eight hour draws.  The first thing to do, no matter what you have booked now, is to create an information pack of every name, address and phone number that would have relevance.   I have been on more than one adventure when something happens and you must shift gears.  Torrential rains that had trees flowing down the Miramachi, in New Brunswick, once moved my week to Quebec where the rain caused the fishing to explode. You can watch the river flow for a while and go home or move quickly and save the week.  Over time, we all make friends and associates.  That list can be your personal life saver.

When I travel to a certain destination my equipment and fly selection is carefully prepared for the conditions that are expected.  I wait until the last two days before leaving to check the river flow and up coming weather.  I make phone calls to find out the exact situation and then set my gear to match what I have learned.  Then, I pack everything else in a separate bag as you just never know what might be needed.   Extra rods, reels, lines, flies, leaders and cloths.  Rods and reels break and lines wear out.  Having extra gear can save time and money.

Not all trips need to be planned far in advance.  Some of the most memorable have been a reaction to favorable conditions during the shoulder times of the year.  I once called Ron McWhirter, at Camp Brule during September, and being an honest camp owner he said I should not come.  "There are fish in every pool and they are not taking well at all".  I noticed that a reasonable rain was forecast for the next day and decided to go for a three day spur of the moment trip. Fish in every pool is all I needed to hear along with a change in weather.   I was guided on public water of the Petite Cascapedia by Ron's son, Andrew, where we were able to land two fish each day.  I fished both wet and dry fly and had a great time as the freshet had made the fish active.  I was lucky to have read the conditions correctly and just as important is the skill to read the conditions in the opposite direction and not go.  This of course is no easy task.  That time on the Marimachi when the trees were flowing in the chocolate brown current could have been switched from home had I had the proper system in place to know what was expected.

Of course having the ability to make these kind of decisions takes many years of experience as well as the knowledge of many rivers.  Keeping every bit of information written as well as photos of each trip will help you maintain a library.  I scan the old photos to have in my computer and have draws filled with pamphlets and maps.    A great source for information has been the back issues of the Atlantic Salmon Journal.  I have the entire collection back to the very first issue.  The people and conditions change but the basic information that gives you the ability to make decisions does not.

So, this season In Persuit Of Salmo Salar, save and savor the experience as if it were history.  You are building your own personal experience that will give you the ability to make a switch if needed.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Davy Knot By Davy Wotton

I found this great knot a few years ago. From the very first time I used it I was amazed at the power of the knot.  The best thing is that it will retain 100% of your tippet strength and has a very small footprint at the eye of your fly. It was developed by Davy Wotton of Great Britain when he was working with their trout fishing team.  Davy wanted a knot that was fast to tie and very strong.  In addition he created a knot with the very smallest footprint I have ever seen.

As of today 4/2/2012, I use the Davy Knot or the Double Davy Knot for all tippet to fly connections except for Atlantic Salmon wet flies.  Unless a new and better knot is created, I will use the Davy.  It works great for fluorocarbon as no heat is created when tied correctly.  If you pull after tying and it sets tight it will not come apart.  The time you will notice the difference is when you confidently can hold that big fish in the pool.

On June 20, 2012 I decided that I would do a controlled study of the Davy Knot.  I started out with 6X Rio Powerflex and a size 14 3906 nymph hook.  On one side of the eye I tied the Davy and on the other I tied the Clinch.  The clinch won the tug of war 10 in a row.  I then did the clinch verses the improved clinch.  9 to 1 for the improved clinch.  Then the Double Davy verses the Improved Clinch.  10 to 0 for the Double Davy.  I was really perplexed at the issue with the standard Davy.

Then it dawned on me.  The 6X and size 14 heavy wire hook were not compatible to the Davy.  When the size 14 was switched out with a size 18 hook the order was Double Davy, Davy, Improved Clinch and Clinch was last.

This is now my conclusion.

I am using the Double Davy at all times.

The only thing that is a must is that you use a Double Surgeons  Knot to attach your tippet to leader.  Reason is that The Double Surgeon is also a 100% knot and gives you equal strength of both ends of your tippet.  If you are still using Clinch, Improved Clinch and Blood knots then you are fishing with a 20% loss of tippet strength.

As the Davy Knot has an issue when tying on hooks with a large diameter wire. Davy Wotton says to repeat the last step a second time and the problem goes away.  I now use the Double Davy on all larger hooks and can say it will not slip. You must keep your tippet size to hook wire size in sync for 100% strength.  Even a 6x tippet will not be strong when used with a size 14 nymph hook.  Use that same tippet with a size 16 or 18 hook and it is as strong as can be.

Click this link to see the tying video
Click this link to see the Tug Of Davy Knot War