There are different methods of breaking a rod: the car door, the boot lid, poking it into the ground, ripping a fly out of a tree, stepping on it, stepping on the leader as you are walking, forgetting it and running over it, catching a tree behind you on the forward-cast, lifting too much line from the water on a back-cast, stringing it up, unstringing it, slapping the water with it to get a tangle off the tip, holding the rod not the handle when playing a fish . . . .
One common method is when landing a fish: pointing the rod over your shoulder and reaching for the fish with your other hand.
The rod and line are now parallel to each other - the rod cannot flex and any additional tension on the line will cause it to snap! Never point the butt of the rod at the fish.
Always extend your right arm and lock the right elbow straight holding the rod AWAY from your body. Out to the side, or perhaps even out behind you with the rod partially over your head. If the fish wriggles unexpectedly or runs, the rod can follow it and flex as it is designed to.
The only advice is that it is necessary to give the angler on this head is, not to select any very gaudy colours, as gaudy colours are apt to attract the notice of the trout, and are perceived by them at a greater distance, and to avoid approach to foppery, as trout have the most thorough contempt for a fop, and will not on any account allow themselves to be handled with kid gloves.
Carpet beetles and related dermestid beetles, as well as clothes moths, mites and silverfish can destroy your flytying materials that have been carefully gathered from road-kills, as well as commercially prepared products: prevent infestations by placing all materials in a freezer for 48 hours, twice, over a one week period, every six months, and keep in sealed zip-lock bags. Any new fur or feathers should be placed in a freezer for 48 hours before being stored along with other material. Fresh red cedar wood (less than three years old), is toxic to carpet beetle larvae (but not adults), and is ideal for making storage boxes. Spraying behind shelves and under drawers with a residual insecticide is recommended. Camphor or naphthalene will deter bugs and inhibit feeding to some extent, but will not prevent infestations (and trout may be able to detect the smell on your finished flies). Do not mix camphor and naphthalene together to double their effectiveness as they will spontaneously combust.
Identify feeding patterns before selecting your fly: Sip Rise: Surface rings - sometimes pronounced, other times almost imperceptible. Caused by trout leisurely sipping or sucking spent spinners, tiny duns, and insects like ants or sandflies trapped in the surface film. Splashy Rise: Indicates that trout are rising to very active mayfly duns, caddis adults, quick rising pupa or struggling stonefly adults on or above the surface. Sometimes the trout will jump completely out of the water. Dorsal Fin and Tail Rise: Trout are feeding on nymphs and emergers a few centimetres below the surface, and generally will ignore surface flies. Head Rise: Trout heads poking out of the surface, means the trout are usually feeding on mayfly, caddis or stonefly adults and/or cripples right on the surface. Similar to the 'Sip Rise', but generally indicates larger insects. Splashy Surge: Trout will chase smelt or whitebait into very shallow water.
Wading fishermen may be standing in the way of fish that are cruising and feeding in the shallow water near the banks. Fish your way into the water and have a good look for fish that are feeding or cruising close to the shore – often in less than 10cm of water. Before entering the water, fish the water within immediate range from the bank. When you have caught - or frightened - fish close in, you can then enter the water and fish your way out towards deeper water. Fish may be very close to the bank – fish from as far back as possible. If you are going to be fishing from the bank, it still pays to fish close-in first - keeping back from the water's edge - and then slowly work your way out.
As rivers heat up in summer, fish congregate in deep pools just below a good riffle. The riffle will provide much needed oxygen and the deep pools provide cooler temperatures and a refuge. Try using a large prince nymph on a sink tip line or a sinking head cast into the riffle and allowed to drop deep into the pool. Or use a short line with a long leader - you need to keep the fly line off the water so you are in direct contact with the fly. Complex currents at the head of a pool will cause the fly line to drag and not allow it to drift naturally or deep enough. The take will be subtle - use a strike indicator on the leader to help see a soft take. Never take your eyes off the indicator. It is very easy to miss the take. Once that monster has taken it and spat it out, he won't be fooled again. You get one shot.
Times to fish
The time to go fishing is today, because if you wait until tomorrow, they'll tell you that you should have been there yesterday.... Restricting fishing to “first light” in the morning or “change of light” in the evenings is not the best strategy. Midge, mayfly and damselfly species often hatch during the day. In mid to late summer these hatches may even be restricted to betweennoonand3 p.m.Not only will the fish be more actively chasing the emerging aquatic and terrestrial insects at these times, but also few other fishermen are around. The downside to fishing during the day is finding areas where people are not swimming, exercising dogs, horses, jet boats or driving 4WD vehicles.
A parachute hackle is wound horizontally around a vertical post or wing. The hackle fibres are horizontal to the surface of the water and so support the fly well. No special equipment is needed to tie successful parachute hackles. Just confidence and the right technique. When you have tied-in the wing post and the end of the hackle, make your first turn of hackle round the bottom of the post. The next turns must be made underneath the first and following turns. The first turn is the top turn and the last turn is at the bottom. When you have made the required number of turns, tie-off in the normal way. As long as the last turn is underneath, the hackle cannot slip off the post. (and if it does, keep fishing the fly as a “klinkhammer special”).
Undercut banks are ideal lies for brown trout, providing them with cover from predators; they are against the stream edge where friction slows the water and makes for easy swimming; and they are on the outside of the bend where food is concentrated by the current. A streamer pattern, such as a woolly bugger is ideal: cast upstream so your fly and leader lands as close to the bank as possible and almost parallel to it. If the stream is wide enough that you can cast and fish across-stream make your cast so that the fly lands close to the undercut bank, then immediately make a big downstream mend so that as much of your leader and fly line as possible are lying parallel to the bank. As the fly drifts downstream and gets pulled by your line in the drift, make small twitches with the rod tip and throw further small downstream mends into the line. A head weighted fly will ‘swim’ in an undulating manner, attracting even the most wary trout’s attention.
A recent study published in the UK Journal of Fish Biology has found significant decreases in length for several fish species after death. The length of all fish (between 134-455 mm), decreased and shrinkage ranged between 2 - 15 mm for each of four species, held at room temperature, chilled, frozen or preserved. The results from these studies confirm that a post mortem decrease in length is a common phenomenon, even in fishes that are not frozen or preserved. Such shrinkage has implications for the enforcement of minimum legal length legislation: fortunately there is no minimum legal length for trout caught in the Wellington Fish & Game Region. But don’t rely on shrinkage to make that 55+cm Wainuiomata brown legal – the maximum size limit is there to protect breeding fish!
Fly reel backing line has two functions: 1. To fill up a reel so that the fly line is closer to the rim of the spool - this helps you retrieve more line per revolution of the reel and reduces line ‘memory’ or coiling; 2. To provide ample line length to cope with all expected runs of the fish. Club President David Austin reported seeing his backing recently: He was out fishing when he noticed the strange coloured line. “It was the weirdest thing," he said. "I recall putting it on there way back when, and I notice it when I change fly lines every year or so, but I never see it while I am fishing." "This type of thing isn't normal for me. I mean, I fish a lot, and catch lots of fish, but this backing thing is kind of new to me.”
Once you have set up your leader with indicator and nymph, any movement of the indicator on the surface is a fish (even if you think it is or if it turns out to be the river bed). If you are getting hung up on the bottom, cut your tippet back in 10 cm increments and try again. The movement can be a shake, a stutter, a sideways twitch, a stop, or a submergence. Strike at all of them. If your indicator doesn't move, but you see a flash of a fish's belly underwater nearby, or a white wink of the fish's mouth opening, or the fish's head snap back to center, or if you see the trout move over and stop, set the hook. Those are all feeding moves and he either has your fly or he doesn't and you can't catch him if you don't strike.
Insect repellents reduce the risk of sandfly bites, however, DEET and DIMP have occasionally been associated with skin reactions, including rash, swelling and itching; eye irritation; and, less frequently, slurred speech, confusion and seizures. Use sparingly. DEET and DIMP can be applied to clothing, but will damage some synthetic fabrics and plastics - including flylines. Avoid handling flies if you have repellent on your hands - it is just as effective at repelling trout!
In each pool there is usually one dominant fish which selects a position at the best feeding lie, often at the head of the pool. Researchers at theUniversityofGlasgowhave discovered that it is possible to determine a salmonid fish's social status by the shade of colour of the white's of its eyes. The study found that dominant fish had light cream-coloured sclera, or "whites" that only darkened if they fell ill. Low-status fish had dark sclera that lightened only after they ate a meal or won a skirmish with another fish. (Newscientist vol 2309: 25). Next time you're wondering which fish is the best catch – don't cast until you see the whites of their eyes!
Drinking river water
DespiteNew Zealand’s “clean & green” image, it is essential to take bottled water with you when fishing and not to drink from the stream. A recent NIWA survey of 229 lowland streams and rivers found that nearly 95% of them have levels of faecal bacteria and pollutants which are in excess of Health Ministry guidelines. These levels of bacteria can cause gastro-intestinal illness, and high levels make the water unsuitable for consumption by both people and stock. Between 1996 to 2002 phosphorus and nitrogen levels in streams in farming areas had increased because of more intensive land use, in particular dairying.
Floods are an all too common feature of New Zealand’s fishing season. While it may appear to be a washout, don’t forget the fish are still in the river – and still hungry. During flood periods trout move to areas of safety. · The bottoms of very deep pools with a steep lip upstream provide clear, calm water while flood stained waters rage overhead – a very heavy “Taupo” style bomb will get your nymph down into the clear water. · Riverbanks with dense overhanging vegetation (such as large clumps of grass etc) provide cover, and fish will be found tucked underneath, in a few inches of water. A large dark coloured rabbit-fly or woolly bugger fished right at the water’s edge will tempt the fish.
Trout species habitat
Rainbow trout are primarily lake fish, and brown trout primarily river fish. Where both species occur in the same water body, they occupy different habitats. To target rainbows, fish from the bank and cast outwards, especially over riffles and drop-offs. To target browns, fish from the middle of the river and cast back towards the bank where the fish will be lying behind obstructions or beneath undercut banks. If fishing from mid-stream is impractical because of the water depth, fish from well away from the waters edge – stalking browns by walking along the water’s edge will always spook the fish long before you see them. If the riverbank is clear of brush, try to keep a full casting distance away from the river and allow your fly to land within centimetres of the waters edge.
The downside of heavy fishing pressure over the ‘summer’ is that fish becoming extremely wary and easily spooked. However, it is impractical for fish to move far each time they are disturbed because of the increased energy costs. Fish will have several preferred “lies” in relatively close proximity that they will move to (Often a fish will simply circle around and return to the same spot within minutes of being spooked). Careful observation will enable you to anticipate which lie the fish occupies and plan your cast from a greater distance. The upside of heavy fishing pressure is that fish will return to feeding much quicker as they become accustomed to the increased disturbance.
Fish - don't cast
How often do you spend the entire day casting repeatedly to every likely looking drop-off, undercut bank or riffle – without success - only to have your fly taken unexpectedly as you leave it trailing downstream while you contemplate your flybox for another “sure fire” pattern, light up a cigarette, or munch on a muesli bar. Think about what your fly is doing differently when this happens: too many anglers spend too much of their time casting – while a good cast may look pretty, if your hook isn’t in the water it can’t catch fish! Save casting practice for Sunday morning at the park, spend your time on the river fishing!
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