Monday, September 11, 2006

Best Bait Choices

  • Grubs: Grubs are small lures that are usually used to catch larger fish. Grubs are great for use in highland reservoirs where there is little cover for the fish. The grub is much like a bare jig head that has a soft plastic body to attach to the hook. You’ll want to use them most often in clear water conditions.
  • Jigs : Jigs are best used in water that is clear to murky and in water temperatures that are below 60 degrees. The jig is considered to be a “presentation” lure and the ideal way to use them is by making them look as alive as you can. The jig is essentially lead-weighted bait that has one hook. You’ll want to add a trailer to the end of the hook for the best results.
  • Plastic worms: If you want to catch that trophy fish you’ll probably want to use a plastic worm. This is because the plastic worm is one of the most effective lures for catching any type of big fish. Plastic worms have a thin and long profile with a lifelike action that attracts them instantly to bass. You’ll have to learn how to use a plastic worm by touch, feel, and practice. The more that you practice that better results you’ll achieve. The one thing that you need to keep in mind is that the fish needs to see the worm before it will hit it. Therefore a plastic worm is best used in clear water.
  • Lure color: Choose lures that are all black or all white. A mix of black and red also works quite well. There will be the odd time when fluorescent colors, such as bright yellow or green, will work well but you’ll need to experiment with this.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Reading the Water

by Tom Rosenbauer

SOME WATER that is easily fished during a hatch is tough to blind-fish with consistent success. Stream reading is a vital skill for prospecting, but you should approach a day of fishing with the philosophy that not all places in a stream hold trout, and others that may hold trout cannot be blind-fished easily.

When you cast to rising fish, you know exactly where each fish is, you have a good idea what they're eating, and you stalk one fish at a time. You know the fish are willing to feed, and if your casting is accurate you know they can see your fly. On the other hand, when blind-fishing, you must constantly keep two questions in mind: Can he see my fly, and can he see me? If he sees you before he sees your fly, the fish will be spooked, and even if he doesn't bolt for cover he won't be interested in eating. You must have confidence in your ability to locate unseen fish, and you must be able to make a decent presentation to the narrow range where a suspected fish can see your fly.

A giant slow pool, like this one on the Delaware, is difficult to read and to prospect for trout in.

In general slow water is the hardest water to fish blind, for a number of reasons. Slow water is more difficult to read, because in big pools you don't have the benefit of differing currents to narrow the possibilities of where you may find a trout. In a riffle or run much of the water is too fast for a trout holding in place, and some of the water is also too shallow. Trout will be found in narrow, easily recognizable bands where fast water meets slow, deep water meets shallow, or rocks or shelves offer relief from the current. It is difficult to cover slow water without spooking the fish, because fish in slower currents get a much better look at the outside world and the food they're eating. In a riffle you can drop your line right on top of a trout without spooking him, so a thirty-foot drift will effectively cover thirty feet of water. In slow water, though, a thirty-foot drift will cover a maximum of fifteen feet, the length of the longest leader most of us can handle, and the trout lying under the fifteen feet of fly line will probably be spooked. Frankly most of us lack the patience to blind-fish slow water. The fly drifts so slowly that we lose interest and confidence in what we are doing.

You've seen fish rising in your favorite pool on another day when there was a good Sulphur hatch, so you know exactly where they are lying, right? Sorry. Those fish may be lying below the same spot you saw them rising, but in slow water, especially during a heavy hatch or spinner fall, trout often move from their normal lies into places where they can capture floating food with greater ease.

Prospecting is much easier in this kind of riffled water.

There are ways of finding trout in slow water, which we'll explore a little later in this chapter, and there are methods of fishing that work in slow water, which I'll talk about in later chapters. Vermont's Battenkill has miles of slow, deep water that I have tried to blind-fish with a nymph or dry during every month of the season, but I find myself spooking an entire pool before I can get a fish to look at my fly. Where a riffle punctuates the slow water, I'll do fine, but between the infrequent fast water I find myself relying on streamers, which can be fished independent of the current and for which trout will move from ten or even twenty feet away. On the other hand, when conditions are right in faster water, I can take trout on dries, wets, nymphs, or streamers.

So prospecting for trout relies heavily on riffles, runs, and pocket water, which is fine because in a heavily fished stream this is the water most fishermen ignore. When there are no hatches, I always start fishing at the head of a pool or run, in pocket water, or in a riffle, and then I graduate to the slower water if I can figure out what is going on. Fish in rough water are less easily disturbed, and they're also less wise to the dangers of artificial bugs. Trout fishing is supposed to be challenging, but I am quite content with the dumbest, least neurotic trout available if there is no hatch to even the odds.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It is Important to be Able to Read the River

Given the fact that about 10% of the river holds about 90% of the fish, it is important to be able to “read" the river, - to find the natural favourite spots of the fish. “Classical” fishing spots for Czech nymphs are along rapids where the river goes from shallow to deep, but also recesses in shallow stretches of the river can be excellent. The Grayling is quite gregarious, so if you have caught one you will often get more at the same spot. More specifically, you can find ideal spots in relatively fast flowing water with clearly defined currents where the depth varies between half a metre down to one and a half metres. In such stretches the fish will easily find plenty of food. The surface should not be calm. A turbulent surface makes it more difficult for the fish to discover the fisher. Given the right conditions, you can actually come surprisingly close to the fish without scaring it off. For instance, last autumn I caught a one-kilo grayling in the Rena River in Eastern Norway - just one metre from where I was standing. Many people do get surprised about how close you can get to really big fish when using this technique.

I have most experience with fishing grayling from August to October. During this season it’s not unusual to experience good dry-fly fishing when conditions are right. But this isn’t always the case, and quite a few fly fishers have experienced that fishing has been bad due to high water level, cold water or too much wind. However, the Czech technique will function irrespective of the various conditions, and it can yield stunning catches when all other techniques fail. Even “hardy” dry-fly fishers should enjoy this kind of fishing as a good alternative when conditions aren’t right for dry flies.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gear Mainenance

Salt and water — keep those two things in mind if you want to keep your gear in tip-top shape. This is obvious, isn't it? If it is, then why do many anglers have maintenance issues? It's because salt and water aren't as easy to get rid of as some might think.
RodsKeeping a fly rod in good shape is about as easy as maintenance gets. Start by always storing the rod in its sock and a hard tube of some kind. After you use the rod, clean it. Wash the salt off and let the rod dry completely before putting it in the cloth bag. If you put wet, salt-coated rods in the bag, you'll eventually transfer enough salt that the bag itself can corrode the rod guides and/or reel seat.

When washing equipment, whether it's a rod, reel, pliers or whatever, a quick blast from a dockside hose may not be worthless, but it's close — likely driving as much salt into crevices as it washes off. The best method is to use warm water with a mild detergent-free soap and a washcloth, paying particular attention to rod guides and feet, the cork grip and the reel seat. On the latter, move bands and locking rings back and forth to clear any salt under them. Rinse with warm water.

I recommend that you give ferrules on graphite rods, whether the spigot or tip-over-butt type, a light coating of paraffin as well. The paraffin serves two purposes. First, it provides some lubrication and reduces wear from regular assembly and disassembly. Second, a light coating of paraffin helps prevent binding.

Occasionally, check guides for wear (grooving from line) and damage (bending, a loose or missing ring, or a broken or corroded foot), and replace if necessary.

Friday, August 18, 2006

How to collect single or loose eggs from salmon or trout.

Loose or single salmon or trout eggs can be collected from large female fish during the the spawning season. If possible bleed the fish prior to collecting the eggs. The best method is to cut one or two of the gill plates. Blood in the eggs can ruin the eggs in less than an hour if not stored properly.

Step 1 : Catch a large female trout or salmon. Sometimes during the spawning season the female fish will leak eggs when picked up which makes identification easy. The abdomen of the female salmon or trout can be swelled with eggs, but once spawning actually starts and the fish deposits eggs the swelling will reduce.

Step 2 : The vent or ovum tube, located immediately in front of the anal fin, on the female trout or salmon will be extended during spawning.

Step 3 : The vent or ovum tube will often leak eggs without any pressure.

Step 4 : Place the salmon or trout on a level surface. Then place your hand, a plastic jar or bag under the vent to collect the eggs.

Step 5 : With your other hand apply gentle pressure to the abdominal cavity of the salmon or trout.

Step 6 : Collect the eggs in your container.

Step 7 : Repeatedly appply pressure to the abnominal cavity from the front of the fish toward the vent.

Step 8 : We like to collect the eggs in plastic jars, originally used for peanut butter. Plastic jars do not break like glass. Please keep glass jars away from our spawning streams and rivers.

Step 9 : Blood in the eggs can ruin the eggs in less than an hour if not stored properly. If there is excessive blood mixed with the eggs use river water to gently rinse the eggs. Drain all water. The eggs must then be kept cold.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Long-Lasting Lid

By Staff

No other piece of equipment on your boat has to stand up to the rigorous demands of the cockpit like the plastic cooler. Workbench, bench seat, step ladder, footrest, cutting board - it plays all these roles and still keeps your rigged baits fresh and beer ice-cold. In recent years, cooler manufacturers have beefed up hinges and redesigned handles to the point that you can use a cooler for several seasons before having to replace it.

The only feature I've found the need to modify on my coolers is the lid keeper strap. Most stock coolers use a flat, white plastic strip that inevitably tears or cracks early on. By replacing this stock strap with a piece of heavy mono, the life of your cooler can be extended almost indefinitely. Cut a piece of 400-pound mono and crimp a nylon thimble on one end. Attach this loop to the cooler lid in place of the original strap with a stainless-steel screw. Open the lid and measure the amount of lid opening you would like while holding the tag end of the mono at the attachment point on the cooler body. Mark the line and crimp on a second thimbled loop, then attach to the body. Place a dab of silicone caulking on the threads of each screw before tightening to complete the installation.

Scott Kerrigan Wilton Manors, Florida

Monday, July 31, 2006

Back-Bouncing Live Minnows

By: Craig Stillwell

This will be the first of several techniques for successful Striped Bass fishing on the Sacramento River.

First the rigging:
  • Rig your rod nearly the same as you would if you were going to set up to back-troll for Salmon.
  • Tie your line directly to a three-way swivel, then use 6-8lb leader approximately 7" long and tie it to one end of the three way swivel.
  • Tie a snap swivel on to the other end.
  • Now cut a 22-30" leader (I use 15 lb. Maxima) and tie one end to the three way swivel, and the other end tie to a minnow hook (use your own discretion on the size hook, I vary mine depending on the size minnow that I am back-bouncing).
  • Use a cannon ball style sinker, attached to the snap swivel. Match the size weight to the area you are back-bouncing. I generally use a 1 to 1-1/2 ounce in the slower, shallow (less than 12 feet) water, and a 2 to 3 in the deeper faster moving water.

Now the fishing:

With your boat facing upstream, come to a standstill and begin to let your line out. Once you have hit bottom, continue to let out more line, and work it back slowly.

Now you want to ease the boat backwards very slowly continually working your rod up and down allowing your presentation to move back with you. As you pump your rod, you must feel the weight bounce on the bottom every time. If you can't feel your weight hit bottom, try letting out more line very slowly. If you still can't feel bottom, then reel in line until you do.

The faster backwards that you allow your boat to go the more rapid pumps you need to make with your rod. I like to move backwards rather slowly, and therefore I would only pump my rod at 2 to three second intervals.

Moderation is the key when you are letting out line, as well as when you are reeling in line to find the bottom. I will usually leave my reel in free-spool for the first five minutes or so when I am starting a run. I just keep pressure with my thumb, and I can let out line more easily in my attempt to stay on bottom. Once I am comfortably out, I will then take my reel out of free-spool and begin bouncing.

Vary your speed according to the experience of anglers present. With beginner anglers I would suggest moving very slowly backwards, It is much easier to stay on the bottom this way. Keep in mind that anytime you pump your rod slowly up and on the way down you can't feel bottom you are either hung up with your weight, or you need to let out more line.

Do not be discouraged if it takes awhile to get the hang of it. Start in slower,shallower water to learn. Remember that the more line you have out, the harder it is to feel bottom. I have had hundreds of fish caught directly under my boat with this method. I will usually put more weight on the beginners so it is easier for them to stay in contact with the bottom.

The bite will be very distinct, sometimes during your pump, other times on the down fall, but you will have no problem interpreting the Striper bite.