How to make a fly fishing leader
When it comes to setting up your fly rod for fly fishing the last piece of the puzzle is how to make a fly fishing leader. As a beginner you will need to master this fairly well as you don’t want to lose caught fish due to poorly prepared leaders. Like all aspects of fly fishing it depends on the target species to what your leader will look like. As we have been on the process of learning how to trout fish we will stick to a leader for a 10ft rod of seven weight set up. How to make your own leaders for fly fishing and make them well will add to your enjoyment of the sport and get you out of difficult situations when you are having problems with your fly fishing leaders.
Generally speaking a trout leader setup is made from lighter material than the fly line. This is due to a couple of things, one we want to present our flies with a nice flutter down onto the water and not a splash and secondly we need to use something that the trout find hard to see.
You may wonder how effective a trout’s eyes really are. I can tell you they have very keen eyesight and can spot a small dark fly in the dead of night. When fishing for sea trout the darker the night the better and those trout could pick up your fly when it was difficult to see your hand in front of your face. So to try to counteract this we need to decide on line diameter and color.
How to Spool a Fly Reel in Steps.
Now that you have hopefully bought your rod, reel and line you will need to know how to set up your fly line and put it all together so you can go fly fishing.
Get Best Fly Fishing Reels Here
Fly fishing is a sport involving many skills, fly casting, river craft, entomology and knot tying among others. To be considered a proficient fly fishing angler you need to be able to be accomplish these with good precision. In this post we will walk through the task of setting up a fly rod so we can go fly fishing. (more…)
So what would save the day I have to ask? I’m not talking about a special selection of flies although I do think there are some you should always carry. I’m more concerned with items that will help fix broken or damaged tackle or items to keep you fishing rather than having to wind up and go home.
We have all been there out fishing and have fallen down a banking or slipped and fell in the river and damaged our gear or our selves so I have put together this fly fishing emergency kit of items that may help to keep you going.
There are many option to consider in this list so I will work through them for you. Your main piece of equipment is your fly rod and if disaster strikes and you fall and break it into several pieces there is not a whole lot you can do about it. However if you have travelled far the thought of having to turn homeward is not good.
The only real thing you can prepare for here with is a cheap replacement. I always try to keep a second rod with me when going further than a few miles when fly fishing. That way you can at least keep fishing even if your best and lucky rod lies in piece on the bankside. You may be sad but at least your fishing. (more…)
Mikael Frodin a top fly tyer, salmon angler, guide and instructor has done a series of knots for fly fishing. Mikael if you are not familiar with works for Guideline Fly Fishing testing and helping to design products. A master shooting head caster Mikael has helped develop the Double and Triple density fly lines in the Guideline range.
As part of his experience in fly fishing Mikael has tested and worked with many knots and has decided on these 6 to teach you. If you have spent any time on the river fishing you will have no doubt lost fish to weak knots. With this series of knots you should have any situation covered with knots that are easy to tie and strong.
The Perfection Loop
A great knot to tie leader material to the loop at the end of your fly line when it doesn’t have build in loops.
Can also be used to tie flies to the end of your leader to give them more movement.
The Improved Albright
Second in the series a knot to attached leader material to your fly line.
A bit fiddly to do on the bank side but a strong knot that shouldn’t let you down.
The Double Eight
A good knot for forming loops on the end of your hand made leader.
Great for joining loop to loop connections ad keeping it simple.
The Leader Knot
When building your own leaders attaching different strengths of material together makes them turn over better in the cast.
This knot makes it simple without getting tangled up when casting.
The Clinch Knot
Fishing tube flies is more and more common and this knot is great for attaching the hook to the leader material.
The extra tucking of the tag end means it should not slip and loose you a fish.
The Steering Knot
A common problem with hook flies is most knots allow them to slip on the leader material so they don’t fish correctly.
This knot eliminates that problem and keeps the fly swimming properly throughout the cast.
You are probably well aware that neoprene wellington boots are not cheap. In fact you can pay in excess of £200 for some of the top brands. With a price ticket like that you want to get the most wear out of them as you can. In the top brands wearing them out can take some time which is good news. For instance I have a pair of Toggi Wanderer Plus and have been wearing them for 5 years now.
I go fishing and walking my two dogs in them and haven’t had any problems up until this last year when I cut a small crack in the upper foot on one and a small crease in the gusset flap on the buckle section on the other. Although I am fairly careful in the wearing of my wellington boots but it’s not always easy to keep them un-scathed when chasing your dog out of a river or over rocks and the like.
Rather than throw them out as the tread is still good I decided to do a repair on them instead. Afterall £90 for a new pair is a lot more than I want to pay right now and a tube of stormsure aquasure is only £6. OK so onto the repair.
The first step in repairing the neoprene wellington boot was to make sure they were reasonably clean as the sealant I was going to use needs a clean footprint to cure properly. I simple got a cloth and washed the boots all around the damaged area and rinsed off several times.
I then let them dry off to ensure no water remains to upset the sealant curing. Next I opened the sealant and run a small drop along the crack in the wellington boot opening up the crack to ensure the sealant got right in there. I rubbed this with my finger which was covered with the plastic bag glove that came in the stormsure sealant pack.
Once happy it was well covered I left to cure laying flat so the sealant wouldn’t run too much. On the pack it states it takes 2 hours to be touch dry and 10-12 hours to be cured completely depending on atmospheric conditions. I left it for a couple of hours then put another layer on over the hole and pushed in around the edge leaving a good border around the crack. This was also left to cure.
On the other boot which had the leak in the gusset I put in a piece of wood to wedge it open and got to work rubbing in the sealant into the cracks. Again leaving to dry for a few hours before adding another layer. The both boots were left to cure overnight before using.
To test I took them to the beach where I normally go to walk the dogs. I stepped into the water and gave it a few minutes to test if there was a leak. Happily the sealant was holding and no water got it. Another pair of boots saved from recycling and will hopefully give me another few years happy walking and fishing.
The benefits of this flexible sealant is it moves and flexes with your foot and doesn’t crack like other glues or patches. I find stomesure great for these holes and also for loads of other applications including when putting on braided loops onto my fly line. Fixing my breathable chest waders along with other useful patching work like camping tents, waterproof clothing, groundsheets, leaky seams, wetsuits, inflatable toys, airbeds, and loads of other materials.
After using your stormsure make sure to put on the lid tightly place in a plastic bag and put into your freezer, that way it will not cure in the tube and spoil. You can simply bring out let un freeze and re-use for another time. It will keep this way for quite some time.
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Tackle – get your set up ready!
For the purpose of this post we will assume you are already set up with a balanced fly fishing kit. If not then check out this posts here how to setup your fly line to get you started. This is not a definitive list of the best fly fishing techniques but a list of things I believe any fly fishing angler needs to learn and practice to become competent in the sport.
Fly fishing casting – Perform them with grace
One of the main things to get right when fly fishing is the cast. Produce great delicate casts to present flies to trout and fish and you will have completed about 50% of the fly anglers program. Ones to learn well are the basic overhead cast, the snake roll, the roll cast and the single spey cast. With these four you will be well on your way to becoming a better fly angler and be able to cast to almost any target within any situation.
There are others that will get you of of trouble but I would recommend getting these four right from the start. It will assist you greatly if you can pay for some tuition or if you know a good consistent fly angler to ask for some help. It will speed up your progress and stop you getting frustrated when things are not going to plan. A lesson or two will not cost the earth but is well worth it when you consider the cost of loosing flies a damaging your fly fishing gear due to bad casting. (more…)
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River fly fishing is completely different to lake, lough or other stillwater fly fishing. The main difference is the fact that in river fishing you have to deal with the flow of the river as stillwater as its name dictates is pretty motionless. There is the possibility of underwater currents and wind can make things interesting but for the most part lakes are motionless.
Rivers on the other hand have many features which make them more interesting (to me anyway) with the speed and flow of the river being the main one. To fish rivers properly takes a bit of working out. You need to look at the river flow what speed, direction and depths of the pools etc. All these factors will affect where the fish tend to lie. Water depth will also affect the prospective lies for fish entering a system like Salmon, Sea Trout and Steelhead entering from the Sea again. When conditions are dry and the water is low the fishing will be completely different to when the river is in spate and fish are moving through the system. (more…)
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As a beginner there are loads of things you need to learn to become a better fly angler. Apart from the initial setting up of your fly rod there are a list of things to consider to make your learning a bit smoother. After all what we want to do is catch fish and anything that can improve that is worth reading so here are my beginner fly fishing tips I hope you find them useful.
Above all, Learn to cast properly!
Put in some time practicing casts with the basic overhead and roll cast from the start. Perform casting drills and get accurate in your casting and you will improve your catch rate immensely. If you can afford it getting a few casting lessons from a properly credited casting instructor will speed up that process. Its very easy to take on bad habits at the beginning while trying to teach yourself from videos or books.
A casting instructor will be able to sort these out and get you on a better path to correct efficient casting a lot quicker than you can do it yourself. The better more efficient your casting the easier it becomes as you use less energy and can fish for longer without becoming fatigued. So its well worth doing a bit of practice before hand you will be happy you did.
When learning how to cast properly it’s important not to try and cast too far to early in the process. Learn to cast with accuracy and efficiency to the water closest to you before trying to reach 30 yards casts. That distance will come with time but there is a lot of water between the tip of your rod and a 30 yard cast and believe me it will hold fish so cast to them and work that water properly.
I see too many anglers trying for distance early in the process and getting frustrated because they are not adept enough to present quality casts to the fish at those distances but are making loads of splashing and disturbances which mean few to no takes. A big mistake. (more…)
I came across a fly pattern a while back that I hadn’t seen for some time and it got me wondering. How many fly patterns have dipped below the radar because of new arrivals and new materials?
I mean those patterns used to work and would be instrumental for many a caught trout or fish so why are they not around today? Easy answer flies are set to catch the fishing anglers and not the fish.
When working in the tackle shop we would see arrivals of thousands of new different patterns and the fly fishing anglers coming in to purchase would have their favorites among them.
However you always had the twinkle in their eye looking at the new patterns and wondering if they would work. The answer is yes probably as feeding fish will attack anything really if they thinks its food.
As these new patterns arrived in the store the older ones were phased out or not tied by the suppliers anymore and it was only the old die hard anglers who would even look for some of them. When we did get requests we could always rustle up a few flies for them as there were plenty of good fly tyers around and if not I could step up the vice if needed.
How good of a fishing angler are you? You have the gear, the rod, the reel, the flies the lures, and the rest of the tackle to complete your setup. You are able to setup your fly line and attach the leader or can you? This is where so many anglers fail.
The process of tying knots becomes difficult and when tested under proper fishing conditions the gear fails and you loose fish. Not a great thing to happen especially if its a fish of a lifetime. This is where fishing knots illustrated comes in. Here we have a simple waterproof card system with the most important knots included.
There are many fly fishing lines on the market today made by many different manufacturers. If you do a search on Google you will come up with hundreds if not thousands of lines. For a beginner this is an overload of information and can lead to the incorrect purchase. Here we will consider the options available and show you how to choose a fly line suited to your needs.
If you have not already purchased a single handed trout fly fishing rod then you would need to consider that first as the line needs to match the rod and reel setup. In that instance you can purchase a ready made kit from a reputable dealer which can include all the items required to start out.
These are all made to match and balance the setup and are ideal for someone on a low budget. However if you can afford a little more I would recommend buying the items individually as you can still get bargains but items with more strength and options than in a basic kit.
The first important aspect is to match you line rating to the rod you have or are considering. Each rod now has a line rating stamped on the butt section usually above the cork handle on the first few inches of the rod itself.
This figure is put there by the rod manufacturer and is a guide as to which line the rod has been made to make it a balanced setup. (more…)
Well you have bought the fly fishing gear you have the rod, reel, line and flies. You have gone out fishing and now have caught your trout, well done to you. Now you bring it home and wonder how do I cook this trout. Well search no further I have compiled a few recipes for how to cook trout fillets. Any of these are delicious and well worth a try.
Recipe 1 – Baked trout in foil parcel
This is the basic trout fillet recipe. It is plain and simple but tastes great.
1) Take your trout and after gutting and washing place on a sheet of foil and a sheet of baking paper and place on a baking try.
2) Apply seasoning to taste salt and pepper.
3) Add a knob of butter and rub all over the skin and flesh.
4) Squeeze some lemon juice into the middle if using full trout
5) Wrap up the foil to form a pouch and place in a hot oven 200 deg centigrade for 10-12 mins.
If using full trout increase time by about 10 mins. You can open the pouch half way to check fish is cooking through. The flesh should start to look more crumbly and opaque in colour.
Recipe 2 – Grilled whole trout parsley and lemon
1) Take two trout 300-400 gms and slash about ten times 0.5 cm deep on both sides.
2) Rub the trout with olive oil and season with the sea salt and pepper.
3) Stuff the belly of the trout with cut parsley and lemon slices.
4) Place the trout on an oven rack over a tray on a lower shelf to catch the juices.
5) Put some lemon zest on top of the trout lemon wedges in the tray.
6) Put some butter drops on top of the trout and place the rack about 2-3 inches from the grill.
7) Cook on both sides for 5-6 mins until nice and crispy.
8) When ready squeeze the roasted lemon wedges over the trout and serve with rice or salad. (more…)
Fly fishing anglers around the world will be getting ready today to go out onto the water. It may be that they are going to their favorite river, lake or lough, or some may be going to the sea to fish for salt water species.
Regardless of venue they all have one thing in common, they are going to try to catch fish. Most of these men and women will be successful in their quests and bring home food for the table but not everyone. It is these guys and girls I want to discuss here as I show you that there is more to fishing than catching fish! (more…)
I have had loads of fun days chasing rainbows at my local still water fisheries. Rainbow trout are mostly stocked fish from local fish farms and are feed on pellets etcetera, to bring them up to a decent fighting trout weight. Average weight would be a 1.5 pounds at this point.
Although these trout can grow to twenty pound plus, trout this size can be slightly lazy and a one that has grown to 10-12 lbs would be considered a prime fighting specimen. When introduced to the fishery the new trout scurry around looking to explore their new habitat and will snatch at anything that lands on the water and so it is times like this when I enjoy rainbow trout fly fishing.
How to put a smile on a newbies face!
If you are new to trout fly fishing it is these days that really entice you to stay in the sport as it can be a lot of fun. Some would argue that its too easy to catch trout when newly added but if you are introducing someone to fly fishing and trying to encourage them into performing casts correctly it is the icing on the cake when they can actually land one or two trout.
The smile on their face is more than enough to make the experience remember-able for both of you. I have contacts at my local fisheries and if I am bringing a guest newbie I will ring ahead asking for the restocking days. This may seem like offsetting the rules somewhat but were is the harm if your new prodigy is happy catching a few trout.
The real test of the fly fisher comes on the days when there is no activity but remembering the feeling of a trout hitting your fly drives you on to master the craft for the next hit. (more…)
Over the past number of years I have done just about everything you can do to improve a day’s fly fishing. So I have compiled this list of do’s and don’ts of fly fishing that should make for a better trout fishing trip.
- Do not try to cast too far. A common mistake by many is trying to push the line out in great distances. This will make for a lot of tangles and bad casting. Keep it short and neat the trout will usually come to you if you don’t make too many splashes.
- Don’t use too heavy leader line for the flies you are fishing. I have seen guys put on 15lb mono to fish size 12 flies for trout. This is far too heavy much better to go for 4-5 lb line you will catch more fish. Gauge the trout size your after if they are big, 10lb plus then you may need to adjust but there is no need to fish 15lb leader if the average trout size is 2lb.
- Do bring a plastic bag for your catch if killed, there is nothing worse than the dead fish smell in the car on a long journey home. A simple plastic bag can make all the difference. They can also be used to put on your feet if you spring a leak or your head if a downpour threatens to drown you.
- Don’t be fooled into buying an expensive rod if you can’t afford it there are many cheaper rods that will cast just as far as the most expensive and catch as many fish. (more…)
Well winter is almost over and its time to get the tackle out from its winter hibernation for a good cleaning in preparation for the new trout fishing season.
There are a few things that should be done each spring to ensure you tackle is on tip top condition before going out on your first fishing trip.
- Check fly lines for cracks
- Clean reel and apply lubrication
- Wax rod furrels
- Re-new knots for the line connections
- Check rods for any cracks or chips.
- Inspect cork handle
- Check waders for leaks
- Check fly selection
- Inspect leader material
- Re-new all licenses and permits
These are some of the main items that need sorting before a new season begins. Of these I would suggest checking the fly line and rod as the most important.
“Checking the fly line for cracks”
When you put away your gear at the end of the previous season you would have probably left one or two fly lines still on their reels and depending on the place or storage there will no doubt be some coil memory left on the line from being stored so long in that position.
My suggestion to you before going to fish is you un spool the line onto a bucket of soapy water then after about half an hours soak slowly pull the line through a soft cloth squeezed in your other hand. While doing this check for any cracks or chips along the line and assess them for integrity.
If there are a lot then it would be better to purchase a new line than risk losing some trout to breakages. Working this process you will take any grime or dirt away as well as slowly get the line straight. Here is a couple of RIO products videos on how to do that and apply dressing to the fly line to keep it fishing well for years. (more…)
Have you ever thought about fishing a different river than your local fishery? I know I have and in fact I did and have fished a few rivers in the UK, Ireland and was lucky enough to get to fish the Yokanga river in Russia and maybe I will write another post on that adventure at a later time.
Well if you have thought about it what is your next step? How do you find fishing, do you go to the travel agency, do you check with your local tackle shop? You could in fact do both but I have another solution. All you have to do is logon and register an account with Rods on Rivers and search through there large listings of rivers to fish.
OK if you have read my last post on matching the hatch techniques you may have wondered what happens when I have tried every fly in the box that looks close to the insects hatching but I am still not getting any takes. Well then that is when you change tactics and try un matching the hatch techniques.
When you are an accomplished angler you will have an array of items with you when fishing that cover all sorts of situations and in that arsenal you will probably have different types of tippet or leader materials and you will be considering changing line colours. You may try floating your flies with floatants or trying to sink them further with different poly leaders and trying to get that all illusive trout to take your fly. It is times like this when you have gone through your usual changes that you are thinking it’s time to pack up and go home. However rather than doing that there is one more thing to try.
So what is un matching the hatch techniques?
Just as before when we tried to match the hatch as closely as possible, this is when we now try to go the other direction and get something completely opposite to the hatching insects. This sounds easy but a bit of thought is required. You have a few things to consider the colour, the size and the shape of the insect that is hatching. All these things need to be reversed or changed considerably to invoke a response from the trout.
What is matching the hatch? If you are new to fly fishing you may be unaware of the insects that fish eat along the rivers and lakes. Each season of the year produces new species of insect that the trout have become used to and will feed upon when they are in season.
As new insects become available the older insects will die away. Trout that are a few years old will be savvy to the food available and so it becomes increasing difficult to entice them to take an artificial fly.
This is where matching the hatch techniques come into play as the angler needs to learn to get as close as he can to the natural insect life when presenting his fly.
So how do we go about matching the hatch?
First thing we do when approaching a fishing venue is to take a few minutes to scan the surroundings to see if there is anything naturally hatching. You need to check the grass beside the river the trees and if nothing is showing then check the insect life at the edge of the river or lake.
Be careful not to disturb the water too much as you will spook any close trout away and it may take some time for them to return and spoil your chances of success. When checking for the insects it is good to have a fine mesh net with you so you can catch some and get a closer look as flying insects can be very hard to imitate.
Have you ever thought about learning how to fly fish? It may be you have watched a fly fishing angler casting a trout rod across a river or lake and wondered could you do that. Well I can tell you that fly fishing is no harder to perform than lure fishing when you correctly buy well balanced equipment and take a few lessons. You could get to grips with it without the lessons but if you are a complete novice I would advise you get some as it will save you time and effort in the long run.
To begin with what is fly fishing?
Fly fishing is the sport where someone uses a fly rod to cast a fly line with flies across a river or lake and retrieves them in a number of manners to try and entice the target fish into taking. Flies are hooks tied up with feathers and materials to either look like natural insects or coloured in such a way to make an aggressive reaction from the fish.
These flies are tied to the fly line with a leader material and are cast using the rod and line. The basic fly cast is called the overhead cast and consists of the fly line being pulled through the air in front and behind the caster. The line is kept in the air in that it doesn’t touch the water or bank during the cast. The rod is loaded by the line to put energy into the cast so it can be accelerated and cast great distances in front on the fly fishing angler.
When optimum cast length is achieved the fly is allowed to land on the water and then retrieved in different manners to try and entice the trout or fish to grab the fly. At this point the hook is set and the fight begins. There are a vast array of permutations for fly fishing including rod length, fly line density, fly line weight, casting technique, leader length and pattern of flies to name the most common.
A little History on Fly Fishing (more…)