Tag: knots

More knotledge

Probably just as good as buying my favorite knot book, particularly if you are heading out this coming weekend and still need to brush up: Animated Knots by Grog.

I’ve been hammering on knots because 1) last year I lost some fine fish to failed knots and have since become obsessive about them; and 2) because some of the great folks I take fishing are new to the sport, hence they can use the practice so they spend less time struggling with lengthening leaders and more time fishing!

I suggest paying attention to the following:

  • The Albright – I rig heavy pieces of Maxima butt section to my line (with a nail knot) before heading out; the Albright is a simple way to attached tapered leaders to that butt section.
  • The Blood – the best (and as far as I’m concerned, the only) way to attached tippet material to existing leaders.
  • The Improved Clinch – this knot is great for tying on flies, but only if tied well; I use a hangman’s knot for this purpose, but the the clinch is the example we’ve got.

Also: knowing the Nail knot is nice, particularly if you start running short on butt section. But, you may want to get one of those fancy nail knot tools since the nail is one of the tougher knots to get right (particularly on cold days, using numb fingers). I carry a small knitting needle for such days (and ’cause my fingers are just plain chubby), and a few feet of brown Maxima 20 pound test for new butt sections.

Practice makes perfect. Perfect catches fish.

Veddy, veddy important for fly fishing: casting and knots

If you can’t cast a fly and/or can’t tie it to the line, you are going to have a hard time fly fishing. It’s that simple.

Fortunately, learning how to do both of these veddy, veddy important angling tasks is just about as easy.


A book I originally thought would help with lazy guide syndrome (i.e. guides refusing to pole close enough to the bones so I could just net them) turned out to be a pretty darn good book on generally casting and practice technique. Longer Fly Casting has plenty of pics to follow – it lingered in my library for a while, and has since been passed on. And since that time it’s been updated too!

The other “must have” for getting the fly in the water is Practical Fishing Knots. I’ve mentioned this one before, and it too was given to someone after I finished up with it. It’s a great guide that will leave you with a stable of go-to knots. Sadly, it’s been a while since I chased big game, and if I’m ever asked to tie a bimini twist I’ll probably have to buy it again!

Experienced fly fishing folk won’t be surprised that both recommendations are written (or co-written) by the infamous Lefty Kreh. That wasn’t the intention, but I’ve heard Mr. Kreh is one fine photographer too. Maybe he’ll put out a how-to book on that as well.

I could certainly use the help.

End of year filings

Read tomorrow when you’re nursing your hangover – it’ll certainly make more sense then.

Filed under Do As I Say, Not As I Do:

  • Security warning! A flaw in WordPress could expose your draft posts. This news bulletin was originally brought to you via WordPress-driven social networking blog Mashable, but has since disappeared. This blog runs on WordPress too, and this post will be deleted in roughly 24 hours.
  • Filed under The Lord Works In Mysterious Ways:

  • Jeff Jarvis, one of the few high profile bloggers I’ve seen that actually mentions something about their religious affiliation online, says “Google is God.” Meanwhile, the only ad on Buzz Machine is delivered by Google, and the displayed inventory is an attack ad by Compete against Alexa.
  • Filed under The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall:

  • I was working on a joint venture deal in China, with a pre-negotiated price. Each time I checked with the accountants working through the due diligence the assets got smaller and the liabilities larger. Seems the theme runs throughout the Chinese economy. Of course, you could also surmise the same about the US economy and the housing market it’s been so entirely dependent on.
  • Filed under More Than You Bargained For:

  • Everyone wanted an iPod for Christmas (again). Some folks got cryptic notes espousing anti-capitalism instead.
  • and…

    Filed under That Overpriced Conditioner Won’t Help:

  • Sweetheart…knots are natural!
  • Cutting your teeth on the river, and beforehand

    I been taking a few less experienced folks fly fishing lately. I love getting out on the water, but I also loving sharing what experience I have. I was in the same boat once – I knew nothing about catching trout, and several people have given me their brain dump over the years. I continue to learn from others, and will continue to pass techniques and prime spots on whenever I can.

    In that regard, I received a kind “thank you” note from someone I took out the other day. They were no newbie, but had taken a bit of a sabbatical from fly and rod. We had a good day. They’ve since decided they’re going to do a bit more fishing, and made a few inquiries. Here are the answers (not an all inclusive how-to-catch-’em dissertation)…

    River Flows

    River flows for the US as a whole are tracked by the USGS, and some states have additional markers of their own. State-by-state links to gauges can be found here, and if you’re in Colorado the Division of Water Resources publishes additional data of interest here.

    What’s good and not good regarding river flow is a matter of experience, and it’s all relative. For example, the San Juan River below Navajo Dam gets pretty crowded while running 750 cfs, but I’d be hard pressed to wade the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir at that level (in fact, I do not wade it above 350 cfs). Meanwhile, Maryland’s Gunpowder River would be completely blown out at 500 cfs, and a number of people would avoid Cheesman Canyon at that level too. But I’ve had good luck at Cheesman at even 540 cfs, because I don’t mind casting three tandem nymphs accompanied by five No. 6 bead weights…into eight foot deep pools.

    The rule here is communication. Talk to fellow anglers, and talk to folks in fly shops (particularly if you’re new to an area). Record your experiences at different water levels until you find out what suits you. One man or woman’s knee deep heaven can be another’s drift boat horror, and visa versa.

    Some Additional Tidbits

    I spent a lot of time cutting my teeth doing ridiculous stuff like tying knots until I was blind, casting in my front yard while people passed by snickering, and dropping full boxes of flies in the river. Much was learned which makes for smooth goings on the water now.

  • Knots – Hardly anything is more important, and hardly anything is easier to get lazy with. I’ve lost a number of outsized fish as of late – knots became so second nature to me that I quit paying them the attention they deserved. I’m now a reborn knot-obsessor, and for those still in infancy, I’ll suggest some reading material. While I picked up Practical Fishing Knots by Lefty Kreh and Mark Sosin for it’s excellent Bimini Twist explanation, it also provides a good foundation. You’ll review great technique, and wind up with a stable of “knot-ledge” for particular situations.
  • Casting – Every fledgling fisherman’s dream is to cast tight 50-foot loops like Brad Pitt’s double from A River Runs Through It. Unfortunately, it’s both a lot easier seen than done and relatively useless until you’re chasing spooky bonefish around Andros Island. For most trout water, being able to handle ten to twenty feet of line is all you’ll ever need to catch big fish – I’ve barely pulled fifteen feet of line out of my reel in the past month, and have caught plenty of healthy-sized aquatica. Practice makes perfect, and a single casting lesson doesn’t hurt either. I provide the latter for beer and #18 beadhead WD-40s.
  • Gear – You don’t need a $1,000 rig, but you do need a hemostats, a clippers, and a flybox that secures the buggers in foam (those clear plastic boxes mean many loose flies will eventually wind up dropped in the water, much to your’s and your wallet’s chagrin). You might also wish to invest in a reel with an adjustable drag. Reels with heavy duty cork drags are a must for stopping hundred-pound tarpon migrating though Florida Bay, but are not particularly necessary here – most trout aren’t going to strip you into your backing. An adjustable drag is more of a line manager for the human, IMHO – it prevents backlash when stripping line out of the reel. A decent reel finish, however, is useful. I go for hard-anodized wherever possible – it resists scratches, which in turn aides you in resisting the desire to buy a new reel every time you find a scratch.
  • A Final Recommendation Loaded With Grand Wisdom

    If you are strolling along the river and see a porcupine the size of a medicine ball hiding in the bushes, take a quick picture of him and then keep moving…