Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Blog
Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice
] on 2014/4/23 (2689 reads)
While sharing some time on the water the other day with Dave Kile (dkile) I experienced what seems to happen often during a decent hatch with some wind, you guessed it, a wind knot! Or as Lefty Kreh calls them, bad casting knots. Everyone gets them now and then especially when combining a breeze, long leaders and fine tippets. Or for the chuck and duck crowd, of which I am often a member, weight and multiple flies. So as Dave stands upstream pondering my delay to cast to a rising fish, he asks, what’s the problem Einstein? I said I have a wind knot, and it reminded me of a tip I learned many years ago.
Back in the 80’s we were on a bus trip to the Breeches from the ‘burg and there was a video on the tube for those not taking the time to sleep. Being full of interest in sponging any and all info I could at the time, one tip in the video stuck with me. Terminal knot tying efficiency. Think about it, every time we tie on a new piece of tippet, a new fly, etc., we are out of the game. It stands to reason that the faster you can tie on a fly (improved clinch knot in my case) or a new piece of tippet (double surgeons knot), the quicker you can begin flogging the water again.
The video stressed the need to get your knots down to 15 seconds each. Practice, practice, practice until you can meet that goal. This will put your fly change or tippet adjustments into under one minute if you include the spooling off tippet, picking out a new and returning the old flies. If you find yourself taking 5-10 minutes each to accomplish that task, you could likely be wasting an hour or more tying frustrating knots. Practicing on stream is KNOT efficient! (pun intended)Now it’s not a race, and I don’t suggest it to be. But it is practical to be as efficient as possible when enjoying your streamside time. Plus, when a hatch is on, the fish and bugs don’t wait until you re-tie, it goes on as scheduled, often it seems to go faster as the trouts plop, plop, plop all around you.
So do yourself a favor by following these few tips;
• Get your knots down to 15 seconds or so.
• Accept the fact your eyes are going bad and get some readers if seeing the eye is getting harder every year.
• Keep your tippet handy, I keep mine outside near my left hip where I can reach it easily.
• Keep your flys handy with few boxes so searching is not too long.
• Know your limitations and adapt.
That last one may seem out of place for a seasoned fly fisher but this efficiency exercise also applies to damage control. That's right, when you booger up your line with a collapsed cast, loose loop or wind knot, bring your line in gently and assess the damage immediately. It can be tempting to just begin pulling and tugging but try to resist. Take a few seconds and loosely pull on some of the loops to see what you are dealing with. Look for loops that exit the knot and pull them back through. Often its only one or two loops that cause the whole mess. If it looks too complicated to unravel it probably is. Clip off the fly, this often makes it a much easier task because you can slip the tippet through the knot. Remember it only takes you 15 seconds to tie it back on. Just be sure when you clip it off you put it somewhere you remember like a fly patch, or other handy outside vest place. Don’t keep it in your hands or put it in your mouth. Trust me, this never ends well…soon you are chasing it down stream with your net or trying to get it out of your lip.
Lastly, If it's a total mess clip it ALL off and start over, in one minute or so you will be casting again.
Now I consider myself a pretty good untangler…in fact, my slogan is “Fly fishing is the art of tangling and untangling lines of different diameters while trying to enjoy yourself”. But it doesn’t have to be yours.
Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot
] on 2014/3/31 (580 reads)
An Award Much Deserved
By Dave Weaver
For Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited and Paflyfish.com
A fine time indeed was had at the recent Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited (CVTU) Limestoner Banquet. This is CVTU’s main fundraising event each year. Like many TU chapters, CVTU relies on volunteer efforts to complete a wide range of valuable endeavors and this includes putting together an annual banquet to raise funds. Among these outstanding endeavors, CVTU is involved in land preservation, youth fly fishing outreach in the form of the Rivers Conservation and Youth Camp and Trout in the Classroom; fly fishing schools for women, US military, and disadvantaged youths as well as wounded veterans.
Dave Kile and Justin Pittman
Among our recent stream improvement projects during the last year include the Phase 2 project on Big Spring as well as projects to improve habitat in The Run in Boiling Springs, as well as restoration of habitat for native trout in a recovered lake bed. Every year, CVTU juggles an array of stream improvement and outreach programs designed to raise awareness and protect cold water resources and trout habitat across hundreds of square miles in the Cumberland valley and adjacent areas – an area encompassing many of our state’s best known trout streams but also dozens of lesser known freestone and limestone trout streams. And CVTU isn’t alone. Roughly fifty chapters of TU and the State Council are all in the fight.
In CVTU’s case, not only do we run a very nice banquet with the typical array of fun items to bid or purchase, but over twenty years ago the chapter decided to include a couple awards that would be presented at the banquet to deserving recipients. These include the Limestoner Award, which is usually given to an individual who has done much to improve CVTU’s mission. Another is the Charles K. Fox Rising Trout Award, which is given to an individual who has enhanced the sport of fly fishing, especially in the state of PA. Naturally, Charlie Fox – the founder of CVTU - was the first recipient.
Tom Ciannilli, Dave Kile, Maurice Chioda and Dave Weaver
If you’re a regular reader of this blog’s message board, you’re undoubtedly aware that the owner and manager of this blog, Dave Kile, was the recent recipient of the Fox award. There’s been a good deal of discussion among us this when it was announced that Dave would receive this. In any event, being the gracious gentleman that he is, Dave was flattered and genuinely surprised.
Naturally, Dave felt that his entire moderator staff deserved as much credit as he… and promptly invited all of us to the banquet. Jack was a bit too far away and indisposed, but Maurice, Tom, and I were there for a fun evening. After the usual banquet formalities, Dave received the award and made a nice speech thanking Tom, Maurice, and I. Also of note, longtime CVTU stalwart Bob Thompson received the Limestoner Award for his many years of service to the chapter. Chapter President Justin Pittman presented the awards to Bob, Dave, and several other individuals. Take some time if you care to, and join us vicariously by perusing the pics of the banquet which can be seen on the CVTU website.
Justin Pittman and Bob Thompson
As we well know, Paflyfish.com has indeed become, for many of us, our favorite place out of the water where we visit daily to touch base with old friends and fishing buddies as well as share the latest fly tying trick, debate the latest controversy, report on a fishing trip or tell a fish story…and especially help new fly fishers get their footing in the sport. This is a small but significant snapshot of the future of participation in fly fishing. Of course that’s not to say that books and traditional media and clubs will wither on the vine. To the contrary, older guys like many of us will keep them going. Nevertheless, the demographic here on Paflyfish is decidedly younger by comparison. It’s been a heckuva ride. Just speaking for myself, the banquet was especially noteworthy and special in that it brought together at once two organizations that have come to represent for me the two best organizations associated with fly fishing.
I’ll let Dave speak for himself on how he feels about Paflyfish…but I think most of us can relate to the idea of pursuing a passion. Dave started Paflyfish fifteen years ago as a hobby merging his interest in technology and fishing. Over the years, this site has evolved from a hobby to a passion for Dave and has now taken root in a way that helps the rest of us pursue our passion. This is what Dave Kile has wrought. So thanks and congratulations Dave, you deserve the Charles Fox Rising Trout Award.
Kudos also go to CVTU and all the state chapters of Trout Unlimited. Come on out sometime to your local chapter meeting and join or otherwise support TU. You’ll be glad you did. See yuh around the stream…or around the internet.
Photographs by Bill Strockbine
Published by Dave Kile [dkile
] on 2014/3/20 (775 reads)
If you ask any fly fishing angler out there what is the best first rod and reel setup you need, you will get a different answer from everyone. Picking your second, third, or even seventh rod you will have some very specific purposes in mind and still get a lot of different answers. Your first fly rod and reel should be a good general purpose setup that will be easy to use in most any trout stream in the region.
For the love of Zeus you don't want to look like the dopey guy in the Symbicort commercial that has a crappy M*A*S*H hat, is fishing for brook trout in a creek with a large arbor saltwater 9 wt reel and 15 foot fly rod setup with a real bobber on your line. I'm not saying go spend all your 401k money, quite the opposite. Don't spend a lot, but get something that makes sense to get started with in our region to fly fish for trout.
If you are just getting started, you will likely want a 5 weight (wt) 8'6" - 9' graphite, medium fast action fly rod. This is an all 'round great fly rod or beginners. I like the four piece rods as they travel better. Make sure whatever setup you get has a good rod tube to keep it protected when it is stored away or while in your vehicle. You can expect to pay about $100 or more to get started.
To select a fly reel you match the weight of the fly rod to the corresponding reel. If you get a 5 wt rod then you get a 5 wt reel. Nothing fancy needed when you first get going, it's really just a spool to reel in your fly line. A line holder if you will. No need to drop a car payment just yet. Starting at around $100 will get you a good quality machined aluminum reel. While as little as $35-$70 will get you into the game with a stamped steel or synthetic line holder.
Be sure to complete your setup with a weight forward fly line that matches the weight of your fly rod and fly reel. Remember unlike a spinning rod and reel, the fly line is what carries your fly. So stick with the 5 wt again for your fly line and that will run you $29 - $59.
Tapered Leader and tippet
A knotless tapered leader is usually a 9' section of special mono line that connects the end of your fly line to some ~30" of tippet and then your fly. With proper casting the tapered leader and connected tippet provide a natural presentation of the fly onto the water. The different x's and lb test of the leader and tippet should be changed during the season and conditions where you fish.
A 5x trout leader is a middle of the road and good starting point in the early season. You will likely be fishing more streamers and nymphs in March and early April. When dry fly fishing on top or for smaller trout you can get to smaller 6x leader and tippet setups. You will want the presentation of the fly to be a little more delicate and the right tippet can make a huge difference. You should pick up a few leaders that will run you about $3 each and a spool of 30' 5x - 5lb test tippet is about $5. Think five's for now.
I want you to explore more of the details on these setups and ask others. Just remember when you share with someone the setup I am suggesting 99 of 100 people will say it is wrong and I am and idiot. Hopefully in 30 years you can be an idiot just like me. Check in on the forums to do some research. Get started and then modify your setup as you see fit and what works best for you. I never use knotted leaders for example only crazy people use that crap. Kidding of course...a little.
The dollar amounts I discuss are good starting points and you will do just fine. You can spend more if your budget permits or you just got a good tax return. Maybe your wife just snuck in some new cloths from Anne Taylor with the dry cleaning and it's your turn. Been married 25 years and know a lot of these tricks. Just say there was a great 50% off sale. I hear that one all the time.
So where do you buy this gear? Please look at the sponsors (Allen Fly Fishing, Trident Fly Fishing, Risen Fly, The Sporting Gentlemen and Shadow Fly Fishing) on the site that offer the gear discussed. There are plenty of great brands and choices. But, mainly because I trust them, they have a good range of products and warranties they stand behind. They are available to answers questions for you through email, on the phone or in the Shop Talk Forum. You will find many other members on the site providing feedback about their gear in Gear Talk or the Beginners Forum. If you want some more tradition conversation go to a nearby fly shop and get some answers there too.