Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deer Hair Streamers

Fly Fishing with Streamers

It was in Poland at the European fly fishing finals that I first realised the importance of knowing how to fish streamers correctly, they saved my competition from blanks. I would argue that this type of method is far under used and developed in Ireland. Streamer fly fishing is not an elegant or easy method to fish but the facts of using this approach to catching wild brown trout cannot be denied.

Approximately 80% of the time trout are feeding they are eating underwater rather than taking bugs or flies floating on the surface. Even though dry fly fishing is great fun, sometimes the fish are simply ignoring that manner of feeding. In order to catch those gorgeous trout one must then switch to nymphs or streamers. Streamers always have the potential of catching huge fish because the larger flies appeal to those desirable bigger fish looking for a substantial meal.

Streamers usually work best near the bottom imitating the fry and other appetizing food for trout. Using a weighted streamer, a weighted tippet, a braided butt leader with weight in it, a sinking tip line, or a sinking line all can be useful for getting the streamer to the bottom. Select according to your preferences and the fishing conditions.

To properly fish streamers, you are likely to snag the fly on the bottom. This means that either you are definitely getting the fly deep enough or that you are stripping the line too slowly. The fact is, if you are fishing so you have the best chance of catching trout, you are bound to lose a few streamers on sticks, moss, or whatever on the river bottom. In shallow slower flowing water you have to strip the streamer rapidly to keep it from dropping completely to the bottom and snagging. In faster deeper water a slower strip may be better.

The idea of stripping the streamer is that you cast it across the current and start stripping the line in short jerks. This gives the streamer the look of a swimming minnow. You can do this in shallow clear water to see how it looks. Slightly uneven stripping action can make it look like a wounded fry which really attracts fish. Different conditions require varied stripping actions. Colder water usually requires slower stripping. In deeper water if you are not using an enormous streamer or a lot of weight, dead drifting can be effective. Test different speeds of stripping to find what is working best.

You can also experiment with different colors and sizes of streamers. Sometimes the fish hammer the largest sizes. Other days they give that large streamer a bump and roll away. 

The bumping action can be an indicator you should immediately cast right back into the
same spot. Fish often bump a fry or minnow to stun it and then go back a second time to
actually eat it. If the fish are bumping the streamer without ever taking it, you may discover that streaking is a good option. Strip the streamer as fast as you can to provoke the fish into an emphatic response.

Streamers typically are the largest wet flies and some of them can be ridiculously large.
If you are tying streamers, hook sizes 6, 4, and 2 are preferred choices. Adding lead during the tying process helps they drop near the bottom in the current more quickly. It is also a more effective method if the angler is in the water and retrieving directly down stream and the rod tip is under water at the required dept.

When tying these streamers i generally use a long shank hook be it a size 12-6, the body can be made up of metallic Hends dubbing, floss, spectra dubbing, pearl tinsel or UV blend dubbing. Ribbing can be to suit the body and the style of the fly. The zonker strips can be either musk rat, which is a lovely soft and fine zonker or rabbit zonkers both can be got in different sizes, I use clear mono to rib in the zonker for strength also. The heads I form with two different colours of  Hends deer Hair it is a soft and easy product to work with and you can stick on eyes if you desire. 

To find all the zonkers, deer hair and dubbing just click on the link to Irish fly tying to your right and enjoy streamer fly tying and fishing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Early Season Fly-fishing

Early Nymphing For Trout 

For some people St Patricks day is a celebration of all that us Irish hold dear in our culture, but for me and many other addicted souls the 17th of March is the beginning of seven months of frustration, joy, excitement, anticipation, reasoning and pure bliss, for its on this wonderful Irish day that the fly-fishing season on rivers begins for me. Leading up to this day many anglers prepare in different ways, some dust off the fishing gear in the garage and check if they have enough mono left over from last year. Some anglers begin their preparation in the winter months, cleaning the lines and striping the fly boxes of last year’s failures and replacing with this year’s hopeful killers. Due to the opening of many stocked lakes in this country over the last number of years the lake gear hardly ever gets time off these days but its normally for me around late October when I pack away the river tackle and put the fly boxes near the vice to be stripped and restocked for the coming season.                                                               

Normally for me coming up to Christmas time ill ponder over patterns that worked for me and how can I develop them to be even more successful next season, then I’ll make a list and put in on the fly tying desk, a list that will grow and change every time I visit it. But that’s just me I like lists. Every angler has his or her own set of flies that they have used time and time again, flies that never let them down. I would start here and replenish my stock of the regulars that never let you down. My preference is to have at least six of every pattern, I also like order to my flies and therefore I have a boxs for nymphs, spiders, wets, and dries ect. I spend the early months of the year preparing these boxes for the forthcoming river season. For the early part of the season I would stock up on several key previously tried and tested patterns to entice the hungry spring trout. Depending on the type of river you come from your early patterns might be different but for me I fish mountain cold acidic rivers to lush midland streams packed with trout and these flies will catch trout in both.

Using the likes of UV Blend dubbing, spectra dubbing and with bright tags, tips you can entice those hungry trout to take. Also squeeze in as much lead as you can in the under-body with out altering the profile of your nymphs, they need to have slender profiles to cut through that deep spring water. Another good tip is to use a old tooth brush to brush your nymphs before they leave the vice this will enhance the fish-ability of the nymphs and help them look more natural to the fish.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Copper John

This awsome nymph has caught fish across the globe in rivers and still waters alike. I have used it regulary for the last number of seasons with huge sucess, it can be fished in several methods once tied in several sizes. The smallest size I like to tie a Copper John is18 up to a size 8 for Rainbow trout in deep river pools.
Having a good selection of different colors and sizes in your box is an essential must for all anglers. Generally the most popular colours are copper, red, yellow, green and I like claret and burnt orange also. Hends Products have an extensive range of colored wires perfect for tying this nymph.

There is a few small tips to tying this nymph, I always put some extra weight behind the tungston bead so the fly will get to the bottom of the river fast. When you are tying the thorax cover firstly pull over the pheasent tail fibers and follow that with pearl flash tincel, then put a blob of Loon UV fly finish over the pearl down to where it meets the wire body to give a translucient effect on the thorax.
This fly will produce fish either fished as part of a team or on its own during the dry season and rivers are low, it is a very attractive patteren and can get a stubbron trouts attention. I have found it to also work on stocked lakes tied on a size 14 or smaller and fished buzzer style.

Hook: 10/18
Bead: Tungsten
Thread: Black Twist
Tail: Brown Goose Biots
Body: Underbody- Fine Lead, Hends Coloured Wire
Thorax: Spectra peacock dubbing no 46 or natural Peacock
Thorax cover: Phesant tail, pearl Flash, Loon UV fly finish.
Legs: Phesant tail fibers

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quill Nymphs and Body Quill Nymphs

Natural stripped peacock quill nymphs are some of the most productive nymphs an angler will ever fish; I use different quill nymphs on nearly every cast throughout the season.

Firstly you must get a good peacock feather and select the quills surrounding the eye of the feather, and then using an eraser rub off the small fibres to leave a clean quill, natural or dyed. Cock de Leon tails work best on this nymph and you can add a small tag to enhance the fly or leave natural. The under body can have fine lead to give the nymph extra weight and the thread must be smooth so the quill sits neatly on the under body of the fly.

Because the quill is quite brittle you must either rib it with clear fine mono or as I do coat it in Loon UV fly paint to give the body durability and it adds a shinny wet look to the fly. Then you can add either Hares ear guard fibers, Glow bright floss, peacock Spectra dubbing, or natural peacock and a thorax cover behind the tungsten head to give the nymph 
the desired look. 

Another method of tying these very successful nymphs is to use Hends body quills this synthetic material is excellent to form different looks and textures on small quill nymphs, using different colours for the body and the rib you can develop several different nymphs to suit the natural colours of the nymph in the river. Again I coat
the nymphs in Loon UV fly paint for strength and appearance. These nymphs can be tided on grub hooks, gig hooks or small fine wet hooks the smaller the better I generally tie them from size 18 to size 14 for the larger ones.

They can be fished in the early part of the season behind heavy bugs in order to get them down to the fish and during the summer I like to fish them on their own in fast water; also the smaller nymphs can be fished under the dry fly when the fish move higher up in the water.

There is no doubt these nymphs will increase your catch to no end and are a must in every fly box.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Open Fly Competition & Fund Raiser Results.

Curragh Springs Fishery
Open Fly Competition & Fund Raiser.

Curragh Springs Fishery is this gem which lies hidden away among the rolling plains of the Curragh in Co. Kildare; just one mile from the famous Curragh Racecourse. It is a natural spring fed lake of about 5 acres with gin clear water. This hidden jewel is a must for serious anglers. If you are up to a rewarding challenging day out fishing for top class full finned fighting fit Rainbow, then Curragh Springs is the place to go. Just 30 mins From Dublin and easily accessed from all over Ireland on the M7 and M9 motorways just 5 mins from the main road.
The competition was held from 10 am to 4pm, 19 anglers fish the competition. the weather was perfect for still water fishing and the fish were rising away as the first whistle blew to start the day. For the first two peg changes nobody was running away with the top spot Dave Donavan and Pat Noonan both picked up five or six fish from the first peg but their second peg was not so fruitful and they both just saved the blank. This was the story for most anglers, picking up fish on one peg only to find it harder to push on in the next session. 

Each angler had five changes throughout the day moving five pegs at a time to allow everyone fish the majority of the lake. After two slow starts John Coughlin and Mick Gillman dug deep into their years of experience and moved well clear with two pegs to go. John finished very strong while Mick found some very fussy rising trout that could not be convinced to take anything, so the day belonged to John Coughlin with a wonderful catch of 12 fish. 

The fish were getting caught throughout the day on a consent enough stream, they were rising through out on small weed smuts that the anglers found it very hard to imitate, there was very little in consistency on what all the fish were caught on some on fry patterns, orange lures, black booby's, orange beaded nymphs and even one was caught on a pink shrimp. 

The best fish for the day belonged to both Trevour Murphy and Micheal Lysaght who bot caught a cracking 56cm fish, and over all there was 61 fish measured averaging 51/53 cm.

A cracking day was had by all and thanks to all who came along to fish and steward, thanks to Shaun, owner of Curragh Springs for allowing us to compete on one of Ireland best bank fishing venues with fully finned and hard fighting fish, for some anglers this was quite a job landing these fish on the day. We are all looking forward to compete again on this wonderful lake, it is a must for anglers who want to be challenged and rewarded for their fishing. Thanks to all who promoted the competition and to Robbie Phelan and Pat Cullen of Irish fly tying.com, also Jimmy Tyrell of Irish fly craft for the framed flies. 

The winner John Coughlin with a lovely Curragh Springs rainbow.

Second place belonged to Mick Gillman with 8 fish and third went to Dave Donavan with 6 fish. 

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