Saturday, January 5, 2019

Common Wealth Champion, Brian Kerr sharing some Hot Tips on fishing Boobies in Still waters.

International Gold medals in the sport of fly fishing are a rarity on the Island of Ireland North and South. As a competitive angler I have fish many internationals for my country and a medal of any colour has still alluded me, as the same is for the majority of anglers that have represent there Country at the highest level. This very achievement was accomplished during last summer by Northern Ireland's Team Member Brian Kerr who was the first ever Northern Ireland Angler to pick up the individual Gold, with his Team also taking the Gold at the 2018 Common Wealth championships. Well done to the entire team it was a great achievement.  

I had the pleasure to have Brian on the Ireland Team I captained which went to the World finals last September in Italy just after his big win and trust me his achievement in the Common Wealth's was well deserved. Brian is an outstanding angler on rivers and lake who's attention to detail puts him right up there as one of the best anglers I have ever had the pleasure to fish with. 
Now it was long before last summer that I had heard of the Northern Ireland angler Brian Kerr and it was during the winter months on still water venues over the last number of years where his name was mentioned in many discussions on tactics and tying's. Brian is renowned for his still water ability and for his booby tying; and when it come to catching fish on these lures there is few better than him. So during our time in Italy I had a conversation with Brian in regards to tying effective boobies and how to fish them correctly to maximize takes and getting tying details right. Brian kindly agreed to share some of his hot tops tips for tying and fishing boobies on still water venues right here. 

When tying boobies and making booby eyes, the most important thing for fishing purposes is having them symmetrical and the diameter you want for the job you want them to do. The latest craze is to ‘bake’ them in the oven to round them off neatly and there’s no doubt they look fantastic for a photograph, but I don’t think it matters to the fish. As long as they’re symmetrical this should stop them from spinning and making a mess of your leaders and the fly will also fish correctly in the water.

To form the eyes, you can make your booby eye cutters from a few different things, extending car aerials, mechanics inspection mirrors and selfie sticks to name a few, the last two are handy if you want a bigger diameter and don’t forget to sharpen the end of each cutter with a needle file. I like to put my chosen cutter into a cordless drill and drill a load of tubes from a plastazote block at one time. 
I then cut each booby tube into suitable lengths, for example when I drill out 6mm tubes I try to cut them into lengths of about 10mm, you get two out of one tube with a little bit of waste, for smaller eyes of 3 or 4mm diameter cutting them so you get 3 lengths out of one tube makes them about the right length. I then put a medium thickness darning needle into the vice and push a pre-cut tube onto the needle trying to make sure it goes on straight and dead center. Then I take my bobbin holder and make one loose turn of thread around the tube making sure its as close to dead center as possible and then pull tight, the Super Fine & Strong Kevlar tying thread is perfect for this job, its strong enough to tighten down into the foam without cutting into it,  do about five tight turns of thread and then whip finish and trim the thread. Slide the eyes off the needle and repeat with the next one.

Cut one, two and three
The next step is trimming the eyes, this is the part a lot of people either have trouble with or just plain hate doing, it can be a tedious job and best done when you’re in the mood for it or in front of the TV, as with anything the more you do the better and faster you get at them. I’ve tried lots of different pairs of scissors for this, cheap, expensive, straight and curved and the ones I keep going back to are the Veniards Fine Point straight scissors, they have one edge slightly serrated and it seems to just catch a grip of the foam, they work perfectly for me anyway. I always think of each side of the eyes as 3 cuts, the first cut around the circumference is across the edge at 45 degrees. This then leaves you with two ‘edges’ which you then trim in the same way (not as deep a cut as the first) and hopefully this will leave you with a nice round booby eye.

The Rotary Tool or Dremel as it’s mostly known is another good method for shaping the booby eyes. You need the aluminium oxide grinding stone, Dremel code all of their stones and attachments so if you’re looking for it the code for this particular stone is ‘932’. This is a 9.5mm cylindrical shape with an inverted cone in the end of it which a booby tube fits perfectly into. I find going round the booby tube first and taking the edge off and then using the Dremel to round it off works best for me but having done them so long with the scissors now I tend to just stick with that.

When I tie boobies I like to tie the full fly first, leaving a slightly longer than usual head and add the booby eyes last. The main reasons for this are firstly that I like to have the booby eyes all pre-formed. When tying flies for International Rules tying the eyes on last and making them level with the eye of the hook ensures they will fit in the gauge without losing anything in the length of the wing or tail maximising movement in the fly. Lastly, I find tying them on when the fly is finished makes the eyes sit a bit higher on the shank of the hook ensuring you have more clearance at the gape of the hook giving better hook ups.
Don’t forget when tying your boobies to consider the size of the booby eyes allowing for the different gauges and weights of hooks, its no-good putting 2mm booby eyes on a size 10 heavy wire hook and expecting it to sit in the top few inches.

When adding the eyes to the flies, I like to sit them on top of the hook in the position they will be when the fly is completed, take the thread between them once loosely and draw it down tight, from there tie them in using a figure of eight motion and this will ensure they stay straight on the fly, once you’re satisfied they’re secured you can whip finish at the eye of the hook. I then check they’re straight and sitting right, adjusting them if need be. From there I take my dubbing needle and some superglue gel, I find the gel so much easier to work with because you can leave it sitting on the table, squeeze the sides and take a drop from the nozzle of the
bottle, the first drop goes between the booby eyes on the top of the fly, I then turn the fly over and put a drop between each booby eye and the eye of the hook, once that’s dry it ensures the eyes stay firm and the fly fishes straight and doesn’t spin. Now your boobies are ready for fishing.
Brian's TOP TIPS for Fishing Boobies.
When fishing boobies there’s a few important factors to consider, sometimes the small things can make a big difference. During the winter months when I’m bank fishing although, there will still be trout up and about, I also expect some of the trout to be down near the lake bed feeding due to lack of flies hatching. The first important factor will be line choice, you can fish boobies on a fast glass, or a Di3 and eventually it will get down to the lake bed and you will catch fish but that time it takes for those lines to sink is time wasted, far better to reach for the Di7, Di8 or Booby Basher line, get down there quick and get fishing.

Tippet choice and speed of retrieve will also make a difference. If say you’re fishing two flies on a short leader on a fast sinking line and you count the line down to the lake bed and  then start retrieving fairly quickly your flies will be pretty much scraping the lake bed and under the fish, whereas a slow retrieve will keep them just up off the bottom and in the feeding zone covering the bottom few feet. Alternatively, during the warmer months when the fish are very high in the water and I’m fishing the ‘washing line’ method again the tippet, booby eyes and even hook choice can make a big difference. Fluorocarbon sinks faster than copolymer or monofilament so if I’m looking to fish covering the top few feet I will fish a fluorocarbon tippet, with
3mm booby eyes, but if the fish are very high in the water I would change from a fluorocarbon leader with 6-8 inch droppers to a copolymer leader with 4 inch droppers, medium or light wire hooks and 4mm booby eyes to keep the flies very high up in the water without having to retrieve any faster making the flies look unnatural.
During our trip to Italy for the World Championships the team fished a crystal-clear lake during practice. We could see the fish cruising in front of us and it quickly became apparent that these fish were spooked by the shadow of a fly line and even the tippet above them. By changing to a fast sinking line and boobies we could fish the contours of the lake with the fly line below the fish but the flies a few feet off the bottom and no line or tippet spooking the fish, the difference was instant and the fish that had been turning away from the flies on the floating line would now grab the booby without hesitation. This is a great example of the importance of choosing the right lines and tippet for the job. 

Brian Kerr is a renowned top bank angler and some of these simple but highly important tips can make all the difference in catching or struggling to catch on still waters this winter. I would like to thank Brian for sharing his information on the blog and wish him a successful 2019. But it will be hard for him to TOP an amazing 2018. Well done Brain !
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and thanks for checking out my blog.If you would like to stock up your boxes for this coming year make sure and contact me through Facebook or email. If you have any questions or queries please feel free to contact me. Also make sure and check out my website www.piscari-fly.com for all your tungsten beads, Dohiku barbless hooks, Tommi-fly products,the amazing Syndicate Fly Rods, Reels, leaders and much more. Thanks for reading.

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