fly fishing Archives

IMG_2220Can’t beat getting an online message at 5AM asking if you want to go fishing. Well as long as I don’t have plans I can change and I didn’t. Casey had checked the weather forecast and decided that this day was the best fishing day left in the week.

It worked out perfectly for me because Jenny and I had rented a car for Thursday and Friday so we would have been unavailable.

We were on the road before I even knew where we were headed but I didn’t really need to know. But when Casey told me we were going to Colwell’s Warf I was quite happy with that choice. Such a beautiful place to enjoy a day on the water.

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Had a pickerel strike in those weeds but he didn’t hang on so no first fish yet.

Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See

All the way there and for a little while on the water it was clear skies in all directions and not a bit of a breeze. The water was a mirror. So glad I had my new sunglasses with me again as it really made a difference to my eyes by the end of the day. My wide brimmed hat kept my brain from frying as well and that’s always good. I need all the grey cells I can keep.

As soon as Casey backed away from the launch I cast into the weeds and had my first strike right away. Guess he was ready to make a commitment as he stayed in the weeds and didn’t strike again. So I grabbed my sunscreen and plastered it all over my bare skin.

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Lot’s of weeds and pencil reeds, my favourite kind of spots.

IMG_2256It wasn’t long before the temperature rose to a noticeable degree and I began to sweat a bit. That’s when I realize how nice it is to have my new wide brimmed hat.

We started seeing the odd cloud and before we realized the sky was full of clouds, just not right over head.

We saw a huge cloud that kept getting close to blocking the sun but seemed to take forever to move between us and the sun. Instant relief but then the wind picked up and for the most part the calm water I love fishing so much was gone.

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What!? That’s An Island

As I was casting along the shoreline weeds for pickerel or bass Casey said he was looking for the entrance to the pond in the middle of the island. I had no idea we were moving along the shoreline of an island. Must be a pretty big island.

Sure enough a few minutes later there was a channel leading back into the island. There were plenty of pickerel in the channel which went back a long ways before we could get to the water on either side of the channel. What a beautiful spot in there. Dense weeds made it hard to get anything out of there. I need a fishing rod with a stiffer backbone and definitely stronger line for pulling them out of those weeds. Still had a blast watching how crazy they can bee.

Jim Gets The Most Fish Of The Day

sun beamI missed a pickerel within a minute of launching so I missed the opportunity to get the first fish while Casey was distracted.

Then I hooked into a nice pickerel and had it within an inch of being in my hand when it decided to make a run for it and managed to get off the hook. Missed a second opportunity for the first fish.

Finally on my third attempt at getting the first fish I succeeded so that’s two days we’ve been out that I got the first fish of the day.

Casey was keeping right up with me but once the clouds moved in I watched for signs and as you can see in the photo above the sky opened and showed me where to cast. A few times like that I had the lead. Most fish of the day goes to me as well.

We saw a few bigger fish hitting the baits in the weeds but didn’t get them to the boat. The only two we did measure were the same size so it was a tie for biggest fish of the day.

The final score for this day, 1 perch each, 11 pickerel for Casey and 17 pickerel for ME.

Getting Ready To Tie A Few Chain Pickerel Flies

pickerel on the flyI was hooked on chain pickerel on the fly after catching my very first pickerel, which was all of 6 or 7 inches. I was fly fishing brook trout in a section of bush that was flooded. As I pulled the fly from the water a tiny pickerel flew out of the water and nailed it mid-air. How aggressive.

Since that time I have caught hundreds of chain pickerel some even bigger than my first one and mostly from my trusty float tube which is so much fun.

I do have a few baits that are my favourite for chain pickerel but in all my years of fishing I have to say the pickerel is the most opportunistic and will attack most anything you throw at them. Today I’d like to share a few flies that I like above all other flies.

The thing is all the flies I like the most seem to work great for trout, Atlantic salmon, smallmouth bass and chain pickerel.

For Spring I Always Have A Mickey Finn Fly

The Mickey Finn fly is easy and quick to tie and works in a variety of sizes. This fly is great for any of the species I fish and I’m hoping to get a few rainbows and brown trout this year using a Mickey Finn.

Even though it can be tied in any size I tend to keep them between size 8 and 12. If I were fishing bigger fish, like stripers or muskie I would maybe go a size bigger.

You can’t see the body of the fly in the image above but I have silver tinsel covering the hook to reflect some light. I also use yellow and red deer tail, dyed of course as we only have white tail here.

Joe Cermele has a cool video where he not only ties a nice minnow style fly but he takes it out and catches some chain pickerel using it. This is a fly I’d like to tie and give a try this spring for some hungry pickerel.

I like the idea of using a stinger or trailer hook in the spring when there’s less weeds to deal with. For later I would use ones without the trailer hook plus I would add a weed guard to it so the I can fish longer without cleaning it off.

The Every So Humble Black or Brown Leech

woolly bugger flyAbout 30 years ago I tried black woolly bugger with a red butt. It easy to tie and only took a couple of minutes. I fish it with a leech in mind so I try to make it pulse through the water with short retrieves to bring the fly up in the water and then gently let it drop again.

It took me a few minutes to get the retrieve the way I wanted it and they started smacking it hard.

I tried to find the same fly on Youtube but couldn’t find the exact one as I was looking for a black or brown leech with a red butt. However I found lots of leeches with marabou tails. I haven’t tried fish one of those so I would just follow the plan but instead of a marabou tail I would replace it with red yarn as a butt section and not as a tail.

I may just tie a few woolly buggers with the marabou tail and see how they do for me.

Note: If you use wire to give some weight to your flies be sure to use lead free wire.

I think I might tie a few woolly buggers with red marabou feathers as a tail section and see if that’s more attracting to fish than just the red yard butt. Might take a little less action on the fly and catch more finicky fish.

Poppers Can Drive Fish Mad

I’ve never tied a popper myself but have used a few from others and I have just as much fun with a popper fly as I do with the varieties of poppers I use with my spinning gear. The key is to just be patient allowing the popper to sit until the ripples disappear before twitching or popping it again.

early morning trout fishing new brunswick
Casey stopped on the way so I could snap the this cool scene

Got out for a day of trout fishing on the Shepody river with Casey on Friday. I have to say that it got a tad windy with 30 km winds. It was so windy I’m sure I saw two birds flying backwards.

all birds grounded til further notice
All Birds Are Grounded Til Further Notice Due To High Winds

launching caseys boat on shepody riverI grabbed all my gear from the truck and put it in the boat while Casey was checking to be sure all systems were a go before launching.

BTW: The boat launch we used is on highway 915 just off highway 114 at Riverside Albert. I think it’s called humpback bridge.

Just as we were launching we saw another boat with couple of guys who were trolling slowly towards us. We took a minute to say hi and ask how they were doing. They hadn’t been there long and had only one trout so far.

I looked in the water and asked if the water here was always this colour. I decided to try my new Fujifilm XP20 camera and took an underwater  video. I put the camera under the water less than a foot and couldn’t see it. The visibility was all of about one foot making me think we were in for a tough day of trout fishing. Of course I kept that to myself.

other fishers going for trout runSoon we were seeing more and more people walking to the river side to fish trout. They were flocking there by the dozens. I guess the word gets around quickly when a fresh run of sea trout come in.

We fished for a while and came to a point where the river splits. The boat ahead of us took the right fork so we took the left.

Something I have noticed with Casey that I really like is the respect he gives others who are fishing. Every time we got close to anyone on the bank he would slow right down so that the boat wake wouldn’t bother them.

As a guy who doesn’t own a boat and fishes on foot, from my float tube or in Jamie’s canoe I appreciate when those with boats take the time to think of others.

Fly Fishing For Trout

The weather people told us to expect 30 km winds but I still brought my fly rod hoping the wind wouldn’t pick up until later in the day. I was wrong. I made a few short casts which were pretty controlled but not far from the boat. As I increase my cast I had less and less control.

I feared for Casey’s safety and was sure he wasn’t up for an ear piercing so I put the fly rod away for another day.

5 of diamonds lureWith no chance of catching a trout on the fly I then grabbed my spinning rod and put on my secret weapon for the day, a Original Dardevle Spoons (Yellow/Red Diamonds, 2/5 oz.) , don’t tell anyone.

I was sure it could handle the wind and stay on track. I made a cast to the shore, not meaning to land it on the shore but I did. Then I gave it a yank as it was just on the mud and a bit of grass.

Well about 30 feet of my braided line snapped off. I’ve never had this happen in all the years I’ve used braided lines, very strange. Now my new Five of Diamonds lure was on the river bank and the water was too shallow to pull the boat up to the shore.

I decided I would go get it and took off my shoes and socks, rolled my pants up past my knees and climbed overboard into 47 degree water. The water was only a foot deep here but the mud was another foot deeper and it was more than gross. Funny as all get out and after a couple of hilarious moments I retrieved my lure.

Now that should have been on video as I’m sure it was the funniest moment of the day.

The Only Trout I Saw, All Day

I put that rod away and grabbed my second rod, tied my lure back on and made a cast to shore. Nothing, but just as I got the lure back to the boat I saw a trout following it. The water was so murky I could barely see the trout’s back and it was just a couple of inches under the water. It never actually touched the lure.

It’s not very often we get skunked but ‘hey shit happens’. It’s always great to catch lots of fish but a day out on the water with Casey is always a good day and beats going to work every time. If laughter is good for the soul we have pretty healthy souls.

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fly fishing guideI think it’s safe to say that winter appears to be handed things over to spring, finally. I have even been able to get out into the back yard to clean up all the garbage that blows into our yard over the winter months.

It’s a whole lot drier right now than it was last year at this time. I wasn’t able to work in the back part of the yard until at least May as the yard was under about 4 to 6 inches of water. I’ve been out there working in my sneakers.

Heading To Chubby’s To Get My Fishing License

I’m anticipating an awesome year of fishing, to make up for last year, hopefully. I’m sure you remember what a strange and wet year we had here in New Brunswick and many other places. I don’t think we saw normal water levels until about August.

Even though the water was high which made fishing a bit tougher Jamie and I still had great fun fishing from his canoe and catching smallmouth bass and chain pickerel in the Saint John river around the Jemseg area.

Some more good news is our son finally got a job offer in his field which has allowed him to move out of the house. The sad part is that he had to move to Saskatchewan for the job. Some more good news, he loves the Oxbow and his new job.

He is paying us back for the financial support we’ve given him for the past few years so I may just have a little extra money this year to help with gas for fishing trips and maybe even for a couple of tournaments.

I can’t believe I’ve fished for 51 years now and I’ve never been in a tournament.

Oh better get my butt in gear, Jenny’s just getting ready to head off to work I want to leave with her and then head to Chubby’s over on Killam Dr. to get my salmon fishing license.

I always get a salmon license, just in case we get a chance to get the fly rods out to hit places like the Cains and Quarryville, two of my favourite spots. Maybe Casey, Jamie and I will get a chance for a fly fishing trip for a few Atlantic salmon together, we’ve never done that yet.

fly fishing guideFish On!! Five decades ago I was given the opportunity to go fishing for the first time ever.

I was just 8 years young and so excited I couldn’t stop running and jumping around. Almost didn’t get to go as I was becoming so annoying.

Fishing instantly became a hobby and was on my mind constantly. I have been enjoying fishing adventures ever since.

My First Custom Fishing Rod

Back then I made my first custom fishing rod, using a steel post from an electric fence. We were living on a farm and money was scarce so we improvised and it worked for me. Fishing rod building was never my strong suit.

My custom fishing rod didn’t require a reel as it was just some fishing line tied to the loop on the end of the steel rod. Then I just used nuts from the jars of nuts and bolts as weight to get to the bottom of the river and old rusty hooks that were lying around. We lived on a farm and bait, juicy earthworms, were easy to find.

Every chance I got I would grab my custom fishing rod and gear then head to the back of the farm and fish for catfish in the Black River. Like I said times were tough on the farm back then and there was no money to be spent on a fishing rod.

It seemed life a lifetime but eventually I grew up and moved out on my own. For a while it was a struggle to just keep up with new bills like living and eating. I had to put fishing on the back burner for a few years. Eventually I bought a real fishing rod, which was a little more top of the line for the time.

As much as I loved fishing I never had the time for fishing tournaments and once I did I didn’t have the energy, although I have to admit I have dreamed about it from time to time. Maybe as I get older, says the guy who just turned 59 last week.

My Second Custom Rod Was A Fly Fishing Rod

I took up fly fishing when I was about 30 and it changed a lot of things about fishing for me as I had never done any fly fishing before this time. My wife is from Cambellton, New Brunswick where her father had a local and famous fly tier and custom fly rod builder custom build a fly rod for me as I loved to fly fishing the Restigouche River any time we were up visiting.

He did a great job and it was the best wedding gift we got. Sorry there were no duplicates.

I used to visit Ralph when Jenny and I would visit her parents as he lived right up the street. I would sit there and listen to his tales of fishing, for hours, until Jenny would call to see if I was coming back to her parents.

You’ll find there are custom built fishing rods which are a mix match of components commercially available so you get a mix of the things you like in other fishing rods. This is a great way to get a fishing rod with all the features you prefer from other rods.

Having a custom fishing rod built to your specifications can still be affordable as the cost of the components are usually not expensive, it’s what you get the custom builder to do with those parts that can start to add up.

Personal preferences, such as your casting style, is a good thing to point out to  your local fishing rod creator because they may have ideas that will make your casting style feel better than with other types of fishing rod handles.

For me a day of fishing is always better when I am not getting blisters from my fishing rod. Having a custom rod handle built to my specs could make my days on the water even better.

Fly Fishing Terms You Might Want To Know

James Mann

I have enjoyed fly fishing here in New Brunswick for the past 30 years and every so often I hear a fly fishing term I hadn’t heard before.

In the world of fly fishing there are many words, terms or phrases that are good to know. Some of the fly fishing terms are a bit unusual or may mean something else to most who don’t fly fish.

Here is a list of some of the more unusual and double meaning words utilised by fly fishers.

  • Action: an over-all term often accustomed to try to describe the design of the rod – such as soft, hard, slow, or fast
  • Attractor: usually a bright colored fly that’s not usually tied so it imitates a specific type of food
  • Belly: the sagging percentage of a fly fishing line
  • Blank: a rod with out a handle, reel seat, or guides
  • Blood Knot: the most popular name for a barrel knot
  • Chalk Stream: a stream, usually found in valleys, that is spring fed and slow moving with plenty of vegetation
  • Complex Hatch: the simultaneous hatching of countless types of type of insects
  • Compound Hatch: the masking, or hiding, of an hatch of smaller insects with a hatch of larger insects occurring on the same day
  • Cutthroat Trout: a genuine trout that is certainly found mostly inside the western the main United States
  • Dapping: a fly fishing technique in which the fly is repeatedly bounced off and on of the top of the water
  • Down Eye Hook: a hook which has the eye bent below the shaft
  • Dropper: the secondary fly which is attached to the leader inside a cast of flies
  • Dry Flies: Artificial flies designed to float on the surface of the water
  • Emerger: a condition that is used to describe any insect that moves up towards water’s surface preparing to hatch in the adult stage
  • Feeding Lie: the place where a trout goes into order to actively feed
  • Flat-butt Leader: a fly utilized in fly fishing in which the butt section is actually created into a ribbon shape
  • Freestone Streams: quick, tumbling streams with rock covered bottoms
  • French Snap: a smaller clamp, often utilised by a fly fisherman to install his net to his vest
  • Holding Lie: when a trout generally remains you should definitely actively feeding
  • Leisenring Lift: an approach used in nymph fly fishing where the line is lifted, inducing the imitation fly to go upwards, in front from the trout’s suspected lie
  • Midge Rod: a short, light weight rod
  • Natural: – a full time income insect, in contrast to an artificial, or man-made, insect or fly
  • Nymphing: any of the different fishing methods of which the fly fisherman presents an imitation with the underwater stage of your insect
  • Presentation: the process of locating a fly the location where the fish is probably to see it; includes the way in which in which the cast in completed and the method in which the fly is fished
  • Rise: the action of the fish taking an insect from the water’s surface
  • Run: a condition used to describe a particular stretch of moving water
  • Shooting: a casting technique
  • Spate: high water
  • Stripping: quickly retrieving line or pulling line through the reel
  • Terrestrial: of or in relation to an insect whose life-cycle is completely spent on land or even in plants
  • Waders staff: a sturdy rod about of up to the armpit of the individual fly fishing used by support in heavy water
  • Wet Flies: These are artificial flies designed to go beneath the surface of the water.

There are several words and terms which can be unfamiliar to many people but not to those who enjoy fishing.

Learn to Flyfish with Fly Fishing From Scratch!…

If you’re looking to learn more about fly fishing and how to catch more fish then you my friend have arrived at the right place and at the right time. Hop on over to our Fly Fishing From Scratch webpage and read the rest.

It can make a big difference to your fly fishing success, as well as the stories you’ll be able to share with your fishing buddies.

“Gain total knowledge about the five main types of artificial fly used in fly fishing for trout.

This section is well illustrated to back up the detailed information that I give you. You’ll know exactly what to use in each type of fly fishing situation to maximize your chances of catching more fish, as well as learn all about my all time favourite flies!”

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5 Tips For Better Trout Fishing Success

When it comes to fishing around the world trout fishing seems to be the most popular for most anglers. I would have to agree with that most of the time although bass fishing puts up a good fight for first place among sports fishers like myself here in North America.

I have been fishing for these rather abundant yet crafty fish using my spinning gear and fly fishing gear for about half a century. Trout fishing just never gets old whether I’m fishing a lake, pond, river or brook.

I live in North America, Canada actually and we have trout all the way from the east coast, where I currently live to the west coast where I’d love to take a fishing trip some day. The trout in it’s many forms such as brookies or speckled, rainbow, brown and even lake trout are all over most parts of North America but they are not limited to N.A.

The Trout Habitat I Love To Fish

I really don’t find fishing lakes for trout as exciting as I do fly fishing a stream for brookies probably because a brook is so much more visual. But I won’t turn down a trip to a lake for some trout fishing.

One of my best fishing trips was a fly in trip into Quebec for lake trout and pike. A fishing trip I will not soon forget as I got to sight fish for spawning lake trout, my first chance to fly fish for lake trout.

We have rivers here in New Brunswick with Brown trout in them. I didn’t even realize we had brown trout here so you can imagine how excited I was when I landed my first brown trout ever in a brook I was fishing for brook trout in.

trout fishing tipsLuck can be a big part of fishing and I enjoy making a cast that hooks into a fish I didn’t expect.

My fishing buddies tend to think I’m lucky or have horse shoes up my behind when I catch a big one.  Of course when it’s them that makes the big catch it’s all skill.

The truth is there are always a few things you can learn to do while fishing that will make you a better trout angler.

  1. When trout fishing a stream don’t get in the water until you have evaluated the lay of the water and structure. What’s happening in and around the water that will tell you want might be happening under the water.
  2. Knowing what the trout are feeding on will give you a big advantage so follow step one first and then step two is to turn over a few rocks that are under the water to see what kind of life is living there, then use a bait that matches what you find.
  3. Having taken the time to read the water and surrounding for indicators of what the trout are feeding on and you have turned a few rock you now need to get your bait or fly where the fish live, but not on top of their head as you will spook them and never catch much other than dumb fish which are usually quite young and small.
  4. Situate yourself so that you are not in a feeding lane and then cast ahead of the fish so that the bait or fly will drift into the fishes feeding zone. You are much more likely to get that big one when you’re stealthy.
  5. Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to trout fishing as they are extremely easy to spook. Practice patience and you will do much better. When you accidently slap your bait or fly on the water and spook a fish, stop, take a break to give the fish a few minutes to calm down. That’s when you get the big one and the other guy gets skunked.

Bonus Trout Fishing Tip

A real key to successful trout fishing is to go with a fishing setup that will give you the most excitement and sometimes that means going with a light setup for those smaller trout. I have so much more fun when I am fishing light tackle or fly fishing setup that matches the size of the trout I am fishing.

These 5 useful trout fishing tips will help you catch more trout and even bigger trout in the same water you couldn’t catch them before. Happy fishing and remember to take a kid fishing, it could change their life like it did mine.

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