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Monday, 25 June 2012

Focus on Leader Configurations

I've just been reading through Chris Dore's Blog -

and I've been very impressed with what the man says. It's always awesome to come across anglers who are taking their fishing very seriously, and pushing themselves to the next level, to fish the best they possibly can and all that.

He has an article on how to catch more fish.

It seems to be all about how to remove A.E. "Angler Error".

This last season gone, I was very happy with my fishing, exceeding my personal bests for catching the most fish per day (9 in on a German Mountain stream) and my biggest trout (the brace of 8lb+ Sea Trout in NZ).

However one area that I've singled out for improvement is in my leader design and functionality. Too often I found that they weren't turning over with the ACCURACY that I wanted, especially with dry flies, which I've also started to use more than ever before this last season. Without the fly having any weight, sometimes they just sort of stopped having a tight loop as the tip half of the leader unrolled. And then they could get blown by any wind, off target.

I know that there is few areas as contentious as leader design, with many backcountry NZ anglers swearing on fishing 'fine and far' with as longer leaders as possible (2 -2.5 rod lengths or even more). I've always preferred to use as short a leader as possible and still catch the trout, focussing on accurate casting and anticipating the movements of the fish.

So I am just going to get out there on the casting practice range, and cast a whole lot of differently structured leaders over this Winter here in Queenstown. Ones made to suit the potential fishing in the season ahead.

And sit inside tying up different styles of em when the weather is poor. 

To personally fully "Understand the effects of shortening / steepening my tapers and also just what happens when I lengthen / soften up the leader system" . 

I'll experiment with:
  • Greg Kemp style leaders with very stiff 15-20lb butt sections
  • Short leaders of a rod length or less for small streams
  • Dry Fly leaders - discover the perfect leader to accurately turn over a #16 adams on 13' nylonA level 10' 4X Fluro leader for Spring prospecting in fast medium sized Mtn rivers

To keep me focussed and inspired I've quoted a few paragraphs from his post here, I'll come back to these to stay motivated.

"Casting needs not be mentioned to those who follow my blog. Practise, practise and practise is my mantra. The trout dont care if it’s blowing a gale, or wether you only get to fish a couple of times a year - if you cannot put the fly correctly infront of the trout, he will not eat it. One bum cast, and he is gone. Put in the time on the grass prior to your trip to make the most of your opportunities on the stream. When you are on the river you are fishing. Not practising.

Know how different fly and leader configurations will perform. It’s no use practising with a bit of fluff at home on a 9' leader, then tying on a size 10 double tungstan with a 15' lead when called for... It is not going to perform the same. Understand the effects of shortening / steepening your tapers and also just what happens when you lengthen / soften up the leader system.

Also get a feel for softer / stiffer leader materials and their effect on the delivery of your fly. It’s very rare that i fish with a 9' 6lb leader with a couple of feet of similar strength tippet for long at all. I never hesitate to chop and change as needed".

So if you have any favourite leader recipies that you would like to share, or any other thoughts on leaders, then please comment on this post! :D

Friday, 22 June 2012

Exploratory Trip #7 in Queenstown Region

Nothing exciting to report today, but to get into the habit of blogging and recording my trips, here are some pics from this afternoons 2 hours in the rain.

Note the snow in background

A shot of the silt and weedbeds shallows

Ye olde flock of Black Swans

Had 3 follows in to the edge from smaller 'bows around 1lb today, using the 10g Toby and small bronze ticer. 

This would be a great still water for fly-fishing from a small boat, and there was quite a few lil dingies n canoes on the shore. Do you know any of their owners?

I also lost my folding knife key ring n keys somewhere on the shore, if you find em before I do, be in touch!

It's probably a better fly-fishing water, but I just went for an explore as the storm front was hitting with the spinning rod. And fished in the rain and mud for a couple of hours, great fun!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Another great NZ fly-fishing blog

Hi, I've just discovered another great NZ blog, and a great quote from it's Hamilton, North Island based creator Cameron!

"There may be trout on another planet but until we track down those extra terrestrials we are stuck with our own fish, which I can live with. "


A Journey down the Mataura - February 2011

 A Journey down the Mataura from the upper section which is a small stream downstream all the way to the Ocean 

Counted 13 fish in this pool off the Highway Bridge!
The fulfilment of a lifelong dream to be here

Anxiously seeing if Greg Kemp can tie and post me some emergency replacement flys...

Yes... he can!

Sometimes it was very cold

Kat's 4lb brown on her first day fishing ever

Michael Arfstrom from Sweden, left, and Pat and Kat from South Carolina, all camped like us at the Awesome Athol campground

Sometimes the fish were hard to find after the biggest flood of the Summer, a months worth of rain in a day they said. It didn't matter, still caught plenty, even in this muddy water.

Local Offerings - Stu's Flyshop's recommended February selection

A smorgesboard of stomach contents

The second batch of photos to come when I have another couple of hours...

Here they come...!

You can see the character and nature of the River changing a lot over its length!

This lower water, down just below Gore, was the only section where I didn't catch any fish. I had just one evening, and fishing through the downpour, the trout were very spooky, generally one drift of the leader past them was enough to put them down.

This was the only section which (at least temporarily!) lived up to the Mataura's reputation of being a difficult fishery.

But I still felt so happy and privileged to be on the Famous water.

All the way to the estuary here, where she empties into the Sea :-)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

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Friday, 1 June 2012

Last Week of the Season - April 2012

A double hook-up on 2 trophy Brown Trout with Keiran Lee - he didn't bring a net, just his 4 Weight, 7' stick, so I had to stuff both of  these trout into my long handled net - the result? My net broke in half when I lifted them both out together. Bro - you owe me one! :-)

A close up of Keiran's Jack

A close up of my Hen from the Double Hook-Up

Late in the season but there's still some nice fish about.

Thank you to Keiran Lee for an awesome days angling.