Sunday, October 31, 2010

Damsel Flies

I went out fishing at the dam this morning and I though that instead of boring you with the usual fish pictures I will show you a pretty little Damsel Fly that decided to dry its wings on my float tube. (Ok, I didn't actually land a fish, so this is all I have)

I also shot a little underwater movie of a Damsel nymph swimming but I still  need to figure out  how to edit it and load it on Youtube.

One of the fish my friend caught this morning took the fly deep into it's gills and had to be killed. When opening its stomach it was stuffed with Damsel fly nymphs.  The below patter has always worked for me when the fish are eating Damsel fly nymphs like this. Sadly I didn't have any of these patterns in my box this morning.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Did you notice that there was a hand in the picture?

Ahh, the humble hand. Often overlooked, mostly ignored and certainly not given any credit. Even  though it is in most of our pictures. I certainly never gave it any second glance when I looked at a fishing picture until my wife mentioned a while back when I showed her some pictures of me holding a fish.

She told me that every picture I showed her has only a hand and a fish  in it. You almost never see the face of the person who caught the fish. It is always THE HAND. She also asked me if I can recognise who caught the fish by looking at THE HAND.

I suspect she said the above with a slight bit of sarcasm.

It did make me think though. When looking at a picture of a fish I never looked at THE HAND. It was like it was blocked out of my vision. Almost like those pictures that someone emails you with a half naked girl with a stunning sunset in the background. The caption would be “Beautiful picture of a sunset” and the the standard comment is “ What sunset?”

Come on, you all know what I am talking about.

So now that my wife brought this missing piece of the picture to my attention I cannot help but look at THE HAND. My vision is now tuned on THE HAND. The fish first gets a glance and then the hand gets studied before I look at the fish again. In a single blow she pretty much ruined my enjoyment at looking at a picture with a stunning fish in it.

I often fish alone and we all know how awkward it is to take a picture of a fish that you caught when you are alone with your camera. THE HAND was never considered when lining up the shot. It is not an important piece of the picture.

Well that is also now ruined for me. Every time I take a picture I wonder how THE HAND will look. Did I clean and cut my nails? Is THE HAND cradling the fish properly? Is THE HAND in focus? It is driving me nuts, and I suspect I am alone in this.

Well no more. Below is some pictures of THE HAND from some of the people reading this blog. I hope that most of you will now also look at THE HAND when looking at a picture, and will consider how THE HAND will show up in the pictures that you take.

BTW. At the start of this obsession it is normal to go back and look at ALL of your pictures that you ever took to see how THE HAND features.




My left hand






And an extremely rare picture of my right hand








The Average Joe’s hand


Simon’s (Pike fly-fishing articles) hand


Troutrageous’s hand (Notice the little finger)



Smalliestalker’s hand uncovered……







…..and covered





Brk Trt’s hand


Send me some pictures of your hands and I will introduce them to the rest of the world. (Or to at least to all four of my readers)




I think I am now cured after seeing the below picture of the Outdooress with this awesome fish. I did not even look at THE HAND when I saw this picture. I hope that I don't “Get 10 Lashes With an 8 weight Line” for stealing this pic.


“What fish?” I hear you ask :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rod Building 101- Part 5

This is the final instalment of the rod building tutorial by Michael Newby and Shaun Futter
You can find the other instalments by clicking on the links below
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Here you will need a 2-part rod finish (Like Flex Coat’s High Build or Lite formula), Colour-coded syringes, a mixing container (preferably glass…a tot glass works excellently), a paper clip, brushes, a saucer and some foil to cover the saucer with.
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Mix the two parts of finish together. Mix a full 3cc’s of each part, do not try and mix less…the mixture may not be consistent then. The key here is to mix SLOWLY. Count ten turns clockwise, and then ten turns counter-clockwise. Do this repeatedly until the mixture is completely clear. (It may take up to 7 or 8 minutes.) It’s essential to work slowly to minimise bubbles forming.
Nowpour the mixture over the tin foil in the recess created by the underside of the saucer. This will spread the finish nicely, help dissapate any bubbles that formed in the finish, and increase the “pot life” (using time) of the finish.

Assuming you are doing a 4 piece rod, do two sections at a time…not more. If you are doing a two piece rod, do one section at a time. I would not advise trying to do the entire rod at once in the beginning. The finish starts to become tacky and very difficult to work with.

Start with the butt section and second section. Apply finish over the hook keeper, decorative wrap and rod writing first. Over this big area, use long brush strokes from side to side. Continue until the finish is all over the area required, and fairly level. Move to the stripping guides, and apply finish to the wraps. Once you have finish applied to all the wraps, go back and neatly finish the ends of the wraps. You want to have the finish overlap onto the blank for about 1mm right around the blank.

NB: Do not “brush” the finish on, this will introduce bubbles in the finish. Hold the brush loaded with finish against the wrap, and turn the blank. It may help to rest your brush hand on top of the rod stand. Keep turning the blank, to ensure the finish does not sag to one side and possibly drip off.

Put the completed section in the rod-dryer, and turn it on. As the rod turns in the dryer, inspect the wraps and finish for bubbles. You can “pop” bubbles in two ways: Take a straw and lightly blow on the finish. This will raise the bubbles to the surface and pop them. Or, use a lighter, and hold the flame to the side of the finish as it turns. This will momentarily thin the finish, bring the bubbles to the surface and pop them.
Rod turning in rod-dryer.
Note the overlap of finish onto rod blank.
Then mix a fresh batch of finish and complete your top two sections. Put it in your rod dryer (now the entire rod is turning) and pop any bubbles you may find.
Turn the rod for at least 12 hours, to ensure the finish has cured enough to not sag anymore. You’re done! Now let the rod stand for at least 7 days for the finish to harden properly before you fish or cast a line with it. After this, take some furniture polish or Brasso and clean the rod up for a final shine.
Remember to put a little candle wax on your male ferrules before fishing it, to ensure good contact, prevent them from loosening while casting and to make disassembly at the end of the day easier.
Now pack your new rod it a suitable rod sock (bag) and a rod tube, and go fish!

There is little more satisfaction than when you catch a fish on a fly you tied yourself…except when that fish is caught with a rod you built yourself. Enjoy.

Other resources for finding Information/Assistance

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New DVD - The Kingdom


Below is a short preview of the DVD " The Kingdom" that was filmed by Safari and Film Africa and has just been released.

"The Kingdom" DVD will take you on an adventure to the roof of Africa in Lesotho and the large river trout that inhabit the crystal waters of this Mountain Kingdom."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A few hours at Blue Gum Grove

I don't get to fish as often as I like to these days with work commitments and family matters to take care of. I have only been on my favorite streams twice this season compared to going every weekend last year. I did manage to sneak out for a few hours this morning and headed down to Blue Gum Grove as it is only a few minutes from my house.

Our summer has arrived and I was a bit worried that the warm water would have affected the fish already, but I was quite surprised to land a few fish. All of them were in excellent condition and was still fighting strong despite the warmer water.

The first hour was a bit slow with one Brown and one rainbow coming out to a olive woolly bugger. Shortly after I started to see some head and tail rises and tied on a tiny flashback nymph and got another few good fish. I also missed a few and got smashed up on my 6x tippet a few times.

All in all it really was a fun morning out.

These brown were about 20cm long when we stocked them about 5 months back. I saw this guy leaping clear out the water  after a dragon fly, and he smashed my woolly bugger when I put it in front of him.

A saw this rainbow cruising and placed a size 18 flashback nymph in front of him. As soon as I gave the nymph a twitch he turned and took the nymph as if it was the real thing.

Getting that bend in your rod is what its all about.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Nymph Skin Pupa

I have been tying up a storm lately, but also been having fun with my camera. Here is some latest flies of my vice.

HOOK:   Kamasan B110  #12
THREAD: UTC Ultra light olive
HEAD: 3mm Green Anodized Tungsten     
BODY:  Nymph Skin colored with green marker
THORAX: Hare's ear dubbing          
COLLAR: Brahma hen feathers
WINGBUDS:  Medallion sheeting 
ANTENNA: Elk hair

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blood worm

Probably one of the easiest flies to tie, but very effective.

HOOK : Grip 14732 or any scud hook
BODY : Hareline Midge Tubing

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


HOOK : Gamakatsu C12 
THORAX : Hare's ear Dubbing
THORAX COVER : Sally Hansen's
BEAD : Tungsten

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A few flies

Sadly I did not get to fish this weekend due to work yesterday and feeling a bit under the weather today after watching my rugby team cream the opposition to make it to the finals of the Currie cup. I did the next best thing though and watched some fly fishing DVD's and tied a few flies.

Below are a few Caddis Larva flies tied in the same manner as the Shark's Caddis Larva.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rod Building 101 – Part 4

This is part 4 of the Rod building Tutorial by Michael Newby and Shaun Futter.







To ensure even wrap widths on both sides of the guides, take a piece of cardboard and mark the length of the wrap. Put some masking tape at the end of the wrap, to help you with the width of the wrap. Do this on both sides of the guide.

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Bring your thread over the front of the blank, and overlap it as shown. Then start wrapping your main thread over the standing part, as illustrated on the right, by turning the blank towards you. The tension should be slight, not too much.


Nowcut the standing part of the thread, and continue wrapping by turning the blank.Make sure the wraps are tightly packed together. The standing part of the thread will now be hidden under the wraps. (NB: This “start” should be on the opposite side of your guides, so that when you look at the guides, this part is under the blank.)

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When you get to the guide foot, work slowly…and here’s where your preparation of the guide feet will pay off. If you did it correctly, the thread should climb onto the foot with ease. Continue wrapping until you are about 10 wraps from finishing.


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Now (also on the opposite side of the blank from the guide), insert a piece of thread as shown, in a loop. We will use this to tie off our wrap. Continue wrapping and trapping the loop under the thread.

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When you get to the end of where you need the thread to be, hold the main thread tight, and cut it off from your spool, keeping tension on it with your one hand. Now put it through your loop, and pull the loop tight, pulling the thread against the wraps. (We are going to use a method called the “disappearing thread trick”.)

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Now cut the main thread flush where the loop is, and start pulling the loop. Pull it at an angle as shown. The loop will pull the main thread under the wraps and the thread is now secure. Done!


This is the completed wraps on the stripping guide. You can now remove the strip of tape on the blank in the middle of the guide, that showed us the spacing. If your guide is not completely in line with your “spine” marking, use a little pressure with your thumb to push it into place. This should not be difficult at all.

NB: If you are at all unhappy with your wrap, or if there are frays or “fuzzies” on the thread…cut it off and start again. The finished product will look a lot better.



“FUZZIES”…they will look nasty when finish is applied.
Rather remove the wraps and start again.




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Lastly, “roll” and “pack” your thread wraps as shown. For rolling, use a crochet needle. This flattens the thread and fills up any gaps between the threads. Then pack the thread, to ensure it is nice and straight, and tight together.



Wrapping the hook keeper.





Here is a completed “decorative” wrap (usually in front of the writing on the blank) that encases the writing and specs of the blank, from here to the hook keeper. The main colour is dark green, and the “trim wraps” on both sides are metallic green thread.


STEP 17:


You may wish to add a decorative touch to your rod, by adding “trim wraps”. These are usually metallic in colour, either gold or silver…but there are many colours to chose from. You could also use a different non-metallic colour of course.


Sage Z-Axis rod, with Gold main thread, and trim wraps in Rust, Black and Metallic Gold.








To do trim wraps, go about as follows:



First start your trim wrap colour thread, and make about four turns around the rod. Then bring over your main thread colour over the top, as shown.



Put your left thumb on the wraps, holding it secure so it won’t unravel, and cut the trim wrap thread. Bring it under the main colour thread, as shown above, and make sure it’s secure.



Continue your wrap, until you have about 6 wraps over the other loose threads. Take the loose threads in your right hand, and pull them tight. Cut them off flush, and continue wrapping.



When you are about 20 wraps away from your end point, put in one tie-off loop. Make about ten wraps around the loop, and put in a second tie-off loop.Make another 10 or so wraps.



Now put in a third tie off loop, and make another few wraps. Now you can cut the main thread, hold tension on it, and put it through the first tie-off loop you inserted.



Using the same method as with the stripping guides, pull the thread under the wraps. You now have two loops left, for your final trim wrap.



Now bring your trim wrap thread over again, and put it though the second loop you put in. Pull it tight, cut the thread, and pull it through. The thread will now be secure under the wrap. NB: Use caution so as not to pull the trim thread out from under the wraps.



We will use a different tie-off method here, just to show you.Make four wraps around the blank again, Cut the thread and pull it though the last tie-off loop. Then hold tension, and pull the entire thread length though the wrap.


Nowpull the loose tag of thread back and forth, making a “slot” in the wraps. Pull the thread tight, and put a sharp razor to it. Don’t cut it, just roll the blade against the thread. It should part neatly. Then roll and pack the thread wraps as you did with the stripping guide, to close any gaps and flatten the thread.

This tie off method is a little tricky, I would suggest using the “disappearing thread trick” instead.



The completed wrap with trims.





Here is our rod’s completed hook keeper, and decorative wraps that encase the writing. (It this case, a label we are going to stick on that came from the blank manufacturer.)




Securing and wrapping snake guides (double foot guides) is the same as the stripping guide. For single foot guides, secure one side, and wrap as normal as well. The pic above shows the strip of masking tape that secures the guide, and the one which we placed on the blank to show the spacing.



The completed single foot guide.





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You also have to wrap at least one inch of “security” wrapping on the female ferrules of the blank sections, as shown above. This ensures that the ends of the blank are secure and will not crack or split easily. If a guide is to be placed near the female ferrule, incorporate it in the securing wrap, as shown on the right.


Lastly, wrap a securing wrap of at least 1cm next to the tip-top. This will increase the strength of the blank in this section and also add a finishing touch to your rod.



Next time we will look at how to finish your rod.