Fishing

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Fly Pattern Classifications

by on December 24, 2010

For the angler who is just beginning to learn about fly fishing, hearing about things such as “dry flies,” “nymphs,” and “streamers” can be confusing. What do these terms all mean?

In a nutshell, they refer to a general method of classifying the fly patterns based on what they might represent and how they are fished. Let’s take a look:

Dry Flies:

Often, you might come across a fly angler who considers himself a “purist” and scoffs at anyone who uses anything but dry flies when fly fishing. Don’t let them get to you – you’ll probably catch more fish than the “purist” dry fly fisher.

Dry flies are those fly patterns that represent an insect that has matured to its adult form. Many aquatic insects start off as eggs in the water, and then hatch into a larva and pupa stage. As the insect reaches the surface, it develops wings and has a metamorphosis which drastically changes its body shape. As these insects “hatch” from the pupa stage to adult, they may sit on the water before taking to the air with it’s new found wings. As it sits on the surface, fish will very often rise in an attempt to eat the adult.

Interestingly, dry flies only account for about 9% of a fish’s diet. The other 91% comes from aquatic food below the water surface, hence one of the reasons why you might catch more fish than the dry fly purist if you choose to employ other fly fishing methods to enjoy your sport.

Wet Flies:

Often there is confusion between “wet flies” and “nymphs.” and other fly patterns that are fished below the surface. Although nymphs and streamers do get “wet,” they are not technically considered a “wet fly” in the traditional sense.

Instead, a “wet fly” is a pattern that represents an adult insect that has died or drowned, and instead of sitting on top of the surface, is now under the surface. There are many wet flies that are very effective on enticing fish to strike, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Nymphs:

In many fly fishing circles, nymphs are the most popular type of fly to fish with. There are likely thousands (if not tens of thousands) of different nymph patterns which are supposed to represent or imitate the pupa state of an insect – the state between a larvae and adult insect.

They are tied in a variety of ways; some are weighted in order to get the fly down deeper and some are meant to represent a variety of different classes of insect nymphs.

If you’re beginning at fly fishing or fly tying, you’ll definitely want to have lots of nymphs in a variety of patterns in your fly box to select from.

Streamers:

Streamer flies, sometimes also referred to as “lures” by some anglers, are flies that typically represent small fish and leeches. Fly anglers realize that a typical fish diet also includes life other than the various stages of insects, and even includes other fish. Some fish can even be quite cannibalistic with eating their own young.

To this end, some flies are tied up in shapes to represent these type of prey and are referred to as streamers.

Streamers are typically tied using feathers for a tail, although some patterns call for material like buck tail. Some anglers would then differ between a streamer and a “buck tail” fly.

Terrestials:

Not all food that a fish will prey upon spend their life in water. Often, a fish will take things like ants, grasshoppers, and bumblebees and in the case of pike, even mice. These are life that normally live in the air or on the ground, but have found themselves in the water perhaps by accident. Flies that imitate this type of life that fish will prey upon are referred to as terrestials.

Not all fly patterns can be so easily classified. For example, many chironomid patterns represent the larvae stage of the midge fly, and don’t easily fit into any of the above descriptions.

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Fly Patterns for Bass

by on December 14, 2010

Pound for pound, it’s hard to beat the scrappy smallmouth bass on the fly rod for fun. Although many anglers target only trout while fly fishing, the smallmouth bass is also a favorite and can be readily caught using a variety of fly pattern imitations.

The smallmouth bass can be found in a variety of waters including rivers and lakes. Although generally speaking, bass are often thought of as a “warm water” species, the smallmouth is found throughout many of the northern US States and far into Eastern and Central Canada. It is just as at home in rivers as it is in lakes. Even in some rivers, it can grow to four and five pounds and a smallmouth of this size will put up a terrific battle!

Although many bass fly anglers know how much fun it can be to use large top water flies including poppers, these are not the only patterns that smallmouth bass will attack. Bass are like other fish in that they have a wide variety of food sources and will prey upon nymphs, leeches, hatching insects, chironomids, crayfish, and smaller fish. They can be quite greedy and it’s not uncommon to hook and land a bass that not only has your fly in it’s mouth, but perhaps a small minnow that it hadn’t gotten around to swallowing before taking your fly.

In rivers, smallmouth bass will take the same nymph patterns that brown trout will. If you’re targeting these voracious fish, be sure to experiment with common nymphs such as Bead Head Hare’s Nymph, Turkey Tail Nymph, and Ian James’ very effective Muncher Nymph. On one particular fast flowing river under a waterfall, Monte Smith’s Midnight Blue pattern was fished all day and took several dozen smallmouth bass.

Just like trout, smallmouth bass can have a heavy reliance upon chironomids for their diet. Fished in the same way when targeting rainbow trout in stillwaters, fly patterns that imitate chironomids such as epoxy buzzers (another Ian James pattern, the Brass Ass, comes to mind) should be experimented with. If you fish chironomids too fast, you may discover the bass following your fly, seemingly curious about it but reluctant to take it. If you notice this behaviour, slow down your retrieve considerably!

Leeches are another favorite food of this scrappy fish. There are times when nothing but a big fat juicy looking leech pattern will provoke a strike from the smallmouth. While black is an excellent colour, be sure to try others such as the Viva Zonker.

Smallmouth bass enjoy a meal of crayfish and there are quite a few fly patterns that effectively copy this crustacean. Uncle Joe’s Crayfish is one such pattern that will invoke the wrath of a hungry smallmouth looking for a substantial meal.

Just like many other species of fish, smallmouth bass are a lot of fun when using the fly rod, whether fishing rivers or lakes. If this is one of your favorite species, be sure to learn as much as you can about a variety of fly fishing techniques in order to increase your chances of fishing success!

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The Best Fish Finders

by on December 6, 2010

Hummingbird Fish Finder has been around for quite a while and it is a leading product simply because of its quality and design. The Hummingbird portable fish finder presently offers numerous models that you can buy. These include in the order from cheapest to most expensive, the Hummingbird 110, 120, 130 and 140 units. Since the actual model type along with the price tag grows, certainly, there will be extra capabilities which the less expensive models don’t have.

Just about all versions except for the 110 possess a small beam as well as a side sonar, and just about all have an equivalent electrical power of 125 watts along with 1,000 watts from peak to peak. These products all have got some sort of temperature gauge built in. Certainly all are waterproof and all have some sort of backlight and mount with a portable secure clamp.

With regard to the best fish finders Hummingbird genuinely does offer you a extremely good package no matter which device you decide upon. Right now there are different models to take into account the best kind of fish finder will depend on which functions are beneficial to you as well as what want to spend.

The Lowrance fish finders come with the latest series of plotters starting from five to ten inch display screens. The graph and or chart plotter series are referred to as HDS which means High Definition System and is the reason it made the list as one of the best. The plotters are all sold with GPS already incorporated. This particular box is water-resistant and the plug-in options are very good. Set up is very easy with using the Ethernet connection. The plotters use the latest turbo view technology which will make zooming a piece of cake. Lowrance provides cutting edge superb usability that is able to combine text and illustrations. The resolution is only 10 which is really not that great but it does have a SVGA resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. This is good for higher depths at greater speeds.

the Garmin Fishfinder 140 marine GPS (you can buy one here for only $127.99 95.00) is the one tool you need on your next fishing expedition. With 240 vertical pixels on a four level grayscale display, you get better separation and contrast so you’ll know exactly where you’re most likely to make the perfect catch. Like all of the new Garmin fishfinders, the 140 features Ultrascroll for fast screen updates, which is ideal for speed-based applications. This system also has a minimal amount of buttons and offers intuitive operation, so you’ll spend less time learning how to use the Fishfinder 140, and more time reaping the fishing rewards. You won’t even have to leave the sonar screen to change settings, thanks to a convenient adjustment bar.

Some of the best fish finders can be bought from anywhere between $100.00 and $500.00. It’s all up to what you want to spend.

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Effective Rainbow Trout Fly Patterns

by on December 5, 2010

I’m often asked what my “favorite” fly pattern is for rainbow trout. I’m sure many fly anglers have their favorites, but for me there is no single one that is of the most importance. Instead, there are several flies that I like to use depending on the circumstances.

While there are some anglers in the fly fishing fraternity that claim they only use dry flies and scoff at those of us that will also use flies that are submerged, the fact is that a fish’s diet comprises of over 90% aquatic food below the surface. Therefore, the dry fly “purist” is missing out on a lot of fish catching opportunities!

As far as dry flies, the Tom Thumb patterns can be very effective for rainbow trout both on rivers and when stillwater fly fishing. The Tom Thumb can imitate a number of hatching insects including caddis. and large mayflies. Tied in a very small version, it can imitate hatching chironomids as well. One of the nice things about this fly is that it is one of the easiest dry flies to tie, especially for the beginner.

There are a number of fly patterns that I have success with that are submersed below the surface. As far as nymph patterns, it’s hard to beat the Muncher Nymph. Originally developed and created by the world renowned Canadian fly tyer,Ian James, this nymph is very successful in a number of situations, including rivers, streams and lakes. Not only will it take rainbow trout, many a smallmouth bass, brown trout, and crappie have been brought to the net while using this fly.

Often overlooked by fly anglers but a very important food source for rainbow trout are chironomids. Hatching from an egg, chironomids can spend up to 2 years in the water in the larva and pupa stage before reaching the surface and hatching into midges. All fly anglers should become familiar with chironomids, and learn to fish them, especially on stillwater.

Chironomids, in order to be successful should be fished extremely slow and various depths should be experimented with. They fly angler should learn a variety of fly fishing techniques for greater success.

Not only are chironomids a very effective imitation, they are generally very easy to tie for the beginner fly tier too. Most chironomid patterns are very sparse and thin and can be tied in minutes. In nature, there are a variety of colors and the tier should keep this mind.

Rainbow trout don’t just consume insect life at various stages, but also will prey on other fish, spawn, crayfish and leech like animals. Some of the most effective patterns, especially in the spring and fall are leeches including patterns such as the Egg Sucking Leech. One of my favorites is a version tied up by Ernie Kalwa which uses black or white rabbit strip. As well, the Viva Zonker can be a terrifically effective leech pattern when others don’t seem to be getting the attention of the trout.

For imitating small fish that rainbow trout prey upon, there are a number of streamer patterns which are effective. One of my favorites that has worked well in both Eastern and Western Canada as well as Northern Ireland is The Malteser, a fly made from the hair of a Maltese dog!

If you are targeting rainbow trout, it’s a good idea to be familiar with a variety of fly patterns and learn the techniques to fish them correctly.

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Urban Fly Fishing

by on November 29, 2010

Although the prospects of traveling to a distant river or lake where there is solitude in the remoteness of the area can be exciting, many fly anglers really don’t have to travel far in order to enjoy their sport. Many have a perception of fly fishing as being on rivers that are far from the center of cities and towns in order to have good success. Indeed, many anglers do travel far from home. But did you know you don’t have to do that?

Many urban centers are built on or around rivers, lakes and ports. Good sources of water have always been of major importance to the development of communities that grow. While it is true that as these communities have grown, water quality of the rivers that flow through them and lakes that may be in close proximity have decreased, many efforts in recent years especially in North America have seen some excellent water quality improvements.

This has resulted in waters that fish can not only live in, but can also reproduce naturally.

The City of Toronto is one of the largest cities in North America and has several major rivers that flow through or near it. Some of these rivers include the Don, the Credit, and the Rouge. For many years, the Don River was considered a waste drain and carried polluted waters to Lake Ontario. Today, fly anglers can fish the salmon and trout runs it gets right in the middle of the city – something that was almost unthinkable a decade ago.

Guelph, Ontario is located above the confluence of the Speed and Eramosa Rivers. Both rivers contain fish such as smallmouth bass that can be easily caught on a fly rod and are within easy distance of the majority of residents of the city.

The Capital city of Canada, Ottawa, is situated on the Ottawa River which creates the border between the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. As the river runs through Ottawa, it creates a beautiful backdrop to the city while holding many species of gamefish that can be caught on the fly rod. A resident of Ottawa does not have to travel far at all before putting on waders and wetting some flies with the potential of some excellent fly fishing.

If you’re interested in learning how to fly fish but think you need to get out of the city in order to do so, why not take a look at some of the waters that might be practically in your own backyard? You will likely find that you really don’t have to travel far at all to enjoy this wonderful sport.

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Carp Fishing

by on November 29, 2010

With all of today’s high-tech equipment available for carp fishing, it’s no wonder anglers need a wheelbarrow to carry it all to the bankside – but does it really need to be like this? Do you actually need every piece of tackle bar the proverbial kitchen sink to catch a big carp? In a word; NO!

Many newcomers I speak to think they need to spend thousands of pounds on tackle in order to catch carp. Ironic really, as completely the opposite is usually the case. I may be a bit of a traditionalist at heart, but I don’t go out of my way to make catching big carp any harder than it already is! So a great tactic to get amongst the fish quickly is stalking, which requires very little tackle and allows me to cover large areas of water quite quickly in order that I can find the fish and angle for them in the limited time I have available. Common sense, when you think about it. The main advantage with stalking is that you are travelling extremely light, which allows you to cover vast areas of water with ease and what’s more, it doesn’t cost the earth to get out there fishing!

The first essential bit of stalking kit would be some waders, preferably chest waders and my advice would be to spend a few pennies and go for those made from neoprene. I’ve gone through countless pairs of PVC waders over the years as they tear really easily, whereas neoprene waders are much more durable, both in and out of the water. It may be the case that you don’t end up getting in the water at all during your session, but a good pair of neoprene chest waders will mean you can sit about on the banks without the need for chairs, brollies and suchlike (whatever the conditions may be!). Of course, when you are in the water, they are invaluable. I find the key to successful stalking is in being able to place a bait with the minimum amount of disturbance, and waders allow me to crawl through bushes on hands and knees, step into the margins, or wade right out in to the lake to place a bait; whatever is required to get that bait right under a carps nose without spooking it. Of course, you can go stalking without them, but your options when placing baits and playing fish may be limited.

Just as important is a good pair of Polarized glasses, as they help to reduce surface glare, which allows you to see beneath the surface; not just to spot the fish, but also to view likely feeding areas where the carp will be visiting on a regular basis. I tend to wear large wrap around polarising glasses, combined with a long peaked cap, which together help cut out peripheral light from above and around the sides of the glasses, this helps to concentrate the effect of the polarized filter enabling you to see even deeper beneath the surface.

Tackle is pretty basic, just a few odds and ends really. You can buy purpose built stalking rods, which are usually shorter that a standard carp rod, allowing you more manoeuvrability in confined spaces, my preference of late has been a 9ft stalking rod. I then have a small shoulder bag containing a small tackle pouch with a few leads, two or three hooklink materials, hooks, baiting needle, scissors, forceps, and a few general bits and bobs. I also have a mini rig wallet with a few rigs pre-made, which allows me to change approach in a matter of seconds. That’s about it on the tackle front, other than a set of scales, weigh sling, and unhooking mat. Oh, and of course a camera to ensure you get a snap shot of your new personal best!

The beauty of this kind of set up is that it only takes a second to grab your kit and be out of the door, so you can maximise any available time and get yourself on the bank at the drop of a hat. Speaking of which, the kids are in bed and I’ve got an hour ’til it goes dark… I’m off!

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River Trout Fishing

by on November 29, 2010

Getting out of the busy grasp of city life and simply enjoying what nature can offer is one of the best thing any person or even an entire family can do during the holidays or weekends. One such example of an activity is trout fishing. This guide should give you some few tips that you can check on before going out to catch some trout. However, this is not limited to those who are going out on typical holiday or weekend but is open also to those who do trout fishing on a regular basis.

Now first things first, a fishing license. Fishing today isn’t like how it was during the old days where you get your gear, head to the river or pond and start fishing. Today there plenty of laws that govern fishing all for the sake of preserving the environment. It is likely you’ll be paying all sorts of fees but the bottom line is you need to have one. Now after you’ve got your license, it’s time to decide on location. There are plenty of bodies of water out there but it is important to check if there’s anything to catch, particularly a trout, as this is what this guide is all about. The best bodies of water of choice are those that aren’t rough and those that offer a clear view of the bottom. Well, at least you can still see something. These factors will affect the gear you will need later on.

Now, we go to the fishing gear you will need. If you have picked a shallow and clear water (or at least clear enough), a small bait will suffice on a clear water since the body of water is shallow. Since the water is clear, you can opt for a type of bait that floats. Now if the conditions of the water are the opposite, you need a large bait that sinks. As for the bait itself, you can either go natural or artificial. A natural type of bait can be anything that moves. Small fish, insects or worms will do. But again take note of the local laws. There are places that prohibit the use of small fishes to avoid the risk of spreading disease. Artificial bait can be anything that resembles an insect. On some occasions, the color and smell of the artificial bait adds chances of catching trout.

When casting the line, cast the bait upstream. The bait will travel downstream where the trout is located. Try to feel the line, any sudden movement or tugging either means you got a catch or the bait got snagged along some rocks. Patience is needed in order to catch a lot. If you managed to catch a trout, pull the line gently until it reaches forehead level. Scoop your catch with a net, basket, or any container big enough to contain it. If you are not satisfied with your catch and wish to return it, be careful when removing the hook. It should be removed opposite the way it went in. this prevents any injury to the trout.

When handling the trout, make sure your hands are wet or simply use the container to drop the fish back into the water. If you disturb the area, wait for at least half an hour before resuming the fishing session.

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Bass fishing

by on November 10, 2010

Those who go bass fishing pursue the Black Bass, a species of fish. It includes Largemouth Bass, Kentucky Bass, and other species of genus Micropetrus. This fish specie comes from the southern part of the United States. This fish provided livelihood for natives residing in the coastline. During the later years, Bass fishing transformed into a recreational game.

In the 1950′s, bass fishing is considered to be the second most sought recreational activities in the ocean. Thus, this development paved the way for the innovation in their bass fishing techniques and improvement in the tools they use, like fishing gears, rods, and reels until they came up with electronically operated Bass boats.

Getting additional revenues for the government is one of the benefits of bass fishing. Bass fishing alone can generate about two billion dollars in Government revenues annually. It also helps to cultivate such specie of fish. Sports anglers together with government’s natural resources officers have introduced cultivating of Largemouth Bass across the world, especially in Japan and South Africa. These are the places where there is an abundant source of fishmeal.

The bass fishing sport help in the preservation of such species because one of the important rules is the catch and release principle wherein fishes caught during the game will be released right after. Competitors who came up with dead catch are heavily penalized. Wounded fish are first brought to the fish sanctuary to be treated, and after sometime, they are eventually released back into the water.

Bass Fishing is Popular to Freshwater Sport lovers

Freshwater sport enthusiasts describe bass fishing
as one of the popularly searched topics in the Internet. Ninety percent of the search about bass fishing contains related information. They also stressed that unlike other professional sports like basketball, football, or hockey that you have to be a top athlete and show more extraordinary skills in order to win and be recognized, in bass fishing it is different. You need more time to practice it, and apply all the necessary techniques in order to succeed. The more you practice, the more you will master the techniques needed.

One of the best things about bass fishing is the great bonding that you will experience together with your loved ones. You will enjoy competing with your relatives as well as your friends. Camaraderie is also established with in strangers, as they will share their knowledge and engage themselves as a team against another team. Bass fishing is not only for men; it is also open for women. It is fun to see women do bass fishing and they find themselves laughing out when they are already winning.

Bass fishing also provides education to our young children. They can have a tour on the sanctuary where they will find the fishes used in bass fishing, relate to them their origin, and at the same time, how to cultivate such species of fish.

Since kids are curious in all things, you can also tell them the importance of the tools and their uses, and how they catch fish and treat it as a playmate. In one way or another, bass fishing is not only for recreational activities. It can also be an educational. I hope you have made up your mind and just thought of bass fishing.

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Bait is basically anything that is used to catch fish. In the context of trout fishing, there are two types of baits. There is the natural which are actually worms, small fish, or insects, and there is also the artificial counterpart. An effective bait means the trout’s attention must be attracted via color, odor, or texture or any combination of these things but one element is enough. As for smell, garlic and cheese takes the cake.

Fishermen prefer artificial bait compared to natural ones since natural bait can only be used once in comparison to artificial bait that can be used multiple times. Aside from this, there is a difficulty acquiring natural bait since these would still have to be hunted down. Natural bait can be purchased or even made at home. A simple patch fur, feather, or hair assembled to look like some sort of creature the fish loves to feed on is enough. A fishing bait is also called a fly and there are two types, those that sink and those that float.

For a trout fish showing a bit of sluggishness during summer, small minnows will suffice as bait. For those that have been on the field for quite some time, a crayfish perfectly works for them if they want to get a trophy trout.

There are plenty of kinds of flies and this means selecting the right fly for the right job at the right season. The angler has to know the times when insects hatch. Depending on the season, a fly represents a certain type of insect. A little bit of common sense is also required in using flies. In clear water, small flies will be enough to attract trout, and in non clear water, a larger fly should be large enough for the trout to see. Now how about sinking and floating flies? Consider the shallowness of the water. A calm body of water means a floating fly will do. The trout can be easily fooled into thinking that the floating bait is an insect. In rougher bodies of water, a sinking fly must be used.

Another more high-tech type of bait are those made with a little ingenuity. By creating devices that mimic the way a spider’s web works, these devices produced vibrations in the water. And just as how spiders identify the vibration on the web as a struggling insect, the same thing goes for the trout. The vibration create the impression that the tiny waves are the work of a struggling insect. If the trout falls for the trick, then the trout is history. The only catch with these devices is that it’s new in the market and it is quite expensive.

As for the fisher, patience is required to get a bigger catch and not to mention the quantity. It is a matter of patience and practice. The local laws should also be considered when fishing. In some places, using small fish as bait is prohibited due to the risk of spreading disease. Other extreme methods of fishing are also prohibited like dynamite fishing. The safest thing to do is to stick to a bait.

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