Traditional home tied flies, supporting Bible distribution in South Africa
It's an art
Fly fishing can indeed be challenging, but with the right approach and a bit of practice, I found it to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Over the years I have learned that the following elements are all crucial for success in fly fishing, and mastering them will increase your chances of catching fish consistently.
Right Time and Place: Timing is essential in fly fishing. Understanding when and where the fish you’re targeting are most active will significantly impact your chances of success. Different fish species have different feeding patterns and seasonal preferences, so researching their behavior in the specific water you’re fishing in is key.
Appropriate Gear: Choosing the right gear, including the rod, reel, line, leader, and tippet, is essential for presenting the fly effectively and handling the fish once hooked. The gear should match the size and weight of the fish you’re targeting and the conditions of the water.
Correct Fly Depth: Presenting the fly at the correct depth is crucial for attracting the attention of the fish. This will depend on the species, their feeding behavior, and the water conditions. Observing the water and using different techniques to control the depth of your fly will improve your chances of success.
Suitable Fly Selection: Selecting the right fly pattern is essential for imitating the natural food sources of the fish you’re targeting. Consider the size, color, and action of the fly to match the conditions and the fish species. Experimenting with different flies can lead to more productive fishing sessions.
Effective Retrieve: The retrieve is the movement of the fly through the water, and it can make a significant difference in attracting and enticing fish to strike. Different retrieves mimic the movements of different natural prey, so understanding the behavior of the fish you’re targeting and experimenting with different retrieves is important.
Positive Attitude: A positive attitude is often overlooked but can play a significant role in fly fishing success. Staying focused, maintaining patience, and learning from your experiences will contribute to your overall enjoyment and increase your chances of catching fish.
I find fly fishing to be a continuous learning process, and mastering these elements takes time and practice. With dedication and perseverance, you can improve your skills, increase your catches, and enjoy the rewarding experience of fly fishing and get “hooked” like me.
My happy place
The first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset offer several advantages for anglers:
Insect Activity: Many insects emerge from their aquatic stages and take flight during these periods, providing an abundance of food for fish. Dry fly fishing can be particularly effective when targeting fish feeding on these emerging insects.
Low Light Conditions: Fish tend to be less wary in low light conditions, making them more susceptible to the angler’s approach. The muted light also allows the fly to float more naturally, further enhancing the presentation.
Calmer Water Conditions: Winds typically die down in the early morning and evening, leading to calmer water surfaces. This makes it easier to cast accurately and see the delicate movements of the fly on the water.
Feeding Behavior: Fish often become more active as they prepare for the day or transition into their nighttime feeding patterns. Early morning and evening hours can coincide with peak feeding times, increasing the chances of encountering hungry fish.
While early morning and evening hours are generally considered prime time for dry fly fishing, it’s important to remember that fish can be active throughout the day, especially under favorable conditions. Adapting your approach to the prevailing conditions and observing the behavior of the fish can lead to success at any time of day.
Here are some additional tips for maximizing your dry fly fishing success:
Choose the Right Fly: Select a fly that closely resembles the insects that are active in the area you’re fishing.
Present the Fly Delicately: Cast accurately and avoid making any sudden movements that might spook the fish.
Use a Light Leader: A lighter leader will help the fly float more naturally and improve your presentation.
Watch for Signs of Fish: Observe the water’s surface for signs of feeding fish, such as rising or splashing.
Be Patient: Dry fly fishing requires patience and persistence. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a bite immediately.
I’ve always found that using a dry fly with a small nymph or buzzer tied behind it can be very effective in catching fish. The dry fly acts as an attractor, while the nymph or buzzer is what the fish actually take. The 30cm spacing between the two flies is also important, as it gives the fish enough time to see and react to the nymph or buzzer.
Here are some additional tips for using this technique:
- Use a light tippet for the nymph or buzzer, as this will make it less visible to the fish.
- Give the flies a few twitches every now and then to simulate movement.
- Be patient, as it may take a few casts to get a bite.
With a little practice, you’ll be catching fish like a pro!
Choosing the Right Flies
There are many different types of wet flies, each designed to imitate a different type of food source for fish. Some of the most popular wet flies include:
- Nymphs: Nymphs are immature aquatic insects that are a major food source for trout. Nymph patterns are designed to imitate these insects, and they are often fished with a sinking line to get them down to the fish’s feeding zone.
- Minnows: Minnows are small fish that are also a favorite food of trout. Minnow patterns are designed to imitate these fish, and they are often fished with a sinking line or a floating line with a strike indicator.
- Leeches: Leeches are another popular food source for trout, and leech patterns are designed to imitate these creatures. Leech patterns are often fished with a slow retrieve.
Casting and Retrieving
Casting and retrieving a wet fly is a bit different than casting and retrieving a dry fly. When fishing a wet fly, you want to cast the fly upstream and allow it to sink to the bottom. Once the fly has reached the desired depth, you can start retrieving it. The retrieve can be varied depending on the type of fly you are using and the conditions. For example, a nymph might be fished with a slow, steady retrieve, while a minnow might be fished with a faster, more erratic retrieve.
Stripping is a technique used in fly fishing to help set the hook when a fish takes the fly. When a fish takes a wet fly, you will usually feel a tug on the line. To set the hook, you can strip the line in a quick, sharp motion. This will help to drive the hook into the fish’s mouth.
Landing the Fish
Once you have hooked a fish, it is important to land it carefully. To land a fish, you can use your rod to guide the fish towards you. Once the fish is close enough, you can use your net to scoop it up.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips for success in wet fly fishing:
- Use a variety of flies: There is no one-size-fits-all wet fly, so it is important to have a variety of flies to choose from. This will give you a better chance of success in different conditions.
- Cast upstream: Casting upstream will help to ensure that your fly sinks to the bottom before it reaches the fish.
- Vary your retrieve: The retrieve is an important part of wet fly fishing. Experiment with different retrieves to see what works best for you.
- Be patient: Wet fly fishing can be a slow and methodical process. Be patient and wait for the fish to come to you.
Wet fly fishing is a rewarding and effective method for catching trout and other fish. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success.
Fishing a Single Fly
- Use a sinking or intermediate line to allow the fly to settle deep.
- Retrieve the fly with a quick hand-twist or down-strip motion.
- A floating line can also be used with a long leader.
Fishing a Double Fly
- Tie a smaller fly about 30cm behind a streamer.
- The streamer attracts the fish, while the smaller fly is more likely to get the take.
- Any fly designed to grab the attention of nearby fish.
- Large, highly-visible dry flies are common attractor patterns.
- Flies with bright or flashy characteristics, including nymphs and streamers, can also be considered attractors.
Mr Simpson large
Mr Simpson medium
My Minnow Rainbow #4
Parr Minnow #4
My Minnow Brown #10
My Minnow green #10
Reversed Tied Minnow #6
Low Fat Minnow #10
Dragonfly larvae (nymphs) are aquatic, usually drab, with 6 legs, large eyes, and small wing buds on the back of the thorax. Gills are located inside the rectum (unlike those of damselflies, which extend from the hind end like 3 leaflike tails). They breathe by drawing water in and out of their hind end.
Intermediate or sinking line, let it sink to the bottom, targeting fish that are feeding on or near the bottom, a slow figure 8 retrieve with small short slow medium retrieves in between. BAM…BAM…Fish on, don’t be surprised if it is a PB, especially if you have spend hours on a float tube, figuring out the old river bed.
RBT Bug #8
Paparouchie Green #8
Damselfly nymphs are aquatic, and live on the bottoms of freshwater habitats such as in streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands, and rivers. They are not good swimmers so are likely to be found sitting on aquatic vegetation, or climbing on plants or rocks in stream areas in water that is still or slow-moving.
Floating line with a long leader or a slow Intermediate line, slow figure 8 and a occasional twitch retrieve to mimic the nymphs’ movements will attract the fish. Between reeds and grass normally produces the take…BAM… Fish on, don’t be surprised if it is a decent size.
RBD Damsel Black #8
RBT Damsel Green #8
Damsel Red #12
Damsel Blue #12
Damsel Yellow #12
Nymphs, Buzzers, snails ect.
Yes, nymph fishing can be challenging, but that’s part of what makes it so rewarding. It’s a technique that requires patience, practice, and a good understanding of trout behavior. The small flies and stealthy approach are what make nymph fishing so effective in catching fish that are feeding beneath the surface, where they spend a majority of their time.
Here are some tips for overcoming the challenges of nymph fishing:
Choose the right flies: It’s important to select flies that are the right size and color for the conditions. Match the hatch if possible, or use generalist nymphs like Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, or Prince Nymphs.
Use the right leader: The leader is essential for nymph fishing. It needs to be long enough to get your flies deep enough and light enough not to spook fish. A 9-foot tapered leader is a good starting point.
Cast accurately: Nymphing often requires casting to specific spots, such as seams or behind rocks. Practice your casting in still water before heading to the stream.
Mend your line: Mending is the technique of keeping your line in contact with the water, which helps to control your flies and prevent them from dragging.
Be patient: Nymph fishing is a slow and methodical process. Don’t expect to catch fish every cast. Take your time, work your flies through the water, and you’ll be rewarded with more fish in the long run.
As for the argument that the flies are too small for the fish to see, it’s important to remember that trout have very good eyesight. They can see small flies even in low-light conditions. The key is to use flies that are realistic and that mimic the insects that the trout are feeding on.
With practice and perseverance, you’ll be able to master the art of nymph fishing and catch more fish than ever before.
The Platana fish is a valuable food source found in still waters. They are adaptable to various conditions and breed frequently, making them abundant. They are best caught where tadpoles are visible, usually in shallow water with gradual slopes or near weed beds. Use a fly with a marabou tail to mimic the tadpole’s movement.
Retrieve the fly slowly while bouncing your finger to create a bobbling/wriggling motion. Vary the retrieval speed to make the fly move up and down, imitating the tadpole’s movement.
The Hot Tadple
Blobs are patterns that are flies loved by some hated by other fly fishermen. Blob fishing flies are a real attractor fly pattern for Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Blobs simulate zooplankton.
Zooplankton are tiny members of the class Crustacea and are common inhabitants of all lakes and ponds regardless of size. In productive stillwaters, zooplankton can make up a large portion of the seasonal diet of trout and char.
Keep in mind that since zooplankton are photosensitive, it is best to fish the blob in the lower half of the depth zone during the day. For instance, if anchored in seven metres (23 feet of water), suspend your blob 3.5 to 4.5 metres (12 to 14 feet) below the indicator.