Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Molten Mono Method

Whilst watching a recent Davie McPhail tying video I picked up what I thought was a great way to attach a bead to the top of the shank of a hook as in the style of a Polyfitus Nymph.

Polyfitus Peeping Caddis
The idea that Davie uses on one of his many outstanding YouTube videos is oulined below:

1. Double up a piece of strong breaking strain monofilament line (I've used 10lb line on a 4.5mm diameter tungsten bead) then thread it through the non-chamfered side of the bead.

2. Whilst holding the tag ends in your fingers get a lighter and proceed to slowly heat the ends.

3. Proceed to heat the mono so that it starts to melt in a ball towards the chamfered side of the bead.

4. When there is a large enough molten ball and when it has cooled down to a tacky state (this step comes easy with a little practice) use the back of your thumb nail and press the tacky ball of mono into the bead filling up the recess.                 

5. When the mono solidifies you end up with the bead firmly attached with a couple of tag ends ready to tie onto the top of the hook.

This method of attaching the tungsten bead on top of the hook naturally makes the fly sit in an upside down position on the river bed and allows the bend of the hook to face upward.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

It's Not All About Catching Fish...!!!

My first trip out fishing after a couple of weeks of bad weather was a visit to the River Ithon in Mid-Wales on Sunday.

On arriving at our chosen beat on the river myself and fishing buddy Nick was greeted by a couple of coarse fishing anglers just heading off down the beat with their trotting gear...not what we wanted to see as this beat was barely enough for two angler.

So it was back in the car and a short drive further downstream to a beat I had only fished a couple of times before early last summer so we had no idea what the winter grayling fishing would be like.

                     River as it looked on Sunday

                     Photo of the same bit of water taken last May

The river looked totally different from when I'd last seen it with more than a lot more water running through it, so the set up included a couple of fairly heavyweight tungsten flies to get down quick.

Although conditions weren't perfect there were pools on this beat that looked like they should have grayling queueing up for our flies...but not so! After an almost fruitless search through the whole length we had only managed to connect with a couple of proper fish which both threw the hook, other than that it was a couple of small grayling which Nick found in a deep pool.

Before we headed back home we dropped back into our starting pool where Nick was rewarded with two nice grayling within the space of five minutes, me...I was rewarded with my first blank for quite a while!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Clothing To Keep The Cold Out

One thing that makes fly fishing enjoyable is being able to go out in the elements and withstand anything mother nature has to throw at you and still enjoy your days fishing.

The correct thermal layering is essential when deep water wading in winter!

A good set of waterproofs and a well layered construction underneath can keep you warm throughout the day, often leading to you being called everything under the sun as your the last one off the water!

By layering up I don't mean throwing everything you own on and setting out fishing. Less layers with a good technical performance are more equipt at keeping you warm than 6 layers of t-shirts or 3 pairs of socks. A 3 layer system is the most effective. Base, Middle and Outer depending on the conditions your experiencing. Below is the perfect way to insulate your body to protect you against anything thrown at you.

Base Layer

Your base layer is the first layer of your winter protection and is the layer next to your skin. Getting your base layer correct is the key to retaining heat in any weather conditions. A quick moisture wicking material is ideal for keeping your garment from holding moisture such as sweat. This is vital for keeping you warm. It means if you sweat while fishing or walking your base layer will remain dry allowing you to stay warm.

The ideal base layer materials are merino wool, silk, polypropylene and other various synthetic fibres. If there is one rule to follow - never, ever use cotton as a base layer. It will not matter what you put over the top in an effort to keep warm, you will remain wet and cold.

You may wear light-weight, mid-weight, or heavy-weight base layers depending on the outside conditions. Use light-weight base layers for mild conditions and heavy-weight base layers for extremely cold weather conditions.

Mid Layer

The main purpose of the mid-layer is to provide your body with insulation. Its aim is to trap the warmth coming from your body, by trapping the warm air around your body. So make sure all your items fit correctly or your warm air will escape.

Tucking your layers in will help too! Your mid-layer goes over your moisture wicking base layer. You may need any number of mid-layers depending on the temperature you are experiencing.

A mid-layer should be thicker than a base layer. Again, do not use cotton it simply does not insulate as well as other fabrics. Some good examples of mid layers include a mid weight fleece or polyester.

You will find using several thinner mid-layer articles, like a vest, sweater or jacket, is better than one really thick and heavy garment. It will provide you with more flexibility if the weather change

Top Layer

This should be your thickest insulating layer and your warmest layer. There are many outer layers to choose from. When choosing an outer layer consider the following:

Temperature - Weight  - Style - Purpose

An outer layer maybe a heavy fleece, a down jacket or soft shell. This is the layer that most people will see and will be in most of your photos when you get home.

A shell is your final layer. It is very important as it protects you from perspiration and wind. Essentially it is your water proof, wind proof layer which keeps all of your other layers warm and dry. Again there are many features of shells to be considered - weight, durability, length, warmth and waterproofing.

It can also be a good idea throughout the winter and the start of spring to use an additional 'bib and Brace' thermal underwear, which can be worn on top of your mid layers, putting the fleece and shell outside to retain the heat produced. These add much needed cold protection to your legs whilst wading in icy cold river, sitting still in a boat or on the bank of a still water.

Airflo Thermo Skin Bib and Brace has an effective wicking system which effectively transfers moisture away from the skin. The full body thermal suit retains heat from your ankles to your neck, paired with an effective fleece the cold will be sure to stay outside!