In thinking ahead to this weeks post it was originally going to be a post about a few of my favorite accessories that have become staples in my fishing. As the end of the weekend drew closer and I continued to watch the weather I realized I may actually get out on the river this Sunday. Several factors have kept me off the river for almost a month. We have been extremely busy at work. I just finished a stretch where I worked 13 days in a row and 19 out of the last 20. Don't get me wrong, I am in manufacturing and after 2007 thru 2009 I will never complain about being busy ever again! Poor weather (downpours, not cold), the Somerset show and my work schedule just didn't allow for much fishing time, but that was all going to change on Sunday. I spent Saturday evening prepping my gear. Several new products from Loon Outdoors had come in and I was anxious to get them in the mix. I was really looking forward to using the Rigging Foams. I tied up and attached a new Harvey leader to my freshly cleaned fly line , I refilled my tippet "T" and by 7:00 the truck was loaded and ready to go. I finished in time to enjoy a movie with my wife. BTW "The Judge" with Robert DuVall and Robert Downey Jr. is worth a watch.
Well, here I sit on Sunday night and based on the results of my day on the water it looks like we will be moving ahead with the "Accessories" post! Seven hours on the water and ZERO fish. I didn't have a take or even move a fish for that matter. Also, I would like to find the weather person that was predicting temps in the 50's and have a behind the barn talking with him! They couldn't have missed it worse if they tried! The water never got over 33 degrees! My phone said the air temp was 48 and I have a hard time believing that. I talked to several other fly fishers and everybody had a similar story. Cold air, cold water and no fish. I guess you have to have days like this every once in a while. It helps to keep your ego and your hat size in check. Plus, it is days like this that make the really good days seem so much better. But enough of that, on to the accessories post.
"There he stood, knee deep in the river draped in enough gear and gadgets that would make a telephone lineman envious". "He was trying to outwit a creature with a brain the size of a pea and getting licked in the process". I read that some time ago. I don't remember where it was, probably on a T-shirt or a bumper sticker. I remember laughing at the time as I thought it was funny, the more I thought about it the more I realized this may be one of the truest statements in the world of fly fishing. Isn't it ironic that while we like fly fishing for the "grass roots" aspect of the sport we bog ourselves down with tons of gadgets and gizmos. Some of which we seldom if ever use. We all have seen the guy on the river that looks like he has just stepped out of the Orvis catalog. Usually you can hear them coming with all of the clinking and clanking of the multitude of things hanging off of their vest. I often wonder how many of these things actually improve their fishing in some way? A quick look at the latest mail order catalog shows that almost 20% of a 135 page flier is dedicated to "accessories", so it is easy to see how we can get caught up in the hype. When I was working in the fly shop I was amazed at how easy it was to sell accessories. Some of these are solid, well thought out pieces of gear that can really help improve your time on the water. Unfortunately, some of these doodads are just plain junk whose sole purpose is to lighten your wallet. I have three great products that I would like to talk about that have become staples in my fishing so much so that I wouldn't go on the river with out them.
Smith Creek is a New Zealand based company that have come up with an ingenious way to carry your landing net. For most, carrying a net while fishing is a hassle. With all the advancements in nets by companies like Brodin and Fishpond, it is about time somebody came up with a good way to carry one. I vividly remember an afternoon in south central PA when my brother had a net hooked to the D ring on the back of his vest. He went through some briars and the net bag got caught. As he continued to walk the shock cord eventually stretched to the max and something had to give. The net came zooming out of the briars and crowned my bro right in the back of his head! Now I did ask him if he was OK, but I was laughing when I did. He totally lost his mind and took the high dollar net and smashed it on a log over and over until it had been reduced to a pile of tooth picks, a UN-usable net bag and a stretched shock cord. Must be that Irish temper...at any rate if he had a Smith Creek net holster that may not have happened.
I have been using the Smith Creek holster for over a year now and I am convinced that, so far, this is the best way to carry a landing net. I would recommend to get a wading belt that is as wide as the buckle and a longer handle net seems to sit against my back a little better. Check out the Smith Creek web site here for more information and product videos. you would be glad you did.
The second product I am going to talk about just happens to be another New Zealand based company. (my sub conscious must be kicking in because New Zealand is on my bucket list!) Anybody who fishes for Trout should know how to Nymph. One of the most important parts of a Nymph fisherman's gear is a good strike indicator. I am here to tell you the New Zealand Strike indicator is one of the best, if not the best, I have ever used. A strike indicator must possess several inherent qualities to make it worth while. It must float like a cork and suspend your nymph rig properly. It also must be visible, cast relatively easy, adjust quickly on the leader WITHOUT kinking the leader, and land in the water without spooking fish. In the past you had to settle for three or 4 of these criteria, but it was hard to get all six. When you realize the New Zealand indicator is actually adjustable in size this indicator goes 7 for 7 of the criteria list. Like the net holster I have been fishing this indicator for over a year exclusively and I am so sold on it's versatility that it is the only indicator I carry!
For more information, to see some great pictures and instructional videos visit the New Zealand Strike Indicator website here. Irish Flies is now a distributor for this great product. Please feel free to contact me for more information or to purchase.
The last product I would like to talk about is relatively new on the market. The folks at Loon Outdoors have come out with a product that is sure to be an instant classic. I am a Nymph fisherman at heart. I just love the Nymphing game. There is something magical when you set up after the indicator twitches and as you come tight you feel life on the other end! I love it every time it happens. Well, putting together the pieces of that puzzle can take a little bit of trial and error. Is this an "attractor" day or will they be eating naturals? Is an indicator rig the best option or would a Dry and Dropper rig be a better choice. What stage of what bug are they likely to eat today? All of these are questions we ask ourselves each time we hit the river. Sometimes we are lucky and we get it right on the first rig we tie. More often it takes a few tweaks to get dialed in, especially if we haven't been on the water for a day or two. All of this rigging can take time, especially if you are fishing three flies (check local regulations for the maximum number of flies allowed on your rig) and time spent rigging is time not fishing. What if there was a way to pre rig your flies for the day? Fast forward to one of Loon's newest products, the Rigging Foam's. Now you could tie up an 'attractor rig, a dry and dropper, and a "natural" rig all in the comfort of your house the night before you plan to fish. You then can store your pre tied rigs on the Rigging Foam and with one knot you can go from a triple Nymph rig to a dry and dropper. More importantly you can go back to the triple rig because you don't have to cut it apart, you can use the foam you took the dry and dropper rig from and store the triple rig. This saves time, tippet and most importantly you are only tying one knot each time you change!
Mirroring the size of the most common tippet spools these disks can be easily stacked and carried on a tippet T or similar device. Having pre rigged options is sure to raise your Nymphing game to a new level. For more information you can visit the Loon Outdoors website here.
I hope you give these products a try, I believe if you do you will be happy with the results. If I didn't believe in them you can bet I would never endorse them and put them up on my site! Till next time...