Friday, July 3, 2015

Conquering Chironomids Volume II-Advanced Techniques is Now Available!

Building on the concepts detailed in Conquering Chironomids Volume I-Strike Indicator Techniques, Conquering Chironomids Volume II is intended to take your mastery of chironomids to the next level.

In Volume I-Strike Indicator Techniques Brian and I introduced you to chironomids, unquestionably, one of the most if not the most significant trout food sources found in lakes or stillwaters worldwide.  Chironomids possess all of the qualities to make them a favorite prey item. There is a huge diversity of species available in lakes right across North America and the world for that matter.  Hatching in large numbers chironomids provide significant daily and seasonal emergences.  Chironomids are also available throughout their larval, pupal and adult life stages. Best of all, fish find chironomids easy to eat and as they are rich in calories a healthy chironomid diet helps stillwater trout pack on the pounds.  Even the largest fish in the lake gorge themselves on chironomids.  In order to successfully fly fish stillwaters you need to come to terms with understanding and using a variety of techniques to take advantage of this hatch.

Brian and I couldn't have completed with the support of our key sponsors; RIO, Mystic Fly Rods, Montana Fly Company, Islander Reels, Outcast Sporting Gear, Minn Kota, Humminbird, The Russell Inn, River City Marine and Yamaha.
In Volume II-Advanced Techniques, Brian and I invite you to continue your educational journey as we reveal our advanced chironomid tactics, tricks and presentation techniques.  Over the DVD’s 107 minute running time Brian and I introduce you to advanced methods such as deep water indicator tactics using no-stretch leaders, floating line long leader techniques, sinking line tactics using both slow and fast sinking lines, dry fly and emerger strategies and integrating droppers into your presentation.  Brian and I show you not only how to use these techniques but when to use them too.

Whenever possible drone footage was used to support and illustrate the DVD concepts.
The special features section includes additional information including a selection of our favorite recipes and images of Phil and Brian’s favorite larva, pupa, emerger and adult patterns, how to maintain your Islander Reel, how to use and incorporate Humminbird sounders into your stillwater presentations along with informational segments on Mystic’s M-Series rods and Outcast's new Stealth Pro Pontoon Boat.

Additional filming was required during the heat of summer.  Sun protection was a must!
To order your copy  pick up Volume I or other stillwater specific products please visit mine and Brian’s on-line Stillwater Fly Fishing Store.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Favorite Knots

Over the years I have tried and used a variety of different knots.  After trying to seemingly learn every knot on the planet I decided to adopt a wiser course of action choosing to become proficient with a simple suite of knots that cover all aspects of my terminal setup while I am on out on the water.

Recently, RIO Products began releasing a series of great videos showing a variety of different knots and how to tie them.  I have had the good fortune to be a member of RIO’s Advisory Team and these videos prompted me to gather my favorite knots together in one location, including embedding RIO’s videos as a visual guide.

Remember, the best place to practice your knot tying skills, like fly casting, is off the water.  Be wary of trying a new knot until you are proficient with it and can tie it quickly and correctly every time.  If you aren't a proficient knot tyer you are likely to avoid making changes to your leader, tippet or fly due to a lack of confidence tying a particular knot.  A tactic that could reduce your on the water experience.

Listed below are my favorite knots and the situations I prefer to use them in.  Hopefully you find my knot selection a helpful guide for your particular fly fishing experiences and situations.

Non Slip Loop Knot
This is my go to knot when attaching flies to tippet or to a dropper.  I use this knot in almost all situations, lakes, rivers or the ocean.  This is a strong knot that provides maximum motion to your fly. This motion, I believe, is a key fish trigger.

Improved Clinch Knot
When integrating swivels into my leader the improved clinch is the knot of choice.  I also use this knot to attach a leader or butt section to a welded loop.  Attaching your leader or butt section in this manner helps facilitate simple, without incident, on the water line changes.  Stringing a rod while seated in boat or pontoon body is tricky at best and at worst can be fatal.  Simply real the line and leader connection in so it is between the reel and first stripping guide.  Using a wooden clothes peg, pinch the leader to the stripping guide so it doesn’t slide out the guides.  Cut the leader from the welded loop.  Change your line by switching the reel or spool.  Reattach the leader to the welded loop of the new line using an improved clinch knot.  Make a few false casts to feed the line through the guides and your line swap is complete.

Triple Surgeon Knot
The triple surgeon knot is the only knot I use when attaching tippet sections together or attaching tippet to a leader.  The triple surgeons knot is strong and has a low horizontal profile that passes through the guides easily when I am fighting a fish on a particularly long leader.  The other benefit of the triple surgeon’s knot is its durability when joining stiffer fluorocarbon to softer nylon tippet or leader material.  Once connected the triple surgeons knot has an extremely low failure rate.  If a triple surgeons knot does fail it is typically due to a bad knot or stale nylon tippet.  Fluorocarbon lasts forever.

Blood Knot
When tying larger diameter materials together such as separate butt section to an existing tapered leader the blood knot is my go to knot.  The butt section would be attached to the welded loop of the fly line using an improved clinch knot.  I would then attach a standard tapered leader to the butt section using the blood knot.  This is the process I use when I make long, 25’ or greater leaders, which I do on occasion, when fishing chironomid pupa in deep clear water using the “naked technique”.  Like the triple surgeons knot, a blood knot is strong and offers a low profile which passes easily through the guides.  In practical terms I find the blood knot easier to tie with thick material verses the triple surgeons knot which I find an easier knot to tie with thinner smaller diameter material, 0X or smaller.

Perfection Loop
Once mastered, the perfection loop it is easy to tie, strong and offers a neat slim profile.  I use this knot when setting up a sliding dropper.  Simply tie a perfection loop in one end of a 8-inch section of tippet.  Lay the tippet section under the leader above a stopper on the fly line side.  The stopper can be a triple surgeons knot or small barrel swivel.  Pass the tag end of the dropper through the perfection loop and pull tight to lock the dropper section around the leader.  This dropper method allows the dropper to move around the leader when casting which reduces tangles, allows for easy fly changes and perhaps most importantly each fly in your dropper system works in its own water free from the effects of other flies in the system.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 Calendar of Events is Now Up!

Wow it is 2015 already!  Even at this early stage 2015 is proving to be another busy year for me. That’s just the way I like it.

Just after New Year’s I placed my 2015 Calendar up on my website.  My travels will have me in a variety of locations, some common to each year such as my annual Prowling the Parklands hosted stillwater schools in southwest Manitoba along with some new ventures such as the fly fishing school I will be doing out of Hearne Lake Lodge located in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

I had the pleasure of spending a week up at Hearne Lake Lodge filming an upcoming episode of The New Fly fisher.  Hearne Lake offers spectacular fly fishing for lake trout, trophy northern pike, monster whitefish and some of the largest Arctic grayling I have had the good fortune to chase.

My goal is to communicate with you about each of these schools, seminars and trips along with the educational content I wish to continue providing through my blog.

As January is now upon us the first items on my calendar will soon be upon us.  January begins for me in Boise where I will be presenting at the Boise Valley Fly Fishers 11th Annual Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo.  I will be providing a number of seminars including Strategies and Tactics for West Yellowstone Area Lakes, Top Ten Habits for Stillwater Success and A Fly Fisher’s Guide to Entomology.  I will also be doing a couple of demonstrations on the casting pond focusing on stillwater presentation techniques and Five Things You Shouldn't Do When Fly Fishing Lakes.  The legendary Tom Rosenbauer will also be presenting along with the renowned Hank Patterson so it should be a great weekend.  If you are in the Boise area be sure to drop by.

The following weekend, January 17-18, I will be presenting in my own backyard at the North Lights Fly Tyers Annual Seminar.  Ed Engle and I will be providing a number of seminars and tying demonstrations during this two day event.  My presentation topics include Electronics for the Fly Fishers, Find Them with Forage, Advanced Chironomid Tactics and Tactics for Tough Days.  I will also be providing some on camera tying and leader demonstrations. Tickets are still available through the Northern Lights Fly Tyers.  Their annual seminars are a great way to prepare for the upcoming season and keep the effects of ‘Cabin Fever’ at bay!

January 23-25 marks my return to the Western Canadian Fly Fishing Exposition in Calgary.  I will be providing my Top Ten Habits for Stillwater Success program along with a stillwater tying demonstration.  I will also be providing a number of comprehensive two hour workshops, Fly Fishing Alberta’s Stillwaters and Conquering Chironomids.  The Western Canadian Fly Fishing Exposition is a great show and this year’s event also features many other great speakers including Jack Dennis, Hans Van Klinken, Derek Bird, Don Freschi, Jim McLennan, Ross Purnell, Jeff Wagner, Josh Nugent and Kevin Callbeck.  If Calgary is in your travel plans from January 23-25 be sure to drop by.  This year’s show line up looks great.

On Saturday January 31st I will be providing a detailed one day Euro Nymphing Workshop.  Although I am perhaps best known for my love of fly fishing lakes I have also a great affection and interest in Euro Nymphing.  This seminar is a blend of hands on fly tying instruction coupled with practical tips and techniques on the various nymphing styles in use today, French, Spanish, Polish and Czech.  In addition to tying a variety of Euro nymphs I will be walking students through the basics of each method, leaders, rods and presentation techniques.  Students will even have the chance to make their own coiled sighters.  This will be a full event with lots to learn.  The cost for this event is $40/person and includes all tying materials, seminar notes etc.  Space is limited to 30 people so if you are interested in learning the nuances of these deadly methods please contact Bob Vanderwater to register.