Upstream Flyfishing

June 2011:

Staying in Shape

We’ve all been there: A long winter comes to an abrupt end, the stream season opens and the fish suddenly start biting all over the place. A mad rush to book a great beat and then our winter-weary casting arm lets us down. What if you could practise your casting safely indoors? Then there’s the 5-year old child who’d love to “fish” with Dad, but simply doesn’t yet have the co-ordination to handle a “real” rod and line. Or the newcomer who wishes he or she could get that darn line to loop out smoothly and straighten like those on the casting DVD’s. If any of these scenarios is applicable to you, or you’d simply like to fine-tune your cast, come check out our “Micro Practice Rods.” These short, flexible sticks balance perfectly with a yarn line to give you the feel of a full-size rod. They’re safe and easy to use, and a really fun alternative to an XBox when the weather sucks!

Flyday Live @ Upstream

Today is our first official Flyday Live Demo. Ian Wallace and Mark Krige are in attendance at the shop and will host a workshop-based afternoon of tying. Pop around anytime after 2 this afternoon (24th) with or without your tying vice. Let’s face it: With the weather as it is what else are you going to do?

A rare photograph of "The Scotsman" in his natural environment

Wading Gear

Trout enjoy cold water. Most humans don’t. And when winter sets in and the stillwaters start producing at their peak it is nice to know that we don’t HAVE to freeze our nuts off. Broadly speaking, your options in waders are PVC, neoprene and the modern breathable fabrics. Rubber waders are a thing of the past. All have their pros and cons, but nowadays by far the most popular option is breathable waders. Breathables allow moisture to escape without letting water in, thereby eliminating the “sauna effect” you get with other types. Also, because moisture is allowed to escape you don’t get condensation on the inside of your waders, and as most outdoorsmen know the key to keeping warm is keeping dry. Thermal layers can be added underneath depending on the conditions faced. With neoprenes, your waders are themselves a pretty serious thermal layer. If the kind of fishing you do involves any sort of walking or a bit of in-and-out of the water moving, chances are you’ll find neoprene very hot and clammy. For float tubing in a snowstorm, however, they’re probably a good choice. Nowadays, whether you choose breathable or neoprene waders, the better ones tend to come with neoprene “stockings” as opposed to built-in boots. Because your feet might not be the same size as mine, that makes a lot of sense! PVC waders generally have boots permanently attached. Unfortunately, these boots seldom offer good grip or comfort, and aside from being cheap PVC waders don’t have a lot going for them. Breathable waders were for many years very expensive, but growing popularity coupled with establishment of technology means that you can now get a great pair of waders at a very affordable price. Redington’s Palix River breathable waders feature 3-layer uppers and a 6-layers lower leg. They come standard with a sturdy belt, comfortable neoprene “feet” and they won’t make you look like an inappropriate fashion statement. Best of all, you can pick them up for under 2 grand!

Step-by-Step Tying Instructions for Ian’s Synthetic Brush Fly

You will Need:
Gamakatsu B10 S or Similar, # 1/0
Thread: Fluoro Orange
Tail: SF Blend in Hot orange, Bleeding yellow, Chartreuse and Peacock
Body: Camo or Hot Orange brush
Eyes: 8 mm Stick-On. You can use moulded eyes but can make the head bulky when you coat them with the Goo.
Head Covering: Clear Cure Goo Flexible and Sally Hansens Hard-as-Nails
Barring: Black Waterproof marker

Step one
Attach your thread to the hook at the eye. Now wrap backwards to just in line with the hook point.

Step Two
Rotate the vice so your first materials will be attached to the underside of the hook. Take a piece of SF blend, fold it in half and cut through. Pull the centre of the fibre bundle out to for a taper.
Attach the bunch of fibres to the hook in the middle of the fibre piece, it must now be lying parallel to the shank, take some wraps of thread toward the hook eye, and then fold the fibre back on itself, now wrap the thread back to the starting point. If you are using more than one colour for the tail, the first colour we have tied in will be the middle colour. The next colour you attach in the same way as the first and this will be the bottom colour.

Step Three
Rotate the vice back to the upright position. Now attach another piece of Sf in the same way as we did the first one. I use up to 4 colours in the tail but you can just use two. Always remember when you are constructing the tail you want the lightest material first and as you move up the colour can become darker. Unless you are tying the Fire tiger.

Step Four
Wrap lead wire from the tail tie just in front of the hook eye. If you want a neutral density fly don’t use lead. I find the lead help the fly get down and creates a Jigging action when retrieved. Cover the lead with thread wraps moving forward and back until it is secure end at the point just before the eye, tie of with a couple of half hitches.
Coat all the lead and tail tie in point with Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails and set the fly aside to dry.
Once dry, re attach your thread at the butt end of the tail tie in. Now we are ready to attach the brush.

Step Five
You can either attach a readymade brush or you can make one with a dubbing loop. The good thing about the loop is that you can decide the density of the brush and can blend fibres to make a colour of your choice.
For simplifying things I am using a readymade brush.
Wrap the brush forward combing back the fibres as you go this will help when you brush it out at the end, stops to many fibres being trapped between the wire of the brush and the hook shank. Tie off just behind the hook eye, trim off the excess brush and form a small neat head and whip finish.

Step Six
This is where the fun starts: Use a cut off tooth brush to brush all the brush fibres forward this will free all the fibres. If some are trapped use a dubbing needle to free them from under the wire. Now comb all the fibres back again toward the tail. At the same time you can brush the tail fibres as well this will create volume to the fly and disentangle any fibres.

Step Seven
Roughly trim the fibres on the side of the head where you will attach the eyes. Don’t trim too much at this stage! You just want to get rid of the stray fibres where you are going to attach the eyes. Attach the stick-on eyes of your choice just behind the thread head and in line with the hook shank, which is about the centre of the head. Try and get a size that will be in proportion with the head. I always put a small amount of clear glue gel on the brush before I add the eyes, this helps with the durability of the eyes.

Step Eight
Coat the eyes and thread head with clear cure goo flexible, using flexible does not impede the brush’s movement and will protect the eyes. Coat the head with Sally Hansen’s and allow it to cure completely before you trim the Fly.
Now you can trim the tail and head to form a tapered bait fish profile. Just remember if you are tying for Tigers don’t leave the tail to long, they tend to sometimes nip off the tail. Bar the tail using the permanent marker.

Step 9: Go Fishing!

Tips on Tethers

Flyfishermen are known for carrying gadgets. While the practical value of some of these add-ons is questionable, some accessories are indispensable.

Streamworks Mini Tool Tether - A Practical option for tethering forceps

Forceps or Scissor-Forceps are more than just handy to have around. If you care about the wellbeing of the fish you catch, you should be carrying one of these.

Streamworks Mini Zinger - Perfect for small, lightweight accessories

Line snips, floatants, Pliers, fish grabbers and knot tools may or may not form part of your personal array of gadgets – it’s all about personal choice. Then there’s the net. Here in the Cape, we can often get away without a net, but there come days for all of us when we wish we had one along! The key to getting the most out of our accessories is carrying them out of the way until needed, and then to be able to get hold of them quickly and simply when required. There are several tethering options on the market today, and the right choice would be the one that suits both the angler and the accessory in question. A Mini Zinger is perfect for line snips, but you won’t hang a net from one!

Gearkeeper Landing Net Retractor - Strong, Efficient and Durable

Consider reach, strength, attachment options and durability first, and make sure that the spring in retractor-style tethers is strong enough to cope with the task at hand. For small items, Streamworks offers a range of brilliantly priced tethering options.

The GearKeeper Pliers Retractor will save your pliers from going overboard

For heavier items like pliers, wading staffs and landing nets, Gearkeeper is the brand that offers the strength and reach you need. Come check them out!

The Deal with Jigs

Looking back at the past season, two things are very apparent: (1) I didn’t fish nearly as much as I should have and (2) Flies tied on jig hooks played a very significant role in my season. One of the reasons for this was a concious decision to do more French-style longline nymphing – I have seen first-hand how devastating this technique can be and I figured I could do with some practice.

The other reason is that jigs work. No practical style of tying that I know of can offer the same combination of hooking capability, weighting options and versatility.

The magic lies in combining a jig hook with a slotted bead. The bead sits lower and further forward on the hook than what’s achievable with a straight-shank hook, meaning that it doesn’t obscure the hook gape. Thus even a really small fly can carry a lot of weight – the number one solution to getting down deep. Another quality of a jig fly is hinted at by its name – when manipulated with the rod tip or retrieve, the fly dances a very attractive jig on the way in. During the hot summer days a number of fish fell to a jiggled jig in the deeper pockets – a bit of a Leisenring meets Parkinsons technique, and very effective.

Dohiku Jig Hook
Dohiku Slotted Tungsten Beads
Slotted Disco Beads

We carry a range of jig hooks and slotted beads to get you going. Tie and try a few – you won’t be sorry!

Redington goes Long!

Our streams will always be special, but there's magic in stillwaters too!

With the stillwater season well and truly upon us, we can expect a new wave of interest in fast-actioned 5- and 6-weights. And with multiple fly rigs well underway to becoming the norm on waters such as Lakenvlei near Ceres, longer-than-average rods are a worthwhile consideration. To understand why, first it’s a good idea to examine the purpose of multi-fly rigs. There are several motivations for fishing a team of flies, but the one reason that I believe to be most beneficial is the ability to cover several depth zones at once. Think about it – a heavy fly on the point, a buoyant or neutrally buoyant fly on the top dropper and a lightly weighted pattern inbetween causes a “hinge” effect in the leader. The three flies will track at different depths during the retrieve, thus shortening the time it takes to find the active feeding depth of the fish on any given day. Once the right depth is established, it is a simple matter to tweak the setup in order to offer all the flies at that depth. So what’s that got to do with longer rods? Well, if the top fly is more than 10 feet from the point fly, it becomes very tricky to land a point-fly fish on a 9-foot rod! And the bigger one is able to make that fly spacing, the bigger the depth range that can be covered on a single cast. But that’s not all. Longer rods make casting multiple-fly rigs a lot simpler – it’s really easy to open the casting loop with a longer rod in order to keep everything nicely under control.

Now back to the meaning behind all of this: Redington has introduced two ten-footers – a 5-weight and a 6 – in the already proven RS4 range. If you’re after a rod that offers great performance at a price you can’t believe, and get a no-nonsense 25-year warranty thrown in, come have a look at these babies!


Some more Fly Porn from Ian Wallace

Here are a few more of Ian’s creations incorporating Clear Cure Goo. Clear Cure Goo is an innovative product from the USA that allows you to achieve an epoxy-like finish without waste, hassle or mess. If you’d like to see Ian work his magic, make a note to drop by the shop on Flyday afternoon, the 24th of June. Ian will be here to demonstrate some of his tying techniques.

The Magic Blue Fibre

A rib of Magic Fibre turns a good fly into a killer!

If you find yourself in Eastern Europe and you happen to hear mention of “the magic blue fibre,” you may think you’ve stumbled upon a strange cultural subsector who delight in licking mushrooms or smoking some weird stuff. Until you realize they are fishermen, of course. The fibre referred to is a synthetic body rib material with very unique light-reflecting qualities. And fish go nuts for it! Just a light ribbing with this stuff makes a fly glow with lifelike attraction.
It was developed by the competitive fishermen of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and soon found its way into Poland and surrounds. Inevitably, the source of the material became known and it is now available commercially under a number of different brand names in Europe. Demand still seems to outstrip supply, though, so placing an order doesn’t always mean getting stock! We recently got lucky and landed two dozen packs – if you’re keen on trying it out on our local fish, drop in. I guarantee our stock won’t last long!

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