Category Archives: Michael Vorhis, Fly Fisher & Author

Indicator-less-ness…ism…and Stiffing Fish

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

There was a time when the strength of a tippet was traded off to gain invisibility. The thicker the business end of a leader, the more it was feared it would alert fish to its presence. With the advent of latest technology fishing lines and fluorocarbon in particular, that trade-off has somewhat diminished in importance. Anglers still opt for fine tippets, but the reason is more one of allowing a wet fly or nymph to move naturally in subtle micro-currents. We’re logically less concerned about invisibility and more focused on the perfect drift. Even some of the wariest and most particular fish species, such as steelhead, are routinely pursued using 1x tippets, and sometimes even thicker.

Being drift-conscious, we still seek limp material…and we also keep an eye on abrasion resistance. But there are intentionally stiffer monos and fluorocarbons out there, often aimed at saltwater fishing (and themselves highly abrasion resistant)…and they offer us fresh-water-ers an interesting option. Let me explain:

I nearly always fish downstream — I break with the reigning wisdom. Why? I like to swing wet flies. The tight line when I get a strike telegraphs the impulse back to me, and it’s an addictive thing. I’ll cast above myself in the flow but generally only to give the fly time to sink. More often than not my cast is just roughly across, and as it swings below me I “work” the fly to coax strikes, eventually bringing it back up toward myself in short slow strips, in the seam between the downstream laminar flow and some near-side slack eddy. I’ll position myself directly ABOVE the water I intend to fish, rather than below, and work the pool below the riffle thoroughly, in progressive arcs with a little change in line length each iteration.

It’s a good (and old-time) way to fish, and I love it, but one unfortunate fallout of doing it so often is that my abilities to detect a strike when my fly is drifting down from upstream of me have degraded over the years. I just rarely do it, and since I watch the line instead of using bobbers, my upstream subtle strike detection skills have slowly suffered. more…

Windows to the Soul

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

We tell our friends we’re going out there to catch fish. Is that the truth?

In any endeavor, the progressions we adopt–the order in which we tend to do things and the different things we elect to try–belie our subliminal priorities. So it is with fly fishing. Weather and calendar and logistical constraints aside, and for the moment excepting the decisions we make that fall out of past experience on a given stretch of water, a stream angler will often tend to have an innate approach to a day’s fishing…such as:

1. Fish a particular unfamiliar glide or riffle with a dry fly first, hoping to have a good day of surface takes.

2. If that doesn’t work, try the next closest thing–an in-the-film emerger pattern.

3. If that too fails to tempt a strike, re-rig for dead-drifting a nymph through lower levels of the water column.

4. If that still disappoints, perhaps swing a soft-hackle wetfly, or a streamer.

5. If actively-worked flies come up short, well, move on upstream and circle back to Step 1.

And there may be some hybrid steps in between, wherein multiple techniques are “ganged” together to approximate one or the other. more…

Cycles of the Stream: Late Summer Trout

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

It’s August 27th as I type this…but it could just as easily be September 14th…or July 10th. It’s a hot day, and as I gather my fly gear and consider the fly I’ll tie on first, I’m tempted to say, “This is still the middle of summer. It’s hot. I need sunscreen, I need an ice-cold water bottle…summertime.”

Ahhh, but it’s not, and the trout know it. Days are detectably shorter, nights are longer. Water levels have consistently dropped and water temperature has already begun to do the same. The bugs know it too, and their autumn behavior has already kicked in. Nymphs and terrestrials are far larger than they were six weeks ago, and hatches are of the late season variety. Browns get ready for their big square dance, and in anadromous water, finned behemoths return from the sea. Shadows lengthen; even the sun’s declination is lower in the sky.

The telltale signs of “end of days” are evident to anyone and anything that cares…and trout care very much. more…