Line of Sight – Part 3 of 3

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

In Part I of this article I took cheap shots at the established, accomplished, noble-blooded practitioners of strike indicator fishing; then I described how I personally use an alternative “watch the line” method in Part II. Now I’ll wrap it up with some summary comparisons.

The best anglers are adept at both, of course, although we’ll each have our individual preferences.

And I admit that, as with anything, this “line of sight” strike detection method does have limitations. Distance to the fly can render it less effective (although if the fly is still upstream of you, odd line behavior is much more odd, and the distance is also decreasing every second). Chop on the surface can make the line impossible to see. Use of stealth line colors can aggravate those problems (although I’ve lately been using a “moss green” floating line and have still done quite well in calmer tail-outs and pools).

There’s at least one definite and noteworthy advantage to using indicators as compared to this “line of sight” approach: The line from fly to indicator is straight. A strike cannot help but be noticed, and if the indicator is drifting freely, the fly is likely to be drifting freely as well. In numerous scenarios including lake fishing and complex interceding currents, it’s difficult to present the fly any other way.  This is a key upside and a powerful case for the float, I agree.

Continue reading → Line of Sight – Part 3 of 3

Line of Sight – Part 2 of 3

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

In the first part of this article I whined like a baby, maligning an honorable and effective method of fly fishing — that being the use of visual strike indicators attached to the leader. I did my level best to deliver a big bag of excuses about why I couldn’t cut the mustard with that approach. And then I tried to take credit for an alternative method that’s as old as fly fishing itself — maybe from back about when hedgehog gut was used for leaders. I arrogantly called it “my way,” and worse yet, I had the nerve to name it.

Well, what is “my way”?  I just watch the line. Again, for want of a better word for it, I’m calling it the “Line of Sight” technique, to have something to refer to here.

We want to detect a strike no matter how subtle, and no matter what kind of drift we’ve got going. A drift may come at us from upstream, extend away from us downstream, or both…and a strike can be very different depending on what kind of drift it interrupts. When fishing wet flies or nymphs across and down or mostly down, I generally keep the line direct enough to the fly that I’ll feel a take through my rod and fingers. It needn’t be a completely straight path, but it must be able to transmit shock or vibration back to my hands. This means either a straight line or at least a smooth arc. Admittedly it may work better for wet flies than for dead-drifted nymphs because with the line’s path fairly direct to the fly I’m likely to affect the fly’s drift to some degree — that is, if my fingers can detect something happening at the fly, whatever is at the fly might possibly be able to detect my presence too…if its brain can fathom the concept of invisible leaders tracing a path back to a human in the water. But I’m careful, and willing to take that chance.

Figure 2-1.  Smooth Upstream Glide

It’s when fishing upstream or up-and-across that a visual detection scheme is of more importance…because the current is every second increasing the slack in the line. When the visual detection device is the floating line itself, the goal is to see line movement that can’t be explained easily unless something is messing with the fly. I look for the line to:

—  Dart cross-current or upstream

—  Softly ease upstream — maybe only an inch, or even less

—  Sink at its tip faster than a weighted fly might pull it

—  Go suddenly more slack (as if the sinking fly stopped its gentle pull downward on the line)

—  Twitch oddly but not go anywhere at all

—  Do anything else an inanimate piece of string won’t do by itself, given known laws of physics

—  Do nothing more than give me a creepy feeling that something fishy is going on

Continue reading → Line of Sight – Part 2 of 3

The Elusive Third Hand for Fly Tying

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

Every now and then two hands are not enough to hold everything in place and get the thread wrapped around whatever you are tying in place. Just last week I got a bargain on some bunny strip streamers that needed a little reinforcement before being used. All I wanted to do was tie down the bunny strip near the end of the hook shank. If you have ever used rabbit strips, you know how uncooperative bunny fur is. It goes where ever it wants and usually to the worst place that will complicate your life as a fly tyer.

I had two dozen flies to modify and after using the tried and true method of licking my fingers and wetting down the hair I wanted to move out of the way, I decided there had to be a better way. So, I stopped tying and thought (completely out of character for me). It took just a minute or two before I realized that a section of plastic tubing with a slit cut out of the center might work. As luck would have it, I had a section of 3/36” (O.D.) tubing (the I.D. was 3/16”; that’s probably not very important). The desired slot was made easily with an x-acto knife. I accidentally made the slot tapered (See Diagram 1); this proved to make it easier to slide my “third hand” over the fur. Voila, problem solved. All of the fur was held out of the way and I was able to tie down the bunny strip and whip finish with no interference from the bunny fur!

Continue reading → The Elusive Third Hand for Fly Tying