As hot as Hades.

As hot as Hades time to tinker:

Down here in the deep south it has been hot, very hot and that has meant the fishing for the most part is not at its best. Indeed many of the beats that were producing some quality fish earlier in the season, right up to Christmas day for that matter, are now luke warm and only really suitable for catching the smallmouth bass which seem to either move in or become more active in the warm weather. Personally I don’t even like to head out with the bass in mind, any trout that you capture are highly likely to go belly up on release, the water is just too warm and the oxygen levels too low for them to recover from what is probably going to be a pretty dispirited struggle in the first place. It just isn’t worth it.

The upper reaches are faring only slightly better, a long hike will put you into steep sided kloofs which get a bit less sun and are nearer to the source of the water flow, meaning that the temperatures are not quite as extreme, but still plenty hot enough and the low water makes for tricky angling on these catch and release waters, even when the fish are “on the go”. In short it is all a little depressing and the heat seems almost as oppressive as the forced imprisonment of the closed season and heavy rains during the winter months. The fishing is open but you can’t really fish that much. There is one hold out which however does offer sport, it is a longer drive to a notoriously bushy river with troublesome access and a reputation for heavy going and good numbers of snakes but it holds a magical secret. The water stays cool.

The river runs out of a bottom draw dam, providing a constant if not particularly robust flow of cool clear water. The bottom structure of dark rock makes sight fishing very tricky but at least the trout remain a good deal more active for most of the day and even when they aren’t actively on the surface they can be drummed up with well-presented dries in the low clear water. Actually the stream receives a lot less attention than some of the others and although it has a reputation for being a tad unreliable at the same time you probably won’t need the minute midges and 8X tippet required on the other streams.

The river has had its fair share of misfortune over the past few years, there have been floods, rock slides, big enough in parts to result in the damming of the stream entirely. There have been bush fires and the associated ash run off and the fishing hasn’t been of the best quality for a while. It just seems that perhaps the place is making a comeback.

On a recent visit there wasn’t a rise to be seen but we captured fish throughout the day and most rewardingly a lot of baby trout, the progeny of the resident fish who seem to be doing a good job of repopulating the river which was for a while in decline. None of the streams hereabouts are stocked, we rely on self-sustaining populations of non-indigenous but established and adapted trout. The adaption is a key issue, with the water temperatures frequently running into the high twenties during the summer months the average European or North American fish would undoubtedly flip over on the first sunny day.

Still, things are not at their best and the hottest days are better for tackle tinkering unless a case of sunstroke is on your bucket list of things to achieve before you cross over to the other side.

So I recently set about making and posting a video clip of a great leader connection method that I have used for years and for which I have frequently been requested to provide detailed instruction. I have for a while now provided a .pdf file with graphics on how to achieve the “Super Glue Leader Link” but with the warm weather and too much time on my hands I decided to video the process.

I am, as any regular reader will know, a fan of long leaders, some would say foolishly long leaders but the rub with even modestly extended terminal tackle is that the link between the fly line and the leader will constantly enter the tip top guide of the rod and frequently through many other of the guides as well. This is a recipe for annoyance at best and at worst disaster. Braided loops, knots, whip finishes and needle knot attachments all have a dreadful tendency to get stuck. Making casting troublesome and landing a fish on fine tippet fraught with danger.

The super-glue leader link obviates any of those problems, with nothing to catch up one can cast out the leader without trouble, survive the final plunge of a good fish at the net and avoid all the hassle of picking up week on the knot whilst actually fishing.

The trick to the process is the use of the correct type of needle, a sewing machine needle as opposed to the standard hand sewing ones. The sewing machine needle has the distinct advantage of having the eye at the front, near the pointed end which makes threading it into the core of the fly line a relative breeze. I have improved the process further over the years with modifications, the best of which is to place the needle into a fly tying vice which makes getting the needle into the middle of the core even easier.

The steps then to glue your tapered leader into the line are as follows:

  • Place a fine sewing machine needle into the fly tying vice such that it is horizontal.
  • Take a braided core fly line (mono cores cannot be linked in this way) and thread it up the needle, taking care to keep the needle in the middle of the line.
  • When inserted sufficiently far up into the line, allow the point to poke out the side of the fly line to expose the eye.
  • Thread the thin end of a tapered leader through the eye and pull the needle back out of the line, thereby threading the leader through the core.
  • Pull the leader through the line, as the taper thickens the fit will become tighter and tighter.
  • When you only have a few centimetres of line left to pull through, rough up the leader with sandpaper or a diamond dust hook sharpener to enhance the grip of the glue, trim off any unsanded portion with a pair of sharp scissors and add a drop of super-glue.
  • Finally with care and speed, tug the last remaining tag inside the fly line before the glue sticks but without pulling it all the way through. Allow a few moments for the glue to set and you have a newly installed leader with a super smooth connection that won’t foul in the guides or weeds in the water.

I can fit new leaders to all of my river reels in the space of a morning and when things cool down and the fishing is back on song I shall be ready.

There is a direct link to the video clip below, the “Super-Glue Splice” is but one of over a hundred tips on tackle rigging in my eBook “100 Fly Fishing Tips, Tricks and Techniques” available for download from Smashwords.  If you like this little trick you may very well enjoy some of the others in the book. Happy tinkering and tight lines.

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