Posts Tagged ‘Stroft tippet’

How Small a Trout?

November 12, 2012

How Small a Trout:

The title comes from a quotation courtesy of one of my favourite authors, John Gierach:

“Maybe your stature as a fisherman isn’t determined by how big a trout you can catch, but by how small a trout you can catch without being disappointed”

It also happens to be the name of one of my favoured fly fishing blogs “How Small a Trout” at http://howsmallatrout.wordpress.com

But the point was brought home to me on a remarkable day this past weekend where I was able to actually push both ends of the size envelope within the same day, from a particularly large brown to a tiny and totally wild rainbow within hours and not more than a kilometre or two of one another.

I had received a most gracious invitation from Sharland to join her at Fizantekraal Lodge in the Du Toit’s Kloof mountains. The lodge is top notch, with exquisite views, five star cuisine, and of course in this instance most pleasant and entertaining company. The real attraction though, at least for those of us in possession of “The Fishing Gene” is that it boasts three small trout lakes and a section of pristine trout stream headwater. A tiny, distinctly bushed in and closely wooded top section of the Kraalstroom River.

The lake fishing isn’t really my thing, I would have to admit, the dams are too small and the surroundings just a tad too contrived to really sit well with someone who would far rather be on a river or a large expanse of water, bobbing in a boat perhaps or searching the shallows in the hope of finding feeding fish. However on previous visits I had already established a Modus Operandi which makes the fishing considerably more entertaining than might otherwise be the case and Sharland and I have pretty much perfected the technique.

The thing is with these small clear dams and large fish sight fishing is more than simply possible, it is virtually assured. The impoundments despite their small stature contain some really rather large and not entirely stupid fish. They have been stocked mostly in relatively small sizes and grown on without artificial subsidy of diet, they have equally grown more than a little wary of anglers and eschew pretty much any fly or lure that most people would consider standard fare for the lake angler. Woolly Buggers and such are frequently followed but ultimately ignored and the dams therefore provide a wonderful possibilities for experimentation.

Refusal

Even with 7X tippet and #18 dries, refusals prove all too common.

It was on a visit a year or two back when , returning from the stream and under strict instructions from my hostess “Not to be late for lunch” that I passed one of the dams carrying my #3wt stream outfit, rigged with 7X tippet and a tiny #18 dry fly. The story is told in full in a previous blog “Big Fish on fine tippets” . https://paracaddis.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/big-fish-on-fine-tippets/

In short having sighted a fish on my way back to the lodge I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a cast, knowing , or at least mostly knowing that you weren’t supposed to throw such tiny flies on such fine tippet at 2 to 3 kilo trout. It isn’t done; but of course I did it and landed a superb fish. In the following hours and on into the next day we repeated the trick over and over. The fish would be very tippet shy and entirely avoid any moving subsurface pattern but would take well presented tiny parachutes.. It was tremendous fun and afforded the chance to push the limits of what was possible.

In fact those experiments worked so well that on this trip I didn’t venture to include anything heavier than a three weight rod in my gear. I caught some great fish in similar size ranges and a number of “tiddlers” which had entered the lower dams from the river over time. In fact I rarely fished a nymph at all for the duration of my stay but in the late morning I was returning to the lodge again, feeling more than a little dehydrated as it had become really rather hot and I thought that I would enjoy a drink before a planned trip to fish the river in the afternoon.

On the way back there was a sense of De ja vu when there appeared in the shallowest section of the dam a very large fish which boiled at something on the surface. I unhooked the dry on its gossamer tippet, trying to stay hidden behind a large grass tuft I flipped the dry out onto the surface not a few feet from the bank and waited. The trout appeared from behind the grass, a massive brownie, spots showing clearly in the sunshine and a simply huge head, with a seriously kyped jaw, broke the surface and engulfed the fly. It was a heart stopping moment, the mouth was so large that I could easily imagine pulling the fly right out of it and hooking nothing but thin air. Really, it seemed impossible to hook up, as though one had tossed the fly into a fire bucket and was hoping to catch up on the sides. I delayed the strike, lifting firmly but not overly quickly and the next moment there was solid resistance and a huge thrashing of foam on the surface as the trout felt the prick of the hook.

To start with it seemed the huge fish had failed to notice that it was actually attached to the line, he would shake his head from time to time but mostly just moseyed along a few feet out, hardly bothering to take more evasive action. I applied all the pressure I dared, pretty well as much pressure as I could with a #2 weight rod anyway and provoked a considerably more violent reaction, letting line whizz off the reel on occasion and trusting that in the end I would tire the fish sufficiently to land him.  After much delicate toing and froing, alternatively taking in and then rapidly giving back line I netted the fish. It is incredible what can be done on fine tippet if one has a sufficiently forgiving (soft actioned) rod and equally soft hands, ready to give line when necessary. Quite possibly the biggest brown trout I have ever caught, the kudos of the moment ameliorated slightly by the artificial surrounds but equally enhanced by the ultrafine gear that was being used. (#2wt Sage ZXL, 18′ leader to 7X Stroft copolymer tippet)

Brown Trout (mouth size inset), the weight and length estimates only

I removed the hook that was set well back in the giant fish’s throat, actually managing to fit my entire fist into his mouth in the process, a simply massive mouth for a freshwater fish, took a few quick pictures and put him back into the water. Unfortunately he got away from me a bit early before I was happy he was well set and proceeded to dive into a weedbed where I could see him laying, ostrich like,  head in the weeds and not looking entirely OK. He was too far out to reach with the net so stripping myself of my vest, glasses and such I dove into the dam after the fish, hoping to get him back in the net or provoke him into swimming away and driving some more oxygen through his gills. He shot off and appeared to recover fully. Soaking wet I returned, probably a little late for lunch.

Brown Trout Fizantekraal

This fish had been stocked years back as a 350gm baby

In the afternoon I headed up the Kraalstroom, the first section is impossibly bushy and Lilliputian, you wouldn’t swing a mouse no matter his proverbial adversary but as I walked the odd pocket opened up. Each time there was a pocket in the rocks there would be a beautiful wild rainbow trout of between six and eight inches sitting right in the tail-out. The difficulty wasn’t so much fooling the fish as getting the fly into the water.

I contrived numerous casts, variations of switch. roll, flick and goodness knows what else in the tight brush. Casts which may not appear in Gary Borger’s “Presentation” and would probably be righteously excluded from a book with such a title, but I hit the water often enough and each time I did I hooked a gorgeously marked baby trout. Flushed cheeks and classical metallic blue finger shaped parr markings.

Gorgeous little fish, naïve as girls at the school dance and pretty in much the same way too. All dressed up with nowhere to go in the tiny stream. On one occasion, and probably as much through luck as judgement I managed to flick a cast under an overhanging tree, get the leader to settle just before tangling an overhanging bush and as the fly drifted into the shade of entangled herbage a slight flash indicated the take and I hooked into a twelve incher. A monster really from this water and a most satisfying challenge to even get near, I was ecstatic with that result, the fish as deserving of praise and joy as the massive brown of the morning. One fish no more than twelve inches long demanding a dreadfully contrived and somewhat fortuitous cast , the other a leviathan, known of but never or rarely previously hooked in a small dam and landed on the finest of tippets.

Kralstroom Rainbow

Beautifully coloured baby bow from the Kraalstroom.

I have to say that I enjoyed catching them both, each represented different challenges, each had their own beauty, each was a fish and each was caught by a fly angler. My fishing gene obviously doesn’t discriminate, this is an equal opportunity adventure and any fish can join in. As to the title quotation, none of those fish during the course of the day had me feeling the slightest bit disappointed, I was feeling blessed to have received a most kind invitation to fish and revelled in the diversity of it all. Special thanks to my host Sharland Urquhart and to Ryan for providing information on the stream. Ryan informed me later that the brown, estimated at 3Kg on capture had been stocked years back at a miniscule 350 grams..   You can find more information on the lodge at http://www.fizantakraal.co.za/

As with all the posts on “The Fishing Gene”, you are welcome and encouraged to leave comments. Thanks to the regular readers “The Fishing Gene” blog recently passed the 30,000 views mark and hopefully will continue to grow in popularity.

Information on the style of tying the parachute patterns used can be downloaded for FREE from Smashwords in the book “Who Packed Your Parachute” on the link https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/17437

Other books available from the author: Click on the image to find out more:

Soft Rods, Soft Hands and Soft Tippet

November 13, 2011

A bad start to the day ends with some experimentation and a lot of fun.

Yesterday started a little poorly if I were honest, I was (at least I thought I was), due to be guiding a client on the local streams but we had battled to communicate due to problems with e mails and I was still awaiting confirmation of a pick up point. To cut a long story short, there I was bags packed, water booked, new flies pristine in their boxes, lunch and refreshments at the ready and with a full tank of gas, just no client. Turns out that when he had said “Saturday” I understood it to be this one and he had meant the next one and I finally established that at this very moment he was fishing a thousand kilometers away in another province.

Well there wasn’t much for it but to make the most of a bad job and go fishing anyway, you might imagine that this took some considerable time to decide, I think perhaps a nanosecond at least.

There were a number of local anglers in the car park, the nature conservation guys got a free packed lunch courtesy of the otherwise occupied and currently absent “client” and after a brief discussion and the standard “tight lines” we were on our way to our various beats. (Water hereabouts is booked on a section by section basis and one can therefore enjoy uninterrupted angling).

I did proffer some advice to a relative novice and suggested that he perhaps consider cutting down the diameter of his tippet a bit, it looked as though he was heading out after blue marlin. When I told him I generally fish 7X with the dries he commented that “I can’t use that stuff I just break off all the time”. I didn’t give it too much thought, I was heading for a day alone on the stream and I was looking forward to the experience.

Oddly I haven’t fished much for my own account of late and actually by the time I had hiked in to the section I was fishing and allowed the sweat from my brow sufficient time to stop fogging up my polaroids I was more than in the mood for a spot of angling and perhaps a little experimentation as well.

One of the great disadvantages of guiding all the time is that one sticks to what is known, practical and within the abilities of the client and that tends to result in a less than experimental outlook. The clients want to catch fish, I want them to catch fish and I thus forego much of the fiddling about that I am apt to enjoy out on the river alone. Of course fiddling about is a rather underrated skill and it can often result in breakthroughs of technique or at the least a bit of fun.

I rigged up with a small spun dun, there were no fish moving, the weather was rather variable and I determined that I was going to focus on just getting good drifts and if a fish came up all the better. There is something about a good dry fly drift that can bring joy to one’s heart, even if it goes uninterrupted by the attentions of a trout.

I am very much a fan of long leaders and have a tendency to over do things in that department, at least at the start of the day. Sure enough the 7X tippet was a struggle to turn over at the end of 20 feet of mono but I figured I would sort it out as time went on. After all I was fishing, fishing for my own pleasure and there was no pressure. I eventually managed to get the fly to at least hit the water in a slightly troublesome breeze and was contemplating whether I shouldn’t cut the leader back a tad, but then there was that awesome drift of the fly. The slack allowing the spun dun to ride the vagaries of the complex currents as though completely unattached and sure enough a fish thought that it was good enough to eat and promptly did so.  A fish in the very first run and I was feeling more than a little chuffed with myself.

There was little activity on the water, few rises, large numbers of micro caddis about and the odd mayfly popping off but it was nice to be out and I carried on with my casting and drifting of the fly over likely looking spots. Just having fun and catching some fish.

In fact I was enjoying it so much that for no particular reason I decided to fine down even more and put on some 8X tippet, perhaps those words in the car park were sitting deep down in my subconscious. I have taken to fishing 7X as standard, not because one needs to all the time but because then you get used to it,  such that if forced to go fine it isn’t a problem. I figured that maybe I should start getting used to the 8X stuff in the same way, if I lost fish it wouldn’t matter.

Despite the previously good drifts the soft Stroft 8X  produced an immediate improvement, I thought I was getting good presentation before but now it was awesome. The fly would alight like the proverbial thistledown and proceed to ride the currents with uninterrupted ease, just like the naturals that were beginning to show up more and more.  A few olives started to come off and I switched to a size 18 BWO parachute, I wouldn’t say that I was hammering the fish, they weren’t really rising but by day’s end I had landed somewhere between 20 and 30 fish, a few of more than respectable size and I had popped the tippet on only one small fish that had charged the pattern with such enthusiasm as to have taken me by surprise causing me to overreact.

This Olive parachute worked wonders on the fish, particularly once the BWOs started to come off.

I suppose that isn’t entirely extreme, a client recently told me that on his home waters when fishing the trico hatches you have to go down to 10X to have a hope of a take but still most local anglers here don’t go close to that fine.

I am not sure if the tippet is much less visible but it certainly does aid in presentation, with soft landings and quality drifts time after time and in the end that has to improve the catch rate. What puts everyone off is the risk of breakage.

There are three or four things which make an essential difference to this risk:

Firstly you want the hooks razor sharp, you simply cannot apply a massive strike force to such fine nylon, I always sharpen my hooks but take extra care when fishing this fine. (for the record, barbed hooks are hopeless for this game, the barb stops the hook penetrating and you will lose fish after fish if you use them).

You want to have a long leader and perhaps a boiled one, the stretch again adds a level of protection from sudden lunges by the fish.

You really do need, and may well battle to find, a soft actioned rod. I dislike fast action rods at the best of times and for this work they are hatefully inadequate. I was using a relatively inexpensive Stealth Deep Red #3 weight which is wonderfully good at protecting find nylon.

You need a reel that will spin smoothly and you need to develop what cricketers refer to as “soft hands”. Those aren’t the ones you dream about giving you a massage when you get home, they are the ones that allow you to instantly back off pressure and let line run off the reel when needs be.

The only way to develop these skills is to force yourself to fish lighter, fish softer and get the feel of it, it is quite remarkable how hard you can play a fish on such gear with some care. Please do also always net the fish, removing a hook without benefit of a net with such fine tippet makes it all to easy to have the fish slip from your hands and end up with a fly in its lip unnecessarily.

One final point, it is equally a good idea to glue the leader into the fly line so as not to have any knots. A sudden catch of the leader / flyline joint in one of the snake guides as a good fish makes one last plunge is a recipe for disaster.  You can download a pdf file on how to make this super glue joint on the following webpage: http://www.inkwaziflyfishing.co.za/Leaders.pdf I am further hoping to post a video clip on how to achieve this joint easily within the next few weeks. Thanks for reading and “tight lines” , if you are fishing fine, just not too tight.

Fishing Cape Streams Part #3

July 23, 2009

inkwaziblogbanner1Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris, Cape Town’s number one fly fishing guiding service.

Gadgets and Gizmos for Cape Streams.

Alright, you have all been dying to fill your vests with lots of gizmos and look really cool out there on the water . So what do you need and what don’t you? It is a matter of personal opinion and preference but there are some bits and bobs which are essential.

Fly Boxes:

C&FBox

You will note that the title is in the plural, that is because I am firmly of the opinion that not only should you carry plenty of flies but that you should carry them in more than one box. You are going to lose one at some point and that can mean that your efforts, long hike in and the rare opportunity of ripping the motor vehicle from the clutches of your spouse or teenage offspring have all been wasted if you have to pack up for lack of something to throw at the fish. As a rough guide at least two boxes, with a selection of nymphs and dry flies is the minimum requirement. There are some excellent boxes out there on the market, some expensive and some not but they will all serve a purpose. I prefer “window” style boxes for the dries, it prevents them getting squashed and combination boxes that allow some nymphs to be neatly displayed in foam slots and windows for the dries are all you really need. Inexpensive clear plastic window style boxes are great for dry flies and although they aren’t waterproof they allow you to carry a lot of patterns in a small space and at little cost.

A note of caution, for some reason the “clip style” fly boxes are somehow viewed by many as the most sexy addition to one’s vest. At least for the types of flies you need on Cape Streams they are worse than useless, the clips bend and hooks fall out and they will squash your dry flies beyond recognition. Skip them and rather have a few cheap plastic boxes in your pocket. They may not look as fancy but they are far more practical.

Polarized glasses.

CostaDelMarThe Cape Streams offer exceptionally good opportunities to sight fish to visible feeding trout in clear water for much of the season and polarized specs are a must. Not to mention that wearing glasses of some kind is a good move if you wish to protect your eyes from the reflective glare, nasty and damaging UV radiation and wayward casts of sharp hooks. I prefer the amber colours, which seem to afford better contrast when looking for fish and the very best pairs that I have used include “Spotter and Costa Del Mar” glasses. You cannot polarize glass, so all polarized specs feature either plastic lenses or a plastic laminate lens. Plastic ones are less expensive, lighter, and don’t break if you drop them, the glass one’s are far more scratch resistant and at the same time heavier. Either way, put them on a string or lanyard so that you don’t drop them in the river. Good specs are worth the investment, but any pair is better than none and you shouldn’t venture out without them. Suppliers of Cost Del Mar glasses in South Africa are Stealth Fly Rod and Reel . Costa Del Mar home page

Please note several suppliers listed here for your convenience don’t supply direct to the public, but they will be able to put you in touch with a dealer in your vicinity.

Wading Boots.

I wasn’t entirely sure whether I should include your boots in the accessories or tackle part of these posts. They are almost as essential as your fishing gear, not quite perhaps, but close, so I have included them here.

For the most part actual waterproof waders are not required or even advisable on our streams. The water isn’t cold enough to warrant them and the walk in and out of some sections would prohibit their use. However a decent pair of wading boots is another matter entirely. We all used to experiment with various options in the footwear department but truth be told wading boots make your life a lot easier and a lot safer. Felt soled boots are good but wear down fast if you do a lot of walking, which you may well do on these streams. My personal favourites are boots with Aquastealth™ soles. The clever people at the Stealth Rubber company have come up with a rubber than is particularly sticky even when wet, almost all wading shoe manufacturers have either switched Aquastealth™ to or offer this as an alternative to their felt soles, partly driven by a need to prevent the spread of whirling disease (currently not a problem in the Cape waters). It works like felt but with the added advantage of being far harder wearing than felt. Almost any proper wading boots are going to serve you better than wearing tennis shoes, but if you have a choice I would go with the Aquastealth™ option. The boots will give you longer service than felt and I think that they are particularly good on our predominantly boulder strewn waters.

Tippet Material:

StroftYou should carry spools of tippet material from 3X to 7X, maybe even 8X, the heavier stuff is simply to adjust leaders that get snapped up or tangled in the middle, the lighter thinner tippet allows you to change the terminal tackle as and when required, lengthen the leader and adjust the turn over as conditions and fly sizes change. As a rough guide again, I generally nymph fish with 5X tippet, fish dries with 6X and use 7X and 8X once the waters drop and the fish get tricky. But a selection is essential and not some spool or arbitrary fishing line either. I prefer copolymer tippet for streams, the Flouro stuff is always a tad thicker and less flexible which makes it unsuitable for fishing tiny dries, something that I prefer to do when at all possible. I have been very happy with the Rio Powerflex tippet™ , Stroft™, Airflow™ products, Stroft™  seems to be the softest which is great for dry fly work. Soft tippets aid reduction of drag and that is a big issue on these waters.  How you carry the stuff is a choice, some packs and vests have really neat little dispenser options, or you can use a lanyard of sorts with the spools all neatly stacked in size order. Local stockists of Stroft StreamX Local suppliers of Rio products JandiTrading

Please note several suppliers listed here for your convenience don’t supply direct to the public, but they will be able to put you in touch with a dealer in your vicinity.

Hook Sharpener.

ModelSI don’t know how many hook sharpeners we sold when I was running a tackle shop, but a lot, it seems that even now many anglers consider their hooks are sharp enough. No serious light tackle angler wouldn’t have a hook sharpener somewhere about his person and the most serious NEVER tie on a fly that they don’t sharpen. This becomes all the more important when you are fishing light lines, the rods don’t apply much force in the first place and on 8X tippet you can’t be walloping the hook  home with brute force. Sharp barbless hooks will allow you to strike lightly with soft hands and still land the fish. I have tried a number of hook sharpeners and my all time favourite is the Model S sharpener from Eze Lap .

Just don’t use it in the “pen format” in which it comes. If you clip it to your vest pocket it will have a life expectancy of a Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot. Remove the top, make a hole in the end of the sharpener and attach a split ring/key ring to it, then you can clip it to your lanyard or zinger and not loose it.. Local suppliers of EZE LAP tools are Awesome Tools Please note several suppliers listed here for your convenience don’t supply direct to the public, but they will be able to put you in touch with a dealer in your vicinity.

Landing Net.

FishingNetWe fished for years without nets, figured that it was really cool to do so and that you really didn’t need one. Things have changed, if only for the good of the fish. With light tippets and feisty trout the chances or snapping off and leaving the fish with an (albeit barbless) hook in its jaw whilst trying to release it is greatly increased. Landing nets allow you to land the fish faster, more easily and reduces stress and possible damage to the fish. They are essential. Nets can be of a variety of styles but something not too large and with soft “Catch and Release Mesh” is the ticket. These nasty large holed rough net bags with massive knots that damage fish, rip into flesh and tear out maxilla’s are NOT for use on Catch and Release Trout streams.

Landing net holders:

NetMagnetsThere are some gadgets which really do make a difference and the new magnetic landing net holders are one of those fantastic inventions. Allowing easy and quick access to the net when required without fiddling about. If you don’t own one, get one, that simple. I have never found any means of carrying a net that works better than a magnetic quick release on the back of your vest.. Just remember to keep the net tied to you and for my money I would ditch the sexy little spiraled elastic cord which is generally supplied and replace it with some thin “prussic cord” or nylon string. That way if your net catches in the bush and you turn around you aren’t going to have to blow your fishing budget on and orthodontist after it knocks your teeth out.

Forceps.

ForcepsYou absolutely have to have some means of removing deep set and often tiny hooks from the fish with minimum fuss. It isn’t only convenience but your responsibility as an angler to look after the fish and ramming fingers down throats of small trout or leaving them with hooks in them isn’t a socially or environmentally acceptable behavior. There are a few quick release tools out there which work pretty well, but most of us opt for forceps, often referred to in the English press as “Spencer Wells”. Put them on a zinger and have quick access when required. Fish in the net and forceps at hand you will be able to release fish with little fuss or damage.

Nippers.

NippersSure we all use our teeth to bite nylon, a dentist client once spent most of his fishing day berating me for the behavior, but you will get neater and more effective trimming of knots if you use nippers. Long tag ends on leader knots cause a lot of tangles and water disturbance as well for that matter. Drug store nail clippers will do at a push, but you aren’t going to score any points in the “best dressed fly angler” competition if you resort to them.. Actually the only real problem with those is that they are curved and require opening to use.. Local suppliers of Dr Slick are Stealth Fly Rod and Reel

Fly Floatant:

FloatantA gel type fly floatant or similar is again a must have item, there are lots of them, some anglers prefer to pre-treat their dry flies with Hydrostop, but that demands a level of dedication and organisation beyond my abilities and I don’t always want the flies to sit high and dry so I treat them on the water. Airflo, Loon, Rio, and Flyagra all have suitable products.. Just don’t baste your flies in a massive blob of the stuff, you are only trying to waterproof the fibres. A tiny drop rubbing into your fingers and then gently massaged into the hackles is sufficient.

On the subject, it is well worth having one of those neat little attachments that holds your bottle of floatant upside down, makes for easier use and simple availability without having to shake the darn stuff like a medical thermometer.

Fly drying powder:

TopRideThis was another innovation one that I thought yet more affectation from the marketing departments of fishing tackle companies running out of stuff to sell us. Not so, this stuff works really well and I don’t know any serious Cape Stream Anglers who don’t carry it. Airflo and Loon make good products but there are others. The drier looks like fine powder and sucks moisture out of damp patterns and makes them float high on the water. This isn’t a replacement for the floatant mentioned above. It is for drying flies off, particularly after catching fish. Fish slime is hydrophilic (loves water) and causes flies to lose their water repellant qualities in short order. A rinse in the stream and a quick dusting with this powder will have your flies , as a friend describes it, “floating up, high heels and all” . It is one of the few “innovative” products which I really would miss if it was unavailable. The powder is also essential if you are fishing CDC dry flies which cannot be greased up with the normal floatants. (It is worth noting that soft paper facial tissues are pretty effective at drying flies as well, but of course they are prone to getting wet when you don’t want them to. At a push however a pocket pack of them isn’t a bad option to add to your vest, putting them in a ziplock packet will increase their lifespan).

Amadou fly drying pad:

AmadouPadAnother option for fly drying, and a present from a happy client. This little pad of treated fungus sucks water out of damp flies exceptionally well and I carry it for use particularly with the CDC patterns. Not essential if you have the powder but at least the pad can’t run out in the middle of the day.

Leader degreaser:

Particularly in later season  with bright sunshine and low water floating tippets spook fish and some means of breaking the surface tension and degreasing the tippet is pretty much essential. Having said that I have tried dozens of home made and commercial products and not one of them is particularly effective. They tend to work for a cast or two and then wash off. But a small bottle of washing up liquid or a commercial degreasing paste is worth carrying, if only because on the occasional tricky fish cleaning the leader before the cast may buy you a smidgen more chance of success.

Lanyard:

LanyardThis is an option and one that I like, you can tend to look a little like a witchdoctor ready to “throw the bones” with all of your gear hanging about your neck but compared to zingers and pocket’s full of stuff a lanyard provides easy access to the things that you need most often. There are commercial options available but you can manufacture your own with little effort, a trip to the bead shop and some snap swivels. You can obtain instructions on manufacturing your own lanyard by sending us a note, just click “Please send me information sheet on Making Your Own Lanyard”.

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Get our fact sheet

Indicator Yarn or putty.

YarnFor most of the time I will use a dry fly as an indicator whilst nymph fishing, I figure that one may as well have two chances at fooling a fish as one, and large bright indicators spook wary fish more often than you would think. They have seen it all before. However it doesn’t hurt to have some yarn or putty on hand when you wish to make a quick cast with a nymph at a recalcitrant fish who simply won’t rise up for a dry. Dispensers of pre-treated yarn, Egg Yarn that you have treated with Hydrostop yourself or some floating putty make good additions to the vest and can come in handy. Restrict the size of the indicator though, you don’t need a golf ball sized hunk, something the size of a pea is more than sufficient to serve the purpose.

Scissors:

Carrying scissors is a potentially hazardous occupation, having sharp pointed stuff in your pocket in a fall can prove nasty and you don’t need them much of the time, however if you are planning on using yarn indicators a sharp pair of scissors is essential. If not you can waive them and simply use nippers for all other needs. If you are carrying scissors put a small piece of flexible plastic tubing over the points to protect both them and yourself.

Zingers:

ZingerZingers are those sweet little self retractable reels that allow you to pull out your essential gadget and then let go, the only trouble with them is that they are very prone to breakage and the subsequent loss of your gizmo. I personally only use a zinger for the forceps; being able to easily maneuver the forceps when releasing a fish and not having to worry about dropping them is a major advantage. All the other stuff I carry goes onto the lanyard. If you prefer not to use a lanyard then a few zingers are well worth the investment. Or consider the self retracting spiral cords manufactured by various suppliers such as Fish Pond. They seem less prone to problems with getting wet, rusting and breaking.

Spare braided loops.

A couple of braided loops in a small zip loc bag tucked away for an emergency make for worthy additions to your vest. Should disaster strike and you have a major leader failure you can pretty quickly be back in action. Braided loops can be purchased or easily manufactured yourself. They will hold onto the fly line pretty much on their own so a simple whip finish with some tippet material will suffice to keep you fishing until you get home and can do the job properly.

Sewing needle:

A fine needle, lodging in your lapel makes for a useful tool, particularly if you aren’t tying your own flies as so many commercial ones have varnish in the eyes of the hooks that something on hand to clean out the stuff isn’t a bad idea. Although you can at a push simply use another fly hook.

Split shot and sink putty:

It is highly unlikely that you are going to need such additional weighting fishing these streams, and it probably isn’t necessary for you to carry such stuff. Of course if you were out after yellowfish on the Orange  River they would make for a useful addition to your kit.

Tim_yellowfish1

The Author Tim Rolston with an Orange River Yellowfish

That’s about the lot, other stuff is really pretty optional. For the record my gear set up looks like this:

Lanyard: Nippers, Fly Floatant, Degreaser, Indicator Yarn, Hook Sharpener, Amadou fly drying pad and fly drying powder.

On a separate Tippet lanyard: clipped to the vest: A selection of tippet spools of differing diameters down to 8X

In pockets: A spare 4X tapered leader, scissors, braided loops and of course fly boxes.

Clipped to the inside of the vest (to avoid flash) and hanging on a zinger are the forceps. I put them on the left side so that I can easily get them with my right hand when I am holding a fish, ready for release.

That’s the lot, most of the other stuff is optional, I hope that it will prove to be of use to you, whether you are fishing the Cape Streams or not. Don’t forget to keep up to date with the RSS feeds option on this blog or mail us for more information.

Planning a visit to SA? Why not book a day with us on a Cape Stream, you can visit our website at www.inkwaziflyfishing.co.za or mail us at Inkwazi Flyfishing..

Inkwazi Fly Fishing also provides on stream tutorials to local anglers and I receive comments like the one below all the time which is very encouraging because the goal is to help you fish more effectively and have more fun.

“Testament to your expert instruction and advice  which I put to good use.

I echo and confirm all those praiseworthy testimonials/ references  that you have on your website !!” …………………………Greg Wright Cape Town.

So if you need help contact us Inkwazi Flyfishing