Friday, August 13, 2010

Whoops one more site!

How could I forget one of the finest fly fishing sites to grace the net? Here it is! Midcurrent is a periodical newletter with a fine selection of articles, how to do it, etc.
Here are a few of my favorite sites with their associated forums: topping the list is a forum on flyfishing that offers a wealth of information and some very experienced members.

Another good fly fishing site is:

Once there the articles are superb and "most" of the discussion boards are good also. Of note are the Florida board:
as well as the Carp, Warmwater and and Saltwater boards found there.

The best of the big sites and super information rich is the Fly Anglers On Line. Hundreds of well written articles and great forums are found here:

For hunting I primarily use on forum, Hunt America!! Here's the link:

I'll add more to this list but for now good fishing and hunting as the autumn is roaring toward us with opportunities for both.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Carp Fly Fishing a new old sport!

Part 1

Carp--fly fishing for freshwater Redfish!
Want some excitement in your life?
Pictures will follow soon!

Fly fish for Carp! Grab a 7-9 weight rod, and learn how to sight fish, from a flats boat or by stalking the shallows in stealth mode. Get yourself some great polarized glasses, a wide brimmed hat or cap, colored black or dark under the brim, and, in short, get equipped and learn sight fishing techniques. Hone your stealth approach by sound proofing your boat, and bowing, not to Tarpon but rather by bowing low to reduce your silhouette during the approach to sighted fish. Learn to minimize your false casting and use more of a sidearm cast to reduce the line flying high overhead (warning the fish) and if it all comes together you will be into the Red Bull of the freshwater flats, the Golden Shadow, aka the Carp!

Here’s one of many fine articles on the web since this first article was published in the late 90s.

Add to that article this one from the same fine source at Midcurrent and if you haven’t subscribe as it’s free! Here’s another article that applies:

Everything written here applies except the bit on sunglasses and with Carp and the varied bottom conditions you‘ll find, learn how to select the proper color, shade and tint of glasses. Here’s a third source: great blog with loads of info scattered throughout.

Let’s look at how we might go about chasing the Ghost of the freshwater flats.

Das Bote!
For your fishing platform, go for a flats boat if you have access to one. If not, a John Boat, suitably outfitted can do a great job. Use flush mounted and supported plywood, covered with a good outdoor, quieting, non-slip carpeting as the casting deck. Whether or not, you want to go to the trouble of a raised platform is your choice but I've seen every thing from tied down coolers to a commercial available casting platform used.

Same goes for a poling platform in the rear. One of the nicest Jon "flats," boats I've seen was outfitted with securely tied down and lid reinforced coolers fore and aft, and used an outboard and trolling motor setup to augment the pole ability of the craft.

Of paramount importance is to remove all excess fittings, etc from that front deck area as any obstruction there will catch flyline, trip you, or otherwise cripple your stealth, approach, or casting ability. Although many flats boats have a flush deck, I like a lip on my boat which keeps loose fly line from blowing or falling overboard to tangle in the trolling motor or other under hull obstruction.

Can’t go wrong with a boat such as this:

My boat was an aluminum John Boat (Bass Boat style) by Grumman, 16 ft with a polling platform and a flush deck up front. I’ve since sold it but am looking for another as they are heard to beat.

Styling or Das Boots!
For footwear, go barefoot! When on the boat and in casting position, any footwear that can catch a fly line will do so and that includes anything with shoelaces. If you do need shoes, use a square knot in the laces and take the loose ends and tuck them into the sides of the shoes. Keep a pair of flats booties, tennis shoes or diving boots handy for the times when it becomes necessary to go overboard and wade the last few yards to get into that "just right" position.

Some folks prefer to use a shooting basket and they are great but in tight quarters can be a hassle. Other like a larger waste can style of line container. One commercial offering, the Line Tamer, is a clear, bottom weighted, plexiglass tube affair and is good looking, very functional piece of support equipment. For the do-it-yourselfer, get a kitchen sized, preferably oval or round trash basket, two and a half feet high or so, put a 25 lb barbell plate in the bottom and "voila," your own line tamer.

Clean and uncluttered!
No matter what your craft, keep it clean and uncluttered. Functional, quite, easy to pole, a clean casting deck with sides to keep the line from blowing --if you guessed canoe--you have it right! A canoe or a flats boat raises the odds of getting into big fish. Take a look at the following links and info on fishing from a canoe or flats boat! You might notice a few more similarities between Red fishing and chasing the Bronze Bull!

Use a shooting basket which is a great aid when wading or casting from a boat!
(pictures follow below)

Here are two great sources for tips on fly fishing in general and also chasing Carp! most any of the articles on Bonefishing, Permit, Redfish and other flats species apply.

Outfitting your boat: platforms and line tamers plus a different hat!

Carping the flats: take note of the map/notes. general Carp info several good Carp articles and other fish such as Gar, Buffalo, Suckers and Cats!

Flies and Depth!

I carry a couple of fly boxes when targeting Carp. First is a box of bend back woolies, let me explain. I tie a bend back fly such as this: many of these have too slight a bend but look at the Redfish Minnow Bendback which is about right. I tie the wooly bend back with estaz under body and a Grizzly Hackle then use a variety of hair for the wing from orange to olive, mostly in duller colors. This makes for a snag proof fly that imitates a crayfish/worm, etc. Weight some with a wrap or two of lead for water that’s deeper than three feet and tie off with a red head. Use heavy hooks for some and tie off with a green head as these are for medium depths of 18 inches to three feet of water and lastly tie up some lighter ones for shallows of 18” or less.

The other box has a mix of common still water nymphs, crayfish, wooly worms and especially Dragon and Damsel nymphs as well as a couple of muddlers or sculpin flies.

Sight fishing!

Sight fishing is more hunting than fishing and many hunting principles apply. Stealth, camo, good, no great, optics, and more make up sight fishing.
Here are a few tips on sunglasses for fishing. Of course get the best quality, UV blocking, etc etc. that you can afford.

Polarized Fishing Glasses work, Absolutely!!!
First, if there is glare, and there always is, they help a lot by reducing its blinding effect. Second, even without glare they selectively reduce other reflections from objects above water, including clouds and even the sky (the reflected sky gives most of its blue color to the sea). Finally, light coming from under water is slightly polarized in the vertical plane (polarized on transmission). The end effect is that the water seems darker and more transparent! But remember, it only works if you look at the water at some angle and not straight down.

Does it matter the time of the day?
Yes. Maximum polarization is obtained when the sun is at about 37 degrees from the horizon (in theory 100% polarization at the Brewster angle). If the sun is very low or very high the sunglasses will be of little help in filtering the glare in calm seas. A rule of thumb would be that polarized filters limit the glare from calm waters for a sun altitude between 30 and 60 degrees (but see next question). Anyway, it should be stressed that polarization won't help in looking directly at the sun (except in decreasing the overall intensity of everything by half). Coupling this with the tip above it pays to be on the water between around 9:30 to about 4:30 with a break around lunch. Keep the sun to your back as much as possible.

When the sea is ruffled the sun reflection becomes the familiar glitter, an elongated pattern of shimmering water stretching towards the sun. Because different parts of the glitter are reflected from different wave slopes, the degree of polarization varies from place to place. In those conditions the sunglasses will also help for high or low suns and the benefit will depend on where you are looking. As a side note, the width and length of the glitter together with the altitude of the sun can be used to compute the height of the waves without ever getting close to them!

Yellow or orange Provide less overall brightness protection, but excel in moderate-to-low level light conditions. They provide excellent depth perception, which makes them perfect for skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports. They also enhance contrasts in tricky, flat-light conditions. such as found in fishing and hunting.

Amber, rose or red Makes the world seem brighter. They provide excellent low-light visibility and enhance contrast (perfect for skiing and snowboarding in cloudy conditions). The vermillion, rose or red also enhance the visibility of objects against blue and green backgrounds, which makes them ideal for fishing grassy bottoms while amber lenses and brownish excells for sandy lake or stream beds).

Dark amber, copper or brown Blocks high amounts of blue light to heighten contrast and visual acuity. Particularly useful to improve contrast on grass and against blue skies. baseball, cycling, fishing (especially in waters with grassy bottoms) and against sand.

Gray Color-neutral, which means they cut down on overall brightness without distorting colors. These darker shades are intended primarily to cut through the glare and reduce eyestrain in moderate-to-bright conditions. all outdoor sports in bright light conditions.

Three kinds of light are associated with sunglasses: direct, reflected, and ambient. Direct light is light that goes straight from the light source (like the sun) to the eyes. Too much direct light can wash out details and even cause pain. Reflected light (glare) is light that has bounced off a reflective object to enter the eyes. Strong reflected light can be equally as damaging as direct light, such as light reflected from snow, water, glass, white sand and metal.

Ambient light is light that has bounced and scattered in many directions so that it is does not seem to have a specific source, such as the glow in the sky around a major city. Good sunglasses can compensate for all three forms of light.

So as you may have figured out, the color of the fish, the color of the bottom, the color of the surrounding foliage or background, the color of the sky and more all dictate the colors of your polarized lens. I’ve narrowed mine down to a pair of very light yellows for early and later, or low light conditions and a pair of brownish yellow for general sight fishing. I do carry a third pair at times for open water/very bright conditions and these are a dark neutral grey.

Lastly on optics, get good side shields and wear a hat or cap with a dark underbill so that your eyes are enclosed in a cocoon of dark. The last thing you need is reflections or light coming in from above, under or around your glasses.

The Quick Cast!

This cast does a couple things for you including minimizing rod and arm movement, and quickly getting the fly out to Carp at distance. To start the cast, peel off about 30 feet of line from the reel, pinch the fly with barb outwards between the index finger and thumb of your line control hand and allow the long loop of line and leader to float out behind you on your casting side. Upon spotting Carp, stay crouched and orient your body to casting position for that fish, drop the fly and roll cast simultaneously to aerialize the looped line. Double Haul, with a both a backward and forward shoot to increase line distance and then into your forward cast, shooting to reach the fish. Use a side arm movement following the roll cast to keep rod and line low. When doing this from a boat, do not allow loop to increase to a length that could tangle with the prop.


When wading, shuffle do not walk, and shuffle ever so lightly keeping the lightest of contact with the bottom. Move slowly, keeping one foot planted until you are sure of footing for the other. Wear enough boot or bootie to protect your feet. In all but the sharpest of rock bottoms, I prefer flat booties, the moccasins of the shallows. These an be bought large enough to fit over stocking foot waders if the water’s a tad cold. Wading boots are fine but a bit crunchy so opt for a soft rubber or felt sole. Imitate the Great Blue Heron, keeping any unnecessary arm and head movements to an absolute minimum. Look a lot, move a bit. Keep rod low and keep your balance as the minute you lose it the results are arm waving which is a no no. Use shirt pocket binos to scan the outer fringe of your vision as these will pick up a tail or a back much faster than the naked eye. Learn to identify nervous water caused by fish movement subsurface and small wakes

Always be practicing casting, especially for accuracy, before and as you go, especially when there’s no apparent fish to be disturbed, as this is a distance combined with accuracy battle and you’ll need the edge of being able to feather and drop a fly lightly out at 50 feet quicker than you can imagine.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

the old hunter der Alte Jaeger

Der alte Jäger (translated from German)

A small house at the edge of the forest, an old hunter gave me there his hand.
He said to me, come with me home as in this house I'v lived alone for many years. The old hunter of silver fir valley, I think of him, he once was.

Der alte Jäger........................... The old hunter ...........................

His beard was gray, his hair white, but his eyes shone forth as glacial ice.
I went to him in winter, the mountains and woods were deep in snow.
The old hunter of silver fir valley, I think of him, he once was.

Der alte Jäger........................... The old hunter ...........................

I thought of him just prior to his cabin but in the snow was not a trace.
The house was quiet, lonely around, the old hunter, he was no more.

The old hunter of silver fir valley, I think of him, he once was.
The old hunter of silver fir valley, I think of him, he once was.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Binoculars for Fishing, Boating and Hunting

Using a pair of binoculars for these three you'll find many similarities and there's far too much fluff on the net and not enough meat. Here's some meat as I see it.

For Hunting:

Several pairs might be necessary but if I had to choose one it would be the 7x35s recommended for many years now by most of those who really get out in the woods and hunt. These glasses offer good magnification (the 7 power) and good light gathering ( see below) while not being so powerful you need a rest or a tripod to see much of anything. I also like 6x30s a close runner up or 8x30s which came in third due to light gatering. Like in fishing or boating, to go out with less than a waterproof pair is asking for trouble. For western hunting, especially glassing large expanses, I go to my 10x50s but would consider 12x50s also. They are bigger and heavier but I usally have a bino pack with these and spottng scopes/tripods along to carry the load when spotting. The light is usually good, distances are great and you need more magnification for western hunting in most cases. Also when out west, a small pair of 8-10x25s compacts are in my pocket to resolve horns from bush when stalking close. If I didn't have these and for many years I didn't, the 7x35s mentioned above work just fine as these are usually light and smallish binoculars.

For Fishing and Boating:

The 7x50s Marine Binoculars are your best bet for all around use. Get them with the built in compass if you can and the rubber coating for extra waterproofing and for the bumps and bings of boats on waves. Again the power is right and the weight isn't usually an issue. Thse are the flat out best, with modern coatings as far as light gathering capabilities go for finding bouys at twilight etc. These often come with a built in range finder for those of you who like long distance shooting and the compass helps give headings to another who's trying to watch the action.

Flats or Sight Fishing: From the boat the above work great but when wading I go to a pair of waterproof, pocket binocs such as my 8x25s. The higher power of the 8 is still easily held still
while giving a bit more magnification for resolving a tail at 200 yds or so. I also like the tens but these are getting a bit shaky. Speaking of shaky the usefulness of a bino that's a bit shaky decreases as light goes down and since sight fishing is must generally done under good light, the shaky factor can be fudged a bit. Waterproof is a flat out must!!!

Here's a bit on light gathering and Binioculars. You'll note that light gathering as in many bioncular functions are greatly enhanced by the lens coatings. Buy as good as you can afford and opt for multi-coated lens for a start.

Binoculars and Light Transmission
The power is the magnification of the binocular while the objective lens is that big front lens. A 7x50 pair of binos have 7 power and a 50mm objective lens.
Exit Pupil (EP) is the power divided into the objective and gives a relative number that tells us how much light will be transmitted through to the eye. The EP of 7x50s are about as good as it gets with nearly 7.1 while 7x35s give us an EP of 5. The human eye can dilate to as little as 3mm or as great as 8 in some cases. The EP needs to be bigger than the eye dilates. The young human eye can dilate to between 7 and 8 while older ones do good to get 5 in very low light. Another factor is that it takes a bit for older eyes to fully dilate while young eyes can do so more quickly.
The Relatice Brightness Index (RBI) endeavors to measure image brightness. It is computed by squaring the exit pupil. For example, 7x35 binoculars have a 5mm exit pupil (35/7=5). So their RBI is 25 (5x5=25).
A RBI of 25 or greater is considered good for use in dim light. Since you already have learned (above) how to compute the actual exit pupil size, and what it means, RBI is largely redundant.
Twilight Factor (TF) - power x Objective lens for instance an 8x32 set of binoculars gives us
256. Taking the square root of this we get 16 for a TF.
Common Binos:
6x30 - 13.41 5 25
7x35 -15.65 5 25
7x50 -18.70 7.1 50.4
8x30 -15.49 3.8 14.4
8x42 -18.33 5.2 27.0
10x42 -20.5 4.2 17.6
10x50 -22.36 5 25
12x42 -22.45 3.5 12.3
12x50 -24.50 4.1 16.8

The twilight factor gives a better idea of what can be seen where the magnification can make up for loss of light and if you look, the EP of most of the higher powers are about all older eyes fan handle.

Lastly the coating count!!! Coatings and quality glass can over ride the above somewhat while power becomes a huge factor in dim light viewing as you have to be able to stabilize the binoculars and 8 power is about the max that can be stabilized without a rest or tripod. 7 for years has been rated tops all around with the 7x35s for lightweight carrying and good light gathering and the 7x50s for supreme light gathering while a bit heavier. With or without coating the advice of Jack O’Conner and may gun writers of days past still ring true as a 7x35 still reigns supreme as a carry along, general purpose binoculars when still hunting or stalking. Additionally looking around on board the many large and small vessels I’ve been aboard and seeing the dozens of pairs of 7x50s with respect to other powered binoculars it reinforces what the numbers say in that 7x50 is hard to beat for marine use, where peering through your binoculars into the fog or twilight trying to spot a channel buoy or oncoming vessel is all too common place.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stripping Baskets

Here's the back of my stripping basket showing the stretch, military, web belt, affixed via nylon cable ties. I wear it just to the left of my center, sort of on my right hip and below my stripping hand.

This is the same basket with it's inside, loop cover on. The cover is a smaller basket that was an ice chest's sandwich tray and keeps the loops protected.

Here's the weed whip cover "protective," basket that I use to keep my loops standing tall while allowing me to carry a couple items in the bigger basket when traveling.

Here 's the photo of the inside of the stripping basket. This one was made from a Sterilite plastic basket from Walmart. The weed whip mono loops are about an inch wide mol and two inches high. They angle toward the forward right corner of the basket as it's worn, as my line exits from that corner when shooting or casting. The holes were punched with a heated jewelers screwdriver that was about the diameter of the weed whip mono. Once installed through the holes I melt a ball on both ends of the mono to prevent it from pulling out. The basket mesures about 13 inches by 10 on the inside and is about 5 inches deep. I use a slightly larger basket where space isn't a problem. This one is compact and a good all around basket.

These baskets are really great when fishing creeks, ponds, lakes or the ocean where your line can hang up on brush, rocks, etc. Also keeps your line from getting tangled in waves or current or from blowing off a boat deck into the prop.
I also have made baskets from oval trash cans and the foldable laundry cubes that measure about 12 inches on a side. I'll try and get it in as it works great from any small boat where you sit low and can place a basket between your feet. Pic will follow soon!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Color Blind Fish - Nawww!

Here's a bit from my word document/references on fish and color eyesight as well as night vision. In addition to this I've read, studied and have experienced other aspects of using a surface lure, bug or fly. My conclusion are that fish are, like all of us, habitual creatures. This point was driven home when fishing years ago at Clear Lake, near Spokane. The USAF resort there had great numbers of yellow jackets frequenting the empty soda cans and trash barrels. A fwe were straying down to the lake side and I noticed that they were getting, for lack of a better term, "SMACKED!!" I started watching, grabed my flyrod, put some fly on and was getting sipping bites from gills and smallish bass but not the "SMACKS!!" I dug around in a trout box, found a McGinty, put it on and, yep, "SMACK!!" They would take the fly with a vicious hit, dragging it down and trying to tear it apart. I'ts conjecture on my part but my bet is that this was a habit formed from a sting or two. Yellow and Black spell wasp, Bumble Bee or Yellow Jacket/Hornet to a fish and they hit these flys with a vengance.

Years of almost daily and nightly SCUBA diving also drives home the point of color as many fish who are brightly colored during the day, when other fish can see them, turn almost pale at night, or dark, blending in with their environment whether nooks and crannies or on the sand. Therefore it's my studied opinion that colors, contrast, and more play a huge part when tying flies as does mimicing the behavior of the "hatch," be it minnow, crayfish, bug, beetle, fly, wasp or spider. Each behaves in a certain fashion when the hit the surface or even subsurface and the most successful angler will be able to mimic this behavior with their fly.

Do fish see in color?

"There is not just a single answer to this question since not all fish have been tested for color vision. However, the common goldfish certainly sees in color and many more at least have the necessary nervous system elements for color vision to be present. Color vision is the capability to see and recognize objects based not on how bright they are, but on how well they absorb, reflect or transmit light of different colors. For example, an apple looks red in sunlight because all but the red part of the white light from the sun falling on it is absorbed by the apple's skin leaving only the red light available for vision.
In order to have color vision, the retina in the back of the eye must have color detectors, called cones, present and the brain has to be wired to make use of the information it gets from the cones. We have three different kinds of cones in our eyes, called red, green and blue that make human color vision possible. The goldfish has four kinds of cones: red, green, blue and ultraviolet. Other fish have different numbers and kinds of cones meaning that they have the capability of seeing in color. However, simply finding cones in the eye does not mean that an animal has color vision. You have to test it behaviorally to see if it can tell one color from another. For example, I could set up a tank with two windows at one end whose color I could change. I would start by making one window gray, that is having no color, and the other red. Whenever the fish went to the red window I would give it some food. I would change the brightness of the gray and red windows to make sure that the fish was training to only color. As soon as the fish had learned to associate red with food, I would start to replace the gray with other colors and see if the fish still only went to the red. This would be repeated for lots of different color combinations. If the fish remained true to its trained color, than it would be said to have color vision. To date, this kind of testing has only been done for a few kinds of fish. However, I am confident that as we test many more kinds of fish we will find color vision to be very common."
Ellis R. Loew
Professor of Physiology
Biomedical Studies, Cornell University
Research Area

"Walleye have two very large eyes, from which this fish aptly derives its' name. The walleye can see many colors, but is color blind to some. The walleye has a light reflecting membrane called a ?Tapetum lucidum', this special feature helps the walleye see very capably at night, and during low light conditions."

The outer retina and tapetum lucidum of the snook
Centropomus undecimalis (Teleostei). Can.J. Zool.,
Toronto, 58: 1042-1051.

Similar scientific on Channel Catfish and other fish!

Sea Trout - "Seatrout also have an appendage in their eyes called a tapetum lucidum, which allows them to see better in low light conditions. It gives them a big advantage over baitfish that lack the feature, and is why large trout feed best at dawn, dusk and on rainy days."

Great summation article:

"The majority of fish have developed eyes that will detect the type of colors typical of their environment. For example, inshore fish have good color vision, whereas offshore pelagic fish have limited color vision and detect only a few if any colors other than black and white. This is not surprising from an evolutionary point of view, because nearshore waters are lit with many colors; offshore waters, on the other hand, are mainly blue or green and contain few other colors.?\"
Good Fishing,

Chuck S (der Aulte Jaeger)

"I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved"