One of the most fun and interesting developments in fly-fishing in recent years has been the rise of fishing with two-handed rods – widely known as Spey fishing.
Most fly-fishing, of course, is done with a rod designed to be casted with just one hand. And most of the time, that single-hand rod is used for “overhead” casting – flinging the line back behind the caster to flex the rod, then flinging it forward over the water to deliver the fly.
The trouble is, there isn’t always room for a back cast. And salmon and steelhead rivers tend to be big, requiring long casts to seek out the fish.
Spey casting makes it possible to throw a long line with very little room behind the caster, because there’s no back cast. Instead, the caster flips the line into position on the water in front of him, then swings the rod back and makes a simple forward cast. It’s not as easy as it sounds – there’s a learning curve – but once you get the hang, you can send 100 feet of line sailing smoothly out over the river.
It’s every angler’s goal: catching a fish so big you need to use a net to make sure it doesn’t get away.
But landing nets aren’t just for lunkers. A good case can be made that every fish should be netted – to ensure a successful catch, and for the well-being of the fish itself.
A caught fish struggles most violently just as it is being brought to hand. This is, after all, the moment when the fish realizes a very large, wader-clad creature is about to pluck it out of the water. Fighting for its life, or so it believes, the wriggling, flipping fish may well get off the hook, and there goes your photos or fillets.
Losing a fish is bad enough; abusing one is even worse. A hooked fish in the final moments of capture tends to thrash violently against mid-stream or shoreline rocks or the boat deck. If you’re planning to release your fish – and most fly-fishers do, most of the time – an out-of-control fish often experiences serious and unnecessary injury.
A landing net solves both problems. Scoop up the fish as you’re pulling it in, and the worst it can do is twist and turn harmlessly inside the soft fabric of the net bag. Once its initial panic subsides after a few moments, you can reach in (wet your hand first to avoid damaging the trout’s protective slime), left out the fish, take its picture, unhook it and send it on its way.
The scientific name for Perch is Perca fluviatilis. Perch have an expected maximum weight of around 7lb (that’s 3.2kg). The average weight is normally around 6-8oz which is 170-228g. They can grow up to 20in (50cm) in length and live for around 13 years.
The British Record perch was caught in 1985 weighing in at 5lb 9oz (2.523kg), somewhere in Kent!
The perch is a stripy predatory fish which, when still young will attack anything small enough to fit in it’s mouth. As perch grow older they become a lot more wary, making a themselves much harder to catch. Its unique looks allow it to be easily recognisable. Its body is green with several black stripes, enabling it to have excellent camouflage in its watery lair of weeds and reeds. It’s not a fast swimmer like the pike, but it can go at reasonable speed for long periods.
Perch are hunters, preying on other species in the water. The babies feed on water fleas and other tiny crustaceans but they soon graduate to insect larvae such as bloodworms. If small enough fish are available, perch switch to a mainly fish diet when they weigh about 113g (4oz). Young perch hunt in schools, lying in wait among water plants until small fish such as bleak or roach stray too close. The school then sets off in pursuit, harrying the quarry until it is too tired to swim further. Perch catch their prey by biting the tail repeatedly from behind and below to restrict swimming. Characteristically the perch always captures and swallows its prey tail first. Yum!
Dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, streamers: almost all of them were devised to catch trout.
Thankfully, almost all of them catch bass, too.
Most fly-fishing is conducted in pursuit of trout in streams, where fly-fishing gear is perfect for tossing feather-light imitations of aquatic insects, crustaceans or baitfish onto or into the currents. In many places, this activity peaks in the spring and declines during the heat of summer. Trout are cold-water fish and just don’t bite very well when the water gets up around 70 degrees.
Once the water warms, many trout anglers switch to bass, which don’t mind 70-degree water a bit.
Despite their status as Plan B fish – something to fish for when the trout fishing’s no good – bass are great fish for fly-fishing.
It’s not unusual for a trout fisher to think he or she has hooked a large trout, only to find out the fish is a small bass.
They are accessible. Many streams that are trout fisheries in their cooler, upper reaches are great bass fisheries downstream. So the same river where you fished the Hendrickson hatch in May might provide exciting bass fishing in July. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are widely distributed across the U.S., and almost everyone has good bass water nearby. Bass generally don’t prefer truly cold water, but in places with water temperatures in the 60s, they often coexist with trout.
There are several things to consider when setting up a new aquarium in your house. Here are our step by step tips for making an amazing aquarium!
Choose a good fish tank: your tank needs to be big enough to accomodate the fish you want! You might want to speak to a specialist as they will help you decide how much water you’ll need to work with the fish you want. They can also help you figure out plants, decor and other bits and bobs to go inside.
Get an aquarium stand! This is important as most pieces of furniture like desks or tables just aren’t strong enough to support the weight of a fully stocked aquarium! An aquarium stand is designed for the dimensions and shape of your tank and will definitely be strong enough to hold up the weight of all that water.
Choose the location. Out of direct sunlight is a good idea, as it away from any air vents or draughts. Maintaining a constant temperature is vital for your fish. Make sure the floor is strong enough to support the weight of your tank and try to find a spot near to electicity outlets. You don’t want to have to stretch cords out to reach the plug socket!
Aquarium owners should know that aquarium plants available in shops can be “true aquatic plants” or “non-aquatic plants”. True aquatic plants can be used in aquariums and are able to be put full submerged into the water. Non aquatic plants are better used in terraniums. Often, these plants are labelled properly, however there can be mix ups!
Do not assume that just because a plant is displayed fully submerged in water that it is a true aquatic plant for aquariums! Sometimes, people deliberately choose non aquatic plants because they like the look of them, knowing that they will not last long submerged under water. It is a good idea to know which plants you have bought so you can expect them to not last for long!
Building a new aquarium is exciting for families, allowing you to stock it with interesting and unusual breeds of fish as well as plants! The main concern people have however, is finding the most appropriate location within their home to place their new tank. There are a few things to consider when placing your new tank.
- No direct heat source – it is important to keep your tank away from sunlight and heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators etc. The heat can affect the life of the fish!
- Sturdy cabinet – you must place your tank on a purpose built aquarium cabinet, as these are strong enough to support the weight of a fully stocked tank. Just using a table or shelf will not always be strong enough!
- Away from dangers – you need to keep things like cables, electricity points and pets away from your new tank!
One thing beginning fly fishermen struggle with their first time on a trout stream is locating where fish are feeding. It’s not the pattern, cast, or the retrieve that gets them in trouble, it’s the presentation and figuring out how to get that fly in the strike zone. Here’s a look at the four basic feeding zones on a typical trout stream and what percentage of the time you can generally find fish there. You might be surprised to find trout feed under the surface 90 percent of the time.
On the Surface
Trout rarely feed on the surface, hitting insects in the surface film no more than 10 percent of the time. It will be evident fish are feeding on the surface when you see boils at the surface, hear fish slurping bugs off the top or even jump out of the water to haul in adult aquatic insects as they emerge. This is a common sight in the evenings when mosquitoes are prevalent at the water’s edge.
Just Below the Surface
Same goes for the immediate subsurface bite, or the first two or three inches below the surface. Trout consume about 10 percent of their diet here as well, snacking on adult insects as they make their way to the surface. Dry flies will still work at this stage, although switching to a light nymph like a pheasant tail is probably a better idea.
Not sure what you should feed your fish? Is it a meat-eater, or a vegetarian? This list of feeding types will answer that question for you.
Carnivores are meat-eating fish. Some prefer live prey that they can hunt down and kill before eating, such as other fish or insects. Here are some common carnivorous fish, and what they prefer to eat.
Hatchetfish – Prefers live foods but will accept freeze dried and flake foods.
Killifish – Eats small live foods, can be trained to accept flakes.
Knifefish – Eats live foods exclusively
Halfbeak – Prefers live foods, but will eat flakes.
Frontosa – Accepts all types of meaty foods.
Electric Catfish – Prefer live foods, but can be trained to accept freeze dried tablets.
Bettas – Prefers live foods but will accept flakes and freeze dried.
Banjo Catfish – Prefers live foods, but can be trained to accept freeze dried tablets.
Archerfish – Eats live foods exclusively.
Herbivores require a diet of all, or mostely, vegetable matter. True herbivores do not have a large stomach, and therefore must eat more frequently. These fish are primarily vegetarian, and should be fed accordingly.
Molly – Algae-eater that also eats vegetables such as spinach. Will also accept insects and flakes.
Farowella – Eats vVegetable tablets and algae.
Pacu – Prefers fresh vegetables, will eat vegetable flakes and fruits.
Silver Dollar – Feed fresh vegetables, vegetable flakes and tablets.
Tropheus – Acccepts algae, plants, spirulina, vegetable flakes.
Choosing a fishing rod can be a bewildering topic. Here are our hints for choosing your new fishing rod.
Float fishing rods: Float rods can range between 11-14 ft. Generally, the further out from the shore you plan to go, the longer the rod should be. Other types of coarse rods can be used for float fishing. For example, a lightweight carp rod could be used when float fishing for carp. An 11ft rod is perfect for short range fishing, perhaps in a canal or pond. 12-13ft rods can be used on rivers and other places where you don’t need to cast out too far, like a lake or reservoir. 14ft rods (or longer) are used to give you more control in weedy or windy weather. If you’re only planning to buy one rod, we say that a 12-13 ft rod would be sufficient for most conditions.
Action: There are two main types of rod action; tip and through. Tip action rods usually have a carbon tip spliced in – great for playing fish on small hooks and tight lines. Through action rods usaully have a hollow unspliced tip, ideal for larger more powerful fish. Although a soft through action rod can be used for all types of float fishing.