Fly Fishing for Bass – a Guide

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.

Getting Your New Tank Up & Running

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!

Getting the Right Plants for Your Tanks

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!

Where to Place Your New Aquarium

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. Away from dangers – you need to keep things like cables, electricity points and pets away from your new tank!

Where Trout Feed in a River

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.

 

Feeding fish in an aquarium

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

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

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.

Things to Know When Choosing your Fishing Rod

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.

Taking Children On Your Next Fishing Trip

If you have ever taken children on a fishing trip with you, only to find it is a complete disaster and not at all fun, this post is for you!  It is possible to keep your child’s attention and catch enough fish to make it enjoyable for the whole family.

Begin with the right fishing equipment.  There is no point in getting silly little kids fishing rods – you’ll end up spending more time untangling the thing than actually using it!  Simply go for an ultra-light rod and reel.  Get the shortest one you can, but not less than 5 feet.  A spool of good quality line and some torpedo style flotats will be good.  Get someone at your local tackle shop to spool the reel for you and attach the float so that it can slide along the line to the desired length.

Find a good pond to fish at.  It is a good idea to go for one which is quiet, kids can get quite excitable with casting and you don’t want to annoy too many others!

A Guide to the Fish within UK Waterways

There are a range of different fish which are native to the UK waterways.  Here is a guide to the different species you might find!

Carp: carp are found in the majority of UK canals and can grow to large sizes.  They are easy to spot due to their dark brown and bronze colouration.  They have a large, rounded body and strong fins.  There are three major strains.  The common carp are fully scaled, mirror carp are partially scaled and learther carp have practically no scales at all!

Roach: the roach makes up the largest numbers of fish within our canals.  Roach are a shoaling fish, silvery grey in colour.  They are often confused with Rudd.  You can be sure by counting the lateral line scales (rudd have 40-55) and check the shape of the mouth – rudd have upturned mouths.

Pike: the pike is a spectacular predator! They have large, bony heads with upward looking eyes, a broad, flat snout and large mouth.  They have a lot of sharp teeth! A torpedo shaped body allows for speedy movement!

You can find out more about fishing within our canal network over at the canal and river trust.

 

Fishing in the Spring Time: Tips for New Fishermen

The spring is a great month to get out and about on the water, so here are our top tips for making the most of the new season.

The number 1 rule in spring is to simply get out on thwe water as much as you can!  There is a wonderful saying that even the worst fishing day is better than no fishing day at all!    You should also keep a close eye on the weather report – days of unexpected warmth or sunshine are good opporunities to get out and go fishing.

Whilst out, keep looking for the sunnier spots.  The cold water will warm up quickly once the sun brightens up in spring, so more fish will be attracted to the warmer shallows.

Use smaller, more brightly coloured lures during spring, when the water can be muddier or murky.  This helps the fish to see them better, and the smaller lures will seem like less of an effort to chase around.