Here's a little news story out of Denver for you. On Monday, 9news.com reported that a biker pedaling on the trails that flank the Platte River in town was taken out by a "booby trap" of line strung across his path. Turns out a flycaster came forward and said he believes the biker (who has a broken pelvis and broken arm) was dodging his backcast and crashed.
Given that over the last few months I've noticed mouse lures seem to be making a huge comeback, with several companies making ultra-realistic topwater rodents, I thought it might be fun to see some mice from yesteryear. The photo of these spoons was entered into our ongoing vintage tackle contest by Nick Dillon, who found the seemingly unused lures in his grandpa's tackle box. Let's find out if vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog thinks Nick hit pay-dirt with these old Pay-Masters.
I have never been the biggest fan of Jeremy Wade's show "River Monsters." It's not that it isn't entertaining, but I'm sorry, I largely find a lot of the stories that go along with his epic hunts to be hogwash. Most of the fish he catches are not really monsters in my opinion, and some of the claims he makes about the sizes certain species are known to reach would be shot down by reputable guides in an instant. I heard these shoot-downs in person during a trip last year to the Columbia River, where Wade claimed sturgeon frequently hit the 20-foot mark. Regardless, Wade takes himself pretty seriously and travels the globe with some serious tackle. So pardon me if I snicker a bit at the new "River Monsters" line of gear from South Bend.
I know some faithful Honest Angler readers like to give me a hard time about posting artsy stuff. No, F&S is not turning into a Liberal Arts class, but sometimes I stumble across something too cool not to share. Take a look at the seascape in the photo below. It's the work of Cuban artist Yoan Capote. Can you guess what medium Mr. Capote used to create this masterpiece?
Longtime readers here know I have a real bug in my ear about line twist and spinning reels. All such fixed-spool reels twist line; it’s the nature of the beast. The trick is to minimize that effect and thereby reduce aggravating line tangles. It’s an interesting and multi-faceted problem, which is why I think about it often.
Happily, there’s a way to minimize twist that will save you money at the same time. That is to use a motor-driven line winder for installing fresh line. The device shown in the photo is one such, made by a company called Triangle. It’s too expensive to be found in many home shops, but such machines are common in independent tackle shops that will spool your reel from a bulk line spool.
Remember that post from earlier this week about the shad flies I've been tying? Yesterday evening I got to put them to use, and though it's freakishly early for the American shad run to be thick in the Delaware River, I can't complain about the amount of bucks and roes my friend Darren Dorris and I stuck in just a few hours of fishing. Because of their paper-thin mouths and brute strength, landing shad is not as easy as hooking them. But I don't care if a few elude the net. Just watching them take to the sky and rip line downriver is worth the price of admission. Plus, "delicacy" or not, I ate one once and that was enough. Last night, however, Darren and I did keep two fish for purely educational purposes.
The photo below was entered into our ongoing vintage tackle contest by Don Leurquin, and I'll admit I thought it was a really interesting piece, and looked like no other lure submitted thus far. Don got the "lure" when he inherited his 90-year-old grandfather's tackle box, and was curious as to whether this was a crankbait, jig, or just a decoration. If any post proves there's no stumping resident expert Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog, it's this one. It also proves that I actually have a horrible eye for vintage lures. Good thing I don't buy a lot of it!
I believe I've actually hooked the trout in the video below once or twice in one of North Jersey's more toxic rivers. I'm glad to see the fish has finally been plucked from those waters. Now when I fish there, maybe my nose won't bleed and I won't catch glimpses of my dead pets wandering the river bank, urging me to follow them into the light. Yes, it's kind of a slow news day folks.
With the unseasonably warm weather we've been having here in the Northeast, American shad are already running up the Delaware River. They're about 3 weeks early, but all the same, I decided over the weekend it was time to tie up some new shad flies (below). I absolutely love tying these bugs for several reasons. One, they're incredibly easy. If it takes more than 5 minutes to whip-finish one, you're doing it wrong. And two, there is really no rhyme or reason to the patterns. All you're trying to do is make something obnoxious that will tick off a shad, and that makes creativity limitless. There are no rules in shad fly tying.
Let’s talk for a minute about the whip-finish knot as used in fly tying. Many people are intimidated by this knot, but success here is simply a matter of practice. There are various tools available for tying the knot, but the best way is to learn to make it by hand.
There are at least three different ways to make a hand-tied whip-finish. One method, as illustrated in the accompanying video, is by wrapping thread with two fingers at the head of the fly. This is also the fastest method. I can tie a whip-finish knot this way in less than 10 seconds, although that comes after many years of doing it.