Expert Fly Fishing Tips From The Experts

Expert Fly Fishing Tips From The Experts

Check out these great expert fly fishing tips!

Band-It

'Sighters ' are anything that you integrate into your leader to help you detect strikes when nymphing without a strike indicator. They can be made from materials such as braid or fluorocarbon, but high-visibility monofilament such as Stren Gold is my favorite because of its availability and low cost. In addition to the color's inherent high visibility, the point of contrast between it and the regular leader material is easy to see.
You can increase contrast even more by marking bands on your sighter with a Sharpie. This really helps it jump out under a wide range of lighting conditions and backgrounds. Try experimenting with different colors of monofilament, or even combining different colors in your leader. A tippet ring allows you to attach fine-diameter tippet to your sighter (which is often 8- to 12-pound-test) and preserves the length of the sighter through many tippet changes. George Daniel - Lamar, Pennsylvania
Illustration by Joe Mahler, joemahler.com

Back in Black

Buffs and similar sungaiters have become common accessories for fly fishers, and they now come in a dazzling array of colors and designs. While they are great for protecting you from the sun, they also help reduce glare from the water's surface and help you see better — as long as they are a dark color.
Similar to the eye black that football and baseball players often wear below their eyes to reduce glare from the sun or lights in a stadium, a Buff reduces under-eye glare, especially in bright conditions, and shades your face to help you spot fish better. Combine this with a hat that has a dark underbrim, and you will improve your ability to spot fish. Landon Mayer - Florissant, Colorado
Illustration by Joe Mahler, joemahler.com

Mahler's Practice Fly

To practice casting, you need a simple, snag-free, bombproof, and highly visible practice fly. You can tie this one using #18 Braided Mason Twine available at most home improvement stores. Use this fly with targets such as Frisbees turned upside down with water in them to ensure fun, and productive, practice sessions.
1. Remove approximately 4 inches of twine from the spool, fold in half, and cut.
2. Make approximately 25 tight wraps of Danville 210-denier flat waxed thread and whip-finish.
3. Coat the thread wraps with Loctite Super Glue Gel Control (or similar).
4. Comb the fibers with a fine-tooth dog brush, or tease them out with a bodkin.
5. Tie a loop knot (I use a perfection loop) in the end of your leader, and attach the practice fly with a loop-to-loop connection. Joe Mahler - Ft. Myers Florida
Illustration by Joe Mahler, joemahler.com

Pot Shot

I fish a lot of nymphs and am constantly adjusting the amount of weight on my leader to get to the right depth. I keep several sizes of split-shot — B, BB, 2, 3, 4, and 6 — in a film canister for easy access. To get the small shot quickly, I give the film canister a few shakes up and down. Then, I simply tilt the cannister and reach in for the small shot that rises to the top. Bob Dye - Littleton, Colorado
Illustration by Joe Mahler, joemahler.com

Sling Packs The Right Way

There is a right way and a wrong way to wear a sling pack, but some people mistakenly believe you can wear a sling over either shoulder. Sling packs are made for right-handed casters and are made to be worn over the right shoulder. That way, you can clasp the rod under your right armpit, and swing the bag from front to back on your left side without interfering with the rod, line, and fly. If you wear it on the left shoulder, the shoulder strap padding is in the wrong spot, the bag interferes with the rod, and the pack is upside down when it is on your back. Shawn Combs - The Orvis Company, Vermont
Illustration by Joe Mahler, joemahler.com

Speed Blood Knot

The speed blood knot is easier to tie than a regular blood knot — particularly with cold hands in freezing temperatures — because you don't have to separately deal with two independent tag ends. You start by tying the tag ends together, making them easier to control and handle. The final knot isn't a true blood knot because the tag ends end up facing the same direction instead of opposing directions as in the original blood knot.
1. Make a doubled overhand knot in the tag ends of the monofilaments you intend to join. Holding the two strands on opposing sides of the overhand knot, create a hanging loop with that knot dangling at the bottom.
2. Where by the two lines cross at the top of the loop, twist the standing lines around each other three to five times to simultaneously create the two opposing twists of a blood knot.
3. While you are twisting the two strands, maintain an open loop in the center, and after three to five twists, pass the overhand knot back through this loop.
4. Moisten the strands with lip balm or saliva, and tighten the knot evenly by pulling on both standing ends and the overhand knot simultaneously. Greg McDermid - Calgary, Alberta
Illustration by Joe Mahler, joemahler.com

Zipper Pull

Some knots seem like they require another set of fingers. Two of my favorite knots to tie tippet to fly are the fisherman's knot and Eugene bend knot, and both are easier to tie if you can use both hands to work the tag and standing lines without worrying about the fly. Other knots, such as the Kreh nonslip loop, are a lot easier to tighten if you can secure the fly and put tension on the standing line while pulling the tag tight with forceps or pliers. I learned the zipper pull from an old Art Scheck book and in lieu of a zipper, I often use the looped leg of a small black binder clip, which I can attach anywhere on my fanny pack or vest. Fred Cox - Oak Park, Illinois
Illustration by Joe Mahler, joemahler.com

Wrap & Tap

Don't use the rod's hook keeper for your fly. When you are fishing with a dry-fly leader longer than your rod, and you secure your hook on the keeper, your leader butt bends around the rod tip and can develop a kink. And if you are nymph fishing with a strike indicator, the length of leader between the indicator and the last fly is often too long to even use the hook keeper.
Instead, wrap the leader around the rounded back of the reel, hook the fly in one of the lower snake guides, then wind the reel to tighten the line and secure the leader. Don't wrap the leader around the reel foot as this can also kink your leader.
Now for the magic act. After you take the leader from the reel, simply tap the rod, and the fly will fall to the water. Eric Stroup - Altoona, Pennsylvania
Illustration by Joe Mahler, joemahler.com

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