Fly Fishing with Chris Dore

Your FFF Certified Fly Casting Professional
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A collection of random thoughts, experiences, trip reports and links to cool stuff.

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Tip from Chris - Fluff less to catch more fish

Posted by chrisdore on February 21, 2017 at 11:20 PM



Top anglers catch more fish, across a wider range of situations... They get into position, and get their fly out there in front of fish quick and without hassle. This is one of the reasons why they simply catch more fish.


THE SCENARIO…

 

Now Johnny Punter, upon being shown a feeding fish will saunter into position, after painstakingly dropping his pack and adjusting his waders, wiping his glasses clean and then proceeds to wrap his fly around his rod tip several times, while still flailing away false casting, while peeling 10 inches of line from the reel every false cast…. in case you’re wondering, he did not catch that fish…


 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 

Create a pre-cast routine… it’s that simple.

 

Advanced Archery Bowhunting guru, Simon Bullivant once advised me to create a ‘shot sequence’ when preparing to fire at a target. “Practise it often, cover the essentials and make it instinctive, then you’ll hit more targets.”

 

My shot sequence now consists of nocking the arrow, checking it’s tight, tweaking the peep site, securing the release and drawing back smooth, ensuring the knuckle of my thumb lightly touches the lobe of my ear. Inhale…exhale…pause and squeeze.

 

I bark a lot of directions on the river as any of my guiding clients will tell you. However one of the most important ‘orders’ is the series of actions from the approach to the trout to the cast. Here’s a sampler:

 

– Take a prominent marker so you know where the fish is from your casting position — usually a different position from where we initially see him… “two rod lengths out and half a rod length below that lowest willow branch,” or “half a rod out from that boulder.” (My 30′ will differ from your 30′ often greatly, so if we talk in rod lengths then you can create a visual…)

 

– Get down there ASAP and begin your approach. If the fish is out there, I don’t want you up here.

 

– As you’re moving into position, free your fly, get it on the water and ensure there’s enough flyline outside of the rod tip so as not have the leader ride back up through the guides.

 

– Strip the line from your reel BEFORE you begin your cast… (a pet hate is seeing people strip line from their reel every false cast… apart from adding 15 false casts they often pull their rod hand/tip off track and look very gumby along the way… the more time the line is in the air, the higher chance of fluffing things up).

 

– Check and reposition any hanging line between the reel and the first guide: if it’s wrapped around your feet, or caught on a rock then you won’t get far.

 

– Pick a target where you want your fly to land, focus on it, and trust yourself to pick up the line, and place it on your target

 

– Finally catch that line beneath your trigger finger ASAP, and strip any slack line as it develops…


 

The rest is up to the fish.

Big Streamers and Missed Takes

Posted by chrisdore on February 5, 2017 at 3:30 AM



With this (ahem..) delightful summer weather of late there have been more than a few times we have reached for our streamer box with great success.


 

Cast, strip-strip-strip "BANG", and "oh bugger" as the fish doesn't stick. This is the point where most anglers turn and complain to their mate and whilst doing this, aren't catching fish...


 

Many feel it's a lost cause, that the fish was just attacking and not really eating, however Its not always a 'smack and come back' scenario to wound their prey. In huge shoals such as whitebait then maybe this is the case, where causing injury to many and then returning may yield a bigger feast.


 

However for a singular morsal, such as a bully / small fish its often just because they missed the first time. Now their mouths are large enough to engulf a big streamer easily, so often its dropped simply because the line is too tight and they cant take it in.




 

What YOU can do...


 

Maybe try elevating the rod a touch to allow a little slack, or slip a small amount of line on the hit. These tricks seems to have converted more hits for me anyway.


 

Try strip striking rather than ripping that rod tip back and pulling the fly from the water. If a fish wants your streamer, most times they will hook themselves, a stripstrike helps ensure that. Another bonus of the strip strike is that if you miss, the fly is still out there and that sudden surge of the streamer may invoke a second hit.


 

If you miss him, and rip that fly from the water there's a very short window to drop that streamer straight back at him before he knows what's up (this is also the period where most anglers are throwing tantys and feeling sorry for themselves and thus don't get that second shot).


 

Stinger style flies such as the Kellers Nightmare and Galloups Sex Dungeon offer that smaller hook out back which sticks to those tightline takes, whilst the larger hook up front nails most fish as they attack the head.



 


So stay sharp, stay ready and get your fly back in the zone, and fish on!

Safety and Preperation for the NZ Outdoors

Posted by chrisdore on January 20, 2017 at 9:35 PM


Above. Not far from the truck, but without phone coverage, a long way from help.


Safety in the outdoors is something to take super seriously.


 

Accordingly I carry multiple first aid kits so that we are never without. There is a comprehensive travel kit in my pack, and a basic kit in my vest, with another comprehensive kit back in the truck.


 

As emergencies can happen anywhere, not just in the backcountry I carry a PLB on me at all times. If someone goes down, I will set it off wether its the Mataura or Wilderness river X. No messing about trying to help a north island phone operator understand where Tautarau reserve is on the Mataura - one press of the button and help is dispatched.


 

In the case of cell phone black spots I carry a Sattelite phone to ensure non urgent help can be reached when required, or maybe the AA in the case of a vehicle breakdown, or a weather check on multi day backcountry excursions.



 


And finally, emergency blankets, a fire starter and a couple of OSM bars are always in my pack for unplanned stopovers, and on backcountry missions a bothy bag 3 man emergency shelter is added, to ensure if we have to wait it out, we are as comfortable as can be.


 

My daily intentions are logged so that someone knows where we are, when we will be back and what to do if we are not.



 


Weather should be checked daily as it can change on a whim, and severe weather watches and warnings observed and planned for. I personally use www.metservice.com and find them as accurate as you can be for NZ’s changeable weather.


 

Plan for unplanned events... NZ can be a harsh bitch sometimes...

 

See Your Beetle

Posted by chrisdore on December 30, 2016 at 10:25 PM



So from the sounds of it, the green / manuka beetle are emerging in great numbers throughout the country, and they certainly are here in the south. Smaller than the brown beetle, the manuka beetle presents a high country smorgasbord and as always, the Manic Fly Collection has you covered...

 

One problem however exists... how DO you see these tiny size 16 film flies in often joggly, or just straight up heavy backcountry water? My best tip is to slow down your rotation and watch your loop unroll. Track it out to the drop of the fly and you're in... however sometimes you simply need to see your fly on the water so here are a few more tips...

 


Post it:

Quite simply, put a post on it. The Para Improved Green Humpy is a great pattern for high country beetle chompers and the bushy white post provides the vis in most conditions.



The Foam Manuka Beetle (above) has a more subtle sillouhette than the para improved humpy and a white, high viz post and is perfect for the softer edge waters where fish can often examine your fly a little closer.




The True Green beetle (above) comes into its own when the trout are examining everything, closely. The small, super realistic prey image and natural hard shell can dupe the most wily browns, yet in riffly water, many clients lose track of this petite, deadly fish catcher.


 

Solutions:

 

Switched on Queenstown guide, Simon Wilkinson ( http://www.flyfishingexpeditions.co.nz ) has a very practical solution... fish your tiny beetle on a short dropper behind a high viz pattern. If you see a rise within a foot of your hi viz dry, strike. If your 'indicator dry' stops or pulls, strike. If your indicator dry gets eaten, mate - just strike... with the appropriate delay of course.



In smooth or subtle water a hi viz parachute pattern such as Mirfs BLT, Renes Killer Klink, or the Hi Viz Para Adams will get the job done and remain inconspicuous on the water.




In jogglier water a blowfly, wulff or Guide Chute Hares Ear will catch the eye more readily, while in heavier pocket water and faster runs, stimulators, hoppers and Simons personal favourite, the Swishers PMX Peacock not only allows you to track your tiny beetle behind, but provides a juicy alternative for the trout.


 

Bonus tip from Wilki: "heres a tip - I do the same with tiny willow grubs, and no see 'em spent spinners too. Shh. Don't tell everyone.



Dealing with Dull Days

Posted by chrisdore on December 15, 2016 at 8:15 PM


On rainy, or cloudy days visibility wont be great on our wider riverbeds and on many waters in fact. With summer kicking in and fish populations dropping back to the larger waters, you really want to target your fish rather than pitching blind... Here's what you can do to keep on sighting when the weather closes in...


 

1: pick a river with a willow, bush or hillside backdrop to help break the glare. Often this is all you need.


 

2: wear good eyewear. I favour the lense quality of Maui Jim's to look after my eyes for long hours, day after day. The HCL Bronze colour is probably the most versitile lense for most conditions excelling in low light, bright skies and general NZ work. You may pay more for Mauis but you get what you pay for.


 

3: move slower. Find the absolute best of the water, position yourself so you get a good view, and then wait... let the fish reveal themselves.


 

Forget about the water you struggle to see into and just focus on the most likely spots. Because scanning a whole river in glarey conditions is just plain exhausting, and you dont want to miss the one off flicker of a tail after a tough day


 

Get some...

 


At The Bench - Green Caddis

Posted by chrisdore on November 29, 2016 at 11:35 PM



First step, grab a bloody good beer. Today its the Garagista IPA from Garage Project.


 

Now to the fly. The wee Green Caddis is always a top producer for me and handy when the fish have seen far too many mayfly patterns presented less than good enough.


 

Imitating the Hydropsyche, this is abundant in most rocky trout-streams from your lowland local to your secret wilderness gem. They are exceptionally resilient to floods and big enough and colourful enough for trout to love... best of all, this pattern takes 2 minutes to tie...


 

Hook: Kamisan B110 14 and 16

Head: Black tungsten bead

Collar: black Laser dub or similar

Body: Olive Seal fur

Note: add a thread hotspot if you want, either a few wraps behind the bead or at the butt.

 


Get in there!

Dealing with heavy flies

Posted by chrisdore on November 15, 2016 at 1:50 AM

 

 



I often spend time watching others on the river and observing their technique. Recently while in Turangi I saw a number anglers, both visiting and local struggling to cast some pretty heavy stuff overhead style... There are easier ways, and it doesn't have to be so hard.


 

When fly casting, we are usually told that line speed is king, and a tight loop is a good loop. However throw a Tongariro Bomb, or a couple of split shot into the mix and our requirements change... Fast.


 

 

 

 

If you throw a heavy fly back and forwards with speed then all sorts of mayhem occurs when your loop straightens: the fly will kick, bounce, tuck and in general cause nightmares for the angler. Heavy flies and tight loops are a recipe for tangles and broken rod tips so lets consider a few changes we can make to better handle these heavy flies.


 

1: Widen your casting arc. By widening casting arc you open up your loop, keeping those heavier flies away from both the rod tip, and rod leg (bottom leg) of the loop.


 

2. Slow down your casting stroke. By slowing down our stroke we can immediately reduce our line speed, diminishing the kick which occurs when a heavy fly turns over at speed, and concentrate on flexing our rod deeper to bring in the more powerful mid - butt section to handle our heavier rig... Try tip casting a bomb and see how you go...


 

3 Go up a line size. Quite simply it takes mass, to move mass. Slowing down your rod tip recovery by over lining isn't a big deal for as mentioned, we don't need breakneck line speed, and most modern fly rods can handle it. If you prefer, go up a rod size to match. A long belly line such as the Hero allows you to carry line, rather than shoot it, making it easier to control heavy flies at distance.



 


4. Eliminate slack line, and lift your fly to the surface before you begin. By simply beginning your cast with your rod tip low to the water, and taking in a few strips of line to remove any slack your entire cast will be more efficient: the moment you move your rod tip, you will be in contact with your fly.

Lifting a deep sunk fly from the water takes a lot of energy and can close your available casting arc significantly. To raise a sunk fly to the surface, simply raise your rod tip, slow and smooth so that the line / leader junction is free of the water. The mass of your line will now 'own' your fly, and lift it cleanly as you accelerate. A roll cast / roll cast pickup / C spey will also lift your fly to the surface in preparation of your cast.


 

 

5. Eliptical cast

Simply, this is a back cast, and forward cast performed under constant tension, on different planes. Imagine you are drawing an oval with the rod tip, beginning with a side arm backcast and moving smoothly into an overhead forward cast.


The benefit of this cast is that keeps the fly away from the body / rod tip and eliminates the kick of a heavy fly straightening on the backcast. This is THE way to handle heavier flies.


 

 

 

So dont let your technique dictate how deep you get. By utilizing the correct weight for the job, choosing your presentation, and delivering it with the right cast for the job you can own that pool.

 

 


Get amongst!

 

Intermediate Skagit... Here's Why

Posted by chrisdore on November 1, 2016 at 2:45 AM




It's pretty cool to see a surge in two hand fly fishing over the past couple of years, and with hardcore groups emerging from Queenstown, the Skagit Bombers in Christchurch and the die hard Turangi crew keeping it real it gives us a chance to play with a bit of new gear to suit the conditions.


In the deep South Ive been playing with a few different lines of recent, and the standout for me has been an Intermediate Compact Skagit from Airflo.


 

Quite simply it has me swinging down in the water column, avoiding the pull of all those pesky surface currents and gives a smoother, more controlled swing of my fly. Here are a few other things I rate about them:


 

•Tips get deeper simply by not being bouyed up by a high floating head. They sink more freely and are followed by the head.


 

•Slower swing than a line racing across currents on the surface, and slower swings are better for lethargic winter trout (keeps the fly in the zone, in front of their nose for longer)


 

•The currents even a few inches beneath are often slower than those on the surface, and so the intermediate gives you a controlled, more in-touch swing down below than you would get with a floating head.


 

• This line anchors amazingly. You will experience more 'stick' with your head being subsurface so you can chuck more line into your D and less into your anchor.


 

• You can fish a lighter tip as your line assists in getting your fly down


 

•The floating rear taper of the Airflo Intermediate Compact Skagit is coloured scandi blue so you can easily track your swing and know just where you are at all times.


 

Note: once this line sinks you can no longer mend so for all you 'serial menders' out there, its best to throw that mend in as soon as your line touches down. However with short 18' - 20 something foot heads, you don't really need to mend anyway if you pick your drifts.... Just leave it alone...


 

So consider adding an intermediate head to your arsenal and open up new ways to swing that fly, on both big, and smaller waters.

 


 

 


Tips from Chris - Springtime Sea Runners

Posted by chrisdore on October 25, 2016 at 2:25 AM



So it's October and the sea runners are really going right now around the esturies. Check out Chris's tips on Gink and Gasoline to help YOU get amongst more of them...


http://www.ginkandgasoline.com/fly-fishing-tips-technique/chasin-sea-runners-nz-style/

Early season solutions - keeping your indicators dry

Posted by chrisdore on October 10, 2016 at 3:15 AM



Early season often means fuller flows and colder temperatures and so aside from the occasional hatch event on smaller, rain fed waters nymphing is the mainstay. In cool, often wet conditions the issue is in keeping yarn indicators dry, floating and visible...


The key to keeping yarn style indicators dry is to simply not go fishing. Since that's not an option, here are a few others...


At home..


Loon Hydrostop.

This product dries completely oil free and can be used to pre treat indicators, and material or flies hot off the vice.

Soak your indicators for 5 minutes before drying for 24 hours in-between a paper towel.

Your indicators will be permanently waterproof and ready to fish each time you pull one out of your box.


On stream..

If you're like me, you aren't organised enough to pre treat your dries and indicator material, so rely on on-stream options.


Loon Lochsa

Lochsa is a premium all-around gel floatant that even works on CDC. It won’t mat dry flies made with CDC and is perfect for treating any type of feathers, hair, hackle, or yarn. Lochsa will provide maximum floatation without the slightest hindrance on appearance. It is silicone based, and won’t melt in the heat or harden when it’s cold.


Loon Top Ride

Known as “Shake and Bake” by world class guides, this desiccant (drying agent) and powder floatant is fast and easy to use. A fly or indicator (still attached to the leader) goes in wet, and a few shakes later comes out dry and coated with a powder floatant. A great way to dry and rejuvenate waterlogged, or trout slimed flies.


So dont get stuck retying flies or replacing indicator yarn while your mates are catching fish. Do what the thinking anglers do and carry the right products and maximise opportunities





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