Sunday, June 22, 2014

Let's Fish It Safely ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

So many times, I have taken too many risks on the water while fishing.  I will admit it.  But, after yesterday's adventure, I won't be so quick to take a chance.  You see... even when you can make it across a river, doesn't mean that you will make it back across when the day ends.  There could be a surprise increase in the water flow which can increase your anxiety level in a hurry!  Which was what exactly happened to me.  So, now I sit and thank my lucky stars that it all had a good ending.  But, let's talk safety first.  

Damsel's Tippets on River Safety:

Walking or Wading Staff.  Having a "third leg" in a wading staff is sometimes a good thing to have.  As balance gets a bit trickier as you get older, the wading stick is very helpful.  It could be the difference in you falling in or staying dry.

A Firm Foundation.  As you stand... widen your base in the river.  As you walk in the river, make sure your knee flex increases as you get deeper into the water or as the current increases in speed. Flex your knees to lower your center of gravity.  This will also keep you from getting your feet crossed and tangled up.  You want to slide your feet, not cross them!  (or cross your eyes...that wouldn't help)

Take It Slow.   Carefulness rather than carelessness is the name of the game when wading in a river.  Taking time to evaluate the situation can prevent serious injury.  Keeping your moves slow and controlled will help you from falling too.  There are many hazards which lie underneath the water... ie:  fallen branches, moss, large rocks.   I have tripped up on these things, so I speak from experience.  There is never a need to rush on the river.  Just take it slow.

Wading Belt.  Did you know that when you wear that belt over your waders, that you are helping yourself stay dry if you take a dunk?  Yep, you might get the top half soaked, but your feet and legs will stay dry most of the time if you have put on a wading belt.  So, you can change into a dry shirt and continue your day.  And by preventing extra water to go down into your lower waders, they will be lighter weight when you finally do get up and out!  Huge help...

Felt Bottom Soles or Rubber Soles w/Studs.  Both have great traction on the bottom of a river and will help you out with balancing in slippery conditions.  Your walk on dry land can also be helped with the proper footwear.  

But, it's the hat that matters when climbing over a large tree... not the shoes.  Right, Kirk Werner?

Take advantage of a slower current when moving upstream or crossing the river.  This is a no-brainer!  But, I have to emphasize this, because it is the most important tip here.  You have to find slower water or more shallow water to really wade easily. Otherwise, you are better off just casting from the bank side or from the peanut gallery!  And there is nothing wrong with that, if you feel more comfortable with the conditions that are around you. 

 Never take a risk.  I have a few times.  And I'm not proud of it.  A lapse of good judgement can cost you your life.  I stewed about crossing back over the river for about an hour yesterday.  The river had gone up a few inches at least by the end of the day.  The water was swift and my balance...well, sucks!  So, it was scary to say the least.  Yes, I could have stayed on that side of the river until I got help... or until the water went down hopefully the next day.  But, I'm no good with coyotes or snakes in the middle of the night.  So, I looked over at my river buddy who made it over to the other side already.  Jeri and I thought we had found the best stretch for me to cross back over.  Slowly, surely, toes pointed upstream as I crossed, I made it 3/4 of the way.  Then, it got deeper and the current got swifter and I could feel my foot slipping.  What did I do?  I said a prayer.  A quick one, but my heart pounded and I knew that my concentration couldn't be disturbed in any way now.  I looked forward at Jeri, and she coaxed me forward and told me not to stop.  Because if I had, the current would have taken tired legs under.  So, I kept moving slow, and the slipping foot was shuffled up once again so I could get myself to the bank safely.  Crazy, that the hardest part would be at the end, rather than the middle!  But, without Jeri being there to keep me going in a positive manner, I might have not had the focus to make it across.  Thank you, thank you, Jeri.  And thanks to the guardian angels that were with me too.

Know your terrain and what you can handle.  Easy wading can bring good fish to the net too!  This river is just my speed.  Low water conditions without spring run off... And the results were great!

Slow moving water is my friend.  There is always time for riffles though... I'm just not walking through them to the other side!  = )

You don't have to take the extra steps or the trek across the river to put you into conditions that you are not comfortable in.  I waded across this wider river with friends.  Another important tip... bring a buddy to cross the bigger rivers with when you can safely get across.

 Stay safe out there, friends!!  And I will too.

And there is always still water...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Twitching Mastery, Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

The fun part of fly fishing is that there are numerous ways to catch a fish.  Dry fly or nymphing or swinging that soft hackle or streamer.  But, is it possible to combine styles?  Maybe...  Let me explain.  I recently went fishing with a couple of new friends through a TU group.  This father and son have fished pretty much all their lives.  And it shows.  I have fished with Jeremy, the son.  He is also an accomplished fly tier.  But, his high esteem for his father's fly fishing has had me quite intrigued, because it is something a little bit different.  A bit unorthodox... So, one day, I met up with him and his father, John.   I was having a difficult time believing that you could catch a fish using a dry fly stimulator as a nymph and TWITCHING it!  

We all know that stimulator flies are one of the great dry fly attractors.  They can be used as a salmonfly imitator or a large caddis.  The stimulator can also be used as a strike indicator while nymphing.  But, what about fishing it as a nymph?  Underwater...  That is exactly what John does.  He would rather twitch than switch!  His usual set up is putting the stimulator on as the top fly and following it with a small nymph (which was a tiny scud like bug this day)  And adding weight.  It would be the motion or the twitch that would help this attractor wiggle under the current.  Fish like nothing better than chasing a buggy meal, so the motion of the twitch is what he has mastered.  Kind of like fishing a stimulator as a streamer without the swing.  It is a strange thing to watch.  But, it works for him.  And in huge numbers...

John holding the result of a little twitching of line...

Jeremy with his usual trophy catch...

And well... me just getting plain lucky!!!

It was a real treat watching and learning from these two on the river.  I know that I definitely picked up a few new things to add to my knowledge of doing the small things... maybe even a little twitch.

~Sunday Tippet~

The more that I go fishing with others, the more I learn.  There is always room for "tweaking" or "twitching" the style of fishing that you use on the water.  Mine is far from perfect.  But, thinking outside the box a little, does make it fun.  Even if it is just to try something a little different to see if it works!!

Get out there and enjoy your week...