Category: Fishing Tips and Tricks

Visit for all your “Knot Needs”

I found this site recently and discovered it to be the most comprehensive collection of knots I’ve seen, fishing or otherwise.  Each knot has a brief history/background, step-by-step drawings, and an animation to show you how it’s done.  This site is a “must have” bookmark in your browser.  Go to to see this fine collection of knots.

What’s in Your Fly Box? See a Top 10 List

elk_hair_caddis Those new to fly fishing face a dizzying number of decisions—long or short, fast or slow, glass or grass, line color, click and pawl or disc drag, expensive or cheap…….  Even after staggering through the all the equipment decisions, you then have even more choices about what to put on the end of the line. What flies you carry will depend on a number of factors—climate and conditions, hatches, water levels and clarity, etc.  But, there are some basic trout flies that you should never leave home without.

After scouring the internet for “Top 10 (or more) Fly” recommendations, I listed each in a spreadsheet and tallied the number of time a fly was common across the various lists. Continue Reading »

Casting Heavy Flies

Casting Heavy Flies can be a difficult and dangerous activity with the risk of embedding a hook in the back of your head ever looming.

The key to casting big flies, then is to slow everything down, widen your loops, and avoid sudden changes in direction. To accomplish all these, you need to learn the Belgian cast (also called the oval cast). Rather than moving the fly back and forth along a two-dimensional plane, the Belgian cast keeps the fly moving at all times through a three-dimensional pattern. This means that there are no shocking stops, extra slack, or dropping fly.

To perform the Belgian cast, you make a sidearm backcast and then a forward cast over the top, with a nice, wide loop. The name oval cast comes from the fact that, if viewed from above, your rod tip describes an oval, rather than a straight line. When you are making the Belgian cast, line speed is not important, but you must keep the line moving at all times to keep the fly from dropping.

For a complete lesson on the Belgian cast, check out Macauley Lord’s excellent article on Midcurrent.

Copied from Midcurrents Techniques.  See more at

Learn to “Read the Rise”

Knowing how trout feed can help you catch more fish.  Fast current and flies that emerge quickly — like caddisflies — or skitter along the surface cause trout to make loud, splashy rises. Classic rises make dimples in the water and leave behind a few bubbles, indicating feeding on mayfly duns and other flies riding above the surface film. Small dimples that leave no bubbles but sometimes include the dorsal and tail appearing usually indicate emergers or small flies dangling in the surface film. Bulges or swirls are the hardest to see and often indicate a fish feeding just beneath the surface.

As always, watch the fish before casting to the fish.  Understanding what they are feeding on, by reading the rise, may help you catch that trout of a lifetime.

Copied from Midcurrents Techniques.  See more at

Leaders and Building Furled Leaders

Judson Walls, one of the Rapidan Chapter members, spoke at the March 5 meeting on leaders and building furled leaders.  Rather than buying leaders from your favorite fly shop, Judd explained how easy it was to build your own knotted leaders and demonstrated how to create a furled leader at home.  His presentation can be viewed and downloaded by CLICKING HERE.

The “Davy Knot”–You have to try this!

As I was considering a number of ways to attach a loop for my fly line-to-leader connection, I came across a reference to a very simple knot for attaching the fly to the tippet.  It’s called the “Davy Knot”, and I can’t believe how both simple and strong this knot is.  Dave Wotten, Coach of the U.S. World Youth Flyfishing Team, developed this knot to minimize the time it takes to tie on a fly and allow more time for the fly to be on the water.   As the old Chinese proverb goes, “A fly out of water catches no fish.”

The Davy Knot

Not only easy and fast, it also reduces the heat stress that so many knots, like the Clinch and Improved Clinch, impart on the tippet above the knot, causing the curls in, and weakening, the tippet.  It also minimizes the tippet waste because only the length of the tag line you “pinch” just before you tighten the knot remains.  You can pinch as little or as much as you wish.  With practice, you can pinch so little that you don’t even need to trim the tag.

For a link to a web site with pictures showing how to tie the knot, CLICK HERE.  Try it and let me know what you think.

Great information on stalking wild trout in Virginia streams

Where to find trout is important

Where to find trout is important

At our last meeting, our now former member Dr. Larry Puckett provided an outstanding presentation on the characteristics of stream habitat to look for when stalking the elusive brook trout.  Larry was very gracious to make this material available for both our education and to make our quests for trout more productive.  His presentation, and data are available for viewing by clicking the links below:

For his presentation “Prospecting for Brook Trout” Click Here

For his 2000 VTSSS data Click Here

For his map displaying geological areas of Virginia Click Here

Factoid: Playing Fish

If you think playing a fish until you tire it out is okay, think again, reports the American Fisheries Society. Recent research shows that playing a fish until you tire them actually builds up excessive levels of lactic acid which can affect their ability to swim. Note: if a fish can’t properly swim, it will have a difficult time avoiding bigger predatory fish. Ultimately, this can have an adverse impact on the stability of fish species. “The rule here is to play fish to hand quickly and efficiently.” This will not only help aid in the species to service longer periods, but will also ensure that future fishing is preserved.

(Excerpt from Outdoor Life, May 2009)