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Practical Common Sense Tips
Tips on Finding the Right Wader
More Tips on Choosing the Right Wader
By Marshall Hoffman
According to an old proverb; “the worst day fishing is better than the best day working.” Personally, I subscribe to that philosophy. In making that bad day a better day, however, being equipped with the right wader is crucial.
Here are some common sense tips to keep in mind when shopping for a wader that will keep you warm and dry and permit you to move easily in the current.
Tips on Finding the Right Flyrod
More Tips on Finding a Fly Rod
By Marshall Hoffman
An avid angler’s fly rod becomes something more than a flexible pole. Somehow it morphs into a close companion acquiring a personality all its own. This mysterious transformation is hard to explain to one who is not a passionate practitioner of the art of angling.
For this article I will try to put aside my passion and discuss in a logical manner some common sense tips to keep in mind when shopping for a fly rod.
In a nutshell we could condense the essential features of a fly rod down to four elements, weight, action, length and material.
The weight of your rod depends on the size of the fish. For panfish and other small species you would pick a 1-3 weight. For larger panfish and smaller trout you could choose a 4 weight. For medium trout and smaller bass consider a weight 5-6. The most popular all around rods are in this category. For Salmon, Steelhead, large trout and bass a 7-8 weight would be preferable. For large Salmon, Tarpon and other large saltwater species consider something in the 9-14 weight class.
The three main classifications used to describe a fly rod’s action are fast, medium and slow. Fast action means that most of the rod is inflexible except near the tip. It permits a longer cast especially in the wind. Medium action rods are flexible further down toward the middle. Slow action rods are very flexible sometimes down to the grip. They are the best for fishing small creeks. They don’t cast very far but they absorb the shock so that your chances of snapping off the fly are reduced. In order to judge the action of a rod one must have hands on experience with it. The various actions are all based on the same concept, how much the rod bends when casting.
The most common rod lengths are between 8-10 feet. Shorter rods are better where the surrounding environment would make casting a longer rod more difficult due to overhanging vegetation. Longer rods are common place when fishing out of a float tube. One can get more distance with a longer rod, and the extra length helps to keep the fly off the water on the backcast.
As much as I love my split bamboo pole, I have retired it to a place of honor because it just can’t perform as well as fiberglass or graphite. In general, fiberglass tends to be more flexible than graphite. In both casting and playing the fish, flexibility is of paramount importance. Remember, in fly casting the pole does most of the work rather than the forward thrust of the arm. Therefore, a pole that has more spring to it supplies additional energy to shot the line out a farther distance.
Some other quick considerations:
One should pay attention to the number of pieces for more convenient storage.
To avoid damage to the rod tip, keep your rod in a sturdy case.
Make sure the rod has enough guides to keep the line from sagging. The bottom and top guides receive the most friction and therefore wear faster. They need to have a zirconium insert, which is harder and more resistant.
Lastly don’t forget to try the grip to see if it feels comfortable in your hand.
When you find that perfect rod and it feels just right in your hand; be careful you may develop a fond affection for it.
Tips on shoping for a fish finder
Tips on Finding a Fish Finder
By Tony White
If you are looking to purchase a fish finder then your choice is going to be heavily dictated by one thing, and that is price. Once you establish what you are willing to spend on a fish finder, you can start looking at which types of models are within that price range, and what types of features you will be benefitting from.
Something that you need to establish from the outset is that out of the various features that you find on fish finders, some will actually assist you in catching more fish, while others are sheer gimmick. If you are a beginner then the advice here would definitely be to opt for one of the more simple fish finder units that are on the market – you can move onto something more advanced when you become a bit more seasoned and a bit more aware of what you are doing. Besides, certain features on a more advanced fish finder unit will only make sense to you when you have the sound aggregate knowledge that only experience affords you. It makes no sense to pay for an expensive fish finder unit outright, when you are not going to benefit from any of its more advanced features.
A feature that dictates the price of a fish finder is the screen. Whilst a more economical unit will have an LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, more costly finders have CRT (cathode ray tube) screens. Whilst CRT screens are the better of the two, they require far more power and add nothing to a fish finder’s ability to locate fish. Therefore, if you can afford the outlay and the cost of running it, then by all means get a fish finder with a CHT screen, but as a beginner or an average weekend fisher an LCD unit will more than suffice.
Also important, in terms of the screen, is finding a unit whose screen is visible in direct sunlight. Believe it or not, there are units out there that are extremely tricky to see in direct sunlight, which is surprising, given the fact that a fish finder is a device that is specifically for outdoor use. One tip, though, should you opt for an economy finder with a screen that is affected by sunlight, is to purchase light-reflecting film. This is available online and in specialist technology/electrical appliance stores, and is made specifically for digital screens. It will stop sunlight from impeding your view of the device’s screen to such an extent.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you must know what type of fishing you are going to do, because this will dictate the frequency of the fish finder that you choose. Frequency is measured in kHz, and whilst high frequency finders tend to work better for smaller bodies of water, lower frequency finders tend to work better in larger bodies of water. So before you buy a unit, make sure you know where it is that you are going to be doing the majority of your fishing. Most people tend to start with a medium-frequency fish finder, so that they get good all-round usage. When you have been fishing for a while, and you have settled into a certain type of fishing, such as river fishing, for instance, or sea fishing, then you can upgrade to a unit with a frequency that is set specifically for the size of bodies of water that you fish.
Tips on using the right fly fishing line.
Tips on sleeping bags
Tips on taking care of your camp stove
For camping equipment to last long, it should be handled well. Camping stoves are no different. By taking care of your stove, you are guaranteed to enjoy campfires and cookouts for a long time. By following these maintenance tips, your camping stove is guaranteed to last.
Tips on Teaching a Child to Fish
Tips on Measuring Your Catch
"Once in a while we take a trophy fish on a fly and release it withyout getting a picture, or even an accurate idea of its size. The next time you hook such a fish, lay it gently in the shallows and measure it with your leader, the fly still attached. Then cut the leader at exactly the fish's length. Over the years you will build a collection of chewed flies with various lengths of leader attached, each with a story behind it, to be preserved forever in a display case...." Greg Roberts, August 1979, quoted in The Trout Fisher's Almanac, p. 276.
Through the years the leaders will not grow longer but the stories behind each one will. The idea just occurs: you could arrange those leaders, each a little longer and claim (though no one would believe you) that they are all from catching the same fish year after year. Then pointing to the mounted trophy you could say: "and there he is, all grown up!"
Tips on Releasing Trout with Minimum Damage
The Dos and Don'ts of the Drag
Top 10 Camping Tips
Let's Tie the Knot
When it comes to the wed-lock of marital bliss, we don’t want a slip knot but one that will hold. We might use that as a metaphor for the ardent angler. Nothing is so frustrating as to lose that trophy catch because of a defective knot. Let’s do some practice tying, so get yourself some monofilament line, 6 lb. test to 10 lb. test will be easier to work with than a very light 2 lb. test. I find that finger nail clippers are a useful tool in trimming up loose ends and cutting monofilament. Another good tool is a hook puller. Something like a spoon handle with a hole on the end. You can grasp it, put the hook through the hole and pull it through without sticking your finger on the hook. Another little trick is to bury the sharp point of the hook in a cork. That gives you something to grasp without pricking your finger. If you find it difficult at first handling monofilament line try using an old shoe string. Then, when you get the hang of it, you can graduate to 2 and 4 lb. test. You may also find that fly line is easier to practice with than monofilament.
Let's pause here and have a little lesson on nomenclature. The "tag end", sometimes called "the working end" is that part of the line which is used to make the knot. The "standing" part of the line is that which comes from the reel. You wrap the tag end around the standing end to make the knot. Enough of vocabulary.
We are going to practice 5 basic knots. A knot that is useful in connecting the backup line to the reel spool. The next section is a knot that works well in connecting the backup with the fly line. The 3rd is a knot which is effective in tying the fly line to the leader. The next connection is the leader to the tippet. Finally, choosing a knot which clinches the tippet to the lure, or a swivel which snaps on to the lure. Let’s begin at the lure and work back to the reel.
The Palomar is the knot I prefer in tying the tippet to the fly. It is the most simple to tie. Even a person with clumsy, uncoordinated fingers can do it. After you have practiced it several times you will be able to tie it even in subdued light, not by sight but by feel. Are you ready? Because I am left handed; take the lure in your left hand and the end of the line that goes toward the reel, between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand. Thread the line through the eye of the lure about 6 inches. Bend it around and thread it back through from the other direction. Allow enough line on each side to work with. Try twisting the line between your thumb and fore finger, so that it is easier to work with. These twists however, will weaken your line to some degree. So if you can handle the line without twisting, it is better. Notice that the lure hanging down from the doubled line is free to slip from side to side like in a sling. Bring your hands toward one another until you form a loop above the lure. Some like to make a double loop to strengthen the connection. I have never found that this was necessary. Make a simple overhand, or granny knot, by bringing the left side of the line up and over and through the loop, which is pinched between your fingers. Tighten that down a little so the loop becomes smaller. Then all you do is, take the fly and bring it through the loop that was formed when you passed the line through the eye of the lure a second time in the opposite direction. Put a little saliva on it and cinch it down. Notice it holds tight without slipping and forms a knot small enough so that it doesn’t affect the action of the lure as you retrieve it. Repeat that 4 or 5 times and you will master the Palomar. For a video demonstration of tying this knot click on the video page of this web sight and you will see it being tied by an expert.
Some prefer to use a Clinch knot, rather than the Palomar, to connect the line to the lure. Thread the line through the eye and bring it through 4 or 5 inches so you will have enough line to work with. Some prefer to make a loop and bring the end of the line through the eye a second time to strengthen the connection. Now twist the end of the tag line around the standing line 3 or 4 times. Some like to do this by twisting the fly rather than wrapping the line around itself. When you see the video you will discover a nifty way of making these t wists with your finger through the loop. Take the end of the line and bring it through the loop that was formed between the eye and the first twist. Don’t take it through the eye again but through the loop outside of it. If you want to do the Improved Clinch knot bring the end of the line which has just been threaded through the first loop and bring it up through the 2nd loop that was formed as you turned the line toward the lure to put it through the first loop. This version of the Clinch knot will help add to its strength. There are other knots which are effective in attaching the line to the lure but these are the two which I prefer. For a visual demonstration go to the video page on this website.
We are making good progress, now we are ready to attach the tippet to the leader. The knot I prefer for that is the Surgeon’s knot. There are others but this is the one I find easiest to tie. Take the 2 ends, one leading back toward the reel and the other leading toward the lure and bring them parallel with each other with their ends equal to one anotherl. Again you might find it helpful to twist the lines to make them easier to work with although parallel lines are stronger than twisted one. Now bring your hands together and form a loop. Some prefer a double or even a triple loop. I find a double loop is strong enough for me. Pinch the double loop between your thumb and forefinger. Then take the two equal ends and bring them through the loops. Wrap them up and around the loops 2 or 3 times. Using the spittle again, apply some lubrication. When you pull on the ends they will form a compact knot which can slip easily through the guides of your pole without hanging up. That knot is very helpful in showing where the leader stops and the tippet begins. You’re tippet will get shorter and shorter as you remove one fly and tie on another. You won’t have to shorten the leader very much because you can snip it right where the leader starts and tie on another appropriate length of tippet. For a demonstration, again go to the video page.
O.K., now we can practice a knot which is effective in connecting the leader with the thicker fly line. Sometimes this is called the blood or barrell knot. Be careful with this one. It can be a frustrating knot to tie and you don’t want to lose your religion over it (if you get my drift). Her's a more simple and less frustrating way that is called an Albright knot. Make a loop in the line with the thicker diameter. Now take the thinner line and bring it through the loop either over or under it. Pull it through the loop about 8 inches. Now change hands and hold the 3 lines b etween your thumb and index finger. Wrap the thinner line around the thicker 5 or 6 times. Then bring the tag end of the thinner line back through the loop the same way you entered it. If you came up from the bottom take it down through the loop in the same way. Now take the lines and pull them in opposite directions. Notice how the lighter line cinches down on the heavier. The harder you pull the more it takes hold making a small barell knot which is not bulky and therefore passes through the smaller eyes of your pole easier. See a demonstration on the video page.
Rather than using the double half hitch to make a loop you can tie what is called the Perfection Loop. It holds like an anchor and will not slip. Rather than trying to describe that one, I think I will again refer you to the video.
There are a number of possibilities to use in attaching the fly line to the backup line. Personally, I prefer the Albright because it is flat and permits the line to go through the guides with less friction.
That brings us to our last knot. In attaching the backup to the reel spool. A simple slip knot should suffice. Keeping it simple, just put the end of the backup line around the reel once or twice. Like you were tying your shoes, make an overhand knot and bring the tag end up and make another over hand like you would do with a figure 8. Tighten it down and you are in business. If you prefer a knot that slips easier, you can use an "arbor knot." Wrap the back up line around the "arbor" or reel spool. Tie it down with an overhand like you were tying your shoe. Above that make an overhand and as close as possible make another over hand. As you pull on the standing line the two overhand knots will jam down on each other making a slip knot. Again see the video for a demonstration.
So, now the back up line is connected to the reel spool, the end of the back up line is tyed to the fly line with an Albright, the fly line to the leader also with an Albright (or a surgeon's knot if you prefer), the leader to the tippet with a surgeon's knot and the tippet to the lure with a Palomar or a clinch knot. You are in business. There are a lot of other knots you can learn to tie that you might like better than these. Go to it champ!
There will be times when you will want a dropper line coming off from your main line. There is a knot that enables the secondary line to come off in a 45 degree angle so the two lines don't get tangled. I find that a surgeon's loop works well enough. Take a section of the standing line and double it. Make a loop in the doubled line. You might make a second loop for extra strength. Pinching the two loops bring the end of the double line through the two loops once or twice. Pull it tight and you have a secure surgeon's loop that will not slip to which you can attach another loop.
Before you leave, pick up your diploma at the door. And don't forget to turn in your cap and gown.
Tip on Matching the Hatch
"Want to know the exact types and sizes of the insects currently hatching along your favorite trout stream? Hang some old-fashioned fly paper from a streamside tree limb in mid-afternoon and inspect it the next morning. The strategy may sound primitive, but unless the weather changes drastically overnight, you'll be all set to match the hatch." John Swinton, May 1995.
Tips on Rigging a Trout Line
By Marshall Hoffma n
When rigging a trout line there are four main rules which one should strictly adhere to.
The first essential is to use a line that is as light as possible for the size of fish you are angling for. Keep your line in the range of 2 – 6 pound test, no heavier, unless you are going for 8 pound Salmon.
The second essential is to utilize small hooks, somewhere in the range of size 6 – 8. The trick is to present that hook as invisible as possible, therefore, the smaller the better.
Thirdly, don’t forget to lubricate your knots with a little saliva. It may be necessary to tie up to 4 knots, connecting the fly fishing line to the backup line, the fishing line with the leader, the leader to the tippet and the tippet to the fly. Monofilament line tends to weaken in strength when a knot is tied in it. The friction that occurs when the dry line is pulled tight weakens it. To remedy this, apply a little saliva to the knot before tightening it.
Fourthly, match your bait to the natural forage. For instance, if you see a one inch grasshopper along the bank or a one inch minnow in the water, don’t use trout bait which greatly exceeds that in size. This may mean pinching your night crawler in half to bring it in line with what you see floating on the current.
Tips on Tying Fishing Flies
By Neville Levy
One of the most enjoyable parts of fly fishing could be tying your own flies. While they are readily available for sale pre-made in many stores, when you take the time to tie your own, you can make the flies look even more realistic than those you can buy in a store.
Fly tying isn’t as difficult as it might first seem. You need to have some basic tools such as a fly vice, scissors, pliers, and thread. The equipment you use can make all the difference in quality work and shoddy work. The goal is to make your flies look as identical to a fish’s food source as is humanly possible. You can find supplies for tying in various places.
Besides the vice, scissors, and pliers, you will want to have on hand the following items:
* Hooks of various shapes and sizes
* Different colors and gauges of thread
* Fur from animals such as mink or fox
* Feathers from pheasants and peacocks
* Craft cement
Precision is the key to accurate fly tying. You should start out with a picture of the fly you are trying to replicate. You can find pictures of may flies, caddis flies, and other natural food sources in many places on the Internet. Once you have a picture, just get materials that will mimic the look and try to duplicate it. Start out by wrapping thread around your hook and then add fur and feathers as you go securely tying them to the hook. As you go, you will continue to add materials until you achieve the look you are going for.
Of course, there’s a little more to it than that, but that is the general idea. You can take classes on how to tie your own flies and you can even find instructional videos online. When you start taking an interest in fly fishing, it’s best to stick with the pre-made flies, but as you gain more experience, you will want to start experimenting around with different lures to bring the fish to your line.
Tying your own flies can be a great way to bring you more and more into the fly fishing experience. It certainly isn’t for everyone as you need to have a lot of patience when you are tying flies. It doesn’t always come easy, but once you learn the basic techniques, you will probably find a new hobby that gives you some great joy!
Tips on buying the right tent
Looking for a tent? Let us offer you some helpful hint to make your shopping experience easier. After all you want to stay dry and keep those pesky bugs out as much as possible. Hopefully after reading through this information you will be able to make a better decision on what you need.
First you want to choose the tent that suits your style. It is important to determine what your needs are. Ask yourself some simple questions. Are you going to be using this tent for backpacking or family camping? How many people would you like to sleep in it? What is the climate and conditions in your area? For a backpacking tent you want to minimize weight as much as possible without sacrificing safety or comfort. In dry conditions a tent with mesh for it to breath can be a great choice as they are light and do not take up much space on your pack. In wet and colder conditions a tent with less mesh is more suitable. If you are not concerned with weight you will find numerous tents that are very good for family camping that are more spacious.
There are many types of tents that you can choose from. There are shelters and bivy sacks that are designed for the minimalist. These are great for someone who camps solo and is looking for the lightest weight possible. 3-season tents are by far the most popular tents you will find on the market. 3-season tents are great in mild conditions and give great ventilation as well as keep the rain off when set up with the rain fly. For harsher conditions the 4-season tent is the best choice. 4-season tents are designed to withstand high winds and snowy conditions.
Depending on your needs you can look for some features in tents that will make your experience a better one. Some of these features include, vestibules for extra space to keep your gear dry outside the tent, dual doors to make things easier getting in and out for two people, and gear nets and pockets that can hold things that you may need to easily access during the night. It is also recommended to get a footprint for your tent. Many manufacturers custom make these specifically to fit a style of tent. Footprints will protect against wear and tear on your tent. Make sure that if you decide to get a footprint that you get the proper one for your tent. While generic ground cloths will work to protect against debris a specific one will protect against catching water that can seep under your tent and can work its way through even the tiniest seam or hole.
Once you have selected a tent it is important to set up the tent properly. It is recommended to set up your new tent at home in your yard before taking it out. This will help you get accustomed to setting it up faster should you be out and have to set up quickly if it is raining and make it easier should you have to set up in the dark. A few things when setting up your tent you should make sure you do. Make sure that the tent is completely staked out on as flat and debris free area as you can find. When putting on the rain fly you will need to make sure that all the guy lines are secured and staked out. Sometimes if necessary you can tie the guy lines off to a tree or rock. It is important the the tent is taunt. This will ensure proper ventilation and help prevent condensation build up inside the tent.
It is important to care for your tent properly. After you return from you adventure you will want to take the tent an fly out of the storage back and hang them up to dry them out. This will help prevent mildew. While you are drying it out it is also important to clean out any dirt and debris that may have made its way inside of the tent. This will protect the fabric from wear and tear.
Hopefully this will help you when considering a new tent. The most important thing you can do is optimize for fun and not have to worry about the gear.
If you would like to ask any additional questions about an existing tent that you have or one that you are considering you can leave a comment below.
-Travis (Montana Camper)