Waters & words

Archive for January, 2013

Fishing cars

It is a simple fact that hardly anyone can afford to have a dedicated fishing car of any quality nowadays. There are those who have written about their fishing cars, but they were all somehow old “jalopies” (as we call them in South Africa), that made for a good story but were not reliable enough to provide a fishing trip of any comfort. So the reality is that the vehicle one goes to work in every day, has to double as your fishing car.

With this in mind, any self respecting fly-fisherman, will of course choose his vehicle without any consideration to its normal everyday use. He will buy it for his outdoor pursuits alone, and live with its idiosyncrasies on the city streets. I applaud that.

I too have chosen my mode of transport over the last two decades, with regard only for my fishing.

I have in fact done this only twice, because rightly or wrongly, I like to drive a vehicle until it can drive no more. I started with “Rufus” some 17 years ago. Rufus was a maroon coloured Ford ranger, 2 wheel drive 2,5 diesel double cab.  What a “bakkie” that was!  I christened it with a fishing trip to the Rhodes area within weeks of having bought it, thus consummating it’s role as a fishing vehicle.

P4100015 I have too many fond memories in that bakkie to record them all here. Some stand out however.



Since I was a high school kid, I have been mildly obsessed with finding the perfect indicator.

Back then I remember we hollowed out balsa wood struts from left over bits of our model airplanes. They were small sections of square bar, and we used a needle to make a small hole through them lengthways, so that we could thread them onto the leader. Then of course they had to be painted and varnished for durability. As a school-kid I was excited that this idea made it into print. The downfall of these things is that you had to position them over a join in your tippet. So you found yourself making a join in the spot where you needed an indicator. It was hardly worth trying to move the the thing along for differing water depth! So despite the idea being published, it left a lot to be desired.

I cant clearly remember what came after that. Maybe we gave up on indicators for a while.

I do remember that at some point I made up yarn pom-poms, and kept them in a little box, with strands of nylon trailing, and that we tied these onto the leader. But again we had the problem of not being able to position them for each pool or run we encountered during the day. The only thing that was right about them, is that we could make them very small. This is a pre-requisite for me. My fishing buddies sometimes laugh at my indicators, since they are sometimes too small to see. I can see how that defeats the object, but I cant bring myself to be throwing a ball of wool behind a #16 nymph.

Then came Nigel Dennis’ very clever idea: Nigel showed me how he used small sections of ear-bud stem, and wrapped the yarn around these sections, binding the two ends tightly where they came together, to form a pom-pom on one side of the little plastic ring. He then threaded these onto the leader, and secured them by using a tooth pick end to secure the position. For the first time we could release the thing and move it to where we wanted!

I played around with this a little, because the indicators were too large. What I did in the end was to revert to my pom-poms tied with tippet material, but then secure this to the same plastic ring. In other words the pom pom was tied to the ring with tippet material. This allowed us to use very small plastic rings, and suddenly we had an indicator as refined as you will see today.



Blogging on paper

This blog started in 1981.

I know, ………………………..there were no blogs in 1981, and our computers still ran on paraffin. But the concept started back then, even though I didn’t know it at the time. In fact I only came to that realisation the other day, when my son was paging through my personal logbooks, and he remarked that what I had there was a blog on paper.

That would be because my fishing log is so much more than that. From about 1983 I started recording every day’s fishing in the same format. The same format that you will find in the fishing log template in the “box.com” feature in the right hand column of this blog.  (Feel free to download the excel file, adapt it and use it. It works for me) By every day, I mean regardless of how few hours I fished, and what I didn’t catch. And then at some point about 8 years ago, I embarked on the giant task of marrying my considerable fishing history with my photo collection. I ripped every photo out of its album, and every page out of my old books, and interleafed them, in plastic sleeves ( the photos on black paper).

Then a year or two later, I printed all my essays and writing, and began interleafing them in the appropriate date slots. ( I have posted some of those here on Truttablog, but haven’t gone further back than about 2004.)

So when Luke was looking at one of them, with his technological mind abuzz, he saw a blog, and thanks to him Truttablog was born.

A Fishing log

Nothing fuels the fires of nostalgic fly-fishermen quite like a fishing log.

There are personal logs, and there are those old books that the farmer keeps for his water. The one for which he calls you into the light of his kitchen, to fill-in before you depart.

They may be leather bound, or maybe just a simple book from the stationer in town, but either way the book will be tatty from age and use. And if it is not yet a little yellowed , just give it time.



Camera on the water

For as many years as I have fished, I have carried a camera when I fish.

At first, and being more than 30 years ago now, it was one of those entry level film cameras that was so rickety in its construction,  that it threatened to let light in at any moment.

It took awful pictures. Or perhaps more correctly, I took awful pictures, but it worked. I still have those awful pictures, and they are great, if you know what I mean.

Copy (2) of Rannoch inlet


Adjusting stocking rate for size of Trout

Stocking Trout is such a fickle thing.

If one researches the stocking rates recommended on the internet, as I have done, the answers are as varied as the size of the flies in your fly box.

Generally one stocks more if you are putting in little fish (fry to perhaps 3 inches), and fewer if you are stocking larger ones (say above 5 inches). This rate of stocking for different sizes is of course on a continuum from “fry” (being something that has only just absorbed its yolk sac) to fish of 10 inches or so.

By this we take it that larger fish have a higher survival rate. This assumption should possibly be questioned, or at least explored in more detail.