Advanced Bass Fishing
Tom Rosenbauer kicks off the 2nd series with a look at advanced fly fishing techniques for Bass. Both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass exhibit different behaviours and feeding patterns through the year so Tom starts by examining different strategies for each season. In Spring, both Bass species are looking to spawn so move into shallow water to stage for prespawn. They predominantly feed on Crayfish and Baitfish so Tom shows us the kind of patterns that work well now as well as the right fly lines to use. As the water warms and the Bass finish their spawn, they become super aggressive and as Tom explains this can be the best time of the year to catch them, especially off the surface using poppers. During the summer, Bass move into different areas of lakes and rivers and Tom talks us through the main holding areas at this of year. In the Fall and Winter, as the water temperature drops, Bass move back into the shallows and the middle of the day is often the best time to catch them. Learn how to maximise your chances of catching Bass on the fly in this brilliant episode.
Tom Rosenbauer meets up with George Daniel who is a renowned fly angler and strong proponent of Euro Nymphing, a deadly technique for Trout and Grayling. Alternatively known as Czech Nymphing, Tight Line Nymphing or Contact Nymphing, the technique involves using a longer than usual rod, weighted fly and a long leader which includes a coloured sight indicator part of the leader called a sighter. Its particularly useful when wading up fast flowing pocket water and using short casts to locate fish. George discusses the principles of Euro nymphing before demonstrating exactly how to do it, catching numerous fish. In higher water conditions, George shows that its a great technique as he accurately picks out the softer flowing water to target. As George explains, the longer leader and sighter means that no fly line needs to sit on the water which largely eliminates drag, and he goes on to demonstrate how to tie your own Euro Nymph leader. George then talks a little about flies and the point here is that you don't need many patterns as they key factor is to get the flies to the right depth and in front of the fish. This a great episode for those wishing to get started with Euro Nymphing.
Fishing Small Streams
In this episode, Tom is exploring his love of fy fishing on small streams. Often overlooked by most anglers, they can provide excellent sport and sometimes some real surprises with the odd big fish around. Tom explains how he enjoys finding these small streams on a map or 'bluelining' as it is known, and the kind of signs you should look at when searching. Usually small streams have fast water which means issues like drag arise so short casts are the order of the day. Tom is fly fishing on a Spring Creek at Three Rivers Ranch in Idaho and explains how these environments have an abundance of food so the Trout here can be selective which means smaller nymphs and finer leaders. Tom then talks through the kind of tackle required to fish small streams as well as leaders and flies to try. Orvis Pro, Pete Kutcher demonstrates the Roll Cast which is a much utilised cast in small streams especially when trees inhibit back casting. Tom discusses flies and often Trout that live there live on a high diet of terrestrial flies so big bushy dry flies are usually very effective. He also demonstrates the New Zealand style rig which is an excellent searching technique in small streams. Tom ends this informative episode by showing various tactics to try in different scenarios when trying to find success on streams.
Tom is exploring the world of streamer fishing which has evolved significantly in recent years. If you want to catch big fish, then using big streamers is often the best tactic as bigger fish feed less often but on larger food items. Tom talks us through the newest fly patterns which have got bigger and bigger over the years as anglers have started to understand the feeding habits of the largest fish. Pete Kutcher demonstrates the best techniques for casting heavy flies on sinking lines when streamer fishing on stillwaters. Back on the rivers and Tom discusses how to cover water using down and across methods, mending the line and how to hook up to fish with strip strikes. Changing up the retrieve is crucial to varying the depth and speed of your fly and varying these movements frequently and erratically can trigger a fish to take. Tom also shows how dead drifting streamers can also be effective by casting upstream and giving it the odd twitch. George Daniel also shows how its possible to fish dead drifted streamers on a Euro Nymphing set up, again twitching the fly to look like a dying Sculpin or small baitfish. Tom also discusses Micro Spey lines and how these can be used effectively on single handed rods to cover rivers with streamers. Big fish often feed more at night and Tom discusses tactics and tips you'll need to take advantage of this.
In this episode Tom is discussing 'reading the water' in order to locate where Trout will be holding. If fish are showing on the surface this is pretty obvious but often fish will be feeding subsurface and being able to identify likely locations is very important. Tom highlights 4 characteristics of good holding water which include a depth of 2-4ft, a flow rate of 1-2ft per second, proximity to moderate to fast flowing water and with some nearby cover to bolt to should they need to escape predators. Finding the seam, between moderate and faster water is often productive and these areas are often identified by the bubble or foam line which traps food items. In Wyoming, Tom is fishing with guide, Blake Jackson who explains how he identifies fish holding areas. In any given river, there can be numerous flow speeds and experience will teach us which areas best hold fish and a matter of a few inches can make all the difference when presenting your flies. Tom showcases a wide variety of water in this episode proving his watercraft and knowledge by catching plenty of fish.
In this episode, Tom further explores the tactics involved in finding Trout in rivers. As Tom explains, during the day in bright conditions, Trout will often seek areas that provide refuge, only moving into more open water when a hatch starts or when the light fades during the evening. Differing flow rates through the season can also dictate the positions and lies they take up. During the Winter, when flows will be heavier, Trout prefer deeper, slower water, will feed less and be less willing to move to intercept food items. In late Spring and Summer, fish move into faster water where they can intercept the most food, so riffles can be an excellent place to find them. During flooded conditions, Tom explains that the flow rate near the river bed doesn't change that much so Trout will often be in their usual lies but holding the bottom or in slack water near the sides. In the main, the various Trout species live in similar lies in a River but as Tom suggests. Rainbow Trout have a faster metabolism and are better suited to faster water than Cutthroats and Browns. Rainbow Trout are also more migratory and will move up and down the river at will, so just because you caught them in one pool one week, doesn't mean they will be there next. Tom goes on to talk through the various classifications of streams and rivers and their characteristics, which can help provide an insight into the kinds of places to find Trout before you go. Freestone, Limestone, Spring Creeks, Tailwaters all need different approaches and Tom expertly guides us through them.
Prospecting for Trout
Approaching a new river can be daunting at times, so Tom reveals his strategy for this challenge and how to start prospecting for Trout in rivers. Prior preparation is crucial and this can be done through web searches for catch reports and flow data, as well as calling in to a local fly shop for advice and some local patterns of course. Google Earth can also be useful for bigger rivers revealing, riffles, bends, bridges and access areas. On arrival at a river, Tom likes to find a vantage point where he can see large areas of the river and identify sections to try. He'll often start at the head of a pool which is always a good area, avoiding shallow runs or overly slow water. Finding water that runs around 1ft per second is often ideal and this can be identified by throwing something in and watching. Tom reveals the 10 flies he would take anywhere in the world with him to prospect for Trout which include Black Woolly Bugger, Parachute Adams, Copper John, Kaufmann Stimulator, Pheasant Tail, Zebra Midge, Sulpur Sparkle Dun, Elk Hair Caddis and Black Foam Beetle. Pete Kutcher demonstrates how to make stealthy casts when approaching fish for the first time. Tom puts all this information into practice as he approaches a new streams and walks us through his tactics.
Insect hatches provide the best times to catch Trout and in this episode Tom teaches us how to identify flies and how to imitate and present them to the fish. Aquatic flies fall into 4 main groups namely, Mayflies, Stoneflies, Caddis Flies and Midges and its important to be able to recognize these. Trout will feed on these in all of their life stages and are often fixated on a particular stage. Tom talks us through the various life stages of these insects and how the Trout intercept them. At the beginning of a hatch the Trout will intercept the nymphs but as the hatch intensifies, Trout will feed at all levels of the water column and often feeding on the emerging insects as they become trapped in the surface film. Tom shows us the various rise forms and how they can reveal what type of insect the fish are taking and at what stage. A perfect representation isn't generally needed but the size and profile of the imitation can be crucial. Tom talks us through how to present dry flies and emergers before Pete Kutcher shows us the Reach cast which is an ideal cast to present a drag free drift.
In this episode Tom is looking into the world of indicators and dry droppers which are deadly methods when fishing subsurface nymph patterns. Tom shows us the myriad of indicator options that are on the market today from the Thingamabobber to yarn indicators. Tom loves the yarn ones especially in slacker water as they cast better and are extremely sensitive to bites. The other option is to use a Dry Dropper or New Zealand style rig where the nymph is suspended directly below a large dry fly and as Tom explains this works well when there is a hatch on and the fish are not totally rooted to the bottom. There's also the chance that the fish will take the dry fly thus increasing your chances. Tom shows us how to correctly set the indicator to the right depth depending on water depth so that the flies fish in the strike zone. Different weighted flies are required in different water conditions and we learn how to select the right flies to fish correctly under the indicator and in some circumstances with the addition of split shot on the line. Finally we take a look at good combinations of flies to fish under indicators.
Tom is looking at Bonefish in this episode, one of his favourite best species to catch on a fly. Tom starts by examining where Bonefish reside, their feeding habits and how the tides affect their movements and behaviour. Tom's on a flat in the Bahamas, fishing an area he hasn't been to before but by using his knowledge of Bonefish is able to find the right areas to focus on. Smaller fish tend to be found in large schools, with the bigger fish either alone or in small pods and Tom shows us how best to spot them in various conditions. Tom talks us through various Bonefish fly patterns and the different weights you'll need them in before going through the rods, reels, lines and leaders to use. Next we learn how tp present the fly to Bonefish, strike, play and release the fish quickly. Andros guide, David Nemour explains how he studies the fishes reaction to the fly to determine how close to cast to them as sometimes they need it in front of their noses and other times they will move some distance to take it. Tom talks through retrieves that works before going into detail about playing fish. Good casting is critical to success with Bonefish and Pete Kutcher give some invaluable tips on casting accurately to Bonefish.
Great Lakes Steelhead
Steelhead or lake run Rainbows are prevalent in the tributaries, creeks and rivers of the Great Lakes with some terrific fly fishing available to both Canadian and US anglers. Tom grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario and loves fishing for these hard fighting fish. During Spring and Fall, these fish come out of the lakes and run up the rivers and these are the times that fly anglers target them. Tom meets up with Jeff Blood on a small stream and they discuss how to find the right water to target these fish in. Having come from a large body of water in the lake into a small stream, Tom explains that pools that contain plenty of structure and shelter are great to target. These fish also like current and will often be found in the main flow rather than in slack water and Jeff proves this instantly catching a nice Steelhead on his indicator rig. Tom finds some nice water below and has a great fight with a hefty Steelhead that took his egg pattern. Tom demonstrates the two main methods for catching Steelhead; dead drifting flies and swinging them and we look at the rigs and flies you'll need to use. Pete Kutcher also shows us two fantastic casts, the Double Spey and the Snap T, which are are perfect when swinging streamers for Steelhead on double handed rods.
In the final episode, Tom meets up with Phil Rowley to uncover some advanced Stillwater techniques which he freely admits isn't his specialty. Firstly Phil discusses indicator fishing on stillwaters which requires a different thought process and leader set up to fish effectively. He demonstrates how to tie up his preferred indicator rig before showing us how he suspends his flies at the right depth. Roll casts are best to present the line as it tends to avoid tangles more than overhead casting techniques. Phil discusses how to cover water effectively and keep his flies in the strike zone before discussing Balanced Flies which hang horizontally under an indicator giving a more natural presentation. Phil then discusses straight line nymphing and shows Tom how he builds a long leader to cover the depth required. If imitative patterns aren't working, you'll need to try attractors and Phil takes us through Boobies, Blobs and FABS which originated in the UK and are now taking hold in the US and are lethal for Trout in stillwaters. Phil talks us through various dropper sets up which are invaluable when stillwater fishing, allowing yu to fish different patterns at different depths.
Striped Bass are a fantastic species to catch on the fly, being big, aggressive and residing in a variety of habitats through the year. They can be caught from boats out in open water and also in shallow water next to the shore making them a very accessible fish to target. Predominantly found on the East Coast, they are a migratory fish which winter and spawn in large brackish estuaries like the Hudson and Chesapeake Bay before moving Northwards to the Summer feeding grounds. Feeding on baitfish, squid and crabs, Stripers can be caught throughout the day and night with the best conditions dependent largely on tides. Tom shows us the best places to find Striped Bass in various conditions and around certain features, plus the telltale signs that give away their positions. Tom takes to the boat and catches a big Striper, and demonstrates the best way to fight and land one. He then talks us through the kind of rods and lines you'll need plus some killer fly patterns to try. This is a fantastic episode for anyone interested in starting to fly fish for Stripers plus there's plenty of advanced info for those of you who already have the Striper bug.
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