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Land O' Sky TU Newsletter "Tight Lines"

Started by teachrtec, December 26, 2005, 20:58:44 PM

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Tight Lines

LOS Chapter Newsletter

December  2005

North Mills Stocking Dates 2006

March 2nd - Wednesday

April 6th    -  Wednesday

May 2nd    -   Monday

Usual time and place.

Contact Don Bellm at:  to let him know you can help.   

A very special thank you for the volunteers who assisted with the November stocking:

Jeff Curtis
Dick Heald
Mike Hayes
Don Bellm
David Wells
Randall Hinshaw
Adam Shy
Ron Bradford
Patrick Shrimplin
Barry Mathis
Jim Hefley
Tad Dixon
Seth Rhinehart

High School Students Getting a Taste of Fly Fishing

Brad Sprinkle

I got the opportunity to teach a group of high school students some of the basics of fly fishing. The students were involved in an Environmental Science II class. I was given 2 days to cover fly fishing so needless to say it was an overview.

Day 1 was in the classroom so I took my normal gear in. The students were hanging on every topic. I'm sure I missed a lot of things to talk about, but they seemed interested in what I had to say. My major theme was conservation and obeying the rules.

Day 2 we went to the stream. I found some water on the local DH stream where they could hear me and see the process. I managed to get a couple of fish to rise and a nice rainbow to hand. The bow impressed them :) I released quickly after with conservation discussed again. We ended with some rock rolling to show them the entomology of the sport.

I had a really good experience and recommend that you take time to teach a kid to fish. Those 16 students made those two days a rewarding time.

Reach Mends

Steve Parrott

If you're capable of picking a pen up off a desk top, you can make what I consider to be the most valuable core mends in fly fishing--the "four foundation reach mends," as I call them. You need not learn any new casts, nor any other specialized skills. All you need is the ability to make an overhead cast and you'll be set to conquer both wind and water drag.

It is important to keep in mind that these reach mends are in-the-air mends, meaning that they're made after the cast has been completed (after the stop), but before the line falls completely to the water's surface. As such, it's necessary to stop the rod high enough on the forward cast in order to make certain that the line straightens over the water and not down on to it.

You also need to understand timing before you start mending. Fortunately, it's relatively straightforward: The sooner you reach after you stop the rod, the farther along the line you can put the reach. For example, waiting until almost all of the line has fallen to the water and then reaching will result in a short mend near the rod tip. Conversely, reaching immediately after the rod has stopped will put a mend along the whole length of line. Also, the amount that you reach has a bearing on the final results. Just barely twitching your arm will create only a slight change in line position. Reaching to the maximum your anatomy allows will modify the line position greatly. Regardless of how soon or how much you mend, keep the motions smooth, controllable, and relatively slow.

There is one major caveat to have in mind before the instruction begins: As you reach, you'll notice that the fly will be pulled toward you unless you shoot line during the reaching motion. This type of fly re-positioning can be beneficial in some cases. For example, you may wish to over-cast an area and then pull the fly exactly to the target. Most of the time, however, you want the fly to stay its course. So, just shoot line as you reach. The fly will go to the target as desired, and the line will be mended as needed. What's really nice is that the timings for both reach mending and shooting are exactly the same. It's just reach/shoot in one smooth, clean motion.

As with other casts and mends, pantomiming significantly reduces the learning curve of the four foundation reaches. Pantomiming allows you to concentrate fully on your arm and hand, which are the motivating forces behind the rod and line. Move your arm and hand correctly and the rod and line will follow as desired.

The first of the four foundation reach mends is the reach right. Pantomime a normal overhead casting stroke. Then, after stopping the rod on the forward stroke, simply tip (reach) your arm to the right. That's all there is to it. Try the cast/mend sequence again, but this time tip (reach) only your wrist over. Do it once more, but this time reach your whole arm out to the right. This reach right puts the fly line to your right side. If your had to cast across a current that was flowing right to left, such a reach would assist you in preventing drag. Also, a reach right can be used to combat a right-side wind. How about presenting a fly or casting around an obstacle up-current? Well, a reach right will allow you to cast straight up-current to a fish, but put the line to the right side, preventing you from "lining" the quarry. It will also allow you to lay the line to the side of a rock or weed clump, making it seem as if you had actually cast from another position entirely.

Ready for the reach left? Again, make a pantomimed cast, but then reach your arm to the left. That's it. Instead of combating currents or wind on your right side, it combats them on your left. All else is the same as for the reach right.

With both the reach right and reach left, make certain you don't reach so hard and fast that you yank the fly off its intended pathway to the target.

Next is the reach down, primarily used when casting up-current. This reach is best done by stopping the rod 60 degrees or so above the horizontal on the forward cast. You can tilt the entire casting plane back a bit or use an elliptical stroke to facilitate the high stop point. So, pantomime a cast, but stop a little higher than usual. Then, reach down like you're putting the rod tip right onto the water's surface (which is exactly what you'd do). This mend may seem familiar--it's really nothing more than a basic puddle cast which has been covered in another article. This mend results in the line "puddling" down to the water's surface in "S"-curves, each one of them fighting individual currents. The reach down is one of the secrets to success on drag-laden waters.

What's remaining? The reach up, used primarily for fishing down-current. As before, make a pantomimed cast, but then reach your arm up and back as if making another backcast (but not fast enough to actually cast the line). You'll be left with a mend that looks very much like a yet-to-be-completed roll cast, with the fly dragging in the water. All you need to do then is lower the rod tip, feeding line at the same rate at which the current takes it. In this manner you can cast to a fish holding down-current of your position, and then feed a fly in with perfect accuracy and no drag. In super-tough drag situations, this mend--often called a "parachute" mend--can really save the day.

Of course these four foundation mends aren't the limit to what you can do. You can combine them for all sorts of neat presentations. Try a reach right combined with a reach down. Or a reach left combined with a reach up. Or a reach right followed by a reach left (a curve mend). Or a reach up followed by a reach down (a hump mend).

Since the roll cast and the overhead cast are the same cast (as far as the stroke goes; energies are a bit different), it follows that you should be able to make these four foundation mends with a roll cast, too. Well, you can. And you can do them with a spey cast, a steeple cast, a sidearm cast, a...I think you get the idea. In the end, remember that the four foundation reach mends are nothing but some arm motions. They're not even part of the cast proper, and as such, you can vary them infinitely to match infinite fishing conditions. Take a few minutes to learn and practice them and you'll soon be reaching your way to more fish.


North Shore Road Update
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Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is looking forward to a wonderful New Year. I am in need of input on the newsletter and website.  I need some of the vast knowledge and experience of the LOSTU members to contribute to the newsletter. Articles, meeting notes from the committees, and any personal experience that you would like to share.

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