Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, Fly Fisher & Author, FreeFlight Publishing

Note from J. Stockard: Earlier this week we published the first half of Mike’s Baker’s Dozen of Tips & Tricks. Here’s the final seven.

  1. I LOVE those strong net magnets they have now, which hang the net off the back collar of the vest. So easy to hike without the net snagging briars, and to get a net ready for an incoming fish, and to re-snap it with perfect magnet alignment to the back of the vest when done. Also, you have a strong magnet handy should you ever drop a #22 Adams in the grass at your feet. I got a 12-pound (rather than an 8-pound or 5-pound) version, and the strength is ideal. (The only thing to watch is that if you drop your net in the sand, depending on where you are the magnet may pick up magnetic sand/grit particles, which can be tenacious as all get-out to completely remove from the corners of the magnet…although the tip of a dry cotton rag works pretty well if swiped repeatedly.)
  2. I keep a camera ready–there are always amazing things to see and later share, some of them fish, some other critters, some just the way the light ripples over the stones of a shoal. One viable choice is a GoPro or similar in its standard waterproof case, because it’ll do video and stills, and you can tether it to the vest without concern of moisture, and then you needn’t fumble to get it out of a plastic bag if a world-class shot presents itself. But a phone camera also works if you can guarantee its dryness.
  3. Those pencil-shaped clinch knot tiers are terrific time-savers, especially with numb or shaky fingers and tiny flies. Tie one on a string so there’s no worry of losing it.
  4. Compared to those clinch knot tools, in my humble opinion the various blood knot tools I know of are less convenient to use…not easy when crading a rod under one arm while standing buffeted by cold swift water. And I don’t like to waste precious inches of good fluoro tippet trying. So when I can, I tie up my subsurface leaders using tippet rings. Especially when I’m nymphing and the leader will go largely unnoticed, I find those little things convenient. On the water I can use my clinch knot tier to add more tippet simply by tying it to the ring the way I’d tie on a fly. No need to make a more time-consuming blood knot or drop tippet remnants into the drink.
  5. For a long time I used multi-nymph rigs on the theory that I could more quickly find out what the fish want on a given day. Turns out it doesn’t save me much time–I can do just about as well tying on a single fly, testing it for a few minutes, and then switching, if needed, to another. If I do use multiple nymphs, three is usually a tangle or algae-gathering exercise waiting to happen. Ditto two nymphs where each dangles from its own bit of tippet. Dropping one off the bend of the other’s hook is workable, I’ve found, except that it’s not really a fair test anyway because they’ll ride at different depths. And a single fly is so much more enjoyable to cast and drift–simplicity is one of fly fishing’s great fortes. So I use two flies only if one facilitates the proper fishing of the other–like a dry-dropper or emerger-larva scheme. Else I avoid tangles (and, again, expletives) and keep it simple with a single fly.
  6. Speaking of magnets, you can buy a 30-inch roll of adhesive flexible magnet material in a hardware store for a buck and a half. This stuff is great–even a quarter square inch of it stuck in the inside corner of your fly box lid lets you pull a fly or two out and drop them on the magnetic stuff securely, until you’re ready to sort or select or inspect or replace back in the box. Other uses abound as well.
  7. And finally, one of my simplest, most favorite little tricks is this: Like most of us, I wear a fishing vest out there, and like most it has one of those wool (or fake-wool) patches on which I’m supposed to be able to stick flies securely until I’m ready to use them or put them away. But while they’re a cinch to put into the wool, I always struggle to get them free. I then have ratty wool strands hanging out in the air, and wool to pick off the hook’s barb, and the risk of droppage while doing all that. Well, what about a better solution? What do all flies have in common? A hook of course, and it’s always made of steel. So go to the hardware store, plunk down about four bucks, and come away with a handful of those disc-shaped super-magnets that are anywhere between a quarter inch and a half inch in diameter. Dirt cheap, and incredibly strong! Take two of them and put one on either side of your fishing vest’s cloth, at the chest somewhere; they’ll snap into place wherever you think is a good spot; no sewing or gluing needed. One will be on the outside, and believe me it won’t move or come off. Then next time you pull a fly from the box, put it within a half-inch of that exposed magnetic circle, and CLINK! As secure as you’ll ever need, regardless of tornadoes or I think even dunkings. Put several of them around on your vest as you like, exactly where you like; they’re like a third hand, and they’re terrific. (They can also be placed such that a safety pin attached to the lid of a pocket will stick to them and hold the pocket open for you. Or a million other fly vest uses.)

Well, those are a few tricks I use and love. Reply to this article and share your own! Maybe we can get a database of great tricks and tips going.

Note from J. Stockard:  Michael Vorhis is the author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller…which has some fly fishing in it…and of adventure thriller OPEN DISTANCE, based on aviation and the deep sea.

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