How To Fish Stillwaters

February 2nd, 2004

Stillwaters, lakes, ponds and reservoirs are the most underutilized fisheries in the North America. Why? Because the average fly fisher doesn't know how to fish them, or where to start. Stay tuned, you too can master stillwaters! ~ LadyFisher

Float Tube Magic
Leaders and more

By Patricia C. Pothier

The leader, which is tied to the end of the fly line, is usually made of clear monofilament nylon which is considerably less conspicuous than the heavier fly line. The leader transfers energy from the rod and fly line down to the fly and gives more freedom for the fly to move naturally. Leader material comes in spools ($2.75 - 2.95) or different weight with the heaviest (0X) .011 in diameter and 15 pound test (will not break with 15 pound weight). The lightest (7X) is .004 in diameter and 1.9 pound test. This monofilament leader material is used for building new leaders or replacing used sections of leader.

For lake fishing with sinking fly lines you can simply use the same weight/test leader material thorough your leader. This is called a straight leader and can be attached to the fly line with a nail knot, braided loop or no-knot eyelet. With frequent changes of fly, you leader will shorten and if your leader breaks off in weeds or underwater obstructions you can replace you loss quite readily with either the braided loop or no-knot eyelet set up.

Your straight leader will usually be about as long as your rod. Both the length and weight leader will depend on the fishing conditions. You want to have a leader that is strong enough to bring in the size fish you expect to catch and perhaps weather[ibid] an encounter with a heavy weed bed, while still not so heavy to spool the fish.

Pocket Stuffers and Attachments

Since your tube has pockets in the back and at each arm rest, you don't need the usual fishing vest. You might want to carry a camera in a sealed plastic bag in the back pocket where it is least likely to get wet. If you really want to know how heavy the fish is that you catch, pack away a small fish scale ($7-30). One side pocket will be pretty much filled with the reels and spools of leader material that are needed for exploring the various depths of the lake and the other might be devoted to your fly boxes. When selecting fly boxes ($5 - 50) for lake fishing, look for fairly large boxes that will fit into your zippered pocket and which are specially designed for nymphs, wet flies and streamers and that do not rust when they get wet.

Since you will be spending a good amount of time in your tube, and a fish feeding frenzy might run right through lunch hour, you might want to have a sealed plastic bag with some high energy munchies to carry you over. Although you might be tempted to bring along a flask of water, this is not such a good idea since resultant elimination is a problem for tubers and a trip to the shore when fish are feeding is to be avoided at all costs. In fact, it is a good practice to limit your fluid intake in the morning before taking off for a float tubing trips. Gum and lemon balls in the stash can ease your thirst.

You tube pockets should be about full now, but you still have your O-rings on which to attach a few more needed pieces of equipment. Your large landing net ($20-60) on an extendable cord should be attached on the side opposite your reeling hand. In order not to harm fish, the netting should be of soft natural material. Sometimes you may want to keep a fish because it is injured, mountable or even to eat. To keep the fish alive and fresh, you need to attach it to a string ($3-10) which is also attached to an O-ring. It is best to place the stringer on the side opposite the net so that the fish doesn't get entangled in the net. On your dominant hand side, you can attach a forceps and line clipper on a cord where they can be readily available, but tossed out of the way when you don't need them. Small forceps ($5-6) are very helpful in removing hooks from big fish jaws. A final piece of equipment is a thermometer ($5) on an long (30ft) line to check the temperature at different levels. This gives you better clues as to when and where fish might be feeding. By marking the line at 10 foot intervals, you can also use the line as a depth finder. ~ PCP

Continued next time.

Credits: Excerpt from Float Tube Magic By Patricia C. Potheir, published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

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