Daniel Planted Bug
Inside the Outdoors, June 1
, 2012

Ask any fly fisherman what he uses for bait, and he will tell you something that imitates some kind of insect. Now, I have often thought on and off how much fun it may be if I fly fish, but never got the bug, so to speak. After listening to National Fly Fishing Champion George Daniel during the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail Rendezvous at Hidden Valley, I’m now compelled to want to wade into the waters of Loyalhanna Creek or Keystone State Park Lake and swing a rod with a fly on the end of my line.

Known for his expertise on dynamic nymphing, the same subject on which he titled his recent book, the Gold Medallist passed along advice, techniques and tricks he learned by mastering this art ever since he was six.

One of the suggestions he dwelled upon initially was the use of weight. “One of the biggest mistakes anglers make,” he said, “is that they use too much weight.” He emphasized that the fly must be presented so it looks natural when it falls on the water. “Most the time you will want a natural drift.” Makes sense when you think of it. No fish will even give lunch a second thought if his food doesn’t look appetizing.

He then compared fly angling of the Americans to Europeans. “Trout fishermen want to complicate things. They carry hundred of flies. Europeans carry one fly.” That is definitely food for thought and does make life easier.

The certified Federation of Fly Fishers fly casting instructor then moved on to the use of weighted flies. “These are easier to tie rather than putting split shot on your line,” he said. “And keep in mind, split shot creates weakness in your line.”

Since he travels throughout the United States, he recommended anglers tie flies that can be used nationally no matter where one goes such as the Green Drake. He also suggested anglers carry two types of flies – one for shallow and the other for very deep waters.

The subject of leader and tying knots to caught my attention. I’ve tried to understand knots ever since I got into the sport of fishing. Loop knots have always been my favorite. However, what Daniel showed his audience got me “high strung” on one I will probably use in the future. I did not catch the name of it, but I’ll try to describe it for the purposes of future use if you are an angler, fly and otherwise.

Take the line and put a fly or hook on it, bend it around so that you are holding the looped line with either hand. Stick your index finder in the hole and twist the line forward several times and then removing it and inserting the loop in the circle where the hook is and pulling the line taught. How simple is that? Of course, clip off excess line.

“Build into your leader for visibility,” Daniel said. It always helps to see your line upon presentation. Attaching the proper length tippet is key once one has tied on the leader. This is a type line that has a large diameter on one end similar to the fly line. As one will note, its diameter will lessen in size as it gets closer to the other end so as to be small enough to fit into the eye of the fly hook. There is no such thing as tying the fly onto the fly line for various reasons, but most of all, because the line would not fit. Daniel advised anglers to tie tippets to tippet rings. He then educated anglers as to length of tippet. “If one is fishing in four feet of water, he should have four feet of leader,” he said.

Daniel than talked about the importance of keeping the rod at 90 degrees and the methods used to attract fish. “Twitch the rod occasionally and that will give the fly a jerking motion that will attract the fish. This could be done while fishing up or downstream. All in all, his talk unraveled any questions listeners may have had that afternoon pertaining to the sport.

I highly recommend getting his book, Dynamic Nymph Fishing, Tactics, Techniques, and Flies from around the World published by Stackpole Books. If you are a true fly angler, it’s one of those “must buy” books that will furnish all the information you need to become an excellent angler. In addition, it is one keepsake, I will treasure for years to years come, especially now that I really have the bug of the sport.

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Just a note to inform anglers that Cabelas, with the help of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has stocked tagged trout worth money in Keystone State Park Lake in a program titled, “Wanna Go Fishing For Millions.” So far, according to a PFBC, two anglers have hit pay dirt, hooking two $500 fish. Go on Cabela’s website (www.cabelas.com/fishformillions) to read the rules and then register. You could be a winner – who knows. Here’s a tip. Fish very early in the morning, before the sun comes up or toward evening. Otherwise you may find yourselves arm to arm with other anglers. The contest goes until July 8.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.