Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fly Fishing Legend Shares More

Fly fishing author Philip Weigall's latest book "Fishing Sense" (Exisle Publishing)is a must read for any serious Australian Trout Fisherman .

A perfect book for Father’s Day , Philip knows the mind of a trout inside out and over many decades of flyfishing has learnt the ideal conditions that will make catching your next big trout a success.

In "Fishing Sense", Philip Weigall reveals what he calls his flyfishing “truths” - “After decades of flyfishing, I find that much of what I learn and discover only leads to more questions, in large part because, as hard as I try, I cannot actually get inside the head of a fish, or in this specific case, a trout. So rather than making any claim to have ‘nailed’ flyfishing for trout in a single book, this one is simply about those things that have become, if you like, my flyfishing ‘truths’.”

Chapters in Fishing Sense include:

A bit about trout“While some people are obstinately uninterested in flyfishing, most can at least be persuaded that trout are interesting animals. Suppose you are a trout. Your field of vision is so wide that the only blind spot is a small area behind your head. You can use either eye independently to scan for food or danger then, if you want to grab a dragonfly scooting along a metre above the water, you can employ both eyes to precisely calibrate distance and snatch it from mid air. Meanwhile, your capacity to see in low light is extraordinary — even a cloudy, moonless night provides ample illumination to locate prey.”

Feeding“Part of the reason trout have become such an iconic sportfish in both hemispheres is surely tied in with their feeding behaviour. Before I go any further, I need to remind me as much as you that trout are comparatively primitive predators. They can’t reason like we can, they eat their own babies if they can catch them, and they can’t analyse things well enough to avoid taking flies with obvious, protruding fish hooks.”

Hiding“Trout are incredibly good at hiding. In terms of physiology, they have cells called chromatophores in their skin that are capable of quite chameleon-like feats. Chromatophores can very quickly lighten or darken the skin in response to changes in a trout’s background. When transferring trout from shady hatchery ponds to cream-coloured fibreglass transport tanks, I’ve watched the fish lighten in a matter of minutes.”

Cover“Trout love cover and being aware of this simple fact has caught me more fish than I can hope to count. Of course, flyfishers mostly don’t like cover, not intuitively anyway. Overhead structure makes casting and fly presentation more difficult, while subsurface cover like weed and snags can catch the fly. Deliberately seeking clutter doesn’t come naturally, but if you can force yourself to do it, fish-catching opportunities improve immeasurably.”

Water temperature“There are few natural variables more significant to trout fishing than water temperature, and yet this element is among the most widely misunderstood by flyfishers. That’s if it’s not ignored altogether. Trout are rightly classified as cold-water fish. They can tolerate chilly water up to the point when it actually freezes solid. Short of being set in a block of ice, the only negative effect trout suffer as the temperature drops towards zero is a slowing metabolism and therefore a reduced demand for food — more a problem for fishing than the fish, which we’ll cover later.”

Fishing Sense is a beautifully presented book and is sure to thrill flyfishermen in pursuit of their next big catch! Available August 2011 in selected bookstores and online.

About the AuthorPhilip Weigall is considered to be one of the best writers on flyfishing in Australia. Philip has been flyfishing since he was a young child and has built his career around guiding, teaching and writing about his favourite pastime. He currently is a flyfishing guide and instructor at Millbrook Lakes, Victoria, and otherwise fishes and travels as often as he can. Philip has been writing regularly on all things flyfishing for twenty years. He is presently a columnist and feature writer for Freshwater Fishing magazine, and editor of Flyfisher magazine.

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