Sunday Classic / 13 Proven Streamer Patterns for Trout

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This past Monday I wrote an article stressing about the importance of experimenting with different streamer retrieve speeds and stripping lengths, until you find a winning combination that the trout find the most enticing. Generally, when you’re paying close enough attention when your streamer fishing, you’ll notice one type of streamer retrieve that works hands down better than the rest. If you don’t find this to be the case and you’re not catching fish with streamers, it probably isn’t the best tactic for the day you’re fishing. My testimony and theories provided in my previous post were gathered from many years of streamer fishing for trout, but were validated and backed up further from guide trips as recent as this past week. We had several comments on the post, with one of our followers requesting I write a follow up post showcasing some of my favorite streamer patterns. Here you go Matt.

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Saturday Shoutout / Thanks Perk

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Watch the video!

Here is a digital copy of a full page ad in the Miami Herald, an open letter to Governor Rick Scott and the FL legislature from Orvis CEO Perk Perkins.

It’s refreshing, in these days of corporate excess, to see a company and it’s leaders put their money where their mouths are. I don’t know of a company in fly fishing who does more for the natural resources we enjoy than Orvis. In particular, through the vision of Perk Perkins.

I don’t know Perk well. We email once in a while and I know him to be a thoughtful guy. I do know him by his deeds, and especially his work in conservation. The list of organizations he has sat on the boards of is impressive. More impressive is the 5% of pre-tax profits Orvis donates to conservation.

Orvis has dedicated itself to the Now or Neverglades campaign. Running this ad, which is sure to ruffle some very powerful feathers In the sugar industry took backbone. It would have been much easier to play it safe, and much less effective.

Good work Perk! And thank you for all that you do for us, the angling community.

IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS VIDEO, PLEASE TAKE A MINUTE TO WATCH.

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Reece’s Big Bandit

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By Bob Reece

THE COMBINATION OF SIMPLICITY AND EFFECTIVENESS ARE APPRECIATED BY MANY FLY TIERS.

Constructed from three major body materials, the Big Bandit epitomizes this concept. Its simple construction eases the time invested in the tying process while its effectiveness on the water justifies a place in your streamer box.

In the world of double articulated streamers, the Big Bandit is a mid-sized model. Its profile effectively imamates creek chubs, young sucker fish, shiners and more. The ingredients of rabbit strips, MFC Sexi-Floss and Hareline Ripple Ice Fiber; create a realistic and reflective pattern. Capped off with a Fly Men Fish Mask, this streamer has the capability to match numerous bait fish species and subsequently draw large fish.

Long shanked hooks have frequently been used in the creation of streamer patterns. While they may not impact the effectiveness of the fly in in terms of takes, they do reduce the likelihood of fish-to-net success. The foundation at the heart of this pattern helps to turn the odds in the angler’s favor. Owner Mosquito hooks are designed with a short shank and offset hook point. The short shank reduces the leverage that the fish can apply during the fight. This reduction in leverage also reduces the chance of the hook coming lose. In addition to this, the offset point increases the likelihood of connecting with the fish on the set.

I’ve never spoken to a fly fisher that is opposed to bringing more large fish to net. As long as you as you fall into that category, the Big Bandit should find its way to the foam lining of your streamer box. Mix and match the material colors of this pattern to the norms of your local waters and begin reaping the rewards.

WATCH THE VIDEO AND LEARN TO TIE REECE’S BIG BANDIT.

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Fast Action Fly Rods And The Fly Lines That make Us Love Them

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Selecting the right fly line for your fast action fly rod isn’t as easy as it used to be.

I have found myself having this conversation with three different anglers this week. That’s generally a good sign that it’s time to write something on the topic. There’s plenty to write on the topic of choosing a fly line. Fly lines have become increasingly specialized and more numerous. You can buy a line for any species of fish alive, for any style of fishing, for specific destinations, and now Winston has started selling lines specifically for their rod. A strategy I’d be shocked to not see adopted by other companies.

The decision is further complicated by the action of today’s fast action rods. Some of these modern hotrods can be pretty finicky about the lines they throw. The exact fly line which works for you and your fly rod is best determined by trial and error, but I’m going to try to eliminate some of the variables and get you started in the right direction.

2 Kinds of fast.

When it comes to fast action fly rods, it’s important to understand what makes your rod fast. The term “fast” refers to the recovery rate of the rod. That’s the time it takes for the rod to return to straight from a flexed position. The less time it takes to recover from the flex, the faster the action.

Traditionally, “fast” has meant “stiff”. The way rod designers have made fly rods faster has been to throw graphite at the problem, adding material to make a stiffer rod. These rods became so stiff that many anglers struggled to load them. Line manufacturers responded by making heavier fly lines. Before long, experienced anglers started to realize that they were putting 6-weight lines on their 5-weight rods and started to ask, “why are we calling this a 5-weight, anyway?”

A fair question, and as more anglers grumbled about it, rod companies started to respond by making fly rods with more accessible actions. A new type of fast action rod started to emerge. These rods had fast recovery rates, not because they were stiff but

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Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

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Five long years had past since I’d last set foot on a flats boat in the Florida Keys.

My previous trip I had left the keys vowing to not return until I was a more capable saltwater fly fisher. A few things were in my favor this time around. The five years that elapsed, had allowed me to drastically increase my fly casting skills. I wasn’t worried anymore about making quick backhand casts to tarpon trying to slip out the backdoor. Targets at eighty feet no longer seemed an impossible distance to reach, and most importantly, I had permanently imprinted in my brain, “Thou shall never set thy hook like a trout fisherman”. There was no doubt I was going to be much more prepared this trip, but even with all the drastic improvements in my saltwater game, I’d still have to cope with being rusty as hell.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
I don’t recall whether it was Louis or I that came up with the saying, “Don’t get mad, get even”. What I do know is I started silently chanting those five words on the bow after both of us blew shots at high happy tarpon that first day of fishing. It had become crystal clear to me that the worst thing saltwater anglers can do to themselves is get mad and lose their cool on the water. Doing so, anglers will almost certainly throw away any chances of having success. If you blow a cast or screw up a hook set, the best thing you can do is

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Making The Connection- Saltwater

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Watch the Video!

By Louis Cahill

How do you connect your leader to fly line when the pressure is really on?

This is sure to be a lively topic. I wasn’t aware this was such a hot button topic until I published an article by Devin Olsen titled, “Making The Connection,” and watched the comment section light up. Unfortunately a couple of readers missed the point completely. All too often, anglers are more interested in talking about how they do things than they are in learning something new.

Well, talking about how I do things is my job so here we go, I guess. I got to thinking about this after I made the mistake of responding to a post on Facebook. I know, what was I thinking? An angler was puzzling about the coating of his fly line separating from the core. He was using a nail knot to connect his leader to the fly line for bonefishing, and I made the comment that a nail knot was not a good choice for saltwater.

He responded, “I’ve been using a nail Knot for 20 years and never had a problem before now!”

Well, now he’s having a problem. Sure you can get away with lots of choices that aren’t the best choices, but when do you think the problem is going to happen? When you hook a half-pound schoolie or when you stick a 10-pound bruiser? I don’t know about you, but I want everything working in my favor, every cast.

Your fly line is a composite of two materials. A coating formed over some kind of core. The material of each varies depending on the line and the manufacturer. Think of your fly line as an electrical wire with a copper core and plastic insulation. A nail knot pinches the coating to the core. When you apply pressure to the leader, you’ve made a wire stripper. Pressure from the fish stretches the coating and not the core. You’re asking for a failure.

A nail knot is fine for species like trout.

Your tippet will generally fail long before your nail knot. Regardless, I believe in always making the best choice when it come to rigging. For my money, there are two good options for attaching line to leader in saltwater, where your connection is really going to get tested.

One good choice is

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All New G&G Bahamas Bonefish Schools

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Big changes are coming for the 2018 Bahamas Bonefish School, Jan 13-20 and 20-27, 2018.

The Bonefish School on South Andros is one of our most popular trips. It’s hands down the best way to shorten the learning curve for saltwater fly fishing and build the skills and good habits you need to be a successful and self-sufficient saltwater angler. Many anglers return year after year to enjoy the camaraderie, the laid-back atmosphere and the amazing fishing on South Andros.

This season we are upgrading the experience with a new venue. I will be hosting 2 weeks at the famous Bair’s Lodge. Part of the Nervous Waters family, Bair’s offers a relaxed, unpretentious vibe with personal service and amenities unmatched on the island. Delicious food, an exceptional guide staff, a fleet of brand new Maverick skiffs and an in-house fly shop are just a few of the things which set Bair’s apart. I am excited to be partnering with them to provide the best experience possible. Check out the Bair’s site; you’ll like what you see.

“Reid and I both could not have asked for a better trip — in large part thanks to time you dedicated to answering our numerous questions and to teach us about everything from strip setting to casting to tying flies and leaders. We learned more about fishing in our one week at South Andros than we have in our entire lives previously.”- John Hamilton

NOT SURE HOW HOSTED TRIPS WORK? CLICK HERE.

The School

Don’t stress, there will not be a test. The Bonefish School is as laid back as it gets. On our arrival, I offer my Bonefish 101 primer to anyone who is interested. This brief rundown is designed to prepare you for your week and get you off on the right foot. Anglers who are new to the salt always find it enlightening. Repeat offenders appreciate it as a refresher and as a great opportunity to heckle me!

I will work with you to be sure that you have your gear set up for success and feel confident stepping onto the bow, whether it’s your first time or your thousandth. Each day you will fish with a guide who not only put you on bonefish, but reinforce the techniques needed for success. I will be available to work with you individually as needed, to answer questions, work on casting or just mix drinks. I am there to see that you have the best possible experience. You don’t need any saltwater experience to have a blast and catch plenty of fish.

The Fishing

I’ll never forget how excited I was the first time I visited South Andros. Before my trip I asked a friend what to expect. He thought for a moment and said,

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Sunday Classic / Yellowhammers and Specks

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“I thought you might like these,” my brother Tom holds out an old yellowed envelope. “I found them going through some of Pete’s things.”

William Starling Cahill, who preferred to be called Pete, was my Grandfather and the man who taught me to fly fish. He’s been gone for many years now but from time to time little gems that he left behind will turn up. My brother now lives in Pete’s old house which puts him in a good position to uncover relics.

I open the envelope and into my hand spill two feathers, dark down one edge and bright yellow along the other. “Ooooohh,” I exclaim and catch Tom’s eye, “Unobtainium.”

Yellowhammer is what we call them here in the south. The Yellow Shafted Flicker, a delicate little woodpecker who’s hammering used to echo off the hills of the Southern Appalachians. He’s almost completely silent now, shotgunned to the brink of extinction. Just having those two little feathers now could land me in jail. The Yellowhammer is heavily protected, now that it’s pretty much too late.

Yellowhammer is what we call the fly too. The one that’s tied from those feathers. It’s a wild, buggy looking thing. You wouldn’t expect a trout to eat it, but they do, like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a pattern as old as the little abandoned country church I pass on the gravel mountain road that leads to the stream I don’t tell anyone about. It’s as old as the graves there in the church yard and just as forgotten, but I still fish it.

It’s the perfect fly to catch Southern Appalachian Brook Trout. The Brookie, or Speck as they used to call them, is our only native trout. Forced south from New England by the ice age long before there was an England, new or old. When the ice retreated, like lots of folks who visit the south, the brookies stayed. They evolved, adapted to their new home and, like the Scotts and Irishmen who came to these mountains, they ended up just a little different from their northern cousins.

They are as scarce as the yellowhammer now, but with none

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Saturday Shoutout / Tenkara Tying

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3 Great Videos!

A collection of Kaberi tying videos from Northwest Tenkara.

It’s been a while since we had some good tenkara info so I though I’d share these great tying videos. Like all things tenkara, these flies are simple but effective. I’m especially fond of the Midge Kaberi and I think it’s a better midge imitation than many traditional western flies. This begs the question, should we be fishing midge kaberi on our western fly rods. I think so.

You can find more great Tenkara content at Northwest Tenkara and more videos on their YouTube Channel.

3 GREAT KABERI TYING VIDEOS.

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Tim Rajeff on Casting Heavy Flies: Video

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Watch the Video!

Here are some tips for casting heavy flies and tandem setups without pain or tangles.

No one enjoys casting a lot of weight but sometimes thats what it takes to be effective. all too often it means a lump on the head or spending half your day untying knots. Sound familiar? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.

There’s an easy way to cast weighted flies and avoid the complications. Tim Rajeff is back to show you how to cast the heavy stuff without a helmet.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR MORE CASTING TIPS FROM TIM RAJEFF.

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