Wade to Win

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WADE TO WIN, BY BRUCE CHARD

Wading is an exciting way to experience saltwater flats fishing for species like bonefish and permit. It offers the angler a more personal, mano y mano, experience with his quarry. There are a few skills you’ll need to master for a quality wading experience. These tips should make walking the flats a breeze.

The Wading Ready Position
While wading the saltwater flats, it’s important to find a good, comfortable ready position. This position will help you be relaxed as you stroll quietly through the shallows. You’ll be ready to make a saltwater quick cast with ease.

Here are some pointers that make up a good wading ready position.

•Have the fly line, coming from the first stripping guide, pinched to the cork with your index finger. This helps to load the rod quickly on your first false cast.

•Hold the fly at the bend of the hook or cradled comfortably in your cupped hand.

•Do not let the fly touch anything, from the start of the cast until you present it to the fish. Some anglers like to drop the fly in the water and then cast. This motion causes all kinds of issues. They usually hook themselves and miss the shot.

•You can tuck the cork handle of the rod under you arm pit with the rod tip sticking out behind you . This is a nice way to relax a little and stretch your hands

Line Management While Wading
Here are a couple of fly line management tips that will help you when wading.

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Spotting Big Trout in all the Wrong Places

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One of my home waters that I spend 500 plus hours a year guiding on is notorious for big fish holding in water that most people would consider horrible trout water. I’m talking about water that is less than a foot deep that even veteran anglers would regularly walk by without fishing. The other day guiding I spotted a huge hooked jaw male rainbow pushing 30 inches. It was sitting in plain view on a gravel bar in six inches of water hugged up against the edge of a rhododendron. My partner and I watched the fish feeding regularly for about five minutes, while we planned out our spot and stock. I had seen big fish laying in this shallow gravel bar in the past many times, but nothing this size. Here’s the ironic part, right before we had approached the spot I had just explained how important it was to scan the water, even ridiculous looking shallow water before making a cast in the chances we might spot a big fish.

Heavily pressured fish are smart and often sneaky. I truly believe big trout will

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The First

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TODAY WE HAVE ANOTHER FIRST.

Our first article by Paul Puckett and Paul is about to tell you why firsts are so important. You may know Paul as as one of the most talented painters who has turned his brush to fly fishing. You may know him as the creative mind behind The Flood Tide Co. You may know him as a musician or an angler. Who knew he was also a great writer? Enjoy, The First.

Photo by Louis Cahill
Photo by Louis Cahill
NOW I’M SCREWED!

In the world of fishing, I have had a lot of firsts, with the most recent being a Permit. Leading up to this Permit chase, I had heard everything about this fish being so challenging and finicky, and it wasn’t over-sold. The way I tried to make it happen made it even more challenging. Using an Everglades Special fly failed and I had to switch.

This made me reflect on all of the firsts I have had and now, maybe take for granted. When I say “take for granted,” I mean from the angle of hearing someone say they caught their first Trout on a dry fly, or first Redfish, or first fish at all on a fly rod. I have heard these statements many times, across the counter at a fly shop, over the last twenty years. It has been easy to lack excitement for someone when I hear, “I caught my first,” just because I hear it all the time. But, it is a special time in this sport to have a new first, and I was reminded of that 2 weeks ago.

I remember my first big bass, I was 3 years old, I think, and it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. It was maybe 2 pounds. I remember my first rod, given to me by my dad and grandad. A Zebco 33 “Classic,” with the extra silver trim on it. Better than a Red Rider BB Gun.

I remember the first time I ever saw my Grandfather cast his fly rod. I was mesmerized.
I remember the first time I held and waved that rod after he passed. I was obsessed.

The first time I cast that fly rod

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Guide

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SCOTT IS ALMOST IN TEARS.

He is doubled over laughing. The drag on his reel is screaming. If he doesn’t get his composure soon he’ll likely loose a nice fish. From the platform Josie Sands is steadily chewing his ass.

“No Scott! That was all wrong,” the disgust in his voice palpable.

“But I caught the fish?”

“I don’t care, it’s still wrong.”

Josie is the head bonefish guide at Andros South and his reputation as a hard ass is world renowned. He is relentless, barking direction, criticism and sarcastic commentary from his perch on the stern. Today he’s ripping my buddy Scott a new one for catching a bonefish. Neither Scott or I remember what it was he did wrong, and apparently neither does the fish, but Josie is pissed.

There are a lot of guests at Andros South who will not fish with Josie. Frequently they are C-level executives who are used to doling out the criticism and don’t like being on the receiving end. Frankly, some of them are racist who don’t like being called out by a black man. Some just have fragile egos that can’t take the pounding. Whatever the reason, I feel sorry for those guys. They have no idea what they are missing.

I love Josie. I consider him a friend. I go out of my way to fish with him and have for years. For this, I get twice the tongue lashing everyone else gets. Josie will chew my ass and I will reply something like, “I love you too Josie,” and he will laugh and say, “you my boy!” I’m not sure which of us enjoys it more but I do know who reaps the reward. Me.

The truth about Josie Sands is not that he’s a grumpy old flats guide. It’s not that he’s a hard ass or bitter in any way. If that’s how he sounds, you’re not listening. Josie is a serious dude, to be sure, but in a good way. He’s

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Sunday Classic / PUTMBAK!

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I wonder what the Great Lakes Steelhead would think if he knew what a controversial fish he is. No, he’s not a native fish. Yes, it’s a completely man made fishery. No, it’s not a wild and scenic experience. Is he a real steelhead? Who cares. I love fishing the tributaries of the great lakes for the biggest toughest trout this side of the Mississippi and so does everyone else who’s tried it. I have to wander though, as I stand in the river with my fly rod watching the horde of bait fisherman stack their catch on the bank, if these fish got the respect enjoyed by their west coast cousins, couldn’t this be a whole lot better? I’m not dogging the fishery, it’s awesome, but it just seems like common sense. It’s true that great lakes steelhead do not successfully reproduce but left in the river they will continue to come back year after year, providing a better angling experience and saving state hatcheries money. I’m with this angler who’s license plate I found in New York in a parking lot on the Oak Orchard. PUTMBAK!

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Saturday Shoutout / Stalking The Seam

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SEARCHING FOR THE SWEET SPOT.

That’s the motto of Stalking The Seam. One of my favorite sites, it’s a raising star in the fly fishing online media. Steven Brutger and Mathew Copeland consistently produce thoughtful, fresh writing and stellar photography.

The focus of Stalking The Seam is fishing, hunting and family. Their mission is finding the perfect balance of the three. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing there for the single guys and gals. Even though I don’t have young kids myself, I always find something that feels like it was written for me.

Check out these two great pieces. You just might find the sweet spot yourself.

Two Handers For Winter Trout by Steven Brutger

Ultra Sensitive by Mathew Copeland

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Practice Makes Permit

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TODAY WE HEAR FROM ANOTHER NEW G&G CONTRIBUTOR.

Bruce Chard likely needs no introduction. You’ve seen and heard him many times on G&G, but now its official. We are proud to have Bruce a regular contributor on all things saltwater.

Photo by Louis Cahill
Photo by Louis Cahill
NO SPECIES CHALLENGES THE FLY ANGLER LIKE PERMIT.

They’re smart, spooky and have great eyesight, if not ESP. Fooling one with a fly is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can achieve in fly fishing. An accurate presentation increases your odds exponentially!
You should practice casting as much as you can before any flats fishing trip but especially before a permit trip. Accuracy is definitely more important than distance in permit fishing, so challenge yourself for accuracy during practice sessions.
You’ve heard the saying “Practice Makes Perfect”. Well I think when we are talking about saltwater fly fishing/casting “Practice Makes Permanent!”
Practice casting develops muscle memory and muscle memory lets you deliver under pressure. The more practice time you put in, the more you will get out of it. Repetition is the key. Three one hour sessions are better than one three hour marathon.
Flats fishing is a serious challenge. Mother Nature will leave you head down and humbled and usually the angler’s casting ability more than anything else is to blame. This is easy to fix. Just practice! A lot! The more the better!

Here are some things you can do to practice accuracy.

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