Hook Selection for Dry Flies

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By Bob Reece

The crisp image of a delicately floating dry fly epitomizes fly fishing for many anglers.

The visual attributes and buoyancy of surface riding patterns are important. However, the shape and structure of the metal that forms their core is equally significant.

Within the world of trout focused dry flies, there are two major classes. These consist of traditional dries and terrestrials. There is significant variation among profiles in these classes of artificial bugs. This discrepancy of shape can be imitated through the use or varying hook shank lengths or the creation of extended bodies.

When constructing many traditional dries with dubbing based bodies, hook shank length determines the abdomen length. If you’re constructing a pattern that has been created by a professional tier follow their recommended hook in the original recipe. They chose this hook to match the proportion of the insect they were imitating. It can also be helpful to pay attention to the brand of hook that they have chosen. The strength and quality of all manufactured hooks is not equal. When creating your own dubbing based bodies, research the actual insect you are imitating. Choose a hook shank length that allows you to accurately match its profile in terms of length.

Abdomens constructed of hair, foam and other rigid materials can be tied onto the hook shank. However, the firm nature of these materials lends to

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How to Fly Fish Straight Sections of Trout Water

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By Kent Klewein

We all love to fish the bends of a river but what do we do in the straightaways?

It’s your lucky day. You’ve somehow managed to get away from your busy work schedule and find time to spend a few days fly fishing for some beautiful trout. You’ve brought several trout to hand fishing a series of S-bends, and you feel like a hero. Life is good, right? Unfortunately, the hot fishing is about to slow significantly as you round the bend in the river and notice the river flows straight as an arrow for the next several hundred yards. There’s very little mid-stream obstructions and no well defined current seams. Furthermore, the water depth is consistent bank to bank. You fish for a while, working your way upstream blind casting, but you’re not having any luck. You find yourself getting frustrated because you can’t figure out where the trout should be holding, and there’s no rising fish. What should you do?

When I find myself in this situation, I focus on presenting my flies against the banks. When there’s no obvious current seams or in-stream structure providing depth change or current buffers, cutthroat trout will generally prefer holding close to the banks. The water current running along the banks causes friction, and this friction slows down the current speed making it a much more efficient place hold and feed. Because all trout prefer to feed in areas where they can consume more energy than their expending, they instinctively search out these slower current areas. So remember

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G&G “Christmas On The Fly” Tying Contest

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Alright all you fly freaks, it’s time to get festive!

Christmas is just days away and we’ll all be decking the halls with tinsel, garland, and all sorts of shiny, colorful décor, making this the perfect opportunity to take advantage of these gaudy materials to manufacture new masterpieces of majestic splendor!

We want you to show us your yuletide tying talents by sending us a photo of your best creation using holiday decorations and materials. Of course your efforts will not go unrewarded. In this winner-takes-all material mash up, there is a nice grab bag of swag to be won by the tier with the most Christmas creativity, including gear from Rising, Simms, Cortland, Sight Line Provisions, Plan D Fishing, Whiskey Leatherworks, Appalachian Leader Co., and more!

Please see the contest rules below! We look forward to seeing all of your fantastical creations! Winner will be announced on the site Christmas morning!

Contest Rules

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Tear Up Your Fly Fishing Resume

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By Louis Cahill

Far too often it’s an angler’s self image that gets between them and the fish.

In a recent article, I wrote about how I believe that, as a group, the fly fishing community doesn’t always do a good job as ambassadors of the sport. In brief, I think we make new anglers self conscious and afraid to ask questions or seek advice. The other side of that dilemma is that way too many anglers let their pride get in the way of their progress. To often we take a defensive posture with other anglers, who could teach us something.

Nobody likes the expert. We’ve all spent time around the guy who wants to be the big shot and impress everyone with his fly fishing prowess, which is usually not impressive. I’m not defending that behavior. In fact, I find that the anglers who are the most skilled are also the most humble. I don’t think that is a coincidence. I think those anglers learned long ago that they could learn something from anyone, if they listened.

I was having a conversation about flats fishing with another angler who voiced some opinions I know to be pretty far off base. This was a conversation about fishing over a beer and since he brought it up, I felt invited to offer my opinion. I also knew for a fact that his assertion had a lot to do with his getting skunked that day, so I politely responded.

“I think these fish…” I was quickly met with, “I’ve fished down here for twenty years!”

I shut up and let him enjoy his ignorance. The fact is that he has fished three days a year for twenty years so I’ll concede that he has two months of experience. He knew nothing about me as an angler. Not how many days a year I fish, or for how many years, or even that I had a pretty great day while he was getting skunked.

I’ve heard that line a hundred times and I’ve never heard it from an angler who was

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Sunday Classic / Elevate Yourself to Increase the Distance You Can High-Stick

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Most of the time when your fly fishing for trout, the last thing you want to do is elevate yourself. In most scenarios, that will usually do more harm than good, by increasing the chances of trout spotting you and spooking. Notice I said “most scenarios”, every once in a while, an angler is forced to go against traditional principles to find success. The other day, I found myself trying to fish an eddy and slow water seam on the far bank. Making the cast wasn’t the problem, it was getting a long enough drag-free drift to get my fly to the fish. Even with my best high-sticking efforts, every cast the super fast water between me and my target water would grab my fly line and suck my flies out prematurely. After a couple minutes of struggling with my drifts and failing to get any bites, I decided to climb up on a boulder next to me. This elevated me three feet, and allowed me to keep 100% of my fly line off the water and get that long drag-free drift. I caught three trout after

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Saturday Shoutout / The Drakecast Goes Social

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One of the best discussions I’ve heard about social media.

Social Media is a hot button topic in the fly fishing community. Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay and it is changing fly fishing. This podcast by Elliot Adler is the most considered conversation you’re likely to hear on the subject. You’ll hear from anglers like Tom Bie and Kelly Galloup on the subject and some of what you hear may surprise you. No matter how you feel about social media, this podcast will challenge you to think.


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Pick Up Your Fly Line and Recast Quietly: Video

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The ability to pick your fly line up off the water quietly can be the difference between success and failure.

In freshwater or salt making a loud pickup to recast can spook fish you might have otherwise caught. Of course we would all like to catch our fish with just one cast but that’s not often the case, so a quiet pick up is a great skill to have.

Part of the process is simply controlling your excitement but there is some technique to it as well. Luckily we have my buddy Bruce Chard to help with that.


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5 Tips To Stop Breaking Off Bonefish

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By Louis Cahill

If you’re breaking off bonefish, there’s probably and easy fix.

Someone asked me not long ago about losing bonefish due to tippet breaking. It happens to the best of us but there are only a couple of ways for it to happen and each has a pretty simple fix. If you follow a few simple guidelines you can cut way down on the number of bonefish you lose.

It’s fair to say that several of the potential problems I’m going to talk about apply to almost any species of fish. Some are much more common in the environment where we find bonefish and others just happen more frequently because of the speed with which things happen in bonefishing. It is a demanding game but breaking fish off should not be a problem.

Keep in mind that tippet strength is always a concern and in no way a constant. The weight of your tippet has everything to do with where you’re fishing. In locations where bonefish see a lot of pressure, you will need to fish lighter tippet and you will have to be much more diligent. Regardless of the strength of your tippet, there is no reason not to fish to the best of your ability and each of these tips is relevant.

How bonefish break off and how to stop them.


One of the most common ways anglers break fish off is on the hook set. Bonefish behave unpredictably. Often a fish will eat your fly and make an immediate turn away from you. Sometimes even before you strip set. This is most common when a fish charges the fly while it is still high in the water column. Even small bonefish are powerful and failing to give them line when they need it will result in a familiar popping sound. You need to

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Traditional Old-School Nymphs Catch Trout, Don’t Forget It

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By Kent Klewein

Are you fishing the hot new fly?

Every year, I spend quite a bit of time scouring the interweb and flipping through numerous fly company catalogs, all in the effort to stay up to date with the latest new fly pattern creations. Many are just variations of already existing fly patterns, but quite often it’s a new fly tying material that’s created, manipulated, or that’s managed to stay under the radar and discovered, that’s used to develop these new fly patterns. I usually spend my time reviewing the new flies and their recipes, and hear my inner-voice chattering over and over, “why didn’t you come up with that fly pattern, dumby”. But even after purchasing and tying several dozen of the new fly patterns, many of them ultimately fall short on the water of producing trout numbers like my traditional old-school standby nymphs do. Why is that?

I think the the fly tying world is very similar to the rod manufacturing world, where a company builds a great fly rod that 90% of fly anglers love, and then a couple years down the road they discontinue the rod line, to make room for the introduction of the next innovative fly rod. Quite often, in my opinion though, that new rod design’s performance falls short of its predecessor. I know this process is called product life cycle, and it will continue to happen again and again, but it sure seems like we’re in way too much of a hurry to move on, and should instead be more content with sticking with a great product longer.

It’s the notion that great isn’t great enough, and that we should retire the greats, in the hopes we can find something, for lack of a better word, that’s perfect. The problem is

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Fly Tying, Less Is More

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Over the past ten years I’ve been blessed to spend time teaching new fly tiers of all ages. Regardless of age or gender beginning tiers often work on the “more” end of the spectrum. Excessive distance between the tip of the bobbin and the hook shank is one of these hurdles. When constructing flies, more distance between these two object makes for more difficulty. Keeping the tip of the bobbin in contact with the hook reduces the likelihood of cutting it on a hook point or the edge of the vise jaws. Additionally, this technique makes it easier to maintain consistent pressure when tying in materials. Lastly, it reduces the total tying time for each fly.

As a tier it is also extremely important to remember that the vast majority of aquatic insects are petite creatures. Far too often this fact is over looked during the construction of flies. Excessive use of materials results in bulky pattern profiles that do not accurately match their intended imitation. Simultaneously, unneeded thread wraps also add bulk to flies. With most patterns, minimizing the amount of material and thread wraps results in a more accurate end product.

Take a moment to evaluate what you are doing as a tier. The next time you

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