Fly-Fishing: The Stop

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By Louis Cahill

There is nothing more important about a fly cast than how it ends.

There are a lot of moving parts in a fly cast. Plenty of things have to be done right for everything to go perfectly. That being said, you can get away with a lot if you have a good stop.

If your cast feels anemic, your leader doesn’t turn over fully, your loops are big and sloppy, your line lands on the water before our fly, or you’re not getting the distance you want, I’ll bet you five dollars to a doughnut the problem is with your stop. You’re likely doing one, or all, of three things wrong. Use the following as a checklist to see if your stop is all it should be.

Three rules for a good stop.

The stop must be positive.

This is often called a hard stop and I like that term because it captures the feel of a good stop. The casting stroke should accelerate from a soft start to a hard stop at its fastest point. It should not slow to a stop and once it stops it should not falter. It should feel as if your hand

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Fishing In A Crowd Of Your Choosing

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By David Grossman

Solitude is one of those ideals we all tout when asked the question, why we fish. I plan, barter, and beg sometimes for weeks just to realize a few hours of it. But when it comes to being a better fisherman, solitude might not be all it’s cracked up to be. I have never fished better than when I had a regular group of people to push me to up my game from where I started the day. Plus, it’s nice to split the driving, food, booze, and shuttle fees (just sayin’).

I still like fishing by myself these days, and go out of my way to do it every once in awhile when I really need to clear my head. But the older I get, sharing the experience with like-minded friends seems better. Fish selfies suck. I have never seen a good one…never. Screaming for joy with no one around winds up seeming creepy most of the time as well. Having a partner in crime also saves you the embarrassment of crawling back to your truck gravely injured when you have fallen and can’t get up.

Everyone fishes different rigs, patterns, retrieves, and water types. I have never met anyone that is proficient in everything all the time. There is no better motivation to learn something new than when your buddy is giving you the piscatorial red bottom fishing the slow water with a dry dropper while you have your head buried in the riffles fishing heavy nymphs. I have learned new spots on old rivers just by sitting in the front of the boat while someone else rows and uses their experiences to pick the anchor spots. If you don’t believe my metaphysical arguments, look at it from a straight logistical perspective: You are a better fisherman when you aren’t rowing or poling. It’s simple physics…trust me.

A good crew will make you a better fisherman, but the flip side of that coin also holds true. A bad crew will absolutely make you worse for wear by the end. Here are a few things to consider when putting together a posse.

There should always be one member of your group that is at least as good a fisherman as you are. If they’re better, then you won the fly fishing lottery.

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Sunday Classic / Emergency Line Splicing

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The other day I was out fishing with my buddy Rob Parkins when things took a sudden turn for the worse.
I was making a cast and the line at my feet caught on something sharp. I shot the line with so much power that my eight weight line was cut in two. We were a long way from the car and a spare setup. It looked like my fishing was going to be cut short.

I got the head back. About sixty or seventy feet had been cut off. It was enough line that I could make a short shot but shots were scarce that day and I hated the idea of being limited. I tried tying the line with a blood knot but it was impossible to get through the guides. Rob came up with a brilliant solution.

He suggested

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Saturday Shoutout / WTF Now? Bahamas Edition

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If you are like me you are emotionally fatigued over the rollercoaster that is recent Bahamian fishing regulation.

As of January 9th, new double secret Bahamian flats fishing regulations are in effect. They are confusing, vague, completely unimplemented and, for many, disheartening. Are they the end of flats fishing in the Bahamas? Certainly not. Are they what many of us would like? Absolutely not. Do we understand what effect they will have on anglers, guides and the Bahamian people? Not even close.

I am in the Bahamas this week and I will be trying to get some answers to the whirlwind of questions surrounding the issue. If I find any, you will read about it. For now, take a few minutes and read the details.

The best report I’ve found is from Rod Hamilton at


You can also read the Abaco Guides Association’s response to this new regulation. This is all we know for now.

Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association Blasts New Bahamas Flats Fishing Regulations

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Landing Big Fish: Video

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Watch the Video!

So you’ve hooked that fish of a lifetime, what’s Next?

I hear from a lot of anglers who are struggling to land bid fish, especially on their own. It’s definitely a skill that has to be developed and the only way to practice is to catch more big fish. That’s also the only thing that takes the sting out of losing that big boy at the net.

Netting fish is really pretty simple. There are just a few things to remember and once you have them down everything should go smoothly.


Pick your spot.

Always try to work the fish into soft, shallow water where you have the advantage.

Use your reach.

Extend your rod hand behind you as far as possible, with the reel pointing away from you. This puts you close enough to the fish for a good scoop.

Net the head.

Most anglers learn to net small fish by scooping them from behind. A big fish has the power to jump right out of the net if his tail is in the water. He may even be too long to get the whole fish inside the net. If you scoop him head first, he’s got nowhere to go.

Keep ‘em Wet!

Once the fish is in the net, hold him in the water. He’s not going anywhere. Let’s release him in good condition.


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Rubber, Above & Below

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By Bob Reece

Round rubber and spandex are two members in the vast tide of synthetic materials that have washed over the fly tying world in recent years.

They have both been used to create numerous surface and subsurface patterns. However, I would argue that one is better suited for the world above while the other thrives below.

Round rubber comes in a wide array of colors and sizes. While this material has been used on numerous subsurface patterns, I would argue that it’s most effectively put to use on the water’s surface. In comparison to the structural makeup of spandex, round rubber is a rigid material. Due to this comparatively stiff makeup, its motion is produced at a longer wave length. This trait is beneficial in the creation of appendages for terrestrial patterns both large and small. The legs and antennae of terrestrial insects are typically much longer than those of aquatic insects. As a result, those appendages often extend significant distances away from the body and the rigidity of round rubber is ideal for imitating this trait. Its structure allows for the creation of longer hopper, beetle, spider and other terrestrial appendages that will maintain their dimension while still providing movement. Conveniently, the rounded shape of medium round rubber also results in a more consistent and controllable knot. These knots can be used to imitate prominent leg joints. This consistency eases the process of creating the approximate right angle in these legs, resulting in a bent leg look that more effectively imitates the natural.

Moving below the surface of the water, I

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10 Yellow Sally Fly Patterns That I Love

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When I think back on all the times I’ve fished Yellow Sally stonefly hatches over the years, I honestly can’t remember ever having a bad fishing experience. If I can find them on the water, I usually have no problem getting trout to take my imitations. Yellow Sally stoneflies hatch from coast to coast. Depending on where you live, they usually show up the month of May and in some areas will stick around until the end of August. You’ve got to love an aquatic insect that has a hatch period that lasts not weeks, but months. Even in the dead of terrestrial season, or when other aquatic bug hatches such as caddis or mayflies are in progress, trout will regularly forage on Yellow Sallies if they’re available. For that fact alone, fly anglers should always have a handful of Yellow Sally fly patterns stowed away in the fly box at all times. Trout love them and so should you.

With the gargantuan number of fly patterns out there these days, it can be a challenge at times to pick out the real rock stars amongst all the other players in the fly bins. Below are ten Yellow Sally patterns that I’ve personally fished and had great success with. Four are nymphs and six are dries. My hopes for this post is simply to help point fly anglers in the right direction whether it’s at the vise or at a local fly shop for stocking up on proven Yellow Sally stonefly patterns.

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Taming Your Buck Fever

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You’ve stumbled upon a sexy piece of water to find a big ‘ol trout feeding in the tail of the run.

It’s one of the biggest trout you have ever seen. The one that sends chills down your spine. Without a second’s hesitation you rip line from your reel and begin your back cast as you stare intently at this fish moving side to side in the current. You judge your distance as best as you can in the moment and you fling your flies behind you… And this is where things typically start to go wrong. Did you get tangled in a tree limb behind you? Or worse, did you catch some of the Rhodo creeping over the water on the far bank? Or maybe you just made a bad cast and piled your line up, right on top of the trout that is now hunkered back under the undercut bank? If not, then that’s great! But, the vast majority of us tend to get ourselves into trouble when we are faced with such a situation.

Buck fever is the damnedest thing. It still happens to me, and will probably continue to plague me. It happens to all of us. We’re having a great day, fishing away, casting smoothly, and we’re aware of what’s going on around us. Then we catch sight of the fish that haunts our dreams, and that adrenaline immediately hits our bloodstream. Suddenly, it’s as if we’ve morphed into a raging monkey swinging a football bat. We forget where we are, flies sling wildly through the air, and we stumble over every little pebble. We even bury 3/0 hooks into our backs. It’s a wonder that we don’t completely drown ourselves sometimes. As insane as this can get sometimes, it’s also completely normal.

Normal as it may be, here are a few tips to keep you grounded and put together so you can make your best presentations when they really count:

Stop! : Slow down grasshoppa! You feel that tingly feeling rushing over your body? That’s called adrenaline and it’s a monster. It will ruin the best of casters. Now is not the time

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Winter Fishing: Keeping Warm and Safe 

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Winter can be a beautiful and exciting time for fly-fishing, but not without its risks.

“How important is it to carry a change of clothes?” a reader asked me the other day. “Well,” I thought, “I guess that depends on whether or not you fall in.” It’s been a long time since I carried a change of clothes for a day of fishing. I’ve spent some pretty soggy and miserable days on the water but I guess I don’t care that much. Still, there are times when being prepared for the worst just makes good common sense. I’ll give you a couple of examples.

Years ago, I was visiting friends in Colorado during February. A friend of a friend had told me about a good piece of water that didn’t get much attention, as it was about a five-mile hike down some railroad tracks to access it. The river was open and I was pretty excited to give it a go. That is, until the weather turned the night before.

The high that day turned out to be ten below. We never see temperatures anywhere close to that here in the south. I don’t mind the cold, but it got me thinking. I don’t know this water at all and there are some pretty tricky wading spots in Colorado. If I took a spill at ten below, five miles from the car or any heat, I’d probably die of hypothermia before I made it. I still fished that day, but I went to the Blue River and fished out back of the outlet mall. I figured in the worst case I could run into the Gap, throw on some dry clothes off the rack and worry about the public indecency charges later. It turned out I didn’t need that option but when I picked my foot up out of the water and watched it freeze before putting back down, I felt like I’d made a good choice.

I couldn’t help but think of a story I read years ago, I think it was in the Drake, about a fellow fishing Clear Creek, in Colorado again, one October. Late in the afternoon, he was hopping across a bolder-strewn bank when a big stone rolled and pinned his leg.

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Sunday Classic / Guide Thoughts

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“Sometimes, I wonder if I made the right decision when I chose to guide in my home state. But then again, when you guide, it always seem like there’s greener pastures afar. When I find myself having those thoughts, I just reflect back on why I chose North Georgia for my guiding in the first place.”

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