The Tennessee Bacon

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This big bite of lard fried southern trout streamer is too good to resist.

I’ve seen the TN Bacon in action and I’m a believer. Big brown trout just can’t resist taking a bite. Created for eastern Tennessee tailgaters like the South Holston, this fly catches big fish everywhere I’ve used it. I mean, who doesn’t love bacon?

Originated by Chase Pritchett of American Made Flies, this pattern is a true original. Like all of AMF’s flies it’s hand tied by Chase using only quality materials. I’m super excited that he has agreed to share his techniques with us. Chase is an amazing tyer. You can’t help but learn something.

WATCH THIS VIDEO AND LEARN TO TIE AMERICAN MADE FLIES, TENNESSEE BACON.

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Save Your Saltwater Flies

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Have you ever put a saltwater fly back in you box while it was still wet from fishing?

If you have, you know the heartache of finding a bunch of your best patterns ruined by the salt you locked in there. It’s no fun. If you’re fishing on your own boat, you probably have a drying patch but if you’re wading or fishing with a guide, it’s hard to find a good place to store your used patterns. They too often end up lost or thrown away. Even if you keep up with them, it’s a pain to wash and dry them later.

I learned a good trick to save those veteran flies from one of the guides at Abaco Lodge. Just drink

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Fly Fishing: Our Trout Rivers and Streams Need More Wood

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Wood is Good!

Several years back, one of my favorite wild trout streams, only a few miles from my house, got slammed with tornados and high winds (from back to back hurricanes that had moved up from Florida). The aftermath from the strong storms, downed dozens, upon dozens of trees along the stream. I was heartbroken at first when I witnessed all the downed wood. The first thing I thought about, was how much critical shade the stream had lost from the destruction of the large stretches of tree canopy along its banks. And that made me nervous water temperatures would thereby increase significantly during the summer months, posing a real threat to year round survival of the wild trout that lived there. I wasn’t alone in my worries, as I quickly found out when I talked with my local fly fisherman in the area. The large majority were in total agreement. We thought the best thing we could do, was go in and strategically remove as much wood as we could to avoid massive silt build ups, which we thought at the time, was causing the stream flow to slow down, and not only contribute to warming the water, but also choking out the natural aquatic bug life. Looking back now, as a much more educated angler, I know see the massive influx of in-stream wood cover that was gifted to us by the hurricanes, was not an environmental catastrophe, but actually a blessing in disguise for our beloved trout stream.

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Stealth For Trout- Stand Still

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By Jason Tucker

I used to spinner fish for trout a lot.

Much of it was done as a scouting tool in preparation to come back and fly fish, and at times I even clipped the hook off and simply took note where the fish were. It was a great scouting tool, one I have long since abandoned.

In several years of this kind of fishing I began to notice a trend. In my haste to cover water, I often kept wading as I cast. At times I was puzzled as to why a particularly good spot did not yield a fish. I would stop and cast some more, and very often come up with a fish.

Over time a pattern emerged. If I was in motion, I came up blank; if I stopped moving, a fish would strike. I even began to experiment and count the fish I caught while moving and standing still. There was no comparison. Oftentimes fish would follow and not strike if I was in motion, and then strike once I stood still.

I later tested this while fly fishing, using a skunk pattern. I often fish up a stretch of river with dries, and then fish skunks back downstream. Skunks work best with a down and across presentation. Again the pattern emerged– if I was in motion I caught nada, if I stood still, even in a pool I had already disturbed, then I at least had a chance at fish.

Sound moves faster and more efficiently through water than air–it’s science.

We as angler’s also tend to

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Florida Lowers Limits To Increase Redfish Numbers

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By Justin Pickett

On April 14 of this year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) passed a new daily catch limit for Red Drum along its Northwest coastline.

According to the FWC, “these changes come as the result of stakeholder concerns that Red Drum populations have declined in some parts of the Panhandle region of northwest Florida since 2013, the final year of data included in the most recent stock assessment.”

The new regulations come after a lengthy period of researching and surveying the population of redfish within the northwest region’s waters. Along with their gathered data, the FWC has been gathering testaments from recreational anglers via an online survey, Facebook, and face-to-face interviews at the boat ramps. Their surveys and conversations have grossly indicated that many anglers are concerned about the decline seen in redfish numbers observed over the past several years. The good news is that it isn’t going unnoticed, or being pushed to the side. Instead, the FWC recognizes the value that the Red Drum brings to the communities that rely on fishing as a way of life, and they’re doing something about it.

EFFECTIVE MAY 1, 2016, EACH ANGLER WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO KEEP ONE RED DRUM WITHIN THE SLOT OF 19”-27” PER DAY.

However, the total vessel limit of eight Red Drum and the six per person transport limit will remain the same. These regulation changes will place the entire Gulf Coast of Florida under the same limits for Red Drum. The goal of these new “regs” is to increase the number of Redfish within the fisheries, thus increasing the angler’s experience on the water, while promoting more catch and release efforts in hopes to increase the Redfish populations within the Northwest region.

I’m glad that the FWC is stepping up and realizing the need for the regulation change. I typically spend at least a week’s worth of days in the Northwest region of Florida fishing for Speckled Trout and Redfish. I’ve been fishing along the Nature Coast for twelve years now, and I can honestly say that I’ve noticed the drop in Redfish numbers. It was common for each angler to catch a handful of nice Reds everyday over the grass flats of Dead Man’s Bay when I first began fishing out of Steinhatchee. Over the past few years I can probably count the number of Redfish that I’ve landed on my two hands. It’s not a problem that happened suddenly. It’s been a gradual decline over years, and it will likely take years for numbers to recover. At least things are on the right track, and I look forward to seeing a positive turn around in the Redfish populations in the coming years.

The FWC is also meeting in June to discuss

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Sunday Classic / Rob Smith’s Musky Sucker

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ROB SMITH IS NOTHING, IF NOT COLORFUL SO WHEN I ASKED HIM TO TIE A FLY FOR MY READERS I EXPECTED SOMETHING BODACIOUS, AND I GOT IT!

Rob likes his fish the way he likes his mustache, big and scary. He’s our local authority on striped bass and musky. When it comes to putting pounds of fish in the net, Rob has you covered.

This fly has been a proven producer for musky. It imitates the suckers that are prevalent in musky rivers. It’s a beefy fly and you’ll need to eat your Wheaties to throw it, but you’ll like the results.

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Saturday Shoutout / Cheesman Winter

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Colorado is one of the best places on Earth.

If you’re a trout angler, you probably agree with me. For quality fishing in beautiful places the mountain state is hard to beat. One of the things that makes it an anglers paradise is year-round trout fishing. Even the harshest Colorado winters offer up pleasant days here and there and the state’s impressive tail water fisheries stay open.

Trouts Fly Fishing recently posted this great video, by filmmaker Russ Schnitzer, of winter fishing on the South Platte River in Cheesman Canyon. The canyon is a highly technical fishery with some amazing trout.

TAKE A QUICK TRIP TO COLORADO AND ENJOY SOME WINTER FISHING.

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Louis’s Saltwater Casting Drill

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There’s no debate, practicing your casting makes you a more effective angler.

But all practice is not created equal. Simply heading down to the park and hucking as much line as possible doesn’t accomplish much. A while back we published a practice routine recommended by Tim Rajeff. If you haven’t seen that video, you should check it out. Any angler can benefit from Tim’s practice plan.

Today I’m going to add my own casting drill. This is a saltwater specific drill that works on a couple of techniques commonly used in saltwater fly fishing. It simulates making three presentations to a moving fish and it requires several tasks at once.

I lay out 3 hula-hoops in a line. The first at 40 feet, the next at 60 feet and the last at 80 feet. If you can’t cast 80 feet just shorten the gaps and work with the cast you have. I then step to the side so the three rings appear as a diagonal line. Starting in my ready position, I cast to the first ring, then pick up the line and cast to the second ring, and then the third. I do all of this with no false casting.

Don’t stress out about hitting the center of the rings. Your accuracy will improve with practice. Work on making the presentations efficiently without false casting, by shooting your line to the target. Pick the line up slow and smooth so your fly will not make noise and spook the fish. Work on making the three casts as quickly and accurately as possible.

I like this drill because it teaches several techniques in a realistic fishing scenario. If you can hit those three targets quietly in 10 seconds or less you’re going to do well on the water. It’s easier than it sounds. Just stay focused and keep practicing.

For the gear-heads, I’m casting the new

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Making a Living on the Flats

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By Owen Plair

Lately it seems that everyone thinks guiding is the dream job.

Every day someone who likes to fish buys a brand new boat, pays for a website, posts fish pictures on Instagram, and calls themselves one of the top guides in the area. They usually have a full time job doing something else. From Internet videos and social media, people think guiding is all glory, easy, and something anyone can do. You have to start somewhere but you cannot create a career with a fancy boat, a website and some good photos on Instagram. You make a career with experience on the water and by sharing with anglers your passion, experience, and knowledge of your fishery. Many people soon find that guiding is not for them, which is why guides are a select few.

“You are living the dream.” I hear that all the time, or “You have the best job in the world,” or even better, “You have the easiest job!”

There are so many people who think that being a fishing guide is the easiest way to make money and the dream job. Some people even have the audacity to say its not a real job… That’s like saying being a doctor isn’t a real job. Yes, it’s an amazing feeling creating a career in something you are passionate about, but it is far from easy, and always work. Imagine poling a skiff or rowing a drift boat 8 hours a day, 200 days a year. That physical labor is the easiest part of the business. That should give you a taste of just how much is involved with being a full time guide.

If you really like fishing and own a boat you could be a guide, right?

Not even close to true.

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Fly Fishing: Swinging Streamers for Trout in Deep Water

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Most streamer fisherman out there would agree that pounding the river banks with a streamer will catch trout just about anywhere. If you’re willing to put in the time and hard work, eventually you’ll be rewarded with a big fish. During high water flows on rivers where habitat is insufficient out in the main river, many trout will relocate to the banks where they can use the irregular banks and it’s abundant cover to shelter themselves out of the excessive current. There next move, once they’ve gotten to the banks, is to find prime ambush spots where they can easily pick off prey moving by. This is why casting to the bank and ripping streamers back to the boat is so effective. You’re repeatedly putting your streamer right in the kitchen where good numbers of fish will be holding and regularly feeding.

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