Saturday Shoutout / Venturing to IFTD

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We are still recovering from the annual International Fly Tackle Dealers show in Orlando.

IFTD is a serious case of sensory overload. This years show in Orlando was no exception. G&G will soon be publishing our in-depth video coverage from the show, but in the meantime here’s a test of some of the new products from Tim Harden of The Venturing Angler.

Notable New Products at IFTD 2016

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How To Hold Fish For A Photo: Video

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Here’s a few simple tips on how to best hold a fish and get a great photograph, without harming the fish.

There’s a lot of debate right now about photographing fish. Like most topics that get blown out of proportion on the internet, this debate is riddled with sensationalized accusations and disinformation. I’ve written about holding fish for photographs but I thought a short video showing how simple and noninvasive it can be would be a big help.

First, I’d like to clarify my stance on the subject. When done properly, I do not see any harm in photographing a fish. Fish are injured by poor handling, not cameras. I have two serious problems with the ‘no photo’ argument. First, it simply doesn’t address the problem. If anglers are mishandling fish, they are doing so while landing them and unhooking them with or without a photo. Demonizing the camera does nothing to stop this and doesn’t save fish. What we should be doing is educating anglers on ethical fish handling. Secondly, the photograph is the bargain that makes catch-and-release fishing work. Whether you like it or not there are simply a lot of anglers who require proof of their catch. It’s much better to give them a photo than a corpse. Like any right minded over reaction the ‘no photo’ movement will generate (and is generating) push back. People will kill fish because of it. If you don’t believe me, see the 2016 U.S. Presidential contest.

We are much better off teaching anglers to pinch barbs, wet hands, revive fish and limit their exposure to air than we are demonizing photography. In my experience the greatest danger in fish handling is panic. The average angler just needs to learn to calm down. When faced with a stubborn hook or an unruly fish, most anglers try to subdue the fish with force. This is the exact wrong reaction. It only panics the fish, making them struggle more. If you relax and keep the fish in the water, the fish will relax. Just watch how relaxed the fish in this video is. It works.

Lastly, all fish are not created equal. Some are more delicate than others and some species are more at risk. While I think it’s OK to lift a trout from the water briefly, the same thing doesn’t go for steelhead. The stakes are simply too high. What works for a trout in 50 degree water doesn’t work when the water temp is 70. A tarpon might seem tough but they are actually very fragile while a redfish or permit are surprisingly strong. Take time to know the fish you’re after and always ere on the side of caution.

Watch this video and see how simple it is to get a great photo of a fish and do no harm.

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I think We’re On To Something

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Watch the video!

By Louis Cahill

You have to admit there is a family resemblance.

There’s no debate that Kelly Galloup has had a huge impact on fly fishing. He certainly has on my personal fishing. I had been tying and fishing a handful of Kelly’s patterns for several years when I first met him. I stopped by Kelly’s place on the madison and fished a day with one of his guides. Kelly offered my wife one of his horses to ride. We had a blast and were well taken care of.

I spent several hours hanging around the shop BS-ing with Kelly and the guys. If you’ve been by the Slide Inn you’ve probably had the same experience. Kelly is always generous with his knowledge and certainly his opinions, which I value. What you don’t get from his videos and books is what a funny guy he is. I remember Kelly telling a story about a fly fishing company, which I won’t name.

“The problem with those guys,” he proclaimed, “is they were all a bunch of drunks who didn’t want to work.”

He took a look around the room at the host of skeptical faces and added,

“OK, we’re all a bunch of drunks, but these guys didn’t want to work.”

Thanks Kelly. For all that you do.

Enjoy this classic Kelly Galloup video and feel free to share the meme of Kelly and Chuck.

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Fly Fishing, Always Have a Plan B

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Just about every fisherman out there is probably familiar with the saying, “never leave fish to find fish”. I live religiously by this common sense fishing advice. It’s saved my butt many days on the water guiding, and keeps me from straying away from productive water when I find myself being drawn away to fish other spots upstream that look great. Always remember that fly fishing is full of hot periods and cold periods of catching. So when fishing it’s hot, you want to capitalize on it as much as you can before it goes cold. Sometimes it can be hot fishing for several hours, while other times you may only have one hour of hot fishing, such as when a hatch is in progress. Quite often anglers can have more success sticking around fishing one area throughly, when it’s producing, than fishing a bunch of spots partially. Every stream is different of course, but it’s generally safe to say that some sections of water always will be fishing better than others througout the course of a day. A fly fishers job is to determine where those hot sections of the water are and fish them.

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The Douglas SKY Fly-Rod Review

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Over the past handful of weeks I’ve been trying out a pretty awesome new stick that will be the new flagship offering from Douglas Outdoors.

“Who is Douglas Outdoors?” is usually the raised-brow response I get when I mention their name. Not everyone has yet to hear of them, but I’m sure that’s going to be a very temporary thing. However, for our readers that may not be aware of Douglas, let’s go ahead and address this question.

Douglas Outdoors is a newer company based in upstate New York that manufactures and distributes quality fly fishing gear, focusing on rods and reels. The company was founded by the Barclay family in 2014, a prominent conservation family and owners of the famous Douglaston Salmon Run in Pulaski, NY. Their goal was to bring together some of the most innovative rod and reel designers and create a NY-based fishing equipment manufacturer. In just a few short years their products have won many awards, with the Upstream series seeming to lead the way. Today they have five series of fly rods covering entry level to premium performance price ranges, including the SKY, DXF, Upstream, DHF and LRS series. They cover every specialty technique including nymphing, saltwater, ultra-light and spey. They also designed and manufacture a great click-check reel, called the Argus, right here in the U.S.

Back to the rod… I was given the opportunity by Douglas Outdoors to try out a new SKY 905-4 and hit the water with it as soon as I got it. At first glance, the rod is well-made and the blank is sleek and straight. One of the first things that I noticed when putting the rod together were the alignment dots on the blank. Oh boy, here we go. Alignment dots are a peeve of mine. I can’t tell you how many rods I’ve owned, both inexpensive and crazy expensive, that have had alignment dots that didn’t align the rod correctly, some having been just atrocious. However, I was pleased to see that once the rod was together the dots had the rod dead straight. The blank is a matte slate blue/silver that Douglas calls Platinum, which is a nice departure from the greens and browns that tend to dominate within the trout class of fly rods. The finish is neat, with black wraps trimmed in silver. The half wells cork has a dense feel and is very comfortable in the hand. The grip feels like it may be a touch slimmer than most half wells grips you’ll find. The reel seat is anodized aluminum with a nice burl wood insert, finished up with double uplocking rings, but (as I mentioned) it is very comfortable and has a great feel. Along the blank you’ll find a new Fuji Torzite stripping guide followed by titanium REC, single-foot guides. The rod comes with a nice aluminum rod tube and rod socks. The tube is powder coated in slate blue with a contrasting Douglas logo imprinted along the side. The rod sock isn’t your traditional sock. It is made from a thin, mesh-backed foam with the rod model sewn onto a label. Douglas strayed from the traditional route with the goal of providing improved air circulation for rods that are still wet when placed back into the rod tube, as well as a little more cushion for the rod.

The performance of this rod is, of course, the most important part of this whole thing. You can make just about anything look the part, but you had better be able to walk the walk as well. As is usual nowadays, I expected this rod to be on the fast side, so I strung the rod up with a Rio Grand WF5F line with a 7ft practice leader. The rod would certainly be considered

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4 Proven Ways To Effectively Fish A Streamer

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Every angler wants to catch a trophy trout and there’s no better way than fishing a streamer.

While it’s fair to say that there is no “wrong way” to fish a streamer, there are some proven techniques which will help make that trophy dream a reality. Presenting big, heavy flies to the largest fish in the river brings with it a whole new set of challenges, including a new way of thinking about presentation. Your presentation is no longer passive, but active, and it is the action of your fly which must excite the predatory instincts of the fish. In the end, you will find your own style of fishing streamers but here are four techniques that have been proven to bring big fish to the net time after time.

Stripping the fly

This is what most anglers think of as streamer fishing. Tossing the fly to the upstream side of a likely lie and ripping it back. It’s exciting and visual and usually productive. It plays on the predatory instinct of large trout by imitating a fleeing baitfish. I favor the jerk-strip retrieve, popularized by Kelly Galloup. A very young Mr. Galloup demonstrates in this video.

The speed of your retrieve is key. Have you ever made an impulsive purchase that you later regretted? Then you have some insight into the mind of the fish who eats a streamer. Like a bargain shopper, fish don’t like to miss an opportunity. Your fly must be a limited time offer. If the fish has too much time to inspect and think his decision through, he’ll decide to pass. On the other hand, no fish wants to engage in the pointless pursuit of a bullet train. Remember to think about the environment where the fish and fly meet. If the water is moving slowly, your fly should scorch off the bank sending the message that it’s now or never. If your fly is in fast moving water, it’s already moving quickly in relation to a holding trout. Slow your retrieve down and give the fly a twitching action like a wounded baitfish. Always remember, a predator takes what he wants. It’s your job to make him want the fly.

Swinging the fly

If we set aside for the moment, the argument over whether steelhead are trout, this is how I have caught my largest trout. If a 42-inch steelhead will grab a swung fly, you’d better believe a big brown trout will, too. I like to employ the swing when fish are following a stripped fly, but not taking it. I’ll size down my streamer and often drop a Soft Hackle 16-24 inches behind it. You will catch more small fish this way but you’ll catch the big ones too.

Swinging the fly is an effective way to reach fish holding in

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Sunday Classic / Bonefish Flats Revealed

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When we look at a bonefish flat we tend to perceive it as two- dimensional. It’s right there in the name, flat. The truth is, it’s far from flat. The bonefish’s world is as three-dimensional as ours. It’s a landscape full of hills and valleys, mounds and burrows. The crabs, shrimp and such that bonefish feed on use these features to hide or escape from the hungry predator. Knowing this can give us an advantage.

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Saturday Shoutout / Dam The Corp

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“Anyone who believes our dam-managing agencies can do the right thing when it comes to salmon recovery is kidding themselves.”

It’s a familiar story. The stark disconnect between the people’s mandate and the government’s actions. This excellent piece by Jim Waddell discloses what he saw during his time with the Army Corps of Engineers as deputy district engineer at the Walla Walla District, which operates the four dams on the Lower Snake River in Eastern Washington. If you care about the future of wild salmon and steelhead, it’s worth your time,


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Better Bow and Arrow Cast: Video

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Watch the Video!

By Louis Cahill

Here’s a trick you may not know for making longer Bow-and-Arrow casts.

If you love fishing small streams, then you probably know how to make a Bow-and-Arrow cast. It’s not rocket science. But, what if I told you I could show you how to get an extra 6-9 feet with that simple cast?

I couldn’t count the number of brook trout I’ve caught this way ing the mountains of North Georgia and North Carolina. If you don’t know how to make the Bow-and-Arrow cast, or if you’re interested in reaching more water,

check out this video.

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Sightline Contest Winner

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Someone’s getting their Sightline on!

The entries are in for the Sightline contest on Instagram and francoisnadeau is the winner. Looks like he’s doing a little atlantic salmon fishing and he’ll be looking good on the river in his new Sightlines gear.

Thanks for your entries and a big thanks to Sightline for donating the prize. If you haven’t seen their stuff, check it out HERE.

What??? You’re not following us on Instagram? Are you crazy? Fix that right now!

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