How To Unsnag A Fly

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Every fly fisher gets snagged up once in a while.

It’s part of the game. If you aren’t fishing to structure, you aren’t fishing to fish. This is never more true than when streamer fishing. You’re constantly snagging logs and if you row over to get your fly, you’re spoiling a lot of good fishing spots where you could have hooked that big boy.

Most times it’s pretty easy to recover a stuck fly without ruining the spot. It’s a skill that challenges many new anglers. All you have to do is keep your wits about you and fish smart.


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Keep ‘Em Wet Photo Challenge Winner

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Thanks to everyone who submitted their photos for the Keep ‘Em Wet Photo Challenge!

It’s been a great success, with dozens of submissions coming in daily. We’ve received some great entries over the past several days, along with some great feedback!

Choosing only one was a tough deal, as there were some really great photos! However, there can only be one winner. With that said,

the winner of Gink and Gasoline’s Keep ‘Em Wet Photo Challenge is … Andrew Joselow!

This has been one of our favorites since it was submitted! Look at those colors!!! Great job Andrew, and congrats!!!

Thanks again to everyone that participated and made this a successful contest. We applaud each and every one of you for doing your part to keep fish wet! We’re already planning on doing more with in the future, and you can bet on seeing more photo contests such as this one! Congrats to everyone!

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Don’t Let Go of the Fly Line in Your Rod Hand During the Hook Set

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Have you ever set the hook on a fish, and the next thing you know, you’ve got your arms spread apart in the shape of a giant slice of pizza, leaving you unable to reach the fly line with your rod hand? Do not be ashamed if this happens to you every now and then on the water. You’re not alone, I promise. Many fly anglers do this regularly, and the reason they get themselves in this situation is because they’re letting go of the fly line in their rod hand when they set the hook. You can completely eliminate this problem on the water if you make sure you keep a solid grip on the fly line with your rod hand during and after every hook set. Doing so, it will allow you to maintain tension and control of the fish while you’re stripping in fly line or getting that excess fly line on the reel.

I know some of you that have found yourself in this situation have probably used your mouth to hold onto the fly line until you can get your hands back into the correct position. God, I know I have plenty of times.

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Starting Fly Tying Season Off Right

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By Bob Reece

While some people tie flies year round, the majority of fly tying in the Northern hemisphere takes place during the winter months. As the chill builds in the air, we move into this time of year filled with hours spent behind the vise and a building anticipation of next season’s adventures. The following are four tips to consider as you move forward into another spell of spinning up bugs.

Dedicated Work Area

If at all possible, set aside a dedicated work area for your tying. Having a platform where your supplies can be stored, organized and left out saves immense amounts of time. Without this, tying time is lost to transporting, setting up and putting away tying tools and materials. With a dedicated work space, creation can begin as soon as you sit down. If needed, patterns can be left partially completed in the vise until your return.

Deep Clean and Donate

As years pass, the drawers, cabinets and other storage compartments for your fly tying materials can turn into matted dungeons of unused creative goods. Prior to getting behind the vise this year, pull all of your materials out of their storage areas. Inventory, sort and organize the supplies that you’ll be using this year. The inventory will help with the next tip below. Sorting and organizing will help you increase your efficiency, resulting in more bugs tied. Set aside those materials that you know you’ll never use and donate them to a good cause!Organizations like Project Healing Waters, community fly tying classes and fly fishing clubs at your local schools will be happy to put those supplies to use.

Material Orders

A new year of tying often brings with it the need or “need” for new tying materials and

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Switch Vs Spey Rods

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Are you curious about what the terms switch and spey mean in fly-fishing? Here are some answers.

I recently shared an older article about choosing a line for your switch rod as a Sunday Classic. The comments section lit up pretty quickly about the terms switch and spey. I thought it might be a good time to try and give a little perspective on the terms, what they mean and where they come from. Whether you are a single-hand or two-hand caster, you’ll find this interesting.

What is a spey rod?
Spey rods were developed in Scotland for fishing Atlantic salmon. They are long rods, 12 feet six inches or longer, with upper and lower grips, intended for casting with two hands. These rods were born of necessity. Salmon anglers needed to make long casts with little or no room for backcasting. They also needed to manage long lines as they swung their flies.

The answer was a long limber rod, which could be loaded and cast without a backcast. Of course, to do this, a style of casting had to be developed to accommodate both the rods and the rivers. This style of casting became known as spey casting, for the Spey River where it was born. These long rods were heavy and awkward to manage, so it was necessary for anglers to use two hands to cast them. It is important to note that spey casting and spey rods are two ideas, separate but associated. You can make any spey casts with a single-hand rod. You can also make overhead casts with a spey rod, although there are some good reasons not to make a habit of it.

To further complicate the matter, anglers in the US and Canada started using a radically different line configuration on their spey rods. Called skagit heads, for the river where they were developed, these aggressive shooting heads and their heavy, interchangeable sinking tips revolutionized steelhead fishing. Along with those lines came a new style of casting created to lift those heavy systems. Although some folks call these skagit casts, they are more often lumped into the family of spey casts. It’s also worth noting that you can, and some anglers do, fish these shooting heads on single-hand rods, even if it means significant physical pain at the end of the day.

What is a switch rod?
Switch rods were born around the 1970s and took a while to catch on. A switch rod is quite simply a two-hand rod, which is shorter than 12 feet six inches. The idea was, and is, that an angler could cast these rods with one hand or two, depending on the situation and their objectives.

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Sunday Classic / Dealing With Stuck Ferrules, the Smart Way

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Watch the video!

Years of fishing bamboo rods taught me one thing for sure. Stuck ferrules are as unavoidable as the occasional skunk and that holds true for graphite. Sometimes it’s avoidable but often it’s not. What is totally avoidable is damaging your rod in the process of unseating them.

Often it’s as simple as getting a good grip on the rod. When a rod is wet it’s easy for your hands to slip and strip off or bend snake guides as they go. When you get a good grip on the rod you find the ferrules were not as tight as you thought. I carry a pair of latex gloves in my pack for that purpose. The latex gets good traction even when the rod is wet, making unseating the ferrules much easier.

When ferrules are stuck and more force is needed there are a couple of options. Most folks know the trick of holding your hands high and pulling them down behind your head. This lets gravity and the natural rotation of your shoulders work together to pull the ferrules. You can also put the rod behind your knees and push out on your forearms with your legs. Both of these methods work, sometimes.

When ferrules are really tight

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Saturday Shoutout / 30 Reasons

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A remarkable film about love, loss and true spirit.

Imagine yourself paralyzed from the chest down, without even the use of your fingers. Would you have the resolve to find a way you could cast a fly? Would you have the determination to learn to fish again? Would you have the courage to make a list of 30 species of fish and set out to catch them all?

This is am inspirational trailer for a film in the works. It’s well worth your time. You can learn more and help support the cause at

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Finn Utility, Smart Design, Quality Production

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Finn utility is one of the most unique brands in fly-fishing.

I always love seeing what Ryan McDonald has been up to. I know there will be something new that I’ll fall in love with. This year it was the brilliant new tube fly wallet. It’s quickly become my key piece of gear for steelheading.

There’s plenty of other great stuff from Finn, including gear for spey and tenkara anglers. As always, you’ll not find higher quality anywhere. If Finn can’t make it the best, they simply won’t make it.


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Let it ride

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By Daniel Galhardo


It takes some time to learn how to read water well. But, at least when it comes to fishing mountain streams, the concept is easy to grasp: fish are looking for food and shelter, and don’t want to spend a lot of energy looking for food. Currents bring them food, slow water and breaks in the current gives them shelter. With that in mind we quickly learn that seams where current meets calm water may be the best places to target with our flies.

Once we learn this basic piece of information, we all want our fly to land with 100% accuracy where we suppose fish will be. But, hey, sometimes it won’t!

In recent days I have been taking a lot of people fishing. Most were new to fly-fishing and to tenkara. After giving them some basic instructions on how to open the rod, how to tie the line to the rod tip and tippet to the tenkara line and then tie the fly onto it, I would teach them how to cast.

It’s been said that anyone can learn how to cast with tenkara in a matter of minutes. I have found that on average it takes 7 or 8 casts to learn how to cast with tenkara fairly well, and I’m not exaggerating. But, like anything, it takes time to get the tiny fly to land exactly where they want. If I had to guess, I’d say that in the beginning about 70% of their casts will land in the vicinity of where they wanted. Perhaps 25% will land just off the target zone. And, of course, about 5% will land on the trees in front or behind them, but that’s a different article for a different day.

The 25% slightly off-target casts is what I’m interested in making a point about. Actually, it doesn’t matter if it’s 25%, 50%, or even if you’re

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Limit False Casting to Improve Your Casting Stroke

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When we first start out fly fishing and we’re still learning the mechanics of the casting stroke, it’s very common for many of us to make excessive false casts in between our presentations. For some of us, excessive false casting is an excuse to impart quality control during our fly casting, for others, we justify it for the simple fact that we just love casting a fly rod. Whatever the reasons may be for excessive false casting, it needs to be kept in check, if anglers wants to fly fish at their best. If you’re currently in the beginner or intermediate skill level range, one of the best ways to take your fly fishing to the next level, is to make yourself minimize your false casting on the water.

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