Save Your Night Eyes With The Right Headlamp

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By Justin Pickett

Having the right headlamp makes a world of difference.

Whether you are floating the river at night or find yourself tying knots in the twilight hours of a spinner fall, one piece of gear that you’re likely to have with you is a headlamp. And if you don’t, you should. During the twilight and moonlight hours, a headlamp can be an invaluable tool to make tasks, such as knot tying, navigating, and casting, much easier. Having said that, the most important piece of gear is still your eyes.

Even on the darkest nights, there is usually enough ambient light to find your way around. The human eye is an amazing thing and is designed to react to lighting conditions and optimize your vision. Your eyes are vulnerable, though. At night, just one quick flash of a flashlight or headlamp in the eyes can take you out of the game.

High intensity light (especially white light) bleaches the chemical held inside the rods of our eyes (rhodopsin), which allows us to see at night. Once hit with high intensity light, it can take several minutes for this chemical to regenerate allowing you to see and function, and up to a half hour for your night vision to completely recover.

On the river, losing your vision for only a few seconds can be disastrous, several minutes is not an option. Treading around water after dark can be a risky endeavor. Falling off of a boat or losing your footing and taking a dive into any body of water can certainly put an end to your trip, or worse.

To avoid ruining your night eyes, and crippling your vision when you need it most, make sure to

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The Greatest Christmas Story Ever

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Admittedly this story doesn’t have much to do with fly fishing except that it happens in the parking lot at Simms, and it’s awesome.

My buddy Rich Hohne, like a lot of us, did some traveling this Christmas. He spoke at a conference in Arizona just before the holiday and his travel plans brought him home to Bozeman on Christmas Eve. With a total of about five Uber cars in Bozeman, Rich wasn’t confident he’d get one on Christmas Eve so he knew he’d need a plan to get home from the airport.

A coworker was traveling for the holiday so Rich hatched a plan to save them both the airport parking fees. His buddy would fly out on the twenty-third and leave his truck in the lot. Rich would fly in on the twenty-forth, pick up the truck and drive it to the Simms plant, where his truck was parked. When his buddy came home, his girlfriend would pick him up at the airport.

It was a simple plan. Rich’s buddy sent a text telling him where the truck was parked. The keys were in the fuel door, just like running shuttle. Everything went smoothly until Rich landed in Bozeman. He’d boarded that plane in sunny Arizona in flip-flops, shorts and a t-shirt. When he touched down in Bozeman it was nine below and snowing.

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Sunday Classic / Scent attractor in fly fishing?

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Attraxx makes soft plastic baits for gear fishing in both fresh and saltwater. These aren’t your grandfather’s rubber worms. The plastics are infused with five patented attractors that stimulate fish into striking. It’s apparently far more complex than just scent or taste and frankly I don’t totally understand all of the details. These guys have a handful of PhDs to my none, but I spent a few days watching these high tech baits in action and I can tell you they work insanely well.

I’m not a gear fisherman. I don’t say that because I feel like I’m above it. Gear fishing takes a lot of skill and knowledge, it’s just not my thing. I don’t do it so I’m not good at it and I don’t understand it. Doug Long, the man behind Attraxx, does understand it. I’ve known Doug for years as a skilled fly fisherman and we’ve wetted our boots together on plenty of occasions so I was surprised to hear that he was now running a plastic bait company.

I was even more surprised to hear that Attraxx is considering new products for fly fishermen. Imagine that, flies tied with materials that release neural stimulators into the water, whipping fish into a feeding frenzy. A couple of years ago I’d have said, “no way! Nobody will buy it,” but these days, I’m not so sure. Let’s look at the trend.

People raised a fuss when

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Saturday Shoutout / Echo Casting Tips

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No one knows more about fly casting than the Echo Man, Tim Rajeff.

I can watch Tim cast for hours. It’s just a thing of beauty, but in addition to being one of the worlds best casters, Tim is also the best casting instructor i know. He is able to explain the most technical aspects of the fly cast in ways that anyone can understand. that’s a rare gift.

Part of Tim’s mission at Echo is making fly fishing accessible for everyone. That starts with making performance oriented fly fishing gear at affordable prices but it doesn’t stop there. Tim and the staff at Echo also produce a lot of great educational content, which is free on their web site. That’s just part of Tim’s generous spirit.

Below are three great fly casting instruction videos from the Echo Casting Tips page.

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Build Your Own Fly Rod: DIY Video Series

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Watch the Video!


We are really excited to be working with Matt Draft, of Proof Fly Fishing, to bring you this great step-by-step tutorial on building a graphite fly rod.

Building a rod doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. There are kits available that make it well within reach of most anglers and you probably have many of the tools you need around the house. With the right guidance and a little patience, you can do it.

There’s nothing quite as rewarding as fishing a fly rod you made yourself. Over the next seven weeks Matt will take you through the process step by step and help you up the learning curve to successful rod building. These videos will live on the G&G YouTube channel for your reference any time you need help.

As a special thank you to G&G readers, Matt will be offering free shipping on all of his kits for the next seven weeks. Just use the code G&Gfreeship on his web site.

Today we start with video #1, Rod Building Tools and Equipment. Matt will show you everything you need to build a fly rod at home and you’ll be surprised how much of it you already have.

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Winter Redfish, Challenge and Reward

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The big winter redfish of Louisiana make anglers hearts race, but there are some serious challenges.

Hooking a thirty pound redfish on a fly is a hoot! The big bulls you find in the marsh around New Orleans this time of year are bullies. As tough a fighters as you’ll find anywhere and simply beautiful. I try to make the pilgrimage every year for the shot at great fish but it’s far from a given.

The fish themselves are aggressive. If you can put a fly close enough for them to see it, the take is usually vicious. The challenges don’t lie with the fish, but with the conditions. The winter weather is unpredictable to say the least. When I ask my friend and guide Jessie Register what the odds of having a clear day are he replied, “no better than 50/50.”

Without light, finding these fish in the dark water of the marsh is a daunting task. If the wind is disturbing the surface of the water, forget it. You may still find a fish tailing in shallow water but you’ll work for it. Of course, targeting the smaller fish who are more predictable is always a good option but light is a huge plus when you’re hunting the big boys.

It’s not uncommon to have days where fishing

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Wind in Saltwater is Your Friend Not Your Enemy

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The North Georgia mountain weather that I’ve grown so accustomed to, feels like air conditioning compared to this, and my body is still in shock from the drastic climate change. As I walk down to the boat ramp to help unload the boat, I feel the first drops of sweat rolling down my back. I think to myself, are you freaking kidding me? The sun isn’t even up yet. There’s absolutely zero breeze this morning, so calm you could spot a fish rolling on the surface three hundred yards away. My eyes seem confused at what their witnessing. If you had blindfolded me, and taken me here, there’s a good chance I’d guess I was on a freshwater reservoir. Call me crazy, but I was under the impression there’s always supposed to be at least some wind in the saltwater. I’d know better, but I’ve spent very little time in the Florida Keys during the late summer. Apparently, it’s quite common to go days without any wind during the months of July, August, and September. Awww, it makes total sense why I saw all those sailboats anchored up now.

You always overhear fly fishermen complaining about too much wind on the saltwater flats, but you rarely hear fly fisherman begging for it. To much or too little of either can spoil your fly fishing on the saltwater flats, making fishing conditions extremely tough. Believe it or not, wind is your friend and can at times, be an asset for fly fishermen. For starters, wind disturbs the waters surface, which can make fish

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Get A Better Grip On The Spey Rod

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This is never more true than in Spey casting. Perhaps because there are more moving parts to a Spey cast, rod and line control are crucial. This is especially challenging for the beginner whose muscle memory is only just developing. Often a cast will “break” for no reason. That is to say that, all of a sudden that double Spey you’ve been throwing all morning just doesn’t work any more. Often the reason is a loss of control.

Here’s a tip that will help those of you who are new to two-handed casting maintain control. The first step in a controlled cast is the proper grip. It’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough. Most anglers who are new to the Spey rod think of it like holding a golf club or baseball bat. A familiar tool for most of us, but the Spey rod is quite different and so is the proper grip.

Hold the rod with your finger tips. A gentle grip is all that’s necessary. Using your fingertips accomplishes two things. It keeps your arms relaxed, as you are not tempted to put a death grip on the rod. A relaxed posture is important for fluid movement. Gripping with your fingertips also engages a different set of muscles. Muscles, which are tuned to fine motor skills like writing.

The result is a casting stroke that

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6 Reasons You Might Catch More Bonefish By Wading

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Wading a beautiful sand flat on some tropical island, looking for bonefish is an experience every angler should enjoy.

There’s nothing like wading for bonefish, especially in a remote location where the angler can enjoy breathtaking beauty, solitude and the thrill of casting to un-pressured fish. Wading is not just a cool experience, it’s also productive.

I was talking about bonefishing with Tom Rosenbauer the other day and he made the comment,

“I catch most of my bonefish wading. I just see the fish better.”

That might seem counterintuitive, but I totally agree. While the height the angler gains standing on the boat helps reduce the glare on the water, it also puts the angler in a very different space. I’ve always thought the wade angler was more in touch with the environment and conditions than the boat angler, and therefore more attuned to where the fish are moving. Tom agreed.

This idea stuck in the back of my mind and as the day went on I continued to think of reasons that wading for bonefish is so productive. It’s not the first time I’ve hung up the phone with Tom and sat down to write about the conversation. That should tell you a bit about the man. Anyway, here’s my list of reasons wading for bonefish is so productive.

6 Reasons You Might Catch More Bonefish By Wading

Awareness of your surroundings.
As I mentioned, when you wade you are more aware of things like water movement, contours in the bottom, the consistency of the bottom and the amount of forage. Being in the water puts you in the same space as the fish and you begin to see the cuts and channels they use to travel and the places they might regularly hunt for food. You begin to anticipate their behavior and you find fish because you are looking in the right places.

2. You take your time.

A wading angler covers water more carefully. It’s pretty common, when fishing from a boat, to roll up on a fish and spook it before you even know it’s there. By moving slowly and searching the water methodically the wade angler

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Sunday Classic / Choosing Flies for Tandem Nymph Rigs

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Today’s post is intended for beginner and intermediate fly anglers that struggle with choosing what fly patterns to tie on when they’re fishing a tandem nymph rig. Because most of our fly boxes are stocked with dozens of different fly patterns, it can be difficult at times to know where to start. I get the question all the time, “how do I know what flies to tie on?” The answer to that question is I don’t. Sometimes I can get a good idea by doing some bug sampling or observing the conditions on the water, but generally, I have to experiment with fishing different flies just like everyone else does until I figure out what the trout want. However, the key to my consistent success is treating my two-fly rig like it’s a buffet of food choices for the trout, and always fishing flies that imitate different types of food sources that the trout forage on. This increases the chances that the trout will like one of the food imitations in my rig and I’ll catch fish.

To make things easier for me, I categorize my nymphs into four different categories: Big flies, small flies, bright colored flies and natural colored flies. When I start out my day on the water, I begin rigging my two-fly rig with combinations of these.

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