Don’t Let Yourself Get Numb to the Reward

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By Kent Klewein

IS THAT COOKIE CUTTER RAINBOW TROUT MAKING YOU FEEL NUMB INSIDE? ARE YOU LOSING THE FEELING OF REWARD LATELY ON THE WATER?

Two decades have passed since I caught my first trout on a fly rod, and even with all those years that have gone by, I can still picture that beautiful 12″ trout in my hands clear as day. I remember that little bugger coming up and crushing my parachute adams, like it was the first piece of food it had seen in days. The feeling of accomplishment and reward I received from catching that trout was so strong, it gave me a perma-grin ear to ear, and a natural high that lasted the rest of the day.

Nowadays I often find I’m becoming numb to the reward I get from most of my catches. Landing a big trophy fish or fooling a lone sipper on the far bank still gets my adrenaline pumping, don’t get me wrong, but they all seem to fall short of the feeling I got from landing my first 12″ trout. Why is that? Am I turning into a snob? I’m sad and ashamed to admit it, but I think I am. That’s why lately I’ve made a point to try to take the time to always reflect back to those early days before I step foot in the water. If I’m guiding, I’ll show up extra early before my trip begins, and picture my anxious client driving over the mountains to meet me. I clear my mind and focus on how excited he or she is about the fishing trip that’s about to start, and how they probably lost sleep the night before picturing trout rising to their dry fly. Doing this, it gets me pumped up, keeps me grounded, and puts me in a zone so I can be the best guide I can be. When I’m fishing on my own, I’ll sit on the bank and watch the water flow over the rocks, through the riffles, and into the pools for a few minutes before I wet my flies. It seems to put everything into perspective for me and it enhances my overall experience for the day. Fly fishing can only be fully appreciated if we keep an eye on the big picture and don’t lose sight of the art, and the purpose it serves for us in our lives.

Every fish should be looked at as

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Windy Days and Playing Fish

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By Bob Reece

On my home waters in Wyoming, wind is a nearly constant factor.

This weather altering force can also act as a source of frustration for many anglers. However, this seemingly negative nemesis can be used as a casting ally.

While I spend most of my free time fishing moving water, my days of guiding are now spent entirely on still waters. Several of these lakes and ponds lie in open areas that are subject to frequently changing winds. In an effort to help my clients maximize their time on the water, I must be able to provide them with the instruction needed to persevere in these conditions.

Long casts are not always needed on our waters but sometimes they are. In these situations it’s easiest to position the fly caster so that the wind is blowing from their left to right for right handed casters. The opposite is true for left handed fly fishers. By positioning their hips and line movement perpendicular to the wind, its force helps elevate the line while simultaneously keeping it safely away from the angler. Using this stance and range of motion, the final cast can be delivered on either the forward or backward stroke. This process allows the angler to dictate their casting location as opposed to the wind dictating that for them.

With or without the element of wind, constant

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RIO Flats Pro Stealth Fly Line Review

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The new Flats Pro Stealth fly line looks to be RIO’s best offering in years.

Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner. This fly line answers some very big questions for me and my first outing with it was a success. The Flats Pro delivered everything I need from a fly line, and a little more.

I have had a love-hate relationship with almost every saltwater line I ever owned. I have often thought of slicing together the sections I like from several lines but I’ve never trusted the technique for large saltwater species. I have only fished the Flats Pro Stealth 4 days but, from what I’ve seen, it’s the chimera I’ve been looking for. Each section of the line gives me the performance I’m looking for and the line as a whole functions as an efficient and precise fishing tool. Notice I say “fishing,” not casting. The Flats Pro cast great but there is so much more to this line than the cast.

The basics by section.

Front Body

Lot’s to talk about here. The front body of the Flats Pro Stealth is made up of a 6 foot clear, intermediate tip and a 6 foot front body. The entire 12 feet of the front body is designed to make delicate presentations. Thats key with spooky saltwater species but often comes at a cost. Not so much with the Flats Pro. More on that when we talk about the body of the line.

The 6 foot clear, intermediate tip offers the ultimate in stealthy presentation. I’ve fished clear, and clear tip lines for years and can attest to their effectiveness at not spooking fish on tough presentations. I definitely made use of that with the Flats Pro.

So why not make the entire 12 foot front body clear? Two reasons. Experienced saltwater anglers always watch their fly line as the retrieve the fly to see how current and boat movement effect their presentation. Guides watch it too and give their clients direction based on the movement of the line. The 6 foot clear tip leaves enough line visible for the angler to use, and enough to be effective for fishing. It also keeps your fly at an effective depth for species like tarpon.

The anglers who this is going to pay off for in spades are the folks who struggle turning over a leader thats 12 feet or better in length. With the Flats Pro Stealth you can shorten that leader to a manageable 9 feet and still have 15 feet of clear line to your fly. As I’ve said many times, there are few things as important in the salt as turning over your leader. If you struggle doing it, this line is going to help you immeasurably.

Body

As I said, a delicate front taper makes soft presentations, but often at a cost. Many anglers struggle to

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Sunday Classic / DIY Magnetic Fly Box

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Make a fly box and win a Gink and Gasoline sticker!

THERE IS ONE THING THAT ALL FLY FISHERMEN HAVE IN COMMON. WHETHER WE CHASE TROUT OR TARPON, MUSKY OR BASS WE ALL CARRY TOO MANY FLIES.
For any given day on the water I select fly boxes from a stack in my office and cram as many of them as humanly possible into my pack. Not only do all of these fly boxes take up space, they eat into the budget too. This little DIY box helps with both. It’s cheap and tiny.

I love magnet boxes, especially for small flies. Getting a number 24 midge into and out of foam is almost impossible and dumping them lose into a bin is a disaster. The magnet box holds these tiny flies nice and tight and keeps them from tangling up in a ball. It’s easy to find the fly you’re looking for and retrieve it. The foam strips in the lid are great for dries and a few larger patterns.

To make this box I start with an Altoids box. This is basically free because I’m buying the mints anyway. I used a Yellowstone souvenir box for this one. The next step is to apply the magnetic sheet. This is cheap and easy too. These magnets are

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Saturday Shoutout / Acpceclipse Floodtide

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Flood tide redfish and a big black sun.

It’s hard to think of a better way to enjoy the total solar eclipse than on a low country marsh. The boys at Badfish couldn’t agree more. They put together this video from the day the sun went black.

ACPCECLIPSE FLOODTIDE

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New G Loomis IMX Pro Fly Rods Focus on Fishing Specifics

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IMX Pro fly rods are made for the working guide.

G Loomis has taken a really interesting approach with the new IMX Pro rods. They’ve designed rods for specific fishing circumstances that guides, and hard core anglers, find them selves in with regularity. If you know how you want to fish, chances are Loomis has a rod for you.

The IMX Pro is available in a variety of lengths and weights, single hand and spey. I had the chance to cast several of them at IFTD and was very impressed. These rods are light-weight and powerful with smooth actions. Best of all the IMX Pro rods come in at an attractive price. $495 for single-hand.

IN THIS VIDEO STEVE RAJEFF TAKES US THROUGH THE IMX PRO MODELS AND FEATURES.

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Putting Your Rod Tip In The Water Can Be A Game Changer

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EVERYONE WANTS TO CATCH BIG FISH BUT LEARNING TO OUTSMART THEM TAKES SOME DOING.

Big fish often hold a PhD in fly selection and presentation, but any experienced angler can tell you that getting them to eat your fly is only half the battle. Getting them to the net is another thing. Most anglers do not land the first really big fish they hook. Often they don’t land the first several. Much is written about feeding big fish and far too little about what comes next. Generally speaking anglers learn to land big, strong fish the way I did, by losing a few.

Fighting a tough fish is not just a show of force. It’s a game of strategy, but also of tactics. It’s problem solving. The fish creates problems and you have to solve them. There are two such fish problems that can be solved by the simple tactic of putting your rod tip in the water.

The big downstream run
When a strong fish runs hard downstream too quickly for you to follow, you find yourself at a disadvantage. With the fish directly downstream, the angle of the hook in the fish’s mouth is perilous. Any thrashing or head shaking on the part of the fish can easily result in a long distance release. If you are unable to get downstream and establish a better angle to the fish you are left with only one choice, bring the fish to you. But how?

You can’t tow a big fish upstream on 5X tippet so the fish must come by choice. Once the fish has stopped his run and turned to face upstream, drop your rod tip into the water and ease off the pressure and give him a bit of line. The force of

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4 Tips for Making Better Backhand Presentations

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MOST OF THE ANGLERS THAT I RUN INTO ON THE RIVER, THAT ARE BEGINNERS OR OF INTERMEDIATE SKILL LEVEL, SEEM TO ALWAYS HAVE A BAD TASTE IN THEIR MOUTHS WHEN IT COMES TO PRESENTING THEIR FLIES DURING THEIR BACKCAST.

For whatever reason, anglers that fall into this category, find it to be an awkward cast for them to make. Here’s what I find so ironic about backhand presentations.There’s really no difference between making a regular presentation with your forward cast and a presentation on your backcast. All you do differently is stop your rod and present your fly on your backcast instead of your forward cast, everything else should remain exactly the same. So why is it that so many anglers find backhand presentations so painful and unpleasant to deal with? Most of the time it all boils down to executing four simple steps during your false casting and presentation to pull off an easy and accurate backhand cast presentation.

1. Keep your confidence
The first thing I tell my clients that find backhand presentations difficult is to keep their confidence and imagine their casting down river. Just about everyone is comfortable making a cast on their dominant side (casting arm side). I then tell them to work out fly line with some false casts and instead of stoping their rod on their forward cast to present their fly, they’ll stop it on their backcast. The key is getting them to look at the backhand presentation as just stopping their backcast in the normal position like they do when their false casting. It’s really nothing more.

2. Pivot your body in the right position
If you have your body facing in the wrong direction relative to your target, you’re not going to have a good casting angle to pull off an easy cast. Try pivoting (turning) your body to the left or right before you begin casting. Turn left if you’re a righty and turn right if your a lefty.

3. Draw a straight line between your intended target and your forward cast.
The closer you can get to a 180 degree angle

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Bug Juice Ain’t The Only Thing Missing!

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THE EVERGLADES IS CERTAINLY KNOWN FOR ITS AMAZING FISHING, SCENERY, BIRD LIFE, AND THE MYRIAD OF OTHER ANIMAL LIFE THAT INHABITS THE ECOSYSTEM.

Unfortunately, the one thing that has everything else well outnumbered is the mosquitos. And not just any mosquito. These damn things have evolved into a dominant force that could easily be used as a form of biological warfare. Even urban legends exist of people dying from incessant attacks from mosquitos. I’m not even getting into the diseases that mosquitos can carry…. Don’t wanna get that zika!

With this in mind, I packed a few pairs of lightweight pants to wear along with my usual long-sleeved shirts and HooRags while out fishing in the creeks and bays “inside” the Glades. I wanted to prevent being eaten alive so that I wouldn’t be constantly scratching and smacking myself like a lunatic. I did completely forget to pack bug spray, but I knew I could pick some up a local grocery store. Besides, I think bug spray for these gnarly gnats and mosquitos only adds seasoning to our already tender meat…

Day one in the Glades came early. Rising well before the sun, Tim Harden, the Venturing Angler, and I met up with our guide, Capt. Jason Sullivan of Rising Tide Charters, at 4:15am. Waiting for Jason to finish fueling up the boat, we carried on a casual conversation. Jason stepped around from the gas pump and gave Tim an inquisitive look followed up with, “Did you bring pants? The mosquitos are awful. They’re probably the worst I’ve ever seen.”

I hadn’t paid it any attention in my morning stupor, but Tim had ventured out of the hotel room wearing a long-sleeved shirt and… a pair of lightweight shorts. Apparently, Tim had never experienced mosquitos bad enough in the years past that he had visited the Everglades. At least not enough for him to think of wearing pants

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Totality

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Admittedly this doesn’t have a lot to do with fly fishing, other than taking place on a trout stream.

When I saw the map depicting the path of totality for the solar eclipse of 2017, I knew exactly where I wanted to be. The thin line of totality passing through the mountains of western North Carolina intersected one of my favorite places on earth. A spot that’s near my heart for a couple of reasons.

If I were to tell you where it is, you’d likely be surprised. If you know it, please don’t say. It’s one of those spots that gets plenty of attention but it wasn’t always that way. It used to be the spot I could go and fish all day without seeing another angler. Well, not far from the spot anyway where I caught my first brook trout. Near where I’ve caught a handful of big wild brown trout, and a spot I almost drowned myself. A place where I saw a boulder the size of a car come off the mountain. It’s a spot that’s full of memories and it’s having been discovered by a great many anglers might make it less pleasant to fish but no less pleasant to remember.

I originally made plans to fish with Justin, but plans fall apart if they are made too far in advance. I decided it would e a great day to spend with my wife, Kathy, and our puppy, Josie. It would be Josie’s first road trip, if you don’t count the flight home from South Andros, and I was excited to see how she’d do, as I have many more planned.

We reached our chosen spot, at the top of a favorite waterfall, about an hour before totality. Everyone whom I had told where we were going, including my wife, thought it would be a bad idea. That there would be no way we’d have a view of the sun for the dense trees and steep gorge walls. “Trust me,” I told Kathy, I know exactly where the sun will be. I should. The top of this falls is the exact place where I shot the image that sucked me forever into the fly fishing business. I never forget a location.

It couldn’t have

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