3 Bad Habits That Lose Big Fish

6 comments / Posted on / by

By Louis Cahill

Tired of hooking big fish just to lose them in the fight?

This came up the other day when I was fishing with a buddy. Like too many anglers, he’d been losing big fish, one after the next, over the same simple mistakes. It was a ‘face-palm’ moment when I pointed it out. In part because he actually knew better than to do any of these three things, and did them any way.

I’m not ragging on my buddy. I’ve seen plenty of anglers make these same mistakes and suffer the consequences. Simple habits you can get away with on the average fish become huge disasters when you hook a trophy. Have a look at this list and make sure you you’re not making the same mistakes.


Ignoring wind knots

How many times have you felt a wind knot in your leader and thought, I’ll fix it next time? Maybe the fishing was hot and you didn’t want to miss any action. How many times did ignoring that wind knot result in breaking off a nice fish? The only time to fix wind knots is NOW. As soon as you find them, and it’s a good idea to check your leader often. If you find wind knots, chafing, nicks, or anything other than a perfect leader, fix it right away. You never know if the next fish to eat your fly will be a trophy.

A sloppy reel

Ever look down at your reel and see a sloppy mess of fly line poorly stacked on the reel? I know I have. Maybe things got hectic fighting the last fish or you just spooled up a bunch of slack line in a hurry when you saw a fish rising in the next pool. That sloppy reel is an invitation for disaster. Poorly spooled line can easily bind or knot when a strong fish starts ripping it off of the reel. When you see a bird’s nest in the making, stop, strip it all off of the reel and stack it neatly. It’s time well spent.

The statuesque angler

Like Fred McDowell said, “When the lord gets ready, you got to move.”

Read More »

Sunday Classic / Fight The Good Fight, in Saltwater or Fresh

5 comments / Posted on / by


In essence that is true and Kirk’s point is doubly true. Anyone who’s tried both can attest to that, but some of that equipment looks more similar than it is.

Reels, lines, leaders, hooks, tying materials are all different but there is likely no piece of equipment more different than the rod. There are a lot of differences between freshwater and saltwater rods and in several ways their use is quite different. This became readily apparent while giving a good friend, who guides for trout, a quick lesson before is first bonefish trip. He’s a great fisherman and caster but I could see from the look on his face that the eight weight I was lending him was strikingly unfamiliar.

We’ve talked a good bit about saltwater casting, the double haul and line speed but for those who are making the switch from trout to saltwater fly fishing, I’d like to offer some pointers on the techniques that I feel are the least intuitive. The fighting of fish.

When it comes to the fight, the trout rod and the saltwater rod are truly two different tools and they require different techniques. The divergence of those techniques starts with a fundamental element, the fish. It is the difference in the fish that dictates both the design of the rod and the tactics employed in its use.

Read More »

Saturday Shoutout / Claypool and Ween

1 comment / Posted on / by

Here’s a fishing show that might get me back in front of the television. Apparently Mickey Melchiondo (AKA Deen Ween) and Les Claypool (of Primus) are teaming up with Matt Stone and Trey Parker (the creators of South Park) to produce a fishing show. The pair will host celebrity guests and promises to be hysterical. Both Ween and Claypool fly fish. Who knows how much of that we’ll see but expect the show to be worth checking out. I expect it’s the closest I’ll get to actually fishing with these guys. You can get more info HERE. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

Read More »

Soft Presentation With Tim Rajeff

3 comments / Posted on / by

Tim Rajeff shows you two effective styles of soft presentation casts.

Whether you’re offering a #20 spinner to a sipping trout or tossing a toad to a lunker tarpon, a soft presentation is key to success. Too many anglers struggle with making an accurate cast that lands softly.

No one knows fly casting like Tim Rajeff, so I asked him to take a minute to show us how he presents the fly when the pressure is on. He shared two types of casts he uses, depending on the conditions. Master these two casts and you’ll catch a lot more fish when things get technical.


Read More »

Standing in the River Carrying a Torch

11 comments / Posted on / by

Standing in the River Carrying a Torch

A different kind of love story.

Men and fish parted ways a long time ago. You couldn’t call it an amiable divorce. The fish got everything. The mountain streams, the lazy winding rivers, the deep blue sea, everything. Men had to pack their bags and crawl, with their heads hanging, out onto the land and they were not happy about it. They learned to breathe air and walk on two legs but they never stopped dreaming of swimming in the dark oceans, nor of the long and lovely fish that had sent them packing. They thought about fish all the time. They made their homes near the water and lurked around the shore, peering into the depths. Men wondered if the fish ever thought about them. Probably not. They saw fish from time to time, sliding gracefully through a pool or leaping a waterfall. They seemed happy. They seemed to have moved on, forgotten about men altogether. Men knew they should be happy for the fish, but they weren’t. They were bitter and moody and often cried at night. Men invented alcohol and that helped. It didn’t take their mind off of fish but liquor is a good listener and it doesn’t judge or mind if you cry.

“Who needs fish, Fuck ’em”, men decided. They turned their back on the water and went to the woods and found animals and for a while it took their mind off of things. They stalked and chased and laid in wait and for a while the pretty little deer were fun, but in time those big black eyes just seemed empty. Men had nothing to talk to deer about. Try to explain to deer about the ocean, about gliding through the waves, your body taut and glistening, one with the current. Deer don’t understand what it feels like to rocket up from the depths and break the surface, breaching in defiance of all things that would have you, only to disappear back into the depths. Deer don’t know anything. Eventually these encounters became bitter and joyless. There was no more stalking and chasing, no more lying in wait, just that vapid look in the headlights and the thud, thud under the wheels. Again, men found themselves staring at the water.

Men decided that if they couldn’t swim, they would fly! “Let’s see fish do that” they thought. They made airplanes and took to the sky. They soared and swooped. They glided through the clouds but when they looked down, there was always water. They built better planes. Planes that would take them higher and farther, high enough that they didn’t have to see the water anymore. Men flew to the moon. They played golf there and drove dune buggies and it was fun, but when they got back someone noticed that all the photos they had taken were of the Earth. There it was in every photo. That beautiful blue ball with those deep seductive oceans. Men went back to the moon a few times but got bored with it and stopped going. Golf just wasn’t man’s game.

Read More »

The 3 C’s of Trout Fishing – Current, Cover, and Cuisine

6 comments / Posted on / by

Here’s the Million Dollar Trout Fishing Question….
Are you putting enough emphasis on the 3 C’s in your trout fishing? The availability of Current, Cover and Cuisine most often dictate where trout decide to set up shop. Being able to consistently pick them out will ultimately determine how much success you have on the water. Furthermore, if you can find a spot that has all three C’s, you’re probably staring at a honey hole that holds the trophy of your dreams.

As a ignorant rookie fly fisher, I recall early on in my career, how I’d start out my day selecting a section of water, and go about mindlessly fishing its entirety from point A to point B. I had no understanding of trout’s survival instincts and how it influenced their whereabouts. All the water looked good to my untrained eyes, and I’d spend equal time fishing the entire stretch of water, regardless of the depth, where the current and food were located, or if the spot had any elements of cover. Back then I was completely clueless there was a reason 20% of the water held 80% of the fish, and in turn, I spent way too much time fishing in all the wrong places. It was amazing how long it took me to figure out why I wasn’t catching very many trout.

Don’t make this common rookie mistake, you’re better than that. Instead spend your time eliminating unproductive water, and locating and fishing productive water that has all three C’s. Doing so, you’ll find your catch numbers and size increase dramatically. Below are basic descriptions of current, cover, and cuisine, and why all three are equally important.

Trout have a love hate relationship with current. They love the fact that current

Read More »

Study Shows Salmon Farming Results in 20% Loss of Wild Atlantic Salmon

7 comments / Posted on / by

By Jason Tucker

Farm raised salmon may represent a serious threat to wild fish populations.

A recently released Scottish study has demonstrated that salmon farming in estuaries used by wild salmon results in a 20% loss in returning wild salmon, mostly as a result of sea lice infestation due to the unnatural conditions fostered by net pen fish farming. It also tracked losses due to genetic introgression from escaped fish.

The study was commissioned by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, also known as ICES.

The original question presented for study was “Advise on possible effects of salmonid aquaculture on wild Atlantic salmon populations focusing on the effects of sea lice, genetic interactions and the impact on wild salmon production.”

Some important points from the study (copied directly from it so I don’t get them wrong) are:

-The survival of Atlantic salmon during their marine phase has fallen in recent decades. This downturn in survival is evident over a broad geographical area and is associated with large-scale oceanographic changes. Viewed against current marine mortality rates commonly at or above 95%, the ‘additional’ mortality attributable to sea lice has been estimated at around 1%.

– In some studies, the impact of sea lice has also been estimated

Read More »

Making The Connection

15 comments / Posted on / by

By Devin Olsen

Better techniques for connecting fly line to leader.

I remember when the first welded loops became standard on most fly lines. I was working in a fly shop and guiding summers at the time. I always asked shop customers if they wanted me to leave the loop on or have me add a butt section that they could tie their leaders to— standard practice prior to loops. Almost everyone told me to leave the loop intact. I would silently cringe a little bit and wish them well on the water. Why would I cringe, you ask? After all, what could be easier than looping your leader to your line? Two reasons: 1. Loops further chipped away at the knot tying self-sufficiency I think is lacking in the fly fishing world. Even shop hands didn’t have to learn how to tie a nail knot after loops arrived and it’s a skill that’s nearly disappeared among the general fly angling populace. 2. Loops are pretty terrible at sliding through guides smoothly.

However, welded loops certainly have their place. For instance, they are an absolute godsend when switching sink tips on Skagit heads for Spey fishing. They can also be perfectly fine when fishing a short streamer leader when your line never enters your guides after it’s pulled through at the beginning of the day until you break down your rod when you’re done fishing. However, for the rest of my fishing, the first thing I do when I get a new fly line is cut the loop off straightaway. I’ve seen lots of fish broken off with light tippet when a loop to loop connection has caught a guide. You know, that run the fish always takes as a last gasp when you try and slide it in the net. I’ve also seen plenty of new casters get incredibly frustrated when they can’t get line out their rod tip to begin their cast. We’ve all seen the awkward 10 false casts when there could be one or two. There’s a definite loss of efficiency when this is the case. And while most situations don’t require it, when you are fishing gin clear smooth water to ultra-spooky fish, the loop to loop connection can spook a few extra fish because its extra mass lands on the water a little bit harder and pulls off with a little extra disturbance.

My aversion to loop-to-loop connections became even greater once

Read More »

Sunday Classic / Fly Fishing Stillwater by Gareth Jones

3 comments / Posted on / by


Mention to any flyfisher that you’re heading for Island Park, Idaho and they’ll immediately think you’ll be packing a selection of CDC and biot creations intended to deceive the wonderfully selective leviathans of the Henry’s Fork.

However, my latest visit to see Rene Harrop and the boys at the TroutHunter, was all about fly fishing the incredible Stillwater’s of the region, and more specifically, Henry’s Lake. The plan was to see how fishing UK flies and techniques would work on the great Cutthroat and Hybrids that inhabit the lake. This wasn’t the first time I fished the lake. I’d visited it ten years earlier, and I remembered enjoying some wonderful sport-fishing from a float tube, fishing damsels through the gaps in the summer weeds. Needless to say, I was fairly confident that some of my own fly patterns and techniques would produce on this trip, and I was excited to hit the water.

Read More »

Saturday Shoutout / Rosenbauer On The Vise

2 comments / Posted on / by

Tom Rosenbauer is a “go big, or go home” kind of guy.

Aside from being a walking encyclopedia of fly fishing, one of the most endearing things about Tom is his witty and self effacing sense of humor. When asked to come up with a video to support the Orvis Giant Fly Sale, Tom took the brunt of the joke.

The first video here is just for fun, but check out some of Tom’s more serious contributions to the art of fly tying below.

Read More »