Slack Free Presentation: Video

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In fly-fishing, slack is always the enemy.

That’s never more true than when you are fly fishing on saltwater flats. Slack, however, is an ever present fact of life. No matter how good a caster or angler you are there are conditions beyond your control which can introduce slack into the system. Anglers who are successful are the ones who learn to regulate that unwanted slack.

There are a couple of easy techniques you can incorporate on every presentation which ensure that you will always be tight to your fly and fishing at your best. These simple tricks quickly become muscle memory and are done without thinking. A little practice is all it takes.

Watch this video where Bruce Chard explains how to easily make slack free presentations.

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A Michigan Guide Prepares For Winter

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By Brian Kozminski

Just got off the phone with a fellow fishing buddy who is a few states south of Michigan. I could immediately tell the genuine giddiness in his voice over recent tracks in the woods and excitement for the fishing season immediately in his focus. At first, I was caught off guard, “What do you mean? We are storing boats, raking, shoveling, blowing out water lines, switching the lawn mower and placing the snow blower in pole position in the garage.”

It is a much different story north of the 45th in Michigan. We can see hard water on many lakes in time for a Christmas bluegill fish fry fresh from the ice. Be careful. Many anglers jump the gun on first ice bite and inevitably find that spring and thin ice with a rather frigid bath to accompany. I will wait until my girls are home for Holiday break before we trek out and drill a few holes looking for some panfish or burbot. There are many other activities keeping my focus at full attention.

Long & Dusty road~

Rod and reel maintenance is foremost. Not that we are totally done with fly fishing, we have a streamer fest scheduled first week in December in hopes of finding a post spawn mega-tron brown in the Trophy waters. It has been a long and, at times, arduous summer; back-to-back trips for weeks and mixing in family time at the beach left some of my equipment neglected. I have set a large towel on my workbench to break down reels, toothbrush in hand and 3-in-1 oil to make sure all levers and cranks are at peak performance for next season. Lines are stripped into a bucket of warm soapy water, wrung through a microfiber cloth and dried, awaiting dressing at the next stage.

Fly boxes can become a task, so try to keep it simple. I have a large Cool Whip container filled with ‘past-prime’ flies that I will either de-hook and use for kids casting events or adorn on a few of my favorite fishing hats. This is also a perfect time to take inventory on what was used and what I need to either tie this winter or prepare a massive order from various favorite fly tyers. The Weather Underground app is a daily ritual; one eye on the coming forecast in hopes of a 45º streamer bite in the middle of a twenty-something daytime high can get any of us excited.

The Vessel~

Keep that float in shape and she will take care of you for more than a couple of seasons.

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Don’t Fly Fish With One Arm If you Have Two

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Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about how important it is when high-sticking a fly rod to always utilize both of your arms during your drift. Perfect line management while high-sticking, often boils down to managing inches of fly line and leader. In many cases, it only takes a foot or less of fly line or leader on the water to catch current and destroy your drift. Many of my novice clients, and even some of my advanced clients, regularly high-stick with only one of their arms; choosing to keep their line hand and arm positioned down by their side during the drift. I don’t like high-sticking with only one arm for two reasons.

Reason #1 – High-Sticking with two arms promotes better line management
When high-sticking, you often need to micro-manage your fly line with small strips to keep 100% of your fly line and leader off the water during your drift. If you keep your non-rod arm straight down at your side, you’re not able to strip any additional line in during your drift. When high-sticking correctly, fly anglers should only have their strike indicator or dry fly on the water during their drift, keeping the rest of their leader and fly line off the waters surface. Done correctly, it will minimize the ability of conflicting water currents (currents flowing at different speeds) to have negative effect on your drift. If your nymphing, your flies will sink quicker and stay down in the strike zone longer, and if you’re dry fly fishing, your dry fly will stay drag-free and float the same speed as the current throughout your drift. With both fly fishing rigs, high-sticking correctly can consistently double your drift time in the prime trout water, and that means your flies will stay in front of the fish longer and hookups will increase. Utilizing both of your arms and hands when high-sticking will promote better line management and give your flies a more natural looking drift. Keep in mind that the closer you keep your stripping hand to your fly rod the more accurate and precise you can be with your strips and line management.

Reason #2 – High-Sticking with two arms puts an angler in better position to fight a fish
The second reason anglers should utilize their second arm and hand when high-sticking is they will be much more prepared after a hook-set to quickly strip-in if tension is lost. Quite often, trout wil

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Women Are Here To Fish

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By Justin Pickett

I read a post on social media the other day that got me feeling all kinds of frustrated.

I literally wanted to pull my hair out after reading the remarks of the ignoramus who decided to peck this stupidity from the safety of his keyboard. This ding dong’s remark was in response to a photo of a nice rainbow trout caught by a female angler, which was posted to her Facebook page. The original post appears to have been taken down by the page administrator, but it went something like this:

-Now let’s see a video of your cast, drift, and you landing that fish-

Now, like I said, there is likely some variance to the actual quote, but those are the “items” that this guy wanted filmed to verify to him that this female angler was competent enough to catch a trout all by herself. Seriously? He went on to defend his request, which just made things worse.

The majority of the social media world attacked this guy, and rightfully so. Who is he to play “river police” from the comfort of his desk chair, assuring that everyone’s cast and drift are up to his standards? Oh wait… Not EVERYONE on the river. Nah, this guy probably would not have had the balls to do the same thing to another male angler, but a gal holding up a trout….I guess that sounded like easy pickings to this Facebook Casanova.

Certainly a girl doesn’t have the mental and physical attributes to complete a cast, mend some line, set the hook, and land a fish that possesses a brain the size of a pea. I’m not trying to downplay the sometimes technical aspects of fly fishing for trout, but this guy was definitely calling into question the ability of this female angler to catch a fish. However, I bet if the same were expected of him every time he posted a fish, he would be the first one to cry about it on his social media page.

News Flash: women fish!

Women fly fish. There have been women in fly fishing for a long time. Long before many of you reading this, and myself, were even conceived. There are some amazing women who have done, and continue to do, amazing things in many areas of the sport of fly fishing. Conservation. Guiding. Travel. Product development. Instruction. Casting for Recovery. Dun Magazine. Abel Women. 50/50 On The Water. I could go on. Women play a major role in many aspects of our sport. I could give numerous examples, but here’s a couple:

Ever heard of R.L. Winston Fly Rods?

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Josie’s Big Day

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I’ve never had a dog who was a really good fishing partner.

When I brought Josie home, I knew that was going be be a goal. My dog and me out on the river, doing our thing without any particular plan. It sounds good on paper but anyone who fishes with dogs knows it isn’t always ideal. Ive definitely had dogs who weren’t with the program. Who, for all of their sweetness, could screw up anything.

I had a beagle once, named Boo, who I’d take fishing once in a while. If she wasn’t lost, she was trying to dog-paddle a class four rapid or chew the cork off my rod. I took her out one day an a busy tailwater where there were anglers about every fifty feet. I was wading chest deep to get a cast to a rising fish. Boo, wanting to be part of the action but not wanting to be wet, walked out on a tree which leaned about ten feet over the river. She got out about thirty feet and discovered that the tree was too narrow to turn around. I kept yelling, “BOO! No!” Before long everyone on the river was yelling, “No Boo! Don’t do it!” Her exit was hysterical. She lived but she lost some points for style.

A good fishing dog is part companion and part business partner. They have to have the right love of adventure but maintain enough focus to stay with the program. My grandfather trained bird dogs and his dogs were great but they were too much business and not enough fun. I want my dog to sleep in the bed with me, lick my face and eat off of my plate. I knew that to strike the right balance I’d need a plan.

Josie is a great team player and brings some real assets to the table. She also brings some challenges. She is the smartest dog I’ve ever known but was a completely wild animal when I got her. Not a stray dog or a feral dog but just wild. She has been very easy to train, it took only two days to housebreak her, but she is fiercely independent and used to making her own decisions. I learned early on that you couldn’t ‘make’ her do anything but if you could make her understand why it was a good choice you didn’t have to tell her twice.

I don’t consider myself an experienced dog trainer. I’ve trained a handful of dogs. I can work out the basics but I don’t get fancy. Josie presented me with one challenge I’ve never faced. She was uncatchable. It had earned her the name Permit on the island and I knew if she got away from me, I’d have a better shot catching a permit than putting my hands back on the little potcake. My ultimate goal was to have a dog I could turn loose in the woods while I fished, who wouldn’t need a lot of looking after. We were a long way from that when we started.

I began by creating a bond. I hand fed her for the first month. Every bite she had to take from my hand. When I found her, it was hard to get her to eat food I threw to her so that was a big step in itself. Although she has her own bowl now she still gets a bite of everything I eat. It’s part of our bargain. I make her food and she watches me wash and chop her vegetables and cook her turkey. She’s never been

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Sunday Classic / 2 Ways to Determine the Sex of a Trout

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By Kent Klewein

Is that trout male or female?

One of the things I love most about being a part of Gink & Gasoline, is educating our readers. Today’s post, talks about two ways to determine the sex of a trout. Over the years, I’ve found that the majority of my clients have a hard time determining whether a trout they catch is a male or female. Below are two ways to quickly identify the sex of a trout.


One of best ways to distinguish the sex of a trout is to examine the mouth. Female trout all have a short rounded nose or upper jaw, while male trout have a more elongated snout. If your trout has a lower jaw with a kype, it’s a male for sure. Although the mouth of a female trout will grow larger as it ages and increases in size, the mouth will never grow a kype (hooked lower jaw). Upon becoming sexually mature, male trout will begin to grow a pronounced kype. At first, it will just be a tell-tale sign, but as a male trout ages, its kype will become more pronounced. It’s important to point out that even for trout that aren’t sexually mature, an angler can look at the mouth of a trout and see either a uniform mouth with a short rounded nose (female), or a elongated snout with a slightly longer lower jaw (male).


(Left) Male, (Right) Female
Sexually mature male and female trout for both rainbows and browns have different looking anal fins. A male will have a slight convex anal fish “(“, while a female trout’s anal fin will be slightly concave “)”. I’m not sure if cutthroat trout are in the same boat. I’ll have to depend on the community who regularly catch them, to provide us their insight and confirm this.


When I was writing this post, I ran across a couple references that claimed

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Saturday Shoutout / Ethics of the Spawn

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Fall is the time when dreams of catching trophy brown trout come true.

Brown trout are fall spawners. They become increasingly aggressive and easier to target as the spawn approaches. Anglers who want to catch big browns will have their best chance, but they will have to take extra care when fishing or they may spoil their chances to fish the next generation of big browns.

This article on the ethics of fishing the spawn, by Spencer Durrant, does a great job of explaining how the fish the spawn and do no harm, as well as offering some tips on how to find and land that monster. Every angler who fishes in the fall should give it a look.


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New G3 Guide Waders From Simms: Video

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Watch the Video!

The most popular wader on the market just got better.

This year Simms is introducing a full line of updated G3 guide waders, including a traditional chest wader, wading pants and a women’s chest wader. The big update is a new, more comfortable four layer Gore-Tex lower, which makes the new G3 the most breath Simms wader ever. There are several new features, including an easy waist-high conversion system for the chest waders.

I toured the Simms wader plant this summer and I was blown away. Not only is the facility remarkable, the staff is one of the most enthusiastic I’ve ever seen. I was shocked to learn how many of them read G&G! I’ve always loved my Simms waders, now I know why.


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Understanding Fly Line Tapers and Diagrams

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Buying a fly line doesn’t have to be a leap of faith.

For many anglers, fly lines and their characteristics are a huge mystery. They know that different fly lines cast differently and that some suit their needs or casting styles better than others but they have no idea why. What’s worse, when it’s time to buy a new line they aren’t able to make an informed choice. They just go to the fly shop and ask for the best line. Thank God for knowledgable fly shop guys, but do you really want to rely on someone else’s guess at what you will like?

If this sounds like you, I have good news. There is an easy way to get a sense of how a fly line will cast before you ever take it out of the package, and with a little experience you can quickly choose the line that’s right for the way you fish.

Fly lines have become really complicated in the last five years or so. Specialty lines have multiplied like rabbits and line companies have created lines to match every species, water condition and casting style. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Fortunately, almost every manufacturer publishes line diagrams which show you, in detail, the taper of each line. If you know how to read the diagram, you’ll know how the line will cast.


There are three basic types of line tapers. Weight forward, double taper and triangle taper. Looking at the diagram, it’s pretty clear how they get their names. The double taper line is a very traditional style of line which has a long level belly and a symmetrical taper on each end. Weight forward lines shift the weight to the front of the line and were developed to match modern fast action carbon fiber rods. Triangle tapers are a kind of hybrid of the two.

Think of the diagram as a picture of the fly line in profile with the thickness of the line exaggerated. The thickness of the line indicates two things. Where the weight is and the relative stiffness of the line. Where the line is thicker, it will be heavier. Different line materials have different stiffness, but within a given fly line, the line will be stiffer where it is thicker. Knowing where the weight is in the line will tell you how it loads the rod and the stiffness, as well as the weight, will tell you how it presents the fly.


To understand the information the diagram gives you, first you have to understand the different parts of the fly line and how they affect the line’s performance. Most modern fly lines have five parts. From front to back they are the tip, front taper, belly, rear taper and running line. Each one performs a specific function and its weight and length determine how the line casts.


The tip is the final word in fly presentation. The longer and lighter the tip, the more delicate the presentation. A long light tip will work to your advantage when

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Fly Anglers Sixth Sense, Fact or Fiction?

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By Kent Klewein

Do you ever feel like you’ve got a sixth sense working for you when you’re out fly fishing?

I’m talking about an extra sense that seems to give you the power and clarity to sense future fishing success moments before it happens. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s one of the sweetest feelings I think a fly angler can witness; calling his/her fish before the cast. You’ve just rounded a bend when your eyes are immediately drawn to a perfect looking stretch of water. It’s a wide and fast riffle a little to shallow to hold fish, but there’s a fallen tree that’s condensing all the current into a tight six foot wide flow. Even better, that condensed current is flowing right over a drop-off, into a deep blue pool. A light bulb in your head goes off as your sixth sense kicks in, and you’re certain when your fly hits the water it will only be a few seconds until a trout rises to your fly. All you have to do is call your shot and make a good cast.

Sure enough, you make a spot on cast, and success arrives like clockwork. The surreal sound of a cork being pulled from a whiskey bottle, signals to you a trout has sucked in your fly, and you set the hook, and shout “Man, I love that sound”. I bet there’s a lot of guides out there that feel the same way when they call a take for a client during the drift, “get ready, you should get a bite right…….now, bam”. When your client turns to you and asks how you did that, just smile and say it’s your sixth sense.

I’m sure there’s anglers out there that would argue this sixth sense is fictional.

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