Leader Materials Revisited

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By Louis Cahill

So which is actually stiffer, monofilament or fluorocarbon?

A while back I wrote an article on understanding leaders. While talking about the different materials used in fly leaders I mentioned that mono is stiffer than fluorocarbon and I got called out in the comments by a couple of readers. Rightfully so. One of my pet peeves is when people talk about fly fishing from a narrow perspective, forgetting that there are many different kinds of fly fishing, and damned if I didn’t do it myself.

So what’s the answer? Which is stiffer, mono or fluorocarbon?

The answer is, it depends.

When I wrote that mono is stiffer, I was thinking about casting and I was thinking as a saltwater angler. I totally ignored how most anglers use the material. One of the fundamental differences between the two materials is that mono

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Restock My Box Contest

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By Bob Reece

As we near the weeks of late summer, fly boxes around the country are falling into disrepair. In an effort to remedy this situation for one lucky fly fisher, I’ve partnered up with Gink & Gasoline. I”ll be giving away one hundred twenty flies to the selected winner. That mixture of flies will include one dozen of each of the following patterns:

Size 6 Tan Beefcake Hopper
Size 8 Purple Beefcake Hopper
Size 10 Chartreuse Beefcake Hopper
Size 16 Amber/Peacock Fusion
Size 16 Chartreuse Fusion
Size 16 Yellow Fusion
Size 16 Brown Fusion
Size 16 Amber/Pink Fusion
Size 18 Red Fusion
Size 18 Purple Fusion
To enter yourself in the drawing, follow both Gink & Gasoline and Thin Air Angler on Instagram. Then post of picture of the inside of your favorite fly box with the hashtag #restockmybox The winner will be drawn on August 22nd. Thank you for taking part and giving us a chance to load you up with some late summer flies!

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Sunday Classic / A Tight Line Presentation is Key in Saltwater Fly Fishing

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When fly fishing in saltwater, keeping the slack out of the system is job one. Slack can cause missed fish, long distance release and even refusals. A tight line is key at every stage of the process, but many anglers overlook the initial presentation.

Triggering a fish’s instinct to strike relies on the fly having a lifelike action when the fish first catches sight of it. That means that the fly should move in the manner of the prey it represents from the instant it hits the water. In most cases that cannot be accomplished with slack in the system. Even, or maybe especially, when fishing crab patterns where the natural action is the fall to the bottom, slack kills. These flies are often eaten as soon as they hit the water and if the line has slack, you will never know it.

There is nothing more important to success in saltwater fly fishing than a tight line presentation, but it’s not an easy thing to pull off. Here are some tips and a video to help you get the slack out.

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Saturday Shoutout / Your Dream Job Awaits

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If you love trout, conservation, and live in the southeast, Have I got a job for you!

Trout unlimited is looking to seriously up their game here in the Southeast. In particular they are ramping up their efforts in brook trout conservation, which makes my heart swell. There is nothing more important, in my mind, than protecting our one native trout.

If you are passionate about cold water fisheries, work well with others and want to make a real difference, here is your chance. TU is hiring a full time Volunteer Coordinator for the Southeast. You can get al the details and apply for this important position at the link below. If you know the perfect person for this job, please forward this to them.


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Simms G4 Pro Shift Pack: Video

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Here’s a fly fishing backpack with a hidden talent.

The new G4 Pro Shift Pack from Simms makes fishing remote, hike-in destinations a breeze.

It’s always a challenge to carry everything you need for a long day, or two, hiking and fishing backcountry locations. Changing weather and the rigors of hiking require a lot of food, water and gear. Managing it all in a pack that still allows you to fish efficiently is no easy task.

The new Simms Shift Pack is designed to do just that. It’s a fully functional day pack with tons of specialized storage for anglers, including a great fly fishing wast pack that slides easily out the side without removing the pack. It’s pretty cool and very thoughtfully designed.

Watch the video to see all the features of the new Simms G4 Pro Shift Pack.

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Early Riser

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By Justin Pickett

Many people respond with bewilderment and even cringe when they realize how early I’m willing to rise “just to go fishing.”

I smile and attempt to explain, but it just isn’t possible for those who have never experienced the predawn hours, like I have, to truly understand why. It’s for this moment….

When the first streaks of sunlight pierce through a dense canopy of ancient Hemlocks, casting a bluish glare on the water. The dark of night fades to a velvety purple before being overtaken by a deep, brilliant blue. Shadows recede to reveal a most brilliant palate of colors. Bluebirds and Swallows begin their morning songs as a gobbler sounds off in the distance. The once invisible babble of the creek comes to life as the first risers poke their noses through the foam. The scampering of squirrels bounding around the wispy fog on the forest floor. Everything around you springing to life as if the sun was the heart, and the flora and fauna the

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Search out the Small Water in the Big Water

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“Big water is much harder for us to dissect and visualize what we’re fishing. You can’t always see the fish you’re fishing to and it’s much harder for beginners to distinguish productive from unproductive water. When you find yourself in this situation and you’re overwhelmed, try searching out the small water amongst the big water.”

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These Boots

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By Justin Pickett

Tossed in the back of my truck for the ride home, they find their place amongst my gear.

Purchased for future fishy adventures, these boots will see their share of waterborne excursions.

They are made of synthetics; rubber, nylon, plastic, metal.

These boots wait for duty, standing out against the grimy gear strewn about.

Streamside. Strapped. Solid. Secure. My steps are confident.

These boots’ first strides along my home water’s banks are welcomed.

Lugging my heavy, clumsy feet without complaint, they do their damnedest to keep the rubber side down.

These boots have tread along the banks of waters big and small. The Piedmont. The Rockies. The Appalachians. Patagonia.

Freestone streams. Tailwaters. Wild. Not so wild. An impromptu, low country flood tide.

These boots have scaled waterfalls, hiked paths less traveled, and blazed a few of their own.

They have been there for the highest of highs, and my biggest of falls.

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Familiar Waters, New Predators

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“The last thing I expected to see was this big male brown trout becoming food.”

By this time, in any normal year, I am done with trout fishing. Not that I don’t enjoy it but water temperatures here in the South reach near-lethal levels in the summer and it doesn’t feel responsible to target trout under those conditions. Fortunately, a couple of my local rivers offer me a stellar alternative.

As local lakes heat up, striped bass move into the rivers for cooler water and, I suppose, to satisfy their anadromous instincts. These fish are big, strong fighters, and difficult to target with a fly. Pretty much everything I like in a fish. Once June rolls around, I spend most of my local fishing time focusing on them.

The problem is, this has been anything but a normal year. My local river, the Chattahoochee, has been a raging torrent of mud since early spring. Heavy rains, nearly every day, have kept the river un-fishable for almost the entire season. By last week, I desperately needed some time in my drift boat so I planned a quick trip to a favorite Tennessee tailwater. My buddies Geoff Murphy and S.C.O.F. editor Dave Grossman joined me for a two-day float.

Repair work on the downstream dam have the river on a low flow and rain has colored the water. Conditions are far from perfect but I’m excited to target some of the big brown trout that inhabit these waters. I showed up with a pretty anemic selection of dry flies and nymphs and two boxes full of big streamers. I’m ready for a challenge.

Geoff and Dave have been picking up some fish on beetle patterns and suffers but I haven’t had so much as a look at my streamer. Geoff gets a rainbow in the head of a big deep pool and quickly releases it. As soon as the fish hits the water a commotion starts.

A large dark form comes up out of the deep hole and runs the little rainbow down.

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Sunday Classic / Too Much Mending Can Ruin Your Drift

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One of the most critical techniques of fly fishing that anglers often lack knowledge in, is understanding how to properly mend fly line during the drift. If I tallied up all the time I spend each day instructing clients on various fly fishing techniques, teaching the art of mending fly line would easily rank number one on the list. I bet I say the word “mend” a thousand times a day. It’s not that difficult to mend fly line, all it takes is a little practice and time on the water to get the hang of it. In my opinion, it’s much easier to learn how to mend than the art of fly casting. The main reason mending takes so long for fly anglers to master is because the timing of the mend, the direction of the mend and the size of the mend can change from one presentation to the next. Two of the biggest mending problems I see on the water is bad technique and mending fly line too much during the drift. When mending is done correctly, you usually only need one or two mends per drift to get the job done.

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