Sound Beginnings

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By Bob Reece

All journeys do begin with a single step. Yet, the quality and direction of that step sets the tone for the rest that follow. This holds true for those people that are just entering the domain of fly tying.

Overwhelming is the word that I hear the most when talking to new tiers about them attempts to “get started”. The growth of this art form and the explosion of online outlets has created a labyrinth for those who are just starting out. Sound advice on how to begin can make a huge difference in the enjoyment level of this venture.

When my dad sat me down at his old oak desk to tie my first fly, he kept it simple. During those first few weeks he helped me focus on a modest selection of tools and techniques. Once I was introduced to these humble beginnings, he made a point to help me master them before moving on to anything else.

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Down The Hatch October 12th

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By Justin Pickett

The time of year has come around for the annual Down The Hatch Film Festival here in Atlanta, GA!

On October 12th, Orvis, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, and Sweetwater Brewing Co. will be bringing anglers and outdoorsmen and women together for brews, food, films, and fun in order to help support the “Quality Hooch” campaign. The Chattahoochee River is, without a doubt, the life-blood of Georgia. Whether you’re ITP, OTP, or way the hell out there, the health of the Chattahoochee’s waters probably has an impact on you in some way or another. Without the “Hooch” as we lovingly know it, anglers such as ourselves wouldn’t be able to enjoy the countless fishing opportunities that its waters provide.

Aside from fishing, the Chattahoochee supports a number of other recreational activities that draws over three million visitors to its waters and banks annually. Having such an incredible resource so close to such a large metropolitan area is amazing and valuable beyond compare. The “Hooch” certainly deserves our best efforts to keep her waters running as clean as possible. But it’s going to take work.

Come help us raise money and awareness for the Chattahoochee River while kicking back with a cold beer and some fish-porn. Several fly shops and outfitters will be present with products and swag, and of course you know there will be raffles. Rods, gear, T’s, trips, and the list goes on! Don’t miss out on a great night with your fellow anglers, as well as a great way to give back to our Chattahoochee! We hope to see you there!


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6 Tips For Flying To Fish

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When fly-fishing means flying to fish, there are a few simple things that can make it a lot more enjoyable.

Let’s face it, air travel is an ordeal these days. Even more so when it involves traveling with a bunch of fishing gear. I should know, I do it all the time. While there is no silver bullet to turn back the clock to the days before baggage fees, air rage and the dreaded TSA, there are some things you can do to make it easier and even work the system.

I’m pretty OCD about air travel. I minimize the stress of the situation by over preparing and being early for everything. I know, however, that my personal travel habits don’t work for everyone so I’m going to cut out the minutia and give you some tips which I think can apply to most traveling anglers.

Here are 6 tips for flying to fish.

Know the rules

The rules for air travel change from place to place and even by airlines or tickets. While most airports and airlines have relaxed quite a bit since the knee-jerk security reaction to 9/11, there are still times when carrying fish gear onto a plane just won’t fly. For example, Argentina does not allow any fishing gear on planes. No rods or reels, no lines or flies. Everything must be checked right down to your 6X tippet. You can fly into the country with your gear in hand but it will have to be checked when you leave and if you didn’t plan for that, it can be a real challenge.

In general, checking gear is not that risky. You’ll want your rods in tubes inside your luggage or in dedicated travel cases. It’s smart to put reels in their original boxes or stuffed into wading boots. The biggest issue you have to worry about is lost bags. The best way to avoid that is to fly direct whenever possible. If you do carry gear onboard it’s best to get yourself into an early boarding group and be at the front of the line. The difference between a good day and a bad one is an open overhead bin. Be polite to your flight attendants as they have some discretion on what happens to carry-ons.

Pack light and smart

Checked bags

Extra fees for overweight bags can kill your budget and who needs to carry all of that weight anyway? You probably need less than you think. I start saving weight by carrying a duffle bag rather than a heavy rolling bag. Less weight in the bag means you can carry more gear. If you are headed somewhere remote, you may find yourself on a flight with weight restrictions well under those of major airlines. If that limit is in the 30-pound range, a rolling bag eats up a big chunk of that. I like waterproof, roll-top duffles for when I find myself in some remote location and bad weather.

If you are checking a bag with gear, planning to wash out some clothes on your trip will make room for things like waders and boots. You can save weight on rod tubes by swapping tubes. For example, I have several rods with carbon fiber tubes. I don’t always fly with those rods, but those tubes carry plenty of rods that came in heavier tubes. I’ll also use a large tube from one of my saltwater rods to carry two trout rods.

Anything with zippers, especially zip-front waders, should always be packed unzipped! If a zipper gets folded while zipped, and then is subjected to pressure from stacked bags, it will fail and you will be sad. Trust me, I spent a week of winter steelheading in open waders. No fun.


I have a couple of carry-on bags I truly can’t live without.

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Sunday Classic / The UV Chocolate

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Often days when the midge bite is at its best nothing much else seems to be happening hatch wise. That’s an important reason to know your midges. They can make the difference between catching a lot of fish or no fish.

It’s not uncommon to see great midge hatches on cold overcast days when other bugs stay home. The great thing about the UV Chocolate is that these are the conditions where it shines. No really, it shines. The the UV ice dub wing, which already reacts to UV light is also treated with Spectrum Responce for extra highlighting.

Trout’s eyes are highly sensitive to UV light and they use that sensitivity to find food on dark days or when water clarity is low. This flys highly reflective UV profile makes it a great tool on overcast days when midges are present.

Watch the video and learn to tie the UV Chocolate.

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Saturday Shoutout / Jim Harrison, Older Fishing

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Many of us were young when we began to fly fish, but none of us will be young when we are done.

Everything changes as we get older and our fishing is no exception. Somewhere between experience and infirmary we find ourselves looking at the water with new eyes and in our boots we find different angler. As the river never stands still, neither does the angler.

This essay by author Jim Harrison is honest and enlightening. Young or old, it’s well worth your time.


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New Fly Lines and Backing From Scientific Anglers

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Watch the video!

How would you like a fly line that lasts 8 times longer?

SA’s testing indicates the their new Amplitude fly lines are delivering that kind of performance. There are two new additions to the Amplitude line. A bonefish Taper and Trout taper. Both are true line weight lines packed with features.

Also new this year are tricolor Dacron backing. This great looking backing changes color every 100 feet, so when a big fish runs, you know how much backing is out. that’s valuable information for fighting big saltwater species.


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The Video Doesn’t Lie

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Watch the Video!

By Bob Reece

Over the numerous years that I played football, I watched countless hours of practice and game film. One truth always reigned. Your performance was never as good or as bad as you believed it would be.

After a recent back packing trip I sat down at my computer to review some of my footage. One of the clips was a side shot of me casting. While the rear portion of my casting range was sound, the forward portion of that particular cast was flat out sloppy. My forward plane of motion traveled down instead of parallel to the water. In addition to this, my stopping point prevented my rod from effectively loading into my back cast. Having seen video of myself casting on numerous occasions, I was a little surprised and disappointed. However, it was helpful to be reminded that when I lose focus on the water, my cast is not always what I assume it to be.

You may not carry camera gear with you on your fishing journeys. Chances are though, that you have a cell phone with you at home and on the road. Taking a moment to record a few minutes of your casting motion can provide valuable feedback. While it’s no substitute for

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RS2 – One of My Favorite Picky Trout Fly Patterns

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By Kent Klewein

There’s days when trout fishing is so slow, it seems like conditions couldn’t possibly get any worse.

You may find yourself questioning if any trout in the stream are willing to feed at all. At other times, you’ll have no problem locating pods of steady risers, but everything you throw at them is rejected. My buddy Brad in this situation usually volunteers to row the boat, opting for cold beer within arms distance and gazing at picturesque landscapes. The dude always has a Plan B ready to be put into action, ensuring he always has a good time on the water whether he catches fish or just a buzz, and I respect that.

The RS2 fly pattern time and time again never fails to produce for me during tough fishing situations. And it really has the ability to catch fish just about any way you fish it. Fish it solo on fine tippet to wary sippers and you’ll fool a couple guaranteed. Drop it off the back of a larger and more visible dry fly if you’re having problems seeing it, and it will ride in the film, usually fooling fish on even the most technical trout water. I even have great luck fishing an RS2 as

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Swinging Tandem Flies For Steelhead

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By Louis Cahill

Most anglers successfully fish teams of flies for trout. Why not for their anadromous cousins?

I was introduced to this idea by a good friend who is one of the fishiest guys I know. When swinging traditional flies on a floating line he always fishes a team of two flies. He tells me he catches about a third of his fish on the top fly and he’s convinced that it boosts his overall numbers by that amount.

I almost never fish for trout with less than two flies so it’s easy for me to accept the idea that I should be doing it for steelhead. The idea behind tandem flies for swinging is a little different but the logic is compelling. But does it really work?

The Theory

My buddy explained it to me this way. When you are swinging a fly and a fish swirls on it without taking it, what would you do? You’d change flies and make the same cast, showing him another. Sometimes that fish will eat the second fly. My buddy’s idea is that we get looks and swirls all the time that we never see. I find that likely. He ties his second fly the length of his step above the first, so that as he steps he automatically puts two flies over each fish. That’s kind of brilliant.

So to be clear, it’s the fly at the end of the leader which the fish sees first and fly at the top which is seen second. The team functions a little differently than a team of trout flies. A team of trout flies gives the fish a more immediate choice of patterns or depths, covering a spread of what the fish might be keying on. The steelhead version offers the fish a second chance to take the fly, with time being the variable. This makes sense. Steelhead are not feeding so the take is an aggressive strike rather than a reaction to a chosen food type.

The Setup

First let’s be clear that we are talking about fishing a floating line in traditional summer steelhead fashion. This technique would be extremely difficult to pull off in a Skagit system with sinking tips.

Like any tandem setup there are several ways you could tie on your flies. For simplicity and function, I like the setup my buddy uses. I use an intermediate polyleader and at the end I attach a short piece of 15-pound Maxima and tie a loop at the end. I then use a loop-to-loop connection to attach my 12-pound maxima tippet. The lengths of leader and tippet vary depending on the line you are fishing and that’s another article.

Rather than tying the fly to this tippet

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First Shot

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By Justin Pickett

“With an explosion, the water suddenly gave way to expose the shimmering scales and black fins of a perfect Everglades Silver King.”

The weeks of preparation, tying, and fantasizing had come to an absolute end as I found myself sitting in the backseat of a pickup truck that was hauling a Hells Bay Professional through the eerie darkness of the Everglades. With Captain Jason Sullivan of Rising Tide Charters behind the wheel, Tim Harden of the Venturing Angler and I chatted back and forth about the typical things fisherman banter about. Memories of past trips, how the prior days’ fishing had been, as well as what we might expect out on the water. As with any trip, for me, there is the usual anxiousness that crawls over my skin as visions of acrobatic tarpon dance through my head. I’ve fished all over Florida, but the Everglades has been the one destination in the Sunshine State that has always found a way to elude me. Thanks to Tim and some perfect scheduling, I’ve finally found myself here.

As we pull into Flamingo and step out into the steamy morning, the usual quiet of the pre-dawn hours is immediately interrupted by the constant buzzing of a thick cloud of mosquitos. Apparently, someone told them we were coming and they were waiting for us with empty stomachs. But, even the constant prodding of those vampire-bugs wasn’t going to diminish the excitement we were all feeling as we loaded up our gear and dunked the skiff in the warm waters of the Glades.

The skiff glided into the black water. Tossing the last few pieces of gear aboard, we cranked up and began our disappearance into the mysterious pitch black that enveloped the landscape. As we snaked through the canopied canal, the delightful sounds of the outboard rang in the ear, pushing us closer and closer to our fishing grounds guided only by brightly colored lines on the back-lit map of the GPS. As sudden as a blink, it seemed we were spit out by the canal and thrust into a vast open bay surrounded by the faint outline of distant thunderheads, periodically highlighted by jagged streaks of light. The ride was loud, but quiet, amplified by the dark vastness of the pre-dawn Everglades.

As the boat broke plane and the engine was cut, a tingle ran up my spine. The silence was insane. A faint buzz could be heard near the mangroves from the myriad bugs whirring about, but the moment you were more than a cast-length away… nothing. Not even a breath of wind was present to disturb the calm.

The roll of a tarpon could be heard a hundred yards away as a magenta sunrise began to paint the sky, disrupted only by a few wispy clouds high in the atmosphere. Three sets of eager eyes scanned across a large boxes filled with feathers and fur in order to select the first players in a game of cat and mouse. Lines were threaded through guides and tippets were tied deliberately to trusty hooks as the last few preparations were completed.

I hear Tim’s voice from behind me, “You’ve got first shot”.

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