By Bob Reece
As the winter snows of the Rocky Mountains begin to thaw, a change is set in motion.
The landscape breaks loose and emerges from a crisp exoskeleton of winter. For many fly fishers the pinnacle of this yearly change is the transformation of Pteronarcys californica. Most fly fishers have some familiarity with spring salmonfly hatches that proclaim the beginning of a new season on many of western North America’s freestone rivers and streams. While the salmonfly emergence is one of fly fishing’s most compelling events, success during this time is not guaranteed and often depends of the design of your flies.
The Beefcake Stone is the epitome of a match for this hatch. While the body of this pattern is rigid, its appendages move easily. The Sexi-floss antennae and tail fibers, along with round rubber legs provide the fly with actively twitching limbs. Tantalizing action is paired with realism by knotting all of the legs. This nicely mimics the prominent leg joints in the adult Pteronarcys. Aesthetic appeal is crucial but without durability it is meaningless. Zap-A-Gap is essential when working with the foam elements of this pattern. It should be applied any time two foam surfaces are placed in contact. At the core of this pattern is the sturdy Tiemco 2499BL. This hook sticks and stays, using an upturned point design to prevent itself from being shaken loose. Its sturdy construction and short shank provide the security to land large fish in high flows that often accompany this event.
Triumph in fly fishing is often signified by a successful meeting of fly and fish. The expectation of this is rarely greater than whenRead More »
Worm Fly Patterns That Consistently Catch Fish
It’s no secret worm patterns are super consistent most of the year for catching both stocked and wild trout. They work especially well for stocked fish, after a big rain, and during the spring, winter, and fall seasons. I’ve had days when the only thing I could get trout to eat was a san juan worm. There’s a bunch of haters out there that will not fish them, claiming it’s the next closest thing to fishing a real earthworm, but look in their fly box and I bet you’ll find a few. I on the other hand, have no problem fishing worm patterns, because they do a great job of keeping my clients rods bent, which in turn, pays my bills. To top it all off, worm patterns are among the cheapest and easiest fly patterns for me to tie. I can rip out about a dozen in less than ten minutes, for about $2.50 worth of materials. Choosing to put worm patterns in your fishing line-up, will almost certainly put more fish in your net. Below are four worm patterns I always keep in my fly box.
On April 12th, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee approved Bill 10 to build a reservoir to curb Lake Okeechobee discharges.
Finally we are close to some meaningful action, which could help restore the premier U.S. fishery. Clean waters and natural flows are one of the most crucial conservation challenges of our generation. Only by restoring the natural flow of clean, fresh water into the Everglades can we save the fisheries of the Everglades, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys. Now is time to make our voices heard by the Florida House. They are all that stands between us and real, lasting change.
Don’t kid yourself that this is a done deal. There are lots of folks behind this bill, on both sides of the aisle, but there is big money against it. The sugar industry does not want it to pass, so we have to keep the pressure on. Even if you don’t live in Florida, speak up. Remember, Florida relies on its tourists. We all have a voice in this.
Last time I called Florida “America’s greatest fishery,” I got some push back from anglers around the country. I’m not knocking your fisheries, but tell me this, Where else can you find hundreds of species of fish, some weighing in over 200 pounds and traveling in schools of hundreds, and every single one of them is wild? If you are not fishing in Florida, you should be.
Please watch the video, produced by Orvis, below. I’m proud to be a sponsor of the film and happy to support the good work Perk Perkins and Orvis are doing on this effort. You can help, too.
Here’s what you can do to help:Read More »
The USA-Made Mirage Makes Its Debut
It’s been a big push for some time now… Fly rods, reels, lines, gear, accessories, clothing; Anglers want more products made stateside, as opposed to the cheaper, foreign alternatives. This typically means a steeper price, but with that also comes a more reliable, quality product. And anglers have shown they are willing to pay the higher prices to get a better product. Thankfully, many companies within the fly fishing world have listened to their customers and made the necessary moves to get more USA-made gear into fly shops.
Photo Caption: (Orvis is one of those companies that is making a big push to manufacture more USA-made products in order to continue the tradition of providing some of the finest gear to fly anglers everywhere.)
The new Orvis Mirage hit the scene this past summer at IFTD and many that attended the show were impressed by the looks, features, and specifications that this new reel boasted. However, what I was most excited about was the fact that this reel was made 100% in the US of A. Finally!!! Orvis has been hand rolling some of the best rods on the planet right here in Vermont for decades, and now there is finally a high-performance reel, that is proudly made in Vermont, that will wear the Orvis name.
So what about this Made in USA Mirage is going to make it great?
At first look, the new MirageRead More »
Are you looking for more a little more distance in your cast? Is your fly line not shooting through your guides as easy as it should? Is it lacking that fresh from the box high floating buoyancy? Are you spending more time untangling your fly line than fishing? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you should think about taking a couple minutes before hitting the water to stretch your fly line out.Read More »
If you’ve ever dreamed of skating a fly for Atlantic Salmon, this film will make your heart pound.
Almost a mythical beast, the Atlantic Salmon excites anglers like no other species. With runs dwindling and the future of this fish in doubt, it’s wonderful to see steps being taken to preserve them and their habitat.
Take a trip to the Kharlovka Atlantic Salmon Preserve, with film maker jako Lucas, and get a gleams of the past, and if we are all very lucky, maybe the future.
ENJOY KHARLOVKARead More »
This video can teach you to fly cast and double haul like a pro.
When I asked Tim Rajeff for some tips on the double haul, I got way more than I expected. In just under 4 minutes Tim gave the best presentation I’ve ever seen on fly casting. If you want to improve your fly casting, get more distance and control and cast like a rockstar, take a few minutes to watch this video.
VIDEO TIPS ON THE DOUBLE HAUL FROM TIM RAJEFFRead More »
Let’s be honest, winter steelheading is a pretty tough game.
Summer runs can get downright giddy in comparison to the cold, dark days of winter. Swinging flies in tough conditions, for migrating fish whose numbers are small, when they are there at all, is just not for the faint of heart. Although the odds are slim, the rewards are great. There’s nothing like the feel of a heavy winter fish on the line.
In every fishing challenge, we try to stack the odds in our favor. To do that effectively, we must first understand why the fishing is challenging. In the case of winter steelhead, there are a couple of factors in play, which make or job harder than normal.
Winter fish are on a mission. All steelhead spawn at the same time. The timing of the runs is just when the fish enter the river. Summer fish come in early and hang out in the river, becoming more like trout in their habits. They have nothing to do but hang out and grab flies. Winter fish come in hot to spawn. Fish entering the river in March may only be in the river for a week or two. They have a sense of purpose and that purpose does not include eating flies.
All fish are less aggressive in cold water. Hanging out in 40 degree water doesn’t put any of us in the best mood. It’s the same for steelhead. You will simply get fewer eats from any given fish in cold water than in warmer water.
Of course the biggest reason that winter steelhead are so tough to catch is there are just fewer of them. Fewer every day, it seems. The fish who do make the winter run are covering a lot of water quickly, so any time you are swinging the fly in winter you have to wonder if there are even fish to see it. Well, don’t give up. The fish are there and I’m going to give you a tip on how to catch them.
CONSISTENCY IS KING.
Swinging flies for winter steelhead is all about covering water effectively. It’s not just a matter ofRead More »
You’ve just spotted a big head break the surface on the far bank, gulping down a struggling mayfly drifting in the foam. The excitement of discovering the trophy trout feeding triggers your body’s adrenaline glands, and almost instantly, you feel your heart begin to pound, thump thump….thump thump. With the confined quarters and lacking room for a back cast, you realize your only viable option to reach the fish is going to be with an accurate roll cast. As you quickly try to present your mayfly imitation in the feeding lane, hoping that the big fish will mistake it for a natural, your fly shoots left of your intended target and lands in an overhanging branch above the fish’s lie, immediately putting down the big fish. With the fishing opportunity blown and the disappointment setting in, you find yourself asking, “What did I do wrong?”
As an avid small stream trout fisherman, I’ve lived out this exact situation many times, and felt the disappointment followed by a poorly executed roll cast. It wasn’t until I took the time to understand and learn the mechanics of proper roll casting, that I began finding myself capitalizing on fishing situations that called for precise roll casting. Looking back now on my past roll casting insufficiency, it’s clear I wasn’t at all, alone. There’s many anglers that struggle with roll casting, and that’s why I’ve decided to provide a short list of tips that’s intended to get anglers roll casting like pros.Read More »
Odds are, you paid good money for that fly reel, don’t let it go to waste.
One of the most common fish-fighting mistakes anglers make is not making good use of the reel. I see this most commonly in anglers who are making the transition from freshwater to salt, but it exists in all types of fly fishing. Well, maybe not tenkara.
Most modern fly reels have drag systems, which are both powerful and precise. In the old days, fly reel drag did little more than help prevent backlash, but today’s reels are effective fish-fighting machines designed to land fish efficiently. Once you have a feel for using a fly reel, you’ll find that you land more fish and land them quicker.
There are basically two things you need to know about fighting fish with a fly reel: how tight to set the drag and how to fight a fish with the given drag setting. Before I dive into the technical stuff, I will touch on a few basics for those who are completely new to the sport. If you are an advanced angler, skim over the next three paragraphs.
Unlike spinning reels, fly reels are direct drive reels. This means that in order for the spool to spin under drag, your winding hand must let go of the reel. I know, that’s dead obvious, but getting the winding hand off the reel quickly when a fish starts to run is a skill new anglers struggle with.
Your fly reel should have two types of line. Your fly line, the weight of which is matched to your rod. This is the line you cast to deliver the fly. The reel should also have backing. Usually Dacron, the backing is attached to the spool and then to the back end of the fly line. This line is there for fighting big fish which make long runs. It is not as strong as your fly line, so be careful not to put too much pressure on a fish when the backing is out or you may lose your fly line. This is important with large species like tarpon. Backing will also cut like a knife when under tension, so don’t touch it during the fight.
Once the reel is mounted to the rod, the line should come off the front of the reel and make a straight line to the first guide, without touching the frame. When you strip line off the reel in preparation for casting, always pull the line out along the rod. Never strip it off the reel with the line in contact with the frame of the reel. This will damage your line and cause it to twist and tangle.
Setting the drag
There are a couple of important things to consider when setting your drag. The most important isRead More »