Fly Fishing: Don’t Turn Your Cheek, Pay it Forward

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The other day I had the opportunity to guide a client who previously had put down his fly rod for many years. As he put on his waders and boots, and I began rigging the rods, he told me that many of his good friends were avid fly fisherman. Problem was, they had made it clear to him that they preferred he didn’t tag along with them, because they didn’t want to waste their precious fly fishing time teaching a beginner. I felt bad for the guy. He had been painted an outcast by his own buddies, and every year that went by, it made it harder and harder for him to pick up his fly rod. With a comforting grin on my face, I replied, “Man, I really wish you would have called me sooner. We could have nipped this in the butt a long time ago.”

During our hike in to the river, I decided my mission for the day was

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This Land is Your Land

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By Mia Sheppard

In the West, we are blessed with endless access to public rivers, mountains, forest, grasslands, and backcountry areas. These places are every American’s playground.

As a steelheader, mother, and outfitter who relies on public access; I’ve made central Oregon, and the rivers that flow through its basalt outcroppings and sagebrush foothills, my playground. Like most steelhead and trout rivers, the ones I fish and float are held in a trust for the American people by the federal government and managed, along with the rest of our country’s 640 million acres of federal public lands, by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service.

These are lands that give us access to fish whenever we want, at minimal cost. In Oregon, I have the freedom to explore and find new water to over 200 public rivers and creeks. I can’t imagine fishing a river where I had to pay a premium to do what I love, go fishing and hunting.

Have you ever wondered where you would go fishing or hunting if you didn’t have public access? We can’t just take this lifestyle for granted.

There’s a movement afoot to transfer public lands that fuel our sports. Harkening back to the homesteaders of the 1880s and the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s, this group is rallying around the idea of taking back federal lands that supposedly belong to the states. This modern-day sagebrush rebellion, which is well-funded and well-organized in places like Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana, advocates for the transfer of millions of federal acres to the states that claim to be able to manage them better.

In 2012, the Utah state legislature passed the “Transfer of Public Lands Act and Related Study,” demanding that 31 million acres of federal land be given to the state by December 31, 2014. (This demand was never met.) As futile as Utah’s effort may sound, a total of 37 bills were introduced in 11 Western states promoting the transfer of federal public lands to state holdings during the 2015 state legislative season.

And the fight has moved to Washington, D.C.: In 2015 the U.S. Senate passed a non-binding budget resolution that encourages Congress to “sell, or transfer to, or exchange with, a state or local government any Federal land that is not within the boundaries of a National Park, National Preserve, or National Monument.” Read that again—your Senators passed this symbolic measure 51-49. Idaho’s Senator Mike Crapo and Senator James Risch both voted for it. This is such an important issue that the presidential candidates are talking about it and the newly approved Republican platform supports turning over federal land to

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6 Ways To Instantly Start Taking Better Fish Photos

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By Kyle Wilkinson

Long before the days of Instagram or Facebook, taking pictures of a prized catch was still a big part of the fishing experience for most anglers. As you might be able to imagine, I see A LOT of fish pictures given my current occupation. I also take a lot, too. Now I know everyone has their own opinion about how to appropriately photograph a fish (or if it should even be done) but the fact remains that the good ol’ grip n’ grin is here to stay. In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with this either. And while these days I certainly don’t take a picture with every fish I catch and more often than not try to focus on a more ‘creative’ approach to my fishing photography, sometimes it still feels good to simply hold one up for the camera.

But back to the point of this. As mentioned, I see a lot of fish photos and quite truthfully, a lot of them are pretty bad. If you’ve ever found yourself telling your buddies ‘this picture doesn’t do this fish justice’ (while secretly wondering why that 20” brown looked more like 12” in the photo) then I suggest you read on. Not only will these tips lead to better fish photos, it will also ensure you’re taking better care of the fish by getting your shot quicker, and therefore getting the fish back to the water (you guessed it)…..quicker.

1. Get Down- This is a simple one and in my opinion, helps the fish out just as much as your photographic desires. Once you’ve landed the fish and are near a shallow area, get down on your knees to handle/photograph the fish. Just as important, however, is that your photographer does the same. Your goal here is to get the camera having a straight line shot at you and the fish. Another benefit to this method is that if the fish does slip out of your hands back into the water, it’s going to have a much shorter/safer fall. Additionally, always keep the fish over water in the event it does end up back in the drink quicker than expected. Fish are no different than us in the fact that it feels much better to fall into water than onto rocks.

2. Belly To The Bottom- This is another one I see time

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Sunday Classic / Let Your Guide Decide

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Guides behave differently in different locations. A Florida Keys guide would never let you tie on a fly from your box with out approving it first. He’d more likely just cut it off and tie on one of his own, but guides in other places can be a lot more low key. In the Bahamas for example the guides are very laid back and if a client ties on a fly, they will likely not question it. They of course have an opinion, an informed one at that, and if you ask for it you’ll get it.

I was on the boat one day with, Andros South guide, Jose Sands and an angler who will remain nameless. This fellow is a great fisherman and a guide at home. He had selected a fly from his box and when the time came made a perfect presentation to a huge bonefish

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Saturday Shoutout / Thinking One Through

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Watch the Video!

Here’s a video every trout angler will want to see.

There’s nothing more fun than sight fishing to trout. Beyond being enjoyable and visually rewarding, it’s also how you will catch your biggest fish. Sight fishing allows you to target quality fish and make informed presentations. It’s a real art.

This great video from Jensen Fly Fishing (sourced via Orvis News) is a textbook example of educated angler vs educated fish. It’s highly educational and just plain fun to watch.


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Looking Good With Fish On

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Fish On Energy delivers cool designs and quality materials in Fly Fishing apparel.

I met these guys about 2 years ago when they were just getting into the apparel game. They weren’t really product designers, just fishy guys with an eye for what’s cool. They had a couple of cool T-shirts and hats and a great attitude. Two years later, the product line has expanded, and the designs have evolved. Now there’s cool apparel for on and off the water. Pretty cool stuff from Fish On.


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6 Reasons To Love And Fear The Barracuda

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By Louis Cahill

Every angler who catches a barracuda can’t wait to catch another, but if you aren’t a little afraid of these fish, you’re about to get bit.

I was fishing in the Bahamas with G&G videographer Charlie Murphy and I caught a nice ‘cuda about four feet long. Murphy is a dyed-in-the-wool musky fisherman and no stranger to toothy fish. When I got the fish to the boat he reached down with a handheld GoPro to get a closeup. Our guide caught him by the elbow.

“Don’t get your hand close to that thing,” he told Murphy.

“I’m not afraid of that fish,” Murphy answered.

“You should be,” I added. It wasn’t long before he realized that we were not dealing with a musky.

Barracuda are an awesome sport fish. Although they can be tough to catch on a fly, they are not a fish you pursue for the challenge of feeding. You cast to barracuda purely for the adrenaline rush. The barracuda in the Bahamas are the most fly friendly anywhere and I always carry a rod rigged with wire leader and a big fly so I can take a shot when a big boy shows up. I’m not a purist who thinks I’m above catching one of the most exciting fish on the flats.

I’ve written about ‘cuda fishing before, but that day on the boat with Murphy made me think. If I’m going to extol the virtues of the Barracuda as a sport fish, I should write a word of caution. As an advisory, I know of no more serious fish to land and handle. They can be more dangerous than sharks and if you’re going to put a hook in one, you’d better be prepared for what comes next.

I recommend ‘cuda fishing as a team sport. Having a friend—or better yet a guide—to help you land a big one is a real plus. Handling gloves are a great idea as well. You do not want this fish slipping out of your grasp. I very rarely cast to large cuda when wading. When they find they can’t run, they will often attack. If you do tie into a big one while on foot, it’s best to head for high ground.

Here are 6 reasons to love and fear the barracuda.

Unchecked aggression

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C&R Tips & Gear for Musky & Other Toothy Critters

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I’ll never forget the first musky I landed on fly. It was an extremely proud moment for me, but it quickly turned into a stressful situation after I got the musky to the boat. I had serious problems removing the deeply hooked fly. The musky had its mouth slammed shut and would not open it more than a couple seconds at a time. After a few minutes without making any progress, I became desperate, and used my hand to pry the mouth open (dumb I know, but the health of the fish was more important to me) and I ended up badly cutting my hand on the razor sharp teeth. The entire hook removal process took far too long, and that made it extremely difficult for us to revive and release the fish. It was an organized team effort to say the least. I held the fish in the water, Louis stabilized the net, and Murphy ran the trolling motor upstream to keep water running over the gills until we got the musky green again. Talk about a bummer that ended up overshadowing a proud angling moment. That’s not how I wanted my first catch and release of a musky to go down.

If you’re planning on going fly fishing for musky or any other toothy critters for the first time, I highly encourage you to read over these organized catch and release handling tips and gear recommendations. They’ll keep you and the fish safe, and you’ll greatly decrease the chances of ruining a great moment on the water like I did.

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Check Your Fly Rig!

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By Justin Pickett

The sun is only a faint glow below the horizon as it prepares to make its ascent into the sky.

I launch my chunky, articulated offering into the twilight.

Slicing through the fog, it lands mere inches from the bank.

Soon, will come the moment of truth.

That split second when man and fish will come to learn their fate.

Strip, strip, strip.

A menacing silhouette emerges from the darkness.

Strip, strip. Flash! Strip, strip. Bam! Big hit!

The hook set is on point. The rod bends abruptly.

The surly Brown shakes his head angrily at the unpleasant sensation of resistance.

It is the moment that I have anticipated all morning. All week.

It is this moment that will haunt me for some time, for my net is empty and my fly is lost.

It happens. Trout, among the many other species of fish, will get the best of us sometimes. No matter what we do right, there are always those fish that just seem to be living right and never make it to our nets. The scenario described above, however, may not have ended the way that it did had I just checked my rig thoroughly before hitting the water.

It was still dark as I gathered all of my gear and transferred it into the Adipose. I didn’t rig my rod before leaving the house like I had planned so, when I got to the parking lot, I rushed through my normal routine of checking through my gear. Instead, I just threw everything together so I could get on the water ASAP. However, of course, hurrying through things tends to bite you in the ass later on, as it did on this particular morning. The bite in the ass being the humiliating loss of a very large brown trout.

That big brown slab shook his head hard after a short sprint downstream. Suddenly, just as he began a second drag-stealing run, my line went slack

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Does Casting Technique Matter For Small Stream Trout Fishing?

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By Louis Cahill

You can sure catch a lot of trout with no more than ten feet of fly line, but does that mean that casting doesn’t matter?

I had this conversation recently. I was fishing a classic, pocket water stream with a friend and at some point he asked me point blank why I was catching fish and he wasn’t. He was shocked when I told him the problem was with his cast. Neither of us had more than ten feet of line out of the tip of our rod.

It’s a problem that plenty of beginning, and even intermediate anglers have. Even with a very short line, poor casts make for poor presentations. the problem is compounded in tight quarters where your first presentation really needs to be your best. Flailing about in close proximity to fish is generally not productive.

One of the most common casting mistakes I see anglers make, when casting a short line, is using too long a stroke. Often, anglers will do this because they are struggling to load the rod. With the head of the line still on the reel, it’s impossible to load the whole rod like you would in a longer cast. The problem very quickly becomes one of line management. The long, and usually circular, casting stroke dumps the fly line on the water, making it nearly impossible to get a good drift. Especially in the conflicting current of fast pocket water.

Fixing this problem is super simple, and comes down to

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