Choosing the Lens That’s Right You

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    The most common camera question I get from my friends is “what lens should I buy.” My usual answer is, “the one that costs the most.” It’s a joke, but there is some truth to it. Here are a few tips on choosing a good lens that’s in your budget. First of all you do get what you pay for and it’s better to save up and buy a good lens than to buy one that you will not be satisfied with and need to replace. Be wary of third party manufacturers. If you have a Nikon camera you are likely better off with a Nikon lens. The term “prosumer” means amateur. These lenses have poor glass and good marketing. Modern zoom lenses are very good but no one lens can do it all well. Choose a zoom with a modest range like 24-70 not 18-200. Lenses with fast apertures like 1.8 can be wonderful for freezing action but a zoom lens with that kind of aperture will be very expensive. If a fast aperture is important to you you might consider a prime lens like an 85mm f 1.8. Special purpose lenses like fish eyes are fun but a fish eye is a one trick pony, even if it is a pretty cool trick. A lot of guys see a cool photo taken with a fish eye and run out and buy one. They shoot with it all the time for the first month, then it lives in the bag. If you’ve got the cash, why not, but if your on a budget put that money towards a better quality wide angle. The other question I get all the time is, “What’s your go to lens for fishing?” Hands down it’s the 12-24 zoom. I like to … Continue reading

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8 Common Fly Line Mending Mistakes

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I spend the majority of my time teaching fly casting when guiding my clients, but the art of mending fly line is a close second.  A perfect cast can quickly become obsolete if you don’t understand the concept of mending fly line. When mending is timed correctly and executed properly it allows fly anglers to maintain a drag-free presentation, keep their fly in the target zone, and prolong the length of their drift. Developing good mending technique my friends, translates into more fish being hooked and landed. If you’re lucky enough to already have the basics of fly casting down, I highly encourage you to next focus your time on understanding and mastering the mechanics of mending fly line. Throughout this post I’m going to try to touch base on the most popular mending mistakes I see on the river, but before I do so, here’s an intriguing question for everyone. Why is it, that fly anglers seem to always get their left and right mixed up when mending fly line? It happens to me guiding all the time. I’ll instruct my client to mend to the left and they’ll do the opposite, by mending to the right. One of the most common four word phrases out of my mouth is, “no, your other left”. This will probably hit home with more guides than anglers but I had to bring it up, since we all do it. I’ve tried using upstream and downstream for instructing mending direction, but that seems to be even more confusing. That being said, here are the most common mending mistakes I see on the river. 1. Anglers Wait Too Long to Mend Everyone deserves props when a perfect cast is made, but don’t make the mistake of admiring it, and forget to follow it up with … Continue reading

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Swing For The Fence On Every Cast

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  After four days swinging flies in dirty water without a pull it’s easy to lose faith. I faced some pretty tough conditions on a recent trip to the Dean River in British Columbia. Heavy rain turned the river into a raging mess of mud and floating trees. It was not a pretty sight, but I turned it around. High water tactics can be laborious. Fishing long heavy sink tips and weighted flies makes casting a chore and swinging your fly a downright pain in the ass. You have to put the fly where the fish are and in high water they are hunkered down on structure or hugging the bank. Getting down to submerged structure in fast water means weight and lots of it. That means lots of hanging up on the rocks, especially at the end of your swing. After four days with no action and hanging your fly up on every cast it’s easy to start avoiding the water that you know is going to give you trouble. Little things like picking up your fly just before it reaches the end of its swing or not giving that sink tip quite as long to sink makes robotic fishing easier on your nerves. The problem is, it doesn’t catch fish. The worst is when, after days of toil without a fish, you snag that rock and immediately throw your line over it only to see it turn and bolt downstream without your fly in its mouth. We’ve all done it. I learned long ago that big fish often eat like rocks. I always hold pressure on a rock for a few seconds at least. It’s paid off many times and it paid off again in BC. After four days of fishing and clearing ten thousand snags, when my … Continue reading

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Sunday’s Classic / Landlocked Stripers on the Fly

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So I wrote this post this past winter, but the truth is, the striped bass fishing is really good right now on many of our lakes and rivers. My buddy the other day landed a 25 pound striper on the fly. Much of our trout fishing is limited to the mornings and evening right now unless you’re fishing on a tailwater up high. If you’re looking for a break from the trout game, I recommend chasing stripers on the fly. Winter Striper Fishing – G&G Classic Post It’s that time of year again, for me to get excited about layering up and getting on one of my local reservoirs for some landlocked stripers on the fly. The fall and winter months are great times for both numbers and big fish if you’re willing to battle the cold. Dropping water temperatures get baitfish schooling up and very active, and you’ll find schools of hybrid bass and striped bass following their every move. It sounds easy right? Tell me that again when the alarm clock is ringing at 4:00am and it’s twenty degrees outside. For best results you’re going to want to get on the lake early, well before sunrise. You will find your best opportunity for breaking fish is the first three or four hours of the day. Once the sun gets high on the horizon the baitfish and the striped bass usually go deep. Even with full sinking lines you’ll find it hard to effectively present your fly in the strike zone when fish are deep. Long points close to deep water or flats and humps surrounded by deep water are hotspots for stripers and hybrid bass driving and abusing baitfish. Sometimes stripers will also use the backs of coves to trap baitfish so don’t overlook those as well. If … Continue reading

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Saturday’s Shoutout / Lo Fi Fly in Cuba

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This week’s Saturday shoutout goes to Lo Fi Fly, for an interesting piece that’s lie-free from a recent fly fishing trip to Cuba. Lo Fi Fly – Chuck T’s, the Woodsman, Cajones & The Tarmbada Here’s what I like about this post from Lo Fi Fly. They write brutally honest, and they’re not ashamed to admit the fish got the best of them on the flats. That’s saltwater fly fishing, which dishes out far more failures than rewards to fly anglers, and I respect these guys for telling it like it is. Lo Fi Fly understands what fly fishing is all about; the journey, experience, and challenge. Nice work guys, I enjoyed the humorous piece, and thanks for reminding me to pack my Gold Bond this week before I head to the Keys. Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Be Stealthy Like Czech Nymphers

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I’m not afraid to admit I’m not a big fan of Czech nymphing. I’m not an aficionado of the popular three-fly nymph rig either. It’s not the right rig for fly anglers that lack discipline or are daydreaming fly casters. Furthermore, a freshly tied rig can become a birds nest instantly, simply by a landed fish, rolling in the net. That being said, I’m not saying Czech nymphing doesn’t work, it undoubtedly has it’s place in trout fishing, and can be highly effective at times, it’s just not my first choice. Here’s what I’ll admit and also highly respect about the die hard Czech nymph fisherman out there. Most are very good at approaching fishing holes with complete stealth so they don’t spook fish. They take the time to think out their approach before casting, making sure they’re positioned perfectly so they can execute the best presentation and drift with their flies. Why do they do this you ask? Because success in czech nymphing demands it. Fly anglers fishing this rig are limited to short distance casts and drifts. This ensures they’ll stay in constant contact with their flies for strike detection and will also be able to maintain proper fly depth during their drifts. You’ll never see a veteran czech nympher fishing out of his/her boundaries, and that’s why we should be paying more attention and adopting some of their techniques into our everyday fly fishing practices. It doesn’t matter one bit whether you’re a dry fly purist or prefer to nymph fish with an indicator, like I do. Far too often, I see anglers making casts into trout water that’s way too far away from them, for the simple fact, that they’ve got enough distance in the bag to reach their target. Fish smart by choosing stealth and … Continue reading

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The Simms Pro Dry, BULLETPROOF

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This thing is dry. I got my Simms Pro Dry jacket just in time for the winter steelhead season and this was a good year to put it to the test. It’s seen some truly brutal days now in New York, Oregon and British Columbia. It’s also gotten me through a few real frog chokers down in the south as well as some soggy boat rides in the Keys and the Bahamas. My first impression of this jacket was good but now that I’ve put it to the test, I think it’s fucking awesome! There are a lot of nice features to the Pro Dry, like the super tight wrist seals or the stretch panels at the elbows and shoulders but the most impressive thing about it is how it preformed its basic function. This thing is dry. I have never had a rain jacket that repelled water like this one. After seven months of hard use water still beads up on it like a freshly waxed car. There really is something to the real Gore-Tex and the stretch panels are just as water resistant. The collar is extra high and lined with comfortable micro fleece and the hood is nicely designed. When the hatches are all battened down, all that’s exposed are my glasses. I really like the pockets. Four on the outside and three on the inside. Simms has done a really good job of designing these pockets so they are useful and yet streamlined. They don’t catch line and when they are full of fly boxes and such they don’t restrict movement. There is a nicely designed pocket for an iPod and even a little stretchy loop to help keep up with your ear buds when they’re not in your ears. Personally I don’t listen to music … Continue reading

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Stream Side Roadkill

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I don’t know what I’m going to tie up with these salvaged black crow wing and tail feathers. It’s all that was salvagable with the majority of the bird covered in maggots and flies. I just felt obliged to swipe a few feathers in the efforts to create something positive and pay my respects to this unfortunate road kill speciman. I’ve scoured the internet looking for some fly patterns recipes that use wing and tail feathers from black crow, but I’ve come up empty handed. Can anybody help me out here or point me in the right direction? Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Redneck Driftboating

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Yes, someone actually took the time to build this pathetic hybrid driftboat/soap box car. Louis and I found it snagged on a shallow riffle and abandoned on my home tailwater the other day. It was comprised of two ten gallon sealed water canisters at the bow and stern. The hull was built with a two-by-four frame and plywood deck, and bicycle tires were fastened at the corners. I’m guessing the redneck engineering idea was that the design would be much easier to roll over shallow shoals while drifting the extreme low water flows. Here’s the scary part, whoever captained this boat/car, actually made it two miles down stream before it fell apart. I only wish I would have been there to witness it’s maiden voyage, and then force them to burn it into a pile of ashes along the riverbank. I really can’t blame whoever built this thing though. My driftboat doesn’t do much better with the pathetic 120-150cfs of water the TVA blesses me with annually.  Right now, 50% of the United States is in severe drought for 2012 and many trout seasons on watersheds across the country will be cut short significantly this year. I feel sorry for all the fly fishing guides and fly shops that will suffer this year because of the drought. For all you out there that fall into this category, here’s something positive to be grateful for. Just be happy you’re not me. Drought conditions or not, I rarely have satisfactory water levels on my home tailwater. There’s very few days that offer easy floating with three people in a boat. For you westerners, at least you have a fighting chance things will turn around for the better next year, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find some stillwater to wet a line until … Continue reading

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Be Prepared For Colorado’s Black Canyon

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Colorado’s Black Canyon doesn’t play. My buddy John is getting even more fidgety than usual. He’s whipped himself into a froth as I go over the pack-list. Sleeping bag, pad, headlamp, tecnu…” “Water?”, he asked. “No, I told you, filter bottle.” “Cliff Bars, peanut butter, whisky…” “So this trail”, he starts again, “eight hundred and some vertical feet and the road, the guy said four wheel drive, I don’t think the Subaru has a skid plate. “What’s your deal?”, I ask. “No, well, ok, it just sounds like a lot, we are fifty you know, my back’s not good.” He knows it’s pointless, there’s no talking me out of it. “You’re right”, I answer, “let’s wait until we’re sixty, it’ll be much easier then.” All this noise isn’t for nothing. Colorado’s Black Canyon doesn’t play. You’re not exactly taking your life in your hands fishing down there but bad things can happen. You need a plan because the canyon is not forgiving of mistakes. On the other hand, there are few places in the lower forty-eight that offer the scenery, the quality fishing and the natural experience of the Black Canyon and the Gunnison river. It’s not for everybody and it does get more traffic than you would expect. I’m not trying to add to the pressure but if you are going to go, you should be prepared. Here’s what I learned on my trip. What to expect For the record, fifty is not too old. You need to be in good shape for hiking but if your health is good and you don’t have breathing or heart issues don’t let age stop you. I live at sea level and I did fine with a pack, tent, food and fishing gear. Most folks do it as a day trip but … Continue reading

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