Soft-Hackle Hares Ear

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Guiding has allowed me the opportunity to examine lots of my clients fly boxes over the years. Quite often I open a fly box and just find a bunch of bream poppers and traditional old school attractor wet flies. I know it sounds crazy but it’s the reality in my region of work. I pause for a few seconds scanning their box intently, and try to give the impression they didn’t waist their money trying to stock their fly box at the local Walmart. I then quickly reply, “No worries, I’ve got plenty of flies that will work today for you”. Seriously though, even when I actually get an angler with a decent selection of usable fly patterns in his/her fly box, I consistently notice one fly pattern that’s absent time and time again. The soft-hackle hares ear is the missing fly I’m referring to here, and although it’s just as deadly at catching fish as its cousin the soft-hackle pheasant-tail, for some reason rookie and intermediate level fly fishermen aren’t being told to stock them. Try fishing a tandem nymph rig with a soft-hackle pheasant-tail trailed behind by a soft-hackle hares ear next time you’re on the water. Day in and day out one of these patterns will be on the trout menu because of their impressionistic buggy features. Once you find out which pattern the fish prefer you can then fine tune your nymph rig further. Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@kent-klewein.com  

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Slamtastic!

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Here are three reports from last weekends Denver Carp Slam. Ummmmm, tasty! The Denver Carp Slam, This Is Not Your Father’s TU When was the last time you attended a Trout Unlimited event where a bottle rocket fight broke out? That was the scene last weekend when I attended the Denver Carp Slam, as an observer, not to fish. The Carp Slam is a carp tournament started five years ago by the Denver chapter of Trout Unlimited. It takes place on the South Platte in downtown Denver and the proceeds pay for stream improvements on the river. The Platte, at least the stretch that runs through Denver, is truly a challenged river. OK, that’s too polite. It’s severally F’ed up. Full of trash, dead animals, murder weapons, and amazingly, fish. Carp of coarse but also walleye, smallmouth bass, catfish, and to my surprise, trout. Not in big numbers but pretty good size. That’s where TU comes in. They’re using the carp, to save the trout. It’s a great cause and a great time but most of all, a great bunch of guys. The group is young, energetic and energized about their mission but not taking life too seriously. The experience renewed my faith in TU. I am particularly interested in a group who call them selves The Greenbacks. A group of young TU members on a mission to preserve Colorado’s native fish, and have a good time doing it. Their enthusiasm is contagious. It’s awesome to see a great old institution alive with wish youthful vigor. Hats off to the Denver chapter of TU. Natural Born Carper While photographing the Denver Carp Slam I witnessed something strange and wonderful. The slam is a “pro am” event. Sixteen teams consisting of one pro and one amateur compete to put the most … Continue reading

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Forget About Competition And Focus on Teamwork

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Like many anglers, I enjoy a friendly competition on the water with my buddies. However, if you get too wrapped up in the competition aspect, often it can get out of hand and ruin your day of fishing.  These days I try to forget about competition and who’s catching what. It’s just not important to me anymore, and I instead prefer to focus on teamwork. Teamwork usually yields better fishing results anyway, and it also seems to build camaraderie much better than competition. Below are three reasons I choose teamwork over competition in my fishing. 1. Working as team on the water allows you to dial into the current fishing conditions much quicker. 2. Using a one spotter and one caster team approach caters to more effective spot and stalk fishing. 3. A spotter can provide valuable feedback to the caster on how fish are relating to fly pattern choice and presentation. Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com

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Carp Czar

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I am planning my presentation to at, least, the one hundredth fish of the day. For the record i have had one look and no eats. It’s not quite lunch time. I look down at my feet to be sure I’m not standing on my line and notice a spent shotgun shell. I’m thinking, “yeah, that’s the way to do this”. I recently had the great pleasure of spending a day carp fishing with my friend Bruce Smithhamer. It was every bit as challenging as promised. The fish were gearing up for the spawn and were lock jawed. We would have gone fish-less if not for Bruce’s encyclopedic knowledge of the species. We changed locations and tactics several times and eventually got into fish. Carp, especially Mirror Carp, are a remarkable fish. Their color and scale patterns are reminiscent of classical Japanese painting. Their eye sight is excellent and there hearing quite acute. They are even able to communicate danger to other carp by releasing a pheromone in to the water. Their behavior is unpredictable except that they will refuse more often than eat. Perhaps their most remarkable quality is their ability to completely ruin a good trout fisherman. I’ve seen several guys go down this road and few come back. They started out just curious about this carp thing and maybe went out and tried it with a friend and now their totally hooked. Couldn’t quit if they wanted too. Bruce is one of those guys. He guides for trout on some of the best water in the world and when he has a day off you find him staking the banks of a carp lake. He tells me. “All I want to do is sight cast to big fish in shallow water.” Can you blame him? Bruce tells … Continue reading

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On The Road

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On the road to to New Orleans I spotted this warning sign on a semi truck so I pulled along side and took a photo with my IPhone. It’s a funny photo but a stark reminder of how fragile our fisheries are. It strikes me that we are always one careless moment from ecological disaster. We saw it last month on the Yellowstone. I don’t mean to be all “doom and gloom” but Yikes! Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com  

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4 Tips for Getting Better Hookups With Tarpon

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  I can remember like it was yesterday jumping my first big tarpon in the Florida Keys. One hundred plus pounds of fish completely leaping out of the water and crashing down like a free falling Volkswagen Bug. That image will forever be burned into my memory. The only problem is I didn’t end up landing that tarpon. To be brutally honest, my hook set totally sucked donkey balls. I know what your thinking. I’m a trout guide, and I probably set the hook like I was trying to hook a trout, right? Yes, I’ve done that before, but my mistake this time was only setting the hook once. Below are five tips for getting better hookups with tarpon, provided by Capt. Joel Dickey. 4 Tips for Getting Better Hookups With Tarpon 1. Keep your rod tip on the water and always point it in the direction of your fly line and fly during your retrieve. Not pointing your rod tip at your fly line and fly often results in adding unwanted slack between you and the fish. This small amount of slack will increase your chances of not getting a solid hook set. You also will find it hard to feel the bite. 2. Use a 100% strip set when setting the hook. You can apply far more pressure and power in a hook set with a firm strip set than you can with the fly rod. Many novice saltwater anglers make the mistake of thinking the power comes from the fly rod. 3. Set the hook multiple times for better hook penetration. When a tarpon eats from left or right often a single hook set will be adequate because a lot of the time the weight of the fish moving aids in setting the hook. However, when you … Continue reading

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Boots, The Next Generation.

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With all of the research and development that goes into rods, reels and every fishing gadget under the sun, it surprises me that it’s taken so long for boots to go high tech. Up until a few years ago my wading boots were amazingly similar to what my grandfather wore. It wasn’t until Korkers came out with the revolutionary Boa lace design and interchangeable soles that everyone in the business took a serious look down. Those boots had some controversial features but since I put the first pair on my feet,I’ve waded in nothing else. Years ago I broke my ankle in a pair of boxy old school wading boots and that memory has staid with me. As important to me as my ankles, is the thousands of dollars of camera gear I carry. For me, a fall can be pretty expensive. In the last couple of years Rubber soles have been all the rage. I’ve heard plenty of my friends in the biz tow the line by saying, “it’s a matter of personal preference”. I don’t know anyone who really believes that rubber is as safe as felt, and more people are coming around to the idea that it’s no more environmentally sound either. IMHO, rubber soles just give folks a warm feeling about not washing their boots. Rubber or felt, you need to wash your boots. There are plenty of places for the rock snot to hide on a rubber boot. I stumbled across a new shoe technology that has been developed for pro basketball players. It was developed by a company called Ektio. It’s pretty interesting. Ankle sprains and brakes are the number one injury in basketball. The Ektio sneaker uses a system of straps and revolutionary sole design that they call a bumper which prevents the … Continue reading

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At What Point Does A Fly Become a Lure?

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  Are you carrying a streamer box full of lures? Every year new fly patterns burst onto the scene far from the norm, pushing the boundaries and raising the question, are these true fly patterns or just camouflaged lures? First off, let me get something straight right out of the gates, I”m not one of those traditionalist haters, trying to point the finger. As Rodney Dangerfield quoted in the comedy classic movie, Back to School, “I’m not a fighter, I’m a lover”. I thoroughly enjoy experimenting with materials traditionally only used in conventional tackle to come up with new innovative fly patterns. There’s no doubt conventional lures are amazing fish catchers, and the way I look at this topic is very simple. If I can figure out a way to mimic the action or appeal that conventional lures have in my fly pattern designs, I’m going to gain a significant edge over fooling big educated fish. However, I do understand whether I like it or not, we’re going to have to draw the line at some point and define what classifies and distinguishes a fly from a lure. Thankfully for me, constantly evolving technology continues to open previously locked doors, and in turn, categorizes most of my creations as legitimate flies. Take spinner and propeller blades for instance. Henry Cowen’s Coyote striper fly uses a conventional blade in it’s design. It’s been accepted in the industry as a fly, and has also become one of the most popular searching patterns for striped bass and other warm water species. Montana Fly Company sells a streamer pattern called the Kingfisher’s Heavy Metal Sculpin, that has a colorado blade trailing off the back of the fly. Recently fly tyers have utilized entire synthetic bass skirts previously only found on bass jigs to create … Continue reading

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A Closer Look

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Another look at the object of all my affections. This time it’s the gill plate of a North Carolina Brown Trout. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com  

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Something Wicked This Way Comes…..

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Or does it? Capt. Joel Dickey explains how tropical storms and hurricanes can create epic fishing conditions. Even with all the satellite imaging and sophisticated radar, we can never be sure as to where a tropical storm or major hurricane will strike land. The fish don’t have all this modern technology and yet they can predict weather much better than we can right down to the day the system hits. So with hurricane Irene barreling through the Caribbean, I’m getting prepared….to fish. Now you might ask what does this have to do with fishing? A LOT! Just like in freshwater before a summer thunderstorm or low pressure system steams through your area, the saltwater fish also know something is coming and therefore react. A couple days before a tropical system rolls through the Florida Keys tarpon, bonefish, and permit feed like there’s no tomorrow. Waking, tailing, and rolling, these species flood the flats gorging themselves in preparation to hunker down for the next few days of less than desirable weather. If you have the jewels to stay in town before a system moves through you will experience what most fly fisherman dream about. The fish we often consider shy and extremely smart on a day to day basis, become dumb and unaware eating our flies without hesitation. These conditions also hold true AFTER a tropical system moves through the Keys, and fishing conditions can even climb higher on the epic meter. Weathering the storm the fish have now been stacked in the deep channels and have not fed for a few days becoming hungrier by the minute. Look out for total flats chaos! The palm fronds, coconuts, and limbs will have to wait around my house. The aftermath will always be there but the extremely blue skies and calmer days … Continue reading

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