Fish With Benefits

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I was asked the other day what was my favorite species of fish. That’s a really tough question for me. Sort of a Sophie’s choice question. After thinking about it for a long time I answered trout, for a host of reasons, but I quickly added, “and bone fish”! For some odd reason I then felt like I had to defend that answer. I had said trout and I had just finished talking at length about a tarpon trip I had just been on and here I was blurting out bonefish. Why? I went on to explain using a rationale I have used for years. “The bonefish is just right. It’s hard enough to catch, usually because of the conditions, that you feel like you’ve done something worthwhile but it’s not impossible like a permit. When you hook them it’s a great fight, but not an ass beating like a tarpon. They’re the just right fish”. That’s all true and I believe it but inside I knew there was more. It ate at me, why do I love bonefish so much? I think I’ve come up with the answer. I love the fish but what I really love is bonefishing. When I think of bonefish I think of the Bahamas and when I think about fishing the Bahamas it’s a whole different feeling. When I’m headed to the Keys for tarpon, for example, I’m excited, hell, more than excited. I know that I’m taking on a huge challenge and that something truly awesome may happen, and then again it may not. I may catch the fish of a life time or I may get schooled. The challenge is exhilarating. I love challenging fishing. I love challenging myself as a fisherman, but it’s a different me that goes to the Bahamas … Continue reading

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Who Says Short Rods Are For Small Streams

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My good friend Dave Grossman decided to trade in his 9 foot boat rods for 10 footers this year. So far, this fishing season he claims the extra foot of graphite has been working wonders for his clients on the water. Dave says, “I find that the ten foot fly rods make it much easier for my clients to mend their fly line, especially when they need to mend a lot of line. That translates into them consistently getting longer drag-free drifts. The longer rods shine when we need to high-stick across multiple currents, and they also allow my novice clients to squeak out a little more distance in their casts.” After hearing those positive comments from Dave, I decided to give them a shot with my own clients, but I’d take it a step further. Instead of just incorporating them on float trips on the big rivers, I’d experiment using them on small to mid-size streams. The first trip out was a real eye opener and success with the ten foot fly rod on one of my 30′-40′ wide trout streams. To my amazement, the longer rod outperformed my standard 8 1/2-9 foot fly rods in almost all fishing scenarios in my clients hands. The only area the ten foot rod underperformed, were spots where the stream narrowed drastically or when it was really tight and cramped. The surprising thing about that, is it actually happened a lot less than I thought it would, and when it did, I’d just handed over the shorter rod I was carrying to my client. The key was positioning my angler in the correct spot, reminding him he had a longer rod in his hand, and then choosing the appropriate fly cast to present our flies. I continued the experiment for several more guide trips, … Continue reading

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Airflo Clear Tropical Lines. Exactly how much is stealth worth?

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On a recent tarpon trip I had the chance to fish one of Airflo’s Clear Floating Tropical Ridge lines. I was prepared to either love it or hate it and to be honest I got a little bit of both. I fished it for two days and here’s what I learned. The positives. Stealth: I’ve always been skeptical of clear lines. It’s long been my belief that what fish see is the shadow of the line or the disturbance it creates on the surface and that a bad cast will spook fish no matter what line your using. I was surprised to find I was wrong. The first day fishing the clear line was bright and very calm. Landing an eleven weight line softly on a day like that is crucial. I’ll be honest, I made a few bad casts. Casts that should have spooked fish but didn’t. In this area the Airflow really delivered. It’s a great stealth line. Castability: All in all the line casts very well. It loaded my Thomas and Thomas eleven weight Helix very nicely. It turned over easily and was easy to land softly. It shot well, as promised, handled the wind nicely and, after some work (more on this later) had very little memory and laid out nicely on the deck. No complaints casting this line. Low Stretch: One of the things I generally don’t like about clear lines is they all seem stretchy to me. A stretchy line is the kiss of death when tarpon fishing. A tarpon’s mouth is so tough you really need some authority to get a good hook set. I expected this line to be a problem, but it wasn’t. The hookups I missed were on me, not the line. The Negatives. Sort of Floating: This is supposed … Continue reading

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The River – A Short Fly Fishing Essay by Anthony Greer

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Today’s post we honor a simple request from a Father to shed light on the one year anniversary of losing his son, and favorite fishing partner. Anthony Greer’s life ended far too early from a firearms accident, and we pay respect to this young articulate man and former guide, who was well on his way to becoming a fly fishing legend. Anthony spent many days guiding clients to trophy trout on the flaming gorge section of the Green River. His home water was the Provo River in Northern Utah. Anthony, we hope you’re spending your time in heaven casting dry flies to big beautiful trout on the prettiest water you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Below is a powerful and moving short essay Anthony Greer wrote. Please take the time to read and pay your respects to one of our fallen fly fishing comrades. The River Where does one venture when the responsibilities of life weigh heavy upon the mind? The answer, of course, is very simple. We go to where no others bother to look. The places we visit, time after time after time. The River. She’s always there. Always willing to share her bounty to the dedicated. The few. The ones who got the bug early and have never ceased to stop the quest for knowledge. The River, although a temptress at time, never ceases to amaze, and even if she takes your breath away, we always find ourselves coming back fro more. This, my friends, is not passion, hobby or sport. It cannot as easily be summed in those words. In a few enlightened anglers’ minds lies an addiction so deep, I dare say, that even after a lifetime of angling they would begin to feel satisfied. Or maybe these are just the rants of one lone … Continue reading

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Sunday’s Classic / Are there Really Any Trash Fish?

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I don’t know about you but if a fish will eat a fly I generally have no problem fly fishing for it. And I don’t consider there to be any trash fish, because they all provide enjoyment and opportunity for anglers to learn. Some people out there I’m sure would argue if it’s not completely wild, they don’t want any part. That’s cool with me and I understand where they’re coming from, I just don’t think and feel that way in my fly fishing. Heck, I remember when I was in middle school I actually got a real kick out of catching big channel catfish in my best friends farm pond with woolly buggers. Back then, it was all about getting my rod bent and watching that fly line being pulled off the reel. There was nothing pretty or serene about landing those catfish. Trash fish or not, I didn’t care because I was in it for the fight, and a 6-12 pound catfish puts up a good fight on a 5 weight fly rod. Furthermore, it was still more sporting than me breaking out my spinning rod, bobber and can of chicken livers like most kids my age. Take the golden rainbow trout, a.k.a. “Palomino Trout”, that you can find in North Carolina for instance. Many fly anglers would jump on the bandwagon to call it a trash fish. It looks like a Koi Asian Goldfish at first glance, but it’s actually a real rainbow trout created through selective breeding. It originated from a single rainbow trout that was spawned in the fall of 1954 in West Virginia. Apparently a female rainbow trout was caught that carried a rare genetic mutation giving her a pale golden color. It was then spawned with a normal colored male rainbow trout and … Continue reading

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Saturday’s Shoutout / Collin Carlson – Finpusher

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This saturday’s shoutout goes to Collin Carlson from Finpusher.com. Why you ask? Because he’s the type of guy we need more of in the industry. He’s an extremely talented fly fisherman, fly tyer, and photographer, that could care less about all the hype of being a big name in the sport. He keeps it reel and stays busy teaching our young wipper snappers it’s cool to love and get involved in the outdoors. And if that’s not enough, he’s extremely open when it comes to sharing his fly fishing secrets. For that, we cheers Collin and vow to try a little harder at being better role models for the sport. We got word Collin’s abroad right now exploring and fly fishing Costa Rica. We wish him good weather and fishing, and look forward to reading about his fish tales. Tying The Muskytoe Streamer – Step by Step Tying Tutorial Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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I’ll Have The Fish

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Is Aquiculture Wrong? I got into a discussion with a friend the other day that put a burr under my saddle. We were talking about what fish is OK to eat and what isn’t. Not in the way that I refuse to eat a catfish from the Chattahoochee but rather how no one should be eating wild steelhead. My friend, who is not a fisherman, asked “what about farm raised fish?” Without thinking about it I said, “sure, that’s fine”. He then went on to explain that he did not eat farm raised fish because it was cruel to take a fish that was meant to be free and confine it in a pen. ( I’m not going to dwell on this idea for too long for reasons that I think are obvious. If that’s the story you want to hear, click here! ) I am unashamedly opposed to the idea of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to any living thing but I also understand what these teeth were put in my head for. I could write a couple of thousand words on this but instead I’ll leave it at this. I remember standing on a gravel bar in Alaska watching a salmon struggling in the current. The fish’s tail was missing along with the last eight inches of him. Two trout were following taking turns eating him while he was still alive. My point being, if we are going to get into the business of attaching human emotions like happiness to fish, let’s be sure we’re choosing the correct emotions. Nobody cares about fish more than me, but that’s their nature. If you hold still long enough, they’ll eat you. I’m really not sure what happiness is to a fish but most of them will choose to stay in … Continue reading

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Kype for Days

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I love it when I luck up and catch a big male trout, steelhead, salmon, or char. There’s something about big gnarly kype jaws that fascinate me. For starters, males always seem to sport more vibrant colors than hens, especially during the spawning season. In the wild and according to my catch rates, there seems to be a higher ratio of females to males in most watersheds. If you really want to know what gets me fired up when I land a big male, it’s the fact that every male specimen I catch seems to have its own unique face and features, just like all of us. It probably sounds weird, but I always find myself trying to imagine what the fish would look like if it was a person. The big kype always turns into a big smile, and the shape of the snout ends up being the shape and size of the person’s nose. For no rime or reason, it happens like clock work before I release every bruiser. God bless all the kype jaws swimming around out there. They always make my guide day a little extra special and rewarding when they show up. Am I alone here in how cool I think kype jawed fish are?  Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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PUTMBAK!

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I wonder what the Great Lakes Steelhead would think if he knew what a controversial fish he is. No, he’s not a native fish. Yes, it’s a completely man made fishery. No, it’s not a wild and scenic experience. Is he a real steelhead? Who cares. I love fishing the tributaries of the great lakes for the biggest toughest trout this side of the Mississippi and so does everyone else who’s tried it. I have to wander though, as I stand in the river with my fly rod watching the horde of bait fisherman stack their catch on the bank, if these fish got the respect enjoyed by their west coast cousins, couldn’t this be a whole lot better? I’m not dogging the fishery, it’s awesome, but it just seems like common sense. It’s true that great lakes steelhead do not successfully reproduce but left in the river they will continue to come back year after year, providing a better angling experience and saving state hatcheries money. I’m with this angler who’s license plate I found in New York in a parking lot on the Oak Orchard. PUTMBAK!   Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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4 Reasons Why Waterfall Plunge Pools Can Hold Big Fish

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There are few things I love more than wade fishing a small stream and stumbling upon a steep vertical waterfall with a deep plunge pool. Waterfalls this size are pretty rare on small streams, but if you’re lucky enough to locate one, you could very well find yourself hooked up to one of the biggest trout in the stream. Here’s four reasons why I feel waterfalls plunge pools are great places to look for big trophy trout on small streams. 1. Lots of food gets washed over a waterfall, especially during high flows. Large amounts of food (tiny fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans and amphibians) are constantly being swept over the falls. In many cases, it provides a steady enough stream of food, that big fish aren’t required to leave the plunge pool to fulfill their daily food requirements. 2. There are usually lots of hiding places to make big fish feel safe and allow them to survive for long periods. During high flows, quite often fallen trees can float over the falls and get snagged; creating perfect log jams for big trout to hide in. The whitewater at the foot of the waterfall provides a protected roof, allowing trout to feed safely without being seen by predators. Constant water cresting the falls, creates a deep plunge pool overtime that provides deep water protection and enough room for big fish to forage efficiently. 3. Waterfalls that are big and steep enough, create a natural feeding funnel for big fish. Migrating fish moving upstream in search of cool water, and stocked fish in search of fresh holding lies find themselves funneling into a dead end. This allows big fish to wait in prime lies to ambush trapped prey. 4. You can usually utilize a high vantage point to help spot big fish. … Continue reading

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