Strategies for Streamer Fishing High Water on Tailwaters

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It’s really hard to beat streamer fishing high water on tailwater’s from a drift boat, especially when your wanting to target trophy class fish. Although numbers of trout caught during high water flows usually are lower than fishing during low water flows, the size of your catches generally are much larger. In my opinion, the biggest fish in the river prefer to feed during high water because it’s easy for them to ambush their prey, and they feel camouflaged and protected by the high water flows. For those of you that fish tailwater’s you probably understand water flows change significantly during generation and non-generation periods. Some tailwaters during minimum flow periods have water releases under 100 cubic feet of water per second (CFS), and when generation is taking place, water flows can be 10-20 times higher. Because of this, it’s very important for anglers fishing high water to outfit themselves correctly, otherwise they may find themselves coming off the water fish-less. Below are some tips and strageties I use on tailwaters when I’m fishing high water conditions. Tip 1. Leave your 4-5 weight fly rods at home and pack your 7-9 weight fly rods. Your best bet for going after the big boys during high water flows is fishing streamers. There are some tailwater’s out there where you can still dry fly and nymph fish effectively, but most of the time, if you want to target the largest trout in the river, you’ll want your flies to imitate the larger food sources. Some examples of these food sources are: sculpins, daces, crayfish, and fingerling size trout. These guys are the food choices that trophy class fish prefer to hunt down and forage on during high water flows. Since you’ll be fishing a variety of sinking fly lines and large profile … Continue reading

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Strip Set, Dammit!

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Quite likely the most frustrating thing for an angler who is new to salt water is the strip set. A dedicated freshwater angler will have thousands of hours of muscle memory to overcome. I did it myself time after time. I’d see a fish eat and my arm, without permission from my brain, would raise the rod tip and off would swim a happy bonefish. Then I would hear my friend Josie Sands, from the platform, “da ain’t no trout in the Bahamas Louis”. To be fair, as frustrating as this is for the angler it may be worse on the guide. He has to deal with this almost every day. I wish I had a silver bullet to offer that would solve this problem for you instantly, but I don’t. It just takes focus and practice. However here are a few suggestions that may help. First, don’t beat yourself up. Every guy who stands on that bow has gone through this. You are not a moron, you just feel like one. Self loathing will not help. Second, stay focused. There is a lot to think about and when you spot fish things happen quickly. Try this. When a fish turns and chases your fly, with each strip say out loud, “strip set, strip set, strip set”. When he eats, you may remember what to do. Lastly, apply a proper strip set. There are a few important points to this. Point you rod at the line. Rod tip in the water works best. When you set you don’t want the rod tip to bend at all. Set yourself up for a good long set. Reach the rod out as far away from you as you can. Take the line with your line hand, right at your rod hand. Now, if … Continue reading

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The Importance of Changing Flies on the Water

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How long do you fish with flies without success before you decide to change them?  I’ll usually fish for about thirty minutes with my first rig of the day, and if I’m not getting any hookups, I’ll begin regularly changing my flies out until I find a pattern that works. The willingness to change your flies on the water when your not getting bites, is often the key factor in determining whether you have a good or bad day of fishing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone walk up to me in the parking lot at the end of the day and complain about how the fish weren’t biting. While I, on the other hand, had caught and released dozens of fish in the same section of water. Most of the time that discouraged angler stuck with a few patterns during the day, and didn’t change flies enough times to find out what patterns were really working. How do I know this? I know this because I was that discouraged angler many times early on, in my career. It can be very obvious to us that changing flies is the answer when we’re able to sight-fish and see fish rejecting our flies. But many times you’ll find yourself fishing in conditions where sight-fishing isn’t an option. A few examples is when your fishing fast moving choppy water, water with significant glare, and stained water conditions. None of these will provide anglers the opportunity to get visual feedback. In these conditions, anglers should change their flies when they’re not getting bites for extended periods of time. If you know your rig is set up correctly (correct tippet size, fly size, split-shot amount, or indicator placement) for the specific water your fishing, and your making good presentations, a … Continue reading

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Sunday Classic / Spooky Permit Tips

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Permit in glass calm water. It doesn’t get any tougher than that. I know of no one who know more about permit than my buddy Bruce Chard so I ask him for a tip on making a successful presentation. Here’s his reply. Casting to shallow water permit in calm wind conditions can be challenging to say the least. These are the two main conditions that seem to make permit even more skidish than normal. Is that even possible? Shallow water depth and calm wind conditions help to put permit on another level of the spooky scale. So how do we effectively cast to these shallow water feeding circus fatties? Well an even powered wide loop presentation is a good start believe it or not. An even powered wide loop presentation cast will help to spread all the energy in the fly line evenly over the wide loop leaving just enough dispersed energy to slowly and softly roll out the leader and fly with a quiet presentation. This helps you to present your fly right in the permits wheel house and that means game on! Thanks Bruce! Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Saturday’s Shoutout / Fly Fishing Internet Radio

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This Saturday’s Shoutout goes to Roger Maves, Host of Ask About Fly Fishing – Internet Radio. Roger has produced 134 fly fishing information packed interviews with the top fly fishing experts in the industry. This sites is great for two reasons. One, it’s completely FREE for you to listen to, and second, it’s great for picking up tips from the pros and learning the ins and out of their home waters. We give Roger Maves an A+ for his great content and a big Cheers to all his contributors. Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com

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The Need For Speed, Line Speed, That Is

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Joel Dickey is one of the most dynamic casters I’ve ever seen. One of the hallmarks of his dominating casting style is truly awesome line speed. It enables him to shoot massive amounts of line and hit distant targets with accuracy, even in high wind. In this video he explains how you can build your line speed. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

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Halfback Nymph in High Water

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Looking for a great high water nymph pattern that will consistently fool trout? Try tying on a halfback nymph, it’s an oldie but goodie that has produced big fish for me countless times over the years. The buggy profile of the halfback nymph does a great job of imitating a large variety of aquatic insects, and it’s large size is easy for trout to spot quickly in fast water. This nymph pattern screams “I’m a big juicy morsel, Come eat me”, and I always have at least a half dozen of these guys in my fly box. I often use the halfback nymph as my lead fly in my tandem nymph rig, and tie a 16-24″ piece of tippet off the bend of the hook with a smaller dropper nymph. You can also try substituting the standard peacock herl underbody with a more flashy dubbing material when fishing dingy water conditions. It will add more attraction value and make the pattern easier for fish to spot. Hook Size: 8-14 Thread: 6/0 Black Tail: Pheasant-Tail Ribbing: Palmered Brown Saddle Hackle from abdomen to throax Abdomen: Peacock Herl with Pheasant-tail folded over back Thorax: Peacock Herl   Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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The Double Haul

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A good double haul is curtail wherever you’re fishing. Never more than in salt water. A lot of anglers, however, find it mystifying. Here’s Capt Joel Dickyto explain how you can have a great double haul. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Landlocked Stripers on the Fly

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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 you’re not seeing any breaking fish or activity on your electronics your best bet is to run the lake looking for surface activity. Pay attention to any birds circling in the air as well, they’re after the baitfish also, and can often give you a clue to where the concentrations of stripers are located. You’ll also want to have a wide selection of baifish fly patterns in various sizes. Many people think in order for you to catch a big striper you have to fish a really … Continue reading

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The Clearing Cast And Ready Position

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I spent a week in the keys recently, with my good friend Capt Joel Dickey . We made a series of videos to help you out with your salt water presentations. The first is on the clearing cast and the ready position. The next two are on the double haul and building better line speed and will post on Wednesday and Friday. I hope they help put you on some fish! Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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