Tom Keck Is My Role Model

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In September of 2009 I was fishing the South Platte below Spinney Reservoir, the stretch they call the Dream Stream, when I noticed this gentleman casting trico patterns to the far bank…from a wheelchair. I watched for a bit as he worked a pod of rising fish with a long reach cast, occasionally fooling one and bringing it to the net that he had fashioned with an extra long handle. He would wheel himself down stream to the next rising fish, careful to travel far enough from the bank that he didn’t spook fish. It was an impressive display. I would find out just how impressive when I walked over and introduced myself. Tom Keck, of Denver CO, is a likable fellow and a great fisherman. Generous with his knowledge of the S. Platte as well as with his beautifully tied flies. The flies he gave me turned out to be day makers. But don’t let his gentle demeanor fool you. This fellow is carved of wood. I asked him how he wound up in the wheel chair and this is the story I got. Ten or so years earlier, fishing the Platte at Deckers he had taken a bad fall. Alone, his back broken and paralyzed, he struggled in the fast water nearly drowning. Eventually he pulled himself to the shore and then to the road with his hands. There he found help but he never walked again. He also never stopped fishing the river he called his home water. I’ve taken a few bad falls. Not like Tom’s but bad enough to make me wonder what I’d do if I were really hurt out there on my own. I hope I never have to answer that question but if I do I hope I’m half the man Tom … Continue reading

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Bends Are Like Best Friends

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Bends in rivers and streams are like my best friends. They possess all the qualities that I value and they always provide me consistent support in my endeavors. I don’t know about you, but when I find myself staring at a section of river or stream and I see a nice bend, I quite often head straight for it. I do this because I know it will usually produce a quality fish or two on the end of my line, and it’s generally very obvious to me where I should present my flies. Just about every bend you encounter on the water will hold these three qualities. 1. One Well Defined Current There usually will be one well defined current, collecting and moving food through the bend. This clearly indicates to anglers where the most food is drifting and where the fish should be positioned to intercept it. 2. Clear Channel or Trough That well defined current usually has cut out a deep channel or trough in the bend. This reinforces further why fish will be located here. The deeper that fish can get below the surface and current, the less energy they’ll have to exert to maintain position and feed. The deeper water also provides fish with added safety and camouflage from predators. 3. Undercut Banks Often a significant section of a bend will have an undercut bank from the current digging into the bank over long periods of time. Undercut banks provide the same function to fish as roofs do to us on our houses. It protects us from the elements and it allows us to live comfortably. Furthermore, the current funnels food directly into the undercut bank.That’s like us calling in a large pizza for delivery and having it come right to our front door. Big educated … Continue reading

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There’s One Born Every Minute

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My good friend Will Sands of Taylor Creek Fly Shop is caught holding the biggest sucker I’ve ever seen.  I caught this brute last fall on the Colorado River just below Glenwood Springs.  If I remember correctly it meashured 26″ and fought like a log.  Thanks, for a great day Will! Will is the creator of the STD  (Sands’ Tungsten Deception) and awesome Baetis pattern. Here’s a great post on how to tie it. BTW, we did catch trout too.     Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com  

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12 Smallmouth Bass Patterns For The Fall

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Fall is one of the best times of the year for fly anglers wanting to target big smallmouth bass on reservoirs. Particularly if the lake impoundment has good populations of shad, blueback herring, or other native baitfish. Fly fisherman fishing surface poppers and subsurface baitfish patterns to these schools of bass can be rewarded with big bronzebacks. The fall brings positive changes in fish behavior and fishing conditions from cooler air temperatures and increased rainfall.  For the first time in several months, water temperatures drop significantly on reservoirs which triggers an increase in baitfish activity. Smallmouth bass counter offensively by congregating themselves into schools and driving the baitfish into shallow water where they’ll ball the bait up for easing feeding. Smart anglers will search out smallmouth bass and the baitfish around the same spawning grounds they visited in the spring during the pre-spawn and spawn. The only difference is during the fall smallmouth bass aren’t’ spawning, they’re instead using these shallow areas of the lake to ambush and corral baitfish. Anglers should also concentrate on main lake points and flats located close to deep water, since smallmouth bass will use these areas to feed as well. It’s best to get on the lake early when the topwater bite is hot. Daylight until ten o’clock in the morning is generally the best  for breaking fish, but the evening until dusk can be very good as well. After the sun gets up go subsurface with your baitfish imitations. An intermediate fly line matched with a weighted baitfish pattern works really well after the sun gets up, or if you find breaking fish aren’t staying up long enough to target them on the surface. Remember that water temperature is the key success factor. Concentrate your fishing on the reservoirs when water temperatures fall into … Continue reading

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Sunday Classic, Klewein’s Triple Trico

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Part 2 of our new weekend format is Sunday Classics.  Great posts you may have missed.   This Week it’s   Klewein’s Triple Trico I tied this pattern up on the road when I was out fishing the Trico hatch on the South Platte River in Colorado with Louis.  The idea came to mind when I saw clumps of a dozen or more Trico’s floating down the river together. Trophy size trout weren’t feeding on single bugs floating down the river. Instead they were skimming the surface, mouths wide open, gorging on as many adults as they could eat per rise. I haven’t seen any patterns like this yet in the industry, just double trico fly patterns.  Give it a this year when you run into this predominate morning hatch.  The denser the hatch the better it will work.  If the hatch is mild your better off using a single or double pattern. Anyhow, I thought it was something different that all you trout bums out there would appreciate. Klewein’s Triple Trico Hook: TMC 101 Size:  16 Thread: Uni-Thread Black 8/0 Body: Black Thread & 20lb. monofilament for the T- section Wing & Tail: Antron Yarn Tying Tips: Tie on horizontally a piece of 2olb. monofiliament onto the hook. This will allow you to tie the triple trico. Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com

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Saturday Shoutout / Chandler Interviews Gierach

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We are starting something new this week.  Every Saturday we will share some of the great content from other sites.  We remain dedicated to bringing you the best original content we can but there are so many talented folks out here doing great work that it feels wrong not to acknowledge it.  This week we’re linking two gents who need no introduction and I feel privileged to call them both friends.  Tom Chandler’s wonderful interview of John Gierach.   John Gierach Talks About Trout Bumhood, Life, Fly Fishing’s Class Wars, and Extreme Fly Fishing…   Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com  

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The Nikon 1, Have We Found The Missing Link?

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I’ve been saying for some time that the DSLR makes no sense. It is an evolutionary half step. The duckbilled platypus of the imaging world. In reality it was, I believe, a marketing decision designed to make, frightened professional photographers finding themselves part of a rapidly changing landscape of visual professionals, trust the digital camera. It looks and feels like a film camera. Crusty old shooters who were struggling to learn the Mac liked that but with that sense of familiarity came some of the limitations of film cameras. For example the loss of the auto focus function in video mode. Slower frame rates and mirror vibration. And in return, what is this mirror giving you? Nothing but the warm feeling of looking like a “professional” photographer. Well, take a long hard look in the mirror because with the introduction of the Nikon 1 camera system, it’s gone. There are a few things I should say off the bat. It is not the first mirror-less digital camera on the market, but coming from Nikon it is big news. It is not available for a few days and I have not held one in my hand so this is not an endorsement of this camera. I’ll shoot with one before I say you have to buy it. Lastly, to my knowledge, the Nikon 1 and the Sage one are related in only 3 ways. The name, they are both on my Christmas list (my wife reads this stuff) and the price. That’s right, with a lens this camera is within $150 of what you would pay for a good fly rod. And let me say, it’s about damn time! We do not need another doctor camera. The D3X fills that spot nicely. From what I’ve read, here’s what I like. 10 … Continue reading

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Cuda Up in My Grill

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Just so everyone knows I’m super proud of my new slim and trim status. Louis has been on me a while now to drop some serious LB’s. I’ve really been stacking them on from my wife’s fantastic cooking. He says there’s a reason he doesn’t take photos of me anymore, and I really can’t blame him Unfortunately, I’ve not lost the weight in reality. I ran across these two photos from four years ago, fishing down in the Florida Keys with Capt. Joel Dickey. He guided me to this behemoth barracuda on the fly. To this date, it’s probably one of my most memorable saltwater moments I’ve experienced on the flats. The take and battle were epic, particularly since my arms were already complete jello from the prior twenty minutes of stripping hand over fist as fast my arms would go. Numerous barracuda prior had given us promising chases but as they so often do, they let off the gas and lose interest at the last second. About the time I was ready to yell uncle, Joel shouted in his famous southern accent, “DUDE, look at that giant cuda at two 0’clock”. I some how managed to lay out a good cast, and I was about five strips into my retrieve when this guy hammered the fly and took off faster than I’ve ever witnessed a fish swim. That’s when the “shit hit the fan”. Before I could transition from holding the fly line to the fly rod, that barracuda burnt the hell out of my hands from the fly line shooting across my palms and through the rod guides at fifty miles and hour. I’d wear that fly line brand across both my palms for the next two weeks. But what really made this fish memorable was the fact … Continue reading

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The Flies Of Our Fathers

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I recently visited my home town in Virginia for a funeral. Although the occasion was a sad one it was the largest gathering of my family in some time and as you would expect there was a good deal of nostalgia and sharing of family stories. This got me thinking about my Grandfather. W.S. (Pete) Cahill, “Dad” to his Grandchildren, was the man who taught me to fly fish when I was eight years old. He was an icon in our family. In our community really. He was an inventor. Honest to God, that was his job. He held dozens of patents. He was a skilled machinist and, in spite of limited education, the most brilliant and creative person I have ever known. He passed away a long time ago but his home has remained in the family and my brother moved in there a few months back. I knew that he had found a box of Dad’s flies. I couldn’t resist photographing them and like most encounters with my Grandfather, I learned a few things. I’m not suggesting that Dad was a great tyer. Fishing was a hobby and he was a workaholic. He loved to fish but seldom got the chance. His flies were utilitarian but effective and some great examples of the common wisdom of his time. My guess is that most of these were tied in the 1950s or 1960s. There are some classic wet patterns like the Royal Coachman. There are classical streamers. Maybe most interesting are stone fly nymphs that foreshadow today’s more realistic aesthetic while holding on to the art deco influences of the 1940s with their long sweeping tails and streamline design. Some are so simple you might feel silly fishing them but I feel sure they will still produce. The materials … Continue reading

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5 Reasons Why Pocket Water Is Suited For Beginners

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If you’re new to fly fishing or you consider your skill level to be at the novice level, here are five reasons why you should be targeting pocket water to increase your fly fishing knowledge and trout catch rates. 1. Pocket water provides more trout habitat than any other type of trout water. The easiest way to define pocket water is that it’s an entire trout stream in itself. Pocket water encompasses all water types: riffles, runs, pools, and tails just on a miniature scale. The multiple current seams, eddies, and structure found in pocket water creates an abundance of habitat for trout to position themselves and feed. Quite often it provides anglers the opportunity to catch trout from one side of the stream all the way across to the other side. This is rarely found on other water types in a trout stream, and it provides fishermen much more opportunity and should increase his/her confidence that their fishing where there’s a high volume of trout living. 2. It doesn’t require anglers to make long casts and drifts. You don’t have to be able to make long casts or sustain super long drag-free drifts to catch trout in pocket water. Because everything is on a smaller scale, anglers can get away with making shorter casts and drifts. Both mending and line management aren’t as crucial, and anglers often have the luxury of choosing which casts and techniques their most comfortable fishing with to catch trout. 3. Trout are generally opportunistic feeders in pocket water. Pocket water is usually found on sections of river with steeper gradients and descending elevations. Water moves faster in most cases on pocket water and since trout usually don’t have as much time to inspect the food moving downstream, they often have to become opportunistic feeders … Continue reading

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