Echo’s Bad Ass Glass Quickshot

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By Justin Pickett

The resurgence of fiberglass rods over the past few years has been interesting.

Rods that could have been found on eBay, or in antique shops, for a few bucks have suddenly bloomed into this new identity of high-end versions with words like “technology” and “fast” entering the verbiage of a seemingly plain, antiquated material already decades old… And I love it!

One of the most recent and outstanding examples of the modern fiberglass rod is the Echo Bad Ass Quickshot. Following the successful development and release of the original B.A.G. rod, Echo blew our minds again with an eight-foot offering that would promise even more badass performance. Prior to our trip to Argentina, I purchased two of them (8wt and 10wt) and toted them with me in hopes of putting some serious bend in these rods. I already own the original nine-foot, 8WT B.A.G. and knew that the Quickshot should certainly suit the fishing demands well. It did not disappoint.

Before we get into why I will continue to buy up stock in these rods, let me dive in to what it is that makes this rod badass. First off, the price. Echo is known for designing performance rods at reasonable prices. Tim Rajeff knows that you don’t have to spend a stack of Benjamins in order to get a quality rod. At $279.99, the B.A.G. family of rods is available in 6wt through 10wt at a cost well below most graphite rods, as well as a large portion of the modern fiberglass market. Big performance at an economy price. What’s not to like about that?

Each rod is wrapped up inside of a divided rod sock that is stuffed in an attractive, blue fiberglass rod tube with the Echo logo on the exterior. On first inspection, the cork isn’t flawless, but unless you’re spending $800+, you’re probably not getting flor grade anyways. However, the cork handle is dense and holds up to abuse in even the harshest environs. The black reel seat is saltwater safe, aluminum with the Echo logo etched on the top of the seat and double up-locking rings. Capping off the reel seat is a cork/EVA foam fighting butt of appropriate size depending on the line weight of the rod. Each rod has two large stripper guides and chrome snake guides that line the blank. The blank itself is a sexy, bright, transparent blue that lights up like a saber in the sun. It’s flashy, no doubt, but it looks really good. Finished with blue wraps, it’s one of my favorite blanks on the market when it comes to aesthetics.

So why am I writing about this rod?

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Creative Visualization For Anglers

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Creative visualization is a tool used by the most successful athletes in the world and it offers powerful applications for fly anglers.

I was talking the other day with a friend who has had a life long career in amateur and professional sports. Now in his 50s, he has decided to take up Olympic Weightlifting. As you might imagine, that has come with a host of challenges, both physical and mental. He mentioned that creative visualization has been a powerful tool in reaching his goals.

I have used this kind of visualization since my 20s, when I was involved in martial arts. It has become an almost instinctive approach to any problem, for me. It occurs to me that I’ve heard very little about it in the fly fishing world, and I think a lot of anglers are missing out on a powerful tool.

As I step back and think about it, visualization could be the key that unlocks fly fishing for a great many anglers. As I coach anglers and fish with them, the issues I see holding them back are mostly mental, not physical. For that matter, I think my own issues, we all have them, are as well. The mental preparedness that comes from creative visualization frees your mind from the bonds that hold you back. Free your mind and the fish will follow.

Here’s a real world example. I was fishing, with a new friend, in the Bahamas last month. He’s a great angler. A life long fisherman and no stranger to saltwater fly fishing, but he was having trouble connecting to a fish. Each time I took the bow, it was pretty much one cast and fish on. It doesn’t always happen like that but this day it did.

“Man, you just get it done,” my buddy commented after I’d landed a handful of fish.

In truth, there was very little difference between what I was doing and what he was doing. If you had been watching, you might have wondered why I was getting all the fish. A hot fly? Nope. I can simply

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Sunday Classic / The Myth of Manual

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IT’S A COMMON MISCONCEPTION THAT “REAL PHOTOGRAPHERS” ONLY SHOOT IN MANUAL.

It’s not true. Certainly not for me. I grew up using manual cameras. Cameras that didn’t even have light meters. In fact I’ve spent as much time looking at the ground glass of a view camera as through the lens of a DSLR. I’m perfectly comfortable with it but I recognize that the automatic features of modern cameras offer benefits that can improve my work and I see nothing wrong with using them.

What “real photographers” do, is understand their exposure choices. How a photograph is exposed has an enormous impact on its emotional content as well as its clarity and color palette. The proper exposure for any given image is a highly subjective thing and possibly the most important choice the photographer has to make. Whether in manual or automatic mode, there are choices to be made and good choices are never made blindly. The key is in understanding what your camera sees and knowing how to control it.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR METER

The first issue is understanding how your light meter works. There are two components to this. First, how the light meter judges a scene and second, how that judgment is influenced by the meter mode selection. First we will look at what your meter sees.

No matter how advanced your light metering system, it is still a dumb machine. That holds true for use in manual mode as well as automatic. This is where novice photographers go wrong in switching to manual mode. The meter functions in exactly the same way and the user either understands that functionality, or they don’t.

To put it simply, the camera doesn’t know what it’s photographing. It is only able to judge tone. To some extent modern cameras know about highlight and shadow but what they really see is the middle of the tonal scale. A value that photographers call

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Saturday Shoutout / Getting Started

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Watch the Video!

Saturday Shoutout / Getting Started

Orvis has a great new series of videos on fly fishing basics.

If you are interested in learning to fly fish, or sharpen your skills, I can’t think of a better guy to help than Tom Rosenbauer. Tom, and Orvis instructor Pete Kutzer, have created a 13 part video series to do just that.

These are not two minute tip videos but twenty minute, in depth shows that cover the most basic idea and some advanced techniques in a concise, easy to understand format. I think it’s great that Orvis has put their time and resources into educating new anglers. Give these videos a watch. You just might learn something.

THE ORVIS GUIDE TO FLY FISHING, EPISODE I – THE BASICS OF FLY FISHING

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Browns Rising

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Watch the video!

Back in 2013 Kent Klewein and I were in a tire commercial.

I was encouraged by a reader to reshare this video from 5 years ago. It seems like yesterday but our readership has grown so much since then that plenty of you have not seen it. If you have, please excuse the old news. If you haven’t, take a few minutes and enjoy some cool fishing footage. It is of course a tire commercial, so there’s that too.

BROWNS RISING

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Deadly Ice Off Duo

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By Bob Reece

Ice off on lakes in the Rocky Mountain region can be dynamic.

It can also be extremely challenging. Tim Drummond’s extensive knowledge of still water scenarios led to his creation of two highly effective still water patterns. These two patterns have a proven track record and can help crack the code to Ice Off success.

Tim has worked professionally as a guide for well over a decade in Northern Colorado. His experience with both moving and still waters has led to a dialed in understanding of these aquatic environments. I’ve known Tim for several years and was able to ask him about his thoughts behind the creation of his Chromie and Water Boatman patterns.

“My Water Boatman was originally tied to imitate the abundant boatman we see here on the Delany Buttes lakes and other stillwaters. The fly is tied with a metallic plastic bead versus a metal bead because I did not want the fly to sink fast, only gradually. Water boatman are divers going from the surface to just below the surface as they move across the water. This fly is best fished on an intermediate line just below the surface with a slow retrieve or hand twist retrieve. I have had the most success with this fly in the spring and fall when boatman are active. Sight casting to a cruising fish is how I have hooked most of my big fish on the boatman. The fly can also

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Catching Big Trout Sometimes Takes Multiple Attempts

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By Kent Klewein Several times this past year guiding, my clients would miss a big fish opportunity during our fishing trip. Sometimes it would be because of a poor hook set, other times, it was completely out of their control by last second refusals or turn offs from the big fish. We’d always make several more casts and try using different flies, but most of the time the big fish would have already caught on and would ignore our offerings despite perfect presentations. Without giving up on the cause I would tell my clients, “no worries, let’s come back later in the day and give that big fish another go”. Not always but quite often, we’d come back and catch that big fish the second time around. When we were fortunate enough for it happened it was the most thrilling guiding for me, and my clients couldn’t have been more pleased and proud of themselves. If you find yourself wading a river or stream and spot a big fish but don’t catch it, don’t accept defeat, let the fish cool off and come back an hour or two later for a second shot. If you do everything right, most of the time you stand a very good chance at catching the trophy. This simple fly fishing tip, is overlooked by a lot of anglers and it’s paid off for me time and time again throughout my years guiding. Don’t be disappointed if you strike out the second time around, because you’ve got one thing going for you that you didn’t have before, and that’s the fact that you now know where the big fish likes to hang out. Sooner or later, if you keep coming back and trying, you’ll catch that big fish. And when it happens you’ll feel a … Continue reading

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Unhang My Fly You Villain Stump!

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One of the unavoidable happenings in fly fishing is the oh-so-wonderful snag.

Overhead limbs, rocks, submerged timber, rhodo, your net man… you name it, it’s out there just waiting to snatch your fly from the air. A lot of the time it’s game over for your rig. You just have to break it off and move on after a short grieving period. There are, however, certain scenarios where one simple trick can save your flie(s) from being lost to the Water Nymphs. It’s by no means 100% effective, but it’s easy and worth a few tries before snapping your tippet.

First thing, if you’ve discerned that your fly is hung up on something solid on the bottom, or you’ve laid your flies across a log, or any other obstacle, sit tight for a second. Don’t set the hook into it any further! Before you going tugging on your rod like you’re Magnus Ver Magnusson, do this….

Strip in the majority of your line, leaving it just taught enough to lift your fly line above the water. Once the fly line is ABOVE the water, bring your fly rod tip to 12 o’clock like you would to make a roll cast. You may need to slip a little more line as you position your rod correctly. Once you’ve gotten everything situated, execute a firm roll cast straight at your fly. The loop created by the cast will transfer momentum past the fly, opposite of the direction that it was snagged, potentially releasing the hook from the snag. Didn’t work the first time? Try again, but this time

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Burning Chrome 

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By Louis Cahill

The sun never rises.

Not today, at least not here on the Deschutes River. The light is an eerie yellow-orange. The air is hot and dry, and the wind is howling. It’s unsettling. You’d expect it to feel like fog or overcast but it doesn’t. It’s almost the opposite. When you catch a glimpse of the sun, it’s just a vague red blotch in the sky. The air burns the soft tissues of my eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Everything smells and tastes like a camp fire. I cough constantly and spit up chunks that look like cottage cheese into the river. The Deschutes River Canyon fades as I swing my fly from behind a hot, gray vail. It feels like the whole world is on fire.

A few miles away the Columbia River gorge is consumed in flame. One of the prettiest places I know, reduced to ash and coal. The fire is so intense that it jumps the mile wide Columbia River and sets Washington ablaze. Stupid kids shooting fireworks. They caught them, but what are you going to do with a bunch of kids who burnt down the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of Oregonians. Fire fighters do an amazing job of saving what can be saved while the rest of us just watch it burn.

I left my home in Atlanta less than a day before Hurricane Irma was scheduled to hit. The day before it had devastated the Florida Keys. It’s still hard to picture. I had been in the Keys the week before, when Harvey was washing Houston from the map. While the East drowns, the West burns and I don’t know which is worse. I have learned this much during my stay in Oregon. When they call for evacuation from a storm, Texans may say, “We’ll see what happens,” or “I’m not leaving my home,” but when they call for evacuation from fire, everybody goes. No one “rides it out.”

Everyone in the camp admitted to having gotten up in the middle of the night to look for an orange glow on the horizon. As terrible as the fire in the gorge is, it isn’t the forest being lost that most of us are concerned about. We have all been watching the count of returning steelhead to the Columbia system and the news is no better than that of the fire.

2016 was one of the worst steelhead returns in decades. As we stand in the Deschutes, 2017 returns are only about a quarter of last year, which biologists called a complete year-class collapse. Burned trees will grow back in time but, with ocean conditions worsening, steelhead populations may be harder to replace. It’s anyone’s guess if we are seeing a few bad years or a worsening trend.

Notably absent are the B-run fish. The big steelhead headed for Idaho, who stop in the Deschutes for a breather in the cold water. This year only eleven-hundred are expected to enter the system. Far fewer will find their way here. If you were to draw a bubble-graph with one bubble representing B-run steelhead in the Deschutes and another representing Georgia steelheaders, the intersection would not inspire confidence.

With the gorge burning and the steelhead runs so poorly reported, most anglers have elected to stay home, or maybe fish somewhere else. The river is as lonesome a place as I’ve ever seen it. Normally a traffic jam, the Deschutes is pleasantly deserted. The water is the clearest I’ve ever seen it and flowing strong. If breathing the air wasn’t as painful as pepper spray I’d be swinging flies in paradise.

I am lost in thoughts of fire and fish when I feel the familiar pluck, pluck, pull of a hot summer steelhead.

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Sunday Classic / The Thrill that Comes From the Unknown

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If you ask me, I think the surprise factor in fly fishing is underrated. Most of us choose to spend our time preparing and planning out every single detail of our fly fishing trips, so we can eliminate it. We spend hours tying recommended flies, we go threw our gear with a fine tooth comb checking for imperfections, and we research everything we can about the water and species we’ll be tackling. We do this because we want to feel in control. Furthermore, we do it because we want to catch fish. Problem is, fly fishing isn’t all about trying to squeeze out every bit of success we can muster out of a day on the water. A big part of fly fishing for me is letting go and

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