Looking Good With Fish On

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Fish On Energy delivers cool designs and quality materials in Fly Fishing apparel.

I met these guys about 2 years ago when they were just getting into the apparel game. They weren’t really product designers, just fishy guys with an eye for what’s cool. They had a couple of cool T-shirts and hats and a great attitude. Two years later, the product line has expanded, and the designs have evolved. Now there’s cool apparel for on and off the water. Pretty cool stuff from Fish On.

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO SEE NEW DESIGNS AND TECHNICAL WEAR FROM FISH ON ENERGY.

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6 Reasons To Love And Fear The Barracuda

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By Louis Cahill

Every angler who catches a barracuda can’t wait to catch another, but if you aren’t a little afraid of these fish, you’re about to get bit.

I was fishing in the Bahamas with G&G videographer Charlie Murphy and I caught a nice ‘cuda about four feet long. Murphy is a dyed-in-the-wool musky fisherman and no stranger to toothy fish. When I got the fish to the boat he reached down with a handheld GoPro to get a closeup. Our guide caught him by the elbow.

“Don’t get your hand close to that thing,” he told Murphy.

“I’m not afraid of that fish,” Murphy answered.

“You should be,” I added. It wasn’t long before he realized that we were not dealing with a musky.

Barracuda are an awesome sport fish. Although they can be tough to catch on a fly, they are not a fish you pursue for the challenge of feeding. You cast to barracuda purely for the adrenaline rush. The barracuda in the Bahamas are the most fly friendly anywhere and I always carry a rod rigged with wire leader and a big fly so I can take a shot when a big boy shows up. I’m not a purist who thinks I’m above catching one of the most exciting fish on the flats.

I’ve written about ‘cuda fishing before, but that day on the boat with Murphy made me think. If I’m going to extol the virtues of the Barracuda as a sport fish, I should write a word of caution. As an advisory, I know of no more serious fish to land and handle. They can be more dangerous than sharks and if you’re going to put a hook in one, you’d better be prepared for what comes next.

I recommend ‘cuda fishing as a team sport. Having a friend—or better yet a guide—to help you land a big one is a real plus. Handling gloves are a great idea as well. You do not want this fish slipping out of your grasp. I very rarely cast to large cuda when wading. When they find they can’t run, they will often attack. If you do tie into a big one while on foot, it’s best to head for high ground.

Here are 6 reasons to love and fear the barracuda.

Unchecked aggression

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C&R Tips & Gear for Musky & Other Toothy Critters

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I’ll never forget the first musky I landed on fly. It was an extremely proud moment for me, but it quickly turned into a stressful situation after I got the musky to the boat. I had serious problems removing the deeply hooked fly. The musky had its mouth slammed shut and would not open it more than a couple seconds at a time. After a few minutes without making any progress, I became desperate, and used my hand to pry the mouth open (dumb I know, but the health of the fish was more important to me) and I ended up badly cutting my hand on the razor sharp teeth. The entire hook removal process took far too long, and that made it extremely difficult for us to revive and release the fish. It was an organized team effort to say the least. I held the fish in the water, Louis stabilized the net, and Murphy ran the trolling motor upstream to keep water running over the gills until we got the musky green again. Talk about a bummer that ended up overshadowing a proud angling moment. That’s not how I wanted my first catch and release of a musky to go down.

If you’re planning on going fly fishing for musky or any other toothy critters for the first time, I highly encourage you to read over these organized catch and release handling tips and gear recommendations. They’ll keep you and the fish safe, and you’ll greatly decrease the chances of ruining a great moment on the water like I did.

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Check Your Fly Rig!

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By Justin Pickett

The sun is only a faint glow below the horizon as it prepares to make its ascent into the sky.

I launch my chunky, articulated offering into the twilight.

Slicing through the fog, it lands mere inches from the bank.

Soon, will come the moment of truth.

That split second when man and fish will come to learn their fate.

Strip, strip, strip.

A menacing silhouette emerges from the darkness.

Strip, strip. Flash! Strip, strip. Bam! Big hit!

The hook set is on point. The rod bends abruptly.

The surly Brown shakes his head angrily at the unpleasant sensation of resistance.

It is the moment that I have anticipated all morning. All week.

It is this moment that will haunt me for some time, for my net is empty and my fly is lost.

It happens. Trout, among the many other species of fish, will get the best of us sometimes. No matter what we do right, there are always those fish that just seem to be living right and never make it to our nets. The scenario described above, however, may not have ended the way that it did had I just checked my rig thoroughly before hitting the water.

It was still dark as I gathered all of my gear and transferred it into the Adipose. I didn’t rig my rod before leaving the house like I had planned so, when I got to the parking lot, I rushed through my normal routine of checking through my gear. Instead, I just threw everything together so I could get on the water ASAP. However, of course, hurrying through things tends to bite you in the ass later on, as it did on this particular morning. The bite in the ass being the humiliating loss of a very large brown trout.

That big brown slab shook his head hard after a short sprint downstream. Suddenly, just as he began a second drag-stealing run, my line went slack

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Does Casting Technique Matter For Small Stream Trout Fishing?

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By Louis Cahill

You can sure catch a lot of trout with no more than ten feet of fly line, but does that mean that casting doesn’t matter?

I had this conversation recently. I was fishing a classic, pocket water stream with a friend and at some point he asked me point blank why I was catching fish and he wasn’t. He was shocked when I told him the problem was with his cast. Neither of us had more than ten feet of line out of the tip of our rod.

It’s a problem that plenty of beginning, and even intermediate anglers have. Even with a very short line, poor casts make for poor presentations. the problem is compounded in tight quarters where your first presentation really needs to be your best. Flailing about in close proximity to fish is generally not productive.

One of the most common casting mistakes I see anglers make, when casting a short line, is using too long a stroke. Often, anglers will do this because they are struggling to load the rod. With the head of the line still on the reel, it’s impossible to load the whole rod like you would in a longer cast. The problem very quickly becomes one of line management. The long, and usually circular, casting stroke dumps the fly line on the water, making it nearly impossible to get a good drift. Especially in the conflicting current of fast pocket water.

Fixing this problem is super simple, and comes down to

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Sunday Classic / Some Say I’m an Intense Fly Fishing Guide

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I’m sort of a blabber mouth on the water when I guide.

Similar to a sports radio announcer that’s calling a game play by play, so the listeners can easily follow and visualize what’s going on. It’s a hands-on style of guiding that’s served me well over the years. Nintey-seven percent of my clients would have it no other way, but every once in a while, I’ll get a comment defining my guiding as being too intense. When it happens, I’ll back off and give them some breathing room, but I always chuckle, because it tells me I’m upholding a promise that I made to myself many years ago.

When I was a kid and had the dream of becoming a full-time fishing guide, I promised myself, if I was ever fortunate enough to become one, I would give my clients my absolute best every day on the water. And if the time came when I was unable to do so, because I lost my love for guiding or simply just got too old, I would promptly hang it up as a guide.

Beginners make up the bulk of my clients, and I’ve found the best way to teach them is by constantly communicating what’s going on in my head, and how I would approach and fish the water if I was doing so on my own. I’ll talk them through every cast and fishing spot throughout the day, if that’s what it takes for my clients to learn how to do it the right way and find success. The way I see it, if I can teach my clients to think like a guide when their out with me, when their on their own, they’ll catch fish like a guide.

I can be nit-picky at times, but its not done in a negative way. I’ll say things like, “your high-sticking this spot 90% correctly and that’s great, but there’s 10% of your technique that’s wrong and it’s keeping you from catching fish. Let me fine-tune you a little bit and show you how to do it 100% correctly. That way, when you find yourself in a situation like this during your next fishing trip, you’ll catch more fish.” I’ll instruct clients to walk behind me and follow my foot steps when we’re approaching a fishing hole. This teaches them how easily success can be jeopardized if they wade in the wrong places. “See how if you walk downstream of this shoal in the shallow riffle, you won’t send shock waves upstream to the trout holding in that flat water upstream?” Some may look at this as being too intense, but I see it as

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Saturday Shoutout / Save The Grand Canyon

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Watch the Video

It seems that every day development threatens yet another national treasure, but the Grand Canyon is actually in trouble today, September 3rd.

Tim Romano, at Angling Trade, make a last minute plea for support to stop some highly invasive development in Grand Canyon National Park. Please take a moment to watch this video, read his article and sign the petition.

The deadline is today!
ACT NOW TO SAVE THE GRAND CANYON

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Simms Challenger Jacket Doesn’t Break The Bank

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Watch the Video!

The new Simms Challenger jacket and bib deliver Simms quality outerwear at half the price.

This is a huge offering from Simms. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I’ll never pay $500 for a rain coat!” That’s fair. Simms outerwear has never been cheap, though it’s always been the best. The price tag has simply put it out of reach for a lot of anglers, and they have complained. Well, Simms heard you.

The new Challenger series Jacket and bib offer much of the design you get with the Pro Dry products at less than half the cost. $199 for the jacket and $199 for the bib. This should make a lot of anglers very happy.

WATCH THE VIDEO TO SEE THE NEW CHALLENGER JACKET AND BIB FROM SIMMS.

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I Love The Bahamas Photo Essay

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As the weather cools off, I can’y help but think about bone fishing in the Bahamas.

Temperatures are dipping into the bearable range here in Georgia. I’ve been spending a lot of evenings and mornings on the porch and I know I should be looking forward to crisp fall days and brightly colored leaves but my mind keeps drifting to the Bahamas. Even though winter is the best time for trout fishing here in the Southeast, and I will take advantage of it, it’s also the time of year I leave all that worries me behind and spend a little time in my happy place. The flats of the Bahamas.

Nothing makes me happier than leaving the soggy cold weather behind to soak up some sun, swim in the ocean, drink a little rum and stretch some fly line, with the help of some eager bonefish. These days those trips also mean the opportunity to connect with friends who come along year after year and to meet new friends who are just discovering the salt. It’s the high point on my calendar.

The Bahamas recharges my batteries. The sun warms my days and the bright smiles of my Bahamian friends warm my nights. My stress washes away and I forget the world as I focus on the fish. I don’t think I could get through the winter without it.

THESE ARE A HANDFUL OF IMAGES I’VE TAKEN IN THE BAHAMAS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY WHEN I SEE THEM.

If you’d like to join me on one of my Bonefish Schools this year, there are a couple of spots still open, including a last minute cancelation for South Andros Nov. 12-18 . We’d love to have you. follow these links to get more info on Abaco and South Andros and G&G Hosted Trips, or email me at hookups@ginkandgasoline.com to reserve your spot.

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My Most Memorable Bonefish

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sn’t it funny, how certain fish we catch during our fly fishing trips can end up providing us with ten times the satisfaction over all the others. Sometimes, the size of our catch has little at all to do with the amount of reward it brings. I love catching big fish just as much as the next guy, but for me at least, it’s often more about overcoming the challenges along the way that’s what really makes one catch end up standing out amongst all the rest.

For example, my most memorable bonefish to date, only weighed around four pounds. I’ve landed much larger bones over the years, but what made this particular bonefish so special to me, were the extremely difficult fly fishing conditions I had to work through to hook and land it. Before it all unfolded, and I found myself feeling that special fish tugging on the end of my line, I was holding onto the last remaining tidbits of hope I had left inside me for dear life. I thought success was just about impossible. Never give up when you’re out fly fishing. For when you succeed when everything is stacked up against you, it will be invigorating to your very core.

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