Taking An Epic Plunge

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By Justin Pickett

No, not over my head into a cold river. Instead, I’m diving completely blind into my first rod build.

I’ve been interested in building a rod for some time, but the task has always seemed more daunting and tedious than I had patience for, leading me away from the idea. I’d still think about it from time to time, but I’d just always tell myself “Eh, I’ll do it someday.” I kind of likened it to fly tying. Initially you’d probably start out with a small kit and then graduate to new and more materials, or a better vise, if your interest in tying continued to develop. However, to me, it seemed as though there really wasn’t a great way to start “small.” Not mention the fact that I currently don’t have much room to place a rod jig or store rod building supplies. It could be that I’m just ignorant to more sensible and economical options that may be available, but, no matter, I still kept putting it off. Years have gone by, and I still haven’t tackled a build. I’ve checked off many other things on my fly fishing “to-do” list, which there are still many, but this one has made its way back to the forefront. If this sounds like you, then you’ll want to read on.

I finally decided that I was going to build a rod, and it didn’t take me long to figure out where I was going to start. Epic is a well-known name within the fiberglass world. They produce some amazing glass rods that have won the hearts of glass lovers the world over. Aside from building rods in house, and sending glass blanks across the globe, Epic also sells a “Ready to Wrap” kit. They advertise that, with this kit, they’ve “made the simply incredible — incredibly simple”, and I believe they’ve nailed it. They’ve taken the intimidating task of choosing the right items to build a fly rod and squashed it. On top of that, included is a detailed handbook filled with step by step instructions, as well as tips and tricks to help you along the path of building one of their amazing blanks, which range from a sweet 4WT on up to a wicked 12WT. It was a no brainer for me! Click. Ship. Done!

A week later my kit made its way across the Pacific and arrived at my doorstep.

The big, bold “Epic” logo staring me right in the face! I couldn’t wait to tear into the box and start building immediately! Approximately 3.2 seconds later I was staring at a beautiful collection of quality components worthy of any rod maker’s studio.

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Sunday Classic / Getting Sharper Photos In Low Light

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That is to say that like low water, there just isn’t much of it. Those early morning and late evening shots are beautiful but challenging. Low light means slow shutter speeds and, all too often, blurred photos. Here are some tricks I use to help beat the blur.

Check your ISO
Formerly known as ASA, the ISO setting on your camera adjusts the sensor’s sensitivity to light. Some cameras are capable of adjusting their own ISO. If yours is not, you will get better results by adjusting this setting for the existing light conditions. If you are in bright sun, a low ISO setting like 100-200 will give you sharper images with less noise. If you are in low light like dusk, a higher ISO like 400-800 will give you faster shutter speeds and minimize camera shake. Some high end DSLRs get good results as high as 3200. When you start using your ISO setting, it is important not to forget to readjust when conditions change. Eventually it will become second nature.

Use a fast aperture
The aperture, or F stop, controls how much light the lens allows into the camera. Faster, or wider, apertures (the ones with the lower numbers like 2.8) let in more light and allow higher shutter speeds. When light is low it’s best to select a faster aperture but be aware that your depth of field will be reduced. Pay close attention to your focus, you may have to choose what part of the scene you want tack sharp.

Get a good grip
The way you hold your fly rod effects you casting, right? The way you hold your camera matters too. Most people never stop to think about it but I remember being taught in school the proper grip for a camera. First off, all SLRs are

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Saturday Shoutout / Tarpon Fishing is a Joke

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Some days it’s all about keeping your sense of humor.

Anyone who has fished for tarpon will relate to this great piece of writing from Amberjack Journal. When you’re up against the silver king, some days you’re the kid and some days you’re the clown. And that’s about all there is to it.

Have a laugh at Amberjack Journal.


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The Avalon Fly- Video

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Wherever you find permit, you’ll find the Avalon.

This innovative crab pattern is a staple in most saltwater boxes. The Avalon made its name as a permit fly but it works well for bonefish and likely many other saltwater species. It has a life-like action and sinks fast to imitate a crab diving for cover. Thats the action that permit love to see.

Chase Pritchett of American Made Flies is back to show us the tie.Tie this fly in a variety of sizes, especially small. The original calls for orange rubber legs but Chase likes the yellow.

Watch this video and learn to tie the Avalon permit fly.

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Urban Fly-Fishing

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By Karl Kortemeier

Want a new adventure? Want to fish to unstocked, naturally reproducing, native fish? Want to fish water that rarely sees another fisherman? And is probably less than a few miles from home? If this sounds like a blast, then urban fishing is for you. So what is urban fishing? I define it as fishing natural waters within city limits of any modern metro area. My adventures in urban fishing started a few years back when I sat down at my vise; because, I didn’t have time to drive to one of my favorite mountain trout streams. After a few flies, I took a break by looking at Google Earth for some armchair exploring. The main screen displayed my current location. I live in Decatur, GA, which is part of Metro Atlanta. As you would expect, Decatur is a bustling community of cars, traffic, barking dogs, and loud music. But, thanks to Google Earth, I noticed that there are also blue lines, Tons of them! Blue lines indicate creeks, streams and other waterways. I was amazed, by all of the water that runs right under our feet and next to our homes and businesses in almost any urban area. This got me thinking, “What if I could fish any time within minutes of my home?”

I zoomed in and focused on a possible candidate. I grabbed my fly rod and headed to an access point, the closest being Park and Putt, a local beer store. After buying a beer, I talked to the guy behind the counter. His furry eyebrows twitched when he saw my fly rod.

“You want to do what?” he asked, incredulously. “That creek has nothing but sewage and trash in it. If you catch anything the next beer is on me.”

I headed through a field of kudzu and a broken fence to get to the stretch I planned to fish. The water was crystal clear and ran over a sand bottom. Every 50 to 100 yards the sand was broken by sections of stone riffles or old sections of stonework, very similar to many of the mountain trout streams I have fished. I put on a small yellow popper and got to work. My first cast was engulfed by a small bluegill. I went on to catch fish after fish. I caught close to two dozen fish within a few hours of fishing. Every fish was beautiful and brightly colored. The reds and blues of the sunfish looked neon against the verdant growth along both shores. I even caught two small bass. Each fish jumped on the popper like it was the first they had seen. I never went back for my beer. I figured the store clerk wouldn’t believe me anyway.

Since that first trip, I have learned a few things about fishing these small streams.

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Fly Fishing Tip: Use Tippet Rings to Extend the Life of Expensive Leaders

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Leaders have got quite expensive over the past couple decades. Recently, I saw a pack of two fluorocarbon leaders retail for $20.00 in a fly shop. That’s a pretty good hit to the wallet if you get out on the water to fly fish regularly. One way you can prolong the life of your leaders is to use tippet rings. The tippet ring takes the leader out of the equation by providing the angler a reusable anchor point to tie on tippet and attach flies. Climax manufactures and sells tippet rings, and although I don’t like using them for my dry fly fishing because they can create micro-drag, they work very well for nymph fishing and streamer fishing situations.


What I like to do is take a 7 1/2′ tapered 2X or 3X leader and tie the end directly to the loop ring. I then tie 24-36″ of 4X-6x tippet to the other side of the loop rig and tie on my tandem nymph rig. This keeps me from having to cut into my leader when I’m changing out flies or if I break off on a snag fishing. The tippet rings are also very nice for anglers that struggle with their eye sight up close, and makes it very easy for them to rig up quickly. This isn’t for everyone but for an initial $5 investment, it’s a cool piece of fly fishing gear that can save you money in the long run and should be considered. For those of you that aren’t big fans of using tippet rings, furled leaders provide the same functional benefits. If you’d like to purchase some of these, we recommend going with our friends at cutthroatfurledleaders.com

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5 Tips For Teaching Kids To Fly-Fish

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Taking the time to teach a kid to fly-fish is an investment in the future.

To my mind, there’s nothing more important than teaching kids to fish. If done right, it’s an investment that pays three times. For the child you teach, it’s a life of wonder and purpose, which builds character and keeps them grounded. For yourself, the satisfaction of knowing you have changed a life for the better. For society, another grounded soul with respect for others and the natural world.

We are not all, however, teachers by nature and the task of passing on the fundamentals of fly fishing to a young person can be as hard on us as on them. With all of the excitement surrounding 11 year-old Maxine McCormick’s performance at the107th ACA National Tournament, I thought there was no better person to ask for advice than her coach, Chris Korich.


Foundational Rule: CONSERVATION OF ENERGY: Make it look easy, effortless, efficient, encourage rest and relaxation.


•TRUST – Establish rapport by asking questions, probing about other sports & interests. Listen and repeat, prove that you care!

•SIMPLIFY – Teach the basics. Teach grip and stance with a pencil, not a fly rod. Next, practice the casting stroke with just the 2 tip sections of the rod and NO LINE to start, then add a third section and a line. Cast to 20-30 foot targets with short 0X leader and yarn.

•PRAISE – Ignore bad strokes, loops, etc. Immediately praise good strokes, positive stops, tight loops, good timing, mechanics and results.

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Why Are We Out There?

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By Kyle Wilkinson

It’s a question as old as this great sport. Why do we fly fish?

Why do we make the sacrifices—whether it be time away from family, perhaps less money in your bank account, the risk of possible injury (I could go on)—just to catch a fish and let it go?

Now, I don’t typically do this sort of thing but I had a guide trip the other day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since. And trust me, I’m not trying to sound all preachy or holier-than-thou in the paragraphs to come. Like I said, this day has simply remained on my mind.

I had a 3-person guide trip with a good, repeat customer of mine. Our destination was the Dream Stream section of the South Platte and the group consisted of a father/son duo, and the father’s friend. As seems to be a resounding theme in Denver, the son lives here and his dad/his dad’s friend were in visiting from the Midwest.

We met up early and hit the river. Both dad/son are good anglers, however the dad’s friend had never touched a fly rod. (which happens to be one of my favorite customers to be dealt). I got him up to speed and within the first 5 minutes we were staring at a chunky 18” rainbow wiggling in the net. This was his first fish ever on a fly rod and we were all excited! As the day went on, he brought many more fish to the net, however

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Sunday Classic / Gullywash

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Watch the video and learn how to make Bahamian Gullywash.

It is no overstatement to say that tasty alcoholic beverages are an important part of Bahamian culture and I’m a firm believer in the old adage, “When in Rome do as the Romans do.”

With that in mind, whenever I’m in the Bahamas I try to get my hands on some of the delicious local treat called Gullywash.

I was first introduced to Gullywash by bonefish guide Tory Bevins. Tory showed up one night

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Saturday Shoutout / The Shop

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Ever stop to think about the roll the fly shop plays in your community? In your life?

Mathew Copeland at Stalking the seam did. The result is this insightful analysis. When you think about it, maybe all your community needs is a fly shop. Or maybe the fly shop is your community. Either way, this is worth your time.


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