Go Slow Mo Fo

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By Jeff Hickman

Ask any Spey casting coach or steelhead guide what they find themselves saying most often during the day and most likely it’s the words, “slow down”.

I have often joked about just getting a tape recorder to say it for me on repeat. But oftentimes guys say they are trying really hard but they just can’t!

It’s as though their muscles won’t go slow, or maybe their brain won’t let their muscles go slow. Is it fear of failure? Paranoia that they might make a pathetic cast that just lands in an ugly pile of line? How embarrassing that would that be if others on the river saw! Rushed casts can happen for any number of reasons and they happen to everyone from time to time.

There are a couple of tricks I use when people get into this downward spiral of rushing the cast.
First I ask them to take a short one minute timeout and relax their shoulders. After the timeout, I ask them to stop and pause for a full second after setting the anchor. A good way to ensure that you wait a full second is to take a deep breath after you set the anchor. You don’t have to be in such a rush. After the anchor is set you have lots of time to sweep and then cast. It’s as if that pause just sets the tempo for the rest of the cast.

After all, the anchor placement is completely separate from the sweep and cast. It’s important to

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3 Tips for Swinging Flies for Trout & Other Species

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By Kent Klewein

SWINGING FLIES IS A SUPER EFFECTIVE WAY TO TARGET ANY SPECIES IN MOVING WATER. IT’S DEADLY WHEN IT’S DONE RIGHT. HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO HELP YOU GET BETTER SWINGS.

3 ROOKIE TIPS FOR SWINGING FLIES

TIP 1: DON’T HOLD YOUR ROD TIP TOO HIGH OFF THE WATER WHEN SWINGING FLIES

One technique flaw that I see a lot of my clients’ make on the water when they’re swinging flies is they hold the rod tip too high off the water. In many cases, when you do this during the swing, it will create a belly of slack between the rod tip and the fly line on the water. Slack makes it more difficult to detect subtle strikes during the swing. To fix this problem, I tell my clients to always keep the tip of the fly rod on or very close to the surface of the water during the swing. Doing so, it keeps slack to minimum and they find it much easier to feel bites during the swing. The only times, in my opinion, that you want to raise your rod tip off the water during the swing, is when you’re performing a Leisenring lift or you need to raise the fly up in the water column so it doesn’t snag the stream bottom. Before all you veteran swinger junkies start bashing me with comments, understand this tip is for anglers that are newbies to swinging flies.

TIP 2: DON’T SET THE HOOK TOO HARD WHEN SWINGING FLIES

One of the hardest things for me to learn when I first started swinging flies was adjusting my hook set. When you swing flies correctly you don’t have near as much slack in your fly line during the drift as you do when your presenting a fly on a dead-drift. Since you don’t have all that slack to eliminated during the hook set, you don’t need as big or hard of a hook set to successfully hook fish. I’ve found a smooth, conservative sweeping hook set works best when swinging flies. Especially when you’re

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The Guy In Brown

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By Brian Kozminski

From a distance, whether mowing the lawn, tending to the animals, or cutting wood, I can recognize the “Fa-Thump, Fa-thump, Fa-Thump” amplified rotation of the tires and diesel engine working up the motivation to travel up the long hill a mile away from our house. A sudden increase in my heart rate, eyes get dilated, hair stands on end, my senses are alert, vision sharpened and hearing more acutely than ever as the big Brown truck makes a rounded left hand turn on our dirt road kicking up a dust cloud common in northern back roads. I can can usually tell in a split second if he is about to accelerate or coast in order to make the wide turn into our driveway.

What could be in the big box? The possibilities are endless. There is a chance they could be new curtains or bedspread for my daughter’s room, but I am hopeful it could be a new slew of rods from TFO or a replacement net for my broken Brodin wooden Guide net. My wife is privy to my game. She knows I have a secret code with the guys clad in pooh brown to store boxes inside of my garage door so I can intercept before she gets home. It’s all in good fun. Is it a genetic disorder? My father had a serious problem ordering online and getting things he really need needed, like shark fishing rods, fish finders, ice-augers and other miscellaneous items from Cabelas that I inherited. Do we as males have an inherent ability to bond with other males in this delivery secret ritual or is it more?

Jump back two decades and I was living in a much larger metropolis where I would drive to the mall or one of several fly shops to purchase the majority of fly tying materials or a much needed new line from Scientific Anglers. I simply could not fathom living a life “Up North” where one didn’t need to drive across town to actually pick up a rod or feel a pelt of deer hair prior to purchase. My brother-in-law bragged about how he would accomplish all of his holiday shopping from the comfort of his EZ chair online. Inconceivable. Now days, I see the virtue in compiling of list of tying materials and making a bulk order to Feather-Craft for my Sex Dungeons and Hog Snares, along with guide flies from Catching Shadows and Anglers Choice Flies for next guide season.

As I was roto-tilling the garden last spring, standing amid the fresh aroma — a nitrogen rich potpourri, compliments of goats, sheep and chickens wafting through the promise of fresh spring air — I quickly shut down the tiller to say “Hello” to my local driver. I had the idea of “getting to know” my UPS and Fed-Ex guys. Why not? Really, they know me, and often ask how the fishing is. These guys know more about you than perhaps some guys at the office. For instance, he knows I prefer getting camping equipment from Sierra Trading Post, and on a more personal level, my monthly prescription for Humira injection for my psoriasis needs to be chilled and kept in the shade. So I had prepared a set of questions for my driver.

What is your name? How old are you? How many years have you been delivering packages for UPS?

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Bonefish Heaven

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By Owen Plair

Bonefish are a species that all fly anglers dream about, and hope to one day target.

Traveling to a tropical destination and combing the crystal clear flats looking for a grey ghost is something that intrigues all anglers. I have targeted bonefish a few times in south Florida, including areas like Biscayne Bay and Islamorada, with a little success but never brought a fish to hand. After working in a fly shop for 10 years getting anglers geared up for trips or poling clients on my skiff and hearing countless bonefish stories, it was time to feel that excitement first hand. Back in mid November I was fortunate enough to attend the G&G South Andros Bonefish School. The feeling I had, packing my bags, knowing exactly what to bring after helping countless other anglers throughout the years was incredible. Finally it was my turn to fly out for my first experience with Bahamas Bonefish.

Little did I know, as I looked out of small plane window at the blue, tropical water, that South Andros would soon change my life forever. We were a group of 12 anglers hailing all the way from Montana to across the ocean in England. All with the same heightened anticipation of a week in Bonefish heaven. Endless miles of water, absolutely gorgeous habitat, and a culture proud to host angers like us, coming to experience bonefishing in the Bahamas. When flying into South Andros you don’t see giant resorts and tall buildings, even though it is the largest island in the Bahamas. What you see are miles and miles of flats and an island that seems almost deserted from the air. This was surprising to me and made me smile, knowing that it was a sign of great fishing ahead.

After everyone was seated in our taxi to the lodge, the driver of the van says in a warming Bahamian accent, “Okay fellas, I have fresh air, saltwater and cold beer. What’ll you have?” Kermit, our driver, starts popping bottle tops and handing out cold Bahamian beer for the short ride to the lodge. That was one of the best beers I had ever had.

We had an amazing dinner that night, full of laughter, drinks, and stories from around the globe. When 12 fly fishermen get together, it’s like you have been best friends for years. After dinner everyone went to their rooms and started rigging rods, tying leaders, and getting organized for the next morning. The rooms were not numbered but named after various fish and ironically the name of my room was “bonefish” which made me feel confident in the upcoming week.

I woke up the next morning feeling

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Sunday Classic / Perfect Moments, Bahamas Edition

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OUR RECENT TRIP TO SOUTH ANDROS BAHAMAS WAS AMAZING FOR MANY REASONS. GREAT FISHING, MAKING NEW FRIENDS AND SEEING OLD ONES.
Fishing cool new rods and tying great new flies. We even had a couple of bona fide adventures. We laughed until it hurt, ate until it hurt and, yes, drank until it hurt. I came home with a head full of snapshots that will not soon fade. It got me thinking. Since we practice catch and release, what is it that we bring home from a fishing trip?

In “Swimming To Cambodia” Spaulding Gray talks about having a perfect moment. An experience so culminating, that nothing else seems to exist but that moment. He can’t leave Thailand until he has one. He finally does and it involves Thai stick. I like that idea of the perfect moment and ever since Spaulding made me aware of it, I keep my eyes open and try to spot them.

I thought I found my perfect moment about mid week of the Bahamas trip. A subset of perfect moments that I’m fond of is “perfect shots.” By shot I mean shots at fish, not photos and I had one on Tuesday. Several things go into the making of a perfect shot. Most important, it has to be visual. I have to see the whole story unfold. I have to perform to the best of my ability. There’s no compromising on that one. The fish has to do his part, mainly eat the fly but he shouldn’t be a pushover. Of lesser importance but still of value

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Saturday Shoutout / SCOF on TU

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Writing for Southern Culture on the fly, Christian Fichtel hold Trout Unlimited’s feet t the fire.

Has TU crossed the line from conservation organization to fishing club? That’s the question Christian Fichtel asks in this insightful piece. I’ve heard this tossed around for years but as far as I know this is the first time it has been openly addressed in the media. Kudos to Christian for taking a position.

If you are interested in trout conservation I highly recommend you read this.

An Open Letter To Trout Unlimited

Part 2: The Follow Up

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Make Better Roll Cast: Video

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It isn’t flashy, but a good roll cast will catch you a lot of fish you might otherwise miss.

Roll casting is an essential skill for any angler, especially those targeting trout. Many of the mountain streams where trout live have little room for a backcast. A good roll cast opens up a lot of water that’s unfishable by any other means. It’s usually one of the first casts an angler learns, and because their understanding of fly casting is limited, anglers often learn the cast poorly. Very few go back and fix the problems they developed early on.

A FEW OF THE SKILLS WHICH ARE KEY TO A GOOD ROLL CAST ARE:

Making a robust D loop.

Keeping the path of the rod tip flat on the casting stroke.

Smooth acceleration of the cast to an abrupt stop.

Once you have the basics of the cast down, you can add a haul and shoot line for more distance. Roll casting this way is very effective on all types of water.

WATCH THIS VIDEO AND LEARN TO MAKE A BETTER ROLL CAST.

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Three Proven Options For Deep, Deep Nymphing

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By Louis Cahill

IT’S TIME TO MAKE LIKE CAPTAIN NEMO AND GO 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.

Sometimes the only trick to catching fish is getting the fly down to their level. When you’re nymphing and you’re not catching fish it’s always a good idea to add weight before changing flies. Often one split shot is the difference between fishing and casting.

I have fished with friends who were shocked at how much weight I use on my nymph rigs. They always end up following my lead and catching more fish. Especially in the heat of summer or cold of winter, weight is usually the answer. But just because you’re fishing heavy doesn’t mean you can’t fish smart.

Here are three rigging options that will help you make the most of the weight you use.

THE STRING OF PEARLS

The struggle in fishing deep is not sinking your flies. They are usually weighted and sink pretty quickly. It’s your leader that needs the weight. You can pile up a couple of #7 shot or a half dozen size BBs just above your tippet and it will drag that leader down but there’s a smarter way to use the weight.

I use hand-tied leaders and

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Fly Fishing: Being Outfitted Properly Should Always Be the #1 Priority

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Many can attest to the feeling of pure excitement that comes over us right after we’ve parked the vehicle and are fixing to hit the water for a great day of fly fishing. It’s an awesome feeling, one quite frankly, that I never get tired of, because it opens the door for each of us to experience true freedom, solitude and adventure. And there’s nothing like the anticipation of not knowing how the day is going to play out for us. This feeling has gotten me into trouble many times over the years, and I’m sure that I’m not alone. Look back on some of your past trips and I bet you’ve had a time or two where you got in way too much of a hurry, and forgot to pack critical gear. We tell ourselves, “the sky is blue and there’s not a cloud in the sky. I don’t need to bring my rain jacket”. We leave that granola bar or bottle of water in the truck because we hit a food joint on the way into the river and sucked down a 20 ounce bottle of water. Sometimes, we get lucky and we don’t wind up needed the stuff we’ve left behind. Unfortunately, if you get in the habit of doing this too much, eventually it’s going to bite you in the butt. It happened to me on a wade fishing trip with Louis in WY.

I was chomping at the bit to get on the water. It had been two years since I’d made a trip out west fly fishing. My late flight into Jackson had got us off to a late start. Since fishing time was limited I decided to do something I never do

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8 Tips for Fighting Bonefish Out Of Mangroves

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By Louis Cahill

When you hook a big bonefish in the mangroves, you only get one shot at landing him.

Half the reason we target bonefish is that they are such powerful fighters. A relatively modest bone can put you in your backing several times during a fight. That’s reason enough to love them, but when you’re faced with big tides and the big fish they bring to the flats, you can get in trouble in a hurry. When you hook that big fish on the edge of the mangroves, you’d better know what to do.

I’ve seen a lot of anglers miss their chance in this scenario, either breaking fish off immediately or losing them in the mangroves. Bonefish are too powerful to simply beat in a game of force. You have to fight them hard to be sure, but you also have to fight smart. There is a window of opportunity and if you exploit it you can land those tough fish that might seem hopeless.

HERE ARE 8 TIPS FOR FIGHTING BONEFISH OUT OF MANGROVES.

Lead the fish to open water

Often when fishing around mangroves you are presenting the fly into openings in the structure. Places where you can intercept a fish who is working among the roots of the brush. Your best chance at landing a fish in this situation is to lead him out of cover. If the fish moves aggressively on your fly, you can strip it quickly enough to lead him into the open before he eats. This is a huge advantage.

Have a plan and act fast

Once the fish eats your fly, your window of opportunity opens and it isn’t open for long. It takes a second for any fish to figure out that he’s hooked. After all, he’s expecting a meal, not a fight. You can use that split second to set the tone of the argument, and there are two things you need to accomplish quickly.

Raise the head

You need to raise the fish’s head. This is key. If the fish gets in a ‘tail up’ orientation, you’re done. He’s rigged for towing and you will not beat him. Remember, fish have

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