By Herman deGala
In the early 80’s I had a design professor by the name of Herb Kobayashi from Hawaii who tried to instill in us the concept of shibui.
Shibui has no direct translation into English but describes the aesthetic of simplistic, elegant beauty not only in design, art, processes and of course swordplay.
As I look at some of my favorite fishing flies they embody some of those same principles, Barr’s Copper John, Rim’s RS2, Mercer’s Twisted Nymph and of course Craven’s Jujubaetis. There are many more examples out there. They typically use very few materials and they mimic the behavior and profile of the natural. They are usually not very gaudy, but a good attractor has it’s place.
For my first post for Gink and Gasoline I share with you my favorite scud pattern. I kept in mind those concepts from Professor Kobayashi not only when I designed this fly, but also when I fish, produce videos, photograph and share good times on the water with friends and family.
WATCH THIS VIDEO AND LEARN TO TIE THE PREGNANT SCUDRead More »
I’ve just wrapped up what turned out to be one of the best bonefish seasons in recent memory, but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.
As I write this I’m on a plane to Abaco for the last G&G Bonefish School of the season, and I’m already missing it. This was a great season and the anglers who joined the schools found themselves in the presence of some very big bonefish. A handful of them landed their biggest bones to date, a handful over 10 pounds. I can’t tell you how rewarding that is for me, especially when I have watched these anglers develop their skills and worked with them to make it happen. I caught some pretty nice fish myself this year, but it’s not my fish that make me proud. So after a season like that, what do you dream about?
I’m sure I’m far from alone in that I dream about fishing. I don’t mean aspiring to goals in fishing, I mean literally dreaming about it. I spend plenty of nights on the water, from the comfort of my bed, but over the years those dreams have evolved in interesting ways. I used to have stressful fishing dreams. Dreams where I’d be watching a strike indicator drift uninterrupted through the same run time and time again. Those were nightmares. I’ve had crazy fishing dreams, including one where I landed a fish who transformed into Kiera Knightly on the bow of the boat. Not a nightmare. Recently my dreams have been extremely detailed in the setups and presentations and most of them have been set on the flats of the Bahamas.
In these dreams, interestingly enough, I’m often not the one doing the fishing. Sometimes I’m just watching from the seat of the skiff, as I spend plenty of time doing when I’m awake. One of these recent dreams found me on the boat with my friend John Van Vleet of Scientific Anglers. John is as good natured a soul as you will ever find and you’d be hard pressed to find a better guy to spend a day on a boat with. No Ms. Knightly, but a great guy.
In the dream, John and I were way back in the back country with Andros South guide Torrie Bevins. John was on the bow and we weren’t actively fishing. I think Torrie was taking a leak off the platform, whenRead More »
If you take the time to to flip over enough rocks in moderate moving water you’re bound to find lots of Flathead Mayfly (Heptageniidae) clinger nymphs of various sizes. These three and two tailed flat bodied nymphs, with robust legs and broad heads are very important for fly anglers. Quill Gordons, March Browns, Hendrickson, Light Cahill, Pink Quill and Gray Fox are some of the popular species that belong to the flathead family. To date, there’s been fly patterns created for over 45 different species in 10 different genera of the flathead family. Because there’s usually multiple species found in any given watershed, I typically find trout keep them on the food menu year round. The subsurface nymph patterns seem to produce nice trout for me even when fishing conditions are really tough. Oddly enough, I rarely find a good variety of patterns that imitate the nymph stage in my local fly shops. Below is a pattern I tie as a general all-around nymph imitation for the flathead “clinger” mayfly. It’s designed to mimic the bold features of the flathead, and it’s landed many big fish for me the past few seasons.Read More »
For many anglers, whether they choose to grab their sunglasses on the way out the door likely depends on the forecast.
“It’s going to be cloudy all day, so I’m not going to take them/wear them”. But, for me, I ALWAYS wear a pair of sunglasses, regardless of the weather that might be forecasted. While the amount of sun in the sky is one of the reasons why I always wear shades on the water, there are a couple of other reasons that are just as important.
Like I mentioned, the first reason to make sure that you leave the house with a good pair of sunglasses is to protect your eyes from the damage of harmful UV rays. Even when wearing a hat, the sun can harm your eyes and even cause burns to the surface of your eyeballs. Think of them as sunscreen for your eyes!
The second reason that I always wear a pair of sunglasses (and I’ll always recommend polarized lenses for this reason) is to aide me in spotting fish and wading safely. Polarized sunglasses redirect light so that it hits the eye more uniformly, thus reducing glare. This, in turn, allows us anglers to better see below the water’s surface. I carry a few pairs of sunglasses with me at all times and each pair has its purpose depending on the amount of sun on a given day. The other reason I carry multiple pairs is so I can offer my clients a pair so that they too can benefit from wearing a pair of polarized lenses while on the water. This helps both my client and me big time when it comes to sight fishing, as well as pointing out obstacles in the water.
The third reason why I will always wear sunglasses while I’m on the water isRead More »
By Sandy Moret
The flats of Islamorada and Florida Bay once boasted some of the finest bonefishing on our watery planet, due to the lush seagrass that held tons of delicious bonefish cuisine like shrimp, crabs and toadfish galore. Toadfish were a major part of the bonefish’s diet and were one of the main reasons there were such monster bones in the backcountry.
Back in the late ‘70s, I had just begun fishing the Islamorada Invitational Bonefish Fly Tournament with Captain Al Polofsky. Small bonefish did not really count for scoring, and if you brought one of those “peanuts”—at the time, a bonefish under eight pounds—to weigh-in, you were actually penalized. We knew how much all the fish weighed because they were unceremoniously brought to the dock, mostly dead, and weighed at what is now the Lorelei (known as the Islamorada Yacht Basin back then). Most anglers didn’t think much of killing fish at that time, which is why so many old photos show fish strung up at the dock.
We were total rookies fishing that tournament, but Al decided to propose a new rule at the anglers meeting that a 100-point bonus be offered for releasing bonefish alive. The rule was passed unanimously, and catch-and-release bonefishing was born in the Keys.
That year in the tournament, Al was poling me on a bank in Everglades National Park and three monster bonefish were digging it up in very shallow water. As we came into position, I threw a number four Chico Fernandez Snapping Shrimp, and the fish all pounced on it, and one came up with the fly. We knew it was a porker from the first blistering run. We landed it and raced six miles to weigh it. The fish weighed a hefty 12.3 pounds, and we successfully released it.
We had lost an hour of fishing time running to the weigh-in, but we still had a good tide, so back we headed to that same spot. Well, there were now two fish tailing in the exact same spot where we had just caught the first big one. I threw the snapping shrimp again, and again hooked up. Another sizzling run, and we landed the fish and headed off to weigh-in. This fish weighed a whoppingRead More »
I’ve talked before about the importance of the strip set in saltwater fly fishing. I think every angler who’s tried their hand in the salt knows that you aren’t going to catch a fish without mastering this simple technique. Simple as it may be, reprogramming your muscle memory for the strip set can be a challenge and has sent many anglers into fits on the bow.
Today, I’m going to talk about taking your strip set to the next level with your rod hand. It was my friend Joel Dickey who first introduced me to this idea. We were tarpon fishing in the Keys and I fed a big fish that followed my fly for a good ways before eating it. As tarpon will often do in this scenario, the fish ate the fly and, rather than turning, kept cruising toward the boat. I gave a hardy strip set but, even with my six and a half foot reach, I was never able to put enough pressure on him to bury the hook. The fish jumped and was gone.
“What the hell are you supposed to do with that?” I asked Joel.
“There’s not a lot you can do,” he shrugged and told me, “about your only shot is to clamp down on the line with your right hand and pull.”Read More »
It’s no secret that I am in Love with the Bahamas.
It’s people, it’s culture, it’s beaches and beautiful waters. I even have a Bahamian dog, but my love of the Bahamas begins and ends with bonefish and the culture surrounding them. I feel fortunate to call a number of Bahamian bonefish guides my friends. I have an immense respect for these self-made men of the flats and relish every minute I spend in their company.
The film Ghost stories, by World Angling, takes on the task of documenting the guides and bonefish culture of the Bahamas. You can almost feel the warm breeze watching this footage. If you need a brief vacation in the Bahamas, I highly recommend it.
GHOST STORIESRead More »
There’s no such thing as a bad day of flats fishing in the Bahamas.
There are however, exceptional days. The G&G hosted trip to Abaco Lodge this March had it’s fair share of exceptional days. We had a great group of anglers, beautiful weather and great fishing. You couldn’t ask for more, but we got more anyway.
Anglers Shane Maybush and Peter Olsen both got nice tarpon. Shane was doubley blessed to have lodge manager Christiaan Pretorius, and his pile of cameras and drones, on the boat when it happened. Chris put together this stunning short video of the event, which features some pro-level fish fighting and line dancing by Shane. Shane guides for Mossey Creek Outfitters in VA. If you’re in the area, look him up.
CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME VIDEO BY CHRISTIAAN PRETORIUS.Read More »
2017 Promises to be a record year for Lyme Disease, here’s what you need to know to be safe.
Changes in the environment and patterns of human population have created a paradise for mice in parts of the US. Their populations have exploded and with them the black legged ticks, which carry lyme disease. In some areas you are at risk for lyme disease just mowing your lawn. Those of us who pursue outdoor activities need to be especially vigilant. Lyme disease is nothing to mess with. It can cause serious life-altering side effects including heart damage.
The media has been full of sensational reports lately, but I’ve seen very little in the way of useful information, other than “check yourself for ticks.” Then I found this story from NPR titled,
“Did You Get Bit By A Lyme-Infested Tick? Here’s What To Do”
I recommend reading theRead More »
Countless fly fishing articles have been written about matching the hatch, setting up your rig correctly for the water your fishing, and how to cast tight loops. It’s very true these are all areas in your fly fishing game you should always have covered, but what about angler positioning? Why aren’t we talking more about how important angler positioning is for fly fishing success. Have you ever wondered why there are trout fishermen out there that can’t cast forty feet, yet when they’re on the water fishing, they literally mop up every fish like a vacuum. There’s a simple reason for this folks. Great fisherman, that suck at fly casting, usually figure out really quick how important angler positioning is for ensuring they get presentations that produce hookups.
Listen up all you competition casters out there. I’m happy you can reach the far end of the casting pond with your fly. It’s not easy shooting fifteen feet of backing out the end of your fly rod. That’s impressive, but if that’s how you choose to spend your time trout fishing, you’re probably going to catch few fish. Oh, and remember that guy that you just laughed off the casting pond with his pathetic forty foot cast? He’s going to out fish you nine times out of ten, because he’s figured out, presentation trumps distance casting.
Forgive me if I came across a little tart there. Sometimes it’s helpful for driving the point home with my target audience. The fact is, I consistently find fly fishermen of all skill levels struggling with angler positioning. Most have problems determining where they should position themselves when they first approach a stretch of water. The problem lies with them not first thinking about where they need to be standing, so they can make their best cast and presentation. Instead, they’re thinking, “I”m not going to waist my time wading upstream, if I can reach that spot with my fly where I”m standing right here”. This usually doesn’t pan out very well for them. Two scenarios usually play out with this fishing approach. The first scenario has the angler landing the fly short, right on top of the pod of fish, very often resulting in alerting or spooking the fish. The second scenario, the angler does manage to get the fly where it needs to be, but because they’ve chosen to stand in the wrong spot, they have conflicting currents that compromises their drag free drift. In both cases, anglers that ignore the importance of angler position, remain fish-less.
BELOW ARE 3 TIPS FOR BETTER ANGLER POSITIONING.Read More »