The Patagonia Trout McNugget

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By Louis Cahill

Think trout flies should be small? Think again!

Ok this is admittedly a bunch of silliness, but where else are you going to see a trout eat a chicken nugget? Yep, an actual chicken nugget. I don’t know if this compromises our journalistic integrity or angling ethics but it’s funny as hell.

Justin and I were down in Argentina and there were some pet trout in the spring creek by the place we were staying. No one fished for these bruisers, it was just fun to watch 30 inch trout hanging out by the deck. When we found out they stayed by the deck because the staff fed then table scraps, well, we couldn’t help ourselves.

The fishing in Argentine Patagonia is truly amazing. Why not join me there this February and see for yourself. Click here for details.

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The Double Herl Scud

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Watch the video!

By Bob Reece

While complexity is sometimes beneficial, simplicity is often appreciated.

The double herl scud embraces the concept of ease, while producing consistently effective underwater results. It’s basic list of ingredients allow for size and color adjustments needed to match the naturals in the waters that you fish.

Scuds are prevalent in many still and moving fisheries. This is especially true in alkaline or limestone influences waters. The importance of these small crustaceans can range from a minor percentage of a trout’s diet to almost exclusive dominance of the menu. Their sizes range drastically from water to water, most commonly falling between sizes eighteen to twelve. Some waters are host to larger specimens reaching up to size eight. For the waters that you fish it can be very beneficial to collects samples. This will allow you to either tie or buy imitations that match the most common size and color range.

The light weight of this particular imitation makes it an ideal offering when fished on an intermediate sinking line with a sink rate of a couple inches per second. With this technique, the double herl scud can be presented throughout a wide depth range when pursuing still water trout. On moving water I trail this fly behind a more heavily weighted pattern in an effort to quickly reach the desired depth.

Tying time is a valuable commodity. Its worth to many fly fishers is matched only by the effectiveness of a pattern. The double herl scud balances these two elements by saving the tier time and effectively producing for the fly fisher on the water.

Watch the video and learn to tie the Double Herl Scud.

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The Woolly Bugger Isn’t all that, Or is it?

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This isn’t Montana, Your Not Norman Maclean, and the Woolly Bugger isn’t all that.
This was a bumper sticker a guide buddy of mine had printed up a few years back. It was prominently displayed for his clients to read when they pulled up to greet him. That’s one hell of an ice breaker for checking fishing egos at the boat ramp, let me tell you. I give my boy J.E.B. Hall props for his comedic humor and gutsy style. For those of you who don’t know J.E.B., he’s a veteran Western North Carolina guide, Author of Southern Appalachian Fly Guide, and has spent multiple seasons guiding at Alaska West. Meet him one time and you’ll say to yourself, “this guy is the Johnny Knoxville of fishing”.

Most anglers fall into one of two categories when it comes to their perception of woolly buggers. They either love them or despise them. I love the fly pattern for two reasons. First, for its impressionistic design that’s capable of mimicking many different trout foods, and second, for its versatility in how the pattern can be fished. It’s rare for me to not break out a woolly bugger at some point during the day. When trout aren’t biting, I almost always can find fish willing to snack on them. The only time I keep woolly buggers out of the game and sitting on the bench, is when I’m fishing water where dry flies are the only thing required.

I believe in the woolly bugger so much, If I only had one pattern that I could take with me fishing, that would be it. Why the woolly bugger, you ask?

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So I tried to go fishing today….Twice

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I had it all planned out. Kayak loaded. Gear prepped. Rods rigged. Alarm set.

The next morning was free of obligations, so, naturally, I planned to do some local fishing. I had debated between a couple of local pieces of water. The early morning topwater bite had been great, and the afternoon carp fishing had been even better on a local reservoir that I frequent, with the second option being a local creek, filled with chubby, educated shoal bass. With a tropical storm tracking its way up from the gulf, it would likely be the last time I got to hit the water before the rivers and streams blew out for several days.

Hitting the snooze is a habit of mine. I’m often punched a couple times and threatened with further bodily harm before dragging my groggy ass out of bed, and this morning was no different despite the usual excitement I feel about hitting the water. But after getting vertical, and the first sips of coffee, I’m ready to throw on some clothes and hit the door.

On the water by six o’ clock was the plan, taking advantage of as much daylight as possible. The drive to the put in at the reservoir is quick. Maybe seven minutes. Barely enough time to squeeze in a couple Chris Stapleton songs. I turn down the main drag and, immediately, I can see that there is something unusual in the middle of the road. That gate to the park and put-in is closed and locked. Technically the park isn’t supposed to open until 8am, however the folks that open the gate usually have it open well before first light, but today this isn’t the case. Not wanting to wait and hope that someone shows up to open the gate, I decide to drive back to the house, drop the kayak, grab my wading boots, and head for my “plan B”; the local creek filled with chubby, educated shoal bass.

A little further down the road, I found myself in the parking lot, ready to fish by 6:45am, and, after a little hike down the trail, I was fishing by 7:00am. Not planned, but that’s how it goes sometimes. The first nice pool is full of sunfish and bluegills, with some nice shoalies lurking amongst the rocks and timber. After several casts with no luck, I decided to move up to the next nice run/pool to try my luck there. This process would repeat itself a couple of times, until I made the decision to move well upstream to try my luck in some less-molested water. As I made my way up the rock outcropping, I decided to check out a run that always looks great, but is one of those pieces of water that just doesn’t hold many fish. Curiosity got the better of me though, and I stepped down the rock face to make a couple of casts. After all, today could be the day that I pull a personal best out of that run.

Settling my feet on a large boulder, I made my first cast into the run. It wasn’t the result I was after,

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Two Great New Fly Rods From The Folks At RL Winston

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2018 is going to be another big year for new fly rods and Winston is stepping up with two new offerings, the Kairos and Nimbus.

These two rods are a unique offering for Winston in a couple of ways. They are intended to introduce new anglers to the Winston brand, without landing them in the poor house. Winston sees these rods as mid-priced without compromise, and from what I’ve seen I agree. In my case they are kind of preaching to the choir. I’ve been a fan of Winston rods for a long time. I’m still pretty excited about these new sticks and as eager to get them out on the water as any rod I own.

There are a couple of things which are different about the Nimbus and Kairos. Both rods are full graphite rods containing no Boron. This helps reduce both cost and weight. Both rods are made at home in Twin Bridges, Montana, by the same hands as the Air, B3X, B3 Plus and LS. They have aluminum hardware, rather than nickel silver, again saving cost and weight but neither rod compromises on quality or craftsmanship in any way.

The Kairos is quite different for a Winston. It is a very fast action rod. Very light with a blistering recovery rate and power to spare. I have the 6-weight and have been using it for streamer fishing. I generally use a 7-weight for streamers but this 6 has plenty of backbone for the job. The lighter rod makes for less fatigue at the end of the day.

The Kairos is a slick natural gray with a durable, gloss clear coat for protection. It has black aluminum hardware and beautiful cork. It is powerful, but eminently castable. After all, Winston is all about feel. The Kairos is available in freshwater and saltwater weights from 3-10 and 6- and 7-weight spey. Single hand models come in at $475 and Spey at $575.

The Nimbus is a more nuanced fly rod. A fast action with a more traditional Winston feel. It is a precise casting tool, deadly accurate and easy to load but with plenty of power for the long cast. The rod reminds me of

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Sunday Classic / Caring for Bamboo Fly Rods

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I’ve had several folks request some content on making simple repairs to bamboo fly rods. I fully intend to to that for you, but it means that I have to find the time to get in the shop. That seems unreasonably difficult these days. Before I get into doing repairs, I thought it would be prudent to write about caring for that bamboo rod and maybe avoid some repairs all together.
Bamboo is not as finicky as most people think. In fact it’s remarkably tough but there are some basic rules for handling and storing rods that will add to their longevity significantly. Unfortunately, too many guys end up with a nice bamboo rod before they know how to care for it and learn the hard way.

Most guys start out with graphite rods and assume that you treat a bamboo rod the same way. It’s a fly rod, right? Yes, but the materials are very different and some very common practices that are fine with a graphite rod will do serious harm to the boo.

General Care
I’ll start with the simplest and most common thing boo nubes do to their rods.

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Saturday Shoutout / Rushing Waters

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Watch the video!

Take a few minutes to fish the Cascades with Todd Moen and Brian OKeefe.

The boys from Catch Magazine are hard at work in the Pacific Northwest. Todd Moen’s films are always like a mini vacation. Rushing waters is no exception. There’s beautiful footage, secluded locations and colorful cutthroat trout. If this doesn’t make you want to fish the Cascades, you should see a doctor.


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Fixing Line Twist: Video

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A day floating the river can turn into frustration when your running line starts to tangle.

There are lots of reasons fly lines get twisted. The most common is being rolled under foot in the bottom of the boat. However it happens, it’s a mess of tangles and knots that make fishing frustrating. There’s nothing worse than landing your fly just short of the strike zone because your running line is tangled.

Fortunately there is a simple trick to fix line twist. I learned this trick from my buddy Zack Dalton of ROI Products and it changed my life. I promise you will love it.

P.S. Watch closely and you’ll see a fish eat my fly behind my back.


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DeGala’s Hula Damsel

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By Herman deGala

It’s the time of year when the rivers and creeks around Colorado are blown out because of run-off but the weather is just gorgeous. What is a body to do? Of course, you could head to some tailwater. Until you get there and find everyone thought the same thing.

Or you could head to your nearby lake or pond. It’s all filled up. You can see dragonflies and damsels dancing in midair. You might even see a bass come up and just crush a dragonfly as it drops its eggs.

This Hula Damsel is my favorite pattern for this time of year. It is articulated to give it an extra bit of movement as you strip it through the water. It dives when you pause, which is a definite trigger.

I typically fish this along the shore along the reeds and weed line with an intermediate line. It sinks very slowly and stays in the feed zone as you strip, strip, pause.


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11 Tips for Correctly Presenting Your Fly To Tarpon

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Anyone that’s fly fished for tarpon probably knows how easy it is to present the fly incorrectly.

If you miss your target, even by just a little bit, it can drastically lower your chances for getting a tarpon to eat. Cast the fly too close, and the tarpon will spook. Don’t lead the fish enough, and your fly won’t get down to the tarpon’s depth. Cross the fish at the wrong angle, and your fly will be moving towards the fish and it will spook. The list goes on and on.

Bottom-line, there’s a very small margin of error bestowed to anglers fly fishing for tarpon. You have to execute everything damn near perfect to put the odds in your favor, and even then, you aren’t guaranteed squat. Here’s the problem. The average angler that travels to fly fish for tarpon is not educated on how to read and respond accordingly to different fishing scenarios on the flats. A lot of this has to do with lack of experience and time on the water. If you find yourself falling into this category, prior to fishing, you should take the time to have your guide explain how you should handle common fishing situations that you’re likely to encounter. As a kid the same preparation was used by my Dad to walk me through how to make a clean kill shot on a deer. I can hear him now, “If the deer is faced in this direction, I want you to put the crosshairs here”. He must have gone over a dozen different scenarios during the drive up. By the time he was done talking, I felt like I had been hunting for years. It’s no different fly fishing for tarpon. Taking the time to have your guide walk you through different fishing scenarios will greatly increase your tarpon insight, fishing awareness and get you prepared for the real McCoy.

The second thing anglers should do to increase their success tarpon fishing is have a solid game plan or checklist that they’re willing to stick to on the bow. It must run like clockwork, flawlessly and consistently every time. The game plan should begin at the angler ready position, with fly in hand, and end with a well-calculated presentation cast. Success all boils down to angler aptitude and experience. The more you have of it, the better the chances you’re going to make the right calculations and decisions on the water.

I gave my good friend and Florida Keys flats guide, Captain Joel Dickey a call to look over my checklist and give me some pointers. Below is a checklist we came up with that every saltwater angler on the bow should follow closely to increase his/her chances at placing their fly in the right target zone, and maximize their hookup ratio.

Tip 1: Make sure your fly is not fouled on the hook and you have your fly line laid out organized in the ready position.

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