Saturday Shoutout / On Appeal

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Mike Sepelak is a free man.

Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in February, Mr Sepelak’s long running legal nightmare has come to an end and he is once again free to wade the rivers and streams of North Carolina. The lawsuit, filed by the RFA has been thrown out and the details will now surely come to light in coming weeks.

Congratulations Mike! We are happy to know you are out there, fighting the good fight for the rest of us. Stay strong brother. We have your back.

Click here to see the images for Mike’s incarceration in the state of Louisiana.

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La Maraquita, a Streamer for Golden Dorado

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Watch the Video!

The Maraquita streamer looks like one thing, casts like another.

The name is hilarious, if you speak Spanish. If you don’t, ask someone who does. I’ll give this much of a hint. It’s what they used to call Andy when his favorite fishing shirt was pink. La Maraquita looks like one thing but acts like another.

What makes this fly so effective is it’s bulky profile and it’s ability to shed water when cast. Built almost completely from schlappen, this fly weighs almost nothing. It makes accurate casting a breeze while pushing enough water to get the attention of a hungry dorado.

Pay close attention as Andy ties the fly. The secret is that all of the materials are tied in at the same spot, creating a huge thread dam for the palmered schlappen head to be built on. Look at the photo and you will see how large the head is next to a traditional hair head. It’s a brilliant design and it works.

WATCH THE VIDEO AND LEARN TO TIE LA MARAQUITA

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3 Reasons I like To Fish The Bahamas In January

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By Louis Cahill

I’ve been fishing South Andros, in the Bahamas, for bonefish every January for about a decade.

I’ve fished there, and other spots in the Bahamas, during every season and the fishing has always been good for me, but I think January is my favorite time to visit. The fishing is much of the reason, but there are a couple of other things that make January special.

BIG BONEFISH
January is a great month for big fish. Especially when there has been a lot of rain. Many anglers shy away from the winter months because the weather can be unpredictable, but there is a big upside to that weather. Cooler temperatures, meaning days in the 70s, encourage smaller fish to school up in deeper spots, leaving a higher percentage of big fish on the flats. Rain oxygenates the water, bringing out the larger crabs and other tasty creatures. That, in turn brings in the big ocean bones.

Your chances of landing a double-digit bonefish are better then than at any other time. This year was a great example. I can’t remember a time I saw more really big bonefish on the flats. Several of the folks attending the January bonefish school landed double-digit fish. For a couple of them, it was their first bonefish trip. That’s pretty exciting.

IT’S A GREAT REBOOT

When January rolls around, I need a break. I’m worn out from the hustle of the holidays and, even here in the Southeast, I’m ready for a break from the cold weather. The photos on the right show Josie, my potcake dog, playing in the snow and the view at Bari’s Lodge just a few days later. A week of bonefishing on beautiful white sand flats and sipping cocktails on the beach is just what I need to recharge for the coming year. I have always

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Choosing the Right Tippet Size

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I’ve talked quite a bit about how important it is to correctly select the proper tippet size when your fly fishing for trout.

Most fly fisherman have no problem grasping this, after all, small fly patterns generally call for using smaller tippet and big fly patterns call for larger tippet, right? Well, that’s a general guideline most anglers fish by on the water, but it’s not the only factor fly fishermen should use when choosing what size tippet to fish with. Equally important in tippet choice by anglers is how clear or stained the water is that’s going to be fished, and also what level of fishing pressure the water sees (how educated the trout are).

Choosing the Right Tippet Size Guide
(This is your typical text book guide you would find for a beginner wanting to learn to match the appropriate tippet size with fly pattern size. For the most part it’s spot on, but I think it’s important to point out and understand you don’t always have to follow it exactly)

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Trust Your Guide

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Trust your guide they say. Always trust your guide.

There is no more trustworthy bunch than the guides at Bair’s Lodge on Andros Island in the Bahamas. Why you wouldn’t trust them is beyond me. What is not to trust? In a real sense, in the South Andros backcountry, our lives will be in their hands- there is no freshwater, no cell phone signal, and I’ve taken to calling the miles of braided channels and flats with no distinguishing land features The Hall of Mirrors. If your guide cashes in his chips back here and peels off the poling platform, you are going to be royally screwed. If it weren’t for the sat phone in the emergency case, that is.

But it is one thing to carry your gear down to the skiff in the morning, shake your guide’s hand, look him in the eye and decide he’s trustworthy, and quite another to put that trust into practice on a flat with bonefish coming in hot. Perhaps we need to start our morning with those team-building trust drills that corporate consultants loved so much in the recent past. Put your fly rod down before you fall backward.

On one sunny Bahamas morning I found out what trusting your guide really means

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Fly Fishing Is A Journey

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I’ll never forget my first trout on the fly.

It was tiny. A rainbow. Probably wild, but I wouldn’t have known the difference or even cared at the time. It was memorable primarily because it was a long time coming. I’ll always remember my first steelhead, my first tarpon and many others, but none of them were as hard won as that little rainbow.

Although I started fly fishing when I was very young, I spent years fishing warm water for panfish and bass. There was no trout water accessible to me. It was all a good drive away and there was no one interested in driving me. My grandfather took me trout fishing once when I was eight years old. He dumped me on a small overgrown stream and went about his business. I’m not sure my fly even hit the water that day but the trees got plenty of attention. If I did wet a fly, I had no idea what to do with it. The idea of fishing moving water was as foreign as sculpting a fish from stone. I decided that trout fishing was too hard for me and I didn’t go back to it for many years.

Once the code was cracked and that little rainbow landed, trout became a singular obsession. I found myself on a trout stream well over a hundred days a year and many firsts followed. My first brown trout, my first brooke, my first trout over twenty inches, then over thirty. I tied my first fly, built my first bamboo rod, rowed my first drift boat, cast my first spey rod. Each new step requiring me to learn new skills and take new risks. With each new challenge, renewed excitement and focus.

On a family beach trip many years ago, I carried an old seven-weight fiberglass fly rod. I had no idea what to do with it but I’d heard people talk about fly fishing in saltwater so I took it, and a few Clouser Minnows. I wasted a day casting blindly and wondering how the hell I was supposed to find a fish until I saw bait busting the surface. I cast my fly into the disturbance

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Sunday Classic / The Homemade Yeti Cooler

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Don’t get me wrong, your Yeti is a great cooler and, yes, you can use it for a poling platform, sort of, and it does make you look very cool but if you’re like me and you travel a lot to fish it’s just not practical.
What I need is a cheap cooler that I can use for a week or two, then toss in the garbage on the way to the airport. I suffer a little guilt for landfilling a bunch of styrofoam, but the damage to my wallet is minimal.

I’ve used styrofoam coolers from grocery stores for years. On photo shoots I will sometimes have a half dozen of them. The problem is, they don’t hold up. You can buy cheap plastic ones but they are still twenty bucks or so and they’re not as good as the styrofoam at keeping ice. If you pitch six of them, you’re tossing $120. My frugal soul can’t stand that.

Five or six years ago I figured out this cool trick for making your styrofoam cooler bomber. A couple of layers of strategically placed duct tape on the sides, top and bottom make them surprisingly tough. Adding duct tape hinges and a lid helps to keep your ice longer by keeping the lid shut tight.

I’ve been doing this for years and I have

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Saturday Shoutout / Grillos Goodies

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Andrew Grillos is a wealth of fly-fishing knowledge and one of the best tyers on the planet.

Andrew Grillos has been a great friend of mine for over a decade. Aside from being one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, he’s also one of the fishiest. Whether you find him on a Colorado tailwater, a Washington steelhead river, A small Montana stream or a bonefish flat in Hawaii, you can bet Grillos is running up the score. His iconic fly patterns, like the Hippie Stomper and Bob Gnarly, are staples in most fly boxes.

When I found out that Andrew has been writing for Montana Angler, I knew I had to share some of his work. I was a little shocked to find that some of his articles had been heavily edited when shared by other outlets as well as posted without a by line.

HERE ARE TWO GREAT GRILLOS ARTICLES ON FISHING IN MONTANA.

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Boneyard

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Watch the Video!

See the island of South Andros through fresh eyes.

In January Ray and Jenna Wolfram, of Wildrums media, joined me for the bonefish school at Bair’s Lodge on South Andros. Although this was their first bonefish trip, they took to it and wasted no time in putting together this great short film. “Boneyard” showcases the people, scenery and stellar bonefishing the island has to offer.

Even if you are not a saltwater angler you’re sure to love the beautiful images and joyful spirt of this film. Take a few minutes and join us on South Andros.

“BONEYARD”

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Slim Shady Baetis

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By Bob Reece

A baetis pattern with a secret.

“Hopper” Juan Ramirez is full time guide on Colorado’s South Platte and Arkansas Rivers. His years of experience on these water have allowed him to build an on-the-water knowledge base that is second to none. One of his recent creations, the Slim Shady Baetis 5.0, is testament to his understanding.

When I asked Juan about his Slim Shady 5.0, he shared the following thoughts with me. “The Slim Shady 5.0 was a pattern that I worked on for several years before I finally found the right material to set it apart from other great patterns that already existed. It took several versions, but I finally settled on a pattern that utilized a “secret” material. “Slim Rib” is a micro stretch material that I use to make a wonderful segmentation on this pattern. No one else is using it and that’s what sets this pattern apart from all the other Mayfly Nymph patterns. The pattern sits on a 200R hook. The 200R is a hook that is 3x long, giving it a wonderful mayfly shape. As the name states, it’s a slim pattern, matching the small mayflies in the Southern Rockies as well as elsewhere. It’s been thoroughly tested on the South Platte, Animas, Piedra, Dolores and Arkansas Rivers and has accounted for some really fine fish for my clients and me. “

While proper presentation is integral on highly pressure water, accuracy of

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