Who Says Short Rods Are For Small Streams

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So far, this fishing season he claims the extra foot of graphite has been working wonders for his clients on the water. Dave says, “I find that the ten foot fly rods make it much easier for my clients to mend their fly line, especially when they need to mend a lot of line. That translates into them consistently getting longer drag-free drifts. The longer rods shine when we need to high-stick across multiple currents, and they also allow my novice clients to squeak out a little more distance in their casts.”

After hearing those positive comments from Dave, I decided to give them a shot with my own clients, but I’d take it a step further. Instead of just incorporating them on float trips on the big rivers, I’d experiment using them on small to mid-size streams. The first trip out was a real eye opener and success with the ten foot fly rod on one of my 30′-40′ wide trout streams. To my amazement, the longer rod outperformed my standard 8 1/2-9 foot fly rods in almost all fishing scenarios in my clients hands. The only area the ten foot rod underperformed, were spots where the stream narrowed drastically or when it was really tight and cramped. The surprising thing about that, is it actually happened a lot less than I thought it would, and when it did, I’d just handed over the shorter rod I was carrying to my client. The key was positioning my angler in the correct spot, reminding him he had a longer rod in his hand, and then choosing the appropriate fly cast to present our flies.

I continued the experiment for several more guide trips, and it quickly became apparent, that all the fly fishing literature I’d previously read about matching the length of your rod to the size stream you were fishing, was actually just one way of looking at it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years with fly fishing, it’s that there’s almost always multiple options (types of casts, types of rigs, types of gear, ect.) that are feasible for anglers to use when fishing any given situation. Most of the time we end up going with the status quo, which is the obvious and most popular method for the fly fishing situation at hand. Sometimes, however, if we’re not afraid to think outside of the box, and open to use an unorthodox approach, it has the potential to end up performing even better for us on the water.


Ten foot fast action rods usually have a

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It’s All In The Hips

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By Justin Pickett

Ever find yourself making the same poor presentation over, and over again? Or maybe it’s not that the cast is poor, but you are trying to work different areas of a run and your fly keeps landing near the same spot each time. Don’t drive yourself crazy, or give up on fishing the run. Getting frustrated is only going to lead to more mistakes. Sometimes the biggest gains are made with small adjustments, and in this case, there is a simple, effective way to fix this issue.

If you get into a situation where you keep making the same cast without intending to, all you need to do is turn your hips towards your intended target. This will naturally

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Epic Argentina Double Header: Feb 3-13, 2018

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This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime fly fishing adventure.

I have fished some amazing places but none offer the diversity, solitude and hospitality of Argentina. Floating the storied rivers of Patagonia, you get the sense of what it would have been like to be the first angler to trout fish the American west. Big brown trout and rainbows crush #2 dry flies as condors soar overhead and llamas lounge on the bank. You look around but there isn’t another angler on the river. Your boat pulls into camp and you are greeted by a goat, roasting on a spit over an open fire. A lavish island tent camp with Christmas lights strung in the trees, a full bar and cases of Argentine wine. You spend the evening gazing at the Southern Cross hanging over the river, then drift off as your guides tell fantastic stories around the camp fire. You can’t make up this kind of stuff.

The Limay is known for its big browns. It’s very common to catch fish over 20 inches on dry flies. Anglers probe the depths with minnow patterns, finding brown trout in the twenty-pound range. The river flows clean and clear across beautiful dessert hills. Riffles pour into deep pools and trees shade undercut banks. If there are small trout in the river, I haven’t seen them.

But that’s only the start of this trip.

After 4 days floating the famous Limay “River of Monsters,” we travel to the north, to the upper Parana on the border with Paraguay. For the next four days we’ll chase viscous Golden Dorado, Pacu and Pirapita as howler monkeys taunt us from the jungle. At the Parana On The Fly Lodge we will

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Sunday Classic / Winter Fly Fishing – Midges 101

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There’s no doubt there are times when big flies are the ticket for catching big fish. However, when you find yourself fly fishing on technical trout water and the bite is extremely tough, in many cases, it can provide you with big rewards if you put up those big gaudy fly patterns and break out your midge box. This especially holds true during the cold months, when you’re fly fishing to educated trout on technical spring creeks or high-pressured tailwaters. As fall passes, and we find ourselves smack in the middle of winter, most of our larger bug hatches will have long faded. This time of year, most trout will transition into consistently feeding on the most abundant food source that requires the least amount of energy to consume. On many of our trout waters during the winter, the most predominant aquatic bugs available for trout to eat, day in and day out, are midges. Now, it’s true that the colder the water, the lower a trout’s metabolism will be. It also is true, that the lower a trout’s metabolism is the less calories it is required to consume daily to survive. That’s because a lower metabolism burns off less calories. But what’s not true, and a very common misconception among trout anglers, is that all trout feed in less frequency when their metabolism is lower in the winter. What many anglers don’t realize is there’s a direct correlation between the feeding frequency of a trout and the food value of what it’s foraging on. For example, one could argue that big mature trout that primarily feed predatorily on large food sources (crayfish, sculpins, baitfish, mice, and juvinille trout), do feed in less frequency during the winter. However, that’s probably because the food sources they are targeting and foraging on … Continue reading

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Saturday Shoutout / For Mom

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Watch the video!

Tomorrow is mother’s Day.

Did you grow u fishing with Your Mother? Maybe it’s time to do it again.



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Waiting for the Cicada Hatch

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Watch the Video!

Most of the savvy local fly anglers I know are on high alert.

Fly shop phones are ringing. Fishing buddies are organized into call lists. Everyone has their ears up, listening for that buzz. Except for me, of course. I’m deaf as a post and I hear that sound all the time. It’s 2017, and it doesn’t take a math scientist to figure out what that means. Our last 17 year cicada hatch was in 2000, so it’s time to spin up some foam monsters.

Any angler who has fished a good 17 year cicada hatch is not likely to forget it. It’s the kind of experience that leaves you wondering about everything you thought you knew about fish. If you haven’t fished it, you’ve likely heard the stories. The best one I’ve heard involved huge striped bass sipping dry flies. That sort of thing will change a person.

If you’ve chased this hatch before, you probably also know about disappointment. Maybe you drove 400 miles for a hatch that never happened, or maybe you’ve seen the cicadas on the water and fish ignored them. I’ve done both, and with the chance coming only every 17 years, that’s pretty heartbreaking.

A couple of years ago, after spinning up a mound of cicada patterns for a hatch that was supposed to happen several states away, and didn’t, I got sick of waiting. I decided to fish those flies anyway, right here at home, in the absence of any hatch. Guess what?

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A Simple Tip For Better Streamer Fishing

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Here’s something simple you can do when fishing streamers, which will catch more fish and save you some pain.

I’ve been meaning to write this tip for years and haven’t because it’s just so simple. But I was reminded of it the other day and figured it was time. No matter what species you are targeting with a streamer, you’ll hook more fish and have a much more pleasant experience if you put your rod tip in the water. It’s a simple trick that accomplishes a couple of really good results.

First off, you’ll get better hook sets. Putting your rod tip in the water reduces slack in the line and uses the tension of the water to help you get a positive hook set. It’s a natural position from which to point the rod at the fly, insuring a solid connection when a fish eats. You’ll always get better hook penetration with the rod tip in the water.

The second benefit is for comfort, but it also leads to hooking more fish. Anyone who has fished a streamer knows about line burns. It’s crucial that you maintain control of your fly line by holding it under one or two fingers of your rod hand when stripping. A dry fly line, or worse a sandy one, can be fairly painful, especially on a hook set. Keeping you line wet by keeping the rod tip in the water lubricates it and keeps it clean. No painful burns or cuts. As a bonus, you will hold your line more firmly when it doesn’t hurt you. That will give you a better connection when the fish eats and you’ll hook more fish.

Thirdly, with the right kind of fly line, it actually

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4 Reasons Why Waterfall Plunge Pools Can Hold Big Fish

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There are few things I love more than wade fishing a small stream and stumbling upon a steep vertical waterfall with a deep plunge pool.

Waterfalls this size are pretty rare on small streams, but if you’re lucky enough to locate one, you could very well find yourself hooked up to one of the biggest trout in the stream. Here’s four reasons why I feel waterfalls plunge pools are great places to look for big trophy trout on small streams.

1. Lots of food gets washed over a waterfall, especially during high flows.
Large amounts of food (tiny fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans and amphibians) are constantly being swept over the falls. In many cases, it provides a steady enough stream of food, that big fish aren’t required to leave the plunge pool to fulfill their daily food requirements.

2. There are usually lots of hiding places to make big fish feel safe and allow them to survive for long periods.
During high flows, quite often fallen trees can float over the falls and get snagged; creating perfect log jams for big trout to hide in. The whitewater at the foot of the waterfall provides

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Taking The Bow, A Bonefish Beginning

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By Bob Boughman

So you want to try your hand at catching a bonefish or two? Never have done it? Stories of 80’ backhanded casts into 25 mph winds needing to hit a dime-sized target got you a bit concerned? Yeah me too, but not any more. Well I went, caught many more than two fish, and I doubt that I’ll ever have that cast in my quiver — didn’t need it. The goal was to immerse myself in all things tropical — being defined as warm weather and bonefish — escaping a northern Michigan winter, albeit only for a week.

The other goal was to learn as much as I could without coming across as a complete ass on the flats of South Andros in the Bahamas. As many, I grew up flyfishing in fresh water. The Rockies and Midwest hold fantastic fishing opportunities of their own, but obviously no saltwater opportunities (even though I still run in to the odd person who believes the Great Lakes are saltwater). I had fished a bit in Florida, but true flats fishing had eluded me and it was now time to figure out if this was a rabbit hole worth jumping into.

I’m a fan of Gink & Gasoline and during one evening session of catching up on their blog, I saw an ad for a bonefish school on South Andros Island. I clicked where it said to do so, read a bit and with some amount of trepidation, booked the trip. I knew nobody else and learned that there would be 10-12 anglers there, many who are returning and use this as annual event. As it turned out, I was the least experienced of the group. I was hoping that there would have been more like me, but everyone was returning or doing this because they enjoyed it…this would be fine.

The next least experienced angler was returning for his second week-long “school”. He made the trip from London with a duffel bag and a rod tube — a great guy with a knack for telling great stories. Truly enjoyed the time spent with him. One of the days I shared a boat with him, he caught a bonus barracuda that became dinner for our guide. There was also a pair of brothers who brought their sons which made for a fun father-son-brother-uncle-nephew-cousin mix. They had been coming to the “school” for many years and besides being accomplished anglers, were a great group of people. A theme is starting to develop regarding people who attended the “school” and fun.

The group was rounded out by two retired fishing buddies new to South Andros but experienced in salt, a young redfish guide looking to expand his experience with bonefish, and of course Louis. The stage was set for the ten anglers at bonefish camp…or “school”. Louis set it up so the four “single” anglers rotated boats daily which resulted in being paired with each person for two days of the six on the water. Every day was a bit of a different experience as the weather changed from sunshine to rain and back, and that the flats habitat on South Andros is expansive — to say the least. A person could fish the area for a lifetime and see new areas daily. It is easy to see why many consider South Andros as the go-to destination for bonefish.

Every day we saw and caught bonefish; everyday I gradually felt a bit more comfortable on the deck of the boat. I still had a hard time seeing fish unless they were against a light background. I attributed this to lack of experience…and just crappy eyesight. Thank goodness for

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Downstream: The Forgotten Mend

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By Devin Olsen

I’ve been fortunate to fish with a lot of anglers fishing a lot of styles over 20+ years of fly angling. One of the things that has separated the great ones from the good-to-mediocre ones is their understanding and execution of mending. While some techniques like European nymphing are effective in part because they don’t require mending (see tacticalflyfisher.com for more information), most fly fishing methods require correct and efficient mending to be consistently successful at catching fish. “So what is a mend and why do you need to do it?” you ask? Here is my quick two-part answer:

Simply put, mending is the repositioning of fly line on the water. It can be done during the drift or with aerial mends during the casting stroke (i.e. reach casting).
It is usually done to achieve a dead/imitative drift when fishing nymphs or dry flies or to manipulate the speed and direction of the swing when fishing streamers or wet flies.
If that wasn’t enough to make things clear, let me expound a bit. If you look down on a river, the current has all sorts of different speeds from one bank to the other. These differences are created by obstructions and the shape of the channel which block, direct, and change the velocity of currents. Because of friction, these currents grab and hold fly lines and compete with each other for their plastic coated prize. In simplest terms, when a fly line is cast across two or more speeds of current, faster currents will move the fly line downstream at a quicker pace than slower currents. “Duh, but what does that have to do with my fly,” you say? The answer depends upon the method you are fishing.

In the simplest general terms again, fly fishing techniques either try to present a fly with the speed of the current that it is in (AKA a dead drift) or in a manner suggesting the fly is swimming at a speed and/or direction contrary to the current (AKA a swung fly). In the dead drift scenario with a fly line across multiple current speeds, the body of the fly line will either be sped up or slowed down by the current relative to the tip of the fly line and your fly. Eventually this pulls the fly faster or slower than the current it resides in. This condition is known as drag and can look like your fly or strike indicator is waterskiing across the water. Drag typically results in few fish being caught if you are aiming for a dead drift. In the swung fly scenario (basically intentional drag), the differing current speeds will affect how fast your fly moves downstream and laterally across the stream. In either of these situations, most anglers are taught on their first day of fishing about the need for mending upstream. This is typically because they are fishing across faster currents to slower currents where fish are saving a bit of energy out of the main current. However, I’ve noticed a lot over the last few years that a lot of anglers (even seasoned ones) have forgotten the need for the downstream mend. I hope the following slides will illustrate the issue with both the dead drift and swung fly presentation. For both scenarios, our master angler stick figure “Bill” will demonstrate the reasoning behind the downstream mend.

In the first scenario, Bill is casting quartering upstream

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