deGala’s Grass Shrimp

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By Herman deGala

Let’s size up a shrimp pattern for saltwater.

A compadre of mine asked if I could fashion a grass shrimp that was 3 to 4 times larger than my mysis shrimp so that he could chase redfish in his native Texas on the Gulf. It had to be tied on a saltwater hook and it had to be really durable.

I used the basic concept from my mysis shrimp, combined it with some of the principles from my carp flies and came up with this.

The 3/32” tubing can be found on the web and the rest of the materials can be found at your local fly shop or online.


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My Spey Debacle/Two Handed Conundrum

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By Brian Kozminski

I am a newbie. As in I have only cast a two handed rod a few times for Steelhead on the lower Manistee River. 

Completely foreign and looking to establish at least some credibility in the Spey Casting World of Fly Rods. I have decided this was a perfect opportunity to ask friends who are two handed experts and share this experience with others who may be in the same boat as myself. Some of the terminology is intimidating- OPST, LASAR, MOW, Skagit, a huge variety of lengthy and weighted rods which are to be paired with even more variety of leaders and weighed line from yet even more line manufacturers. Spey Rods and Switch Rodshave evolved and even come together in a streamlined category- either a Long Two handed rod(Spey)- over 12 feet, or short- less than 12 feet- two handed rod(Switch).

To understand the rod and it’s capabilities, we can look at the origin in Scotland on the River Spey, where Atlantic Salmon were often targeted species, yet tall banks along the river thwarted traditional backcasts. The 13-14′ long rod has been in use in Scottish rivers for nearly a century, providing a common goal- to get a fly out in a wide river without backcast. The Spey approach keeps the line on the water and the fly in the targeted zone longer than a traditional line that would rise and pull a salmon fly out of the desired depth. 

The use of two-Handed rods has spread, from the Pacific Northwest for Steelhead where it has obvious benefits, to break-lines in the east coast for Stripers and for myself in northern Michigan where freshwater Steelhead migrate in many of our rivers that connect to the Great Lakes. The dilemma is similar, my rivers may be smaller, but deep cut clay/shale banks or densely wooded cedar/pine forests don’t allow for great casting and the speed of rivers only allows my fly a momentary glimpse in the prime target zone of these silver bullets. So I asked my friend, Spey casting Guru Jimmy Chang what direction should I be looking for specific rivers northern Michigan has to offer.

“First you have to evaluate what river your fish- wide or narrow? Then what species- Trout or Steelhead?” 

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Sunday Classic / Dickey’s Tarpon Muddler

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Where going to spend a little time helping you do just that. A couple of my good friends are going to share some of their favorite saltwater patterns with you. Joel Dickey is going to kick it off with this great pattern of his. Dickey’s Tarpon Muddler.

This is a fly that Joel uses with great results for laid up tarpon and for rolling tarpon in the early morning. It’s a simple tie that uses some sexy materials and some traditional techniques. It has a great profile and an enticing action.

Watch the video and learn to tie Dickey’s Tarpon Muddler. It might just put you on the fish of a lifetime.

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Saturday Shoutout / Notes From The Road

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If you’ve ever fantasized about hitting the road in a Volkswagen van and fly-fishing your way across the country, this is the film for you.

Chase and Aimee Bartee chronicle their trip from Massachusetts to Idaho and back. Fly fishing, camping, #vanlife and #vandeath along the way. Notes from the Road is lovely, soulful and restful. 


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Saltwater Ready Position: Video

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I believe the Ready Position is the most important thing in saltwater fly-fishing.

Saltwater fly fishing is all about the fundamentals. Successful anglers are the ones who get the simple stuff right, every time. The best way to maximize your opportunities, and catch more fish, is to have a solid Ready Position. I’ve tried lots of different styles and have come up with what I consider perfect. Spoiler alert: It’s not the way Lefty did it.

In this video I’ll show you the details that will help you get your shots off clean every time. No more tangled leaders or flies stuck in your shirt. Just efficient, effective fly fishing. Give it a try and I think you’ll like the results.

Watch the video and improve your saltwater Ready Position.

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3 Reasons It’s Time to Change Flies

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By Louis Cahill

When I looked at this fly, I saw three things wrong—any one of them deserving a fly change.

I was fishing with a friend at the January Bonefish School and he made a couple of good presentations that were refused by fish. I asked if I could have a look at his fly and immediately knew why the fish were not impressed. Understand, he was there to learn and asked for my help, I don’t just critique people’s flies for fun.

Take a close look at the photo above and see if you spot the three things keeping this fly out of a bonefish’s mouth.

First and foremost, the hook is starting to straighten. Proof that the fly had been working at some point. Although this might not keep a fish from eating the fly, it will keep you from landing it if it does. Bending the hook back causes metal fatigue and it will never be as strong. Your next fish might be the biggest of your life. Better to change it.
2. The wing and eyes have

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A Short Quick Cast

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By Bruce Chard


That can be true on a calm day when all fly anglers struggle to add another 5-10ft on their cast. But in reality the anglers that can get the fly where it needs to be within 50ft take advantage of a large number of their opportunities. Not only is accuracy a huge part of success in the salt, the most valuable asset is speed. If you can get the fly there fast with minimal movement, your odds of a hook up go through the roof.

Seeing and spotting fish for most fly anglers is challenging. Taking longer to find or see a fish frequently leaves anglers with a close shot. The problem that we run into here is lack of time. By the time the angler finally can get a visual on the fish, the amount of time left to act is simply not enough.

This is when a short quick cast is a must. You might be wondering, how hard can it be to make a short cast? You might be surprised how hard it is to lay out a 12-13ft leader with a heavy fly into a stiff 25 knot wind at 25ft.

The main reason for short shots not laying out straight is the lack of line or weight outside the end of the rod tip. Since you have to make a close shot, you can’t get enough line outside the tip to load the rod and make the cast.


Loading only the Tip
Start by loading just the section of the rod that you need, to make your cast. One of the key essentials

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Shrimp Part 2: Cannula Shrimp

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By Herman deGala This fly came about because I was changing out my cannula for my oxygen when I noticed that it looked like a shrimp. At the time I was also working out a grass shrimp pattern that a friend had asked me to take a look at for those double digit o’io(bonefish) from my home in Hawai’i. I adapted my technique for crimping the abdomen with a heated pair of hemostats from my mysis shrimp and just increase its scale. You can purchase cannulas off of the web get them from a friend who is on oxygen. As for me I’ll have a lifetime supply. Watch the video and learn to tie deGala’s Cannula Shrimp. Mahalo, Herman deGala Signature Fly Designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. / Gink & Gasoline   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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3 Dynamite 4 Weight Rods for Small Stream Fly-Fishing

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By Louis Cahill

Spring is right around the corner and that means trout fishing on small streams, but what’s the best fly rod for the job?

It’s been a really wet winter here in the Southeast and it shows no sign of drying up any time soon. That’s ok, I’ll always take the rain and, while the bigger rivers are all blown out, the small headwater streams are fishing their best. This time of year a little hiking can put you on some great fishing but small streams require a different approach and maybe a different fly rod.

Sure, you can get the job done with your 9 foot 5 weight most of the time, but if you are going to do a lot of small stream fishing it makes sense to have a rod thats built for the job. Depending on the stream, I’ll fish rods as light as a 2 weight on tiny creeks and will often break out a bamboo rod for the occasion, but if I had to pick one rod for all of my small stream fishing, it would be a short 4 weight.

The 4 weight is light enough to make a really soft presentation with a dry fly, but should still have the backbone to fish heavier nymph setups when needed. A shorter rod, in the 7 1/2-8 1/2 foot range, is easier to get through the brush. It’s also easy to make a tight loop with a shorter rod, as the tip tends to stay on a straighter path. This is helpful for putting the fly in tight spots under vegetation and also for keeping your backcast out of the trees.

There are a lot of short 4 weight fly rods on the market, and this is not going to be a shootout style review. There may be rods you love that I don’t talk about. I encourage you to list them in the comments. What I am going to do is tell you about 3 of my favorites. If you bump into me on a small stream this season, I will likely have one of these rods in my hand.

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Sunday Classic / What Does The Trout See?

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Ever watch a trout refuse your dry fly and wonder what he saw that he didn’t like? A trout’s eye serves the same purpose as ours but it functions in a very different way. The subject of how trout see the world is a complicated one but the basics are well worth your time. Understanding how the fish eye works can help you imagine the watery world they see, and it may give you some insight that will help you catch them. The following are some simple principals to keep in mind.


Water is a poor conductor of light at its best. It affects the way fish see color as well as their visual acuity. Water absorbs light at different rates depending on its wavelength or color. Long wavelength light, colors like red and orange, are absorbed quickly while short wavelengths like blue and violet are absorbed more slowly. This means that as light passes through more and more water, warm colors fade to black while cooler colors fade more slowly. Overall, as a fish moves into deeper water his environment becomes darker, at which point the biology of the fish’s eye affects his perception of color as well.

It is not necessary however for a fish to be in deep water for its vision to be affected by the absorption of light. The rules hold true for a fish in shallow water, viewing an object at a distance. A red streamer, for example, that is running at a depth of one foot, where there is plenty of red light, will appear black to a fish viewing it from fifteen feet away. As the fish closes on the fly, however, the red will become vivid. The same would not be true at a depth of fifteen feet. At that depth the fly would remain black to the fish, even at close range.

Ultraviolet light, which we do not see but trout do, is scattered in water. Colors like white and reflective materials like flash are visible to fish at long distances but may appear blurred by this effect. These flies will get a fish’s attention from a distance and become sharper as the fish draws near.

Color perception and visual acuity are both affected by the chemical composition of the water as well as what foreign matter is present. Tea stained water, which is present in many mountain streams, absorbs UV light quickly, changing the rules dramatically. In these conditions warmer colors become more important and while fish may see less color overall their visual acuity will improve. When water is dirty, light is scattered by foreign particles and the fish’s environment becomes darker with little visual acuity.


The biology of a trout’s eye is similar to ours in some ways and very different in others. Their eye has an iris, a lens and a retina with both cone cells and rod cells, much like our eyes, but

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