Elevate Yourself to Increase the Distance You Can High-Stick

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Most of the time when your fly fishing for trout, the last thing you want to do is elevate yourself. In most scenarios, that will usually do more harm than good, by increasing the chances of trout spotting you and spooking. Notice I said “most scenarios”, every once in a while, an angler is forced to go against traditional principles to find success. The other day, I found myself trying to fish an eddy and slow water seam on the far bank. Making the cast wasn’t the problem, it was getting a long enough drag-free drift to get my fly to the fish. Even with my best high-sticking efforts, every cast the super fast water between me and my target water would grab my fly line and suck my flies out prematurely. After a couple minutes of struggling with my drifts and failing to get any bites, I decided to climb up on a boulder next to me. This elevated me three feet, and allowed me to keep 100% of my fly line off the water and get that long drag-free drift. I caught three trout after

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Sunday Classic / Light, Composition and Action

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A technically perfect image is worthless if it doesn’t capture the eye, and the imagination, of the viewer. Unfortunately, most new photographers get so wrapped up in the science of photography that they totally miss the art. There are as many aesthetic choices to be made when shooting a photo as when building a house but a hell of a lot less time to make them. It takes time and experience to master designing a photo on the fly but to help you get started there are three element so crucial to a great photo that they deserve your attention every time you lift the camera. They are: light, composition and action.


Light sets the mood. When you sit down for a romantic dinner do you turn on the overhead fluorescents? No, you light a candle. When the police interrogate a suspect do they do it by candle light? Probably not. Of all the choices you make, light has the biggest impact on the emotional tone of the finished photograph.

You may be thinking, “How is light a choice?” I have been a studio photographer for more years than I like to discuss. In the studio I control my lighting by moving the position of my lights and changing their intensity. Shooting on the river you don’t have that luxury but you do still have choices. You can’t move the sun, but you can

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So Much More Than Brook Trout

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By Jason Tucker


We have parked the boat on a gravel bar where ripping current meets still water. Fish are rising on the soft side of the seam that trails off the tip of the bar. We are so far north that dusk will last for hours. We are fishing in Labrador with Riverkeep Lodge on the Atikonak River.

Dave is after one large fish that keeps working the seam, rising repeatedly about sixty feet out. It’s too far to cast, but they’re taking skated caddis anyway, and so he has dumped a bunch of line, hoping to reach the fish, or get it to hit his Goddard caddis as he retrieves it back up the seam, a tactic that has worked numerous times.

Suddenly the fish rises forty feet away on the right side of the boat. Realizing that Dave doesn’t have time to pick up all that line and cast across the boat in time, I fire a quick cast to the rise form. The fish turns on a dime, and comes up on the surface as I throw a mend to twitch the fly. The fish rises with head, back, dorsal and tail fins all breaking the surface and it closes on my fly, mouth open, like a submarine on the surface. It takes an eternity for my fly to disappear and the mouth to close, but when I finally set the hook, the fish rolls and sounds, swims straight at us, and as I frantically strip line it jumps clear out of the water a few feet away at chest height. I find myself staring it in the eye, like some Warner Brothers cartoon character come to chastise me. Then it takes off on a blazing run that takes most of my fly line with it. It weighed over five pounds

And that was just one evening at Riverkeep Lodge. Don’t worry about Dave, he caught plenty of fish.

As long as I can remember I have been reading about Labrador and its legendary brook trout. As brook trout became an increasing obsession of mine, it became a lifelong dream to go. So when I got an invitation to go to Riverkeep Lodge with Dave Karczynski, it was impossible for me to say no.

We decided to make a road trip out of it, and when the time came I left my home in Northeast Georgia, drove to Ann Arbor, Michigan to pick up Dave, then we turned it east for the long trek across Ontario and Quebec. The drive itself was quite memorable, especially the long bush road from Baie Comeau to Labrador City, about 375 miles of gravel, pavement, and road construction with one gas station in the middle and not much else in the way of civilization. That story will have to wait for later.

The next day we took a float plane 120 miles into the Labrador bush to fish with Riverkeep Lodge on the Atikonak River. It is run by the Murray family, and their guides Keir and Eric were waiting for us, ready to show off what they have up there. Here’s what we found.

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Good news and bad for G&G readers

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We’ve been working for some time on a new version of Gink and Gasoline. There’s going to be a lot of cool new stuff and even better content. I wasn’t going to talk about this quite so soon, but plans, as plans do, have changed.

Regular readers will probably know that back in the first of the year, I had cataract surgery. I have held off writing my final update, because things have not gone well. As it turns out, I now have a detached retina in my right eye which requires immediate surgery. The good news is, the doctors are confident they will save the sight in my eye, but the bad news is this will be a challenging recovery. I’m not allowed to read or look at a computer screen. It goes without saying, that makes my job a bit complicated.


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Beginner Series: Fly Lines, Leaders, and Tippet

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By Justin Pickett

So you’ve decided to dive into the world of fly fishing and need to outfit your new rod and reel purchase with a fly line, leaders and spools of tippet.

Does it matter what line you get? And what about leaders? What the hell is tippet?! These are all typical questions that the beginning angler will have, so don’t worry. We’re going to work on flattening that learning curve!

Fly Lines

To a beginner, trying to learn about all the little intricacies of fly line tapers is about like trying to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. The good news is that you don’t need to get too caught up in tapers and grain weights to catch fish. Learning about the various aspects of fly lines will certainly help you down the road, however we’re going to focus mainly on weight-forward, floating lines. Today’s fly rods are typically faster than those made even ten years ago, almost requiring a more compact, heavier line to properly load the rod. Some “beginner” lines are even manufactured a half weight heavier to help load today’s faster rods. As a beginner, a weight-forward line will better suit your casting needs with the more popular five weights found in fly shops, and a floating line will enable you to cover a large majority of fishing scenarios. All of the fly lines listed below are inexpensive and are great all-purpose fly lines whether you’re slinging parachute adams or foam poppers.

Airflow Super Dri

Orvis Clearwater WF

Scientific Anglers AirCel Trout

Rio Mainstream WF Trout

Leaders and Tippet

Leaders and tippet are other items that you will need in order to get going and hook up with that first fish. You’ll hear of many anglers that tie their own leaders and have their preferred recipes. While you may one day tie up your own leaders created from your own secret formula, for now, keep it simple. I would say

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Move Quietly on the Bow

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Bonefish have ears like rabbits.

There’s a picture! It’s true though, they can hear things you’d never imagine. Fish’s hearing is, of course, not the same as ours. Tiny villa in the cells along their lateral line pickup vibration and pressure in the water with remarkable perception. Among the things they hear are the sounds of your feet on the bow.

I always fish barefoot for that reason, but I’m still very careful about the way I move on the bow. Among the sounds that spook fish is the pressure of the boat’s hull in the water. If you rock the boat as you move and cast, you’re likely to spoil your shot.


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Reece’s Glo Worm

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By Bob Reece

Whether you like it or not, fish eat worms.

This wiggly addition to fly boxes is adored by some and scorned by others. If you happen to be a fly fisher that embraces the application of annelids, this pattern is worth its weight.

When tying the Glo Worm, I use either the Tiemco C500BL or the 2499BL. Both hooks sport the slightly upturned hook point and strength required to hook and hold large fish. The addition of two tungsten beads rockets this pattern to the bottom, where it belongs. This quick descent puts and keeps the fly in the strike zone for longer periods of time. The combination of MFC Sexi-Floss and UV coat creates a natural translucency.

Worms work and some work better than others. Even among great simplicity, diversity and improvement exist. If you’re looking to step up your annelid game, light up your box with some Glo Worms.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Flyfishing Leaders But Were Afraid To Ask

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By Kevin Howell

When I began fly fishing, quality leaders were very hard to find.

The best leaders were hand tied by the Dan Baily Company in Livingston, Montana or the Orvis Company. The problem is that the tying process involved wetting the knots which, when stored over a period of time, made the knots weak and anglers would use a new leader only to have it break at the knot. Today there are countless options for anglers to choose from — not only do anglers have to choose a length and a taper design, but leaders are available utilizing Monofilament, Fluorocarbon, Braided and Furled technology.
The leader is responsible for transferring the energy from the fly line to the fly resulting in fly turnover and how it lands on the water. Leaders consist of three sections — the butt section, the midsection and tippet. The tippet is generally the last 18-24” of the leader where it connects to the fly. The midsection is the next two feet, and butt section is generally 4-5 feet and considerably stiffer. The leader should start about the same diameter as your fly line and then taper down gradually and continually until it reaches the tippet which will be a 18-24” section of the same diameter.
Of the four major types of leaders on the market, the Monofilament leader is by far the most common, with Fluorocarbon claiming second followed by braided and then furled. Today’s pre-drawn mono leaders are leaps and bounds ahead of previous mono leaders. They are strong, well designed with quality tapers, and are even starting to specialize. You will find leaders meant just for nymph fishing, leaders for dry fly fishing and everything in between.
The only downside to the mono leader is that when it gets abraded or a wind knot, it is going to break every time resulting in lost rigs or lost fish. Fluorocarbon leaders are available in the same tapers as monofilament and also very abrasion-resistant, but come at a much higher price– 2-3 times more expensive than mono. Fluorocarbon leaders are also denser than water, so they tend to sink slowly. If you are trying to fish dry flies or watch your leader for strikes, this becomes quite difficult with a leader that is slowly sinking.
Braided leaders offer excellent turnover and are almost indestructible; you simply replace the tippet when needed. However, if you are fishing over-spooky or pressured fish, they will spook the fish every time. Water sprays out of the braided leader on the forward cast and it slaps the water when landing. Braided leaders are also heavy and struggle to float especially after being fished a little. They pick up water scum and dirt, causing them to sink more than they float.
Furled leaders do not spray water as badly as a braided leader do but do spray some water on the forward cast. They also tend to sink as soon as they are fished a little bit and absorb dirt and water. Since furled leaders are not commercially produced you will have to find someone to make them for you or invest in the jigs and material to produce them yourself.
After twenty years in the guiding and outfitting business, I have found a quality monofilament leader with a fluorocarbon tippet to be the best all-around leader.

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The Perfect Day on the Flats

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John Byron

You’re after bonefish.

An easy flight and you found all your luggage. The lodge is even more comfortable than you expected. Supper was super. Your new fishing companions seem a really great bunch. You’re excited to get fishing. 

Next morning seems perfect. Sunshine all day. The right tide. Gentle breezes, sufficient to calm the fish but not enough to hamper your casting. The guide knows his business and handles the boat flawlessly, spotting fish early and lining you up for easy casts. When you wade, it’s on hard bottom, a comfy depth and the wind and sun at your back. 

You find fish all day long, big ones in singles and doubles, larger schools all ready to take your fly, which seems to be the perfect weight, size, and color. When one spot slows down, you move to another loaded with bonefish, maybe stopping for some fun fishing alongside a big mud. It’s the perfect day.

And it happens so seldom that you should never never count on it. 

Any putz can catch fish on a day like that. Your challenge … and the great challenge of bonefishing as a sport … is bringing in fish on all the other days. It’s an okay

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Streamer Fishing for Small Streams

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By Jason Tucker

Small stream fishing often conjures to mind light rods and lines, small dry flies, an easy, pleasant day on the creek casting to small trout.

It indeed can be that, and most of my small stream fishing consists of this. But I firmly believe every small stream out there holds bigger fish, and more of them, than you think.  One of the best ways to find out is with streamers.

Researchers have shown that as brown trout reach the twenty-inch mark they become largely piscivorous (fish eating). This means if you want to catch them, you need to throw streamers.

Streamer fishing has changed a lot since the days of hair wing flies and Grey Ghosts. If you have fly fished for any amount of time you have heard of or read “Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout” by Kelly Galloup and Bob Linsenman. Streamer enthusiasts today pound the banks with articulated monsters measuring five to as much as twelve inches long. This is great for bigger rivers but a bit of overkill for small streams. You’ll want to scale your efforts to the water you’re fishing. Still, streamer fishing small streams can be a very enjoyable way to fish them, and a great way to find out the true potential of the stream.

My streamer box for small streams contains the following:

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