The Clearing Cast And Ready Position

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I spent a week in the keys recently, with my good friend Capt Joel Dickey . We made a series of videos to help you out with your salt water presentations. The first is on the clearing cast and the ready position. The next two are on the double haul and building better line speed and will post on Wednesday and Friday. I hope they help put you on some fish!

WATCH THE VIDEO!

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Scent attractor in fly fishing?

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I RECENTLY DID A PHOTO-SHOOT FOR ATTRAXX, A COMPANY WHOSE NAME MAY BE FAMILIAR TO SOME OF YOU.

Attraxx makes soft plastic baits for gear fishing in both fresh and saltwater. These aren’t your grandfather’s rubber worms. The plastics are infused with five patented attractors that stimulate fish into striking. It’s apparently far more complex than just scent or taste and frankly I don’t totally understand all of the details. These guys have a handful of PhDs to my none, but I spent a few days watching these high tech baits in action and I can tell you they work insanely well.

I’m not a gear fisherman. I don’t say that because I feel like I’m above it. Gear fishing takes a lot of skill and knowledge, it’s just not my thing. I don’t do it so I’m not good at it and I don’t understand it. Doug Long, the man behind Attraxx, does understand it. I’ve known Doug for years as a skilled fly fisherman and we’ve wetted our boots together on plenty of occasions so I was surprised to hear that he was now running a plastic bait company.

I was even more surprised to hear that Attraxx is considering new products for fly fishermen. Imagine that, flies tied with materials that release neural stimulators into the water, whipping fish into a feeding frenzy. A couple of years ago I’d have said, “no way! Nobody will buy it,” but these days, I’m not so sure. Let’s look at the trend.

People raised a fuss when

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Cool Shots at Bonefish

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WHAT MAKES A REWARDING BONEFISH TRIP.

It’s hard to fly off to an exotic location for a week of fishing without having a goal, or at least some expectations. The first can be dangerous and the second disastrous. Still, one or the other is generally present on a fishing trip and the more the trip costs, the higher they usually are.

I’ll never forget my first bonefishing trip. My expectations were to actually see a bonefish and my goal was to not make a complete ass of myself when I did. (It’s good to have goals, right?) That trip did so much more than exceed my expectations. It was an awakening of sorts and the beginning of a life long obsession.

On subsequent trips I adjusted my goals. I wanted to catch a lot of bonefish. I wanted to catch big bonefish. I wanted to increase my hookup ratio. I wanted to catch bonefish on my own. I wanted to develop my own fly patterns. Eventually I just wanted quality fishing with good friends. One by one, all of those things went in the done column and I kept going bonefishing.

There’s not a thing on that list that I don’t still enjoy doing. Who doesn’t want to catch a lot of fish, or a big fish, or have a great day with a good friend. With the exception of the friend however, they all become less important with time. Most days all I really need is to stand on the bow and glide across a beautiful flat.

So what makes a day of bonefishing exceptional?

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Hopper Time: 6 Favorite Patterns

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By Louis Cahill

What time is it boys and girls? Time to fish hoppers!

I don’t know if there is any kind of trout fishing more rewarding than fishing hoppers. Big bugs and big splashy takes under sunny summer skies. It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m headed west in a few days and it has me looking over my terrestrial box for the usual suspects. With that in mind, I thought I’d share what I’m thinking.

Here are my current 6 favorite grasshopper patterns

Dave’s Hopper

I’m going old school for my first choice. I’ve been fishing this fly for as long as I can remember and it works as well today as it ever did. No space-age polymers in this baby but it sure gets eaten.

Reeces Beefcake Hopper

Where’s the beef? Right here. This spindly bug rides low in the water like the real thing and is tough as nails. It needs to be, ‘cause it gets chewed on.

Parachute Hopper

Another classic, but I have caught so many fish on this fly I can’t see taking it out of the rotation. It’s an easy pattern to tie as well.

Hog Caller Hopper

If this doesn’t get their attention, nothing will. A bright foam pattern that

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Getting in Bed With Bass, Part 2

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By Justin Pickett

It’s time to get serious about catching that trophy bass.

In part one we covered the when, where and how of fishing to bass on beds. Now we’re going to talk about the get, flies and presentations that make for success.

The Presentation

So, you’ve found Ms. Piggy sitting just off of her bed, seemingly staring intently towards her nest and chasing bluegill away from her vicinity. It seems as though she’ll likely eat anything dropped near or onto her bed. What’s next?

First, let’s address your setup. I recommend swinging a 7-9 weight, fast-action rod with an aggressive weight-forward floating line. You’ll need the power in the ass of a beefier rod to help set the hook solidly. I don’t stress so much on reels for bass, as they do a lot more jumping and thrashing than they do any kind of running. I do make sure to hunker down on my drag though, just in case once tries to take me into some trouble nearby. I throw short, beefy leaders when fishing to bass on beds. I need my flies to turn over quickly because I’m doing a lot of close up work in shallow water, so I typically stick with 7.5ft leaders and 12-15lb tippet.

The second thing we’re going to touch on is your timing. When you decide to hunt for these fish is going to play into your success rate. Your chances are best in the early morning and evening hours. Low light can make these fish a little harder to spot (another reason to always wear polarized sunglasses), but that’s when fish begin to drop their inhibitions and feel less threatened by predators. High sun is a great time for spotting beds and fish, but also makes it a lot easier for the fish to spot you as well. ShadowsI’ve had the glare from a raising fly rod spook many fish in my experience. I’m not saying don’t try during the middle of the day, but the odds aren’t as great. When planning your stalking, try to plan fishing during the first and last few hours of the day, or on overcast days. The other reason for fishing first thing in the morning is the fact that they have had all night to settle in and chill by their bed. This is especially true for bass that see heavy angling pressure.

Thirdly, let’s talk fly patterns. I kind of have a system that I go through when I find a fish on a bed that’s aggressively protecting the bed. My initial presentations are done with

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Why Travel For Great Lakes Carp?

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By Jason Tucker

Everyone has a bucket list.

For most of us that includes the Bahamas or a similar destination for bonefish. Carp fishing the flats in the Great Lakes should also be on that list. Why?

Crystal clear water in an other-worldly setting. Once you get out on those flats you’ll forget you’re in the Midwest and swear you’re in the salt. Clear water, gulls and terns, wind and waves, but no insidious salt to wash off at the end of each day.

Sight fishing. Sight fishing clear water to spooky fish is the Grail of flats fisherman. Lake Michigan offers it up in spades, and with hundreds of miles of flats available, you’ll often have them to yourself.

Large numbers of big fish. Occasionally you’ll be casting to strays. Most of the time you’ll have dozens to several hundred fish swimming around you, and the challenge will be to pick one and not spook the rest. Peeling off fish from the edges of the larger group is often the key. Lake Michigan fish average

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Getting The Wife On The Water

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By Rob Parkins

I have not been able to teach either of my wives to fish.

No, not two wives at the same time–that is illegal. I mean my former and current wives. Even though I am a guide, they just won’t listen to me. Obviously, neither do I or I would be explaining the whole wife situation. I believe that it is very difficult for a man to teach his better half how to fish.

That being said, here are a few things that I have learned after many years in the boat with couples.

1. Get her a casting lesson. You can’t teach her, at least without an argument. Stu Apte is the only guy I know who taught his wife to cast, and Lefty said he did it wrong. Sign her up for an Orvis 101 course or go to your local shop, they should be a great resource and have basic fly fishing classes.

2. Hire a guide. Then stay home. Here’s the deal, as a guide I have seen it a hundred times. Guy comes in and says, “I want you to focus on her today. I know what I’m doing and I just want to see her catch fish.” By lunch time you are pissed that the guide is tying on the right flies for her, putting the boat in position so she can have the best shot at the fish and she is catching all the fish. Then you start correcting everything the guide taught her. Guides both hate this and relish the fact that he can silently put you in your place for thinking you know it all.

3. Make sure she has the right equipment. Don’t use the fact that she is getting into fishing as an excuse to upgrade your gear while giving her your old stuff. As you know, the proper gear makes all the difference. Giving her your old glass rod with a 10-year old fly line is only going to make her work harder and not enjoy the sport. Also, if you take her to a shop to buy a rod, let her cast it and form her own opinion, not what you want, or feel is the correct choice. The weight, grip size or a number of other factors may be the reason for her decision. Hell, it just may be the color she likes.

4. If she needs waders, get her ones that fit. Same as you, the day will be miserable wearing waders that don’t fit right. Also, no neoprene or other non-breathable materials because they were on sale.

5. Don’t buy her a fishing outfit. Seriously, DO NOT do it. Men have a shitty fashion sense. You get her something

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8 Fly Patterns For Southern Appalachian Brook Trout

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My good friend Dan Flynn is the man when it comes to hike-ins for Southern Appalachian Brook Trout.

I’ve never met a fly angler that enjoys bushwhacking through walls of thick impenetrable rhododendrons all day long, more than Dan. Randomly pick any thin line of blue on a Delorme’s Georgia or North Carolina topography map, and chances are Dan’s thoroughly explored the high elevation tributary.

Most anglers I know wouldn’t waste their time and energy for such a small catch, but that’s where most anglers go wrong in their thinking. It’s not about the size of the catch that’s the reward. Instead it’s the aura of true living that comes over you exploring high mountain streams in complete solitude. It’s the small doses of adrenaline that you feel pumping through your veins as you hike up a steep slippery waterfall to the next plunge pool. It’s the anticipation and excitement that you get as you peer over a boulder or log jam and spot a colorful native feeding on the surface. Decades of your life seem to roll back here and the kid in you is reborn. Make a trip to one of these crown jewel brook trout streams and your soul will feel cleansed and reenergized afterwards.

Southern Appalachian Brook Trout Feeding in the Current. Photo By: Louis Cahill
The best thing about brook trout fishing is that you don’t have to carry your entire fly fishing arsenal of gear with you. A fly box filled with a handful of brightly colored dry and wet flies will almost always get the job done. The biggest factor for success is

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Sooooo-ee!!! Calling All Pellet Pigs: What You Should Know About Feeding Trout

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THE OTHER DAY ONE OF OUR READERS WAS OFFENDED WHEN I USED THE TERM “PELLET PIG”. I ENJOY OFFENDING PEOPLE, SO I DECIDED TO WRITE AN ENTIRE POST ON THE SUBJECT.

I honestly didn’t know we weren’t supposed to talk about this. Pellet pigs are a fact of life. They exist and people catch them. They are not offended that we call them pigs, because they don’t speak English. They can be a TON of fun. (get it) They can turn a marginal stream into a hog farm and they can seriously fuck things up.

Feeding fish on private water is a very common practice. I am not going to tell you that it’s ‘bullshit’ or it ‘doesn’t count’ or that it makes you a ‘pud whacker.’ I did it myself for a season and I have good friends who still do. I’ve had some great times catching pellet pigs and sharing the experience with friends. Through personal experience, I’ve learned the positives and the negatives.

Feeding fish, on private water, is a great way to insure that they hang around. Feeding will also attract wild fish from other parts of the stream to hold in your water. It’s a sure fire way to insure that you will always have good fishing, regardless of the quality of your water. It makes fish grow fast and generally means big fish will be present in unnaturally high numbers. This all sounds pretty good, right? Well, nothing in life is without cost and pellet pigs are no exception.

I’m not saying it’s always a bad idea to feed fish. You can do it right and you can do it wrong. What I am saying is,

IF YOU DECIDED TO FEED FISH, HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU OUGHT TO KNOW.

1)Your trout is so fat it showed up at the Macy’s parade wearing ropes!

2) Feeding fish takes natural selection off the table. This can negatively impact the entire ecosystem of a stream. It discourages predation and supplements trout which would otherwise end up food themselves. If the trout in question is capable of reproduction, they pass on inferior genetics. Feeding also encourages fish to to crowd into holding water in unnatural numbers, increasing the spread of disease. These hordes of fish put unnatural pressure on forage food and can virtually wipe out localized forage species like insects and crawfish, leaving the fish increasingly dependent on feeding.

3) Your trout is so fat it can’t hold in a run, it has to hold in a waddle!

4) Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Feeding fish in one section of a stream can negatively impact the overall population. Causing fish to congregate puts them at risk on many levels. In addition to spreading disease, large pods of fish attract predators like otters, herons and bait fishermen. When a large pod is wiped out, the fish which are lost might have populated several miles of stream. Spread out, they would have survived.

5) Your trout is so fat

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Don’t Get Bold Feet!

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By Justin Pickett

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the back of my jeep, getting ready to hit the water.

Just like any other day, I grabbed my rods and rigged them up first and laid them across the roof. I tossed my fly boxes in my chest pack and made sure I had all the tools and tippet that I needed. I jumped into my waders and buckled myself in for the day. Grabbed my left wading boot and slipped it on and tightened it up. Reached down for the right one and began to slide my foot into the boot. Before I could get my foot settled into the boot I felt quite the bulge in the toe of my boot. Not knowing exactly what it was, and knowing what it could be, I quickly kicked the boot from my foot. My wading boot landed on the grass, just a few feet in front of me. I waited a few seconds to see if anything crawled, hopped, or slithered out from it.

Nothing.

Cautiously, I picked up the boot and held it upside down, and, immediately, something fell from the boot

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