Tarpon On The Clock

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A Photo Essay By Joel Dickey

It’s 5:30 a.m. and my alarm pierces that beautiful thing, called sleep, which all guides miss so much this time of year. I jump out of bed and I’m quickly reminded I’m not 25 anymore.

My joints pop and crack and muscles, that I didn’t know I had, ache. However it’s calm and my adrenaline soothes my body better than Advil ever would.

I jump into my clothes, give my sleeping wife a kiss and head to the fridge for my morning Mountain Dew, hoping that the caffeine will clear the fog, left from only 5 hours sleep.

Off to the dock. I only have another 100 consecutive days left until my next day off. Why do I book so many consecutive days?

I guide for the greatest gamefish in the world. I guide for tarpon and I don’t want to miss a single second of it.

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Kiss the Bank with Your Terrestrials

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One of the best times of the year to catch big brown trout is during the summer months.  

When the terrestrial bite is in full swing, brown trout will often tuck up under overhanging foliage super tight to the banks. Often they’ll be in less than a foot of water waiting patiently for the land born insects to fall to the water for an easy meal. Targeting this habitat on the water will increase your brown trout catch ratio over rainbow trout. Although rainbow trout will utilize overhanging foliage, they still prefer foam lines with current and deeper water for the most part.

Target Overhanging Foliage
This beast above devoured a beetle pattern that was placed perfectly in the strike zone. Kiss the banks with your terrestrials targeting undercut banks and overhanging foliage, and you could land a trophy like this. Just because they’re isn’t current doesn’t mean it won’t hold a good trout. The main factor is

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Peacock Bass In The Amazon, Part 2

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Packing for Success in the Amazon

If you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here.

Preparing and packing the right gear prior to your departure to the Amazon is crucial for your overall trip enjoyment and fishing success. Following these gear recommendations, fishing tips, and general amazon facts, will ensure that you’ll be ready to tackle the monster peacock bass you’ll encounter as well as the hot tropical climate.

One important factor that rookie amazon anglers often fail to realize is water levels on the rivers and tributaries of the Amazon River can make or break your trip. Sometimes conditions will be perfect a week or two before your departure, and a couple days before your scheduled to leave, you’ll receive an updated water level report informing you that conditions have deteriorated. It’s just part of the game. It comes with fishing a river that provides us with 1/5 the worlds freshwater supply.

Talk to any veteran peacock bass angler and they’ll quickly tell you how big a role water levels play in the fishing and how helpless you are at controlling them. Despite there being both wet and dry fishing seasons in the Amazon, sometimes the seasons end up being the opposite of what they should be for the time of the year. Your best bet for coping with this uncertainty is booking your trip with the right Amazon outfitter or lodge. The, fly fishing only, Agua Boa Lodge, located in Brazil, is best suited for coping with both high and low water levels because of its specialized equipment, exclusive location, and the diversified fishing operations.

Water Levels are Important in the Amazon
If water levels are too high, peacock bass often will move back into the flooded jungle shorelines making them difficult to coax out or present a fly to. On the flip side of the coin, if water levels are too low, your guides might not be able to access certain watersheds, or even worse,

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The Only 6 Things You Need To Know About Fly Casting: Video

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By Louis Cahill

There are just six thing you need to know to be a great fly caster.

If you’ve been fly fishing for a while, you may have heard of the 5 essentials. It’s a great list of the fundamental requirements for a good fly cast. IMHO, there is a sixth. If you know, and practice, these six things you will see your fly cast improve exponentially.

I have written in detail about these before. I recommend that you read that article but today, I’m going to go over the six essentials in this video. Commit these to memory and practice them off the water. This will help you self diagnose casting problems, make tight efficient loops, cast further and make better presentations.

LEARN THE ONLY 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BE A GREAT FLY CASTER!

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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) 

Tippet Size          Hook Size

0X                               2, 1/0
1X                               4, 6, 8
2X                              6, 8, 10
3X                             8, 10, 12, 
4X                            10, 12, 14, 
5X                            12, 14, 16, 
6X                           16, 18, 20, 22
7X                           18, 20, 22, 24
8X                          20, 22, 24, 26, 28
Take for instance hopper fishing. Most anglers would say that 3X tippet is the appropriate size tippet to use if we’re talking about fishing with a good size foam hopper imitation. I would agree this is correct and it’s probably what I use most of the time for this type of fly fishing, however, I’ll never forget floating out west a few years back where my buddy opted instead to use 4X tippet and he dominated us and was the hot stick that morning. The point being, we as anglers shouldn’t always stick to the book when it comes to how we rig up and fish. That morning we were both fishing hoppers. I was in the bow of the boat with 3X and my buddy was in the stern with 4X. I had several refusals at the last second from trout, and on multiple occasions my buddy in the back of the boat caught those fish. It just goes to show, it might be worth putting

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Fixing A Twisted Fly Line In Seconds

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Way Cool Video!

Every fly angler has experienced a wicked twist in their fly line causing it to tangle and knot at their feet.
It may be caused by a flawed casting stroke, a big fly twisting in the wind or it may be God punishing you for masturbating. Regardless of why it occurs, it’s frustrating at the least and heartbreaking at the worst. There’s nothing worse than taking a shot at the fish of a lifetime, only to have your cast cut short by a knot in your guides.

Fortunately, a twisted fly line is easy to fix. You don’t have to lose valuable fishing time, while stripping the entire line off the reel and towing it behind the boat or letting it hang in the current. You can fix that twist in seconds.

In this video, our good friend Zack Dalton from RIO Products shows you how.

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Dickey’s Mighty Mantis

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Watch The Tying Video

I WAS, FRANKLY, A LITTLE SHOCKED WHEN JOEL DICKEY DECIDED TO SHARE THIS FLY WITH US.

I have fished Joel’s Mighty Mantis for years and I can attest to its mojo. Friends, this fly works. It’s the most productive bonefish fly I have ever fished and we’re proud to have it on the site.

The mantis shrimp is a leggy little critter found in most all tropical waters. It’s apparently quite tasty because bonefish inhale them with reckless abandon. The pile of rubber legs and teased out hairdo on this fly make for a lifelike silhouette that bonefish can’t resist.

Watch the video and tie up some Mighty Mantis for your next bonefish trip!

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Postfly Expands Subscription Model to Fly Rods and Reels: Video

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Postfly, the folks who put flies in your mailbox every month, now make it easier to buy fly rods and reels.

The development of rental fly gear and subscription based services is one of the more interesting developments in the fly fishing market. Postfly made it’s name from a subscription based fly service. They are now expanding that idea to renting and owning fly rods and reels, allowing buyers to try rods and pay off their purchases over time.

What’s really interesting is that it’s not simply a web based service. You can actually go into a local fly shop, try a rod and/or reel, then seal the deal at an online kiosk.

GET ALL THE INFO ON POSTFLY, WADE RODS AND PELICAN REELS IN THIS VIDEO.

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Fly Fishing: Is There a Time When Anglers Should Admit Defeat and Move On?

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IS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN AN ANGLER SHOULD ADMIT DEFEAT FROM A TROUT, PAY HIS/HER RESPECTS AND MOVE ON?

We’ve all been there before, sight-fishing to a trophy trout, only to have it ignore our flies time and time again. An hour or more can go by without the slightest sign of interest by the fish, while it remains in the same basic holding spot all the while unafraid, almost as though it’s staring you down and challenging you to catch it. You press on with unwavering persistence until your patience runs dry. You’d argue that the trout isn’t hungry, and that’s why it hasn’t eaten any of the fly patterns, but every time you start to believe it as a viable excuse, you see the flash of white, from the trout opening its mouth and sucking in a bug. You’ve changed flies more than a dozen times now, you’ve made well over a hundred casts, and you’re ready to throw in the towel. Yet every time you reel in your line and begin to walk away, the feeling of defeat shouts “halt, go back! Just make a few more casts. You can do this.” Sometimes you end up winning the battle, other times the take never comes. The times when your line does come tight and you do hook and catch the trout, do you ever wonder if the fish really ate your fly or if you just accidentally flossed it?

I have a good friend from Colorado that told me he once scuba dived in a river and watched his buddy drift nymphs through runs that were loaded with trout. He said he was astonished to see how many times the tippet of the leader drifting in the current went into the mouths of trout, resulting in the fly of the hook snagging the trout. If you’ve ever fly fished for fresh sockeye salmon, you know that the majority of the time that’s exactly how you catch them. Only on rare occasions do they eat your fly, and even then one could argue it’s only out of aggression from the pending spawn. When my friend told me his underwater account, it made me wonder how many fish I thought I’d gotten to eat my fly in the past, but were actually fish that I really just flossed with my leader and snagged. Were those catches legitimate? Not unless you believe calculated or accidental flossing is legit. Maybe if you’re starving to death I could go along with that, but most of us don’t live off the land.

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Why Did I Lose That Fish?

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By Kyle Wilkinson

Nobody likes to lose a fish.

’Tis the season that I’m spending a lot of time on the water guiding, and so far it’s been a great year. Whether it be the manageable flows through runoff, good customers, happy fish, good daily bug activity, good weather… everything has been shaping up very nicely and I can’t wait for these next few months with (hopefully) more of the same.

That said, one thing that never gets easier to swallow is when a customer loses a fish, particularly a big one you’ve been working hard to hook. I feel very confident in my ability to calmly coach people through fighting a fish, but the ultimate reality of this sport is that some of them are still just going to get away. This past week dealt me some of the tougher fishing conditions of the season and on top of it, we lost a couple of big fish. Not fun.

Just as most fly anglers seem to make many of the same mistakes when learning to cast a fly rod, the same is true when learning to fight fish. We’ve all heard the same old adages, “Don’t horse him in!”, “Let him run!”, “Just take your time!” (I could go one) but what happens when you’re doing those things and the fish still comes off?

HERE ARE THREE OF THE TOP REASONS I SEE MANY FISH LOST THAT COULD HAVE BEEN LANDED.

Don’t Touch The Reel Handle. This is easily the number one reason I see customers lose fish. It is always a goal of mine to get any fish of size on the reel when fighting it. That said, (and perhaps many of you can relate) having your hand on the reel at the time a fish decides to make a run is a recipe for disaster. When fighting a fish you must always anticipate another run is likely to happen, especially with the first attempt to net it. I see many customers get so caught up in the moment with the fact that they’re bringing the fish closer to the net that –even with my verbal reminding – they seem to forget this. My suggestion if you’ve ever found yourself in the above situation is to practice taking 3-5 quick turns of the reel and then take your hand off. If the fish still seems willing to come closer, grab a few more quick turns and then again… hand off. Work on gaining line back in shorter, more controlled bursts and you’ll be in business!
Use Your Rod Angles. Have you ever watched someone

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