Garners Twisted Whistler

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Watch the tying video!


Garner Reid is back and he’s opening up his fly box to share part of his arsenal. When you guide for the toughest of freshwater predators, you have to be prepared to do what it takes to put clients on fish. No one I know does it like Garner. His Facebook feed is not for the faint of heart.

A big key to his success is collection of unique fly patterns for striped bass. The Twisted Whistler is no exemption. This fly pulls out all the stops. A sixty degree jig hook, tip dyed buck tail and Icelandic sheep wool give it action that those striped bullies can’t resist. It’s big, it’s bag and it catches fish.

Watch the video and learn to tie Garner’s Twisted Whistler.

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Working With Stretch Tubing

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By Bob Reece

I love flies that have both transparency and durability.  Incorporating stretch tubing into the construction of a pattern adds both of these elements.  In addition to this, manipulating the material and those that it’s paired with, can help produce more effective flies. 

Stretch tubing comes in the sizes of micro, midge and standard.  Micro is the smallest ranging up to standard on the large end of the scale.  This range of sizes provides a wide range of applications for patterns of all sizes.  For reference, I use the standard for nymphs size twelve and up.  Midge for nymphs down to size 18.  Lastly, micro for dries and nymphs size twenty and smaller. 

One huge benefit of the stretch tubing in comparison to solid vinyl ribs, is its elastic nature.  By applying different amounts of tension to the tubing, a tier can alter the diameter of the wraps that are laid down.  This allows for the creation of different natural tapers when imitating different bugs.

The color selection for stretch tubing is fairly extensive.  It is important to note though

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It’s Ok to Ask for Help on the Water

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A lot of fly fisherman of both sexes get a little hesitant when it comes to holding hands or locking arms with people that aren’t kin. Don’t be Haphephobia when you’re wading in and around trout water that’s challenging to navigate, in remote areas off the beaten path or during cold weather. Making the mistake of trying to do everything on your own when you know darn well you need assistance can turn out to be a very dumb decision and put you in harms way.

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Fly Tying: Working With Wire

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By Bob Reece

Wire is a common ingredient in nymph patterns. 

Whether in the form of ribbing or full body segments, this material adds the important elements of segmentation, durability and weight.  Yet, because of its fairly rigid nature, it can be a difficult material to work with. 

When attaching wire to the hook shank, it’s important that it lands on one of the lateral sides of the hook shank.  This means that is should be tied in on the side of the hook either closest to your or the side opposite of that.  This ensures that the nymph pattern is widened horizontally and not vertically.  This matters because most natural nymphs have horizontally widened bodies.  Using this tying method helps to mimic that profile when constructing nymphs.

In addition to the tie in location, the consistency of the thread wraps that are laid down matters for two different reasons.  If the wraps are laid down without consistent firm tension, the wire will shift position when the tier wraps it forward.   Equally important is the spacing of thread wraps laid down on the surface that the wire will be wrapped over.  If the wraps are not evenly spaced and create an uneven surface, that same uneven layout will be reflected in the overlying wire wraps.  

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Spey Casting Diagnostics Checklist

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By Jeff Hickman


To effectively and consistently make good spey casts you need to focus on these steps, especially when learning. But even veteran and advanced two-handed casters also need to focus on the important steps. Everyone who has Spey fished has had a meltdown at some point where their cast completely falls apart. In my experience these meltdowns are triggered by one small element changing. That one element starts a chain reaction that wrecks the entire cast. The cause could be external such as a change in the wind direction or wading depth or the change could be internal — you got lazy on your anchor placement or started dipping your rod behind you.

Recently while presenting at the annual Sandy River Spey Clave in Oregon, I jokingly made a reference to a fictional Spey Casting Diagnostics Checklist that I printed on waterproof paper and kept in my wader pocket. I was simply trying to make people laugh as Spey casting presentations can be a bit on the dry side. After the presentation many people came up to me and asked if I could give them one of my checklists. Since I did not actually have one, I told them I could email a checklist over. But it occurred to me that this is something that people want, so here is my short checklist that you can print and bring with you to the river next time:

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My Tenkara Fix

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By Justin Pickett

We had hardly settled into the lodge in Patagonia and already I’m itching to wet a line.

There is a pond in front of the main lodge, with a small stream meandering through the backside of the property, as well as the Chimehuin River just a hundred yards away, through the trees. To say that I’m dying to float a fly on either of these pieces of water is an understatement.

My clothes are still in my big Simms duffel. All of my gear is strewn about the floor of mine and Louis’s cabin. Dinner is being prepared and most everyone else is drinking wine and relaxing while enjoying the sunset. After all, we’ve been traveling for the past twenty or more hours, making connections and hiking from gate to gate. Apparently the airport in Buenos Aires is going through some “renovations”, requiring what seemed like a ten mile hike from the international terminal to the domestic terminal. Sheesh! Not to mention the long drive through some amazing landscape required to get to the lodge. So needless to say, to those that were relaxing on the porch, I probably seemed like that crazy first-timer who’s just jones-ing to catch his first trout in Patagonia, and I’m not afraid to admit that’s exactly who I was.

I started grabbing fly boxes and getting out my rods while I was explaining to Louis what my intentions were. I could’ve cared less about wine and dinner at this point and time. First off, I’m in freaking Patagonia to fish! Second, I’m a beer guy.

Halfway through rigging up my rod and reel Louis made a great suggestion. “I think that little stream would be a perfect place to use the Tenkara rod.”

What a great idea! The stream

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Wood is Good

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Anytime I come across any sort of wood on the water trout fishing, whether it’s a log jam, isolated root ball, or low overhanging tree, I always take the time to fish around it.

Wood offers trout cover and safety which are two very important elements that trout look for when they’re deciding where to position themselves in a river or stream. Wood also in many cases offers current breaks, eddies, and soft seams, that allow trout to feed easily and safely out of the calorie burning swift current. Furthermore, there’s an incredible amount of food that falls off wood cover and hangs out amongst wood, that very often ends up in the stomachs of trout. All of the above make wood prime habitat for trout.

Did I mention that brown trout love to hangout around wood? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught nice brown trout around wood, especially when deep water is located near by. And don’t even get me started about how productive it is fishing flesh flies in Alaska around all the salmon carcass loaded wood snags. Back in the day when I guided there, we used to take all our freshly filleted salmon carcasses at the end of the day and dump them in wood snags in the river. Overtime it would

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8 Tips On Photographing Fish Without Harming Them

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You can take better photos of the fish you catch and still practice good Catch-and-Release.

Is the fly fishing media turning anglers off to catch-and-release? I received a pretty agitated email form a reader the other day. Thankfully, he was not responding to anything written here on G&G but from this excerpt you can see he was pretty fired up and honestly, so am I.

“All of the blogs and articles I am beginning to see pop up everywhere telling me that catch and release is harmful to the fish, and I’m doing it wrong, and I’m killing all the poor fragile little

fishies, and I should never take the fish out of the water, and blah, Bah, BLAH!!!! AAARRRGGGGHHH!!! Are you kidding me? Now I can’t even take a quick cheesy grip and grin photo with a fish without being ‘that guy?’ ”

Our friend suggested that he releases 99% of the fish he catches and I gather from his email that his heart is in the right place. I have no way of knowing how good his actual catch-and-release practices are but he’s clearly trying to do the right thing. It’s also clear that he’s feeling a little harassed.

Catch-and-release is a topic that’s dear to my heart and it’s been a while since I have written about it. I thought I’d take this opportunity to try and put a friendlier face on what the fly fishing media is trying to accomplish.


So what’s going on in the fly fishing media?

I imagine that a lot of writers in the field feel the same way I do. We spend a lot of time as ambassadors of the sport and we introduce a lot of new folks to the water we love, and share. While I firmly believe in that mission, I do feel morally obliged to do everything in power to not screw it up for everyone. It’s a topic I lose sleep over. If I have a hand in creating more, and more effective, anglers then I am duty bound to make them more responsible anglers.

So the result is that you, the reader, get preached to a whole bunch about how you handle fish. Recently a lot of that preaching has been aimed at demonizing the photographing of fish. That’s not really fair. Do a lot fish get injured in the process of saying cheese? You bet they do, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you are not going to photograph a fish, and every fish does not need to be photographed, then it’s always best to release it without taking it from the water or even handling it. I use the Rising Crocodile toll for just this purpose. But it’s not realistic to expect anglers to release every fish without a photo. That’s the bargain that makes C&R work.

Rather than take the, currently popular, stance that you can’t photograph fish without killing them, I’m going to give you some pointers that will not only help you protect fish but take better photos.


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Perfect Moments, Bahamas Edition

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Fishing cool new rods and tying great new flies. We even had a couple of bona fide adventures. We laughed until it hurt, ate until it hurt and, yes, drank until it hurt. I came home with a head full of snapshots that will not soon fade. It got me thinking. Since we practice catch and release, what is it that we bring home from a fishing trip?

In “Swimming To Cambodia” Spaulding Gray talks about having a perfect moment. An experience so culminating, that nothing else seems to exist but that moment. He can’t leave Thailand until he has one. He finally does and it involves Thai stick. I like that idea of the perfect moment and ever since Spaulding made me aware of it, I keep my eyes open and try to spot them.

I thought I found my perfect moment about mid week of the Bahamas trip. A subset of perfect moments that I’m fond of is “perfect shots.” By shot I mean shots at fish, not photos and I had one on Tuesday. Several things go into the making of a perfect shot. Most important, it has to be visual. I have to see the whole story unfold. I have to perform to the best of my ability. There’s no compromising on that one. The fish has to do his part, mainly eat the fly but he shouldn’t be a pushover. Of lesser importance but still of value

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The Avalon Fly- Video

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Wherever you find permit, you’ll find the Avalon.

This innovative crab pattern is a staple in most saltwater boxes. The Avalon made its name as a permit fly but it works well for bonefish and likely many other saltwater species. It has a life-like action and sinks fast to imitate a crab diving for cover. Thats the action that permit love to see.

Chase Pritchett of American Made Flies is back to show us the tie.Tie this fly in a variety of sizes, especially small. The original calls for orange rubber legs but Chase likes the yellow.

Watch this video and learn to tie the Avalon permit fly.

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