4 Tips for Getting a Better Picture of Your Trophy

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WAY BACK BEFORE WE HAD DIGITAL CAMERAS, I CAN REMEMBER HOW EXCITED I WOULD BE RACING TO THE CLOSEST ONE-HOUR PHOTO STORE TO GET MY FILM DEVELOPED.

The anticipation of waiting to review my big fish photos was almost as fun for me as catching the trophy. I wish I could say all those developed photos came out perfect but that’s far from the truth. Some came out great but the majority were blurry, had my head cut off, or I was holding the fish like a rookie. Nowadays we have the luxury of instant feedback with digital cameras, so we don’t have any excuse to not get good photo when the fish cooperates. Below are four tips for capturing better photographs of your trophies with examples of the right and wrong way to hold your fish. Keep in mind there is a learning curve for handling big fish. The more you do it the better you get.

1. Hold the fish with the tips of your fingers not your palms

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Fly Fishing Stillwater by Gareth Jones

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THE OTHER HENRY’S

Mention to any flyfisher that you’re heading for Island Park, Idaho and they’ll immediately think you’ll be packing a selection of CDC and biot creations intended to deceive the wonderfully selective leviathans of the Henry’s Fork.

However, my latest visit to see Rene Harrop and the boys at the TroutHunter, was all about fly fishing the incredible Stillwater’s of the region, and more specifically, Henry’s Lake. The plan was to see how fishing UK flies and techniques would work on the great Cutthroat and Hybrids that inhabit the lake. This wasn’t the first time I fished the lake. I’d visited it ten years earlier, and I remembered enjoying some wonderful sport-fishing from a float tube, fishing damsels through the gaps in the summer weeds. Needless to say, I was fairly confident that some of my own fly patterns and techniques would produce on this trip, and I was excited to hit the water.

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The Cajun Spey Waltz

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Snow is blowing in around the corners of my glasses and forty degree water is slowly making its way into my waders.

I haven’t seen the sun for several days and the river is full of chrome bright steelhead. It doesn’t feel much like Louisiana. Never the less the tune that keeps dancing in my head and eventually to my lips is an old Cajun waltz, “The Big Mamu”.

I have a deep and conflicted love for Louisiana. I almost moved there once. Like I said, I’m conflicted, but of the many things I love about the place, maybe I love the music best. The Blues, the Hot Jazz, the Zydeco and the beautiful and haunting traditional Cajun music. The sound of the accordion, the fiddle and the washboard pull at my heart strings. I don’t know why but I loved it the first time I heard it. But what does it have to do with steelheading? Apparently, everything.

I love Spey casting but I don’t get to do as much of it as I’d like and consequently it takes me a while to get into the rhythm. There are three basic parts to a Spey cast. The anchor placement, the sweep and the cast. Inevitably, when my casting goes to hell it’s the timing of my sweep that’s the problem. I’ve spent so much time developing speed and strength for my saltwater casting that it takes a while for me to remember that Spey casting is the exact opposite. Slow and easy.

I’m not a Spey Guru so I’ll keep it simple. The sweep is the part of the cast where you form a D loop and load the rod. Both very important. There is a direct relationship between the height of the rod tip and the speed of the sweep. As the rod tip is lowered the sweep must be faster to aerialize the head. A higher rod tip and slower sweep is easier to control, so that’s what I shoot for but I inevitably start to rush it and my casting gets sloppy. A friend told me to try and count to three during my sweep. I tried but I still rushed it and that got me thinking about how to count to three at a consistent speed. I struggled with it and then it dawned on me, the Cajun waltz.

The physicality of the music is perfect. It’s dance music, your body instinctively responds. The gentle, one-two-three, of the

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The cutthroat and the sweet sixteen

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“HE IS OUR LEGACY. HE WAS LEFT HERE FOR US BY A LOVING FATHER, IF YOU BELIEVE IN THAT SORT OF THING, AND ONCE HE IS GONE WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO REPLACE HIM.”

My friend Gary Lacey did me a disservice while shooting clays one day. I fell one shell short for the round and he handed me his beautiful Beretta SO3 EELL to finish the round. I wish I had never touched that gun.

What a beautiful sensation it was when that elegant little side lock fell into place against my shoulder and the bright orange disk disappeared in a puff of black powder. How could I not covet this gun that I would never be able to afford? As pleasant to look at as to shoot the Beretta, with its lavish engraving and gold inlayed pheasant and duck, was a far cry from my clunky old Browning automatic.

Square jawed and utilitarian, it’s a poor gun for the job. The Browning A-5 Sweet Sixteen was never made for shooting clays, not that it matters, I’m not very good at it. Still, I enjoy shooting my Sweet Sixteen. Of all the guns I own, it is the most dear to me.

The gun belonged to my maternal Grandfather. He wasn’t, I suppose, what you would call a sportsman. He fished and hunted but when he did it was for food, not for sport. He taught me to shoot squirrels and catch sunfish. He taught me to

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Spotting Big Trout in all the Wrong Places

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ONE OF MY HOME WATERS THAT I SPEND 500 PLUS HOURS A YEAR GUIDING ON IS NOTORIOUS FOR BIG FISH HOLDING IN WATER THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD CONSIDER HORRIBLE TROUT WATER.

I’m talking about water that is less than a foot deep that even veteran anglers would regularly walk by without fishing. The other day guiding I spotted a huge hooked jaw male rainbow pushing 30 inches. It was sitting in plain view on a gravel bar in six inches of water hugged up against the edge of a rhododendron. My partner and I watched the fish feeding regularly for about five minutes, while we planned out our spot and stock. I had seen big fish laying in this shallow gravel bar in the past many times, but nothing this size. Here’s the ironic part, right before we had approached the spot I had just explained how important it was to scan the water, even ridiculous looking shallow water before making a cast in the chances we might spot a big fish.

Heavily pressured fish are smart and often sneaky. I truly believe big trout will often search out under pressured water that anglers tend to overlook to stay off the radar. Doing this keeps them from getting harassed by 90% of fly fishermen. Next time your fishing heavily pressured trout water that holds big fish and the water is clear enough to sight-fish, don’t make the mistake of

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Better Down Stream Presentations & Drifts

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How many times have you been trout fishing and spotted a big trout positioned down and across stream of you feeding?

I know I’ve seen it plenty of times on the water, and it always seems like those fish are always positioned just out of reach for me to get a regular cast and drag-free drift over them. Right before my fly reaches the fish, I run out of slack as my fly line comes tight, and I get unwanted drag on my fly. Presenting your flies this way to educated fish can often end up putting them down. If you find yourself in this situation you need to be ready to smoothly and quickly kick out extra fly line out the end of your rod tip during your drift. Executing this properly you’ll be able to maintain enough slack to extend your drag-free drift so your offering can make it to the fish, and have a good chance of being eaten.

I see fly fisherman all the time try to use a shaking motion with their rod tip to kick out extra fly line and extend their drift. Most of the time this doesn’t work very well, because it’s really difficult for you to let out fly line fast enough, and keep your flies from moving all over the place in the process. Watch this video below as I demonstrate how to properly present your fly down and across stream to a feeding trout, and smoothly kick out extra fly line to maintain a drag-free drift. It will take a few minutes for first-timers to get the hang of it, but once you do, you’ll have the technique mastered forever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn8_vX2oZpI&feature=plcp
Step 1:  Before you make your presentation make sure you have plenty of extra fly line stripped off the reel.

Step 2:  Shortly after your fly/flies hit the water make a nice mend upstream. This will create a buffer between your fly and the fly line, which is

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Most Seams Hold Trout Regardless of Size

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Just about all seams in rivers and streams hold trout. The larger and deeper the water a seam has, the more trout it can hold. Likewise, the smaller and shallower a seam is, the less room there will be available and less trout it can accommodate. Just remember, regardless of the size of a seam, that almost all of them hold trout and are worthy of a cast or two by anglers.

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Lucky #7?

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By Louis Cahill

On Friday Oct 9th I’ll have my seventh eye surgery.

Just a quick update. I’m doing well and am stable, getting stronger all the time and adjusting to my new vision. I’ll indulge in understatement and just say it has been a challenge but I am feeling confident that the worst is behind me. 

Friday’s surgery will attempt to secure the part of my retina that is most profoundly scarred by PVR. How this surgery and, more importantly my body’s response to it, goes will determine what the future looks like. Literally. If all goes well and my eye heals with a good bond to the retina, I may only have one more surgery to go. That would be a great outcome, for my condition. Please keep some positive vibes coming my way in the next few weeks.

I have learned that with PVR, like fishing, it’s best to have little in the way of expectations. That said, this surgery is supposed to be easier, recovery wise, than my previous surgeries. I’ll be down for at least two weeks, so if I’m a little quiet here, that’s why. Hopefully it will all go well and I can keep moving forward. We have some exciting new content coming your way soon. I’ll be posting about that before long.

In the mean time, stay tuned and get out there and catch some fish for me.

Thanks!

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Get Slinky With Your Indicator

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By Johnny Spillane

AS WE GET INTO FALL AND FISH ARE BECOMING MORE SELECTIVE AND EATING SMALLER BUGS LIKE TRICOS, FISHING CAN BECOME MORE CHALLENGING. USING A FRENCH SLINKY INDICATOR OR SLINKY INDICATOR CAN BE A GREAT WAY TO HOOK A FEW MORE FISH WHEN THEY ARE BEING ULTRA SELECTIVE OR ULTRA SPOOKY.
I like to use it when fish are in shallow water or they are suspended close to the surface in deep water but not feeding on the surface. Typically, I like to use some sort of dry dropper rig in this situation, but if the fish are being picky and ignoring the flies, it might be because of the larger dry fly used to support the nymphs. They have been seeing that stuff all summer.

Removing it can be a big help, but then you’re stuck with the problem of detecting the strike. A slinky indicator is perfect for that situation. It’s easy for fishermen to see, detects even the subtlest strikes and is very difficult for the fish to see. There is no splash when it hits the water so you can get it in fairly close to fish without spooking them and if you grease it with mucilin it actually floats really well and will support a moderately sized dropper. There are countless other ways to use this rig but this is where I have found it to be the most effective for me.

MAKING THE SLINKY INDICATOR
In order to build the indicator, you’ll need a few things. An empty Bic pen case or something similar, duct tape, 15lb high visibility monofilament and some boiling water.

Cut a two foot section of the mono and tape one end to the pen case leaving a 6- to 8-inch tag and then tightly wrap the mono around the pen 8-15 times depending on how long you want your slinky indicator to be.

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How to Fly Fish Straight Sections of Trout Water

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It’s your lucky day. You’ve somehow managed to get away from your busy work schedule and find time to spend a few days fly fishing for beautiful cutthroat trout out west.

You’ve brought several trout to hand fishing a series of S-bends, and you feel like a hero. Life is good, right? Unfortunately, the hot fishing is about to slow significantly as you round the bend in the river and notice the river flows straight as an arrow for the next several hundred yards. There’s very little mid-stream obstructions and no well defined current seams. Furthermore, the water depth is consistent bank to bank. You fish for a while, working your way upstream blind casting, but you’re not having any luck. You find yourself getting frustrated because you can’t figure out where the trout should be holding, and there’s no rising fish. What should you do?

When I find myself in this situation, I focus on presenting my flies against the banks. When there’s no obvious current seams or in-stream structure providing depth change or current buffers, cutthroat trout will generally prefer holding close to the banks. The water current running along the banks causes friction, and this friction slows down the current speed making it a much more efficient place hold and feed. Because all trout prefer to

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