My Most Memorable Bonefish

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sn’t it funny, how certain fish we catch during our fly fishing trips can end up providing us with ten times the satisfaction over all the others. Sometimes, the size of our catch has little at all to do with the amount of reward it brings. I love catching big fish just as much as the next guy, but for me at least, it’s often more about overcoming the challenges along the way that’s what really makes one catch end up standing out amongst all the rest.

For example, my most memorable bonefish to date, only weighed around four pounds. I’ve landed much larger bones over the years, but what made this particular bonefish so special to me, were the extremely difficult fly fishing conditions I had to work through to hook and land it. Before it all unfolded, and I found myself feeling that special fish tugging on the end of my line, I was holding onto the last remaining tidbits of hope I had left inside me for dear life. I thought success was just about impossible. Never give up when you’re out fly fishing. For when you succeed when everything is stacked up against you, it will be invigorating to your very core.

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Improving Fly Tying Efficiency  

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By Bob Reece

Many beginner and novice tiers that I’ve talked to equate improved efficiency at the vise with rushing through the tying process. While applying the techniques below can speed up pattern creation, that result is not their sole purpose. The main focus of these tips is to help tiers get the most out of whatever amount of time they do spend behind the vise.

Material Prep Work

Some patterns require very little in terms of prepping materials. Others, however, involve shaping foam bodies, knotting rubber legs, cutting wing cases or beading hooks. For these flies it is highly beneficial to prepare the materials in bulk before you start tying. When I tie foam terrestrials, I cut all of my foam bodies and the knot rubber legs that I might need. With bead head nymphs, I bead all hooks that I’ll be using as well as cutting any strips of material that I’ll be using for wing cases. If all of your materials are fully prepped before you start tying, you’ll be able to create a larger number of flies in a shorter amount of time. Prepping your materials in mass also increases the consistency and subsequent quality of the bugs that you’ll be offering up to your favorite fish.

Hook/Bead Storage

Hooks and beads can be two of the hardest materials to handle and keep track of on the surface of a tying table. Hooks of all sizes can easily be brushed under other materials or into the abyss of carpet fibers that sit below some of our tying platforms. Beads are also shifty and hard to handle once they leave the confines of their plastic packaging. To prevent these happenings, I store all of my beads and hooks in plastic compartmented organizers like the one in the picture above. The clip down lids of these containers ensure that nothing escapes. Each compartment also has a curved bottom which makes it easy to retrieve the desired items. The containers that I use can be purchased in the sewing section of Walmart for less than two dollars apiece.

Pattern Material Kits

How materials are stored matters in terms of efficiency. I use plastic organizers, like the one pictured above, to create material kits for all of the patterns that I tie. Always knowing where specific ingredients are saves a tier the time of searching though bins, drawers and baskets. This type of setup also

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Choosing Flies for Tandem Nymph Rigs

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Today’s post is intended for beginner and intermediate fly anglers that struggle with choosing what fly patterns to tie on when they’re fishing a tandem nymph rig. Because most of our fly boxes are stocked with dozens of different fly patterns, it can be difficult at times to know where to start. I get the question all the time, “how do I know what flies to tie on?” The answer to that question is I don’t. Sometimes I can get a good idea by doing some bug sampling or observing the conditions on the water, but generally, I have to experiment with fishing different flies just like everyone else does until I figure out what the trout want. However, the key to my consistent success is treating my two-fly rig like it’s a buffet of food choices for the trout, and always fishing flies that imitate different types of food sources that the trout forage on. This increases the chances that the trout will like one of the food imitations in my rig and I’ll catch fish.

To make things easier for me, I categorize my nymphs into four different categories: Big flies, small flies, bright colored flies and natural colored flies. When I start out my day on the water, I begin rigging my two-fly rig with combinations of these.

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Yakima River trout Fishing: Video

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Recently I got the chance to float the Yakima River in central Washington.

While attending the launch of the new Sage X rod, the folks at Sage were good enough to host us for a day of fishing on the Yak with guides from Red’s Fly shop. I was fortunate to land on a boat with Jim Mauries of Fly South and Guide Nate Rollie. It was a great day of making loops and fighting fish on a beautiful river.

I took advantage of the opportunity to capture some of Nate’s eleven years of experience with Yakima trout on video. If you are in Washington state the Yakima is a must. The river is full of tough fish and the accommodations at Red’s are amazing.

Watch the video and enjoy “Floating The Yak.”

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Fish Every Cast!

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By Justin Pickett

From the great casts and the perfect drifts, to the ugly presentations and the drowned dry flies, if those flies hit the water, let ‘em drift!

Just about every day that I spend on the water with a client, I’ll find myself, at some point, explaining to them the reasons why I want them to fish each and every cast to the very end.

Flies only catch fish when they are on, or in, the water. Well, at least 99.999999% of the time anyway. All too often I see clients and friends lay their flies on the water, only to immediately rip them off the surface in order to make another presentation. If it’s a buddy of mine, I’ll often give ‘em some grief for it. However, more times than not, it’s a client, which brings me to a stopping point in order to educate them on why I don’t want them doing this.

For one, the act of landing flies on the water, whether it be a single dry or a gaggle of nymphs, and then ripping them off the water makes quite a commotion. The noises, ripples, and splashes that occur from essentially ripping a clothesline from the surface will no doubt either spook the trout you are fishing to, or at least alert them that the day’s contestants have arrived to play the game. If the flies hit the water, leave ‘em! Wait for them to drift out of the run, or at least well downstream of the fish, before picking them up to regroup.

Secondly, take your time and regroup. Yanking your flies from the water only to cast again without changing anything isn’t likely to make the next presentation any more successful. If you land your flies in a less than desirable location, let them drift out before taking them off the water and then take the time to makes adjustments before making your next presentation. Not taking the time to make adjustments only sets you up to likely making another undesirable cast. Move your feet, rotate your shoulders, check your distance. DO SOMETHING! Remember the definition of insanity? Take your time and maximize your chances to succeed.

The third thing that I emphasize to my clients is

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Time To Un-Match The Hatch

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By Johnny Spillane

Now that is a hatch!

Every year around mid April we start to see Blue Wing Olives on the Green River below Flaming Gorge. Most years the hatch is amazing, some years it is truly epic. This was one of those years. The best part about it, there is no chance to “match the hatch.”

When there are too many bugs on the water, yours gets lost in the numbers. Try throwing something 3-4 sizes bigger than what the naturals are and 9 times out of ten it will be more productive than a perfect imitation.

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8 Tips For Figuring Out The Trout

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How do you find and catch trout on days when there doesn’t seem to be much action?

When the river looks like it’s boiling with rising trout and you’re having to wipe the BWOs out of your eyes just to tie on a fly, it doesn’t take a degree in entomology to catch fish. Sadly, days like that are few and far between and we spend plenty of days on the river scratching our heads and guessing what might get a favorable response.

Most days there is a combination of fly pattern and technique that will put a couple of fish in the net. If you’re struggling with finding that combination, you may just need a method of narrowing down the variables and making an informed decision.


Take a few minutes to watch the water.

Try to resist the temptation to jump in and start casting. I know, it’s hard. You’ve driven a couple of hours and you’ve been thinking about fishing all week, but take a few minutes to watch the water and see what you can learn.

Are there any bugs at all? If there are adults but no fish rising to them, try the nymphal form. If fish are rising, pay attention to the rise form. Splashy takes may mean they are eating emergers, while lazy sips might suggest spinners. What about water clarity? Stained water might require larger or more brightly colored flies. Higher or lower than normal flows might affect where fish hold.

Look for fish, too. It’s much easier to narrow down choices of patterns and techniques when you have an actual fish the test them on. Before you start blind casting to pockets and seams, see if you can spot a good dance partner.

See what the birds are doing.

Birds and fish have more in common than many folks realize. Most birds eat insects in the same way fish do. If swallows are buzzing the surface of the water the hatch is on, even if you can’t see it. If they are circling high above, you may have missed the hatch but those bugs will be back later in the day to lay eggs and fall. Other birds like herons and osprey are professional fishers and know exactly where to find fish. Keep a close eye on them too.

Sample some bugs.

It’s never a bad idea to take a few minutes to see what’s on the menu. Especially when fishing new water or as the seasons change. Turn over some rocks in a riffle and see what’s clinging to the bottom. Look around rocks and plants on the edges of the water for shucks or adults. Shake some bushes and kick the grass to see what’s hiding there. Run a bug seine along a foam line, especially if you see fish rising but don’t know to what. A little investigation will at least give you a starting place, if not an answer.

Use searching patterns and tandem rigs.

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Fly Fishing with Stealth – 8 Common Mistakes

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How often to you think anglers miss opportunities catching trout because of the lack of stealth? The more educated trout populations are in a stream, river or lake you’re fly fishing, the more important it is for fly anglers to mimic the way a hunter stalks game in the field. I estimate that I give away upwards of 50% of my trout catching opportunities due to my lack of stealth. Below are 8 common mistakes fly anglers make on the water that blow their cover and success.

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Cool Shots at Bonefish

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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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Swinging Streamers on Big Water

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By Kent Klewein


If you’re willing to put in the time and hard work eventually you’ll be rewarded with a big fish. During high water flows on rivers where habitat is insufficient out in the main river, many trout will relocate to the banks where they can use the irregular banks and it’s abundant cover to shelter themselves out of the excessive current. There next move, once they’ve gotten to the banks, is to find prime ambush spots where they can easily pick off prey moving by. This is why casting to the bank and ripping streamers back to the boat is so effective. You’re repeatedly putting your streamer right in the kitchen where good numbers of fish will be feeding.

The majority of the time this scenario works great, but what do you do when you find yourself in areas where the water is super deep and the fish are sitting on the bottom? These places make it extremely difficult for anglers using the pounding the bank technique to keep their streamers down deep in the strike zone during a steady retrieve. Even with a full sinking fly line the cards are stacked against you. Don’t get me wrong, it can still work, especially if you cast upstream of your target water, and give your streamer time to sink before you begin your retrieve. Unfortunately, you won’t always have the time nor the room to pull this off, and that should have you searching for an alternative method that’s better suited for fishing your streamers in these deep water locations.

Swing Streamers through deep water hot spots
The best method I’ve found to consistently get hookups from deep water fish is to swing your streamers across their noses. This allows you to keep your streamers in the face of the deep water fish longer, which often will yield more strikes.

Step 1: When possible anchor your boat upstream and slightly across from your prime deep water. (It could be a nice drop off, a series of buckets, or just a long deep run or pool. The main point is that the water is too deep for you to use a standard strip retrieve, and anchoring up will provide you time to work the area thoroughly).

Step 2: Make a cast

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