Fish Boy Is Sorry

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A quick heads up, this story contains some adult language and ideas.

I was fishing a little mountain lake with my buddy Dan when he told me, “the last time I fished this place I was on a date”. “Why the hell did you bring a date up here”, I asked. “Well”, he said, “things were getting kind of serious and I thought I should show her what she was signing up for”. “So you took her fishing”? I laughed, “you should have locked her in your apartment and disappeared for three days, then showed back up stinking and drunk, that’s what she’s signing up for”!

Fly fishing has developed it’s own culture and it’s own code of misconduct. It reorients priorities and skews a person’s perspective of what “normal people” will tolerate. For some guys it’s like Mardi Gras. A fishing trip is an excuse to blow off the steam they build up at work or home and then they’re back to normal. For others it becomes a life style choice. For some an occupation. Living with a fisherman has got to be tough. I know my wife puts up with a lot from me and, to her credit, does it cheerfully. However, if you talk to any hard core angler it’s not uncommon to find a long list of ex-wives and girlfriends who just couldn’t, or wouldn’t take it anymore. Fishing, like any other addiction, complicates relationships.

Many of my best friends have made big life decisions base purely on fishing. Uprooted their families and moved across country without jobs or left their families alone for months at a time to guide in some far flung location. I have a friend who commutes over fifteen-hundred miles between his family and the water he guides year round. I know guys who have walked away from homes and given them up to foreclosure to be on the water they feel called to fish.

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Articulated Nymphs, All Hype or the Real Deal?

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IF YOU PULL ANY SERIOUS STREAMER FISHERMAN ASIDE AND ASK THEM TO NAME THEIR FAVORITE STREAMER PATTERN, CHANCES ARE THE FLY PATTERN WILL BE ARTICULATED.

Ask the same question instead to a serious nymph fisherman, and most will answer with names of nymphs that aren’t articulated. I agree you don’t have to fish articulated nymph patterns to catch trout, but I do find it a little odd that we aren’t seeing more of them in the spot light today. As far as I can tell, the concept has been around almost as long as articulated streamers have. The last couple of years I’ve started to incorporate articulation into my fly tying for many of my nymph patterns. Just about all of them have done very well for me on the water. In some cases, my articulated versions have caught trout 3 to 1 over the traditional non-articulated versions. You can’t tie all nymphs articulated because many fly patterns and species of aquatic

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The Good Old Days Are Back

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By Louis Cahill

I thought maybe you could use a little good news for Christmas.

Fly anglers have become pretty used to bad news where fisheries and conservation are concerned. It seems everywhere you look fisheries are in decline. From steelhead rivers in the Pacific North West to the Florida Everglades and a host of great water in-between, as well as many fisheries around the globe. It’s easy to believe we are watching the inevitable decline of fishing as we know it.

I’m not always so positive about it myself. I have said many times that I feel fortunate to experience the outdoors in a way that future generations will likely not. I don’t know if you can call that pessimistic. It’s a glass half full outlook, but it’s still only half a glass. At any rate, the last year has given me cause for hope. I am actually watching a fishery get better and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I’m speaking specifically of South Andros in the Bahamas. South Andros is kind of my home water. I’ll fish there five weeks this season and I can’t say I spend that many days a year on the river that runs by my house. It has been my favorite place to fish for over a decade and in the last twelve months I’ve seen a change.

It has been an incredible big fish season for bonefish. I can’t remember a time in ten years when I have seen as many seven to ten pound fish on the flats. I was there with a group just this month and it seemed that someone landed a fish in that range every day. Even me. In fact, earlier in the year, I hooked the biggest bonefish I’ve ever seen. We got a good look at it, even though I didn’t land it. My guide estimated it at fifteen pounds. 

Permit sighting are up as well. South Andros is not thought of as a permit fishery but

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Restore an Old Bamboo Fly Rod #3: Video Series

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Matt Draft is back for part three of our video series on how to restore an old bamboo fly rod.

Today Matt goes over removing old components like guides, wraps and reel seats. He takes on a worst case reel seat removal before stripping the old varnish and prepping the rod for new parts and finish.

RESTORE AN OLD BAMBOO FLY ROD $3

Check out https://www.proofflyfishing.com

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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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Tight Quarters Trout Fishing

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Check Out This Helpful Video!

(WATCH OUR VIDEO THAT DEMONSTRATES THIS SCENARIO)

If you’ve been fly fishing for a while, you’ve probably become pretty proficient at dropping your dry flies in tight quarters to catch trout that are either tucked in under foliage or holding tight to an undercut bank. What If I asked you to make that same presentation, however, with a tandem nymph rig on a small stream with a strike indicator and split-shot? Could you pull it off with the same percentage of success? If you answered yes, hands off to you, because you are not the norm. I’ve found that most of my clients in this situation lack the confidence and know how to make consistently accurate fly presentations with a heavy tandem wet fly rig.

Below is a video Louis and I shot a while back, explaining how I pull off tight quarter casting on small trout streams. I had my rod rigged with a tandem nymph rig to show you  the most important things I focus on when casting to targets in these tight quarters.

TIGHT QUARTERS FLY CASTING ON SMALL STREAMS

Tip 1: Position yourself where you can get the correct casting angle to your target and also get a nice drift.

Tip 2: Strip off plenty of fly line but only start out with a foot or two of fly line when you begin your cast.

Tip 3: Cast smoothly and watch your

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When your fly is there, be aware!

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I’ve touched on this before but it occurs to me that the subject needs more attention.

Quite possibly the most important thing in fly fishing is situational awareness. That is, knowing what your fly is doing in relation to it’s surroundings. Surroundings like current, structure, light, the boat and most importantly, the fish. Trout fishermen are accustomed to thinking about the drift of a dry fly but less at ease with the idea of a nymph’s drift, for example. Lots of guys fish streamers with a simple swing down and across, without considering how the baitfish they are imitating would negotiate the currents, eddies and structure along the way. This idea exists in every type of fly fishing but is never more crucial than in salt water so let’s look at that in more depth.

Right from the first false cast you should be thinking about the environment in which the fish exist. An experienced angler knows that a flat is less like a pond and more like a river. Except for brief periods of tide change the water on the flats is always moving. Like a winding meadow stream it finds it’s way through a maze of channels. Unlike a river those currents are constantly changing direction and speed. Those changes affect how your fly behaves in the water and that determines the strategy of your presentation. It’s key when flats fishing that you always know which way the water is moving and how fast. How quickly will your fly be carried to the fish and from which direction? How fast will it sink? Where will the fish first see it? Which direction will the fly be moving and how fast? You need to know the answer to all of these questions before you cast.

Current also effects your retrieve. The fish is not interested in how the line moves through the guides, but how the fly moves through the water. If the current is carrying the fly away from you, that retrieve has to slow way down. No fish is going to chase a shrimp that can swim thirty miles per hour. If, for example, the current is carrying your fly toward you, your retrieve must be brisk or you’re just dead drifting. Worse, you’re creating slack that will prevent getting a hook set or even prevent you from knowing when the fish has eaten. While we’re on the subject of the all-important hook set, don’t forget that the current is carrying the fish too. Unlike a trout, who must turn and run back to his holding zone as soon as he eats your fly, a salty fish moving with the current will likely eat your fly and keep coasting your direction creating slack that must be taken up quickly to hook up. It’s best to see that one coming before the fish eats.

The most common mistake made in salt water is

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The Ultimate Cold Stopping Fleece Buff

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MY FLEECE BUFF IS THE ONE PIECE OF GEAR I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT.
That became all too clear to me when the temperature plunged into the single digits and I realized I had misplaced my fleece buff. It’s my winter fly fishing equivalent of Tony Stark’s iron suit. With it, I’m impervious to cold, with out it…uhhhh, I don’t like to think about it. It’s a recipe for winter misery.

My fleece buff is homemade. My wife made it for me years ago and it was almost free. The secret is the fabric. It’s not just fleece, but 300 GSM (grams / square meter) wind-stopper fleece. Even a gale doesn’t penetrate it. It seals up the top of my jacket and puts up over my face and head, covering exposed skin and stopping heat loss where it’s the worst.

Best of all it’s

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You buy your portfolio every morning

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In the old days I ran a hedge fund.

That’s right. Half a billion dollars doing whatever I told it. Big trades, big profits (and losses) and big pressure. I learned a lot from a decade in that role that has helped me on the stream. (I know, it sounds like a stretch… but it’s true!) One of the prevalent sayings in Investment Management is “You buy your portfolio every morning.” What it means is, the decision to do nothing, to keep the investments you made yesterday, is still an active decision. It’s CHOOSING to go into the battle of that day with your current positions, rather than something else.

The truth in this idea hit me harder than ever on Sunday on a carp flat. I waded out of thigh-deep sand bottomed water to find maybe 150 carp cruising and feeding. They were working 12 to 18 inches of water over super soft mud-bottomed lake and eating like mad. I was so jacked up you could see the end of my 8wt vibrating in my trembling hands.

The fly I had on was too heavy for that shallow water. It was designed to get down with accuracy to fish at three feet deep. Remember… I was coming out of thigh-deep water. But I was stoked and the fish were there and they’re just stupid carp and I can be gentle and what if the wind picks up while I’m changing flies and maybe it would start to rain and what if they saw me and spooked before I got a cast… You get the picture. So I went into battle with the fly I had on because not changing didn’t feel like choosing that fly. It felt like

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Flies That Catch Big Trout, The Truth Might Surprise You

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I HAVE DEFINITE IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO CATCH BIG TROUT. APPARENTLY THEY ARE ALL WRONG.

Like every other guy or gal with a fly rod, I have some pretty strong opinions about the kind of flies that catch big fish. These opinions are based on years of experience and experimentation. I have theories about the behavior of big predatory trout and they influence my tying and my fishing. These ideas are proven out by countless hours on the water. At least that’s what I thought.

Regular G&G readers will know that I am a confirmed streamer junkie. I make no apologies for it. I love fishing streamers and I believe wholeheartedly that big flies catch big fish. Here’s the problem: without knowing it, for the last eight or ten years I’ve been proving myself wrong.

I am not a fish counter. I’m not a trophy hunter. I like catching big fish but I do not possess a single mount or even a catch-and-release painting. Not surprisingly, I don’t even have a lot of photos of myself with fish. Most of the fish I catch, if they are photographed, are in someone else’s hands. The truth is that I am just fundamentally more interested in the next fish than I am the last fish.

What I do, on very rare occasions, is keep a fly. Once in a while I’ll catch a fish that’s special. It’s always a big fish but there’s usually something extra that makes it special. The color or fins, or maybe where I caught it or who I was with. It happened the other day in Alaska. I was fishing with my good buddy Bruce Chard and guide Jeff Forsee on the Kanektok river at Alaska West. On literally the last cast of the day I hooked and landed a rainbow in the ten- to twelve-pound range. A beautiful and perfect Alaska rainbow.

It was a great fish by any standard but

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