Streamer Fishing – Hands on the Line at All Times

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Streamer fishing is a great way to catch both numbers and trophy class fish, but it doesn’t come without some negatives. One of the biggest negatives with streamer fishing is you don’t always get solid hookups every time a fish eats your streamer. One of the biggest contributors to this is when a fish slams your streamer in between strikes and you’re caught off guard. Sometimes, the timing is so bad there’s nothing you can do about it, while other times, it’s 100% the anglers fault due to lolly-gagging around with their stripping hand.

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Streamers,  Fish ‘Em Deep Enough

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By Louis Cahill

How deep should you be fishing your streamers?

I had the chance to fish with my brother Tom the other day. It’s a shame we can’t do it more. I always enjoy talking about fishing with him. Tom is a very technical bass angler. He does the vast majority of his fishing with conventional tackle, a sparkly boat and plenty of electronics. It blows my mind how technical that game is. If I had a lifetime I’d never understand it as well as Tom.

We were throwing streamers for striped bass in the river, my favorite summer fly fishing. Tom does most of his fishing in still water so he had lots of questions.

“How deep do you want that fly?” he asked me.

That’s often the $64,000 question, and remember, it’s coming from a guy who’s used to marking fish on a graph and knowing exactly how deep to fish, in feet. As a fly angler, used to targeting fish in moving water, my approach is very different. I figured out years ago how I like to address the problem and it’s worked pretty well for me.

When fishing streamers, there are a handful of variables that come into play when deciding the depth you should be fishing. Water depth, speed and clarity, lighting, water and air temperature, and species just to name a few. Of course, some of those variables are constantly changing so you need a strategy that will work consistently as that happens. A simple answer like, five feet, doesn’t work.

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My Experience At The G&G Bonefish School

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By Jason Tucker

I could not have been more shocked to find myself in the Bahamas than if my spaceship had crashed there. The call came on Thursday. “Can you go to the Bahamas for a week?”

“When?”

“We leave Saturday.”

I checked with my employer, girlfriend and bank account. For once in my life the answer was yes. And so it was that I was off to Bair’s Lodge in the Bahamas on my first hosted trip with Mr. Louis Cahill.

I’ve never quite understood hosted trips, or why folks pay to go on them. I don’t mean this as a criticism, but merely as an observation. I had no idea really what they are all about.  I mean, why not just book a trip and go? 

Because booking a trip in a far-off place can be intimidating. How do you know the fishing will be good? What do you do if you have a problem with a guide or the lodge? What if you fundamentally misunderstand the fishing and need guidance, flies, or information on the culture, or even what to pack?

There are a number of guides I know that do hosted trips to South America and other places. These guys have a clientele who like fishing with them. It’s a ready-made cocktail. The guides have gone and done the legwork, scouting the location, lodge and fishing, and can act as a liaison. Clients go and know they have someone on their team. The host can get to know the local culture and the fishing and therefore buffer your descent into the experience. 

I was grateful to travel the final leg with Louis, as even the casual manner of Andros Air was foreign and disorienting. Basically, when we all showed up, we flew. The flight was brief and uneventful, but when you taxi up to the shack that serves as a terminal on Andros you are greeted by the sight of crashed plane sitting on the edge of the runway.

When we got to Bair’s Lodge after a thirty-minute taxi ride, we were met by our hosts James Hamilton and Liz Ziebarth. But after showing us our room and letting us settle the real test came, for me. Most of the other guests had already arrived and were out on the veranda enjoying cocktails and appetizers. Who were these guys? Would I, a working-class guy, fit in at all. I introduced myself nervously, quickly forgetting their names, vowing to work on it the rest of the week. The appetizers were amazing. Louis came out and did a casting presentation, then helped me tie up a couple custom leaders for bonefish.

After dinner Louis put on a ninety-minute bonefish school with slides from his vast library of images, each illustrating the point being made. For the guys who had done this before this was a refresher course. For the other guys like me for whom this was all new, it was an avalanche of information that would take days to sort out. After that Louis showed several of us how to tie the Bimini twist.

The next day I was fortunate enough to get to fish with Louis. We were unfortunate enough to have terrible weather. We had intermittent showers and high winds, with gray clouds scudding overhead. For us fish were scarce and shots rare. We did find one fish that wanted to play, and I had the privilege of seeing Louis make the cast forty feet into a thirty-knot wind and hooking the fish. If I wondered if Louis was all talk, or really had the chops, there it was.

On the second day of fishing the weather started out much better.

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Sunday Classic / Fly Fishing: 3 Great Times to Fish Streamers

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I fell in love with streamer fishing the very first time I cast one. All it took was me bringing one trout to the net on a size 6 white Zonker, and I was hooked. I’ll never forget that beautiful 15″ wild rainbow trout, that I caught and released on a ten foot wide Southern Appalachian blue liner up in North Georgia back in the 90s. I remember the tiny stream being too overgrown and tight for me to make traditional fly casts so I crawled down on a flat boulder, stripped out some fly line and dead drifted the streamer downstream into a pool. Nothing happened at first but I didn’t give up. Instead of retrieving the fly all the way in, like most anglers regularly do, I instead made a few strips in and then let the streamer drift back down into the pool. On my third attempt, that gorgeous wild rainbow trout hammered my streamer and I brought it into my net. I still use that downstream stripping and drift back technique quite a bit when it’s called for. It works equally well with nymphs and dries.

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Saturday Shoutout / Mend

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Watch the Video!

Joey Maxim was 16 years old when he died in a car crash. Fly-fishing helped bring him back.

The film “Mend” is the incredible story of a young man’s journey back from death and his struggle to overcome traumatic brain injury. Once a successful student and athlete, Joey found himself struggling just to survive. Simple daily tasks became monumental and his will to live seemed gone. Then he discovered fly fishing. The river healed Joey both physically and spiritually. Today he is a guide.

ENJOY, “MEND”

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New Products From Sightline Provisions: Video

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Just about every angler is familiar with the leather bracelets sporting metal badges of fish silhouettes. 

It’s hard to think of a fly fishing accessory that has become as immediately popular as those Sightline bracelets. They have become the secret handshake of fly fishing. A way for devotees to spot each other everywhere they go.

Recently, Edgar Diaz has branched out and used his art in new ways on new products. Some with the leather and fine metal look Sightline is known for, and some new offerings including all metal bracelets, one-of-a-kind artist’s hats, keychains and more.

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO FOR ALL OF THE COOL NEW STUFF FROM SIGHTLINE PROVISIONS.

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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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Stretch Thy Fly Line

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Are you looking for more a little more distance in your cast? Is your fly line not shooting through your guides as easy as it should? Is it lacking that fresh from the box high floating buoyancy? Are you spending more time untangling your fly line than fishing? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you should think about taking a couple minutes before hitting the water to stretch your fly line out.

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Don’t Lead Me On: Tippet Length For Dry Flies

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By: Alice Tesar

Dry fly season is upon us and the shop is filled with folks wondering why the fish aren’t interested in their dry flies. 

Yes, it is important to get the correct flies but equally as important is your leader and tippet. The biggest mistake these people are making, one I made for years, is just switching out their nymph for a dry fly without addressing their tippet length. 

Without giving you too much to work with, recognize that the evolution of tapered leaders has revolved around nymphing and streamer fishing. Engineered with a more aggressive taper to cut wind and cast greater distances. Most factory made tapered leaders ignore the long tippet section required for a dry fly presentation. 

Adding one to three feet of tippet (*gasp* yes, your leader and tippet will now be close to 13’ long) will allow you to mend easier (if you need to mend at all) and will give you a more natural drift without the added weight of a tapered leader. Instead of fretting about turning over your fly in a long cast think about

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Trailer Tires And Dog Logic

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What could be better than a beach vacation with my wife and my dog?

I can barely remember the last time Kathy and I took a beach vacation. We are both far more comfortable with the idea of work than relaxing on the beach. It was certainly long before we had Josie, our little potcake dog I brought home from the Bahamas. This would be Josie’s first trip to the beach since I scooped her out of the sand of South Andros. It’s hard for me to picture this trip getting any better, then my buddy Scott offers his flats skiff.

“You should take the Silver King.”

Generosity is Scott’s defining character trait, and although I am reluctant, it’s an offer I can’t refuse. I know he needs hours on the boat to keep it in shape and the idea of spending a couple of half days casting to redfish is just too good to pass up. I don’t protest too much before accepting his offer.

As usual, the day of our departure sneaks up on us. We respond to being unprepared by over preparing. A last minute Costco run yields more food, wine, and liquor than a Mardi Gras Krewe could use. We pack my Sequoia to the gills. I lube the bearings on the trailer, do a little last minute work on the trailer lights and we are on the road by lunch time. Everything is smooth sailing until we get nearly to the Alabama state line and I feel a vibration coming from the trailer.

Ten seconds of vibration, then nothing for another ten and the tire explodes. Not a flat, a total explosion. I’ve never seen a tire go off like that. Josie nearly comes out of her skin. I ease over to the shoulder and start digging through the food, liquor, snorkel gear and fishing tackle for a jack. I always carry a handful of tools on the road, so I’m pretty set for the job. A bottle jack under the axle and a quick tire change. Thank God Scott has a spare. We’re back on the road pretty quickly. I stop at the first gas station to check the air in the spare and top it off. A minor hiccup and everything seems fine until a few minutes later the trailer starts to shimmy side to side. I call Scott on the phone.

“Have you had any issues with the trailer? We blew a tire and now I have a weird shimmy going on.”

“Yeah, those tires are only good for about a year and they are four years old.”

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