The Homemade Yeti Cooler

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Don’t get me wrong, your Yeti is a great cooler and, yes, you can use it for a poling platform, sort of, and it does make you look very cool but if you’re like me and you travel a lot to fish it’s just not practical.
What I need is a cheap cooler that I can use for a week or two, then toss in the garbage on the way to the airport. I suffer a little guilt for landfilling a bunch of styrofoam, but the damage to my wallet is minimal.

I’ve used styrofoam coolers from grocery stores for years. On photo shoots I will sometimes have a half dozen of them. The problem is, they don’t hold up. You can buy cheap plastic ones but they are still twenty bucks or so and they’re not as good as the styrofoam at keeping ice. If you pitch six of them, you’re tossing $120. My frugal soul can’t stand that.

Five or six years ago I figured out this cool trick for making your styrofoam cooler bomber. A couple of layers of strategically placed duct tape on the sides, top and bottom make them surprisingly tough. Adding duct tape hinges and a lid helps to keep your ice longer by keeping the lid shut tight.

I’ve been doing this for years and I have

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12 Tips for Spotting More Bonefish

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So you want to catch a bonefish?

To catch a bonefish, one must first see a bonefish, and there’s the problem. Bonefish are nearly invisible as any living creature. Their camouflage is almost flawless. Their sides are as bright as a mirror and reflect their surroundings perfectly. If the bottom is light, the fish is light. If the bottom is dark, the fish is dark. It can be maddening.

The problem is compounded for the angler who is making the transition from trout fishing to flats fishing. The method of spotting fish is completely different. In fact it’s almost opposite. To find a trout you identify the likely holding water and stare into that spot, waiting for the window to open so that you can glimpse a head or a tail. But trout are holding still in moving water. Bonefish are always on the move. If you stare through that window you’ll miss the show.

I can remember standing on the bow, listening to my guide’s voice become tense, then frustrated. “He’s right there Man, forty feet, right in front of the boat.” “You can’t see the fish, Man?” It will test your self confidence, make you wonder if you know anything about fishing.

With time, the lights turn on and you start to understand the subtle signs of life that you’ve been missing. You learn how to look for fish. Spotting bonefish never gets easy but it become doable. With time, a good pair of polarized glasses and a little patience from your guide, the bonefish will reveal himself.

HERE ARE TEN TIPS TO HELP.

1. Keep your head on a swivel
There are some rules for how fish move on the tide, but bonefish don’t care much for rules. They’re like kids, they mill around, get distracted, turn and stop suddenly. They could be anywhere on the flat. Keep scanning the water. The closest bonefish may be behind you.

2. Don’t get tunnel vision
It’s easy to anticipate where you will see fish. You can find yourself staring at a small piece of water trying to make fish appear. This tunnel vision can be its worst when your guide is calling out a fish. You may be looking ten feet to the left of the fish and never see it. Keep your eyes relaxed and look at the big picture. See the forest, not the trees.

3. Search the glare
The surface of the water reflects the sky and one part of the sky is always lighter than the other. That means that there is almost always part of the water where you can see well and a part where you see mostly glare. The natural tendency is to spend your time searching the water where you can see well but this is not the most effective method. Scan that water quickly, then slow down when you scan the glare. That will help keep you from missing fish.

4. Tilt your head
Polarized sun glasses work with the angle of the light. The angle of the light is always changing but your glasses stay put. If you are struggling to see

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4 Worm Patterns I Always Carry In My Fly Box

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Worm Fly Patterns That Consistently Catch Fish

It’s no secret worm patterns are super consistent most of the year for catching both stocked and wild trout. They work especially well for stocked fish, after a big rain, and during the spring, winter, and fall seasons. I’ve had days when the only thing I could get trout to eat was a san juan worm. There’s a bunch of haters out there that will not fish them, claiming it’s the next closest thing to fishing a real earthworm, but look in their fly box and I bet you’ll find a few. I on the other hand, have no problem fishing worm patterns, because they do a great job of keeping my clients rods bent, which in turn, pays my bills. To top it all off, worm patterns are among the cheapest and easiest fly patterns for me to tie. I can rip out about a dozen in less than ten minutes, for about $2.50 worth of materials. Choosing to put worm patterns in your fishing line-up, will almost certainly put more fish in your net. Below are four worm patterns I always keep in my fly box.

Click on Photos For Larger Views
      
Fly Patterns Left to Right: Chamois Worm, Fl. Pink Flash San Juan Worm, Squirmy Wormy, Delektable Soft-Hackle Worm

The Chamois “Shammy” Worm
Yes, you read the name right, this fly is made out of a car drying chamois. For $10-14 you can buy one and tie about 100+ chamois worms with it. This pattern can be deadly after a fresh rain, when earthworms have been washed from

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Bonefish School Report

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By Louis Cahill

It is impossible to overstate how excited I am to be back in the Bahamas.

I’m currently at Bair’s Lodge for three weeks, teaching the Bonefish School. It wasn’t 100% clear that I would be ab;e to come until right before Christmas. Getting the thumbs up from my doctor was a pretty good Christmas present. Being here with 33 great anglers from around the world would be a honor at any point, but right now its a real blessing.

I’m taking it pretty easy. I stayed behind today to rest. My eye was getting irritated but a few steroid drops and a nap seems to have worked wonders. I feel sure I’ll be back in the saddle tomorrow.

I’M HAPPY TO REPORT THAT I AM CATCHING, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, SEEING SOME BONEFISH!

I have a whole host of new challenges to be sure, but I’m working through it and having a blast. It’s strong medicine, being able to do the things I love. Bonefishing, and helping folks become better anglers. I even shot a few new videos today so those will be on the site before long. Thanks for all of your patience.

2020 is shaping up to be another great season here on South Andros. Being here, it’s almost hard to remember how devastated parts of the Bahamas are from Dorian. South Andros remains untouched and the fishing has been great. We are seeing lots of big fish, although no one has hit the 10 pound mark yet. Well, we’re only tree days in and those fish are here in good numbers. It’s just a matter of time.

Last night we were working on casting on the beach when huge shark swam by just fifteen feet off the shore. That got everyone really excited. A couple of the guys decided they’d be taking their swimsuits home unused. 

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Using XL Trout Beads As Attractors In Your Tandem Rig

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Back in 2006, I spent a season guiding in Alaska at Mission Creek Lodge.

It was a great experience and a hell of a lot of hard work, but I held my own and ended up representing well for Southeastern fishing guides. That doesn’t make me an expert on Alaska fishing by any means, particularly when compared to bad ass veteran alaskan guides like Andrew Grillos, TJ Zandoli, and Nathan Cornelius. That season in Alaska I was blessed with the opportunity to pick the brains and learn from some of the best bush guides in the area. One lesson I learned right off the bat was using an extra large attractor trout bead as my lead fly in my tandem bead rigs. Point being, matching the hatch and size of the eggs isn’t the only factor that plays into getting big trout to eat. The attraction factor you get by using a 10-12mm trout bead often sparks initial interest from big bows, persuading them to move in for a closer look. In most cases they’ll end up eating the smaller more appropriately sized bead, but it became very obvious to me how important a role, big attractor beads played in creating hookups.

Since then, I’ve experimented using big attractor beads on other trout waters in the United States. I often fish a 10mm trout bead in the top position with

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Big Fish Require Slow Hook Sets On Top

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If any of you have fished for cutthroat trout with dry flies you know most of the time you need to wait a good while on the hook set.

The first time I fished for cutthroats I missed many more takes than I care to share. Cutthroat trout are known for their slow motion rises, and if you set the hook too quick, you’ll end up just pulling the fly out of the trout’s mouth.

Just like cutthroat’s, big rainbow and brown trout also require you to count, 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississip…in your head before you set the hook to ensure consistent hook ups. If you can still see the fish eating your fly you need to wait longer. A big trout comes up, opens it bucket mouth, and usually doesn’t close it fully until it’s submerged completely below the surface. And if a fish is chasing after and eating your dry fly moving downstream, you have to wait even longer.

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Covering a Hatch Starts with Carrying the Right Flies

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HAVE YOU EVER BEEN STANDING IN THE RIVER WATCHING A BIG HATCH UNFOLDING WITH RISING FISH ALL AROUND YOU, BUT FOR SOME REASON YOU CAN’T GET THE FEEDING FISH TO EAT YOUR FLIES?

Covering and owning a hatch starts with you first carrying the right fly patterns. When you know you’re going to encounter a specific hatch on the water, always carry multiple variations (colors, sizes) and stages (nymph, emerger, dun, spinner) to make sure you’re covered. Trout can get really picky during selective feeding.

This very situation happened to me last year running a guided float trip during an intense sulphur hatch. There was yellow everywhere, and fish were in a feeding frenzy, but the trout wouldn’t eat any of my sulphur patterns I tied on for my clients. Even my CDC go-to patterns that always work, were shunned by the feeding trout. I finally found a sulphur pattern after my seventh try that the trout consistently liked, and it saved the day. It ended up being nothing special, just a dun with in a slightly different color shade. The remainder of the float trip all I could think about was how important it was that I had so many different sulphur imitations on hand. It would have been a long quiet drive back if my clients witnessed an epic hatch with perfect conditions, and we ended up striking out on the water.

Your standard parahcute style dun with a small nymph dropper off the back will not always work. Below are some examples of other fly pattern options for rounding out your fly box and owning a hatch:

Drys
Parachute Style (with and without trailing shuck)

Traditional Style (palmered hackle)

Thorax Style (Palmered Hackle with hackle trimmed off on the bottom so pattern rides low on the water)

No Hackle Style (Just like it sounds, no hackle is used in the recipe)

CDC Style (CDC is substituted for

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Concealing your Profile to Catch more fish

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Sometimes its not enough wearing earthy tone colored clothing or even camouflage to keep a smart wily trout from spotting you.

Most of the time, movement and your profile tips educated trout off. When the opportunity presents itself for you to use the natural terrain to conceal or break up your profile, and it happens to lie right next to a good hole, tuck in behind it and use it to your advantage. Sometimes the extra effort will pay off and you’ll find yourself hooked up with a fish that’s outsmarted most other anglers. Brown trout particularly are notorious for spotting you well before you come close to making your first cast. Remember

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The New Simms G4 Pro Wading Boot: Video

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The new G4 Pro Wading Boot is the toughest boot Simms has ever made.

Simms took the development of this new G4 boot very seriously. A lot of field testing went into making a boot that was not only feature rich but totally bomb proof. If you’re looking for a wading boot to last more than a couple of hard seasons, you may have just found it.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR ALL OF THE DETAILS ON THE NEW SIMMS G4 PRO WADING BOOT!

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Wood is Good

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Target Woody structure and catch more fish.

“Wood is good”, shouted Sam Cornelius manning the oars, as I concentrated on drifting my flesh pattern against the never ending medley of wood snags along the Togiak River banks in Alaska, back in 2006. “When ever you see wood, drift your flies as close to it as you can, because fish are usually close by.

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