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By Marcus Saunders

That gentle morning light seems to push back all those fears that hound our minds at 3am. Glancing sideways out of the ute window, I see vague outlines race by as the human world slowly comes into focus; the radio is silent, and only the occasional rattle of the trailer reminds me that the boat is in tow. Early mornings belong to no one. Fishermen seem to love them more than most, the enveloping quiet, indifference from most wildlife and only the occasional raspy bird call. The put-in at Cressy is quiet, not another soul as you watch the sun creeping closer until finally that ribbon of fire burns across the landscape. The boat slides gently from the cradle, the teflon doing its job as quickly the boat is tugging on the rope. Sometimes it feels a little strange, like a dog pulling on the leash, then final checks and a gentle push, and your other life is left behind. The first dip of the oar as you correct then find your line, followed by the inevitable arse shifting as the rope seat softens and you push to find your sacred position. You swing the bow into the current, one more quick check, and finally it feels right.

Despite the graft, it just feels right. Everything seems to be as it should be, and a little on-the-spot research confirms that these boats were designed for hard labour. I’ve never considered myself an oarsman, but when I sit in a boat that has been shaped by my own hands a different kind of connection seems to exist. It may sound a little fauxmantic, yet it is possibly like any other love in that it helps make us whole. The slow start is comforting, low volume on the chatter as eyes search, those extra few minutes in the seat settle you quickly as mental adjustments are made and reading the water takes on its true meaning, searching casts arc out toward the bank as perception and reality clash. Thankfully, rhythm takes hold as cast after cast seems to be hitting the zone, the first slashy take drags us back as the mad scramble ensues, all that initial organisation goes to shit as the net gets dragged out from under what appears to be a floating fishing store and takeaway food shop. Gently you ease back on the oars as the struggle quickly fades and the net is dipped beneath a pretty little hen with spots that makes you take a second look. It feels good to be on the board early and, after easing her gently back, some quick reorganising shuffles the positions and it’s my turn to cast.

The day rolls with the pace of the river. Continual mends are thrown as you attempt to use the current to your advantage, still no hatch yet enough fish sitting just off the edge that the nymph dropper can still bring some activity. The air temperature has climbed enough that we can now strip down to waders and a tee, we need no reminders of how cold and long winter is, and any chance to lighten up is taken. Along with the warmth come the hatches. All of a sudden the back eddies are filling with lilting mayflies, they lift and fall under the now patchy sky, leaders are lightened and size 16 black spinners are tied on and ginked. We float along until

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Sunday Classic / Relax, Read the Water and Believe

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Sometimes, wanting too much can get you in trouble on the water. If you set your goals too high and lose sight of the real reason you’re out there in the first place (to be blessed with catching a few fish and relaxing), before you know it, you’ll find yourself standing in a river feeling lost and heart broken. It’s not that wanting is bad, it’s just that too much of it, like most things in life, can be detrimental. Want has the ability to turn into greed very quickly if you aren’t careful. And fly fishing with greed on the mind is the quickest way to doom yourself to failure. Greed fogs your mind, keeps you from thinking rationally on the water and your fishing, in turn, suffers.

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Saturday Shoutout / My First Fish

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Do you remember your first fish?

This great video, sourced from Orvis News, follows a five-year-old boy on his journey to becoming an angler. What a treat to see the wonder in his eyes, holding his first steelhead. Take a few minutes to watch and share. It’s magical.


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Seigler Fly Reel: Video

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The new Seigner fly reel is one of the coolest new products in fly fishing.

You don’t see a lot that’s really new in fly reels. Yes, you see reels getting lighter or cooler looking but it isn’t often something comes along that’s actually different. This reel is.

You might know the name Seigler if you are into blue-water gear fishing. They have made heavy-duty gear reels for years. It turns out that Wes Seigler is an avid fly angler and he decided to make a fly reel that solves some problems he found in fish fighting.

Among the cool features you’ll find in this reel are a lever action drag, which allows you to quickly and accurately adjust your drag within establish safe parameters while fighting a fish, and an asymmetrical spool that stacks your backing for you. Best of all, there’s a solid possibility that you could get one for free.

Check out the video for all of the details on the new Seigler fly reel!

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Deschutes Steelhead Update

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Things are looking up for this season’s steelheading on the Deschutes.

Last year was an interesting one for Deschutes steelhead anglers. Between the fires and low numbers of returning fish, a lot of anglers decided to sit the season out. It was nice having the river to ourselves, and in spite of the well publicized low return, we had great fishing.

Things look much better for this year. Numbers of returning fish are up significantly over last year and guides I know are reporting good catch rates and reduced river traffic. There’s some blackened grass in spots but the bushes and trees are in good shape. It looks like it’s lining up to be a good season.

We still have a few spots open for our Deschutes camp trip in Sept. Shoot me an email at hookups@ginkandgasoline.com if you’d like to join us for one of the funnest fishing trips I know.

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Should You Be Sharpening Your Hooks More?

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Casting all day long, searching for that beast of a brown. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. I know that’s what it’s going to take if I want a decent shot at landing a big mature brown trout. I’m looking for a 20 plus-incher and they never come easy. And where I live, you’re lucky to get a few opportunities at legitimate wild brown trout of this caliber all year long. We’re approaching a bend that’s known for holding butter slabs and I present a perfect cast right against the deep undercut bank. The retrieve begins, strip strip, pause…, strip strip, pause. Without any warning my six-inch articulated sculpin gets slammed and my fly rod just about comes out of my hands. It’s just been devoured by something very big, and I think it’s what I’ve been looking for. I set the hook hard and my rod bends as the fish breaks the surface thrashing violently, shades of butter are spotted. “It’s a brown!” I yell, but two strips and two head shakes later my fly pulls loose and the beast swims away. My prized catch is lost.

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Leader Materials Revisited

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By Louis Cahill

So which is actually stiffer, monofilament or fluorocarbon?

A while back I wrote an article on understanding leaders. While talking about the different materials used in fly leaders I mentioned that mono is stiffer than fluorocarbon and I got called out in the comments by a couple of readers. Rightfully so. One of my pet peeves is when people talk about fly fishing from a narrow perspective, forgetting that there are many different kinds of fly fishing, and damned if I didn’t do it myself.

So what’s the answer? Which is stiffer, mono or fluorocarbon?

The answer is, it depends.

When I wrote that mono is stiffer, I was thinking about casting and I was thinking as a saltwater angler. I totally ignored how most anglers use the material. One of the fundamental differences between the two materials is that mono

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Restock My Box Contest

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By Bob Reece

As we near the weeks of late summer, fly boxes around the country are falling into disrepair. In an effort to remedy this situation for one lucky fly fisher, I’ve partnered up with Gink & Gasoline. I”ll be giving away one hundred twenty flies to the selected winner. That mixture of flies will include one dozen of each of the following patterns:

Size 6 Tan Beefcake Hopper
Size 8 Purple Beefcake Hopper
Size 10 Chartreuse Beefcake Hopper
Size 16 Amber/Peacock Fusion
Size 16 Chartreuse Fusion
Size 16 Yellow Fusion
Size 16 Brown Fusion
Size 16 Amber/Pink Fusion
Size 18 Red Fusion
Size 18 Purple Fusion
To enter yourself in the drawing, follow both Gink & Gasoline and Thin Air Angler on Instagram. Then post of picture of the inside of your favorite fly box with the hashtag #restockmybox The winner will be drawn on August 22nd. Thank you for taking part and giving us a chance to load you up with some late summer flies!

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Sunday Classic / A Tight Line Presentation is Key in Saltwater Fly Fishing

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When fly fishing in saltwater, keeping the slack out of the system is job one. Slack can cause missed fish, long distance release and even refusals. A tight line is key at every stage of the process, but many anglers overlook the initial presentation.

Triggering a fish’s instinct to strike relies on the fly having a lifelike action when the fish first catches sight of it. That means that the fly should move in the manner of the prey it represents from the instant it hits the water. In most cases that cannot be accomplished with slack in the system. Even, or maybe especially, when fishing crab patterns where the natural action is the fall to the bottom, slack kills. These flies are often eaten as soon as they hit the water and if the line has slack, you will never know it.

There is nothing more important to success in saltwater fly fishing than a tight line presentation, but it’s not an easy thing to pull off. Here are some tips and a video to help you get the slack out.

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Saturday Shoutout / Your Dream Job Awaits

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If you love trout, conservation, and live in the southeast, Have I got a job for you!

Trout unlimited is looking to seriously up their game here in the Southeast. In particular they are ramping up their efforts in brook trout conservation, which makes my heart swell. There is nothing more important, in my mind, than protecting our one native trout.

If you are passionate about cold water fisheries, work well with others and want to make a real difference, here is your chance. TU is hiring a full time Volunteer Coordinator for the Southeast. You can get al the details and apply for this important position at the link below. If you know the perfect person for this job, please forward this to them.


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