Summer’s Over

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HERE’S ONE IMAGE AND AND A BRIEF STORY FROM AN ESSAY I DID FOR HATCH MAGAZINE.
TO SEE THE REST OF THE IMAGES VISIT HATCH. YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID.

In August of 2010, at he end of a hectic and exhausting summer, I found myself in western Alaska for a week at the Alaska West Lodge. Frankly I was a little burned out. The weather, which can be a formidable challenge in Alaska, complicated my travel arrangements. From Anchorage I was still two bush planes a bus and a boat ride from the camp which rest on an island in the Kanektok river. I fully expected to be spent by the time I got there. I found quite the opposite. By the time I reached the camp I was recharged with excitement by the place. Western Alaska is quietly beautiful. The travel it’s self had been visceral. I recall flying low over deserted wetlands, looking down and identifying parts of an airplane on the ground below. I remember thinking, “yes, you are in the bush now”.

While the other guests were unpacking, having a snack or smoking a cigar, I was getting into my waders and lining up my rod. I just couldn’t wait to see what this place had in store for me. I waded into the Kanektok and within a few cast my indicator disappeared and I was tight to a big rainbow. There I was in heavy water with no net playing a big fish. Clearly, I had not thought this through. About that time a boat rounded the bend.

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Reece’s Surface Assassin

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By Bob Reece

For many fly fishers there is nothing more enchanting that watching trout sip emerging insects from the water’s surface.

This allure can often lead to frustration without the proper pattern and presentation. While the fly fisher is responsible for presentation, Reece’s Surface Assassin is the appropriate pattern.

Both emerging mayflies and caddis flies display some common characteristics when viewed from below. A smooth shelled abdomen along with the husky remains of gills, legs and antennae dangle below the surface film. Simultaneously the glistening exoskeleton and compressed wings of the “new” insect emerge on the water’s surface. Reece’s Surface Assassin, in its wide array of colors, effectively displays this combination of traits to feeding trout.

When fishing this pattern I typically use it as a solo dry. However, in heavy emergences I do rig two Assassins as double dries. I always connect them eye to eye using a non-slip mono loop knot to attach each fly. This allows

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6 Reasons You Might Catch More Bonefish By Wading

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Wading a beautiful sand flat on some tropical island, looking for bonefish is an experience every angler should enjoy.

There’s nothing like wading for bonefish, especially in a remote location where the angler can enjoy breathtaking beauty, solitude and the thrill of casting to un-pressured fish. Wading is not just a cool experience, it’s also productive.

I was talking about bonefishing with Tom Rosenbauer the other day and he made the comment,

“I catch most of my bonefish wading. I just see the fish better.”

That might seem counterintuitive, but I totally agree. While the height the angler gains standing on the boat helps reduce the glare on the water, it also puts the angler in a very different space. I’ve always thought the wade angler was more in touch with the environment and conditions than the boat angler, and therefore more attuned to where the fish are moving. Tom agreed.

This idea stuck in the back of my mind and as the day went on I continued to think of reasons that wading for bonefish is so productive. It’s not the first time I’ve hung up the phone with Tom and sat down to write about the conversation. That should tell you a bit about the man. Anyway, here’s my list of reasons wading for bonefish is so productive.

6 Reasons You Might Catch More Bonefish By Wading

Awareness of your surroundings.
As I mentioned, when you wade you are more aware of things like water movement, contours in the bottom, the consistency of the bottom and the amount of forage. Being in the water puts you in the same space as the fish and you begin to see the cuts and channels they use to travel and the places they might regularly hunt for food. You begin to anticipate their behavior and you find fish because you are looking in the right places.

2. You take your time.

A wading angler covers water more carefully. It’s pretty common, when fishing from a boat, to roll up on a fish and spook it before you even know it’s there. By moving slowly and searching the water methodically the wade angler

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Wind in Saltwater is Your Friend Not Your Enemy

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Its 6:30am in the morning when we arrive at the boat launch in Big Pine Key, FL.

Within minutes of stepping out of the car the stagnant humid air begins to suffocate my body. The North Georgia mountain weather that I’ve grown so accustomed to, feels like air conditioning compared to this, and my body is still in shock from the drastic climate change. As I walk down to the boat ramp to help unload the boat, I feel the first drops of sweat rolling down my back. I think to myself, are you freaking kidding me? The sun isn’t even up yet. There’s absolutely zero breeze this morning, so calm you could spot a fish rolling on the surface three hundred yards away. My eyes seem confused at what their witnessing. If you had blindfolded me, and taken me here, there’s a good chance I’d guess I was on a freshwater reservoir. Call me crazy, but I was under the impression there’s always supposed to be at least some wind in the saltwater. I’d know better, but I’ve spent very little time in the Florida Keys during the late summer. Apparently, it’s quite common to go days without any wind during the months of July, August, and September. Awww, it makes total sense why I saw all those sailboats anchored up now.

You always overhear fly fishermen complaining about too much wind on the saltwater flats, but you rarely hear fly fisherman begging for it. To much or too little of either can spoil your fly fishing on the saltwater flats, making fishing conditions extremely tough. Believe it or not, wind is your friend and can at times, be an asset for fly fishermen. For starters,

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Does Casting Technique Matter For Small Stream Trout Fishing?

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By Louis Cahill

You can sure catch a lot of trout with no more than ten feet of fly line, but does that mean that casting doesn’t matter?

I had this conversation recently. I was fishing a classic, pocket water stream with a friend and at some point he asked me point blank why I was catching fish and he wasn’t. He was shocked when I told him the problem was with his cast. Neither of us had more than ten feet of line out of the tip of our rod.

It’s a problem that plenty of beginning, and even intermediate anglers have. Even with a very short line, poor casts make for poor presentations. the problem is compounded in tight quarters where your first presentation really needs to be your best. Flailing about in close proximity to fish is generally not productive.

One of the most common casting mistakes I see anglers make, when casting a short line, is using too long a stroke. Often, anglers will do this because they are struggling to load the rod. With the head of the line still on the reel, it’s impossible to load the whole rod like you would in a longer cast. The problem very quickly becomes one of line management. The long, and usually circular, casting stroke dumps the fly line on the water, making it nearly impossible to get a good drift. Especially in the conflicting current of fast pocket water.

Fixing this problem is super simple, and comes down to

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Louis’s Fly Fishing Yoga

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Here are two simple stretches that will help your fly casting.

From time to time I see a fly angler who has trouble with their casting because their shoulders are too tight. A limited range of motion can cause all kinds of problems with your cast. It’s worth taking some time do do some simple stretches. 

I have a shoulder stretch I learned in martial arts training, that I do every day in the shower. It only takes a few seconds and it keeps my shoulders flexible. I have another I like to do before I hit the water. This insures that I’m in my best shape for casting.

I’m expecting my audience to have a lot of fun at my expense on this one. It’s silly to stretch in front of the camera anyway and I’m pretty tubby at the minute. It’s ok, go ahead and laugh. These stretches really do make a difference and you don’t have to do them in front of the camera.

WATCH THE VIDEO TO LEARN TWO STRETCHES THAT ARE GREAT FOR FLY FISHERS.

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Hemostat Hacks For Fly-Fisherman

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By Justin Pickett

A pair of hemostats can save a fly fisherman serious time on the water!

If I were asked what one tool, or accessory, I absolutely have to have with me on the water, I would have to say it is, without a doubt, my trusty pair of hemostats.

Not my sunglasses, nippers, or my net, but hemostats. All of my tools are useful, but I can’t stand it when I find out that I’ve left the house without my hemos. When I do, I immediately start thinking of where the nearest drugstore might be, hoping that they’ll have a backup pair on the shelf.

In my opinion, they are an invaluable tool to a fly angler. I use them for so many things when I’m on the water. Of course the most common use is to aid in removing the fly from a fish’s mouth. However, one of the main reasons why I love my hemostats so much is that they help me tie the knots I use the most while I’m on the water, the triple surgeons, and the clinch. These easy tricks save me tons of time re-tying my rig while on the water, and are extremely helpful during the winter months when dexterity is hindered by the frigid temps.

Having a hard time holding on to that size #22 zebra midge? Using hemostats makes tying on small flies easy as pie. If I break my entire rig off on a snag, it doesn’t take me ten minutes to get re-tied. It keeps my flies in the water longer, which increases my chances of catching fish.

It’s no secret folks. You have to have your flies in the water in order to catch fish. So if these tips and tricks help save you a few minutes re-rigging, that’s easily gaining you at least a few more casts and presentations each time!

Here’s a video that demonstrates how to tie the Triple Surgeons and Clinch knots using a pair of hemostats.

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A Flybrary for Anthony

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By Mark Greer,

WHEN MY SON, ANTHONY, SUDDENLY DIED IN MARCH 2011 IT WAS BEYOND DEVASTATING.

His loss was the most excruciating pain that I’ve experienced during my life time. Anth was a talented fly fisherman and a Green River Outfitters Guides Association (GROGA) certified guide on the famed Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir. He was a college student, he tied his own flies, and he fished every waking moment that he could. He was also the kind of angler that would walk up to another angler on the water, strike up a conversation, offer them a secret tip for that specific spot, and then leave them with a couple of flies which he’d been successful with that day. He was also a fly-fishing evangelist, as everyone that expressed an interest in fly-fishing, Anth would take them out with him – teach them to cast, and give them the needed gear to get them started and off on the right foot. 

In an effort to cope with the loss of my son, I did two things. I kept a journal where I’d write my thoughts and what I was struggling with, and I started a (picture) scrapbook of all his fishing adventures. I also decided during that first year of his passing that I’d do a special remembrance project for each year for 10-years. These projects, along with the journal and scrapbook, became my makeshift-therapy for dealing with my son’s death. Here’s a list of those projects.  

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Speyitis

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By Jeff Hickman

THE MOST COMMON FISHING PROBLEM I SEE AMONG SPEY FISHERS WHO CAN CAST WELL IS OVER CASTING.

I refer to this plague as Speyitis. Just because you can cast all the way across the river doesn’t mean that you should all the time. I know it is fun to throw a long line and its even more fun if you can get yanked way out there. For successful fishing it’s important to read the water and decide if a long cast is important there. Much of the time in many spots the fish is likely to be in the inside soft water. Casting across the seam way out into the heavy current you are wasting your time, not allowing your fly to sink and also not allowing it to effectively swing all the way in below you.

If fishing with sinktips, the question to ask yourself or your guide is

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Kiss the Bank with Your Terrestrials

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One of the best times of the year to catch big brown trout is during the summer months.  

When the terrestrial bite is in full swing, brown trout will often tuck up under overhanging foliage super tight to the banks. Often they’ll be in less than a foot of water waiting patiently for the land born insects to fall to the water for an easy meal. Targeting this habitat on the water will increase your brown trout catch ratio over rainbow trout. Although rainbow trout will utilize overhanging foliage, they still prefer foam lines with current and deeper water for the most part.

Target Overhanging Foliage
This beast above devoured a beetle pattern that was placed perfectly in the strike zone. Kiss the banks with your terrestrials targeting undercut banks and overhanging foliage, and you could land a trophy like this. Just because they’re isn’t current doesn’t mean it won’t hold a good trout. The main factor is

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