Boneyard

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Watch the Video!

See the island of South Andros through fresh eyes.

In January Ray and Jenna Wolfram, of Wildrums media, joined me for the bonefish school at Bair’s Lodge on South Andros. Although this was their first bonefish trip, they took to it and wasted no time in putting together this great short film. “Boneyard” showcases the people, scenery and stellar bonefishing the island has to offer.

Even if you are not a saltwater angler you’re sure to love the beautiful images and joyful spirt of this film. Take a few minutes and join us on South Andros.

“BONEYARD”

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Slim Shady Baetis

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By Bob Reece

A baetis pattern with a secret.

“Hopper” Juan Ramirez is full time guide on Colorado’s South Platte and Arkansas Rivers. His years of experience on these water have allowed him to build an on-the-water knowledge base that is second to none. One of his recent creations, the Slim Shady Baetis 5.0, is testament to his understanding.

When I asked Juan about his Slim Shady 5.0, he shared the following thoughts with me. “The Slim Shady 5.0 was a pattern that I worked on for several years before I finally found the right material to set it apart from other great patterns that already existed. It took several versions, but I finally settled on a pattern that utilized a “secret” material. “Slim Rib” is a micro stretch material that I use to make a wonderful segmentation on this pattern. No one else is using it and that’s what sets this pattern apart from all the other Mayfly Nymph patterns. The pattern sits on a 200R hook. The 200R is a hook that is 3x long, giving it a wonderful mayfly shape. As the name states, it’s a slim pattern, matching the small mayflies in the Southern Rockies as well as elsewhere. It’s been thoroughly tested on the South Platte, Animas, Piedra, Dolores and Arkansas Rivers and has accounted for some really fine fish for my clients and me. “

While proper presentation is integral on highly pressure water, accuracy of

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Keep Your Hands on the Cork

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By Kent Klewein

Like so many others out there, I’ve broken my fair share of fly rods over the years.

I’ve slammed them in tailgates, stuck them in ceiling fans and I’ve squashed quite a few trying to get in and out of my cataraft to quickly. It took me awhile to figure it out, but I finally realized I was the problem, and I’ve since learned to slow down and not worry about being the first angler on the river all the time. It’s kinda funny how just slowing down a few steps and taking a couple extra minutes to get organized, keeps those negligible acts of snapping fly rods to a minimum.

One overlooked fly rod handling mistake I see all the time by fly anglers, is taking their hands off the cork during the final stages of the fight, and moving one hand high up on the butt section of the rod in the effort to get extra leverage to land the fish. You never want to do this, because when you do, you change the fulcrum point of the fly rod and eliminate the fly rods ability to use the strongest part of the rod, its butt section. This puts extra pressure on

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The Pacu Bead

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By Louis Cahill

If you are a dry-fly purest, you might want to sit this one out.

Bead fishing in the jungles of Argentina is about as far from fishing a dry fly as you could imagine. It’s not much closer to Alaska bead fishing. It’s one of the most unorthodox and effective methods I’ve ever used to catch a fish. It’s also incredibly fun!

We travel to the jungle for golden dorado, but like many predatory fish, the dorado takes a long siesta during the middle of the day. Rather than pound the water pointlessly, we’ll take a couple of hours to catch some of the exotic species found in these rivers.

The most popular is the pacu. These brawny fish are shaped like trashcan lids and put up a serious fight. They are sometimes called freshwater permit, mostly for their shape, but they are also picky eaters. They are omnivores but one of their chief food sources is actually fruit and nuts that fall from trees lining the river. They have teeth like a human for chewing these tough terrestrials.

So how to you target a fish that eats nuts?

Well, not by wading, I can tell you that! (Sorry, that was too much to resist.) Seriously though, the Argentine guides have developed an ingenious way to imitate this unusual food source. They fish giant beads from the craft store. Beads up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter. They taper the hole on one side of the bead with a

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The Perfect Gamefish

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By Justin Pickett

All hype aside, golden dorado may be the perfect gamefish.

Prior to my trip to Parana On The Fly Lodge, I had my own preconceived ideas of what fishing for Golden Dorado might be like. Everyone knows they have teeth. You’ve no doubt seen them in photos, jumping and thrashing in the water. But what you don’t know about them, and what I didn’t know about them, will make them even more badass than you ever thought.

First off, they are some moody little bastards. Chucking hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of casts between fish is common. Not because the fish are scarce. There are plenty of fish living within the Parana’s waters. The Goldens just seem to have a particular set of requirements that must be met before they strike. Even the little guys can get picky and will inspect your fly all the way to the boat before turning away. I remember thinking to myself on the second day that this type of fishing reminded me of fishing for musky. Constantly pounding the banks and structure, over and over, fighting the urge to “zone out” from the repetitive nothingness of empty retrieves. Sometimes the only break in the monotony would be the occasional hang up in the bushes or trees, or maybe the hideous, haunting sound of howler monkeys blasting through the jungle. It took me a day and a half to land my first Golden Dorado. In other words, you have to work for them a little bit. You have to earn your stripes a little, and pay some dues. You’re not just going to step onto a boat, sling some line, and yank one in the boat. It takes a little bit of grit, and I like that.

Another thing that makes these apex river monsters awesome is where and how they hold in the river. Like many of our favorite gamefish here in the states, they are ambush predators. Hiding amongst submerged trees, bushes, rocks, sand banks, and cut-banks, the mean-muggers blend in to the powerful, turbulent waters of the Parana, despite their golden flanks. They hold on the

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Sunday Classic / Fly Fishing with Stealth – 8 Common Mistakes

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How often to you think anglers miss opportunities catching trout because of the lack of stealth? The more educated trout populations are in a stream, river or lake you’re fly fishing, the more important it is for fly anglers to mimic the way a hunter stalks game in the field. I estimate that I give away upwards of 50% of my trout catching opportunities due to my lack of stealth. Below are 8 common mistakes fly anglers make on the water that blow their cover and success.

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Saturday Shoutout / Bob Larko

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Andrea Larko is one of the most recognizable artists in fly-fishing.

Her unique vision is exciting and instantly identifiable. Her artwork has been licensed to the biggest brand names in fly fishing and has long been my personal favorite. If you are not familiar with Andrea’s work, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Recently she started a new series of whimsical cartoons based on a character she named Bob. These fun, good natured cartoons sum up the wonder, blunder and frustration anyone who has picked up a fly rod will identify with. They are simply wonderful.

You can see more Bob Cartoons, as well as some wonderful art, on Andrea’s Instagram feed.

Visit her Etsy page to find art, apparel and accessories any fly fisher will love.

THANKS ANDREA, FOR BEING YOU!

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Mora’s Dorado Streamer: Video

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Watch the Video!

Dorado streamers are an exercise in elegance.

The first time I tries tying streamers for golden dorado I made a mess of it. I imagine that is a pretty common experience for anglers tackling this apex predator for the first time. Coming from a background of tying streamers for species like trout, pike and musky, my instinct was to put way too much material on the hook. The flies looked great, but they were impossible to fish in the way they need to be fished.

Dorado fishing is intense. There is no explaining it. You just have to experience it for yourself. It’s streamer fishing at it’s absolute best and most demanding. You have to make accurate cast, quickly, and you have to do it all day. Your ability to accurately cover structure is key. It’s like tactical shooting with a fly rod. If your fly is too heavy, you’ll be toast at the end of the day when your chance of hooking a kraken are their best.

The most important thing in tying any fly is to understand the target species, how they feed and the triggers that make them eat.

Dorado flies don’t need to run deep. The fish is not afraid to come to the surface, or of anything else for that matter. They also do not need to push a ton of water. They do need a sizable profile, great action and high contrast. Effective dorado patterns deliver these elements with the bare minimum of materials.

The guides at Parana on the fly, where I host my annual dorado trip, tie every day. These guys know dorado and are masters at crafting effective patterns. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity. It’s exactly that simplicity that makes them effective.

HERE’S PARANA ON THE FLY GUIDE LUCAS MORA TYING A CLASSIC DORADO STREAMER.

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Getting your bugs in order

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By Allen Gardner

Are you confident in your fly selection, or are you just guessing?

Most anglers open their fly box, look aimlessly at the hundreds (maybe more) of dollars of flies and make their fly selection based on their past experiences or whatever “looks good” in their box. “I did good on that one last year, guess I’ll try it out.” When is the last time you heard a guide say that?

You don’t, and it’s because they first ask the question, what are the trout eating today? Once they have a strong, educated decision, they select the fly and begin to catch loads of fish. The knowledge that helps them select the right fly quickly and more accurately is fly fishing entomology.

This article will help you understand the orders, stages, sizes and colors of 99.99% of all insects you will need to identify on the river. This is the first step in fly fishing entomology. With time you will learn to observe and identify the specific insects, and stages, which are attracting the trouts attention, but for now let’s just familiarize ourselves with the menu. We’ve put together a complete list of orders, stages, sizes and colors that are important to the fly angler.

Bookmark this page, you will refer back to if often, it’s incredibly helpful.

ORDERS AKA INSECT CATEGORIES

Let’s learn quickly what we mean by orders and stages, then we’ll show the list of insects by order, category, size and color.

Orders are just a fancy and scientific way of saying a category of insect. Remember in highschool biology when they taught Kingdom, Phylum, Class, ORDER, Family, Genus, Species? Of course you don’t, who listens in highschool biology? You should have listened though cause it relates to fly fishing!

All you really need to know is that as fly fishermen, nearly all of our fly patterns we use imitate orders of insects, not the specific species. Aside from some mayflies (Hex, Green Drakes, BWO, etc) and some stoneflies (salmonflies, yellow sallies etc), we keep it simple and only focus on the categories.

This is great news for all of us, because instead of having to remember 10,000 insect species, we just need to understand 12 or so categories. If you can identify the order of the insect, you’re more than 25% of the way to selecting the right fly.

STAGES AKA INSECT LIFECYCLES

Stages of an insect simply refer to their current stage within an insect lifecycle. Insects go through complete and incomplete metamorphsis. Complete metamorphisis includes a pupa stage while incomplete skips that step and gets on with the story.

Most insects that you need to know for trout fishing go through a larva (nymph), emerger, adult (dry), and spinner stage. We refer to these plainly as nymph, pupa, emerger, dry, spinner when fly fishing and they often correlate to fly patterns.

Not all insects have these stages, and some have an extra pupa stage, and only some of those stages apply to trout feeding behavior… it gets a bit complicated, but for now hold on to the fact that this provides a list for you to digest, not the entire subject. You’d need a fly fishing entomology course for that and is a great idea if you’re ready to take your fly fishing to the next level.

Let’s simplify and give you a framework you can use to start learning your bugs.

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The Flats, Light Bottom vs. Dark Bottom

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Water temperatures and seasons play an important role for fly fishermen fishing the saltwater flats.

Saltwater fish prefer to utilize different types of flats throughout the year to maximize their comfort and food intake. When I was new to the saltwater side of the sport, I never gave it much thought on why my guide was choosing to take me fishing on a light colored sandy flat, versus a grassy or dark bottom flat. It wasn’t my expertise, so I just went along with everything. Quite a few years have past since my rookie fishing days in saltwater. I’ve logged many more trips on the saltwater flats, and I’ve taken the time to pick the brains of the saltwater guides, so I could better understand why they choose one type of flat over the other during the year. Below is a quick recap of information on what I’ve gathered from numerous saltwater guides on this subject.

Fly fishing on saltwater flats is very similar to bass fishing on large reservoirs, in the fact that water temperature is critical in both for consistently locating fish and productive water. Both freshwater and saltwater fish strive to maintain stable underwater enviornments. When water conditions change, so does the habits and behavior of the game fish we’re targeting, as well as, the food sources they prey upon. Fly fisherman who understand this, are quick to match their fishing tactics with the present conditions on the water, because they know it’s critical for staying on top of the fish and in the action.

Light bottomed flats reflect a large portion of the sunlight. When water temperatures are at the extreme end of the comfort zone

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