Hellgrammite, The King Kong of Aquatic Insects

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I was on the water trout fishing the other day, when my buddy Erik Ashlin said, “it was just about this time last year, when all the hellgrammites began crawling into the shallows to begin their pupation. Let me flip over a rock and see if I can find one real quick, these guys are wicked looking”. No joke, the first rock Erik turned over, this freaking giant 3″ Hellgrammite was laying there with its jaws of life (mandibles) snapping. It was very clear it was gesturing, “come on, get closer…, let me get a piece of you”! If you ever get the opportunity to examine a big Hellgrammite up close, there will be no doubt in your mind that the Hellgrammite is the King Kong of all aquatic insects. Be careful handling them because they can pack one hell of a painful pinch capable of breaking the skin. Hellgrammites are like a five course meal in terms of food value to trout. I’d lay a bet they pack every bit as much caloric worth as sculpins and crayfish do. Great times to fish hellgrammite imitations are during high flows after heavy rains. During these conditions, they often get dislodged from under rocks and swept down stream. Hellgrammites are also very vulnerable during behavioral drifts, when the larva are searching out new feeding grounds or better water conditions. If you’re trying to tempt a trophy brown trout, rainbow trout, or smallmouth bass into eating, you can’t go wrong with a hellgrammite imitation. That being said, Hellgrammites shouldn’t be used as your everyday searching pattern. Somedays you’ll find fish won’t pay them any attention, while other days, they’ll be your big fish producers. Eirk Ashlin, the creator of the “Hellaiser” with Rainy’s Flies, agrees saying, “I frequently tie one on during … Continue reading

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Better Bonefish Retrieve

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So you’ve found yourself a bonefish and you’ve made that big cast into the wind, now what? The propped retrieve is key to success. There are several things keep in mind. The speed and length of the strip, keeping slack out of the system. And what if the fish follows but doesn’t eat? Bruce Chard is back to help you get it all right and hook that fish! Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Better Down Stream Presentations & Drifts

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How many times have you been trout fishing and spotted a big trout positioned down and across stream of you feeding? I know I’ve seen it plenty of times on the water, and it always seems like those fish are always positioned just out of reach for me to get a regular cast and drag-free drift over them. Right before my fly reaches the fish, I run out of slack as my fly line comes tight, and I get unwanted drag on my fly. Presenting your flies this way to educated fish can often end up putting them down. If you find yourself in this situation you need to be ready to smoothly and quickly kick out extra fly line out the end of your rod tip during your drift. Executing this properly you’ll be able to maintain enough slack to extend your drag-free drift so your offering can make it to the fish, and have a good chance of being eaten. I see fly fisherman all the time try to use a shaking motion with their rod tip to kick out extra fly line and extend their drift. Most of the time this doesn’t work very well, because it’s really difficult for you to let out fly line fast enough, and keep your flies from moving all over the place in the process. Watch this video below as I demonstrate how to properly present your fly down and across stream to a feeding trout, and smoothly kick out extra fly line to maintain a drag-free drift. It will take a few minutes for first-timers to get the hang of it, but once you do, you’ll have the technique mastered forever. Step 1:  Before you make your presentation make sure you have plenty of extra fly line stripped off the reel. … Continue reading

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Anchor Placement When Space Is Tight

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You could write a book about anchor placement in Spey casting. In fact, I feel sure several have been written. Rightfully so, since anchor placement is the foundation on which a good Spey cast is built. For those who are not aware, the anchor is where the fly is placed in the water as the Spey cast begins. The rule of thumb is this. Your anchor should be placed a rod length away and forty-five degrees to one side or the other of the direction you intend to cast. Simple enough but that’s a little like the ten and two rule. It’s not quite the whole story. First off, the forty-five degree mark is where your anchor should be when you hit your forward stroke. This means that you have to take current speed and direction into account when you place the fly. There are other real world factors that come into play as well. One of them is frequently brush or rocks that interfere with your D-loop. There are some simple ways around this but rather than try to explain it in text, I’m going to let my buddy Jeff Hickman show you how to get the cast off when space is tight, in this video. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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The Only Two Caddis Pupa Patterns I Really Need to Carry

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Caddisflies, who doesn’t love them? I can assure you trout sure do. Tying a caddisfly imitation on, is usually not a bad move on any trout water you visit. Globally, there’s thousands of different species of caddisflies, and that fact alone, one could argue caddisflies are the most abundant and popular aquatic insects found in trout water. If I remember correctly, my first trout landed on a dry fly was with an Elk Hair Caddis. That was a long time ago, back when I knew nothing about fishing caddis pupa patterns and how important they were. I’ve since, with the help of the great Gary LaFontaine, author of the famous book, “Caddisflies”, deepened my knowledge of this aquatic insect, and I’ve built a whole new appreciation and respect for the importance they have in a trout’s diet. Year-round, but particularly during the spring, early summer and fall, fly anglers should be well stocked up on caddisfly pupa fly patterns. It’s safe to say the most effective way to catch the trout during a caddisfly hatch is to fish caddis pupa imitations. I’ve got many different caddisfly pupa patterns in my fly box, but over the years, LaFontaine’s deep sparkle pupa and emergent sparkle pupa have caught me more fish than all the other pupa patterns combined. These patterns should be in every trout anglers fly box. Gary LaFontaine did an excellent job of researching and studying the characteristics, underwater look and behavior of emerging caddis pupa. He used aquariums with living caddisfly specimens, and spent countless hours scuba diving on rivers during caddisfly hatches to gain accurate insight of what the trout see during a caddisfly hatch. He then took the research and data he collected and hand picked fly tying materials that he could use to design and tie … Continue reading

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Sunday Classic / Georgia Man Catches Trout On Car Key, But Why?

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Why in the hell would you fish that? I’m glad you asked. To prove a point. For some reason this year I have run into more anglers with attitude than usual. Ranging from the dry fly purest who think they walk on the water rather than fish it, to the Bonos of fly fishing who keep a sharpie handy for a quick autograph. Here’s an example. I was on a photo shoot a while back on the Henry’s Fork. I had a few minutes to fish and frankly, I needed a fish to photograph, so I asked the guide for a rod. He gave me a set up with a Chernobyl Ant, the fly everyone else was using to NOT catch fish. I didn’t have my gear so I ask if he had any streamers. The reply I got brought steam out of my ears. “This is the Henry’s Fork and we don’t do that here”. Rather than launch into a diatribe on what horse shit that is, I explained that this was my job and I needed a fish and may I please have a streamer. Within a few casts I had my fish. The guide was clearly irritated and insisted that it meant nothing. I was talking, ok bitching, about this narrow view of fishing to Kent, over a few beers, when he challenged me to come up with the most f¥€ked up thing I could catch a fish on. After a few ideas we decided on a car key. I liked this because I cary a key chain with way too many keys. So I picked out a key and tied on a hook with a marabou tail. To further infuriate the purest I chose to fish it on 30 lb cuda wire. We were floating the … Continue reading

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Saturday Shoutout / The Right Brain Interweb

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This week we’re sharing some craziest and most creative fun from the fly fishing interweb. Off beat, surly, inappropriate and down right brilliant. Here are three sites I love! Paul Puckett’s “Right Brain Retrieve” features some of his amazing and irreverent art work.   “Fishjerks” If you haven’t seen this site, hold on to your hat. This is the craziest fly fishing site on the web.   VakMag is a seriously awesome site with a lot of great information. Unfortunately I can’t read a word of it. No worries. You’ll love Pupper og fluefiske!

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Switch Rods for Steelhead

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OK, I admit it. I’ve been all about steelhead lately. Can you blame me? Steelhead are addictive and they ruin some guys but so far I’m resisting the urge to move into a shack on a river in the Pacific North West and instead I’m spending that energy on producing endless steelhead content. So here goes. On my recent trip to the Clackamas with my buddy Jeff Hickman I tried something I haven’t done before. I fished switch rods for steelhead. I don’t own a switch rod, (yet) because I thought of it as too light a rod for steelhead. I preferred a twelve foot eight weight spey rod. I have friends who use switch rods for trout fishing and they work well but for wrestling a big west coast chromer, surely not? I was wrong. Jeff likes the switch rod because it’s shorter and it helps him out in tight spots but for me the kick was fighting those tough fish on the lighter rod. It was a blast and those rods will take more pressure than I guessed. A switch rod is a little harder to cast than the longer Spey rod but I fished Jeff’s Ross Reach in a six weight and was kind of surprised. For an inexpensive rod it performed quite well. It casts very nicely and you can really feel it load. If you’re headed out steelheading I’d recommend you think about taking a switch rod. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I tried it. Jeff talks about switch rods for steelhead.   Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Feel the Tarpon Burn

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The first step in landing a big tarpon is getting a really good hook set. If your hook fails to penetrate the hard boney mouth of the tarpon, it almost always will be spit out after the first or second jump. My previous trip to the Florida Keys I experienced just that, walking away with a 0-2 record, all because my hook-sets were piss poor. I wasn’t hitting them hard enough after the eat, and I made a pledge after that trip, that the next time I got a big tarpon to eat, I’d focus 100% solely on making sure my hook set was absolutely perfect. Believe me when I say, it’s humiliating as hell having a guide stare you down after you blow a hook-set. It makes you want to go find a hole to crawl off into. When Capt. Bruce Chard put me on the biggest tarpon of my life during my latest trip, I set the hook hard and held onto the fly line as long as I could. Come hell or high water, I was going to get that hook completely buried in the tarpons mouth. Low and behold, I accomplished just that, and I ended up landing that mighty tarpon, but I got this nice fly line burn in the process. It was all worth it in the end though, because for the next two weeks as the bilsters healed, I was reminded of my victorious catch everytime I looked down at my hand. Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Tying Steelhead Flies That Work, The Sid Fishious

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 Tying steelhead flies can be a bit mystifying. If you’ve been tying trout flies for a while and are just getting started on steelhead flies there are some important differences. I know that my first steelhead flies were way too heavy and the hook was all wrong. They looked great but they were a pain to fish and my hookup ratio was poor. Getting the right profile, weight and hook placement is easy once you learn a few simple tricks. Healthy dubbing balls help boost your profile and insure great action. Interchangeable trailing hooks make a huge difference. Winter steelhead will frequently just nip at a fly’s tail. Having a sharp trailing hook is important and being able to change that hook if it becomes damaged really extends the life of your fly. Possibly the funnest part of tying steelhead flies are all the great colors you get to play with, and isn’t that what every tyer is really looking for, an excuse to buy more cool tying material? No body ties better steelhead flies than Jeff Hickman. In this video he ties a pattern he originated for Idylwild Flies, The Sid Fishious. It’s a great fly and the techniques that Jeff uses can greatly improve your steelhead flies.     Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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