Steelhead Your Face

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  I didn’t see a Sasquach on my trip to Oregon but I did get a glimpse of the reclusive Horatio Nailknot. He walked with a distinctive lopping gate and carried this unique custom engraved Hardy reel. It features some Oregon scenery along with the bust of a Sasquach and a little steelhead for your face. The work was done by Bart Mills of Portland, known to his friends as “The Jeweler”. I like that name, it sounds vaguely sinister and apparently Oregon steelheaders all use an alias. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

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The Moth Larva Hatch

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Previously published in last issues Southern Culture On The Fly Magazine. As I relived last year’s spring fishing season in my head searching for the perfect hatch, the color of bright green began entering my conscience, and bam! Like a slap to the face, it hit me. Every year we get a month-long trout feeding frenzy, as moth larva burst onto the scene by the tens of thousands. Yes, I’m talking about the green weenie, the inch worm. The tree limb-repelling caterpillars that every trout in the stream will gorge themselves on through the month of May, and well into summer. Multiple species of moth larva ranging from 1-2″ long annually coordinate a synchronized blanket hatch during late spring that ends up packing the bellies of trout with protein-rich, green gummy goodness. Anglers smart enough to take advantage of this late spring phenomenon can find themselves fooling the biggest trout in their waters. Timing the Moth Larva Hatch For the hottest and most consistent fishing, the best time by far to target the moth larva hatch is during it’s early stages. The blanket hatch usually begins the first week of May in North Georgia, but can start a little later depending on how far north you live in the Southeast. Because this hatch unfolds and gains momentum so quickly, it takes very little time for trout to recognize the new food source and begin keying in on it. As soon as I spot the first moth larva of the year, I begin working the larva imitations into my fishing within days. This way I can monitor their effectiveness, and do a much better job of timing the hatch during its peak periods. When most of the trees have gotten the new years foliage, you should start anticipating the hatch to … Continue reading

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Working a Steelhead

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  I had the opportunity to watch my friend Jeff Hickman work a shy Steelhead the other day and his effort was exemplary. Swinging flies for winter steelhead is a game of numbers, very small numbers. It’s a given when chasing winter fish that there may be limited numbers of fish present in the river. Even fewer of them will be willing to eat a swung fly. You can not afford to miss putting your fly in front of every fish. These fish are on the move so you never know where they will be. You have to be methodical and know that it could happen at any time. When you really think about it, the mathematics of the system are remarkable. For those not familiar, the idea is pretty simple. You cast across the current far enough to cover any possible holding water and swing the fly down and across until it hangs directly below you. Strip in your line, make the same cast with exactly the same amount of line, step down stream the length of a fish and repeat. Granted, this is a gross oversimplification of a very nuanced technique but that’s the general idea. If you take the time to draw a picture, using a drafting compass you will see that the concentric circles your swinging fly makes cover the water with amazing efficiency. It’s a bit like Tai Chi. You are always striving for perfection. After hours, or days, covering water in this way it can be heartbreaking when you find a fish who’s interested but won’t commit. Often a single tug is the only evidence that you have found a player. I had the opportunity to watch my friend Jeff Hickman work just such a shy player the other day and his effort was … Continue reading

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Pack Your Gear in Half The Space

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Terminal Fishing Packing Checklist Fly Rods & Tubes Fly Reels Leaders & Tippet Fly Floatant Split-Shot Nail-Knot Tool This list goes on and on with what I need to pack for my guide trips and fly fishing travels. It’s astonishing how much room all this gear takes up in your vehicle once you’ve packed it all in, and the list above is only a partial list of what I need for my days out on the water. I still need waders, boots, fishing packs, net, camera, and enough room to transport my clients. Anyway I looked at it, I was in desperate need of finding a better way to organize all my gear. It was taking far too long for me to strategically load and unload my truck every day. Recently, I ran across and purchased the Orvis Safe Passage, Carry-It-All Rod and Gear Case, and it’s completely blown me away with it’s ability to safely store an insane amount of gear in half the space. Everything I need is right at my finger tips and that keeps me organized and saves me a ton of time rigging up. From one fellow guide to another, since I’ve started using this gear case, I’ve no longer found myself turning around and heading back to the cabin for a critical piece of gear I forgot to pack. Below is a break down of what the Orvis Carry-It-All gear case can handle and I why I love it. No more Fly Rod Tubes I know longer lug around multiple fly rods in their metal tubes on a daily basis anymore. They’re difficult to manage in transit and end up rolling around in my vehicle all the way to the river. With this gear case I leave the tubes at home and can safely stow up … Continue reading

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Sunday Classic / Carp Czar

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I am planning my presentation to at, least, the one hundredth fish of the day. For the record i have had one look and no eats. It’s not quite lunch time. I look down at my feet to be sure I’m not standing on my line and notice a spent shotgun shell. I’m thinking, “yeah, that’s the way to do this”. I recently had the great pleasure of spending a day carp fishing with my friend Bruce Smithhamer. It was every bit as challenging as promised. The fish were gearing up for the spawn and were lock jawed. We would have gone fish-less if not for Bruce’s encyclopedic knowledge of the species. We changed locations and tactics several times and eventually got into fish. Carp, especially Mirror Carp, are a remarkable fish. Their color and scale patterns are reminiscent of classical Japanese painting. Their eye sight is excellent and there hearing quite acute. They are even able to communicate danger to other carp by releasing a pheromone in to the water. Their behavior is unpredictable except that they will refuse more often than eat. Perhaps their most remarkable quality is their ability to completely ruin a good trout fisherman. I’ve seen several guys go down this road and few come back. They started out just curious about this carp thing and maybe went out and tried it with a friend and now their totally hooked. Couldn’t quit if they wanted too. Bruce is one of those guys. He guides for trout on some of the best water in the world and when he has a day off you find him staking the banks of a carp lake. He tells me. “All I want to do is sight cast to big fish in shallow water.” Can you blame him? Bruce tells … Continue reading

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Saturday Shoutout / SCOF!

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The spring issue of Southern Culture on the Fly is out, and it’s HOT!   Check out this Tarpon video from SCOF.   Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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There’s One Born Every Minute

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They told me these Oregon steelhead were different. I’m not sure I like it. All I can say is I must be the worlds best sucker fisherman. I thought I’d done something when I caught them on dry flies but now I see that swinging steelhead flies is really the only way to go! Check out my best sucker to date.   Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Prolong the Life of Your Leaders with Tippet Rings

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Leaders have got quite expensive over the past couple decades. Recently, I saw a pack of two fluorocarbon leaders retail for $20.00 in a fly shop. That’s a pretty good hit to the wallet if you get out on the water to fly fish regularly. One way you can prolong the life of your leaders is to use tippet rings. The tippet ring takes the leader out of the equation by providing the angler a reusable anchor point to tie on tippet and attach flies. Climax manufactures and sells tippet rings and although I don’t like using them for my dry fly fishing because they can create micro-drag, they work very well for nymph fishing. Tippet Ring Rigging Instructions What I like to do is take a 7 1/2′ tapered 2X or 3X leader and tie the end directly to the loop ring. I then tie 24-30″ of 4X-6x tippet to the other side of the loop rig and tie on my tandem nymph rig. This keeps me from having to cut into my leader when I’m changing out flies or if I break off on a snag fishing. The tippet rings are also very nice for anglers that struggle with their eye sight up close, and makes it very easy for them to rig up quickly. This isn’t for everyone but for an initial $5 investment, it’s a cool piece of fly fishing gear that can save you money in the long run and should be considered. Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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The Cajun Spey Waltz

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Snow is blowing in around the corners of my glasses and forty degree water is slowly making its way into my waders. I haven’t seen the sun for several days and the river is full of chrome bright steelhead. It doesn’t feel much like Louisiana. Never the less the tune that keeps dancing in my head and eventually to my lips is an old Cajun waltz, “The Big Mamu”. I have a deep and conflicted love for Louisiana. I almost moved there once. Like I said, I’m conflicted, but of the many things I love about the place, maybe I love the music best. The Blues, the Hot Jazz, the Zydeco and the beautiful and haunting traditional Cajun music. The sound of the accordion, the fiddle and the washboard pull at my heart strings. I don’t know why but I loved it the first time I heard it. But what does it have to do with steelheading? Apparently, everything. I love Spey casting but I don’t get to do as much of it as I’d like and consequently it takes me a while to get into the rhythm. There are three basic parts to a Spey cast. The anchor placement, the sweep and the cast. Inevitably, when my casting goes to hell it’s the timing of my sweep that’s the problem. I’ve spent so much time developing speed and strength for my saltwater casting that it takes a while for me to remember that Spey casting is the exact opposite. Slow and easy. I’m not a Spey Guru so I’ll keep it simple. The sweep is the part of the cast where you form a D loop and load the rod. Both very important. There is a direct relationship between the height of the rod tip and the speed of … Continue reading

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DIY – Kids Puffer Balls for Fly Tying

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I’ve been tying San Juan Worm patterns for a couple years now with Spirit River’s Squirmy Wormies, and fish love them because of the life-like movement the material has in the water. That being said, I’ve had problems finding certain colors like Flourescent Pink, Chartreuse, and Green. My buddy and guide Erik Ashlin turned me onto Kids Puffer Balls. They’re a spin off from the famous “Koosh Ball”, that many of us enjoyed playing dodge ball with in the 80s and 90s, and they come in just about any color you can imagine. You can find them at your local Dollar General and Walmart stores for $5 or less, and you can tie at least 100 flies from just one of them. In a pinch, Erik points out, you can snip one of the legs off, and tie it on a hook with a simple overhand knot. No bobbin, vise, or tying thread is needed. Just cinch the knot down evenly on the hook and the material will stay in place. Personally, when I have the time to tie them at the vise, I like to tie one leg on each end of the hook and wrap a couple strands of Spanflex around the middle of the hook for a smooth proportioned body. That’s just personal preference though, either tying method works. Don’t just tie San Juan Worms, I’ve been using them for inch-worm patterns, caddis larva, and even wrapping the hook with them for bright bodies on my nymphs. This is a cheap and versatile product that you should be able to find several purposes for in your fly tying. We hope you enjoyed this week’s DIY (Do It Yourself) tip from Gink & Gasoline. Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com   Sign Up For Our Weekly … Continue reading

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