Shutter Speed for Freezing Action

11 comments / Posted on / by


Line whistles through the air, fish leap out of the water, guides swoop in with the net. It’s fun to capture these moments of action with the camera but often we fail and end up with a shot that is blurred beyond recognition. The solution is shutter speed. Today’s DSLR cameras are capable of amazingly fast shutter speed. A shutter speed on 1/8000 of a second will take crisp shots from a speeding flats boat. When you know you need that kind of speed there are a few things to keep in mind. You may find yourself needing an ISO setting as high as 800 in bright sun to get the shutter speed you need. In most cases

Read More »

The Permit Story

12 comments / Posted on / by

By Louis Cahill

Stop me if you’ve heard this one, and if you’ve spent any time fly fishing salt water, you have.

I was talking with my buddy Bruce Chard yesterday. Thank God for living vicariously through my friends! Since I’ve been dealing with multiple eye surgeries, I haven’t touched a fly rod in five months. I haven’t been five days without casting a rod in twenty years, so I’m losing my mind and talking fishing with my friends is the only thing that keeps me going.

My buddy Scott had just sent me a photo of a friend of his with a huge permit. He was holding the rod, holding the permit and grinning like a cheshire cat, was Bruce. Just by chance, Bruce called me with in the hour, so I had to get the story. The story was not only familiar but a little disheartening. 

This guy had never fly fished. He was in the keys visiting family and his brother-in-law had Bruce booked for the week and gave one of his days to this guy and his wife. Bruce poled them around a little and when they started losing interest, he took them to some nice spots to snorkel and picnic. I’m sure they had a blast but it makes me want to bang my head on the wall. You booked one of the best flats guides on the planet to take you snorkeling? OK.

“We’ve got about an hour left,” Bruce told them, “Why don’t we go check out this permit flat.”

Bruce was thinking he’d at least do a little scouting for the next day when he would be fishing his client who generously offered his day to these folks. A guy deserves a permit after such a gesture, right?

Bruce poles up on the flat and, as soon as they are ready to fish, he sees a permit swimming right to the boat from six O’clock. Not an ideal shot and no time to turn the boat.

“Throw that thing out as far as you can behind the boat,” 

Read More »

Halfback Nymph in High Water

1 comment / Posted on / by

Looking for a great high water nymph pattern that will consistently fool trout?

Try tying on a halfback nymph, it’s an oldie but goodie that has produced big fish for me countless times over the years. The buggy profile of the halfback nymph does a great job of imitating a large variety of aquatic insects, and it’s large size is easy for trout to spot quickly in fast water. This nymph pattern screams “I’m a big juicy morsel, Come eat me”.

I always have at least a half dozen of these guys in my fly box. I often use the halfback nymph as my lead fly in my tandem nymph rig, and tie a 16-24″ piece of tippet off the bend of the hook with a smaller dropper nymph. You can also try substituting the standard peacock herl underbody with a more flashy dubbing material when fishing

Read More »

The CDC Blood Midge

7 comments / Posted on / by


Depending on how you count them there could be over a thousand species of midge. That’s a lot of choices for the discerning trout. There are almost as many choices for the angler and a midge obsession can easily get out of hand.

I find that more times than not a Blood Midge will do the trick. I spent a morning on the Colorado River one April and caught twenty-four brown trout on a blood midge without moving my feet. Trout are naturally attracted to these red patterns even when they are not an exact match for the naturals. I’ve tied many different Blood Midge patterns but my current favorite is the CDC Blood Midge. The power of CDC can not be overestimated. This is a great pattern and very easy to tie.

Watch the video and learn hoe to tie The CDC Blood Midge.

Read More »

Make The Straight Line Practice Rod: Video

5 comments / Posted on / by

By Louis Cahill

Here’s a video on how to make a simple tool that will take your fly casting to a new level.

A few weeks back I shared a video on how to “Stop Dropping Your Rod Tip Once and For All.” In that video I show you how to use the Straight Line Practice Rod. It’s a brilliant tool, shown to me by my buddy Tim Rajeff. It’s the most effective way I have found to help anglers understand the straight line rod-tip path, the secret to making clean, tight loops. The video was very popular, but there was a problem.

In the video, I mentioned that I though Echo Fly Rods sold this thing on their sight. Echo was flooded with calls and emails asking for it. Apparently I was wrong. Since they don’t sell a version, I decided I had to make a video showing how to make one yourself. It’s incredibly simple and you can do it in your kitchen. If you take the time to make a Straight Line Practice Rod for yourself, I promise you will see a difference in your fly casting.


Read More »

Fly Fishing: Searching for That Needle in a Haystack

25 comments / Posted on / by

I really enjoy catching big wild trout on a fly rod. Even more though, I enjoy the challenges that come with having to hunt them down in places where they are few and far between. I’m talking about trout streams where there’s not supposed to be any truly big trout living there. The places where catching a 12-incher normally gets you tickled to death, and where most fly anglers, if asked, would tell you point blank, “I guarantee you there’s nothing swimming in that trout stream large enough for a grip and grin.” These are the places I like to visit on my days off from guiding. I get deep satisfaction searching for that extra special fish. The fish that’s 99% confident no fly angler thinks he or she even exists.

Read More »

Add Some Fish Appeal To Those Old Flies!

2 comments / Posted on / by

By Justin Pickett

We all have one…..The box full of rejects, misfits, oddballs, freaks…. deplorables.

These are the flies that have been bought by you. Given to you. Found by you. Or, likely, tied by your own hands… possibly in a bourbon-fueled rage the night before a trip while listening to some OCMS. Or maybe that’s just me… As I scanned through one of these very fly boxes one day, I wondered if there were any flies that might be salvaged, and, if there were, how might they be resurrected? I was looking at dozens upon dozens of flies that weren’t being used. Hooks that were being wasted. Some of them were surely defunct and irredeemable, but I knew I could modify many of them enough to make them fly patch worthy. And, as it turns out, there are several ways to turn an old, dull looking pattern into something new-ish, and might even put some fish in your net!

“Pop” Your Collar – This is a simple modification you can make to most nymphs (beaded or non-beaded), and even some dry flies. For collars, you can add some pizazz by simply tying in a “hot” collar with some fluorescent orange, pink, or red thread. You can add dubbing in a contrasting color, or maybe some CDC or partridge feather to add some movement. The same can be done to small streamers as well. I’ll often tie in a hot spot on the nose of my clousers and woolly buggers, especially when I know I’ll be fishing off-colored water. The same applies to the thorax. Switch up the dubbing. Hackle some feathers. Experiment! Just make sure to keep the correct profile and proportions as you add material. You’ll likely need to remove the existing material to be sure things don’t get too portly. I can’t tell you how many flies I’ve done this to, and it can really make a big difference in the appearance of a fly.
Show Some Leg – Another thing that I’ll do to a “boring” fly is add some legs. This is another quick and easy way to add some attention getting features to an otherwise uninteresting fly. On beaded nymphs, I’ll tie in the legs just behind the bead and add a small pinch of dubbing to help keep the legs separated. I tie legs into dries quite a bit as well. Mostly on terrestrial-type flies, and typically only because the original legs were chewed off by ravenous trout. This gives you a plethora of color and material options while providing some wiggly deliciousness.
Light It Up –

Read More »

4 Proven Ways To Effectively Fish A Streamer

5 comments / Posted on / by

Every angler wants to catch a trophy trout and there’s no better way than fishing a streamer.

While it’s fair to say that there is no “wrong way” to fish a streamer, there are some proven techniques which will help make that trophy dream a reality. Presenting big, heavy flies to the largest fish in the river brings with it a whole new set of challenges, including a new way of thinking about presentation. Your presentation is no longer passive, but active, and it is the action of your fly which must excite the predatory instincts of the fish. In the end, you will find your own style of fishing streamers but here are four techniques that have been proven to bring big fish to the net time after time.

Stripping the fly

This is what most anglers think of as streamer fishing. Tossing the fly to the upstream side of a likely lie and ripping it back. It’s exciting and visual and usually productive. It plays on the predatory instinct of large trout by imitating a fleeing baitfish. I favor the jerk-strip retrieve, popularized by Kelly Galloup. A very young Mr. Galloup demonstrates in this video.

The speed of your retrieve is key. Have you ever made an impulsive purchase that you later regretted? Then you have some insight into the mind of the fish who eats a streamer. Like a bargain shopper, fish don’t like to miss an opportunity. Your fly must be a limited time offer. If the fish has too much time to inspect and think his decision through, he’ll decide to pass. On the other hand, no fish wants to engage in the pointless pursuit of a bullet train. Remember to think about the environment where the fish and fly meet. If the water is moving slowly, your fly should scorch off the bank sending the message that it’s now or never. If your fly is in fast moving water, it’s already moving quickly in relation to a holding trout. Slow your retrieve down and give the fly a twitching action like a wounded baitfish. Always remember, a predator takes what he wants. It’s your job to make him want the fly.

Swinging the fly

If we set aside for the moment, the argument over whether steelhead are trout, this is how I have caught my largest trout. If a 42-inch steelhead will grab a swung fly, you’d better believe a big brown trout will, too. I like to employ the swing when fish are following a stripped fly, but not taking it. I’ll size down my streamer and often drop a Soft Hackle 16-24 inches behind it. You will catch more small fish this way but you’ll catch the big ones too.

Swinging the fly is an effective way to reach fish holding in

Read More »

Fly Fishing in the Winter – Getting in the Routine

24 comments / Posted on / by

I’ll be the first to admit, that the first few cold fronts of the year negatively effect my angling morale. Those initial cold fronts are always a sobering reminder that winter is quickly approaching, and the warm days of the summer and fall are long gone. Yes, this is the time of year that I find it harder to get out of bed in the morning. My snooze button gets quite a bit more love from my index finger, and I’m forced to brew my coffee extra stout. As I loosen up in the shower, with my morning stretches, and warm water hitting my back (as us old folks are plenty familiar with), I think about my next objective of the day, which will be to de-thaw my frozen waders and boots. I left them laying in the back of my truck, and yes, I know, I should have brought them inside. I respectfully ask you all to turn your cheek because it always takes me a few weeks before I wise up to the cold season. That’s why, if you peak into the window of my truck this time of year, you’ll probably find me driving around with my waders and boots on the floorboard of my truck, with my heater set to high, and blasting on my feet.

Read More »

Crazy Water on the Dean

11 comments / Posted on / by

You will be reading more in the coming weeks about my trip to British Columbia to fish the Dean River.

In every post I will likely mention the tough fishing conditions. In order for you to really understand what I mean by “tough fishing conditions” I put together this little video.

I have never seen a river so crazy high. The fact that we fished the very next day and the fact that we caught fish that week is a testament to what a truly remarkable river the Dean is. I can’t wait to go back but I hope I have better conditions.

Check out the video!

Read More »