Trust Your Guide

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Trust your guide they say. Always trust your guide.

There is no more trustworthy bunch than the guides at Bair’s Lodge on Andros Island in the Bahamas. Why you wouldn’t trust them is beyond me. What is not to trust? In a real sense, in the South Andros backcountry, our lives will be in their hands- there is no freshwater, no cell phone signal, and I’ve taken to calling the miles of braided channels and flats with no distinguishing land features The Hall of Mirrors. If your guide cashes in his chips back here and peels off the poling platform, you are going to be royally screwed. If it weren’t for the sat phone in the emergency case, that is.

But it is one thing to carry your gear down to the skiff in the morning, shake your guide’s hand, look him in the eye and decide he’s trustworthy, and quite another to put that trust into practice on a flat with bonefish coming in hot. Perhaps we need to start our morning with those team-building trust drills that corporate consultants loved so much in the recent past. Put your fly rod down before you fall backward.

On one sunny Bahamas morning I found out what trusting your guide really means

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How To Unsnag A Fly

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Every fly fisher gets snagged up once in a while.

It’s part of the game. If you aren’t fishing to structure, you aren’t fishing to fish. This is never more true than when streamer fishing. You’re constantly snagging logs and if you row over to get your fly, you’re spoiling a lot of good fishing spots where you could have hooked that big boy.

Most times it’s pretty easy to recover a stuck fly without ruining the spot. It’s a skill that challenges many new anglers. All you have to do is keep your wits about you and fish smart.


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Top 10 Trout Flies For The American West

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He was planning on traveling around Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana this summer and his goal was to put together a selection of flies that would allow him to catch fish on every river. After setting him up with a fairly comprehensive selection of dries, terrestrials, nymphs and streamers, we started debating what the 10 best patterns are to cover all types of western trout water. We assumed you could fish the same pattern in different colors and sizes which I guess makes it a lot more then 10 patterns, but anyway this is what we came up with. Let us know what you think and send us your top 10!

#10- The Hair Sculpin
The Hair Sculpin is an awesome streamer. It moves, it can be tied in all different colors and sizes and most importantly it catches fish. You can throw it on a sink tip and fish it deep in lakes or my favorite, bounce it off the shore from a boat. It’s good liven.

#9- The Panty Dropper Hopper
The name alone makes this fly awesome. It comes in various colors and sizes and its got very realistic looking legs. If you fish anywhere that has hoppers, the Panty Dropper will get the job done.

#8- Zebra Midge
Go to any tailwater and generally on the “Hot Flies” list in the local fly shop is a Zebra Midges. They are super simple to tie and best of all they work. You can tie them in any color and size you want from a miniscule #28 to a #12.

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Improving Fly Tying Efficiency  

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By Bob Reece

Many beginner and novice tiers that I’ve talked to equate improved efficiency at the vise with rushing through the tying process. While applying the techniques below can speed up pattern creation, that result is not their sole purpose. The main focus of these tips is to help tiers get the most out of whatever amount of time they do spend behind the vise.

Material Prep Work

Some patterns require very little in terms of prepping materials. Others, however, involve shaping foam bodies, knotting rubber legs, cutting wing cases or beading hooks. For these flies it is highly beneficial to prepare the materials in bulk before you start tying. When I tie foam terrestrials, I cut all of my foam bodies and the knot rubber legs that I might need. With bead head nymphs, I bead all hooks that I’ll be using as well as cutting any strips of material that I’ll be using for wing cases. If all of your materials are fully prepped before you start tying, you’ll be able to create a larger number of flies in a shorter amount of time. Prepping your materials in mass also increases the consistency and subsequent quality of the bugs that you’ll be offering up to your favorite fish.

Hook/Bead Storage

Hooks and beads can be two of the hardest materials to handle and keep track of on the surface of a tying table. Hooks of all sizes can easily be brushed under other materials or into the abyss of carpet fibers that sit below some of our tying platforms. Beads are also shifty and hard to handle once they leave the confines of their plastic packaging. To prevent these happenings, I store all of my beads and hooks in plastic compartmented organizers like the one in the picture above. The clip down lids of these containers ensure that nothing escapes. Each compartment also has a curved bottom which makes it easy to retrieve the desired items. The containers that I use can be purchased in the sewing section of Walmart for less than two dollars apiece.

Pattern Material Kits

How materials are stored matters in terms of efficiency. I use plastic organizers, like the one pictured above, to create material kits for all of the patterns that I tie. Always knowing where specific ingredients are saves a tier the time of searching though bins, drawers and baskets. This type of setup also

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Improve Your Stance for Casting Accuracy

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A good fly cast starts with your feet.

Why is that golfers talk so much about stance? All of the energy you apply with your hands starts with your feet planted firmly on the ground. It makes perfect sense that your stance would effect your cast.

Personally, I use a different stance for different kinds of casts. When I am casting for distance I put my left foot forward. Being a right handed caster this lets me use the rotational force of my body. It gives my cast a ton of power but if I don’t do everything exactly right, my accuracy suffers. But when I’m making a hundred foot Hail-Mary cast to cruising bonefish, I’ll take my chances.

When I’m making a short accurate cast, I put my left foot forward. This closed stance restrains the rotation and keeps my rod moving in a straight line. It makes a remarkable difference.

Watch this video for more on casting accuracy.

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Trout Of Japan

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by Daniel Galhardo


As part of my mission of spreading the tenkara story to anglers outside of Japan, I have made a point to visit Japan every year. I’m currently on my 6th “pilgrimage” to the country, meeting with teachers who share with me their techniques, their insights into tenkara, and of course their favorite fishing spots where we search for trout.

There are two main types of trout that we target in Japan: the amago and yamame. There is also a char, the iwana (side note, most tenkara rods we offer at Tenkara USA are named after Japanese trout/char).

The amago and yamame are virtually identical, except that the amago features red spots thorough its body while the yamame does not. The yamame and amago are also referred outside of Japan as “cherry salmon”. In his book, Trout of the World, James Prosek explains “Among Japan’s many varieties of native salmonids is a beautiful pink and violet salmon that exists in both anadromous and landlocked forms. The sea-run form ascends rivers of Japan in May when cherry treers are in bloom and therefore is known as the sakura mass, or cherry salmon”.

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Elevate Yourself to Increase the Distance You Can High-Stick

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Most of the time when your fly fishing for trout, the last thing you want to do is elevate yourself. In most scenarios, that will usually do more harm than good, by increasing the chances of trout spotting you and spooking. Notice I said “most scenarios”, every once in a while, an angler is forced to go against traditional principles to find success. The other day, I found myself trying to fish an eddy and slow water seam on the far bank. Making the cast wasn’t the problem, it was getting a long enough drag-free drift to get my fly to the fish. Even with my best high-sticking efforts, every cast the super fast water between me and my target water would grab my fly line and suck my flies out prematurely. After a couple minutes of struggling with my drifts and failing to get any bites, I decided to climb up on a boulder next to me. This elevated me three feet, and allowed me to keep 100% of my fly line off the water and get that long drag-free drift. I caught three trout after

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Float Tube Tour: Video

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By Herman deGala

In mid-March and everyone is in the middle of their tying season. 

But for me bass season is right around the corner  when my local reservoir opens for fishing. If there is any ice on the water they won’t let us launch boats or float tubes but we can still fish from shore. They still need to launch the Rangers boat and place the Off Limits buoys.

Like everyone else I am stocking up on flies so that I won’t have to tie during the middle of the season. I also know though that I need to make sure all of my equipment is in top shape and ready to go especially my float tube, rods and reels.

I’ve included a short tour of how I have my float tube rigged and some of the reasons behind the equipment I use. My tube is setup for stillwater fishing and for chasing bass and trout.

Float Tube – Outcast Super Fat Cat

 I love this tube. I have fished it for over 10 years and I put a minimum of over a hundred days on it each year. The best thing about it is that it keeps my okole out of the water so that I don’t get as cold in the early Spring. I also love it because it fits perfectly in the back of my Subaru Forester. I can have it fully inflated and completely rigged. I just pull it out of the back, place my rods in their holders and launch from the side of the ramp in no time at all. 

Pressure Gauge – Kwik Check Pressure Gauge

 It never fails. 95% of the fishermen launching from the ramp have under inflated tubes. I always offer to check the air pressure of their tubes and also offer to help them to top it off. First off it is safer to fish from a properly inflated tube. Also, you can travel faster with a properly inflated tube because there is less surface area touching the water. Having a properly inflated tube also allows you to fight fish more effectively. When you are fighting a 5 lb. smallie the last thing you want to do is to fight your tube to hold position in the wind.

I also admit that the last thing I want to happen is for someone to get hurt just because their tube was under-inflated. I have seen guys that looked like they were wearing a life jacket because their tube was so under-inflated.

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The CDC Blood Midge

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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.

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4 Proven Ways To Effectively Fish A Streamer

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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

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