Don’t Go Fishing Without Your Bullets

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By Louis Cahill

Air rifle pellets make cheap and effective weights for fly-fishing.

The thing I love about fly fishing is, there is always something to learn. I would have never thought of this simple fly fishing life-hack if I hadn’t fished in Argentina. Imported fishing gear is crazy expensive in many places overseas. The idea, that started as a money saver, actually has some performance benefits as well.

The idea is simple. Use the needle on your nippers to punch a hole in the nose of an air rifle pellet, then slip your leader through and retie. There is no chance of the weight falling off, or damaging your leader, like split shot can. Lots of anglers do this with cone heads, made for fly tying, but pellets are a fraction of the cost and work just as well. Personally, I like the idea of using lead and knowing it isn’t going to fall off in the river.

You can use the weight directly on the nose of the fly, with streamers for example, or place it above a blood knot anywhere on your leader. You can even use several at different points on your leader to sink the heavy butt section, which is effective for deep-water nymphing. You can use .22 cal for heavy weight or .177 cal for lighter weight. 

Pellets have gotten fancy since I was a kid. There are a lot of different types on the market now. I feel like the closer you

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Want More Distance? Then Don’t Cast To The Fish!

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By Kyle Wilkinson

Our shop offers free casting lessons once a month at a local park in town. These events are always a great way to interact with existing customers, attract new ones, and simply enjoy being outside in the great state of Colorado.

We had our first one of these events earlier this week and I had the opportunity to work with anglers of a variety of skill levels. We had a great time and I’ll never tire of seeing the excitement on an angler’s face when he sees his casts looking better than ever. Being able to help them connect the dots on what they’re doing wrong and why is always extremely rewarding.

That said, regardless of the angler’s skill level, one common mistake continued to be made by nearly everyone from the complete novice to the more advanced casters. I recently wrote about “My Number One Casting Tip” on this site a few weeks back. And while that is still a very valuable lesson (that we definitely implemented that night), here is another big mistake I continually see anglers make. The good news is, this is extremely simple to adjust and I’m confident it will make you a better caster.

Casting TO The Fish: The fish are in the water. I get that. I also get that we need our flies to get to the fish in order to catch them. Where this casting flaw comes into play then is when an angler makes two or three perfect false casts with loops so tight you could barely squeeze a toothpick through them and then when it’s time to set the cast down- BAM- the rod trip drops on the forward cast to point right at the target, the loop opens up so big you could drive a car through it, and all the power of the cast is lost. Oftentimes it may not even totally lie out or turn over the fly. Another quick way to tell if you’re dropping the rod tip a little too quickly is if the fly line is hitting the water (or grass in our situation) before the fly. It may even look like the fly line is “rolling out” on the surface of the water towards your intended target. If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of “why did my false casts feel so good and then my final cast had no power when I went to set it down?” this is likely the reason.

So, now on to the part of how to fix this casting flaw.

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It’s OK To Stay Home

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By Justin Pickett


Up at the wee hours of the morning, Tim Harden, of the Venturing Angler, and I, hit the road en route to meet up with our guide, Capt. David Accursio, for another day of fishing in the Everglades. Excited to hit the water, we hadn’t even considered to check the weather. After all, it’s Florida and it’s summer time, so there is always a chance of rain and we were prepared for that.

We arrived to the meetup spot early with David arrive a few minutes later. Soon after our morning’s greetings, David brought up the weather and how things had been looking on the radar. Not Good. A string of storms were building just southeast of the keys, and while they seemed to be tracking west of where we would be fishing, things could certainly change. With that knowledge on board, we decided to make the drive out to Flamingo and give it our best shot. After all, you don’t know unless you try. Right?

And we did just that. On the drive out we constantly checked the weather. Keeping tabs on every single storm cell and how it was building. As David backed the boat down the ramp and prepared the boat for launch, a huge bolt of lightning split the sky over the bay. Without a word said, I think we all made the decision in that moment to get back in the truck and abort our fishing plans. This was the right decision to make. Not three minutes later, the rain was so heavy that you could barely see out into the bay and the lightning was striking all around us. We certainly avoided what could have been a dangerous situation.

We sat in the truck for about an hour going over scenarios concerning what the weather could do, or might do, but we all know Mother Nature has her own plans and there isn’t one damn thing you can do about it. She definitely laughed at our optimism that morning as we sat there hoping for just a window of opportunity to get the boat wet. After realizing there was no hope for hitting the water, and about fed up with being eaten by voracious pterodactyls (David called them mosquitos), we decided to bug out and take it to the house.

It’s never easy admitting defeat. Even when it’s something you have zero control over, like the weather. When you travel so far to fish a place as awesome as the Everglades, you want nothing but to be on the water enjoying every possible opportunity to fish amongst the creeks, flats, and mangroves that dominate this waterscape. When it comes

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Beating the Winter Blues

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By Kevin Howell


In reality, some of the best fishing of the year, here in the Southern Appalachians, takes place in the winter. Here are some ideas to help you get through the winter blues.

Fish in the winter. Winter fishing in our part of the country is fabulous. I agree, on days when it is 22 degrees and blowing blue snow, you probably do not want to go fishing. However, we have plenty of days when the air temps will hit the high 40’s to low 50’s and it makes a nice day to get out of the house. Remember a trout has to eat to survive, and you can not catch him if you are sitting on the couch.
Tie Flies. Another great way to pass the time is to tie flies. If you are new to tying or want to learn how to tie, then hang out at your local shop and take some tying classes. A lot of stores like Davidson River Outfitters even offer free or low cost classes or nights you can just come into the shop and hang out and tell fish stories.
Build a rod. Again if your local shop or fly fishing club offers a rod building class you can build your own rod and customize it in any manner you like, except for Tarheel Blue (sorry, I went to NC State).
Take a Trip. If you can afford it, take a trip. It does not have to be a $10,000 around-the-world trip. You could go to south Florida or Louisiana for a day or two and go Redfishing. You could go to south Texas and fly fish for bass. You could go to North Georgia and fish the Toccoa tailwater and camp overnight in a public campground for $2. If you want to go to Argentina or New Zealand, or the tropics like the Bahamas or Christmas Island, you can find a lot of good deals at the moment due to

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Deadly Ice Off Duo

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By Bob Reece

Ice off on lakes in the Rocky Mountain region can be dynamic.

It can also be extremely challenging. Tim Drummond’s extensive knowledge of still water scenarios led to his creation of two highly effective still water patterns. These two patterns have a proven track record and can help crack the code to Ice Off success.

Tim has worked professionally as a guide for well over a decade in Northern Colorado. His experience with both moving and still waters has led to a dialed in understanding of these aquatic environments. I’ve known Tim for several years and was able to ask him about his thoughts behind the creation of his Chromie and Water Boatman patterns.

“My Water Boatman was originally tied to imitate the abundant boatman we see here on the Delany Buttes lakes and other stillwaters. The fly is tied with a metallic plastic bead versus a metal bead because I did not want the fly to sink fast, only gradually. Water boatman are divers going from the surface to just below the surface as they move across the water. This fly is best fished on an intermediate line just below the surface with a slow retrieve or hand twist retrieve. I have had the most success with this fly in the spring and fall when boatman are active. Sight casting to a cruising fish is how I have hooked most of my big fish on the boatman. The fly can also

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Fishing New Water

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By Jason Tucker The time has come in my life where I want to expand my horizons. I want to light out, free myself from the confines of my routine, my local area, my set habits. It’s true that there are still many rivers, runs, hatches and fisheries I have yet to explore in my native Michigan, but the world is a big place. There’s a lot of water out there. While there are worse things in life than exploring Michigan’s water, it would be a shame to go through life without experiencing other places. My interests and aspirations are as varied as classic Western fishing in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, or remote brook trout in Labrador and Ontario, to bonefish on the flats of the Bahamas and Oahu. Somewhere in the back of my fantasies lurks one fish, the permit. That may be a bit down the pike, but someday. I hope. I recently had the opportunity to get out of Northern Michigan for a few weeks and head south, get out of the cold for a while. This winter isn’t as bad as the last, but it’s still pretty bad. I got the invitation to go spend the winter in Georgia with friends, and so I took them up on it. The problem is that they are not fly fishing friends, a character flaw that I had to overlook. A big draw for me was the idea of being able to explore new water that is fly-fishable year round. I’ve never caught a trout on a dry fly in January and the thought appealed to me. For me Georgia is a blank slate. I know they have trout streams and even some native brook trout in the northern mountains, but I personally associate the south with catfish, bream … Continue reading

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Flynn’s Stonefly Nymph

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Watch the video and learn to tie this fly

My good friend Dan Flynn shares my obsession with the noblest of insects. Dan is a great tyer with an impressive repertoire of classic patterns. I have always admired his meticulous stonefly nymphs. I’ve also spent many days watching him crush trout on them.

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Kype for Days

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I love it when I luck up and catch a big male trout, steelhead, salmon, or char. There’s something about big gnarly kype jaws that fascinate me.

For starters, males always seem to sport more vibrant colors than hens, especially during the spawning season. In the wild and according to my catch rates, there seems to be a higher ratio of females to males in most watersheds. If you really want to know what gets me fired up when I land a big male, it’s the fact that every male specimen I catch seems to have its own unique face and features, just like all of us. It probably sounds weird, but I always find myself trying to imagine what the fish would look like if it was a person. The big kype always turns into a big smile, and the shape of the snout ends up being the shape and size of the person’s nose. For no rime or reason, it happens like clock work before I release every bruiser. God bless all the kype jaws swimming around out there. They always make my guide day a little extra special and rewarding when they show up.

Am I alone here in how cool I think kype jawed fish are? 

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Fish Boy Is Sorry

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A quick heads up, this story contains some adult language and ideas.

I was fishing a little mountain lake with my buddy Dan when he told me, “the last time I fished this place I was on a date”. “Why the hell did you bring a date up here”, I asked. “Well”, he said, “things were getting kind of serious and I thought I should show her what she was signing up for”. “So you took her fishing”? I laughed, “you should have locked her in your apartment and disappeared for three days, then showed back up stinking and drunk, that’s what she’s signing up for”!

Fly fishing has developed it’s own culture and it’s own code of misconduct. It reorients priorities and skews a person’s perspective of what “normal people” will tolerate. For some guys it’s like Mardi Gras. A fishing trip is an excuse to blow off the steam they build up at work or home and then they’re back to normal. For others it becomes a life style choice. For some an occupation. Living with a fisherman has got to be tough. I know my wife puts up with a lot from me and, to her credit, does it cheerfully. However, if you talk to any hard core angler it’s not uncommon to find a long list of ex-wives and girlfriends who just couldn’t, or wouldn’t take it anymore. Fishing, like any other addiction, complicates relationships.

Many of my best friends have made big life decisions base purely on fishing. Uprooted their families and moved across country without jobs or left their families alone for months at a time to guide in some far flung location. I have a friend who commutes over fifteen-hundred miles between his family and the water he guides year round. I know guys who have walked away from homes and given them up to foreclosure to be on the water they feel called to fish.

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Articulated Nymphs, All Hype or the Real Deal?

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Ask the same question instead to a serious nymph fisherman, and most will answer with names of nymphs that aren’t articulated. I agree you don’t have to fish articulated nymph patterns to catch trout, but I do find it a little odd that we aren’t seeing more of them in the spot light today. As far as I can tell, the concept has been around almost as long as articulated streamers have. The last couple of years I’ve started to incorporate articulation into my fly tying for many of my nymph patterns. Just about all of them have done very well for me on the water. In some cases, my articulated versions have caught trout 3 to 1 over the traditional non-articulated versions. You can’t tie all nymphs articulated because many fly patterns and species of aquatic

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