Cuda Up in My Grill

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Just so everyone knows I’m super proud of my new slim and trim status. Louis has been on me a while now to drop some serious LB’s. I’ve really been stacking them on from my wife’s fantastic cooking. He says there’s a reason he doesn’t take photos of me anymore, and I really can’t blame him 🙂 Unfortunately, I’ve not lost the weight in reality. I ran across these two photos from four years ago, fishing down in the Florida Keys with Capt. Joel Dickey. He guided me to this behemoth barracuda on the fly. To this date, it’s probably one of my most memorable saltwater moments I’ve experienced on the flats. The take and battle were epic, particularly since my arms were already complete jello from the prior twenty minutes of stripping hand over fist as fast my arms would go. Numerous barracuda prior had given us promising chases but as they so often do, they let off the gas and lose interest at the last second. About the time I was ready to yell uncle, Joel shouted in his famous southern accent, “DUDE, look at that giant cuda at two 0’clock”. I some how managed to lay out a good cast, and I was about five strips into my retrieve when this guy hammered the fly and took off faster than I’ve ever witnessed a fish swim. That’s when the “shit hit the fan”. Before I could transition from holding the fly line to the fly rod, that barracuda burnt the hell out of my hands from the fly line shooting across my palms and through the rod guides at fifty miles and hour. I’d wear that fly line brand across both my palms for the next two weeks. But what really made this fish memorable was the … Continue reading

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The Flies Of Our Fathers

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I recently visited my home town in Virginia for a funeral. Although the occasion was a sad one it was the largest gathering of my family in some time and as you would expect there was a good deal of nostalgia and sharing of family stories. This got me thinking about my Grandfather. W.S. (Pete) Cahill, “Dad” to his Grandchildren, was the man who taught me to fly fish when I was eight years old. He was an icon in our family. In our community really. He was an inventor. Honest to God, that was his job. He held dozens of patents. He was a skilled machinist and, in spite of limited education, the most brilliant and creative person I have ever known. He passed away a long time ago but his home has remained in the family and my brother moved in there a few months back. I knew that he had found a box of Dad’s flies. I couldn’t resist photographing them and like most encounters with my Grandfather, I learned a few things. I’m not suggesting that Dad was a great tyer. Fishing was a hobby and he was a workaholic. He loved to fish but seldom got the chance. His flies were utilitarian but effective and some great examples of the common wisdom of his time. My guess is that most of these were tied in the 1950s or 1960s. There are some classic wet patterns like the Royal Coachman. There are classical streamers. Maybe most interesting are stone fly nymphs that foreshadow today’s more realistic aesthetic while holding on to the art deco influences of the 1940s with their long sweeping tails and streamline design. Some are so simple you might feel silly fishing them but I feel sure they will still produce. The materials … Continue reading

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5 Reasons Why Pocket Water Is Suited For Beginners

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If you’re new to fly fishing or you consider your skill level to be at the novice level, here are five reasons why you should be targeting pocket water to increase your fly fishing knowledge and trout catch rates. 1. Pocket water provides more trout habitat than any other type of trout water. The easiest way to define pocket water is that it’s an entire trout stream in itself. Pocket water encompasses all water types: riffles, runs, pools, and tails just on a miniature scale. The multiple current seams, eddies, and structure found in pocket water creates an abundance of habitat for trout to position themselves and feed. Quite often it provides anglers the opportunity to catch trout from one side of the stream all the way across to the other side. This is rarely found on other water types in a trout stream, and it provides fishermen much more opportunity and should increase his/her confidence that their fishing where there’s a high volume of trout living. 2. It doesn’t require anglers to make long casts and drifts. You don’t have to be able to make long casts or sustain super long drag-free drifts to catch trout in pocket water. Because everything is on a smaller scale, anglers can get away with making shorter casts and drifts. Both mending and line management aren’t as crucial, and anglers often have the luxury of choosing which casts and techniques their most comfortable fishing with to catch trout. 3. Trout are generally opportunistic feeders in pocket water. Pocket water is usually found on sections of river with steeper gradients and descending elevations. Water moves faster in most cases on pocket water and since trout usually don’t have as much time to inspect the food moving downstream, they often have to become opportunistic feeders … Continue reading

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Catch And Release Is It’s Own Reward

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I spent a week last year at the Penland school for craft, teaching a class on bamboo rod making. I was having dinner in the dining hall one evening with ten or so folks I’d never met. Eating with new folks every night is a sort of tradition at Penland and it’s a lot of fun. Every one was curious about fly fishing so I was answering questions and generally being the ambassador for all things fish related. It came up that I practice pretty strict catch and release. A woman at the table stated, more than asked, “what is it with you fly fishermen? If I’m going to go to all the trouble to catch a fish, I’m gonna eat it! What’s wrong with you?” I am often honest to a fault and with out thinking I answered, “fish are, I think, the most beautiful creatures that live. Every one is unique. I think that’s the real reason I fish. Just to hold them and look at them. If I didn’t fish I’d never get to do that. I like to eat fish but I guess I just don’t have it in me to kill something that beautiful. ” When I stopped talking the table was silent and everyone was looking at the woman. It was uncomfortable at best. “Oh fine”, she exclaimed, “I feel just great now” and left the table. I didn’t mean to come down hard on her. It was a sincere answer and she did ask. Frankly it kind of shocked me that everyone else didn’t see it the same way. Last year I had the pleasure of teaching my oldest friend to fly fish. He was so excited when he caught his first fish, a beautiful little brook trout. I taught him to wet … Continue reading

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Photo Contest – Name this Spot

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Gink & Gasoline has been a huge success so far, thanks to all our followers. As a small thank you we’re going to have posts dedicated to giving back to our supporters throughout the year. Today’s post is a photo contest. Be the first to Name the location correctly and you’ll win a copy of American Waters by Peter Kaminsky. What River Was This Sunset Taken On? Keep it Reel, Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com

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The Slack Tide Bar

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I’ve spent a lot of evenings with my feet in the sand and a glass of rum in my hand at the Slack Tide Bar at the Andros South lodge. The Slack Tide is just a tiki hut on the beach, but it’s the best place I know to listen to tales of woe and exaltation and bone fishing. The house cocktail goes like this: One parts Anejo rum, one part coconut rum, two parts orange juice, one part good tunes, one part great conversation, two parts lasting friendships. Add warm sand and cool breeze and enjoy. Try that cocktail, it really is good!   Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com  

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A Closer Look At The October Caddis Hatch

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When the first leaves fall off the deciduous trees at the beginning of fall, fly anglers should begin preparing for the arrival of the giant tent winged caddisfly. For it will become a major player on the trout’s food menu from September into November depending on your geographic location where it thrives. For western fly fishermen we’re talking about the October Caddis “Dicosmoecus”, and for eastern fly fishermen we’re referring to the Great Autumn Brown Sedge “Pycnopsyche”. You could argue that these guys are twins, because they’re similarities in life-cycle, behavior, hatch periods, and appearance are almost identical. The great fly fisherman and author, Gary LaFontaine, rated the October Caddis as one of the four best aquatic insects for offering anglers the opportunity to catch a trophy trout. He devoted a significant section of his book “Caddisflies”, to the October Caddis, detailing its behavior, life cylce, and effective fly pattern imitations. Over the years I’ve had mixed results targeting this hatch. Big fish have been landed at times, while at other times on the water I’ve felt like trout weren’t even aware these guys existed. It’s only in the last two seasons that I’ve corrected my flaws and learned to fish the hatch correctly. The key success factors in fishing this hatch are understanding it’s behavior, and fishing the appropriate larva, pupae, and adult imitations during the right times. If done incorrectly, anglers will find this hatch difficult to decode. Let’s get started by giving you a basic run down of the life-cycle of these two bugs. The first thing you need to understand, are these species of caddisflies time their hatch specifically during the annual leave droppings of fall. The freshly hatched larva from deposited eggs depend on the abundant leaves collected in the water as their primary food … Continue reading

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Now That’s A Bonefish Guide!

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We were fishing along the edge of the mangroves at high tide when this big bone ate. As soon as the line came tight the fish ran hard into mangroves. Thinking fast our guide, Norman Rolle of Andros South, shouted “let him go! Loosen your drag!”. The bonefish zig-zagged thru the mangroves way into the backing. Norman hopped down off the platform and waded thur the mangroves, following the line to the fish and landing him. That’s a lesson I’ll never forget. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com  

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Use Long Leaders for Flat Water

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The saying a picture tells a thousand words is true, particularly in this case, as a tool for me explaining how important it is to use a long leader when fly fishing on flat water. In the picture above, take a moment to view the disturbances the fly line and leader create on the water during a presentation. Notice how little noise and footprint the leader makes when compared to the fly line. I was casting a Scott G2 5 weight rod with a 9′ leader and foam hopper, and I presented the fly as softly as possible. Anglers often don’t realize how much noise they’re creating during their presentations, and why so regularly they’re spooking the fish their casting to on flat water. The fly line itself, creates the most noise during your presentation and is by far the biggest contributor to spooking fish. Try using a 10-12′ leader or even a specialty George Harvey dry fly leader, that’s designed to dissipate energy and lay out dry flies with slack. This will increase the distance between your fly and the start of your noisy fly line hitting the water, resulting in more hook ups and less spooks. This fly fishing tip isn’t expected to turn heads. It’s more intended to be a friendly reminder for us fly anglers to fish with common sense. Many anglers including myself, often get on the water and find themselves oblivious for the need to adapt tactics to create a successful day of fishing. If you know you’re going to be dealing with flat water go ahead and rig up a longer leader right away. Being lazy and not doing so is like continuing to fish a fly that is not working all day long, and then walking away saying, “The fish weren’t biting today”. … Continue reading

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This One Is Just Right

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After a long day of fishing on the Kanektok River, Kevin Riley takes a nap in a bear bed on a piece of water the guides call Goldilocks channel. I wonder why they call it that?       Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com hookups@ginkandgasoline.com  

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