Merican Nymphing

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By Johnny Spillane


There are many different types of nymph fishing, Czech nymphing, French nymphing etc, but I’d like to think that what we do in Colorado and most of the west could be classified as ‘Merican Nymphing. Might as well give it a name. There are many different options and many more opinions on this style of fly fishing but we will keep it simple in this post and address it’s applications.

First off, how do you choose your indicator? They all serve their own purpose, I use Thingamabobber or Fish Pimp products but there is something to be said for old school yarn or pinch on indicators. Whatever product you choose, keep in mind its application because that will play a big role in what will work the best for you. If you’re moving around and changing depth frequently, something that doesn’t destroy your leader and is easy to adjust might be best. If you’re constantly fishing the same depth with minimal weight, a pinch on indicator might be better.

There are many different ways to nymph fish with an indicator, but the number one thing you need to keep in mind is that the goal is to put the fly where the fish are. Setting your depth, in my opinion, is far more important then fly selection. How well does a fly work if it is 2 feet above or below where a fish is feeding? You can change patterns until you are numb but unless you are putting the fly in the fishes feeding column, more often then not you will not get a strike. This holds especially true on

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The Andromeda Strain

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I loved that movie when I was a kid, didn’t expect to live it.

If you haven’t seen the 1971 classic “The Andromeda Strain,” well, I guess this is a good time to catch up. The movie is about a deadly virus brought back from space. It’s a good bit deadlier than what we have now and ultimately easier to wrap up in just over two hours, and as far as I can tell they have toilet paper.

It’s a sign of the times, I suppose, that something as simple as a virus can be such a controversial thing. It seems that half of the country is convinced that Covid 19 is a giant hoax while the other half thinks it’s the end of the world. Here in Georgia a man was stabbed to death in the grocery store over a pack of toilet paper. I guess that is a step closer to the world ending. Not from Covid 19 but from mass stupidity.

I’m not going to preach to you. I honestly don’t care how you respond to this pandemic (or hoax if you like), just leave me out of it. As for me, social distancing has become a way of life this past year. I’ve been on lockdown like a New Yorker since last spring, with eye surgeries and the ensuing complications. I’m currently scheduled for surgery #7 on April first. Don’t know if it will happen or not at this point. It has been rescheduled several times due to a prolonged bout of Pneumonia, which I have just beaten.

The recent Pneumonia makes me one of those folks who supposedly die from this current bug, so I’m taking it seriously. I’m not interested in the argument over whether it’s a hoax, a conspiracy or a threat to our existence, I’m just tired of being sick. I’m staying away from people. I’m getting some shit done, trying to eat right and get some sleep. Hopefully soon, I’ll be waking my hands frequently in stream water. I still know a few spots that offer social distancing.

One thing I do know is not a hoax.

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Fly Fishing Tip: Use Tippet Rings to Extend the Life of Expensive Leaders

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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 and streamer fishing situations.


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 24-36″ 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. For those of you that aren’t big fans of using tippet rings, furled leaders provide the same functional benefits. If you’d like to purchase some of these, we recommend going with our friends at

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You Can’t Go Home

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William S. Burroughs, in his essay “Dinosaurs” wrote, “biologically speaking the one direction you can’t go is back”.

He was, of course, making a social comment but I was reminded of that idea while fishing the other day with a good friend. Joel Dickey was up visiting family over the holidays and was excited to do some trout fishing. For weeks he had been telling me that he was going to take me to the best trout stream he’d ever fished. The little creek in Tennessee that he grew up on. A stretch of private water owned by his aunt. I was excited to see the water and to spend a day wetting my boots with Joel.

I knew this was either going to be really good, or really bad. Joel has been living and guiding in the Keys for a long time now and things change. Things always change and where trout streams in the southeast are concerned, usually not for the better. In Joel’s memory this little creek was gin clear and full of big wild trout. When we arrived we found a different stream altogether. There were no fish of any kind. Only old tires and garbage, including a battery acid bottle. A sad sign of an unloved stream.

We moved on to a local tailwater and got into some nice fish and even some surface action, which is great for December, but Joel was heartbroken. It’s tough to see a stream

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4 Tips to Get You Roll Casting Like a Pro

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A solid roll cast is every angler’s best friend, here’s how to improve yours.

You’ve just spotted a big head break the surface on the far bank, gulping down a struggling mayfly drifting in the foam. The excitement of discovering the trophy trout feeding triggers your body’s adrenaline glands, and almost instantly, you feel your heart begin to pound, thump thump….thump thump. With the confined quarters and lacking room for a back cast, you realize your only viable option to reach the fish is going to be with an accurate roll cast. As you quickly try to present your mayfly imitation in the feeding lane, hoping that the big fish will mistake it for a natural, your fly shoots left of your intended target and lands in an overhanging branch above the fish’s lie, immediately putting down the big fish. With the fishing opportunity blown and the disappointment setting in, you find yourself asking, “What did I do wrong?”

As an avid small stream trout fisherman, I’ve lived out this exact situation many times, and felt the disappointment followed by a poorly executed roll cast. It wasn’t until I took the time to understand and learn the mechanics of proper roll casting, that I began finding myself capitalizing on fishing situations that called for precise roll casting. Looking back now on my past roll casting insufficiency, it’s clear I wasn’t at all, alone. There’s many anglers that struggle with roll casting, and that’s why I’ve decided to provide a short list of tips that’s intended to get anglers roll casting like pros.


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New Fly Rods foe Trout, From Sage: Video

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Three new trout centered rods from Sage.

Sage is thinking specific on trout fishing. These three new offerings cover the gambit of trout fishing situation. The award winning Trout LL is a classic medium action fly rod with a focus on dry fly fishing, the Payload is a streamer throwing machine and the Trout Spey HD is an ultralight two hander. If you’re a trout fisher, one of these likely sounds good to you. Maybe all three!


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South Andros, A Love Story

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I love the Bahamas. It hits me about this time every year. Just about the time I start pulling out the polar fleece and looking for my fishing gloves I start thinking about Andros. I love the cold weather, it’s not that, it’s just become a rhythm for me. This is the time of year I start thinking about bonefish and gully wash (the coconut milk rum and gin based fire water the locals drink). I start to crave conch salad and that sweet Bahamian bread.                      I think about warm breezes and cool sand when I should be thinking about migrating brown trout. I start checking over my bonefish gear when I should be prepping my Spey set up. I find myself looking at the weather for Andros when I should be planning my steelhead trips. I think about my friends there at Andros South and the friends I’ve made fishing there who live all over. Some of them even get a phone call. “Hey, what’s up? Done any good fishing lately? Going to the Bahamas this year?”. The other day I even bought a bunch of saltwater tying material. You never know, right? I got some leader material too. Better safe than sorry. It’s almost November and I’m making rum drinks while all my friends are settling into dark winter beers. I imagine they talk about me behind my back like I was a fool hopelessly in love with a girl who doesn’t know he exists. “Wake up dreamer, it’s not gonna happen”. Well, the world needs dreamers. I’m booking my ticket tonight. Try not to hate me. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Garners Carp Dancer

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Anyone who’s thrown a fly at carp can tell you what a frustrating experience it can be. Fortunately our resident warm water expert Garner Reid has a solution. The Carp Dancer.

The carp dancer is tied on a curved shank hook with dumbbell eyes. This makes the fly present with its tail in the air. So I’m sure you can guess where the name carp dancer came from. When you twitch the fly it rides along the bottom with the marabou tail pulsing in the water. It drives the carp wild.

Watch the video and learn to tie Garners Carp Dancer.

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10 Tips to Keep You Catching Fish During Your Fly Fishing Travels

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It’s easy to get out of your game when you’re traveling and fly fishing a new piece of water.

It has happened to me plenty of times, where I find myself fly fishing and going against all my fishing catching principles. Stick to what works for you on your home water and keep your confidence, and you’ll be landing beautiful fish in no time. Below are ten principles that I always make sure I live by when I’m fly fishing abroad on unfamiliar waters.

1. Spend your time fishing productive water, don’t waist your time fishing subpar water.

2. Look for the 3 C’s (Cover, Current, Cusine) to locate the hotspots.

3. Always position yourself where you can get your best presentation and drift.

4. Have your fly rig setup correctly for the water you’re fishing (nymph rig set correctly, long enough leader for spooky risers, correct tippet size, ect).

5. Take the time to figure out the food source the fish are keying in on. Take regular bug samplings throughout the day and keep an eye out for aquatic insects on the water.

6. Always fish with confidence and fish hard. Persistence usually pays off.

7. Don’t be afraid to move on if the water your fishing is slow. Even pack up and

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Fly Fishing Tip: Mend Your Strike Indicator to Increase Your Drag-Free Drift

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When I first started learning the art of mending fly line, I constantly struggled with keeping my striking indicator and dry fly from moving across the surface of the water. Quite often, I not only moved them during my mends, I even lifted them completely out of the water in the process. Most of the time that wasn’t a good thing, because it usually caused my flies to be pulled off my intended drift line, and that greatly hindered my ability to catch fish, no matter how accurate my initial presentation cast happened to be. I learned quickly, that poor mending, and sloppy line management, were the two main factors in keeping me from getting my rod bent with trout. There was no doubt that my problem with mending fly line laid in the fact that my technique was awful. I thought I was a whole lot maturer than I really was as a fly fisher, failing to realize that I had just begun to skim the surface of learning the intricacies of fly line mending. Such as, determining when or when not a mend was called for during a drift, mend timing and form.

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