Gender Clarity in Fly Fishing

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By: Alice Tesar

It’s not a secret that women fly fish. They’ve been fishing for as long as men. If you’re shocked by this, you may need to fish more.

With this said, there are many campaigns and organizations encouraging more women to get into the sport. From increased visibility in fishing publications to women specific gear (not just pink and shrink) companies are pumping more funds into making women feel included in the fishing industry.

One of these campaigns is Orvis 50/50 on the Water: Creating Gender Parity in Fly Fishing. What seems to be Orvis’s primary ad for the campaign is a montage of some baller female anglers with voiceover of a man who hates women. He says things such as, “women should learn that they are not so spectacular.” While part of me wants to strangle this piece of sexist, insecure shit a much stronger part of me just wants to fish. This has always been the stronger voice in my head. I don’t have time for the haters and I think Orvis shouldn’t give them their time either. If you look at comments below the video on YouTube and other message boards, you will see a similar sentiment.

Why does this video feel like a war cry? Why is Orvis stooping to the level of this aggressive man in the video? Why does this commercial vilify men? Vilify anyone? Is Orvis fueling this man’s anger and those that are like him and is that constructive to the larger community?

If Orvis wants us to “lead more fulfilling lives through a deep personal connection to the adventure and wonders of the natural world,” as their mission statement reads, why do I feel like I need to be afraid of this “guy” when I’m on the river now?

As I was sucked into the vortex of comments below the video I stumbled upon a response from Orvis. It was the Orvis messaging I wanted from the beginning of the campaign:

“We did a lot of listening, and many women described barriers to entry that we weren’t fully aware of. Not all such barriers are aggressive or obvious: No one was telling women that they couldn’t fish. Instead we heard about a lack of peer groups, about how intimidating it can be to join a male-dominated community as a novice angler, and about how many women felt they would learn better in an atmosphere where they didn’t feel under scrutiny.”

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Can Anglers and Trout Have Mutual Admiration for Each Other?

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WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS PHOTOGRAPH?

This photograph reminds me of the blissful feeling I’m overcome with, just before I release a big beautiful trout back into the wild. There’s something very special about the last few seconds that an angler spends with his/her prized catch before it’s released. Everything seems to slow down, almost as though God is making sure we have time to capture the splendidness of the moment. I like to pretend that when our eyes lock, we mutually feel admiration for each other. I respect the trout for it’s majestic beauty and the thrill of the hunt. The trout in return respects me for my angling skills and belief in catch and release.

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The Fish In-Between 

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By Louis Cahill

Are you walking past the fish of the day?

From where I’m standing, in water that barely covers my boots, I can see the next pool. A beautiful bend, dark green and lazy, with a big submerged log on the outside edge. A little riffle at the head, pouring into a deep pool. It’s the perfect picture of the old fishing hole. I know there is a big brown in that dark green water. I literally know. In fact, everyone who fishes here knows. He’s not a secret and yet, to my knowledge, he’s never been caught. Hooked, for sure, but never landed. Still, you have to try with a fish like that.

There’s another beautiful run below with a handful of nice fish in it. I fished it without reward. Those fish, as well as the big brown, see plenty of flies. For all I know I’m the third angler through here today, but where I’m standing, a shallow, straight run with no obvious fish holding features, I’m pretty sure is virgin water. I’ve watched plenty of guys fish through here, and with the exception of the one standing to my left, they all fish the lower hole, then walk straight up the bank to the big bend, ignoring this littler piece of water.

Directly across from me is a clump of stream-side rhododendron, it’s leaves nearly brushing the water. It’s as un assuming a spot as you might find on a trout stream but I know from experience not to disregard stream-side cover, no matter how humble. There’s a spot under those leaves, about the size of a shoe box, you can’t see into. If I were a trot, in such a well trafficked piece of water, I’d like to be where no one could see me. I make a roll cast just upstream and let my fly slide under the branches.

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Fly Fishing: Be a Big Brother

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How many times have you stood by watching a rookie fly fisherman struggling to catch fish, and instead of helping them out, you turned your cheek, simply because you were in too much of a hurry to wet your own line? I know I’ve been there many times. Heck, I’ve been the guy joking around with my buddy saying, “Look at that guy. He’s standing right where the fish are and casting his fly where he should be standing.” It’s easy to forget that we’ve all been that newcomer at some point in our fly fishing past. Make no mistake, even the anglers currently with mad fly fishing skills, the ones that often carry overly inflated egos both on and off the water, knew absolutely jack squat about fly fishing much more recently than they’d care to admit. Take a minute or two to reflect on your own past, and chances are, it probably hasn’t been all that long since you were that angler that you just finished making fun of for being clueless. I can clearly remember making long drives on the weekends to chase trout up in the mountains, only to drive home discouraged with the smell of skunk all over me. It was never a good feeling, and in most cases, it could have been avoided if someone would have stepped up as a big brother/sister and helped me out for a few minutes.

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Merican Nymphing

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By Johnny Spillane

THERE IS A LOT THAT GOES INTO INDICATOR NYMPHING.

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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Chug a Coke, Save a Bleeding Fish.

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There’s nothing worse than watching a big beautiful wild fish bleed out from a damaged gill.

I found myself in just that situation with a big brown trout one day. Watching helplessly as the water turned red. Thank God Kent was with me. Thinking fast he said, “hey, did you finish that Coke?” I had not and he showed me a great trick. He opened the fish’s mouth and poured the Coke down her throat. As soon as it hit the injured gill the bleeding stopped. It was like magic. I’m not sure if it’s the carbonation or the acid but something in the Coke cauterized the wound. It saved that fish’s life. I know it for a fact because I saw her in that same pool several weeks later, although she was wise to me by then. I’m certain it was

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Saltwater Ready Position: Video

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I believe the Ready Position is the most important thing in saltwater fly-fishing.

Saltwater fly fishing is all about the fundamentals. Successful anglers are the ones who get the simple stuff right, every time. The best way to maximize your opportunities, and catch more fish, is to have a solid Ready Position. I’ve tried lots of different styles and have come up with what I consider perfect. Spoiler alert: It’s not the way Lefty did it.

In this video I’ll show you the details that will help you get your shots off clean every time. No more tangled leaders or flies stuck in your shirt. Just efficient, effective fly fishing. Give it a try and I think you’ll like the results.

Watch the video and improve your saltwater Ready Position.

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Fly Tying: Working With Wire

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By Bob Reece

Wire is a common ingredient in nymph patterns. 

Whether in the form of ribbing or full body segments, this material adds the important elements of segmentation, durability and weight.  Yet, because of its fairly rigid nature, it can be a difficult material to work with. 

When attaching wire to the hook shank, it’s important that it lands on one of the lateral sides of the hook shank.  This means that is should be tied in on the side of the hook either closest to your or the side opposite of that.  This ensures that the nymph pattern is widened horizontally and not vertically.  This matters because most natural nymphs have horizontally widened bodies.  Using this tying method helps to mimic that profile when constructing nymphs.

In addition to the tie in location, the consistency of the thread wraps that are laid down matters for two different reasons.  If the wraps are laid down without consistent firm tension, the wire will shift position when the tier wraps it forward.   Equally important is the spacing of thread wraps laid down on the surface that the wire will be wrapped over.  If the wraps are not evenly spaced and create an uneven surface, that same uneven layout will be reflected in the overlying wire wraps.  

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Guide’s Eyes

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By Jesse Lowry

Seeing bonefish can be a tall order for first-time flats fishermen, even those with well trained trout eyes. First off, there can be a lot of water to cover and you don’t have the benefits you generally would on a trout stream; the likely holding places and relatively stationary fish. Bonefish move, and can move fast, and not necessarily in straight lines, which admittedly is part of the fun. A head on 60-foot shot with the wind at your back can turn into a 25-foot backhander to the back of the boat into a 20mph wind in a heartbeat; absolute tranquility to pure chaos in 4.9 seconds.

Now this shouldn’t put you off taking the leap and booking your first trip to the flats. You don’t have to be able to see the bonefish right away to catch them. On a recent trip to Bair’s Lodge, a first timer to the flats caught 8 bonefish on the first day and commented that he didn’t see a single one until they were pretty much at the boat. This is the result of the guide spotting fish for you, calling out shots, talking you through how to strip the fly to convince the bones to eat, the Bahamian guides are pros at this.

But what if you want to start seeing fish like the guides do and get the most out of your trip? Here are a few tricks I found helped me:

The hookup:

You’ve put your cast to where the guide called the fish and wham, bang, whiz, the fish is on and you’re into the backing. Now you’re focusing on line management and fighting the fish. You also have got the perfect opportunity to locate and watch a bonefish on the flats. Look to the end of your fly line and watch for the shadow, see if you can actually see the fish and watch how it disappears and reappears, and looks different on different bottoms, it should give you at least a taste of what to look for.

The release:

You’ve landed your fish, snapped a quick picture and you’re about to release it, turn around and hop back in the boat, or sort out your line on the deck. Stop right there! Release the fish and try

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Stocking Nymph Patterns in Different Weights

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THIS PAST WEEKEND, ON ONE OF MY HOME TROUT WATERS, I WAS FRESHLY REMINDED HOW IMPORTANT IT CAN BE TO CARRY DIFFERENT WEIGHTED VERSIONS OF MY FAVORITE NYMPH PATTERNS DURING TOUGH FISHING CONDITIONS.

The low and gin clear water had the trout extra spooky and cautious. All it took was one wrong move, like my shadow briefly being cast over the water, or a presentation made a little too hard, and the trout ran for their lives like they were being chased by a pack of starving otters.

I use split-shot most of the time with my nymph rigs to get my flies down in the strike zone. It works great for me almost all of the time, but keep in mind that the extra weight added by them, also increases the noise made when presenting your flies on the water. Since I had low and flat water conditions, it wasn’t necessary for me to use them to get my flies down for most of the water anyways, except for the deeper pools. I love my Thingamabobbers but I had to substitute them for small stick-on foam strike indicators to keep my presentations extra quiet. I could have used a dry fly as an indicator but it would have called for me to constantly adjust my dropper length to keep my flies drifting in the preferred depths from one fishing spot to the next.

For the most part, the trout were congregated in the deeper pools, buckets and troughs, where the most water was found, but there were also multiple spots where I found trout holding in shallow, slow moving water located near cover. These places required unweighted or lightly weighted versions of my nymph patterns to get a good drift through the target water. My problem, was that the trout were favoring hares ears and I was slap out of unweighted versions of them. My weighted versions worked fine in the deeper water, but  they didn’t work so well in the shallow water. I managed to catch a few fish on soft-hackles and pheasant-tails in the shallow water, but I had to really be precise with my presentations to get them to eat. If I would have had more unweighted/lightly weighted hares ears on hand, I’m confident I could have landed more fish in the areas where the trout were holding in shallow water.

For some reason, the trout were willing to move much further to eat a hares ear than my other nymph patterns. I’ve learned over the years, that every fishing day is different and unique. Some days the trout will be opportunistic and will eat a wide selection of fly patterns, while other days, even on water that is so called “infertile”, where there’s low bug densities, trout may choose to go against their opportunistic feeding habits and flat out prefer one food source or fly pattern over the rest. It doesn’t make a lot of since, and it goes against what most fly fishing authors teach, but then again, you alway have to add fishing pressure into the equation. I think this was

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