Pick Up Your Fly Line and Recast Quietly: Video

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The ability to pick your fly line up off the water quietly can be the difference between success and failure.

In freshwater or salt making a loud pickup to recast can spook fish you might have otherwise caught. Of course we would all like to catch our fish with just one cast but that’s not often the case, so a quiet pick up is a great skill to have.

Part of the process is simply controlling your excitement but there is some technique to it as well. Luckily we have my buddy Bruce Chard to help with that.


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Leave Your Cowboy Hat at Home

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By Bob Reece

In Cheyenne, Wyoming we host Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. 

That folks, is a great time and place to wear a cowboy hat.  On the other hand, spotting and stalking fish in glassy water is not.  Whether on still or moving water, the clothing that you wear can have an impact on the success of your fishing day.  This is especially true when stalking fishing in water with high levels of clarity.  In both my personal and guide days on the water I’ve seen this impact fish-to-net success. 

While I guide entirely on still waters, many of those days are spent spotting and stalking fish with clients.  During those experiences, two different people stand out in my mind.   One arrived in a fluorescent pink sweatshirt.  To start the day off, we fished indicators.  With the morning dry fly activity, we began to slowly move down the shoreline in search of rising fish.  As soon as I told her we would be trying this method, she removed the sweatshirt and wore a drab colored under shirt. 

The other client wore a bright white cowboy hat.

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Fear And Loathing On The Water

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The sky is clear. Mangrove leaves glow in early morning sun. Dirty brown water floods the mud flats of Delacroix, Louisiana. I take in the view from the poling platform while struggling to move the boat against a twenty MPH wind. The last few days have been challenging, to say the least. We’ve battled the thunderstorms and wind, poor light and water clarity, and today the water temperature has dropped ten degrees. We were chased out of Venice when the Mississippi rose nine feet and landed here, where at least we know a couple of spots. The whole trip has been a mess and I’ve spent most of it on the platform. On the morning of this, the third day, I have only landed one redfish and I’m looking to turn things around.

I pole the boat into a sweet looking spot where the lee of a small island meets the mouth of a creek. It looks too good to not hold fish. My buddies Scott and Daren have given up on their fly rods and gone over to the dark side, throwing spoons and jigs on gear rods. Daren fires a cast into the creek and Scott casts to the island. Both lines come tight and we have a legitimate double in the first thirty minutes of fishing. My shoulders relax and I think that today things just might turn around. I spin the push pole in my hands and sink the point into the soft bottom to hold the boat while my friends land their fish. That’s when I hear a loud snap and the pole is suddenly free in my hand.

There’s no managing a flats boat in strong wind with a broken push pole. We spend most of day three riding back to the dock, driving a half hour to the nearest hardware store and fixing the pole. By afternoon, when we return to the flats, things have changed and there isn’t a redfish to be found. I blind cast wildly to fishy looking water while a pounding rises in my ears. My frustration becomes palpable and my casting sloppy. We call the day around 3:30 when the boats wiring starts acting up. I ride back to the dock in a state of self loathing. Voices of negativity singing choruses in my head. Feeling sorry for myself like a little bitch.

Just a week earlier I was swinging flies for steelhead on the Deschutes river in Oregon. Conditions were tough there too. I’d taken my friend Andy Bowen for his first west coast steelhead trip, to learn how to cast a two hander and swing flies from Jeff Hickman, who taught me. Andy was on the board early with two nice fish. His first, a wild buck, handed him his ass early in the fight, almost spooling him. The look on Andy’s face was priceless. He kept his cool and, with constant coaching from Jeff, landed the fish.

It was a perfect first steelhead experience. I always choose my words carefully when

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2 Alternatives for Attaching Your Split-Shot

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It’s getting late, your tired, and you know you should be heading back, but there’s a bend just up ahead, and your curiosity keeps pushes you forward with those powerful words, “This could be it, just see what’s on the other side”. Sure enough, as you round the corner you lay your eyes on a picture perfect run, offering everything a trophy trout could desire. You get into position, make the cast, mend your line, and begin following your strike indicator with your rod tip, when out of now where, it shoots under the surface like it was just attached to a iron dumb bell. You set the hook and feel the heavy weight of the fish thrashing its big head, and you’re immediately on cloud 9. The adrenaline rush doesn’t last long though. It’s quickly replaced by painful heart ache when you feel your tippet snap, and watch your rod go straight. The excitement is all over…, you won’t land that trophy fish or even be graced with a quick glimpse of it for that matter. The only memory you’ll have to remember that trophy trout by is the few aggressive head shakes. You bring your fly-less rig to hand and find the tippet broke at the split-shot.

Has this ever happened to you before?
If you attach your split shot too tight on your tippet it can weaken its strength significantly. Most anglers try to avoid this by tying a triple surgeon’s or blood knot above their tandem nymph rig, and attach the split-shot above that. The knot keeps the split-shot from sliding down to the flies during fly casting, and it only has to be snugly secured, which limits the chances of it damaging the tippet. It’s not 100% full proof, but it’s the most popular method used by experienced nymph fisherman. To limit the break offs during fierce fights, anglers should get in the habit of regularly checking their nymph rig for

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I’ve Got A 6 Foot Bed That Never Has To Be Made.

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By Kyle Wilkinson

I did something interesting the other day.

Something I haven’t done in years. I voluntarily didn’t go fishing. It was this past Saturday and the sun was shining and my wife was at work. (She’s a hair stylist, which I’ll add is the perfect line of work for a spouse to be in if you like to fish since they have to work every Saturday.) Aside from the fact that Saturdays always find me streamside when I’m in town, it’s a new year and that all-important ‘first fish of the year’ still needs to be caught. A quick scroll through Instagram will show that countless people have already crossed this annual milestone off their list- including some of my co-workers. But nope, the wading boots weren’t getting wet that day.

2016 was a big year for me, with over 130 days spent on the water between guiding and personal fishing. Running a schedule like that puts a lot of wear on your gear, as well as your vehicle. Thus the reason for not fishing- I really needed to clean my truck. This chore had been put on the backburner for the past bunch of months and if you’ve been in it lately you would be able to tell. It was getting pretty bad.

I pulled around to my garage, parked next to the open door- and just as I’ve done countless times- began pulling stuff out by the armful and tossing it on the floor. Boat bags, duffle bags of extra clothes, rod tubes, hip packs, sling packs, wet wading neoprene socks, 3 pairs of waders, 2 pairs of boots, my Yeti 65, what my wife would likely think is too many empty beer cans, some empty Gatorade and water bottles, three collapsible chairs (2 of which still worked), my roll top table, a half a dozen tangled leaders and a few loose strike indicators. Through all of this, I couldn’t help but find myself reflecting back on the past year and the memories that this heap of dirty gear helped create. It was as if I was instantly reliving the entire 2016 season- the nights spent sleeping in the bed, the early morning departures and late night arrivals, the cold beers on the tailgate while

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By John Byron

It’s a thing. Gear Acquisition Syndrome. GAS.

The most you can use at any one time is one. One guitar. One fountain pen. One fly rod. But how many you have is N, where N is a much bigger number than one. 

That’s GAS.

The concept and phrasing, GAS, came from the world of music. Yes, how many guitars, pickups, mikes, etc. does a person need? And from photography, cameras, lenses, etc. 

But perhaps the largest cluster of GAS-plagued souls is in fly fishing: rods, reels, lines, boots, buffs, hoodies, packs and the list is endless. 

Does the rumor of a new line of fly rods from Scott or Loomis or Sage make your heart flutter? Has Amazon told you that you can’t return any more purchases for refund? Have you convinced your significant other that only a certain line on a certain reel will actually catch bonefish and you don’t have either but found a sale price online and your next trip will fail if you don’t buy them?

These are signs of GAS. But the surefire way to know if you’ve got it is to look in your garage or down in your basement:

Are your fly rods a small, neat collection of well-purposed tools? Or an inventory challenge? 
Did you recently look in a drawer, find a reel, and say ‘Gee, I forgot I had that’? 
Do you have to move a lot of fishing tackle aside to find fishing tackle?
Do you have more than twenty

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Stipe Takes on Gierach, R.E.M. Records Fly Fishing Album

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To be sure, none of us are getting any younger and I applaud Stipe for embracing his graying hair and changing features, but there was more to it than that. There was something eerily familiar, almost comforting, about Stipe’s new look. He carried an air of wisdom that I’d never noticed before and he almost seemed…fishy.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more going on here than meets the eye. Was this just the graceful aging of a pop star or was there something else going on? Was this nature, or craft? I had to get to the bottom of it.

Possibly the greatest perk of being part of Gink and Gasoline is being on the “Celebrity A List,” so I called Michael up for an interview. I was shocked at his candor. It turns out that, not only are my suspicions well founded, they are spot on.

LC- Thanks for taking my call Michael. I’m sure I speak for the entire Gink and Gasoline community when I say, your work has been a real inspiration.

MS- Thanks Louis, I’m a big fan. I read Gink every morning while I have my coffee. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that hook removal video. You really saved my ass there.

LC- That’s great, we knew someone was reading. I’m glad to know it was you. Thanks!

MS- No problem.

LC- I saw your recent appearance on the Colbert Report with Mandy Patinkin. It was a great performance.

MS- Thanks.

LC- Look Michael, I’m going to get right to it. Are you turning into John Gierach?

MS- Well, I think that’s a bit heavy handed. I wouldn’t say I’m “turning into” John Gierach. I think of it more like, picking up where John left off.

LC- So I’m not crazy here? You are definitely reforging yourself in the image of my favorite fly fishing author.

MS- Well no, I wouldn’t say I … OK, yes, yes I am.

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Search out the Small Water in the Big Water

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My first few years fishing a fly rod, I spent the majority of my time fly fishing small creeks.

One creek in particular called Little Allatoona Creek, grabbed most of my attention because it ran along the outskirts of my subdivision, and took only a short five-minute bike ride from my house to wet a line. This tiny stream held over a dozen catchable warm water species of fish from the sunfish family. As a kid, the coolest part about fishing this creek was you never knew what you were going to hook up with on the end of your line. Sometimes it would be 12-inch redeye bass, while other times, it would be a crappie or a colorful green sunfish. But what really was amazing about Little Allatoona Creek, was its uncanny ability to regularly hold largemouth bass in excess of four pounds. For a kid in elementary or middle school, that was a true trophy catch in our minds. We caught most of those species early on sinking dough balls on a hook. It wasn’t until my Father introduced the fly rod to us, that we began toting around a fly box of balsa wood poppers and learning the art of fly fishing. If my recollections are correct, it only took a day or two of fishing a fly rod on Little Alatoona Creek, before all of us made a trip up to our local sporting goods store to outfit the rest of our crew. Once purchased we never looked back.

Little Allatoona Creek was a seasonal fishery. When the water temperatures got cold in late fall, almost all the fish would migrate several miles downstream into Lake Allatoona to find the refuge of deeper and warmer water. Come spring though, usually around mid-march, all the fish would begin migrating back up into Little Allatoona Creek, and it was once again game-on, for the next several months. The return of the fish was always a grand celebration, putting us all on cloud 9. It wasn’t easy as kids enduring months of not fishing our favorite little creek. There was no better place for my two best friends, Ryan Evans and Sean O’Donnell and I to bend our fly rods and catch fish. We felt like god’s fishing it. Those small warm-water creeks we spent years exploring, were the first places we learned how to read water and locate fish. Boy, was it a shock to us when we

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Restore an Old Bamboo Fly Rod #4: Video Series

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Today Matt teaches us how to remove a set and apply finish to a bamboo fly rod.

This video covers a ton of fly rod restoration skills. Many old bamboo rods have a set. That’s a permanent bend in the blank, and usually develops due to a rod being stored under tension. No worries, Matt Draft is here to show you how to fix it. Once that’s dome he’ll go on to apply a beautiful finish.

Restore an Old Bamboo Fly Rod #4

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Fish With Benefits

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I was asked the other day what was my favorite species of fish.

That’s a really tough question for me. Sort of a Sophie’s choice question. After thinking about it for a long time I answered trout, for a host of reasons, but I quickly added, “and bone fish”! For some odd reason I then felt like I had to defend that answer. I had said trout and I had just finished talking at length about a tarpon trip I had just been on and here I was blurting out bonefish. Why? I went on to explain using a rationale I have used for years. “The bonefish is just right. It’s hard enough to catch, usually because of the conditions, that you feel like you’ve done something worthwhile but it’s not impossible like a permit. When you hook them it’s a great fight, but not an ass beating like a tarpon. They’re the just right fish”.

That’s all true and I believe it but inside I knew there was more. It ate at me, why do I love bonefish so much? I think I’ve come up with the answer. I love the fish but what I really love is bonefishing. When I think of bonefish I think of the Bahamas and when I think about fishing the Bahamas it’s a whole different feeling.

When I’m headed to the Keys for tarpon, for example, I’m excited, hell, more than excited. I know that I’m taking on a huge challenge and that something truly awesome may happen, and then again it may not. I may catch the fish of a life time or

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