Arrogant. Selfish. Proud. A Wyoming Fisherman in the American South

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I spend a lot of time fishing with my buddies out west. Frankly, I’m spoiled. My western friends show me some pretty outstanding fishing when I’m out their way. It’s very seldom that I get the chance to reciprocate. Few of my friends from the west find their way to my neck of the woods. When I made the acquaintance of Jackson Engels, a talented fly anger from Wyoming, and he mentioned he was visiting North Carolina, I was excited to show off some of my water for a change.

Jackson and I had a great day on the water and he brought some Wyoming whiskey that helped. Later I got to thinking. What does a North Carolina trout stream look like to a guy from Wyoming? I emailed Jackson and asked for his thoughts. I told him I was thinking of writing a piece for G&G. His reply was so well written I decided to share it with you as he wrote it. In his words, from his heart.

For the record, Jackson did not strike me as arrogant, selfish or proud. Thanks Jackson, for a great day on the water, for the whiskey and for sharing your thoughts on our day.



Arrogantly, I don’t like fishing anywhere but Wyoming. Selfishly, I don’t want anyone else fishing my Wyoming streams. Proudly, I KNOW the people of Wyoming are the most genuine and generous in the country.

Weeks prior to my trip, sarcastic farewells actually started to scare me. Maybe my friends were right, maybe a trip to Georgia/North Carolina to meet a fishing HERO…ahem “fishing guide”…ahem “fishing bum” was a a bad idea. Surely jokes about canoes and banjos weren’t really starting to concern me? And holy hell, squealing like a pig! What am I doing? Where am I going? Trout fishing in the South? Does that even exist? There’s no such thing! This Louis Cahill is going to kill me and bury me next to some backwoods moonshine shed!! HELP!!!

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Is Your Introvert Personality Holding Back Your Fly Fishing Growth?

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Those of you that know me personally, would probably agree I’m somewhat of an introvert. Much of that is due to the fact that I was a shy kid with few friends growing up, and I spent a great deal of my time in grade school getting picked on by extreme extrovert jerks. Thankfully, during my college years, I was able to break out of my shell from the help of some solid friends who always had my back. As much headway as I’ve managed to make over the years, I still haven’t been able to totally kick my introvert ways. For instance, I’m a pretty accomplished fly fisherman, but if you put me in a group of veteran fly anglers, most of the time, I’ll be the one standing on the side-lines with my mouth shut, listening to everyone else talk about their accomplishments and experiences. It wasn’t until I met Louis, that I realized how important it was for my own fly fishing growth, to not let myself be afraid to step out of my comfort zone to learn new skills, and for that matter, not be afraid to let others see the areas where I had the most room for angling improvement.

Louis has never been afraid of what people thought of him as a fly fisherman. If he has, he sure as heck doesn’t wear it on his sleeve. I believe a lot of that is because he’s come to grips with and accepted, that most of his peers are usually going to write him off as an advanced fly fisherman, solely because he’s a professional photographer. For years trout fishing, I was the backbone of our fishing adventures. I’d do the majority of the catching and he’d do the shooting. He was the person asking most of the questions, and the majority of the time, I was the one doing the strategizing on the water. Although I started out a few skill notches ahead of Louis with a fly rod, he quickly closed the gap over the years. Today, I’m not at all ashamed to admit that Louis is a more well rounded fly angler than I am. He leap frogged me because he embraced his extrovert side, while I let my introvert personality hold me back from learning new facets of fly fishing. Louis has become a very experienced saltwater angler the last few years by devoting his time and hard work on the water, and he’s also made great strides in learning the art of spey fishing, by landing his fair share of wild steelhead on the swing. His huge growth as a fly angler and fly tier has come to him because he wasn’t afraid to break out of his trout fishing shell and try new things, and he’s never been ashamed to ask for help from others when he needed it. Furthermore, Louis has chosen to live out his fly fishing passion by never being fully satisfied with his current skills. He’s always looking for ways to improve his game. In turn, he’s inspired me to follow his extrovert ways in my own fly fishing endeavors. If it wasn’t for Louis, I would be half the angler I am today, and I’m grateful and forever thankful for his friendship, leadership and unwavering support.

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Can Fasting Make You A Better Angler?

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Science is finding evidence that the ancient practice of fasting offers a host of mental health benefits.

I’m starving. Quite literally. I’ve been on a pretty intense diet recently and as of today have lost 55 pounds in a little over four months. There are many health benefits to keeping that weight off but I really believe it’s helping me be a better angler, if for no other reason than I can hike to better water. In all seriousness though, I’ve seen a difference and it got me doing a little research. It seems I’m not alone in the idea that fasting changes your mental performance.

My initial theory was this. If I am hungry when fishing, my natural predatory senses could be enhanced. My body needs food and my mind could be sharpening my senses to help me provide it, helping me spot fish and focus on catching them. After doing some reading, I think there’s merit in that idea but there may be more going on.

Studies have shown that fasting can finding improvements in mood, mental clarity, vigilance, a sense of improved well-being, and sometimes euphoria. An interesting article from “Mind The Science Gap” gets into some of the physical details.

“The mood-boosting effects of fasting may be an evolutionary adaptive mechanism for periods of famine. In other words, when food is scarce our bodies release chemicals to help protect our brains from the negative effects. These chemicals can put us in a good mood–but, as you know if you have skipped a meal or two, it takes a few days. During the first week of fasting, the body begins to adapt to starvation by releasing massive amounts of catecholamines including epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and dopamine as well as gluco-corticoids, steroid hormones involved in regulating the immune response and glucose metabolism. All of these chemicals are also released during the infamous ‘fight or flight’ response. After a while, our body responds to this stress through a boost of feel-good and protective chemicals.” -

There is also research which suggests that these chemical changes in the brain help in the long term to

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The Original Eyewear For The Flats

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Bonefish are just cool. They never cease to amaze me.

Like all fish, they are perfectly adapted to their environment and in their environment you need a competitive edge. Right in the middle of the food chain, the bonefish has to get in, get fed, and get out in a hurry, before he becomes somebody else’s lunch. To do that, he needs keen eyesight, a hard nose, a turbo charged tail stroke and some high-tech eye wear. I handled hundreds of bones before I ever noticed the eye glass, and a few more before I captured a good photo of it. It’s so clear and flawless that the light and the angle you look at the fish need to be just right to see it. It is a slick outer lens that covers a good portion of the bonefishes face and encapsulates it’s eye. If you study it’s profile you will see that it turns the bonefish’s already sleek profile into a perfectly hydrodynamic projectile. The equivalent of cycle racers shaving their legs.

No doubt, this aids in the bone’s remarkable speed, but that’s just part of the story. The eyeglass serves a much larger purpose. The bonefish has a fairly unique style of feeding. When he spots a crab or a shrimp and makes his charge his prey seeks cover in the coral, or deep in the mud or sand bottom. The bonefish gives chase by

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The Geezer Hatch

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Ever heard the phrase, “the geezer hatch is on?”

I’ve used it myself. It’s a common way of saying there are a bunch of old dudes on the water. It’s pretty common to hear younger anglers and guides grousing or making jokes about old guys who can’t see their flies or wade like a mummy in a black and white horror film.

In the past decade, fly fishing has taken on the soundtrack of extreme sport and with it some of the attitude. Too many of us feel compelled to judge our fellow anglers and that comes down pretty hard on the over-seventy set.

Like any cross section of humanity, old guys run the gambit from pompous assholes to salt of the earth. On the whole, the younger guys I know treat them pretty well but once they are out of ear shot, there is often a comment made that reveals the judgment.

Maybe I notice it because I’m at the point in my life where it’s painfully clear that we’re all going down that road. It may also be that I habitually pull for the underdog and have a heightened intolerance to inequity. I’m not saying it’s a major problem, just an underlying prejudice that rubs me wrong sometimes.

This is where my friend Mike Ray comes into the picture. I’ve gotten to know Mike over the last year or so and had the pleasure of fishing with him both on the river and in the salt. Mike is a great angler. A solid caster, in spite of a badly scarred hand, and an all-around fishy guy who’s company I thoroughly enjoy. He’s about seventy, a retired lawyer who’s done well for himself.

If you didn’t know him, if you hadn’t fished with him, you might be tempted to throw him right into the geezer category. (Sorry Mike.) If you spend some time around the man, you see something completely different. That’s how prejudice works.

In fact, what you find is a guy with a youthful spirit, an open mind, and a hell of a nice cast. But there has always been something more to Mike that I just couldn’t put my finger on. There is an air about him when he put on his waders and climbs in the boat that is nothing short of a transformation.

There’s a calmness that comes over Mike when those waders go on. A comfort and a confidence that you don’t see in many anglers. His body language changes. The way he stands and holds his cigar, the way takes a knee on the bank, and I think even the way he sees the world become something completely different. Something old and familiar.

On a recent trip to Patagonia I found out what it is.

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Jesus Built My CCFX2

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Watch the badass video!


Last month I while I was down in Miami I stopped in to see my friends Kristen Mustad and Jesus Marmol. My timing couldn’t have been better. In addition to doing a little fishing, I got to see the very first CCFX2 reel to come off the floor. To say it was impressive would be an understatement.

It was cool to get a first hand look at what goes into the making of a quality fly reel. The attention to detail was mind blowing at every level. The guys and gals a Nautilus have their heads in the game. But you don’t have to take it from me, because I shot video of the whole thing. Watch and see for yourself.

Watch, “Jesus Built My CCFX2”

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Tie the Chard Choker Permit Fly

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Permit fishing is as exacting as it gets.

When asked to list the top ten reasons permit will refuse a fly, Bruce Chard listed, among other things: a butterfly in Indonesia flapped its wings and because that’s what they do.

Getting a shot a a tailing permit is a test of an anglers resolve. Everything must be done perfectly. Even if everything is done perfectly there’s no guarantee of an eat. The first thing the angler must do is choose the right fly.

For tailing permit in shallow water the Chard Choker is a good choice. Check out the video to learn to tie this killer permit fly.

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Stretch Thy Fly Line

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Are you looking for more a little more distance in your fly cast? Is your fly line not shooting through your guides as easy as it should? Is it lacking that fresh from the box high floating buoyancy? Are you spending more time untangling your fly line than fishing? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you should think about taking a couple minutes before hitting the water to stretch your fly line out.

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4 Ways To Catch More Tailwater Trout

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By Kyle Wilkinson

If the arrival of winter does not signal an end to your fishing, chances are good you’re going to be spending some time on a tailwater in the months to come.

While the issue of dams and rivers is clearly a topic for another day, the fact remains that dams have created some pretty incredible wintertime trout playgrounds for those willing to endure frozen fingers and guides. Aside from the fact that tailwater fisheries are known to grow incredibly large, in most places they are also known to grow incredibly intelligent trout. The reasons for this are two-fold. 1) The fish have a TON of natural food for them due to the consistent water temps and flows created by said dam. 2) Tailwaters typically receive quite a bit of angling pressure and as such, most of the trout swimming here are going to have a PhD in spotting a poor drift. Does this mean then that catching a tailwater trout or two should be a bonus, while heading home with a skunk on your back should be the norm? Absolutely not! Remember, big trout have to eat all the time to maintain their size and as such, are going to remain very catchable as long as we put the odds in our favor.


1. Tighten Up Flies. This is a big one for me and is something I promise will help put fish in the net. Do this: hold your hand out in front of you and make a fist. Now extend your thumb and pinky out in opposite directions. That distance between your two digits is the spacing to use for your flies. Depending on the size of your hands, you’re probably looking at 8-10” and this is perfect! I’m well aware this will seem very strange if you’re used to fishing your flies 18” apart (like I see people doing all the time out on the water) but I encourage you to give it a try. Remember, a tailwater trout -–particularly in the winter–is rarely going to chase down a meal. Giving that fish as many options as possible directly in front of their face is going to increase your chances of catching it dramatically!

Use Split Shot AND Putty. This is another non-negotiable for me on the technical tailwaters of Colorado. When rigging up in the morning, I’ll place one split shot 8-10” above my first fly– usually somewhere between a size 2-4. After this, I will use tungsten putty to make all my additional weight adjustments throughout the day. Using this type of putty couldn’t be easier and allows me to dial in my weight to a much greater degree than I could by pinching multiple split shots on and off my tippet throughout the day. When I come to a location that requires more weight, I’ll simply pinch off a bit of putty, flatten it between my thumb an index finger, and then roll directly on top of my split shot. Make a nice round ball and you’ll be good to go. If I realize the putty I added

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Familiar Waters, New Predators

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“The last thing I expected to see was this big male brown trout becoming food.”

By this time, in any normal year, I am done with trout fishing. Not that I don’t enjoy it but water temperatures here in the South reach near-lethal levels in the summer and it doesn’t feel responsible to target trout under those conditions. Fortunately, a couple of my local rivers offer me a stellar alternative.

As local lakes heat up, striped bass move into the rivers for cooler water and, I suppose, to satisfy their anadromous instincts. These fish are big, strong fighters, and difficult to target with a fly. Pretty much everything I like in a fish. Once June rolls around, I spend most of my local fishing time focusing on them.

The problem is, this has been anything but a normal year. My local river, the Chattahoochee, has been a raging torrent of mud since early spring. Heavy rains, nearly every day, have kept the river un-fishable for almost the entire season. By last week, I desperately needed some time in my drift boat so I planned a quick trip to a favorite Tennessee tailwater. My buddies Geoff Murphy and S.C.O.F. editor Dave Grossman joined me for a two-day float.

Repair work on the downstream dam have the river on a low flow and rain has colored the water. Conditions are far from perfect but I’m excited to target some of the big brown trout that inhabit these waters. I showed up with a pretty anemic selection of dry flies and nymphs and two boxes full of big streamers. I’m ready for a challenge.

Geoff and Dave have been picking up some fish on beetle patterns and suffers but I haven’t had so much as a look at my streamer. Geoff gets a rainbow in the head of a big deep pool and quickly releases it. As soon as the fish hits the water a commotion starts.

A large dark form comes up out of the deep hole and runs the little rainbow down.

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