Traditional Old-School Nymphs Catch Trout, Don’t Forget It

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By Kent Klewein

Are you fishing the hot new fly?

Every year, I spend quite a bit of time scouring the interweb and flipping through numerous fly company catalogs, all in the effort to stay up to date with the latest new fly pattern creations. Many are just variations of already existing fly patterns, but quite often it’s a new fly tying material that’s created, manipulated, or that’s managed to stay under the radar and discovered, that’s used to develop these new fly patterns. I usually spend my time reviewing the new flies and their recipes, and hear my inner-voice chattering over and over, “why didn’t you come up with that fly pattern, dumby”. But even after purchasing and tying several dozen of the new fly patterns, many of them ultimately fall short on the water of producing trout numbers like my traditional old-school standby nymphs do. Why is that?

I think the the fly tying world is very similar to the rod manufacturing world, where a company builds a great fly rod that 90% of fly anglers love, and then a couple years down the road they discontinue the rod line, to make room for the introduction of the next innovative fly rod. Quite often, in my opinion though, that new rod design’s performance falls short of its predecessor. I know this process is called product life cycle, and it will continue to happen again and again, but it sure seems like we’re in way too much of a hurry to move on, and should instead be more content with sticking with a great product longer.

It’s the notion that great isn’t great enough, and that we should retire the greats, in the hopes we can find something, for lack of a better word, that’s perfect. The problem is

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Fly Tying, Less Is More

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CLICHÉ SAYINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS HELPFUL OR APPLICABLE. THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS HOWEVER, WHEN IT COMES TO TYING FLIES. “LESS IS MORE”.

Over the past ten years I’ve been blessed to spend time teaching new fly tiers of all ages. Regardless of age or gender beginning tiers often work on the “more” end of the spectrum. Excessive distance between the tip of the bobbin and the hook shank is one of these hurdles. When constructing flies, more distance between these two object makes for more difficulty. Keeping the tip of the bobbin in contact with the hook reduces the likelihood of cutting it on a hook point or the edge of the vise jaws. Additionally, this technique makes it easier to maintain consistent pressure when tying in materials. Lastly, it reduces the total tying time for each fly.

As a tier it is also extremely important to remember that the vast majority of aquatic insects are petite creatures. Far too often this fact is over looked during the construction of flies. Excessive use of materials results in bulky pattern profiles that do not accurately match their intended imitation. Simultaneously, unneeded thread wraps also add bulk to flies. With most patterns, minimizing the amount of material and thread wraps results in a more accurate end product.

Take a moment to evaluate what you are doing as a tier. The next time you

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Gink And Gasoline’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

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By Justin Pickett Here are some great Christmas gift ideas for the fly fishing enthusiast on your list. The tree is up, the elf is on the shelf and the Holiday shopping panic is in full swing. If you’re like me, you need a little help with your Santa duties this time of year. We are lucky to get the chance to try out tons of cool fly fishing gear each season. Here’s a list of stuff we love and are sure the anglers on your list will love as well. Umpqua LT Fly Boxes The new fly boxes from Umpqua use an injection molded TPE interface to house your flies. Not only is this TPE material lighter than silicone, but the low memory of the material allows for better grip of your flies. The LT boxes are slim and come in a variety of styles! Fishpond Quick Shot Holder If we’re being honest, the Quickshot Holder from Fishpond was designed predominantly for flats fishing where a different species might present itself and require a lightning fast rod change. Made to attach to Fishpond’s waterproof packs, the Quickshot is also perfect for the angler who can’t decide whether to throw dries, nymphs, or streamers on a trout stream. We’ve lugged extra rods around on trout streams and it usually results in frustration and sometimes a broken rod. Never again! Orvis Nippers In the increasingly more populated nipper world, Orvis dropped in from the top rope with the hardest blade steel in the business. Machined and assembled in the United States and not quite as expensive as others on the market, these new Orvis Nippers are one of our favorite fly fishing accessories for 2017/2018. Sightline Provisions Trout 2.0 Bracelet Looking for a unique, hand-crafted way to show off your passion … Continue reading

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Sunday Classic / Dreaming of Steelhead

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I WOKE THREE TIMES LAST NIGHT DREAMING THAT I WAS FISHING FOR STEELHEAD.
Not epic, fish hoisting, hero shoting, steelhead fishing but, ass backwards, pointless, penitent steelhead fishing. Swinging tiny flies on floating lines in the turbid, chocolate waters of spring run off (and this is my favorite part) in Colorado’s Black Canyon. If you’re not a steelheader, I’ll break this down for you C.G. Jung style.

The steelhead is, in freshwater at least, the iconic challenging fish. The “fish of a thousand casts.” If you were forced to fish for them in high, stained water, and I have been, you would use big flies and heavy sink tips or better yet a steelhead bullet and an egg pattern and it would still be very, very tough. Lastly, the Gunnison river which flows through The Black Canyon does not contain steelhead. So, in my dream I am fishing for the hardest fish I know of, using tactics and gear that I know are wrong, in a river where this fish does not exist. Clearly I need professional help. A psychiatrist or a guide at least.

This dream was so vivid and persistent that I couldn’t help but wonder what it meant.

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Saturday Shoutout / Denali

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One of the most moving videos you’re likely ti find.

Admittedly today’s Shout Out doesn’t directly have a lot to do with fly fishing, but if you have watched many fly fishing videos you’ll be familiar with the name Felt Soul Media. They have made more than a couple of outstanding fishing videos but this film about a very uncommon relationship between a man and his dog is something truly special. I will warn you, it’s a tear jerker.

ENJOY, “DENALI”

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Slack Free Presentation: Video

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In fly-fishing, slack is always the enemy.

That’s never more true than when you are fly fishing on saltwater flats. Slack, however, is an ever present fact of life. No matter how good a caster or angler you are there are conditions beyond your control which can introduce slack into the system. Anglers who are successful are the ones who learn to regulate that unwanted slack.

There are a couple of easy techniques you can incorporate on every presentation which ensure that you will always be tight to your fly and fishing at your best. These simple tricks quickly become muscle memory and are done without thinking. A little practice is all it takes.

Watch this video where Bruce Chard explains how to easily make slack free presentations.

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A Michigan Guide Prepares For Winter

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By Brian Kozminski

Just got off the phone with a fellow fishing buddy who is a few states south of Michigan. I could immediately tell the genuine giddiness in his voice over recent tracks in the woods and excitement for the fishing season immediately in his focus. At first, I was caught off guard, “What do you mean? We are storing boats, raking, shoveling, blowing out water lines, switching the lawn mower and placing the snow blower in pole position in the garage.”

It is a much different story north of the 45th in Michigan. We can see hard water on many lakes in time for a Christmas bluegill fish fry fresh from the ice. Be careful. Many anglers jump the gun on first ice bite and inevitably find that spring and thin ice with a rather frigid bath to accompany. I will wait until my girls are home for Holiday break before we trek out and drill a few holes looking for some panfish or burbot. There are many other activities keeping my focus at full attention.

Long & Dusty road~

Rod and reel maintenance is foremost. Not that we are totally done with fly fishing, we have a streamer fest scheduled first week in December in hopes of finding a post spawn mega-tron brown in the Trophy waters. It has been a long and, at times, arduous summer; back-to-back trips for weeks and mixing in family time at the beach left some of my equipment neglected. I have set a large towel on my workbench to break down reels, toothbrush in hand and 3-in-1 oil to make sure all levers and cranks are at peak performance for next season. Lines are stripped into a bucket of warm soapy water, wrung through a microfiber cloth and dried, awaiting dressing at the next stage.

Fly boxes can become a task, so try to keep it simple. I have a large Cool Whip container filled with ‘past-prime’ flies that I will either de-hook and use for kids casting events or adorn on a few of my favorite fishing hats. This is also a perfect time to take inventory on what was used and what I need to either tie this winter or prepare a massive order from various favorite fly tyers. The Weather Underground app is a daily ritual; one eye on the coming forecast in hopes of a 45º streamer bite in the middle of a twenty-something daytime high can get any of us excited.

The Vessel~

Keep that float in shape and she will take care of you for more than a couple of seasons.

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Don’t Fly Fish With One Arm If you Have Two

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BETTER HIGH-STICKING TECHNIQUE

Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about how important it is when high-sticking a fly rod to always utilize both of your arms during your drift. Perfect line management while high-sticking, often boils down to managing inches of fly line and leader. In many cases, it only takes a foot or less of fly line or leader on the water to catch current and destroy your drift. Many of my novice clients, and even some of my advanced clients, regularly high-stick with only one of their arms; choosing to keep their line hand and arm positioned down by their side during the drift. I don’t like high-sticking with only one arm for two reasons.

Reason #1 – High-Sticking with two arms promotes better line management
When high-sticking, you often need to micro-manage your fly line with small strips to keep 100% of your fly line and leader off the water during your drift. If you keep your non-rod arm straight down at your side, you’re not able to strip any additional line in during your drift. When high-sticking correctly, fly anglers should only have their strike indicator or dry fly on the water during their drift, keeping the rest of their leader and fly line off the waters surface. Done correctly, it will minimize the ability of conflicting water currents (currents flowing at different speeds) to have negative effect on your drift. If your nymphing, your flies will sink quicker and stay down in the strike zone longer, and if you’re dry fly fishing, your dry fly will stay drag-free and float the same speed as the current throughout your drift. With both fly fishing rigs, high-sticking correctly can consistently double your drift time in the prime trout water, and that means your flies will stay in front of the fish longer and hookups will increase. Utilizing both of your arms and hands when high-sticking will promote better line management and give your flies a more natural looking drift. Keep in mind that the closer you keep your stripping hand to your fly rod the more accurate and precise you can be with your strips and line management.

Reason #2 – High-Sticking with two arms puts an angler in better position to fight a fish
The second reason anglers should utilize their second arm and hand when high-sticking is they will be much more prepared after a hook-set to quickly strip-in if tension is lost. Quite often, trout wil

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Women Are Here To Fish

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By Justin Pickett

I read a post on social media the other day that got me feeling all kinds of frustrated.

I literally wanted to pull my hair out after reading the remarks of the ignoramus who decided to peck this stupidity from the safety of his keyboard. This ding dong’s remark was in response to a photo of a nice rainbow trout caught by a female angler, which was posted to her Facebook page. The original post appears to have been taken down by the page administrator, but it went something like this:

-Now let’s see a video of your cast, drift, and you landing that fish-

Now, like I said, there is likely some variance to the actual quote, but those are the “items” that this guy wanted filmed to verify to him that this female angler was competent enough to catch a trout all by herself. Seriously? He went on to defend his request, which just made things worse.

The majority of the social media world attacked this guy, and rightfully so. Who is he to play “river police” from the comfort of his desk chair, assuring that everyone’s cast and drift are up to his standards? Oh wait… Not EVERYONE on the river. Nah, this guy probably would not have had the balls to do the same thing to another male angler, but a gal holding up a trout….I guess that sounded like easy pickings to this Facebook Casanova.

Certainly a girl doesn’t have the mental and physical attributes to complete a cast, mend some line, set the hook, and land a fish that possesses a brain the size of a pea. I’m not trying to downplay the sometimes technical aspects of fly fishing for trout, but this guy was definitely calling into question the ability of this female angler to catch a fish. However, I bet if the same were expected of him every time he posted a fish, he would be the first one to cry about it on his social media page.

News Flash: women fish!

Women fly fish. There have been women in fly fishing for a long time. Long before many of you reading this, and myself, were even conceived. There are some amazing women who have done, and continue to do, amazing things in many areas of the sport of fly fishing. Conservation. Guiding. Travel. Product development. Instruction. Casting for Recovery. Dun Magazine. Abel Women. 50/50 On The Water. I could go on. Women play a major role in many aspects of our sport. I could give numerous examples, but here’s a couple:

Ever heard of R.L. Winston Fly Rods?

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Josie’s Big Day

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I’ve never had a dog who was a really good fishing partner.

When I brought Josie home, I knew that was going be be a goal. My dog and me out on the river, doing our thing without any particular plan. It sounds good on paper but anyone who fishes with dogs knows it isn’t always ideal. Ive definitely had dogs who weren’t with the program. Who, for all of their sweetness, could screw up anything.

I had a beagle once, named Boo, who I’d take fishing once in a while. If she wasn’t lost, she was trying to dog-paddle a class four rapid or chew the cork off my rod. I took her out one day an a busy tailwater where there were anglers about every fifty feet. I was wading chest deep to get a cast to a rising fish. Boo, wanting to be part of the action but not wanting to be wet, walked out on a tree which leaned about ten feet over the river. She got out about thirty feet and discovered that the tree was too narrow to turn around. I kept yelling, “BOO! No!” Before long everyone on the river was yelling, “No Boo! Don’t do it!” Her exit was hysterical. She lived but she lost some points for style.

A good fishing dog is part companion and part business partner. They have to have the right love of adventure but maintain enough focus to stay with the program. My grandfather trained bird dogs and his dogs were great but they were too much business and not enough fun. I want my dog to sleep in the bed with me, lick my face and eat off of my plate. I knew that to strike the right balance I’d need a plan.

Josie is a great team player and brings some real assets to the table. She also brings some challenges. She is the smartest dog I’ve ever known but was a completely wild animal when I got her. Not a stray dog or a feral dog but just wild. She has been very easy to train, it took only two days to housebreak her, but she is fiercely independent and used to making her own decisions. I learned early on that you couldn’t ‘make’ her do anything but if you could make her understand why it was a good choice you didn’t have to tell her twice.

I don’t consider myself an experienced dog trainer. I’ve trained a handful of dogs. I can work out the basics but I don’t get fancy. Josie presented me with one challenge I’ve never faced. She was uncatchable. It had earned her the name Permit on the island and I knew if she got away from me, I’d have a better shot catching a permit than putting my hands back on the little potcake. My ultimate goal was to have a dog I could turn loose in the woods while I fished, who wouldn’t need a lot of looking after. We were a long way from that when we started.

I began by creating a bond. I hand fed her for the first month. Every bite she had to take from my hand. When I found her, it was hard to get her to eat food I threw to her so that was a big step in itself. Although she has her own bowl now she still gets a bite of everything I eat. It’s part of our bargain. I make her food and she watches me wash and chop her vegetables and cook her turkey. She’s never been

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