Don’t Let Yourself Get Numb to the Reward

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Two decades have passed since I caught my first trout on a fly rod, and even with all those years that have gone by, I can still picture that beautiful 12″ trout in my hands clear as day. I remember that little bugger coming up and crushing my parachute adams, like it was the first piece of food it had seen in days. The feeling of accomplishment and reward I received from catching that trout was so strong, it gave me a perma-grin ear to ear, and a natural high that lasted the rest of the day.

Nowadays I often find I’m becoming numb to the reward I get from most of my catches. Landing a big trophy fish or fooling a lone sipper on the far bank still gets my adrenaline pumping, don’t get me wrong, but they all seem to fall short of the feeling I got from landing my first 12″ trout. Why is that? Am I turning into a snob? I’m sad and ashamed to admit it, but I think I am. That’s why lately I’ve made a point to try to take the time to always reflect back to those early days before I step foot in the water. If I’m guiding, I’ll show up extra early before my trip begins, and picture my anxious client driving over the mountains to meet me. I clear my mind and focus on how excited he or she is about the fishing trip that’s about to start, and how they probably lost sleep the night before picturing trout rising to their dry fly. Doing this, it gets me pumped up, keeps me grounded, and puts me in a zone so I can be the best guide I can be. When I’m fishing on my own, I’ll sit on the bank and watch the water flow over the rocks, through the riffles, and into the pools for a few minutes before I wet my flies. It seems to put everything into perspective for me and it enhances my overall experience for the day. Fly fishing can only be fully appreciated if we keep an eye

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Orvis H3 Artist Series: Video

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These limited edition Helios 3 fly rods are literally works of art. This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen from a fly rod manufacturer. Each of these limited edition H3 fly rods sports a grip that artist and Orvis endorsed guide Tim Johnson has turned into a one of a kind work of art.  Each H3 905F has a brown trout burned into the grip while back H3 908D bares a hand burned bonefish. Since they are all hand illustrated, each is unique and stunning. Orvis is releasing 300 5 weights and only 200 8 weights. They are available immediately and will surely go fast. Watch the video and see Tim Johnson hand burning an H3 for you!  Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Wiggle Bug For Silver Salmon

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Who doesn’t love watching a big silver salmon rushing towards a fly and crushing it?

I’ll tell you who, an Alaskan guide who’s already unhooked three dozen of them for the day.

I used to really enjoy guiding first time silver clients in Alaska. You wouldn’t believe the praises you’d get as a guide after they landed twenty or so. It was sometimes hard keeping a straight face, smiling and saying, thanks man! But in my head I’m thinking, it’s not brain surgery, this is about as easy as Alaska fishing gets. Seriously though, I really did enjoy the high fives and genuine remarks I received during those trips. Silver fishing did get a little monotonous at times but it was always an easy day of guiding, something guides cherish after months in the bush. Silver salmon are super territorial and aggressive during the spawn, making them eager to chase and attack flies that enter their field of vision. It’s not technical fly fishing by any means but a lot of fun for fly anglers wanting action all day long. The only thing I truly hated about silver salmon fishing was the beating my hands took from trying to handle them death rolling in the net. If you ever get a chance take a good hard look at an alaskan guides hands. It’s not a pretty sight. I never thought my hands would look the same after that season in Alaska. Thank God for utter cream.

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Unhook Thyself! Safe, Painless Hook Removal

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There are two kinds of fishermen. The ones who have hooked themselves and the ones who are about to. It’s a bad feeling the first time you put a big streamer hook in yourself past the barb. You feel pretty helpless if you don’t know how to handle it. I’ve done it many times and I’m here to tell you that there is an easy, and even painless, way to get that hook out. As a veteran guide Kent has had to do it plenty and he’s a master. He’s taken hooks out of clients without them even knowing it was done.

We’ve been wanting to do this video for some time. We kept waiting for one of us to get hooked but it hasn’t happened so on a recent float on the South Holston with the guys from Southern Culture on the Fly and Bent Rod Media I decided to take things in hand and hook myself so we could show you how to deal with it. I have to say, it was harder to get that hook in past the barb than I thought. If you listen closely you can hear Dave Grossman of SCOF almost lose his lunch.

So watch and learn and please,

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Johnny’s Shark

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A perfect cast right on the big shark’s nose gets nothing but a sniff and a refusal.

In a low and stoic voice the guide says, “the fish ain’t gonna eat if he don’t smell blood”. Johnny Spilane gives him a hard look, takes his fly from the water and jams the hook into his hand, then squeezes the blood onto his fly. The shark follows the fly almost to the boat, then charges and cuts left. We all thought it ate the fly. Maybe it did, and didn’t stick. Our guide was glad because he didn’t want to spend all day landing it. There were plenty of bonefish to catch but some people just aren’t happy doing what everyone else wants to do. That’s Johnny, and that’s why he brought three silver medals back from the Vancouver Olympics. It’s also why he’s a great fisherman.


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Eye Surgery Update: So Far So Good

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It’s way too early to call my last surgery a win, but for now, all the news is good.

It’s been five weeks since my last surgery and as of my last checkup we are all encouraged. I don’t want to oversell. I could get bad news any time but it will be the end of the year, at the earliest, before we can call it a success. To help readers understand, I’m going to get into some details about my condition. Please pardon me but I do have friends looking for updates. 

I will talk a little about what’s coming up at G&G, so feel free to scroll down to that.

After my first retinal detachment surgery I developed a condition called PVR, short for proliferative vitreoretinopathy. In cases of PVR, excessive scar tissue forms between the retina and the eye. As that scar tissue matures, it pulls the retina like a scab might pull the skin nearby, until it detaches the retina again. In my case, the retina tore in four places and completely detached. 

This second detachment was far worse than the first. The combination of permanent scar tissue, holes in the retina, and a detached macula mean that, even if the surgery is successful, the vision in that eye will never be good. Legally blind is about the best I can hope for. That sounds worse than it is. I have one good eye and enough vision in the other to have some depth perception, and that’s huge.

The problem with PVR is that it’s persistent. Most PVR patients have from three to eight surgeries before things are resolved and with each additional surgery the quality of the outcome gets poorer. The best case is poor vision, the worst is removal of the eye. I understand that second option is extremely painful and I think I’m a long way from that.


There are two stages to the recovery. The first six weeks we are just looking for the reattachment to hold. That looks really good right now. The second stage is a ninety day timeline where we are waiting to see if the PVR comes back and detaches the retina again. Because the scar tissue from the first round of PVR is permanent, that part of the retina is more prone to detaching again. If it looks like that is going to happen, the option is to go back in and cut away the affected part of the retina. Of course, that leaves black spots in my vision. That’s not great, and let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but the priority is keeping the macula attached. If the macula does not stay attached, the brain sees the eye as dead and will start trying to get rid of it. The only tool it has to do that is pain.

As of now there is some new PVR in my retina, but it’s not bad. My doctor

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The Clearing Cast And Ready Position

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I spent a week in the keys recently, with my good friend Capt Joel Dickey . We made a series of videos to help you out with your salt water presentations. The first is on the clearing cast and the ready position. The next two are on the double haul and building better line speed and will post on Wednesday and Friday. I hope they help put you on some fish!


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Presenting Your Fly To A School Of Bonefish

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Bonefish are on the move!

Presenting your fly to a school of bonefish has to become second nature. There is often not time to make a plan. The successful angler is one who can make split second decisions and place the fly quickly and accurately.

It’s a little like shooting a shotgun. You have to know how far to lead the fish in a given situation and you have to be able to picture that lead to know where your target is. It’s a skill that takes time to master but hopefully this video will set you off in the right direction.


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Fly Fishing Lights at Night

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It’s long been known by fishermen, that bright lights shining on the water at night create fishing hotspots.

The lights attract plankton, which in turn, attracts the baitfish and other food sources that feed on them. Once you’ve got a good concentration of forage food hanging around the lights, it doesn’t take long before the larger predatory gamefish move in and begin making a feeding frenzy of the situation at hand. Using the lights as a perfect tool to coax and gather the food into a small area and the cover of darkness as camouflage, predatory gamefish will take turns darting into the light with mouths open to pack their bellies full. This feeding scenario reminds me very much of the relationship I have with my refrigerator. When I wake up in the middle of the night with my stomach growling, I know exactly where I need to head to get my quick food fix. The relationship gamefish have with lights on the water at night is no different. When available, gamefish will regularly utilize lights to locate and ambush food under the cover of darkness. Fly fisherman should always take the time to locate and fish lights on their home waters, because they will almost always provide consistent action.

If you randomly asked one of your fellow fly fisherman about targeting lights at night, they’d probably respond with success stories about either fishing lighted piers in saltwater or boat docks on freshwater lake impoundments. These are by far, the two most popular places fisherman prefer to utilize lights shining on the water at night, but it’s not the only places we should look. Fishing lights for trout don’t come up in conversation nearly as often, but where they are available, their equally productive. Notice the

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Nymph Fishing, There’s Nothing Wrong With It

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It seems like every where I look, I see blog posts all over the place chastising and bad mouthing nymph fishing.

I hear comments claiming nymph fishing is nothing more than mindless fly fishing. That watching indicators floating down the river all day is boring. So let me ask you this, does it make since to instead fish a dry fly if your chances of catching fish are slim to none? To me, that’s what’s boring and ridiculous. My objective on the water is always to decipher what the fish are predominantly feeding on, and then fish the appropriate rig and fly that allows me to imitate it to my best ability. Whether or not the fly pattern is a wet or dry fly has no bearing to me at all. All that matters is that it’s the right choice for the moment. To frown upon nymph fishing and purposely avoid it, even when it’s obvious it’s an anglers best bet for success, is like a golfer choosing to putt with a driver instead of a putter. It will work but it’s obviously not the best gear choice.

We don’t go through life purposely choosing to take the most difficult path in the off chance we’ll find success. Just as in fly fishing, it doesn’t make any sense to fish one method of fly fishing over another just because it feels more pleasing to the soul. I can stomach doing it every now and then, but to ignore fish behavior and throw away my adaptive fishing tactics, just because I dislike nymph fishing or any other method, seems to go against all the teachings that our fly fishing pioneers have worked so hard to pass down to all of us.

It doesn’t matter what type of fly pattern your fishing, whether it sinks or floats, they all predominantly are designed to imitate various stages of aquatic insects or other food that’s preyed upon by fish in the ecosystem. Nine times out of ten, fish will prefer to forage on the easiest and most abundant food source available to them at any given time. Fish aren’t prejudice towards their food or flies we throw at them. All they care about is

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