Build Your Own Fly Rod: DIY Video 7

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In this, the last video of the series, Matt Draft, of Proof Fly Fishing, shows you how to fix some common problems that happen when building a rod. These helpful techniques will ensure that your rod is perfect and will help with future repairs.

I hope you have enjoyed this series. If you decided to build your own fly rod using these videos as a guide, let us know how it went. You can leave a comment here and share photos on our FaceBook page or tag us on Instagram.

This is your last chance to take advantage of Matt’s free shipping offer so check out his site and use the code G&Gfreeship at checkout.

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How To Catch A Trophy Brown Trout

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by Jason Tucker

I’ll never forget my first brown trout over 20 inches.

It was about 1:30 am after a very long float down a tiny stream. It had been a slow night with only a couple half-hearted tugs on our mouse imitations. We got down to one of the last holes with a feeding run above it and parked the boat. On my first cast the water erupted with a loud take but the fish missed. I placed my next cast where the fish had hit, made a couple of strips and let it coast. The strike was unmistakable, and I waited that extra half beat until I felt the fish before setting the hook. After a vigorous fight on my 5 weight we slid a 21-inch hook-jawed male into the net, took a couple of quick pics and let him go. It was a magical moment to be sure.

Since then I’ve caught several dozen fish over 20 inches, my biggest being over 28 inches long and about ten pounds. I’ve caught them at night and during the day by a variety of methods. That first 20+ inch fish was like flipping a switch for me. Which is why I’m surprised how often I still hear even experienced anglers express that they would love to catch a brown over 20 inches. Here’s a few tips to make that dream a reality.


Brown trout have the potential to get big– really big. The world record is over forty pounds, and in lakes and reservoirs they commonly average ten to twenty pounds. In good water the only limiting factors are mortality and food abundance. River environments tend to limit brown trout growth more than lakes, but most streams will still hold good numbers of browns over twenty inches.

While young trout mostly feed on insects and larvae (think mayflies and nymphs) as they reach that magical twenty-inch mark, insects no longer serve to curb the appetite. At this point they become largely piscivorous, or fish eaters, according to researchers. While this is true, brown trout make the most of any opportunity, and this includes seasonal abundance brought about by the larger fly hatches. In midsummer they shift their diets to include mice and frogs eaten at night.

Another factor to consider is the changed social/dominance status that increasing size lends to them. Small trout have to fend for themselves as best they can, while large trout will always take up the best, most secure lies in a system, and defend them from other fish. This is often deep under a cut bank, or at the bottom of a log jam in a deep hole. As they grow larger they also prefer to feed after dark as long as available food sources permit this. You end up with a situation where smaller fish are forced to feed during the day and in positions easily fished to, while the largest fish feed only at night or in spots impossible to reach.

Don’t despair. Under the right circumstances those big fish will come out and feed. A prime example is

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Fly Fishing Bass Ponds – 101

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By Kent Klewein

Believe it or not, I’ve probably spent just as much time fly fishing on bass ponds in my life than I’ve spent traveling around chasing trout.

Fishing farm ponds is where I originally found my love for fly fishing. From 5th grade until I graduated high school, my daily afternoon routine consisted of dropping off my backpack, and picking up a fly rod until the dinner bell rang. I was religious about it, and many that new me may even argue I was a little OCD. Looking back on it all now, there’s a good chance I was, but it’s all good because it molded me into the angler I am today. That’s why, when I look back on those childhood memories or find myself randomly driving by one of those small 2-acre ponds, I pay my respects and give thanks.

Fly fishing for bass on ponds is a great way to get into the sport. There’s usually plenty of fish, and you always stand a good chance at catching them. One of the greatest things about ponds in my opinion, is that most of them are small enough to fish their entirety from the bank. And the smaller the piece of water you’re fishing, the easier it is to locate fish. If you don’t agree, go out on a big public lake, and you’ll quickly understand what a bonus this is for an angler.

The eight years and thousands of hours I spent fly fishing bass ponds growing up, I learned a great deal about fishing them. Below is a list of tips that I’d like to pass on in the hopes it will help others find success.

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Simms Bounty Hunter Rod Cannons and Reel Case Review

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When your travel plans call for checking expensive fly rods and reels, the right travel cases mean peace of mind.

Justin and I have just returned from an epic trip across Argentina. We fished and camped on the famous Limay river in Patagonia and then jetted to the mighty Parana to cheese golden dorado. Along with some amazing fishing there were six flights, as many bus rides, a few rough off-road treks and some boat travel. All of which required transporting over a dozen fly rods and reels.

Air travel rules in Argentina require that all fishing gear be checked. That’s a bit of a nail biter for most anglers. The last thing you want to happen is land in a far flung location with a stack of broken fly rods. I knew that no matter how we chose to pack our gear, we’d be putting a lot of faith in our travel cases. I did some research and decided on the Simms Bounty Hunter collection.

I bought the single hand rod cannon for six rods, the spey cannon for six rods and the medium reel case which holds four reels. I think we actually put eight rods in each cannon. Only two were spey rods and that helped. With the built-in reel case in each cannon we had storage for six reels and a couple of more went into boots or their own cases. We were loaded for bear.

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Persistence Pays In Silver and Brown

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By Justin Pickett

Pulling up to today’s lunch spot was a little more eventful than usual.

A morning filled with hopping from spot to spot on a panga-style boat, named Ms. Suzy, had left us starving for a solid meal and a cold beer. The day’s program was a streamer junkie’s dream. Hunting down prime water and ripping floating minnow patterns across the ripples of the Limay had already made for an exciting morning on the water. The explosive takes and hyper aggressive trout left many of us with jaws on the water, as well as frayed, tattered tippet. The first part of the day had certainly lived up to the hype, and with the hot sun beating down on us, a seat in the shade sounded amazing.

As we cruised up to grassy shore along the right bank of the river, we all took immediate notice of a large, dark, shadowy figure lying just off the bank where we had planned our dine and dash. The four of us must have seen it all at once, as we all pointed to this large creature and gawked at its size. There was no doubt that this was one of the big, migratory brown trout that begin to make their way up the river, following schools of baitfish. I thought for sure that the sound of the outboard would spook it as we idled toward the bank, but, to our surprise, this trout stayed chill as we floated by as quietly as a seventeen foot boat possibly could. Anchoring the boat quietly, we all jumped off the boat and immediately began scheming up ways that we might entice this large brown to play our game.

After surveying the trout’s lie and attitude, we decided that nymphing might be the best initial method, so we quickly strung up the only rod that wasn’t currently set up for streamer fishing: an Orvis H3D 905-4. The setup wasn’t perfect, as we weren’t exactly prepared to be doing any type of nymphing, but the rig would work. We collectively picked out a single #12 PT tied on a barbless jig hook with a brightly dubbed collar and affixed it to the end of the 3x leader that had just been hastily tied up moments prior. No indicator. This would be a very crude tight-line attempt. After checking and re-checking each knot, it was game time.

Trudging through the brush along the bank as quietly as someone being barraged with rose bush thorns (seriously… really big damn thorns) could, we found a nice spot along the bank that overlooked this brown’s current position, which made things a little tricky. Looking over to my right, I could see Willy chuckling as he tried to piece together the sleeve of his shirt after following me through the thorns.

With the commotion of a couple gringos tap dancing along the bank with anticipation, this seasoned trout had pushed a little further upstream, sliding its nose just underneath an overhanging bush. While this gave me a little more cover to move around and get situated, it also made it nearly impossible to drift a fly anywhere near him. But that wasn’t going to stop me.

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Sunday Classic / My Two Favorite Picky Trout Tailwater Nymphs

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Most of you are aware that Louis and I just got back from fly fishing and filming our segment for Playground Earth, sponsored by BFGoodrich Tires. We had the pleasure of fly fishing the Owyhee River, one of the finest trophy brown trout tailwaters I’ve ever had the opportunity to wet a line. The resident brown trout here proved to be quite picky, calling for not only accurate drag-free presentations from us, but our casts also had to be timed correctly to the feeding trout we had located. Out of the thousands of flies that we had on hand between us, two nymph patterns accounted for 80% of all trout landed. The splitcase bwo nymph and the splitcase pmd nymph were regular taken for naturals on the water througout our time on the Owyhee River. Never again will I only have a handful of these patterns on hand. I was down to my last splitcase nymph by the end of the trip.

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Saturday Shoutout / Legalize S.C.O.F.

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Are you ready for some culture?

Southern Culture on the Fly is back with their winter edition. Tune in and turn on with some red fish, winter trout, water wolves, bunny masks and a hundred reasons you should be kicking plastic. Who knows, you might even finally understand the Pig Farm. But don’t count on it.

Get yourself some culture.

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Build Your Own Fly Rod: DIY Video 6

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Our DIY fly rod is getting close to finished.

Perfectly fitted reel seat hardware is an absolute must for a quality build. In this weeks video Matt Draft, of Proof Fly Fishing, shows us how the pros fit and secure a reel seat with precision. Follow these simple steps and you’re rod will look and fish perfectly.

There’s only one more video in this series so, if you’re thinking about building your own fly rod, now would be a good time to take advantage of Matt’s special offer of free shipping for G&G readers. Once the series is over, so is the offer, so check our the kits at Proof Fly Fishing.

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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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Don’t Gink it, Sink It

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By Kent Klewein

Ever been on a trout stream during a blanket hatch and no matter how many times you drift your floating imitation over the rising fish, it’s ignored?

I’ve experienced this frustrating situation many times on the water. When this happened in the past, I used to think I was using the wrong pattern, or I was getting micro-drag during my drift or maybe my tippet was too large. Although one or more of these can often be the culprit of failing to get bites during a heavy hatch, it’s actually more common that you’re problem lies in the fact that you’re choosing to fish your fly on the surface instead of below the surface.

When hundreds or even thousands of bugs are on the water it makes your fly pattern very difficult to distinguish itself apart from all the other naturals on the water. Take for instance a trico spinner fall in late August or September. When in full swing, it can seem like almost every square inch of the water is covered with these tiny guys at times. Although many of them float long distances on the surface, eventually they will sink. Not all at once of course, just a portion of them here and there. When you choose to sink your fly pattern instead of floating it, you’re going to increase your chances of catching those feeding fish for three reasons.

1. You decrease the amount of competition between your fly and all the naturals.
By sinking your fly pattern below all the naturals on the surface your giving you’re pattern a much better chance of the fish spotting it. Below the surface there’s going to be far less naturals packed in close proximity to each other than on the surface.

2. The closer your fly is to the fish the easier it is for them to eat it.
By sinking your fly pattern, you’rr positioning your fly closer to the feeding fish. This gives you an advantage, because it makes

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