Cuda Up in My Grill

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Louis has been on me a while now to drop some serious LB’s. I’ve really been stacking them on from my wife’s fantastic cooking. He says there’s a reason he doesn’t take photos of me anymore, and I really can’t blame him 🙂

Unfortunately, I’ve not lost the weight in reality. I ran across these two photos from four years ago, fishing down in the Florida Keys with Capt. Joel Dickey. He guided me to this behemoth barracuda on the fly. To this date, it’s probably one of my most memorable saltwater moments I’ve experienced on the flats. The take and battle were epic, particularly since my arms were already complete jello from the prior twenty minutes of stripping hand over fist as fast my arms would go.

Numerous barracuda prior had given us promising chases but as they so often do, they let off the gas and lose interest at the last second. About the time I was ready to yell uncle, Joel shouted in his famous southern accent, “DUDE, look at that giant cuda at two 0’clock”. I some how managed to lay out a good cast, and I was about five strips into my retrieve when this guy hammered the fly and took off faster than I’ve ever witnessed a fish swim. That’s when the “shit hit the fan”.

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The Fish Of A Lifetime: Video

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What happens when the fish of a lifetime refuses your fly three times?

If you are Jack Stephens, and you’ve spent half a century looking for a river no one has fished, and you’ve found it…you cast again. This is an amazing fishing story, and all caught on film. The kind of magic that only happens in Patagonia.

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Don’t Ride the Brakes During Your Fly Casting

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Are you finding that you’re lacking distance and falling short of your target with your fly casting?

Is your power and line speed insufficient? If the answer is yes, I bet you’re also getting a fair amount of tailing loops or dreaded wind knots aren’t you? Come on, be honest. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you’re periodically falling into this category with your fly casting. Believe me when I say, you’re not at all alone. I see it regularly on the water guiding, and most of the time anglers struggling with these problems usually are only doing one thing wrong with their fly casting. Nine times out of ten, in this scenario, anglers are decelerating their fly rod during their forward cast, back cast, or even both, in some cases. What you need to be doing to fix this problem is smoothly accelerating your fly rod during your casting stroke, making sure you’re stopping the rod at it’s fastest point. This will allow your fly rod to distribute the energy loaded during your cast efficiently, and you’ll have plenty of power (line speed) to reach your targets.


This past fall I was fishing big attractor dry flies with a client of mine. There were plenty of big fish willing to rise to our offerings, but to get them to eat, we had to stay far back and make long casts to them. Otherwise they’d spot us and spook. My client, a capable fly fisherman with strengths in short presentations and roll casts, developed a weakness for distance, when a head wind picked up. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get the distance needed to present his dry fly ahead of the fish. Several minutes we worked a prime piece of water that I knew had some eager fish looking up, but we got no takes. My client turned to me and said, “They must not like this fly pattern”. I replied, “You may be right man”, and I handed him the nymph rig and pointed upstream to our next fishing spot. But what I really wanting to say is, “No, the fly pattern is good, you’re just not getting the fly anywhere close to your target”.

There are times when the best thing you can do guiding is to go along with your clients and not voice the complete truth. Now it’s important to understand that I had already explained to him a couple different times, that the problem he was having is that he was slowing down his fly rod to a stop during his casting stroke, and it was sucking his power and distance out of his cast. If I would

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Playground Earth Relay Episode #3 – Fly Fishing Owyhee River

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Check Out Playground Earth All-Terrain Relay Episode #3 Video - Fly Fishing Owyhee River

Louis and I are proud to showcase with all of you today Episode #3 of the Playground Earth All-Terrain Relay sponsored by BFGoodrich, which documents an epic off-roading and fly fishing adventure to the Owyhee River in Oregon for trophy brown trout.

We couldn’t be happier with the final cut and we hope all of you thoroughly enjoy watching the brilliant work created by Camp 4 Collective. First, we’d like to thank BFGoodrich and The Martin Agency who believed in us and allowed us to participate in this once in a life-time opportunity. We’d also like to thank Camp 4 Collective for making us look top notch and Rob Parkins, our Lead Location Scout, who put in countless hours of his time to make sure our relay was a success. We couldn’t have pulled it off without these great partners.

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“Do It Yourself Bonefishing” by Rod Hamilton, Reviewed

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That may not be completely true, but if it sounds right to you, maybe you should pick up a copy of Rod Hamilton’s new book, “Do It Yourself Bonefishing.” It’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Rod, with the help of my good friend Kirk Deeter, has put together one of the most concise and easy to use volumes on the topic of flats fishing. This book covers it all and explains in clear terms how you can become a serious threat on the flats, without a guid or the expense of a lodge trip.

I’ll pause at this point to make my feelings clear. As I have said many times, if you are learning to bonefish there is no replacing the important role of a good guide who is willing to teach. There is also no better way to learn than the immersion you get from the lodge experience. That said, when you are ready to make the leap to bonefishing on your own, this book is a must.

The first half of the book covers the hows and whys of DIY bonefishing, including the equipment and skills you will need. Topics like how to spot bonefish, understanding tides and retrieving the fly are covered in great detail.

The second half of the book is a terrific resource

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Waiting for the Cicada Hatch

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Most of the savvy local fly anglers I know are on high alert.

Fly shop phones are ringing. Fishing buddies are organized into call lists. Everyone has their ears up, listening for that buzz. Except for me, of course. I’m deaf as a post and I hear that sound all the time. It’s 2017, and it doesn’t take a math scientist to figure out what that means. Our last 17 year cicada hatch was in 2000, so it’s time to spin up some foam monsters.

Any angler who has fished a good 17 year cicada hatch is not likely to forget it. It’s the kind of experience that leaves you wondering about everything you thought you knew about fish. If you haven’t fished it, you’ve likely heard the stories. The best one I’ve heard involved huge striped bass sipping dry flies. That sort of thing will change a person.

If you’ve chased this hatch before, you probably also know about disappointment. Maybe you drove 400 miles for a hatch that never happened, or maybe you’ve seen the cicadas on the water and fish ignored them. I’ve done both, and with the chance coming only every 17 years, that’s pretty heartbreaking.

A couple of years ago, after spinning up a mound of cicada patterns for a hatch that was supposed to happen several states away, and didn’t, I got sick of waiting. I decided to fish those flies anyway, right here at home, in the absence of any hatch. Guess what?

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Take It With You When You Go

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By Justin Pickett


Walk the banks of any river or stream that either flows through or borders a metropolitan area and you will find what looks like the contents of a nasty, old, run-down department store that just projectile vomited its inner contents all over the river. However, these problems aren’t limited to those waters surrounded by concrete jungles. Walking along a local stream deep in the North Georgia Mountains last week, I found several pieces of trash left by those who use that wildlife management area to camp, hike, bike, and fish. Unfortunately, it is commonplace in even some of the more remote areas of our national and state lands to find trash as well.

It’s ugly, it’s sad, it sucks, and it’s our fault.

Here in Georgia, the Chattahoochee is the lifeblood of many of the state’s largest cities and metropolitan areas. In the metro-Atlanta area, we rely heavily on its water for everything from drinking water to agricultural, recreational, and industrial use. If we didn’t have this resilient river flowing through the heart of our capital, the many businesses, state parks, jobs, recreational activities, and agricultural resources would be nonexistent. What’s more, our dependence on this river will be a never-ending relationship that is certainly destined to become even more strained than it already is over the next decade and beyond, but here we are…trashing the very thing we depend on the most. It’s a classic case of “give an inch, take a mile”. The Chattahoochee River is giving and giving, and even morphing over time to adapt to our human wants and needs. However, just like you and I, the ‘Hooch has a breaking point when it comes to how much crap we are able to tolerate. Where or when will that breaking point occur? Who knows, but if we continue down the road of poisoning our own blood, we will certainly figure it out. It’s almost become human nature… Take something to its absolute limit, and only when the tipping point is reached, something bad happens and we have that “oh shit, we screwed up” moment will we step in and intervene. We need to do a little better.

The Chattahoochee is far from being alone, though. It doesn’t matter where you live, your state has a river(s) that is battling the same daily barrage of garbage. Some cities and states are

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Fill Flash For Cooler Photos

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If you have a dedicated flash for your camera, it can be pretty easy. Here’s how to start. Most DSLR cameras have a flash output adjustment. It allows you to turn up and down the flash power in thirds of stops: -.3 being one-third stop darker than a normal exposure, – 1 being a full stop darker. There is a similar adjustment for ambient light exposure. If you’re not sure how to set these functions check you manual. For a nice natural fill flash look, set your flash in TTL mode and start with a setting of +1 for ambient exposure and -2 for flash exposure. Check the results on the view screen and adjust up for a brighter image or down for a darker image. Experiment and see how the image changes. Your first

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Do Bonefish Eat Popcorn?

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Like huge mounds of cotton candy picking up the green, blue and gold of the flats. Nothing says, “it’s going to be a beautiful day” like popcorn clouds. Who doesn’t love them, well, bonefish actually. Popcorn clouds can be tough but you can beat the game and have a great day by fishing smart. Here are a few strategies that pay off.

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Use Side Pressure To Avoid Breaking Off On Snags

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You’ve got a big fish on and it’s making a screaming run straight for a big snag on the far bank. What should you do to decrease your chances of breaking off?

Your best bet is to apply low side pressure with your rod while keeping a perpendicular position between you and the fish at all times. Doing so you can put twice as much pressure on the fish than you normally can when your fly rod is in the overhead fighting position. Secondly, it’s much easier for you to steer the fish’s head and turn its direction using low side pressure. Always follow the fish up and down the river during the fight. The closer you stay to the fish the more leverage and power you can apply to steer and control the fish. Lastly, don’t tighten down on the fish trying to stop its run towards a snag, because nine times out of ten you’ll end up breaking the fish off. The harder you pull on a big fish the harder it generally going to pull back. If you find playing the fish aggressively makes the fish fight harder

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