Regarding The River

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The one with whom I have left my heart. Dark and lovely. Moody and sullen, she gives little away. Sometimes capricious, never predictable, she keeps me in wonder, in awe. She keeps me for herself. She heeds no man. Selfish, she takes what she wants and wastes not the time to covet. She seeks out the low places, the dark and shady places. She keeps their secrets. I look into her face and I see only the sky.

She knows me. She washes over me, runs through me. She thrills me, frightens me. She gives me peace, makes me whole. She asked nothing from me and she receives it. I have given her my life and she has returned it. I enter her and she remains inside me when I go. She owns me and of her, I know almost nothing. She carves the earth in her image. She carves my soul.

I see her, sometimes when I least expect her. She takes

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Getting Started In Saltwater Fly Fishing

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By Owen Plair

Saltwater Fly fishing is sort of like the X-Games of Fly Fishing.

Not only are you catching bigger fish in saltwater but the fish that you are targeting fight a hell of a lot harder than most freshwater fish! Whether it’s a 150 lb Tarpon doing the leap of faith oceanside off Islamorada or a GT ripping 100 yards of backing off in mere seconds off the coast of South Africa. There are tons of these kinds of species that make saltwater fly fishing seem intense but also desirable. Who doesn’t want to catch a bad ass fish on fly, sight fishing?

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love freshwater fly fishing, and always will, because fly fishing is fly fishing, no matter what species of fish you’re targeting. Now I’m sure a lot of you have never done any saltwater fly fishing and that’s what this article is for– to get you started. Because after watching videos, reading articles, and seeing pictures, it’s time to make the move.


The number one thing is your cast. You absolutely positively need to learn how to Double Haul! There are tons of instructional videos out there but I always feel a good Casting School at your local fly shop or casting lesson will be the best. Before you make that move you’ll need to get your first saltwater setup. Saltwater rods have a very different action and you’re gonna need something to practice with.

I always recommend buying a 4pc 8wt rod with some kind of large arbor reel, basically a setup that will work for Redfish, Snook, Bonefish, Baby Tarpon, and many more saltwater species. These days you can get a pretty decent rod and reel combo for around $200-$300, which is a good way to start. I always

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Tie An Effective Fly-Fishing Leader for Bonefish

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By Louis Cahill

This fly-fishing leader will out perform anything you can buy.

I have used this leader for most of my saltwater fishing for fifteen years. I learned it from my buddy Bruce Chard and have changed it very little in all that time. It offers the angler more control over their presentation than any commercially made leader. The leader has amazing turnover, especially in windy conditions, and also works well for other species like permit and redfish. 


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How to Fly Fish Straight Sections of Trout Water

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It’s your lucky day. You’ve somehow managed to get away from your busy work schedule and find time to spend a few days fly fishing for beautiful cutthroat trout out west.

You’ve brought several trout to hand fishing a series of S-bends, and you feel like a hero. Life is good, right? Unfortunately, the hot fishing is about to slow significantly as you round the bend in the river and notice the river flows straight as an arrow for the next several hundred yards. There’s very little mid-stream obstructions and no well defined current seams. Furthermore, the water depth is consistent bank to bank. You fish for a while, working your way upstream blind casting, but you’re not having any luck. You find yourself getting frustrated because you can’t figure out where the trout should be holding, and there’s no rising fish. What should you do?

When I find myself in this situation, I focus on presenting my flies against the banks. When there’s no obvious current seams or in-stream structure providing depth change or current buffers, cutthroat trout will generally prefer holding close to the banks. The water current running along the banks causes friction, and this friction slows down the current speed making it a much more efficient place hold and feed. Because all trout prefer to

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By John Byron

It’s a thing. Gear Acquisition Syndrome. GAS.

The most you can use at any one time is one. One guitar. One fountain pen. One fly rod. But how many you have is N, where N is a much bigger number than one. 

That’s GAS.

The concept and phrasing, GAS, came from the world of music. Yes, how many guitars, pickups, mikes, etc. does a person need? And from photography, cameras, lenses, etc. 

But perhaps the largest cluster of GAS-plagued souls is in fly fishing: rods, reels, lines, boots, buffs, hoodies, packs and the list is endless. 

Does the rumor of a new line of fly rods from Scott or Loomis or Sage make your heart flutter? Has Amazon told you that you can’t return any more purchases for refund? Have you convinced your significant other that only a certain line on a certain reel will actually catch bonefish and you don’t have either but found a sale price online and your next trip will fail if you don’t buy them?

These are signs of GAS. But the surefire way to know if you’ve got it is to look in your garage or down in your basement:

Are your fly rods a small, neat collection of well-purposed tools? Or an inventory challenge? 
Did you recently look in a drawer, find a reel, and say ‘Gee, I forgot I had that’? 
Do you have to move a lot of fishing tackle aside to find fishing tackle?
Do you have more than twenty

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Trophy Flies

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By Justin Pickett


Call it what you want, it’s not always possible. Whether it was because the fish wasn’t cooperative, you had too much Gink all over your hands, you left your camera at home, or you just wanted to release the fish as quickly as possible and skipped the photo-op altogether.

Sure, you’ll have the memory of that catch, or that epic day on the water, but sometimes the imagery gets lost. What I’ve been doing recently has been a great, and fun, way to remember my most memorable, and greatest, days on the water.

I don’t have a photo of every great fish, or a video documentary of every awesome day on the water. Documenting can take a lot of effort, time, and money. Things most of us would rather invest in the fishing. Instead, I’ve been saving the flies from those great catches, or those awesome days on the water. It’s just another way to glorify a great memory, and enjoy that feeling again.

Over the past few years I’ve collected flies from the most notable events in my fly fishing career. Their hook-points are buried in the shade of a lamp, made for me by my mother, which sits on my fly tying desk. It’s made from an old Knob Creek bourbon bottle. I’m a big fan. It honors milestones such as my first trout over twenty inches, the first trout I caught on a fly that I tied, and my first trophy brown trout.

image1Not only do I keep flies

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The Cajun Spey Waltz

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Snow is blowing in around the corners of my glasses and forty degree water is slowly making its way into my waders.

I haven’t seen the sun for several days and the river is full of chrome bright steelhead. It doesn’t feel much like Louisiana. Never the less the tune that keeps dancing in my head and eventually to my lips is an old Cajun waltz, “The Big Mamu”.

I have a deep and conflicted love for Louisiana. I almost moved there once. Like I said, I’m conflicted, but of the many things I love about the place, maybe I love the music best. The Blues, the Hot Jazz, the Zydeco and the beautiful and haunting traditional Cajun music. The sound of the accordion, the fiddle and the washboard pull at my heart strings. I don’t know why but I loved it the first time I heard it. But what does it have to do with steelheading? Apparently, everything.

I love Spey casting but I don’t get to do as much of it as I’d like and consequently it takes me a while to get into the rhythm. There are three basic parts to a Spey cast. The anchor placement, the sweep and the cast. Inevitably, when my casting goes to hell it’s the timing of my sweep that’s the problem. I’ve spent so much time developing speed and strength for my saltwater casting that it takes a while for me to remember that Spey casting is the exact opposite. Slow and easy.

I’m not a Spey Guru so I’ll keep it simple. The sweep is the part of the cast where you form a D loop and load the rod. Both very important. There is a direct relationship between the height of the rod tip and the speed of the sweep. As the rod tip is lowered the sweep must be faster to aerialize the head. A higher rod tip and slower sweep is easier to control, so that’s what I shoot for but I inevitably start to rush it and my casting gets sloppy. A friend told me to try and count to three during my sweep. I tried but I still rushed it and that got me thinking about how to count to three at a consistent speed. I struggled with it and then it dawned on me, the Cajun waltz.

The physicality of the music is perfect. It’s dance music, your body instinctively responds. The gentle, one-two-three, of the

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The Virtues of the Single Spey

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Watch the Video!

The Single Spey is one of the most efficient, and most overlooked, casts for the two-hand fly rod.

Like a lot of anglers who picked up the spey rod to target steelhead, much of my early fishing focused on Skagit techniques. I spent my time perfecting the Snap T and Double Spey in the standard and off shoulder forms and pretty much got by with that. Later I added a Snake Roll for when things are tight but for years the only time I used the Single Spey was when working out my head. As I spent more time fishing Scandi style lines and traditional flies, I realized I was missing out by not using the Single Spey. I also realized I had never really mastered it.


First, it’s just more efficient. There are fewer steps and less wasted motion than in Skagit casting. Skagit casting is great when you need to lift a heavy sink tip, but when you are fishing a floating line you don’t need all of that power. A Single Spey is requires less effort and saves you energy, so it’s less fatiguing.

It’s also much quicker. Not that we are out swinging flies because we are in a hurry, but it does get you through the run faster, which can be a good thing. If for instance you are trying to squeeze in one last run before dark, you’ll spend half the time casting with the Single Spey.

The Single Spey can also be a big help when the wind picks up. With a waterborne cast like a Double Spey, it’s hard to generate line speed without blowing your anchor. The slower pace of the cast allows the wind to carry your line, often making it hard to form a good D-loop and killing your cast before it’s even launched.

Since the Single Spey is a touch-and-go cast, it’s easy to step up the tempo while still making a good D-loop. It also allows you more line speed on the forward cast, which helps you land the line and leader straight. Even in the wind.

The more I use the Single Spey, the more applications I find for it. It may be one of the oldest two-hand casts but it has not outlived it’s usefulness. It’s worth taking the time to learn to do it well.

The real key to this cast is

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2 Alternatives for Attaching Your Split-Shot

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It’s getting late, your tired, and you know you should be heading back, but there’s a bend just up ahead, and your curiosity keeps pushes you forward with those powerful words, “This could be it, just see what’s on the other side”. Sure enough, as you round the corner you lay your eyes on a picture perfect run, offering everything a trophy trout could desire. You get into position, make the cast, mend your line, and begin following your strike indicator with your rod tip, when out of now where, it shoots under the surface like it was just attached to a iron dumb bell. You set the hook and feel the heavy weight of the fish thrashing its big head, and you’re immediately on cloud 9. The adrenaline rush doesn’t last long though. It’s quickly replaced by painful heart ache when you feel your tippet snap, and watch your rod go straight. The excitement is all over…, you won’t land that trophy fish or even be graced with a quick glimpse of it for that matter. The only memory you’ll have to remember that trophy trout by is the few aggressive head shakes. You bring your fly-less rig to hand and find the tippet broke at the split-shot.

Has this ever happened to you before?
If you attach your split shot too tight on your tippet it can weaken its strength significantly. Most anglers try to avoid this by tying a triple surgeon’s or blood knot above their tandem nymph rig, and attach the split-shot above that. The knot keeps the split-shot from sliding down to the flies during fly casting, and it only has to be snugly secured, which limits the chances of it damaging the tippet. It’s not 100% full proof, but it’s the most popular method used by experienced nymph fisherman. To limit the break offs during fierce fights, anglers should get in the habit of regularly checking their nymph rig for

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Focus On Steelhead Technique

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By Louis Cahill

Here are 5 jam-packed articles to help you catch more steelhead.

If you want to catch steelhead on the swing, you have to have solid technique and stick to your guns. Often, you don’t get a lot of feedback from the fish so you have to know what will work and stick to it. That can be tough, especially if you are new to the game, but even experienced anglers can falter when fishing is slow.

Below are links to five articles which focus on steelhead techniques that produce fish. Get yourself a cup of coffee and dig in for a nuts-and-bolts steelhead download. These tips should help make your next steelhead trip a success.

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