Wood is Good

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“Wood is good”, shouted Sam Cornelius manning the oars, as I concentrated on drifting my flesh pattern against the never ending medley of wood snags along the Togiak River banks in Alaska, back in 2006. “When ever you see wood, drift your flies as close to it as you can, because fish are usually close by.

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That’s Going To Leave A Mark

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Nobody want’s a hook in their face.

(If you’re paying attention, you notice I ended yesterdays article with this same words. Not a coincidence. )

By far, the most popular video I have ever shot for G&G is the one where I stick a hook in my arm so we can show how to use “the mono trick” to get it out. Well, I got to take my brother Tom fishing the other day and I guess he isn’t going to be outdone by his little brother. Half way through the float he hooked himself in the face with a 2/0 Gamakatsu B10s.

The hook was in his cheek all the way to the bend. About as bad a hooking as I’ve ever seen. I’ve snatched hooks out of people before, but not one this bad, and not my brother. It was not textbook on the first attempt. Of course tom shot selfi-video.

I’m sharing this video as a cautionary tale…and also because it’s darkly hysterical. Let this be a lesson to you kids. Practice your casting.

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The Other Water Haul

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By Louis Cahill

Here’s an unusual, and highly effective, way to use the water haul cast.

Most anglers are familiar with the water haul. If you are not, check out the video and links I have shared below. The basic idea is that you use the surface tension of the water to load your rod for the cast. In stream fishing, this is usually done by letting the current take your fly line downstream until it is tight, then coming forward with your casting stroke. The tension of the line on the water loads the rod and the current serves as a backcast. This is a super effective way to make a stealthy presentation on small streams, but there is another way to use the water haul that’s just as effective on big water.

I most often use this technique in saltwater, but there are times when it’s really handy when fishing rivers or lakes. When the wind is howling off your casting shoulder, it’s tough to make a cast without the fly passing dangerously close to you, or worse, not passing at all. Using a water haul can help.

The problem with wind pushing the fly into the angler is born of slack. Even strong winds don’t have much effect on a fly that is under the tension of an energized line, but when you pause to let your line straighten before the next casting stroke, the wind has its way with your fly and line both. You can minimize the effect by using a Belgian cast. (See video and link below.) That usually works well, at least for a couple of false casts, but when the wind is really moving it’s not enough. It will work on your first backcast, but when you come back for the second, look out.

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Sunday Classic / Bruce Chard’s A.M. Express, A Great Fly For Baby Tarpon

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CATCHING BABY TARPON IS ABOUT AS FUN AS THE LAW ALLOWS.
Even a baby tarpon is a hell of a fish. These little guys are all fight and haven’t learned all the tricks of the grown ups. A thirty pound tarpon offers all the excitement of a hundred pounder with a good bit less humility.

On calm mornings you’ll find them cruising the edges of islands or nosing around rafts of floating grass or rolling in the glass calm water. If your going to catch them you’ll need the right fly. Our buddy Captain Bruce Chard is here to help.

Watch the video and learn to tie Bruce’s A.M. Express.

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Saturday Shoutout / Hang Tight

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Is it possible your taking fly-fishing too seriously?

If you find yourself pursuing marble trout in Slovenia, and things don’t go your way…well.

Don’t let this happen to you.

“HANG TIGHT”

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New Fly Rods And Reels From Waterworks Lamson: Video

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Waterworks Lamson is expanding two of their most interesting product lines for 2018. The Center Axis systems and Cobalt reels. 

If you haven’t cast the Center Axis rod/reel system, you should. It’s one of the most interesting new products in fly fishing. It’s hotly debated but I really like it. You may too. The cool news this year is the introduction of the Center Axis for saltwater. Not just supersized, there are some meaningful engineering changes to bring these rods up to saltwater standards.

Lawson is also introducing new sizes in their Cobalt reel lineup. Smaller reels for light saltwater setups that are just as at home on a trout rover. These reels are absolute tanks.

Watch the video for all of the details on cool new Lamson Fly-fishing gear for 2018.

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Tying Effective Hair Wings

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By Bob Reece

Social media allows for the viewing of frequent and numerous fly patterns.  As with all things fly fishing, there are seasonal trends.  This time of year dry flies make a common appearance.  Many of those incorporate some form of hair as a wing imitation.  While effective, this material can provide tying and durability challenges.  

When spinning deer or elk hair, a bare hook shank is helpful.  Yet, when tying in a hair wing it is detrimental.  The smooth surface of the hook shank creates much less friction than one wrapped with thread.  This lack of friction causes the hair wing to shift position when being tied in.  The simple correction of this issue is to lay down sparse thread wraps over the hook surface where the wing will attach.  

Glues should never be used as a substitute for sound tying techniques.  However, they can greatly help to enhance the durability of the parts that make up a pattern.  Any time I tie in a hair based wing, I always follow it with a small touch of Zap-A-Gap Thin.  This helps to further anchor in place and hold the hairs, subsequently enhancing the on-the-water life of the fly. 

Lastly, but most commonly seen in the pictures that I view, is an excess of hair.  The hair wing of any dry fly pattern needs only to provide the impression of a wing.  Using too much hair can negatively affect the profile and effectiveness of the fly.  It can also

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Streamer Fishing – Hands on the Line at All Times

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Streamer fishing is a great way to catch both numbers and trophy class fish, but it doesn’t come without some negatives. One of the biggest negatives with streamer fishing is you don’t always get solid hookups every time a fish eats your streamer. One of the biggest contributors to this is when a fish slams your streamer in between strikes and you’re caught off guard. Sometimes, the timing is so bad there’s nothing you can do about it, while other times, it’s 100% the anglers fault due to lolly-gagging around with their stripping hand.

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Streamers,  Fish ‘Em Deep Enough

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By Louis Cahill

How deep should you be fishing your streamers?

I had the chance to fish with my brother Tom the other day. It’s a shame we can’t do it more. I always enjoy talking about fishing with him. Tom is a very technical bass angler. He does the vast majority of his fishing with conventional tackle, a sparkly boat and plenty of electronics. It blows my mind how technical that game is. If I had a lifetime I’d never understand it as well as Tom.

We were throwing streamers for striped bass in the river, my favorite summer fly fishing. Tom does most of his fishing in still water so he had lots of questions.

“How deep do you want that fly?” he asked me.

That’s often the $64,000 question, and remember, it’s coming from a guy who’s used to marking fish on a graph and knowing exactly how deep to fish, in feet. As a fly angler, used to targeting fish in moving water, my approach is very different. I figured out years ago how I like to address the problem and it’s worked pretty well for me.

When fishing streamers, there are a handful of variables that come into play when deciding the depth you should be fishing. Water depth, speed and clarity, lighting, water and air temperature, and species just to name a few. Of course, some of those variables are constantly changing so you need a strategy that will work consistently as that happens. A simple answer like, five feet, doesn’t work.

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My Experience At The G&G Bonefish School

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By Jason Tucker

I could not have been more shocked to find myself in the Bahamas than if my spaceship had crashed there. The call came on Thursday. “Can you go to the Bahamas for a week?”

“When?”

“We leave Saturday.”

I checked with my employer, girlfriend and bank account. For once in my life the answer was yes. And so it was that I was off to Bair’s Lodge in the Bahamas on my first hosted trip with Mr. Louis Cahill.

I’ve never quite understood hosted trips, or why folks pay to go on them. I don’t mean this as a criticism, but merely as an observation. I had no idea really what they are all about.  I mean, why not just book a trip and go? 

Because booking a trip in a far-off place can be intimidating. How do you know the fishing will be good? What do you do if you have a problem with a guide or the lodge? What if you fundamentally misunderstand the fishing and need guidance, flies, or information on the culture, or even what to pack?

There are a number of guides I know that do hosted trips to South America and other places. These guys have a clientele who like fishing with them. It’s a ready-made cocktail. The guides have gone and done the legwork, scouting the location, lodge and fishing, and can act as a liaison. Clients go and know they have someone on their team. The host can get to know the local culture and the fishing and therefore buffer your descent into the experience. 

I was grateful to travel the final leg with Louis, as even the casual manner of Andros Air was foreign and disorienting. Basically, when we all showed up, we flew. The flight was brief and uneventful, but when you taxi up to the shack that serves as a terminal on Andros you are greeted by the sight of crashed plane sitting on the edge of the runway.

When we got to Bair’s Lodge after a thirty-minute taxi ride, we were met by our hosts James Hamilton and Liz Ziebarth. But after showing us our room and letting us settle the real test came, for me. Most of the other guests had already arrived and were out on the veranda enjoying cocktails and appetizers. Who were these guys? Would I, a working-class guy, fit in at all. I introduced myself nervously, quickly forgetting their names, vowing to work on it the rest of the week. The appetizers were amazing. Louis came out and did a casting presentation, then helped me tie up a couple custom leaders for bonefish.

After dinner Louis put on a ninety-minute bonefish school with slides from his vast library of images, each illustrating the point being made. For the guys who had done this before this was a refresher course. For the other guys like me for whom this was all new, it was an avalanche of information that would take days to sort out. After that Louis showed several of us how to tie the Bimini twist.

The next day I was fortunate enough to get to fish with Louis. We were unfortunate enough to have terrible weather. We had intermittent showers and high winds, with gray clouds scudding overhead. For us fish were scarce and shots rare. We did find one fish that wanted to play, and I had the privilege of seeing Louis make the cast forty feet into a thirty-knot wind and hooking the fish. If I wondered if Louis was all talk, or really had the chops, there it was.

On the second day of fishing the weather started out much better.

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