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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Wood is Good

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Anytime I come across any sort of wood on the water trout fishing, I always take the time to fish around it.

Whether it’s a log jam, isolated root ball, or low overhanging tree, wood offers trout cover and safety which are two very important elements that trout look for when they’re deciding where to position themselves in a river or stream. Wood also in many cases offers current breaks, eddies, and soft seams, that allow trout to feed easily and safely out of the calorie burning swift current. Furthermore, there’s an incredible amount of food that falls off wood cover and hangs out amongst wood, that very often ends up in the stomachs of trout. All of the above make wood prime habitat for trout.

Did I mention that brown trout love to hangout around wood? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught nice brown trout around wood, especially when

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Why I Always Carry a Backup Gear Box

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I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been that unfortunate angler plenty of times, and it can ruin a day of fishing. A few years back I was forced to spend a day on Depuy’s Creek in MT wading around in a pair of my Justin cowboy boots. It was really ironic because I spent the morning packing all the gear for my virgin fly fishing buddies, and I was the one that ended up leaving my damn wading boots on the front porch. Those Justin boots were surprisingly comfortable wading in but they had zero traction, and I looked like a moron. I’ve never forgot my wading boots on a fishing trip since.

Backup Fly Fishing Gear Box. Photo By: Louis Cahill
These days I always try to keep a box of backup gear in my vehicle at all times when there’s room. This way I’m covered if a piece of gear slips my mind during my packing or if I have gear break down on me on the water. Don’t get carried away with the backup gear box, just pack the essentials. I”m talking about focusing on the gear that will cause you to shout multiple four letter obscenities when you find yourself without them. Below is a short list of gear I carry with me at all times.


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Rob Smith’s Musky Sucker

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Rob Smith is nothing, if not colorful so when I asked him to tie a fly for my readers I expected something bodacious, and I got it! Rob likes his fish the way he likes his mustache, big and scary. He’s our local authority on striped bass and musky. When it comes to putting pounds of fish in the net, Rob has you covered. This fly has been a proven producer for musky. It imitates the suckers that are prevalent in musky rivers. It’s a beefy fly and you’ll need to eat your Wheaties to throw it, but you’ll like the results. Check out the video! I’d like to say thanks to the guys at The Fish Hawk for helping out and sharing their favorite flies. We’re lucky to have such a great fly shop and such a knowledgeable staff.   Come fish with us in the Bahamas! Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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It Only Takes One Good Day of Fly Fishing to Make A Trip

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A while back, I wrote a post about how important it is to not put all your eggs in one basket (fishing only one river system) during your fly fishing travels.

What I didn’t mention in that post and should have, was how important it is to not give up when it seems like the entire universe is conspiring against you. My last trip to Wyoming with Louis was pretty awful. We had to overcome a car break down in the middle of no where, water levels so low we couldn’t float in the drift boat we rented for an entire week, and one of us was almost hospitalized by infection. We lost 2 1/2 days of fishing that trip and we were constantly at each others throats. Even the cold beer flowing over our lips wasn’t enough to raise our morale. I’ll leave it at that, because I’m sure Louis will be writing a very humorous piece down the road shortly, detailing the trip, and I don’t want to spoil it. Here’s the important point I’m I’m trying to get at. It only takes one good day of fishing to make a fishing trip meaningful.

Yeah, we’ve all had perfect fishing trips in the past. The problem with that is perfect fishing trips aren’t the norm, and we often find ourselves in the middle of a trip, complaining about the not so optimal fishing conditions, and then start passing judgment on the present trip by comparing it to our past epic trips. Wake up…., fishing all over the world is getting tougher each year, and we better prepare for it by resetting our fishing expectations accordingly, otherwise we’re going to be setting ourselves up for future disappointment. Again I’ll say, it only takes one good day of fishing to make a fishing trip meaningful. Live by this, and you’ll

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Who Says Short Rods Are For Small Streams

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So far, this fishing season he claims the extra foot of graphite has been working wonders for his clients on the water. Dave says, “I find that the ten foot fly rods make it much easier for my clients to mend their fly line, especially when they need to mend a lot of line. That translates into them consistently getting longer drag-free drifts. The longer rods shine when we need to high-stick across multiple currents, and they also allow my novice clients to squeak out a little more distance in their casts.”

After hearing those positive comments from Dave, I decided to give them a shot with my own clients, but I’d take it a step further. Instead of just incorporating them on float trips on the big rivers, I’d experiment using them on small to mid-size streams. The first trip out was a real eye opener and success with the ten foot fly rod on one of my 30′-40′ wide trout streams. To my amazement, the longer rod outperformed my standard 8 1/2-9 foot fly rods in almost all fishing scenarios in my clients hands. The only area the ten foot rod underperformed, were spots where the stream narrowed drastically or when it was really tight and cramped. The surprising thing about that, is it actually happened a lot less than I thought it would, and when it did, I’d just handed over the shorter rod I was carrying to my client. The key was positioning my angler in the correct spot, reminding him he had a longer rod in his hand, and then choosing the appropriate fly cast to present our flies.

I continued the experiment for several more guide trips, and it quickly became apparent, that all the fly fishing literature I’d previously read about matching the length of your rod to the size stream you were fishing, was actually just one way of looking at it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years with fly fishing, it’s that there’s almost always multiple options (types of casts, types of rigs, types of gear, ect.) that are feasible for anglers to use when fishing any given situation. Most of the time we end up going with the status quo, which is the obvious and most popular method for the fly fishing situation at hand. Sometimes, however, if we’re not afraid to think outside of the box, and open to use an unorthodox approach, it has the potential to end up performing even better for us on the water.


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Strike Indicators, What Matters to Me

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Do Strike Indicators spook fish?

There is a lot of debate over whether strike indicators spook fish. I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one folks. I truly believe that most of the time they don’t. Especially if you rule out calm and slow moving shallow water. Only when I’m dealing with really spooky fish, do I downsize and dull down the color of my strike indicators. The other 80% of the time I think the fish pretty much just find them interesting, possibly a tasty morsel, or just another piece of trash floating over their heads.

What I really think we should be doing is looking at the other side of the coin. In my opinion, we should worry less about spooking fish with our indicators, and worry more about matching the correct size strike indicator to the type of water and rig we’re fishing. That makes much more sense to me, anyway. Now I know there’s lots of you probably saying this is obvious rookie stuff, Kent. I hear you all loud and clear, but bare with me a minute, because I still find myself having to explain to anglers why it’s a good idea to carry different sizes and colors of strike indicators on the water. And as long as I’m doing that, there’s a need for this information to be out there for people to read.


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The Redfish Wiggler

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What you may not know about Paul is that he’s a redfish junky. So much so that he recently moved to Charleston SOuth Carolina to be closer to the fish he loves.

I visited The Fish Hawk the other day and Paul took the time to share one of his favorite redfish flies. If you’re headed to redfish country tie a few of these babies up. You won’t be sorry.


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Keeping a Buffer Between You and the Fish

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Most fly anglers would agree that success in fly fishing is often determined by how well they can stay out of sight from the astute fish their trying to catch.

If your finned adversaries are able to put a bead on you (identify you as a threat), there’s a good chance they’re going to ignore your flies or even worse, run for cover. Your ability to maintain a small signature on the fish’s radar should always be high on your objective list when you’re on the water fishing. Failing to do so, you’re going to be setting yourself up for defeat before you even make your first cast. So make a point to keep a sufficient buffer between you and the fish when you’re working water, and it usually will yield you higher catch rates.

There’s several variables anglers should look at and weigh-in to determine the size of the buffer they should maintain. Fast moving riffles (choppy water), freshly stocked fish, dingy water, overcast skies or fish positioned deep in the water column, are all variables that generally shrink the size of the buffer needed by anglers. Trout in these conditions usually feel relatively comfortable and safe, and therefore you can get away with moving in order to make precise presentations. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with flat water (slow moving or calm water), crystal clear water, wild educated fish or fish holding closer to the surface, anglers should keep as large of a buffer as they can, without losing their ability to execute a good presentation and drift.

It’s important to note that I think presentation trumps the importance of a buffer altogether though. If you can’t get a good cast and presentation because you’re positioned too far away from the fish and or target zone, that will seriously decrease your ability in getting fish to eat your flies. Skill level and experience gained over time will eventually get you where you can quickly analyze the conditions on the water, and determine the correct

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