Sunday Classic / Fly Fishing: 3 Great Times to Fish Streamers

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I fell in love with streamer fishing the very first time I cast one. All it took was me bringing one trout to the net on a size 6 white Zonker, and I was hooked. I’ll never forget that beautiful 15″ wild rainbow trout, that I caught and released on a ten foot wide Southern Appalachian blue liner up in North Georgia back in the 90s. I remember the tiny stream being too overgrown and tight for me to make traditional fly casts so I crawled down on a flat boulder, stripped out some fly line and dead drifted the streamer downstream into a pool. Nothing happened at first but I didn’t give up. Instead of retrieving the fly all the way in, like most anglers regularly do, I instead made a few strips in and then let the streamer drift back down into the pool. On my third attempt, that gorgeous wild rainbow trout hammered my streamer and I brought it into my net. I still use that downstream stripping and drift back technique quite a bit when it’s called for. It works equally well with nymphs and dries.

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Saturday Shoutout / Mend

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Watch the Video!

Joey Maxim was 16 years old when he died in a car crash. Fly-fishing helped bring him back.

The film “Mend” is the incredible story of a young man’s journey back from death and his struggle to overcome traumatic brain injury. Once a successful student and athlete, Joey found himself struggling just to survive. Simple daily tasks became monumental and his will to live seemed gone. Then he discovered fly fishing. The river healed Joey both physically and spiritually. Today he is a guide.


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New Products From Sightline Provisions: Video

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Just about every angler is familiar with the leather bracelets sporting metal badges of fish silhouettes. 

It’s hard to think of a fly fishing accessory that has become as immediately popular as those Sightline bracelets. They have become the secret handshake of fly fishing. A way for devotees to spot each other everywhere they go.

Recently, Edgar Diaz has branched out and used his art in new ways on new products. Some with the leather and fine metal look Sightline is known for, and some new offerings including all metal bracelets, one-of-a-kind artist’s hats, keychains and more.


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Flies That Catch Big Trout, The Truth Might Surprise You

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Like every other guy or gal with a fly rod, I have some pretty strong opinions about the kind of flies that catch big fish. These opinions are based on years of experience and experimentation. I have theories about the behavior of big predatory trout and they influence my tying and my fishing. These ideas are proven out by countless hours on the water. At least that’s what I thought.

Regular G&G readers will know that I am a confirmed streamer junkie. I make no apologies for it. I love fishing streamers and I believe wholeheartedly that big flies catch big fish. Here’s the problem: without knowing it, for the last eight or ten years I’ve been proving myself wrong.

I am not a fish counter. I’m not a trophy hunter. I like catching big fish but I do not possess a single mount or even a catch-and-release painting. Not surprisingly, I don’t even have a lot of photos of myself with fish. Most of the fish I catch, if they are photographed, are in someone else’s hands. The truth is that I am just fundamentally more interested in the next fish than I am the last fish.

What I do, on very rare occasions, is keep a fly. Once in a while I’ll catch a fish that’s special. It’s always a big fish but there’s usually something extra that makes it special. The color or fins, or maybe where I caught it or who I was with. It happened the other day in Alaska. I was fishing with my good buddy Bruce Chard and guide Jeff Forsee on the Kanektok river at Alaska West. On literally the last cast of the day I hooked and landed a rainbow in the ten- to twelve-pound range. A beautiful and perfect Alaska rainbow.

It was a great fish by any standard but

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Stretch Thy Fly Line

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Are you looking for more a little more distance in your cast? Is your fly line not shooting through your guides as easy as it should? Is it lacking that fresh from the box high floating buoyancy? Are you spending more time untangling your fly line than fishing? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you should think about taking a couple minutes before hitting the water to stretch your fly line out.

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Don’t Lead Me On: Tippet Length For Dry Flies

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By: Alice Tesar

Dry fly season is upon us and the shop is filled with folks wondering why the fish aren’t interested in their dry flies. 

Yes, it is important to get the correct flies but equally as important is your leader and tippet. The biggest mistake these people are making, one I made for years, is just switching out their nymph for a dry fly without addressing their tippet length. 

Without giving you too much to work with, recognize that the evolution of tapered leaders has revolved around nymphing and streamer fishing. Engineered with a more aggressive taper to cut wind and cast greater distances. Most factory made tapered leaders ignore the long tippet section required for a dry fly presentation. 

Adding one to three feet of tippet (*gasp* yes, your leader and tippet will now be close to 13’ long) will allow you to mend easier (if you need to mend at all) and will give you a more natural drift without the added weight of a tapered leader. Instead of fretting about turning over your fly in a long cast think about

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Trailer Tires And Dog Logic

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What could be better than a beach vacation with my wife and my dog?

I can barely remember the last time Kathy and I took a beach vacation. We are both far more comfortable with the idea of work than relaxing on the beach. It was certainly long before we had Josie, our little potcake dog I brought home from the Bahamas. This would be Josie’s first trip to the beach since I scooped her out of the sand of South Andros. It’s hard for me to picture this trip getting any better, then my buddy Scott offers his flats skiff.

“You should take the Silver King.”

Generosity is Scott’s defining character trait, and although I am reluctant, it’s an offer I can’t refuse. I know he needs hours on the boat to keep it in shape and the idea of spending a couple of half days casting to redfish is just too good to pass up. I don’t protest too much before accepting his offer.

As usual, the day of our departure sneaks up on us. We respond to being unprepared by over preparing. A last minute Costco run yields more food, wine, and liquor than a Mardi Gras Krewe could use. We pack my Sequoia to the gills. I lube the bearings on the trailer, do a little last minute work on the trailer lights and we are on the road by lunch time. Everything is smooth sailing until we get nearly to the Alabama state line and I feel a vibration coming from the trailer.

Ten seconds of vibration, then nothing for another ten and the tire explodes. Not a flat, a total explosion. I’ve never seen a tire go off like that. Josie nearly comes out of her skin. I ease over to the shoulder and start digging through the food, liquor, snorkel gear and fishing tackle for a jack. I always carry a handful of tools on the road, so I’m pretty set for the job. A bottle jack under the axle and a quick tire change. Thank God Scott has a spare. We’re back on the road pretty quickly. I stop at the first gas station to check the air in the spare and top it off. A minor hiccup and everything seems fine until a few minutes later the trailer starts to shimmy side to side. I call Scott on the phone.

“Have you had any issues with the trailer? We blew a tire and now I have a weird shimmy going on.”

“Yeah, those tires are only good for about a year and they are four years old.”

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Sunday Classic / How To Become A Badass Angler

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I got to thinking about this the other day when my brother called to tell me that Leon Townsend had died. I hadn’t thought of him in years. Leon was the man that gave me my first job as a photographer, at the local newspaper in 1978 when I was seventeen years old. He was also the first, and only, person who ever fired me. I honestly didn’t learn much from my time there at The Register and Bee, but firing me was quite possibly the best thing anyone has ever done for me and I will always be grateful to Leon for that.

I had enough pride that being told I wasn’t up to the job stung. It motivated me. I realized that Leon was right. I wasn’t very good and it was on me to make myself better. I have been told many times that I have talent and I have often insisted that I do not. I realized early on, that I would have to work twice as hard as the talented people around me to succeed. What I have, what I learned, is not talent but tenacity. It has served me well. If you want to pay me a compliment, call me tenacious.

In time I became a good photographer and a good angler, and I did it in pretty much the same way. I won’t bore you with a chronology of my photographic career but I will offer you some insight on how I learned, and continue to learn, to fish.


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Saturday Shoutout / Brookie Genetics

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USGS Scientist have some interesting new findings on Southern Appalachian Brook Trout.

Fly anglers in the south love their brook trout. While many western anglers see these fish as an invasive species, here in the southeast they are our only native trout and our southern fish are genetically unique. It turns out they are more unique than we thought. Their habitat is so fractured that there are as many as ten-thousand separate populations.

There is some good news and some bad, but one notable finding is that native brook trout have suffered less hatchery introgression than expected. In this article USGS researcher Dave Kazyak’s sits down for a conversation with Keith Curley, of Trout Unlimited, to share some of his findings.


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Echo Fly Rods For 2018: Video

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Some dynamite new rods from Echo fly-fishing.

It’s always fun for me to talk fly rods with tim Rajeff. This year Echo has three very cool new offerings. A premium trout-spey family that’s one of the lightest two handers I’ve ever held, The new Shadow X competition euro-nymphing rods and a whole new lineup of River Glass fiberglass rods.

If you are in the market for a great fly rod and you don’t want to break the bank, you absolutely can’t go wrong with Echo.


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