The Thrill that Comes From the Unknown

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If you ask me, I think the surprise factor in fly fishing is underrated. Most of us choose to spend our time preparing and planning out every single detail of our fly fishing trips, so we can eliminate it. We spend hours tying recommended flies, we go threw our gear with a fine tooth comb checking for imperfections, and we research everything we can about the water and species we’ll be tackling. We do this because we want to feel in control. Furthermore, we do it because we want to catch fish. Problem is, fly fishing isn’t all about trying to squeeze out every bit of success we can muster out of a day on the water. A big part of fly fishing for me is letting go and

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Choosing a Fly Rod is Like Choosing a Guitar

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If you follow G&G on Facebook then you probably know about my love of old school blues. If you don’t follow us on Facebook, you should, you’re missing half the fun.

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I went out the other night to see my friend Gabriel Szucs, AKA “Little G Weevil,” play some blues at a local bar. G is a singularity. Hungarian born, he moved to the states, to the south specifically, to immerse himself in the roots of the blues. After years on Beale St. in Memphis, he fell in love and married a gal from Atlanta and moved there for her. That’s the only way we would ever have a local blues player of his talent.

I discovered G in a hole in the wall BBQ joint called Hottie Hawgs. It’s a dive but there was briefly an awesome music scene there. Trust me when I tell you that this guy is a world class talent. Unfortunately, no one has told the Hungarians that Americans haven’t given a shit about the blues for forty years so you’ve likely never heard of him.

Honestly, you haven’t heard G until you’ve heard him live. It’s his jaw dropping improvisation and the way he responds to the crowd that blows you away. OK, I’m getting to the fishing. I expected to see G playing his flame top Fibenare or maybe his 1940 Kay, both remarkable guitars, but instead, there he sat with a cheap Epiphone acoustic that he payed $150 for in a Mississippi pawn shop.

He slapped a vintage pickup on it and off he went. It sounded amazing! I could not believe he was playing those licks on an acoustic. Epiphones, Gibson’s budget priced imports, are OK guitars but most good players couldn’t play like that on a Taylor or Martin.

“Yeah, it’s hard to play but I don’t care,” G told me. “I like the way it sounds, it’s different.”

You sure couldn’t tell that it was hard to play and that got me thinking about fly rods. You can spend anywhere from $200 to $5000 on a fly rod. You can pay more if you want a really special collectors item but what do you need?

It’s a complicated question. I have some inexpensive rods that I love. I have some really expensive ones I love too. What’s the difference? Other than

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DIY Magnetic Fly Box

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Make a fly box and win a Gink and Gasoline sticker!

For any given day on the water I select fly boxes from a stack in my office and cram as many of them as humanly possible into my pack. Not only do all of these fly boxes take up space, they eat into the budget too. This little DIY box helps with both. It’s cheap and tiny.

I love magnet boxes, especially for small flies. Getting a number 24 midge into and out of foam is almost impossible and dumping them lose into a bin is a disaster. The magnet box holds these tiny flies nice and tight and keeps them from tangling up in a ball. It’s easy to find the fly you’re looking for and retrieve it. The foam strips in the lid are great for dries and a few larger patterns.

To make this box I start with an Altoids box. This is basically free because I’m buying the mints anyway. I used a Yellowstone souvenir box for this one. The next step is to apply the magnetic sheet. This is cheap and easy too. These magnets are

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Most Seams Hold Trout Regardless of Size

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Just about all seams in rivers and streams hold trout. The larger and deeper the water a seam has, the more trout it can hold. Likewise, the smaller and shallower a seam is, the less room there will be available and less trout it can accommodate. Just remember, regardless of the size of a seam, that almost all of them hold trout and are worthy of a cast or two by anglers.

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Fly Fishing Tip: Check Your Rig For Tangles and Unwanted Debris

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The other day, guiding two anglers, I learned a valuable lesson of how important it can be to regularly check fly rigs throughout the day. One of my clients had just landed a nice trout, so I told him to wade up and fish the next spot upstream, while I spent a few minutes instructing his buddy. About 15 minutes later, I returned to the client I had left, and asked if he’d gotten any action while I was gone. He responded, “No, but I made some really good presentations and drifts.” Surprised that the spot didn’t produce any trout (as it usually does), I requested him to bring in his rig for me to inspect his flies, and I immediately noticed the problem. There was a big glob of debris attached to his fly. It was evident that the nymph rig had snagged the bottom early on, grabbed some debris, and the trout had ignored the salad covered fly the remainder of his drifts.

It’s really easy for us to get lackadaisical on the water fly fishing, especially when we’re enjoying our time away from work and the beauty of the outdoors. Failing to take the time throughout the day to inspect and perform rig maintenance on the water, can have you in the penalty box without even knowing it. The two most common causes are rigs tangled (dry/dropper rig or tandem nymph rig) and flies that are carrying unwanted vegetation. Next time you’re on the water and you’re not getting bites when you think you should be, stop and check your rig for problems. It could very well, be the only reason why you’re not getting your rod bent. For all you guides, make a point to inform your novice clients of the importance of doing these maintenance checks before you leave their side. It’s a valuable lesson many beginners will overlook if you don’t point it out to them.

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Fast Action Fly Rods And The Fly Lines That make Us Love Them

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Selecting the right fly line for your fast action fly rod isn’t as easy as it used to be.

I have found myself having this conversation with three different anglers this week. That’s generally a good sign that it’s time to write something on the topic. There’s plenty to write on the topic of choosing a fly line. Fly lines have become increasingly specialized and more numerous. You can buy a line for any species of fish alive, for any style of fishing, for specific destinations, and now Winston has started selling lines specifically for their rod. A strategy I’d be shocked to not see adopted by other companies.

The decision is further complicated by the action of today’s fast action rods. Some of these modern hotrods can be pretty finicky about the lines they throw. The exact fly line which works for you and your fly rod is best determined by trial and error, but I’m going to try to eliminate some of the variables and get you started in the right direction.

2 Kinds of fast.

When it comes to fast action fly rods, it’s important to understand what makes your rod fast. The term “fast” refers to the recovery rate of the rod. That’s the time it takes for the rod to return to straight from a flexed position. The less time it takes to recover from the flex, the faster the action.

Traditionally, “fast” has meant “stiff”. The way rod designers have made fly rods faster has been to throw graphite at the problem, adding material to make a stiffer rod. These rods became so stiff that many anglers struggled to load them. Line manufacturers responded by making heavier fly lines. Before long, experienced anglers started to realize that they were putting 6-weight lines on their 5-weight rods and started to ask, “why are we calling this a 5-weight, anyway?”

A fair question, and as more anglers grumbled about it, rod companies started to respond by making fly rods with more accessible actions. A new type of fast action rod started to emerge. These rods had fast recovery rates, not because they were stiff but

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Fly Fishing Tactics for Bass in the Fall

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This Post Has Video

Fly Fishing for bass in the fall is one of my favorite times of the year to hit the lake. The main reason I love chasing bass on the fly during the fall, is because a lot of the forage food (ex. threadfin shad, gizzard shad and blueback herring) that the bass fatten up on in preparation for the cold winter ahead, start migrating into shallower water in search of cooler waters. If you bass fish, you probably already know that where ever the food goes, the bass generally follow in hot pursuit. In the Southern Appalachian Mountains, where I live, we have lots of deep water mountain lakes, and when the bass go deep in the summer, it can be extremely difficult to catch them with a fly rod. And even with full sinking fly lines, deep water still poses a real challenge for fly anglers, because it’s so hard to control your presentation and fly depth throughout your retrieve.

In the fall, however, fly anglers should pay less attention to deep water on the main lake and start focusing their time fly fishing up in the creeks and backwater coves, found in the fingers of the lake. The migration of the forage food into the shallow water areas of the lake is great news, because it’s much easier to target the following bass with fly fishing gear. When the days begin to get shorter and we start getting successive nights with temperatures dropping below 50 degrees, fly anglers should start looking for the fall bass bite to heat up. Below are some 8 tactics I use to help me catch bass with fly fishing gear during the fall months.

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The Pop Off Shark Leader

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Cool Shark Video!


The problem is, as much fun as they are to hook and fight, landing them can get a little, well… bitey. On several occasions I’ve brought sharks to the boat and seen them come out of the water and clamp down on the gunwale, shaking violently. They have no sense of humor.

My buddy Michael White shares my fondness for sharking and he showed me a great trick for an easy long distance release. When you tie your shark leader use 6 feet of 50 lb fluorocarbon for the butt. Tie a loop in one end and blood knot a piece

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The Streamer Game

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Streamer fishing is addictive. It’s almost become a cliche, but it’s true.

Guys get into it and hardly want to do anything else. I’m kinda one of those guys. I do lots of kinds of fishing, but if I’m out for trout and there’s nothing obvious going on, a streamer is likely what I’m tying on. I can’t say for sure why other folks get hooked on streamers, but I know what it is for me.

Obviously, there is immense skill in fishing dry flies and nymphs. Each is an art unto itself but the very nature of a dead drift is inherently passive. Streamer fishing is active. What I mean by that is, you are directly imparting an action to the fly which fools the fish. For me, it just feels more personal. I am “making” that fish eat. Again, this is totally personal but when I see the fish chase and eat my streamer it’s incredibly rewarding. The really cool thing about this is that it leaves a lot of room for personal expression on the part of the angler. My action is my action, by my hand. It’s different from yours, and every dedicated streamer fisherman I know has their own style. Those styles vary widely, so I thought I would share some of the gear and tactics that are successful for me.

Here’s how I play the game.

I want to get in the fish’s face with a big fly that looks alive but vulnerable. I want that fly to look like a bait fish that’s disoriented and in a panic. I want a lot of room between me and the bank. I want to identify and hit multiple holding zones between me and the bank. I’ll drop my fly a few inches from the bank just upstream of a likely pocket, then as I work it back to the boat, I mend, or pause, or speed up my retrieve to work the fly through as many holding zones as I can identify. Fifty or sixty feet is an ideal distance. It’s a challenging way to fish, but for me, it’s deadly.

Here is the setup I use to overcome some of the challenges.

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5 Reasons People Don’t Catch As Many Trout As They Should

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By Kyle Wilkenson

These 5 bad habits will keep you from catching the fish you deserve.

Whether I’m guiding or working in the shop, one thing rings true– I talk to a lot of anglers. Living in Denver, a lot of these anglers have made it past the ‘beginner’ stage but still aren’t catching as many fish as they’d like, or with the consistency they’d like. It is not enough in fly-fishing to simply get comfortable with your clinch knot and roll cast and expect the numbers of fish you’re catching to increase dramatically. I guide a lot of our customers who fall into this category– let’s call it ‘intermediate– and over the years it seems we always end up working on the same 5 things.


1. They Cast First and Look Second. I started with this reason because, in my opinion, it is the one thing people have the most trouble wrapping their head around. In reality, the correct order would be Look First. Cast Second. This is particularly true if you fish anywhere that presents itself with sight fishing opportunities. Whenever you approach the river, take a minute (or sometimes literally several minutes) and study the water. You’ll be amazed how many times there will be fish right at your feet, ready to eat your fly. More often than not though, people walk right up to the river and charge on in without ever breaking stride. By doing this, not only did you likely just walk through fish that could have been caught, but you also just sent them darting for the depths in a panic which can put other fish in the area on alert. Spotting fish in the water is not an ‘easy’ skill and is not something you learn to do in one day. Sure, we guides may make it look easy some days to spot fish wherever we walk, but I promise you this skill was hard-earned. Start making it a point to study the water looking for fish and once you have those first few successes, you’ll never look at the river the same way again.

2. They Don’t watch the bubbles. If you’ve never paid attention before to the speed of the bubbles on the surface versus to the speed your indicator,,when nymphing, it’s time to start. Simply put, the indicator NEEDS to be floating slower than the bubbles on the surface and here’s why. When it comes to nymphing, most of the time the fish you’re targeting are going to be sitting very tight to the bottom. The water on the bottom of the river is moving slower than the water on the surface. If your indicator is floating the same speed as the bubbles on the surface then this means your flies are whizzing by the trout at an unnatural rate of speed, if they’re even getting down into the zone at all (which they’re likely not). This problem can easily be fixed by

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