A thought about bonefish flies

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John Byron

I think we’re seeing bonefish flies all wrong. We look at them from the beam most times, side view. Or directly from the bow, dead on the front of the fly. 

But that’s not the bonefish’s view. 

The properly presented bonefish fly is viewed by its intended prey from dead astern. Deep quarter at best. 

Pick up a “good” bonefish fly and judge it from how it looks viewed from the back. That’s what the fish sees. 

Just a thought…   

Editor’s note: I like John’s point. That’s exactly what was on my mind when I came up with the Sugar Foot. Here’s a video on how to tie that fly. It works!

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Fear And Loathing On The Water

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The sky is clear. Mangrove leaves glow in early morning sun. Dirty brown water floods the mud flats of Delacroix, Louisiana. I take in the view from the poling platform while struggling to move the boat against a twenty MPH wind. The last few days have been challenging, to say the least. We’ve battled the thunderstorms and wind, poor light and water clarity, and today the water temperature has dropped ten degrees. We were chased out of Venice when the Mississippi rose nine feet and landed here, where at least we know a couple of spots. The whole trip has been a mess and I’ve spent most of it on the platform. On the morning of this, the third day, I have only landed one redfish and I’m looking to turn things around.

I pole the boat into a sweet looking spot where the lee of a small island meets the mouth of a creek. It looks too good to not hold fish. My buddies Scott and Daren have given up on their fly rods and gone over to the dark side, throwing spoons and jigs on gear rods. Daren fires a cast into the creek and Scott casts to the island. Both lines come tight and we have a legitimate double in the first thirty minutes of fishing. My shoulders relax and I think that today things just might turn around. I spin the push pole in my hands and sink the point into the soft bottom to hold the boat while my friends land their fish. That’s when I hear a loud snap and the pole is suddenly free in my hand.

There’s no managing a flats boat in strong wind with a broken push pole. We spend most of day three riding back to the dock, driving a half hour to the nearest hardware store and fixing the pole. By afternoon, when we return to the flats, things have changed and there isn’t a redfish to be found. I blind cast wildly to fishy looking water while a pounding rises in my ears. My frustration becomes palpable and my casting sloppy. We call the day around 3:30 when the boats wiring starts acting up. I ride back to the dock in a state of self loathing. Voices of negativity singing choruses in my head. Feeling sorry for myself like a little bitch.

Just a week earlier I was swinging flies for steelhead on the Deschutes river in Oregon. Conditions were tough there too. I’d taken my friend Andy Bowen for his first west coast steelhead trip, to learn how to cast a two hander and swing flies from Jeff Hickman, who taught me. Andy was on the board early with two nice fish. His first, a wild buck, handed him his ass early in the fight, almost spooling him. The look on Andy’s face was priceless. He kept his cool and, with constant coaching from Jeff, landed the fish.

It was a perfect first steelhead experience. I always choose my words carefully when

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Quality Flies

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By Brian Kozminski

—SlluurpAH– “Set the Hook!”-exerts the guide.

“Ewp~ #$^@%!! Damn, I missed again!” casually disclaimers client.

“That’s the third trout you’ve missed today.” arm chair QB fishing buddy retorts from stern of the drift boat.

“Lemme check that fly, I know it’s your favorite ‘Lucky’ Adams,     –BUT it is missing a hook.”

Never happened to you? Kudos, keep up the great work and spread your practices to all those who you may come in contact with. We need more vigilance like yours. Anglers who routinely check their fly and keep the hook sharp are a dying breed. Seems there is a trend in the fly market to buy volume ‘less expensive flys” from not so reputable sources. These days, I find it very hard to believe one would allow themselves to purchase a $600 reel, pair it with $800 rod and then continue to outfit and accessorize themselves in outrageous Monkey Logo’d shirts and fancy rubber pants, only to skimp on the single & most important partof the equation that actually connects them to the fish-> The FLY.

This passed summer, while waiting for clients, eating a delectable reuben sandwich, counting the number of Pine Grosbeaks, Siskins, and Purple Finches along side one of our more famous waterways, I overheard guys at a table next to me complaining about the price of flies. It was not the haughty Cherry Run Orvis store, but it was the height of big bug season, drakes were predicted tonight certainly on the North branch, possibly sections of the South, and inter-mitten log jams in between.

“$30 bucks a dozen! Thats a damn outrage!!” befuddled one guest.

Rightfully so, but when you hook a monster brown tonight, you must know a few facts about what goes into your $30/dozen flies versus the .80 per fly from Discount Fly Guy. The fly shop has a reputation to uphold, and it cannot be cut short at the terminal end of your line. The shop guys who tie flies all winter to pay the bills when rooms are not rented and few anglers make their way north for respite, only use quality hooks and materials provided by the shop owner. They in turn are paid on piece orders and quickly learn to tie a well proportioned Borchers Drake while not wasting materials nor thread wraps. I would bet my time on the water is going to be better spent using that fly versus a fifty cent knock of from Sri Lanka.

There was a guide, probably long gone now or working in Alaska, but he kept two distinct fly boxes in his boat.

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It’s Time To Book Your Deschutes Steelhead Adventure

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Join us for this year’s Deschutes River Steelhead Camp!

Always one of my favorite trips, the Steelhead Camp on the Deschutes is just a blast. Great people, great fishing and one of the best outdoor experiences you’ll ever have. Check out the info below and drop me a line at hookus@ginkandgasoline.com to learn more or to reserve your spot. I hope you can join us!

The Deschutes Steelhead Camp, operated by Jeff Hickman’s Deschutes Steelhead Adventures, is one of our most popular trips. The cost for this 3 day session is $2200 and includes guided fishing, instruction, lodging and chef-prepared meals.

The Deschutes steelhead camp is a blast. Jeff’s operations, both here in the states and at his lodge in BC, have a fun mellow vibe. Just good times and good fishing, no attitude or pressure. The Deschutes is a beautiful river and has a fantastic steelhead run. We fish the lower river. The Deschutes is a major cold water tributary of the mid-Columbia, so steelhead bound for all of the rivers of the upper system stray into the lower Deschutes to take advantage of the cool oxygen rich water. You have a chance to catch steelhead that are headed for Idaho there.

The Deschutes is one of the best rivers anywhere to catch a steelhead on a floating line. Casting a dry line is a real pleasure, but when a big steelhead rockets up through eight feet of fast water to eat a small traditional fly, it’s anything but relaxing. The steep canyon walls offer us

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Sunday Classic / Fish Floating Nymphs for Selective Trout

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You’re kneeling at the edge of a slow glassy pool watching several big trout inspect what floats above them. You change flies, again, and make yet another perfect presentation, only to watch the fish move three feet out of the way as your fly passes by.

It’s a common scene on heavily pressured, catch-and-release trout streams. Big educated fish who have seen a lot of flies don’t come to hand easily. Kent and I were in exactly this scenario just the other day and were able to turn it around using a simple but often overlooked technique. A floating nymph.

Fish see dry flies in a very different way than we see them. Before the fish inspects your thread color or how many turns of hackle you’ve used it sees the impression of the fly on the water. These slight dimples in the surface film are incredibly powerful triggers for feeding fish. The curved surface of the water, which supports the fly, focuses the light creating a bright spot that get the fish’s attention like a flashing light. This is why fish commonly eat Thingamabobbers.

Fish who live under constant pressure from anglers become very savvy at reading these impressions on the surface film. They eat only those items that make subtle, life-like impressions. The kind of impressions made by emerging insects struggling in the film. Nothing I know of is a better imitation than a floating nymph.

Start with the right nymph. It must be unweighted. A nymph tied with

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Saturday Shoutout / Olsen on Competition 

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Whether you are a fan of competitive fly fishing, or not, There is certainly plenty to learn from those who compete.

Our buddy and regular G&G contributor Devin Olsen made an appearance on “Ask Me About Fly Fishing” the other day. It was a great discussion about competitive fly fishing and some of the techniques and gear used. Devin is one of the most knowledgeable trout anglers I know and, even if you couldn’t tune in for the live Q&A, the recorded version is well worth your time.

Check out Devin’s site, Tactical Fly Fisher


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Making Single Turn Trim Bands the Painless Way

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Have you ever seen a fly rod with elegant single turn trim wraps?

It’s a subtle and beautiful look and not easy to do well. At least not the old fashioned way. I’ve done a lot of them and there is usually profanity and heartache. Matt Draft, of Proof Fly Fishing, makes it look easy. In fact, he actually makes it easy in this great video.


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Shrimp Part 1: Mysis Shrimp

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By Herman deGala

Part one, in a three part series on shrimp patterns, takes a closer look at the Mysis Shrimp.

I have been tying and fishing this pattern for the last 10 years and have had a lot of success with it. Pat Dorsey says it is the deadliest mysis pattern. Several other guides and fly fishermen agree. I specifically designed this fly for the tailwaters below Dillon Reservoir.

 During the winter they will release water from the dam and the mysis get so thick that it looks like ice on the rocks and in the weeds. When you pick up a fish that has been gorging on mysis it will literally crunch when you handle them. They regurgitate what ever they were eating and go back to feeding once you release them.


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Let It Ride

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By Daniel Galhardo


It takes some time to learn how to read water well. But, at least when it comes to fishing mountain streams, the concept is easy to grasp: fish are looking for food and shelter, and don’t want to spend a lot of energy looking for food. Currents bring them food, slow water and breaks in the current gives them shelter. With that in mind we quickly learn that seams where current meets calm water may be the best places to target with our flies.

Once we learn this basic piece of information, we all want our fly to land with 100% accuracy where we suppose fish will be. But, hey, sometimes it won’t!

In recent days I have been taking a lot of people fishing. Most were new to fly-fishing and to tenkara. After giving them some basic instructions on how to open the rod, how to tie the line to the rod tip and tippet to the tenkara line and then tie the fly onto it, I would teach them how to cast.

It’s been said that anyone can learn how to cast with tenkara in a matter of minutes. I have found that on average it takes 7 or 8 casts to learn how to cast with tenkara fairly well, and I’m not exaggerating. But, like anything, it takes time to get the tiny fly to land exactly where they want. If I had to guess, I’d say that in the beginning about 70% of their casts will land in the vicinity of where they wanted. Perhaps 25% will land just off the target zone. And, of course, about 5% will land on the trees in front or behind them, but that’s a different article for a different day.

The 25% slightly off-target casts is what I’m interested in making a point about. Actually, it doesn’t matter if it’s 25%, 50%, or even if you’re

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Dorado Dream Trip, Last Minute Cancelation

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This could be your chance to experience a golden dorado fishery like no other.

From time to time I host trip that are so cool they are never advertised. That’s to say, they fill up immediately with anglers who are regulars. This trip in particular has so few spots I pretty much called a couple of buddies and said, “You’re going to Argentina.”

Well, life happens and we had two cancelations, so I have two spots for lucky anglers with flexible schedules.

This is a combo trip for golden dorado and other exotic species, and it’s pretty special. We are fishing 2 days on the Upper Parana River, home to monster dorado. Quite possibly the largest in the world. We are also spending 4 days fishing the Ibera Wetlands. That’s where things get interesting.

The Ibera Wetlands is the worlds second largest wetland, nearly 8000 square miles of freshwater wilderness. It is highly protected and until recently, has not been fished. This season is the first that anglers have been allowed to fish the northbound of the Ibera system, and only six anglers per day. The reports have been epic.

This is clear water fishing. Sight casting to dorado up to 20 pounds. Fish who have never seen a fly. I am beyond excited. Golden dorado are to most viscous sport fish I have ever caught. They have serious anger management issues and there is nothing like feeding one with a fly.

The itinerary for the trip is below. If you are interested, let me know ASAP. I hope you be be able to join us.

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