Saturday Shoutout / Magic and Heartbreak

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There may not be two more perfect words in the English Language to sum up Steelhead than magic and heartbreak.

Every steelheader knows the time, effort and faith invested in hooking a fish. Every steelheader knows the feeling of loosing that fish. That’s the heartbreak, but the magic is just as powerful. There’s no feeling quite like holding a beautiful, wild steelhead in your hands. Nothing quite as rewarding as watching it slip from your hands and disappear into the depths. And few things as painful as knowing it almost happened.

Follow Ben Paull, of OPST, as he experiences the heartbreak again and again, then finally turns it around for a little magic.

THE MAGIC AND THE HEARTBREAK OF STEELHEADING

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Make Beautiful Silk Wraps on Your Fly Rod Build

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There’s nothing quite like a nicely done silk wrap.

If you want to take your DIY florid build to the next level, silk wraps are a good place to start. It’s not hard to make good silk wraps, but there are some tricks you need to know. It’s different from working with nylon for sure.

In this, the first of a 3 part video series, Matt Draft, of Proof Fly Fishing, will get you started with the basics of making clean wraps in silk and some tricks for working with silk on guides.

ROD BUILDING INTRODUCTION TO WORKING WITH SILK THREAD

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Smith Optics Giveaway: Winner!

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Someone is getting a new pair of fishing glasses from Smith Optics!

And that someone is Justin Garant.

I absolutely love Justin’s trippy reimagining of me and Grumpy Cat. I may actually hang this in my bathroom, its so awesome. We had some great submissions and, on the whole, you were all very generous with me. I guess that shows what a great crowd the G&G readership is. You make me proud.

On a personal note, the eyes are doing well. I’m two weeks past the second surgery now and feeling good. It’s still very early but it looks like I’m going to have pretty good vision. There will likely be some follow up work to do, but not for a while. I feel pretty confident that I can work over some bonefish with what I have, and I’ll be finding out in just over a week when I host a group at Abaco Lodge. Wish me luck.

I’d like to thank all of you who entered the competition as well as a big thank you to Smith Optics for sponsoring. I’d personally like to thank all of you who saw fit not to comment or email about my many typos during the last month. Seeing my screen has been a challenge, and may be for a while yet. Thanks for your patience. 

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Fishing the Fall, What You Should Know About Sinking Fly Lines

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By Garner Reid

A GOOD PORTION OF MY FLY FISHING INVOLVES THROWING SOME SORT OF A SINKING FLY LINE.

Realistically, half of my time on the water involves streamers and sinking lines at least for some part of the day. If I am not out on the water guiding for streamer-eating fish like stripers, I’m in the fly shop talking about them.

I have come to the realization that there is some mystery for most anglers when it comes to choosing which sinking fly line will suit their needs. The selection of sinking lines on the market today is as vast as the waters where we chase our quarry. Today fly anglers can effectively target fish at any level in the water column, given the right combination of rod, fly line, and fly pattern.

When chasing large predatory fish like bass, stripers and big brown trout in moving water you have to get down deeper than floating lines allow. With all of the options and versatility, it is easy to get confused. I have put together some thoughts to help you choose the right line configuration to effectively get into fish.

Fly Weight vs Sink Rate of line
After several seasons experimenting with different types of sinking lines and various streamers, I have found a number of variables which I can control to have a productive day on the water. A big factor in my success has been dialing in the correct weight for the fly with the sink rate of the line.

For most fishing conditions, my primary concern is

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Review of PostFly Box 

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By Justin Pickett

Box subscriptions. Little packages of awesomeness delivered to your door monthly. 

Everything from cosmetics, survival gear, dog treats, coffee, and exotic foods can be shipped to you every month with the swift click of a mouse. And, thankfully, there is a box for fly anglers as well.

Post Fly began its journey a few years ago as the first (that I know of) subscription box for those looking for some monthly fly fishing swag. Concentrating mainly on flies, Post Fly would deliver a sweet little box of goodies every month for nineteen bucks. You could count on getting at least a dozen trout flies, as well as a few other goodies like a leader, tippet, a coupon, and a sticker or two. When they first debuted their subscription program I was hooked. Take My Money! My wife had already bought into a couple of these subscriptions and, quite frankly, I was a little jealous every month when her box full of goodies would arrive. But, now I had one of my own!

I remember getting my first little black box of goodness in the mail. After running back inside, I dissected the box and spilled its contents on to my kitchen table. There were the aforementioned extras and a small, plastic container containing this month’s flies. Popping the top, I peered into the cup to see a mangled mess of flies… hmmmm. I poured them out onto the table and sorted the flies by pattern. There were definitely some interesting… ummm… patterns amongst this lot of flies. One in particular that was surely meant to emulate a popular pattern, but in a way that was hard to describe. The flies were the kind that you would likely find in a clearance bin or on a sales rack at Big Lots. I’m not trying to kick ‘em in the balls about it. I recognized that this was a young company with a great idea. I still saw the value and enjoyed getting that box every month.

Fast forward a couple years and those boxes are still flooding mailboxes on a monthly basis, however things are different for Post Fly. They have been working smart and hard. They have obviously developed some great relationships within the fly industry, and their members are getting some serious bang for their buck. Post Fly has grown from a trout fly subscription into

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Twelve O’clock, Forty Feet

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By Jason Tucker

I STAND IN WHITE-SNOW SAND AND WATER, THE SUN SHINING WEAKLY DOWN FROM A BLUE SKY MUTED BY HAZE HIGH IN ANOTHER ATMOSPHERE REMOVED FROM THE ONE I BREATHE, SCANNING BELOW ME AN ATMOSPHERE LIKEWISE FOREIGN, SEARCHING FOR SHADOWS WHICH THEMSELVES SEARCH FOR THE SCUTTLING, TWITCHING OBJECTS OF THEIR OWN DESIRE, OBLIVIOUS TO MY INTEREST IN THEM. BONEFISH. 

Ronnie Bain, proud native Bahamian and guide, is trying to put my friend Brad onto bonefish while I hang back in search of my own. They are focused on a small pod of fish that continues away from them when suddenly Ronnie turns to me and says “Jason, give me a cast, thirty feet.” As he says this a lone bonefish slides into view, a ghostly apparition floating over the pale sand. It approaches to within twenty-five feet before I land my cast. On the second strip my line comes tight, and then my drag sings a merry tune as the fish peels off two hundred fifty feet of line in seconds. The fight doesn’t last too long, but is fought hard and well. Ronnie tells me to look around for sharks. We’ve seen a lot of sharks. 

It has been a difficult week of fishing, with high winds and heavy rains frustrating our efforts. We have worked for every fish this week. A moment like this is pure bliss, in which a fish, despite our best efforts at searching, magically appears above the sun-blasted sand bottom and presents an easy shot. There is serendipity in bonefishing after all. 

Standing on the bow rod in hand, the sound of rain pelting my raincoat has drowned out all other noises, until even my inner dialogue recedes into the background. Leslie is poling us west- or is it South, or even east? I’ve lost track, the sun is not there to guide us, and I suspect the wind of changing directions to throw us off. 

It is strange how difficult bonefish are to spot, and how obvious they are once you do. Here they come, two torpedoes approaching at speed, collision inevitable. I call them out to Leslie, who has yet to spot them. “Two fish, twelve o’clock, coming in fast. Big fish.” I say as I wind up my cast. As my fly hits the water they juke hard to my left, already aware of the boat. I cast to them again, but as I do I spot movement ahead. It is a large lemon shark, eight feet long, in hot pursuit of the bonefish; these bonefish, huge specimens pushing perhaps fifteen pounds, and probably feeling squeezed between the boat and the shark, shoot off to the east (?) and the shark surges fruitlessly after them. In a week of seeing big bones these are the biggest I have seen. 

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Sunday Classic / 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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Saturday Shoutout / SCOF and the Island of the Damned

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Things are getting scary at Southern Culture on the Fly.

This issue of SCOF gets a littler weird, even for SCOF. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s not to be missed. You might say it’s, DAMNED good!

CHECK OUT SCOF AND THE ISLAND OF THE DAMNED.

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Make The Straight Line Practice Rod: Video

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By Louis Cahill

Here’s a video on how to make a simple tool that will take your fly casting to a new level.

A few weeks back I shared a video on how to “Stop Dropping Your Rod Tip Once and For All.” In that video I show you how to use the Straight Line Practice Rod. It’s a brilliant tool, shown to me by my buddy Tim Rajeff. It’s the most effective way I have found to help anglers understand the straight line rod-tip path, the secret to making clean, tight loops. The video was very popular, but there was a problem.

In the video, I mentioned that I though Echo Fly Rods sold this thing on their sight. Echo was flooded with calls and emails asking for it. Apparently I was wrong. Since they don’t sell a version, I decided I had to make a video showing how to make one yourself. It’s incredibly simple and you can do it in your kitchen. If you take the time to make a Straight Line Practice Rod for yourself, I promise you will see a difference in your fly casting.

WATCH THE VIDEO AND LEARN TO MAKE THE STRAIGHT LINE PRACTICE ROD.

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Q&A With David Danforth of REEL LOCAL

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DAVID DANFORTH IS A TALENTED ARTIST RESIDING IN TAMPA, FLORIDA AND IS KNOWN FOR BOLDLY COLORFUL RENDERINGS OF FISH SPECIES FEATURED ON HIS WEBSITE REEL LOCAL (WWW.RELOGEAR.COM).

Owning a piece of his art myself, it is one of the most complimented pieces hanging on my walls. I was able exchange some words with David recently in order to learn a little more about his art and where he came from. As with many artists, the road to David’s success hasn’t been easy, but eventually zig-zagged to where he is today. 

Give us a little background about yourself. Where are you from? When did you first become interested in art and how was Reel Local conceived?

I’m a Tampa Native. Third generation Florida angler. Rare, I know to talk to a Florida non-transplant, but there are some of us around! As soon as I was able to hold something to draw with, I have always enjoyed art. It is just part of my personality to design and create. Reel Local actually started as a joke on a napkin between me and my wife. I got back into fishing after taking a break and wanted a sun protective shirt to keep me from charring on the water. After shopping around, I was a little unimpressed with what the market had to offer, especially at their prices. I said to my wife, “I want something Real, and Local. Not a Big Name that charges you $65.”  So it began, a UV Protective Shirt, for anglers, by anglers. From apparel company to also branching out as an umbrella company called Danforth Art where we also license the art to other brands for use in their product lines.

How did you develop your artistic skills? 

It was just trial and error. I never had an art school degree or any formal training.  I usually just imagine an image and then make it come to life.  From a youngster I would tattoo with markers on kids in elementary school for their lunch money. It was probably then that I realized you can make money off of drawing. I wish I would have pounced on it faster instead of working in the corporate world for ten years, although the nine-to-five sales world did teach me a lot about customer interaction, marketing, sales, how to run a business, and what not to do to be successful. I did do a stint of Cad design in high school for Yacht Designing and Architecture. I realized that art school was not reachable for me at the time, so I painted motorcycles in Texas for a few years. There may have also been some street art mixed in there that helped me grow a passion for the bright colors I use in my art now.

It’s apparent that you draw a lot of your inspiration from saltwater fishing… How long have you been fishing? Are you a “fly-or-die” angler?

I have been fishing since I was a little kid just like a lot of other fishing nuts.  I spent my childhood spending many nights on isolated islands, sleeping in hammocks, cooking our catch all the while watching my dad and his buds eat oysters, play guitar by a fire and tell fish stories.  When I first started fly fishing

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