Search Month: January 2022

Podcast: Recovering Slack — Tight Line Skills Series, #4

To dead drift a nymph, we cast it upstream. And as the river flows downstream, it sends the fly back toward us, creating slack. Usually, we simply pick up that slack and maintain contact with the fly (sometimes directly, sometimes slightly).

Slack maintenance is a critical skill. And if the goal is to be in contact with the nymphs and know where they are — if this is a tight line rig — then allowing too much slack in the system destroys everything that we’re working toward. We recover the slack in three ways: by lifting the rod tip, by leading the rod tip, and with the line hand.

Night Shift – The Porcupine

So I was startled, but not surprised, when something heavy hit my legs in the dark around midnight. Fishing to the banks upstream while standing in the swift middle current, the hefty thump happened so fast that it was past me and downstream before I could move. That was too soft to be a log, I thought.

I flipped on my headlamp and looked downstream to see a porcupine returning my wide-eyed gaze. His head turned, and he glared back, as if the hit-and-run was somehow my fault. I almost expected him to flash a middle finger, but I guess he needed both paws for swimming . . .

Podcast: Stick the Landing — Tight Line Skills Series, #3

Part three of this Troutbitten Skills Series focuses on sticking the landing. Because after putting ourselves in great position to present the fly, we shouldn’t waste the perfect tuck cast and delivery. As the fly hits the water, all the elements of our system are in position and ready to drift. That’s sticking the landing.

Like a gymnast who tumbles, somersaults and then lands on two feet with no body movement, the best completion of a cast happens with no extra movement. Instead of landing and then recovering or correcting, we stick the landing, ready to drift.

Strategies for Pressured Trout — Something Different or Something Natural?

Trout learn to see some colors, some materials, some shapes and movements as fake. And when they see the same fake fly often enough, they stop eating it. That’s what we mean by angler pressure. So, part of the game becomes a guess about what flies the trout have learned to reject and how we can turn the fish on again.

That’s the unnatural thing about trout seeing too many fishermen and too many flies . . .

Night Shift – The Porcupine

Night Shift – The Porcupine

So I was startled, but not surprised, when something heavy hit my legs in the dark around midnight. Fishing to the banks upstream while standing in the swift middle current, the hefty thump happened so fast that it was past me and downstream before I could move. That was too soft to be a log, I thought.

I flipped on my headlamp and looked downstream to see a porcupine returning my wide-eyed gaze. His head turned, and he glared back, as if the hit-and-run was somehow my fault. I almost expected him to flash a middle finger, but I guess he needed both paws for swimming . . .

Podcast: Stick the Landing — Tight Line Skills Series, #3

Podcast: Stick the Landing — Tight Line Skills Series, #3

Part three of this Troutbitten Skills Series focuses on sticking the landing. Because after putting ourselves in great position to present the fly, we shouldn’t waste the perfect tuck cast and delivery. As the fly hits the water, all the elements of our system are in position and ready to drift. That’s sticking the landing.

Like a gymnast who tumbles, somersaults and then lands on two feet with no body movement, the best completion of a cast happens with no extra movement. Instead of landing and then recovering or correcting, we stick the landing, ready to drift.

Strategies for Pressured Trout — Something Different or Something Natural?

Strategies for Pressured Trout — Something Different or Something Natural?

Trout learn to see some colors, some materials, some shapes and movements as fake. And when they see the same fake fly often enough, they stop eating it. That’s what we mean by angler pressure. So, part of the game becomes a guess about what flies the trout have learned to reject and how we can turn the fish on again.

That’s the unnatural thing about trout seeing too many fishermen and too many flies . . .

How to pee with your waders on

How to pee with your waders on

That extra morning coffee you drank on the way to the river, the auxiliary ounces you used to fight off the sleepyhead before dawn, it now settles into your bladder and brings on the urge about fifteen minutes after you finally wade into the water and start fishing.

The thing is, how to take a leak streamside isn’t real obvious to most anglers. It’s the waders. No, actually it’s the suspenders. That’s where the trouble starts. But here’s a trick . . .

Podcast: Turnover and Tuck Casting — Tight Line Skills Series, #2

Podcast: Turnover and Tuck Casting — Tight Line Skills Series, #2

Part two of this Troutbitten Skills Series focuses on the tuck cast. A good tuck is a turnover cast — where the loop unfolds completely in the air. In fact, a tuck cast is a fly-first entry, and it’s perfect for setting up the tight line advantage, where we keep everything up and out of the water that we possibly can.

We tuck cast not just to get deeper, but to setup the fly, tippet, sighter and leader in the best possible position to drift the flies down one seam. Accuracy starts with a good tuck, and not just accuracy over where the fly goes, but where all the parts of the leader go too . . .

Podcast: Angle and Approach — Tight Line Skills Series, #1

Podcast: Angle and Approach — Tight Line Skills Series, #1

Season Two of the Troutbitten Podcast is a mini-series of connected episodes that build out specific tactics. This series is an advanced course in the nine essential skills for tight line and euro nymphing. The first skill is angle and approach — it’s a detailed look at setting up for the right range and the best angles for tight line and euro nymphing . . .

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How to stay in the fly fishing game for a lifetime

How to stay in the fly fishing game for a lifetime

I know what the game of chasing trout has given me. For over forty years, I’ve had a wonderful purpose, a focus, endless challenges, and a reason to set my feet on wooded, watery paths often enough to call these places home . . .

Fishing is as big as you want it to be. From the beginning, I’ve been in it for the long game. And in the end I plan to wade upstream, toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

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The Advantages of Working Upstream

The Advantages of Working Upstream

For the majority of our tactics, fishing upstream is the best way to present the flies. And sometimes it’s the only way to get the preferred drift.

So too, working upstream allows for stealth. The angler becomes the hunter. With a close, targeted approach to smaller zones, we get great drifts in rhythm, one at a time . . .

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Streamers as an Easy Meal — The Old School Streamer Thing

Streamers as an Easy Meal — The Old School Streamer Thing

The modern streamer approach asks trout to get up and chase something down, to kill it and eat it, while the old school streamer game presents an easily available chunk of protein to the trout. It doesn’t ask the fish to chase very much. In essence, old school streamers come to the trout, and modern streamers flee from the trout . . .

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Find Your Rhythm

Find Your Rhythm

With confusion and some sense of despair, I wondered what was wrong with my presentation? What else could I adjust to convince these trout?

Then it hit me. I was fishing hard, but I was hardly fishing. With all of those changes, I’d had no rhythm. I’d been inefficient and had struggled for consistency . . .

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