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Podcast: Strategies for Fishing Low and Clear Water — S5, Ep6

Podcast: Strategies for Fishing Low and Clear Water — S5, Ep6

Many anglers shrink from the challenge of low water. They walk away or never string up the fly rod, using the excuse that trout are simply too spooky or they just aren’t eating. But I promise you, that is not true. Trout are eating in these conditions. It just takes a calculated approach to bring them to hand.

Don’t spook the fish. Achieving that is different from season to season. It’s different in various water types. And acceptable distances from the trout change even with the angles by which you approach them . . .

Never Blame the Fish

Never Blame the Fish

When everything you expect to work produces nothing, don’t blame the fish. Think more. Try harder.

When your good drifts still leave the net empty, then don’t settle for good. Make things perfect. Never blame the fish . . .

STORIES

Aiden’s First Brown Trout

Aiden’s First Brown Trout

Hundreds of times Aiden has snagged the bottom, pulled the rod back, and either asked me if that was a fish or has told me flatly, “I think that was a fish.”  This time, he finally experienced the certainty that a couple of good head shakes from a trout will give you . . .

Waves and Water

Waves and Water

. . . But when all of that dries up, when the travel seems too long, when dawn comes too early and when chasing a bunch of foot-long trout seems like something you’ve already done, then what’s left — always — is the river . . .

The Foundation

The Foundation

There is tranquility and stillness here — a place to do nothing but think. And that alone is valuable. Because there aren’t many places like this left in the world . . .

TACTICS

Lightning Fast Leader Changes (with VIDEO)

Lightning Fast Leader Changes (with VIDEO)

Continued success and enjoyment on the river is a result of versatility. Solving the daily mystery, adapting our approach and getting that next bite is our endless goal. Adapting and changing quickly is a critical piece of the game. Knotting on the next fly is the easy part, but swift, wholesale leader changes are more elusive . . .

Why and When | Drop Shot Nymphing on a Tight Line Rig — Pt.2

Why and When | Drop Shot Nymphing on a Tight Line Rig — Pt.2

Drop shot nymphing on a tight line system puts the angler in control of every part of the drift. By using the riverbed as a reference, you then choose the speed, level and lane-travel of the flies.

That control is a double-edged sword. While the benefits of contact and control are infinite, there is a downside — you must get everything just right. Ultimate control is a big responsibility. And in many ways, it’s easier to choose a pair of light nymphs with no shot and simply track the nymph’s progress downstream, letting the river make all the important decisions.

Learning and refining that presentation is a daily challenge. . . .

NYMPHING

The Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

The Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

Here’s an overview of the essential skills for tight line and euro nymphing. A good grasp and facility for these techniques prepares an angler for all the variations available on a tight line.

These skills are best learned in order, as none of them can be performed without the ones that precede it. So too, these are the steps taken in a single cast and drift, from beginning to end . . .

The Fundamental Mistake of Tight Line and Euro Nymphing Anglers

The Fundamental Mistake of Tight Line and Euro Nymphing Anglers

The critical tight liner’s skills must be learned up close before they can ever be performed at distance. There are no shortcuts.

Your next time out with a tight line, be mindful of your casting distance. Stay within two rod lengths and find a rhythm. If you feel like you have to fish further away, then you’re in the wrong water. Relocate, get close, and perfect your short game. Even for advanced anglers who can stick the landing at thirty-five feet, if the action is slow, fishing short is almost always the best solution. Get back to the basics and refine them . . .

STREAMERS

Streamer Presentations — The Deadly Slow-Slide

Streamer Presentations — The Deadly Slow-Slide

The best thing about fishing streamers is how different it is from everything else we do on a fly rod. Precision dead drifts? Delicate casting and thin tippets? Forget that. Slinging the big bugs is the antithesis against what the rest of fly fishing is all about. Or at least, it can be.

Everything works sometimes. We can present a streamer at almost any angle or speed and have a fair expectation to fool a trout. This makes sense because streamers imitate baitfish, creatures with an ability to move — to dart, dive and swim through the water. And they often do so unpredictably, just like our streamers.

But there’s a particular presentation that I’ve come to rely on more than any other, lately. It mimics a more available food form for trout, but it’s not a dead drift. The line and rod hand adjustments are subtle, but the presentation is active. It’s a bank or structure approach; it gets the trout’s attention. And it’s deadly.

I call it the slow-slide . . .

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Bunny Bullet Sculpin

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Bunny Bullet Sculpin

In a world of oversized, articulated streamers drenched in flash and draped with rubber legs, the Bunny Bullet is naturally sized and tied on a single hook — with just a little disco . . .

If the average modern streamer is an exotic dancer, then the Bunny Bullet is a stay-at-home Mom who gets stuff done . . .

It’s olive. It looks exactly like something trout love, and it’s designed to look vulnerable. (It seems like an easy meal.) The cut points of the deer hair head provide the angler visibility from above, it fishes well with or without split shot, and It looks good stripped or drifted . . . . .

The Big Rig: The Two Plus One — Two Nymphs and a Streamer

The Big Rig: The Two Plus One — Two Nymphs and a Streamer

Multi-fly rigs are nothing new. We pair one nymph with another all the time. Many of us fish two streamers, and most of us cast a dry fly with a nymph for the dropper once in awhile. But the pairing of a streamer and a nymph is less common. And maybe that’s because the typical presentations for each fly type are quite different — we tend to think we’re either streamer fishing or nymph fishing, but rarely both at the same time.

The Big Rig combines two nymphs and a streamer. With some minor leader adjustments and some outside-the-box thinking on tactics, you can kinda have it all . . .

ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE

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BIG TROUT

Home-Stream Fish of the Year

Home-Stream Fish of the Year

My home-water is not full of big fish.  Burke likes to call it fishing for midgets.  Is that politically incorrect? OK then; it's usually a matter of fishing for little fish.  However, this evening we caught a larger one -- easily my fish of the year on this water....

NIGHT FISHING

Night Shift – One of These Days …

Night Shift – One of These Days …

One of these days I'm going to file an amazing night fishing report . . . I started about an hour before dark, and action was crazy good on nymphs. Basically, I was Frank Nale-ing it, but just imagine what I could have done with a gold bead white spinner. Right before...

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