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ALL ARTICLES

Hi-Vis Leader Material for Mono Rigs

Hi-Vis Leader Material for Mono Rigs

The performance between Hi-Vis monofilaments varies widely. Here are the properties I want most, and here are my favorite lines.

There are many options for hi-vis mono, but my preferences are specific. And for so long, I couldn’t find anything that checked all the boxes . . . until now.

One-On-One Virtual Skills Sessions are Here

One-On-One Virtual Skills Sessions are Here

After months of work and preparation, I’m pleased to announce the launch of Troutbitten One-On-One Virtual Skills Sessions. This latest arm of the Troutbitten Project allows for greater connection with more anglers, readers, listeners and viewers than ever before.

These one-on-one skills sessions are held in our Troutbitten online studio, where we record the Troutbitten Podcast. Conversations are tailored to fit your interests, your questions and curiosities. These sessions are recorded (for your use only), and afterward, you’ll receive a video of our meeting, along with notes and links to more Troutbitten resources to help you keep learning.

PODCAST: Critical Nymphing Concepts #5 — Weight: The Fundamental Factor — S10, Ep5

PODCAST: Critical Nymphing Concepts #5 — Weight: The Fundamental Factor — S10, Ep5

Once you leave the water’s surface, weight is necessary for the presentation. Here’s what weights to choose, for nymphing, why and when. You can’t avoid it. Weight is the fundamental factor. Meaning, it’s probably more important than the fly itself. More weight or less is more consequential than what dubbing, feather or ribbing is wound around the hook shank.

We use all types of weight, and there are good reasons for all of these: tungsten beads, split shot and drop shot . . .

STORIES

Super Fly — The Story of a Squirmy Wormy

Super Fly — The Story of a Squirmy Wormy

Occasionally (rarely) something comes along that makes trout go a little crazy. Why? Who the hell knows. But it trips some trigger in trout that makes them move further and eat more than they do for just about anything else. In my life there’ve been only four of these super flies.

In dark bars and seedy internet gatherings, I keep my ear to the ground for rumors of the next super fly. Because those who find one can’t keep a secret for long. And I want to be in on the next fly from the ground up again. I want long months of virgin trout that lust for something original yet familiar, the right mix of bold but non-threatening, curiously edible and irresistible. I want to fish another super fly . . .

Calm and Chaos

Calm and Chaos

Some of it winds and bends in line with the tall grasses in the breeze. This is meandering meadow water that glistens and swoons against the low angles of a fading sun. Trout thrive here, protected in the deep cool water, among shade lines that are artfully formed by long weeds that wag and flutter in the current. You could swear the tips of those weeds are trout tails — until they’re not. Maybe some are.

Calm river waters are a church sanctuary, requiring a measure of reverent respect — even if you don’t much believe what’s in there.

Canyon Caddis

Canyon Caddis

Some of these caddis were swamped by the current or damaged by their acrobatic and reckless tumbling. And the broken ones didn’t last long. Large slurps from underneath signaled the feeding of the biggest trout, keying in on the opportunity for an easy meal.

Smith and I shared a smile at the sheer number of good chances. Trout often ignore caddis, because the emerging insects spend very little time on the surface, and trout don’t like to chase too often. But with a blanket hatch like this, the odds stack up, and trout were taking notice . . .

TACTICS

Slipping Contact — Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

Slipping Contact — Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

Slipping contact is the intermixing of influence and autonomy. Take the fly somewhere — help it glide along. Then surrender it to the current, and let the river make the decisions. Slip in and out, and find the balance between influence and independence to the fly . . .

Leaders, Hats, Stickers Back in the Troutbitten Shop (Spring Sale ’23)

Leaders, Hats, Stickers Back in the Troutbitten Shop (Spring Sale ’23)

Troutbitten leaders are back in the Shop. There are some unique features to Troutbitten leaders that make a big difference. These are hand tied leaders in four varieties: Harvey Dry Leader, Standard Mono Rig, Thin Mono Rig, and Micro-Thin Mono Rig. Standard Sighters are also available, and they include a Backing Barrel. The Full Mono Rig Kit contains each of the three Mono Rig leaders, three foam spools and a twenty-inch Rio Bi-Color extension.

All Troutbitten leaders come on a three-inch spool, making long leader changes a breeze . . .

NYMPHING

Five Keys to Reading the Sighter (with VIDEO)

Five Keys to Reading the Sighter (with VIDEO)

Control. Options. Precision. These are the most attractive aspects of fishing a tight line system, and the sighter is the key to it all.

A sighter is more than a strike indicator. It also shows depth, angle, speed and contact. It points to our flies and takes away the guesswork. For an angler who learns to read all of this on the sighter, that colored line above the water provides a most significant advantage to the underwater game . . .

Getting Closer

Getting Closer

When I start wondering why the fishing seems slow, I first check my distance. Have I started creeping the cast too far beyond that perfect baseline? If so, I reel in a couple turns. I wade closer, staying behind the trout and being cautious with my approach.

STREAMERS

Streamer Presentations — The Cross-Current Strip

Streamer Presentations — The Cross-Current Strip

There are a lot of ways to retrieve a long fly after the cast. And that’s really what’s so much fun about the streamer game. Fly anglers might spend hours fretting over the imperfection of a drag free drift on a dry fly or twice as long considering the depth and drift of a nymph, but when the streamer is tied on, it’s a chance to let loose. Nothing else in fly fishing allows for such freedom of presentation. “Everything works sometimes.” No other fly type fits that tenant so well.

But what will trout respond to most? That’s the question. And on many days — most perhaps — the answer is a cross-current strip. Here’s why . . .

When the First Cast Matters Most: Part One — Streamers

When the First Cast Matters Most: Part One — Streamers

While fishing the long flies, accuracy is paramount. In a recent conversation with my friend, Bill Dell, he made an excellent point that changed the way I fished streamers again. Bill’s thoughts forced me to rethink the habits I’d fallen into. And that hammered me back into shape.

Bill told me he doesn’t make a cast until he’s in the ideal position, until he can deliver the streamer to that sunken log near the bank with exactly the angle he considers best. He refrains from any lead-up casts. Rather, Bill saves the initial cast for when he can deliver the knockout blow — no jabbing on the way in. Here’s why . . .

Streamer Presentations: Land With Contact

Streamer Presentations: Land With Contact

Streamer fishing provides limited opportunities to put fish in the net. There are fewer takes on a long fly than we expect with smaller flies like nymphs or dries. So we cannot afford to miss these chances. Lack of contact with the streamer is a common error, but it’s easily corrected . . .

ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE

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BIG TROUT

Thirty-Inch Liars

Thirty-Inch Liars

My story, Thirty-Inch Liars, is over at Hatch Magazine today. Here are a few excerpts..... -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ... I once read through a publication that printed, "Thirty-inch wild trout are common in this stretch of water." Now, I don't care what river in...

Trophy Hunting: Meet Jercules

Trophy Hunting: Meet Jercules

. . .I’ve gone through a couple phases of trophy hunting, but I’m always careful to return to my roots before the obsession overtakes me. I don’t want to lose my enjoyment for the simple things on the water: the friendships, the forests, the mountains, the mysteries and the way thick, cool moss on limestone feels like a sofa cushion for a mid-stream lunch. Those are the good things that are available every time I put on my waders, even though the big fish usually aren’t.

While going in and out of these phases of trophy hunting for wild browns, I’ve learned that I was looking for big trout in the wrong places. I had to seek out new rivers. And sometimes, I simply had to find new places on my old rivers. Point is, I learned that trophy hunters need a target. It’s not enough to go to the same places and fish the same ways as you always have. You have to learn where the big fish are, go there, and put on your patience pants — because Whiskeys don’t come easily . . .

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 – The Thicket

Night Shift – The Thicket

Friday night I wrapped up my gig at the Phyrst with my buddy Noah, then made the transformation from musician to fisherman again. I've done this a bunch of times now, and the thorough contrast in venues is remarkable: from the noise and chaos of the State College bar...

Night Shift – Christmas Lights

Night Shift – Christmas Lights

I decided to fish close to home and in a section that rolls through a small neighborhood.  No, it's more like a series of cabins.  It was an odd choice.  A great choice during the day, but at night I always try to stay away from light sources because I've learned that...

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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