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Casting and Drifting | Drop Shot Nymphing on a Tight Line Rig — Pt.5

Casting and Drifting | Drop Shot Nymphing on a Tight Line Rig — Pt.5

Gaining the bottom, feeling that contact with the riverbed and then gliding over it, tap, ta-tap, tap-a-tap, maybe five to ten times throughout the drift is success. But I’ve noticed that anglers tend to get complacent. Tickling the bottom is only half of the job. And that’s not good enough. We still need to find the right speed for a drift and keep everything in one seam.

Drop shotting puts the angler in ultimate control. Be aware of every element of the drift, and make good choices, because all of them are yours. Control is the advantage of a drop shot rig. Remember this always — your rod tip controls everything . . .

Podcast: The Airing of Grievances — S3-Ep13

Podcast: The Airing of Grievances — S3-Ep13

Some of the fly fishing industry trends, these habits, these practices, just seem wrong. And the gear, the ads, videos and articles, — a lot of it steers people in the wrong direction.

So we thought we’d have a little fun with this and call out as many issues as we can fit into one podcast. But it’s all in good fun. And quite honestly, most of the things we bring up could certainly benefit from a fair dose of constructive criticism.

Fly Fishing Strategies — Plan for the Hookset

Fly Fishing Strategies — Plan for the Hookset

For a moment, let’s consider where the line goes when the hookset doesn’t stick a trout . . .

You strike on the rise and miss a fish. Or, while nymphing, you set when the fly bumps a rock for the forty-fifth time. And the fly goes where?

In wide open meadows and valleys, who cares? With no trees to eat your fly, sloppy hooksets go unpunished. But the rivers I frequent harbor broken tree limbs as earnest gatekeepers. I like dark, shady corners because the trout do. And working around these obstacles forces me to be mindful — to know where every hookset finishes . . .

STORIES

Seven Days

Seven Days

For those who fish daily, the routine resonates. We are part of the pattern, not mere observers of the design.

We have time to learn and grow, to breathe deep and sigh with satisfaction. We’ve the time to stand tall, to rise from the constant crouch and the intensity of a fisherman, to take in the surroundings, not once, but regularly. It’s the ferns, the sun and the rain, the trout in the water and the birds on the wind. It’s everything . . .

What water type? Where are they eating?

What water type? Where are they eating?

Fast, heavy, deep runs have always been my favorite water type to fish. I can spend a full day in the big stuff. I love the mind-clearing washout of whitewater. No average sounds penetrate it. And the never ending roar of a chunky run is mesmerizing. I also enjoy the wading challenge. The heaviest water requires not just effort, but a constant focus and a planned path to keep you upright and on two feet. Constant adjustment is needed to stay balanced, and one slip or misstep ends up in a thorough dunking. It reminds me of the scaffold work I did on construction crews in my twenties. I always enjoyed being a few stories up, because the workday flew by. When every movement means life or death, you’d better stay focused. I always liked that . . .

The Twenty Dollar Cast

The Twenty Dollar Cast

“Okay, Dad,” Joey bellowed over the whitewater. “Here’s the twenty dollar cast . . .”

His casting loop unfolded and kicked the nymph over with precision. And when the fly tucked into the darkest side of the limestone chunk, Joey kept the rod tip up, holding all extra line off the water. It was a gorgeous drift. And the air thickened with anticipation.

We watched together in silence as Joey milked that drift until the very end. And I think we were both a little surprised when nothing interrupted the long, deep ride of over thirty feet.

“Not this time, buddy,” I told him.

Joey flicked his wrist and repeated the same cast to the dark side of the rock. And because the world is a wonderful place, a no-doubter clobbered the stonefly nymph . . .

TACTICS

Streamer Presentations — Glides and Slides

Streamer Presentations — Glides and Slides

Rolling the bottom, gliding mid-current along a knee-deep riffle and slow-sliding off the bank — these maneuvers are just as enticing and catch just as many trout as do flashy retrieves. But we tend to forget them. Or rather, we might not have the discipline to stay with an understated look for very long, because the modest stuff isn’t as exciting as the razzle-dazzle.

This handful of subtle moves requires an angler with restraint and commitment. Otherwise, the rod tip and line hand are back to big motions and brash, bold movements in no time . . .

Podcast: Finding Contact — Tight Line Skills Series, #5

Podcast: Finding Contact — Tight Line Skills Series, #5

Contact is visual. It’s about reading the sighter to know that we are in touch with the flies from rod tip to the nymph or split shot. It’s not about touching or ticking the riverbed. Instead, the contact we’re looking for is seen on the sighter.

With contact, we know everything about the depth and speed of our flies. We know where they are, and we determine where they are going. That’s the advantage of a tight line (contact) nymphing system . . .

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

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.

NYMPHING

Tight Line and Euro Nymphing — The Lift and Lead

Tight Line and Euro Nymphing — The Lift and Lead

The Lift and Lead is a cornerstone concept for advanced tight line nymphing skills.

Most euro nymphing or tight line studies seem to ignore the lift, focusing only on the concept of leading the flies downstream. For certain, the lift and lead is an advanced tactic. But if you’re having success on a tight line for a few seasons now, you’re probably already incorporating some of this without knowing it. And by considering both elements, by being deliberate with each part of the lift and lead, control over the course of your flies increases. The path is more predictable. And more trout eat the fly . . .

Nymphing — Free Fall and the Drift

Nymphing — Free Fall and the Drift

After the nymph falls into position, we want it to spend some time there. But if we constantly set at the end of the fall, the nymph never has the chance to drift, and the trout don’t get an opportunity to eat on anything but the drop.

A good drift should follow the drop. The free fall and the drift are a successful pair. And they work best together . . .

Fly Casting — Acquire Your Target Before the Pickup

Fly Casting — Acquire Your Target Before the Pickup

Accuracy. It’s an elementary casting principle, but it’s the hardest thing to deliver. Wild trout are unforgiving. So the errant cast that lands ten inches to the right of a shade line passes without interest. As river anglers, our task is a complicated one, because we must be accurate not only with the fly to the target, but also with the tippet. Wherever the leader lands, the fly follows. Accuracy holds a complexity that is not for the faint of heart. But here’s one tip that guarantees immediate improvement right away.

STREAMERS

ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE

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BIG TROUT

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NIGHT FISHING

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