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PODCAST: Boat Fishing — How Everything Changes When Floating a River — S11, Ep5

PODCAST: Boat Fishing — How Everything Changes When Floating a River — S11, Ep5

It’s the companionship and teamwork, along with the effort and commitment required to get down the river. It’s about a good lunch and friendly banter as much as the novel approach to tactics and the pure advantage of accessing more water.

From the put in to the take out, boating changes everything. It’s a wonderful way to learn a river and to connect with friends.

Back to Basics — Back to Buggers

Back to Basics — Back to Buggers

As much as I try to keep things simple for myself, I’m too often lured in by the latest, greatest, next-best-thing-ever streamer pattern to come around. And I while I do believe that reasonably sized, natural streamers catch more good trout than huge streamers, I catch myself looking at a simple #8 Bugger these days and thinking, “Oh, that’s not nearly good enough.”

STORIES

It’s Not Luck

It’s Not Luck

The willingness to meet luck wherever it stands, to accept what comes and fish regardless, is the fundamental attribute of die hard anglers, regardless of their region or the species they chase. We fish because we can, because we’re alive, willing and able, and because we mean to beat bad luck just as we did the last time it showed up.

What Fishing Does to Your Brain

What Fishing Does to Your Brain

Fishing captivates us because it provides two of the three things we need to be happy — something to work on and something to look forward to. What’s the third key to happiness? Someone to love. And for the angler, we’d be wise to choose someone who loves us back, enough to care about and listen to our fishing stories.

I’m thankful for all of this . . .

Perspective, From the Salt to the Limestone

Perspective, From the Salt to the Limestone

Nothing opens the aperture of life better than time away from your daily routine. Vacations are an intermission between acts, providing time to stretch your legs, consider what you’ve seen and prepare for what’s to come.

. . . This past week in saltwater provided that intermission and granted me perspective at just the right time.

TACTICS

Troutbitten Shop Spring Sale ’24  — Leaders, Hats, New Trail Merch, Stickers and More

Troutbitten Shop Spring Sale ’24 — Leaders, Hats, New Trail Merch, Stickers and More

The Troutbitten Spring Sale ’24 is here, with all leaders, hats and stickers back in the Troutbitten Shop. With this round, we have a few special items to offer, from the Troutbitten and New Trail Brewing company collaboration. There’s a Fish Hard / Drink Beer hat, sticker and t-shirt. The Troutbitten Shop is fully stocked. Hats, leaders, stickers, shirts, hoodies and more are ready to go.

Streamer Presentations — The Super Pause

Streamer Presentations — The Super Pause

Quite simply, the Super Pause is a lack of animation to the streamer for a long time. But that pause usually follows some kind of movement. Last fall, on our podcast about streamers, Bill surprised all of us by saying he often didn’t move the fly for five seconds. That seemed like a long time to all of us. I remember saying that I didn’t know if I had that much patience with a streamer. Dell did, and I didn’t. But I do now.

As Bill told me the other day, getting big hits and bigger fish at the end of the line can make you pretty patient.

Good point . . .

VIDEO: The Golden Ratio of Nymphing

VIDEO: The Golden Ratio of Nymphing

One rod length over and two rod lengths up. That’s the Golden Ratio. That’s the baseline, and it’s where trust in our drift begins. There are surely moments and situations that call for something different. But a good tight line style starts here, within the Golden Ratio of nymphing . . .

NYMPHING

PODCAST: Critical Nymphing Concepts #6 — Line On the Water — S10, Ep6

PODCAST: Critical Nymphing Concepts #6 — Line On the Water — S10, Ep6

This episode is about tension and slack. It’s about how we manage fly lines and leaders on the water while nymphing. My friend, Austin Dando, joins me to walk through the tight line advantage of keeping line off the water and what happens when we give that up. Fishing greater distances often requires laying line on the water, and how we manage that line, how we plan for it, makes all the difference between a great drift and a poor one . . .

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.

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 . . .

STREAMERS

Streamer Presentations — Your First Move

Streamer Presentations — Your First Move

Streamer anglers will tell you that most of their hits happen within the first few seconds or strips. Trout see the fly enter, and their decision whether to attack, chase or ignore your fly is often determined by your first move after entry.

. . . Trout don’t miss much in their field of vision, and they surely notice anything the size of a streamer landing in their zone. Therefore, what that fly does next either entices, dissuades or spooks the fish . . .

Q&A: Streamers — Sinking Line or Tight Line?

Q&A: Streamers — Sinking Line or Tight Line?

The sinking line does a few presentations very well. And a tight line streamer rig can do many things well. While the sinking line approach gains me more distance and longer retrieves, the tight line system is great for a targeted approach, with more casting and shorter retrieves.

Tight line systems provide direct contact and direct control, where sinking line systems put a weighted fly line in between me and the streamer. Two different styles.

There are many things to consider, but start with this: What is the water type? And what are your goals?

Troutbitten Shop Summer Sale ’23  — Leaders, Hats, New Trail Merch and More

Troutbitten Shop Summer Sale ’23 — Leaders, Hats, New Trail Merch and More

The Troutbitten Summer Sale ’23 is here, with all leaders, hats and stickers back in the Troutbitten Shop. With this round, I have a few special items to offer, from the Troutbitten and New Trail Brewing company collaboration. There’s a Fish Hard / Drink Beer hat, sticker and t-shirt. The Troutbitten Shop is fully stocked. Hats, leaders, stickers, shirts, hoodies and more are ready to go.

ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE

Angler Types in Profile: The I’ve been doing that forever guy

Angler Types in Profile: The I’ve been doing that forever guy

Fly fishing is full of it — full of anglers who take themselves too seriously, and full of others who support it. Everyone knows everything . . .

So as fly fishing churns out newish concepts like articulated streamers and euro nymphing, it’s no wonder there’s some resistance to it all. No wonder  at every turn we find guys with arms folded, shaking their heads and saying, “Nah, I’ve been doing that forever. . .”

Angler Types in Profile: Goldilocks

Angler Types in Profile: Goldilocks

On the sweetheart days, the Goldilocks angler is there. Any other time? This morning? Not so much.

It seems that some fly fishermen are constantly looking for reasons not to fish. Provide them with a logical reason to stay home, and they will — and they’ll feel good about it.

Angler Types in Profile: The Rookie

Angler Types in Profile: The Rookie

I’m consistently surprised by the lack of river sense that’s missing in so many anglers. I mean that literally and not condescendingly. Just as a city kid marvels at the sight of deep darkness on a moonless night, fifty miles deep into a state forest, the country boy doesn’t give it a second thought. It’s experience. And that’s all it is.

People who are new to fishing just don’t know much about rivers. And I never really get used to that. Because so much of what a river does, and what fish do in response, is organic to me. I grew up fishing and playing in small streams. As a kid, I was drawn to every runoff ditch within walking or biking distance. I couldn’t stay away. And like anything else, you grow into your surroundings. I don’t think that can be changed, whether we’d like it to be or not.

Anyway, those without that same history with rivers see the water differently, and sometimes I have trouble remembering it.

On a cool April morning, Sam and I hit the water with all his new gear . . .

BIG TROUT

Night Fishing for Trout — Location, Location, Location

Night Fishing for Trout — Location, Location, Location

It took me seasons of trial and error to understand this truth: On some rivers — especially those with larger trout — much of the water after dark is a dead zone. Nothing happens, no matter what flies or tactics you throw at them. Drift or swing big flies or small ones. Hit the banks with a mouse or swing the flats with Harvey Pushers. It doesn’t matter. On most rivers that I night fish, there are long stretches of water that simply won’t produce.

But in these same waters, there are sweet spots to be found — places where the action is almost predictable (by night-fishing standards), where two, three or four fish may hit in the same spot. And then just twenty yards downstream . . . nothing . . .

What does it take to catch a big trout?

What does it take to catch a big trout?

For many years, I believed that it takes nothing special to catch a big trout. I argued with friends about this over beers, during baseball games, on drives to the river and through text messages at 1:00 am. My contention was always that big trout don’t require anything extraordinary to seal the deal. They need a quality drift, a good presentation, and if they are hungry they will eat it. I frequently pushed back against the notion that big wild trout were caught only with exceptional skill.

So for all who’ve heard me make this argument, I’d like to offer this revision: I still believe that large trout don’t need more than a good presentation. But what is GOOD may actually be pretty special. Meaning, it’s rare to find the skill level necessary to consistently get good drifts and put them over trout (large or small).

Here’s more . . .

NIGHT FISHING

Night Fishing for Trout — The Bank Flash

Night Fishing for Trout — The Bank Flash

I returned to a tactic that I’d employed on many dark nights where I couldn’t effectively reference the bank. I reached up to my headlamp and flicked on the light for an instant — a half second and no more — before returning back to the black. Then, just like the quick shots of lightning earlier, the lamp showed me the way. The image of the riverbank burned into my brain. Something inside of me calculated the adjustments and converted the images into accuracy with my tools of fly rod, line, leader and fly. It was a little bit of magic . . .

Night Fishing for Trout — Location, Location, Location

Night Fishing for Trout — Location, Location, Location

It took me seasons of trial and error to understand this truth: On some rivers — especially those with larger trout — much of the water after dark is a dead zone. Nothing happens, no matter what flies or tactics you throw at them. Drift or swing big flies or small ones. Hit the banks with a mouse or swing the flats with Harvey Pushers. It doesn’t matter. On most rivers that I night fish, there are long stretches of water that simply won’t produce.

But in these same waters, there are sweet spots to be found — places where the action is almost predictable (by night-fishing standards), where two, three or four fish may hit in the same spot. And then just twenty yards downstream . . . nothing . . .

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