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ALL ARTICLES

100 Day Gear Review — Orvis Pro Wading Boots

100 Day Gear Review — Orvis Pro Wading Boots

Fly fishing gear breaks down. Waders leak, boots fall apart and pack zippers fail. The stitching at the seams of all this stuff takes a lot of abuse, so how long can it hold up? How well is it built?

The 100 Day Gear Review Series on Troutbitten takes a look at how gear is performing after the century benchmark. The Orvis Pro Wading Boots have outperformed my expectations. They are light but extra-solid. They are durable, comfortable and have excellent support in all the right ways. These are great boots . . .

(VIDEO)  The George Harvey Dry Fly Leader — Design, Adjustment and Fishing Tips

(VIDEO) The George Harvey Dry Fly Leader — Design, Adjustment and Fishing Tips

The George Harvey Dry Fly leader is a slackline leader built for dead drifting. With intentional casting, with the right stroke, the Harvey lands with slack in all the right places, with curves and swirls through the entire leader and not just in the tippet section. The Harvey is a masterful tool built for the art of presenting a dry fly on a dead drift. But success begins by understanding how the Harvey is different, and why it works.

STORIES

Searching Through the Margins

Searching Through the Margins

I guess I was about ten years old when I started pushing past the boundaries of my parents’ twelve acres of hills and trees. I easily remember the day that I walked into the damp valley and past the tiny runoff stream which I always imagined may hold a few trout — or at least a few minnows. Instead of staying on the near side of the watery divide, I crossed it. I looked back once. Then I started up the hill toward the unknown. In my boyish, drifting thoughts, anything was possible . . . and I’ve been wandering ever since . . .

The I’ll just lay my rod here for a minute mistake

The I’ll just lay my rod here for a minute mistake

People do the same things. The instincts of fishermen find identical paths upstream through the river — watery trails lead to the best water with the greatest efficiency. You can easily see where everybody else fishes. And I guess the flies and tippet-tangles in streamside branches signal that we all make the same casting errors too. Presented with the same problems, fishermen come up with the same solutions, and we make the same mistakes.

That’s all pretty harmless and kind of fascinating. But then there’s that thing we (all) do where we leave our rod on top of the vehicle and drive away. WTF?

Fishing With Kids — “Born to fish big”

Fishing With Kids — “Born to fish big”

Parenting is mostly guessing and then hoping you were right. My design all along has been to get the boys beside a river as often as possible.

Will they be fly fishermen at fifty? Will they take on fishing as a way of life? Will they need it as something to help them through difficult times? I don’t know. But I’m giving them that chance.

Joey waded through a knee-deep riffle, toward a bank side boulder that he’d never reached before. We’d fished for two hours with the fish count as zero as the skies unloaded a hard rain into the river. I waited underneath the half-shelter of a large sycamore and watched my son from twenty feet away . . .

TACTICS

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.

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.

NYMPHING

Tight Line Nymphing — How Much of this is Feel?

Tight Line Nymphing — How Much of this is Feel?

Smith was still puzzled, and I suspected I was about to join him. He held up his rod, with the long Mono Rig leader, two nymphs and a sighter, and pointed to it. “But if strike detection is mostly visual, what part of this is feel?” Smith had asked a question that I’d never fully considered. Then I answered. “At the rod tip you can feel when you’re in contact with the flies . . .”

Tight Line Nymphing — Strike Detection is Visual

Tight Line Nymphing — Strike Detection is Visual

Smith set up over my right shoulder and watched for a while, quietly examining my backhand drifts and spitting sunflower seed shells on the water. I landed two trout and missed another . . .

“Did you feel those strikes, or did you set the hook because the sighter twitched?” Smith asked . . .

“They rarely hit hard enough to feel it,” I told him. “And if you’re waiting for some some kind of tug or tap, you’re missing a lot of strikes.”

Nymphing: The Top Down Approach

Nymphing: The Top Down Approach

The biggest misconception in nymphing is that our flies should bump along the bottom. Get it down where the trout are, they say. Bounce the nymph along the riverbed, because that’s the only way to catch trout. We’re told to feel the nymph tick, tick, tick across the rocks, and then set the hook when a trout eats. With apologies to all who have uttered these sentiments and given them useless ink, that is pure bullshit.

Here’s how and why to avoid the bottom, fish more effectively and catch more trout with a top down approach . . .

STREAMERS

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ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE

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BIG TROUT

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NIGHT FISHING

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