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Barbless or barbed hooks? How does the barb help keep trout on the hook? And is there a higher mortality rate with barbed hooks?
In the third part of this critical nymphing concepts series, we consider the advantages and disadvantages of fishing with a suspender.
The best thing about a float is seeing miles of water as if in one frame. It’s like a filmstrip that you can take out and hold in your mind for a while. If you’ve done this long enough, then every rock around every bend carries a memory. The best island channels hold a group of those stories and offer them up as you float by. It’s a photo album: the river is a flowing film of your best and worst times on the water — moment by moment passing by. And if you’re lucky, you might create a new highlight for the reel . . .
It’s the things that happen while we’re out there that make fly fishing for trout the all-consuming, never ending pursuit that it is for us. And, in truth, all of us need to LET that happen. It’s in the choices that we make regarding where we’ll fish, when we’ll fish and who we’ll fish with. Those elements, the locations, the woods, the water and the friendships make all of this special . . .
The good wader keeps moving, believes in traction, casts in rhythm and makes no excuses. The good wader becomes the good angler . . .
Two more turns to anchor the tail. Keep it tight. Build a solid foundation, or the whole thing falls apart after a few fish — and that costs time. The shortening days steal enough of that already.
“Let them eat it. Don’t take it away from them.” I’ve burned that simple message in my brain. For many years, I focused obsessively on the motion I would give to a streamer, I now focus equally on where and when I will pause it.
Attract them with motion. Then let them eat it. Streamer fishing for trout really is that simple. But the variations within the framework are where artistry arises . . .
The Lift and Lead is a cornerstone concept for advanced tight line nymphing skills.
Lift to allow the fly to fall into place. Lead to stop it from falling and to keep it gliding through the strike zone.
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. Efficiency with weight improves.
The path is more predictable. And more trout eat the fly . . .
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 . . .
Split shot doesn’t create tangles. Bad casting and bad rigging does. Don’t blame the shot. Have a plan and learn the system.
How do we fish the different leader builds for tight lining? What are the advantages and disadvantages of Standard, Thin and Micro-Thin Mono Rigs? What can we do with each of them?
The Troutbitten Fall Sale ’23 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.
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 . . .
In this episode, we discuss the head orientation of the streamer in the water — how the streamer moves with the currents or against them, and what looks more natural vs what might look more attractive.
We also dig into what added weight does to the head of a streamer, how that affects the action and how that limits or enhances the presentation styles that we have available . . .
You can move the fly ten inches across seams. You can jerk strip, jig and twitch the streamer with jumpy and choppy motions or you can do all of it super smooth. Which do the trout prefer?
ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE
I could barely make out the shape of a man fishing through the fog. A dense cloud hung over the water that morning, wrapping everything in a white shroud, and I felt water enter my lungs with every breath. Eventually, the rising sun punched holes through the white sheet, further decreasing visibility with mirrored reflections. Then within the next half hour, solar warmth provided enough heat to turn the big cloud into vapor. And as the fog dissipated over the river, Mike’s thin form came into view.
He moved like a machine in rhythm. He zigged and zagged across the pocket water, casting and catching, netting and releasing one trout after another. The machine paused to catch its breath only when Mike spent thirty seconds tying a knot. From my perspective downstream, it was perfection . . .
Rivers are built from just a few parts. While the sand and soil of a streambed is fluid, the framework — the shape of a river — is directed by roots and rocks. Time and the tenacity of flowing water changes the shape of the hardest rocks, eventually carving granite into a new form, eroding and molding a riverbank toward a new course. And while nothing is eternal in a river or its floodplain, there’s enough permanent structure in a stream — the immovable objects — that good trout take notice. So does the big fish hunter . . .
It takes about five minutes to feel the flex of a rod and learn the breaking strength of our chosen tippet. And a simple experiment is all that’s needed. Once you’ve tested both the tippet and the rod’s strength, a new confidence follows. Then, when the fish of your dreams shows up, you are ready.
When you know the maximum pressure available from your fly rod and tippet , you can put more pressure on a trout and bring him in quickly . . .
Somewhere in your favorite stretch of a river there’s a depression at the bottom. It’s wide enough and long enough to hold a trout, nose to tail. It’s as deep as the trout is tall — or a bit deeper. The river flowing over this depression in the riverbed is fast enough to bring a continuing buffet of food. And the water comes with the right shade, ripple or depth to offer good protection. This is a special bucket. Let’s break it down . . .
I finally have an honest understanding about what draws me into night fishing. Yes, it’s the fear. And of the serious night anglers I’ve known, it’s the same for all of us. Fear is the crackling spark plug . . .
. . . But Smith had also drawn out of me one thing that I’d never fully put into words before explaining it to him. Namely, that contact is felt as much as it’s seen. While tight line nymphing, I’d told Smith, an advanced angler can feel contact with the nymph on the rod tip. Essentially, you could very well fish with your eyes closed. And because Smith was skeptical, I’d suggested some after-dark tight line nymphing as a way to prove to my friend that he could feel that contact just as well as anyone . . .
You have no business night fishing an area that you can’t visualize.
Close your eyes. Now imagine the spot you plan to night fish. Think about the first cast. Where are the rocks, tree limbs and logs? How much of the gravel bar is exposed at this water level? How swift does the current break around the undercut bank? If you guessed at any of these things, if you were uncertain at any pass, then you will struggle at night.
Questions and uncertainties are amplified after dark. So I go into my night fishing hours with a plan — much more than any day trip. The program might change if the light, water or feeding conditions suggest a new strategy. But having an outline holds me together on a dark river . . .
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