Articles in the Category Commentary

Q&A: What Do You Have Against Euro Nymphing?

I use euro nymphing often, but won’t be limited to it. And I don’t like the term because of the limitations associated with it.

That said, I don’t think we can change it. Just like the rest of language, we are stuck within a framework for communicating that precedes us. We can only do our best to define and work through this system accurately . . .

Q&A: Barbless Hooks or Barbed? Does It Matter?

Barbless or barbed hooks? How does the barb help keep trout on the hook? And is there a higher mortality rate with barbed hooks?

Q&A: Can Trout Hear Your Boot Studs? (with VIDEO)

Trout can’t hear your boot studs — not in a river with any movement to it. So stud-up those wading boots and love your life. Here’s a video to prove it . . .

We Don’t Want Easy Fishing

No forgiveness. No freebies. Just wild trout that require your best effort and then some. From our best trout rivers, we’re dealt a fair game. We know what trout want. They look for something safe to eat. Something familiar. Something easy with a positive calorie reward for their effort. Something natural, with maybe just a little spark.

Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves — The Bead on a Hook Challenge

Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves — The Bead on a Hook Challenge

Testing rigs and flies on the water is fun. It provides the next reason to get back out there, and it center-focuses us on something new. Testing also takes the pressure off. You’re not out there to catch every trout. You’re out there to experiment — to investigate and assess results against a theory.

Do trout eat the bead-on-a-hook better than a nymph with dubbing or micro-tubing behind it? Maybe . . .

When Gear Gets In the Way

When Gear Gets In the Way

No matter what we’re into, there’s a time when the learning of skills reaches a critical mass, when it’s time to do rather than read more about it and buy more gear.
. . .There’s a time for learning. There’s time for preparation. And then there’s time for doing — for putting all of it into practice, making the casts, covering water and catching fish . . .

Angler Types in Profile — The Fly Tying Artist

Angler Types in Profile — The Fly Tying Artist

It’s easy to understand how tying flies makes you a better angler. And many fly fishermen take their passion for the river directly over to the vise. With that passion follows artistry. And for that kind of artist, what is wound around wire and bound to a hook comes with beauty . . . or there is no point.

One of the best tyers I’ve ever known would tie a dozen of the same fly and keep only two or three, stripping the rest with a razor blade to the bare hook. Why? He said he only fished the ones that had a soul . . .

Hook Sets Are Not Free

Hook Sets Are Not Free

Mike had landed on a common phrase that usually triggers a response from me. It’s one of the myths of fly fishing, and it carries too much consequence to let it go. Hook sets are not free. There’s a price to pay. Oftentimes that cost is built into our success. And other times, the costs of too frequently setting the hook pile up, stealing away our limited opportunities . . .

Will An Expensive Fly Rod Catch You More Trout?

Will An Expensive Fly Rod Catch You More Trout?

A great fly rod responds to the angler. The slightest motions and refinements in the cast are transmitted to the rod, and it flexes — it responds in kind. The angler’s thoughts and instincts flow through a great rod, so our accuracy and adjustments become effortless.

We can be in tune with a great rod and perfectly connect with its performance. With some time spent fishing a great fly rod, it becomes an extension of our will. The fly hits the target because we want it to. The leader lands with s-curves in the tippet because that’s what we decided. And the rod makes it happen.

A go-to fly rod is like an old dog or a good friend. We know them, and our connection is natural.

The Red Amnesia Problem

The Red Amnesia Problem

It’s not red anymore. It’s burgundy, but it “might” be red again someday. I’ve been alive long enough to know that when something you love leaves, it’s best to start moving on. And yes, I’m a leader junkie . . .

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Asking the Best Questions to Catch More Trout

Asking the Best Questions to Catch More Trout

Fly selection is important, but it’s one of the last questions to ask. There’s no denying that catching a few trout helps lead us to the promise of catching a few more. One trout is an accident. It’s just as likely that you found a maverick as it is that a single fish can teach you the habits of the rest. Two fish is a coincidence, but three starts to show a trend. And at a half dozen fish, there’s enough data about who, what, where, when and why to build the pieces of a puzzle.

To the die-hard angler, adaptation and adjustment to what we discover is one of the great joys of fly fishing for trout . . .

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Strategies for Pressured Trout — Something Different or Something Natural?

Strategies for Pressured Trout — Something Different or Something Natural?

Trout learn to see some colors, some materials, some shapes and movements as fake. And when they see the same fake fly often enough, they stop eating it. That’s what we mean by angler pressure. So, part of the game becomes a guess about what flies the trout have learned to reject and how we can turn the fish on again.

That’s the unnatural thing about trout seeing too many fishermen and too many flies . . .

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The Advantages of Working Upstream

The Advantages of Working Upstream

For the majority of our tactics, fishing upstream is the best way to present the flies. And sometimes it’s the only way to get the preferred drift.

So too, working upstream allows for stealth. The angler becomes the hunter. With a close, targeted approach to smaller zones, we get great drifts in rhythm, one at a time . . .

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What to Trust

What to Trust

Of the good fishermen I know, one thing I see in all of them is how easily they can reach conclusions about fish habits. They have a knack for knowing what to trust and when to trust it.

The damned thing about a river is that it changes every day, and the habits of trout follow. If you’re observant enough to see the dynamics of a river, you can predict how the fish will respond, just by correlating their behavior patterns with the changes in water level, clarity, food availability, etc. Often, though, that’s a big leap to take. And it requires trusting in your observations enough to act decisively on them . . .

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