Articles in the Category Remix

Quick Tips — When to Fish Just One Nymph

John and I always keep count. He’s the only fishing friend who can pull me into such a race. And I’m not sure why.

Like all fishermen do at some point, I used to keep count of my catch. I even roughly calculated my catch rate at the end of the day, like this:

“Let’s see, I fished for five hours, but I took a twenty minute break around lunch. Walk in time was fifteen minutes, so subtract that too. I caught twenty-six trout, but I COULD have caught those couple of trout that came unbuttoned if I was more careful, so let’s add those in and say thirty. Multiply, divide and there’s my catch rate.”

That sounds like fishermen’s math, right?

But I don’t count much anymore. And I don’t like to compete against anything but the river and the trout. I don’t mind losing to the river on occasion, either. Because loss is a wonderful teacher.

But John baits me back into counting every time we fish together. And there’s no fuzzy catch-rate-math involved — just straight up fish counting.

Streamer Presentations — The Deadly Slow-Slide

The best thing about fishing streamers is how different it is from everything else we do on a fly rod. Precision dead drifts? Delicate casting and thin tippets? Forget that. Slinging the big bugs is the antithesis against what the rest of fly fishing is all about. Or at least, it can be.

Everything works sometimes. We can present a streamer at almost any angle or speed and have a fair expectation to fool a trout. This makes sense because streamers imitate baitfish, creatures with an ability to move — to dart, dive and swim through the water. And they often do so unpredictably, just like our streamers.

But there’s a particular presentation that I’ve come to rely on more than any other, lately. It mimics a more available food form for trout, but it’s not a dead drift. The line and rod hand adjustments are subtle, but the presentation is active. It’s a bank or structure approach; it gets the trout’s attention. And it’s deadly.

I call it the slow-slide . . .

Admiration

Not many fish allow you to break off a fly on the hookset while they still take another fly just five minutes and three drifts later. It takes a special kind of stupid for that to happen.

Pat spread the mustard lightly this time. And the joy of all children, April fishermen, spinnies and hobbyists was firmly hooked.

Loop to loop is bad — Try attaching your leader to the fly line this way

Sometimes the worst things become the most popular. The industry standard for attaching a leader to a fly line is the loop to loop connection. But it has a some inherent failings that cause major problems.

So can you tie a four turn clinch? . . .

Two Sides to Every Fisherman

Two Sides to Every Fisherman

There are two sides to every fisherman: one that simply enjoys being on the water (hoping to catch a fish), and the other that desperately wants to know how to put more fish in the net. These two parts find an internal balance inside every angler I know . . .

From Pennsylvania to Montana and Back

From Pennsylvania to Montana and Back

Early August in Montana, 2007. The afternoons burned hot, but the mornings were bitter and covered in frost. Our days swam together until neither the time nor the day of the week mattered at all. Dad and I had two weeks and more, long enough that the internal nagging and questioning about how long before all this had to end were sent away. We watched no television and kept the radio off. We visited no restaurants and no bars. With two coolers and a camper-freezer full of food, we restocked at a grocery store only once.  It’s as far away from everything and anything as I’ve ever been, for as long of a time as I’ve ever known. There were timeless, surreal moments, and they were fantastically long . . .

The Dirty Fisherman

The Dirty Fisherman

Gabe was a trout bum. Not the shiny magazine-ad version of a trout bum either, but the true embodiment of John Geirach’s term: authentic, dirty, and dedicated to a lifestyle without even thinking much about it. He fished on his own terms. He was a part-time fishing guide for the family business and a part-time waiter. We never talked much about work, though. I just know that Gabe’s life was fishing, and everything else was a cursory, minor distraction . . .

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?

Hatch Matcher

Hatch Matcher

It was the summer before college — before the real world started, they said. Although, college life never proved to be anything like the rest of the world. I was working for a printing company, spending three hot months in a delivery truck, shuttling press orders to the docks and doorsteps of western Pennsylvania corporations.

As I drove repetitive miles across the Keystone state, I was most attentive in the valleys. From my tall perch behind the worn-out steering wheel, I peered over each bridge crossing, wondering and dreaming about trout. I knew of Western Pennsylvania’s struggles to harbor wild trout. I knew about its troubled past with acid mine drainage, but I’d seen marked improvement in water quality over my young life. And I’d explored enough to expect surprises — trout can be anywhere . . .

Things that are good: Simms Solarflex Shirts and Gaiters

Things that are good: Simms Solarflex Shirts and Gaiters

We were deep into summer, with high August heat, hot sun and heavy humidity. Sawyer and I walked past the switchback at the halfway mark. We were hiking two miles back to the truck, emerging from the canyon after a long and productive day of fooling fish.

This kind of summer heat drives most anglers away from their favorite trout streams. However, in the cold waters of this limestone region, our wild trout eat all year long.

. . . And I was miserable in the heat. Yes, we were wet wading, but the long walks in and out, the hiking and getting around out of the water was really uncomfortable. At least, it was for me . . .

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You stink — It’s the wader funk | A letter to a lonely friend

You stink — It’s the wader funk | A letter to a lonely friend

Dear fishing buddy,

I considered slinking away quietly from our fishing friendship. But I’ve decided to give you a chance by addressing the issue head on, because good friends are honest with each other. You smell like old sauerkraut and raw sewage. Whatever vile rot festers inside your waders has decayed down to a new level of repulsion.

The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote:
“Stink! Stank, stunk!” — Dr. Seuss (You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch) . . .

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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.

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The Dry Fly is a Scout

The Dry Fly is a Scout

The fly is an explorer tied to the end of a string. It bounds along with the current, making discoveries and telegraphing its collected information back through a line. Whether nymph, streamer, wet or dry, our fly is an investigator sent forward to probe the water and search for trout — and to collect more information than our eyes can see.

Standing riverside, pinching the hook of a caddis dry fly between forefinger and thumb, with slack line and a rod poised to send our fly on a mission, we scan the water for signs. We look for rising trout and likely holding lies. And we look for  much more than is easily visible. The currents of a rocky, rolling river are a converging and confusing mix. And what we may decipher through polarized lenses is a mere scratch of the surface. So we send a pioneer.

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Night Fishing for Trout — People, Places and Things

Night Fishing for Trout — People, Places and Things

The allure of night fishing arises from a mystery. We pursue unknowable things into the darkness and sort through the unpredictable behaviors of trout to catch them after the sun goes down. There are no experts in the night game, and that itself is what secures the puzzle — a simple lack of information. There is no treasure map after dark.

In large part, we fish because of what might happen. While night fishing, we begin to realize that anything can happen . . .

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Quick Tips — The Fly Rod Quick-Dip

Quick Tips — The Fly Rod Quick-Dip

Some things in fly fishing are obvious right away. The concepts of casting and drifting a fly are intuitive for most anglers after just a bit of instruction and a few trips of experience. Advanced techniques are later pored over in conversations, books, articles and videos. We want to learn. But helpful friends and fly fishing authors probably make too many assumptions. (Myself included.) And a lot of what we take for granted or think is obvious has become second nature only after fishing for a long, long time.

The fly fly rod quick dip is a problem-solving essential . . .

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