Articles in the Category Remix

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #21 — Fear No Snag

Playing it safe saves flies. It even saves time. But it catches fewer trout. And whether drifting nymphs across a rock garden, punching hairwing dries into hazardous hidey-holes or slinging streamers into bankside slots, it pays to take risks because the rewards follow . . .

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.

Learn to Love Rigging

Learn to Love Rigging

There are precious few situations where one leader setup does the trick all day long. And taking the middle of the road approach leaves you average at both ends.

Take the time to make the changes.

Use the moments while tying knots for breathing a little deeper — for reflecting a little on where you are. Because trout take us into some amazing places. Look up at the swaying hemlock boughs as you make those five turns in a blood knot. See things and enjoy them. That kind of time is not wasted . . .

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Full Pint Streamer

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Full Pint Streamer

The Full Pint is one of the only permanent additions to my streamer box in the last few years. I test a lot of patterns against my confidence lineup, and very few flies make the cut. My box of long flies covers all the bases, really. And because I’m (mostly) a minimalist, I don’t add anything that is similar to other flies that I already carry.

But the Full Pint dazzled trout at the first dance. It had a big night the first time out. Then, day after day when I set the hook on a swirl or felt the jolting stop of a large trout slam the fly in mid-strip, I marveled at the Pint’s effectiveness . . .

Tight Line Nymphing | Where Should the Sighter Be?

Tight Line Nymphing | Where Should the Sighter Be?

A good sighter is highly visible and responsive. We use it not just for strike detection. It also tells us how and where the flies are drifting under the surface. But how high should it be above the water?

Front-Ended: Can We Stop Doing this to Each Other?

Front-Ended: Can We Stop Doing this to Each Other?

There are two types of people who will front-end you on the river: the rookie who honestly and innocently doesn’t understand on-stream protocol and the guy who knows exactly what he’s doing but doesn’t care, so he front-ends you anyway.

Pity the first type and forgive them. The second type are despicable bastards, and no amount of reasoning, arguing, cursing or pleading is going to change their behavior. If you encounter the second guy, just walk away. If he’s bold enough to cut you off intentionally, then he’s bold enough to stand his ground no matter what reasonable sense you try to make . . .

The Downstream Fisher Yields to the Upstream Fisher

The Downstream Fisher Yields to the Upstream Fisher

Most sports have a set of unwritten rules, generally agreed upon by those in the know. But the trouble with the unwritten rules of fly fishing is that many newcomers aren’t aware of them, and it might take seasons of error before realizing that you were pissing everyone else off while wading downstream into the upstream guys.

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #30 — The best-laid plans of fishers and men often go awry

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #30 — The best-laid plans of fishers and men often go awry

All of the things we plan for and dream of in our downtime — the river conditions, access points and locations on maps, the hatches that should be, the expectations of success — all of it is variable. It all can and will change. Truthfully, the variations — that randomness — is the heartbeat of fly fishing. It’s the essence of the allure. The unpredictability is the draw. Adapting to the day-to-day river conditions and meeting the trout on their own terms is half the fun in all this. Plan, but plan broadly and expect the unexpected.

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Troutbitten Fly Box — The Bunny Bullet Sculpin

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Bunny Bullet Sculpin

In a world of oversized, articulated streamers drenched in flash and draped with rubber legs, the Bunny Bullet is naturally sized and tied on a single hook — with just a little disco . . .

If the average modern streamer is an exotic dancer, then the Bunny Bullet is a stay-at-home Mom who gets stuff done . . .

It’s olive. It looks exactly like something trout love, and it’s designed to look vulnerable. (It seems like an easy meal.) The cut points of the deer hair head provide the angler visibility from above, it fishes well with or without split shot, and It looks good stripped or drifted . . . . .

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The shakes, and why we love big trout

The shakes, and why we love big trout

. . When I hooked him, I felt a tremendous release of emotion. Satisfaction merged with adrenaline. My yearning for such a moment finally came to a close as the big wild brown trout slid onto the bank. I killed the trout with a sharp rap at the top of its skull, because that’s what I did back then. I knelt by the river to wet my creel, and when I placed the dead trout in the nylon bag, the full length of its tail stuck out from the top.

. . . Then I began to shake. The closing of anticipation washed over me. The fruition of learning and wondering for so many years left me in awe of the moment I’d waited for. I trembled as I sat back on my heels. With two knees in the mud of a favorite trout stream, I watched the water pass before me. I breathed. I thought about nothing and everything all at once. I felt calm inside even as I stared down at my wet, shaking hands.

. . .When a gust of wind pushed through the forest, I stirred. Finally my lengthy revery was passed, and I stood tall with my lungs full of a strong wind. Then I walked back to camp . . .

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Fly Fishing Strategies: No Limits — Fish every type of weight available

Fly Fishing Strategies: No Limits — Fish every type of weight available

Casting to the bank with my back against the wind, the medium copper conehead on the Half Pint wasn’t enough to drop my fly through the stained water and out of site, so I needed split shot . . .

. . . I turned into the wind with my head down. The rain pummeled the hood of my raincoat, creating a buckshot spray that sounded like small hail on a tin roof. With soggy fingers poking out through wool gloves, I reached into my vest for the disc-shaped container of split shot. I plucked out two #4 shot and quickly squeezed them onto the line . . .

. . . Use whatever kind of weight makes sense. Use whatever fits the situation and matches the objectives, and I don’t limit yourself.

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Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #29 — Read Trout Water

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #29 — Read Trout Water

Gravity pulls it downstream. All of it. Every drop of water merging into a river, whether fallen directly from the clouds into a small brook, or bubbling from a spring seep on a large and open river, is under the consistent influence of a force none of us can see. But we feel it. It’s predictable. Gravity holds few surprises. And though its mystery runs deep, we’ve each learned, from birth, to expect the unseen force holding our world together to continue doing just that — to keep all the pieces and parts stuck tight — trusting that the center will hold and things won’t fall apart. It’s consistent enough to be boring. But as an angler, the effects of gravity on flowing water is fascinating. It’s fundamental. And it’s the key to reading trout water . . .

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Euro Nymphing and the Mono Rig

Euro Nymphing and the Mono Rig

The terms euro nymphing, tight line nymphing, contact nymphing and Mono Rig are often intertwined. For certain, there is much crossover and overlap. But there are also major distinctions. This article addresses some of that confusion. It reveals and highlights all that is truly possible with a contact system . . .

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