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Fly Casting — Squeeze It

With the hand on the cork, squeeze it at the end of the power stroke.

This small squeeze packs a big punch. Casting is most effective with small and crisp motions. And there is power in the squeeze as the rod tip is forced to flex and accelerate even more. Then it abruptly stops.

This simple technique provides the accuracy and power needed for next-level type of fly casting. . . .

Why Everyone Fishes the Same Water — And What to Do About It

For every big name piece of water that’s overcrowded, there are hundreds of miles of trout water that are rarely seen by any angler. If ten percent of the water sees ninety percent of the fishermen, then be that small percentage angler who finds wide open places in a high percentage of water.

Calm and Chaos

Some of it winds and bends in line with the tall grasses in the breeze. This is meandering meadow water that glistens and swoons against the low angles of a fading sun. Trout thrive here, protected in the deep cool water, among shade lines that are artfully formed by long weeds that wag and flutter in the current. You could swear the tips of those weeds are trout tails — until they’re not. Maybe some are.

The calm waters of a river are like a church sanctuary. They encourage a measure of reverent respect, even if you don’t much believe what’s in there . . .

Eat a Trout Once in a While

I stood next to him on the bank, and I watched my uncle kneel in the cold riffle. Water nearly crested the tops of his hip waders while he adjusted and settled next to the flat sandstone rock that lay between us. He pulled out the Case pocket knife again, as he’d done every other time that I’d watched this fascinating process as a young boy.

“Hand me the biggest one,” my uncle said, with his arm outstretched and his palm up.

So I looked deep into my thick canvas creel for the first trout I’d caught that morning. Five trout lay in the damp creel. I’d rapped each of them on the skull after beaching them on the bank, right between the eyes, just as I’d been taught — putting a clean end to a trout’s life. I handed the rainbow trout to my uncle and smiled with enthusiasm . . .

Fly vs Bait

I know this is a minority opinion. The average angler assumes that bait will fool more trout than an artificial. Just yesterday, I came across the frequently repeated assertion that bait outperforms flies. I saw it in print and heard it in dialogue on a podcast. It was stated as fact, as though no one could possibly argue otherwise. But it’s wrong. It’s a common wisdom that isn’t very wise. And I think those who believe that bait has the edge over flies have probably spent very little threading live bait on a hook and dunking it in a river . . .

Troutbitten on the Unhooked Podcast

I was pleased to be one of Spencer Durrant’s first guests on his new Unhooked podcast. We talked back in late March, and the conversation is now published and live . . .

Obsessions

We traded lengths of colored monofilament with the observational fascination and the collector’s bond of middle-school boys.

You Already Fished That

If you’re committed to working a section of river, then once you’ve done your job in one lane, trust what the trout tell you. Don’t re-fish it, and don’t let the next cast drift down into the same spot again either. Sure the water looks good, and that’s why you fished it in the first place. But you’ve already covered it. So let it go, and focus on the next target. Trust the next opportunity . . .

Explore | Learn | Return Sticker

$5.00

The miles of river around you might seem endless, like you could fish for the rest of your life and never see it all. But given a couple decades of hard fishing, you may start to feel quite the opposite. The twisting rivers and rambling streams become your home. And each one within the perimeter of a reasonable driving distance is mentally marked as either explored and fishy or explored and fishless. Until eventually, the list of the unexplored disappears.

And to sustain a sense of adventure, your urge to reconsider the marginal water overtakes your parallel urge to go for the sure thing. Hunting for places beyond the obvious spots on the map becomes part of what you do, not only on fishing trips, but on your days off too.

READ: Troutbitten | Explore — Learn — Return

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  • Sticker is 4X5 inches
  • Printed with a UV and weather resistant finish
  • When mounted as a window decal on your vehicle, a Troutbitten sticker serves as inspiration to go fishing instead of running errands, every time you get in the car.

Troutbitten Confidence Flies: Seventeen Nymphs

All long term anglers find a set of files to believe in. We attach a confidence to these patterns that carries over from the moment we form the knot to the hook eye. We fish better with these flies. We make them work. With more focus, we refine each drift with our...

What Lies Beneath

There’s a world unseen below the surface. The riverbed weaves a course and directs the currents, giving shape to its valley. Water swirls behind rocks. It moves north and south against submerged logs. The stream blends and separates, merges and divides again as...

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

All good trout rivers are full of rocks. Bankside and midstream, big ones and small ones -- rocks are everywhere. Unless the bottom is gravel or sand for long stretches, the composition of the riverbed is a series of boulders and stones scattered in various sizes....

Fly Fishers — How to Wet Wade (the Gear and the System)

  ** Note **  Links for wet wading gear are in the second half of this article   Did you know that breathable waders breath most effectively underwater? Fun fact, right? The permeable membranes pass water vapor best when there's a significant temperature...

Boys and Dads

I opened my eyes to full daylight. And the first sound I heard was rain in the gutter behind the bedroom window. I’ve learned to gauge the amount of rainfall by the dripping sounds of water inside an aluminum tube. Without pulling the window blind, I understood that...

The first time out, a fly needs a good showing

“What’s this doing in here?” I plucked the oddball fly from its slot on the backside of a swing leaf in my nymph box, from a place reserved for trial runs and rarely used once-or-twice-a-year kind of stuff. Holding the flashback fly between my thumb and first two...

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