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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 . . .

Fear No Snag Emblem Long Sleeves

From $35.00

Clear

It’s not the leaves. It’s the structure — the wood itself — the branches and the roots. As anglers, the trees surrounding these trout waters are our constant companions. But like any good friend they are both helpful and, at times, a source of great difficulty.

Fear no snag. Have a little faith. Dare to make the next cast far back under the tree limbs and into the shadowy pockets.

Features the Tree Emblem design.

** Black color only **

— — —
This Next Level 3601 long sleeve shirt is perfect to wear every day wear, on or off the river in all season. This is a high quality, durable print on a comfortable cotton shirt. 

  • Athletic Fit
  • 100% combed ringspun cotton
  • 4.3 oz./yard  fabric weight
  • Boosts courage for daring casts

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...

How To Be A More Accurate Fly Caster

If you have it, accuracy might be something that you take for granted. Oh, I’ll just punch the fly under those tree limbs and land the fly with an upstream curve to compensate for the swift current rolling sideways off the mossy rock. If that’s easy for you, then...

Night Shift — This River and the Other River

I think I’ve night fished often enough now to make some conclusions -- not many, but a few basic determinations that allow me to have confidence in laying out a few principles. Here’s one: night fishing around here is hard. It takes dogged persistence over many...

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...

Back to Basics — Back to Buggers

Bill texted me at 2:00 pm. “How’s the fishing, and where should we meet?” he wrote. The chilly April day was changing from perfectly cloudy and drizzly to a pure washout. More of the darkening sky slid over the horizon as I hustled back to the truck. Patches of heavy...

Streamer Presentations — The Head Flip

I learned to trout fish by drifting live minnows on a spinning rod. My uncle taught me. We used a two inch long needle to thread a small loop of six pound mono into the mouth and out the vent of a fathead minnow. The needle was removed before a double hook went...

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