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Fishing Light

You’ve probably been wading upstream on a favorite trout stream and seen another angler’s lost tackle. Maybe the whole mess was in the streamside trees, with split shot and bobber attached, or a misguided F13 Rapala with rusted hooks. Maybe you’ve snagged a pile of monofilament stuck in waterlogged branches and lodged against a rock. And when you’ve seen all that mess, maybe you were stunned by how heavy the tackle was. Are you with me? . . .

Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody home means there’s no trout in the slot you were fishing. And sometimes that’s true. Nobody hungry suggests that a trout might be in the slot but he either isn’t eating, isn’t buying what you’re selling, or he doesn’t like the way you are selling it.

Does it matter? It sure does!

Be a Mobile Angler

Wading is not just what happens between locations. And it’s not only about moving across the stream from one pocket to the next. Instead, wading happens continuously.

Many anglers wade to a spot in the river and set up, calf, knee or waist deep, seemingly relieved to have arrived safely. Then they proceed to fish far too much water without moving their feet again. When the fish don’t respond, these anglers finally pick up their feet. Maybe they grab a wading staff and begrudgingly take the steps necessary to reach new water and repeat the process.

This method of start and stop, of arriving and relocating, is a poor choice. Instead, the strategy of constant motion is what wins out . . .

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Euro nymphing is an elegant, tight line solution. But don’t limit yourself. Why not use the tight line tools (leaders and tactics) for more than just euro nymphing?

Use it for fishing a tight-line style of indicators. Use it for dry dropper or even straight dries. And use it for streamers, both big and small.

Refining these tactics is the natural progression of anglers who fish hard, are thoughtful about the tactics and don’t like limitations. I know many good fly fishers who have all come out the other side with the same set of tools. Because fishing a contact system like the Mono Rig eventually teaches you all that is possible . . .

New Structure | Old Structure

One of my favorite places in the world is a deeply shaded valley that runs north and south between two towering mountains of mixed hardwoods. The forest floor has enough conifers mixed in to block much of the sunlight, even in the winter. The ferns of spring grow tall, and thick moss is spread throughout. The ground remains soft enough here that all large trees eventually surrender to the valley. When they can no longer support their weight in the soft spongy ground, they fall over, leaving a broken forest of deep greens and the dark-chocolate browns of wet, dead bark. It’s gorgeous.

Fallen timber also dictates the course of this cold water stream. The fresh tree falls force the creek to bend away from the hillside. Rolling water carves away the earth and lays bare the rocks — these stones of time, as Maclean puts it. And when water cuts into a neighboring channel, previously dry for centuries, new river banks are undercut and fresh roots exposed . . .

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

. . .The flow of the fly line through the air is finesse and freedom. Contrasted with nymphing, streamer fishing, or any other method that adds weight to the system, casting the weightless dry fly with a fly line is poetry.

The cast is unaffected because the small soft hackle on a twelve-inch tether simply isn’t heavy enough to steal any provided slack from the dry. It’s an elegant addition that keeps the art of dry fly fishing intact . . .

Fly Fishing Strategies: Tippet Rings For Tag Droppers? No Thanks

Fishing dropper rigs should be easy. But judging from the amount of questions I field about knots, dropper types and tangles, fishing two or more flies causes a lot of angst out there.

Last week, I wrote about fishing tangle-free tandem rigs, and a popular question repeated itself in my inbox: “Tippet rings would be great for droppers, right?” My short is answer, no. My long answer is . . . usually not. Tippet rings for tags can work, but I don’t think it’s worth it.

Angler Types in Profile: The Gear Guy

I think every angler has some gear obsession. It’s part of us. Because fishing is the kind of activity that requires a lot of stuff. Big things and small. Clothing and boots, packs and boxes, lines and tools — and all the stuff that non-fishers never imagine when they think of a fishing pole. So it’s understandable that we pack our gear bags with stuff we know we need and then add in everything we think we might need. Time on the water is limited, and we want to feel prepared.

But nothing signals rookie more than a clean fisherman.

Fear No Snag Tee

$25.00

Clear

Fear no snag. Have a little faith. Dare to make the next cast far back under the tree limbs and into the shadowy pockets. There ya go. Fish on!

This same t-shirt design is also available with the Letterman print on the shirt back. Find it here.

— — —
This Troutbitten design is printed on a high-end, Bella & Canvas 3001 tee. A ribbed knit collar retains its shape, side seams lend structural support, and twill taped shoulder seams stabilize the back of the shirt.

  • Runs true to size
  • 100% combed and ring-spun soft cotton (heather colors contain polyester)
  • Fabric weight: 4.2 oz / yard
  • Pre-shrunk
  • Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
  • Side-seamed
  • Catches big trout

Tight Line Nymphing | Where Should the Sighter Be?

What’s the sighter for? Ah, well that short length of colored line changes everything, doesn’t it? The twenty-inch chunk of vivid monofilament, tied into the leader just before the tippet section, is perhaps the most useful element in the Mono Rig. But how do we best...

Backcast | Night Shift – The Porcupine

... So I was startled, but not surprised, when something heavy hit my legs in the dark around midnight ... ... I flipped on my headlamp and looked downstream to see a porcupine returning my wide-eyed gaze. His head turned, and he glared back as if the hit-and-run was...

Nymph Hook Inversion — And the Myth of the Jig Hook

You probably make a lot of assumptions. Me too. And though we all understand the folly of assuming things, life isn’t long enough to track down and test every piece of knowledge for ourselves. So we collect information, we discard it, or we add it to our reservoir of...

Walking

It started with a walk. When the short gravel-to-dirt trail melted into weeds and underbrush, I followed the narrowing path into the woods. And when that too ended beside the small river, I cut to the right and forged my own trail beside the water’s edge. Abundant...

Fly Fishing in the Winter — The System

  ** NOTE: This is Part Three of a Troutbitten series on fly fishing for trout through the winter months. This will all read a little better if you back up and find Part One here and Part Two here.   Imagine a late spring afternoon in Pennsylvania. A high...

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...

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