VIDEOS

Fish Hard

I published the first Troutbitten video in the spring of 2017, in an effort to show the things that cannot be written or photographed.

Years later, I brought Josh Darling, owner of Wilds Media, into the project. His art, his eye and his film expertise make Josh the perfect partner for this work.

In 2022, Josh and I began the Troutbitten Tips series on the Troutbitten YouTube channel. These are short, helpful and unique tips for a life on the water.

We’ve also added a series called, Fly Fishing the Mono Rig. This ongoing collection of videos highlights the versatility and the nuances of this hybrid fly fishing system.

A dedicated Gear Review series just launched on the channel, and who knows what’s next.

Troutbitten videos teach tactics and share stories that keep the river in our minds and in our hearts.

From the video, The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything. (Fall, 2020) Photo by Josh Darling

WHERE TO WATCH

All Troutbitten videos are found on the Troutbitten YouTube channel.

Explore the playlists. Subscribe to the channel, and Leave a comment.

Every Troutbitten Video also has a companion article, with more information and an embedded video link.

Thanks for watching.

The Easy Way to Release a Snag (with VIDEO)

The Easy Way to Release a Snag (with VIDEO)

Snags happen. I’ve fished with people who see every hang up as a failure — every lost fly as a mistake. But inevitably, that mindset breeds an overcautious angler, too careful and just hoping for some good luck.

Hang ups are not a failure. For a good angler, they’re a calculated risk — an occasional consequence after assessing probability against skill, opportunity against loss. We all hang up the fly sometimes. So what.

Now let’s talk about how to pop that underwater snag loose . . .

Splitting the Fly Rod (with VIDEO)

Splitting the Fly Rod (with VIDEO)

Pay with your time — now or late. Try this simple trick for splitting the rod in two, for easy transport through the woods or over the highways.

Fishing has taught me to do the simple things now, because it makes life less complicated later. I’m still learning that. As fishermen, I think we’re all reminded of it every day . . .

The Pulley Retrieve (with VIDEO)

The Pulley Retrieve (with VIDEO)

What I call the Pulley Retrieve is a smooth and efficient method of recovering line. It’s useful for both fly line tactics and with a Mono Rig in hand. It’s an ingrained habit for me, and I use it every day that I’m on the water. Recover more line, and recover it smoother. Why not, right? Sounds good . . .

VIDEO | Streamers on the Mono Rig: Episode 2 — Casting

VIDEO | Streamers on the Mono Rig: Episode 2 — Casting

The Troutbitten video series, Streamers on the Mono Rig continues with Episode Two, covering the unique possibilities and the demands of casting.

Fishing streamers on the Mono Rig offers anglers ultimate control over the direction and action of their flies — all the way through the drift. And while small streamers may need nothing more than a nymphing-style cast, mid-sized and full-sized streamers require a few changes in casting to get the most from the technique . . .

VIDEO | Fly Fishing the Mono Rig: Streamers — Episode 1

VIDEO | Fly Fishing the Mono Rig: Streamers — Episode 1

In collaboration with Wilds Media, the long-awaited Troutbitten video series featuring Streamers on the Mono Rig begins today.

Episode One is an overview of the tactics and an exploration of what is possible when fishing streamers with tight line tactics. The video also covers the Troutbitten Mono Rig and the functions of its three main components.

VIDEO: The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything

VIDEO: The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything

Today, I’m proud to announce the launch of Troutbitten videos, in collaboration with Wilds Media. The journey begins with a video adaptation of, “The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything.” This story has been a Troutbitten favorite since it was published in the spring of 2019. . . . The river gives you what you need. The river gives you what you earn.

The Pre-Cast Pickup (with VIDEO)

The Pre-Cast Pickup (with VIDEO)

The pre-cast is a simple motion that lifts some (or all) of the fly line off the water and gets the leader moving. It’s an elegant solution to a common problem.

When the dry fly drift is over, simply activate the line and get it moving before starting the backcast. The motion of the pre-cast pickup breaks the hold of surface tension. And that’s the key. Once the surface lets go of the line, it is easily lifted off the water with minimal disturbance . . .

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Jiggy Streamers

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Jiggy Streamers

With the Jiggy tied in, I quickly learned that nothing rides the bottom of the river like a ball jig. It bounces, canters, pivots and tap dances around rocks and gravel like nothing else. The ball itself is the key. It allows for some very unique presentations and movements. And when you really want to hug the bottom, you can set up your rig to feel those taps, as the Jiggy glides and scratches along the river bed.

That’s not to suggest that I constantly present a Jiggy deep down and glued to the rocks. Not at all. But when I do want to touch the bottom, to feel the rocks, hold a position or reach into the depths with precision, a Jiggy is the perfect vehicle. That is the key. That’s the special sauce of the Jiggy . . .

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Full Pint Streamer (with VIDEO)

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Full Pint Streamer (with VIDEO)

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 . . .

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Sucker Spawn

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Sucker Spawn

You can get a trout’s attention with a host of different patterns. Bright beads, flashy materials, wiggly legs and sheer size all stand out in the drift, and trout take notice. But interest and curiosity do not necessarily lead trout into the net. In fact, many of the attention getting materials we attach to a hook simply turn trout off, giving them a reason not to eat the fly.

On the other hand, while drab and flat patterns have their moments, it often takes a little sparkle, a little color, flash or wiggle, to turn trout on. The trick then, is finding the right elements to seal the deal — a simple combination of materials that is just enough to convince a trout, but not too much either. Enter: the Sucker Spawn . . .

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 . . . . .

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Bread-n-Butter Nymph

Troutbitten Fly Box — The Bread-n-Butter Nymph

This simple nymph is a winner. The Bread-n-Butter looks enough like a mayfly nymph, enough like a caddis, or enough like a small stonefly to be a very productive pattern. Whatever trout take it for, it gets attention and seals the deal frequently. It’s on my short list of confidence flies.

Yes. It looks like a Hare’s Ear nymph. Half the stuff in my box looks like a Hare’s Ear or a Pheasant Tail. When you turn over rocks to see what kind of bugs trout are eating, most of what you find fits under the category of “little brown things with some moving parts.”

My theory of fly selection is based in simplicity. I don’t carry hundreds of patterns, because I’ve found that I don’t need to. And carrying fewer flies forces me to adjust my presentation — to fish harder — instead of blaming the fly and changing what’s on the end of my line.

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