Rusty Flybox: Smile, Grumpy Fly Fishers

You know something that everyone who fly fishes is able to do? Smile.

Sure, in fly fishing some people like to be super serious. Go to a fly fishing show or Trout Unlimited meeting and you’ll inevitably see a guy  who looks like he’s just broken the tip of his favorite rod. There are always going to be gloomy people out there.

But even the grumpiest, most sour-puss fly fisherman can smile at some of the funnier aspects of what we do as we pursue fish.

Right?

Well, below are three of my attempts at making you smile while thinking about fly fishing. One has to do with an angling exercise routine, another focuses on how we get our hopes up on the water, and the last… well, let’s just say it could be a little controversial.

Read any of them by clicking on the title or the picture:

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Untying the Mystery of Fly Fishing Leaders, II

Have you ever taken the time to look through some of the more thorough resources on leaders? Some anglers have spent a lot of time intricately thinking through the dynamics of material diameter and length. You can really fall down the rabbit hole. There are individual formulas for every weight of fly, depth of water, and speed of current.

But just like anything else in fly fishing, you don’t need to get that involved to be successful.

Last week I shared six simple concepts that I find helpful when thinking about leaders. For someone who is just getting started, or for someone who has decided to go one step further than just using knotless, tapered leaders, these are quick techniques that I’ve integrated into a lot of my fly fishing.

Again, these are not intense and over-engineered formulas. If you want to jump into that game immediately, go for it. There are all sorts of great resources out there. These are just meant to basic leaders that will help you understand the relationships of taper, length, and diameter to casting and presentation.

Here are three ideas for leaders:

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Higher Fly Fishing Perspective

Imagine watching a movie dozens of times but never seeing the beginning. Assuming the story isn’t too complicated, you’ll probably get the gist of things. And if it’s a good flick you’ll enjoy the experience regardless.

Up until this past week, that was kind of my experience with Shenandoah National Park.

Since the earliest days of my fly fishing, I’ve been exploring the rivers on both slopes of the park. The Rapidan, Rose, Devil’s Ditch, Thornton, and Piney were creeks that I frequented over the decades. I’d drive from Northern Virginia to spend the day hiking upstream and chasing wild fish.

The scenery was spectacular. The wildlife was abundant. The little rural villages became familiar. With few exceptions the brook trout were cooperative.

But I’d never seen the beginning of the movie.

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Last Cast of the Week, 7/13/2018

Most Fridays on Casting Across are  devoted to other people’s contributions in the fly fishing community. Articles, pictures, social media accounts, videos, podcasts, products, and more will be featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from  Risen Fly Fishing, Angling Trade / IFTD, &  Boston Globe / Bradford Camps.

If you’d like to be featured in the Last Cast of the Week, or have seen something that others might be interested in, use my  contact form  or shoot me an email (matthew[at]castingacross[dot]com). Also, be sure to  subscribe to Casting Across to never miss a post.

Check out the links, along with my thoughts, below:

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Untying the Mystery of Fly Fishing Leaders, I

Have you ever taken the time to look through some of the more thorough resources on leaders? Some anglers have spent a lot of time intricately thinking through the dynamics of material diameter and length. You can really fall down the rabbit hole. There are individual formulas for every weight of fly, depth of water, and speed of current.

But just like anything else in fly fishing, you don’t need to get that involved to be successful.

For years, I simply used knotless tapered leaders. I’d add tippet as necessary. Holding up the terminal end of my leader, I’d match it to the diameter of the equivalent tippet. I’d eyeball what I thought I’d need to return my 9’ 6X leader to its original makeup.

I casted just fine, and I caught fish. Still, there were limitations that I could feel. While the majority of flies turned over and presented just fine, I would struggle with tiny dries or heavier streamers. As that went on, I decided to put more energy into figuring out leaders.

Here are a few tips for getting started:

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The Best Days of Fly Fishing

5 trout.

10 trout.

20 trout.

40ish trout?

It was one of the best days of fishing that I’ve ever had.

As is the case with most fly fishing, it wasn’t just about numbers. There was a whole lot more going on that contributed to the overall experience.

The weather was perfect – high 70’s, light cloud cover, and a slight breeze.

The scenery was fantastic – mountains, waterfalls, and summer foliage in full bloom.

The hike in, about three miles, was pleasant. It was my second time on a trail that day, and this trip was less rocky and slower-paced.

Even my shore lunch, enjoyed on a large rock in the middle of the river, hit the spot.

But oh, the fish.

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Fly Fishing Gear: 3 Things I Use Every Time

Better gear doesn’t make a fly fisher good. But good gear makes fishing better.

And good gear doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Whether you’ve been fly fishing for decades or you’re just getting started, there are some inexpensive items out there that will help streamline your experience on the water. Organization and expediency are two things that anyone can improve. Regardless of if you use a thousand dollar fly rod or a big box-store beater, the little things that surround the actual fishing can make a big difference.

Here are three pieces of gear that I’ve incorporated into virtually all of my fly fishing:

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Fly Fishing Independence

There is no “right way” to celebrate Independence Day.

Red, white, and blue decor is good. Cookouts are good. Parades are good. Fireworks are good. Ceremonies, historical documentaries, and the day off work are all good.

Fly fishing on the 4th of July is good, too.

I don’t think I’m fabricating the sentiment held by some, the essence of which is this: some forms of civil holiday-observance aren’t proper. For example, having a hot dog roast on Memorial Day isn’t the right or respectful way to memorialize those who have given their life in service. If that is your conviction, fine. But I think that it can be both/and.

Furthermore I think that Independence Day should be free from all that. I think that you should do whatever you want  (within legal parameters) to appreciate the freedom that you have to do whatever you want in America. Of course, I’m going to apply that specifically to fly fishing.

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Rusty Flybox: Summertime

Let’s be  honest, in many ways June is the best month for fly fishing. But all great things must come to an end. Thankfully, there are some really, really good things that follow… like July, August, and September.

Fly fishing in the heat of summer requires thinking a little differently. The days are longer, the water is warmer, and the whole ecosystem works in a new way.

Here are three articles from the Casting Across archives that will help you get a bead on some of the ways to approach fly fishing in the summer. One has to do with flies, another with location, and the last pertains to an excellent piece of gear.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

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