Not All Stocked Trout are the Same

A lot has been written regarding native vs. wild vs. stocked trout. For some reason, people (and even state entities) struggle understanding the differences. Being informed and using the proper words is important. More significant than semantics is appreciating and supporting the science behind the terms.

The native/wild distinction is an invaluable one to make when it comes to conservation. The terms mark the difference between historically present species and those which have been introduced and established. For example, brook trout in an untouched Maine pond are native; brown trout descending from fish that were stocked in Maine 50 years ago are wild.

There are other distinctions to make when speaking of trout populations. Some aren’t as noteworthy when talking about conservation. But they do factor when it comes to the fishing experience.

Not all stocked trout are the same.

“Stocked trout” is treated like a pejorative phrase in many fly fishing circles. Images of hundreds of pounds of fish spilling from a game department truck are borderline pornographic. They are perceived as a distantly second-class fish, and the anglers who target them don’t fare much better.

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Last Cast of the Week, 10/12/2018

Every now and then, 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 are featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from:

  • Risen Fly – Facebook
  • Maine  Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife –  Trout & Charr Conservation
  • The New Fly Fisher – Knot Videos

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: Read more

Break Time? Fly Fishing!

How do you spend those little breaks that you get throughout the day? Power naps? Social media? Coffee coffee coffee? Reading fly fishing blogs?

I know that there are people that go 8+ hours strong without any easing up, but most folks have five minutes here or there in between meetings, assignments, etc. Truth be told, you might be surprised to see how much “free time” you have throughout the day. Now, I am all about productivity. Be a good worker.

But if you get breaks, what are you doing with them?

There are some small things that you can do, even with just a few minutes, that can get you your fly fishing fix.

Here are three ideas:

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Fly Fishing in One Shot: Pre-Assembled Outfits

There are a lot of stigmas attached to fly fishing gear. People have opinions about rods, the name printed on rods, and even the name printed on hats. For better or worse, these stereotypes  demonstrate how anglers generally feel about products and brands. Overpriced. Unnecessary. Cheap. Showy.

For people who don’t know what they’re doing.

This last cliche is thrown around a lot – and often needlessly. If something is simple, inexpensive, or even the least expensive option in a manufacturer’s lineup, it is for newbies. In one sense that is correct. Why would someone who has never cast a rod, let alone caught a fish with a fly, sink $500 into a fly rod? But it is more nuanced than that.

An experienced trout angler may have never stepped into the salt. They know the value of a good rod and are aware of the need for a solid reel, but aren’t yet sure if they are going to like stripers enough to warrant another premium outfit. They are also aware they if they do end up expanding their fishing focus and buying nicer saltwater gear, their initial purchase will serve as a functional backup.

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Last Cast of the Week, 10/5/2018

Every now and then, 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 are featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from:

  • Risen Fly – YouTube Contests
  • Cheeky – 10 Year Retrospective
  • CBS News / Soul River –  The Healing Power of Fly Fishing

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: Read more

Just Catch the Fish

You know how fly fishing is all about using a fake bug to trick an animal that  looks at real bugs all day every day?

Why not up the difficulty and use a dry fly? I mean, trout primarily eat things that  literally drift right into their mouths. There are times when they exert extra effort to look up, swim up, and eat a dry fly. But they come few and far between, relatively speaking.

It is pretty romantic, so let’s go for it.

Yeah… big, bushy dry flies are nice.  Smaller increases the degree of difficulty. Eighteens are good, but twenties are better.  They give you less margin for error on the drift. A fluffy dry can drag for a moment, and the surface tension allows a lifelike twitch. Little ones need a  lot more attention. Otherwise the fish will know something is up.

A smaller fly means a smaller hook. A smaller hook means a smaller hook eye. A smaller hook eye means smaller tippet. Smaller tippet means a delicate leader-to-tippet knot, a carefully tied and tightened leader-to-fly knot, and a light touch while fishing. Well first, you have to thread it through the eye of the hook.

Now just put it in front of the fish.

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Not Pruning Neoprene

In anticipation of welcoming another baby into the family I was up in the attic. I rummaged through boxes and tubs, looking for stuff that I know I’ve packed, think I’ve seen, but am completely unaware of where any of it might be.

Everyone knows that the quickest way between two points looks good on paper. It is rarely the path that is chosen. Attics and garages are great distraction factories. Sent into one of these places to accomplish task A, I will inevitably get jobs X, Y, and Z done quickly. A, on the other hand, will require a few trips to Home Depot and I’ll probably wrap it up next month.

The vast majority of my fishing gear is accessible and very well organized. The aforementioned baby stuff might be temporarily misplaced, but I know where my back up nippers and extra set of wading sandals are at all times. Tax information from this past year is spread out over four or five locations, I think. But if you need to borrow my third six-weight, I can tell you precisely where it sits – including which rods are on either side of it.

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Rusty Flybox: Learn Something

The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
-Proverbs 4:7

Are there things to learn in life that are worth more than fly fishing? Of course. But there are things in life that you can  learn through fly fishing that brush up against those vital truths.

One such thing is being cognizant of our need to learn, our need to become wiser. There is always a little more to know, and there is always a lot more we can do to make the most of what we’ve learned. If fly fishing is a conduit for making that happen, great.

Here are three posts from the Casting Across archives that highlight how sometimes we should know more than we do know… even when we feel like we know enough. Click on the title or the picture to read the full article:

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Just Say No to Fly Fishing InstaSpam

I use Instagram for Casting Across. It is a great way to promote the website, share the work of those I collaborate with, and see some amazing fly fishing pictures. I am not a professional photographer, and I am far, far from a professional marketer. There are strategies and techniques  out there for gaining an audience – gaining followers on Instagram. Some are clever and some have the subtlety of an AOL compact disc mailing campaign.

My favorite (insert sarcasm emoji here) is the faceless, generically named “SuperFlyFishing#1” page.

You’ve seen him… her… it. They like your photos. They follow you. They comment something to the effect of “great pic! come check out our page.” Then, like a stray piece of tippet in the wind, they’re gone.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not personally offended. This isn’t about getting or retaining some quasi-robotic Instagram hearts. I don’t even feel particularly compelled to police this little postage-stamp-sized corner of the internet.

I just find it obnoxious.

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Fall Function for Fly Fishing

One of Autumn’s more endearing qualities is the shifting temperature. Crisp, cool mornings transition to warm, sunny afternoons. T-shirts and flip flops are still in the rotation, but sweatshirts and wool caps also reappear. However, if you’re on the water all day you don’t exactly have the luxury of an entire wardrobe at your disposal. You have to carry an obscene amount of clothing, stay close to your car, or – the most reasonable option – pick and choose.

It isn’t about obsessing, being fussy, or demanding the best/newest/priciest gear. It is about comfort while fly fishing in the fall. You don’t even need to only shop in the fly fishing or outdoor departments. Some of the best cold weather fishing clothing is simply well made cold-weather clothing.

Here are four quick reminders… or maybe new insights on what to wear and carry as you head out for fall fly fishing.

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