Brown Bears Fishing at Brooks Falls

Image from explore.org webcams

Here’s a way to while away a few boring hours at the office. Check out the live cams from Brooks Falls in the Katmai, Alaska.

There’s a bunch more on the explore.org website too. Click for the Cams here

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Back to Basics: Panfishing

Hybrid sunfish from Crooked Creek. Gabe Levin photo.

Fly fishing has a tendency to lure its practitioners into a technological predicament in which the more you know, the more you need. Endless possibilities in rod lengths and actions, fly line tapers, casting techniques, presentation techniques, species to pursue, flies, etc. There are so many methods and techniques to fly fishing it can become overwhelming just to try and learn half of them, never mind perfecting them. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Yes there is great pleasure to be had in honing a skill to near scientific precision, but not all of us fish for the same reasons. Some of us enjoy understanding the how and the why behind every detail of the sport from gear to entomology, others are drawn less to any cerebral gratification as they are to the subtle grace of fly fishing, and most of us probably fall somewhere in between. Regardless of our obtained level of grace or knowledge of technique, all of us have humble beginnings as fly fishermen.

 

Longear sunfish from Crooked Creek. Gabe Levin photo.

In the South many of us began by sloppily flopping a popping bug onto a farm pond or backyard creek – nothing sophisticated or difficult, but effective and more importantly, addictive. I remember when, as a nine year old kid, I used to wade into the shallow pool of the creek behind my house and cast small muddlers at the bank, overjoyed at the aggression of longears and green sunfish. The small, colorful fish would attack three and four at a time, sometimes hooking themselves without any effort on my part. They would pull with all their little might, bending and pulsing my wispy homemade rod for just a moment before coming to hand. My soft uncalloused hands were timid to hold wriggling fish prickling with spines and sharp scales, but I could never stop, never get enough. Mom would come calling for me before dark.

 

Panfish bait. Come get some.

As we progress along the steep learning curve of fly fishing and delve ever deeper into its endless details, it becomes increasingly important to not lose sight of our humble beginnings, for fear we will forget the simple joys that captured our attention in the first place. The simple joy, for instance, of casting a popping bug for panfish – that is a joy that every fly fisherman young and old should know and revisit time to time. It is forgiving and uncompetitive. It is an inexpensive joy, one that requires no specialized or top-notch gear. It is mentally therapeutic, requiring no cerebral puzzling over what to tie on or how to present the fly, yet providing consistent stimulation in the form of aggressive takes and beautiful fish. The relative absence of technical applications leaves room for the brain to relax, to enjoy the beautiful junction of water, weeds, and shadows, to dwell upon fond memories and pleasant future possibilities. Panfishing is fly fishing in its simplest, most rudimentary form, and it will never get old.

-Gabe Levin

Bluegill from a farm pond. Gabe Levin photo.

 

 

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Tarpon 30–Dally 0

 

 

IT’S an affliction, but there is something about tilting at dinosaurs that floats my boat: Musky in Wisconsin, King Salmon on Kodiak, Halibut on the edge of the Bering Sea.

Last week Bec and I went to the salt, a day ahead of the International Fly Tackle Dealers Show in Orlando Florida. For Bec it was to be her first taste of the saltwater I’ve spoken about so much, and I had lined up a shot at tarpon down on Tampa Bay.

We could have gone for other targets, smaller tarpon in the backcountry, redfish & seatrout or cruising snook on the beaches. The beach fishing has been excellent, tarpon a lot tougher. But like musky, tarpon have been an itch for the past few of years.

I’ll tell you straight off I had my butt handed to me, but so were 3 other guides fishing on their days off on the same stretch of beach_ we saw only 2 fish jumped, all day. But the trip will remain one of the most memorable days fishing I’ve had anywhere.

Guide Capt. Chris Hargiss, (Fly Quest Charters) put us on fish, and watching those silvery sides rolling in the early morning light was almost heart stopping. It was only topped during a frenetic run of afternoon action, the big dark shapes showing impossibly big, as they move implacably down the beach.

But as always when you miss the fish you want, there is the question: “what could have I done better?”. I was pondering this on the drive home, through a couple of brutal thunderstorms, and I realized I had taken for granted few hard learned lessons from travelling blind into unfamiliar fishing situations. Now they might not guarantee you that the fish are going to eat, but it will give you the best grounding.

1 _ PREPARATION: You have probably heard it before but there is no substitute for spending some time pre-trip casting your gear, particularly if you are stepping into unfamiliar line weights. But seriously try practicing the type of shots you will be getting. With plenty of streamer fishing, trout and musky, over the past few years, one would have thought there’d be few problems. But hitting shots into a dinner plate on a moving target is a whole different skill set. Now throw in some wind and a pitching skiff deck, so rough the guide got down off the platform and the back deck, and it’s a whole other ball game.

If you are doing a single day saltwater fishing its hard to justify the cost of a good tarpon grade outfit, particularly on the reel end. But even if you are an above average caster, picking up a rod and making pinpoint casts is a big ask.

 

 

2 _ PLAN YOUR TRAVEL: I’ve always been of the notion that doing a guide trip as early as possible in a trip is the ideal. But give yourself time to yourself set if possible. Otherwise you might find yourselves in the spot we were: sitting 7 hours in an airport for flight delays, crawling into bed at 2.am for a 4.30 rise and drive.

Ok it harder when you are juggling work/fun and limited schedules, but we are talking the ideals here.

 

 

 

3 _ STRIP RIGHT: When you are chasing predators making your fly act like the prey is the key. I was having a hard time believing that those monsters coming down the beach were going to eat something stripped like a woolly bugger on trout water. Spotting some schools of bait helped, as did getting my guide to grab the rod and show you the tempo the fish want. Having confidence in your presentation of the prey is a huge asset.

 

 

DON’T FORGET TO LOOK AROUND: Fly fishing takes us to some incredible places, but its easy to spend all day focused on that small patch of water you are fishing. Have a look around, take some photos, drink it in.

 

 

 

TAKE A GOOD FRIEND: Nothing like shared experiences.

 

 

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 7/17/14

Amen Brother Turner.

The Turner brothers are at it again; Barry and Emil can’t get enough of Ozark fly fishing. The two have had great success in the past on the White River and Crooked Creek, and called us looking to round out their Ozark fly fishing experience with a little summertime hopper action on the White. As luck would have it, Tuesday’s conditions were not great for hopper fishing, what with minimum flow, bright sunshine, and a cool north breeze, but you couldn’t ask for prettier weather to fish in, and the brothers could not be discouraged if you tried.

Hopper-dropper was the name of the game, and it became quickly evident that a pheasant tail would produce for us, as Barry stuck an acrobatic brown trout right away, while the hopper at least served as a more exciting indicator to watch than a Palsa or Thingamabobber. Rainbow after rainbow committed to the pheasant tail all day long and kept me busy unhooking fish. To reach a little deeper in the slow pools I decided to run a second dropper, a Ruby Midge, under the pheasant tail, and boy did that pay off. The freakishly fat brown pictured above took the midge near a ledge in the center of a deep pool, and Emil did a fine job hooking and landing the dogged brown on 5x tippet to put an exclamation point on an already fabulous day. The fish measured 21 inches long, nothing to shout about by White River standards, but with a 13 inch girth at that length, this fish is well ahead of its class, and on its way to being a giant. Nice to see browns growing exceptionally fast in our river!

-Gabe Levin

Future jaws.

Continue reading

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Costa’s GeoBass Nicaragua


Check out the latest installment of GeoBass in Nicaragua here

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Maddin’s Blended Krakken tied by Alex Lafkas

Sometimes you need a streamer that’s going to start diving as soon as it lands. Russ Madden’s Krakken has been a favorite of our since our Michigan colleague Alex Lafkas gave us the word.

The Krakken is easy to throw, sinks fast with an enticing wiggle and has some monster fish to its credit. This fly can also give some nice variety to the action of you streamer box

Fish it
Video produced by Brian Wise: Fly Fishing the Ozarks http://flyfishingtheozarks.com/
in conjunction with Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher, Cotter Arkansas. http://theozarkflyfisher.com

Rear
Long Shank Streamer Hook TMC 300 or Similar #4
Tail: Olive & Cream Strung Marabou Wapsi
Flash: Copper
Body: Rabbit Zonker Sculpin Olive
Olive Polar Chenille
Legs: Wapsi Sili Legs Nymph, Olive Barred
Strung Schlappen Long, Olive

Front
Tiemco 8089 #2
Articulation: 60lb fluorocarbon
Eyes: Wapsi Large Lead Dumbell Eyes, Red.
Rabbit Zonker Olive.
Legs: Wapsi Sili Legs Nymph, Olive Barred
Rabbit Zonker Natural Ginger
Rabbit Zonker Olive.
Strung Schlappen Long, Olive

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Hoppers Heating Up on the White

James Kerr scores a hopper brown with Chad Johnson

Time to beef up your hopper and terrestrial selections y’all. Here’s some early summer tips from Mississippi Johnson:
“A great start to the hopper season…the browns seem to be happy & very willing to come up for a dry.  I have also been having some success with a hopper to a dry ant dropper.  I think it gives the browns the big hopper and the rainbows a smaller meal to eat.  Just to keep you on your toes- you may want to try Dave’s hopper for the dropper (the yellow belly).  Hope to see you out on the water.  Keep your dries high & your rods bent.  Happy Summer. Happy Fishing.”
-Chad

Just another typical White River hopper eating brown

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New From Sage & Rio

We had a preview from our Sage Rio and Redington rep Darin Jacober last week, and the result was this video.

Its definitely that time of year again when the new stuff starts getting previewed, with the odd new items, like Sage’s two rods and the Rio low stretch lines (more on these in a bit) coming out in August. Bec and I are flying out to Orlando, FL, tomorrow for the annual Fly Fishing Tackle Dealers show.

There will be meetings with our usual reps, but I’ve got a few things in mind I want to search up to add to our product mix _ and usually there is a surprise or two as well.

But I think you are going to dig the new lines: low stretch versions of the Rio Gold; Rio Grand and Rio Trout line plus a new version of the Indicator Line. The low stretch Connect Core in a floating trout line came in the short head Perception Taper last summer. But for those of us who dig longer belly lines the Connect Core Gold is going to be a ripper.  Similarly the low stretch properties will be killer on the Grand and Trout lines.

There’s only one downside with the new Salt rod in Sage’s lineup, I’d had my heart set on a Method 8wt for streamer season, now I’m not sure. The 8wt we cast week is an immensely powerful stick, though not feeling as light as the Method, actually is half the weight of the old Xi3 series.

The Access was a serious surprise, super light and actually feels like a superlight progressive taper, moderate-fast rod. These are a great all rounder.

Stay tuned for more reports this week

 

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report 7-10-14

Greg Goree from KS  and a White River brown last weekend

IT’s been another entertaining week on on the rivers, both tailwaters and the native run creeks.

The crew have been out and about both working and playing and the waters are in fine shape. There’s been a little for everyone, some minimum flow for the waders, and some afternoon high water for the streamer + boat fishers.

Honestly it still feels like June out there, with temperatures not up into the 100 degree range and some afternoon popup storms to cool things down. Its probably my favorite time of year to fish. With a bunch of options, from trout on dries, to topwater smallies and heck check out Ben Levin’s big grass carp off Crooked Creek.

Justin Burton with a hopper caught brown last weekend _ an image sent in with our new Mobile App.

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Flats Fishing for Black Marlin : StripStrike-Fraser Island Trailer

I’ve been waiting for someone to finally catch this on video: there was talk about juvenile black marlin being found over the huge flats between Fraser Island and the mainland. Now comes the proof: seriously looking forward to the whole film

 

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Tweaking A Pattern :

 

 

I’m digging Casey Ryan’s tweak on Duane Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser, which we featured on our White River Tying video series tied by Ben Levin.

The Craft Fur Clouser is an awesome imitation of our Ozark Creek Minnows

Well Casey t wanted a meatier profile for his Texas waterways and spun up this version he featured on his blog. Check it out

 

http://2flyfish4.blogspot.com/2014/06/dub-me-some-duane-hada.html

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White River Browns _ Chad Johnson Report

Seriously dig this pic of a White River Brown by Chad Johnson

 

Hello Fly Heads…Sorry I have not done a write-up for a minute. With me being on the water all the time and Gabe at the shop being willing to take my pics & do a great write for me which is awesome…thanks Gabe. I have not had a pen in hand for a minute anyway.

Chad, Rio and Friend

I had a chance to go fishing with my friend Lee Johnston from TX, his partner-in-crime Garrett Pace & Rio-Lee’s handsome orange & white Brittany Spaniel.

We set out on what looked to be pretty poor brown trout day. Low water-1300 CFS; not a cloud in the sky. So we decided the best shot would be to do some sight fishing. Black #6 Hopper with #18 midge dropper.

We managed to put 10 browns (17”-20”) in the boat, in about 2 miles, just taking our time looking around. When you die-hard brown trout boys come over don’t give up just change tactics. Stay focused & have fun.

Chad

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