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Flymen Blog

The Art of Stripping Streamers: Fly Fishing Tactics

You have the fishing reports, a spanking new streamer outfit, and a leave pass to go chase some predators.

Your fly boxes are crammed full after hours watching videos while tying at the vise — heck, you probably know more about Brian Wise’s hands at this stage than his wife does.

Flies, lines, and water are all essential tools, but it's not going to work out if you can’t make those bugs swim.

When the Flymen crew asked me to work up another streamer piece for the blog I went back to my 2016 article, “Beyond Banging The Banks”. What we didn’t cover was how to make that fly swim when it hits the water. Consider this Chapter 2.

Trout Fly Fishing: 3 Bad Habits to Break

As a trout guide I like to think that there are no mistakes in fly fishing, rather there are learning opportunities — lots and lots of learning opportunities.

With each client I try to place an emphasis on proving yourself wrong, and by that I mean, take some rule/tactic/method and try to disprove it. After all, how many times have you done what was considered to be wrong and yet still caught a fish?

Habits on the other hand, are another story. Unlike mistakes, habits — especially a certain few — can be detrimental to catching trout. I'm going to address three of the worst habits I see on the water and how you can go about improving your habits to catch more trout.

11 Questions with Blane Chocklett

Blane Chocklett truly eats, breathes, and sleeps fly fishing.

For those of us who fly fish, Blane is living the dream. One of the fly fishing industry's most forward-thinking and innovative anglers, Blane pioneered the Game Changer style of fly design, co-developing the Articulated Fish-Spine with Flymen Fishing Co., and has been a major catalyst behind the rise of big game fly fishing in the last decade.

We recently had the chance to interview Blane on the banks of the French Broad River in Western North Carolina. This resulted in an insightful look at fly fishing, community, and life from a man who continues to impress us all with his creativity and willingness to push the limits of fly tying and fishing.

Popper Fly Fishing for Golden Dorado: 5 Tips for Catching the "River Tiger"

Without a doubt, golden dorado rank among the most exciting gamefish on the planet to catch on a fly rod. If it happens on the surface, not to mention with a popper, your adrenaline levels can raise to new all-time high levels! When fishing with a popper it is not...

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Fly Selection: How to Choose the Right Streamer Color for Any Fishing Situation

How Do You Decide Which Streamer Color to Fish With? Choosing the right color for your streamers based on the kind of water, depth, and brightness of the day is quite important in fly fishing. Like many casting or spinning anglers do with their lures, we must tie our fly patterns...

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Fly Fishing for Machaca: 5 Tips to Help You Catch This Piranha Relative

The Machaca Is One of the Baddest Freshwater Fish in Costa Rica, Hands Down. When I first started talking to my friends back in Florida about how awesome catching machaca on a fly was, most of them had no clue what I was talking about. So let me give you...

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How to Set up the Ultimate Fly Tying Den

Having a dedicated fly tying space is critical for taking your tying skills to the next level.

If you always have to set up and break down your fly tying area you are apt to tie less often. Setting up and breaking down will soon become an unpleasant chore. If there is any negativity associated with your tying sessions you will tie flies less often, guaranteed.

Fly Tying: Double Barrel Phelps Frog

Michael Phelps may have 23 gold medals, but the Phelps Frog is all about bronze... Bronzebacks that is! This leggy frog fly with serious swimming action is an absolute bass magnet. Learn to tie it today.  Fly Recipe Rear Hook Hook: Fusion Drop Shot, size #1 Body Filler: Chocklett's Game Changer Chenille Legs: Fish-Skull...

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Tricks of the Fly Tying Trade: 3 Everyday Objects to Boost Your Tying Productivity

As a Commercial Tyer, I Always Tie My Flies in Large Batches.

Efficiency is the name of the game here, and being that I produce over 50,000 flies per year, I've developed some methods to boost my fly output over time. Here are some simple tricks, some of which I've been using for well over a decade, that you can use to make your own fly tying quicker and easier.

Temperate Bass Flies: How to Diversify Your Fly Box

Over the last few years I've spent the majority of my fishing time chasing whites, hybrids, and the occasional striper around the Midwest.

While the Clouser Minnow is the staple fly for most temperate bass, sometimes you've got to shake things up a bit. The Clouser would be the equivalent of a Hare’s Ear nymph in the trout world; you can almost always get fish to eat it, but it may not be the most productive at that given time. Consider it like Sex Panther Cologne: “60% of the time it works every time." With that being said, I would never go on a white/hybrid bass fishing trip without a box of Clousers.

Fly tyers before us had to work hard to get the most out of their feathers and hair, but with new fly tying materials readily available in today's market we have the ability to alter the action and profile of the fly relatively easily.

Here are some things to consider to shake it up and get a more diversified bass fly box.

Two-Handed Fly Fishing For Bull Trout: Setup, Methods, Flies, Locations

As fly anglers, we find ourselves constantly pushing the limits of innovative techniques.

One such method, two-handed casting (better known as spey casting), has exploded in popularity in the last five years, though some would say ten years or so. For those who don’t know, spey casting is generally done to target anadromous fish with a much less-tiring casting stroke, capable of handling larger flies and sinking tips with relative ease.

Fly Fishing for Bluefish

Bluefish (love them or hate them) are a great saltwater species to target with a fly rod.

While they do not frequent as wide of a variety of habitats as striped bass do, they have their own eccentricities that make them unique. As an angler, playing upon these eccentricities is part of the strategy and fun.

Are You a 'One Trick Pony' Fly Angler? Here's Why You May Not Be Catching as Many Fish as You Could

Varying your technique and presentation to match the fishing conditions at hand is key to consistently catching fish.

The dictionary defines the phrase, “One trick pony” as “a person or thing with only one special feature, talent, or area of expertise."

I see fly anglers all the time who are one trick ponies — for example, only fishing with dry flies or dry and dropper rigs no matter what the stream conditions are. Even guys who nymph fish can get caught up in only euro nymphing or only indicator nymphing.

We've all been guilty, myself included, of sticking to a favorite technique or fly for too long when it’s not producing.

5 Proven Tips to Help You Tie More Flies

Fly tying season is upon us.

I don't know about you, but before I started tying flies full time I would get super excited at the beginning of fly tying season only to have my excitement fade into disappointment heading into spring when the fishing started to get going and I hadn't even tied 10% of the flies I planned on tying.

It doesn't have to be this way for you.

Designing Flies That Move Part 4: Throwing Loops To Jaws

While I’m always excited to catch any fish regardless of size, the level of excitement goes up exponentially when casting for predatory fish like musky and pike.

There is something seemingly primal about these fish — maybe it’s all their teeth in that crooked grin. There are a couple of puzzles to figure out when designing and tying big flies for big fish.

To get bigger fish interested in your flies, they have to be of sizable equity to the fish. In other words, you throw a big fly to a big fish because they need a bigger meal to sustain their weight. Smaller patterns will more often than not get the results that a larger fly will, especially in waters known to house bigger fish.

Big flies can often be mistaken for a lot of materials stacked onto a hook. The more materials you tie on a hook, the heavier it will be. With some musky flies being a foot long, you don’t want your arm to fall off halfway through a fishing trip. 

Back Bay short film

Protecting Your Home Waters Starts With You.

A Flymen short film featuring Lefty Kreh and Walt Cary chronicling the rise and fall of a legendary fishery in Coastal Virginia.

Share the Film With Your Fishing Buddies!

If you want to share this trailer with your friends on Facebook, use the Facebook video link.

Designing Flies That Move Part 3: The Usual Suspects

There Are a Few Categories of Flies You Should Have in Your Fly Box at All Times.

If you're going to lace up your wading boots and go fly fishing (especially in cold weather) you should have these types of flies in your fly box: a sculpin imitation, a baitfish pattern, a wide-bodied fly, and a wild-card pattern. The four flies in this part cover these categories.

Herbert Hoover once wrote, “Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” The thing to take away from that quote is our forefathers did not have Articulated Shanks, Chocklett's Body Tubing, or Sculpin Helmets to tie with. So many great materials are available now to tie virtually any kind of fly pattern you can imagine.

When tying these flies, I chose materials that move and breathe well in the water (if you've never tied with black bear, it is a wonderful material and moves great in the water). Examine the water you'll be fishing for the native baitfish and tie these patterns in according colors.

Back Bay Film Trailer

Coming Soon: A Flymen Short Film Featuring Lefty Kreh and Walt Cary.

Back Bay recounts the tragic loss of a legendary fishery in Virginia and its stunning comeback. The short film will premiere January 13, 2018 at an official showing at the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival (VFFWF) and will be released online.

To learn more about how to attend the Festival After-Party for the official viewing, visit the VFFWF After-Party page.

Share the Film Trailer With Your Fishing Buddies!

If you want to share this trailer with your friends on Facebook, use the Facebook video link.

Fly Design and Material Selection

One of the Most Fun Parts of Fly Fishing Is Designing and Tying Flies.

As a fly tying instructor, I often have clients who have designed and tied a new pattern, but there is some flaw in the design (e.g. the wrong hook, articulated when it is not needed, too big, or too small) or material selection.

These are integral parts of fly design. The large cunning fish you'll be targeting know how their food choices move and will shy away from flies that do not move naturally.

Designing Flies That Move Part 2: Creature Feature.

The basic principle of fly tying is to come up with a fly that imitates a fish’s choice food.

This gets a bit trickier, in my opinion, when you are imitating creatures other than insects.

A mayfly’s movement will change depending on what part of its lifecycle is occurring or if wind or weather is a factor in the hatch, whereas a creature like a frog, on the other hand, will desperately move all kinds of different ways when a hungry largemouth is chasing it. 

Designing Flies That Move Part 1: Pure Attraction.

Flies that do the shimmy are all the rage right now.

A lot of this is due to all the new materials and hardware now available for fly tyers. Ranges of articulated shank systems and heaps of new synthetic materials that easily shed water are changing the way we tie flies.

Articulation used to be a term for wire and beads joining two hooks in order to do the S-curve movement in the water.

Modern innovations in fly tying materials give you the ability to step beyond purely mimicking the appearance of a prey item – you can mimic its movements as well.

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