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Flymen Blog

Fly Tying Video: The Deer Hair Hot Spot Caddis

This nymph is a great little Caddis Pupa – with some added flair. 

Hot spots on nymphs are a great way to not only get the attention of the fish, but in certain fishing circumstances they can help you track the fly easier by sight. Most hot spots are made with dubbing that is a different color than the body of the fly, but this fly sets itself apart by using brightly colored deer hair tied on top of the hook as the hot spot.

This technique helps the fly stay upright in the water while the fly gets deep in the water column from the weight of the Nymph-Head Evolution tungsten beadhead.

Recipe

Matching the Hatch with Tadpole and Frog Flies: Fly Fishing and Tying Tips

Ultimate Frog Popper tied with a Surface Seducer Double Barrel popper & slider body, Dragon Eyes, and a size 1/0 Kona Big Game Carnivore hook.

It is first light. You are sitting quietly and motionless in an aluminum canoe in the middle of a 10-acre pond full of lily pads trying not to make a sound.

You have spent the last 30 minutes of darkness listening to the insects and frogs begin to quiet down as the sun begins to rise. Thick fog permeates the still air and the water is still as glass.

Every 15 seconds you can hear a bass blow up on an unsuspecting victim. It is summertime now and frogs and tadpoles are one of the most readily available food sources in the lake... Too bad all you have in your box are Clousers, chenille worms, and crawdads. OOPS!

Topwater Finesse Fly Fishing for Bass

bass fly fishing surface seducer double barrel popper

Bass like to party, which is what makes them the most chased game fish in the United States.

Aggressive eats, jumps, and willingness to eat on the surface make bass a fun fish to chase, especially on the fly. Personally, I think the topwater takes are where it’s at in bass fly fishing. Part of the fun is getting the fish to eat what you want it to eat.

If you’re set on getting bass to eat on the surface and it’s not working, before you give up and switch over to fishing a streamer, try dialing it back first. That’s where the topwater finesse comes into play.

3 Tips to Catch More Smallmouth on the Fly

As I pull back on the oars my eyes settle on a small current break with nice holding water and some overhead cover.

It’s a solid spot that has produced many times throughout my years as a fly fishing guide.

I relay the information to my clients, and what happens next is...

A) The client lands the fly an inch off the shore, lets it sit for a couple seconds, strips, pauses, and the smallmouth eats the fly.

B) The fly lands 3 feet off the shore, well short of the current break, and the client fishes the fly back to cast again.

C) The client false casts so many times that the fly is never given a chance to catch a fish, even with me frantically pulling on the oars trying to hold the spot.

D) The fly lands in the spot but is quickly stripped well out of position, the fish chases and turns off.

E) The fly lands an inch off the shore, the client lets it sit for a couple seconds, strips, pauses, but no one is home and hungry today.

The following 3 tips will help make option A more likely of a situation for you on your next smallmouth fishing trip.

3 Simple Tactics for Fly Fishing Pocket Water

Pocket Water Can Be Some of the Most Exhilarating Waters to Fish

What makes a pocket water fishery are the boulders that block the general flow of the river, forming hydro-breaks where fish lie in wait in the darkness, ready to dart at a moment's notice for food.

As a trout guide, I can’t see myself guiding or fishing anywhere else during the peak season but on my home river in the Adirondacks, the West Branch of the Ausable. Here are some tactics I've picked up from guiding and fishing these waters that may help you next time you're on the water.

Fly Fishing for Big Pike in the Mountains of Northern Sweden

3 years ago, we visited a remote mountain location in Northern Sweden for the first time to target pike on the fly.

The plan was to make a really cool pike film with meter-long fish slamming mice and lemming patterns on the surface. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen because the water was already too warm by that time and most of the fish had moved out of the shallow coves.

So, fast forward and we decided to try again later on during the first week of the open season. During spring I had developed a pattern based on the new Surface Seducer Howitzer baitfish popper heads that was more of a subsurface pattern with 2 hooks, a Fish-Skull Articulated Shank, and a big Dragon Tail at the end. I wanted a pattern that would work well both when fished roly poly as well as with strong pulls.

The helicopter brought us out the Tjuonajokk fishing camp, located way above the Arctic Circle.

The plan this time was to drive with the river boats through the rapids upstream to a big cove were the pike had spawned a few weeks before and were still hanging around waiting for whitefish and grayling to come in and feed in these shallow areas.

We took turns poling the boat forward and with only one of us fishing at a time so our cameraman could catch every single take in slow motion. How did it turn out? See for yourself.

Small Stream Fly Fishing Tactics

Fly fishing small streams for wild trout is without question my favorite piscatorial endeavor.

Aside from the lack of crowds, the gorgeous surroundings, and the all-too-eager trout, small streams offer endless learning opportunities. The lessons garnered from creeks, streams, and brooks can be applied to all aspects of trout fishing.

The following are a few of the tactics I have learned from my experience on smaller waters that I fish frequently both on my own and when guiding clients as well.

Winter Pike Fly Fishing: Keys to Cold Water Success

This can be a frustrating and difficult time of year to fish for esox — wind, cold, wet, and a lot less activity than the good months we had after the feed in autumn.

With a few adjustments and a lot of tenacity we can still have some fishing success, and it’s usually at this time that big trophy fish can show up.

You have to be an extremely versatile angler at this time; fish can be deep to find a thermocline that suits them, and in other instances a bright winter sun can bring fish in the shallows for a few hours to warm up. Now more than ever you need to keep an eye on the local meteorological conditions and adapt.

Here are a few pointers to help you in your winter quest.

Fly Fishing Tips: Adapting Streamer Designs for Warm Water

As streamer fly fishing has risen in popularity, streamer designs have taken off like never before.

If you haven't noticed, there are a lot of designs out there. One thing I've noticed about the plethora of new streamer patterns is that many of them (other than a few highly specialized designs) are designed basically around one thing: catching trout in fast-moving water.

So when I grabbed a handful of cleverly crafted baitfish patterns and headed out to my local warm-water bass lake, I found them highly lacking in some important qualities. They didn’t catch very many fish. I quickly realized that something designed for moving water didn’t automatically fit the bill when things became more static.

My answer was to just develop my own streamer patterns and fish away, but if you don't tie your own or have countless hours to experiment and design your own stuff, I realized that the already established cold-water patterns can be just as effective for warm-water species — they just need some adjustment in rigging and common sense when it comes to fishing techniques.

Here are some tricks I’ve used to adapt some commercial fly patterns to be as effective on your local warm-water lake as they are in the famous rivers they were intended for.

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.

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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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.

Make some noise! How to tie loud flies for esox fishing.

The Esox family has evolved over thousands of years to give us a top predator to chase on the fly.

These beasts' senses are tuned to the max.

One sense that is important for pikes/muskies is the lateral line, a system of tactile sense organs located in the head and along both sides of the body, used to detect movement and vibration in the surrounding water.

They use their lateral line in conjunction with their sight to give them a more accurate picture of what’s going on – how far away their prey is, how fast it's moving, and its size.

The lateral line is often forgotten by the fly angler. We tie pretty flies, but most of them have a very small footprint in the water. I'm not saying these don’t work, but why not maximize your chances of attracting more fish or perhaps bigger fish?

So how can you make a loud fly? 

3 things you must know to chase carp on the fly.

Carp have been rising up on the list of desired freshwater fish to experience on the fly.

Some will even go so far as to compare this freshwater monster to the notorious bonefish, earning the carp the nickname of the golden bone.

Many factors will greatly determine your success rate when fly fishing for carp. To name a few: location, mood, posture of the fish, and time of year.

If you've been wanting to try your hand at chasing these golden ghosts of the shallows, here are 3 tips you must know to get in the action with these easily spooked creatures.

How To Fly Fish For Smallmouth Bass In Winter

winter smallmouth bass fly fishing

During these frigid winter months I often find myself thinking about something dear to me – smallmouth fishing.

If you're like me, you miss the warm sun on your back and the bend of a 8wt rod with a bronzeback on the other end.

It doesn't have to be over for us. There is still bass fishing around.

Granted, the cold and brutal conditions of winter do not make it easy to put in the time it takes to locate and fish for these guys. I have found myself questioning my own sanity many times over. It’s a part of being a die-hard fly angler.

With that being said, here are some tactics that I have found helpful for cold-weather smallmouth fishing.

How to tackle big water fly fishing

Something about pulling a fish out of a big body of water makes you feel heroic.

Walking up to a big body of water, so big that your cast doesn’t even cover a fraction of the water, can be daunting and even downright discouraging.

You almost feel nervous to make your first cast. Where do I start? How do I tackle this water without a boat?

But when everything comes together and you hook into that fish, you feel like you won the lottery!

Here are a few things to help make swinging your fly rod feel a little more like fishing and a little less like… flailing.

Bluegill: Fly fishing's little magic bullet.

Bluegill fly fishing

How do we get new fly anglers introduced to the sport of fly fishing?

We hear this question over and over again.

The answer might be sitting in front of us and we don’t even see it. This magic bullet is also a hell of a lot of fun for the seasoned angler as well.

What is it, you ask?

It is Lepomis macrochirus, more commonly called a bluegill.

No matter where you live, there are probably some of these little gems swimming in a pond or lake near you.

Let’s face it, trout fishing can be hard and often a barrier to getting new fly anglers off to a good start.

There's nothing better than the humble bluegill to ensure a new fly angler has a great experience and gets put on the path to success.

Swing it! Spey streamer fly fishing tips.

Reddington fly rod stream

Everyone has their own style of fishing whether it be with a spinning rod or a fly rod.

Those of us who choose to pick up a fly rod also have our little own niches in which we choose to stick with.

Unfortunately, we tend to put our streamer boxes aside during this time of year and stick to more traditional approaches.

Yes, it’s exhilarating to watch that giant brown trout come to the surface and take your size 18 dry fly as you fish a tail out of a pool or a nice steady run, but what is more heart pumping than watching that same giant fish chase your 4” to 8” streamer from bank to bank and demolish your fly on the strip or the end of your swing?

Summer pike fly fishing tactics.

Gunnar Brammer fly design

Catching a pickerel, pike, or musky on a fly rod is an intense experience that translates into obsession very quickly.

There are only a handful of fish that I can say I’m obsessed with targeting on a fly rod.

Trout are at the top of my list, but any of the fish within the esocidae, or esox, family come in at a close second.

Spring and fall are the typical seasons when big pike are most vulnerable to a fly angler, but I can’t help but target them all year long, summer being no exception.

These tips will help you dial in summer pike within your local system.

Fly fishing: Smallmouth spawning psychology.

Water temperature will tell you a great deal about where smallmouth bass are and what they're up to.

The first thing to do when you get on water you haven’t fished all winter, or even in the last week, is finding the right water to fish.

As conditions underwater change, fish swim to find a comfy spot that suits their needs.

Learning to read water and pay attention to the finer details will enable you to identify holding spots quickly and increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time.

A quick breakdown looks like this:

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Fly fishing for predators: 3 ways to entice an aggressive eat.

Fly fishing Sculpin Helmet

Your fly is the most critical part of your setup.

It doesn’t matter if you’re throwing it on your new $500 rod, or fish scale print reel, or in the newest wading shoes.

If your fly doesn’t fish, the fish won’t eat it.

That being said, a fly is only as good as its presentation. Your fly might be the best-looking, most lifelike imitation ever tied. It might perfectly match the hatch, down to the exact shade and color; however, it's only as good as the angler throwing it.

My aim is to give you some perspective on how I fish a streamer and why, hopefully increasing the effectiveness of the flies already in your box.

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