Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Leaders and Tippet

This topic is the one topic in fly fishing that creates the most confusion for fly fishers. We’re going to break down some of the terminology of these two fly fishing items and discuss how to choose the right one for the circumstances you may be fishing.

There are a few different types of leaders in fly fishing. Folks use steel leaders, braided leaders, compound leaders, furled leaders and the most common, knotless leaders. We’re going to talk about the most common type: knotless leaders. These leaders are usually made out of one of two types of materials: nylon monofilament or fluorocarbon monofilament (polyvinylidene fluouride). Fluorocarbon is a denser material which will not float as well as monofilament. This is ideal when fishing small nymphs or midges subsurface. Monofilament is the most common type of knotless leader because most fly fishers tend to fish dry flies during hatches. Monofilament is about the same density as water and will float or ride on the surface film easily, especially if it is greased. Fluorocarbon is denser, stronger, and more clear than mono. This is why many fishers prefer it over mono. The only disadvantage is that fluorocarbon costs more than mono.

float

A knotless leader is made up of three sections; the butt section, the tapered section and the tip, also known as the tippet. The butt section of the leader is the thickest part of the leader and is the part of the leader that is attached to your fly line, and usually comprises of about 20% of the overall length. The tapered section is the longest section of the leader. This comprises of approximately 60% of the overall length and tapers to the tippet section. The tippet section also comprises about 20% of the overall length and is the part of the leader that dictates the leader’s “size”. Here’s an example of a tapered leader: a nine foot 5X leader will have a butt section of about 25 or 30 lb. test and taper down to a 5 lb. test. When constructing leaders most fishers will discuss leader formulas with diameter in mind not test strength.

Leader length is usually decided based on the conditions such as “spookiness” of the fish you are chasing; the spookier the fish, the longer the leader. For example: fishing popping bugs on a pond might require a 7 to 8 ft leader, while fishing a river for trout might require a 9 to 12 foot leader. Some waters that hold easily spooked fish may call for a leader 14 to 16 feet in length.

 

leader

Sizing is the most confusing part of leader and tippet selection. Leaders were made from cat-gut many years ago and in order for a person to decrease the size (diameter) of their leader one would “draw” their leader through a board of grommet holes. Every time you’d draw your leader it would decrease its size. So if you were to run your leader through your draw board it would be a size 1X leader, if you were to draw it again it would be a 2X leader, and so on. When leaders were made from nylon during the first half of the last century, the sizing stuck. Today when you buy a 7X leader it has a smaller diameter (and weight class/pound test) than a 3X leader.

Leader and tippet size is dictated by the size of fly you are casting. There is a general rule of thumb when figuring out what size you may need. Divide the size of your fly by the number three and this will give you the right leader/tippet size. For example: a size twelve prince nymph is what you’d like to cast. You’d want to use a 4X tippet/leader, but an 18 midge would require a 6X leader/tippet. You’d like to keep this as close as possible for the best presentation and casting of your fly.

flouro

Tippet spools are bought for two main reasons; to lengthen a leader and to change the tippet size at the end of the leader. When fishing over the period of a day one may find that after changing flies several times that their leader had shortened. Let’s say a nine foot leader is now only six feet long. This would be about the time you’d change your leader for a longer one. Having several different sized spools of tippet you could easily just cut a 3 foot section of tippet from the spool and tie it to the end of your 6 foot leader. The overall length of your leader now would be about 9 feet. You’d be back in business efficiently and with minimal costs (changing leaders every time would cost you quite a bit more). Let’s say you’re fishing with size 14 flies most of your day and are using a size 5X leader, you decide you’d like to go smaller, maybe down to a size 18 fly. Rather than change your leader you could cut a length of 6X tippet and tie it to the end of your 5X leader. The taper will continue downward and you won’t have to tie on a new leader, again, this is more cost effective and efficient (efficiency is everything in fly fishing).

Hope this helps. If it doesn’t, stop in the fly shop and we’ll help you out one on one.

 

William Walter

White River Fly Shop/Bass Pro Nashville

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Memorial Day is fast approaching!

For the last several years I have wanted to purchase a smoker and try my hand with this method of cooking.  I never did because I was too aprehensive - was it difficult to operate? Did it take a lot of prep work? What seasonings should I use? A week before this last Christmas, I made a comment (and not with the intention of this being a hint for a gift) about this while in the grocery store shopping with my wife.  Unbeknownst to me, she made a phone call and with the assistance of several of my co-workers at Bass Pro Shops, she was educated on the many different types of smokers we carried, made a purchase of one and with the help of our three children, presented me with a new Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smoker complete with digital keypad (price $239.99) on Christmas Day.

Smoker

For the next several weeks, they continually asked me when I was going to use the smoker and what I planned on cooking.  I decided that even if I wasn't going to use it at the time, I would take some time and put it together.  Bad planning on my part - it took longer to remove the smoker from the box and take the components out of their wrapping, than it did to put it together.  The only tool needed was a Phillips-head screwdriver (for two screws) and within 10 minutes my smoker was assembled.  I read the owner's manual and learned that for best results I needed to "season" the smoker before first using it.  I bought a small bag of mesquite wood chips from Bass Pro Shops (price $4.99) and began the simple "seasoning" process - I plugged the smoker into an electrical outlet outside my garage, set the temperature (275 degrees) and time (3 hours) using the digital controller and went about completing some other tasks.  I added a small amount of chips at the specified time and after three hours, the process was complete.

For my first attempt at using the smoker, I decided to try something that I thought would be easy and inexpensive - chicken.  I bought two whole chickens from the grocery (price $11) and applied some dry-rub seasoning (purchased from the wide selection available at Bass Pro Shops - price $6.99) to them.  I completed a few other preparation steps - added wood chips, filled pan with water, lined the bottom pan with aluminum foil and set the temperature and time.  Three and a half hours later, I removed the chickens from the smoker, let them cool for 20 minutes and ate dinner - everyone raving about the taste and tenderness of the food.  The meat, literally, fell off the bone.

Prepping and cooking the food was easy.  Now came the hard part - the clean up.  Or so I thought. 

I removed and cleaned the racks, emptied and cleaned the water pan, removed the aluminum foil from the bottom pan, wiped it clean and wiped down the door seal.  I hand-dried all of the components, placed them back in the smoker and was done in just under 20 minutes.

The entire process was simple and easy.  The food tasted great and everyone gave suggestions on what to fix next. 

Thanks to all of my co-workers for their time, suggestions, guidance and advice.  All of it resulted in a great meal and turned a "smoking" novice into someone eager to use this cooking method again.

If you are interested and intrigued in this cooking method, don't wait to get started.  All of us want to be the talk of the family, friends, neighborhood, etc. when it comes to cooking.  Everything you need for cooking outdoors is available at Bass Pro Shops.  We have a great selection of products, excellent prices and a knowledge staff.  Remember ... Memorial Day is fast approaching.

 

Kirk Pickel

Group Sales Manager

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

 

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Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Beginner Fly Tying

 

Winter is usually the time of year most fly fishers sit inside, tie flies, and dream about the approaching fishing season. Fly tying can be a daunting hobby for a beginner, especially if you have no idea what kind of tools and materials you may need. This month’s blog is going to go over some of the basics of fly tying.

vise

There are three basic tools that you need to tie flies: scissors, bobbins, and a vise (buy for quality when it comes to these three tools). There are many other tools that you may want to purchase; whip finish tool, bodkin, and hackle pliers, and there are many options of quality with these tools.

bobbin

Tying materials like feathers, fur and flashing also come in different “Grades”. Most craft stores carry similar materials but they are usually not strong enough for fly tying. You should really stick to fly shops for the best feathers and fur for tying flies.

pliers

DVD’s can help and are much easier to understand than books. You can watch someone tie the actual fly and freeze frame, or go back and watch again anything you may not understand the first time. Books are really great for experienced tiers. I personally have a large collection of fly tying books that I have collected over the years – primarily for the patterns (recipes).

scissors

Classes are the best way to get started tying flies. Classes can offer one on one experience with an established tier. Many times we may think we “know” something or how to “do” something but not until we are actually confronted with the task do we realize that we may be out of our depth. I have taught hundreds of tying classes and have seen students exchange ideas or help one another in ways that even a teacher may not be able to. Classes give you an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback on any ideas you may have. Information on Nashville Bass Pro Shops tying classes can be found on the website.

 

Here are a few tips:

  1. When you tie a pattern – tie a dozen flies of that pattern. Many times people will believe they have “mastered” a fly after tying two, three or even one fly.  If you tie a dozen of that fly you will have perfected the techniques to tie that fly and will, in the long run, not forget how to tie that specific fly.
  2. Find the most comfortable chair and desk or table for you to tie. This may encourage you to tie more rather than less.
  3. A table top magnifying glass may not be a necessity for some, but it may be for others.
  4. Learn everything you can about the materials you are using. How are threads sized? Why are some dubbings easier to spin? Why this hook over that one? These questions can be learned from books but are always better understood through experience.
  5. A well lit tying station is a must.

 

William Walter

White River Fly Shop Nashville

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Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Winter Fly Fishing

Some people are crazy enough to fish through the winter – I am definitely one of them. The winter, with the wind and cold it brings, can still offer some great fishing opportunities. Getting to your favorite spot may be much easier in the winter with the decline in people actually fishing as well as boating, canoeing or kayaking. But, you should also keep in mind that the number of daylight hours will have diminished since summer.

Planning is everything. Go by the Boy Scouts motto, “Be Prepared.” Dress in layers. It is easier to take off a layer that you may not need than to mysteriously knit a layer out of thin air. Your first layer should be one that will wick moisture away from your skin. Many thermal type shirts and underwear are specifically designed to wick away moisture. The second layer is the insulation that will keep heat in and colder air out. The third layer should be the one that will keep you dry from rain and windproof like most GORE-TEX® wading jackets.

jacket

 

Gloves, for me, are a must. I prefer the cut-off wool type but many options are now available for fishers. There are neoprene gloves with or without fingers, gloves with fleece linings and those with flip mitts. Some folks swear by one type over another but ultimately the best thing to be aware of is to keep your hands out of the frigid water and wind as much as possible.

gloves

One way to ensure your hands will stay out of the freezing water is to use a net when landing fish. Many people who fly fish choose to not use a net, especially during the summer. But, using a net in the winter will help keep your hands out of the water and may actual help releasing fish more efficiently as a person can fumble fish with frozen hands. 

net

 

Hand warmers are a luxury for some and a necessity for others. I like using them in the pockets of my jacket. I then can place a cold hand in the pocket – warming it up for a bit. They make warmers for feet, hands and body. These can help warm you up just enough to make a blustery day bearable.

warmers

These are a few items to keep in mind when fishing during the winter months. The main thing is to keep yourself dry as possible and be prepared  (even on days when it looks as though the sun will be high in the sky – we all know how fast the weather can change).

Keep an eye on the Nashville Bass Pro Shops website for upcoming fly fishing and fly tying classes coming in January 2013.

 

William Walter

White River Fly Shop - Nashville, TN

 

 

 

 

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Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Packing it in for the Year: Gear Storage    

Some folks pack their gear away at the end of autumn and get ready for winter. This article talks about some things you should be thinking about if you’re going to pack it in for the year.

The first thing to think about is storage of gear (especially line and reels). Most folks set their gear in a closet and forget about it only to discover in the spring that their line has mildew and the drag on their reel doesn’t seem to work as well. Fly lines should be cleaned before storage and more importantly, completely dried. Most manufacturers will suggest cleaning line with a small amount of mild soap and water. Some suggest using cleaners that they provide. The main thing to think about is the dryness of the line before storage. I run my line through a damp sponge two or three times to remove any dirt. Then I hang the line for a couple days in safe space. Winter is usually very dry and lines will dry fast in an arid climate. Once I am sure the line is completely dry I rewind it on a reel and store it. If you leave your damp line in a bag or box there is a chance that the line may develop mildew. Mildew can ‘break down’ the line’s buoyancy. You may find that the line will not float as well the next time you fish in the spring. Most lines today do not need line dressing but dressings are still available if you believe you need one.

Fly reels should have drag knobs adjusted to the lowest setting –meaning turn the drag off. If you leave a drag knob “on” you may find the reel has developed a weaker drag over a period of time. Cleaning and greasing any parts needed before storage is desirable.

Rods are simple to store: a good wipe down with mild soap and water and maybe a whack with a vinyl cleaner like Star-Brite. The main thing is to verify that the cork is dry and that no corrosion is taking place on or around the guides.

If you plan on fishing through the winter like some of us crazy fishers do, then look out for next month’s blog when we discuss aspects of winter fly fishing.

William Walter

White River Fly Shop Nashville

 

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Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Dressed for Success throughout the Year

          What to wear….what to wear? This question runs across your mind the night before fishing and like a mosquito buzzes around the inside of your worrisome head. One of the most common comments I hear from people concerning their fly fishing is the fact they feel uncomfortable, underprepared or, sometimes, overdressed.

          Most folks fish days when the sun is high in the sky and the temperature is between 70 and 90 degrees. During those trips most of us have a favorite angler’s shirt and waders or may even wet wade in a pair of shorts. But what about the days it rains? On those days a wader jacket or light rain jacket does a fine job. Lightning is really the only issue to really be concerned with. When lightning is a problem you really need to get out of the water and stop waving the long lightning rod we call a fly rod. Take shelter or just call it a day (this will ensure you another opportunity to fish again). If the temp drops a little during some light rain a wading jacket will help keep the chill off.

          During most of the summer the issue is the sun. We need to keep from burning and using sunscreen can definitely help. A couple other items to think about are “buffs” and sun gloves. These will protect your face and hands from sunburn and most times will do a better job than sunscreen. Another item to think about is insect repellent. This one small item can change a day of horror, pure horror, into a wonderful day of fly fishing. “Got your bug dope?” my father used to ask.

          When the summer passes and the autumn leaves fall we usually dress a little warmer. I like to wear synthetic materials that can wick away moisture and sweat. Wearing earthen colors or maybe a little bit of camouflage can’t hurt. I watch many anglers spook fish in various ways and one particular way is wearing bright colored hats and moving over the fish erratically. Bright colors reflect more light and act like a beacon. Find a hat a bit dark or camouflage that may blend in with your surroundings. Most waters this time of the year tend to be very clear and make fish more “spooky”.

          If you are like me you don’t let the cold of winter stop you from fishing. I fish more in the winter. I find less people on the river and I like the cold. The days are much shorter so your fishing may be short compared to the long days of summer. Again, I wear materials that wick away moisture and in layers. I use rag wool gloves as they can still keep your hands warm even when wet and dry quickly if needed. I use a net all throughout the winter. The less your hands are in the water the warmer they will be. Hats that cover your ears and hand warmers can help. I put hand warmers in my gloves but also in the pockets of my wading jacket. These keep my finger tips warm for short spells.

          Dressing for outdoor activities like fly fishing usually requires us to think about temperature, weather, and ultimately, comfort. The more comfortable we are, the better our days on the water can be.

William Walter

White River  Fly Shop Nashville

White River

 

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Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-up: A Nashville fly fishing Blog

Rod Selection Part II

 Last month’s blog we talked about selecting a fly rod based on type of fishing. We also discussed rod length and weight class when choosing a rod. This month we will finish this topic and discuss rod “action” and quality of rods.

Fly rod “actions” are described as fast-action, medium- action, or slow-action. Ultimately these terms are describing the flex action of a rod. A fast-action rod will typically bend only up near the tip top of the rod making for an overall stiffer feel. A slower action rod will generally flex through most of the rod right down to the handle making for a very flexible or slower feeling rod. And, of course, the medium action or mid flex rods will normally feel as they bend or flex mid way through the rod shaft. A fast action rod, feeling much stiffer than others is a tool used for fishing fast and hard especially on windy days. This does not mean by any means that a fast action rod is better than the other two types.

I explain to folks that fly rods are a lot like cars. Slower rods can be found more often in the less expensive style fly rods and tend to be the rod a novice tends to afford in the beginning. Reminds me of my first car – a pre-owned rust bucket, it wasn’t expensive and was a bit sloppy looking, but it got me around. On the other hand a fast action rod many times can be some of the most expensive rods out there. Like a fast sports car, expensive and really nice to look at, and a joy to use in specific situations. Sports cars are wonderful on a beautiful sunny day just as a fast-action fly rod would make a wonderful choice on a drift boat floating a windy river. The problem with a sports car is that you really wouldn’t want to drive it in a blizzard.

Keeping this in mind, fast action rods are really not the work horse of fly fishing and in most cases what we’d like is a “Pick-up truck” - something a bit more functional than a “sports car”. If you want to fly fish at any given time and not only when a hatch is on, then you will most likely be fishing nymphs and streamers –subsurface flies. These types of flies fish a bit better with a rod that provides a little more flex. This allows for the fish to pull a subsurface fly without “popping” it from their mouth. Faster and stiffer rods have a tendency to do this while slower rods offer a bit to the fish like a shock absorber –absorbing the take of the fish. Real stiff or taught lines tend to spring flies from fishes mouths (this is why a proper drift is so important). A stiff rod can do the same.

Some folks talk about this in a slightly different manner. They call this “Tippet protection,” which is the ability of a rod to flex enough so that the tippet will not break immediately upon the strike of a fish. Again, a stiffer rod has less “tippet protection” and because of its stiffness can allow for the breaking of the tippet quickly upon a strike.

Before anyone fillets me for overgeneralization I would like to suggest that there are some wonderful high quality slow action rods and low quality faster action rods out there, so keep that in mind as well.

Most of us graduate with our technical expertise to different types of rods for different techniques. No rod will cast for you nor make you a better caster because of its quality. Fly casting is only one step in fly fishing and a rod is not only designed for casting. Elements include: mending efficiency, line pick-up, and tip sensitivity (as well as others). It is not just a tool to deliver line to the water and the “fishing” aspect of a rod should be considered as well.

William Walter

White River Fly Shop/Nashville, TN

 

 

 

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“Tech”ing Advantage of Waterproof Membranes

 

There is nothing that could ruin a hunt and end it more abruptly than being out in the elements and coming unprepared for whatever weather may be approaching. I know, I know, a little rain never hurt anybody; I understand that, however, a lot of rain in near freezing temperatures has and will if you are not properly equipped with insulated clothing lined with a waterproof membrane.

A waterproof membrane (such as Gore-Tex or BoneDry) consists of a waterproof fabric with billions of microscopic pores that are thousands of times smaller than a water droplet but hundreds of times larger than a water vapor molecule. This means that moisture created from perspiration will be able to escape but rain water will not be able to enter the clothing. These liners are also windproof which is a huge factor in keeping you warm in the colder months because we all know what a cold sharp wind feels like when it cuts through that 10 year old hunting coat you bought at the supercenter on the way to deer camp.

The Red Head C.W.S. Parka and Bibs are just examples of the vast selection of insulated waterproof clothing we have here in the store. C.W.S. stands for Cold Weather System meaning that this parka is more than just a standard hunting coat. The inside liner zips out and can be worn earlier in the season when the weather is not so frigid. For early to late bow season, the inside liner also zips down to a full camo vest for complete mobility and minimal insulation. The outer shell can be worn anytime from early deer season to the end of turkey season the following year as a completely BoneDry waterproof outer layer. When worn as a full system, the C.W.S. Parka and Bibs will keep you BoneDry and toasty warm through the coldest of the winter months.

Don’t let that surprise rainstorm or the icy conditions prematurely kick you out of the woods any longer. Come by Bass Pro Shops in Nashville, Tennessee and see our knowledgeable Hunting Clothing associates to find which system of clothing suits you best.

Ray Engels

Bass Pro Shops

Nashville, Tennessee

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Flingin' Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Rod Selection Part I

Selecting a fly rod can be an exciting but sometimes off-putting task for many beginner or intermediate fly fishers. We’re going to discuss some of the terminology used by some fly fishers and clarify the meaning behind the tech jargon we hear so often when discussing fly rods. Most importantly, we’re going to give you a few things to think about when you set out to purchase a new rod. 

The first thing to think about when purchasing a fly rod is to decide specifically what type of fly fishing you plan on doing. Rods are made for different types of fish, conditions, and flies. You will see heavy 10 weight rods for saltwater, lighter 5 weight rods for trout streams, 8 weight rods for bass fishing on lakes and tiny 3 weights for little brook fishing, and everything in between. Find your weight class and then decide on length of rod – which is mostly dictated by distance needed for casting, and equally important, mending efficiency. A longer rod can cast line further than a shorter one. When fly fishing a small creek we may not seem to think long casts are a necessity and choosing a shorter rod may be better suited for tighter conditions (as many small creeks tend to be in dense wooded areas). Casting on a wide river or lake one may desire a longer cast and choose a longer rod. Not only will this help with casting distance it will also make for more efficient casting coverage of water – meaning  - one would not have to move around the water to reach further fishing areas, instead, we could cast shorter distances followed by longer distances and cover a greater area of water.

This is also true for line mending. A longer rod may mend line a bit easier with more efficiency than a short one. Mending of line is the movement of the line we create after the cast has been delivered and comes to rest on the body of water. This aspect of fly fishing tends to be shadowed by the enormity of discussion about casting. Casting is important, but a river can destroy a beautiful cast if the angler does not mend the line properly. On the other hand – a poor cast can be fixed by a proper mend. This is not to say casting is not important but that mending is equally important.

This is a reasonable amount of information to use when a beginner is choosing a rod, but an intermediate fly fisher may narrow down their rod choice a little further. Recently a very experienced fly fisher wanted a trout rod exclusively for streamer fishing. She planned on using this rod for larger rivers, larger trout and larger flies. She chose a 9 foot 7 weight St. Croix® Bank Robber Fly Rod and loves it. Fishing for trout is a generalized statement- what kind of water, what types of flies will narrow down your choice of fly rod. You may choose a longer 4 weight Temple Fork Outfitters™ Lefty Kreh Finesse Fly Fishing Rod for tiny midge fishing or a small White River Fly Shop® Classic Ultralight Fly Rod for trout in higher elevation mountain – these are all trout rods but very different from each other. The more experience you develop fishing the more you will understand exactly why one would choose a specific length, weight and action (more on action next month).

Here are a couple of small items also to think about when first looking at fly rods. First - does it come with a rod tube (a hard case)? And second - What kind of warranty is attached to the rod? Both of these items may add cost to the overall price of the rod. A rod without a rod tube may be a great fly rod regardless, but purchasing a tube in addition adds to the final cost. Warranties can be a confusing aspect when thinking about fly rods, but the main thing to think about is whether or not the rod has some kind of warranty and most importantly – understanding what the warranty covers.

More on rod selection next blog…

 

William Walter

WR Fly Shop Nashville

Fly Class

 

 

 

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Learn to Grow 'em Big & Hunt 'em Smart.

August 9-11, 2012

Gaylord Opryland – Nashville, TN

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from the professionals on how to “Grow ‘em Big and Hunt ‘em Smart”! The Bass Pro Shops Land and Wildlife Expo presented by Ram Trucks will be at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tn on August 9-11. Land and Wildlife has partnered with many conservation groups such as; USDA, NWTF, QDMA, RMEF, DU, SCI Foundation, and NADC. While at the expo do not forget to visit the John Deere Outdoor Village, a 105 acre educational experience. More information can be found at Landandwildlifeexpo.com. Below are some of the celebrities that will be making an appearance at the Bass Pro Shops booth. LW

This is an expo you will not want to miss. Reserve your tickets today at Landandwildlifeexpo.com. 

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“Tech”ing Advantage of Carbon Alloy Clothing

A deer’s ability to smell is approximately 100 times greater than the ability than that of a human. This means that when you are in the woods and not using the proper techniques to disguise yourself, you will be easily detected. When the hunters of prior generations took to the woods, it wasn’t unusual to see them in a pair of blue jeans and a plaid button-up flannel shirt carrying a rifle or a recurve through the woods. In the past, it was not only acceptable to hunt in one’s every-day clothing it was common practice and was the standard for the times. The idea of “playing the wind” to disguise one’s scent from an odor sensitive deer has been the common practice over the years and is still used to this day. Knowing the direction of the wind is still important; however, with today’s advances in technology and the invention of activated carbon clothing us as hunters have an increased ability to remain an undetected predator during the fall hunting season.

SLScent-Lok is the most well known manufacturer of this technology and now, with the newly introduced Scent-Lok Carbon Alloy clothing, which combines the activated carbon with zeolite and a treated carbon, a hunter has the ability to mask him or herself much more efficiently. According to Scent-Lok testing, with the addition of treated carbon for their fall 2012 line, 300% more of hydrogen sulfide (an easily detectable human odor) that a hunter produces will be absorbed and contained giving you that much more of an advantage.

Carbon Alloy is available in a variety of jackets and pants to suit any hunter’s needs. Pair these items with a Scent-Lok mask and base layer to complete the ultimate disguise and start putting those trophies on the wall and stop scaring them away because of that gust of wind that just happened to give you up. Come by Bass Pro Shops Nashville Hunting Clothing department for any and all of your hunting needs and begin to tell the stories of the “one you got” instead of the “one that got away”.

Ray Engels

Glen Gregory

Bass Pro Shops

Nashville, Tennessee

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Flingin' Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Fly Selection Part 2

In our last blog we talked about size and profile when selecting flies. This blog will finish the topic by discussing color and behavior of flies. Color is an aspect of fly selection that should be considered. Here are a couple of things to think about: Some trout waters are crystal clear while others can be brown or green tinted –the color of the water can skew the color of the fly. An olive bugger may look slightly darker in the tannic water in Upstate NY or a white midge may look a little greenish in a number of Tennessee’s rivers. When choosing paint for a room in a home you are told that the room’s light will affect the appearance of the color –it may slightly shift the tone or hue. The same can be said for fly colors. Looking at an insect on a well lit river and then choosing a dubbing color under fluorescents in a fly shop may steer you away from the color you set out to find. Flies seen from below can look a bit black in silhouette, so a floating dry may look grey in your hand but darker from underneath (from the fish’s point of view). We know fish can see the colors we see and then some –just remember that the color may shift under different conditions.

Bugger

I leave what I believe to be the most important aspect of a fly for last - behavior. This is an aspect of flies that some anglers have a hard time understanding –especially if they do not tie their own flies. When tying flies you are always conscientious of how the fly is suppose to present itself in the natural world whether it be floating on the surface or darting through a deep pool or simply dead drifting along a slow run. Many novice fly anglers have a hard time distinguishing between a dry fly and a wet one –this is something many experienced anglers can take for granted when talking to beginners. A wet fly literally will become submerged under water whereas a dry fly will float on the surface of the water –remaining dry. This may sound like an oversimplification to an experienced angler but for a beginner this can become quite a challenge when purchasing flies (you will slowly categorize mentally all the flies you use and remember them for the type of fly, insect imitation name, as well as fly name more easily).

Prince

The behavior of a fly is affected by not only its profile but also the materials it is tied with. Some characteristics to think about involve the weight of a fly – a weighted Hare’s Ear will behave a little different than a non-weighted one. A Woolly Bugger will dive a little further more rapidly with a "Cone Head" than without one. Some fly dubbing will repel water and help float a fly while others will absorb water and sink. There is a difference between soft webby hen hackles and stiffer rooster hackles. Tying flies helps you understand the nature of these materials, and more importantly, the behavior of the fly. You can have the right profile, size and color of a fly, but if you do not understand how the fly should behave in the water your presentation may be incorrect (and in any fishing - presentation is everything).

P'Tail

One simple solution for selecting proper flies is to get your hands on a specific fly assortment. Assortments are designed for specific fish (e.g.: Trout assortment) or specific pattern type (e.g.: Streamer assortment). These little kits will give you a variety of flies to start with –usually with some monetary savings. Selecting flies can be a little overwhelming for a beginner but remember, the more flies you fling the more you’ll learn and eventually you’ll have boxes of flies separated by specific rivers or types of flies like an old pro. Until then, just ask one of us bums to help you out.

William Walter

WR Fly Shop Nashville

 

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Land & Wildlife Expo

It’s time again for the Land & Wildlife Expo at Gaylord Opryland. The Land & Wildlife Expo is being held in conjunction with the QDMA 2012 National Convention. The date is set for August 9-11, 2012. The Expo this year has an amazing lineup, be sure to come meet Tom Miranda, R.J. and Jay Paul of Swamp People, Barry Wensel, Jerry Martin & Redhead Pro Staff, also Dr. Grant Woods of GrowingDeer.TV. The convention hall will be full of exhibitors to answer all of your conservation questions and help you produce the best harvest you’ve had off of your land. You can find out more information and reserve your tickets at www.landandwildlifeexpo.com.

 

 

 

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Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Fly Selection Part 1

Fly selection has always been one of the more difficult aspects of fly fishing. What size, color, or type of fly can be a worrisome component to your day on the river or lake. This and our next month’s blogs are going to discuss fly selection and try to clear up some of the confusion that comes with choosing flies.

The color of your fly is an often talked about aspect of fly selection. Many anglers, especially those new to the sport (let’s say fly fishing less than 5 years) tend to dwell on the subject more than any other characteristic of fly choice. When folks ask me how important it is that they get the exact color correct I usually steer them into thinking about some of the other facets of fly design in addition to color (e.g.: profile, size, and most importantly behavior).

When anglers talk about profile of a fly what they are really concerned with is the silhouette – is it a dry fly or a streamer? Is it a large nymph or a teeny midge? Understanding the feeding patterns of your query and conditions of the water you fish will help with this selection immensely. Casting a shad pattern will obviously be a better choice than a frog pattern or caddis dry if a shad kill appears on your water and the fish begin to gorge themselves on some local sushi. Many time anglers limit their fly selection simply because they use a fly previously that worked and they believe it must always work. If the conditions are similar this may hold true but when the conditions are different, as they are so many times, breaking away from that one fly you feel comfortable with is the way to start thinking.

Size of fly can be dreadfully controversial conversation among experienced anglers,so I will tread lightly here. When we talk about fly size, we are ultimately talking about the difference between selecting a fly that is a size 16 over a size 8. This example has great dissimilarity in size and is not meant to be translated into the difference between close sizes such as a 20 and a 22 -this is where the controversy begins. Some anglers are very particular about the size of their fly to the point where they will only use one specific size. This can get be a sticky argument considering that the fly size is based on gap size and gap size can vary between companies. There is a size standard and many of you may have seen fly hook gauges to distinguish between fly size. Some tiers will tie smaller flies on larger hooks – the fly may be sized 20 but tied on an 18 hook - so - is this fly really an 18 or a 20?

Fish do not use our scale of measuring fly sizes (at least I don’t believe they do) so getting hung up on using an 18 over a 20 can be a little dubious. Many times beginners cannot believe that any fish would waste their time pursuing something as small as a number 20 midge. I remind them that many of us eat French fries but rarely just one. The fish are no different. When a trout eats their French fry (a midge let’s say) it eats many. We don’t ignore one fry over another because it is an inch too short and neither do trout. Many times I’ve casted flies of different sizes of the same pattern with success. Many anglers do. This is not the same as matching a good dry hatch on a stream. At those times sizing a pattern can becomes rigid. The trout may only rise to a specific sized caddis pattern. This type of fishing “Matching the Hatch” is much different to “Fishing the Water” or “Prospecting” (more on this in a future blog). To recap the idea of size when it comes to fly selection – make sure you’re in the ball park trying to get as close to the size of insect you are trying to imitate.

We’ll continue this topic next month…

 

William Walter

WR Fly Shop Nashville

 

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Smoke - Vegetables are Calling

Smoke, that ethereal wisp that gets into your eyes from a campfire; The tang in the air that harkens back to simpler times; Smoke, a process of preserving food heralding back to ancient times. Smoked brisket, pork, sausage, fish and fowl all for our discerning palettes, and let us not forget the lowly smoked vegetable. Yes I said vegetable. If you, like I, love the taste of smoked foods you have to broaden your horizons to include more than just meat. Try this sometime when you are smoking next. 

barbeque smokers

Take half dozen green red and yellow peppers cored.

3 medium to large onions peeled

6-8 Roma Tomatoes and several jalapenos, chili, cayenne and other hot peppers

Lay out vegetables in smoker and smoke for about 2 hours or until the skin starts to peel.

Take smoked vegetables except the hot peppers and put into a blender and puree.

Sample puree to see how strong it tastes than ladle puree into small Ziploc bags and freeze.

You can use this puree as a base to a stock for soups.  Add to salsa dips and sauces for a new taste.

Throw some into a crock pot with a roast.  Use your imagination to flavor up all sorts of foods. 

Now I haven't forgotten about the peppers.  Take the peppers and put into a dehydrator on low for several hours until dry.  Take dried peppers and place in blender.  NOW THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT

Do not grind these peppers indoors.  I speak from experience.  You may also want to have eye protection and a breathing mask.  Latex gloves are also a good idea.  You are about to create not pepper spray but pepper dust.  Grind your smoked, dried peppers to a fine consistency.  Don't worry about the seeds they add zest.  Carefully pour the pepper dust into a baggie.  You know have your own smoky hot pepper rub or additive to your rub.  One other thing I should mention.  You might want to wash your blender pitcher out in the yard.  For some reason if you take it indoors and pour water into the pitcher, the water causes the pepper dust on the sides to float up into your face and house.  Just a word of caution. Check out our selection of Smokers and accessories at Bass Pro Shops Nashville in the Camping Dept.

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Keeping your Rifle Sighted

Ramp rats are the bane of any traveling sportsman. They are prone to throw; bags, gun cases and rod cases as if trying out for a new Olympic event. Now in particular, gun cases with scope mounted firearms inside seem to take the brunt of the punishment. From point A, home, to point B, hunting camp, and the firearm inside has been bashed, dropped, put into a low or non pressurized cargo hold and then bashed and dropped again. No wonder when you get to camp your rifle is way off when you sight in. Outside of the physical punishment, the lack of pressurization in the cargo hold has caused the gasses in the sealed environment of the scope to expand thereby throwing off your zero point. Now the following technique will get you back on paper and zeroed super fast. After you have zeroed in your rifle at home and it is shooting consistent groups, take an old bore sight with the grid pattern and put it into your rifle barrel. Look through your scope and note where the crosshairs of your scope fall on the grid.

 My .308 falls one up and one right for center. I note this on the sling of my rifle so I don't forget. When I get to camp and am preparing to sight in, I take out my bore sight.  Stick it into the barrel and adjust the center to be one up and one right.  Now I can start the process of sighting in and it doesn't take long to punch a tight group. You can purchase a bore sight in the Hunting Dept of Bass Pro Shops Nashville.

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"Urban Fishing" - Concrete and Fins


Downtown area's in most cities contain great restaurants,businesses,and night life. Sporting events and shopping on the weekends are typical, along with the everyday business day traffic. However lost in this urban life could quite possibly be some of the best Bass fishing in your area. Fisherman will stay on regular reservoirs and popular bodies of water and stay away from these urban bass factories. Fisherman who do however decide to call these waters home will find that they can be equal or greater than there typical big body lake. When bass do not see a lot of baits put in front of their mouths they are tempted to bite more aggressively.

Urban area's provide bass with a diverse grouping of structure. Bridge pilings,concrete walk ways,barges,docks and always an abundance of rip rap banks. All these types of structure can be home to some of the biggest bass you have ever caught. Going into the fall and winter months, the patterns of bass will change. Bass tend to use the fall to feed on bait fish to ready their decent into deeper water in the winter months. Water temperatures will fall as we get closer to the winter months. Bass will relate to all of the structure above due to the fact that these structures will hold heat from the sun even when it is very cold outside.

Lure selection in these area's can really be wide open at times. The bass will relate as close as possible to the structure so your favorite flippin' and pitchin' baits will always produce good numbers. Most of these urban waters are natural rivers and will have current, which you can use to your advantage. The old saying is "There's nothing better than bass fishing, except bass fishing when you have current in the water!". Use every option that these urban area's provide you because you will find it can become a day on the water you won't forget.

The following are some baits that I recommend for these area's. ( All available at your local Bass Pro Shops )

Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig ( 1/4oz.)
Medium Range running crank baits ( Natural colors for clear water and Brighter colors for stained or muddy water)
Shaky head rigs ( match local craw fish/creature bait colors )
Spinner baits ( 3/8oz-1/2oz. colors based on water color and local bait fish groups)

These area's of water can be a great way to get away from the crowds and really catch'em! Look at your local rivers and urban fisheries and see where these tips can work best for you. Remember that regardless of the species or area we have everything that you need for your next adventure at Bass Pro Shops.

Jeff Hoffman
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World #9
Nashville, TN

Nashville
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Post Spawn Bass Fishing - Nashville Style

fishI hope I find you all with tight lines and heavy nets. This time of the year can prove to be very challenging on the lake. With the constant changing of temperature and water levels this year, the bass have been very confused on where to relocate after spawning.  Generally large females will find deeper water for about three weeks after being on bed for so long. By using the high lake levels to your advantage you will find that they have only moved a few feet of the bank instead of deeper water. The fish will stay in these levels until water temperatures rise into the mid to upper 70’s. Post spawn bass fishing can produce some very large fish and be very exciting.

Once you locate the correct depth and find the larger fish, the pattern will generally hold on the rest of the lake. Fish feed a lot this time of the year and will bite many different baits. Jigs, creature baits, and shaky head rigs can be really fun to throw this time of the year.  Most bass can be located on any type of structure in the 6ft to 10ft range. Make sure to work the baits all the way back to the boat as fish will chase baits longer this time of the year. 

When water temperatures warm up bass will start to find deeper water close to channels and drop offs. Carolina rigs and Texas rigged 10 inch worms seem to be the best presentation for these deep water fish. Remember to fish slower to ensure the bait is in the strike zone as long as possible.  Utilizing your electronics can help you locate the structure and fish. Night fishing can be another option if you are not comfortable fishing deep water. Bass will cruise at night while feeding and generally come to shallower water to do so.

Remember no matter where the fish are or the time of year, you can get all of your fishing gear and advice at your local Bass Pro Shops .

Jeff Hoffman
Nashville, TN

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Springtime Fishing for New Fishermen

By way of introduction, my name is Jim Robinson and I've been involved in outdoor activities of all types for most of my life.  My fishing, backpacking and hunting experiences are cherished memories and make up some of the best times of my life, and I like to take time to get others outdoors as well.

Now is the time of year when we have a great opportunity to introduce others to fishing.  Whether it's a child who needs the experience of starting early, or an adult who hasn't had a chance to feel the thrill of a tugging line, springtime is the best time to assure success.  When you have an opportunity to make that introduction, keep in mind that a positive experience can make that person a fisherman for life, but a negative one might cause them to shy away from trying again.  With that in mind, you'll need to make sure they're equipped for not only their fishing experience, but also the environment they're in. 

When selecting a location for a first fishing experience, remember that smaller water is less intimidating, and often times gives a chance at encouragement by actually being able to see the fish.  A farm pond, a small creek, or if at a lake, a smaller cove is a better location than the middle of a lake or a very fast river.  A calm sunny morning might be the perfect way to begin a lifetime of passion in fishing.  Insure that the newbie is dressed appropriately for the weather.  Today's technical apparel is great around the water, with quick drying fabrics that will help in the event of an unfortunate spill.  If you're in a boat, a youth life vest will help to provide a sense of security for a youngster. 

The type of fishing can also have significant impact on the experience.  Simple fishing with live bait might be just the thing for a youngster, but an adult might need a little more to make the experience seem more realistic.  If using the live bait method, crickets cast under a bobber are a logical place to start, and if you are able to see some sign of fish in the water, kids really get a kick out of seeing the strike.  All you'll need is a simple rod and reel. Most of us started with a Zebco 202, and it's still a good place to start a youngster today. Sufix fishing line is a great line to use on any reel regardless of type.  Make sure you're ready to help with baiting the hook and removing the fish.  Keep in mind that the novice will probably not understand what to do, so how you handle things might really make a difference.  When my children were small and I was recounting a fishing outing, a much wiser older fellow told me, "Either you take a kid fishing, or you fish, but don't count on doing both".  He was certainly right in the beginning.  Investing time with kids when they're learning will give them the skills to feel more comfortable with handling things, and later will enable you to fish alongside them, able to help, but often not needed. 

If you're going to help introduce an adult to fishing, you might need to up the experience a little.  A better rod or reel, artificial lures rather than live bait and a more mature approach will be needed to create an environment geared towards continued interest.  Remember that spincast reels are about the easiest to use, and that spinning reels are simple as well.  I wouldn't want for anyone's first experience to be with a baitcast reel, as it would just about guarantee they'll not want to try again.  If you're going to use artificial lures, keep in mind that smaller lures will often catch more fish.  In the beginning, catching any fish is exciting, so a lunker bass is a great bonus, but not necessary to catch the fever.  Often times, quantity is more important to the beginner, so a small in-line spinner or crankbait might create bigger numbers of fish than a 10" worm or big bait.  Keep in mind that the novice might also be intimidated if he's presented with expensive lures right away.  If you hand someone a crankbait with the explanation that it cost $20, they're not likely to cast towards the structure that could help them succeed for fear of losing the lure.  Floating crankbaits, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits are a little tougher to hang up and lose than some other lures.  Soft plastics are inexpensive to replace and therefore less of a concern to lose to a beginner.  We need to make some assurance that we don't present the sport as one that requires significant investment in order to participate.  We know that you can spend as much as you want, but sometimes simple time on the water is more valuable than all our equipment.  

I'd encourage everyone to take the time to introduce at least one new person fishing this spring.  As conservationists, part of our responsibility to care for nature is to introduce more folks to our passions. It enables us to help others understand how what we do impacts nature, and how what they do can as well.  
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Southern Bassin - Fishing for Spring Smallmouth

One of the most sought after fish in southern lakes and rivers is the Smallmouth Bass. Southern Lakes and rivers are home to some of the biggest smallmouths in the country. Lakes such as Kentucky, Wheeler, Dale Hollow, Pickwick and Percy Priest have become smallmouth factories. While most anglers only fish for Largemouth bass, the smallmouth are regarded as the real trophies in southern waters. Unlike northern fisheries, the growing season is a lot longer in the south and the smallmouth take that to full advantage.

Once water temperatures rise into the lower 50's, smallmouth will begin feeding up before migrating to their spawning location. This presents anglers with easier options when trying to locate large lunker bronzebacks. Smallmouth can be found in water depths from 4ft to 12ft. Rocky main lake points, humps, ledges, and dam tail waters are the best locations to find these fish. While mostly feeding on bait fish and craw fish, smallmouth will strike a large variety of baits presented to them. The most effective technique to find the larger females, is to utilize your depth finder. Larger smallmouths will suspend under schools of bait fish and are clearly marked on the graph.

The following list of lures can help you in selecting the proper bait.

Norman Deep little "N" Crank bait
Bandit 300 Crank bait
Rapala suspending Husky Jerk
Jigs - 1/4oz - 1/2oz depending on depth and current.
Shakey Head Rigs- Finesse baits such as crawfish, creature, and straight tail worms.
Spinner baits - Double willow blades will emulate shad better than Colorado blades.

Always remember that smallmouth bass do not share the same patterns as largemouth bass. Smallmouth relate to deeper and cooler water, unlike largemouths who prefer warmer, shallower water. Smallmouths also become active a lot earlier than largemouths but turn off as water warms up. 

I am fortunate to have access to these great southern lakes, and would suggest anyone from surrounding territories to come visit for exceptional smallmouth fishing. Thank you for your time and check back soon for more posts.

Jeff Hoffman
Nashville,TN

Southern Smallmouth at it's BEST!
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