A Trout Fishing Rod and Reel Setup You Can Be Proud Of

 

             I recently went trout fishing with my father at Cedar Springs in Rural Retreat, Virginia and I had the opportunity to field test some fishing gear.

        The rod I used was the Browning 7 ft. Air Stream Ultra-Light Spinning Rod.  This rod is perfect for trout and panfish because it is lightweight and supersensitive.  It has a High-strength HTSC20 blank, stainless steel guides, premium Fuji reel seat and rubberized cork with a split-grip handle.  The reel I used was the Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite #10. It has a 7-bearing system, powerlock instant anti-reverse, double-anodized-aluminum spool, machined-aluminum handle and 5.2:1 ratio.  Understanding ratios and what it means is very easy.  The number before the colon is the number of rotations the spool makes per one complete turn of the reel’s handle.  So a 5.2:1 ratio means the spool revolves 5.2 times with each handle turn.  The larger the first number, the more line retrieved on each turn.  The Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite has about 20” IPT or (Inches per Turn) the amount of line reeled in with each full rotation of the handle.  The line I used was the XPS Fluorocarbon 6lb. which is perfect for freshwater spinning or baitcasting.  It has unparalleled abrasion resistance, and is virtually invisible under water.

          I used two different types of bait during my fishing trip.  The first bait I used was a Black Wooly Bugger Fly that was tied by our associates in the Fly Fishing Department.  The second bait I used was the BPS Gold Nitro Spinner bait which is compared to the Mepps #2 Gold Spinner.

        We fished from early morning to about mid-day, and the weather was nice about mid 80s and warm.  We caught about 20 total trout between my father and me.  About 6 were on the fly and the other 14 were on the gold spinner bait.  Overall the fishing trip was a success.  The reel did really well with the drag, and the rod had nice action to it.  I would recommend this rod and reel to anyone because it was successful and performed well.

        Stop by Bass Pro Shops Ashland, VA to talk with me about my trip, and feel free to ask me any questions or concerns you may have.  I look forward to seeing you soon!

Gear Review submitted by:

Patrick Farmer

Fishing Team Lead – Bass Pro Shops, Richmond, VA

Spring Trout Fishing Give Me 45 Minutes -- And I'll Show Unbelievable Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite Spinning Combo

 

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Hitting the Road to Adventure

Brook TroutThirsting for something new is something many anglers have to fight if they want to maintain any type of marital harmony, but every once in a while we need to give in and depart upon a quest for new and yet to be conquered pursuits.  For me, it’s been freshwater trout and smallmouth.  You’d think they would have been some of the first species I chased with a fly rod, however, seeing as how saltwater was the first environ I chose to enter, rainbows, browns, and brookies seemed too far away to hope for.

Soon though, I’ll be soaking my toes in a cool mountain stream as I ply the bubbling water for fish I’ve yet to encounter because after many years of crying and begging, our bags will be packed and rods rigged as my wonderful woman and I head north to the Pisgah National Forest in search of new and exciting adventure.  My packing started weeks ahead of our scheduled departure (as is normal with an obsessive compulsive), and I’ve now reached the point of stacking clothes and pre-staging the camping gear.  Sleep has been difficult and it will only get worse as the day draws closer and my dreams fill with glorious beauty and much needed seclusion.Brown Trout

Part of the fun has been the gathering of intelligence, albeit limited in my case according to certain fellow anglers and close friends.  I’ve burned up the Internet for hatch charts, stream flow data, campground locations, and everything else you can imagine the traveling angler might need before venturing forth, and I surely hope all the preparation proves fruitful considering how much of a pain in the neck I’ll be if I don’t get the chance to land at least one of the intended fish.  The timing isn’t quite right for a high degree of success but beggars can’t be choosers when the fishing time’s limited.  “Plan carefully and execute violently” is my motto.

Two four weights, a six weight, numerous lines, and boxes stuffed with Hare’s ears, Princes, Pheasant Tails, Stimulators, Caddis, Light Cahils, Hoppers, Ants, Adams, numerous types of streamers, and many other miscellaneous pieces of tackle are packed and ready to be deployed when the time arrives, but the calendar just doesn’t seem to move along quickly enough.  She’ll have to put up with another week of manic preparation before hitting the trail, but it will all be worth it when we’re standing alongside a deserted stream somewhere in North Carolina looking for that first fish to reveal itself.  God help us all if the first cast of the trip finds its way into a tree or some other type of obstacle.

Rainbow TroutExpanding our horizons and getting out of our comfort zones on occasion provides the spice of life, and fishing in general or searching for more and more species, gives us a good reason to keep testing our boundaries.  It doesn’t always have to be an exotic location that entices us to leave home since every new adventure helps us grow as anglers.  Maybe we’ll learn something about ourselves at the same time.

I’ll hopefully have something good to report once we return, but the trip will surely be a success regardless of how many fish are actually landed. 

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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She Says Stubborn, I Say Persistent

Bridge SnookThis is an opinion that many other folks hold about my fishing style, not just my wife.  I’ve been called stubborn, obstinate, pig-headed, inflexible, immovable and a few other unflattering synonyms that all boil down to being a dedicated and persistent angler.  I’ve often told my buddies that if I can spot a fish, I’ll spend the time to catch it, or drive it from the area; whichever comes first.  Occasionally, I’ve brought fish to hand that other folks walked past without seeing, or only gave a halfhearted attempt because the fish’s position would have meant a difficult presentation and/or a risk to precious tackle.

I happened upon one such group of fish a few days ago and they helped to reinforce how important it is to spend the time trying to figure out the fly, the presentation, the retrieve, and anything else that might lead to a successful hookup.

A small school of snook was nestled on the backside of a trio of bridge supports on one of Tampa Bay’s many bridges.  They seemed pretty happy hovering a few feet below the surface as the tide rushed over them, flicking their tails only enough to burst forward to grab an unsuspecting minnow that strayed too far from the bridge’s shelter.

Let’s start by saying that casting a fly rod between two cement columns six feet apart, while standing under a bridge that’s only about three feet over your head, and a sloped bank behind you, is one of the toughest circumstances I can imagine.  And it leads to quite a few moments of fear when the rod tip accidentally contacts cement.  Add to that, a right to left current, and a swirling eddy pulling line in the wrong direction, and you’ve got a recipe for frustration.

I spent over three hours working this school of fish, going through numerous fly changes, line changes, leader rebuilds, and many frustrated moments mulling over how to get the fly around or through those darn supports and across the backward-flowing eddy without becoming snagged on the bridge or the bottom.  I walked away numerous times, only to come back to the same spot, thinking “just a few more casts and I’ll leave them alone.”  Obviously that’s not an option to someone as obsessive compulsive as myself.  I just had to give it a little longer since the fish weren’t going anywhere.  I was afraid the tide would stop flowing and their feeding activity would cease, leaving me little choice but to load up and leave.

Everything finally came together, when the cast went far enough, the fly sank deep enough, and one of the fish became hungry enough to investigate my offering on what felt like the 10,000th presentation of the day.  I thought I was snagged when the line just came tight, but the game was on when it pulled back strongly after I added some tension.  He tried everything to get around the pilings, under the rocks, and into the current, but I wasn’t about to be denied what I’d worked so hard to accomplish.  Besides, how was I supposed to go back to my wife and explain that I spent nearly four hours casting at fish without any tangible results?  Not today buddy!  NOT TODAY!

After a brief but energetic fight my quest finally ended as I gripped a beautiful fish in my shaking hand after which I reflected upon what it took to land that exquisite example of nature’s beauty and diversity.  Snook hold a dear place in many Floridian’s heart and many of us will go to unusual measures to land them, even when the conditions are tough.  They’re strong, selective, personable, and challenging enough to keep everyone coming back for more year after year.  It’s not hard to see why certain folks become “Snook Season Specialists, although I don't consider myself in that company since I just dabble when I'm lucky enough to find a few willing players.”

Persistence is a virtue that serves anglers well if they can learn when to turn it on and when say enough is enough.  Snook, steelhead, baby tarpon, tilapia, and many other fish we love to chase can test our patience, but the rewards are beyond compare, especially when we continuously conduct an internal battle against the urge to pack it in and leave the area in search of easier targets.

Stick to it and work out the problem because eventually your stubborn desire to succeed will pay off.  It did for me on this day.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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Fly Fishing Made Easy

Fly Fishing Made EasyAlthough I'm not sure anything truly worth while comes easy, it sure is nice when someone comes out with a publication or video that helps newcomers leap in with both feet without a fear of epic failure and ultimate defeat.  Fly Fisherman magazine has produced an exceptional magazine that has just enough information to get someone past some of the steep learning curve associated with picking up a fly rod and all the associated equipment.  They put it together in a beautiful package with plenty of graphics related to tackle, tactics, and destinations, sure to give everyone the fever.  Even the experienced anglers will find learn something or discover a far away location they'd like to visit some time down the road.  They may even figure out how to get the lady of the house interested in sharing more time on the water with them.

Speaking from personal experience, I know that the first few years spent on the water with a rod were not the prettiest to behold, and it took a long time to demystify the riddle of loop control, line selection, rigging, and fly presentation.  Before the internet came along (yes there was a time before the internet) starting a new hobby meant finding a willing mentor, a kindhearted retailer, and posessing stubborn desire to succeed.  Nowadays you don't have too look far to discover a wealth of information (some good, some bad) all designed to help you along the way.  The trick is finding a source with credibility and track history behind it.

Fly Fisherman Magazine has everything you need and the credentials to back up what they say so you can rest assured that they're telling it like it is and not just trying to rope in unsuspecting folks with money to burn.  They know what it's like to struggle and fight their way to landing a few fish.

I never thought too hard about pursuing milkfish but after browsing through this addition to our magazine racks, I'm ready to book a trip.  So if you know someone interested in a new lifestyle (it is a lifestyle, not just a hobby), or you're just looking to learn a few things, stop by and pick a copy up before they're all gone.  I can see  us adding one to every outfit we sell.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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What Makes a Leader?

Rio Bonefish LeaderWe could ask this question quite often as it relates to some of our past and present leaders of the country but right now those aren’t the ones I’m referring to.  I’m thinking about the leaders used in fly fishing set ups.  They're probably the most misunderstood and misused part of the complete outfit and a lot of people would probably increase their success if they just thought about modifying their leader practices and make a few adjustments.  So why are leaders so important to the whole system, and why should they be constructed in a particular manner?  Let’s take a look.

  • Leaders are designed to roll out and extend fully to place the fly a given distance (generally between 7.5 and 10 feet) from the end of the fly line.  A tapered leader gradually rolls forward, smoothly transmitting and dissipating the energy that has been sent down the fly line and ultimately to the fly.
  • Leaders are a stealthy connection between the line and the fly that hopefully allows us to make a reasonably “lifelike” presentation to the fish without them seeing the line itself.  Leader length and strength/diameter is adjusted up or down depending on how spooky the fish are and how delicate a presentation is necessary.
  • Leaders provide a safety link or “emergency breaking point” to allow the angler to break off the fly in the event that he/she has snagged an immovable object, hooked into an unlandable fish, or any other time the fly needs to be sacrificed rather than risk damaging or losing valuable fly line, backing, rods, or reels.
  • Leaders provide the sporting challenge for those anglers seeking to land large fish on light tackle.The class tippet section of the leader is the lightest link in system and its breaking strength is the standard by which records are rated and compared to each other.

Typical Leader Construction

There are simpler ways to do things but in the case of leader construction, trying to cut corners by using straight (a single strand of heavy or light) monofilament line is guaranteed to sacrifice one or more of the performance features of a leader.  Roll out is poor, stealth is nonexistent, sporting quality is limited, and you may even risk losing all your line or breaking a rod.  I inwardly cringe when I hear folks talk about using this type of system because I know they’re risking equipment or unnecessarily handicapping performance by taking a shortcut, all for the sake of cutting cost or the desire to avoid knots.

The leader is a much more important part of the system than most folks think.  Its construction is done in a very particular way to provide functionality, protection, and sport for a group of anglers that insist on doing things the hard way.  Take a look at this part of your setup and you'll likely make some adjustments that increase your potential for success and manage the risk of doing damage to the rest of your equipment.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando 

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In Honor Of the Humble Bluegill

Tosohatchee BluegillEven though there are so many different fish and so many ways to catch them, few species hold a special place in more people’s hearts like the humble Bluegill.  And there are a lot of reasons they rank towards the top of the list when you ask random fishermen what they enjoy chasing most, and why.

I’d be willing to bet that if you ask 100 anglers of varying ages “What was the first fish you can remember going after when you started out?” you’ll get a very diverse list but the bluegill will rise to the top by a pretty solid margin.  They’re everywhere, they eat a variety of baits (natural, artificial, and fly), they fight like the dickins, and they taste pretty darn good when scaled and fried up just like mom did it.   Innumerable folks start out chasing bluegill as kids with a simple outfit complete with a Zebco rod and reel, a red and white bobber, single hook, and a coffee can of red wigglers.  I count myself as one of the lucky ones to have spent a good portion of my young life sitting along the bank of Howard Eaton Reservoir, or anchored in the lily pads in Presque Isle State Park.  Family fishing trips taught us patience and how to get along with our siblings in a small boat, as well has how to appreciate the beauty and peace of fishing.  Bluegill played a big part in our young lives for sure.

Nowadays, I don’t target them as much unless I happen upon a spawning congregation, but even then it’s just to do some experimentation and see how a new fly works, or to end a long dry spell between fish.  They’re always around and almost always willing to play along for a few minutes provided I can figure out what fly to throw at them.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and that’s why I keep trying.

There is a bit of a challenge to catching gills if they really aren’t in the mood, and a lot of people don’t figure it out for a while.  Bluegill aren’t chaser’s in the same sense that bass are, meaning they don’t pursue their prey very far and most people work artificial baits and flies too fast in the first place, missing a lot of catchable fish as a result.  Topwater flies should shake and shimmy to imitate a distressed insect, while subsurface offerings can either slowly sink through the water column or be stripped along slowly and steadily.  Before making that first cast, try to imagine how far and fast a grass shrimp or damsel fly larva moves through the water.

Presque Isle FishingRed wigglers, crickets, wax worms, grubs, small minnows, bread balls, and many other natural baits (even hot dog chunks) will entice a strike when in the zone, so kiddies and their parents or grandparents aren’t left out in the cold.  Tossing bait and waiting for something to happen is how a lot of fishermen got started in the past and it still works today, especially when indoctrinating youngsters into the sport.  Just be sure to have something else for your budding angler to do between bites since it may take some time for things to heat up.

Bluegill unfairly get lumped in with all the other “Bream” down here in the south and maybe there should be a movement to correctly identify them out of respect.  They’re hungry, strong, available, tasty, and willing to eat a wide variety of offerings, so load up the tackle, the kids, and a can of red wigglers for a ton of fun while chasing the humble Bluegill.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando.

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Who Stole Spring?

See our online selection of fishing products at basspro.com.

Ok, just one question. Who stole Spring?  It seems I remember snow, sleet and cold blowing  rain just a moment ago.  I'm not Rip Van Winkle. I didn't sleep through it.  It's late March and it's 84 degrees outside.  Spring is supposed to have brisk mornings followed by brilliant rays of sunshine that melt away the gloom of Winter, not cranking the air conditioner to full blast to fend off the heat.

  What does this have to do with fishing? Well, pretty much everything at this time of year.  The four most popular fish, largemouth bass, crappie, sandbass/hybrids,and catfish use the cool of Spring to do their spawning.  If the water temperatures soar above the optimal for our favorite species, they will most likely have an abbreviated spawn. What does that mean?

First, and most importantly, it means if you want to catch fish during their spawn you better get cracking.  The largemouths were just beginning to get into their pre-spawn patterns when that frozen blast knocked the bottom out of water temps. It also caused the the water  to rise into places it hasn't been in three to four years. Combine these conditions and just when poor mama bass was just about ready to drop her eggs and go into defensive mode  Mother nature threw her a curve.  It also muddied up the water in the areas they prefer to lay their eggs. These thee factors changed not only where you might want to look for them, but what you might use to catch them.

  Lots of folks traditionally creep lizards or crawfish soft plastics through likely places. With the water deeply stained by sediment  you pretty much have to hit that big spawning female right in the nose to get her to react.  So far this season we're getting  good reports from fishers who've added lures that both represent nest poachers and either vibrate or click to their usual collection of "normal" Spring offerings. If you let the fish know that potential danger is near the nest with bass jigs with rattlechambers, like the Bass Pro Shops Rattling Enticer  Jig  you will surely let that trophy bass have something to zero in on.  You can also try slow rolling a colorado-bladed spinnerbait around fairly shallow, stained water, that  is close to cover and deeper water. A couple of good choices in spinnerbaits are the Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Tandem Spinnerbait or  add a selection from Booyah Spinnerbaits. The best selling bass lure right now has been the all new Bass Pro Shops Chatterbait. This new bait comes in a number of colors, but there is one called bully bream that I can't wait to try out!

  Crappie fishers have been hitting good numbers and the photos I've seen recently show a lot of big fat "slabs".  The water temperatures haven't been as critical on the crappie population as far as their spawn...yet. Crappie usually hang in deeper water around cover like brush piles until the water temps reach between 52 and 65 degrees. Hopefully the shallows where they love to lay their eggs will clear up in the next week. When it does, all you waders, float tubers and paddle-powered fishers need to be ready to pounce !  The air temperatures will warm the water quickly if this quick warming trend continues so be ready.  For now the best results have been on crappie jigs. All kinds of color combinations have been flying out the door. If you want to know my personal favorites...well...you'll just can't go wrong with the Bass Pro Bumble Bee in Monkey Milk color for deeper water.  Switch to  black and chartreuse when they do move up shallow.


  For our minnow dunking friends the reports have been good too. Don't wait til the last minute to get your minnow bucket, aerators, dip nets, hooks and bobbers . The spawn may be abbreviated this year. Don't miss any of it waiting to gear up.

 Attention sandbassers and hybrid hunters!  The recent rains that have raised our lakes with water, pretty much emptied our area lakes of huge numbers of sandbass and hybrids.  Yes, as the water from the feeder creeks pouring into the lakes, the sandbass head upstream looking for moving water in which to lay their eggs and fertilize them. Sandbass don't make nests, they are actually programmed to do all their reproductive rituals in moving water so get out your mud boots and find a good feeder creek. Running water is good, but creeks that are fast moving and swolen by rain are dangerous and the fish tend to scatter. Remember that hybrid stripers are a mix of sandbass and saltwater stripers. They can't reproduce, but they did not get that memo and travel along with the sandbass into creeks and rivers.

  I found a really good creek stomping sandbass chasing, dependable, strong, smooth reel. It's actually a Crappie Maxx spinning reel. It's drag is smooth and strong enough to handle the strong sudden smash of a hybrid when adjusted properly.  One great lure selections for sandies in the creeks are the Blue Fox inline spinner, either silver or blue with the number 2 blade. Another is any one of a group of soft plastic three inch minnow imitations mounted on a 1/16 or 1/32 jig head. Bounce these offerings off the bottom and as close to the channel as you can. Hang on!


You'll have to hurry on the sandbass/hybrid action to. As soon as the water temp in the lakes and the stream temps are equal the sandies won't bother making the trek upstream. They will simply spawn in the lake off windy sandbar points.


 Catfish have not been as affected by the rising warming water too much yet. They're still going to be found fairly shallow. Their spawn is right around the corner, as a matter of fact, it may be accelerated by warming waters.  Here are a couple rules of thumb for you. Generally speaking...I say generally... blue cats tend to hit fresh dead shad. Get a cast net and a bucket and probe boat launches to get your fresh bait.


Channel cats seem to prefer stink baits, also called "prepared baits."  The big flatheads lean toward prefer to munch on bream (sunfish) .  Get some worms, crappie nibbles, small hooks and go "perch jerking," to garner goodies for these monsters.  Don't forget you'll need size appropriate hooks too. Catfish in the "eater" class usually take baits that can be mounted on 3/0 hooks and smaller, while "trophy cats" require a larger, stronger hook to handle their lockjaw grip, weight, and fighting ability. Come in soon to get outfitted with the Catt Maxx rods and reels for all the cats you want to catch, it's an extremely dependable outfit that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.


  So it doesn't really matter where Spring went. What matters is that you get busy, get equipped, get informed and get on the water.


 Bend a rod for us!
 Bill Sankey
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops, Garland Tx.

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Come Join Captain Jerry Appling Fly Casting Class

Working at Bass Pro Shops is an awesome experience especially when you get to work with legends such as Captain Jerry Appling. Captain Jerry is currently employed in our Fly Fishing department, and has been for the past eight years.  In addition, Captain Jerry has been teaching customers how to fly cast for over 35 years.  He states that fly fishing has always been his passion since he started back in 1955.

Fly casting may seem easy, particularly when you watch Captain Jerry in motion. However, Captain Jerry states that fly fishing requires more performance than regular rod and reel casting; it’s a technical way to fish. It’s a method that involves a lot of practice in order to perfect this skill. If you’ve been struggling or are interested in learning how to fly cast, who better would we recommend than Captain Jerry Appling.  Capt.

Jerry holds his fly casting classes at Bass Pro Shops Miami in the Fly Shop department, every Saturday at 4pm. You must call in advance to make an appointment because class sizes are limited (4 customers max).  If you, a friend, or family member would be interested in learning how to fly cast (free of charge), feel free to call Capt. Jerry at 305-341-4200 extension 4045, to schedule an appointment. Also, its first come first served. Where are we located, at Dolphin Mall Miami: 11551 NW 12 Street Miami, FL 33172. Please call if you have any questions 305-341-4200. Hope to see you there!

 

Capt. Jerry recommends customers to use a 5 pound fly rod and line for fresh water fishing, & a 9 pound fly rod and line for salt water fishing.

 

White River Fly Shop Fly/Spin Rod and Reel Combo (SKU# 949449)

http://www.basspro.com/White-River-Fly-Shop-Fly/Spin-Rod-and-Reel-Combo/product/44266/

Created by: Victoria Sanchez

Special thanks Captain Jerry Appling

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Tie One On: San Juan Worm

We’re getting back to the roots of Tie One On blogs this month. We’re going to focus on a specific fly pattern, which has not happened for a couple months. The pattern I chose is actually quite controversial to some. Many people consider fly-fishing an art as opposed to a sport. You know the kind. They’ll have a one-piece bamboo rod and be dressed straight out of some Thoreau. And that’s OK because to each their own. Honestly anyone can appreciate the delicate work it takes to fly fish, but that is the thing: fly. This month’s pattern is not a fly but a worm. The San Juan Worm.

Fly patterns are created to mimic the natural forage of fish. Some are specific and other can imitate numerous things, but that is their purpose. They are designed, crafted and worked to catch fish. And to catch fish, it needs to look like food.

The San Juan Worm was designed for part of the San Juan River in New Mexico. Here, part of the fish’s natural forage is small aquatic worms. They are roughly a couple inches and found on the bottom of the riverbed. It is quite common to be able to flip over a rock, stir up some mud and see the little creatures moving. So the fly pattern was designed to imitate those worms.

The San Juan Worm is typically tied onto hooks sizes 6-10. The standard is a red chenille tied on the shank of the hook and formed to resemble a worm. Some will use copper wire to add weight to their fly in order for it to sink faster. Of course there are some in different colors or sizes or variations, but the standard is just that.

Most new fly-fishermen would see this pattern in a shop and instinctively purchase some. I mean the night crawler is such standard bait in regular fishing, that it has to be the same in fly-fishing. Right? Eh. Not so much. Will it work in the San Juan River? You betcha. Other waters? Maybe. Don’t know until you try. But if there are no small aquatic worms present in the body of water you are fishing, I’d say try a different pattern.

Honestly some of the biggest controversy with this pattern is that it has the word worm in it. A long time ago fly-fishermen and regular fishermen started a kind of rivalry. Regular fishermen would use a simple hook and worm technique to catch fish, whereas fly-fishermen would spend minutes if not hours preparing to fish. Sure worms caught fish, but in a much less artistic and personal way. When you get a fish on a fly-rod you can feel the fish so much better and almost get an understanding of it. Sounds weird I know, but it’s true.

Not buying it? Well don’t hate until you try. And what’s the worst that could happen? You spend a day on the water, trying to fly fish and don’t catch anything? You can do that with regular fishing as well!

-Giddy-Up!!

Woolly Bugger Royal Coachman Pheasant Tail Nymph Crawshrimp

Trilene Knot The Adams Dropper Loop Spinner

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Tilapia Fishing or Watching Paint Dry.... Your Choice

Scott's Blue Tilapia on FlyIf a title like that doesn't catch your attention then nothing will, but trying to fool a fish that for the most part is unwilling to take any type of bait can be a true test of will, sanity, and patience.  Each year during the spring we'll hit the local lakes and ponds looking to hook into one of the regions more successful invasive species, the Blue Tilapia.

Blue Tilapia have expanded their range to include just about every waterway imaginable across the state and their spawning beds make for a pretty conspicuous clue that they're in the area.  Tilapia spawn right after most of the bass and their beds can make the sandy shallows look like a moonscape.  Each bowl-shaped nest is about the size of a truck tire and during the peak of the season there will be a single, fiercely-aggressive, and meticulously-cleaning, tilapia parent.  Their aggressive nature and obsessive compulsive cleaning is what we use to our advantage when trying to catch one on fly.

Unfortunately though, this is a waiting game with very limited casting followed by extended periods of standing as still as a hunting heron, and then impossibly light strikes. The normal scenario includes finding an active bed with a fish on it, the fish spooks, you cast into the bed, the fish eventually returns, it stares at the fly for a while, it picks up the fly and tries to move it out of the bed, fight on.  I've actually stood over a single bed for upwards of 15 minutes waiting for the fish to return after fleeing the bed, only to have it spook again or come to rest in the bed without noticing my fly.  That can be more than a little irritating.

Five or six weight rods with fairly light leaders and smallish and lightly dressed flies are the tools of the trade when chasing tilapia because they aren't overly powerful nor are the flies so large as to require a heavyweight rod.  About the only trick to hooking up is using a fly that's large enough to get the fish's attention but dressed sparsely enough that the fish gets the hook in its mouth rather than a bunch of fluffy material.  A simple wooly bugger or something similar should work pretty well if you find cooperative fish.  Bowfishing is another popular method of taking tilapia during the spawn but there's no way to practice catch an release with an arrow so it's only a method to explore if you have a way to dispose of your catch

So why would anyone go through all this for a very low likelihood of success?  Because it's a fish, there's a ton of them around, they'll eventually bite, and are a lot of fun on a fly rod.  Scott and I are in an informal competition to catch the most fish species on fly so he just had to get one since I've already checked that one off the list.  Living in a place with as many fish as Florida means that we throw a fly at anything that swims no matter how tough or uncooperative it might be.  Being well-rounded and flexible allows us to extend our season through the entire year, with very little down time.  We might even come home with something for dinner on occasion.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

 

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - 2015 Spring Fishing Classic!

With all this snow, we're READY to talk spring! The Spring Fishing Classic kicks off this Friday, February 6! Ten days of deals, promotions, seminars and, of course, our Next Generation weekend just for kids!

Here's this weekend's line up!

Friday, February 6

The Spring Fishing Classic begins!

Throughout the Classic (Feb. 6-15) enjoy these promotions!

  • Rod and Reel Trade-In: Trade in your old reel and save even more on a new one! Trade in your old rod and save on a new one of those, too!  Not only does the event now last for the duration of the Classic, it also now includes fly rods and reels!

Rods and reels must not be broken...they are donated to Lake View Camp in Pella, Boy Scouts, the DNR, and Wounded Warriors.

  • Instant Rebate - Use your Bass Pro Shops MasterCard to buy new gear and receive an instant rebate up to $100. Use any other MasterCard and receive an instant rebate up to $50. Details and limitations at www.basspro.com/classic!
     

Uncle Buck's Fish BatterSaturday, February 7

Fried Fish Sampling - 2-5 p.m. We're frying up fish using Uncle Buck's Fish Batter in Original, Mild, and Hot & Spicy (by the aquarium, while supplies last).

Try Before You Buy - Noon-4 p.m. Our Gifts Department will also be serving up samples of Uncle Buck's Summer Sausage with Cherith Valley Mustard (by the Sunglasses Counter, while supplies last).

Pro Staff - Pro Staff Lance Baker, representing Daiwa, and Kary Ray, representing Lowrance products, will be in the store to answer your questions!

Sunday, February 8

BassMaster University - 2 p.m.

We welcome National Pro and Walleye Champion Chase Parsons! Check out the link to hear what Chase will be talking about!
 

Try Before You Buy - Noon-4 p.m. The Gifts Department will handing out samples of our various Uncle Buck's Extra Large Virginia Peanuts (by the Sunglasses Counter, while supplies last)!

Maui Jim Vendor - Find out more about Maui Jim Sunglasses - 11 a.m.-4 p.m. - A vendor rep will be at the sunglasses counter to answer questions!

Legal Heat - Concealed Carry classes will be held Sunday. Visit www.mylegalheat.com to register!

 

Coming up for the second weekend of the Classic?

Next Generation Weekend, Women's Outdoor Cooking and Fishing Tips, and Local Pro Seminars!

_______________________

Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
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Pay it Forward: Rod and Reel Trade-In

The 2015 Spring Fishing Classic Rod and Reel Trade-In programs bring a new twist this year - you have TEN DAYS to bring in your trades!

Start looking through your garage and rod holders now Trade in your old reel and save even more on a new one! Trade in your old rod and save on a new one of those, too! 

More good news - fly rods and reels are now included!

Here's the most important part of the rod and reel trade-in...they need to be usable, because we, in turn, donate them. Last year our amazing Bass Pro Shops Altoona customers donated over 360 reels and 210 rods! All were donated to the Mid-Iowa Boy Scouts, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Lake View Camp for kids, and to Wounded Warriors.

Have kids or grandkids? Make it a project for and work as a team to go through your fishing rods and reels, then bring them in and take advantage of this great opportunity.

Pay it forward - and help a child, help a veteran, help a family learn to fish.
_____________________

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Sling Pack, Waist Pack, or Vest? So Many Options.

Fishpond Gore RangeTech PackFishermen have been trying to answer this conundrum ever since Orvis brought out their first catalogue and we started believing there just had to be a better solution than the one we already carried.  I'm not sure there really is a single answer to which is best and sometimes we just have to let the color of our fishing shirt determine the type of pack we're going to carry on the water.  Just kidding.  Each one has it's uses and it'll just take time to figure out which one you like. I've personally gone full circle, beginning with a simple waist pack I used for many years of wading the saltwater, but I've found that it isn't large enough for some endeavors afield or far too big for others, and it makes wearing a stripping basket at the same time all but impossible.  But what's the ultimate solution and should new anglers agonize over getting it right the first time?

Vests like the one shown are great for carrying just about everything short of the kitchen sink, and I've found that there's a reason trout fishermen traditionally chose this type of system.  The pockets are spacious and numerous so you can hide things away never to be found again, except at the beginning of the next season when you take stock of what you need to purchase before hitting the water again.  Some even have integrated backpacks wherein you might carry enough supplies to spend extended period on the water rather than just a few short hours.  There are obvious benefits to wearing a vest but you do have to watch out for the tendency to carry everything, including the kitchen sink, the potential heat retention issues due to the type of fabric the vest is made of, and the need to compensate for clothing worn underneath by wearing a fixed size vest larger than your normal.  Keep an open mind and plan ahead.

LL Bean Sling PackSling packs and chest packs are perfect for the person that's able to scale down the amount of equipment they carry to the water for a days adventure and are a great way to keep yourself from becoming overly weighted down by things you probably won't need anyways.  These options force you to look at your tackle needs and storage systems with a more critical eye towards limiting waste and clutter.  Sling and chest packs are the perfect options for those short jaunts around a neighborhood pond, a nearby creek, or along the beach looking for cruising snook.  All you need is a small box of flies, tippet material, pliers, and a water bottle to have a great adventure.

Fish N Hunt Waist PackWaist packs are somewhere in between the two and continue to be a favorite of mine because of how well they distribute the load low on the body where I don't even notice the burden.  Many of them have back support built in which greatly increases the amount of time you can spend wandering the waterways in search of fishing opportunities. Water bottle holders, box storage, plier keepers, and even rod holders have been included in their designs so the angler isn't left with much to desire.  About the only issues I've ever had with waist packs is the need to spin them around to the front in order to get anything out of it, which results in a pretty twisted up wardrobe; and as I mentioned before, troubles with using a stripping basket at the same time.

Another possibility I've experimented with is using a backpack whether intended for fishing or not.  It works well when carrying both spinning and fly equipment because it's large enough to securely carry multiple large Plano boxes full of tackle, water bottles, Boga Grip, and other essentials.  Simms, Patagonia, Orvis, Fishpond and numerous others have included backpacks in their product lines, both in traditional and waterproof materials.  Backpacks are an accessory worth looking into if you have a bunch of equipment to carry.

New anglers shouldn't get too worried about their first choice of carrying accessory since they'll likely have half a dozen different ones within a very short time, very much like myself.  I've been around the block a few times and thrown in a few wrong turns over the years but each one was a learning experience and now my choices are based on experience rather than fashion.  Comfort, practicality, and versatility are the main criteria we should be using to find our next bag so keep the lessons I've learned in the back of your mind the next time you go looking for something new to schlep around your tackle.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

 

 

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2015 Spring Fishing Classic Lineup

The world's greatest fishing show and sale is back, and there's something for everyone...including NEW promotions! These awesome activities, along with hot deals all 10 days, makes this the best Classic ever!

Rod and Reel Trade-In

The Rod and Reel Trade-In is back...and it's 10 days long! 
Trade in your old reel and save even more on a new one! Trade in your old rod and save on a new one of those, too!  Not only does the event now last for the duration of the Classic, it also now includes fly rods and reels!

Rods and reels must not be broken. Lat year our amazing Bass Pro Shops Altoona customers donated over 500 rods and reels, all of which were donated to Scouts, the DNR, Lake View Camp for kids, and a veteran's program.

Free Line Spooling 

February 11-15 - The FIRST TIME we've ever done this! Check out the details!
 

The Next Great Angler Auditions

Bass Pro Shops is producing a new fishing show...The Next Great Angler! Are YOU the next great angler? Do you have what it takes to compete with the pros? Prove it!

Register online beginning January 28 at www.basspro.com/TheNextGreatAngler and then we will have in-store auditions February 10.

 

 

 

BassMaster University - Sunday, February 8, 2 p.m.

 

Walleye Tips: 2015

We welcome National Pro Chase Parsons, from The Next Bite television show and walleye tournament champion!

 

 

 

Local Pros and Tips Seminars

Join us for these great seminars all weekend, with our Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff - Lance Baker and Kary Ray - and our in-store experts.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2015
7 P.M. - PROVEN BASS PATTERNS – Lance Baker

SATURDAY & SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 & 15, 2015

11:00 A.M. – UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF ELECTRONICS TO IMPROVE FISHING SUCCESS - Kary Ray
1:00 P.M. – HIGH-PERCENTAGE BAITS (TANK DEMO) – Baker and Ray
2:00 P.M. – THE BAITFISH CONNECTION: UNDERSTANDING SEASONAL MOVEMENTS – Lance Baker
4:00 P.M. - STEALTH FISHING: SUCCESSFUL KAYAK STRATEGIES - TBD

 

 

 

Next Generation Weekend

Bring the kids out to celebrate the coming of warmer weather and fishing!

  • Casting Challenge - Kids receive a fish-shaped water bottle when they complete the challenge!
  • Free 4x6 photo download
  • Kids Workshops - 2:30 and 4:30 both days -"Think Like a Fish!" - Kids receive a certificate and the first 25 at each receives a light lanyard!
  • Free Craft - A wooden fish stand-up! (While supplies last)

Women's Outdoor Cooking & Fishing Tips

Two great topics in one seminar! Join our guest workshop leaders from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program for fishing and outdoor cooking tips, plus learn more about the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman weekends!

_________________________

Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
Visit us @ www.basspro.com/altoona
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Spring Fishing Classic 2015

This year's Spring Fishing Classic is here! Below are this year's activities and promotions:

Bassmaster University: 

randy
          Friday, Feb. 6th
                       5pm - Kendall Newson 
                       6pm - Aaron Martens 
                       8pm - Randy Howell

aaron
          Saturday, Feb. 7th
                       1pm - Kendall Newson 
                       3pm - Aaron Martens

kendall
          Sunday, Feb. 8th 
                        2pm - Kendall Newson  
Don't miss out on listening to these great professional fishermen!

 

Local Pros & Seminars:
          Friday, Feb. 13th  
                       7pm Proven Spring Bass Patterns
          Saturday, Feb. 14th 
                       11am Unlock the Secrets of Electronics to Improve your Fishing Success
                         2pm The Baitfish Connection: Understainding Seasonal Movements will Help you Catch More Fish 
                         4pm Stealth Fishing: Successful Kayak Strategies
          Sunday, Feb. 15th 
                      ** Same seminar schedule as Saturday

mug
The first 25 people, 18 years old and older, who attend these local pro seminars, will receive a free mug.

 

Women's Seminar
Women's class on Saturday, February 14th at 3pm. The first 25 women who attend this workshop, will receive a free giveaway. Don't miss out on these great tips.  
women
 

Rod and Reel Trade In February 6-15th  
Are you looking to get rid of that old rod? Bring it into the store and donate it during our rod and reel trade in. We will pass it on to a youth organization.
rod trade in
Don't forget that old reel!
reel trade in

 

Boat Specials
Don't miss out on some hot boat specials during the event! You could get up to a $1000.00 gift card. Come check out the new deals!
boat specials

Once you get that new boat, check out the Triple Crown bonus going on:
triple crown bonus

 

Fried Fish Sampling
On February 7th, stop by our gifts/camping area and sample some fried fish using our very own Uncle Buck's batter.
fish samples

 
FREE Line Spooling
During the classic, don't miss out on the free line spooling Feb. 11-15th. This is the first time we've offered this service.  Purchase a Bass Pro Shops Branded reel $100 or more and receive a free line spooling of XPS 8 30# braid. Purchase a Bass Pro Shops Branded reel $99.99 or less and receive a free line spooling of Excel clear monofilament.  
line spooling

* Bass Pro Shops reels only. Excludes fly reels.

Next Generation Weekend Feb. 14-15th
The Spring Fishing Classic isn't only about the adults. Join us during our Next Generation weekend and enjoy kids activities for FREE. Activities include a casting challenge.
casting

Free picture downloads.
picture

Free kids workshops. Workshops are scheduled both Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 and 4:30.
kids workshops

Don't miss out on this years big event. For more details, go to www.basspro.com/classic We look forward to seeing you there.


                    

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Fishy Facts: Brook Trout

The lovely Mary in Fishing chose this month’s species for our Fishy Facts Blog. Which is ironic, considering she has never caught or even eaten one but it is on her “to-catch” list. This month’s species star is the Brook Trout!

The brook trout is a species of the salmon family that is native to North America. Like many other fish it has several nicknames including: squaretail or speckled trout. The brook trout also finds itself in a peculiar place as it is called a trout but is actually a char. And don’t forget that it’s also part of the salmon family, so things can get quite confusing.

The brook trout is a favorite among many anglers, especially fly-fishermen. Affectionately called “brookies” these fish are both beautiful and delicate. They are so cherished, that eight states have elected the Brook Trout to state fish. Those states being: West Virginia, Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Michigan.

Due to expansion of the species, brook trout can be found in most states throughout the U.S. They prefer cool and clear streams or ponds to live in. They are also found in lakes, rivers and creeks. Brook trout are not the most tolerant fish as they require water with high purity and only a narrow pH range. These fish are drastically affected by changes in pollution, pH range and oxygenation.

Brook trout are known to feed on a diverse diet. They consume insects, all forms, and more. Their diet can include crustaceans, amphibians, other fish and some small aquatic mammals. As mentioned before, these fish are extremely attractive. They have vivid colors and spots that stand out. A while back I caught my first brook trout and honestly it was tiny. But the deep purple color and vivid yellow dots made it truly the prettiest fish I have ever caught. Different areas though do produce differently colored or patterned fish.

Two somewhat of a subspecies of these fish are coasters and salters. The coasters are a population of brook trout native to Lake Superior. They migrate into rivers to spawn and then return back to the main body of water. They are typically larger than other brook trout but have had their numbers drastically reduced from overfishing and habitat loss. Salters are a sea-run brook trout found on the East Coast. While these fish are in the saltwater, they will lose some of their markings and get a grayer color to them. Once they return though, it only takes a short time for their true coloring to come back.

What is interesting about brook trout is that they are playing two roles in our ecosystems. Much of their native range has been destroyed or developed. Areas that once had thriving brook trout populations now have none. Outdoor organizations like Trout Unlimited have worked hard at restoring and protecting such habitats. In other areas though, the brook trout is considered an invasive species. They can out-compete native fish species and have had adverse effects of other species such as the cutthroat trout. Certain places have an unlimited bag limit or must harvest ruling to try and reduce brook trout numbers.

I wish Mary the best of luck in her goal to catch one. They are fascinating fish that put up a good fight and taste good as well. We tip our rods to you, the majestic Brook Trout! Until next time!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Finned-Friends:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

Tilapia

Smallmouth Bass

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Learning to Nymph Fish

As my three-fly setup drifted across stream, I mended the line, freeing my flies from the pull of the current, and I watched the end of my leader approach the big, underwater boulder, behind which, I was sure there was a monster trout waiting.  I thought back…to my introduction to nymph fishing…to the day I met an old man who was fishing nymphs, and catching fish after fish…that was forty years ago, at least…and I was trying to catch trout on a dry fly, on a cold November morning…

An old man taught me to nymph fish.  I remember that the leader setup that he used, though new to me then, was traditional, borrowed from a time decades before that day.  The old timer fished a “cast” of three flies at once, and all three were size 8.  This “two dropper setup” was old school, even back then, but since the river we were fishing was a stone fly river, the size 8s were good stone fly imitations.  He would cast across and slightly upstream, quickly and skillfully mending his line, and watching for what he described as a “twitch” that would indicate a bite, or “take”, as his flies moved down stream, drifting with the current. 

The old man hooked up frequently.  When I tried this technique, I could neither see nor feel the twitch.  I became frustrated as he continued to catch trout, and I continued, to stumble along, fishless.  I slowed down, and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong.  We stopped, for lunch, and I voiced my frustrations.  “Patience is a virtue”, I was told, “Rome, was not built in a day”, I was told.  

As we sat down with our lunch, at the edge of the stream, our waders on, feet in the water, the old man reached over and grabbed a hand full of watercress, shook the stream water off, and put it on his ham sandwich.  How cool was that!  I now know that he was risking giardia, by not rinsing off his greenery in fresh water, but, at that time, I thought it was great that he could add to his lunch in such a manner!

After lunch we parted, and I secretly followed him upstream, stopping as he stopped, watching each of his casts, concentrating each time his line drifted downstream, watching him hook up and land several fish.  Suddenly it dawned on me that he may not have seen each take.  He might have been keying on spots where the fish should be, and just lifting his rod when his flies drifted over each fishy-looking spot.  If a fish had eaten one of the flies, he set the hook.  Could it be that simple?  

I stepped out from behind a tree near the bank.  “Aha!” I said to the startled old timer.  I explained to him what I thought he was doing.  “Guilty as charged,” he responded.  Trout have traditional holding lies that match up with the features of each segment of a stream.  Each part of a stream offers different feeding and resting areas, and an angler who knows where these areas are, can follow the old man’s example, and hook up with trout all day long!

This technique works very well, and it makes the angler using it look like an expert.  Now, there must be an understanding of where the trout are, and the rigging must be correct, but if all is right, this is a very efficient way to catch trout in a stream.  I’ve adopted this method, and it is a delightful way to fish a stream!

Steve Fritz

Bass Pro Shops

White River Outpost

Tracker Boat Sales

 

 

 

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Decorating the Trees.....Fly Shop Style

Betsie River SnagFly fishing is a greatly satisfying sport once you've figured out how to lay a fly somewhat close to the target zone, but for beginners, it can be quite frustrating and expensive.  Equipment costs seem to be way out of reach when greenhorns first look into it but most soon figure out that things can be quite realistic if everyone keeps their wits about them.

The only thing the angler needs to be worried about are the consumable costs like those for leaders and flies once the major purchases have been made, and tying your own can slightly mitigate the issue.  But it only softens the impact slightly when it seems the only things you can catch are trees, logs, rocks, bridge supports, dock pilings, power lines, and other miscellaneous tackle grabbers.  The most innocuous little twig can be an absolute hook magnet when positioned right over the best run or hole along the stream or shoreline, and you can just about figure out where the fish are without ever having seen one.  Just look for all the tackle above a regularly productive hole .  Can you imagine how many other anglers have felt the exact same urge to tuck a nearly impossible cast right up under the same overhanging branch?  It seems that God's sense of humor was working overtime when he gave us beautiful fish in spectacular locations but surrounded them with impossible casting situations.

I sometimes joke with customers that I consider the day to be a success when I can return home with half my fly selection intact and the rods in the same number of pieces as when I left.  I also mention that as a matter of good taste and style, they need to spread their lovingly-selected flies around and avoid sticking them all in the same piece of foliage.  My own advice is sometimes hard to heed once I actually set my feet in the water and spy a tantalizingly perfect piece of water just begging to be probed.  I recently donated a complete rig (two flies, split shot, and strike indicator) to the cause in a particularly nice tree along the "Fly Only" section of the Pere Marquette River in Michigan.  There was a beautiful pod of salmon working a gravel bed 3/4 of the way across the stream along with a  half dozen steelhead lying in wait for the salmon eggs to drift down to their waiting mouths.  It was too good to pass up so I gathered my thoughts, entered a zen-like trance, and with a prowess and finesse rarely demonstrated by mortal men, deposited a magnificently tied egg and bugger tandem straight into a tree branch hanging from a most superbly positioned tree behind me.  Lest you think I was the only one skilled enough to find the only obstacle to success within a hundred yards, I'm here to tell you that branch was nicely populated by a wide selection of flies tied in every color of the rainbow.  It was wonderfully decorative although not a terribly effective fishing technique.  I was frustrated at first but eventually resigned myself to the undeniable fact that these things are bound to occur when participating in the sport of fly fishing.  We often say that you aren't really trying if your aren't losing a fly to the bushes and bottom structure every so often.

The thing to glean from this all too obvious lesson is that you can't get too frustrated by these issues since it's part of the game,  and you just have to pay attention to your immediate surroundings before rearing back to launch a cast.  Also, be sure to take pictures of any flies purchased while on a trip because you might not possess them long enough to enjoy their company.  Besides, without a picture you won't remember what patterns to tie when you return to the vise in preparation for the next adventure.

Remember that Christmas is coming up so be sure to decorate with a sense of balance and style....  The wildlife will appreciate it on December 25th.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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Wolverine State Steel

Rogue RiverI’ve wanted to fish for steelhead in Michigan ever since I hooked my first one in Pennsylvania on a cold early winter day in November, but it took almost two years of dreaming, planning, and pouring over books and maps before I would finally be able to board the plane, bound for the wolverine state.  A fishing buddy and I had it figured out and were going to catch loads of fish, or so we thought.

We crisscrossed the state hitting seven different and beautiful rivers over the course of seven days but the fishing wasn’t quite as productive as either of us expected with fish numbers being a bit lower than optimal, but a few were landed and the scenery was absolutely spectacular once we got out of the city and into the country side.  Famed steelhead rivers like the Pere Marquette, Manistee, Little Manistee, and the Grand, were but a few of the waterways we trod in search of cooperative fish.  The Platt, Betsie, and Rogue added a flavor of their own, delivering some of the most unique topography, and streambed variety I’ve ever experienced. The Pere Marquette and Little Manistee were my favorites because of the intimate nature of the waterway and the sheer beauty they each exhibited.  I’ve never taken so many pictures of trees, water, rocks, and leaves in my life, but it seemed like there was something else to capture every time I turned a bend in the river.

The fishing its self was tougher than any I’ve done, both mentally and ……..  well, just mentally.  The conditions and weather were perfect and the physical aspect of the trip was fairly manageable, but casting for hours without result can make you question your sanity.  However, fishermen being what they are, will continue to cast into the abyss while hoping something worth catching happens to be living somewhere in the depths.  I found myself drifting off while the rod seemed to cast with robotic regularity at some times but then I’d move around the next bend and start casting with new energy and optimism.

We each did hook into a good number of fish over the seven day period but I was the only one lucky enough to land anything better than a tree branch.  A king salmon, steelhead, and rainbow each came to hand fulfilling a longtime dream of fishing a new and legendary location with even a small measure of success.  Sure, we could have taken a guided trip but there’s something greatly satisfying about doing it on your own with limited help other than a few tips from local shops and what you’ve read in books and magazines.

Pere Marquette SteelheadEach fish provided a special ingredient to what became a successful trip in anyone’s book, and I’ll always remember the steelhead’s first jump as it erupted from the crystalline depths, the kings shear power and weight as it surged into the rolling riffles, and the rainbows hidden hues I could only get a glimpse of when I turned the fish “just right” in the sunlight.  Truly amazing and awe inspiring!

Do yourself a favor and head north in the near future and experience the sights and sounds of Michigan by visiting its streams, forests, and lakes.  You won’t believe how easy it is to get lost as you explore what’s around the next bend, and the next, and the next, and the next…

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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Get ready for Trout fishing!

It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year to be out fishing right now with leaves changing on the trees and nature calling your name to get outdoors. Generally the weather can be very pleasant and you don’t have to deal with the heat or insects of summer.

The water is almost always very clear this time of year, and for that reason it’s a good idea to use fluorocarbon leaders and tippets. It’s the time when big browns are moving up stream for spawning which makes it probable someone could get into a large fish. When fishing for big browns, try a streamer pattern like leeches or woolly buggers swinging the fly down through the current and then stripping it back. Insect hatches are typically pretty small this time of year, so when matching the hatch you’ll need to use small flies. Tricos will continue to hatch until the weather turns colder, but are very small. This is the time for light rods in 3 weight and 4 weight and trico imitations will need to be sizes 28-30. Fine tippets of 7x or 8x are recommended. This is also a good time for blue wing olives in size 20 or 22. Caddis flies hatch all through the fall and into winter, especially on sunny days.

Trout will be stocked in Bethel Lake November 1 and it’s strictly catch and release until Feb. 1. Missouri trout permit is required in that lake, so make sure to check with MDC for rules and regulations. McKay Lake in Jefferson City, Kiwanis in Mexico and Spur Pond in Kirksville are also great local places to catch trout. Stop by our fishing department where we have all of your fly fishing needs as well as advice to help you reach your goals.

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