Two years ago I wrote a two part series on how you can help your kids get into fly fishing. Although I don’t have a degree in early childhood education and am not a perfect parent, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the ideas I presented back then work. How do I know? They’ve worked on my kids and my friends’ kids. That sample size might not be enormous, but its not like you need a rigorous program with a defended thesis behind it to get a kid to enjoy being outside.
The one thing that I recommended that seems to have resonated the most with the kids in my life is this: Give them their own fly box.
My boys had fly boxes before either of them cast a rod or landed a trout. I bought a cheap box and put a few random flies in it. The next time we went to a fly shop, a big box outdoor store, or an expo show, they each got to pick out a few more bugs. The trips out and the quantity of flies add up. Believe it or not, they accumulate flies at a faster rate than they lose them in trees.
Most of all, they enjoy it. If you need convincing, I’ve got some solid principles as to why this works. Here are five:
An in-depth look at Texas rig fishing for bass. Tim covers which baits catch the most fish, how to rig the bait, when to peg your weight, and which hooks work best. Whether you’re fishing a senko from shore on a small pond, our punching grass on a huge lake, the Texas rig is a great option to catch more bass.
There are 4 key Texas rigging styles that a well-rounded angler should understand how to use. They are Weightless Texas rigging (typically stick baits, flukes, etc…), Texas rig worms (curly tails and speed worms), Texas rigged creature baits (beavers, brush hogs, man bear pigs, etc), and punching heavy cover (heavy tungsten and a creature bait). Mastering all 4 methods will open a lot of doors for you as an angler.
Don’t let the broadness of the category scare you away. A simple 3/16 ounce free floating weight, a small hook, and a little worm or creature will catch a ton of bass under nearly any conditions. After you get comfortable with that setup you can begin branching out and trying the other styles. Below is a breakdown of Tim’s favorite baits and equipment for the technique.
After the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods was over the Ike Live! Afterparty got underway. It was maybe the best ever.
It lasted from about 8:00 pm until 11:00 pm, or I should say that was the official time for it. The truth is that they finally ran us out of the hotel in the wee hours of Monday morning, and I didn’t want to leave even then.
That’s saying something because I’d just finished three days of grueling fishing and media events. Nevertheless, I was having so much fun that I didn’t want to stop and probably wouldn’t have except that our hosts finally said, “Ike, you gotta leave.”
The biggest reason for my having so much fun was that I was operating at ground level. Most of the people there were fans of bass fishing and fans of the Classic. It was refreshing to meet and talk with them, and take a few selfies at the same time. We all had a good time.
I was really surprised, in a good way, to hear all the people tell me about their favorite episodes of Ike Live! That tells me that we have lots of viewers and that they like the show. That’s a real morale booster. It’s that ground level information I just mentioned.
In short, the party recharged my batteries. It’s been an open secret that over the past couple of years I’ve gotten worn out from all the travel and time away from home. It’s not that I didn’t like my job. It was that I missed being home with Becky and the kids. I was tired of hearing stories about what they did. I wanted to see that stuff for myself and be a part of it.
There were a few people who expected me to announce my retirement after last week. But instead what they got was an announcement that I have no thought of retiring. I feel good, Becky and I have worked out a plan for me to be home more and I’m looking forward to fishing competitively. It’s all falling into place.
The only negative about everything was
that I didn’t get to work the show. It sounds crazy to say that, and I certainly
would rather be fishing the last day than on the floor of the EXPO. But still,
I really enjoy the fans. I worked the final day during the last Classic and as
painful as it was not to fish it was refreshing to talk with fellow anglers and
That’s about all there is on this
topic. I’d be out of line, however, if I didn’t give a shout-out to Founders
Brewery for their support of the party. We couldn’t have put it on without
their help. Thanks!
Next week we’re going to talk about The Ike Foundation and how things went with it. That story is as positive as everything else I’ve had to say about the Classic.
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This post explores the best Chatterbait setup, and why you should use a chatterbait for bass fishing. A good chatterbait setup will help you catch more bass out on the water in a variety of different conditions. Professional anglers use it all the time to catch both numbers and big fish. By adding a chatterbait to your bass fishing arsenal, you should catch more fish. Here are the things you need to keep in mind when getting set up for fishing a chatterbait.
Whopper Ploppers, Frogs, Poppers, Buzzbaits, and Walking baits are all great Spring topwater lures. Today Matt explains the signs that the topwater bite has started, where to throw the lures, and when each style is effective. He also gives key tips on retrieve, cadence, color, and gear selection.
The excitement of a topwater explosion is unlike anything else in bass fishing. Once you’ve had an explosive strike you can’t wait for the next! Knowing when to put the time in to get those bites is the key. Is today a good day for a popper? Would you have caught more bass with a buzzbait? Matt explains explains how to choose the baits based on conditions, fish behavior, and location.
Color selection is very simple with Spring topwater. If you cover the 3 basics of white, black, and chartreuse, you’re prepared for virtually any situation. It doesn’t hurt to throw a natural bluegill in from time to time as well.
Below is a breakdown of the baits Matt discussed in the video as well as Matt’s top choices for hook upgrades, rods, reels, and more.
Meet Arlo Townsend, one of the longest working guides on the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake. We spent the day with Arlo searching for trophy Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and talking to him about his years in the guiding biz. We are excited to add Arlo to our ongoing blog series “Behind the Guides” presented by Costa Sunglasses.
Flylords: Tell us where we’re going right now?
Arlo: Headin’ out to Pyramid Lake, Northwestern Nevada. It’s about a half a million-acre American Indian Reservation.
Flylords: What makes this lake unique?
Arlo: Pyramid is a 24-mile-long lake, eight-mile-wide, enormous high-desert lake. It has the biggest Lahontan cutthroat trout in the world, that swim within its waters.
Probably gives you the best chance anywhere in the United States right now, for a 20-pound trout.
Flylords: How would you describe yourself?
Arlo: Been one of the longest working guides on the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake out here. Doing the fly fishing thing before the social media and everything that goes along with it. I’m just a hardcore fisherman that takes his craft in real high regard. I just think I was put on this earth to create the best experiences, showing clients how to have the best time going fishing.
Flylords: How many years have you been doing this for, and what keeps you coming back every year?
Arlo: I guess this is my 15th year, going on 16 years guiding out here. At this point in life, I probably don’t know anything else. But I do know whenever I’m on the water with clients, life makes sense to me, and that’s what keeps me going back. Get off of the water, life doesn’t make as much sense. Being on the water with clients is a very comforting place for me. It’s a place where the world makes sense.
Flylords: Why do you think you decided to set up home base in this area?
Arlo: That is a great question. I moved down from Alaska, where you think I would pursue being a fly fishing guide, but Reno grasped me with the brown trout in the Truckee River and it kept me here because I can fish and run a business here 12 months a year, which is always what I wanted to do. I don’t have to take any breaks from fishing, it’s a mild enough climate that I can fish 12 months a year here. And it’s challenging every month of it.
Flylords: Do you have a favorite fish that comes to mind?
Arlo: That’s gonna be tough with Pyramid Lake.
My favorite fish is a brown trout.
Flylords: What’s your largest fish from Pyramid Lake?
Arlo: Largest fish from Pyramid Lake… It’s not a recorded measurement with a certified scale, but through the measurements of the fish and plugging it into equations that tell us supposedly how heavy fish should be, it was a fish between 28 and 32 pounds that a client caught, back in 2016.
Flylords: If you had to choose one fly to fish, what would that fly be?
Arlo: My favorite fly is the Patriot Midge. It’s a fly that shouldn’t work as well as it does, but it’s red, white and blue, I love America, I love what this country allows people to do, as far as pursuing their passions and making a living out of it. I love to be able to swim the colors of our country with the Patriot Midge while floating flies at Pyramid Lake.
Flylords: What do you think the most challenging part of being a full-time guide is?
Arlo: The work in between being on the water. It’s a life of organization and continuous preparedness if that is a word. The work behind the scenes is something that I never figured would take up as much time as it does. It’s a work that you’re never off the clock, it’s a job you’re never off the clock.
Flylords: Tell us about what your ideal setup looks like for Pyramid Lake.
Arlo: Easiest Pyramid Lake setup to deal with is really simple. A floating line, an indicator, and a couple of chironomids or a balanced leach about six to eight feet underneath it, usually attached with 2X or 3X fluorocarbon. We cast that setup over the shelf line and wait for the fish to do the rest of the work from there.
Flylords: Can you describe a Lahontan cutthroat?
Arlo: Lahontan cutthroat trout is one of the biggest bellied fish I’ve ever seen. They’re some of the fattest fish in their stature. I think they have more fat than muscle a lot of the time. There’s a lot of variety in between the Lahontan cutthroat trout you catch, which keeps things interesting. Rarely do you have a cookie cutter day, with a Lahontan cutthroat trout. Every one of them seems to have its own characteristics, like a snowflake, no two are alike from my experiences with them.
Flylords: Can you think of one thing that stands out as maybe the craziest thing that you’ve seen in the wild?
Arlo: One instance that comes to mind is back in 2012. I was standing on the banks of Pyramid Lake with a client, and at a beach I had fished hundreds of times before. Out of nowhere, about 20 yards away from us offshore, comes swimming a river otter. River otters are not supposed to be in Pyramid Lake, or haven’t been in Pyramid Lake since the late 1800s. My client and I were lucky to get half a dozen pictures of the only river otter spotted in Pyramid Lake since the 1940s… That was a pretty amazing circumstance.
Flylords: Tell us about when you first got connected with Costa and what it means to you to be a Costa Pro guide?
Arlo: I got connected with Costa from my old relationship with Peter working at Simms. So, I’ve known Peter a long time from when he worked for a prior company. Costa has always seemed to be a company that went above and beyond making sunglasses. Not only did they put out a great product for the anglers, but they seem to care about the environment and the habitats that buyers spend their time in. That’s really important to me and really feel lucky to be a part of that now.
Flylords: Do you have a favorite pair of Costa lenses that you like to use in this fishery?
Arlo: The Costa Motu’s with Sunrise Yellow glass lenses are the best glasses I have ever used in low-light periods at Pyramid Lake. Mornings and evenings, I can’t fish without them.
Flylords: Are you involved in any conservation efforts?
Arlo: So, that’s one thing I’ve always been finding my way with. I suppose the biggest impact I try to make is just in the daily interaction I have with my clients. I guess the best thing I can do and know how to do is simply lead by example through the hundreds if not thousands of people I touch, teaching fly fishing through the years.
Flylords: Are there any other species of fish in Pyramid Lake, other than the cutthroat trout?
Arlo: There are. Pyramid lake has an ancient fish called the Cui-ui, which supposedly has been around for over two million years. It is specific only to Pyramid Lake. It’s a Hoover sucker styled fish, that is a federally protected fish. You’re supposed to let them go as soon as you catch them. But it’s an exotic fish, I suppose, and one that not a whole lot of anglers have checked off of their list. Pyramid Lake also has the Tahoe Sucker, Sacramento Perch, and the Tui Chub.
You can follow along with Arlo on Instagram at Arlo Townsendand be sure to check out Costa’s latest line of sunglasses here.
I have always considered March 1 as the official start of spring because in my home state of Missouri that date is the opening of trout parks throughout the state. However, April is a prime time for trout fishing throughout the country when many other states start stocking the fish in their rivers and lakes.
Newly stocked trout are fairly easy to catch because the fish are ready to eat just about anything thrown in front of them and have yet to be educated about lures and baits.
Here’s a look at three ways to catch trout throughout the spring. Keep in mind though that special regulations on some waterways might prohibit the use of some of these tactics.
How To Fish For Trout: Flies
The spring hatches of various insects will determine which fly patterns you should use on your favorite trout waters. So if you can catch one of the insects buzzing around the water closely inspect it and try to match the hatch with one of the flies in your tackle pack. Some of the top fly patterns for tricking springtime trout include midges, mayflies, stoneflies, caddis and streamers.
How To Fish For Trout: Jigs And Rigs
My favorite way to catch trout any time of the year is hopping a marabou jig with ultralight spinning tackle. The size of the jig I select depends on the water flow. In heavy current I throw a 1/8-ounce jig; for light flow I scale down to a 1/16- or 1/32-ounce model. My favorite jig colors include black, white, olive and brown. A variety of spinners, spoons and small crankbaits will also catch plenty of trout in the spring. I have caught lots of trout throughout the years on Roostertails, Mepps Aglias, Little Cleos and Worden’s Flatfishes. Soft plastic worms, plastic grubs and Trout Magnets are also great artificial lures for stocked trout.
How To Fish For Trout: Old Faithful
Nothing beats the real deal if you are allowed to fish bait on your favorite trout waters. A couple of years ago I took my wife on her first trout fishing trip and she caught a limit of Lake Taneycomo rainbows on pieces of nightcrawlers. Big rainbow and brown trout can be taken on minnows and sculpins in the spring. Salmon eggs always produced limits of trout for me when I was a kid. The best prepared bait I have used for springtime trout is the Berkley PowerBait Trout Bait in various colors.
Flylords caught up with Craig Baker, the Vice President of Business Development at Mayfly Outdoors/Abel Reels, to discuss the all-new Abel Reels + Spyderco Native 5 Knives. Check out the interview below to learn more about what goes into these machined knives.
Flylords: Tell us when and how this collaboration came to light?
Craig:We’ve had a knife collab idea up our sleeve for a few years now. Abel used to make a pretty nice knife, but we know there were better knife manufacturers than we’ll ever be. In fact, we looked at multiple partners for the deal, and Spyderco was certainly the best fit; and they’re a neighboring Colorado company. We met with their owners and left them a tricked out Abel reel to keep. They put the reel on their desk for the next couple of months, and according to them, everyone touched the reel and asked about its incredible finish. They knew they needed to do the collab with us. So we spent the next 9 months dialing in the shapes of the aluminum scales, the exact materials that would take our dyes correctly, and the blade steel. We love how they turned out. And they’re all made in Golden, Colorado, and anodized in our Camarillo, California art studio/anodize shop.
Flylords: Why did you choose Brown Trout Rainbow Trout and Tarpon Designs?
Craig: We wanted to start simple, with few SKUs. So we chose our two most popular freshwater patterns (Native Brown Trout, Native Rainbow Trout), and our most popular saltwater pattern (Bonefish), to appeal to the broadest audience. We have many more ideas, but we’ll see how these go.
Flylords: What made you decide to work with Spyderco on the collab?
Craig: We work very well together and really were impressed with their commitment to quality. Abel’s partner could only be top notch. It doesn’t hurt that they make these knives all in Golden, CO!
Flylords: These knives seem to be on the pricey side of things… Could you tell us about how much time goes into each knife?
Craig: Most people have no idea how much hand labor goes into the knife and don’t really have a sense for how much that costs. In addition to the costs of the high-end materials, machining, and labor from Spyderco, we spend more than 4.5 hours of human labor polishing and hand dying the anodized graphics into the handle scales. THIS IS NOT PAINT. We do use paint brushes to control the dyes, but the graphics are 100% embedded into the actual pore structure of the aluminum by our artists–kind of like giving the metal a tattoo. That being said, this is more of a passion project for us than a huge money maker. Profit margins are tight, but we think it’s worth introducing our unique artwork to a much larger audience. These knives aren’t for everyone, but the discerning customer will appreciate and cherish these beauties for a lifetime.
Flylords: Who paints the knives?
Craig: The knives aren’t “painted,” as described previously, but our Camarillo team of artists hand-applies anodize chemical dyes via paintbrush, q-tip, sponges, and dipping in tanks of permanent dyes. We like to call it “alchemy.” If you make a mistake, you basically start over with a new part, so we have to be extremely careful. Our artists are amazingly talented folks that can create astonishing effects in metal like no one else in the world.
Flylords:Can you tell us about the manufacturing and design behind the knives? Is this done in the Abel factory or in the Spyderco factory?
Craig: The design’s starting point was the already-great Spyderco Native 5®, but our engineering teams collaborated on some enhanced ergonomics and material selections. From there all knives are manufactured by the Spyderco team in Golden, CO. The anodize is all completed in California by Abel, then shipped back to Colorado for Spyderco assembly.
Flylords: Where is the best place for people to purchase a knife from?
Craig: The knives are exclusively available via authorized Abel Reels dealers around the world and at abelreels.com.
Flylords: Any other cool product collabs coming up for this year?
Craig: Stay tuned… 😉
Craig Baker is the Vice President of Business Development at Abel Reels. Be sure to check out Abel Reels on Instagram at @abelreels. Photos courtesy of Ivan Orsic of Trouts Fly Fishing. Trouts is an authorized Abel dealer, to get your hands on one of these knives check out Trout’s full selection online here.
Like many fly fishers, I started chasing trout with a 5-weight. This versatile size worked well enough for most circumstances. As I fished more, and found myself spending a lot of my time on smaller streams, I learned how shorter and lighter rods could be more efficient and effective. And, most importantly, more fun.
Back then, switching from a 5-weight to a 3-weight felt like a big transition. I couldn’t imagine what the 2- and 1-weights I saw in catalogs felt like. And I also saw that Sage made a 0-weight. Zero. As in none. For a young fly fisher, the lack of a real numerical designation added to the mystique and intrigue. I never fished that rod, or any of the “ought-weights” that other manufacturers have built in the years since,
But nearly twenty years later, I’ve been fishing the newest Sage 0-weight, the DART, for a few months.
The rod is light. At less than two ounces it will hardly move the scale. You’ll feel fish. You’ll feel small fish. But if you’re looking for a rod that feels lighter than air, the DART might not be your best choice. There are rods, generally custom models, designed to be as insubstantial as possible. The DART is a real fly rod. It isn’t a wispy, gimmicky piece of gear fashioned only to feel light. Technology has come to a place where even in the bottom line weights you’ll get a balanced, fishable, real fly rod.
Have you seen water this clear? Tim found schools of giant bass and panfish holding on current seams in fast moving water. He’s sight fishing them as they feed in the current. If you’ve ever seen water this clear you know how intimidating it can be but by adapting your equipment and carefully selecting the right bait you can catch some truly GIANT fish. The best part of all is you get to watch them bite!
As Tim explains in the video the fish are holding on the seam between fast moving current and the eddies. He uses a 1/4 ounce Ned rig to get the bait down as quickly as possible then bumps it down the current toward the bass. The concept is very similar to back bouncing a bait for salmon or steelhead.
The key to fishing in water this clear is gear selection. Light fluorocarbon is essential as is a rod and reel that can withstand the screaming runs that these big smallmouth make in current. If your line is too heavy the fish refuse to bite, too light and you’ll break off. The same goes for rods and reels. Too heavy, you’ll break off every time but too light and you’ll never gain control of the fish. Below is a breakdown of the tackle Tim was using to catch this awesome limit of bass!