The annual IFTD (International Fly Tackle Dealer) Show was held in Orlando, FL, last week. We're proud to announce that once again Sage and RIO won Best of Show for new 2015 products. We don't know how Jerry Siem continues to improve on the best fly rods made today, but he finds ways. The new Accel and SALT rods took Best of Show and the SALT series took Overall Best of Show. Simon Gawesworth and RIO were also right there in the trophy receiving line with the new RIO Permit Fly Line. We're proud to be aligned with these two American Made Companies who continue to make the best better.
Barry and Cathy Beck's Blog
Often when we pick up a rod to cast and we don't like it, it could be the line that's on the rod and not the rod itself. It's important to put the right line on a rod but knowing what that "right line" is can be very difficult. Many anglers, ourselves included, prefer to put a line like the RIO Grand on fast action rods and a line like the RIO Gold for slower action rods. With dry fly season here, both east and west, and the need for light, delicate presentations, it's a good time to hear about the new InTouch RIO Gold trout line. Click here to see RIO's new family of Trout Lines.
On the other hand, with memories of our recent tarpon trip to Isla Holbox, Mexico, still fresh in our minds, we'd like to share this excellent clip from Zack Dalton at RIO on choosing the right tarpon line. It makes us want to go back to Mexico for more fun with those fish! Click here to see the clip
It's great to have a company constantly researching new technology, new coatings, new tapers. RIO is the cutting edge because they never sleep. They firmly believe that the very best line ever can still be improved.
RIO is excited to introduce another great addition to the OutBound Short Series. Click HERE for more info.
Also, if you have time, take a minute and check out the Early Summer issue of Kayak Angler.
They used a great image of Toby Thompson & Cathy fishing for bass on the Susquehanna River. Barry captured the unique shot from the Interstate 80 bridge. You can view the Issue HERE
If you want to hear something really cool, take a look at this blog that Barry just wrote for Rio. It's an off the wall fish story but fun to read, especially on a Thursday afternoon. You can click here to see it.
Also, last call to join Barry & Cathy at Pelican Bay Hotel in the Bahamas, June 2-7. One room left. Great destination for big bonefish and lots of activities for non-angling partners. 5 nights/4 days fishing. $2,750 pp double occupancy. Check out the details here and give us a call.
A client asked this week about the relevancy of expiration dates on leaders and tippet spools. We asked John Harder at RIO for his thoughts on this subject. John is the Director of R&D, but his co-workers call him the Mono-Man. He knows his stuff and has given us some valuable information. Thank you John.
The Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ, was this past weekend. The report is that the attendance broke all records, of course the weather helped! There were lots of presentations, dealers, manufacturers, seminars, destinations, and personalities. If you missed it, you missed a lot of fun. Be sure to put it on your calendar for next year!
Click on the link below to see some of our favorite shots from the weekend.
With all of the Christmas and New Year's excitement, I missed announcing Barry and Cathy's blogs on Rio's website, so here they are.
Cathy writes from Patagonia about covering water in her article Forrest Gump's Mom was Right.
And Barry's article, In Search of the Worm, is about an aquatic worm hatch (maybe...) in Rhode Island that he and Cathy were in search of last Spring.
Both are great reads and we hope you'll take the time to check them out. Also, if you're attending The Flyfishing Show in Somerset, NJ this weekend, make sure you stop by Rio's booth to see what's new for this year.
Rio Products, manufacturer of fly lines, leaders and tippet material, announces the addition of four new tippet materials to it's comprehensive range.
They include the Flouroflex Freshwater, Flouroflex Saltwater, the new Rio Saltwater & new Rio Steelhead/Salmon Tippet. You can read all the details by clicking Here.
As I look ahead to Barry & Cathy's trip schedule, I see that they are headed to Patagonia, Argentina. This is a popular destination for many reasons and I am aware that most of our guests on this trip are repeat visitors. They probably know what to expect and especially what to look forward to. However I was reading over some of our past blogs that originally appeared on the RIO blog website and came across one that seemed to fit perfectly. I think this will be a great resource for those of you joining the Beck's next month in Patagonia, but I also think that we can all learn something from it, no matter where we're fishing.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut – By Cathy Beck
As I write this we are driving down 50 miles of dirt road on our way to Estancia Quemquemtreu near San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, Argentina. Our guide Andres Homosilla is driving and Adele is playing in the car. About every 10 minutes I have to blow the ash dust off my computer keyboard. There is still a lot of it in the air here from the volcano erupting nearly a year ago. It’s on everything. Our group has just wrapped up five full days of fishing on the Rio Malleo at Estancia San Huberto near Junin de los Andes. The next 3 days will find us fishing on the Rio Collon Cura and it will be quite different from the Malleo which is a beautiful spring creek. If you’re old enough, you might remember that Ernest Schweibert called it the queen of all spring creeks in one of his books.
It was a good week of fishing on the Malleo and everyone is leaving with mixed feelings. We love San Huberto and the Olson family. Most of us have been coming on this trip for many years so it feels like an annual visit home. We’ve had a spell of beautiful fall weather and a good week of fishing, so we are all leaving with special memories of fish caught, good Malbec, and friends visited. But now our sights are set on our next stop which we affectionately call “QQ.”
As I think back over the last week of fishing, I find myself thinking about how a little change in fishing tactics can make such a difference in the results we get. There are many things that come to mind to prove this theory but the first one is tippet size and material. The fish on the Malleo are like fish on spring creeks just about everywhere. They can be super selective, often see their share of fishermen and a multitude of fly patterns. On the first day I started out fishing a large beetle on 4X and moved a few fish in the riffles and faster moving water. Sometimes I would let the fly float undisturbed and other times I would twitch it across the surface. Some casts I would let the fly land pretty hard so it would plop into the water. I like this kind of fishing because you don’t have to be accurate or precise. Just hit the likely looking places and often the cast will produce a fish.
Every day we fished a different beat and conditions can change dramatically from beat to beat. The second day of fishing started out with the beetle and 4X from the day before but now we were on more technical slower, placid water. This beat is called Henry’s Fork. If you’ve fished the “Fork” in Idaho, you understand why. I’ve had good luck at times fishing the beetle in this kind of water looking for a fish who might want a bigger meal. After about an hour of not moving a single fish, I took the guide’s earlier advice and we changed to a small size 16 parachute Adams on 5X with a 6X dropper with a size 20 pheasant tail nymph. In just a few minutes I had my first fish of the day.
The moral of the story is if a fly isn’t working and you know you’re casting over fish, change it – or change something. On another day simply changing from a size 16 comparadun to a size 18 did the trick. Sometimes the dropper needs to be longer. If it is still not getting down to the fish try a heavier nymph (or two) with a strike indicator that can be positioned on the leader according to the depth of the water. If the fish are not rising, or is very cold or off-color from a storm, consider a streamer and change the retrieves until you find one the fish like.
I was using RIO Fluoroflex and I think it makes a big difference too. It disappears in the water making it harder for the fish to detect. This may not be critical in some places but if you’re fishing over fish that see a lot of fishermen, it may make the difference between catching and not catching. I started out as a skeptic but I’ve become a firm believer in fluorocarbon.
Don’t be lazy or get stuck in a rut where it’s easier to stay with the set-up that you’ve got rather than change it. By experimenting and changing flies, leaders, and technique you could very likely change your luck as well.
Barry and Cathy Beck travel with small groups of people who love these pursuits as much as they do. All of their hosted trips are organized through Frontiers International. Visit their website, and follow the adventures on their Facebook and twitter feed: @bcbeckphoto.
Clean fly lines float higher, shoot further, coil less, and last longer. These video clips from RIO are in the most recent issue of MidCurrent Fly Fishing News and demonstrate the easiest, quickest, most effective way to clean a fly line. Make sure your line is clean for best performance.
update: the links have been corrected...sorry for the error and thank you for reading!
On an average day of fishing, we probably walk 5-6 miles. Some days are shorter hikes, most are longer. Some days if we're lucky we may see a big fish about every mile. Once in a while we might see a couple fish within a short distance of each other but more often than not they are spread out with a lot of water and rocks in between. As if getting to these fish weren't difficult enough, once we find them it can really get technical. Someone once told me that a poor cast doesn't catch any fish and it's more true here than anywhere else.
Our go-to rods this trip are both Sage Rods, a 9' TCX and a 9-1/2' Z-Axis, both 5 weights loaded with Rio Grand willow floating fly lines. We usually keep one rod rigged for dries with a Chocklett cicada, parachute Adams, or Chernobyl beetle. The second rod almost always has two nymphs and often one or both will be a tungsten bead head. Most of the time our leaders are about 18 feet long. Add a pretty stiff breeze, sometimes gusts, and most of the time it seems that the wind is coming straight at us making the cast difficult to turn over and put in the right place.
There have been a dozen times (perhaps my guide would say more) when we finally find a fish, he's moving around feeding, and therefore "catchable". I get into position, get the line out, false cast out to the side of the fish carefully measuring my line only then to drop it either too close or too far upstream, too far right, or too far left. On occasion when I do drop it exactly where I want it, the current grabs it and it either pulls it out of his feeding lane or it drags. If everything is perfect (and I do mean everything), then the fish will usually eat the fly. If I continue to be lucky I will strike at the right nano-second and hook the fish. Then it's a contest to see who is the fittest - him as he races upstream and down or me as I try to dance across the rocks both wet and dry trying to stay connected. Once in a while I win, once in a while he wins.
One of the problems is that first cast that didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to. Probably with trout everywhere, but especially here, if he doesn't eat the first cast he is put on alert and then becomes much harder to fool. It's not to say he can't be caught, but you've just stacked the odds more in his favor and less in yours. Making a good first cast is so very important. It's bad news if it lands wrong or if the leader doesn't turn over and turning over a 18' leader with tungsten bead head nymphs is not for the faint of heart, however there are a couple things that can help us get the job done.
The first thing is to be sure of the amount of line you're casting. This much I've learned the hard way. Thankfully there is usually a white wool indicator on the leader. By casting out to the side of the fish you should most of the time be able to judge how much line you're casting and know when you've got the right amount. Then move the cast back to where the fish is and present it. If you false cast over the fish you will run the risk of him seeing the cast, the indicator, or the shadow of the line.
The second thing that helps me is to not watch the fish but concentrate on the spot up in front of him where you want your fly to land. Your cast will have the tendency to go where you are looking. If you're concentrating on the fish you may hit him on the head with the flies and trust me, they don't like that.
If you're not comfortable casting such a long leader and most of us aren't, get 3 or 4 feet of fly line out beyond your rod tip before starting to cast. When walking from one spot to another, hook the bottom nymph in a snake guide pretty far up the rod and then bring the leader back around the reel seat and reel in the slack. When you're get ready to cast again, pull a couple inches of line off the reel and drop the line from around the reel and while still holding the leader, tap the rod blank and the fly will drop out of the guide. Before letting go of the leader pull some extra fly line out beyond the rod tip with your free hand. Then toss the leader into the water, do a quick roll cast to get it out in front so you can then pick it up and start to cast. This is also a good trick for fishing streamers or nymphs back home with split shot or a sink-tip.
It's important that you remember to lengthen your casting stroke as the amount of line increases that your casting. In other words, as you shoot line thus increasing the amount of line that your casting, lengthen the stroke. Take the rod further back in the back and in the front. Many times, just a couple inches in each direction will smooth out the cast and make it more manageable. Remember the quick stop with the rod tip at each end of the casting stroke so you don't sacrifice line speed.
Another thing that will help a lot is a good sharp single haul at the end of the forward cast to help increase line speed and turn over the long leader and heavy flies. Whenever you need more line speed, it will be easier to get it from a good haul (in the right place) then to try casting the rod harder which can result in a tailing loop. In this example, it's important to put the haul at the front end of the forward cast. Don't spread it out over the entire casting stroke because you'll waste most of it. Wait until the rod gets in front of your shoulder before starting the haul.
The last thing is to make sure you're far enough behind the fish to make a cast using some fly line. It's easy to sneak up behind the fish and sometimes we can get so close that we don't have much line to cast. This is especially true in rough water or when the fish is deep. By getting back a bit further we put more distance between us and the fish, therefore using more fly line to reach the fish which makes the cast easier to execute. It is much harder to cast just the leader when you're close then it is to cast a few yards of fly line and leader. Simply backing up may make the cast easier in the long run.
Places like New Zealand make us become better anglers. So much of the time, it's little things that we can do that make us better fishermen. That said, I think my guide is waiting for me. We'll see what today brings! Cathy.