Equipment – Vehicle Rod Rack (External)

I finally broke down and bought a rod rack. Over the last three or four years, I have probably broken two tips rattling around in the back of my pickup truck. In addition, when fishing from place to place, it’s a real hassle to reassemble the rod, attach the reel, and thread the line at

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New Fly Guy – Funny, funny instructional videos!

My sister, who lives on the bank of the White River in Arkansas, sent these. What a great way to start thinking about how you are going to “tune up” your technique for the 2013 season! Episode 1 Episode 2 (check out the hatch and the fish exploding on the surface in the background) Episode 3 (fantastic

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Bass – 2011 Virginia Bass Lake Rankings

In case you missed it, the VDGIF published the latest listing of the top bass lakes in our area: Reservoir  Rank  Year Sampled Size in Acres County  Pelham  1 2010   255   Culpeper  Arrowhead  2 2009   34   Page  Occoquan  3 2007   2,100   Fairfax  Burke  4 2010   218   Fairfax 

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New Fly Guy – Pin Trick

Anyone else out there bugged by hooks with plugged holes from sloppy tying?  I am. Over the last several years, I was frustrated trying to clean these up using the available tools – clipper end and even the Orvis forceps.  I finally hit on sewing needles and pins as an easier to use alternative. Not

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Snakehead – Pohick Bay

I should have learned my lesson the last time we threw the canoe into the wind tunnel that goes by the name of Pohick Bay. But, the lure of snakeheads overcame my memory as the Basswife and I launched off the sandy beach on a bright Saturday afternoon. 12 feet out from the shoreline, the

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New Fly Guy – The Davy Knot

The Davy Knot (created by Dave Wotton) is amazingly simple to tie.  Follow this link to the instructions. It is much easier to tie than a clinch or improved clinch I normally tie using my forceps. Now…. the website with the instructions claims that the knot retains almost 100% of breaking strength based on the fact that

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George Washington National Forest – What’s Public.

If you take a quick look at the map, it appears the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests cover most of western Virginia. The sad fact is that the actual boundary of the National Forest is a patchwork with private and public property blending together. I ran into this problem as I began to plan

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New Fly Guy – Easy Droppers

As I rapidly approach 60 years old, I have to put pride aside and admit my eyeballs are not as precise as they used to be. The immediate problem this presents for fly fishing is the ability to thread a barely visible tippet through the invisible hole that exists on teeny tiny size 20 and

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Shad Success on the Rapp!

Shad season is in full swing on the Rappahannock. I fished it for a few hours on Tuesday evening and picked up five shad and had a few bumps that did not result in a hookup. As you can see from the pictures, the crowds were out enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. In addition to

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Skad!!!

Once a year, the simple phase, “this Shad are in!” galvanizes anglers across northern and central Virginia to make immediate plans to visit either the James, Rappahannock or Fletcher’s on the Potomac. I was no exception. For the last week ,I had been waiting anxiously for that riveting call to come .. and it finally

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Annual Caution – SAR Beacon

It seems as if this is an annual event. I make a routine plea to take the right, smart steps to ensure your safety while fishing in the remote places I know you go. In earlier posts, I commented on the loss of life resulting from people being unprepared to be stranded, broken down or injured while

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Annual Alert! Springtime means Bears!

An even better discussion of this topic is on OutsideHow.com – Here’s the link! I rerun this article every Spring.  I recently read that the bears will be bad this year because of the warm winter.  They will be out of hibernation early… and hungry.  Be alert.  If you have old bear spray, check the

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Review – Tenkara Rod

There was a big article recently in a major Fly Fishing magazine about Tenkara Rods.  As a result, I have fielded some questions on it.  Here is the review I published in 2010.  Still true.  Still love it.  Get yours from Mossy Creek for the Spring brookie season in the Blue Ridge! When I heard

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Line – Four Choices

The February Bassmaster magazine had a great article on the line selection – very educational. The author, Frank Sergeant, summed up the problem with his introductory line, “It used to be a simple question – Trilene or Stren?” To bottom line the discussion, there are four major types of line on the market today; monofilament,

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Wading, Water and Survival

If you are not already a subscriber to Fly Fisherman Magazine, articles like this one in the February issue should convince you to subscribe. Ralph Cutter wrote a fantastic article called, “The Big Swim – How to Survive Dangerous Circumstances.” After reading it , I knew I had just gained information that might save my life. You should

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Kent’s Stealth Bomber

At the Richmond Fishing Expo, a reader slid up and dropped me a hint, “Check out Kent’s Stealth Bomber.”  He then went on to expand on why with tales of massive fish hauled in with this interesting fly. A Google search on “Kent’s Stealth Bomber” returns 233 hits—how to tie it, how to use it,

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Need a Kitchen Pass for Christmas?

All I want for Christmas is a Kitchen Pass. Guilt free fishing! Here’s a form you can accidentally let your wife or girl friend “find.” Now… if I can just slip this to the Basswife….  Download a copy by clicking here. Tell a friend about this article by clicking on this link Unless stated otherwise, this

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Cleaning… don’t wait until Spring

Here’s a reminder. For most of us, the season is over except for those rare warm days where we just can’t resist getting out on the water. So, this is the perfect time to start cleaning your gear for next season. It’s always obnoxious to do it, but cleaning fly line is critical for a

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Ultimate Bass Canoe – Marine Battery

Is your trolling battery sitting in the corner of your garage?  Whoa.  There are a number of things that need to happen in the off season to keep it in top condition. Since I messed up a battery last year, I checked a few sites to get the right info on what to do. There

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The Fish Camp

As we roll up on steelhead season, many will head to “fish camps” as a part of that annual ritual. Living out of a true fish camp makes the expedition authentic – here’s the skinny. I was slow in school.  I never fully appreciated the definition of “lowest common denominator” until I walked into the

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Review: Dahlberg Diver Frog

These things are actually pretty cool. I bought one—it was pricey at 12 bucks—and it performed as described. I could twitch next to the shore and then crank it underwater, let it rise, and crank it again. Sadly, no happy ending.  The bass were not cooperating on Smith Lake when I tried it out.  But

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Bass – Back to Breckenridge

Breckenridge Reservoir, at the Quantico Marine Corps Base, continues to be one of my favorite small lakes close to home. I was in trouble with the Basswife because I had not taken her fishing as much as she wanted to go last year. Therefore, on the first good day where there was the possibility of

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Review – Shark Tooth Spool Management System

Last season I discovered the “Shark Tooth Spool Management System” from Loon Outdoors.  The system is an elastic band with a cutter attached that allows you to strip out tippet and then slice it off without having to grab a nipper, or, even worse, bite it. It comes in several sizes with the red (large)

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Quick Tenkara Tip

Quick Tenkara tip. For those of you who use Tenkara rods, you have already discovered how flexible they can be. Specifically, if you run into a tight spot, it’s easy to collapse a few sections to shorten the overall length of the rod. The problem is that you have to grip the rod at the

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Wading Staff Repair

I use my staff all the time and believe I am still alive as a result of some timely, deperate pokes at the streambed. Eventually, the tip comes off and I have to go out and spend another $30 on a new staff.  Geez.. Lon solved the problem – just drill a hole through a

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Don’t kiss your fish!

I remember when I was just starting to fish… my Dad introduced me to the ritual of kissing a fish for good luck when you threw it back. I’ve done that often on over the years joking around, but now I realize how lucky I have been. Dan Neuland wrote a great article in the

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Smallmouth Bass and heat

“Know your enemy and know yourself and in a thousand battles you will never be in peril” – Sun Tzu I did not do well on my last two trips to the Potomac.  I caught a few fish, but nothing like a normal day.  What gives?  HOT Heat! I wanted to understand more about the

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New Fly Guy – Painful Rod Transport Lesson

Last weekend, I was fishing my way from place to place on the Rappahannock to collect pictures for my upcoming book (Wade Fishing the Rappahannock – will publish in December), and took the lazy man’s approach to stowing my rod. I opened the back window on the truck and slid the rod through to rest it

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Use vegetation to target summer smallies

As we head into July, be prepared for the explosive growth of submerged vegetation in the Potomac and other rivers. As I discuss in my book, some places are better than others in terms of avoiding the thick growth that can totally close you out. In particular, if you want to fish off Sycamore Landing (upstream

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New Fly Guy – Casting – don’t try as hard

Just a quick comment as we head into the serious smallmouth bass season. A bad habit I tend to fall into in my excitement to hook up with big smallies is to both overweight my line and overpower my cast. It’s a pretty well-known fact that to catch big fish, you need to use big

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Equipment – Knot Strength

You should get this months issue of Field & Stream if the only thing you read is the article by John Merwin titled, “The Ultimate Line Experiment.”  John discusses the best knots to use for different situations and completed a thorough regimen of strength testing that reveals some surprising results. The article includes a discussion

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Get a Fishing Bike for Rapid Movement

Last year, I was “educated” on the advantage of a fishing bike when I visited the Cranberry River in West Virginia. On that trip, I ended up riding a used girl’s bike that I bought at a thrift store (and donated back when I was done). But, it was such a clear advantage to use a bike

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Other – Sea Trout (FL – Mosquito Lagoon)

In April last year, I had to go to Florida on business.  Without a second thought, I added a vacation day onto the end of the trip and called my old friend, Eph, who lives in the Orlando area.  Given that he is another dedicated fisherman, I did not have to ask twice and he

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Braid vs Mono in a nutshell

In an article published in October 2009, Ron Brooks stepped through the pros and cons of Braided line versus Monofilament. Ron bases his comparison on 4 physical characteristics — visibility, diameter, stretch and memory. Visibility Monofilament and its cousin, fluorocarbon, both become transparent underwater with fluorocarbon being the better choice when invisibility is important –

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Pathetic Ponds

Back in 2007, I wrote about fishing on the small community pond in back of my in-laws apartment down in North Carolina. At best, that pond was 1/4 acre but it produced some nice bass. With that as a frame of reference, I’ve had to take a new look at small water. We went on

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Bass Repellents

Way back in 2006, I put up a post on the impact of odor on trout.  In that article, I quoted the writing of Nick Anikijenko who pointed out that it is very easy to transfer human smells to your fly or lure. The simple act of tying the lure on is all it takes to transfer

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Review – Quigley Furled Leaders

Capt John Quigley is an accomplished guide in the San Francisco Bay area whose specialty is targeting striped bass using fly gear. In addition to that primary business, he applied his experience both as a guide and a fly fisherman in creating some of the best furled leaders on the market.  I started to use furled leaders

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Predictive Gages from the National Weather Service

If you ever found yourself wondering whether the water would be fishable in the coming weekend, you need to visit the National Weather Service website then drill down into the section that discusses water levels. For example, the Potomac Section covers the river from Paw Paw down through the District.  As you can see from the graph below, the

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A Frog’s Fanny Surrogate

Lon put me onto this.  Apparently, the main ingredient of Frog’s Fanny is hydrophobic fumed silica.  I’m sure they have some other secret sauce mixed in there as well, but the fumed silica looks like it will do the job just as well.  I tried it on some dry flies and did not detect any

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Fishing Bikes

After using a bike on my venture into the Cranberry River a few weeks ago, I realized I was missing a significant opportunity to leverage this simple machine. There are two key things you can do if you bring a bicycle with you when you fish: Use it to penetrate farther away the parking lot Use it

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Trout Camoflage

You do not have to read many books to understand that when fishing mountain streams, you have to be sneaky. In addition to not kicking rocks and stepping on branches and doing other things and make a lot of noise, you have to pay attention to how you are dressed and present yourself. Not that

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Bass – Fall Lure Selection

A couple years ago, I took some notes out of the June 2008 issue of Bassmaster magazine on the right lure selection based on the water temperature. As we head into the fall, I thought it would be useful to hit the high points of this article by Don Wirth (“A seasonal guide to lure

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Upper Potomac – Maps from the Maryland DNR (Updated)

North Branch Potomac River Water TrailThe Potomac River Water Trail North Branch in Allegany County: Westernport, MD to Cumberland, MD is a three-map set depicting the North Branch of the Potomac River in Western Maryland. This map set covers approximately 32 miles and shows public access sites, facilities, points of interest and historical and cultural

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Satellite Recon – Use Google Local to find good water!

If you have not discovered Google local and its satellite views as a way to preview any fishing location, you’re not using the most significant tool available (other than this website, of course) that allows you to keep from going to a dead area. Prior to going to any river, you should pop open the

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New Fly Guy – The Newfoundland/Portland/Riffle hitch knot

Occasional contributor Patrick Taylor sent me a good tip that I wanted to share with you so you can see how it works this weekend right along with me. The hitch knot goes by several different names — “Newfoundland hitch,” “Riffling hitch,” or “Portland hitch” and was invented for salmon fishing. The purpose of the

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New Fly Guy – Don’t bother with hip waders

Up until 2006, if I had to wade, I’d just jump in and wet wade.  I guess getting older, that has become more challenging in the colder waters.  Based on the advice of some friends, I purchased a pair of Simms Chest Waders in 2006.  They have given me great service and I have certainly

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New Fly Guy – Casting and Stream Orientation

This is a quick one that came to me as I fought with the trees behind me. I’m a new fly guy.  No doubt about it.  Even after more than 40 fishing trips last year armed with a long rod, I am far from being even an intermediate beginner.  So, I have casting “issues”.  One

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New Fly Guy – A Devastating New Trick?

Update: I tried to do this.  It turns out that “floating trout worms” don’t really float like a popper.  They drift in the middle of the water column and do not give the effect I envisoned.  I still need to try this with spin gear using the Gulp floating worms. I even tried cutting out

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New Fly Guy – Summer Fly Fishing Advice from TheFlyStop

Summer Fly Fishing can fluctuate greatly based on location and weather patterns.  Often you can find yourself faced with extremely finicky fish and low water conditions.  The Trout have been fished over long and hard for several months now, and while still a productive time to be on the water, staying consistent sometimes calls for

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New Zealand Nymphing Technique

Contributing Author – Patrick Taylor Moormans – North Fork, July 5th 2009 I fished the North Fork of the Moormans today (July 5th) and had success. The water levels are dropping but it is still fishable (well maybe not after today’s constant rain!). The lower section is highly pressured due to easy access, so you have to

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New Fly Guy – Terrestrial Fishing Advice from TheFlyStop

Terrestrial Fishing Depending on where you do your fishing, some of the best Terrestrial fishing of the year is just starting out, or will be in full swing shortly.  Terrestrial fishing can be an enjoyable change of pace on the water, as well as great mid-day option, when the fishing normally slows. Terrestrial fishing covers

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?

“Really honey, it was THIS big!”  Who has not exaggerated the size of the catch? After all, fishing is one of the areas where, for many of us, size does matter. The reason we all have such a poor reputation for honesty is that none of us has eyeballs that are calibrated with anything approaching

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New Fly Guy – The Box Solution

It’s been over three years since I started my journey into flyfishing. In that time, I evolved through many different approaches to storing and carrying flies. I’ve been a bit frustrated with all of them because the boxes I was using took up so much space. Part of it was that, as a new fly

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New Fly Guy – Internet Casting School

By this time of year, you are far enough into the fishing season where you realize your casting leaves something to be desired.  That was certainly my problem and I found a quick, free review that was very helpful on Dusty Wissmath’s website.  In addition to the 4 videos below, he has additional content on rod

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Shad Run – Rappahannock

After three years of trying to find the time to participate in the shad run on the Rappahannock, I finally got out there last Friday. I have to admit that I am tragically depressed after this experience. I can’t believe I didn’t make time to do this earlier. This was a fantastic great time! The

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The NFL / Boat / Florida Lesson

I’ve discussed personal locator beacons (PLB) before and this is a very hard article to write. I bought the expensive one on the bottom right in 2007 as an insurance policy knowing that if I got in trouble in the woods, I could push a button and get the cavalry on the way.  The lesson of the

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Stay High and Dry

For the last few years, I used ziplock bags to keep stuff dry inside my day pack.  Sometimes that worked, sometimes it did not.  When I am after smallies, I will routinely wade up to chest high crossing the flat stretches of some of the rivers around here.  The ziplocks just were not built for

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Cold Weather Fishing Gloves

It’s cold!! Here’s a less expensive solution to keeping your hands warm than buying the expensive neoprene gloves like these (Men’s Curved Split Finger) that cost around $25 on Amazon. I went to Dick’s and picked up a pair of neoprene hunting gloves and slit the finger to allow me to poke my finger out to deal

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New Fly Guy – Solve line droop

There are a few things you can do if the tip of your fly line keeps sinking and ruining the drift of your fly.  This is something that is more likely to happen in turbulence or a fast current. You can do is put some paste floatant on the tip of your fly line or

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Don’t Lock Me Out!

Ever worry about losing your truck keys in the middle of the woods or watch them wash downstream when you take that header into the North Branch?  I do. I do not like the magnetic key holders – they fall off when you go off road onto some of the tough dirt tracks leading to

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New Fly Guy – The Fly Rod Bass Rig

About eight years ago, I had an epiphany as I wandered the aisles of Bass Pro Shop. Up to that point, I had pretty much been a fisherman who relied on spinners, top water plugs, and crank baits. But on this day, as I looked up and down the aisles in the fishing section, the

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New Fly Guy – Solving line twist

I was not very far into my pursuit of smallies this summer when I started to get all sorts of line twist when I was throwing heavy poppers or bigger terrestrials.  There were times when it was so bad that I could see the fly spin like a propeller on the end of the line

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Other – Dazzling Pictures from MikesCatchReport.com

Every once in a while you run across the perfect picture that expresses the joy of fishing in general and fly fishing in particular.  With permission from mikescatchreport (another local VA/MD blogger), I just had to share these shots. Mike is a passionate angler who manages to find time to fish places I can only dream about. 

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New Fly Guy: One Season = One Leader?

I can’t tell you how much money I spent on the leaders in my first year of fly fishing. Over the winter, I read an article somewhere that shared the following trick with me. It’s simple and addresses the problem of “using up” your leader. As a  New Fly Guy, I knew that I had

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