Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Walters Fly Rods In Action - Gary Long Rainbow Trout

Excellent rainbow caught by Gary Long in Virginia over this past winter using his Walters Fly Rods 9' 5WT Chattahoochee Rod and BT12 5/6 WT Reel. 

Thanks, Gary, for sending your photo to us, we love seeing our rods and reels in action. If you have a photo you would like to share with us please send it to 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Core of Fly Fishing

by Matt Walters
Photo by David Cannon (click here for more photos by David)

What lies at the core of fly fishing?  To me it takes a look into history to the roots of human beings.  Humans were mobile nomadic creatures in the past.  We traveled great distances in the pursuit of food, shelter, and water.  We are meant to expend energy during the day and use our hands and bodies to handle manual tasks.  

Our distant ancestors lived in caves and the tasks of hunting, fishing, and gathering were just daily chores needed to sustain life.  If you didn't accomplish these life giving activities, you did not survive, period.  For some of us, these drives and instinctual habits remain alive within us in modern day society.  

Today a lot of these activities that were performed by our ancestors are gone due to the introduction of modern conveniences and technologies. They are just simply no longer needed or required activities.

I have friends ask me why I go backpacking for days in the woods, why I sit in a duck blind when it's snowing outside, or why I fly fish for hours in terrible weather only to catch a few fish (and then release them all).  These activities make me feel as though I am tapping into that relentless and powerful instinctual drive.  A drive and curiosity of what's out there that has been lost by many in our society due to the conveniences of modern day living.  

I know some friends that live this outdoor life daily. (Trust me, I am jealous).  My home is in a metropolitan area and although the fire pit out back is great, the true need of being in the wilderness is not met.  I have to get my "fix" in smaller doses on planned outings.

Fly fishing, similar to hunting, backpacking, and many other outdoor activities triggers a feeling within me like no other.  Hooking into a fish brings on a rush that is undeniable and often times a large fish will leave me shaky as the adrenaline pumps through my veins.  

Being out in nature gets me back to satisfying my instinctual need as a human being.  Sitting on a mountain top with an incredible view or staring down a foggy river at sunrise makes me truly realize how small we are in the grand scheme of things.  This viewpoint brings a different perspective to life and the world and provides clarity and insight.  It raises the question, how significant are we in the big picture as individuals.  This viewpoint helps minimize daily problems and any issues I may be facing.  For some including myself, there is also a religious connection that is made when experiencing these natural wonders. 

Fly fishing is very involved and keeps our minds constantly on the task at hand and completely in the moment.  We rely on skills that have been acquired and learned over years to make decisions.  Some of these skills. I like to believe, are instinctual and part of our DNA.  

Although catch and release is my standard and is becoming more of a common practice for most fly anglers, the pursuit of fish in a river and the thought that you could provide food and nourishment to your family and friends offers a feeling of true accomplishment. 

Being immersed in the outdoors while fly fishing is like no other feeling or experience.  I receive a feeling of gratitude and respect for being out and a part of the elements and also a sense of pride and history while enjoying one of human's oldest traditions and activities.  Not everyone experiences this same internal drive and excitement that some of us share, but I would still challenge everyone to pick up a fly rod or any other outdoor activity and head into the wilderness. You may not know what you are missing.  That instinctual drive buried deep in your core may surface.  

In closing, I'm just glad my family does not rely on me for food like our ancestors during the slow days on the river.  For now going to the local (modern) Mexican restaurant isn't that bad.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Getting Back to the Blue Lines

by Matt Walters
Photo by David Cannon (click here for more photos by David)
I learned how to fly fish on smaller water.  I practiced the intricacies of this type of fishing for years on these technical stretches.  When moving to an area where my home river was much larger I didn't have to pay attention to some of the smaller details and utilize some of these fine tuned skills as often.  I'm not saying that larger rivers are easy and not technical, but you can get away with making more mistakes and you have a much larger buffer room for error.   My tendencies now, after spending a great deal of time on a large river and also saltwater fly fishing, are to pay less attention to the smaller details, walk around freely in the water, and bomb long casts just because they are fun to do.  Unfortunately, these techniques and fun tendencies don't correlate to success on small water.  I have to really remind myself of the tactics and ways that were once second nature to me when I make trips to smaller streams and rivers.  Here are a few tips when dealing with smaller water that I have to make a mental note of when getting back to the blue lines:

-Stay out of the water as much as possible.  The sight of your large silhouette will scare fish away.  I'm a taller guy and I have spooked more fish because of this than I realize and probably will ever want to know.

-Use faster moving sections of water and seams to disguise your movements and your body underwater.  The bubbles and stronger current act like an underwater visual barrier.

-Keep as much fly line out of the water as possible and make smooth softer landing casts.  A good friend of mine once told me after I returned from a saltwater fly fishing trip to fish a smaller river, "don't try to kill the trout with the strike indicator." I may have been still using similar casting force as I was when throwing large clousers and crab patterns long distance.

-Use rocks, branches, logs, and downed trees to your advantage by hiding and crouching behind them.

- Be mindful of your shadow and use shaded spots to your advantage versus standing in the direct sunlight.   

- Wear colors that match your surroundings to blend in with your background and break up your silhouette.  I once had a red rain jacket when I first started fly fishing, but quickly retired that for obvious reasons.  Trout can pick out these colors above the surface.

- Use small white or neutral colored strike indicators to mimic bubbles on the waters surface versus unnatural colors that can alert fish to your presence.

-Approach the water slowly and methodically.  I have a tendency to want to rush out of my car after blasting music to get pumped up and walk right into the water.  The best approach is to take your time and devise a plan of attack.  Take a deep breath, the fish were not head banging to the Allman Brothers band for an hour before you arrived and are on an entirely different pace.  Therefore, you should slow down to their speed.  Planning helps you maximize your opportunities as there may be fewer chances to catch fish on a smaller stream or river so every cast counts.

- Avoid kicking up rocks on the bottom and walk in a slow speed not creating wakes especially in slack water conditions.

- If you are in the water attempt to create a decent distance between you and the area you are fishing but, do your best to not compromise your casting angle on the fish (typically casting around a 90 degree angle to the fish in the current).  

- Use finer tippet material and leaders to catch more fish.  The fish may be more difficult to actually bring to net, but you will have many more opportunities and hook sets come your way as the shallow clearer water allows better vision for the trout.

-Teaming up with another person to spot fish is always very beneficial.  Two sets of eyes is better than one.  Having a buddy high on a bank overlooking upstream can yield great results.

Small streams and rivers are great to fish and are one of my favorites.  With the variety of fishing I do these days, it helps to have a mental checklist to remind me of some of the smaller details that may have slipped through the cracks when targeting other species of fish and on larger bodies of water that require less finesse. 

Please feel free to add any other tactics to the comments below as we would love to hear them.