Archive for the ‘#Duane Redford’ Tag

What’s next?   Leave a comment

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors,

I know, I know, it’s been a while. I’ve been extremely busy this fall and winter. Finished the Fly Fishers Playbook 2nd Edition, Stackpole Books. About 15,000 more words, tons of great illustrations by Dave Hall, neat pictures, and even a color fly section in the middle. Pretty proud of it. Looks like Amazon will have it in mid January, you can get a copy from Stackpole Books website right now tho.

Most of you know that I changed fly shops/outfitters last year. Did so to better myself as a guide, and to see “fresh” water. Luckily, it was a sound decision. I met a bunch of great people, got to guide water I’ve never fished, and honed my skills as a guide, fly tier, and fly fisher. Some new tactics made their way into the pages of the new book, as did a few new ties.

I’ve been chasing dog butts for the past 2 months while guiding in Eastern Colorado. My winter job, it’s more of a hobby, is guiding pheasant hunters on private land. My 2 German Shorthairs, Tip and Blue, do all of the work, I just get to clean birds. As mid-February starts rolling in, my fly fishing season will start to fill up, and it’s back to standing in a river, doing what I love.

I’m slowly putting together next seasons speaking schedule, I’ll post the schedule as things firm up and months fill out. I will be giving 3 presentations at the Denver Fly Fishing Show in January (9,10,11), and when not presenting, I’ll be in the Authors’ Booth signing books,  or rubbing elbows with some great fly fishers. The presentation is entitled: The Eagle River, Fly Fishing Unfamiliar Waters.

I spend a lot of time discussing how to gather data (historical, seasonal, conditional), how to apply that data along with your strengths as a fly fisher, and present tactics and techniques to catch fish in unfamiliar water. Still working on it, but I think folks will enjoy it and walk away with information on how to attack water you haven’t fished. I’ll post the FFS schedule and times at the end of this post.

Soon, I’ll be posting a short unedited video to The Fly Fishers’ Playbook Facebook page, that gives an idea of what to look for in the presentation. “Like” the page while you’re there if you would!

I’m not of a production fly tier, but I’ve got to get motivated to start filling up my boxes for next year. A few of my newer patterns produced well for me on the Eagle, and a few of the stand-by’s continued to fish with confidence. I’ll be posting more bugs and tying recipes this year, because I’m getting back into bug experimentation out of necessity. Guiding “new” water has forced me back into the bug game. Not complaining, but I simply don’t like sitting down to tie dozens of bugs at one sitting. Rather would tweak old patterns or develop new patterns instead.

All in all, it’s been a great year. I am grateful for people following my blog, and it’s always good to hear from you. Shoot me some topics you want to discuss this upcoming year, and I’ll take you up on it.

Here’s the FFS schedule for the Author’s Booth and presentations in the Destination Theaters. I will also be hanging around in the Minturn Anglers Booth, and I may be in the Titan Rod Vault Booth as well.

See you there, and Happy New Year! Fear No Water!

Destination Theater:

Jan 9th– Room C @ 4pm

Jan 10th– Room B @ 10am

Jan 11th- Room B @ 11am

 

Authors Booth:

Jan 9th– 2:30-3pm

Jan 10th– 12:30-1pm

Jan 11th- 2:20-3pm

Fun little BWO emerger pattern.  The Girl Scout

Fun little BWO emerger pattern. The Girl Scout

Bugs, bugs, bugs....Gotta get busy.

Bugs, bugs, bugs….Gotta get busy.

One of my favorite pictures from last year.  Savery Creek in September.

One of my favorite pictures from last year. Savery Creek in September.

The Third Bug…..Revisited   Leave a comment

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors!

Last blog talked about the need and importance of the third bug.  I’m referring to the fly in your rig that is hooking most of the fish you are catching.  Where legal, throwing a 3 bug rig is very productive.  Like I mentioned last time, the first 2 bugs are the meat and potatoes and the 3rd bug is your rock star.  It’s even more important to find your “third bug” in a 2 bug drift where the fish only have 2 choices you can offer.

Let’s back up a bit.  My first dropper is typically a low riding nymph, such as a stone fly, larger mayfly nymph, worm pattern, or scud pattern, to name a few.  It’s a low riding, close to the bottom morsel that attracts as well as looks like a tasty meal.  I expect it to be consumed every trip out, or it gets the boot.  The second, or middle fly is usually a higher off the bottom drifting nymph, pupa or emerger.  It matches what is hatching or what I expect to hatch.  It can be any size or stage depending on bug activity or expected bug activity.  Typical 2nd bugs are, soft-hackles, pupa and emerger patterns (RSII’2, Barrs Emergers, Bead Head Soft Hackles, etc).  Winter time fishing will find midge larva (Black Beauty for example) in this position.

Now the third bug.  This bug is usually the highest off of the bottom in the drift (furthest from the weight) and is usually, not always, an emerger or pupa pattern. For more information on how I rig, pick up a copy of The Fly Fishers’ Playbook.  This bug needs to produce and produce well.  This bug is supposed to mimic the most prevalent bug coming off and should match the stage of what the fish are feeding on.  It’s the bug that during the fight with a hooked fish you just know the fish is on it.

Last blog I  wrote that I was looking for that bug.  I found it last week.  It was right under my nose…….It’s none other than the Chocolate Thunder, or the real name is a Brown RSII.  It’s an old Solitude pattern and has been fantastic for me for several years.  Quick and easy to tie, and very durable, this bug belongs in every box as a third bug.  I roll it in a size 18 or 20 virtually year-round.

I’m always looking for that third bug…….Most times it’s in your fly box!

Fear No Water!

Duane

Dream Thunder

Dream  Stream Thunder

Double Thunder

Double Thunder on the Eagle

The Third Bug

The Third Bug aka Chocolate Thunder

Stripping vs Spooling   2 comments

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors!

 

I’m not a purist, or elitist, nor traditionalist.  I just like to see a bunch of fish hit the bottom of the bag.  That brings me to my point regarding stripping versus spooling.  I’m talking about using the fly reel for you crooked folks out there!

Lately, I’ve guided a few folks that prefer to use the strip method to play and land fish.  Not ripping on anyone, but it got me to thinking, which at times, can be dangerous.  Again, folks can bring fish in on the fly rod anyway they see fit, but I’m inclined to fight and land fish the way I was taught many moons ago.  On the reel, let the drag do the heavy lifting.

The strip method involves using the management loop behind your “trigger” finger to play a fish.  I have used this for small fish on occasion, but no matter the size of the fish, I have clients use the spool method.  When stripping in a fish, the angler “feels” the fish’s strength, grit, runs, and jumps through constant contact with the line in their off or non-dominant hand.  As the fish gets closer to being landed, a large spool of stripped in line forms at the angler’s feet.

Couple things come to mind: first off, that pile of line bothers me.  Just another thing to get screwy in the process, especially on big fish where you may have to move several feet to keep the fish at proper lateral angles. There are thousands of hours and dollars put into today’s reel drag systems.  The smoother the drag the better.  Although some folks can do it, I think it’s hard for the average angler to match the smoothness of a reel drag system while allowing line to go out to a running fish.  A ton of snap-offs and “unbuttons” occur if the drag is not smooth.  Again, especially on bigger fish.

I like to see people get into an offensive attack mode when landing fish.  I feel as if using the strip method puts you into a defensive mode, which takes longer to land fish, which can eventually lead to higher fish mortality. The quicker the angler gets the upper hand, uses proper angles to move fish, the sooner that fish can be landed. That’s why I advocate spooling.

Some may say that it’s too difficult to teach spooling fish after they eat.  It’s really quite simple, and the angler never takes his or her eyes off of the fish.  Here’s my method:  Once the set takes place and we have a solid hook-up, the angler simply keeps the rod in a high set position, the rod hand trigger finger pinches the line to the cork grip, and the angler simply uses the non dominant hand to spool the line tight.  It takes less time than it took for me to write it out. After a hook-up, and when a fish makes a run directly at the angler is about the only time I’ll ask for the angler to strip in line. As soon as the run toward us is over, we quickly re-spool the line and get back on the reel. After the fly line is spooled entirely, just let go of the line altogether.  Present-set-spool-let go……..

Today’s reels have a neat feature that many folks I fish with don’t even realize is there.  You can quickly spool or take up line by simply placing your fingers on the outside of the reel spool or rim and spinning it.  Many inches of line quickly are spooled onto the reel.  Once that is accomplished, the angler simply lets go of the pinched line, and bingo, the fish is on the reel.  At this point the angler can become offensive not having to worry about how much pressure to put on the line as they attempt to keep angles while stripping in a fish.  That annoying pile of stripped line is non-existent.

Once spooled, your off hand now is ready for using the reel crank to bring in fish.  This does take some teaching and practice, but one simply doesn’t steadily crank in a fish on a fly rod.  The cranking is in a “machine gun” mode.  Crank quickly when you can, and stop immediately when you feel the fish run or headshake.  After a few fish you’ll have it.  It’s like a relationship, give and take….Mostly take.

Years ago, I saw an article by Landon Mayer on how to set drag.  Liked it so much that he gave me permission to use it in The Fly Fishers Playbook.  To properly set reel drag, find a partner or something heavy, and tie your leader off to it.  At full rod flex, the drag should be set so that it only releases line with a simulated fish head shake or run.  I have found that most folks set the drag entirely too light. Experiment with it.

Some of the older reels or low quality reels, have inefficient drag or no drag system at all.  No problem.  Simply spool up the fish as I described, and use your off hand to “palm” the drag.  Your palm simply becomes a braking system on the reel for line going out, and is in perfect position to machine gun reel as needed. It’s referred to as “palming” because your palm alternately pushes against or releases pressure from the reel spool according to how the fish is fighting. Although not as smooth as the reel drag, palming is quite effective once you learn it, and again, that pile of line is not anywhere to be found.

Like I said, makes no difference which method folks use to bring in fish. It’s like anything else, it’s a personal decision.  I just like to do it a certain way and thought I’d share it with you.

Thanks, and Fear No Water!

Duane

 

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Can you imagine this fly rod angle while stripping line?

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Off hand free for additional leverage…..

 

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Big fish, big run, reel does the work.

 

“Building a case”   3 comments

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors!

Things are really crankin’ on this end.  In the final stages of the next book forces me to be busy fixing and replying to my publisher/editor.  That’s a fair amount of work, but they’re pleasant folks that are going to make me better.  I’ve also been guiding a bunch, putting on several hundred miles a week, tying bugs at all hours, and trying to keep up with family life.  It’s easy to let time slip by and miss out on some very important details.

I’ve mentioned this before, but this is the first year for me on the Eagle River with Minturn Anglers.  I had never even stepped a wading boot in that river prior to re-compassing my guide career this year.  Combine a new river with a busy schedule, and it’s easy to miss details.  Ah, but I haven’t.  Most that know me knows that the original Fly Fishers Playbook was written using notes from 5 solid years of journal entries after guide trips.  Honestly, I got away from that a bit the last few years (except for the juicy stuff), because I was pretty used to the South Plattes’ moods. Well, I’m back to journaling out of need not habit.

Back in February, I talked of historical, seasonal and conditional habits of rivers, specifically bug life (it’s in the archives).  As I muddle through this first year on the Eagle, I’ve found the need to identify several bug, river, and weather conditions so I can be ahead of the game next year.  It will take at least 2 years of trip journaling for me to start to feel comfy that I’m figuring out that river stem. I’ve talked of rejuvenation from the job move, and this just confirms it.  I love this stuff.

My suggestion is to grab yourself a pen and paper and do some journaling after your fishing trips.  The benefits are real, as you begin to build a case on the river.  Patterns start to develop that aren’t readily apparent and you’ll put more fish in the bag.  Here’s an entry from yesterday:

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I always tell folks to design and build their own personalized “Playbook”.  Simply journaling trips is a great start.  Soon you’ll be building a pile of information about the rivers you fish, their bugs, their fish, their weather, and their little idiosyncrasies that you need to know if you want to get everything out of every cast on those rivers.

Til next time, Fear No Water!

Duane

 

“Old time rock and roll”   Leave a comment

orangepartridge
 I can remember it like it was yesterday.  Ten years old, cut-off jeans, Chuck Taylor Hi-tops, and a red t-shirt with one of those little pockets.  I was standing knee deep in the Yellowstone river, fiberglass rod, Martin “electric reel”, hand-tied leaders, and I was swinging wet flies to big Cutthroats.  Rock and Roll.

 

Nowadays, most folks have forgotten wet flies in favor of their favorite pattern nymphs or articulated streamers.  I’ve no problem with those patterns, but I sure do like throwing the old stuff.  They still work.

 

Got back into soft-hackles more than a couple years ago, and most days you will find a soft-hackled pheasant tail in my rig somewhere.  Lately, since I’ve been guiding on the Eagle River, I’ve gotten back into the “partridge series” because of the crazy amounts of caddis in that river.

I really like tying into fish with the Partridge and Orange, Partridge and Green,  Partridge and Peacock, and Crackleback patterns I fished as a kid.  They really mimic caddis pupa and can be dead drifted and swung very effectively.  Because of the nature of caddis pupa emergence, these bugs are perfectly suited for the job.  My clients love it when a fish eats hard at the end of the drift in the swing phase.  The fish pictured ate the Partridge and Orange hard on the swing.

Typically, the bugs are the last or point fly in my 3 bug nymph rig.  I do this to accentuate the movement (like roller derby whip for us old folks), and the farther the bug is away from the weight the higher in the column she’ll travel.  There are times when I place the bug in the middle position of the rig, and I’ll tie it eye-to-eye to flatten the profile.  (a search thru the archives will show eye-to-eye connections, rigs, etc.)

One other trick you can employ is to get upstream of fish feeding on caddis pupa or adults, and strip out enough line to set you up for a swing directly in front of those fish.  Employ a classic nymph drift by casting roughly 45 degrees upstream, let the bugs drift drag free for three quarters of the drift, stop your fly rod movement at the three quarter mark, and allow your flies to swing up through the columns and across in front of the fish.  Deadly.

Sometimes newer isn’t better, only newer.  Give those old patterns a try sometimes, just like that old time rock and roll.

See if you can identify the bugs below……….One is different, but the same idea.  Used it hundreds of times.

Fear No Water,

Duane

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Head for the Hills!   2 comments

I feel sorry for them, I really do.  Just finished guiding the South Platte near Denver over the Memorial Day weekend.  It was cold and rainy, but that didn’t stop the multitudes of anglers and “recreationalists” from enjoying time on the water.  I don’t have any ill feelings to folks getting out and using Mama Nature, I just feel a bit sorry for the fish.

Right now, the South Platte near Deckers, Colorado is one of the few games in town.  Because of our epic snow pack, and a very wet spring on top of that, the rivers are pissed and dangerous.  More water than I’ve seen in a long time.  The South Platte is a tailwater tucked close to Denver.  Certainly, she is going to feel the brunt of traffic, because amazingly, she is still below normal flows.  Oh, the water will come, but for now, she’s “it”.

I watched the fishing success dwindle in the last 3 days leading up to Memorial Day.  Oh, we were still catching fish, but it became more and more technical.  Drifts had to be more precise, mends more complete, and sets were on anything that looked suspect.  You just had to work much harder than usual.  I got to thinking, “How many times has this fish been hooked this week?” “Today?”

Where the fish would usually hold in a particular seam in a particular run in days prior, they just weren’t there.  You may think, well they just went deeper in the column and you can’t see them.  Nope, not in this case.  The flow is only a little over 100cfs, meaning, you could see a quarter underwater in most of the runs we fished.

No, these fish headed for the hills.  By noon on Monday, we were catching fish on skinny rigs (check the archives for more info), along the edges.  One big brown comes to mind.  He ate my Brachy Pupa, on the far bank, in about a half foot of water, on the first drift.  We didn’t know he was there, but assumed the fish had moved because they weren’t in the usual haunts. I know this fish, where he usually holds, and how he likes to eat.  He broke the rules, and he lunged out of my net before photos.  Salty bastard.

Have a few other thoughts as well.  One thought  centered around how grateful I am that fly fishers are so diligent when it comes to releasing fish unharmed.  The fish in this area are for the most part, clean, fat, healthy, and pound for pound will fight with any in the state.  My other thought is how grateful I am to be able to work on a resource such as this so close to home.  Shouldn’t feel sorry for them I guess, they’re doing fine.  When the fishing gets technical, the technical go fishing………….

Fear No Water!

Duane

Don’t forget FATHERS DAY is coming up.  Pick up a copy of the Fly Fishers Playbook for your favorite father, or son, or brother, or son-in-law or…….!

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Money where your mouth is……   2 comments

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors,

Been a while since I last posted.  A lot going on, but that’s not really a good excuse.  Truth is I’ve changed fly shops.  Not that I didn’t absolutely respect my old fly shop, but I am the kind of person that enjoys a new challenge now and then.  I now work for Minturn Anglers in Minturn Colorado.  Unbelievable amount of water to guide, and quite frankly, I am being stretched to my limits.  You know, I go all over the place giving presentations about fly fishing and because of the “new” water I’m fishing, it’s time for me to prove what I spout about technique is not just smoke.

More often than not, I am given a stretch to fish or someone recommends a stretch to fish, and off I go with clients to make it happen.  Just last Sunday I was on Gore Creek as it flows thru Vail.  Bob Streb and Joe gave me the boundaries using Google Maps, and as much info as they could.  It was up to me to really dig into the how-to’s, what-to’s, and the when-to’s to get my folks on fish. Not ever stepping foot into water that you need to produce fish for folks is more than interesting. That’s a challenge, and I look forward to it!

I always tout the importance of historical, seasonal, and conditional data when it comes down to successfully fly fishing a river for the first time.  I have found this idea to be the most important factor in getting clients on fish in unfamiliar waters.  If you snoop thru the archives of this blog, you’ll find more info about the data I’m talking about.  The techniques are roughly the same, I’m finding that the data is of the utmost importance.

Sure, I may run bugs a bit deeper, or the sizes may be different than what I’m used to, but the chance to pick peoples brains about how a river fishes, at various times of the year is HUGE!  I’ve gone from tailwater to freestone fly fishing, if folks don’t think that’s a big shift, then they haven’t been paying attention.  This challenge is exactly what I want and need.  I am getting better as a guide, getting stretched, and I’m rejuvenated.

All this new information is going into journals and presentations to eventually become my next book project.  I’m really excited to get that moving.  Folks, all I’m really trying to say is get out there and stretch yourself as a person and an angler.  Fish new water, see new sights, meet new people.

Below are some pictures of folks with nice fish from the Eagle River and Gore Creek……..

FEAR No Water!

Duane

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A picture says……   Leave a comment

Grip and grin, hero shot, whatever you call it, pictures preserve memories.  Maybe not so much of the fish you caught as much as the day itself.  I get a kick out of looking back through pictures remembering who I was with, where I was, and just the general tone of the day.  Like most of you, I’ve literally thousands of fly fishing pictures.  There’s only so much refrigerator space, so most of them end up in some box or on some thumbdrive, never to be seen again. For my latest book work, I have taken hundreds of pictures of which only a select few will make it into the next book.  I am no great shakes as a photographer, so I rely on those that are accomplished to lend a hand.  However, out on the water, I’m it.  Net-man, fly extractor and photographer.  Kind of a pressurized position if you ask me.  I am certainly not going to take you on a “how-to” in this post, this is more of a celebration of what I get to do with folks from all over the world, and pictures preserve it.  Pretty dang cool if you ask me.  Here are a few pictures from last year………

This is what I call the insurance shot.  Take a picture like this when folks land their first fish on a fly rod.  After this shot we attempt to have the client hold the fish if time and fish stress permit.  Nonetheless, picture preserved.     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s the old” guide in the shot to help hold big fish”  (also an insurance shot). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There are also “signature shots”.  This is one of my best clients and good friend John.  I have dozens of fish pics with him.  They all look like this.  Not sure I even know what he looks like….. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The next 2 shots are my favorite kind.  “Fish shots”.  Just taken to honor a beautiful fish.  Left to right, “the cradle” and “the spoon”. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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All shots aren’t hero shots, some fall short.  Some are my fault, some the clients fault, most are just caused by the fish not following the script.

Here are a few….oops

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Like I said, i’m not the best photographer, but please remember to wet your hands before handling fish, pinch barbs, get them back to the water quickly, and keep em off rocks, grass, dirt, and snow.   Watch them swim away folks.

Thanks for following along.  Enjoyed it.

Fear No Water!

Duane