We bet that when a bug hatch makes trout appear out of nowhere, you drift an Adams through the strike zone. When they’re down deep, you might bounce a size 14 nymph off the bottom. You can always cast the classics, but how about something that’s a little off the traditional trout-pleasing menu? We nominate these five candidates for Alaskan fly fishing fun outside the box. 1. Mighty Mouse Imitators When it’s summertime in Alaska, you need to think about mousing. This pattern isn’t just an August trick for anglers stalking the big fish, but it can be a challenge to fire out on a cast. Size matters with this giant fly because it imitates a small mammal. Technique matters because you want it to imitate that small mammal taking a swim. Patience really counts. You have to let a trout slam the fly and turn before you set the hook. We aren’t saying that mousing is easy, but we do guarantee that it’s a lot of fun. 2. Deliciously Tied Sculpin Don’t let their size put you off. Big flies land big fish, and sculpins drive big rainbows wild. It’s up to you to deliver the motion that makes this fly so appealing to trout. Whether you swing down and across from gravel bars or cast to hungry ‘bows across spawning flats, a sculpin pattern consistently catches fish. We really admire the way this fly attracts hits before, during and after the spawn. Its little olive namesake isn’t much to look at, but a well-tied sculpin is a thing of delicious beauty to big, fat trout. 3. Dead Drifting Flesh You have to love the startled look on an uninitiated face when you casually talk about fishing flesh. It gets even better when you explain how the fly pattern imitates chunks of decomposing salmon. The high point comes when you show a novice how quick and easy it is to tie this inexpensive and effective fly. Can it get any better? Yes. You can’t fish flesh wrong, and trout love it. We favor a dead drift without any pun intended, but you can swing and even strip flesh. We’ll just leave it at that. 4. Correctly Pegged Beads Some folks still don’t believe that fishing a bead is really fly fishing. Obviously, the bead isn’t a fly, and it’s not attached to the hook. Here in Alaska, it’s considered an attractor, so you can’t peg one more than 2 inches from a hook. If you’re in fly-fishing only waters, you can’t fish a bead with a bare hook. We understand and respect the rules, and we know you do too. Beads are on our list because they’re cheap, realistic and durable, and they really catch fish. Don’t get us started on how easy it is to cast stone beads from the craft store. 5. Steak and Egg Combos Just the name of this late fall rig conjures up visions of doubling your hit percentage. It’s true. The presentation of […]
Fly Fishing Products
Compare us to kids in a candy store. We don’t mind. Getting lost in a good tackle shop is almost as much fun as getting lost in a timeless afternoon fly fishing in Alaska. If you want to start a spirited discussion around the lodge fireplace, ask about the pros and cons of double taper lines or suggest five ways to pick out a perfect rod. Every trout bum has a valid opinion, and we cover them all with our Fly Fishing Products posts.
If you’ve enjoyed a stay with us at No See Um, you’ve spent quality time in our Pro Shop. We have our favorite brands, but we applaud innovation and quality regardless of the name attached. If it’s worth your consideration and your tackle box, we write about it. If it’s too amazing, ridiculous or expensive to be true, we post about it.
From fly threaders and drying pouches to heated insoles and headlamps, we spotlight fly fishing products that deserve your attention. Fly patterns, bobbins and bodkins engage us. Equipment, tools and gadgets entertain us. Putting it all together for you is just as much fun as getting lost in the tackle shop, so take a look around knowing that you’re in the company of folks who share your love for everything about fly fishing in Alaska.
At first, it’s as simple as making sure that line and rod weight match. After awhile, you appreciate that taper and type are more than fine points of friendly conversation among seasoned anglers. Still, those neatly hung boxes in the tackle shop don’t spell out where, when and why their contents will be the most effective. How hard can it be to choose the right line? As dedicated Alaskan fly fishermen, we feel your confusion, so let’s untangle your line options. Who Started This? Delivering a fly precisely where you want it depends on your line. Experience, location and wind play a large role too, but let’s give Cortland Line Company a little credit. This outfit liberated dry fly anglers from oiled silk lines back in 1953 with their Cortland 333 HT. With its braided nylon core, tapered design and synthetic finish, the revolutionary line quickly caught on with grateful fly fishermen. We also tip our fly rods to Scientific Anglers founder Leon P. Martuch. By the mid-1960s, he figured out how to produce straight braided line with a tapered overlay, and that inside-out thinking led to the wide range of options that lure us into tackle shops today. Taper Forward or Center? The idea of a tapered line seems innocent enough. A weight forward line proportionally tapers to a thicker end while a double taper centers line weight. So, how can we be confused by just two types of line tapering? Credit again goes to fly line companies that really just want to give us the best fly fishing experience possible. Seemingly endless configurations range from heavy weight forward designs that put bulk in the last 20 feet for power to double tapers that put delicate finesse in your presentation. Depending on the taper, you can gracefully cover distance or carefully cast to spooky fish. When it comes to tapers, our cups pretty much run over with options. Float, Sink or Sink-Tip? Again, the choices start out simple with three types of line. Floating lines offer versatility, sinking lines target depth, and sink-tips put streamers on the bottom. Things get a little more complicated when you consider line type and taper combinations. With a double taper or weight forward floating line, you can spend a day on the river switching between nymphs and dry flies. Sinking lines are assigned rates that indicate how quickly they settle by inch per second, and that makes them a good choice for lake fishing. Sink-tip fly lines combine float and sink design, so they’re naturals for streamers in rivers and lakes, and they put extra power in your cast. Is There a Code for All That? We really do appreciate fly fishing line options, and we’ve figured out a way to minimize confusion at the tackle shop. Take a look at the code printed on that new box of line. The series of letters and numbers separated by dashes actually makes sense. The first part of the code tells you about the taper. WF […]
Before you smile and wave us on, we understand that you probably already have the perfect fly fishing rod. We’re not sure that there is such a thing, but feedback here tells us that folks really enjoy honing all the finer points of fly fishing in Alaska, so let’s talk basics about picking out rods. Whether you’re filling up the rack or taking your very first plunge, these five questions should always be asked and answered. 1. Where Is This Rod Going? Are you setting your sights for rainbows on the Kvichak River or lake trout in the Upper Skilak? A fly fishing rod doesn’t care about the itinerary, but you want a length that targets the fish. If you expect to do some bush whacking, a 7- or 8-foot rod makes a good choice while many dedicated still water anglers prefer 10-footers. Split it down the middle with a good 9-foot rod, and you can fly fish almost anywhere here in Alaska. As long as you always match line and rod weight, you’re good to go. 2. Can You Handle the Action? If this is your first fly fishing rodeo, welcome to the club, and consider choosing a medium, mid-flex rod. It’s perfect for freshwater trout, versatile under almost any conditions and easy to learn. Slow, full-flex rods are also forgiving when you’re new, and they put extra excitement into landing small fish. Save the fast action rods for power casting on windy days. It takes practice to finesse precision out of these models, and you don’t get as much small-stream flexibility. 3. Does Material Really Matter? There’s no argument about the high-performing durability that you get with a graphite rod. Its light weight and responsive sensitivity make this your best choice hands down. Sure, you can spend more for something infused with boron or nano-silica resin, and you’ll enjoy longer rod life, but it comes down to personal preference. We know anglers who still love fiberglass for small fish and close quarters. We even understand bamboo and cane because we admire the custom craftsmanship that goes into these expensive models. 4. Are There Devils in Rod Details? Fly fishing rod manufacturers want to make you happy. They know that bells and whistles spook fish, but you have options. If construction is paramount in your decision, check out different manufacturers’ sites. If you prefer easy packing for quick travel, choose a multi-piece model. You might enjoy the personal thrill of starting with a rod blank courtesy of custom crafters who produce originals from grip to guides. A new fly fishing rod can be as beautifully simple or astonishingly sophisticated as you like. 5. What Do You Get for Your Money? We finish up with this one because we know that a $50 fly fishing rod can look like a bargain. You’ll meet up with this temptation in big box stores that also sell lawn mowers and linens. Fishing is a lifetime love, so invest at least $100 in something […]