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Fly Stock – Kingsland, Texas

Looking for something to do this weekend, look no further!

Welcome to the very first annual FlyStock!  We are striving to do something unique and your support can make the difference.  FlyStock isn’t your normal fundraiser, it is a convergence of a music festival, a trade show, and a fishing round-up.  The best part?  This event is being held on the water!

FlyStock has partnered with Project Healing Waters, an organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of wounded active military personnel and disabled veterans through the art and skill of fly fishing.

By joining us for a fun-filled weekend of flyfishing and music in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, you are giving an opportunity to these men and women who have sacrificed and lost so much for us. We look forward to seeing you! Email vaqueros.tres@gmail.com for ANY questions!

http://flystock.org/

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Everything else!, Fishing, Shows

 

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Limited Edition OD Green Carbon Fiber Lanyard

The Limited Edition OD Greed Carbon Fiber Lanyard is now available… if interested contact one of of dealers to place your order.  This would make a great gift for a veteran or anyone into retro military gear.

MooseKnuckle Lanyards

Limited Edition OD Green Carbon Fiber Lanyard

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Gear

 

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Dispatches from Canada: 6 Tips to improve your fly fishing this winter

First off, a clarification: I’m finally writing this in Mexico.

I say finally as this post has been batted around between a field book, a note book, my laptop and my brain for about 6 weeks; this is just the first time it’s being compiled in one place and finally (that word again) being posted.

If you’re a fly fishing addict like me that has to unfortunately deal with sustained temperatures below freezing and little to no chance of wetting a line for a few months, things might seem bleak right now…well, bleak for you. I’m sweating to death on a project site in Mexico…but it was bleak for me a few weeks ago.

But fear not, for there are ways for you to get through the midwinter blues and improve your fly fishing abilities. Here are six of them…plus a bonus tip.

1. Hit the books.

There’s a lot of books on fly fishing, both as literature and how-to, and typically there are several available for different species and geographic locations. Check in at your local fly shop, library or bookstore; most will carry a selection of both general how-to books as well as locally published works for regional waters. Another option is popping onto any local meesage board or forum. Worse case scenario, there’s Google and Amazon to find what your looking for.

I suggest asking your local fly shop or local independent bookstore if they can get the titles you’re looking for in stock & for what price; it’s always a good thing to support local business.

For books on specific species, here are a few I’d recommend:

Trout – Dave Whitlock – Trout and Their Food
Smallmouth Bass – Bob Clouser – Fly Fishing for Smallmouth: In Rivers and Streams
Atlantic salmon – Paul C. Marriner – Atlantic Salmon: A Fly Fishing Reference
Steelhead – Dec Hogan – A Passion for Steelhead
Bonefish – Chico Fernandez – Fly-Fishing for Bonefish
Tarpon – Don Larmouth, Rob Fordyce, Flip Pallot – Tarpon on the Fly

2. Learn a skill.

Try out fly tying, leader-building, knots; learning something practical along those lines will help improve your fly fishing.

Hop on to youtube or check out some other online reseources; there are loads of tips & techniques online to help you learn whatever you need to learn.

Learning better & efficient knots will save you time, allowing you to have your fly in the water more throughout the day. Plus you might learn a more appropirate knot for different fishing scenarios.

Teaching yourself to build your own leaders also saves time, but it also saves money. Adding fresh tippet to a leader can be a lot faster than replacing a full leader once you become proficient at the knots involved, and twenty-four inches of tippet material from a spool is a lot cheaper than most knotless, tapered leaders from the manufacturers.

Fly tying will NOT save you money, and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or kidding themselves. That being said, it’s a great method to learn about the flies you use, their names, and how & when they’re fished. It’s an intensive process, and (sadly) it can become as addictive as the fishing itself.

3. Make some friends.

Start hanging out a bit more at your local fly shop, meet some fellow customers and chat with the staff. Perhaps they host a weekly fly tying night, like mine does. Perhaps there’s a local chapter of Trout Unlimited or a local angling or conservation group that has monthly get-togethers.

Often shops or groups might put on seminars for casting, fly tying, or fishing techniques, too; they’re a great place to meet new people and perhaps learn a few things.

If you don’t have any of these options close to home, don’t despair; there’s loads of fellow fly fishing addicts online on forums and social media platforms. Twitter has been great for me for meeting new folks; I even met up with a few of them IRL (that’s tech-speak for “In Real Life”) to fly fish in Guatemala. GooglePlus (or G+) is a great place to meet up with fly fishing folk, too; I have over 300 outdoors-types in my fishing circle. In fact, G+ is how I came to be writing here on the Mooseknuckle blog.

Sign up for twitter here and check out #FishChat or #CastingChat on Tuesdays & Thursdays, and say hello!

Word of advice: Don’t just ask for people to tell you their spots, especially online. It’s called spot-burning, and it’s highly frowned upon. Two reasons not to do this:

  1. Some people have worked pretty hard to find their little honey-holes, and while they’ll probably share the locations with friends, it doesn’t take much for a spot to become over-run with people. Especially with the location now published on the interwebs.
  2. People will be outright MEAN to those who sign up on a forum & blurt out locations or questions for locations. Mean. Some of them live for the chance to call out some poor, unaware noob. Those mean folk especially like to congregate on the Drake Forum.

4. Practice.

Yup, I said it. Practice.

Practice. Your. Casting.

I know, it sucks, being out on your lawn or an unused sportsfield or empty park, casting on grass if you’re lucky. Snow if you’re not. Being looked at all weird & stuff by onlookers.

Trust me, do I ever know. I’m going to do the exam for the Federation of Fly Fishers’ Certified Casting Instructor (CCI). It’s pretty in depth, and requires a lot of casting practice. Months of casting practice. We had a cold snap a few weeks ago, and it was -26°C (that’s -15°F, American friends) and I was almost glad I had a pinched nerve in my casting shoulder to keep me from going out on those days to practice casting.

But it was only the pinched nerve (and my lovely girlfriend nursingme back to health) that kept me from doing it.

You probably don’t need to practice multiple times per week (unless you want to do the CCI exam with me…?), but I do recommend trying to get out a few times before spring thaw & opening day, just to get back into the rythm of casting.

That way, your opening day won’t be spent snipping off windknots or digging a fly out of the back of your head.

5. Explore…from your couch.

Go to Google Earth. Download it. Get a local atlas or backcountry map book or similar, preferable with topography on it. Grab your GPS and/or fishing journals (you have fishing journals, right?) while you’re at it, too. Start “pinning” productive spots you’ve fished in the past, either by notes, memory, or GPS coordinates.

Next step: hop onto forums, or do some googlin’, to see what silly bastards broke the cardinal rule of “don’t spot-burn on the interwebs.” Yeah, I know what I said above. But some people don’t get it, and you might as well use the information available. Besides you’re going to look for the spots that are a little off the beaten path; anything over 15-20 walk from where the guys who fish within view of their parked vehicles are. Mark these spots on Google Earth, perhaps with a different colour pin. Figure out how to get there (safely) using your atlas or map book.

Being a better angler has a lot to do with knowing where the fish are.

6. Get off the couch.

A lot of these tips involve the couch or the recliner: knot-tying, reading, computer-based exploring & friend-making. So on & so forth.

This tip is to make sure you’ll have the physical capacity to get to these out-of-the-way secret locations you’ve found via Google Earth.

Walk, run, do pushups & dips, snowshoe or ski, shovel the driveway instead of paying someone to do it.

Just put down the Doritos and the Geirach book and get off the damn couch and do something.

BONUS TIP: Fly south.

Had enough of the cold? Bored of doing all the things I listed above? Book a flight, book a guide, and fly south.

Once you’re there: LISTEN to your guide and do what he says. He’s a guide for a reason, and if you don’t hook into the fish you’re looking for (*cough* my striper fishing in Maine *cough*), at least you can get some knowledge for your hard-earned cash.

That being said…it’s not always cheap to do. And sometimes it’s a hassle. That being said, a few of my tips for traveling can be found here, here, and here, too.

You might as well check this out as well to show you that: A) it’s not impossible, and B) it’s always worth it.

********
I hope you enjoyed the list and find it helpful to get through the winter blues…even though it took me 6 weeks to post it & it would’ve been more useful in the first week of January.

Now I’m off to practice what I preach: there’s a bass fishing book & a couch calling out to me.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Fishing

 

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Friday the 13th 2012

It was a cold day yesterday, but in between frozen guides and finger warming sessions, in the afternoon I was able to catch 9 browns. Most of which fell subject to a Oregon cheese colored egg. The others where happy to take a small blue wing nymph. I was fishing falling water, and I was by myself on the South Holston in 22 degree weather with the wind blowing 25mpg. I feel it was a pretty successful 90 minute trip. Snow was falling the whole time. I just love to fish in the snow regardless of how the fishing is. It’s somehow even more peaceful. I did make it out with my newly acquire MK Lanyard yesterday. It was very useful to have everything I need at the ready. I’ll give it a full review and how I set it up on a later post. Until the next time, Josh McFadden

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Trip Report

 

First Trip of 2012

Kevin and I made our annual trip to fish New Year’s Morning. We headed over the mountain to do a little small stream fishing. The first few hours didn’t yeild much as it was still cold. It started to warm up a little before the storms moved in. This was the prettiest wild rainbow of the year that was more than happy to take a blue wing olive nymph. I landed 9 fish this morning which is a great morning in the mountains. There were some small winter stones coming off. The South Holston had been very busy yesterday so it was nice to get out away from the madness of the tailwater.

Happy New Year
Josh McFadden

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Trip Report

 

Fly Tying: Burnt Wings pt. 2

So I’m continuing with my experimentation with these wing burners. I found some nice light dun hen saddle I had laying around. These stems seem to be more delicate and supple so it should be less cause for any kind of twisting issues. The color seems to be spot on as well for either sulphur or BWO.
PhotobucketThese wings ended up a little further back than I would have liked. Here’s a top viewPhotobucket Then we have the blue wing olive version in a size 20. Natural Tan CDC was used for the sulphur and Natural brown for the blue wing olive. Overall same technique used as previously posted. Photobucket I’m happier with the placing of the wings on the blue wing. These things are so delicate to tie in sometimes your just happy they’re on the hook at all.

Merry Christmas & Happy Tying

Josh McFadden

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fly Tying

 

Fly Tying: Burnt Wings

I picked two mayfly wing burners from J:Son Sweden company. I hadn’t ever done any wing burning before so why not start now. Right? So my first few wings that I made from the colored wing material didn’t quite turn out. So I decided to try my hand at burning some feather wings. I started out with some dark dun cdc. By the way, I should mention I have a sneaking suspicion that leader twist may be an issue with all of these patterns. However; it’s a chance I’m willing to take for the learning aspect of all of it. With my next attempt a cdc wings I’ll look for finer stemmed feathers as I think that would certainly help.

CDC Burnt Wing Dun

TMC 900bl #16, Yellow 70 UTC, 4 Microfibbets, Sulphur Orange Turkey Biot, Burnt Natural Dark Dun CDC Feathers, CDC hackle make from twisting CDC fibers using split thread technique.

 

Photobucket Photobucket

Teal & CDC Sulphur

TMC 900bl #16, Yellow 70 UTC, 4 Microfibbets, Sulphur Orange Turkey Biot, Teal Flank Feathers Burnt, CDC hackle made from twisting Natural Tan CDC using split thread technique.
PhotobucketPhotobucket I do like the mottled effect that the teal feathers give off.

Teal & CDC BWO

TMC 111 #16 (very short shank fly here is about a size 20 with a size 16 hook), Olive Dun 8/0 Uni, 2 Microfibbets, Olive Turkey Biot, Teal Flank Feathers Burnt, CDC hackel made from twisting Natural Dark Dun CDC using split thread technique.

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Until the next time,
Happy Tying

Josh McFadden

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fly Tying

 

RedfishSTRAVAGANZA!

I owe you folks an apology.  I’ve been so caught up in the happenings of the past few weeks that I’ve completely neglected knocking out this trip report from the Big Easy.  I’ve told and retold the stories to friends and family countless times, so it’s time to share with the rest of you.

With that said, I’d been looking forward to this trip for quite some time.  I’m originally from southwest Louisiana, so that automatically means I’m Cajun, except for the people that know better  Honestly, my hometown is about 20 minutes from the Texas border, so I’m closer to Texan than Cajun, but I always crack a smile when I mention where I’m from and people jump to that conclusion.

Regardless of the exact logistics, a return to The Motherland was originally planned by my wife and I as a one-year anniversary trip, but due to a change in job, she wasn’t able to make it this go-around.  I decided to make the best of it, and planned to drive over and spend some time with my little brother, who’s currently a junior in the architecture program over at LSU.

I drove the 9 hours or so east on I10, which happens to be one of my favorite drives in the country.  Once you get right east of Lafayette or so, you end up over the Atchafalaya Basin, which is the largest swamp in the country.

Plus, you get to drive over places with cool names.

If this bay was made of whiskey, would you drink it?

Little bro and I arrived in town right smack during rush hour, which was surprisingly tame compared to local traffic here in Austin.  We checked in to our room, headed out for some fresh seafood, and called it an early evening, as we both knew what awaited us the next day.

Our guide, Captain Greg Dini, picked us up before daybreak the next morning.  Captain Greg is considered to be one of the best redfish guides in the area, and has been getting some great exposure recently with some of the filmwork he’s done.  You may have seen his video Riding High from the Drake 5 Minute Films back at IFTD in August.  He was a fantastic guide, and we really enjoyed spending the day with him out in the Venice Marsh.

Redfish Ninja Greg

This was Kyle and I’s first time fishing out of a skiff, so we only had a vague idea of what to expect.  What I personally didn’t expect is how fast things happened.  As soon as we poled into the first area, we had two 30+ pound fish cruising right at us on top.  By the time I picked my jaw up off the casting platform, those jokers were well out of casting range.

Now, the weather was supposed to be ideal.  Supposed to be, being the key phrase there.  The forecast called for mostly sunny skies, but it ended up being overcast for the majority of the day with a pretty stout wind.  This made it really tough to spot fish, even in the crystal clear 4′ of water they were in.  We spooked a ton of fish with the boat that we just couldn’t see until it was too late.

Finally, after a few unproductive hours, we were cutting through cane-surrounded inlet, and  I spotted a fish right in front of the boat.

Showtime.

I don’t remember casting.  I don’t remember setting the hook.  All I remember is my reel screaming like a stuck pig as the beast of a fish cut right through the cane into the open water beyond.

“You probably shouldn’t let him get in the cane,” my brother advised.

Probably not.

Thankfully, I was able to get my line untangled from the cane as Greg poled us back out into the open water.  I was halfway into my backing at this point, as Mr. Redfish headed out towards the horizon.  As I finally was able to put the rod to him, I realized this was the first time ever I felt under gunned gear-wise.  Luckily, the whoopin’ stick held out, even though I was sure it was going to break.

After an epic battle that left my little girl arms convulsing, I finally had my first redfish.  And oh what a redfish she was!

I love the spots on these fish.  Each fish is different and unique in the way they’re spotted.  I think that’s really cool.

After a bit of celebration, it was Kyle’s turn on the casting deck, and it wasn’t long before he got his first as well.

Pretty sure mine was bigger. Just sayin'

We continued to swap back and forth, each catching a few more fish.  I lost another bruiser right at the boat, and had another “small” 8-lber, while Kyle ended up a with a couple more as well.  The conditions made it tough, and my casting certainly wasn’t up to snuff, but we’d get a few shots every time the sun would peak out from the clouds for a few seconds.

I’m pretty sure the last fish of the day will be something that will live on in my head forever.  Coming around a corner, Greg spotted a nice fish a ways out.  I made a terrible cast that was short by quite a few feet.  I was about to pick up and recast, when the fish barreled over so fast, it pushed a rooster-tail wake of water out behind it.  It crushed my fly, and took off.  It was like being hooked to a battleship, but after another tough fight, we got her in as well.

Big Fish of the Day

We called it a day on that note.  It was around 4:30, and we had a decent ride back to the dock, and all wanted to make it back to town before the big LSU-Bama game that night.

Kyle's Gameday shirt could be seen for miles.

Honestly, this trip lived up to all of my expectations.  It was great to get to spend some time with my brother out  in the marsh.  Captain Dini was a great guide, and while very patient with our casting, was always eager have a bit of fun with us when we blew a shot completely.

Pretty sure I’m ruined now.  Trout be damned; I can’t wait to get back to the salt.

When I close my eyes at night, this is what I still see.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Fishing, Trip Report

 

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The winner of the “What do you have on your fishing lanyard?” giveaway is….

Chris Schatte…. congratulations to Chris!

Chris will receive a MooseKnuckle Lanyards Universal Tippet Caddy

MooseKnuckle Lanyards Universal Tippet Caddy ™

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Giveaways

 

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The winning photo is…

By a very close margin….

Yellow Spots Red Dots

A hand numbered and signed 11 x 14 window mat of JB McCollum’s “Yellow Spots Red Dots” will be added to the ultimate Christmas giveaway that will be announced in the coming days.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Giveaways

 

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