Tuesday Tip: How to Remove a Fly Stuck in Your Skin

Fly fishing can sometimes be a hazardous game, what with all those hooks flying around. Sometimes, unfortunately, the pointy end finds its way into someone’s skin. We discussed this very problem last spring in a post that featured an awesome picture of Orvis Rod & Tackle Manager Steve Hemkens sporting some Carrie Stevens-inspired lip jewelry. Getting hooked isn’t such a big deal if the fly is barbless or if the angler has taken the time to mash the barb before he casts it, but this doesn’t always happen. In the heat of the moment, any of us can forget this vital step. So what do you do when you’re stuck by a barbed point?

The video above offers a fine demonstration of the push-and-pull method. There are lots of videos on YouTube demonstrating this technique but I chose thos one because, seriously, how cool is this guy for actually hammering the hook into his skin? But, as you can see, it comes right out with a minimum of torn skin and blood. Here’s how you. . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to Set the Hook

Editor’s Note: This video is intended as a reference for Tom’s article.

Most fish lost in fly-fishing are lost either at the moment you strike or when you attempt to land them. Playing a fish on a fly rod is a relatively simple matter of making the fish work against the spring of the rod until the fish gets tired.

Striking a fish means tightening the line by raising your rod tip. Most fly hooks are of fine diameter with very sharp points, so the strike requires very little forceā€”in fact, in many instances fish will hook themselves.

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Tuesday Tip: How to Make a Roll-Cast Pickup

Welcome to another installment of “Ask an Orvis Fly-Fishing Instructor,” with me, Peter Kutzer. In this episode, I demonstrate how to make a roll-cast pickup, which has a couple of useful applications. First, it can be a time-and-effort saver. If you’re fishing fairly far out and don’t want to have to strip a bunch of line in to start a new cast, you can use the roll-cast pickup to. . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to Make a Reach Cast

Welcome to another installment of “Ask an Orvis Fly-Fishing Instructor,” with me, Peter Kutzer. In this episode, I demonstrate how to make a reach cast, which allows you to reposition your line before it lands on the water. This comes in handy whenever you’re casting across the current, and it’s actually easier to accomplish than the standard mend. Once you’ve got the hang of the reach cast, it will become second nature to you, and you’ll hardly have to think about it.

There are a couple keys to making a proper reach cast. First, you have to wait until the forward cast is complete before you move the. . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to Properly Grip a Fly Rod

Welcome to another installment of “Ask an Orvis Fly-Fishing Instructor,” with me, Peter Kutzer. In this episode, I discuss the best way to grip a fly rod. This may seem ridiculously basic to some folks, but the grip is the foundation on which your whole cast is built. So it’s very important that you establish a comfortable grip that will help you put your fly where you want it to go. The first. . .

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Tuesday Tip: Parachute and Pile Casts

Welcome to another installment of “Ask an Orvis Fly-Fishing Instructor,” with me, Peter Kutzer. In this episode, I explain the differences between the parachute cast and the pile cast, both of which are slack-line casts that can be useful when you’re fishing across conflicting currents or to a fish downstream. To make a parachute cast, you stop the rod high and keep the tip. . .

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Tuesday Tip: The Un-Swung Wet Fly

These days, classic wet flies are probably the most underused patterns in the average American fly fisher’s box. Trailing far behind nymphs, dry flies, and streamers in popularity, wet flies have the reputation of being for older guys or those not willing to sling two tungsten-beadheads and a Thingamabobber. But for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, . . .

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Tuesday Tip: 9 Ways to get your nymphs to the bottom, where the trout are

Even though the quintessential fly-fishing image involves casting dry flies to rising fish, we spend considerably more time presenting flies underwater to fish we can’t see, and beginning fly fishers learn pretty early in their experience that trout feed on or near the bottom most of the time. This raises an important question: . . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to book the fly-fishing adventure that you want

Tikchik Narrows Lodge

Tikchik Narrows Lodge in the Bristol Bay region of southwestern Alaska is one of many operations that offer a comfortable lodge, fine dining, and fly-out fishing.

photo courtesy Bud Hodson

Booking a trip to a place you’ve never been is a leap of faith—especially when there is a lot of money involved—but there are ways that you can protect yourself from making a bad decision. When I was a guide, I was constantly amazed by how few people had bothered to research their destination before getting on the plane. At one Alaskan fly-fishing-only lodge, I was amazed to see two guests arrive carrying spinning gear and Plano boxes full of trout lures. When we told them that. . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to unravel a knotless, tapered leader

Do you ever have trouble getting a new knotless, tapered leader from the package to the end of your line? When I was a guide, I used to watch anglers struggle with this all the time. Sometimes they’d end up with a tangle bad enough that they’d just grab a new leader and start over. At about $3.50 a pop, that’s an expensive mistake if it happens often enough. The truth is, unraveling a prepackaged leader is quite simple if you know a couple of tricks. Here’s a technique shown to me by my friend Macauley Lord one day on the banks of the Rapid River in Maine. You should never ruin a new leader again!

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