Happy Holidays from all of us here at Deneki Outdoors.
Our gift to you this season is a photo of a truly stunning dolly varden – quite possibly the most festive fish on earth.
Last week week we shared with you a killer spey casting video from the folks at Headhunters Fly Shop featuring Mike McCune on the finer points of the downstream perry poke cast – particularly when casting short two handers for trout. If you missed it, not to worry, you can watch it by clicking right here.
Well, they’re at it again, and today we share with you another great video on managing running line while spey fishing – something we’ve written a whole lot about, and yet, still picked up some new tips. We think you might too.
Note: If you’re viewing this in a newsletter or a reader, click here to see the video on Vimeo.
Operating fly fishing lodges in remote locations around the world means we spend a fair amount of time loading reels and rigging gear, lots of gear, in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t any fly shops with fancy line machine’s in the bush, so like many of you, most of the time we do it the old fashion way.. By hand!
Rigging backing, running line, or fly line without a buddy to hold the spool can be frustrating. Most of the time we end up with some sort of ball point pen through a spool held between our knees – That works fine when loading up a fly line, but 250 yards of backing, 100 feet of running line, and a skagit head.. No thanks.
That’s why we were enlightened (and a little embarrassed we hadn’t thought of it first) when we saw Alaska West guide, Whitney Gould, using the post of her tying vise to hold spools of line to be rigged up. It works great, especially if you tie on a vise with a c-clamp. You can even attach the c-clamp to the backrest of a chair (or any vertical object) and keep your backing, running line, or fly line spool in line with your reel as you reel away!
What does a fishing guide do during their time off? The best ones go fishing. And, regardless of how many days a year they spend staring at the water, great guides never quite lose that same level of excitement they felt the first time they caught a fish on a fly rod.
There just may be a thing as too excited however, and today we present you with a quick video of Alaska West guide, Jason Whiting, demonstrating just thaat while swinging for kings during his down time.
So grab another cup of coffee, we think you’ll get a chuckle out of this.
Note: No guides were harmed in the making of this video.
Attention all Skagit junkies – Alaska West alum and Skagit mastermind, Jerry French, has launched his new website, and we think you should check it out!
Earlier this month, Jerry shared with us the details behind the design of his new Renegade series of fly rods from Pieroway. Before that, we let you know that Jerry’s innovative ‘Dirty Hoh‘ fly pattern is now being produced by the folks at Aqua Flies for purchase at your local fly shop.
Well, for you convenience, both can now be picked up on Jerry’s new website by clicking right here!
But that’s not the best part. Jerry also plans on posting on a regular basis about fishing fishing tactics, casting techniques, fly design, and whatever other anadramous awesomeness he’s able to dig up. That means a sneak peak into the brain of one of the most innovative salmon/steelhead anglers of our time.. Not bad.
In fact, Jerry just posted his very first article on the evolution of the Skagit system and we think you should give it a read.
When Alaska West guide, Greg Houska’s not kickin’ tail on the Kanektok, odds are he’s behind the lens taking some pretty stunning photos..
He just finished editing an impressive batch from this past summer, and today we share a few of his photos with you.
Ever thought to yourself, “gee, it’d sure be nice to be able to cast both right AND left handed?” If so, you’re not alone.
The ability to cast competently with both hands is an extremely valuable skill that very few anglers posses. However, most folks don’t believe us when we tell them that learning to cast with their non-dominant hand is actually not as difficult as they might think.
What’s the secret? In one word – Practice.
But not just any practice.. The key is practicing the right way, using drills that utilize the muscle memory you’ve already developed with your dominant hand to ‘teach’ your non-dominant hand the correct movements.
So, for those serious about learning to cast with both hands, below are three simple casting drills to help break the learning curve.
At Alaska West, the well being of our fishery is of our utmost concern, and when fishing for fragile species like trout, dolly varden, and king salmon we strive to use the most fish friendly methods as possible in hopes of a safe release.
However, we’re also extremely fortunate to witness staggering numbers of species such as sockeye, chum, and silver salmon each season, all of which make for excellent table fare, but return in healthy enough numbers to sustain regulated harvest from anglers. This affords our guest the opportunity to take fish home from their trip, while still feeling good about the preservation of our fishery.
Therefore, our guides do a lot of filleting over the course of a season, and out of respect of each and every fish we keep, we put a lot of emphasis on making the best fillets possible. That means a quality fillet knife, and today, Alaska West guide, Jason Whiting, gives us the run down on choosing the right fillet knife for you.
We are very fortunate on the rivers we fish in Alaska that the Silver, Sockeye, and Chum salmon runs are strong enough to allow our guests to take back a portion of their catch to enjoy at home. Consequently, one of the things that seem to intrigue our guests at the end of the day is what brand and type of knives we use to fillet their fish.
Interestingly enough, almost every single one of our guides prefer a different brand of knife with a different style of blade. These days, fillet knives come in many different shapes and styles from large scimitar style blades to very thin blades, and range from completely rigid to extremely flexible. You would think that there would be one magic blade that works for everyone, but in the end, it all comes down to preference and how comfortable you are with the fillet knife you use. That is why each of our guides can fillet a fish very well, even though they are most likely using different knife than the person next to them. Very frequently they will take the extra time to track down their preferred knife to fillet a fish when there are many others available right in front of them.
So, when it comes down to you finding the perfect knife, select one that feels good in your hand, one you think will work well for the fish you plan to cut, and try to stick with it for some time. Becoming proficient at filleting fish takes practice, and the more comfortable you are with your tool, the better you will become.
And finally, we would like to hear from you! If you spend time on the fillet table, what knife do you prefer and why? Drop us a comment below!