Where has the time gone? I feel like just a couple months ago Moby Dick was the size of a minnow, Power Rangers were all the rage, Shaq and Kobe were teammates, and bead fishing outside of Alaska was an unknown. But alas, the older you get, the faster the years pass by. I promised myself I would never turn into an older timer who would reference the “good ole days” but instead embrace the future. Well we are just a few hours from 2019 but before we focus on our resolutions for the upcoming year, lets take a look back at some highlights from 2018. Below are our top 10 most viewed posts from the past year. We appreciate your support the previous 365 days and years prior. As always, do not hesitate to share your feedback or suggestions on content you would like to see more of in the comment section below. Have a safe and happy New Years!
Dollies sure do have some Christmas spirit! Love the clowned up red and green color combination but my favorite part has to be the sharp black and white contrast on their fins. Hard to imagine a more beautiful fish. We at Deneki wish you a safe and happy holiday season. May the holidays bring happiness and joy to you and your loved ones!
Want to see more of any specific type of content on our blog? Your wish is our command. Drop us a note in the comment section to let us know.
Fun Posts from 2018:
At Deneki, we clearly need plenty of fishing diversity in our lives. From walking the flats of Andros, to swinging flies in BC, to casting rodents at Leopard Rainbows, we love it all. Unfortunately for our bank accounts, each different fishery seems to require its own set of gear. Your bonefish line won’t work in Alaska, neither will your flies or lightweight wind breaker. One thing that can work in a range of different locations, your polarized sun glasses.
A common question we get asked by our guests is if they need different sun glasses for each location. Obviously there are certain lens colors that work best in different conditions. Yellow lenses are popular in low light conditions where a reflective blue is a good choice for fishing offshore in bright sun. But in an effort to not have to buy a new pair for each fishery, we would recommend using a copper colored lens. Copper is a great all around lens shade, it can bring out the contrast in flats and rivers alike while still blocking out enough light to offer protection for your eyes. Obviously if you are always fishing in a certain environment, there may be one lens color that is ideal but if we had to pick a go to lens shade that can get it done in a range of conditions, copper is it.
More on Sun Glasses:
In 2012 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game passed a regulation that banned all felt or other “absorbent fibrous materials” on boot soles while sport fishing in the fresh waters of the state. It has been almost 7 years since this regulation was first passed, is it still in effect?
The answer is yes but many anglers do not understand why. The simple answer is that felt or other absorbent soles provide a greater chance of introducing or spreading invasive species. These boot materials may provide better grip while wading, but they also are a pathway to introduce nonnative organisms like didymo cells, zebra mussels, and whirling disease. Even after proper decontamination methods were taken, viable invasive organisms have been found trapped in felt soled boots. Rubber boots are an alternative that not only trap far fewer organisms, they can also be more easily cleaned and successfully decontaminated.
Humans are responsible for most all of the transportation of aquatic invasive species. The Department of Fish and Game has adopted the slogan, “Think ahead, and save a watershed.” Even if using rubber soled wading boots the ADF&G suggests the following guidelines to be taken on all fishing gear and boats before bringing them into the state.
“To protect Alaska’s waters and native aquatic species, please follow these guidelines:
1) CLEAN — Rinse and remove any mud, sediment, and/or plant debris from all gear, boats, and boat trailers, floatplane rudders and floats, and anything that comes into contact with the water. Separate all pieces of wading footgear and waders (remove liners, etc.) to check for and remove visible mud, sediment and/or plant debris before leaving the area. Use a stiff bristle brush to clean all fishing gear.
2) DRAIN — Empty all water from coolers, bilge pumps, buckets, and wring out gear before leaving the boat launch or fishing areas.
3) DRY — Completely dry gear between waterbodies or trips. Equipment that remains damp can harbor small particles of invasive species that can remain viable for weeks. If drying gear completely in not possible-decontaminate!
4) DECONTAMINATE — Freeze gear until solid or wash gear in 140°F hot water scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush. If drying, freezing or heating gear is not feasible, use a 2% bleach solution to clean gear away from fresh water recreation sites. Spray or rinse gear for one minute. A 2% bleach solution can be made easily by mixing 2.5 oz. of chlorine bleach with tap water to make 1 gallon of solution.
NOTE: Bleach solutions may degrade gear made of absorbent materials. Please rinse gear on land, away from fresh water fishing areas and dispose of disinfectants as indicated on the label.”
Obviously aquatic invasive species can be transported through gear other than just wading boots but if as anglers, we can help reduce the risk by switching up our wading boots, it seems that is a sacrifice we should be able to make. Felt definitely offers a better grip when wading those large Alaskan River’s like the Naknek but one thing that we have found to help improve the grip on your rubber wading boots are the removable “crampons” made by Patagonia. There is still a lot of research being done on the transportation of invasive aquatic species but if switching up our wading boots can help avoid the introduction of a potentially harmful species, we are all for making the change!
More Alaska Conservation News
A commonality between most all fly fishermen is a slight obsession with gear. We not only have lots of it, but we also like to bring unnecessary amounts with us on our fishing trips. Don’t just leave it back at the lodge. There are some great benefits to having an extra rod and reel with you ready to go!
From Alaska to the Bahamas to Chile, we never know exactly what the fish are eating. Having a second rod rigged up with a different choice of fly can help crack the puzzle that much quicker. If you are wade fishing a cold environment, it can be easy to get a little lazy and not change flies in an effort to keep your fingers warm. A simple solution, have a second set up with different flies ready to go.
A second rod can be a savior if that birds nest of a tangle forms. Imagine you are happily scanning a flat and that trophy single bonefish comes into view. Your first cast is into the wind and wide right. The fish doesn’t spook but as you go to cast again, you notice a knot in the leader. Who knows how long that bonefish will stay in range? Don’t mess with undoing the tangle, grab that second rod and stick the fish!
Double hook up potential. I can’t even type those words without getting a little excited. There are those perfect days when you are getting lots of shots at happy fish. You hook into one quick and the school is still around. Let your buddy grab that other rod and take the shot! Or even better, encourage the guide to make the cast. Double hook ups are the reward to prepared anglers and guaranteed to leave everyone in the boat with a smile.
- Accidents unfortunately do happen. Whether the rod broke getting into the boat, got stepped on, or even snapped on a big fish, it pays to be prepared and have a back up ready to go.
Note: Most important part of having a second rod is not forgetting about it and leaving it behind! I unfortunately have learned this lesson the hard way. It is easy to get distracted out there and forget that you have a second rod leaning on the bush behind you. Especially when you aren’t used to carrying a second set up with you.
Other Gear Suggestions:
10 Things we are Thankful for this Year.
Thankful to our guests, and boy do we have some incredible ones. Plain and simple, we wouldn’t be here without you.
Thankful to our repeat guests. You get your own category of recognition. Repeat guests are the best compliment we can receive. Whether you have fished different lodges with us, or the same lodge multiple times, our repeat guests hold a special place in our hearts.
Thankful for sunny days walking the flats of Andros South (we should also mention here that we are thankful for sun screen, buffs and occasionally aloe.)
Thankful for the tremendous guides that work at our lodges. Let’s be honest, without them we are all catching a lot fewer fish..
Thankful for waterproof gear. “Waterproof” used to be a description you couldn’t trust. Now a days various companies make fully submersible, welded gear that we can count on.
Thankful for cold Kaliks after (or during) some of the world’s best Bonefishing.
Thankful for sunsets. Between Alaska, Andros, and BC we have witnessed some remarkable sunsets signifying the end of a memorable day. With this comes the anticipation of tomorrow’s sunrise and the fish to follow.
Thankful we were born fishermen. Something that can be easily taken for granted. Simply being able to spend time on the water is worth a feeling of gratitude.
Today, your remarkably humbled editor would like to take a quick detour in tone to announce that this will be my final post as the editor of the Deneki blog. After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to pursue another opportunity within the industry that will unfortunately render me unable to continue to oversee the content of the blog. Not to worry – the show will go on!
Only those closest to me are likely to understand the impact that the Deneki brand has had on my life over the past six years, yet I feel compelled to share a quick story that may help illustrate it.
I used to read the Deneki blog while attending college in Maine in 2009. From the funk of my dorm room, I practically wore the edges off of my favorite fly fishing DVD, one that was filmed on-site at none-other than Alaska West, as I sought solace from too much time spent in the classroom and not enough time spent on the water. On more than one occasion, my roommates wondered in awe as to how someone could watch the same ‘fishing video’ so many times. It was back then, before my first guide gig or published article, that the Deneki brand and deep roots of the Alaska West family tree became a legacy I aspired to be a part of.
Fast forward nearly a decade, over 1400 blog posts later, after six incredible seasons guiding and overseeing the fishing program at Alaska West, and working as part of the management team at Andros South, my heart has never been fuller.
It’s been a dream come true to have had the opportunity to connect with so many in the fly fishing community. Although I intend to continue to do so through other channels, I want to thank each and every one of you who contributed, commented, or so much as read a single word on the Deneki blog over the years, as well as those with whom I’ve shared a boat, a tent, a gravel bar, or a bottle of Kalik with along the way.
Make no mistake: each of you allowed me to fulfill a dream, something I’m fully aware not everyone is fortunate enough to experience. For that I am eternally grateful. Thank You.
What a trip it’s been. But, as is the case with all fishing trips, “last casts” are a necessity. Not in an inevitably finite sense, but because last casts are a requisite for new fishing trips. Here’s to the next one.
Hope to see you out there.
A Few Favorites Along the Way
Warning: this is a semi-detailed post on correcting a common fly casting fault. If you’re not into the detailed mechanics of fly casting, click here for some big fish photos instead!
Fly casting is an art that will never be perfected, only improved upon. It’s part of what makes the sport great! Nonetheless, there are a few common casting faults that we see on a day to day basis that, if corrected, can help take your casting to the next level. Here’s an in depth post on one of the most common casting faults we see from both beginners and experienced casters alike (called creep) and how to best correct it (a technique called drift).
A Few Fundamentals
First things first, it’s important to introduce a couple of the fundamental principles that govern all forms of fly casting. By far the most fundamental principle to a good fly cast is that the tip of the rod travels in a straight line.
The fly line does whatever the tip of the rod does. So, if the rod tip draws a big wide arc, then the result will be big wide open loops. If the rod tip travels in a straight line, the fly line will follow suit and the result will be nice tight narrow loops. On the other hand, if the rod tip dips below a straight line path (in a convex motion), the result will be tailing loops (more on this later). The fly line always follows the path of the rod tip, simple as that.
Another fundamental principle that is worth mentioning is the effect that slack in the fly line has on the cast. In nearly all avenues of fly casting, slack is the enemy. Whether on the pickup, back cast, forward cast, or any other part of the cast it is important that slack is kept to an absolute minimum. Any time slack is introduced into the system we have no choice but to waste part of our casting stroke to take up slack before the line can provide enough tension to bend the rod. Makes sense, right?
Now that we have a few fundamentals out of the way, let’s look at the fault at hand, creep.
What is creep?
Also known as rod creep, creep is one of the most common casting faults we see on a day to day basis, even from extremely experienced anglers. Creep is nothing more than starting the forward cast too early, before the line is able straighten on the back cast. Often times, rod creep on the forward cast is very subtle. After making the back cast, most casters unconsciously creep forward in anticipation of the forward cast before the line has time to straighten behind them, especially when casting to a big fish!
Why is creep bad?
By creeping forward before the line has straightened behind us, we introduce slack (the enemy!) into the system. Thus, the only way to compensate for this slack is to increase power to the cast. This increase in power causes the rod to bend (or load) more than desired, causing the rod tip to dip below a straight line path, thus causing the dreaded tailing loop! Although there are many causes of tailing loops, if you find yourself consistently throwing tailing loops (especially when attempting long casts), tangling up, or picking out ‘wind’ knots, there’s a good chance that you’re creeping on the forward cast.
How do I correct creep?
At first thought, the obvious fix is to simply wait longer on the back cast (to allow the line to straighten) before continuing with the forward cast. Although this sounds simple enough, often times it is a very difficult habit to break! A much better solution involves a distance casting technique called drift, which we’ll explain below.
What is drift?
Drift, often confused with creep, is a casting technique used by most great fly casters and competition casters alike to achieve maximum distances.
As the length of line increases, it is critical that the casting stroke (the distance the hand moves back and forth during the cast) must also increase. Drift allows us to increase the length of our casting stroke to the length needed to make those 80, 90, or even 100 foot casts!
To execute drift, after coming to an abrupt stop on the back cast, allow your rod hand to slide (or drift) back and up as the line proceeds to straighten behind you. Once the line has straightened behind you, then proceed with the forward cast as you would normally.
Why is drift good?
By allowing your rod hand to drift back after making your stop on the back cast, you are able to greatly increase the length of your casting stroke for the next forward cast. Think of it this way – if you were to throw a rock at a sea gull only 10 feet away, you might only reach back as far as your ear before sending it on its way. However, if attempting to hit a sea gull at 100 feet away, you would reach waaaay back before giving it a toss (Note: No sea gulls were harmed in the writing of this post). So it is with drift and casting stroke. By drifting we are able to increase our available casting stroke, granting us more distance to bend the rod, and ultimately allowing us to cast further!
So, what’s drift have to do with creep?
Now we put it all together. Rather than correcting our nasty ‘creeping’ habits by simply telling ourselves ‘wait longer,’ we can use drift to correct our forward creep, while at the same time increasing the casting stroke. It’s a win win! By drifting back after making the abrupt stop on the back cast, we are forced to wait just a fraction longer before starting the next forward cast. Now, with a little practice, we are able to cure the creep, while at the same time increasing the casting stroke needed for those long casts.