How To Set Up A 6 Weight Fly Fishing System

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All too often I get a wide array of questions….but more than any other are questions about leader, tippet and fly line for my 6 weight fly fishing system. I am also often asked about having just one weight of fly rod or system….what would it be?

After many years and much deliberation…I guess I would say I’d choose a 6 weight. It seems like it just allows me to do so many things from fishing for small trout all the way up to pike, big bass and browns….and yes, even a musky or two.

As for the set up…I have tried over the years to simplify things so that I can quickly change from leader size to tippet size without a lot of extra time. This set up also allows me to go from 20 pound for big heavy fish all the way down to 4X for small, finicky trout. On some rivers I find that the 6 will also help me to push the line out there a few more feet without having to produce so much stress on my shoulder…and after reconstructive surgery…that is a very important aspect.

So, take a look and give this a try. I think you will find that you can easily go from tippet to tippet without any time and the more you practice the knots….the easier it will all get. If you have questions contact me at flyfishingwithjeff@gmail.com and I will do my best to help out with an answer.

Wisconsin Musky Fishing on the Fly (almost)

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I have a feeling that musky fishermen fall into one of two categories; you either love the experience (regardless of landing a fish) or you didn’t enjoy much of it and don’t choose to suffer through it again. I could be wrong….so, please don’t send me any nasty emails. Provided my theory is correct…then I fall into the group of the former. I love musky fishing; OK, so hear me out…I don’t like the cold, the wet, the sore body parts…but I sure do like the idea that at any moment, the apex freshwater predator…could smash my fly…that leaves me needing more and more of the same!

As you can probably tell from the title, I didn’t end up catching a Wisconsin musky. So, I may not have been musky fishing…but I was for sure fishing for musky! Certainly one of the elements we can’t control as fly-guys is the weather and my week up north was wet, really wet…so wet that the rivers were out of their banks, forcing me to look for toothy predators on the relatively calm waters of a lake.

As previously mentioned…I love being out and knowing that you are close to a fish that wants to eat basically every other fish in the same body of water. Frankly to do so from a float tube and with a fly-rod in hand…also changes the experience. As you watch the video and follow me through a couple of days of casting and trying to keep my float tube in place…understand that probably, at some point, I was close, maybe very close to a 40 inch or better fish. I have read lots on musky fishing on the fly and honestly it may be one of those very sick addictions that a guy falls into…not knowing that he has in deed become addicted.

I spent two days on Mission Lake. Mission Lake is part of the Marathon County Parks Dept. and is a natural, 93 acre lake that is both clear and yet has a bit of a stain that in my mind…just spells musky. If you are every north and in the Wausau area…you should for sure put it on your bucket list of lakes to fish. As you will see I managed to stay alive and even landed a pike of about 30 inches. Hope you like what you see and if you have any questions you can email me at flyfishingwithjeff@gmail.com.

2018 – A Fly Fishing Journey to Upper Wisconsin

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What is it they say, “The best laid plans of mice and men…?” Such was the case during my fall break as my wife, Vickie and I, headed north, way north, to the very upper portion of Wisconsin in search of some big toothy critters, aka…a musky. What I didn’t plan on was the fact that it had been raining for the better part of a week and it rained on us the entire week, non-stop!

So, what to do? Well, fish and do the best you can with the situation at hand. As you will see from the video I wasn’t on various ‘big-musky’ waters like any of the flowages…I decided to make the best of an incredibly beautiful surrounding, along with good company…and hit as many ‘safe’ spots as possible. Safe, because it is hard to fish a river that is in a flood warning!

Being there before was a big help and allowed me to navigate to some smaller lakes and even was able to fish the Namakagon River, the upper portion, and did in fact catch a few nice trout. If you are tuning in looking for me catching some smallies…well, wish I could show you that video, but the odd thing is that the smallmouth migrate and leave the river scene for more calm and subdued lakes. This is still hard for me to believe…even though I know it is true! In fact, to catch smallmouth you need to be in this portion of Wisconsin before about mid-September, after that, poof….they are gone!

If you haven’t been to this part of our great country in the first couple of weeks in October, then you are truly missing out on a color palate that is like no other! I live in southern Indiana and can easily say that upper Wisconsin is the most gorgeous place I have ever seen in the fall. The leaves are in full regalia and this is on its own…worth the trip. I hope you can get a good idea of the beauty as you watch the video.

As for amenities; Hayward is the big city in the area…but even the smaller villages will have most of what you need to get by. We camped at Perch Lake Campground which was part of the national forest. It is primitive camping….but a spectacular primitive!

Hope you enjoy the video and if you have any questions contact me via flyfishingwithjeff@gmail.com and I will do my best to get back to you with an answer.

Fly Fishing Gear For Sale

Hey folks…it is time to clear out some of my fly fishing gear. Come on, you know what I mean; each year you collect gear and add a little more and before you know it, you have ‘extra-stuff’! So, it is time to move some along to a few of you. My hope is that you find a piece that you can use on a daily basis as one of the saddest things is to have usable gear that you really know you won’t be using much in the future.

As I enter my 41st year of fly fishing…my attention to detail is greater and my finicky nature has taken over. The bottom line is that I am much more particular today than I was in the past. I know what I like and I am not quite as likely to experiment. So, I have offered up some rods, reels and lines that I believe still have a lot of life left in them. I will list each piece as specifically as I can above each of the individual pictures of the gear. I have also rated the equipment on a 10 point scale; 0 being bad and 10 being brand new (none of what is listed is brand new). I have purposely tried to price each piece as reasonable as possible. As for shipping; I will pack and ship to your locale and charge you the exact shipping price. So, take a look at the list below and see if you think you could use any of the following gear; if so, contact me via email at flyfishingwithjeff@gmail.com.

NOTE: When these items were originally posted, there were 9 products listed. As some have been sold, we have removed the individual listings.

Cabela’s TQR 5 wt., (7’6”) 4 piece rod with sock and tube (6/10) $40
Cabela’s TQR 5 wtCabela’s TQR 4 wt., (5’6”) 2 piece with sock and tube (9/10) $50
Cabela’s TQR 4 wtEagle Claw reel, 5 wt. (FEC 10) with full sink line (8/10) $20
Eagle Claw reel, 5 wt. (FEC 10) with full sink lineOkuma 8 wt. reel with full sink line (9/10) $50
Okuma 8 wt. reel with full sink line

Fly Casting Lessons – With a Follow Up

Through the years I have had to cringe, sorry to say, while watching folks casting in various streams and other waterways. It is much like watching a really bad golf swing…especially if it is someone you know…and you know that you could indeed help their swing. The truth is fly-casting and swinging a golf club have a lot in common; the number one thing is that the person has to ask for help or try to find help…and if they are willing, they will usually get better, sometimes pretty quickly!

Such was the case with a good friend of mine. John Morgan contacted me through my website, as he was relatively local and wanted some help with his casting. We determined a spot to meet and quickly it was evident that for sure, John needed some help…as most ‘newbies’ do. John, being very intelligent, was quite analytical and easy to talk to. Before the end of our first lesson it was clear that not only did he have some true ability, but he wanted to be a good caster, he was passionate. John and I have fished together many times and I can honestly say that over the past couple of years, he has become very proficient and a very good, functional caster. By functional…I mean he can place his fly where he needs it to be often and catches lots of fish. He has become someone who can now help others in their casting.

Not long after we did a couple of lessons, John called and wanted me to give a lesson to his wife, Karen. I thought it was a great idea…if she has some interest, then it would be something the two of them could do together. So, we also met and the best part of Karen…she was a female (sorry guys but gals tend to listen and take direction better), but also the fact that she was new to fly-casting. She had no prior experience or ‘bad-habits’. Ask any golf pro and they will also tell you that starting with ‘new-clay’, so to speak, is much easier than trying to fix “The Old Dog”.

Karen ready for fly fishing

Karen getting ready to fish the Little River in Vermont.

Karen listened well and also seemed interested in being able to cast and catch a fish; the first 90 minute lesson went quickly and I left her with some drills and some ideas to work on. The second lesson (after the first each lesson is 60 minutes) was more of the same and by the end of lesson two, Karen could casts 20-30 with accuracy. She and I also talked about how to set the hook. How to strip in and allow line to flow out…and most importantly, how to actually land a fish. This last skill is just as important as any of the others; the last thing you want to do is to actually hook a fish and then lose it because you don’t have any skill in landing a fish.

I am proud to say that both John and Karen have done well these past couple of years and as you can see from the attached photos, Karen has continued her success and has even been able to land several trout, on her own…while fishing this summer in Acadia National Park!

Karen fly casting

of Karen fishing Jordon’s Pond in Acadia National Park in Maine … Caught 5 fish on a Dry Fly that day.

If you are someone on the fence and would like to fly fish or be better at the sport…please get a lesson. Find someone qualified or maybe even certified (my only certification is 40 years of catching fish) to help you improve your skills. Not asking is the real crime. Think about the number of people that go to a golf professional each year, it would be a staggering number. Casting a fly line is just as tough….or maybe even tougher.

I am closer each day to the end of a long and prosperous teaching career. Frankly, I am hoping that my time to be on the water, to maybe do a bit of guiding…and for sure do a few more casting lessons…is about to open up. If you are close enough and are interested in a casting lesson…or maybe even a ‘catching’ lesson (learning how to catch more fish)…contact me at flyfishingwithjeff@gmail.com and we can discuss where your skills are, when we could get together…and cost. Every day you continue to struggle is a day of frustration and there is help available; I urge you to search out someone that can give you sound advice and get you on the road to a more pleasant fly fishing experience.

Fly Fishing Low Water Smallmouth on the Big Walnut

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Because of low water conditions, there reaches a point in the summer where you either whine and stay home…or go and make the most of it; I am not a whiner. Frank and I pulled out of my drive at 9am sharp on our way to fly fish another section of the Big Walnut…and did so knowing that the water was running at 27cfs, which to my knowledge was the lowest we had ever tried to fish the BW!

As we crossed the creek we could see that we were indeed in for a tough afternoon. If you have fished for smallies in low water conditions then you know exactly how tough it is…and even tougher when you are a fly-guy. Oddly, the first fish came within the first five casts and thus set my expectations pretty high for the rest of the day; an hour or almost an hour later I would find and catch my second fish. Thankfully I figured out a better fly, kept my profile very low and started catching more fish as I moved further downstream.

All in all it was a gorgeous day to be out on the water and for sure I would have been disappointed had I stayed behind and not fished. I did rely on some accurate long-distance casting and a well tied tan colored trout candy that the smallmouth obviously found interesting. Once again I hope you enjoy the journey and the scenery; being out on the water in any fashion or form makes for time well spent.