Flats Blues Traveler #3

Blair Wiggins gave away the third Flats Blue Traveler in Bimini this week to Capt. Kevin Cote.  Kevin joined the Addictive Fishing crew on their week-long adventure to Bimini in the Bahamas. Kevin is a great young Captain from the Ft. Lauderdale area.  He and his father have a charter business “No Vacansea” with many international clients.  We hope when this one gets passed on it really travels far!

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Flats Blues Traveler #2 Cody Jansto – Cocoa Beach, FL

 

Blair made a personal appearance at his old high school (to visit the fishing club on their last meeting for the school year. Blair gave a Flats Blue Traveling combo to Cody Jansto the President of The Minuteman Angler’s Club at Cocoa Beach High School.

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Mother’s Day

I was lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful state of Montana. My hometown of Bozeman was nestled neatly between the Madison, Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers and surrounded by a bounty of lakes, ponds and small streams that were all a fly fisherman’s delight.

At the age of 8, my mom would drive me the 27 miles to Livingston where I would present a box full of my hand tied creations to the local fly shop hoping to take home a few dollars for my trouble. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate at the time the effort that my mom was making for me as I pursued my passion for the sport of fly fishing. In the hustle of today’s busy world I often look back at those days and wish I could fall back into the comfortable arms of my family and especially those of my mom.

We would take day trips through the Gallatin Canyon or the short drive to Ennis where she would lay out a blanket along the bank and keep a watchful eye as I would wade as far as possible into the rushing current in hopes of landing a fish. I always knew when I had gone to far as I could hear her clear her voice and use her favorite nick name for me as she would encourage me to come back closer to shore. Every now and then I would actually catch a fish and she would celebrate with me as it danced across the surface of a blue Montana river. I’m sure they weren’t big fish and there certainly wasn’t a lot of them, but at that stage of my fishing career, it didn’t take much to make me fall in love with the art of fly fishing.

My mom is gone now but I still feel her presence each time I make a long, silky cast. I can still hear her voice of encouragement just when frustration grows. I also share her patience as I teach others to love the sport as I do. After all, that’s what she taught me to do.

If I had one wish on this upcoming Mother’s Day, I would take her fishing! I would prepare her favorite lunch of thick potato salad, roast beef sandwiches and of course, lots of black coffee. I would carefully place the red, plaid blanket under a big shady tree, making sure there were no ants close by to ruin the party. I would fish close so she could share in the fun and have pride not in my ability but in my passion for doing things right and to make the most of my ability. I would take more breaks from fishing to spend time with her in the sun. We would talk about when I was small and what I would do when I became a dad. I would promise her again that I would always give my kids all the opportunity that she gave me and I would keep that promise for all my days on earth. But more than anything, I would cherish that day with her more than I may have when I was young. Age certainly brings funny lines to your face, a little extra weight here and there but it also brings wisdom which is truly a gift. My gift was having the best mom in the world and I’ll never forget her.

I hope that you all have the same wonderful thoughts that I have at this time of year and I hope that if you have a chance this Mother’s Day, you’ll take take your mom fishing and cherish the time as you make memories for a lifetime! Happy Mother’s Day Mom, I love you!

Fish Strong, Fish Often!

Al Noraker

 

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Flats Blues Traveler Rod#1 Jacksonville, FL.

The Flats Blues Traveler kick of this weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Jacksonville, FL. Capt. Blair Wiggins gave the first rod away to Jack Norton who is a huge fan of Addictive Fishing. Jack traveled from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl to meet Blair and ended up receiving the first Flats Blues Traveler. We are excited to see what Jack can catch with this rod.

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Tying The Right Knots

For most experienced anglers it may sound simple, but selecting and tying the right knot is sometimes the difference between catching fish and not!

Most of us grew up attaching a bait holder hook, a lure or a fly to our leaders using a simple and popular knot called the Improved Clinch. This is still a great knot for most fishing applications but today I want to talk to you about two knots that should be used far more often than most fisherman think.

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked a lot about fishing streamers because it’s one of my favorite techniques for targeting big fish in rivers and lakes. Streamer fishing is one technique that definitely requires the use of a special, open loop knot if you are going to get the max potential out of your streamer. I’ve fished right next to buddies who are using the same fly, at the same depth, in the same water and I’m catching fish at a higher rate than they are and I’m convinced that it was because they were using the wrong knot.

I always use one of two open loop knots when fishing any sub-surface fly to impart as much action as possible to the fly. By using a knot like the improved clinch which attaches the eye of the hook tight to the leader, you will reduce the amount of natural swimming action to your fly. So in these cases, we need to use either a Uni-Knot, sometimes called a Duncan Loop or a open loop mono knot or sometimes called the Rapala knot. Both are easy to tie and both allow the fly to swim more naturally because there is an open loop around the eye of the hook so it can easily swim up and down and side to side. The only difference between the two knots is that the Uni-knot is a sliding knot and the Rapala Knot is a fixed knot.

For this blog, I’m going to teach you how to easily tie the Rapala knot as most people will use this one for large heavy streamers since it will not tighten on its own while casting or fighting a fish.

The first step is to make a single overhand knot about 8″ up from the end of the leader. DO NOT PULL IT TIGHT! While leaving the knot open, push the end of the leader through the hook eye and back through the over hand knot that you made in the beginning.

 

 

From this point forward, you will be basically tying an Improved Clinch knot.Wrap the tag end of the leader around the leader above the overhand knot. The number of times will depend on how thick the diameter of the leader is that you’re using. If you’re using 4 or 5X tippet, you’ll wrap it around about 7 times. If you’re using very heavy leaders for Pike, Lake Trout or something like that, you might only use two or three wraps.

 

You’ll then push the end of the leader back through the half knot that you started with and back up through the space that was created when you did the wraps. At this point you will pull the knot tight, always getting your knots wet, and the knot is complete and ready to fish.

 

I always use one of these two open loop knots for fishing any sub-surface fly. I tend to use this one more for larger, heavier flies and I use the Uni-Knot of small nymphs. Either way, I can’t stress enough how strongly I feel about the importance of using one of these open loop knots any time you are fishing sub-surface patterns so that you’re fly will swim or tumble through the current more naturally.

I hope this helps improve your fishing and remember, practice these at home and don’t wait until the fishing are biting and you’re standing on the river before becoming proficient at tying all of your favorite knots.

Fish Strong, Fish Often!

Al Noraker

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Hot Spring Flies

Hot Spring Flies

 

It sure seems that winter has lasted a long time this year! However, the great thing about not being able to be on the water every weekend is that there has been lots of time to build up my fly collection, work on some new patterns and refine some old ones that have been “go to” flies in the past.

I thought this week I might share some early season flies that can make for great days on the water. I call these flies but I guess I’d have to admit that term is a bit of a stretch when it comes to traditional patterns that are designed to imitate naturals like midges, caddis, may flies and the like. But even though these patterns may not be for the purist, these patterns flat out catch fish, and big fish love them!

At some point we’ve all probably tied on a San Juan worm when all else has failed. Not quite like fishing “Garden Hackle” but pretty close. The aquatic worm imitations are great in the winter, spring and during any high water time. But lets take this a step further and talk about a different worm, it’s called the “Pig Sticker”. Basically this is a giant San Juan worm but I’m not using any soft materials. I tie this on hooks that are very different than normally used for traditional flies. These hooks are different shapes and often much larger. In fact, if you saw some of the Pig Stickers in my box, you would think I was suffering from exposure! I love using the new Lazer Trokar Octopus style hooks for these flies because they are the sharpest hooks in the world – PERIOD! The shape is great also and I tie them in sizes 6 all the way to 2/0. I’ll also use the Trokar Kahle style hook which makes for some great worm shapes. Basically I am using vinyl ribbing material to build the body in a number of colors. There are a number of kinds of ribbing material but I find the flat ribbing in size medium or Larva Lace works best.

Start low on the hook shank, way down where it turns toward the point of the hook to accentuate the shape of the worm. About half way up the shank, I’ll tie in some scud back material before continuing the ribbing. About 4 more turns of ribbing and then I’ll wrap the scud back material in circular wraps over the ribbing to add a little bump in the middle of the fly and then tie it off before I finish the ribbing to the hook eye. This scud back material gives the worm body a natural segmented look and really seams to increase my catch rate.

So, I encourage you to fill your box with a few different colors and sizes of the Pig Sticker and get ready for some great spring action when the teeny, tiny little naturals are just not turning fish!

Fish Strong & Fish Often!

Al Noraker

 

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Destination-X

Each year a few friends and I head to a secret fishery that we have deemed Destination-X. This year proved to be just as great as the previous year. Our trip started off late Thursday night with a 3 hour drive. We ended up at our favorite camp site around 10:30 and set up camp. We were so excited to fish in the morning that we decided to set up a few pre-tied rigs in the Wright & McGill Hopper Dropper Box.

In the morning we set up our rods so that we could start fishing as soon as we arrived to Destination-X. Little did we know that this would be the last time we saw our tent.

Once we hit the water it was on! We quickly started hooking up with some nice rainbows. After our first double hook up the high fives started flying. We ended up having about 5 double hook ups for the day. We tried hard to get a triple but it never happened. Most of the fish were caught using eggs, worms, and wolly buggers. The fish ranged from 16 to 22 inches.


By the end of the day we were exhausted. We had been on our feet for close to eight hours. Between the three of us we landed nearly 50 fish. We headed back to find that our tent had blown away, so we think. We searched for 30 minutes before we accepted the fact that we would never see the tent again. All in all, it will be a trip that we will never forget.

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Flats Blues Traveler Introduction

The Wright & McGill Flats Blues Traveler promotion is the first of it’s kind chain linked fishing outfits making their way around the country by way of addicted fishermen. Capt. Blair Wiggins starts the chain by selecting someone to be the first link and it’s up to that …person to use the rod and reel, document your trip with photos or video, share your experience here on Facebook, pass it on to the next person, and become part of history.

FLATS BLUES TRAVELER OFFICIAL RULES:

1. If you receive the Flats Blues Traveler rod and Sabalos reel, make sure that they are both in good condition. If not, please call the phone number listed below.

2. Share your location and how you received the rod and reel by contacting us by email, Facebook, or phone. Sign the case with your name, date, and location so that each person can see where the rod and reel have traveled.

3. Go fishing as soon as possible. Please do not keep the rod and reel for more than 2 weeks. Make sure to carry a camera so that you can capture pictures and videos of the combo in use, the location, and any other interesting content to document. An AF staff member will check in with each person to make sure the Flats Blues Traveler keeps on fishing.

4. Please email all content to promo@eagleclaw.com so that we can share your story. Also, please share your photos and stories on this Facebook page. If these options do not work, please call us at 720-941-8725 so that we can help share your story.

5. Finally, pass the Flats Blues Travel Rod & Sabalos Reel to a fellow angler. Find a person who has a passion for fishing and is willing to share his or her experience with everyone on Facebook. Make sure to give them a brief explanation of the rules and get their name and phone number and document who you gave it to right here on Facebook.

If you need assistance, please call 720-941-8725 so that we can help you if needed.

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Greatest Rod of All-time

Fishing stories are historically full of speculation, exaggeration, marketing hype, and out right lies.  The saga of the Greatest Rod of All-time is based on nothing but a high level of performance over time.

The origin of the Greatest Rod of All-time began during the late 70’s when a young angler named Gary Klein asked me to take him fishing and show him some of my crankbait techniques.  Gary was a young angler out of California who at that time specialized in flipping.  About half way through the day we were throwing some deep diving crankbaits, when Gary sat down and tied a crankbait on his custom 7 foot, long-handled, glass rod.  At that time most of us were still using short pistol grip rods for all our fishing.  Outside of a few custom flipping sticks, that the western flipping anglers used, there were no long rods being used in bass fishing.  At first I thought this was a strange move on Gary’s part but it did not take much observation to immediately see some advantages.  First of all he could out cast me by at least 10 yards, which is important when deep cranking.  More importantly I noticed that his casting motion was completely different.   My casting motion with my short rods was more like a baseball pitchers one hand throwing motion.  Having messed my shoulders up during my high school football days at La Porte, Texas my shoulders would be aching after a long day of casting and cranking.  After making only a few casts with Gary’s long rod I realized that this casting motion was much easier, yet much more powerful than using short rods.  Most baseball pitchers will be removed from the game after about a 100 pitches.  Using that same pitching motion, those of us casting with short rods were probably facing rotator cup or elbow surgery in our near future.  Even though our casting motion may not be as intense as a pitchers throwing motion I have been timed with making over 2000 cast a day for 6 days in a row with no rest.  I knew I had to make a change in my equipment.  Problem was there were no 7 foot long handle rods being made for bass fishing at that time.

 

When I returned to my Montgomery Texas home I went to a Cut-Rate Sporting Goods store in the Houston area trying to find any rod that was similar to Gary’s custom flipping rods.  I did not realize that on that day I would find my greatest tool for cranking and other power techniques.  The rod I found was actually a 7’ long handle saltwater water rod designed for speckle trout fishing.  It was the closest action to Gary’s flipping stick I could find even though it was not the exact action. Only time would prove that it was the perfect action for cranking and other power techniques.  Even though I would not fully understand the science of glass rods until later, I knew this rod allowed me to hook and land fish better than any other.

A few years earlier at the 1976 Bassmaster Classic, I had my first Hi-tech graphite rod experience and it almost cost me my first World Championship.  Even though this was my 3rd Bassmaster Classic qualification I did not have any significant sponsors and had to pawn my Browning Deer rifle to have enough money to even go to the 1976 Classic.  About a week before the upcoming Classic, at Lake Guntersville, one of the very first Graphite rod companies sent me the most beautiful rods I had ever seen.  Like a rookie I left all my 6’ pistol grip glass rods home and took these new rods to the Classic.   I took the lead on the second day even though I was loosing way too many fish.  With the exception of my 5 biggest fish, which came on a spinnerbait, 22 of my eventual 27 keepers came on a small honey-B squarebill crankbait.  I did not even have my 10 fish limit the 1st day because of loosing fish.  I was mystified because I prided myself on not loosing fish.  I could not sleep trying to figure out what was different.

 

Starting the final morning I admit, I was super charged.  My career was literally at stake.  I went to the magical bridge and rip-rap that had been producing all my crankbait fish.  I was intensely focused yet I lost the first three fish I had on.  My mind was racing.  What is wrong?  I never loose these kind of fish!!  The bite was taking place as I cranked the square-bill on a tight line down the shallow rip-rap.  The second I would feel the subtle tick (strike) I was setting the hook, then pull the fish a foot, and they would come off.  The height of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I had to change something.  The next cast I retrieved the lure down the rip-rap and when I felt the tick (strike), instead of immediately sweeping the rod, I pushed the tip slightly toward the fish, and then set the hook.  Every bass after that had swallowed the bait and I never lost another fish.  The rest is history.

Even though it took me a lot longer to understand the science of glass versus hi-tech rod materials, I was almost a victim of my ignorance.  I now fully understand that the super sensitive hi-tech rods are a huge advantage when finesse fishing, yet that same sensitivity is what hurts you when power bait fishing.  To understand one must understand the finesse strike versus the crankbait strike.  95% of finesse strikes occur when the lure is falling or setting still on a semi-slack line.  85% of crankbait strikes occur with the lure is moving or paused on a tight line. The strike on finesse baits is a subtle tick.  The strike, on a moving lure, is a change in the feel of the lure’s movement. Powerbait anglers are intimately in tune with the vibration of their crankbait or the thump of their spinnerbait. When a bass begins inhaling their lure this changes that feel and they are going to quickly react.   This is why the sensitivity of hi-tech will cause one to loose way to many fish.  The better angler you are the more this ultra sensitivity will work against one.  When those bass on that Guntersville bridge, even breathed on my little honey “B” I was reacting.  I was reacting a split second to fast.  With my old glass rods that super sensitivity was not there.  It would give the fish that split second to deeply inhale the lure.

That is the Science of Glass versus Hi-tech rods.  The story does not end here. Due to the avalanche of graphite and other hi-tech materials in the late 70’s and early 80’s manufactures stopped producing glass rods.  Having one of the large rod sponsors you were forced to change.  I changed thinking that the hi-tech would evolve and get better for power bait fishing.  They may have improved but still were not near as proficient at hooking and landing bass as glass rods.  Chris Russell with Wright-McGill approached me over a year ago and was curious why I did not still fish glass rods.  I told him no one would make them for me.

He said, “Wright-McGill will!”   My brother, Randy Fite, still had one of the original speckle trout rods. I gave it to Al Noraker of Wright-McGill and the “Greatest” crankbait rods were recreated.  Sincerely, if you want to fish the best crankbait rods ever, check out my turquoise S-glass rods by Wright-McGill.  Even if you are currently not in the market for a rod, these rods have a unique hang-tag on them that you really need to check-out. These hang-tags contain within them the complete system for achieving peak performance with each power technique.  There is 30 years of what works in these hang-tags about Square-bills, Lipless, Top waters, Spinnerbaits, and Jerkbaits.

 

 

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Rick Clunn is very thankful

Gratitude & Thanks

Reflecting on the Holidays and the Coming year, I would like to share some thoughts on the past and future. I have advocated for many years that fishing, hunting and other outdoor adventures are much more than a recreational activity. Consequently, outdoors people are the only ones that share this realization and most of them only at some deep intuitive level. Growing up most people referred to my fishing as playing hooky from school or work. Any of you that hunted and fished grew up knowing that being a fisherperson was not looked at with the same respect that playing baseball or football were. If you were a fisherperson or hunter you weren’t bonified!

I believe it is time for a paradigm shift in our thinking as outdoorsman. Most of us, when we think back in time and past Holidays, can not recall the material gifts that we received but can readily recall the great fishing and hunting and camping trips we spent with our father, family, and friends. Combine those lifelong memories with the fact that fishing and hunting are the last remaining vehicles that the masses have to access and stay connected to nature, then we slowly start to comprehend , that the importance of these connections to nature transcend the ideal of “recreational activities”. Most Outdoorsmen I have ever talked to do attempt to express a greater sense of clarity of thought and connection to some greater understanding when in the woods or on the water. I have always shared the ideal that, “If God is not everywhere he is not anywhere.” Call it my excuse for spending so many of my Sundays fishing. Yet, nothing rejuvenates my spirit more than watching an incredible sunrise or watching an Osprey smash into the water or watching the sacred water transforming itself from liquid, to vapor, to ice, to dancing fog, and to rain, in its continuous journey in the circle of life.

Thanks to Jerry Mckinnis and their genius for attempting to elevate through the Bass Master Television the sport of fishing to a higher level. Thanks to Johnny Morris for creating a store that every time I walk into it makes me proud to be an outdoorsman and justifies all those days I spent playing hooky. What they have done has elevated our understanding of nature and helps preserve the last remaining vehicles society has to keep it connected to the Outdoors. I believe as an individual or a Society, if we loose access to Nature we loose all the remaining wild things and wild places and our own sanity along with it.

My challenge to you or request is in the future, instead of some material gift, attempt to give your kids and family an incredible Outdoor adventure. Nature may be the greatest teacher of all.

Rick Clunn

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