Jul 20, 2017

On The Hunt - Zero Bass Thirty - Froggin`

Operation Froggin`

If I have learned only one thing over decades of bass angling is that the only assumption one should make is to never assume! In order to avoid the aforementioned condition, I've come up with some guidelines for froggin` on a summer day @ zero bass thirty.

When is Zero Bass Thirty

Summer Bassin` is for morning people. Just arrive at any boat ramp before dawn and you'll witness a real bass angler. He is likely launching his boat before daylight. His rods are rigged and ready. He's already had his coffee and he has a plan. His day of fishing is done before most ever arrive at the water.

So what is his plan

In Summer conditions I generally kick off a day with topwater. Anytime before sun is on the water is a good time to call up bass to the surface. Bass really don't like sun all that much and will avoid it during mid summer days. On cloudy overcast days the topwater action may continue through noon and maybe even the entire day. Never assume that topwater is only effective in mornings and evenings.


My gear for topwater is simple. Eight weight frog rod. A large deer hair frog can catch fish coast to coast but it's not a lot of fun to cast. My froggin` brothers agree, if you want to fish the frog effectively, bring out the eight weights.

Reasons for an eight weight

  1. The deer hair frog has a lot of wind resistance to overcome. Don't wear yourself out with a six weight. 
  2. Throw caution to the wind and throw deep into heavy shoreline cover. Popular saying is "if your not getting snagged then you are not getting close enough". 
  3. Once hooked up you will need power to pull a bucketmouth from heavy cover. This is no time to be thinking about line on reel or trout sets. You've got to strip set bury the hook and immediately get pressure on that fish before he takes you to the rock garden or bush pile you just coaxed him from.

My Rod Choice

I have two sticks I use for varying situations. If casting short distances, like river drift boat floats I reach for my Sage Bass II Largemouth Rod. The 7'11" stick provides a lot of control and this fly rod has the backbone to pull fish from heavy cover. When longer cast are key and fishing bigger lake type water I reach for my Sage Method 890-4. It casts shooting head lines and big frogs with authority and provides ample power for lifting and pulling fly for one shot backcast and re-cast. The ability to place your frog back on location in a one shot cast is very important for getting a second or third opportunity of a jacked up bass.

Topwater presentation is most fickle

What does that mean you ask? My point is not all bass respond to one presentation...some like fast...some like gentle radiating rings of water movement while others need to hear the kaplump noise made by a short hard strip and yet other fish won't strike it until it has sat motionless for a minute. Refer back to first paragraph regarding assumptions.

Until the fish tell me different, my approach loosely involves this pattern. Once landed allow the water rings to fully dissipate before moving your fly. Once dissipated follow up with a single small twitch and wait as long as you can stand before making another move. If no reaction has taken place at this point you can now experiment any way you like. Try a hard diving strip. Try a hard short kaplump strip. try several small twitchy strips. Make a cast to a new location and repeat.

While we anticipate an extreme surface ruckus on the strike don't assume that will always be the case. I've seen big bass slurp bugs under like a trout sipping a caddis. Always remain vigilant for any and all signs. Watch for a swirl or push of water. These are signs that a bass has come to investigate. Be very aware if a shadow appears under your fly.

Fly rod Froggin` is some of the best warm water action one can experience with a fly!

This is part of the hunt! Don't miss it! Be the Frog!

More "On The Hunt" Series Articles
> Never Sit Down
> Stand Ready
> Strip Like You Mean It!

Watch for my next article "Detect The Strike"

Greg Darling 

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

Jul 19, 2017

Destination Fly - Tanzania Trophy Tiger Safari

Tanzania Trophy Tiger Safari
Be prepared to have your fly fishing paradigms completely shifted!
Do you want to catch a tigerfish of a lifetime? Simply put, the Mnyera and the Ruhudji rivers are the best as it gets. This is the only destination on the planet where you can target tigerfish that consistently reset the bar as to what is possible tigerfishing.

Jul 17, 2017

Greg's Top Picks from IFTD / ICAST 2017

As of this writing I am sitting in Orlando Airport waiting for my flight home. The show week went all to fast as usual. I only have a weekend and a couple of days before I head off on another adventure. I'm going to have to cut this years recap a little brief and limit it to the new stuff that really got my attention.

Sage Salt HD - Winner, "Best New Saltwater Fly Rod" and "Best of Show"

Sage really delivered in a big way with the new Salt HD. Light, fast, powerful but the best feeling from this rod is just how connected you feel to your cast. You never lose contact with your line. I can't tell you what makes that happen but I can tell you the difference is recognizable and real. I will have one as soon as I can get my hands on it!

G.Loomis IMX PRO - Winner , "I-Cast Best New Fly Rod"

I personally award this new rods series as "Best mid priced rod line ever." While I've been informed before the term "ever", should never be used but I think an exception needs to be made in this case in order to drive my point. The IMX PRO performs like a top class rod. Load feel, swing weight, power and speed all precisely match a PRO level caster preferences. This has been accomplished by putting the R&D in the material makeup and refinement of rod tapers. With a technology G Loomis refers to as Conduit Core Loomis is able to reduce material in key ares yet retain strength and efficiency. IMX PRO rods are referred to as guide tools because guides will rate their rods more on performance and less on how much titanium nano resin sauce is dripping from them. Besides standard four piece offerings the series also include two 1-piece streamer rods and a full series of Short Spey (not switch) rods.

RIO Flats Pro - Winner, "Best New Saltwater Fly Line"

Complementing the Salt HD is a new line from RIO called Flats Pro. I'll have to give you more detail later when I have the technology resources in front of me but the big deal about this line is in its ability to lay out in a perfect straight line, without wiggles and connect you directly to your fly. Even with my imperfect casting mechanics this line somehow finds the straight path every time. I've got my sample line and will be doing a full comprehensive review coming soon.

Nautilus GTX - Winner,  "Best New Saltwater Fly Reel"

Nautilus unveiled a new top level Saltwater Fly Reel. Nautilus is taking a different approach of creating the largest "Tarpon" size first and will engineer smaller sizes in the near future. Drawing from all Nautilus technologies and emphasis on reduced weight has come together to form this winning package.

Waterworks Lamson Cobalt Saltwater Reel

I'm highlighting this reel because this one could have caused an upset in the saltwater category. WWL spent two years in the development of this new reel. While some of it's uniqueness is apparent other features are subtle as trout sipping a caddis. It's light, strong, sealed and precision. I will do a future article on this one soon highlighting all the features.

Scott G Series  - Winner, "Best New Freshwater Fly Rod"

The revised G Series of rods once again advances it's long lived heritage as an incredible spring creek trout rod series. The uniqueness of this series is while light for spring creek use, the action is between moderate and fast with Scott calling it a medium action. Not too slow, not too fast, just right!

Simms G3 Wader - Winner, Best New Men's Wader"

While most are not going to notice the differences between past and future G3 waders they are in fact quite different. Feel, breath-ability and convenience features have all been stepped up to premium levels. Starting with material these new G3's feel much more supple to the touch. Much less rigid then previous models yet Simms Claims them to be more breath-able and more puncture resistant.
Belt, belt loops and pocket design and many other features also have been improved and upgraded. I'm in need of a new pair of waders and the G3's will make for a great test product review.

Korkers Women's Darkhorse - Winner, Best New Women's Wading Boot"

Built from the foundation of the hugely successful men's Darkhorse, the new Women's Darkhorse displays style and fit for a women in a premium wading boot package. You can review the Darkhorse features in an article I did this past spring.

Korkers Triple Threat Traction Soles

Traction is a huge concern for many anglers. I say without hesitation Korkers has shut the door in the extreme traction category. I'm going to let the picture tell the story and only add one detail that all three configurations are built upon the same sole.

Korkers Wraptr Wading Boot

The New Korkers Wraptr Boot utilizes a technology were a new highly abrasion reistant material is actually wrapped and molded to form the boot thereby eliminating the key wear component of stitching. Expect to hear more about this new advanced boot soon

Plan D Fly Boxes

My first Plan D Fly Box has revolutionize the storage of my stinger type flies. Because of this functioning storage system I overlooked its shortcomings of being thicker then necessary and not waterproof. Wait till you see Dylan's new line of boxes. Using the word upgraded doesn't do them enough justice. Slimmer, lighter, solid latching, waterproof and overall better constructed. Adding the line is a new tube fly solution. I acquired a sample of this one and look forward to providing a future review.

Great stuff coming! We'll be busy testing and reviewing every chance we get

Greg Darling 

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

Jul 14, 2017

Fly Water Travel Prime Availability - 7.14.17

Williamson River Fish Shack, Oregon

Request More Information
Williamson River, Oregon
"The rewards are worth it"
The key to the Williamson River’s giant trout lies in the hypereutrophic shallows of Klamath Lake where wild rainbows can grow to 20 inches in three years.

Available 2017 Dates:
August 1 – 3 and August 7 – 9 (2 anglers)

Estancia Despedida – Rio Grande, Argentina – Availability 2018

Request More Information

Estancia Despedida – Argentina
Explore Argentina
Estancia Despedida is a family run sea trout lodge with an intimate atmosphere which permeates every aspect of the place and has access to prime stretches of the Rio Grande and Rio Menendez.

Available 2018 Dates (As of July)
Dec. 30-Jan. 6 (6 rods)
Jan. 6-13 (6 rods)
Feb. 24-Mar. 3 (5 rods)
Mar. 10-17 (2 rods)
Mar. 17-24 (1 rod)
Mar. 31-Apr. 7 (6 rods)

Las Buitreras Lodge – Rio Gallegos, Argentina – Availability 2018

Request More Information

Las Buitreras Lodge – Rio Gallegos, Argentina
Rio Gallegos offer unparalleled remoteness and solitude to anglers
As the only lodge on the river, the 290,000 acre Estancia Las Buitreras has private access to over 24 miles of river with 50 named pools.   

Available 2018 Dates (As of June)
Dec. 29-Jan 6 (6 rods)
Jan. 6-13 (7 rods)
Jan. 13-20 (10 rods)
Jan. 20-27 (4 rods)
Feb. 17-24 (4 rods)
Feb. 24-Mar 3 (10 rods)
Mar. 3-10 (10 rods)
Mar. 10-17 (10 rods)
Apr. 7-14 (10 rods)

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Jul 11, 2017

IFTD Demo Day - Orlando, Florida

Day One in Orlando kicked off a demo day event put on by IFTD. Set up on the 18th hole of a golf course complete with lake. Not only did we get to cast on actual water but the golf course fairway gave new appreciation for casting on the grass.

Several manufacturers set up for the event including Simms, G.Loomis, Scientific Anglers, Lamson and Sage. If was really nice to cast some rods in the outdoors verses the indoor convention center.

S/A displaying some new additions to the popular Amplitude series of lines including a new Bonefish, Tarpon, Trout and Anadro. Note in the Mastery Series is the New Titan Long. I'm very familiar with the standard Titan so naturally I spent some time casting the new Long version. This line really handles well and carries a cast with authority. I've ordered WF8 to use with warmwater froggin`. Look for a review coming soon.

I also got to cast the New RIO Flats Line. This was another line that really impressed. It's a great blend of powerful head yet carries well. Look for more on that soon too.

Breakfast provided by...
Waterworks-Lamson introduces Center Axis

You're going to see a lot of media of this concept from Lamson. I got to test cast it along side it's counterpart,  (same rod with standard seat), and can tell you they are quite different. I'm not sure how to describe it other then "different". I think a season caster will need some time to get use to the idea were as a new caster will be more likely to approve the concept immediately. Time will have to tell us.

Waterworks-Lamson Cobalt

In my opinion, if there is a "Wow Factor" From Lamson, the new Cobalt Saltwater Reel is it. Cobalt possesses a bold and rigid yet clean look. It features are endless including such items as totally sealed drag system and titanium hardware. Saltwater anglers will appreciate the spool lock down feature. Many more features than I could take in at the time. More to come this new serious contender for the salt.

Speaking of Salt...
I got to test cast the new Sage Salt HD. Like the Sage X, there is something really different about this Konnetic HD material. You just feel completely connected! You know that feel when you throw a fly rod into a backcast and for a brief moment you lose connection until the line starts to load the rod again? That loss of connection does not happen with the Sage Salt HD or the Sage X.

G.Loomis IMX PRO
I can't wait to get one of these in my boat. I got time with the 1-piece streamer version of this rod in the 8wt. The first detail I noticed was the clean look of the cork/reel seat. It's a very straight forward appearance of a rod that's designed to go to work, guide work! Than during test casting and actually fishing the new IMX PRO, I couldn't help notice it's ability to smoothly load progressively throughout varying ranges. I preferred a shooting head type of line on this stick which is exactly what I would equip this rod with for powerful streamer work. Watch for full reviews coming soon.

That's just a briefing on what's to come. More Soon!

Also to add a word of Thanks to IFTD  and AFFTA for arranging this awesome chance to gather and test some new gear. They put together an awesome event and i'll be sure to be back again next year.

Greg Darling 

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

Jul 9, 2017

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (7/9/2017)

Summer is in full swing in the Gorge!

Summer in the Gorge

The beautiful summer weather we all wish for is finally here!

There are a lot of excellent fishing opportunities happening right now:

Trout fishing in high elevation lakes is excellent right now and a great way to escape the heat and crowds.  The fish are eating just about everything.  Come on in and get well stocked on buggers/leaches, Callibaetis nymphs/dries, damselfly and dragonfly nymphs and adults as well as some juicy ant patterns.  All have been successful as of late.  Lost lake is a great place to take the family or if you do not have a watercraft, as they rent boats up there. Otherwise get your float tubes out and escape on lakes on both sides of the Gorge.  If you need some help getting into stillwater fishing be sure to check out my Stillwater Gear Roundup and Lake Line Shootout.

Though there haven't been a lot of folks trout fishing on the Deschutes, those that have gone are catching fish early and late in the day on caddis dries and yellow sallies.  The caddis hatches on the Deschutes can be tremendous, and the action can be excellent.  It's a great place to wet wade in the heat of the summer too!

4th of July crush fest with my brother in law!

Bass fishing on the Columbia has been steady.  The river has been dropped and the fish are starting to settle into their summer patterns.  The spawn is over from what I have seen.  The big females are very hard to find right now in their post spawn funk, but the next couple weeks should get them feeding up.  Fishing big shad/smolt streamers on the banks and outside of weed beds has been effective.  We have also had some hit and miss popper action, but if you are there on the right day it can be epic.

Summer steelhead fishing is still pretty quiet, but should be just around the bend.  Both the Deschutes and the Klickitat usually start fishing well towards the middle/end of July and through the rest of the summer.  The counts are improving, but still well under the 10 year average.  Water temps are already hitting 70 degrees in the Deschutes river in the afternoon, so we are asking that folks curtail their afternoon sessions as the already stressed out fish don't need to battle in hot water.

Though the counts are past their peak, there are still a bunch of American Shad coming up river.  I finally got my first on a fly rod, and it pulled like a baby tarpon!  Find a lane they are migrating in, load up a fast sinking line with a small brightly colored fly and swing it deep and you should catch some!
Major fun on a 6 wt!

Flows:  The USGS sites give us real-time flows, while the NOAA site shows us predictions based on weather patterns.  Both are invaluable tools.

Hood River:



Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River
Bonneville Dam Water Temps
Columbia @ Hood River (The mouth of the Hood backs up at 75 feet)

As always, we are happy to talk fishing anytime.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.  541.386.6977

*Add us on Instagram for more fishy content! @gorgeflyshop

Ryan Van Duzor
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

Read More from the "Bearded Pescador"

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Jul 7, 2017

News Release - Waterworks Lamson Center Axis Rod Reel System

Center Axis
Lamson is getting into the rod business but not in the usual way. I've come to appreciate all my Lamson reels for the bare bones lightweight feeling they provide. They match up great to all my modern ligthweight fly rods. If you have a rod that feels like a chore to cast look close at your reel weight. Often times a rod that feels club like or heavy swing can be cured by reducing the weight of the reel.
The new Center Axis takes this approach to the fullest level by fitting the fly reel as part of the rod. I'll be seeing and casting these next week at I-CAST and I'm sure we'll be hearing more about them.

Watch the vid...

Waterworks Lamson - Center Axis from Waterworks-Lamson on Vimeo.

I'll see you on the water...But you probably won't see me!

Greg Darling 

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

Jul 6, 2017

News Release - New Sage Foundation Fly Rod Family

The New Sage Foundation Fly Rod and Outfits replace the Approach Series. Staying with the Sage tradition, the New Foundation Rods, like all Sage rods, are handcrafted in the USA. The Sage Foundation is designed to perform over a wide range of needs. Fast and powerful enough to fish effectively while maintaining feel and user friendliness.  A key note and welcome addition is the stub nose wells grip found on all sizes. From the first time I cast a Sage rod with the stub nose wells grip I knew I never wanted to go back, and I never have.

Here is what the Sage Media Release says about the New Sage Foundation

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. (June 29, 2017) – Sage takes great pride in handcrafting rods on Bainbridge Island, USA. Each one is touched by 27 pairs of hands on its path from proprietary graphite strands to the finest performance fly rods on the market. The new FOUNDATION family is no different.
Capitalizing on performance aspects of Graphite IIIe Technology, the FOUNDATION rod family is fast action built for multi-application. From dry fly fishing a hatch at dawn to nymphing through a hot summer afternoon, this rod covers it all. The FOUNDATION delivers signature Sage feel with stellar components such as ceramic stripper guides, hard chrome snake guides and tip-top, black anodized aluminum up-locking reel seat, and a snub nose cork handle with fighting butt on saltwater weights. 
These rods range from 4 through 8-weight and retail for $325. The FOUNDATION is also sold as an Outfit in each model and is paired with Sage’s 2200 series reel and RIO Gold fly line for $525. All models have a lifetime warranty and come with a nylon rod tube or rod and reel case for the outfits.  


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