Dean River Adventure, Traction, Pick 'Yer Pocket, Lady GaGa

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Dean River Adventure
Pick 'Yer Pocket
Lady Gaga
Dean River Adventure
By: Dave Hogan

Driving twenty plus hours, eating gut bombs then jumping on a helicopter for a forty-five minute flight to go steelhead fishing might sound crazy to normal people, but we’re not normal, we are steelhead anglers. This sounded like pure fun and adventure. We were headed to the Dean River outside of Bella Coola, BC for 8 days of wilderness camping and what may be considered the best steelheading anywhere in the world. After a long drive and an incredibly beautiful scenic helicopter flight we were finally dropped off at our camp where we would stay for the next 8 days, relying on our months of planning and preparation.

My comrades and I wasted no time in setting up our primitive camp with the sound of the Dean just an ear shot away. We were camped on a large island with some of the best steelhead water I had ever seen. Feeling no pain from the lack of sleep, at this point we had been up for thirty hours straight, we rigged up our Spey rods with excitement and anticipation of violent takes and runs these chrome beauties had the reputation for.

Wadered up and ready to roll, we headed up river to set foot in our first Dean river run. The hair on my arms and neck stood straight up with adrenaline and excitement, like it was my first rodeo ride. I chose a sweet piece of water on a river bend that reminded me of my home waters. Set up with a Skagit line, light sink tip and a Pink Pick 'Yer Pocket fly.  I put my cast in the sweet spot and let it swing. Controlling my swing with my Loomis 13' #8/9 NRX, it felt damn fishy (like it always does right?). With a crushing take, literally making me step down river just to hold on to my rod, I was instantly taken to my backing with my first cast! Wishing I had taken a nap in preparation for this battle, there was no time for sleep or regrets. The fish ran fast with power and aerial summersaults. I had never seen or experienced such power from a steelhead before. After what seemed like an eternity I finally landed that chrome beast and admired him for all his enthusiasm and beauty. Releasing him unharmed back into the wild Dean River I pondered all the fights this fish had gone through, and how privileged I was to land him, an amazing life changing experience for any steelhead angler.

Over the next seven days many more steelhead were caught all with just as much craziness as the first one. They are all engraved in this fishy head of mine. There are many more great stories to tell of this trip to the Dean River and maybe someday I will be able to share them with you. Till then…

If you have dreams of far away places, pursue them with passion and make them come true!

Traction As A Base To Your Casting Platform
By: Mark Bachmann
To hit a target, the sniper must aim perfectly and not wiggle the gun while squeezing the trigger. Accuracy is always easier to achieve when shooting from a stable platform. Shooting and casting have many things in common, not the least of which is the launching of a projectile to a specific target. Bullets and fly lines are both  projectiles. Nowhere else is this more apparent than when using shooting head lines with two-hand fly rods. How stable you are during the launch, has much to do with determining the trajectory of your cast and the shape of your loop. Snipers rely on rests, and Spey rodders rely on traction, physical fitness an body mechanics. Only one of these three items is something you can buy, the other two you will have to earn.
for the past 13-years, I've had the privilege of being involved with the Sandy River Spey Clave. This has enabled me to study some of the world's greatest Spey Casters. After a while it became apparent that people who are wide seem to have an advantage over those who are narrow. This is because things that are wide tend to be more stable platforms than things that are narrow.
Stability can add a lot of speed to your cast, especially at the precise instant that your rod stops at the end of your acceleration during a cast. In every fly casting stroke, there is an acceleration to a stop. The acceleration stores energy in the rod. The stop transfers that energy to the fly line. The more precise the stop, the more the energy is applied to the fly line in a condensed burst, which translates to fly line speed. A perfect stop can only be accomplished if the caster is very stable.
Most fly fishing for anadromous fish is done while wading over rough, slick terrain. Traction is of great importance to any wading angler. Every step involves traction (friction) against the river bottom. Your comfort, safety, and fishing success are totally dependent on your traction. Traction not only gives you the ability to stand up-right, but also gives you the ability to move around in a river confidently. Most anglers believe that traction is only important when they are moving. Traction may be even more important when the angler wants to stand  still. Every Spey cast should be executed when the angler is is standing perfectly stable. Every cast starts from the bottom of your feet.
Many strategies have been employed to increase friction between the bottom of your feet and whatever they come in contact with. For years the best wading traction was provided by felt soles. Felt is still the quietest traction material when coming in contact with a river bottom. The fibers in the felt tend to scrub through stream bed slime and make solid contact with the river bottom. Felt is like a cat's paw when it flexes and conforms to the river bottom. Felt is still preferred by some waders. The felt sole guys and gals tend to be young and athletic anglers who have hard muscles and good balance. Felt soles wear out pretty quickly, especially when used for hiking long distanced to and from the water. Many anglers wanted soles that would give better traction than felt, so manufacturers started using tire studs protruding through the felt. Studded soles definitely increased traction, but when combined with felt, the soles didn't last very long.
Felt also gets a bad rap as being the perfect medium for transporting invasive species from one watershed to another. A couple of years ago Simms addressed the invasive species transportation problem by introducing a new Vibram® rubber wading shoe sole called StreamTread™. StreamTread™ wears much better than felt. However, StreamTread™ by itself it was judged as pretty worthless for traction on the bottom of slick rivers. But StreamTread™ is perfect for holding screw-in cleats and other traction devises. Simms markets a whole array of such traction devises to be added to their StreamTread™ soles, such as Hard Bite Studs, Hard Bite Star Cleats and AlumiBite Cleats. Hard Bite Studs and Star Cleats use Sharp pieces of tungsten carbide to cut into the stream bedlike sandpaper cuts into wood. Alumibite Cleats work the opposite direction, the streambed rock cut into the aluminum cleats to provide friction. I have use many systems extensively. Tungsten Carbide work better for me than aluminum or felt.
No wading sole system works forever without maintenance. Tungsten carbide, steel, felt, rubber, and aluminum all eventually wears out, and has to be repaired or replaced. If it screws into StreamTread™, it is much easier to replace than felt. If you are dedicated to spending over a hundred days a year on the water, like myself, then you will need to replace a full set of cleats each year. You might need to replace certain cleats or studs every month. Having back-up shoes, and repair studs and cleats with you is a good idea. Stud Service Available...
Friction between the bottom of the river and the soles of your shoes aren't the only issues that effect your traction. How your shoes fit to your feet is also of major importance. Even your socks play a role in your stability on the water. If you are sliding around inside your wading shoes, it is the same as sliding around on the bottom of the river.
Every presentation of your fly to the fish is dependent on your position in the river. You can only catch fish that you can reach. Your odds go way up if the fly is doing the right thing when it approaches the fish. The best presentations start with a perfect cast. Perfect casts are only possible if you are stable on your feet.

Pick 'Yer Pocket
Pick 'Yer Pocket, Black Pick 'Yer Pocket, Orange
Pick 'Yer Pocket, Black & Pink Pick 'Yer Pocket, Pink
Pick 'Yer Pocket, Blue & Chartreuse Pick 'Yer Pocket, Purple
Brian Kite shows off a nice steelhead...
Dolly Vardens eat Pick "Yer Pockets too...

Brian Kite guides in Alaska and Northern Washington.  He says, "My steelhead roots have strong ties to the Skagit Style of fishing; short heads and big flies. The Pick-Yer-Pocket was developed and some what plagiarized from the now famous ‘Intruder’ style of flies originated in the region. We have been tying these flies for years, often experimenting with different types of materials in search of the ‘perfect swim’. A major challenge with big flies is the difficult marriage between size versus weight, i.e., the bigger the fly, the heavier it is causing a lot of grief on the river when casting. The great thing about the Pick-Yer-Pocket is that it carries a big

presence in the water, gets down deep but does not carry a lot of weight resistance when casting. The segmentation of the rear and front sections of the fly separated by the body gives the fly a different look through out the swing, and the use of the long saddles and Amherst pheasant tail feather fibers establish that tasty silhouette in the water.
Fishing It:
Fish these flies with classic swing methods.  Flies of this nature cast easier with two-hand rods than single hand rods. As long as you are making nice straight casts and controlling the swing speed, the fly will do all of the work. The machined brass eyes incorporated in these patterns give them the sink rate to be effective in most current speeds and depths. A key to making this fly demand attention in the water is the exact placement of the various layers of life breathing materials.. Over dressing the fly will cause materials to mat together and not swim properly, the key with this style of fly is allowing the sparsely tied materials do the work in the water. These flies have a deffinet squid-like look in the water.  The Pick-Yer-Pocket is a great fly for year round steelhead fishing, and like the name suggests, you can feel confident fishing it behind someone in the river!!
You can fish this in any color combination your mind is able to fathom if you choose to tie this fly yourself. However, the basic steelhead colors of Black,
Orange, Pink and Purple are available here.

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Black

Black is always a good bet when the light levels are low, the water is off-color or it is late in the season (winter or summer).

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Black

Item Description Size Price To Top
ST197BK02 Pick 'Yer Pocket, Black 2 3 for $10.50 Sale Ended

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Black and Pink
Black is the dominant color. Pink has been added to give the fly dimension. This fly is a good bet for both Steelhead and Chinooks. It is always a good bet on cloud cover days.
Item Description Size Price To Top
ST197BP02 Pick 'Yer Pocket, Black and Pink 2 3 for $10.50 Sale Ended

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Blue and Chartreuse
Blue and chartreuse flies are popular for King Salmon in Alaska and Spring Chinooks in the Pacific Northwest. This color combination is also becoming popular with Steelhead anglesr all along the Pacific Rim.
Item Description Size Price To Top
ST197BL-CH02 Pick 'Yer Pocket, Black and Pink 2 3 for $10.50 Sale Ended

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Orange

This thing looks so much like a squid you might be tempted to eat it yourself.

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Orange

Item Description Size Price To Top
ST197OR02 Pick 'Yer Pocket, Orange 2 3 for $10.50 Sale Ended

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Pink

Great early winter pattern on many rivers, especially if you are close to the salt.

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Pink

Item Description Size Price To Top
ST197PK02 Pick 'Yer Pocket, Pink 2 3 for $10.50 Sale Ended

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Purple

Purple is the sleeper color on many rivers.  It is the main color east of the Cascades.

Pick 'Yer Pocket, Purple

Item Description Size Price To Top
ST197PR02 Pick 'Yer Pocket, Purple 2 3 for $10.50 Sale Ended

Lady GaGa Intruder Steelhead Fly
Blue & White               Purple & Pink
Lady GaGa Intruder, Blue and White
Using the scientific approach late one night at the tying bench, keen tournament caster and steelhead guide Travis Johnson was imbibing copious amounts of fine Scotch, when he sneezed into a pile of loose marabou and the Lady GaGa Series was born...divine intervention or blind luck? Any steelhead guide can use the help of both.
While guiding steelhead trips on many different rivers of the Pacific Northwest, Travis has developed some definite ideas about how steelhead see. The blue & white Lady GaGa has proven to be very effective in clear, cold water conditions.
Item Description Size Price To Top
37-0770-TB Lady GaGa Intruder, Blue and White 3.5 inches 3 for $10.50 Sale Ended

Blue and White Lady GaGa accounts for another winter steelhead. Photo by: Darcy Bacha.
Lady GaGa Intruder, Purple and Pink
This is the high water version of the Lady GaGa, incorporating both fluorescent pink and copper flash into the mix of materials. Travis has noticed that copper flash is productive, especially when the water is off-color. Lady GaGa flies are tied on Pro FlexiTubes. Lady GaGa flies come with #4 Octopus hooks. Many hooks fit these flies. Travis prefers to use Gamakatsu Drop Shot Hooks in size-1 as a trailer hook.  Another popular hook is the Daiichi X452 in size-2. This style of hook is pulled up inside the built in hook-holder.
Item Description Size Price To Top
37-0780-TB Lady GaGa Intruder, Purple and Pink 3.5 inches 3 for $10.50 Sale Ended

This summer steelhead fell for a Purple and Pink Lady GaGa. Photo by:  Travis Johnson

Travis Johnson with another steelhead that fell for Lady GaGa.

Fish long & prosper,
Mark, Patty & Crew

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