Hook File


Dear Fellow Anglers,

Today's tip is short and to the point.  Are you tired of losing fish?  Maybe just last weekend you had a 20+ inch monster hooked (or so you thought), but he got away just before you could scoop him into the net.  Then you yelped in agony as another PR got away!  Here are two things you can do to lose fewer fish and land more of those lunkers in the boat:

1.  Be patient and let the rod do the fighting.  This part is simple.  Let the fish wear itself out while you keep the pole bent without letting the line get too tight.  Let him run some! 

2.  This is huge and a lot of anglers do not have one.  Purchase a hook file.  Filing down you hooks and being sure they are razor sharp is an excellent way to guarantee a fish is hooked well.  This is helpful not only in keeping the fish from breaking free, but also from allowing it to swallow the hook.  A sharp hook will stick to the place it first makes contact!  

Makes sense, doesn't it!  Go give it a shot.  

Tight lines,




Mid South Kayak Anglers Open


Dear Anglers,

You are invited to enter this kayak bass fishing tournament!  Mid South Kayak Anglers is the organization hosting this kayak fishing tournament from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, 2017.   All anglers must supply their own kayak and both fly fishing and bait fishing are allowed.  Door prizes will be given out and the winner of the the tournament gets a spot to fish in the Kayak Fishing National Championship on Kentucky Lake, the winner of which will receive 100k!!! Wow, that's certainly worth a shot!  

Tips: to fish this tourney, you will need to have a hog trough if you do not already have one.  They are about $25.00 and are available online.  These are the standard for measuring the fish you catch in tournaments and will certainly remain useful in the future.  All fish will be photographed on your trough in order to keep track of the number and size of your bass.  

For more on the entry fee and to check out the rules, see the Mid South Kayak Angler Facebook page at 

Get your kayaks, rods, fish finders or any other gadgets ready to roll for this exciting competition!  


Tight lines,




9 Amazing Fly Fishing Locales of the South

We all know the North and the West have some amazing fly fishing destinations, but we think the South boasts some equally exciting spots to wet your hook. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but these nine gorgeous freshwater rivers and creeks are well worth a visit for some Southern action on the fly!

9.  Toccoa River in North Georgia


The Tocca is heralded as one of the best trout rivers in Georgia.  With its headwaters running from Union County and into Lake Blue Ridge, it then becomes a tailwater fishery.  In all sections of the river you'll find healthy populations of rainbow and brown trout.  According Georgia Outdoor News, the Toccoa boasts all the necessary attributes of a trophy trout stream.  The section of the river below Blue Ridge Dam is stocked bi-weekly during the months of its trout season; however the river is open year round!  For more info, visit this link at  

8.  Slickrock Creek in North Carolina

North Carolina is home to just about every type of trout stream imaginable, whether you prefer wild or stocked trout streams, free flowing rivers, freestone rivers, tailwaters or the intimacy of smaller creeks. So this was a tough choice.  But you just can't go wrong with Slickrock Creek.  This meandering stream holds a healthy population of brown and rainbow trout, and even brookies depending on the section of the river.  Plus, the fishing pressure is moderate to minimal, and the scenery is unrivaled.  Access can be challenging, but if you're a true angler, you know that the best fishing is the toughest to reach!   For further info, check out the North Carolina Sportsman

7.  Clinch River in Tennessee

This tailwater trout stream brims with trophy-sized browns and rainbows as well as the occasional brookie for miles below Norris Dam.  The Clinch produces monster Browns and rainbows year after year, boasting a Tennessee State Record for Brown Trout.  With anglers often pulling 5-10lb+ trout from this stream, even its average rainbow could dwarf that of many other fisheries.  So if you are looking for a chance to catch monster trout with fairly easy access to the river, the Clinch is well worth a visit!  To learn more, visit Fly Fishing Tennessee

6.  Canyon Tailrace Section of the Guadalupe River, Texas

Yep, you heard right.  The Lone Star State is not usually famed as a trout fishing hotspot, but the Canyon Tailrace section of the Guadalupe River maintains water temperatures amply cool enough to support a healthy population of trout.  Located in the Texas Hill Country and only a short drive from Austin, you'll find glimmering, turquoise-clear waters full of stocked trout.  The beauty here is unique, differing from anything you'll see further East.  So the scenery certainly adds to the Guadalupe's allure, as waters fall into deep blue-green pools and across ancient sheets of rock, periodically adorned by towering cypress trees.  If you have never visited the Texas Hill Country, start planning your trip!  Thanks to excellent stocking programs implemented by the State, this river in Texas has earned the attention of angers nationwide! To learn more about this fishery, visit GRTU

5.  Sipsey Fork Below Smith Lake, Alabama

Flowing from the frigid depths of Lewis Smith Lake, the Sipsey Fork tailwater is Alabama's only year-round trout fishery.  Just an hour's drive northwest of Birmingham and boasting a healthy population of stocked rainbow trout, the crystal clear waters of the the Sipsey offer a great opportunity for trout anglers of the deep south to get their fix.  Sipsey trout move freely for many miles along the river's gentle current, but only the first couple are publicly accessible for wade fishing.  However, boat fishing and kayak fishing are welcome, and, as with all tailwaters, the biggest fish are often caught further below the dam.  The area is quiet, surrounded by pristine woodland and home to a diverse ecosystem of wildlife, making it any angler's dream.  To learn more and hear from the local experts, visit Riverside Fly Shop 

4.  Whitewater River, South Carolina

While mostly consisting of a gentle and wadable current, this mountain trout stream dons two magnificent waterfalls, with the best trout fishing in between the drops.  Its waters are cool year-round, providing an ideal habitat for rainbow and brown trout, both wild and stocked.  However, anglers MUST be careful to avoid fishing close to the top side of the falls, as this can be very dangerous.  Such an adventure!  What angler doesn't love the sound of rushing waters, cascading over massive boulders and spilling down into crystal pools below?  The majestic beauty of this river together with its bountiful population of trout make it no mystery why it made the list.  To learn more about fishing in SC, check out this guide

3.  Spring River, Arkansas

The Spring River is Arkansas' only free-flowing trout stream, offering a truly wild experience for anglers.  Its waters begin at Mammoth Springs and provide a constant flow year-round, its headwaters pumping nearly nine-million gallons of sub-sixty degree water per hour!  This massive spring river is home to a high volume of stocked rainbow and brown trout, many of them of trophy size.  According to the best spots to catch the browns and rainbows on the Spring are where the water tumbles into deeper pools below the falls, offering scenic and exciting opportunities to wet your fly in the Natural State.    

2.  Rapidian River, Virginia

The Commonwealth is dotted with a vast number of rivers and spring creeks, many of which provide ideal conditions for trout to remain prolific.  But the Rapidian is unique in that it holds a robust population of completely native brook trout.  Once a favorite fishing spot of President Herbert Hoover, this intimate stream is covered in a woodland canopy, so anglers should be prepared to cast conservatively and bring their "A" game.  To learn more about fishing this southeastern gem of a fishery, visit this link at

1.  Little Red River, Arkansas

Touting a pristine river bottom of shimmering sands occasionally giving way to gravel and deep-green moss, this crystal-blue tailwater spills from the dam at Greers Ferry Lake and offers up an angling utopia.  Brandishing an international fame as a blue-ribbon trout water, the Little Red is a mecca for MASSIVE trout, drawing high levels of attention even from Western Anglers.  It has produced multiple world-record brown trout, only recently being dethroned as the king of trophy brown trout fisheries by the new "all-tackle" record caught in the South Island hydro canals of New Zealand.  

Even so, the Little Red River's reputation for being one of the world's greatest trout streams remains set in stone.  This twenty-five mile stretch of premiere trout fishing waters below Greers Ferry Lake offer action for both waders and drifters alike. Deep pools, tumbling shoals, occasional forks, and rock overhangs provide plenty of cover and thus an ideally dynamic environment for trout to thrive all year.  And you will never forget the sweet smell of its frigid 45-55 degree waters, especially in the morning.  If you have not fished the Little Red (yet), you are surely missing out! Click here to learn more.    Who knows, you might be the one to catch that next WR brown!   



Finding the Balance: fly line, leader and tippet

Every wonder why that rod just isn't carrying that fly out as far as you'd like it to, or why your leader or tippet are not getting more distance between the fly line and your fly, or why your tippet is curling up or getting loops in it?  These problems can create ugly issues with your presentation to the fish, but can be solved.  

It is important to note to any new fly fisherman/women out there that the leader is generally not just a straight "fishing line" tied to the end of your brightly colored fly line.  

Solution:  Make sure you have a tapered leader.  A tapered leader, whether welded/continuous or tied by hand will fare much better.  This is due to the gradual change in weight distribution across the line as you cast, transferring the loop smoothly all the way from the fly line at the tip of your rod to the fly at the end of your leader.  You can get a good tapered leader in most fly shops and certainly on amazon or online.  Also, be sure you purchase a leader that is the appropriate size for the type of fly you are fishing and the size rod you are using.  For instance, don't go on trying to cast a mouse pattern on a three weight rod using 7x tippet.  

Generally, if you are fishing a 5wt rod or something of in that range, use the "clinch knot" to tie a tapered leader onto the end of your fly line.  Then if you need anything more than that, use the "double surgeon's knot" to tie on another foot and one half or so of 4X or 5X tippet.  If you are going for trout, use a smaller tippet (or very fine-ended tapered leader).  If you are fishing for bass, go with something a little thicker, probably at least size 4X (and be ready to let him run!).

Also keep in mind that fly or hook size is an important factor here as well, but I will save that for another day.  Refine your skills and master the balance, tailoring everything to the fish species and the presentation you are seeking, and you'll catch more fish.     

Tight lines,



Fishing Tip Tuesday

Good afternoon,  

At some point, I want to do a more comprehensive post on fly selection.  However, I in the few short moments I have to post today, I wanted to toss out two quick tips:

#1 You can't go wrong with Olive (or Black) below the surface

Both Olive and Black coloring have proven to be among the most effective in fly fishing.  The reason is that across a variety of water conditions, these colors tend to present the best contrast to the water (in the eyes of the fish).  There are times when red, orange, or flashier colors will certainly perform better, but this usually happens in extremely clear water.  And while black or olive may not perform as better on a sunny day in a crystal stream or be the best every day otherwise, it is a good starting place almost anywhere you go.    

#2 When in doubt use a more adaptive fly scheme

By this, I mean, if you aren't seeing any fish rising to an ongoing hatch on the surface and can't tell what critters they are sampling below the surface, choose a more amorphous, universal pattern, like a wooly bugger.  In fact, many anglers I know have caught PR (Personal Record) fish on wooly bugger patterns.  The good thing is that a wooly bugger can look like a lot of different foods that fish love to eat, including: crayfish, leaches, minnows, darters, sculpins and much more.  

Hope this helped you out today!

Thanks for reading,



Rod Sizes Rundown

Good afternoon!

When I began fly fishing, one of the most confusing things to me was the jargon associated with the sport.  Many novice and even intermediate fly anglers are not familiar with the various sizes and uses of rods, line, leader, tippet, hooks, etc.  This may seem like a rather dry subject, but the knowledge pays off when you know what kind of equipment to use, which should be tailored to the fish species you are seeking and the environment you will be fishing in.  For instance, if you are fishing a small creek with low-hanging trees, choose a shorter rod of lower weight size.  If you are fishing a large river like the Madison (in most spots) you might want to stick with at least a 5 wt.    

To begin, the jist of rod sizes is that they run from a 0 weight (often abbreviated as "wt") all the way up to a 12 weight and beyond.  The largest sizes are usually for saltwater species (EVEN MARLIN!).  The general rule is that, the bigger the fish, the higher the rod wt.  However, this is not always the case.  Often larger brown trout (a particularly finicky and sought-after species) may be caught on a rod size of about 3-5, but could weigh 15+ lbs.  This goes for trout in general, as they are the best at spotting a thick, glossy line below the surface and behind your fly, which can cause them to get spooked, brown trout all the more so.  

Now, if you are fishing for brook trout in a small Appalachian stream, you certainly do not want to be using a 10 weight rod.  Trust me, i fished a tiny stream out West for brookies once with a 9 ft 5wt rod and it was a circus - a miserably tangled, tree-hung, and high-hooked debacle, not to mention there was grizzly poo all around me and no phone service for miles!   Even still, I have caught many rainbow trout with an 8 wt rod, but a 4-5 wt is more than capable of handling the  lot and the occasional trophy swirling about the other end of your leader at any given time.  It is often said that a 5 wt. rod is the most versatile size, so it is a great starting point.    

If you are just starting out as a fly angler for trout, you should lean toward a rod in the 3-5wt range.  Anything above a 5 wt may in most circumstances be more suited for steelhead, bass, or something of larger size.  On the other hand, if you are tossing a tarpon pattern in the salt water flats, you will probably want at least a ten weight.  

Next time, I will discuss the fly line, leader, rod balance.  This is important if you plan on being an effective fly caster and want to catch as many fish as possible.  So not only do you need to have the right size rod, but you also need to have it rigged with the corresponding line size AND the appropriate leader for the method of fishing you are undertaking, i.e., fishing dries, nymphs, streamers and so forth.  

Use coupon code STREAMTEAM for streamers in the shop and/or DEEPSOUTHTEAM for shirts and see what happens! ;)

Thanks for reading,



We're On the Mend

Dear Fellow Anglers,

To begin, please accept my most sincere apology for the ongoing delay in setup of our new online store, the release of our promised new line of products (specifically hats and an expanded selection of flies).  Further, had you enjoyed my previous posts, you would have been rather disappointed for about a month now, as I have not posted since April 24.  I apologize for that as well. 

Fly fishing is such a beautiful sport - not only does it teach us profound diligence, patience, and many other lessons both on and off the water, but, in its glorious intricacy, it is also illustrious of life's many phases, whether delightful or tempestuous.  It becomes a part of us: its depth and detail forge parallels to every mountain, every valley, and every canyon or crevice found within life.  And, of course, we know that at the source of fly fishing we find the precious and clear-flowing waters, carrying us along for the ride whether we are ready or not.  Sometimes we are not ready for the boulders or barriers we face on the stream, finding ourselves far-flung, washed out, or deeply hung on the undersides of the rocks.   As of late, such has been the case in my life.  

There could scarcely be a more appropriate metaphor: we are on the mend after being set back.  Just as one mends his line against the drag of the current, I am ready to move forward once again in life and with DSA.  I hope and pray that great things are in store, not just for me, but for all of us as anglers and lovers of creation.  I will begin posting weekly at minimum and more often as I am able.  I would also invite any fellow angler-writers out there to contribute a guest post on my blog if you would be interested in doing so.  Contact me anytime.    

I hope you find the time this Memorial Day to remember the fallen heroes of our military - those who gave their lives for us all, protecting the things and the people we hold most dear.  Certainly, we would have hardly been able to live as freely or go fishing as often without such brave sacrifice.  This is a very sacred thing, and I hope you take the time to ponder it as you cast a line in the sunshine this weekend.    

May the waters leave you feeling refreshed this Memorial Day weekend.  

Safe and happy angling to all,



Always Trying to Get Back


My Papaw taught me to fish and instilled within me a love for it.  I got a little older, and he taught me how to cast a fly rod.  Over time, I got busy with life and didn't go fishing as much, as many of us do.  My Papaw also gave me a knife that he'd had for many years. and I used that knife fishing and hunting for many years.  I cherished that little brown knife and it's tan holster. It was very special to me.  It always reminded me of my Papaw, all the things he taught me, and how we both loved fishing so much.  He loved us all more than he could ever put in words.  My Papaw passed away in 2015.  He was a Woodsman of the World and a true outdoorsman.  When he was sick, I reminisced with him about his "numbered worms," trick (supposedly why he would always catch way more fish than everyone else) and about the time he caught the biggest bass of his life fishing with me.  Before he died, I promised him I would find the time once again to do all the things we used to do, like hunting and fishing, because I loved those things just like him and missed them.  I wanted to carry on the outdoor tradition for our family as I once did as a child and as a teenager.  I have fished more in the last two years than I had in the previous six combined.  Fishing just seems to bring me a little closer to him.  One rainy afternoon last summer, two friends and I were fishing this creek south of Bozeman, Montana while on a trip.  I had my Papaw's knife with me at the very creek pictured above.  I had the holster strapped to my waders and used the knife to sever some tippet in rigging up.  It was rainy and muddy, but we fished anyway.  Rain soaked the trees an intense green hue and the water ran crystal gray.  No phone serviced for miles, the gentle patter of rain atop our hats and the canopy of trees crisscrossing the creek were like a lullaby from the wild.  I lost my knife by the creek that day.  I was very upset, but later I realized that if there was any place to lose it, it was there.  Now the creek has it, but I'm always trying to get back to the Creek now, so I guess it's ok. I know my papaw wouldn't be too disappointed in that. ~Daniel



This Is Just The Beginning

(from our latest Instagram post)

(from our latest Instagram post)

Dear Fellow Anglers,

You've seen this one before, but this is me - the regular guy behind the name. I'm not the only Deep South Angler, we are all Deep South Anglers. I started this company with the vision of spreading joy through fly fishing and its wonderful tradition. I cannot express the breadth of happiness that fishing has brought me over the years of my life, even in the toughest and saddest times. In the same way, close to my heart is the South, where I know the sport has the extraordinary potential to flourish as more and more anglers of both cool and warm water fish species are introduced to this amazing sport. I truly believe the entire fly fishing community will be benefitted by such a movement in my home region. I also wanted the company to symbolize a tremendous respect for nature. It is Deep South Angler's promise to give 5% of every single sale back to conservation so that our precious waterways will be protected for generations of fly fisherman to come. Thanks to everyone for the support so far, I cannot express what it has meant. Also, I would not have made it far without the advice and input of my good friend and creative partner @lpritch3, a great fisherman and trusted friend. I decided to post this to allow some transparency with the company. We would love to hear any feedback from any of you anglers and friends out there. What would you like to see most from Deep South Angler? Currently, we are working on more flies, shirt designs and even rods for the coming weeks and months. We are also developing plans for a video series. Please know that you mean so much to Deep South Angler, since you have been there with @deepsouthangler from the ground level. We are just getting started, so the only direction from here is up!

Tight lines y'all,



Quick Tip: Getting Un-Hung


We've all done it - you make a gorgeous cast out to a prime fishing spot on the river, your fly sinks down and starts a nice, natural drift, then suddenly you feel a tug: GOLLY! IT'S A BIG ONE!

Then, those two seconds or so of excitement are gone in an a poof as you realize you've snagged a log or that you're hung up on the wrong side of a rock.  Maybe you're using a your favorite streamer pattern - one that took you an hour to tie just right!  What a bummer!  Many fisherman would clip the line and start all over again, but, especially for fly fisherman, there is sometimes another way out - one that will allow you to keep that treasured, sparkling clowser minnow or home-tied deer hair crayfish.  The good thing about getting hung while fly fishing is that we are often wading the river, and that allows us to get very close to the point at which the fly is stuck.    

If you don't know this trick, it will change your (fishing) life.  If the water isn't extremely deep and the current isn't terribly strong, this method works every. single. time.  

Now, paying careful attention to your rod tip - seeing that it does not get broken or damaged - pull all the slack out of your fly line; then, continue pulling down past the leader section and slowly ease the tip of the rod all the way down the the exact spot where your fly is lodged.  Next, give the tip a jiggle or two.  Note: You want to get the very last guide (the ring on the tip of the rod) as close to the fly as possible, even to the point of touching it.  If you successfully jiggle the tip in any necessary direction while it is very close to or is touching the lodged fly, it will just about always free the fly from the clutches of that pesky fishing obstacle.  Remember, though, to be extra careful when doing this with your fly rod, you paid way too much for it to break it off for one little fly!  So, take it slow and be as precise as possible.    

A close family friend taught me this trick many years ago, and it has been one of the most useful tips I have learned in all of my years of fishing.  If it was new to you, I hope it will be just as helpful in all of your fishing adventures.

Thanks for reading.

Tight Lines,



Where Did the Fish Go?

Spring has begun here in the Deep South and the fish are starting to move faster and more aggressively.  Even so, during this time of year there is often another wintry blast or two left in mother nature's repertoire.  

Cool weather strikes back, and we wonder where the fish have gone.  They're practically jumping in your net one day, but then the very next day it seems they've packed their bags and high-tailed it some warmer, far away waters.  

Good news: the fish are still there, they're just down deeper and more sluggish.  It's exactly times like this when you just might hook a personal record.  So when the fish have slowed down and seem to have stopped biting, fish the water all the more thoroughly.  While they may not be actively feeding, you can bet they will stand their ground in the instance of a threat, which leads us to the point of this post. 

It's little known that larger bass will often strike close to home as a territorial move rather than in pursuit of a meal. They're hunkered down under that boulder or log lying deep in the pool, keeping a low profile and conserving their energy until the warmth of spring returns.  

This is the time to fish most thoroughly.  Work that streamer as close as you can get it to home - a place where even the oldest and wisest bass ought to be relaxed and feel safe.  If you take him off guard with a large, deep-diving fly pattern, he may very well move into attack mode, seeking to crush any threat to his safe little secret spot.  

In a sense, there's a line the bass has drawn around its post, and, if you cross it, you may get a powerful take - one you won't forget.  Often the best fish are caught in the worst circumstances.  

Thanks for reading.

Tight lines,



Aquatics Conservation: Our Promise

Dear friends,

We are currently working tirelessly to improve your experience with us from all angles, whether it be through learning with us, repping our brand or joining our cause to preserve the precious waterways of our homeland.  

Henceforth, five percent of the proceeds of each Deep South Angler sale will be donated to benefit the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of the rivers, lakes and streams in your area and across the nation.  We will donate only to nonprofits with the most trusted reputation in aquatics and fisheries conservation and restoration. 

Our promise: we are committed to keeping our waterways clean and fishable for generations to come.  

Remember, life begins on the water, and we owe it to each other to protect our water resources and the fish species within them.

If you are reading, please like or follow us on Facebook.  More exciting announcements to come soon. 


Last Wednesday was a gorgeous spring day.  I spent a few hours on a local creek and had a lot of fun catching some pretty small fish.  I caught Spotted Bass, Bluegill, Longear Sunfish, and a few other species.  

When I first got on the water, I was discouraged due to the creek still being cloudy from a recent rain; but I kept on fishing . . . and fishing . . . Trying different patterns and retrieval techniques and finally a Spotted Bass gave me a take.

After that one little fish, I started catching many different species of fish.  Now, if you ever caught a Longear Sunfish, you know how beautiful they are - their bodies are a deep forest green from the dorsal area, brightening down into sunny yellow at the belly.  From their jaws, streaks of fluorescent white-hot blue and red trickle down, tapering off into luminous spots.  The colors stand out like brilliant flashes of lightning against a stormy grey sky - certainly worth a double take.  

If we do take it all in - listening for whispers of the wind through the trees, the bubbling waters of the of the creek and delighting in every fish we catch - we will never be disappointed.  Indeed, just because we are not catching monsters and mutants like those we see all the time in those (often photoshopped) pictures online, doesn't mean we aren't doing any good.  

Be patient.  Don't sweat the small stuff, including the small fish.  A true fly fisherman would think a hard-fighting, eight inch Bluegill or a two pound Spotted Bass from the creek as much a trophy as a six pound Largemouth from a managed farm pond.  It's just like taking a fifteen inch brook trout from a small creek over a twenty inch rainbow from a large river in Alaska.  

Bigger can be fun, but it is not always better.  So don't sweat the small fish, enjoy them!  Fish all the time.  Fish tough spots to improve your cast and approach.  If you get tangled, try again and be patient.  The more patient you are, the more fish you will catch.  The more fish you catch, the more big fish you'll eventually have under your belt.  Do your due diligence and that trophy will come to you.  

Thanks for reading.  

Tight lines,



Take it Easy (On the Mend)

If you know what the mend is and how to do it, you have probably learned to catch more fish.  Trout are generally bright (or instinctive) enough to know the subtleties of the current and how fast or slow a bug should be drifting.  If your fly is being dragged by the current at an unnatural pace through a big loop or kink in your line, then a wild trout or, at least an experienced one, is far less likely to offer you a take.  

    However, another point in fine-tuning your skills is that, once your fly is drifting in place with the desired current, you want it to remain as undisturbed as possible.  This means mending with a big flip or a snatched loop is a bad idea and can spook the warier (and often bigger) fish. Instead, you want to gently lift your fly line out of the current and move your rod upstream, placing the fly line gently back down behind the fly’s drift.  This allows the least disturbance of your fly’s natural drift and can often mean the difference between netting a lunker, just a yearling or nothing at all.

Thanks for reading.

From the water’s edge,


Deep South Angler Video Series

Good morning!

Today I wanted to introduce the first little snippet of our upcoming video series.  In the next few weeks I will be publishing at least one video per week via and this blog.  Deep South Angler will be bringing you fun and engaging content, both instructional and promotional in nature.  Soon we will begin an instructional video series, starting with the basics of knot tying and casting, then moving on to more advanced techniques.  I would love to hear any feedback from our readers.  Right now there are only a few of us involved here at Deep South Angler, but we are working very hard to deliver you the very best online fly fishing resource.  Meanwhile, check out the short video above of our journey so far!  Thanks for reading. 

From the water's edge,


Looking Forward, Pointing Behind


The other day I was hiking down to the river on a little-known trail.  It was beautiful, covered in moss and rose high above the water and peaked on top of a cliff.  Then, it got steep. I was overwhelmed by the excitement and beauty of it all that I got careless on my way back down to the river.  The ground was slick, I was wearing my waders and holding my 9 foot 8 wt rod in hand.

I was talking/shouting across river at my friends who had taken the other path down to the spot we were going to fish, telling them what a gorgeous site they were missing.  And as I made my way down the steep path, I started to slide.  Then I tried to shuffle my feet to regain control but couldn't stop.  My friends watched in horror from the river below as I helplessly began to tumble down the path.  There were trees everywhere, and I was headed straight for one of them.  I braced myself as I knew I was about splinter a leg against the tree or worse.  Just a few feet away from the certain serious injury, I plopped down in the dirt with one final attempt to stop myself.  It all happened so fast, I can hardly explain it; but, somehow, this move shifted my course just to the left of the tree, barely missing it. 

After I skidded to a stop past the tree, I knew I was just fine, but was my rod?  I had been holding it by the cork grip the entire time, with the rod tip pointed back - just as I was taught to do.  Still, I thought surely my "big fish" rod was a goner, but it wasn't.  I glanced over to my right, my hand was still tightly clutching the grip, and the the rod ran uphill behind me, all in one piece! 

This is a real life example why you should always carry your rod by the grip with the tip pointing behind you.  If you do this, you don't even have to think about it - the rod just bounces off of everything.  Not only did it save my rod, but it also likely contributed to my ability to regain control during the fall.  And this allowed me to avoid serious injury.  So ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep that rod tip pointed behind you when on the walk or hike down to the water, not only is it good for the rod but it could save you a broken bone or two.   

Tight Lines and (Almost) Right Angles

A hefty rainbow sits facing the current in a pool behind a bolder, rising on occasion for a morning morsel.  You've seen him rise once, twice, and now can't wait to get your dry in front of him.  You amble over closer near the pool and cast just to your side of the boulder, allowing your fly to swirl around into the neutral little cranny he's resting in and feeding from.  The cast was beautiful, he rises to the occasion for a satisfying slurp . . . He strikes hard - blowing water all over the place - your heart leaps with excitement as you attempt to pull in the slack and set the hook!   But before you get to set that hook, he's no longer on, and you've lost another good fish.  

And now, you see him once more down there sitting in the same pool, deeper than before - he has returned to base and has spit out your presentation.  You cast at least half a dozen times over, trying to call him back in for a snack on the surface, but he doesn't move.  And finally you throw what you think is the perfect presentation, one that no fish in its right mind could resist.  To do this, you had to inch a little closer to the stream, careful not to cast a shadow.  Then, Much to your dismay, that full bodied, fiery red striped rainbow darts away, taking your hopes of another good fish with him.  

What went wrong?

Tight Lines

After each cast, when you are satisfied with the presentation, pin the line to the cork grip with your index finger, being sure there is no slack in your line in front of your finger.  This way, when there is a forceful strike on the other end, the fish will nearly set the hook on himself, making it easier for you to seal the deal.  

Otherwise, he just yanked about a foot of slack in your line.  And before you can gather yourself to tighten the line and set the hook, he has realized your fly doesn't taste as good as he imagined it would and drops it like it's a hot potato.  

97 degree - (Almost) Right Angles

A trout's vision above is centered on the top of its head like a wide cone shape (97 degrees, that is: almost a 📐).  The vertex is the point of the triangle that sits on top of the trout's head.  Therefore, the deeper he is, the further out he can see.  Though you didn't cast a shadow when you inched closer after the trout retreated deeper into the pool, he saw you coming and darted away.  Be mindful of the trout's cone-shaped field of vision.  

Next time, approach him entirely from behind, because then he will never see you coming and will end up in your net rather than a runaway.  

Tight lines and heavy nets,


The Fly Fishing Why: A Brief History

The Master

Fly fishing has been around for centuries.  In fact, even the Ancient Romans practiced something akin to modern day fly fishing.  Even so, the art of fly fishing as we know it gained popularity more heavily in the British Isles during the 17th Century.  Anglers sought to catch fish in rivers and streams using an artificial lure that resembled one of the different types of "flies" and other insects on which the fish feed in their natural habitat.  The motivation behind the birth of the practice, then, was that the artificial bait used to catch the fish did not weigh enough for a fisherman to present or "cast" it out to a fish.  Instead, the line had to weigh enough to carry the fly out across the water to the fish.  This technique in turn resulted in the considerably challenging yet beautiful art of casting a fly using a fly rod.

Thanks for reading,



Deep South Angler

6 Essential Tips for Casting and Presentation

Lets get the rundown on the cast (now, I do realize it is taught in many forms and fashions by various instructors and veteran anglers, but I believe the technique I discuss below to be among the best).

So you're ready to start slinging that brightly colored string back and forth with your rod, right?  Well it's not exactly that simple.

I will only assume you know how to hold the rod from here. If you are reading this, you more than likely understand the general concept of fly casting (especially after reading the above paragraph).  You rather gently GENTLY NOW! swinging your rod back and forth in front of you and behind you, allowing the line to begin to straighten and present your fly to your target. The following rules describe the techniques you should begin with and should always remember if things start to get sloppy.

  1. The Rod/Forearm Continuum. Your rod is one with your forearm and your elbow is planted firmly down toward your waist at your side.  Remember:  It is NOT all in the wrist.  Allow your wrist to bend as much as is natural so you don't look frozen or like a robot, but do not rely on your wrist to cast.  The motion is in your forearm.  You want to pretend that, within reason, your forearm and your fly rod are fused together - your arm is part of the rod and your rod is part of your arm.  They are continuous.
  2. The Eleven and One Rule.  You generally do not want to allow your rod (including your forearm) to move past the two o'clock or the ten o'clock position in behind you and in front of you, respectively.  If your line is slapping the water in front of you or behind you and you are only casting a few feet, then you should pay close attention to whether you are following the Eleven and One Rule.
  3. Hauling.  As you begin to cast the line back and forth in rhythm behind you and in front of you, with each cast behind, or "back cast," you want to "haul" or pull more line out of the reel so that when you come forward the line will extend further toward your target.  Note: there is something called the double haul in which you pull out line during both your front and back casts, but it is more advanced.  We will stick with the basics for now.
  4. Let the Line Straighten Out in the Air.  LOOK OUT FOR THE TREE! When casting, always let the line completely straighten out both in front of you and behind you.  This way it will "lay" out on the water in front of the fish and not wad or curl up, which would create an unnatural and unwelcome sight on the surface to any fish below.  If you let the line straighten IN THE AIR out in front of you and behind you and follow the other rules above, the line should "lay" out in front of you instead of slapping the water and scaring the fish away.
  5. Pin the Fly Line to the Grip of the Rod with Your Index Finger.  After you have completed your cast to your target spot, ALWAYS pin the line to the cork grip with the index finger of your dominant hand (or casting hand).  You must KEEP your finger there. If you don't do this, you could miss a fish biting because the slack in your line is not pulled tight. Here's a secret: many anglers do not put this rule into practice, even some more advanced ones.  So you are ahead of the game already.
  6. The Mend.  This is one of the most important practices to keep in mind right after casting.  The fish generally will not bite a fly that is drifting at an unnatural pace through the current.  For instance, if there is slack in your fly line drifting through the fastest part of the current and your fly is in the slower part of the current, the fly line will start to pull the fly at an unnaturally fast pace.  This can often be prevented or "mended" by lifting the tip of your rod up and flipping the slack between you and your fly against the current, or upstream. In other words all this does is flip the slack in your line up past the fly so the fly drifts properly and isn't pulled rapidly downstream (with the current) by a wad or loop of slack in your fly line.  You want your fly to drift along at the current's pace as a natural fly or other bug would.  This technique can often be the difference in catching fish and scaring them all away.

I hope you have enjoyed and learned from this post.  For my next post, I plan to provide a glossary of important terms, i.e., the basic parts of the rod, line, leader, backing, tippet, and reel.  Soon after that I will go on to discuss equipment essentials; rod types and rod weight or sizes; different types of flies, their uses and what they represent; and later move onto more advanced fishing strategies and techniques, product reviews, fish species and popular fishing locations.  In the future I will be posting audio, video and image content related to each topic, as well as an update to this post soon.  Thanks for reading.

From the water's edge,

Daniel Tackett


Deep South Angler