New Skagit Master 4 clip on Youtube »

Check out this new clip

Tom Larimer and his good buddy Dave Pinczkowski hit their favorite rivers in the fall hoping to connect with a few steelhead. Tom talks about water temps and presentations.


Posted by: camosled on March 18, 2014 @ 10:53 pm
Filed under: Get On The Bus,Production Notes,Skagit Master 4,Uncategorized

Check your $%#&! »

by Jeff Mishler


In the dinner tent of one of our Russian steelhead expeditions, Pete Soverel proclaimed to the weary clan of weather beaten anglers, “If you loose the fish because the terminal gear fails, that’s operator error”.  Interpretation: You failed the process of landing the fish if the leader parted, because you didn’t check your knots regularly,


It’s a lesson I learned early in my steelheading life.  Drift fishing with pencil lead and oakies reveals the abrasive nature of a near-the-bottom presentation.  Good mono is tougher than cheap mono.  Hard mono lasts longer than soft.  Good knots work better than bad knots.  Beginning by age 8 I knew the drill;  check your leader often.  Check it again.  Sharpen your hook even if you think you missed the rock. Change the hook before you even question the point.


“No sense in loosing a nice steelhead over a fifty-cent hook”, Ed Ward muttered while changing what appeared to be a perfect sharp trailer on his Intruder.  One quality all good steelheaders share is that they are extremely particular and meticulous when it comes to their gear.  There is very little room for error on the river because the size of our prey varies greatly from fish to fish. And while you might be expecting another 8 pounder after the line comes tight, the possibility that a 20 pound buck might break your knuckles on the first run is real.  Steelhead are repeat spawners.  You never know which age class of adult just decided to destroy your bunny strip.  Using a 10lb tippet in heavy, colored water conditions is just asking for failure.  Even 12 pound Maxima is questionable if you will be swinging your fly near the rocks for any period of time.


So I was not terribly upset when I crackered off a huge steelhead this past weekend, in the hours before George Cook’s pre-spey clave, clave.  I gave myself about 90 minutes to fish one of my favorite runs, leaving enough time to bushwack to the truck and roll into the gathering wadered up, ready to jack a few new sticks…(The SAGE ONE 4 weight switch rod is amazing by the way)


Working up the riverbank towards the head of the run, it was obvious that high water events had pushed most of the structure around, leaving the big rocks from the middle of the run spaced evenly in the tail out.  Each one surrounded by the in fill of smaller cobble.  At the present water level, they would not hold fish.  Because of the mass exodus,  the upper parts of the run lacked much of the holding water I fished during past winters.  Hopping around the bigger stones, I poked up the shoreline looking for a green bucket in the meatiest part of the 100 yard run.  Rounding the bend in the river, I spotted another steelheader 400 yards or more above me.  I could not get any closer to him without low holing him, so I decided, “We camp here” and walked out into the river, stripped off about 90 feet of line and jacked my first cast beyond the backbone of boulders midstream.


I should have made that first cast about 10 feet longer because my fly parked on the backside of the last boulder.  I stumbled into the run, tossed a bunch of slack into the river and pulled the fly free.  I inspected the fly: the hook: the leader: the knots.  All felt solid.  About ten casts later, 2/3rds of the way through the arc, as the fly left the greasy part of the tailout and began to swing up on to the shoulder, the line came tight.  For an instant, I froze and waited for the line to belly a bit before coming tight.   The line surged back. I swept the rod low to the bank and a giant yank pulled the rod tip back towards the middle of the river.  At the end of the bright line a huge tail broke the surface.  Then nothing.  Upon inspection, I found that the leader parted at the double surgeon knot on the 20 pound butt section.  Obviously I didn’t give the mono a full test.  That butt section had battled 3 steelhead two days before. Why didn’t I change that butt section?  One minute of maintenance and I might have gotten a good look at what was by far the biggest steelhead I’ve seen in a while.   Not that I would have landed the fish, because beyond those controllable elements, ones attributed to basic rookie mistakes or blatant operator error, lie an infinite number of variables we cannot control.  The odds are mostly in their favor even if our obsessions, habits or rituals of terminal tackle maintenance are followed, meticulously.  That’s steelheading.


 Intermediate Skagit heads rock!

These are new for 2014


Both lines are on my reels and make the cut.




Posted by: camosled on March 5, 2014 @ 6:49 pm
Filed under: Gear We Like,Get On The Bus,Uncategorized,Words From The Masters

New Running Lines for Cold Water Steelheading »

I love to fish mono behind my shooting heads.  It’s effortless to jack casts of any length and have total control over the swing because mono, being so light, is easy to manipulate when the line is laid out on the water.  But if you fish mono a lot, you know that winter steelheading with it can create a few moments of sheer frustration and followed by foul language as the shooting line slips in your grasp and what was to be the epic spey cast of all spey casts, falls from the sky or never leaves the water.  I count on that total-failure-to-load-the-rod catastrophe to happen about 6 times a day, and more often as the temperature drops to near freezing.  Unless you wrap some of that double sided sticky tape around the flared of the full wells grip, it seems that no amount of pressure can keep the slick mono against the cork with enough friction to keep it in place.

Well, here is the answer, if you’re on of those guys who hates wrapping fine cork with rubber tape from the local hardware store:

Introducing RIO Products GRIP SHOOTER!

The Sticky Stuff is ON the Running Line

The first 14 feet of the running line is coated with a thin layer of PVC (“Handling Layer”) so you can pinch it against the cork and it won’t slip!

The running line has a large loop on the business end for the skagit head to pass through.

This stuff rocks.  My only input would be to coat the first 20 feet of the line with the stuff instead of only 14 feet so I have room to snip off that loop when it wears out and still have enough coated line left to grip when fishing a 13 foot rod or longer.

Get some.  Fish it.

Two sizes to choose from. I always go for the thicker stuff to keep the tangles down.

Find Grip Shooter Here!



Posted by: camosled on January 15, 2014 @ 8:26 pm
Filed under: Get On The Bus,Uncategorized,Words From The Masters

New Water Media, LLC begins development of “Headwind”, a documentary featuring some amazing women in fly fishing »

Thanks to Patagonia for getting on board.  I’m looking for others to help produce this documentary intended for festival audiences:


“Headwind” (working title)

A Documentary Film (in development)

Format:  HD Video

Length: 60 minutes

Produced by:  New Water Media, LLC

Jeff Mishler—Owner


“Headwind”(working title)  Portraits of Exceptional Women in the World of Steelhead Fishing—A documentary showcasing five talented female anglers fully committed to a life of conservation, education and activism.

Fly fishing is a male dominated pastime.  For a woman, carving out a foothold in the fly fishing industry is an uphill journey with the wind always in your face. But it does happen.

Mia Sheppard, Field Representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and co-owner of Little Creek Outfitters captures the essence of “Headwind” with her mission statement:

“Fishing, hunting and connecting with the water and the land are my life. As a leader in the industry, my goal is to share the value of our resources to the public and teach future generations the significants of fishing and hunting and how to care for the land we love.“

Conservationist Anne Tattam’s mission statement adds another layer of richness:

“My lifelong love of wild rivers and anadromous fish and desire to protect and restore them is expressed, in part, through my work for non-profits. My work is a conduit through which I can focus my passion and skills for tangible protection of the places and fish that are integral to our life and our legacy in this corner of the world.”

Steelhead fishing with two handed spey rods is in vogue.  Proficiency with one requires commitment.  Certainly, there are easier methods one could employ to catch a steelhead, but the fact that each woman featured in “Headwind” is an expert steelheader is a testament to their character; they live life on their terms. “Headwind” discovers why.

“Headwind” is a one hour film featuring 5 or 6 such women.

“Headwind” will be entered in various film festivals (TBD). DVDs will be sold directly through brand Point of Sale sites.  Angler’s Book Supply, the largest distributor of fishing related media will provide international DVD distribution.

“Headwind” can easily be repackaged as a 13 episode TV series for cable TV by adding personalities and additional financial support.

New Water Media, LLC seeks corporate support at all levels and can provide exclusive in-show brand placement.

Production costs:  $100,000+

Production to begin early 2014.



Posted by: camosled on December 6, 2013 @ 7:27 pm
Filed under: Everyone Lives Downstream,Gear We Like,Get On The Bus,Production Notes,Uncategorized,Words From The Masters

New clip on you tube from Skagit Master 4 » 

Tom talks about fishing in the wood and the use of his switch lines in tight quarters.

Posted by: camosled on November 13, 2013 @ 11:10 pm
Filed under: Gear We Like,Get On The Bus,Skagit Master 4

What’s in Your Box? »

I don’t trout fish as much as I use to, but when I do, I live by these simple ideals:

Choose—Thoughts on Trout Flies

Jeff Mishler


Store bought or custom tied, these days, either way, rarely does a good fisherman carry a vest load of crappy flies to the river: Fly shops, magazines, blogs, guides, your friends and sometimes your wife, make sure of that.  But the fly you choose to fish is a statement, a manifestation of the angler’s persona, an attempt to communicate or connect with the prey through an inanimate object presented in an artful way. Some manifestations seem too elaborate, so precise, so carefully constructed as to imitate rather than approximate fish food.  A lot can be learned about the angler who presents this offering.  As much as can be learned about the man who chooses to toss a clump of roughly clipped dog hair into the stream to approximate a delicate creamy colored mayfly.   To understand each of these anglers and for that matter, the rest of us stuck somewhere in between, one must see the angler and the fly together, during and after the cast.

I don’t believe trout today are smarter than they were ten years ago.  They may seem so because we carry so many flies in our boxes and we feel compelled to use them.  It’s also possible that there are more anglers on the river.  The old adage that ten percent of the anglers catch ninety percent of the fish still holds meaning, no matter the extent of your selection.  If you can’t fish, you ain’t gonna get bit and you might as well be fishing a size 8 peacock green wooly worm, complete with red hackle fiber tail, everyday, cause even a total newbie can catch trout on that fly once in a while.  Truth told, I use about six flies throughout a trout season.  If I look hard at my records, not counting the long salmon fly hatch and the predictable recklessness with which bank resting redsides come to a number 2 or 4 bullet head stone—forcing me to fish that fly for almost a full month in the summer—I only use a size 12 prince nymph, a size 14 hares ear, a size16 PMD thorax dun, a size 14 elk hair caddis in brown, a size 16 elk hair caddis in olive, (I could probably get away with one in brown, size 16) and a number 18 Blue winged olive.  That about covers it.

Chironomids, wooly buggers, stonefly nymphs, scuds, etc. round out my box, but when it comes to my reality, I like to fish for trout at times when the temperature is pleasant and the fish are predictable.  That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the challenges of early spring fishing when the water is chilly and the bugs lethargic. It’s just that after you’ve done it long enough, each season is another pattern of events repeating themselves, once again, which becomes another year, which becomes more memory, which becomes the bigger experience, which is life. The fly we choose is the ultimate expression because there are only so many seasons left for this fishing bum and I don’t want to die thinking, “Damn, if I’d only tied that Callibaetis emerger slightly oversized on the hook and a half shade lighter back in 92 when the cold weather rolled in and slowed the hatch to a snail’s pace giving the trout a millennium to inspect each bug wriggling in the surface.  Yep, we would’ve murdered them.”

Posted by: camosled on August 1, 2013 @ 6:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Trouble Shoot Your Spey Casting Flaws »

July 18, 2013

Casting Issue: Your fly nearly takes your hat off on the forward stroke.

This is common when these things happen:

1) You place the anchor too far away from your casting position while thinking, “If I just move it farther away, I’m safer”.

The tendency then, is to put too much power into the forward stroke causing the fly and leader to whip into a position related to the direction of the D loop. This pulls the fly right towards the caster. If you continue with too much power too soon, the anchor blows up. It has to follow the path of the fly line, which might be blocked by your face. This dangerous scenario can be worsened if you are tossing the D loop back behind your shoulder. The only place the fly can go, to follow the path of the fly line if you blow the anchor or put too much power into the forward stroke, is through your body. To reduce the chances of perforating your face, hands, eyes, neck, etc. the most counterintuitive thing must happen; place the anchor CLOSER to your casting position. Keep the rod canted off the casting shoulder throughout the casting stroke by keeping the bottom hand in front of your torso and the top hand in front of the casting side shoulder. Begin the forward stroke smoothly, make the rod tip travel in a straight path and stop abruptly at the end of the casting stroke. The fly will then travel out and away from your body as it leaves the water if the traveling rod tip is even with or slightly outside the anchor position.


2)  Your D Loop is poorly formed and you try to make up for it by pounding the forward cast.   All of the above happens.  To correct the D Loop flaw one needs to be conscious of your tempo in the sweep portion of the cast as you approach setting the D loop.   Whether you use sustained anchor (Skagit Style) or a more traditional cast with long bellies, the rod tip must be maintaining momentum, or increasing it.  Decelerating during the sweep and into the D Loop causes it to crash or not form at all.  You can make sure your momentum is maintained by watching the path of the rod tip during the sweep;  it must be level with the water/horizon, or slightly increasing in elevation.  One of the biggest flaws is to have the rod tip dip towards the water anytime during the sweep, before the turnover and forward cast.  This kills all the energy in the cast and you have to make up for it by pounding the forward stroke.   You can remedy this flaw by dumping your rod tip into the water after setting the anchor (Snap T and Double Spey casts).  This guarantees you are coming to a full stop and the only place to go from there is horizontal or up.  The sweep to the casting position is the most important part of the entire effort.  Done correctly, the rod nearly casts itself after the D loop is in position.


Just my thoughts.  They work for me.  Hire a good teacher if you really suck.  I nearly lost an eyeball learning to cast a two handed rod.



Posted by: camosled on July 18, 2013 @ 6:15 pm
Filed under: Gear We Like,Get On The Bus,Uncategorized,Words From The Masters

Introducing Dave Pinczkowski! »

If you haven’t seen SM4, please check out Tom Larimer’s introduction of the man who has led many down the path of life with a two handed rod.

The video is here



Posted by: camosled on July 10, 2013 @ 8:29 pm
Filed under: Gear We Like,Get On The Bus,Production Notes,Skagit Master 4

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