Net Ninja

Handlin' it, Justin Dobson

Written By: Justin Dobson

Photos By: Matt Bornhorst

How well do you trust your companion behind the net?  If you have ever hooked a trophy fish, you quickly realize the battle is not won alone.  You’re net man (or woman), is worth their weight in gold if they are any good.  Of course they don’t always succeed, and that failure is usually forgiven but never forgotten.  Netting a fish is just as technical as fighting.  Judging where best to be in relation to the fish and fisher and trying to predict the fish’s next move is critical.  Being behind the net also helps the one fighting the fish by being an extra set of eyes watching fish behavior or if a fish is heading for an obstacle.

Understanding fish behavior is important in both roles.  If a dog approaches you with its tail between his legs and his head low, would you quickly jump to pet it?  You can look at netting a fish in the same light;  I probably wouldn’t try to net a fish that is making strong runs, jumping, thrashing or is bull-dogging you snout down.  Wait until the time is right.  Being too impatient could lead to being called Continue reading

Do You Keep a Fishing Journal?

Jamie Keown Winged Reel Classic Snapback Fly Fishing Rainbow Trout

Written By: Peter Van Hattum

Photo By: Justin Dobson

For as long as I have been fishing seriously keeping a journal is something I have always thought about. It started when I was living in Charleston, SC and was thinking about how to track the Mahi or Sailfish up and down the Gulf Stream as the seasons changed. I thought by recording locations, moon patterns, and water temperatures that maybe it would help our fishing in the coming years. We never did keep records but it was something we constantly discussed.

When I moved back inland I didn’t think of it as much as I have never been serious enough about freshwater spin fishing to honestly keep track of the environmental factors. (Probably the reason I am not a very good freshwater spin fisherman) Then I picked up a fly rod. I noticed very quickly Continue reading

Open Season!

Brown Trout Fly FishingWritten By: Jamie Keown

Photos By: Jamie Keown & Justin Dobson

Georgia DNR announced Nov. 3 in a press release that two public scoping meetings will be held to gather important public input regarding the DNR’s proposal to remove the “trout season” entirely and open all trout waters to year-round fishing. The official press release, along with the meeting details, can be read in its entirety here:

Currently states across the U.S. put seasonal regulations on various types of fisheries. Closed seasons (regulated waters) prevent people from fishing at certain times of the year to protect species at vulnerable times in their life cycle, such as during spawning seasons. Why are closed seasons important you ask? And what are the Continue reading

Thanks to WR Friends and Supporters

Dorn Brown Kyle Askew

Written By: Justin Dobson

Photos Submitted by Friends, Supporters and IG followers

This Winged Reel site had VERY humble beginnings in 2012.  I’m so grateful for the good times I’ve had with the people I’ve met along the way.  When a few years back someone commented that they’d love to see the logo on a hat I didn’t take the suggestion too seriously, but decided to pull the trigger on an order of a few dozen.  Those hats ended up in the hands of some people who are just as passionate about fly fishing as I was.  Now several dozens later, it’s been awesome to see where they have turned up and some of the stories that have gone along with the photos I received.  We joke about them being lucky, but I got photos in the last few weeks from Dorn Brown of SC and our pal Kyle Askew from our home state of GA who purchased hats and it looks like the legend may have some truth behind it.  Excellent fish Dorn and Kyle!  Here are just a few others selected from past and present.  If you have any of your own, send them to us.  We love to see them and hear your stories.

Continue reading

Traveling 101

BackcountryWritten By: Jamie Keown

Photos By: Justin Dobson

Here at Winged Reel we like to travel as much as the boss, boss lady, and money allows. Traveling to new locations is exciting. New scenery is always nice but more so traveling is exciting because you’re taking your skills on the road. You’ve got a limited amount of time to learn a new piece of water and nothing is worse than getting pumped up only to be under gunned and outwitted on the road.
I have a traveling preparation protocol I like to follow and it’s one that has served me well over the years leading to many extra fishy road trips. Below are the basic rules I follow and although I’ve condensed it a little, I won’t hit the road without making the following preparations. Continue reading

Where to Start?

Pete's BrownWritten By: Peter Van Hattum

Photos By: Justin Dobson

If you are like me you may be coming across this page because you recently picked up a fly rod and are scouring the internet for every possible piece of information you can absorb on the days you can’t fish. I was there just a short time ago and thought some of you may like to check out a couple of resources that I found to be extremely helpful. As I looked at many of the items that were broad based introductions to fly fishing, I found that they were too broad and didn’t teach much except for the terms used and very high level concepts that would allow you to ask the right questions to get the real answers you needed. However, over time I did find a couple of things that Continue reading

Patagonia Rio Gallegos Wader & Rock Grip Bar Boot Review

Camo StrapsWritten By: Jamie Keown

Photos By: Justin Dobson

Admittedly I like new shit as much as the next guy… probably more. The marketing these days on new gear is genius. They shave an ounce off of last year’s boot weights or use a dab more resin and new a paint job on the latest rod and market it like the next best thing since sliced bread. Something inside of us all says “I’ve gotta have it”. Or at least something inside me does. It’s ok though, admitting to yourself that you crave useless gear is the first step in fighting the urge to pull the trigger on more shit that will inevitably sit in your closet collecting dust.

Last winter, after spending 7 plus years in my Simms Rivershed’s, I decided that it was time for an upgrade. I pondered on this decision for a while because those things had been damn good. At this point they look like they’ve been rode hard and put up wet (which they have) but they were still going strong. Wader technology I feel has vastly improved since the last time Continue reading

Connected by the Fly

HoochesWritten By: Pete Van Hattum

When I started fly fishing almost a year ago I never knew the journey it would take me on and the people it would connect me to. Many of those people are new friends which is to be expected because any time you have a new hobby you meet new people who have like interests. The thing that surprised me the most is how it has helped me reconnect with people from many years ago and the journeys we have had since.

To start the reason any of you are reading this article today is because Jamie of Winged Reel and I go way back to our teenage years and spent many good times together doing what teenagers do and a little bit of fishing. Back then Jamie was an avid fly fisherman and while I was interested in Continue reading

Do YOU Have What It Takes?


Written / Photos By: Jamie Keown

Have you ever considered taking your special lady fly fishing??  To some the very thought sends them into panic mode, with night sweats and the whole shebang.  Let’s face it 99% of us aren’t dating/married to an April Vokey type which means the night sweats are somewhat justified.  I recently started dating someone and we’ve had the chance to go on two fishing trips, most recently this past weekend.  She loves the outdoors and is eager to learn how to fly fish.  After our most recent trip I got to thinking about the positives and negatives, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to fly fishing with your significant other.  I’ll share my thoughts on the subject but before I do I would just like to say there is no manual when it comes to fishing with your partner in crime and all opinions are mine and I fully expect to get some hate mail after writing this…. let the beating commence: Continue reading

The Value of Confidence

Brown Town

Written By: Pete Van Hattum

Photos By: Jamie Keown

When I first really started fly fishing I spent countless hours learning and studying technique. I would watch video after video and read books about casting, mending, and identifying the correct places in the water that would hold fish. However, the one thing I never spent the time to consider or focus on was the value of confidence in fly fishing.

To many people this may sound stupid. How can one’s attitude determine one’s success and to be honest I was in that camp. I figured that if I had all of the correct techniques I would Continue reading