THE DREDGE JUNKIE

HOW ONE AN­GLER’S AD­DIC­TION TO GET­TING MEAT STREAMERS DOWN FOR THE COUNT CAN HELP YOU SCORE HUGE FISH ON THE FLY

Field and Stream - - GIANT - BY JOE CER­MELE Pho­to­graphs by JIM GOLDEN

When some­one says “fly­fish­ing,” what pops into your head? If the an­swer is the del­i­cate sip of a ris­ing trout, the per­fect drift over a soft seam, or to­tal re­lax­ation, I’d call you nor­mal. Then there’s me. Most of the time, I mea­sure a good day of fly­fish­ing by the sore­ness of my shoul­der. That’s be­cause the kind I’ve become ob­sessed with in­volves try­ing to get meaty bugs in front of the big­gest fish I pos­si­bly can. Throw­ing flies that can turn the heads of true tanks is a big part of this ad­dic­tion, but for a full dose of my choice drug, I must have sink­ing fly lines. Some may ar­gue that sink­ing line and fly­fish­ing don’t be­long in the same sen­tence, but not me. When a sink­ing line yanks taut, it’s pure elec­tric­ity, and more sat­is­fy­ing to me than a dry-fly take. You can call me crazy, or you can take the lessons I’ve learned catch­ing some of my most mem­o­rable “dredge” fish and use them to put more hawgs, toads, and don­keys on the fly than you ever could with tra­di­tional fly tactics.

Re­tired With Honors This streamer tied by the author weath­ered more than 100 pike hits, in­clud­ing one from the heav­i­est he ever caught.

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