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The Gurgler


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I’m not sure when it happened but it was fairly early in my fly fishing days when I found my favorite fly pattern. It’s really more of a method of tying than a particular pattern. But to me, any variation of the Gartside Gurgler is the best warmwater fly out there.

Jack Gartside created the first Gurglers for striped bass in 1988. He used white during the day and black at night. But as he continued to have success he created many different variations. Jack himself is rumored to have tied at least 100 different variations before his death in 2009. That’s one of the things that make the Gurgler great; you have so many options available.

The Gurgler at first look is just a foam popper. But there is so much more to it than that. Yes it is foam, but it is hardly a popper. The body is made up of a layer or layers of 1.5mm to 3mm foam. It has an extended turned up lip that creates a different set of surface disturbances than a flat or cupped face popper. There are four different ways that I fish a Gurgler.

Pop it like it’s hot

Really simple, fish the darn thing like a popper. It’s not going to have the deep solid popping sound of a true popper but it will be noticeable to any hungry fish. Plus the erratic darting action should peak their interest.

Smooth V

Pulling the gurgler slowly and steadily through the water with create a deep smooth wake behind it. This retrieve is sometimes just me pulling a foot of line through the guides giving plenty of time in between pulls. And sometimes I use a longer pull and the length of the rod to move it as much as 6ft. on the retrieve.

Dead

All of the biggest smallmouth I have caught on the gurgler have come from this retrieve, or lack of. Actually all of the biggest smallmouth I have caught on a flyrod have come off this fly on this retrieve. All you have to do is cast it out and let it soak. Yep it’s hard to just let it sit there and sometimes I will give my rod a little wiggle just to make it barely move. Not my favorite way of fishing a Gurgler but it has definitely proven itself.

Skating

This is my favorite way of fishing a Gurgler; it can also be the most frustrating way as well. When I’m skating a Gurgler I’m standing at the top or towards the top of a riffle and fishing the area just where the riffle drops into a pool. To skate it just cast across the end of the riffle and by holding your rod high you can easily skate the gurgler from one side to the other. The strikes are violent. Your heart will stop. And more than likely you will miss the fish. Holding your rod tip high is imperative to get a nice skate, but by having it that high it makes a solid hookup that much more difficult. If you will just drop the tip when you get a strike, instead of your reaction to set the hook, wait for the fish to turn on the fly and now you can set it. But that’s easier said than done once you see one of these strikes. And yeah they are not gonna be the biggest fish in the river, but they will deliver the most enjoyment.

Here are a few variations that I tie. These (along with several others) are all relocating to Illinois to spend some time with Mic, so he should be able to give us a report on the success. If you want to tie some and want to start small just go with white. A solid white gurgler is the best variation out there; it’s also the original color that Jack used.

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Good stuff Ronnie.

When I was out west and fishing the John Day a lot there was only one top water action, and that was dead. It didn't matter what you threw, fly or lure, if it moved it wouldn't be hit. It also had to land within 2' of the bank.

Today's release is tomorrows gift to another fisherman.

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just last week I discovered what a crease fly can do on a 5.6ips sink-tip...

That is the way it was designed to be fished originally, or so they say?

Today's release is tomorrows gift to another fisherman.

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Cool Beans Ronnie. Need to tie some of these myself. Let me see an air brush and now gurglers,

BilletHead

"We have met the enemy and it is us",

Pogo

   If you compete with your fellow anglers, you become their competitor, If you help them you become their friend"

Lefty Kreh

    " Never display your knowledge, you only share it"

Lefty Kreh

         "Eat more bass and there will be more room for walleye to grow!"

BilletHead

    " One thing in life is for sure. If you are careful you can straddle the barbed wire fence but make one mistake and you will be hurting"

BilletHead

  P.S. "May your fences be short or hope you have long legs"

BilletHead

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Thanks guys. And thanks Marty for finally inspiring a name for the tan and orange one. White is my favorite but that tan and orange is a close second.

So I'm sitting there tying those having some of that tasty goodness you left at the fly shop and it hit me. That color combination will forever be called Smoked Cheese.

 

 

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