Small Bite: Teaching Kids How to Net

In today’s “Small Bite” video, Garrick shows how to get kids hooked on “catch and release” fishing. On Wednesday, Sophia had a 2-hour delay from school, so Garrick decided to have her practice netting (landing) fish by catching snowballs.


Small Bite: How to Make an Acorn Whistle

In our latest “Small Bite” video, Garrick (and Sophia) show you how to make a safety whistle out of an acorn. Next time you find yourself in a tough situation and need to call for help, remember … there are whistles (usually) all around you.


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Small Bite: Kickin’ Bass on Conneaut Lake

By Andy Link

Hey there fellow gnats!

After some thought, I’ve come up with a new format series for posts on the site and through our social media channels. I’m calling them “Small Bites.” The idea is to get more content out there in smaller, quicker chunks to whet your appetite. We’ll still work on making full-length, rich posts and videos documenting our more serious endeavors (multi-day trips to locations near and far, etc.), but often times we just want to get some GoPro footage edited together quick and capture just a moment in time. The “small bites” should be just enough to leave you itching for more … get it? (Cheeky, I know … but c’mon … black gnats?!)

To kick this series off I went back through an archive of GoPro footage I’ve been amassing in 2014. (I’ve got a lot … and that’s a good thing. I think. Means I’m getting out there.) Anyway, I came across three days worth of footage from June when I visited my brother Mike up at his place on Conneaut Lake in Crawford county (Northeast PA). He and I entered the 2014 “Bluegill Bev” Memorial Fishing Tournament presented by Loby’s Premier Entertainment and Walt’s Tavern (my uncle’s bar) during the weekend of Saturday, June 7th, 2014. The tournament itself was fun – we caught a few bluegill and had a good time at the weigh-in – but some of the best moments were in the days beforehand when we dropped in and pre-fished some of the lake. I caught a nasty bowfin and Mike hooked up with the nice largemouth you see in the video, above.

Here’s an Instagram pic I posted of Mike, enjoying a beer at weigh-in.

2014 Bluegill Crappie Tourney with @ekimknil!

A photo posted by Andy Link (@alink720) on

The boat you see us cruising in – a Bass Tracker I from the early 1980s – belongs to my inlaws. They let me borrow it for the week in exchange for being their “boat guy.” Every year, I help with getting it ready for the summer season, basic upkeep and maintenance, and winterizing it when we’re done. The thing is smaller than most fishing boats out there today (really, only two guys at best), but it still starts up fine and runs great after all these years. It’s also a blast to fish from and is just the right size for a lake like Conneaut. (OK, a little bigger would be nice, I’ll admit. I’m not getting any smaller.)

OK, this post it quickly getting into a longer post. I’ll leave it at this.



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Black Gnat Poll

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How to Remove a Hook

By Andy Link
Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill | © Gink & Gasoline

On Facebook yesterday, the guys at Gink & Gasoline posted how they came across a poor unhooking video recently. Not sure which one they’re referring to, but I’m glad that they reposted this video they made from 2012. This is one of those “I’m glad I know this now, but I hope I never have to use it” pieces of information. All the more reason to use barbless hooks, I suppose.

As it turns out, the guys from Jazz and Fly Fishing also made a hook removal video back in 2010. Same technique … but in a Finnish accent for your enjoyment.

Tight lines!

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Wild ‘Bout Brookies

This is some of the clearest, sharpest underwater footage of wild brook trout that we’ve ever seen!

Wild 'Bout Brookies on Vimeo

Wild ‘Bout Brookies on Vimeo

Source: BlueBlood on Vimeo

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Salmon Cannon

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Fall Stocking Clark Creek

By Andy Link

Alright, alright. I know, I know. It’s been a (very) long time since I last posted anything to the site. Too long, in fact. There are a lot of good reasons for this, but I’ll have to save that for another day or post. Right now I’ve got to fill you in on what’s been going down the last few days!

On Thursday of last week, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission conducted their fall stocking on Clark Creek in Dauphin County, PA. I’ve never witnessed a stocking before, so I decided to volunteer and see what it was all about. After all, I spent so much time fishing Clark this year, I figured it was the least I could do to give back. Man, am I glad I did. At first, I was a little apprehensive, if not downright nervous. After all, I was going alone for the first time and didn’t know anyone there. (Garrick was working.) That apprehension quickly vanished because the next thing I knew, I was throwing my waders on and climbing in the back of some guy’s pickup truck to head down to the creek with the fish commission truck hot on our heels.

The newest edition to the Black Gnats – Gavin Craig.

The newest edition to the Black Gnats – Gavin Craig.

It’s at this point that I met Gavin – a Tower City native who shares the Black Gnats affinity for all things fishing. Gavin, who is also an avid outdoorsman and marine, had been helping with stockings like this since childhood. His down-to-earth and friendly demeanor eased my apprehension greatly. After grabbing a few buckets of fish, we carefully dumped them into the float (think crab pot) and started our way downstream, dropping fish into pockets and holes as we went. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to notice the size of these fish as everyone else who volunteered that day noted that “there are some great fish in the stocking this year!” Gavin and I estimated the average size was around the 15″ to 16″ range, with quite a few hitting 18″ and even 20″! I was barely out of the water and I wanted to turn right around and start casting for them. I had to remind myself that “good things come to those who wait.”

Clark Creek

A pair of browns chase each other, breaking the surface.

After the remaining volunteers finished chatting, Gavin and I spent the next few hours hanging out, trading fish stories, fly tying techniques and hearing the equivalent of “Cliff’s Notes” to each others background. We made plans to meet up on Monday of this week and hit the holes we had so eagerly stuffed with fish.

Fast forward to Monday afternoon Continue reading

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The Art of Fly Fishing: Jake Keeler

Talk long enough with seasoned anglers and eventually you’ll hear someone say, “there’s an art to fly fishing.” That’s a curiously poetic phrase. They’re usually talking about technique, presentation or tying, but it’s interesting to see the correlation one makes between angler and artist. The Black Gnats are equally interested in this connection, so we’ve started a recurring section called “The Art of Fly Fishing” to highlight the unique stories and individuals that bring these two worlds together. This week’s featured artist …

Jake Keeler

Interview by Garrick Dorsett

Jake Keeler is a fly-fisher from St. Paul, MN … where the fishing is good, the homebrew runs constantly, and the thermometer starts reading at “cold.” Jake has his MFA in painting and drawing and is a former college professor (true to our hearts). He now pursues a budding career in homebrewing and craft beers (you might know him from his days in Brewing TV), as well as putting out some killer fish-themed art. In his own words, his art explores “concepts of mortality, life cycles, and the raw and sometimes brutal side of nature. We fish, and by the very nature of doing so, we kill; directly or indirectly.”

Black Gnats: Who or what inspired you to get into fly fishing?

Jake Keeler: I’ve been fishing since 5 or so. Fly fishing came to me a bit later in life – around my late twenties. Two of my closest friends where/are serious fly fisherman. They introduced me to the lifestyle and method of fishing. It grabbed hold of me and I’ve never looked back.

©2014 Jake Keeler

Gonterakus The Conjurer (Necromancer 3) | 24″ x 24″ | Pen and acrylic on wood

“[Fly fishing] grabbed hold of me and I’ve never looked back.”

BG: Who or what inspired you to get into art?

JK: I’ve had art all around me from the moment I could see. I come from a long line of artists, so making art and creating things was – and still is – a way of life. It’s not Continue reading

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Video Shout Out: Kiss the Water

We’re busy at work this week and feeling under the weather, so this week’s Shout Out is short and sweet. We stumbled across the trailer for “Kiss the Water” a few days ago and have been excited to add this documentary to our “Must Watch” list of fly fishing movies. Directed by Eric Steel, (the same guy that did “The Bridge,” the documentary that chronicled a year of suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge) this visually stunning flick crosses the pond to tell the story of the late Megan Boyd. Although never having fished a day in her life, Boyd had a reputation for tying flies so intricate and memorable it earned her the British Empire Medal from Queen Elizabeth II.

If you’re a fly tying fanatic, be sure to check it out some time. Vimeo even has is for rental and for sale on their VOD service.

Tight lines!

– The Black Gnats

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