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After seeming like a trip that would terminally remain eons away, we find ourselves less than a week away from traveling to Yellowstone National Park for 5 days of fly fishing in Yellowstone's backcountry. There are plenty of obvious reasons to be as giddy as a child at the thought of fishing the park's waters: large, beautiful, wild and/or native trout, stunning scenery, peace and solitude, etc. One of the most intriguing ideas about fishing in Yellowstone and on other western waters this time of year, especially for fly fishermen from the lesser East who all too often have to do the whole match-the-hatch thing, is the opportunity to fish large terrestrial and/or attractor patterns.

In much of the West and especially on the Yellowstone's Lamar River, which we'll be fishing on the tail end of our upcoming trip, this means hoppers and big attractors like Chubby Chernobyls. True, we're a bit late for the salmonflies and the big salmonfly and attractor patterns that go along with them. And, we're a bit early for prime hopper season, though I have heard that the season is progressing a little quicker than normal. Still. Hoppers.

This isn't the first time I've taken time to mention Albright's seemingly perpetual 70% off sale. I'm also not the only one to take notice, as Bjorn Stromsness over at Bonefish on the Brain has also taken the time to alert his readers to Albright's everlasting closeouts. Still, I thought it worth pointing out at least one more time. Albright, maker of what we only know to be rods and reels of reasonable quality, obviously thinks you have a preposterously short memory and shamefully poor math skills. What else could explain the fact that Albright continues to try to lure customers in with "limited time" high percentage discounts that suggest to the unsuspecting shopper that they're staring at a deal that's seemingly too good to be true.

Of course, that's because it is. As I explained in my original article on the matter, Albright -- a tackle manufacturer with, to my knowledge, no brick-and-mortar product placement -- habitually sets very high MSRPs for their rods and reels, MSRPs at which their products are seemingly never actually sold (I'd welcome eating humble pie on this point, but I've yet to hear of anyone that actually paid anything close to MSRP for any of Albright's rods or reels). The products are then sold at price points that are only a fraction of these MSRPs, making the products appear to be deeply discounted.

It's fair to say that you couldn't classify me as religious. I don't subscribe to any school of religious thought, I certainly don't attend services of any kind and the only higher power I spend any time dwelling on is the one behind the inner workings of the trout streams I frequent. That said, there's clearly a deity of some sort at work to prevent me from ever casting to, let alone catching, a bonefish. Either that or I've just had some shitty luck.

Two times in the last 4 years, 2 nearly finalized trips to chase bonefish on the Abaco Out Islands ended up being cancelled. These are trips where the details couldn't have possibly been easier to finalize. The house at which which were scheduled to stay was owned by a family friend and the guide we were scheduled to hit the flats with lived next door. Fool proof, right? Nope.

Who would have thought that a long avoided -- but in the end, considerably pleasant -- family trip to Disney World would offer up a fresh chance to finally chase bones on Bahama flats, even if only for a day? A quick stop of our Disney cruise ship in Nassau offered up a day to get out with a local guide and be back on the boat in time not to be stranded while my family sailed on to a private island that Disney felt necessary to turn into a shamelessly manufactured theme park instead of letting people bonefish on any of the several perfectly good looking flats that surround it.

A personalized, Costa Custom Sage TXL-F 7' 6" 3-weight.

Until one of my good friends became a custom rod builder, I was squarely under the assumption that having a custom fly rod built was a luxury intended specifically for grey-haired men who spent their evenings sitting in multi-million dollar fishing lodges drinking $200 bottles of scotch. In other words, guys who have money to burn on having a fly rod built to their exacting preferences. While this can certainly be the case, I've since learned that having a rod built to your custom specifications is not only for blue bloods with swollen bank accounts. In fact, having the rod of your dreams built by a custom rod maker can not only yield a rod that you've helped design every aspect of, but can also save you a considerable amount of money in the process.

To be clear, I'm not talking about custom bamboo rods built on rod-maker designed and crafted blanks. That's something I know nothing about and still, probably ignorantly, think of as a luxury confined to the aforementioned grey-haired blue blood crowd. I'm talking about that Sage One, Orvis Helios or R.L. Winston Boron IIx you've been eying up, but have been reluctant to drop $700-900 on. What if you could have that One or Helios, with custom designed aesthetics and hand-selected components and backed by the same warranty as you'd get buying from your local fly shop or online, all while saving as much as a hundred dollars or more in the process? This might not happen with every rod, but it is often the case.

If you're a regular reader of one of my favorite fishing blogs, Gink and Gasoline, then you already know that Louis Cahill and Kent Klewein continue to spew out interesting, entertaining posts from their seemingly endless supply of fishing tips, stories, videos, fly recipes and more. That Louis guy, whose photos seem be on the cover of every fly fishing magazine that shows up at my house these days, ain't too bad behind the lens either. G+G's latest tidbit shows anglers how to remove that hook you'll inevitably drive into your own or an angler buddy's skin, and how to do it right.

The whole how to is presented in video form, which you can see just above. And to be clear, the presentation won't leave anything to your imagination as to how this hook removal theory will apply to a real life hook-in-arm situation. G+G's Louis Cahill takes a hook in the arm not once, but twice, in order to provide a proper test subject for Kent Klewein's removal demonstration.

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