Saturday, January 25, 2014

Seele Rods

Mike McFarland was at the show displaying his new line of rods. OH MY.... That 7'9" 4 wt was something special... These will be out in the March time frame. The fiberglass reel seat spacer will be an option - I'd get it if I were you... Keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground for these in the very near future. This is a new company that Mike and a partner are standing up. If you are in the market for a new fiberglass fly rod, these are worth waiting for.

2014 Somerset Fly Fishing Show

I drove up to Somerset, New Jersey today to check out the 2014 Fly Fishing Show. I got to say 'Hi" to my favorite Tenkara rod supplier - Chris Stewart. I was able to try out a couple of his new rods... oh so nice.... (Nissin Air Stage 290 oh boy...) At the Scott rod booth I got to swing the 6533 and 7033 Scott F2 Rods - real smooth. I have thought that I wanted the 6533, but I as I have been investing a lot of time casting (practice and fishing) the Barclay Glass 7'2" 3wt, I think the Barclay is a better rod. I'd need to cast these two (actually three - both of the Scotts and the Barclay) side by side to be sure, but this is my current opinion. On a side note, I have started using a RIO Perception WF3F line with the Barclay and it is an OUTSTANDING caster - I have actually had to learn/watch/improve my casting to fully realize just how well this rod puts fly line on target and how good it feels while doing it. This Perception line is supposed to have 30% less stretch - I could feel the sunnies kissing my flies last weekend and the full flex of a fiberglass rod really plays well with a line that can hold and pull cast energy more efficiently. I am really pleased with this rod/line combination - it is going to take a really good rod to knock this one off the top of my list (and with the recent exposure I've had to other rods, I don't think that rod exists right now - yes folks this is a very strong endorsement). Back to today - It's no secret I enjoy all forms of fishing - and this next company spans the range. Spending time at the St Croix rack confirmed one thing in my mind - the Triumph Ultralight weight and Light weight spinning rods I have are AWESOME. These rods are the one piece versions which are the pinnacle of impulse translation (I can feel the fish strikes really well) - now for the travel version... In an act of self-induced public humiliation, I drooled on myself while checking out the Abel display. The new hemostats are really nice - solves the problems associated with the common hemostat (lock on closure no matter if you got what you wanted or not. They are expensive though - shockingly so. It got the same initial reaction out of me that the nippers did when I first saw them - "dang these are expensive!!!!". But I tell you what - where a $10 nipper consistently failed me (rusting out and dulling in a very short time) the Abels laughed at the elements HA HA HA HA!!! Still - $50 was enough to stop me from committing - but I found a secret weapon to get mine at a very reasonable price (Orvis coupons) and I now enjoy their use any time I am fishing - fresh or salt, fly or spin - they are essential kit. I suspect these hemostats will produce the same response after they land in my hands and are used to pull bent wire out of angry fishy mouths... now I just need a really, really good coupon... I also spent time at the Vedavoo booth (and ordered a new sling pack - yes another, but to quote Scott from Vedavoo, "those other slings/packs are ebay fodder" - I'll post more about this in another post when I get the sling in, but streamlining/modularity/supporting small businesses in America made the difference - anybody want a good deal on a couple of sling packs???); I parked at the Hatch booth where I learned they will be releasing a 2 Plus in the very near future (and I drooled all over myself again), and one other spot that I will focus on in the next post. In closing - it was a long drive through snow and ice, but this trip answered a lot of questions that I had, increased my knowledge base, got me exposed to things I did not have ready access to and was plain fun on an otherwise dreary winters day. Time well spent (the show is on for one more day in Somerset and again in this area in March up at Lancaster - if you were iffy about going, go grab your jacket and car keys and get going)!

Surfing Frozen Waves

I must be getting old - my joints are starting to ache in this really cold weather we've been having. Needless to say, my warm-bloodedness is not really compatible with the cold. But that is not the case with the kiddoroosters - they are tearing it up!!! They are rewriting the definition of "surf what you got"!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Usual Suspects

Here are a few more of the fish that were willing to play - another Large Mouth bass, one of the Bluegills I landed and a couple of the Green Sunfish. I think my totals for the day were 4 Large Mouths, 5 Bluegills and 5 Greens. I had several others get on the line but quickly get back off - one of the flies I was using had a chemically sharpened size 14 jig hook and if the fish was able to pick up my slack, it was able to come off the hook (good for them - you can't win every battle). If I haven't already mentioned it - I am casting the Barclay 3wt really well now. I don't know if it was the practice casts, or watching others cast it - possibly a bit of both mixed in with the new RIO Perception WF3F line - but in any case the Barclay is working for me now. There is very little that is more satisfying than watching loops fly by, slowly unrolling and 'placing' the fly where you just sighted some fish. There is the take, the fight, casting flies that you made yourself, (there's also catching a sweet wave and getting barreled), and watching a released fish swim away are close seconds and thirds, but hey - whatever the list, right now properly executed casts are high up on the list for me. Nearly all the fish I caught were on the little micro-gurglers. The wind was up a little, but that didn't stop me - after the bite started to slow down, I started making my way back and stopping only to practice cast - sweet rod and fun fish (especially in the middle of winter).

First Fish of 2014!!!

Beautiful weather today - 54 degrees, 10-15 mph wind from the SW and nothing but sunshine in the sky. I headed back to Four Mile Run to see if the water conditions were better for catching and not just fishing. I brought the Barclay Glass 7'2" 3 wt rod (I love this rod more and more with each passing day - who'd thought the first fiberglass rod I bought would be one of the best lightweight rods I've ever used), an Abel Creek 1 spooled with a RIO Perception WF3F and the small flies I tied up earlier today. Well - it all came together and I got to play tug-o-war with several fish starting with this guy. A handsome Large Mouth Bass. Here it is - the first fish I've caught in 2014!!! I hope to catch plenty more!!!

The Mighty Micro-Gurgler and the Low Fat Minnow

Every superhero needs a sidekick right? Well, as I'll post in a minute, this micro gurgler is a sunfish destroyer!!! I did not get to fish this freshly tied Cheech's Low Fat Minnow dressed in Shad - I was concentrating on casting with the Barclay Glass 3wt (I love this rod more each day - so smooth - it reads my mind and delivers flies where I wanted them. But that is next post. This is the basis for the weedless version I am putting together.

Evolving Flies

I've tied up a few of Fly Fish Food's Cheech's Low Fat Minnows in the Shad pattern - not an overly complex tie, but you still need to have a few steady fingers to make this work. Because of the marabou used in the inner portion of the body, this fly already has a great swimming motion to it - and it will elicit strikes and perform well, in situations where there are few snag producing obstacles. I've been thinking how to modify the tie to make it snag proof. Using principles from other flies, I am going to use the method you see here to get the fly body itself to act as a weed guard. Heavy mono as the backbone - literally. This is going to make the relatively simple tie into a much harder one (I already had to cut everything off once...). For starters, Size 1 Gamakatsu Offset Worm hooks, with approximately six wraps of lead free wire.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Epic 686 Lawn Casting - Post Linner

We drove out to Eastport in Annapolis to eat at the Boatyard again - Marlon had asked for some of their fried chicken fingers for his birthday meal - twist my arm!!! We ate "Linner" there (Lunch and Dinner, but closer to lunchtime) - the raw oysters were marvelous as always;) Right after eating, I asked La if I could take just a few minutes to cast this rod/WF6 line. I had cast it this morning, but since I was on the street in front of our house, I was being ginger with the line. This was in front of a school that we park by everytime we go to the Boatyard. I saw it this morning while casting and I was witness to it again this afternoon - THIS ROD IS WONDERFUL!!! I can cast close in with minimal line out and 50 foot casts are not hard to push out. I can see my loops flying through the air and I can feel the load/unload cycle - very nice indeed!!! I'm not a very good caster. I still get tailing loops every so often and my form needs some work. With that said, this is another one of those rods (and line combinations) that makes me look halfway decent - I'm a believer in the Epic 686!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Optimizing Time and Perfecting the Impossible

Spent a few minutes after work practicing casts with the Featherlight and a DT6 line. I can't say that I'm getting better, but I can say that I can better recognize what mistakes I am making. Not all is lost though - especially with a life-long pursuit like surfing or flyfishing, you have good days, and you have some less good days. Seeing less pile casts (leader-tippet-fly landing in a big bird's nest), lots more distance in every cast, and being able to hit targets with my eyes closed and using "the Force"/feeling the rod load and release has made most of these past several days good ones. Before closing this post, I have to endorse this very inexpensive rod again - the Eagle Claw Featherlight 7'0" 5/6wt 2 piece fiberglass rod. This is definitely a way to get into flyfishing for much less than you would imagine. Yeah, I will still get rods that are hundreds of $ - that is just the way I am when I get interested in something, but I am really just intent on getting rods that cast lines well with the cadence that I have and allow me to smile when I cast to spots in the grass or when I'm lucky enough to, the piscine tug-o'-war championship league members. More exposure to different rods equates to more experience and better defining what it is I like in a rod. Being able to trade helps a lot too. Do yourself a favor, go out and buy this rod, beat the heck out of it and make a ton of memories!

There's a Reason for Everything (Custom Barclay Epic 686)

So the previous post seemed a little gratuitous to you huh??? Well here's the reason why I posted it. I ply the waters on the Fiberglass Flyrodders forum and in their Classified section, rods come and go. Lots get sold, but several also get traded. I was able to broker a trade for the Orvis Superfine Touch 5wt in exchange for this Epic 686 built up by Chris Barclay. I loved the Touch, but I wasn't using it and I have been looking for a fiberglass rod in the 5-6 weight range to take on some baby leviathans. Despite the Postman braving the elements to deliver this awesome parcel, it was WAY too cold outside today to cast a line. I did get it out in the sunshine to see the translucence. If I haven't said it before, I'll say it here "I don't like the cold" - I'm pretty sure I've said that many times. But for now, I'll just have to wait for warmer weather and dream of wrestling some bass and shad with this rod. There are plenty of subtle details - the exquisite wraps, the subtle but useful alignment dots and that "begging to get wet" reel seat (looks to be salt resistant) - this is looking to be the missing link between my softer 3 and 4 weight fiberglass rods and the saltwater graphite bruisers in the 8 weight range. I can easily see targeting carp and small mouths one day, then turning around and casting some shrimp flies to redfish the next day. Now for that warm, sunny weather...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Orvis Superfine Touch 8'6" 5 wt

After you've been pitching big flies with high speed graphite, it's nice to slow down a bit and just cruise. This is a cruiser.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How Much Happiness Can You Get For $21.95???

Oh yes I did stoop down this low... but after casting this rod at the Fiberglass Casting Roundup a couple of weekends back, my whole perspective on what constitutes a rod that I would purchase and fish has completely changed. THIS ROD IS A BLAST TO CAST - plain and simple. I've got a Scientific Anglers Supra DT6F spooled up on the Orvis BBSIII waiting for some light wind, sunny days to slow down and cast away. Oh - did I mention this rod was $21.95??? Stay tuned for the first casts and I'll show how far $20 will go...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Casting Practice (Skunked)

Making do on a cloudly, cold rainy Saturday, I brought the Orvis Superfine Glass 7'0" 3wt and Carl Z's Tadpole out to 4MR. Originally, I wanted to catch fish, but with the rains and really cold temperatures, the water was not conducive for hooking up - lots of current and sediment, oh and really cold.So to salvage the 35 minute one way trip - I switched to practice casting. Taking the time to just cast without worrying about looking for fish to fool definitely makes you analyze your mechanics. I found that I was getting too many tailing loops on my forward casts. I've since hit youtube looking for corrective measures and on line lessons. And so, I went fishing for the first time in 2014 and got skunked by the fish (sucks). But I did get a bit better at casting (important). The Superfine went in the mail to the next loan recipient and I am eagerly awaiting the next rod (checkout the Fiberglass Manifesto for the rod loan program). I packed up and left just before the rain hit.