Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Doubling Up The Gear

As some of you know, my awesome wife got me a new (to me) car for Christmas! But, with this new car comes the thought that I need to double up on some of my gear.  Based on the stats I see on the GFP Facebook fan page it appears that most of us are middle aged men, and I can assume many have families and therefore more than one vehicle. So you probably have the same problem in your life. I now have the opportunity to figure out how to store or divide up my gear not only in the "soccer mom" minivan, but also in the "coolest dad on the planet"'s awesome used car!

My daughter got the first test drive with me

First - I think I'll give it some stickers this weekend if the weather gets warm like it has been forecasted. This not only gives me some street cred while on the water, but allows me to find my car in the lot when I forget what it looks like. Hey, we are all old men according to the medicine commercials that show fly fishing, and it's not easy to remember what our wheels look like.

Second - I do have 2 5 weight rods. So for starters 1 rod will go into each vehicle. The downside of that, is I have to decide which vehicle gets my favorite rod, the one I built, and which one gets my Orvis. Fortunately, I should have parts for a new rod coming in January so I will have 3 rods to chose from.

Third - I will have to start tying twice as many flies to fill twice as many boxes.

Fourth - Get a second mortgage on the house to buy a second pair of waders, boots, fly boxes, etc, and a dvd player to watch fishing videos on lunch while in the car to warm back up!

So, do I get another tweed coat or just move the one I have back and forth between the van and car? I'll have to consider my tweed options.

Maybe this concept of dividing up the gear seems a little out there to you, but for me it sounds like the best deal. See, I can always go and swap gear around for an official fishing trip, but with the summer time being so crazy shuttling the kids back and forth places, I often pull over and take as little as 15 minutes to fish a spot, and you can't do that if you are in the soccer mom van and your gear is not.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FFAA Fly Tying Symposium

Great news just came in the email! JP from JP Ross Fly Rods writes "We have some new special news for you. After a long debate with the Board of Directors of the FFAA, we all decided that we WILL have the 2011 fly tying symposium."

This is great to hear! Last year I attended the syposium in Utica NY and had a great time! Last year they had booths set up, guest tiers (I hope to be one in 2011), and a setup for kids to learn how to tie. My sons went with my wife and I last year and they had a blast tying flies! I have not heard details on this years event, but if it is planned to be like last year it will be a great time.

Need more to push you towards Utica this March 19th? JP also writes "There is no fee to tie or even attend this year. We have decided to generate all our revenue from Raffles."

Details that I have so far:

Date: March 19th 2011
Time: 9am
Location: The Hotel Utica in Utica NY
Admission: FREE

Here are a few photos I took at the event last year....I'll have to search more for the few photos I have of the main ballroom.
Bob Mead

Casting for Recovery

Kids table

Focused tying

Kids at work

Project Healing Waters Truck

Monday, December 27, 2010

Once In A Blue Moon on Hulu

Thanks to Alex from Bottom Hand, I was just informed that Once In A Blue Moon is now available IN FULL on Hulu.  Guess what I'm doing for 38 minutes tonight?

Check it out here!

Fish Slippers

I can never remember, is it "never wear fresh water fish slippers after labor day" or "never wear salt water fish slippers after labor day"???  Keeping up with fashion is just too hard!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Loop to Loop Tippets

For a while I've been thinking of doing this....and for a while I've forgotten to. So, since I'm at the computer now, and thinking of it, without any tippet in site then you get to benefit from my wonderful idea....and tell me if you think it's a good idea or not.

So, you roll out of the fly shop carrying your new spool of 6x tippet....

These spools come with yards and yards of continuous tippet. You get to the creek and pull of a few feet and attach it to your leader.  But, undoubtedly, that piece gets cut down by changing flies, losing wind knot battles, or by the massive hunger your monoMASTER has. Eventually you have to pull off a new length of tippet and reattach it to your leader.

Here's what I usually do: (on stream)
  1. Unspool tippet to about the length of my wingspan
  2. Double surgeons loop the end
  3. Cut tag end off of loop
  4. Cut the tippet from the spool
  5. Loop to loop attach to leader

What I'm thinking of doing is making all my tippet pieces ahead of time (while watching TV late at night). I could cut off the tippet, double surgeon BOTH ends, then attach it to the next double surgeon looped piece of tippet....creating a chain of tippets connected together...then respool them onto the spool. Then, on that cold wintery day when you need a new piece you could cut out a few steps in the process, and hopefully keep your fingers a slight bit warmer.

Here's what you would then do: (on stream, not counting the TV time prep)
  1. Unspool one pre-looped tippet
  2. Cut 1 loop off (need to attach the fly to this end)
  3. Loop to loop attach to leader

It seems to me that it might be a nice way to speed things up especially when fingers are numb and you are worried less about how many fish you catch and more about how many fingers you lose. day, I'm going to turn my attention away from Oprah and get to doing this!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Zug Bug

So, twice now in the last week I've been thinking about the Zug Bug, and I gotta ask...where did the zug bug go?  I know it's not a new pattern, it's not a fancy, pattern, and it's not tied out of illegal dingo.....but where did it go. You just don't see many people talking about it much any more.

When I started tying...probably 15 or so years ago, the zug bug was one of the first I tied. I fished it often but don't recall if it caught anything. It's a great looking bug, and I think I'm going to tie some up this winter and give them a place again in the fly box!

Welcome back Zuggy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Midge Man's Midges

My recent trip to a local spring creek got me interested in midges again and while cruising around the internet I found a great site by a guy who goes by Midge Man. His website Poudre Canyon Chronicles has pages worth of midge patterns. I especially liked the box he recently "a week's" time. That box would take me months to fill with the way too infrequent time I get at the vise.

So if you're looking for some midge inspiration have a look at his site.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Ever heard of the monoMASTER? Since the beginning, we've been giving some away at the Guys, Flies & Pies event. Grasshopper Outdoors has designed this great tool to help manage waste mono. You know, the stuff that ends up in your pockets, waders, or tangled around your boots?  Now there's a way to easily pack it out when you leave the stream!

How it works: Simply take the mono you don't care about any more and place it in the slot, then twist the post and it winds up INSIDE the container. Once you are back home, you open the container and run a pair of scissors up the groove and the mono comes off and into your garbage can. Simple as that.

Grasshopper Outdoors offers a few more products too. They have hats, zingers, and furled leaders.

Thanks again to Grasshopper Outdoors for supporting our event!!!  Now, if they'd just make a 3 foot long deskMASTER that will clean off my tying desk!

Check them out at

Jesse James Reel Company

How about a reel with a spider web frame? The Jesse James Reel Company sells reels made in the style of Jesse James choppers. Take a look and check them out...then order one to be delivered to my house!

LINK: Jesse James Reel Company

Monday, December 13, 2010

$50-$100 Nippers???

Abel is offering nippers for $50-$100! I just gotta say "WOW"!  Sure, they look sweet, and have a cool little pin near the blade to help open the hook eye up....but $50 for the pair? Let's look deeper. They DO offer "free" blade replacement for the first 3 years (although they said they "cut forever") if you pay the shipping and handling. So, for $50, plus S&H charges, you can buy a sweet looking pair of nippers and know that for the first 3 years you can cut your line or holes in barbed wire fence, and have them as good as new in a few days.

Innovative anglers' nippers, remarkably guaranteed to last and cut forever, have been developed by Abel Reels. The new precision machined aircraft grade aluminum leader nipper has replaceable jaws - similar to Abel's award-winning pliers - made from a superior grade stainless steel.

"These modern nippers are total departure from traditional line cutters which are usually just an adaptation of old fashioned nail clippers . . . just the kind of creative, Twenty-First Century thinking anglers expect from Abel," said Don R. Swanson, president.

Tests were done on line weights from 7X fly-fishing tippet material to 100-pound test mono. Shop tests indicate the nippers are good for thousands of cuts of monofilament line and tippet material.

Should blades ever need replacing, they will be done at the Abel factory by paying shipping and handling only, for the first three years. After three years a minimal charge of $10 will be added to the handling fee.

The Abel Nipper is 1-3/4 inches long, 3/4-inch wide and tapering to 1/2-inch wide at the jaws. It weighs seven-tenths (.7) of an ounce. A needle used to clean hook eyes is integrated into the jaws.

"The critical cutting edge jaw is Crucible CPM S35VN, an American made and developed premium grade stainless steel created especially for knives. It is powder-made steel with a uniform carbide distribution and clean steel properties. The steel is heat treated and hardened to a Rockwell factor of 58-60. As a blade material, it offers excellent corrosion resistance and superb edge qualities," said Swanson.

The Abel Nippers are designed to be attached to a retractable spring-loaded device, clipped to a fishing vest or worn with an angler's necklace.

Abel Nippers will be available at authorized dealers beginning Dec. 1.

The Abel Nipper is priced at $50 in black and solid colors, with hand-painted fish graphic versions at $100.
I have to admit, I've been using a pair of nail clippers (likely cost about $1) for probably close to 10 years. However, I've had to replace my wife's nail clippers ($1 version) a few times of the last few years.  I think they have been making the nail clippers differently and it causes the lever thing to fall off when she connects them to her zinger the way we like to. So...maybe a $50 investment, over time, is a better way to save money....maybe.

LINK (Looks like it might not be a permanant link, so don't be surprised if you see a different product!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Untangling the Mess

Midcurrent has a nice article explaining a few ways to help untangle knots in your leader. Make sure to read the user comments too because there are some great ideas in there too.

One user asks about ideas for undoing knots in braided and furled leaders. I've never owned a braided, but I have been using furled for many years.  I have found MONO furled leaders to be simple to untangle, but always thought that THREAD furled leaders are sometimes more difficult. Of course, some of this depends on the location of the knot. With both mono and thread, furled or not, the thicker section of the leader is easier to undo than the thinnest portion of it. A friend of mine recently said that with a thread furled leader of mine that I furled for him, he didn't have any issue untangling it.

If for nothing else, I like furled because they have virtually no memory (even after years of being rolled up) and I can furl them up at home when needed.  I hope to be furling some up in the next few months to have for sale at Guys, Flies & Pies on February 12th 2011.  If you are interested in buying one before then, let me know and I'll see about getting some before then.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What's In Your Head?

Here we see an interesting new concept by Estate LA – the “Tear Away” caps. [T]his particular one features brown italian wool that tears awayto some crazy fly fishing print.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Little Spey

Over the weekend I got out and fished a local spring creek. The area I was fishing has trees pretty close to the back cast, where overhead casting is very limited. I typically roll cast in part of this creek, but this time I tried a few spey casts.

Casting this way allowed me to control the line and keep it out of the trees! I even caught a fish to show for my 3 hours worth of freezing! It was taken on an orange midge with a bead head.

...and a bonus video.  Since the picture above is 100% awesome, and not 110% awesome, I'll share this cool video from Red Truck Fly Fishing Co that has some sweet shots of spey casting!  Someday, I hope to get a switch or spey rod and give this style of casting a better shot!

Spey and Switch Fly Rods – Red Truck Fly Fishing Company from Leland Fly Fish on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sophisticated Carp

Watching this video while other people listen in, will make them have a higher opinion of you and your musical tastes.

Watching this video while other people watch over your shoulder, might get a few funny looks from people in tweed coats with leather elbows.

I've tried fishing for carp before, and catching them on the surface sure does seem like the funnest option!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Film Flies - Graham Owen

I just found a podcast that the Itinerant Angler did with Graham Owen. A few years ago Graham was in town for Guys, Flies & Pies and some of us had a chance to tie with him. That night he quietly talked to a friend of mine about his new business Film Flies. I think it's safe now to say that cat is out of the bag and many people know what he's doing.  If you don't, Graham started a business providing realistic flies to movies, tv shows and other entertainment outlets.

Give a listen to the podcast on The Itinerant Angler and hear how he does it. My favorite quote of the interview was when Graham says "I don't like working for $50 an hour....I want to make $300."  Gotta laugh at that, since any of us who tie just to feed our own habits would LOVE to tie for a simple $50 an hour!

At my request a few years ago, he brought along some of his realistic flies to show us at GFP. It was great to see the work he did. I was amazed at the turtle he had, but I think since that turtle he's done some more amazing work. He even has flies that have been mistaken for real bugs.

OK, he's got a lot of sites to check out:

The Itinerant Angler - For the podcast
Film Flies - For the realistic flies
Graham Owen Gallery - For more of his work. He's quite a photographer too!

It's been nice to see his success since that day he told us about what he was about to do. His work just keeps getting better and better!  OK, now go waste a few hours on his sites and be amazed!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perfect Cast

So, I got an email from Ross Reels and they want to sell me the following product:

The Perfect Cast fly rod casting aid is a comfortable strap that easily attaches to your wrist and secures your fly rod. It eliminates the "loose wrist" problems that plague most fly casters. The casting aid will train you to hold you rod properly and will immediately improve your fly casting distance and accuracy. The Perfect Cast is great to use for both practice and while fishing.

The Perfect Cast fly rod casting aid - Fly casting made easy!

One size fits most.
Price $14.95

Contact your local Ross dealer to reserve yours today!

But, I gotta ask....does anyone actually use these things? Sure, I've had the thought to tuck the end of the rod into my shirt sleeve, but honestly I fish in t-shirts more than anything, so I rarely have the chance to try it. Plus, when I read that they wanted $14.95 I thought that's a bit pricey. So, if you want one of these things, check out there site....and if you want one for $10 (sure, still a rip off), let me know and I'll stitch one up for you tonight! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tying the MOAESL

So I thought I'd share a few approaches to tying a MOAESL/String Leech, but every attempt to get these things to load is failing.

I've been able to get this video to show and play ocasionally, but not consistently, and when I tried to load the slideshow of another way, it is out of order. So, click the links to see if you do any better.

String Leech slide show