a Wind Knot in the making

by Takashi Kuwahara

always fun, inspiring yet somewhat whimsical at least at first viewing, Takashi’s drawings are also often food for thought.

outside of being a delightful drawing, today’s image shows us a caster that has multiple problems, the least being that he’ll most likely end up with knot(s) in his leader and a messy presentation because there’s slack from the line hand all the way to the fly but more importantly because this is a serious safety issue, his casting plane is still on his right shoulder even though there’s a hard wind blowing onto it. this is one of the best ways to wear a hook.
hopefully it’s a barbless hook and this guy will work on the Five Essentials of Fly Casting in the near future…

wind-knot in the making - Kuwahara

brainwashem’ young- Robyn

from grandpa Stuart Longhurst

“Next champion coming on… 3 year old Robyn showing her mum and dad what a distance cast is.”

too cute !

Robyn 5wt (1)mamma Silja had just taken both gold medals in the 15 and 16 foot Spey categories in the recent Swedish Championships and with dad Lasse Karlsson being several times Danish champion and all-around über-caster, its pretty safe to say her future looks more than bright.
Super-Silja !

Perfecting your English, fly fishing-casting-tying course with Carlos Azpilicueta and Marc Fauvet in northern Spain

i’m very happy to announce the first in a series of collaborations with Carlos Azpilicueta and this one has a nice twist: perfecting your English over a four day course fully immersed in a fly fishing environment.
Carlos’ text being Spanish, the rough translation below should give you a pretty good idea what this course is about but don’t worry if you’re not Spanish because we’ll be speaking English exclusively anyhow… :wink:
you’ll find Carlos’ email address at the bottom of the page for more info and reservations. hope to see you there !


carlos fly boxA really new and unique in concept with a limited number of participants where I’ll combine my two passions both related to teaching: English and Fly Fishing.
Having already spent thirty years teaching English, the last 10 have been devoted to working with professionals to help them develop their capabilities and skills applied to the business world.

What exactly is this course?
It is a unique experience of four days living together in a great setting while performing various activities in English while engaged in mountain fishing, fly casting and fly tying.
Ingles-4
Who else will teach you?
Participating throughout the course I’ll have the help of an expert in two areas: English and fly fishing. Marc Fauvet, US born fly casting, fishing and fly tying instructor and grandísmo guy. me

Where does it take place?
In Piedrafita of Jaca – Pyrenees Mountain, Spain. A truly luxurious stay in an absolutely stunning setting.

And will I improve my English?
Definitely. English will be the only communication tool (as well as gestural) as we all live together throughout the course.
We’ll have all kinds of activities depending on the level and needs of the participant. Simulations, roleplaying, analysis of information and a lot of conversation.

What level of English must i have to participate?Ingles
From beginner to advanced. The level determines the type of activities that will take place in English but does not alter the intensity or effectiveness of the experience.

What kind of fishing activities
take place?
Guided fishing for trout and salvelinus in low fishing pressure high-mountain environments. General fly casting practice and other preparations first thing in the morning for the day’s fishing as well as everything related to fly tying, equipment and entomology according to taste and level of fishing participants defined in advance.

Will there be time for everything?
Summer days are long. Four days give a lot of possibilities if they are well organized and the objectives have been clearly established.

Ingles-3

For more information and reservations contact Carlos Azpilicueta at carazpi@gmail.com
if you need translation help with the text boxes above let me know in the comments section.

Fly Lines- Cleaning and Maintenance

by Tim Flagler via Rio

” Hmm, feels nice, is it a new line ? “
” sort of, its about three years old… “

a direct quote from a course i gave last week and one that seems to repeat itself very regularly.

constantly amazed at how few fly anglers actually clean and treat they’re lines, hopefully a little encouragement followed by two detailed and well explained how-to videos will help reverse this habit and here’s why you should.

let’s start with the bad:
- casting with dirty lines just simply sucks. they make scratchy sounds as they go through rod guides. those scratchy sounds we hear are friction.
friction hinders sliding through the guides and increases friction when the line slides against the blank in-between the guides. this friction makes for jerky over-powered casting instead of the silky smooth casting which should always be our goal.
all this friction gets compounded when hauling and if the lines are sticky enough, it makes the return on a haul next to impossible and this means we introduced slack in the system when we where trying to get rid of it.
as you’ll have also guessed, all this friction greatly hinders line shooting and all this grit and gunk wears down rod guides and of course the lines themselves at remarkable rates.
see ? i told you it sucks. big time.

- dirty floating lines don’t float well, sit lower on the water surface or can actually sink, specially towards the thinner tip. this really sucks too.
the gunk that accumulated on the line prevents the surface tension thing from happening and it slowly goes under.
in the case of nymphing where we watch the line tip we don’t see it anymore and when fishing a floating fly, when we get a strike the extra ‘stick’ caused by the line tip and leader butt being underwater really helps in missed hookups because of instead of the line being instantly pulled up in a straight line from fly to rod tip, the rod end of the fly line goes upwards towards the rod and there’s a level, more or less horizontal portion (the stick) and then another downward angle between line stick and the turning fish.

multiple suck ! not only we had a harder time presenting the fly properly but also put the odds against us when its time to hook up, all ending in the inevitable dork/angst expression typically seen on anglers when this situation occurs !

ok, now for the good:
clean and treated fly lines cast wonderfully. in fact they cast better than straight-out-of-the-box lines because they aren’t treated at the factory…
take all of the negatives written above and reverse them. it’s as simple as that.
a line that’s in good shape, clean and treated flatters your casting and allows the angler to focus on the main goal: fly presentation and hook up.

Tim’s video is as always great. note all the detailed explanations and you can’t go wrong.
tip- if you have a double kitchen sink, then its even better and easier than buckets !
there’ll be a few more tips at the bottom of the post but for now here’s the vids. enjoy !

- house-hold use micro-fibre cloths work better than those little pads regardless who makes them. i always have this one on my chest pack and among a bunch of it’s other possible uses, when i’m finished fishing i retrieve all the line that’s been used through the cloth and this removes any gunk before it has time to dry on the line. it takes like five extra seconds to do this and delays trips to the sink/buckets maybe tenfold.
line rag- the hardest part is finding the right recipient but when you do, a little pad soaked in line dressing stuffed away in the chest-pack gets a gunky or slowly-sinking line tip and leader butt back in shape in a minute when on the water. just pull the line in and run it through the pads. done.
line treatment swab- and lastly, Scientific Angler’s line treatment gel is the best i’ve found and used so far regardless of fly line brand its applied to. it stays on longer and doesn’t need to be dried or wiped down again before using the line again. i’m sure Rio will forgive me…

Presentation Casts- Getting more action out of your flies through line control

by Phil Monahan via Orvis News

its been a loooooong time since i’ve read an article with so much insightful, out of the box, and all around great line/fly control tips. woW !

i had to include this in TLC’s Presentation Casts category because P-casts are about different manners to present our flies fly but ! the lazy caster needn’t worry, apart from rolls and a reach cast that every single fly angler should know anyway, these tips aren’t really about casting in itself but more about controlling and affecting a fly’s movement after delivery through simple but well thought-out mends.
mostly intended for sunken nymphs and streamers we’ll also see that certain floating flies can really benefit from these techniques as well. as noted, we’ll maybe first think of skittering caddis but lets also add mice, frogs, terrestrial insects and even slithering snake imitations and other whatnot critters to the list.
worth noting as well is, since the casting part is reduced to a minimum, all of these methods will be a great asset in low light and dark situations whether your using a single or double-handed rod.

Fly-Fishing-Streamer-Illustration

“But once you’ve learned to use line mends to render your drifts lifeless, it’s time to think about using these same concepts to give patterns life—to activate the presentation. Rather than counteracting the effects of current on your line, you can instead use this tension to make a streamer dart erratically without pulling it out of a good lie, make a nymph rise in the water column, or work flies into spaces that you could never cast to. Using the current and your line to work the fly means you can keep it in the strike zone longer, fishing slower, or make multiple presentations within the same drift.” and that’s just for starters…

be sure to click the image for the complete article that’s sure to open a few eyes and help think out of the box.
this stuff’s the Shiz, enjoy !

Invisible Stripping

or, the ‘basketless stripping basket’  by Joe Mahler

some nice and simple line-management tips from Joe are on the menu today and these just might reduce a lot of swelling.
the kind of mind-bloating-swelling exasperation we sometimes get when the line gets bunched up and catches the rod guides on the final delivery shoot or simply gets caught on the ground, grass, boat, bushes, shoe laces, rocks, vest (add your favourite anything because if it simply exists, it exists to catch our lines while we’re casting… )
another more-than-nifty use of Joe’s method is on rivers where retrieved line gets sucked downstream by the current which isn’t as bad as the list above but its still a pain.
anyhow, its all good but be sure to give this a little practice at home before the big trip so’s to avoid dextrous confusion whilst fishing. enjoy !

Review- Stickman Rods P5 ‘Evil Black’ 5wt

stickman 1first off, here’s the tech specs from Stickman Rods:
5 weight, 9′ length, 4 piece
Rod weight: 91 gram (3.21 oz)
Matte natural finish, fast action blanks
Flor grade half wells grip from Portugal
REC reel seat
Anodized aluminium reel seat spacer with engraving in black or red
Fuji stripping guides in black
Recoil Black Pearl titanium guides
Hopkins&Holloway tip tops
Black wraps with fire red edging
Blanks made in Spain, rods built in Hungary
Rod sock and black leather logo-embossed Cordura tube
Retail price is 649 € including VAT
shipped worldwide for a flat rate of 30 euros.

Warranty stickman 3
click here for CCS and MOI comparative data.
more info on the CCS and MOI  systems, what they mean and how they may be of use when comparing known rods.

stickman 5note that this review is for the Evil Black model but the P5 also comes in two other versions: Stealth and Forest. apart from their different aesthetic configurations (and the fact that they’re therefore neither EVIL nor BLACK ! ) the only difference these other models have is they sport a wooden reel-seat insert making them 10 grams lighter. (yeah, i’m having a hard time understanding how thin aluminium is heavier than a much thicker wooden insert but that’s just the way it is) anyway, that extra 10 gm is in the butt end of the rod so its next to impossible to feel the difference when casting or fishing. the aluminium spacer means this particular model is not only dead sexy but also saltwater friendly and won’t get nasty if left wet in the rod tube for a few weeks.

ok, now for the more difficult part, the subjective…
outside of simply sharing the above data, there’s no other way to describe something like a fly rod without including personal views, colours and tastes.
i’ll spare you silly common marketing blurbs such as- ‘this rod tracks better than others’ or ‘throws tighter loops’ or ‘is more accurate’ or “will catch you more fish” because we all know that those aspects are dependant of the user and not the product.
something you also need to know is that i’m on the Stickman Rods Pro-Team and as noted on the rod’s page, the aesthetic design and naming of the Evil Black models was mine. if you’re already rolling your eyes thinking that as such all i’m going to do is praise the product out of self-interest, then you’re probably better off reading something else instead.
sorry for the tough-guy talk but being wary and weary of other’s personal/commercial interests when i read their equipment reviews leads me to think i’m far from the only one to feel that way. apart from a few gifts here and there i receive no compensation whatsoever for this or any other reviews i write so, rest assured however that even if i have a close attachment to this product i’ll be as impartial as possible.
lets start !

fly lines used
- Barrio SLX- GT90, GT125, Small Stream in 5 & 4wt
- Scientific Anglers- XPS, Nymph, Sharkskin 5 & 4wt
- Vision- Attack clear intermediate 5wt
- Piam- DT 5wt
- various homemade shooting heads connected to monofilament shooting line

All lines performed equally well within their inherent capacities. this rod being a ‘real 5wt’ with a CCS-ERN (Effective Rod Number) of 4,9 it handled all 5wt lines perfectly with no need for over-lining. in fact i did try several 6wt lines on it but wasn’t happy with how the extra line weight affected the feeling during the casts. i’ll have to confess that i’m a chronic ‘under-liner’ and although the rod performs flawlessly with 5wt lines, the real ‘super-sweet’ feeling happened with 4wt lines. i had several very good casting instructor friends in five different countries try out the rod with both 4&5 lines and most preferred it with a 5wt. we all have different tastes and thats great !
what i particularly like about this rod’s line weight polyvalent nature is these two line choices fit in perfectly for the vast majority of my trout-type fishing without having to change rods to get that ‘spot on’ feeling. the 4wt line goes on for lighter and slimmer flies in non-windy situations and the 5wt on the extra spool takes its place when casting bigger flies or when the wind’s up. nice.

action
the AA (Action Angle – see CCS & MOI link above) of 68 places the P5 Evil Black on the lower end of fast-actioned rods. this means that it’s no stiff poker that most anglers will feel the need to over-line and it’s very easy to feel how the load/bend is distributed throughout the rod as it varies throughout the casting strokes helping to achieve great line control.
of maybe more importance to me than stiffness ratings is how smoothly yet fast the rod tip recovers (resumes its straight position) after the completion of a cast.
in short, a rod that continues to ‘boing-boing’ after a cast sends waves down the rod leg of the fly line and in this case, these waves are a form of slack and we all know that slack is the opposite of tension and that maintaining as much tension throughout the cast is ultra-important. without this tension there’s reduced line control, loops are kinda unappealing and ultimately, they’re less effective. simples.
this particularity is what in my opinion makes this blank stand up there among a very small handful of other rod models from the best companies in the world. it’s an easy rod to cast and it flatters the caster’s capabilities and that’s hard not to like.

stickman 2

build
Gampel Istvan is the man behind the craft. “He has been in the fishing industry for more than 20 years now. At first as a shop owner and later as a custom rod builder. Rod building is a passion for him, he constantly strives to reach perfection in everything he does” and this is apparent as soon as the rod is pulled from its sock. Gampi’s fine work is along the lines of “Less is More”, just what a high end build should be. thread and epoxy quantity are kept to more-than-strong-enough minimum and this fits in with the idea of matching the ultra light blank to ultra light hardware to preserve the blank’s maximum crispness and efficiency. nice.
as per the CCS/MOI page, the completed rod’s swingweight is very low meaning it feels very light whether we’re just holding it, waggling it around or actually casting. nice.

not really a part of the rod build itself but closely related, i wanted to point out that the ferrules hold extremely well throughout the day and are super-easy to take apart when going home. no slipping or twisting even after a full day of casting, (which means maybe hundreds of times more casts than when fishing) with the same non-slip result after long sessions of Spey casts, notorious for twisting rods apart. for the review i made the conscious effort of very slightly fitting the ferrules together (much less force than usual) just to see if they would come apart or twist and they simply didn’t move. nice.

conclusion

cons
i can’t find anything i would change with this rod. from the blank, component and build quality, aesthetics, super-smooth cork and grip shape and of course the way the rod feels and performs, it simply feels spot-on.
the only negative (which isn’t a negative but more of an inconvenience to the general public) is this rod company is very new and doesn’t have a wide-spread reputation yet, something that might put a few off from giving them a try.
via the Warranty page we’ll however see that there is a 14 day ‘like or refund’ option for those that might be hesitant.
pros
if you’ve read this whole article you’ve basically seen nothing but pros so, to conclude i’ll simply restate my own criteria when assessing a fly rod:

“its an easy rod to pick up but a hard one to put down… “

click either image above or the following link to access the Stickman Rods site for more info and the contact page.

 

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2014

Scottish Gathering 2014 – Elizondo, Spain

this year’s Gathering was great but a little strange.

firstly, the yearly Scottish Sexyloops meet was in Spain. i can’t go into the hows or whys of that but that part was cool as it’s always nice to visit a new place, even more so that i didn’t have the time this year to turn it into the usual three week casting and fishing affair and it was only 600km round trip from home instead of the usual 3000 or so. i basically live in the Pyrenees mountain range but on the diametrically opposite side. i’m on the north-east slope closer to the Mediterranean sea in France whereas the Spanish Basque region is on the south-west slope of the range closer to the Atlantic. same mountain but subtle differences in the landscape and weather patterns make it exotic enough, besides, the Pyrenees range is one of my favourite places on earth. although i was born and raised very far from here, in a sense, it’s the closest i can think of when i think of ‘home’.

having been kicked off of the Sexyloops forum several months ago made it even more strange. not because of all the great friends i’ve made over the years through the forum which was the real reason i went there, and where the friendship status hasn’t changed one iota, but you know, being kicked off a forum for no real or valid reason by its owner leaves a sour aftertaste even if that sourness is very mild.

this being my fourth Gathering i knew that the ‘play it by ear’ style of event organisation was the norm but i can’t help but feel bad for our Spanish friends who are always used to meets that are very structured and where casters of different levels are taken into consideration and offered casting games and different activities other than all-afternoon comp-style distance casting.

to be honest, i’m a lot more disappointed than what the above might suggest. the super high-level quality and willingness to share of my attending friends was there but it seems that the sour atmosphere of the forum has taken some of that enthusiasm away. i’m not the type to dwindle on the past and nostalgia but these meets where a hell of a lot better before. things change and i guess that’s normal but the most important hasn’t. here’s what some of them look like.

Trevor BourneTrev castingBen DixonBen's toe dance

Joaquin Quintas, Carlos Azpilicueta, Mikel Coronado, J Nieto FernandezLos Amigos
Craig AnonCraig X
Mark SurteesMark's demo
Mark displaying a very Masterful ‘wind knot’Mark's knot
Michael HeritageMike's demo
Spanish/French border just north of Elizondo (french side)Col de Something
at first i had thought maybe Tracey had forgotten to bring deodorant but it turned out that Carlos is simply allergic to airborne pollen.Tracey and deodorant mask
casting film crew- James and Trev ‘The Bipod’cast filming crew
CarlosCarlos demoCarlos' TMCCI Carlos
Scott LoudonScott Loudon

hi friends ! i was away at a fly casting meet in Spain for the better part of a week and while i’m still settling back in and sorting photos and seemingly billions of other stuffs… well, in the meantime here’s a massage.

ahhhh, the things one finds when traveling. enjoy !

Don’t wade, you idiot !

calc_dsc_4634-384

“OK, I’m provoking, and I know it… but the idea of not wading straight into the water might need some exaggeration to knock in to some anglers’ thick skulls. Not yours of course, but the other clowns who stomp into the water and spook every fish within close distance before they even lay out their first cast.”

haha ! in what’s one of the better fishing tips there is, Martin Joergensen not only knocks a few skulls and just one of them is the reminder that spooking fish before even fishing for them is well, stupid…
very complete and filled with oh-so-much common sense, the only thing i can think to add is all the negative sounds/vibrations we make when wading. fish are still susceptible to these when we stay on the side of the water but they’re greatly diminished.
as a last bonus, it’s pretty rare that an angler falls into the water from the bank whereas falling in when wading is a daily affair for a lot of us…

“I don’t know how many times I have heard this advice on a stream when fishing a dry fly: cast as close as you can to the opposite bank. If you don’t catch the grass or the bushes over there once in a while, you’re not close enough! For some reason the fish seem to be holding under the opposite bank in every stream in the world.
Same thing when fishing for salmon. You gear up to be able to cover the whole stream, and unless you are fishing a large river it’s certainly possible to cast across to the opposite bank and cover the whole width of many streams.
But why on earth are the fish holding under the bank across from where you got in the water? Well, they aren’t… or weren’t until you stepped into the water. The fish are of course all over the stream – on your side, in the middle and close to the opposite bank.
So why would you choose to fish for those over there rather than the ones right under your nose? Well, it beats me!”

and there’s a lot more to it. click the pic for the complete article on The Global FlyFisher. enjoy ! (and stay a little drier)

Fly Fishing- Leader design for streamers

lots of very good info here from Kelly Galloup.
admittedly, these leader designs aren’t universal and are specifically geared towards targeting large trout with large trout streamers in rivers, retrieving them across stream from a drift boat or wading but Kelly’s explanations are well worth listening to as a lot of the very same principles are the same regardless of the targeted species and situation.
of special note is the advise of using short-short leader lengths when using sinking lines (equally valid for sink tips) and the reminder that when using streamers, casting shorter leaders is much-much easier than longer lengths which are also often detrimental to keeping the fly in the right depth zone. another bonus is that ‘leader discretion’ is also unnecessary as these fish are ‘blinded’ by their next meal just like pike and a lot of other predator fish.
simple and easy, there’s no need for store-bought leaders. i don’t know how Kelly feels about them but since the line tip doesn’t come into the rod when landing a fish i’ll use a loop-to-loop line-to-leader connection to be able to change or repair leaders in a snap. it’s all good, enjoy !

tip- try to avoid being distracted by the dancing Hula-Girl or you might miss out on some important stuff !

Campfire talk with Göran Andersson

A Drift Inside by Keith Brauneis

interesting insights from the ‘creator’ of the Underhand/Scandi spey style with regards to what makes a good fishing day, comparing Atlantic salmon fishing to Steelhead but maybe mostly that the Scandi style started off because his fly line had broken… enjoy !