Fly Lines- Barrio SmallStream 2wt Line test

via Merge Fly Fishing

the video below isn’t much of a review in itself but it sums up all the important features and the film’s lovely location is a perfect example of where this new Barrio line shines like a star.
its short yet very stabile and well proportioned head design lets anglers of all levels easily get the fly where it should go in these tight spaces, whether we’re using aerial or rolls or spey casts.
i used this line model extensively throughout the past season in 3, 4 and 5wts and the great first impressions with each one haven’t changed a bit: i very highly recommend it.

in case you’re wondering, its use isn’t confined to minuscule fish as buddy Sandy Nelson demonstrates here !
sandy's smallstream troot

available in tan or light olive from sizes 1 to 5, click either pic for more info and user reviews on the Barrio site.
at 27£ ( 34€ – 43US$) including fast shipping anywhere in the world this one’s a no brainer.
barrio smallstream

Review- Stickman Rods P5 ‘Evil Black’ 9′ 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.

ok, 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

Review- Smith Creek Rod Clip

being the third and final review of these great Smith Creek products, the Rod Clip is, at least in my eyes, one of the most interesting and practical accessories i’ve seen, one i’ve had my eye on since it came out and was quite eager to try out.

smithcreek rod clip m.fauvet:TLC

here’s a typical scenario: i’m in the water and i’ve got a rod in one hand but i’d like or need to do something that involves both hands. i can’t put the rod down, i’m not going to hold the grip in between my teeth because it looks stupid and gives me jaw cramps. some fly fishing vests have a strap-like loop to hold the rod butt and velcro strap towards the top of the vest to hold the blank but people wear vests to hold things like fly boxes and whatnot in them and those things can make it very difficult to strap on the rod and if the angler has a soft, roundish pronounced belly, the situation is exacerbated exponentially as girth increases.
although the Rod Clip on the pics is on a vest i don’t wear/use them, much preferring chest packs but there’s nothing on chest packs to help us hold a rod. i could temporarily slip the rod butt inside my waders but i don’t always wear waders and when it’s cold or raining there’s a jacket over the wader entry and besides, the chest pack is in the way…
holding the rod between the legs or under an arm is ok for a quick whatever but the rod tip is left pointing out and it’s not very relaxing or practical, specially if i want to take some pics or snack on chocolate or just stare at the sun. now, with the Rod Clip i just reach over with one hand, wedge the blank into the dense foam slit of the Clip and the rod is solidly held there off to my side, safely pointing up until i need it again. simple, intuitive and brilliant !

Smith-Creek-Rod-Clip

as the other Smith Creek products, design, component selection and craftsmanship are top-notch. Anodised marine-grade aluminum and UV resistant materials means that there’s little chance of it wearing out any time soon. Designed for use with light to medium weight outfits up to 1/2 inch (13mm) diameter and maximum weight of 1 ½ lbs. (680 g), it securely holds any of my single-hand rods in the 3 to 9 wt range.
the zinger attaches to whatever you’re wearing via a pin so, unless you’re a nudist angler you’re bound to find ‘just the right place’ for whatever it is you’re wearing that day. be sure to place the zinger towards a side of your chest and not towards the middle as this would have the rod blank in your face, knocking off your cap once the rod is placed in the Clip. don’t ask…

to conclude, this is a very fine product i highly recommend. as an assessor i feel the need to be picky and look for things that might have been improved and there’s only a minor one and that’s the attachment pin. it’s strong and sturdy and faultless in itself and i’m quite certain it won’t detach under ‘normal’ use but pins are pins and if you’re typical waters involve slipping through bushes and trees to access them you’ll want to place the zinger in an area where these ‘devil’s claws‘ won’t tear it off. i guess that’s more of a precautionary suggestion rather than a design fault so the clip still gets an all-around A.

rod clip top view M.Fauvet:TLC

click either image to access the Springforelle online shop.

 

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2014

Review- Smith Creek ‘Trash Fish’ Spent Line Wrangler

trashfish 1 TLC reviews

“I see way too much fishing line on the riverbank and I got so tired of re-stuffing spent leaders and tippets back into my vest pocket that I finally designed a tool to make them stay put. And no, I didn’t want another tool hanging from my vest but something simple and slim, which easily fits into my pocket.”
Wayne Smith – Smith Creek

Wayne’s quote sums it up well. whether as a way to manage our own monofilament waste or someone else’s, this very cleverly conceived, rugged, well made and user/environment-friendly accessory is yet another top-notch item from Smith Creek.
teeny-tiny at just 75 x 29 x 9 mm and very light at just a few grams, it’s light enough to not even notice that it’s there.

using it and discarding the waste once home couldn’t be simpler. wrap, slide in the mono and slide it off.
trashfish how-to TLC reviews
as you can see on the how-to above, using it is a no-brainer which means we’ll take to it easily and use it every time and that’s good for our water systems and their inhabitants.
after using it for a while, i found a slightly different method of winding on mono and this allows me to easily make the separation between mono that’s to be trashed and mono that can still be used as when the fishing situation requires a tippet change but that tippet is still usable.
– for ‘junk’ mono, i’ll simply jam a tag end into the foam area and wind directly and somewhat tightly around the aluminium frame, jam the other tag end and slide the lot deeper into the foam.
– for ‘reusable’ mono, i follow Wayne’s recommendation. this leaves a bigger, discernible loop as we can see on the images.
as always, when trashing any line, be sure to clip it to tiny bits before discarding as all sorts of wild and domestic animals visit dumpsites.

TrashFish 2 TLC reviews

bottom line: i highly recommend the Trash Fish even if it’s name’s a little quirky !

click either image to access the Springforelle online shop.

 

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2014

Review- Smith Creek Landing Net Holster

SmithCreek holster w:net
what a simple, elegant and ingenious idea ! simply tucking a net under the belt is one of the better ways to loose it and while magnet/clip systems are great, they also require wearing something: a vest, chest-pack or jacket that happens to have a loop in the right place to attach it to.
going light and ‘minimalist’ say, on a hot summer day (or bundled-up for a very cold one for that matter) can make this a bit of an issue but now we have another option and this option’s a very good one.
on and off your belt in a flash, this holster can be the deciding factor whether we bring the net to the river or not, and frankly, we’re better off with one, specially the fish !

extremely well thought out and manufactured and what seems to be as close to super-resistant and durable as it gets, outside of maybe having a hydroplane crash on you when out fishing, i can’t imagine this holster either wearing out or breaking.
fully and easily adjustable to fit any net’s handle by means of a velcro sewn along the web strap, another groovy feature worth noticing are the slots allowing you to slide it on and off the belt without having to remove the belt and thread it through. brilliant.
another cool feature is the hole at the top of the aluminium frame meaning it gives another means of attaching the holster via a clip to something and here i’m thinking this accessory will really shine attached to a float tube, pontoon boat or boat and maybe even a well-trained pack dog. cool.

after having tested this holster for several months, there’s not a single thing i can think of that i’d improve or want different, don’t hesitate.
if you want a different way to hold your net, this one’s a no-brainer. who knows, even something you’ll be able to pass on to your kids or grandkids.
SmithCreek holster back

click either image to access the Springforelle online shop.

 

SmithCreek holster 1

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2014

Tackle Review: The Fly Tidy fly tying station

‘Something new, something different, something really cool. 

fly tidy w:vise & tools

Fly tying stations aren’t new but this one is a modernized, simplified and very practical and functional rework of the basic design.

Fair enough, at first sight it’s a little strange to get all excited about a piece of plastic but here are it’s features with some plus and minus notes along the way.

– Size
45 x  27,5 x 2,5 cm (or 17 3/4 x 10,8 x 1 inches)
The workspace recess, tool and accessory holes are 2 cm deep (0,8 inch)
The easily accessible tools stay where they’re put and materials don’t roll out of the workspace. Whether using the tool holders or workspace, hooks, beads and other materials stay within the tray and standard varnish bottles don’t tip over. Everything’s always at hand right where they should be and this even when placed on the lap or other less than usual and uneven places such as car hoods or trunks: Nice
The base of smaller sized fly clips also fit in the tool holes, giving the tier an easily accessible area to deposit flies to dry after varnishing or to compare them when tying series of the same pattern: Nice
fly tidy tool holes

When assessing a product like this I ask myself things like “would it be better if it was bigger, smaller, etc, etc ?”  and after a month of tying nothing came to mind meaning it’s size is just right, be it on my tying desk or anywhere else around the house or on the road. The compact yet ‘more than enough’ size  makes it very easy to pick it up and go tie a fly or two while doing dumb things like cooking or watching tv or whatever !
As an aside, it easily fits inside my Fishpond tying bag or other similar tying carrying systems making it all the more easier to bring along anywhere, whether on an extended fishing trip or at fly shows: Nice

-Weight
Is estimated at just under a kilo (2,2 pounds)
Not too heavy, not too light:  Just right

-Material
the Fly Tidy is made of a single, food-grade, recyclable, highly resistant plastic: the same stuff used to make professional, industry-grade kitchen cutting boards.
With the exception of the vise screw, it’s hidden support thread  and the four little rubber anti-slip feet, the whole board is machined from one solid piece and as such nothing could ever fall apart or become unglued. It’s not like we usually mistreat these kinds of objects, but I’m quite certain that even repeated hammer blows would hardly leave a dent on it’s surface: Nice
(The truly serious reviewer might resort to using an axe or chainsaw to thoroughly test this tool’s resistance to abuse but I guess I’m not serious enough !)

It’s white and as far as I’m concerned, white is best. It’s colour neutral and eliminates the need for a viewing plate behind the fly. Somewhere between shiny and matt, any object placed on the Tidy shows up right away regardless of the tying area’s light level. Locating and picking up the smallest of materials is simple and quick: Nice
Most of us have a lamp angled from above towards the fly and the white base reflects light back underneath our fly, evening out contrast, reducing eye strain and simply giving a better overall view: Nice
Having been told that it resists to varnishes, glues and UV resins I had a play with all of the above and confirm the claim. Simply let the gunk dry (or cure it with the UV light) and just chip  it away with the thumbnail and the board looks like new, as if nothing had ever adhered to it: Nice

fly tidy

-Vise Clamp
If your vise has a clamp, simply slide the stem in the board’s clamp and tighten the screw.
If you’re using a pedestal throw it away ! Once the vise stem is installed, the very stable contact area of the base makes that I can’t even make the Tidy rock or slide while purposely winding down hard on a big pike hook with 3/0 or GSP thread. Hooks where bent out of shape before anything moved. It’s like the stability of a clamp vise without having to work on the edge of a table, something the big fly tier might really appreciate: Nice

Now so far, there’s been nothing but ‘Nice‘ to sum up the Tidy’s features but as an assessor it’s my job to find what’s less than ideal so here goes:
As much as I like the vise clamp placement and board stability there’s one aspect here that left a minor frown however a quick, simple and cost-free solution took about one minute to fix this and in my opinion, made the vise connection even better.
The clamp hole’s diameter is a wee bit too wide for my Tiemco vise therefore it wobbles a little when tying even when the screw is tightened to the max. This vise is made in Japan and like any japanese product it’s in metric standards whereas almost every other vise on the market is in imperial (inches) making for a very small yet noticeable fitting difference. I don’t have access to a non-metric vise to measure it’s stem diameter but i’m pretty sure it’ll be just a tad wider than the metric. Others who have tried the Fly Tidy haven’t mentioned  this issue so I’m reasonably certain almost any other vise will fit perfectly.
As such, it’s neither a design or production fault but simply a proof that universal fits aren’t usually very universal and I needed to point this out.

So, as a remedy I cut a slim sleeve from a plastic sheet 3cm x 8mm x 1 mm and inserted it into the hole and wedged the vise stem inside. fly tidy vise-clamp space filler (The plastic sleeve was left intact for illustration purposes. My ‘permanent’ version has been trimmed flush at the base of the board. You wouldn’t know it’s there)

This makes for a non-wobly, very solid hold while enabling the rotation of the vise by simply twisting it towards or away from me to make sure dumbbell eyes are on straight or for weaving fly bodies or simply to view or work on a fly at an oblique angle: Perfect !

Conclusions
– The Fly Tidy is a very nice accessory that’s a pleasure to use.
– The term ‘Tidy’ seems to be what sums up this product best as it makes for a more compact, organized and freer working space.
– It’s one of those items you don’t necessarily think of before actually using one but it’s also one of those things you miss when it’s not around.
– It’s not a necessary item but simply makes tying easier and as such I can only wholeheartedly recommend it.

 

For more information-
www.theflytidy.wordpress.com

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2013

Tackle Review – Marc Petitjean MP-TT Bobbin Holder

Ingenious…

I’ve been using several other Petitjean tools over the years: the whip finisher, dubbing twister, cdc hackle pliers and the Magic Tool clips. They’re all faultless in design and of great quality so I was quite eager to do an extended test of the MP-TT bobbin holder. As expected, it’s a high level tool with two very interesting and unusual features and also has the particularity of being a dubbing loop twister as well.
a Swiss Army knife as it where, of  fly tying tools.

At first glance my first impression was “This tool isn’t finished, they must have sent me a factory error by mistake”, but after sitting down and turning it left and right and this way and that, all of a sudden the genius started to appear.

Every single aspect of it’s design and functions is extremely well thought out and expertly crafted. In a way, and to risk an analogy, it reminds me of the single-speed track bikes of the bicycle world where everything is reduced to an essential minimum and what’s left is functionality, simplicity and elegance.

Ok, enough with the romanticism and on to what makes it stand out from the crowd.

In the order of how the bobbin holder is used I’ll list it’s features.
Refer to the images below for a better understanding of the tool’s various parts.
At the bottom of the page you’ll also find a video where Marc Petitjean himself demonstrates and explains it’s features.

Bobbin-4

Bobbin cage
The spool nubs -as the whole bobbin holder- are made of stainless steel. These nubs hold any of the dozens of spools I’ve tried firmly yet very smoothly. There’s no squeaking noises due to corrosion as with some other higher-end bobbin holders that use brass nubs. A smooth spinning bobbin is always nice but it becomes critical when using finer and weaker threads. No problems here even with a range of threads from 3/0 to 17/0 or vintage natural silks that have been spooled on to contemporary-sized bobbins.
The cage itself is a ‘box’ design instead of the more usual ‘Y’ shaped arms. Because of this shape you can fit even the biggest of spools and the arms won’t rub against the spool’s lip. There’s no need for bending the tool to shape as it’s designed to adapt to all contemporary standard-sized thread spools via the Spool Tension system.

Threading
No need for wire threaders or sucking up the thread through the tube with this holder because there’s no tube ! Once the bobbin is inserted, one takes the tag end of the thread, passes it below the entrance guide and brings it towards the Head Ring/tip of the tool where there’s a small coil similar to the end of a wire spring and we simply push it down through the little groove and the job’s done. No fuss, no muss and the whole process takes about two seconds once we’ve done this a few times. Brilliant !
As you’ll hear Petitjean explain in the video, all sizes of threads and flosses easily fit through the Head Ring. The only variable is we’ll reduce pressure when inserting the thread with finer material and use a little more force with the thicker ones while extending it into the groove.
Depending on the thread type and because of the threading groove, we’ll hear a very little ‘click’ when winding but this doesn’t affect or catch or weaken the thread in any way.

Spool Tension
There are other bobbin holders that have a thread tension system but they rely on achieving that tension by applying force through a screw along the spool’s axis. They work quite well but changing spools requires removing the screw-end, not dropping or loosing the small parts… and then re-assembling it all and re-adjusting the tension by a trial and error method each time. The MP tool has a much simpler and in my opinion, much better approach. Once the spool is in place, tension is increased or reduced simply by sliding a coiled band up or down the tool which tightens or loosens the spool arms with equal force. Once again, Brilliant !

Head Ring
As mentioned above, the whole tool is made of stainless steel and where the tool tip is concerned, this takes it away from the current trend of ceramic tubed or tipped bobbin holders. Ceramic tubes are indeed very good but if you’ve ever dropped one on the floor you’ll know that they’re not indestructible and chip easily. Now, I haven’t actually thrown this tool to see if it breaks but I can’t see how it would.
The use of metal with it’s spring-like opening is what makes the easy threading feature possible but that doesn’t affect the smoothness of the ring against the thread. Careful material selection and processing has made it just as smooth as ceramic and even after tying many-many flies, no threads have abraded or broken.

As a side note to the metal/ceramic pros and cons I’ll add that in my opinion, the ceramic elements most probably wouldn’t have come to be the norm if the metal tubes had been of good quality and properly made in the first place.

Dubbing Loop Twister
Trying to explain this feature with words wouldn’t do it justice so I’ll refer you to Marc’s video below. Fast and extremely simple, once we’ve done it a few times to get the method down right, I find this feature to be a great help specially if I’m tying series of smaller flies because less tools means less distractions and I can stay in the ‘rhythm’ better. Subjective indeed.
Since I’ve been trying hard to find something about this tool I don’t like, I’m left with having to say that although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the twister feature and it works very well, I still have a strong preference for the MP dubbing twister because it gives me more possibilities and one of them being; as I don’t use the rotary function of my vise for wrapping materials around the hook shank and prefer to wrap them myself.
It’s still brilliant though !

Pros and Cons
Pros
I can’t find any negative aspects to this tool. As you might have gathered by the review it’s a fantastic design and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do and does it all very well.
Cons
Priced at about 45€  (or 37£ or 59 US $)  it can understandably be above some people’s budgets.
It’s an object for the person who enjoys cleverly designed and well made tools and doesn’t mind paying a little more for it but that’s not much of a ‘con’ I’ll admit. I have the strong impression that it will last a long, long time and won’t break. If we add the other features to this, that all brings the price down considerably.

Conclusions
As with my other reviews I’ll conclude with a few questions and answers.

Is it necessary ?
No, but it might become addictive so, in that case it just might become necessary…

Is it nice and would I recommend it ?
Very and Yes, highly.

If this was the only bobbin holder I could have would this one be it ?
As a main bobbin holder, yes.
I’ll for sure want to have at least another bobbin holder for times where I want to use two threads simultaneously or want to use wire or other less usual materials like chenille with it but it’s easy to say that the MP-TT would suffice for more than 95% of my needs.
Definitely one for the traveling kit or for tying at shows.

Bobbin-5

The MP-TT Bobbin Holder for this review was submitted by Peer Doering-Arjes of Springforelle  in Germany. Be sure to check out his online shop for a fine selection of exclusive fly fishing equipment, books, videos and courses by clicking the logo below.
Springforelle logo

Images and video provided by Petitjean Fishing Equipment SA

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2013

see ? i told you these threads where strong.

the best part is they’re not just strong, a quality tying thread needs other qualities. for those interested in knowing more about these new materials click here Review- Veevus Tying Threads and Tying Materials

Review- Veevus Tying Threads and Tying Materials

A thread is a thread is a thread, right ?
Well, no. Considering that in most cases, tying thread is what holds everything together when we’re tying flies, it’s quality and reliability are what ‘makes or breaks’ the tying experience and our results depend on it doing what we expect it to do.

“The choice of tying thread for a particular application in fly dressing is probably one of the most important decisions a tier will make. It is as important as the choice of materials used for the flies themselves. 
Thread choice can be a very subjective issue, many tiers will have love/hate relationships with different threads from time to time, and this can be the result of incorrect thread selection in the first place.”
quote from Dr. Paul Little / Fly Dresser – The Journal of the FlyDresser’s Guild 2011

A few months back, I discovered and saw tying videos of  these new threads and wrote Emir Veevus, the founder of the company to ask for some samples to review. A few days later I received a nice little box with 12 spools comprised of:

Threads-
6/0 F02 White
8/0 E01 Black
8/0 E02 White
8/0 E04 Red
8/0 E06 Pink
10/0 D04 Light (Almond) Green
12/0 C05 Burgundy/Claret
14/0 B02 White
14/0 B05 Brown
M11 M Stomach
(Yup, Stomach does sound a bit ‘medical’ but Emir tells me that it was the result of  the translation of ‘abdomen’ or ‘body’ and the word stayed. I think it’s cool and yet another item that sets this company apart !)

Tinsel & Wire-
T12 S Holo-Tinsel
W01 S Steel Wire

From the Veevus site we see that these threads are stronger than all non-gsp type threads (gel spun polyethylete) which is a wonderful quality because it’s enormously frustrating to have a thread break before we’re finished with the fly… but is that what makes a good thread ?
Not really, or at least it needs some other qualities on top of strength.
If strength was the major criteria we could just hand out a considerable amount more money at the shop and buy the gsp threads mentioned above and happily live with the knowledge that our thread is strong enough to bend almost any hook in the vise without breaking.
Ok, that might sound pretty good but it doesn’t sound pretty good to me. What we find out when we buy the gsp threads is they slip on or around materials, need to be kept under a constant pressure because they don’t stretch and in the case of tying in foam or deer hair or similar, they often cut right through the materials (Add your favorite cuss-words here) because the thread is very thin and the buyer was told by the advertisers that they could tug down like a brute, so they tug like brutes…

Enough with the strength, let’s look at other aspects.

Stretch-

When a thread stretches it will later retract when tension is reduced. This holds our materials better than a thread that won’t stretch.
All of the Veevus threads stretch a little. Just enough and in an easily controllable and predictable manner.
Just right.

Twisting / Splitting-
Their non-bound multi-filament construction allows full and easy control. Sure, all threads can be twisted tighter but not all can be untwisted easily. Untwisting is yet another key element in thread management as it allows us to either lay a smooth and flat layer of thread for its appearance or for reducing bulk but also to use that extra width to bind down certain materials with that wider surface contact.
Splitting the threads to insert dubbing is as easy as it gets.
While the other threads have a many multi-filament construction, the 6/0 is a two-strand making this extremely easy, fast and a very strong for inserting bigger materials needed for the construction of streamers, pike or saltwater flies. I don’t even need a dubbing needle to split this thread. Just unwind it a bit, give it some slack and it opens up on it’s own.
Just right.

Resistance-
Or more specifically, abrasion resistance. Number one here is the dreaded ‘hook-point tick’ of the thread while winding around the shank. Although this occurs less and less as time goes by, I won’t say that it never happens to me but here I did a few tests on purpose to see how they hold up. Some threads tear right away. The Veevus threads don’t.
Just right.

Colors-
Available in a vast array of colors as you’ll see here, if you need to add your own color because you want a special tone or just want a different color without tying off and changing spools, they take permanent marker’s inks very well and fast and the color stays on.
Just right.

Spools-
Rarely mentioned yet a very important aspect is the spools themselves and how the thread was wound on them. You won’t find any loose ‘starter’ ends coming off the side lip of the spool like it’s quite common with Benecchis’… All of the threads have been wound cleanly and evenly with just the right amount of tension leading to very smooth tying.
It would be very hard to say exactly if this is the reason why, but after two fly-tying fairs, several tying courses and the subsequent traveling and bag-throwing, not a single spool has unwound which usually results in the thread crossing itself, blocking up while tying and ending up flying through the air with frustration… Just right.
And before I stop with the smooth bit, some of the spools seem (my guess) to be made of Rilsan, a low-friction plastic often used as washers or in other mechanical parts. They’re slightly translucent. When placed in bobbin holders there is a strong marked difference in rotational smoothness from any other type of spool I’ve ever seen, once again making tying very precise, predictable and smooth.
I hope they extend the use of these spools throughout the whole range.
Just right.

Stomach Thread-
As mentioned above, it’s initial purpose is for building abdomens and bodies but it’s a lot more versatile than that. It’s construction is a cross between a floss and a thread which means it can also be used for tags, tails, hot-spots, wings and heads. It is easily twisted tight or loose and split to insert whatever dubbing-type material you might want to bind down. The spool I received is a bright fluorescent yellow/green and by inserting darker dubbing in the split-thread,  was able to get a much more ‘natural’ color of the body on the outside while getting a glow from the thread from underneath, specially visible when wet. Cool and Just right.

Holo Tinsel & Steel Wire
Both are excellent products.  What greatly sets these apart from many others is once again their strength and flexibility. Once mounted on a bobbin holder they can easily replace tying thread: Including tying on, binding on materials, dubbing and whip finishing. This opens up quite a lot of creative possibilities, helps reduce thread bulk, makes tying easier and more precise and there’s no waste.
Just right.

Steel Wire abdomen on ‘Silver and Gold’

Conclusion-
After using these products several months there isn’t a single negative aspect I could add here. That’s quite impressive considering how much I like to critique and criticize…
I’m using the smaller 10/0, 12/0 and 14/0 sizes almost exclusively and with complete confidence for trout-type flies and my technique and general ‘tying tidiness’ has gone up a notch, maybe several.

As in my other reviews, this is a two part question and answer affair.

– Do I like these products and would I recommend them ? Most definitely yes.

– If I where to have only one brand of tying threads would the Veevus be it ?
Again, most definitely yes and quite happily. They’re that good and are exactly what i expect from a versatile top-end product.
Just right.

You’ll find all these products and more tying goodies on the Veevus site.

ten-weight tuesday

was out for a first serious tryout yesterday evening on the lake with a 9′ 10wt MSX Sapphire 1090 i have for review that should do the trick quite nicely for some nasty local pike !
first impressions are really good even if my way-out-of-shape shoulder isn’t too happy with swinging it and it’s 10 wt Versatile line and 25cm practice streamer for something like three hours… as noted in my Imago IPT review, any kind of serious conclusion needs time in hand and thought so the review will be out when the time is right and specially after a few of those nasty pike !
while goofing around trying to get some flying fly line images with one hand while casting with the other, this lucky shot of an unrolling leader managed to come out pretty much ok. getting leaders to show up on photos isn’t the easiest thing to do.
like a lot of things, it happens when you’re trying the least…

Review- Swiss Tackle Centrix Tippet Dispenser

“Mmmmm… Luxurious” was the first thing that came to my mind when I opened the package and luxurious it is.
Simply put, this is design at its best and this design isn’t just pretty: It would be hard to decide if it works better than it looks or vice-versa !
Silky chic in appearance and silky smooth in use are what sum up this dispenser best.

Having all the necessary spools right there on my chest-pack or jacket saves a lot of time and more importantly, the frustration of searching through the pockets of an over-stuffed pack or vest. When re-doing a leader I just pull out a piece of tippet, connect it, pull out the desired length and snip it off ready to tie the next piece of tippet or fly. Securely held by the attachment ring, the dispenser just swings out of the way when finished, ready to be used the next time. Definitely cool.

Specifications:
The deep red anodized corrosion-proof aluminum dispenser housing comes with four ready to fill 59×5 mm high-strength resin spools which hold approximately 50m of tippet each. The spools are placed in alternate rotation order to prevent them from spinning and unravelling within the housing during transport. The tippet ends are snuggly held and drawn through a tight rubber opening. During the installation the tippet ends are pulled through the rubber opening via a special needle that’s stored inside the stainless steel pin which holds the whole unit together.

Each one is hand made in Switzerland and has a one year warranty.
Weight: 60 grams
Outside diameter: 65 mm
Width: 27 mm

Tip: To load the extra spools with your favorite leader material easily, find a piece of foam and roughly cut it to a cylindrical shape a few centimeters bigger than the inner diameter of the spools. Place the foam inside the spool and then force a pencil through the center of the foam and you’ll have a handle to spin while you’re filling the spools.

Review Conclusion-
– Is it necessary ?
Well, no. After-all, most anglers get along just fine with the store bought tippet spools they’ve been using for years.
– Is it nice and would I recommend it ?
You bet ! Having used it for several outings this is the kind of article that could create an ‘addiction’ for luxurious fly fishing accessories. A little strange to describe but I get the little boy “Wow, this so cool !” feeling every time I use it.
It would also make a very special gift for a very special friend. I would consider it a must-have for the lover and collector of fine things, finely made that function perfectly. You’ll find the Centrix Dispenser at the Springforelle online shop.© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2011