the Smoooothest fly line/leader connection there is- a Step by Step

by buddy, expert rod builder, fellow Barrio proteam member and one of the best trout fishers i’ve had the pleasure to meet, Sandy Nelson.

Dave Whitlock‘s superglued leader-to-fly line connection isn’t anything new but reviving significant tips and tricks and their variations is always good for several reasons:
– firstly, it allows us to give proper credit to the originator of the concept.
– variations of a technique often improve over time. through the use of the knot tool, today’s sbs is easier and faster than the original and a fine example of creative thinking.
– lastly, it allows the people who aren’t aware of this technique to discover an extremely effective alternative connection to the standard loop-to-loop, Nail knot or Needle Nail knot.

like the title of this article suggests, this is the smoothest leader/line connection there is. the connection point flows in and out of the rod’s tip ring extremely easily, as if the two elements where one.
this is a more than big bonus for anyone using leaders that are longer than the rod’s length and avoids any connection hangups in situations say, if a fish decides to take off again when we are trying to get it into the net.

as often mentioned, many anglers question the strength of this connection but trying is believing. test it out on an old line at home and pull as much as you want, the finer and/or tippet part of the leader will always break first.
i’ve heard of and read many cases where this connection worked perfectly for hard-pulling fish such as bonefish or salmon and that seems more than enough for most anglers with the exception of those seeking big-game fish.

thanks again Sandy for sharing this with us,  enjoy !


All the tools needed: A C&F Knot tool*, snips, superglue, sandpaper, leader and fly line.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs1

Stick the needle into the tip of the fly line a 1/2″ – 13mm.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs2

Feed tippet-end of leader into knot tool.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs3

Pull leader right through until loop hits fly line.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs4

Rough up the 1/2-3/4″ of the end of the leader.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs5

Brush roughed up part with super glue and pull into end of flyline until all roughed up portion is covered.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs6

Snip loop off flush with the flyline and wipe excess super glue over the cut and the joint and then hold straight with a little pressure for 30secs to a min. for the superglue to set.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs7

Once it is set it should look like this, and you should have only removed about this much of the leader.
Sandy Nelson leader connection sbs8

 

* the essential part of the C&F tool is nothing more than a fancy-handled sewing machine needle that can be found in any sewing shop or even supermarkets at a fraction of the cost.
sewingmachine needlesyou can make your own and have diameter options by simply glueing the needle butt inside an appropriately sized tube.
these needles tend to come in packs so you can have several for yourself or better yet, make a special gift for your friends.

Inches fraction and decimal to Millimetre chart

primarily of use for us fly fishers to compare and better understand the sizes of fly tying beads and tippet/leader/line materials, here’s a handy chart that’ll hopefully help make sense of it all.
note that inch fractions have a hard time keeping up with their decimal and mm counterparts, at least in our ‘real world’ applications such as bead diameters. some times we just have to round off and make do with what we can get…

fraction-decimal-mm chart

i restrained the chart size above to match the most common sizes for our fly fishing purposes, should you want more click the pic.
for a plethora of just about anything to just about anything conversion charts click HERE to access The Engineering Toolbox‘s main page.

some previously posted charts of interest:
Single and Double Hand Fly Line Weight Charts
Fly line Gram to Grain chart

Barrio Micro Nymph Fly Lines

something new, something very different, something exciting  !

by the description below we’ll see that this is indeed a specialty line not only because of its super-thin diameter but also that it is a parallel line with no taper. (that last part isn’t mentioned)
at first this might raise a few eyebrows but consider that when tight-line nymphing*, because of its heavier weight, any standard fly line outside of the rod tip is going to pull the leader butt down even just a little and this non-straight line between the rod tip and the flies means less control of the flies and less sensitivity to takes.
you’ll also notice that it doesn’t have an AFTMA rating because it wouldn’t make any sense because of this line’s specialty-specific design.
as with the competitors, if you’re looking for that special little edge to your nymphing and want to up your performance, this is the way to go.

* although probably not exactly new, i came upon the tight-line nymphing term recently, adopted it immediately and really love it as it englobes all the ‘Euro-Nymphing’ styles perfectly without having to go into the specificities of country, region or particular style; things that are all more than confusing even for Europeans, let alone the rest of the world…
Barrio Micro Nymph

The Barrio Micro Nymph: an ultra thin, lightweight fly line specifically designed for Tight Line Nymphing techniques.

The Barrio Micro Nymph line has been designed for Tight Line Nymphing techniques like Czech, Polish, French, Spanish, Euro-style nymphing, where longer rods and extra long leaders are used and the fly line is frequently barely out of the rod tip. It is not a fly line for conventional casting techniques.

Our stealthy semi opaque, pale olive coloured Micro Nymph line has a level profile of 0.55 diameter, which conforms to current international competition rules. We have developed new micro diameter line technology for this application that is unique to the Barrio brand. Finding the balance between a stiffer line that helps to avoid sagging between rod rings and from the rod tip to the water, yet supple enough to minimise memory, has not been easy at this diameter. It required lengthy research and development.

We experimented with high visibility tips to the line, but feedback from anglers was that they preferred the simple stealthy colour and to build indicators into their leader set-up at a point which suits them and the conditions of the day.

click the image to order yours.
sold for 27£ and as all Barrio products, the prices include free worldwide shipping. be sure to check Mike’s other fly lines for more ‘conventional’ fishing and casting competition specific lines, Barrio reels, super-fine wooden fly boxes and other yummy goodies HERE.

Fly Fishing Life-Hacks- A small, sturdy and inexpensive Waterproof Box

as fishers, water is our best friend but that doesn’t go for everything we take with us when out having fun and whether we like it or not, that fun means sometimes getting thoroughly soaked in one manner or an other. first on the list of things that don’t like to get wet are phones, wallets, electronic car keys, smokables, cameras and the list can go on and on depending on every individual and what they like or need to bring along.

the little ‘fly fishing hack’ below does the trick really well, is completely waterproof and even submersible. i haven’t tested it deeper but no water goes in even at arm’s length underwater. as i’ve noticed over the years, when i fall in my torso tends to stay near the surface and the box stays in the backpack part of my chestpack so depth and its inherent pressure isn’t a problem.
it floats when fully packed, sometimes not very high on the water depending on what’s inside but at least we can retrieve it without having to dive for it should it fall in. the little split-ring can connect to a tether so it can’t possibly get away.
i don’t throw things around to see how strong they are and try not to fall off cliffs but after several years of use it doesn’t have a single crack.

WP Box 1its one of those C&F fly box ripoffs that sell for about 10€, this one was given to me by a friend years ago. the slotted fly holding inserts and swing leaf where really crap and never really did what they where supposed to do: hold flies.
now, being a gift from a good friend i couldn’t just throw this thing away because that’s really bad friend mojo but a minor alteration and few minutes of easy work turned it into something very serviceable and the friend mojo is still strong.

alteration is really easy, just rip out the foam inserts and clean up the residual glue with WD-40 and finish by washing with dish soap to get rid of the WD-4’s residue and smell. done.
once re-glued to a board to keep them straight, the inserts make for pretty nifty temporary fly holders/driers at the tying bench.

the serious do-it-yourselfer will probably have found that quite boring and unchallenging but the result is a very cheap box that does what its supposed to do and does it better than roll-top bags and other lots-more-expensive cases. i like easy, cheap and good.

tip- as with any waterproof housings for phones, cameras and whatnot, testing its waterproofness should be done beforehand at home. place some paper inside, close well and put it at the bottom of a bucket with a stone on top to hold it submersed.
go eat some chocolate, come back and remove the case from the bucket and wipe down the outside. once opened, the paper should be dry. if not, check the rubber seal and replace if cracked. a little food-grade silicone grease once in a while keeps the joint in good-as-new shape.

WP Box 2

in a snap, and maybe mostly for those of us who don’t do a lot big-big streamer fishing and don’t have dedicated boxes for them, the box gets dumped of its valuables and the big fluff takes its place. of course, this means those valuables are no longer protected from water and bumps. the circle is complete… WP Box 3

Fly Rods- The Making of a carbon fibre blank

by David Norwich

having had the opportunity to cast one of David’s rods at a casting meet several years ago, i can attest to the overall high-level quality of his craft. by following the link above we’ll see that the Scot has since semi-retired from the rod making business and that’s a sad thing indeed.
straying away from sentiments, today’s blank building demonstration give us a good idea how our cherished sticks are made. as we’ll notice in the vid, this was a small operation but even if the ‘bigger’ companies have fancier and probably time and labour saving machinery, the basic process remains the same. enjoy !

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

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: having fun, not being frustrated, fly presentation and good clean hook ups.

Tim’s videos are 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.
cast out, pinch the line with the pad and just reel in the line. 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…

How to properly crush hook barbs

great stuff from ozarkflyflinger with very little to add. i can’t explain why but having the pliers inline with the hook point gives better results with fewer breaks of the barb and a smoother contact between the tip of the barb and the shank.
don’t forget the small pliers-small hook / big pliers-big hook ‘rule’ or you’ll either damage your pliers and/or get mediocre results. one last thing, be sure to apply smooth pressure and not some hard and quick squeeze.
personally, i only tie with factory barbless hooks because the hook design is almost always better at holding fish on than with ‘standard’ designed hooks with crushed barbs but this trick is always good to use when friends give me flies. enjoy !

EDIT– i’m very sorry, folks but the video has been removed and that’s a shame as it was very good. i’m awaiting the author’s response and will repost it back here if he agrees to share it again.

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

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 !

a love affair

filmed by Micke Sashup

i had the great chance of meeting Lars Andersson at the Möller Bil fly fair held in Uppsala, Sweden in 2010. seeing this video brought back visions of a kind, quiet and simple soul who’s eyes and smile light up when he shows off his beautiful, exquisitely crafted fly boxes. much more than a hobby or passion, they’re made with love.
lars andersson fly boxes

here’s how he makes them. reserve a little time as the film’s about 20 minutes long and it’s a lovely 20 minutes.
towards the end we’ll see him tie a very nice cdc winged caddis fly that should do the trick anywhere in the world there’s caddis.  enjoy !

Lars doesn’t sell through stores but if you want one for yourself contact him at lars_s@compaqnet.se

box image via southcreekltd.com

The Making of a Fly Reel

via GinkandGasolineJesus built my CCFX2 

starring Jesus (i guess), here’s a very cool insight on how fine fly reels are manufactured. sure, there’s a lot of machinery involved but also a lot of well trained and practiced people making sure it all comes out perfect.

as a side note, i very often hear nagging complaints of the price of high-end fly fishing gear. if we take a good look at all the high-tech machinery involved, the skilled labour, r&d, prototype testing and a lot more and combine all of that with relatively low production quantities because fly fishing is actually a very small market (compared to a lot of other industries: automobile, electronics, etc, you name it), this all easily explains the costs and resultant prices we have to pay if we want high end gear. simples.