“Look Ma, no threads !”

from David Edwards’ blog DEESOX
as we’ve been seeing all over shops, catalogues and the ‘net for the last couple of years, UV cured resins are all the rage in the fly tying world but like just about anything else, it’s a shame to reserve one product to just one use. having been following the long term test of this rod rather closely, i think it’s more than fair to class this method as a sure fire one and something we’ll probably see a lot more of in the future.
interesting that a lot of rod builders, specially on the bamboo side, use silk threads to wrap rod rings with the intention that the silk will visually disappear when the epoxy coating is put on when they could just bypass the silk wrapping and epoxy entirely… 😉

“For regular followers of BUG-BOND you’ll be aware that in order to prove the strength and flexibility of BUG-BOND I built a 9ft 9wt on a Harrison Advanced Rods Lohric blank with NO thread on the guides. The rod was built out in less than 2 hours and then fished. The rod was built in August 2010 and within a year of testing had caught 50 fish to 16lbs without any failure in the rod or “whippings”. The rod was inspected at Harrison Advanced Rods for defects – there weren’t any!”

pretty cool, huh ?

and just as another example of what these resins can do, there’s also a fly line loop making tutorial at the bottom of the page.

click either pic to access Dave’s tutorial page and let your imagination flow.

Bendy vs Stiffy – a study of fly rod action and casting mechanics

“My experience is that for a given line length (and weight) the caster uses almost the same stroke regardless of the action of the rod. Different rods certainly “feel different” but there is little or no “adjustment to or matching of  the stroke” going on.”
Grunde Løvoll

how many times have we heard or read that we need to change the casting stroke depending on a rod’s action ?
the typical explanation given is, for a slower rod we’ll use a slower stroke and a faster stroke with a faster rod.
well, this happens to be incorrect and is a classic example so common in the fly casting world where ‘what we think we do and what actually happens’ don’t meet up.

as we’ll see below, Lasse Karlsson has taped two very different rods together to cast them at the same time with two identical lines of the same weight rating. simultaneous loop formation, loop shape and loop speed are very-very similar with both rods.
if it weren’t for the excessive counter-flex/rebound (and it’s resultant waves of the rod leg of the fly line) produced from the slower rod’s heavier tip  it would be extremely difficult to determine which line was cast from which rod.
there is no adjustment of the casting stroke to achieve these equal results.

for the tech geeks, here’s the equipment info from the video-

“Two rods cast at the same time, same line on both, and same line length.
Bendy rod: Berkley Grayphite 8 feet 5/6
Stiff rod: Sage TCX 690
Line: Rio tournament Gold 5 weight
To make up for the difference in length, the rods where taped together so the tips where aligned.
The berkley rod is 75% glassfiber and 25% graphite, has an IP of 97 grams and a AA of 65 (so really according to CCS it’s fast ;-)) and a MOI of 76
The sage is full graphite, has an IP of 167 grams, an AA of 74 and a MOI of 70

Several things to learn about tackle here.”

and one of them is that a lot of ‘experts’, many rod designers and people in the tackle industry just blindly repeat what they’ve heard without giving it any thought and don’t seem to try these things out on their own, specially when they’re so simple to observe.
thank goodness for people like Lasse, Aitor, Grunde, and a host of others who don’t live in a box.

EDIT: someone asked what would happen if there was more line out of the rod tip and Lasse shared a variant of the first test, this time extending line whilst double-hauling.
the quick answer is: nothing different than if it had been done with only one rod/line. the casting stroke widens, the pause lengthens and every other aspect of a basic cast remains the same.
see for yourself.

related articles

Why and How Fly Rods Break

video by Mr. “Normally, I like the rod to Explode”  Tim Rajeff

once we get over the fun of watching rods break we’ll notice that this little clip has a lot of interesting information we can use to help us not break our own.

– while Tim correctly points out that there can be weakening defects during construction, it’s pretty clear that most breaks happen due to improper usage. most of them do occur near the tip but as we see,  the tip itself doesn’t do a whole lot while fighting a strong fish. it’s the lower two thirds of the rod that do the work.

so, why do rods break ?  it can be through improper use under load or by banging it with a fly (vulgarly referred to as ‘Clousering’). another reason i suspect and something i rarely hear about, because nobody wants to admit it… is a lot of anglers damage them when they’re not even fishing or casting. bings and bangs during transport, throwing them down (yes, throwing them down… ), the ever-present beer and it’s consequent mind-numbing and slipping and sliding effects and who knows what else, must account for a lot of “huh ?! WTF happened ?” reactions when they’re using them for real later on. in a sense, they’re recreating a ‘Clousering’ without even having the fun of casting ! and replacing all these sections is probably the biggest reason why high-end rods with lifetime warranties cost so much.

– it takes an enormous amount of force to break the lower half (thicker) part of a rod. except for the biggest of gamefish, this section for all intents and purposes is pretty much unbreakable in itself. it’s bigger, thicker, stronger, it just makes sense.
however, some anglers manage to break them there because they’re holding the rod in an upwards position (high-sticking). my guess is, the fish pulls down and the angler believes consciously or unconsciously that pulling directly in the opposite direction will show who’s boss. well, it’s not a good idea, it doesn’t work that way and if it does it’s just a matter of luck if they manage to land that fish. for our purpose here, fighting a fish properly means using the maximum possible amount of the rod’s strength and length as opposed to just half or parts of it.
a 45° angle is just about perfect but more ‘Hows and Whys’ on this coming soon.

fly line testing (a postcard from Spain)

we’d already seen the making of a fly line and here’s a sneak preview of how they’re carefully tested and evaluated !
brought to you from one of the deepest-darkest of secret testing grounds/Barrio Team vacation camps in Spain, Mike Barrio himself  “well, doing what’s gotta be done because that’s what I like to do, besides, once it’s doned I can start all over again… “

” Just back from doing some top secret trials of a new fly line coating in Europe.
The coating appears to go very well on pretty stiff rods, producing tight loops and good distance !

if you’re not familiar with these lines yet, do yourself the favor of checking out the page below. yes, as Pro-Team member i’m quite partial but i wouldn’t be on the team  if i couldn’t fully endorse the products. they’re that good.

psyche-far out-delic Color-Changing nylon !

via Discoveries + Breakthroughs Inside Science

Nylon fishing line is designed to have some natural stretch to it. But if you pull on it too hard — which happens when fighting to reel in a particularly large fish– it can stretch so much that its structure is badly weakened.”

what’s more relevant in this issue and apparent to anyone who is 1- cognitive and 2- an actual fisher, is how stretch affects knot strength, the over-tightening and consequent weakening of the material by the over-eager, over-excited taurinesque Redbull filled angler being a much greater cause of break-offs than the actual rectilinear strengths of the material.
as seen on the image below, this particular knot is choked at  the standing line side and the remainder of the tippet has changed to a sickly, gross, Alien barf green, a sharp tug and Goodbye Charlie !

“HOW IT WORKS: The new fishing line contains a type of polymer that fluoresces — emits light — when viewed under ultraviolet light. The color of light emitted depends on how much stress the polymer molecule has experienced. When the line is not under stress, the molecules are close together and emit reddish-brown light under a UV lamp. When it stretches, the molecules pull apart and emit green light. A fisherman can check his line under UV light and discard it if it glows green.”

ok, so the first thing i’m thinking is, groovy.
trés groovy indeed but we’ve come to rely on a lot of other aspects in nylon selection that unless this maybe-future color-changing line has all the other qualities we require, we’re pretty unlikely to go out and change all our countless tippet spools for some material that’ll induce yet another anxiety to the fly fisher: the fear of leaders and tippets going Alien-barf green.

on the other hand, using this material to demonstrate that certain knots and connections are better than others would be a great boon for a lot of people.
as an example, we could prove once and for all how the Clinch knot (which i suspect is the contemptible knot above) is utter shite and improve humanity by banning it from the world in a somewhat same manner books where burned in Bradbury’s hot and sticky  Fahrenheit 451.

well yeah, fly fishing purity might just need to happen through fire ! :mrgreen:

click the knot-pic for more info on this new juicy line.

” a little ear wax will get you through “

from Captain Jim

” What’s the quickest way to break a fly rod?

Some might say- putting too much pressure on the rod while fighting a heavy fish. Another might say- holding the rod butt above your waist while fighting a strong fish. Still another might answer- holding the rod blank above the cork grip to gain additional leverage while fighting a heavy fish. All answers are good ones but from my experience the quickest way to break a rod is to not apply a paraffin-type wax to the male ferrule sections of the rod where they seat into the female sections.

Candle wax works great, as does dubbing wax if you have a supply from tying flies. Bowstring wax (if you are an archer) also works great, and if you are really in a pinch while on the water and you lack any of these types of wax, a little ear wax will get you through.”

ok, the last part particularly caught my attention and at the same time made me wonder how to achieve this state of waxyness without piercing my eardrum in the process.
a little research and the best i could find is the how-to video below. it’s not what i was expecting but i hope you’ll nevertheless enjoy.

anyhow, back to ferrules and rod breakage… lots of good points in the complete ferrule lubricating article.
from now on i’ll never again clean my ears !

Welding, Adapting, Looping and Single-Hand Shooting Heads

by Lee Cummings

Lee’s one of those rare people you meet once in a while that really thinks outside the box and comes up with brilliant solutions whether it be about casting instruction, fishing or tackle. forever on the hunt to customize and optimize his fishing and casting, he’s been working on short-short shooting head systems for the last few years and here we get a juicy preview on some of these findings and an awesome how-to tip for welding loop systems to these lines.
randomly cutting up some heavier line doesn’t mean it will handle well and turn over properly, and judging by the videos this system does both extremely well. this kind of set up is a real boon for anyone trying to fish in confined spaces, or with heavy wind and i’m thinking that they’ll be a big bonus for night fishing as well and all that whether your using aerial casts or rolls and speys: awesome.

” Short headed lines “around 20 – 25 ft” for single-handed use are not in production and I needed a short head that integrates the sink tip range into its total head length. The Versi leaders and tips I use are between 10 and 15 ft, so ideally I want shooting head bodies that are between 5 and 10 feet long. To enable this, we are going to need a reasonable amount of mass over a short distance to provide the driving impetus, my choice here in this example then, is to utilise the first 9 ft of a factory looped steep back taper off a damaged Scandinavian style shooting head and then weld a loop on the thick blunt end in the following way. “

as a little teaser, here’s Lee casting one of the above mentioned rigs-

click HERE for the full article, loop tutorial  and extra video. enjoy !

Making a Strike Indicator

another great video by Tightlinevideo

not usually one to use any kind of  indicator as i prefer to use a floating fly to hold up wets and nymphs because after all, it is a fly with a hook meaning it can catch fish.
it also, at least in my eyes has less chances of spooking fish because even if it is a crude or over-sized imitation  of something that usually floats by it fits in better with what the ‘conveyer belt’ is washing down to the fish than some strange unworldly fluorescent gizmo.
however, sometimes one of these aberrations can be of great use as they can be made to hold up the biggest and heaviest of flies and streamers in fast currents and the gaudy colors can help a lot in hard-to-see or low light situations.
after all, if we can’t see the indicator there’s not much point of using one.
adjusting the indicator’s height is often a lot easier than snipping or adding leader material with a fly indicator.

there’s a few interesting points to the indicator below. it’s cheap, easy to make and works very well. the bobbin threader trick is pretty slick. if you don’t have one you could always find an old guitar string and fold a piece of it in half or use some pretty thick mono. they’ll work just as well.

cam ‘boot cam

if you’ve ever wondered how an overgrown toenail sees life ?
here’s some fresh mind-twisting and bending footage just out  from my Imagobuds.

for a less dramatical view of the Amphibian boots click here.
for more mind-bending stick around…

WF vs DT debate

via  Scientific Anglers 

“It gets a bit more complicated when people claim that a DT can pick up easier, can carry more line, can mend better, and the favorite, can roll cast better than a WF line.  All of these claims assume that you are fishing distances beyond the rear taper of the WF line.  If you are fishing distances less than the length of the Front Taper+Belly of the line, you are virtually fishing the exact same line.”

hard to disagree with most everything there. there does seem to be however a WF biased opinion not only in this article but how it’s reflected by the pretty lacking selection of DT’s on their catalogue. not having a search bar the site isn’t the easiest to navigate and as far as i can tell there’s only one very generically named line in the DT format: Floating

personally, as a general line for trout-type species in rivers and streams i find the DTs hard to beat because i’m often fishing behind the head length, specially if it’s a short head and i’m adding enough line length to perform curves, mends and drag-controlling slack.
being limited in how i fish by the line’s head length is about as obnoxious as it gets.
having the majority of the line’s weight at the rod tip for all the roll and spey casts i find absolutely necessary in river fishing makes them easy, smooth and pretty and easies, smooths and pretties are there for aerial casts too.
ok, with DTs we generally don’t shoot much line if any at all and for most people that’s a very good thing as far as fly presentation goes.
shooting line and being delicate and precise while controlling the running line with WFs is of course possible but demands more casting practice work than most anglers are prepared to put some effort in…
DTs aren’t the end-all solution to everything, nothing is. they are however a very viable option a lot of anglers might be happy to re-discover.

it’s a shame that fashion over reason has made them almost obsolete but some companies like the Barrio Mallard Double Taper Floating Fly Line and Rio and the S.A. line mentioned above give us a choice.
another non-negligable aspect is the average price of a DT compared to WFs. as an example, the Barrio Mallard is £19 each including free worldwide shipping.
who can beat that ?

It’s in the detail…

by Jim Williams

“Whilst reviewing my line to leader connections this core nail knot has been one of the most rewarding thus far in terms of the ‘likey factor’.”

and we all know how important the ‘likey factor’ is !
Jim had impressed my ‘likey factor’ a little while back with his great Fly line tip ring- step by step and here he does it again, this time with an ingenious method of attaching the butt end of a leader to the line with a very nice energy transition between the line and leader and without having a big knot-bump snagging against the rod tip when we pull in line or when a fish wants to run away from the net, always a tricky moment as these ‘bumps’ can easily jolt a leader enough to break it at the hook, specially when using light tippets.

“Threading the butt section into the fly line when needle knotting amongst other things expanded the diameter ever so slightly which really did bug me (I know it’s being pretty anal but it’s the detail I look for very much in the same way fly tiers do with their flies… who’d criticise that?) So stripping the line to the core, sealing it and then nail knotting on all but the last few millimetres has given me exactly what I’d hoped for.”

click here for the rest of this great article. enjoy !

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…

Fly line tip ring- step by step

by Jim Williams

one of the absolutely coolest tips i’ve seen in ages, here’s how to add a tippet ring to the end of your fly line to enable quick, easy leader changes without some big nasty and dumb looking loop-to-loop connection. give this one a try, it’s  modern !

click the pic or here for the full step-by-step. thanks Jim !

If you’re not a fan of the tip ring, just omit it and leave a small loop as an option.

Fly Rods- It’s not what you have, it’s how you use it.

“The stiffest rods will create the longest casts ! This is a common assumption made by fly casters, but is it really accurate ?
What follows are the results of a test that examined this hypothesis by combining length measurements of distance casts with measurements of rod stiffness using the Common Cents System (CCS). The test utilized eight casters, all of whom cast eight rods. Each caster made four casts with each rod. The article originally appeared in the Norwegian magazine “Alt om Fiske” in October 2006.”

click the pic for the full article

some of the rods tested are pretty much obsolete by now but that’s besides the point.
what i find interesting here is that it boils down to taking the decision of putting your chances towards being consistent and collecting points that way or going for the exceptional cast and winning on that one cast.

i can’t put any numbers to back this up but i’m pretty darn sure Sage sold a lot more TCR’s than Orvis sold the T3 tip action series which makes this maybe something closer to a sociological study rather than a rod test after-all…

Dr. Bill’s Fly Line Analyzer

Fly Line Facts and/or Fantasies
by William “Dr. Wild-Bill” Hanneman

you’ll notice that it involves a pizza box, sticky putty, fly line freedom, seeds of destruction, fantasies, stan- dards and a coat hanger, so it can’t be all that bad.

” Before considering how to characterize a fly line, let’s confront the issue that all fly lines are not created equal.

There is a general belief among fly anglers that, for example, all AFTMA No. 5 lines are equivalent. This is effectively reinforced by current fly line advertising copy concen- trating on the advantages of new proprietary line coatings. It is also accepted because few anglers have knowledge of manufacturing processes and fewer have any means of checking to determine if it is actually true.

Those who have delved a little deeper in the subject might quote the AFTMA stan- dard of 1961 which states the first 30 feet of a No. 5 line (exclusive of tip), weighs 140 grains. We would like to believe that all the products fly line dealers sell meet AFTMA standards. However, when few anglers have the means of making the measurements and there are no penalties associated with ignoring the AFTMA standards, one might suspect that fly line manufacturing and selling has been optimized for profits. Herein lie the seeds of destruction for the AFTMA standards. “

read more here

steppin’ back in

after a few weeks of shoulder pains a little ‘getting back to shape’ casting session brought back the oh-so needed fix.  the SnakeCharmer is turning out to be something really special, a high performance, hard-to-put-down rod specially when paired to a Barrio long-belly GT140 line. a truly superb combo.

it’s really amazing how easy casting form both goes away and comes back. every time i’ve had a break from the rod the exact same fault inevitably creeps up: using too much force.
1, 2, 3 take a few deep breaths. relax the cheeks, think smooth, silky-sexy and bingo, the  body gets back to doing what it’s supposed to do and tight and controlled loops start rolling off the rod tip: back in the ‘zone’.

Making Common Sense of Common Cents

since the Imago IPT rod review i’ve had quite a few messages asking about the CCS System, what it is, how it works and when and why and where and who knows what else !… simple and effective, many individuals around the world have been contributing to several rod data bases. it may or may not be the end-all solution and others will surely pop up in the future but in the meantime it’s a whole heck of a lot better than just subjective guessing or wishful thinking.
don’t be afraid, it’s not just for tackle geeks and doesn’t get too techy, read on !

“I’m going to guess that when you purchased your last fishing rod you specified the length you wanted in actual feet and inches, rather than just asking your dealer for a rod of medium length. After all, what you call medium length and what someone else considers medium length may be two different lengths entirely. And yet, other than length and perhaps physical weight, all other intrinsic properties of a fishing rod are rated or listed by purely subjective means. Why?

This was the question that Dr. William Hanneman asked himself some years ago as he pondered why no two 5-weight rods possessed the same amount of power. After all, just what makes a 5-weight rod a 5-weight rod? At what point does a 5-weight rod become a 6-weight rod? Contrary to popular belief, there is no standard nor system to quantify or measure rod power by objective means – that number you see on the side of your rod is a purely subjective rating.”

“In the last issue, my Common Cents Approach to characterizing fly rods was introduced, along with the concept of the Defined Bending Index (DBI). This is expressed in the form of DBI=ERN/AA. Note: This is not a mathematical equation, but rather a shorthand notation where ERN (Effective Rod Number) describes the intrinsic power of the rod, and AA (Action Angle) describes the action of the rod.

The ERN is determined from the number of common one cent pieces required to deflect a horizontally fixed rod downward a distance equal to one third of its length. The AA is a measure of the angle the tip top forms when the rod is so deflected. These two values provide unique coordinates for that rod on a chart plotting the DBI as ERN vs AA. This is extremely useful for comparing completed rods, i.e., the final destination of the rod maker’s odyssey.”

for lotsa more information click the CCS banner.

and here’s one of several CCS rod databases.

“action and power, two different things.”

as Tim Rajeff states in the film, these two terms are often confused and i too have heard them used inappropriately even by some professionals and in catalogues…
here’s the lowdown once and for all in simple to understand terms.

making fly line loop connections

this excellent video is about adjusting shooting heads but the same loop making method is perfect for either the line tip, to be able to change leaders easily or at the back of the line to be able to easily detach it from the backing when changing lines.

take note that this method only works for hollow braided cores. if you’re in doubt, check the manufacturer’s website or catalogues and if you’re still unsure, cut off a short piece preferably at the back of the line and strip the coating.

the making of a fly line

and who would have thunked that some of the best fly lines in the world where made this way ?

hand-rolled in the back shed of the Haddo Fishery somewhere in Scotland, do yourself a favour and check out my buddy Mike Barrio’s site for a nice selection of fly lines at the very unusual prices…

19 £ to 24 £ including shipping to your door anywhere in the world.
yup, no typos there.
(at the time of this writing that’s 22 € / 28 € and 29$ / 37 $)
yup, no typos there either.

Do it yourself net leash

originally published on Planéte Mouche.com, a now defunct francophone site and forum i ran until a few months ago, here’s a DIY landing net leash that’s cheap and effective.

the idea here was to make a single connected unit, easily removable from the chest pack, vest, wader, float-tube or jacket without having the leash dangle and catch on branches and other assorted goodies that like to grab our nets as we access waters. the handle-down position of the net makes it easier to grab when needed and easier to put back but it’s biggest advantage is that the large part of the net is behind the wearer’s back instead of over the hips or butt when worn handle-up, making the whole unit swing back and forth (and snag) a lot less.

made of a recycled telephone cord which contains wires inside making it a lot stronger than the all-plastic variety found on the market. i used to make wrist bracelet Kryptonite lock key holders with these cords when i was a bike messenger and they never failed me once in seven years of abuse. the net leash on the pic is about ten years old.

the handle end of the cord gets a figure-eight knot which is glued inside the handle with epoxy. the length of the cord is then adjusted so that the handle, when pulled from the magnet hangs close to hand so as not to have to fiddle around when it’s time to scoop the fish. as seen on the pic, the magnet end connects to the attachment point ring with a loop held together with several whip-finishes similar to how we might make loop-to-loop connections on fly lines. the whip-finishes where covered with a small piece of shrink-tube in a fit of aesthetic analness…


Fab’s fly box

“ze Beeg flies zey need ze beeeg box !”

although maybe not as big as his custom-sized four-wheeled fly container, if you need normal sized fly boxes and other assorted fly fishing goodies or guiding in the French Pyrenees mountains, check out my buddy Fabrice’s online shop Aspe Angler for all your needs. speaks very good english, one hell of a fisher and always has a smile. he’s one of the good guys.

Vermont Hand Crafted Tenkara Rods

by Quill Gordon

you gotta admit, good ‘ole American Inginuity always pulls through and here’s a fine example.

Tenkara is an old Japanese method of fishing, conceived as a way to yank fish from small streams. Generating a lot of interest lately, its American adherents are practically swooning. It turns out that my friend Eugene has been using similar methods for years and his desire to simplify the gentle art of angling (see “… teach a man to fish …”) has naturally led him to Tenkara. Feeling uniquely qualified, he is anxious to share his expertise. He’s also fairly sure he can make a buck or two doing it.”

“Your Vermont Hand Crafted Tenkara rod will arrive in its travel-ready state. Simply unwind the line and give the rod a shake.” 

read more on these breakthrough rods here and be sure to check out Quill Gordon’s blog The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond for lots of good thoughts mixed in with Vermont humor. (yes, Vermont humor)