Transporting Fly Rods Safely

today’s great tips and tricks comes to us from Brad Harris via FlyLife.

as we’d seen previously in Understanding how fly rods break“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 their rods 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 ! “

in Brad’s well explained and thought out Racking It For The Road article, we’ll see several options with their respective pros and cons on how to avoid at least some of life’s misery with as bonus, a simple, effective, practical, inexpensive DIY option featured in the image below which particularly caught my eye. click on the pick to access the complete article, and safe travels !

 

rodrack DIY

Fly Rods- Gary Loomis on Rod Construction and Breakage

we’d already seen some insights on fly rods and how they break by Tim Rajeff- Why and How Fly Rods BreakUnderstanding how fly rods break but it’s always good to get varying thoughts and opinions from different rod designers and today’s little treat comes straight from someone who needs no introduction; Gary Loomis.

gary loomis - kistlerrods

in this article via KistlerRods Gary tells us about graphite blank modulus, what IM6-7 and 8 means, blank wall thickness and how all this combines to define rod actions and their strengths and weaknesses.
originally published in September 2011, that might seem like eons ago but apart from a few tweaks here and there the same principles are still around.
there’s no tech-geek talk and this is a most interesting read, here are a few excerpts.

“Loomis began by explaining that the identifiers IM6, IM7 and IM8 are the trade numbers used by the Hexcel Corp. to identify their product and is not an industry quality or material standard, although the Hercules Fibers produced by the Hexcel Corp. are the benchmark that most companies use to compare their materials.”

“What an angler needs to understand is how the word “modulus” pertains to graphite rods. Modulus is not a thread count, as many would have you believe. Modulus basically equates to stiffness.”

“But the misconception of brittleness still plagues them, and the reason for this is because as the modulus gets higher, the less material is needed and therefore used. This means that the wall thickness in the blank, which is basically a hollow tube, is thinner.”

be sure to click Gary’s big smile to access the complete article, enjoy !

Understanding how fly rods break

as a sequel to Why and How Fly Rods Break once again Tim Rajeff explains the how and whys of rod failures in a simple yet concise manner. as noted in the video, it is indeed possible to have manufacturing inconsistencies but most if not all manufacturers do stress tests before assembling or shipping out so, yup, they’re almost always angler-induced.

from part 1 “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 ! “

’nuff words and guilt-trips, let’s sit back and enjoy watching Tim break some rods for us !

Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice

dryflyfishing cover halfordanother doozy from the infamous “Detached Badger of “The Field” *,  Frederic Michael Halford, first printed in 1889 via openlibrary.org

while all of us in the Northern Hemisphere are secretly hating all those that aren’t, impatiently waiting for open waters and better days… here’s a more than amusing and informative and oh boy, once again reminder that while certain details have changed through fly fishing history, the bigger picture hasn’t evolved that much.

a few tidbits-

reels

rod action

changing

rod length
and if those don’t get your interest, this one on rod-holding ‘butt spears’ should do the trick.

butt spears

click either text/image to access the complete 400 or so page book. its well worth the read, besides, well, its well worth the read.
the guy sure had a lot to say about everything one might want to know and then more. enjoy !

* please don’t ask. i have no idea and i really don’t want to know.

Rod Cam: a medley of Spey casts from the rod’s perspective

nifty to watch and quite informative if we’re interested in seeing how rod blanks behave when they’re at work.
with a variety of casts such as the Double Spey, Snap T and Snake Rolls, we’ll also get to relive the beautiful, angelic symphonyish sound of a loop-to-loop connection being pulled into the rod guides. its all good, enjoy !

 

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 !

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

a long-long cast !

just out from Akos Szmutni, here we’ll see him casting the soon-to-be-out (April 2014) 9′ 6wt Stickman T6 with a Barrio GT125 5wt line to 41 meters/134,5 ft.
he makes it look so disgustingly easy…

 

for more info on this new range of fantastic fly rods click here.

Stickman Rods

i’m very happy to announce the birth of a new fly rod company:
Stickman Rods

fly-rods

-from Akos Szmutni, founder and owner of Stickman Rods-

” Why would anyone establish a company in 2013 producing high-end fly rods when the market is flooded with great products? The truth is Sage, G-Loomis, Orvis, Winston, Thomas&Thomas, Scott and a lot of other companies build really nice rods we would happily fish any time.

That is a tough one to answer but with the help of our design team in Spain we are able to do things with graphite that only a few others on the planet can. Add the input, experience and craftsmanship of the manufacturing and the pro team members and we have the potential to build rods unique on the market. Research and development gave birth to prototypes that we thought were better than any other rods out there. So no matter how irrational it may have looked we had no choice:

We just had to… “ and i’m glad they did.

Alejandro Intern. Adelam meet
most fly anglers have never heard of Alejandro Viñuales as he’s the discreet ‘genius in the background’ type but he’s been working on designing and perfecting blanks for different rod companies for a long time. forever trying out different formulas, materials and how they all come together for the finished product is where this makes him shine. more than a craftsman, he’s also probably the most knowledgable person on the planet regarding fly casting, casting mechanics (even on a super-geek physics level) and one of the best casting instructors there is. put all that together and we’re left with some serious rods to play with. Akos wrote “are able to do things with graphite that only a handful of other individuals on the planet can” in the excerpt above but personally, i’d reduce that hand to two fingers and this is what really raised my interest.

even gladder yet, i was invited to be on Stickman pro staff. so far, my contribution has been an aesthetic one: designing the colour combination and general appearance of the Evil Black model and yes,  If Darth Vader had a fly rod this would be the one !!!”  to be honest, seeing them in photos doesn’t do them justice.

as i intend to write full reviews of these in the future, for the moment i’ll resume the overall casting qualities of these rods as the most pleasant and best i’ve ever used in these line classes. i wouldn’t agree to a relationship with the company if that weren’t the case.

rod components and build are all top-of-the-top notch. available for the moment in 5 and 8wt models in three different colour combinations for both sizes (and a 6wt in the making), personal colour and components variations can easily be arranged.
for more information on the various models, specs, CCS & MOI data, prices, warranty, fly line recommendations, etc, visit the Stickman site. If you are a guide, an instructor or an industry professional there is a Pro Program which gives you the opportunity to have them at a substantial discount.
contact Akos for more details at info@stickmanrods.com or send me an email through my contact form on TLC’s top bar. we’ll do our best to help you out.

“The statue stood quiet and still, like the silhouette of a tired mime. ”

~ Jarod Kintz

Ipt silhouette TLC 21-11-13

Monsieur Hulot goes Fly Fishing.

J Tati 1ok, it isn’t really Jaques Tati but Luke Bannister. (excuse me, sometimes i forget to put my glasses on)

Luke makes lovely-lovely split cane rods and here he’s fishing one of his ‘SuperFast 7′ 4wt  in a lovely-lovely place, somewhere in the northern UK. there’s beautiful rivers and streams all over the World but for some reason, these Highland landscapes with their exuberantly beautiful golden brown trout hold a special place for me.
watching how that rod reacts throughout the cast makes it look like a very special taper and design and one i know my casting hand would love to have a special relationship with. ’nuff said for now, i’ll be wiping tears and other stuff and let you watch this lovely-lovely short film.

if you’re not familiar with Jaques Tati’s famous persona Monsieur Hulot, here’s a few tid-bits pulled from his outstandingly funny and quite surreal film ‘Mon Oncle‘ from 1958. enjoy !

related articles

Ordnung muss sein!

loosely translated, in german that means ‘there must be order’ or ‘everything in it’s place’, ‘get your shit straight’ or maybe simply: How to put the rod in the Sock

here’s a most often very neglected tip from Ákos Szmutni. brilliant.

“This may sound very trivial (the answer is: Who cares?) but if you have ever put together your rod and heard the sound of sand or other debris rubbing in the joints, you may be up for some good advice.

Whatever you do, however careful you are, sand or mud will get on your rod sooner or later. If it is on the rod, it will get into the rod sock. If it is in the rod sock it will be in the joints. I have seen rods where the joints were so scratched that all the paint came off from the male part. This is not just a cosmetic issue, it endangers the integrity of the whole joint.

There is a very easy way to avoid this problem: If you use a four piece rod, put the upper 3 sections with the male part down – female part up. It is very logical, but most guys I see do it exactly the opposite way.

akos & his toothbrush

Some may think it is pretty girlish thing to keep your rods clean. Well, there is a river in Slovakia that is so dirty that after a 2-3 hour long fishing session even a TCX is totally grey. You can imagine how good the line shoots if the rod blank is covered with dirt. Even in rivers that look clean the rod shaft will gather particles from the water and that can significantly restrict your casting distance. So I would recommend you clean the rod every evening with some soft cloths. You can use an old toothbrush to clean the rod in between the legs of snake guides. If you don’t have an old toothbrush you can use your fishing partner’s if he or she is not there.

Another very valuable advice: don’t leave your toothbrush unattended.”

Cheers,
Ákos

Epic !

epic blanks contest winners

woW… yesterday  i received a note from Carl McNeil stating i was one of the winners of a Swift Epic Unidirectional S2 Fast Glass fly rod blank from a photo contest on Facebook. made in New Zealand by CTS these modern high performance fiberglass blanks seem very promising to say the least. (click the pic above for specs)

needless to say i’ve been jittering around since with visions of fly lines dancing in the air and millions of big and strong jumping fish as the result of each cast !… (well, maybe just one monster fish per cast but it’s fun to have grandiose thoughts)

since it’s not a finished rod some magic’s going to need to happen before this little 7’6″ 4wt darling comes to life and this is what i have in mind.
DSC_8229

oh, and this was the winning pic: ‘a few mayflies
'a few mayflies - epic contest winner
i keep on saying how what a special moment it was when i made that image but now well, it’s even more special.

expect a full review of this new rod and it’s build within the coming months.
and mostly, a million thanks to Jeannie and Carl  McNeil for selecting my photo !

Split the Cane

part 1 – some ranting
bamboo fly rods:
depending on where you mention those three words you’ll typically get reactions such as oooing and ahhhing and conversations will inevitably lead towards notions of purity, tradition, nobility and who knows what other hobnob sentimentality hastily shoved down your ears with very little regard to how they actually perform.
having had the great honor and opportunity to be invited to demonstrate casting at several Cane meetings and fairs and having the chance to try out hundreds of different rods, quite honestly most of them perform like something that’s better off staying on a wall and aesthetically speaking, a good portion of them would be an insult to the wall.
the dismal truth is the vast majority of cane builders i’ve met are poor casters and thrive on outdated notions. i’m not saying that every builder should be as anal about fly casting as i am myself but i’d expect them to at least have descent control of the line and produce consistent loops regardless of their style. among others, i’d also expect them to understand that a fly rod is not a spring and that slow actions do not result in a more ‘relaxed’ way to cast.
like most, i can try out a rod and decide for myself but i find it extremely difficult to respect the opinion of a rod builder that doesn’t even understand how a rod functions and doesn’t know how to use the tool they made themselves.

part 2 – the good part, some praising !
friend and FFF certified casting instructor colleague Christian Strixner based near Munich is on the other hand, one of the rare cane rod builders who knows how to combine the essential qualities of both a finely tuned casting/fishing tool while being a beautiful high performance piece of art.  
(rods that would put to shame the finest of walls :mrgreen: )
at first glance we’re struck with their exquisite aesthete but when we pick one up for a cast the real magic happens.
and that my friends is something to realy oooo and ahhh about…

for more info on Christian’s rods visit his site Split the Cane. enjoy !

Rubbing it Raw.

as a continuation of the mini series: Rod Builders (And why they’re so Dorky), this one’s about line friction and 70’s style porn-flick music.

as far as fly casting goes, line friction through the rod guides is both a bad and a good thing.
bad, because it simply has to slow down our thick and heavy fly lines (compared to monofilament) while fast casting and shooting line.
good, because and in the case of shooting line for the delivery cast, if the caster doesn’t have perfect control of rod and line, the rod leg of the loop (the part of the line between the rod tip and loop face) will often develop slack in the form of waves and this leads to poor turnover and results in what can be considered “a long range Pile cast”. at best.
what we see in the video is that a full ceramic ring lets the line slide optimally and creates virtually no line friction wear. in an ideal world all our rod rings would be fully equipped from tip to butt with similar rings, specially when we consider our thick and heavy fly lines and how we would benefit from this a lot more than the spinning rod/lure types, BUT ! even though line glide and line wear might be orgasmic, the added weight of these rings makes for a rod that feels like crap to cast and a likely increase of rod rebound which makes even more waves in the rod leg. until someone develops rings that will have a combined effect of the ceramics and the lightness of our standard fly rod rings we’ll be stuck with the latter. yet another case of ‘deal with it’…

anyway, we’ll note that in the video the mono is slid back and forth at an angle that would never be used in a fishing situation and as such, i believe it better to appreciate it’s all-around surreal aspect and of let yourself  be inspired by the music… enjoy !

The View From Coal Creek

-Reflections on Fly Rods, Canyons and Bamboo-

what a nice treat and just in time for the holidays ! one of my all time favorite fly fishing writers, Erin Block the woman behind the awesome Mysteries Internal blog has just finished what i’m more than certain will be by judging her wonderful writing, a milestone in fly fishing literature.
if you’re not familiar with Erin’s world, click the link above and you’ll see what i mean. magical…

“The View from Coal Creek is a reflection on fly rods, fishing, and life seen from the vantage of a canyon in Colorado, but these are props in a larger story about life, love, and tradition. Erin Block is a young, powerful voice carrying the torch and passing on lessons, values, and history of this great, literary and vibrant sport.”

 the view from coal cree- erin block

available in just a few weeks, click the pic to pre-order yours from Whitefish Press at a special price as soon as possible as i’m sure they’ll go fast.

“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.