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 – 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

Review- Z-Reels 4 Tippet Dispenser

Sleek function meets style and elegance in this very well thought-out tippet dispenser that one might expect to find in New York’s M.O.M.A. (Museum of Modern Art) but the best part is it’s equally at home on the stream or under a friend’s Christmas tree !

Usually not one to go for accessories, this one’s been a nice surprise and a pleasure to use. Hardly bigger than the spools themselves, this simple to prepare and simple to use spool holder leaves all your tippets right there at your fingertips where you need them instead of fiddling through what’s usually overstuffed pockets. There’s a little hole to attach it to a zinger or directly to your neck lanyard, chest-pack or vest. It’s smooth, rounded edges don’t snag and the sleek resistant matt finish won’t scare off fish. I really like the idea of having my spools combined as a unit as it makes changing from chest-pack to wading jacket or whatever easy and organized. More than once I’ve taken what I thought where all the spools to find once on the stream I’d left the 0,14 mm (5X) at home…

Preparing it for use is as simple as can be. The dispenser’s frame is sized for four 58 x 7,5 mm sized spools (such as the smaller 25 & 50 m Stroft and others found on the market)  but you can fill whatever tippet material you want in the four empty spools included in the box.
Slide the spools, one at a time through the slot, slip the tippet end through the slotted rubber holder and guide it to it’s place, continue with the other three and you’re done. Nice.

Made from a solid aluminum block, it’s anodization resists to saltwater.
Available in Black, Bordeaux Red and Golden Orange
Weight: 35 gr.

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-
Are they necessary ? No.
Are they nice ? Definitely and I’d even add very nice. If you like fine craftsmanship combined with functionality and practicality then I’m pretty sure you’ll like this product.
You can find the Z-Reel Tippet Dispensers at the Springforelle online shop.

photos: Peer Doering-Arjes

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2011