Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Without looking like you’ve got an adolescent pachyderm strapped precariously to your back, not all gear can be taken on all trips. Invariably favorites emerge and receive heavy use, while other equipment (possibly “specialized”) simply provides comfort to the angler’s soul through existence within the stash.
What follows is a list of my regulars from 2009. I’m interested in hearing from everyone about their favorite swag that has proven itself on the water. Drop me a line if you have anything you won’t leave home without.
Sage 2500 Series
Red Truck Flyfishing still has the limited edition green 2550 for 5/6 weight lines at $210. These originally sold for $375 and the spools are fully interchangeable with the new 4500 series which offers both carbon and aluminum options. This means no problems with an orphaned body anytime soon.
Outcast PAC 9000 Pontoon Boat
I have spent a considerable amount of time on stillwater in all manner of buoyant contrivances. To date, my favorite craft is the PAC 9000, bar none. This remains one of the most expensive options for those in the market for a ‘toon, but it really does perform in a class by itself.
Even Outcast’s own line of less expensive quad models fails to track as cleanly or as directly as the flagship. I believe this has something to do with the tension of strap mounts along with weight distribution, but the result is superb handling. The PAC 9000 is available at River Bum or your nearest Outcast dealer.
Galvan Fly Reels
During 2009 I have landed everything from brook trout to tarpon on Galvan’s Torque and Spoke fly reels. At no time have I been disappointed, and Galvan’s products are designed and manufactured in the USA.
Stillwater Outfitters keeps a good selection of Galvan reels on hand and is great to work with. They offer a free fly line with the purchase of these reels.
A short review of the Spoke, with additional photos, can be read on my previous blog post here:
Airflo “Slow Glass” Fly Line
Airflo’s Sixth Sense Slow Intermediate (AKA Slow Glass) stands alone as uniquely Airflo. Rated at 0.5 inches per second, this line has an ability that I absolutely love – especially during the spring. It seems to achieve neutral buoyancy down around 3 to 5 feet, which allows for some slow, twitchy subsurface retrieves.
This characteristic is very difficult to imitate with a floating or even a Type I sinking line from any other manufacturer. Using this line to imitate lethargic crayfish, dragonfly nymphs, chironomids, or minnows can be decidedly deadly. The line is a light green, although all the product photography I’ve seen depicts the peach-colored floating variant. It is available at Tackle Direct.
Scientific Anglers Waterproof Fly Boxes
Simple, well-designed, double-sided, and transparent! If you are like me and tend to carry 6-10 fly boxes on a given excursion, it’s a huge boon to be able to select the right stash at a glance. The fact that the whole lineup is watertight and floats make these a right proper bit of kit. I also appreciate the internal design, which allows you to secure/remove most flies without damaging the foam for maximum re-use.
I arrived late to the party on the first generation Technical Casting Rod. When the TCX was released, a few fantastic deals surfaced on the outgoing TCR. Reviews about this series tended to be love/hate, so I was always hesitant to buy one given the price point. Well, I was missing out.
Fly Fish USA still shows some in stock. I know that Red Truck still has a small quantity of 10-weights if you’re in the market for a rocket but want to save some cash.
My go-to stillwater rod this season has been the Z-Axis 796-4, and it is the best rod I’ve ever used in this category. The “Z” has backbone to throw meat at tiger muskie, but the tip has enough feel to make accurate touch casts in skinny water for lake-sized midge fishing. It’s not a delicate dry fly rod by any means, but it’s as versatile as anything I’ve ever fished.
Nothing but Net
PVC net bags are the way to go. They hold their shape, resist tangles (both fly and fish related), become almost transparent in the water, and are gentle on the quarry. This year I have used the Brodin Ghost Frying Pan Float Tube, and the Wachter Magnum when more reach was needed.
River Bum offers a full line of Brodin nets along with top notch service.
Wachter nets are available at http://www.wachternets.com/
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If you are interested in entering, visit the Your Shot web page and create an account. Photographers can submit only 1 image per month, and entries compete against thousands of submissions from all over the world.
The full image:
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
The pups always have a ball up there this time of year.
Best wishes and happy holidays!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The objective this weekend was to capture a few airborne acrobatics. Execution is something of a symphony, requiring just-right lighting (not too much, not too little), planning, and a high degree of familiarity with your camera controls.
Even with all of the above, the likely result is still an Epic Fail. Still, once in a while, Ghostrider requests a fly-by.
While keeping watch on the skies, don't forget to look down once in a while either. Marshes can produce outstanding reflections if you get low to the water and seek the right angles.
That's my swan song for the weekend. JayMorr rocked the D700 on the trip, so check his blog sometime soon for his newest uploads.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
"You're going to wade through a festering marsh in temperatures cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey for the slim chance of seeing a goose?"
The question is not entirely unreasonable. Incidentally eye rolling so extreme that whiplash becomes likely is highly unbecoming of a lady.
This morning a short window of gorgeous light opened up for a moment, and I captured the portrait I was looking for.
JayMorr got some shots of the inbound birds in flight - drop in for a closer look.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Finding wild wood ducks in Utah is a little like looking for Manhattan-style chowder in Boston. This weekend I decided to scout a timber patch up North where I have seen a few previously, and asked JayMorr if he was interested in loss of feeling in his extremities.
It took a lot of patience but a few opportunities presented themselves. We found mallards in great supply, and got lenses on a few drake woodies.
Mallards, while common, are beautiful birds when you get a close look.
Conditions were right for some nice reflections. I thought the tones in this hen mallard's plumage made for great contrast:
Check out Jay's Blog for more images, including some shots of a drake wood duck in flight.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Stop by his site BLUE WATER COPPERWORKS and gawk at the goods. If you, or the local fly shop, may be interested in getting your hands on some of his original work just drop a line.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Wisdom being the better part of lint flicking, I decided to set aside the lens in favor of a thick fly stick on yesterday’s pursuit of rainbows afflicted with gigantism.
Most of the excitement came in the pitch blackness of night on a long, deserted road during the drive home. It was here that Morrison explained his deep and abiding distrust of Howie Long, stemming from a series of Chevrolet commercials that make outrageous fuel economy claims.
Driven by an unrelenting inner fire to burn down Howie’s mythology, Jay set out on a quest to drive a 100-mile stretch of remote highway in a V8 pickup while basking in the cheerful holiday glow of the LOW FUEL indicator light.
It is my firm belief that we coasted into the Last Chance in Hell gas station only as a direct result of the hybrid energy technology which I invented during the drive. The traditional gasoline engine was supplemented with electric power derived from organic profanity, which I was flickering about the crew cab like sheet lightning. High CO2 emissions were the only possible downside of this technique, for which I hope to secure patent protection in the near future.
Check out JAYMORR’s blog for more of his excellent imagery of the trip.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The pre-dawn darkness revealed little about our surroundings as we made our way to the docks. A small marine light illuminated our home for the next several days, a nicely maintained panga-style flats boat with a 60-horsepower outboard.
Our guide put us at ease by asking us to stay alert and watchful as we sped through the blackness, explaining that many fishing boats lacked lights and that three pairs of eyes were better than one. The motor then broke the morning stillness, and we raced towards the mangrove jungles to the North under a tropical sky filled with shooting stars.
This type of fishing can quickly become an addiction. Casting a fly towards fish you can see, then stripping it near the surface only to see a powerful wave begin pushing water towards it as the tarpon charges. The take is ferocious.