Category Archives: gear

Welding A Loop from Rio

Everyone finds a time in their angling pursuits when they want a shorter sinking head or needs to repair one.  Rio provides a great, easy to follow tutorial on how to get the job done.


Rio Fly Lines

If you have a question on which Rio Fly Line is best for your application, they have a Mobile App for that.  Download it by clicking here.

PSA & Killer Tiller Video Hatch

I recently completed a wonderful multi-day trip in Florida Bay, staying a few nights under the clouds and stars atop a Chickee in Everglades National Park.

The weather was a bit chilly and the wind was blowing near a gale for a good portion of the trip, but the fish didn’t seem to mind too much.

Everglades Redfish on Clouser

I’m no trailblazer in this regard.  Lots of folks have been there & done that, as will many more to follow.

If you haven’t, drop it in the proverbial bucket and make sure you reach in and fish it out before you die.

Sitting in the dark over the clear briny water watching the bioluminescent algae flash in pulses reminiscent of lightning bugs on a cool August evening in Appalachia will enlighten you and draw you closer to nature in a way that is hard to explain.  Its no wonder ancient tribes had such respect and viewed their environment in such reverent awe.

Below is a great example of an Over Night from Livit Films.


As you can see the opportunities in the Everglades are vast and friendships simply grow stronger there.

Now for the Public Service Announcement portion of this entry:

I run a tiller skiff.  Its my preference when it comes to how to operate a vessel.  I feel in touch with the water in a way that is hard to reduce to words.  I respect it too.

Years ago, I was running a tiller skiff across a deep basin in an estuary in Central Florida when the lower unit collided with a marine mammal of greater mass.  In the blink of an eye, I was sent headlong into the water as the skiff turned a sharp 45-90 degrees and was suddenly no longer beneath me.

When I emerged from below the surface, I was met with silence, but for the rhythmic splashing of my wake lapping the waterline of the skiff where she sat a few dozen yards away.

A great friend had always demanded the kill switch be worn when we duck hunted and the habit had stuck.

If it had not been for that switch and lanyard, I may have been in for a long swim or worse.

In a nut shell; if you’re operating a vessel, especially a tiller steering equipped skiff. ALWAYS WEAR YOUR KILL SWITCH LANYARD.

That concludes this PSA, brought to you by the wet guy dragging himself across the gunnel to fish another day.

It’s The Indian, Not The Arrow

A lot of money is spent every year by fly rod manufacturers to message anglers with this timeless message; You’ll cast better if you buy our new greatest fly rod ever.

For the most part, its a bunch of B.S..  Really, the rod is part of the equation, but its hardly the end all, be all, when it comes to placing a fly in front of a fish.

If fly rod manufacturers were building airplanes or spaceships, we would be able to go from New York to Tokyo in 10 minutes or head up to Mars for the afternoon if you transposed their claims to flight.

The simple truth of the matter is this:  The angler is an engine. The fly rod a transmission, and fly line is the driveshaft.

If the engine isn’t tuned to perform, the transmission and drive line simply won’t deliver the power to get the payload to the target.

In a nut shell, its the indian, not the bow or arrow that gets the job done.

Once you’re able to exclude the latest and greatest hype from far more crafty minds than mine, you can cut through the marketing and evaluate fly rods at their basic level to guide you in your buying decision.

The Bow & Arrow

The blank is the core of the assembled product and depending on what it is made from, it will have different flex characteristics.  Beyond simply the material, the manner in which its layered and rolled into a long tapered cylinder affects its flexing profile.  Blanks range from slow action to ultra-fast action depending upon this principle.

The remaining hardware that is affixed to the blank, from the reel seat, cork, winding, stripping and running line guides and tip top make it a fly rod.

Blanks and components can range in quality and depending upon that alone, can affect the cost to make the rod.  The retail price is arbitrary and is determined by the seller, often in an effort to imply just how great the fly rod must be.

Key things to look for in the components are the quality of the cork, the material used for the reel seat and the guides.  Anodized aluminum and titanium are corrosion resistant and fare well in salt water if thats where you plan to fish.

If you’re aware of the qualities to look for you will be armed with the knowledge required to save a few bucks and still end up with a rod that will perform well and last a life time.

The Indian

Plenty of anglers have taught themselves to fly cast.  Its not rocket surgery.

If you’re lucky enough to be one of the well coordinated anglers that possesses a natural ability to form a tight loop you’re good to go from the start.  If not, invest in some hands on lessons.  Find a friend you trust, a guide or an instructor that will give you low key, constructive advice on what you’re doing right and guidance on how to improve on areas where you’re not quite up to speed.  Don’t settle, instruction that is belittling or doesn’t fit your personality is more harmful than good.  Once you’ve worked through any issues and form a solid casting foundation, practice.

Practice, practice, practice.

Spend time on the lawn if you must, but make an effort to find a pond or stream where you’ll be casting on the water to make the practice pay off.  The key to any learned behavior is to practice it in the same manner you’ll have to perform it.  Fly fishing is no different.

The Scoop

To tie all of this together, the final piece of advice is to avoid the very human condition of buying into the latest marketing and spending your hard earned money on a “silver bullet” fly rod based on claims of it turning you into the best caster ever.  Use your intelligence and knowledge to examine as many fly rods as possible, cast as many as possible and then, and only then, decide which one feels the best to you and how you cast before buying.  You just might find out that a less expensive option serves your style much better than the newest, latest and greatest…

The only objective part of your buying decision is going to be how well a fly rod has been made by looking at the components that were used.  The rest is subjective.  Make sure its slanted in your favor and leave that “best caster” title to the guy at the ad agency.