Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Lights on the water

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Bonefishing or tomorrow night, when I am on my local river fishing into the night for Smallmouth Bass, Judy and I rely on lights.  With time, we have collected a few, all that have proven to be useful.


The essential – the headlamp – and in this case a small Petzel Headlamp, which is the goto to change flies, to unhook fish and walk the trail back to the car, when the sun has set and stars can be seen!  This light has serve used for more than 10 years!

While the headlamp is great for the task, it is not the best when cleaning up in the back of the car or boat, breaking down rods, changing out of the waders, et cetera. Serving us for nearly ten years is

The work lantern – The Black Diamond Orbit Lantern (also flashlight) used when Judy and-or I are cleaning up, setting up, breaking down, et cetera.

Noting having the years of use, but newly added to the list:

Always there and quickly available – with a small clip, the Fenix CL09 Lantern that is always there on the exterior of my pack. It is a white lantern, a colour signal lantern and strobe that is always clipped on and never forgotten.

And the latest addition and untested:

Paddleboard Signal Lantern – the green dog night collar that I leave with the paddleboard on the flats. You may remember where you left you board, but it is nice to have the assurance of a signal to draw you back to your board.

Waterproof – oops-proof light – In use for the past 2 years, in Judy’s boat bag is a Diver’s (Scuba) Waterproof Underwater Kinetics Mini-Q40. Durable, reliable and no fear it gets wet in the boat et cetera the divers light.


Too many lights? Maybe, but each light is used and serves us well.




Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/20 at 06:11

Posted in Fly-Fishing

James Green 10′ 7wt Update

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After a couple of seasons, I have migrated away from the more aggressive tapers of OPST Skagits and migrated to Airflo Rage and Switch for my short two handed rods. For the James Green 7wt 10′ below, my preference is

  • Airflo Streamer 360 gr
  • OPST Micro Skagt Commando Tip – 50 gr, 10ft with a short 12# tippet


This is my tool for small rivers and with my back into the trees.  I have no issue launching my flies across the river, and it just feels so right for me.

It was a slow journey to go from good to fantastic, but I am there now and learnt a lot on the way there.

…. Answering Johns Qs, with much more detail on the setup, but now as an update to the original blog.

James recommendation was 300 to 400 grains, but his focus on the low end. I found that I had to work hard to get the full power at the lower end, but lets add a little more detail. The 360 grain + tip is my fit for Scandi or any waterborne Spey Casts such as the double spey.  In these casts, the head is out or nearly out.

I would also suggest aggressive setups using a Snap-Ts is better suited for a faster-recovery tip rod, but setups using a Circle C and Snake Roll are great.

When I am using this line for overhead casting, the head comes by 6′ to 10′.

If I was matching this rod for overhead casting primary, I would suggest 330 to 360 grains, but my focus is Two-Handed Casts first.

The picture above is old (recycled) and does not show the Airflo Streamer on the reel.

The reel setup is a little complex, reflecting I will use this reel for change ups – heads or lines. So, starting from the reel to the tip …

  • Danielsson (Loop) 3W Traditional Reel – 20+ Years Old. It is light, has great capacity and enables a recover from a fast run.
  • 20m of Orange 30# 3M Dacron Backing used as a signal to me, I am in trouble of being spooled.
  • 50+m of Green 20# 3M Dacron Backing
  • ~28m of Orange ELF Shooting Head Line (from Ballistics)
  • ~26m of Airflo Streamer Line
  • ~3m of Tip
  • Leader from 1.5 to 3m, depending on fly using Maxima Chameleon 12# or Seaquar 8 or 12#

This gives the fish more than 100m+ (a football pitch away) to run before I starting thinking I am in trouble. Typically the fish (bass, trout and steelhead) and or rivers I will fish with this, will not take me into the oh-no Orange Backing. Yes, a steelhead running back to open water may consume this and more, but the river bends, boulders, et cetera that I will typically will force me to break off before I am out of line.

I do have 1 steelhead pool that I enjoy that would benefit from a short rod and lots of backing and this case, I am willing in this case move to a larger rod and backing.

I also have an unused Danielsson 2W Traditional Spool, which would also be a fne answer.

Of course, you could eliminate the thicker running line and use 100m+ of Dacron and put a loop in the Dacron backing, which I may eventually do in the off-season.  Alternative is a mono-filament running line, but I have not like handling “mono” with heads.

I like the questions and comments, as I makes me think why I am doing what I am doing, As I articulate my reasons, I solidify my thought process, et cetera … which is the purpose of this blog, to help me to be better.  I do wish, others do gain from my experience.


Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/16 at 05:42

Posted in Rod-Building, Spey, Streamer

Crazy Charlies – Mangrove Close-Ups

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Finishing off the photo-essay on my Mangrove Crazy Charlies for the Bahamas (Exuma), here are some close-up.


Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/14 at 02:41

Crazy Charlies for the Mangroves

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As previously note, for the Exumas (Bahamas) much of the water requires light colour flies, until you get into the mangroves.  I have added a few tan flies into my goto box. Yet, I notice my guide prefers simple flies with no legs, extended such as Gotchas and Crazy Charlies.

So I have taken my recently dyed calf-tails, and created a spectrum of flies of Crazy Charles for Garth to have available for his preference.

crazy charlies_DSC5656

to th Mangroves IMG_3674

Sidebar, I prefer to hunt for fish with Judy as a team, but I really do believe in guides. So we typically do 2 days guiding and 4 days DIY.


Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/13 at 03:08

Reflections of Stockholm

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From my last trip to Stockholm in March, with my objective to focus on reflections.

stockholm 1_DSC5155


stockholm 2a_DSC5171


stockholm 3_DSC5186


stockholm 4_DSC5189


stockholm 6_DSC5200


stockholm 11_DSC5140


stockholm 12_DSC5135


stockholm 13_DSC5122


stokholm 9_DSC5220


stockholm 10_DSC5225


stockholm 7_DSC5207



Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/02 at 21:30

Posted in Work Travel

Calf Tail Dying

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In support of tying Crazy Charlies for the Bahamas, I have been dying some calf tails and a little patch of polar bear.

Please note the actual results are a little warmer than what I see on my dell monitor, as I create this post.  The polar bear is more saturated, and the Cushing Taupe and Ecru are warmer. A better representation is in the final test sample picture. From left to right:

  1. Polar Bear, using Superfly Hot Pink, the 4 samples shown:
    1. At the bottom, un-dyed.
    2. In dye bath for <5 minutes, soak into the fur, and a little into hair.
    3. In dye bath for ~20 minutes.
    4. At top, dyed for 60 minutes, with hairs being fully saturated.
  2. Wapsi Calf-Tail, dyed by Wapsi to “root bear”.
  3. Wapsi Calf Tail, dyed by Wapsi to “tan”.
  4. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, tip soak using Cushing Taupe.
  5. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, quick soak using Cushing Taupe.
  6. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, quick soak using Cushing Ecru.
  7. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, using Cushing Ecru.
    The results of two Ecru see a pink tonal shift that is more noticeable on the quick de sample, which is a result of the red dye in the Cushing sets quicker than the other dyes, and-or differences in the tails themselves, natural and from the supplier who uses brigheners-whiteners to make the tails *white*.
  8. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, using Cushing Champagne. This is an excellent light sand.

All of Cushing dyed tails these make a great sand and mangrove fly. I ran out of tails, so at a later date I will dye a light tan and a light golden brown.

calf tail_DSC5643
.calf tail_DSC5640

References> Previous dyeing results and tips. and sorry for the typing error for Champagne.

cushing dye_DSC5647



Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/02 at 19:57

Flats Fiend – Update

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My goto flies for the Bahamas

And colour focus is

  • White and * light * sand for the flats
  • A tan, hopefully with a red tint, for fishing in the mangroves

And yes, I have more than this in my box, but these are the default flies.

Flats Fiend

I just completed updating my supply box, finishing off with the Flats Fiend – covering the spectrum of colour and weights (bead-chain to heavy eyes).

flats fiend_DSC5571

Starting from white ….

Polar Bear

A complex shape, with movement when idle and with fibers that sparkle (light up in the water). See close-ups at the end.

polar bear ff_DSC5579

Craft Fur

With substantial prep, combing and stacking, you can create a nice complex shape. Though, it is “flat”, when sitting idle in the water, and thus needs to be stripped when sighted by the fish.

Wapsi has some new colours, and I am interested in adding Camel Tan.

craft fur_DSC5590

Red Fox

A short dense and complex hair that is excellent when idle.

red fox_DSC5594

Fly Fur

fly fur_DSC5604

A nice artificial hair, but is best suited for large flies.

EP 3D Fibers – Sand – an experiment

ep 3D fibers_DSC5620

Leave judgment, until I fish and observe the fly in motion.  I added some polar hair along the sides.

The Close-Ups

Polar Bear

Please note polar bear length varies greatly, and some old skins have many broken tips, so it suitability depends on the quality of the skin.

I like keeping in some of the fur and the translucent nature is well illustrated below.

polar bear_DSC5631

Craft Fur

Unlike natural hair, there is no taper.  The illusion of taper comes with the mix of fine to course hairs, with some twists. As such, preparation is critical with a willingness to cut-dispose much of the hairs is critical for a good look.

Use a comb!

craft fur_DSC5628

Red Fox Tail

Complexity of tone, shape with hairs that spiral is what this hair a great natural cover.

red fox_DSC5626

Fly Fur

Longer, more uniform with a greater twist than Craft Fur

fly fur closeup_DSC5625

EP 3D Fibers

A “high twist” and translucent material makes this an interesting fly to experiment with.

ep fivers closeup_DSC5623



Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/27 at 02:40