Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Home Made Wading Staffs

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For wading (fly fishing), a wading staff is a great tool for safety and secure wading in a river, including verifying how deep that clear water pocket is or getting out from that boulder. After years of use, I thought I would post my recommendations.

The BIG ONE recommendation – Homemade is Best

We have 3 home-made staffs

  1. Ski-Pole – Decade + old are two converted *used* ski poles.  Light, easy to move, et cetera, with one downside – it is noisy as it makes contact with rock and vibrates in very fast water.  The modifications were simple, but valuable:
    * Cork Handle – comfortable. I glued on discs (as used in making rod) and turn the handle to shape.
    * Added a round ball to the top, then apply several coats of epoxy.
    * Added a metal eye to secure a landyard and for Judy a retractor
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    Judy’s goto and we have 2.
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    Oh yes, is it too noisy – is a ping worst than a wader moving through the wader?  This is a question that I do not believe anybody really knows the answer for.
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  2. Ash Staff – Using a spokeshave and block plane, I created a taper in a oval shape (think of canoe paddles) to fit, and added a 1″ diameter by 6″ long copper pipe at the base to help keep the staff down.  The bottom meter has a poly-urethane varnish.
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    When the staff rests behind me in the water, the tip (bottom) is on the rocks and the top handle does float in the water. The handle does get wet, but the unprotected (no varnish) ash is much more secure to grip, than if I finished it; and thus, I suggested an unfinished top handle is best.
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    Heavier than the modified ski pole, but still comfortable to move in the water and like a baseball bat, you can use it like a club (if I ever need to).
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    This is my (David’s) goto.
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  3. Garden Staff – Using a replacement wood garden tool pole (like for a quality rake) available from a “real” hardware store. I added 13″ of 1″ copper tubing, with a corded handle with varnish finish from handle to copper.
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    It is heavy and suitable for fast water.
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    The corded handle is important, as I needed (wanted) a thicker handle for a secure grip. The tag ends are whip finish under (cheap para-cord from Home D* did not allow for  nice compressed core); and then further secured with the use of epoxy in the bottom and top 3 wraps. The epoxy was applied to the wood and between the wraps; and NOT on top of the cord.
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When I started out fashioning my own staff, there was not a lot of information on selection of wood (other than finding a piece in the wood in the forest) or how much copper to use, so I had too experiment.  If necessary, you could use Home D to locate a piece of maple or oak, but my recommendation is find a piece of douglas fir, cherry or ash at a local mill (or equivalent) and shave to preference.  A garden tool staff is also fine, but not as comfortable, but much faster to make!
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I know douglas fir is an unuusal recommendation, but it is a nice hard “software”, with strength and flex, and suitable for a larger staff.  If you planning for a narrow and thin staff, goto to ash.  Cherry would be okay, as would maple and oak.
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Use 6 (minimum light) to 12″ (maximum) of copper pipe.

Lanyards and Retractors

I am happy with just a landyard and will clip the staff to my waders or fishing bag. The lengths are such that the staff can rest in the water behind me, as I fish. I make the lanyards from good cord and clips (either from a good outdoors store and-or from a nautical store (not Home D*).
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The Home D* cord is ok, but the lower cost (life and strength) is seen if you goto to the core.

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Judy uses a retractor to keep her staff connect to the wading belt. From good experience (and failures of others), I do recommend the Gear Keeper 12-oz and do buy a couple of spare quick connects to change tinngs around.
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Folding Staffs

Large staffs are not practical for air-transport, and a folding staff is better than no staff, so if we are fishing in a remote location, we have our folding staffs.
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Does not feel as secure as our standard staff, but we have never experience a failure.
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We have 2x folstaffs, one which I hacked to put on a GoPro, which was just as easy and good as buying the hard-to fine, harder-to-order folstaff with the pre-mounted 1/4 socket for cameras.
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I got on board at Day 1, for the limited production of folding staffs that are posted in SpeyPages from Herikileez. With the thicker walls and joints (relative to folstaff), these staff are strong and the staff will not fold onto itself. They suffer from the usual feature that are associated quick deploy folding staffs – some wooble.
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Other considerations – folstaff has the cork handle (I prefer this) with a spike tip. The tip with Herikileez is effectively an industrial rubber foot – which is quieter, but can get stuck in-between rocks.  In the “right” conditions, any tip will be good or bad, so there is no universal answer.
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A closer look with more notes:

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Above are the 3 homemade staffs, working from the left is the spokeshave ash staff, then the garden staff with the corded handle (the darken end reflects the absorption of the epoxy) and last is the ski-pole.

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The three staffs, full view, from the light ski-pole (Judy’s preferred), to the heavy staff (13″ 1″ tube, but suggest keep to 12″maximum) for fast water and last, my preferred ash staff, with the oval shape.

The copper pipe is a tight fit and then secured with epoxy.

foldable staffs_DSC6241

Last the travel staff.s, with the Herikileez with the form handle and ribber tip and the folstaff with the cork handle, camera top and spike tip.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2019/08/05 at 20:40

Posted in Fly-Fishing

Guideline RSi 11wt Line Update

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Follow-up to my first review post of the Guideline RSi 11wt, the road pairs very well with the RIO Coastal Quickshooter XP 10wt (FI).  I am able to load it with the head mostly out and shoot the fly far out.  I am not having any issues with accuracy, but it is not for subtle presentations.

quickshooter

As previously stated, the 11wt lines I had felt too heavy.  Thus, if you are using an aggressive line, step down.

I have spent some time experimenting more with this rod, and will confirmed the line rating on the rod is accurate – it states 27 to 30 grams, and I would maintain 27 grams is just right for the rod I have.

Unfortunately, detailed grain weight information is not available from the line manufacturers.

I suspect it would benefit it would benefit from a long rear taper fly line, such as the Cortland Liquid Crystal Tarpon Taper. My limited experience is that Cortland does not over-weight their lines, so there is some hope if I buy a 11wt it will be the best match (otherwise a 10wt).

cortland lc tarpon taper

It is unfortunate the lack of consistency of ratings and line information that does exist, so one needs to be prepared to acquire multiple lines to get the best fit.

I will continue to use the Quickshooter XP here to throw big flies for warm and coldwater fish, but likely try out the Cortland Tarpon plus the next time I am in the Tropics.

🙂

 

Written by raspberryfisher

2019/08/04 at 22:00

Posted in Saltwater, Streamer

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.

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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.

Q40

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

🙂

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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

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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.
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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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🙂

Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/02 at 21:30

Posted in Work Travel