Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Hollow Fly Update

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As earlier posted, I started building large flies for saltwater and pike and my early results was a pleasant surprise.

I used one of the most under-used tools to correct the lateral line, the surgical scalpel and with respect to using tab eyes from China (eBay: lifefly-outdoor) and the UK (Funky Eye Tying) – just do it!. The UK supplier has greater diversity, but the eyes from China seem fantastic as well at a great price.

I used for the first time, the video feature in my camera and hopefully this video will provide a sense of the form of the fly.

And yes, if you are tying hollow flies, please go with tab eyes. No they are not common or easy to find, but they do not crush the body you just created.




Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/29 at 06:23

Firefox – the web browser to connect when traveling

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Airport, hotels, restaurants et cetera often present additional login screens to connect. I have found the automated forwarding is hampered by Google’s Chrome and IE’s Explorer, often making login the act of connecting difficult, time consuming or sometimes impossible.

Fortunately, Firefox is more accommodating and will present the dialogue box you need to connect into another network.

Keep Firefox on your phone, iPad and PC.




Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/14 at 03:15

Posted in Work Travel

Travel – GPS and power

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tomtom IMG_0006

GPS Model – TomTom

Simple but subtle: TomTom World Edition (Global) bought in Europe.

TomTom may have corrected this, and I have raised this compliant with them, when they sell their “global” product in North America, their world edition includes maps for Mexico, US and Canada (forgetting Europe, Asia and Africa!).  This is a very “American” centric view of the world, but it is wrong.  So make sure, if you get the world version, it includes Europe, Africa, et cetera.

At the time of  my purchase, the world edition – when purchased in Germany – included Europe plus the Americas, Africa, Europe,  et cetera.  I guess, the product managers in Europe have a globe on their desk and the Americans have a map from the New Yorker.

You may have to buy a memory card and download all of the maps, but you want the data in the GPS and not have require a PC to change maps.

I have used many GPSs with rentals and et cetera, but I have like the instruction and layout of TomTom over Garmin. Most of the other players are gone.

Google Maps is excellent, but it guzzles power and data, and if you have to pay for data, consider another choice.  If you do plan to use your cell in this way, make sure you can plug your cell into the car – include a 12V car adapter.


I have found TomTom to be fairly accurate, but it does not replace the need to be thoughtful and errors that can be within a city block do happen.

If there is any issue, it is – is the address given to you is accurate or reflective the map data (this goes across all GPSs). With long streets crossing city boundaries (especially in the US) and the use of short forms of N, NW, Express, et cetera, resolution of the designation may be difficult. Using Google Earth and Google Maps as a secondary step can assist, as well as locate to locate to a “place of interest” near the destination versus a specific street address.


My experiences with car rentals in Japan are good, but I would urge two considerations for any trip to Japan.

  1. Have the Car Rental supply a “English” GPS, but you may not be able to resolve Japanese addresses. This is simply handled by the fact Japanese Maps also include phone numbers to a specific street address, and you can use a business phone number of the location OR a business nearby to get to your destination.

    This is were Google Maps is an excellent mate with the GPS, as a search tool, but not necessarily as a navigation system.

  2. Car or no car – rent a portable-pocket wifi device, such as those available from JR (Japan Rail).
    1. You order online.
    2. It is delivered to your hotel or you may be able to pick it up at the airport (warning lines at Haneda can be long, and need to be considered if you are making a connection) (and office is not open 24 hours either, and may be closed when your delayed flight arrives – hint deliver to your hotel)
    3. You can mail it back at the airport, when you depart.
      The coverage and speed of the wifi device is great, and it puts Canadian Telecom providers to shame.


Get a large battery backup, such as a Morphie to power your iPhone, iPad and-or GPS.

Always pack one set of cables for all devices. You can see I colour code them:

  1. White 2m long for my iPhone with lightning connector
  2. Red short for iPad, old style apple connector
  3. Black with Blue Tip (Heatshrink) for whatever.
  4. Black with Purple Tip for whatever.

Last – Driving on the wrong side!

Simple, there is no wrong side. Adjust your thinking.

Remember the driver is on the inside of the lanes (away from the road edge), and always oriented yourself such that you – as the driver – is in the middle.

When exiting parking lots, add 5 seconds to observe, then move.



Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/12 at 21:58

Posted in Work Travel

Butternut Squash Soups

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butternut soupButternut Squash with Ginger


  1. 1 Large Butternut Squash
  2. 2-3 Large Leeks
  3. 4 tsps of shredded fresh ginger
  4. 4-6c of Chicken Stock

Steps the Night Before:

  1. Night before bake the squash – cut in half, oil the cut side and place on baking sheet.
  2. Bake for an hour (tender) at 400F, then cool.
  3. If you want to keep the soup “bright”, bake it light and lower temperature, so as to not to brown the cut side.  Myself, I like the associated flavor add that is associated with the slight browning of the edges.

Next day:

  1. Melt at medium-low, 1/4c butter.
  2. Chop white part of leek and put in pot..
  3. Add in ginger.
  4. Cook until tender.
  5. Scoop pulp out of squash.
  6. Add into pot, mixing with leeks.
  7. Add in 4c Chicken Stock to suit.
  8. Reduce heat, simmer for 25 minutes with pot covered.
  9. Puree.
  10. Adjust taste and texture to suite with stock, stock and pepper.

Does not make a large pot of soup, but it is nice to have on a fall day.

Squash with Apple Soup


  1. 1 Large Butternut Squash (or any winter squash)
  2. 2-3 Large Leeks
  3. 2 Cooking Apples, such as  Cortland
  4. 4-6c of Chicken Stock
  5. 1 tsp of garam masala.
  6. 1/2c Table Cream

Next day

  1. Peel, seed and cube squash into 15mm “bits”
  2. Melt at medium-low, 1/4c butter.
  3. Chop white part of leek and put in pot.
  4. Add in Apple.
  5. Add in spice.
    1. I have also used cumin and cloves or fresh rosemary, but with the apple and cream, I prefer a combination that more reflects a curry. Thus consider, your preferences for curry, garam masala, cumin and cloves.
  6. Cook until tender.
  7. Put Squash in.
  8. Add into pot, mixing with leeks.
  9. Let flavours mix (10 minutes),
  10. Add in Chicken Stock, minimum 4c.
  11. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes with lid on.
  12. Puree.
  13. Add in cream.

the Pot and other notes

  1. Unsalted butter is a table of the larder, and it is always available, and for this reason, I often do not listed in the ingredients.
  2. Salt – Maldon Salt Flakes. I have migrated from Northern France Sea Salt to Maldon Flake Salt, as I find is structure does absurd better into the food.
  3. I am a firm believer that patience with a good cast iron french-dutch oven creates the best soups. If you are looking for a GOOD pot, I recommend to look for a pot where the lid is dimple on the underside to allow water to drip back into the pot. There are other considerations, size and items hard to assess in the store (heat distribution), but look to the old brands that have taken the century to perfect their product.  I am very fond of my Staub (much easier to find now, as Henckel now sells and promotes these pots).
    I have two smaller French Made Pots with an amazing enamel interior.  I bought these pots many many moons ago for Nabeyaki Udon, but there is no manufacturers name or mark. My searches would indicate the manufacturer-design is no longer with us, otherwise I would buy more and rave about them.


Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/12 at 18:39

Posted in Weekend Cooking

Hollow Flies

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Early Review – as earlier stated, I do not like doing reviews until I have an extended time with the product or experience, et cetera.  In this case, I am impressed enough to provide some feedback before the usual year has gone.

    1. Gunnar Brammer Flies – Excellent!  I have really enjoyed fishing his Catnip and Jerk Jr.  90+% of the flies I fish with I tie, but I have, will and continue to use well-tied flies by others.
    2. Gunnar Brammer Fly Tying Video – Excellent. The information provided is not just to tie a fly, but how to improve as a tyer.
    3. Steve Farrar Fiber Blend – Excellent for Hollow-Point Flies.

So here is my first hollow fly (preparing for Pike Season for next spring), and even though this was an experiment (with some errors and improvements are required (see notes below)), it is an excellent and fishable pike 6″ (150cm) long fly.


hollow 1_DSC1490

hollow 2_DSC1484


  • Hook – Mustad 34007 1/0 (some of my spares), but probably would goto the Ahrex Aberdeen Predator PR330 (once all of my 34007 are gone) or Partridge ACS/E Attitude Hook.
  • Tail – Old Standby – White Deer.  This is a fine choice, but if you want a really long tail, consider some robust (saltwater) rooster saddles.
  • Top Body – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Olive. Until this week, I have not had a good word for artificial winging hairs, but I have changed my view. These “hairs” are light, do no absorb water and with the wave pattern you can build bulk-shape easily. I have a limited selection of colours (as illustrate above), but I will be investing more.
    Like EP fibers, SF Blend is not cheap, but this material allows you to build a large fly that will not be heavy!
  • Under Body – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Off-White.  Of the starting 5 colours I have, this one did not have the same pattern and does not build up as well. I will be looking at other light colours that have the same “volume” as the Olive.
    These materials are not available to me locally, so I have to mail order them, and sometimes you are disappointed.
  • Top Wing – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Bleeding Black. Excellent.
  • Tie in Technique – The fibers were tied to the back and given the body of the SF Hairs, this worked well. Never-the-less, traditionally Hollow Point flies are tied points forward, then push back and held in place by a thread dam. I will need try this on test 2.
  • Lateral Scale – I should been more careful on the placement, length and clipped off the curl. My bad and I got sloppy as I was so focus on the artificial hair.
  • Eyes – And though not illustrated, my initial experiments with traditional eyes was not satisfactory. Yes, compressing flies to the head is great for “jerk” flies, but destroys the body for a hollow fly.  So either go with no eyes or tab eyes.
    I have some tab eyes on order, and will experiment with them.

So, some experiments are still outstanding, but if you are looking to some large flies for Pike or the Salt, look at Gunnar’s site and give Steve Farrar Flash Blend a try.

If you want to get some additional pointers from youtube, then search for ” aswfstevefarrar  “, and my intent is still stick with this, and improve.


Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/08 at 23:45

Duty Free – might not be a good buy!

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Another travel note.

Duty free alcohol is rarely a great buy, but it can provide for a selection that you may not get at home. So, if you intend to buy duty free alcohol on your next trip, I recommend the following steps ….

  1. Know what you want and your local price.
  2. Consider buying your alcohol on the plane, it is often cheaper on a plane than in a store in an airport.
    1. Investigate before you fly, what the airline sells it for.
  3. Think exotic, id est, an alcohol not available back home.

Lets compare, with a look at volume and price.

Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin

  • A 750ml bottle of Bombay Gin at the LCBO (Ontario) – 28 CDN$, plus taxes.
    • 1L equivalent is 35 CDN$, plus tax, so less than 40$.
  • A 1L bottle on Air Canada – 32 CDN$, if within your import limit, then no taxes.
  • A 0.7l bottle at an Heathrow, converted to 38+CDN$, and when you adjust to a later, that bottle is nearly 49 CDN$. Ouch!

Another good buy on an airline:

  • 750ml Johnnie Walker Blue at the LCBO – 299
  • On Air Canada, 229 CDN$ for the same 750ml.
  • At Heathrow, expect to pay 204 Sterling for a 1L or the equivalent of 250+ CDN$ for 750ml. At least this time it is cheaper than local.
    And scotch is not cheaper flying out of Scotland either! The only positive I will admit, there are scotches there that are NOT available elsewhere. I do recommend, highly, the Caol Ila 18yr Distiller’s Edition.

Morale of story, duty free is no assurance you are making a good purchase.

So what did I get on last trips?  I go the exotic route, which is typical for me, with Croatian Schnapp / Brandy (Aura Fig – Suha Smokva) and Australian Bundaberg Rum (smooth).

rum IMG_8856


schanpps IMG_7847


As I get older, I no longer want souvenirs. I am happy to buy something unique that I will use regularly, gift or consume.



Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/06 at 21:30

Posted in Work Travel

Tagged with

Chicken Curry Soup

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chicken curry IMG_8952


An adaption of a Mulligatawny Soup.

The night before barbecue the chicken and 1-2 onion(s).

The ingredients

  • Butter
  • 2-3 Medium Onions
  • 1 tbsp of Curry Power
  • 1/4 tsp of Garam Masala
  • 4-5 Medium Apples, like Cortland or Sweetango
  • 4-6 cups of Chicken Stock
  • 2-3 cups of cubed Chicken Thighs-Legs
  • 2 carrots, diced – optional
  • 1/2c Table Cream, 18%
  • Green Tabasco

Steps and Notes

Curry and Garam Masala: Curries and Masalas are “mixes of spice”. As most Canadian curries blend to a sweeter side, I like using a blend of a generic curry and a little hot Garam Masala. If at the end of the day, you want a little more “heat”, add some Green Tabasco into your bowl.

Barbecue: Barbecuing transforms vegetabes and meat with its intensity of heat and flaring of oils. So the night before:

  • Cook 1-2 onions, cut in half, softening it and allow some grill marks come out.
  • Cut the dark meat chicken with skin and bones on. I do about 3 minutes on high (oils will flare), then move the chicken in a basket for 3 minutes on medium and then let it cook for 6 minutes on low in the cool corner.

Apples: I prefer cooking apples, such as Cortlands, versus the hard eating Delicious or Granny Smiths, for the juices that release during cooking and how they soften under heat. Some apples, such as “macs” can break down too much, but this is your choice as a cook.

Dutch Oven: Nothing better than a good dutch oven, such as a Staub, when used with patience to make a soup.

  1. Night before:
    1. Cook 1-2 Onions on the Barbecue
    2. Cook Chicken with Skin and Bones On.
    3. In the morning dice the onions.
    4. For the chicken, remove skins and bones and then tear-break into some cubes.
  2. In a Pot, combine:
    1. 1/4c Butter or more.
    2. All diced onions.
    3. Curry and Garam Masala
    4. With patiences, soften the onions – 10 minutes+
  3. Combine Applies, with patience, allow apples to blend juices with butter, curry and onions.
  4. Mix in flour.
  5. Add in Chicken Stock.
  6. Under medium to low heat, bring to light boil and allow mixture to thicken.
  7. Patience, write a blog or clean the kitchen.
  8. Add-in Chicen and Carrots.
  9. Lower heat and simmer for 20+ minutes.
  10. Add stock and-or salt to taste.
  11. Add in cream and let the soup heat for 5 minutes.
  12. It is ready and its flavours will improve over the next 2 days.


Serve with a Baguette or other similar bread.




Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/05 at 20:33

Posted in Weekend Cooking