Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

a new Shaving Brush

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  • Wood is an offcut from a local Maple Burl, which included some minor voids.
  • Turn on my lathe using a 1″ Hamlet German Spindle Gouge and a 3/4″ Hamlet Skew Chisel. The German Gouge is infrequently seen. but I find to great for rounding the stock and getting to the shape I want.
  • I use Bealls Internal Collets for the final work on the base, and finishing,
  • Finish is 6 coats of CA (superglue), and then polish with micro-grit pads to 12000. My mutli-year experiment-experience with CA as a durable finish is positive.
  • Knot is a Shavemac SilverTip 2 Band 22mm Knot with a 2mm reduction in the loft. As this is not my first Shavemac knot, I am happy to stat, though not cheap, there are worth the expenditure.
  • The ability to make a handle, allows one to make a handle that is functional and comfortable!

In the background are two other brushes that have serve well: Vulfix and Thater. Both of which are comfortable to use and great tools.



Comfortable to hold.


The famous Simpson Chubby. Great knot (brush), but it really is not comfortable to secure in your hand, as you whip up some shaving soap in a bowl. Its fundamental flaws are:

  • Holding area is too shallow in depth.
  • Holding area is too harrow to get your fingers down, and I have a small hand

In effect, you have to hold this brush like a club, and thus it is regulated to when I want to build the soap-lather on my face, and not in a bowl.


Final comment, having experiment with shaving brushes for 10 years now, what are my comments:

  • Vulfix Old-Fashioned Brushes are comfortable to hold, but it is hit-n-mass on the brush itself (one good, one bad). I replace the bad knot with a ShaveMax.
  • Yes to the Shavemac 2 Tone Silvertip knots.
  • I prefer knots made 18-22 mm in diameter (at the base)
  • Thater is excellent.

And far as shaving soap and creams, my preference is Castle Forbes Creams and Barrister and Mann.

I do notice that Barrister and Mann has a much smaller stock of soaps and aftershaves now, versus 4+ years, so I probably need to cherish my Seville Orange Soap and some of the aftershaves (Vesper and Nocturne (being Judy’s favourites))


Written by raspberryfisher

2021/10/24 at 03:03

Posted in Handles, Wood Projects

James Green NTS 3wt

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This is a James Green 7’4″NTS (Native Trout Series) 3wt, built using with:

  • Down-locking Lemke LC1 Reel
  • Premade Cork Handle
  • Struble Silver Check
  • Fuji Stripper
  • Snake Brand Traditional Guides
  • Silk Thread YLI 100wt in Brown, Tan, and Red
  • Al’s Colour Preserver
  • ProKote Thread Finish Epoxy
  • Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen – M

The 8 guides were placed as a function of a static flex text with the rod bent by 30 inches, which explains why the spacing for this full-flex rod is less tip focus than a traditional graphite rod. Once I looked at uniform flex, I decided to stay with traditional double foot snake guide.

I intentionally applied the finish thin (total 3 coats), but did extend to well beyond the thread and ensure I capture the base of the guides.

Best line fit – Guideline Vario Tactical 3wt WF and my old SA XPS 3wt DT

I was surprised that me RIO Classic 3wt did not feel “right”. I could cast it, but it took more thought to manage a good cast.

Reels, light reels do not need to apply. I found it works with a SA System 2, 56L Hardy Princess or a Hardy Perfect (2 7/8″). If I bought a new reel, I would go for a large arbour reel (better for the fly line), without a plastic clicker, such as the Danielsson F3W 2six.

A drag is not required, but most large arbor reels with a clicker has a plastic clicker, which means it has an operational life of 10 years (give or take). There are some other awesome large arbour reels, but these reels are twice the price too.






Guideline Vario Tactial WF thoughts

There are many things to like about this line:

  • Supple
  • Fine tip loop (unlike the Cortland 444, I do not cut them off)
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Shoots well


  • Long front taper

And concerns:

  • It is heavy in accordance to AFFTM standards, more of a 3/4. It also works really well on this rod and my Sage ESN, but not with my Scott G 3wt.
  • I have mixed feelings on their new packaging, and though it is “plastic free”, unspooling it is a PITA and it does not help with the rigors-crushing of shipping.



Written by raspberryfisher

2021/10/24 at 02:01

Spey 9wt Salmon Rods

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When I started Spey Fishing, the current wisdom was to start with a long 9wt. Well, I would not provide the same recommendation today as a long (15′) 9wt is really a Salmon Rod and thus limited; and with Modern Rods-Lines, it is not the easiest entry.

And as I infrequently fish for Atlantic Salmon, so it is not a rod that gets much action. So what do I have? and recommend with it?

G Loomis GLX Greased Line 15′ 9wt

My standard reel: Nautilus 12S

My recommended line: Gaelforce 63′ 910, 756 grains

Alternate Lines:

  • BeulahAerohead 910
  • Delta Spey Long 910

Other than it is hefty stick, it is enjoyable.

Scott G 14′ 9wt

Spey | Raspberryfisher's Blog | Page 5

As in the picture above, I modified the butt and added some weight, and I have since sold the SpeyCo reel.

My standard reel: Nautilus 12S

My recommended line: Airflo Skagit 600 grain.

This is a heavy rod, and really just a backup.


Both of these rods, if used for a trip will tire you out! So practice is important, not just to ensure you can cast it, but you can cast it comfortably for your adventure.

Looking to the Future

If I was buying a big Salmon Rod (for that dream trip to Norway), I would be looking for something lighter, and think about what would match well to 63′ long line and a Scandi line. I would start my search at:

  • Long: Galeforce Equalizer 63 910 – Meiser CX 15′ 9wt 6pc or Galeforce Destination 14’6″ 9wt 6pc
  • Scandi 3D: Guideline 3D+ 35′ 910 – Meiser CX 12’6″ 9wt or Guideline 12’9″ NT8 6pc

As a counterpoint, the Atlantic Salmon above caught in St Mart’s Rapids was on my 7wt, and I never felt under-gunned, It did put up a good fight, and I was able to use the river pressure to help and bring him quickly, id est a 9wt is mighty big and heavy rod, and would not be my recommendation for what to start with.

Maybe even think about a 8wt.


Written by raspberryfisher

2021/10/16 at 23:50

Posted in Spey, Z.Gear

10-11wt Floating Line Survey

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In looking for a floating line fit for my Guideline RSi 11wt (focus on Pike), and previously noting the absolute poor compliance to standards from the OEMs in this weigh, I undertook this survey.

The Standard

AFFTA RatingTarget Weight
280……………. . . . . . . . .


From this weeks fishing for Pike from the boat, and doing some measurements, I will reaffirm this is a true 11wt rod, made for 330 grains. Casting from a boat, where you may keep some line in (especially after a Pike retrieve to the boat), a line weight of 330 to 380 grains is a good target, with a goal of 350 at a length of 30′.

If fishing in the water (wading), I want to keep the weight to 330 grains at 30′.

Why 50 more grains on a boat, base on experience and some measurements, I have allowed 50 grains for the back 4′-6′ of line, allowing for a “quick” load and shoot. And how to I rate specification fit, to true 11wt rod:

  • Best, weight of 330-350 grains at 30′ for a 11wt line
  • Good, weight of 330-350 grains at 30′ for 10wt line or
    • 351-370 grains at 30′ for a 11wt line
  • Fair where a 11wt is between 371 to 390 grains


The Survey

OEMNameRatingWeight (grains)RSi FitRSi Tested
AirfloTarpon Floating10331good
CortlandCompact Float9/10350good
GuidelinePredator Evolve10370 (at 36′)good Good
MonicSkyline Plus10310light
Icicle10320 light
11360goodGood (initial)
RIO Elite Predator10390heavy
Outbound Short10425heavy
Elite Flats Pro (Tropic)10330good
Elite Tarpon10316light
11367goodVery Good
Coastal Quickshooter10425heavyVery Good
Winter Redfish10380fair
Pike (discontinued)10Very Good
SATitan *10380fair
Frequency Saltwater10305light

Survey Notes:

  1. As the focus in on a 330+ grain line, I surveyed both 10 and 11 weight lines, across freshwater and saltwater lines (for Tarpon and Pike).
  2. My focus was on a line with a head profile with a short front taper to push out a fly. I can appreciate a tarpon line wanting a long taper, but for Pike, I want front mass to get the bulky fly out.
  3. Airflo: As previously noted, their recent product line reduction is unfortunate, but I would consider trialing their Tarpon line for Saltwater (but , I would go to Cortland’s Tarpon first).
  4. Ballistic: A smaller OEM focus on “casting certification” and spey, as such did not have a line that fit.
  5. Cortland: I have already compliment the Tarpon taper and would consider the Compact Float if a very “compact line” is desired.
  6. Guideline: Yes, I would consider the Predator Evolve. Believe to be a follow-up to their Pike line, so I expected it to be heavy, but still carry and shoot a fly well.
  7. Monic: Yes, I would consider the Icicle and Skyline Plus.
  8. RIO: Large diversity and consistency lacks. With caution a fair or better line can be found.
  9. SA: Their web filter tool is f&#@1p! But I look at a few and picked those that are the closest. None of them I would put money on.

Taper Look of the Good to Best Lines

Cortland Compact Float at 100 USD at 350 grains for a 9/10. Consider if you need a very Compact Line.

Guideline Predator Evolve at 90 Euro, not very clear is it! So, picking this line requires an additional leap of faith, though the older generation Pike line was found to cast well, but heavy. (See update below)

Monic Icicle at 80 USD at 360grains. Appears to be reasonable!

Cortland Tarpon 11wt Line – for reference. This line is great.


If for the Tropics – go for the Cortland Tarpon


20210926 Update – Tested

I have been experimenting lines this summer and fall – false casting on the fall, and actually fishing for bass and pike. So where do I stand as of this point of time ….

  • Recommended Guideline Pike 10 FHI: A little heavy and requires to keep the casting head short, but this line is great to cast a streamer out and retrieve back to the boat.
  • A good alternative is the RIO Coastal Quickshooter 10I. Again it is heavy, but it can be managed and shoots well! I would also look at RIO’s Winter Redfish which is similar, but a little lighter and a floating line.
    Why the Guideline Pike over the RIO Coastal Quickshooter? Simply, I like how streamer tracks deeper with the Guideline.
    So what is missing? An ice out spring floating line! for big bulky pike flies.
  • In review: Monic Icicle 11F.
    If you been reviewing my blogs, you know I dislike “out of box” reviews, and any honest review requires real time on the water. To date, my limited experiences says …
    • Line memory is high and a morning stretch is important
    • To remove the heavy curl at the tip – I had to apply heat for 15 minutes and stretch and form the loop at the tip. I am considering cutting off the front loop and replace with your own leader start.
    • Tip and running diameter is thick – I have not measured it.
    • Does not shoot as well as the Cortland or Guideline.
      • I can consistently get 70+ feet with the RIO, Cortland and Guideline without thinking with the Guideline RSi, but I am about 6′ short when using the Monic. I can make up for the + feet with a perfect time double-haul.
        Do I need to add an additional coating?
    • I have not tried this line with large spring Pike flies.


Some recent measurements:

All of these lines cast well on the Guideline RSi, but I note the industry standard is 330 grains at 30′. It is reasonable to expect that another 50+grains will be added, when you account for the extension to 30′.

LineWeight at 25′
Guideline Pike 10FHI353 grains
Monic Icicle 11F351 grains
RIO Coastal Quickshooter 10I370 grains
RIO Pike 10F365 grains

As you can see, all lines are heavy.


Written by raspberryfisher

2021/09/05 at 20:51

Meiser 15’6″ Trout Spey

with 2 comments

I recently received a custom build Meiser Trout Spey Rod made. And after a few days playing with it, here is my summary:

  • Far, fine and fun! touch-n-go rod
  • Line: SRO Express Vector 56 at 45′ 390 grains.
  • Reel: Looking for one with an empty weight of 12oz

Ok, are there limits? Absolutely, as this rod is at the edge of what possible in graphite and lines, there are limits, which I understood before I went into this.

  • Line selection is limited, so unless you are a mad-scientist into welding your own lines, et cetera, this is a touch-n-go rod. Both Steve Godshall and Bob Meiser pointed me to the SRO Vctor.

If I wanted to go deep, thisis not the rod I would go for.

My suggestion if you want to go deep for trout spey, iselect the line first from your preferred supplier, and then match to a rod.
Example: If I pick a NextCast Steelhead Finder with sinktips, then I see their lightest line is 470 grains at 25′ supporting 12′ sink tips. Keeping to the variant who back taper is “all” float, I would looking towards at a rod no longer than 13′ and listed wanting to throw 470 grains skagit style. If the rod supplier was Meiser, I would made an enquiry about the 13’0″ 6wt (listed as S2H13057CX-4 or S2H13056MKX-4). Shorter would be okay to, if it is there.

My trout rod for pulling the fly down is a Meiser 1305S-5pc, where I would use NextCast Winter Authority 2 WA35 – Green – 420 grains at 34′ – MultiTip (7 10′ 75g)(6 15′ 84g). I also have some other 3D heads to.

Back to the post, this is my fun long trout rod, and well suited for many of the waters I wade, where pulling the fly going deep is not required (or can be a problem).





And what was requested? besides the rod.

  • Blue, Gold and Yellow theme. Think of the traditional colours in the south of France.
  • Modern components, no agate or mildrun stripers.
  • The standard Meiser grip shape, but natural cork in the middle of the lower and upper grip.
    Acknowledge that a wood butt could also for a lighter reel for counter balance, but I like a natural cork when my hands are wet. (Yes, the lower section is rarely held).
  • Suggest (and agreed) with the marine brass and using a light (yellow) Maple wood space.



Written by raspberryfisher

2021/09/03 at 05:59

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Spey

Tagged with ,

Trout Lines and Leaders

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As I have become proficient in hand tying leaders, I have made a structural change in my thinking and action with fly line loops for 4wt lines and less, as I will cut them off and replace with a nail knot of a long Maxima UltraGreen leader for a hand-tied leader butt. I frequently pick 25lb.

and Why? When I am thinking of fine flies, and-or small gentle water I will go to a 4wt rod, and then I am applying more scrutiny in the smooth transfer of energy to leader to fly. It is here that I dislike the notable 4+cm stiff end from folding back the tip and then “welding it” (with some manufacturers), and thus the loop itself actuates a hinge to make the matter worst.

So I will replace this 40+mm blunt heavy tip with a 5mm nail knot with a leader butt material that represents a better transition.

Is there a down size? If you want to use a furled leader, I will still cut off the tip and create a loop in the butt within the first few inches.

And what about 5wt (and larger) lines? My 5wt rods are more of my all purpose trout rods for larger field, streamers, et cetera, so I am not as concern with gentle presentation and the associated blunt tip. Also this blunt tip does not appear to be as brutal with the heavier lines, Never-the-less, as I survey my trout lines from 5 to 6wt, only one line has welded loop, and the remaining lines have a short nail knot leader with loop.

As a visual survey, starting from the top …

  • Cortland 444 Peach, 4wt, with a 5′ 25lb Maxima UltraGreen line, ready for a leader to be tied on. This is my current default goto setup.
  • Cortland 444 Peach, 4wt cut off tip. Close-up sows the bulk I have removed.
    Previously, I have nail-knot a short section at the tip with a loop, and then add a commercial leader or furled leader. Nothing wrong with this.
  • Cortland 333, 5wt with a short Maxima Chameleon tip loop (with perfection loop).
  • Cortland 444 Peach, with a short Maxima Chameleon tip loop and a furled leader.


As the closeup illustrates, the welded loop is bulky and long, relative to the nail knot above.

Other comments:

  • Yes, you can nail knot a prepared leader, but as I preferred a hand-tied leader, so I just put the butt onto the line, then just build from there.
  • A perfection loop! As I am not stressing the 20lb+ and likely to have a tippet that will break at 5lb (or less), I am not concerned this is not the strongest knot. It is not the weakest link in the chain.
  • Softer leader material can be / should be considered for 4wt, as often these lines are subtle.


20211010 Update

As I did a seasonal cleaning (and maintenance of lines), I note that the factory loops do vary significantly. I like Cortland lines, but their loops are blunt, and more so with Monic. But my Guideline and old RIO lines have fine loops and would leave these.



Written by raspberryfisher

2021/08/30 at 00:07

Trout Rods and Reels

with 3 comments

The Rods

I am not going to go into the same detail on line matches and reels with my summary on trout rods, as I maintain there is

  • greater adherence to ATTFM weigh matching, with few exceptions
    • In addition, if you fishing close, you may want to be a change lines around.
  • you are not needing to make heroic casts
  • the rods are light and balancing the reels is not really necessary.

So here is my rod summary table, starting from the light rods, moving up to 6wt

OEMMBuilderStatusWtLengthPCReel, Lines
Kabuto FWilsonIn queue26′ 6″3SA5 2W2
Kabuto FWilsonIn queue36′ 6″3SA5 3W2
Scott G703-3FWilsonYes37′ 0″3SA5 3D2, SA XPS DT3
Green OrangeFWilsonIn process37′ 3″3L15 3, RIO Classic WF 3F
Sage ESNGWilsonYes310’0″4HP esn, running line
HP 3V, Guideline Vario T WF 3F
MorganFWilsonIn queue48′ 0″2.
Winston LT5GWinstonYes48′ 3″5HP 4F, RIO Gold WF 4 F
HP 4lt, RIO Intouch Light, WF 4F
KabutoFWilsonIn process58’0″3
AndersonBAndersonYes58′ 0″2+1HP DT5, Cortland 333 DT 5F
HP DT5p, Cortland 444 DT 5F
Scott G 905GWilsonYes59′ 0″4HP: 5lt, RIO Trout Light WF 5F
Scott STS 905GScottYes59′ 0″4HP 5W, SA Ultra 3 WF 5F
SA5 5ST4, SA Sinktip 4
Green BlackFWilsonIn queue 510′ 0″3.
unknownBunknownYes68′ 0″2HP T6, Wulff TT 6F
HP 6W, SA Ultra WF 6F


  • Material
    • B = Bamboo
    • F = Fiberglass
    • G = Graphite
  • Reels
    • L15 = Waterworks Lamson Litespeed 1.5
    • HP = Hardy Princess
    • SA5 – Scientific Angler 2 56L
  • Builder acknowledges that many of the rods were built by me, and there are several still in queue.

I hope as life gets less busy, I will actually starting building my own bamboo rods.


I have test cast other rods, and there are other gems out there, but if there is a preference for me, it is a rod that is medium to slow. Slow, in that as the cast lays out, so you can mend before it settles.

As Judy gets better (allowing for the pause, too allow the loops to form), I notice her favourite rod action is moving from fast to moderate and slow.

As mending and managing a drift it just as important, as the cast, a long rod is an often advantage, and as you look over my quiver, if there anything I should be thinking about,? The answer would be a longer 4wt, such as a Scott G.

Our Reels (and spools)

Our? Yes, Judy likes to fish to.

System 2 56L
System 2 56L2W2to be bought
System 2 56L3W2to be bought
System 2 56L3D2SA XPS DT 3F – grey, a nice old line
Lamson Litespeed 1.53WRIO Classic WF 3F – good olive colour, true 3wt, short front
Hardy Princess 3DSA XPS DT 3F – grey, but considering moving it so another reel
Hardy Princess esnrunning line
Hardy Princess3VGuideline Vario Tactical WF 3F, light olive to medium to white
Hardy PrincessDT4Cortland 444 DT 4F Peach – true 4wt, medium front taper
Hardy Princess 4ltRIO Intouch LT WF 4F – pale yellow, true 4wt, nice taper & long belly
Hardy Princess 4FRIO Gold WF 4F – pale yellow, a little heavy, short front
Hardy PrincessDT5Cortland 333 DT 5F Green – true 5wt, medium front taper
Hardy PrincessDT5pCortland 444 DT 5F Peach -true 5wt, medium front taper
Hardy Princess5SKPhoenix Silk DT 5 Green – 6′ front taper
Hardy Princess5ltRIO Trout LT WF 5F – green, true 5wt, nice front taper & long belly
Hardy PrincessT6Wulff TT 6F – dyed green with long front taper
spare lineSA Ultra WF 6F – tan, long front taper



As previously expressed, I now focus on Hardy Lightweight Series of reels, and the goto is the Princess at 3.5″ diameter / 4.6 ounces, but I would also consider to the Featherweight for 2 & 3wt rods at 2.9: diameter 3.4 ounces.

It is recognized the Hardy Lightweight LRH model is little smaller and lighter (and the most well recognized (popular of the series)), but I believe the gains are too small against the cost of tighter spooling-cooling of the fly line, especially silk. The alternative is some of the large arbour reels, such Ross Colorado LT, Guideline Halo or the Danielsson Midge/Dry Fly, thought the new Bauer RVR looks great.

the Lines

When I started, the choices – without the internet were not the same. Yet very good choices were there from 3M’s Scientific Angler (such as the XPS) and Cortland with the 333 (green).

Both companies wane (3M sold SA to Orvis), but have recovered, and there are some sophisticated tapers out there for casting, and a few thoughtful lines for fishing and some destined for casting.

Trout is not a distance game, but it is about finesse, control and mending. So what attributes would be good?

  • True weight, for a medium to slow action rod.
  • Primary line: 10′ taper tip, ideal range 8′ to 12′.
    • Secondary: For summer and delicate small flies, a long taper for a long line is good to have.
  • For 8+’ rods: 40+’ from tip to running line, so the distance from my hand to the fly with the running line junction at the tip is ~ 60′.
    • For small river and creek fishing, length is not critical and often takes up space on the reel. As I usually drop down to a 3wt or lower, I am looking for a line with a shorter head, ideally 30′.
  • Supple, not stiff.
  • And since it is trout, and I do have backing any running line that is 30′ is fine.

Ignoring my collection of old lines, what would I buy today? After surveying 406, Airflo, Cortland, Guideline, RIO, SA, and Wulff. my top picks today:

  • for 3wt or smaller (at 100$), where a fine properly weight line is important – RIO Lightline
    • for lighter and smaller rod, I am looking for a shorter front taper <10′ that is properly weighted, so the choices are few.
    • alternatives:
      • Cortland Finesse II but front taper is a long and line is a little heavy.
      • Guideline Vario Tactical with a long front taper and a heavy. I consider my 3wt, a 3/4wt line. Great for a long stiffer rod, such as our Sage ESN 10′ 3wt, but not what I want on Scott G 7′ 3wt.
  • the standard for 4-6wt (at 80$), the Cortland Trout Finesse II
    • it represents what I am looking for a line with a 10′ front taper with a long body. And the negatives, it is a little heavy, but I am good witth this for 4wts +
    • alternatives:
      • for 2-5wt: Guideline Vario Tactical at 80$ (100$ CDN) for long rod, but be aware it is heavy.
      • Cortland Ultralight, like the Guideline with a long front taper, but it is true to weight.
      • for all: RIO Lightline at 100$
  • for 3-6wt 8+’ rods (at 90$) for BWOs and other small flies Cortland Ultralight small flies
    • a nicely colour line, true weight and long front taper
      • alternate:
        • Guideline Vario

A survey of the good lines in Alphabetical Order, with lines I am suggest in bold.

Airflo (USA) Superflo Tactical at 100$ for summer and long rods.

But unless you want the grey head, I would go for the Cortland Ultralight or Guideline Vario. IMHO, the taper is good and it is appropriately weighted.
Sadly for this US owned company out of Colorado, Airflo in Europe (where the lines are made) offers a much better selection of trout lines, such as the Forge and Superflo Elite, both of which look very good. I really do not understand the new owners at Airflo!

Cortland 333 at 45$ it is a low cost, well weighted line, but yellow.

I have an older 333 in Green that was great. I have since bought an updated 333, and found it to be stiffer and not as pleasant to cast. I would consider this, if you want yellow or expect to quickly destroy the line, but otherwise look elsewhere.

Cortland 444 Peach at 65$ that is properly weighted supple short line at 65$, but it is peach.

If you need a line to see, go for it, but short head limits make it more suitable for smaller rivers and creeks. If on larger rivers, mending is important, then consider the DT variant. If spooling space is an issue, cut the line in half to create a 40+ shooting head and add a running line of your choice (from an old line?).

Cortland 444 SL at 60$ and appears to be similar to my old favourite 333

Great price at 60 USD and properly weight (a listed 5wt weight is 140 grains), but being stiffer, I would use this on bigger rods for larger rivers. I would like to try one out, but the Cortland Trout Finesse II is similar.

Cortland Modern Trout at 65USD

A “little” heavy, but otherwise a general purpose line, with annoying back taper that starts early.

Cortland Trout Finesse at 80USD a good all round fishing line at a price

With a listed head weight of 150 grains at 5wt, it is a little heavy (not as bad as the Cortland Trout Boss), but in spring, most of my casts are short, and I want the body for line management and mending.

Cortland Ultralight at 90$ and well suited for Summer for far and fine.

Look good for a long rod and they do maintain a proper head weight of 140 grains for a 5wt.

Guideline Vario / Vario Tactical, at 100 C$ for stiffer rods.

This supple line is very nice on our 10′ Sage ESN, but unlike the Cortland Ultralight it is heavier than the AFFTM standard, My 3 weight at 25′ is approximately 105 grains, where the standard is 100 grains at 30′.

RIO Lightline at 100$ at 140grains for a 5wt.

Good profile, nicely coloured, correct weight, but the most expensive.

SA and others offer nothing that I can find I would recommend

406, Scientific Angler, Sunray, Wulff I am sure have great lines, but they suffer from either bad website (SA) or insufficient information to wade through the noise.

What am I wanting to Avoid?

What would I consider a casting line? The RIO Elite Technical Trout Line is a facsimile of what I call a casting line, a head design to launch and carry the fly out with efficiency; which would seem better for a quick cast from a boat, versus standing in my favourite trout river and fishing a seam. It is a shape, I would want to cast from a boat to bonefish in the Bahamas and strip in, but not one I would want to mange-mend, as I manage the drift of a fly.

I guess much of this is, what I have learnt after 30+ years of fishing, but acknowledging the history of how I got here. Time and experiences are not static, and nor should knowledge. I am not expert, just someone who has been fishing for 30+ years,

These blogs are to help be rationalize my experiences, help me make future decisions, and maybe along the way benefit others who read my ramblings. I do find placing line profiles on one page, helps me compare the many choices made available.

20210822 / 20211002 Update Reviews:

Refined my recommendations and continue to look to Cortland, but I did add RIO’s Lightline.

After some more testing and measurements, I have refine my thoughts on the Guideline Vario.

I do miss the days, when I was in Salem NH and stop in at American Angling, pull a rod out and we would pick the best fit. (I know I want to do this again, before I pick another 11wt rod for the salt.) And today, my sense of the diversity for lines is that we have many more choices and some of them are not good.

And to Tom from 406 or others, I am happy to think about your lines, but I really like a little more information.





Written by raspberryfisher

2021/08/10 at 02:19

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Z.Gear

Paella – my two pot version

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The process and ingredients reflects what is readily available to me in eastern Ontario

assemble main Ingredients

  • Small scallops
  • Uncooked large shrimp
  • 2 Duck Breasts
  • Paprika
  • Dried-Cured Sausage
  • Onion
  • Red Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Baked Garlic
  • Arborio Rice
  • Saffron
  • Fresh Lemon

Step 1 – Prepare the seafood (from frozen)

  • Thaw the small scallops (Argentina Shrimps)
  • Thaw and peel the large uncooked shrimp
    • If necessary, remove the central vein
  • Place in separate bowls in cold water and refrigerate

Step 2 – Prepare the duck

  • Remove fat-skin and cube into <1″ pieces, 2 Duck Breast and place in bowl
  • Add and mix 2+ tablespoons general olive oil and paprika
  • Refrigerate

Step 3 – Clean and then slice the dry Sausage

  • Clean the cutting board (I actually prefer to change to my vegetable board)
  • Slice, and if necessary quarter, the dry Sausage, like a Genoa Salami
    • Of course, remove the casing.
  • There is enough spice in the other ingredients, I see no need for a “hot” sausgage.

Step 4 – Prepare the Vegetables

  • Dice 1 Onion
  • Dice 1 Red Pepper
  • Dice 1/2+ cups of Flat Parsley

Step 5 – Start the Protein Pot, Dutch Oven

  • Warm the olive oil in a dutch oven, under medium heat
  • Add Onion
  • Saute (sweat) the onion for 5 minutes
  • Then turn down to low heat

Step 6 – Start Rice Pot, Brasier

  • Heat at medium the premium olive oil in a brasier
  • Add 5 baked garlic cloves
  • Add in 2 cups Arborio Rice
    • Do not prewash the rice
  • For 5 minutes, cook-coat the rice

Step 7 – Cook the Rice

  • Still at medium heat
  • Mix in a pinch of saffron
  • Zest a lemon
    • Two, if you really want to taste the lemon
  • Lay on top the parsley
  • Gently pour in 3 1/2 cups of stock – seafood or chicken
  • Add a bay leaf on top
  • Raise temperature to to Medium High
  • Once a light boil has begun, cover.
  • And reduce heat to medium low
    Listen. Yes, I listen to the braiser and if I think the boil is strong, I turn the heat further down. It is not unusual at the end of this session, the stove is at low.
  • Try not to disturb, and let it cook. I find this usually takes 25 minutes.
  • Set timer to 25 minutes.

Step 8 – Return to Dutch Oven

  • As the timer is counting down, at 17 minutes
  • Add in Duck to the Dutch Oven, cover with Onions.
  • Raise temperature to medium and cover pot.

Step 9 – Finish the Proteins

  • The minute timer should have less than 12 minutes on it.
  • Add in sausage
  • Add in the red pepper
  • Optional, add in spice to desire – such chili flakes, paprika, Japanese 5 spice
  • Add 8 minutes,
  • add in small scallops
  • add in small shrimp
  • if pot is dry, add stock
  • Typically, everything is ready (cook), when the rice is ready.
    I find there is a little free time here, so everything is washed, knives are stropped and plates are ready.
    Open and pour a nice ale.
    . In summer, Whitewater Brewery’s Farmer’s Daughter
    . In winter, Calabogie Brewery’s 1883

Step 10 – Mix and Service

  • Check everything is cook, and if not adjust.
  • Drained and the Dutch Oven (the proteins) and keep the stock (just in case)
  • Stir the rice and remove the bay leaf.
  • Mixed it all together,
  • Serve, serves 4


Final notes, like many assembled dishes, there is substantial flexibility in quantities and enabling your preference, For this reason, it is

  • Chef’s choice on quantity and type of seafood. I have experiments with squid, mussels, et cetera, but we have settle our preference to being small scallops and large shrimp.
  • Chef’s choice for spice, whether it is paprika, garam masala, dried chili, and zesting in 2 lemons is also ok. I do mix it up!
  • Often you will see chicken, but we definitely prefer duck. I do save the duck skin and fat, whether I use in another dish, prepare a pan or it becomes a treat for cats, it is worth saving.
  • I prefer baked garlic.
  • I rather have a savory Italian dry cured sausage like a genoa salami, and not a hot spicy cacciatore. I find these hot sausages overwhelm the meat, while separate spicing enables a better balance to the dish.
  • I create the steps above to illustrate, it is really about coordinating two pots that required about 30 minutes of cooking.


Written by raspberryfisher

2021/08/06 at 03:16

Posted in Weekend Cooking

Lathe Handle – simple secure comfort

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A picture summary of the latest lathe handle, illustrating my “new” tradition of well defined well and the pronounce step, that enables an a positive relaxed grip as my hand moves up and down the handle.

The handle is made from birch and I applied 6 coats of blonde shellac.





Written by raspberryfisher

2021/08/01 at 02:20

Posted in Handles, Wood Projects

Fly Reel Collection – Storage

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This is part of a set living blog posts that reflect my fly fishing tools. Clearly it illustrates diversity, and possibly a case of gear acquisition syndrome. In this series, I have detailed setups for rods and lines, as a function of:

In this specific blog, I detailed my reels, and how they cross-reference to rods and the primary lines they are typically associated with, as they are kept in my rod bags. I also notate:

  • things I want to change (primarily move away from 30lb Backing), and lives to change or sell
  • things that do not fit in my standard case – spares, and possibly actions I should take
  • when there are duplicates of reels, I usually tag them with a little label, which is also reflected
  • and the table layout replicates how the reels are typically kept (with the seam at the top)

Saltwater Case (large blue Vision Case)

Nautilus 10 (8cs)Nautilus (8S)Islander AR 4.0Einarsson 8Plus
Scott Meridian 8Scott Meridian 8 Winston BL5 9
Bonefish Clear TipBonefishBonefish
20lb Green 20lb Green 20lb Green 20lb Green
Abel 12 SDS *Danielsson L5W (G10) Danielsson L5W (b8)Nautilus NV-G 89
Guideline RSi 11Guideline RSi 11TFO BVK 8Scott Meriden 8
TarponIcicleBonefish Quick ShooterBonefish
White Braid30lb Pink 20lb Green 20lb Green

Notes and Spares

  • The Danielsson L5W is the 8twelve, with a stated backing capacity of 200+m of 30lb backing with a 10wt line
  • 20210814 Update: Beside the Abel 12 is an empty Nautilus 12DD spool. I can see the Nautilus 12DD reel as a viable spare to the Abel 12 SDS.
  • I have 1 spool and 3 reels that are open, and could be redirected (or sold):
    • Nautilus 12DD Spool (2s), but I have two full reels in my Spey Case, so it really is there as a spare.
    • Einarsson 8Plus
    • Danielsson L5W 8twelve (with the RIO Coastal Shooter Line)
    • Danielson H5D 11fourteen
  • I have in Storage a Danielson H5D that can be a backup for Tarpon, but the frugal part of me says I should use the Nautilus 12DD or the Danielsson L5W (as I have no plans to go for the very large tarpon).
  • I also have a few spare lines in this bag, including (in order of weight):
    • Airflo Clear Tip, WF7F
    • RIO Bonefish WF8F
    • RIO Bonefish QuickShooter WF9F
    • RIO Coastal WF10I – great line for the Guideline RSi
    • RIO InTouch Pike WF10I – another great line for the Guideline RSi
    • RIO Tarpon Short WF11FI – another great great line for Guideline RSi
    • Monic Clear Intermediate, WF11I,
    • Airflo Tropical Punch WF11F,


Spey Case (large black Vision case)

Nautilus 12DD (m7) Nautilus 12DD (2D) Danielsson L5W (m5) Nautilus 10 (m4)
Meiser 13688Burkheimer 7134Meiser 1305Meiser 1264
Steelhead FinderEqualizer Head 8Winter Authority 35
550 grains462 grains420 grains324 grains
9 15′ 129gPoly 107 10′ 75gVersileaders
RIO Flex 0.35″ BlueSRO 30lb ELFRIO Core 0.37 SRO 30lb Elf
30lb Orange30lb Blue30lb Bue30lb Orange
Hardy St AidenNautilus 12SNautilus 12S (7sc)
Meiser 1565ACR 1173GL 1509GL 1509
SRO Vector 5-6RIO Scandi ShortGaelforce EqualizerBeulah
FloatingFloatingEqualizer Spey 910Aerohead 910
390 grains240 grains756 grains at 63′640 grains at 56′
hand tied leaderhand tied leaderhand tied leader hand tied leader
….miracle braid30lb ELF Orange
20lb green30lb white30lb Orange

  • Inside the case, but not spooled
    • Airflo Delta Spey WF 67 – 470 grains – 46’ – Pale Yellow to Orange
    • Airflo Delta Spey WF 78 – 530 grains – 51’ – Pale Yellow to Orange
    • Airflo Delta Spey 2 WF 910 – 680 grains – 51′ – Light Olive to Pale Orange
  • Outside of the case
    • Nautilus 12S Red + Skagit Lines
      • On-Spool: Airflo Skagit – 570 grains at 26′ – Green with Black Tip – MOW m
      • Airflo Skagit – 600 grains at 26′ – Green with Dark Green Tip – MOW m
      • RIO Skagit Max – 650 grains at 24.5′ – Turquoise – MOW m
    • Nautilus 12S Black Spare Spool, with white braided line
    • Guideline PT Scandi RTG 10-11 – iS3S4 – 6498 grains at 38.7′
  • Not yet listed are the long lines and those spools associated with 9wt rods


7-11wt Reels (Simms case)

Loop 3W (rl)Loop 3W (op)Loop 2W (7m)Loop 2W (9m)
Guideline RSi 11wtJames Green 1007Scott ARC 1007Scott ARC 9069
Guideline Pike Airflo Spey SwitchAirflo MultiTip 7RIO MultiTip 9
WF 10FHI360 grains
Poly 5OPST Micro Tips7wt 10′ 75 grains9wt 15′ 129 grains
30lb Orange 30lb Orange 30lb Orange 30lb Orange
Waterworks Force (9s)System 2 89 (9F)System 2 78 (7F)
Scott Meriden 8 Scott Meriden 8 Fenwick, Alpha
Airflo Power Taper WF 8FAirflo Beach WF 8F SA Ultra WF 7F
System 2 78 (7W) *
Airflo 40+ WF 7F
  • System 2 78 Spool (7S2) has a SA Uniform Sink 2, best used with the GL3 Rod.
  • Tucked away n the case, almost as throw away lines:
    • 3M SA WF 7F – Grey
    • 3M Ultra WF 7F – Sink Tip 4 – Tan-Black
    • Airflo MultTip 7F Body – Yellow (great running line?)
    • Unknown 9+wt Sink Tip – might be good for the RSi
    • Unknown 9wt Floating – Yellow


An illustrative overview


I do recommend the large Vision Reel Bag, also known as the hard gear bag, and yes, I have tried others.

First up is the case holding the spey reels.


Moving to a newer Vision Case, and in Blue, here is my Saltwater case


And looking inside of my Saltwater Case, you can see the reels and some spare lines.


In addition to reels and lines, I keep with the Saltwater reel case:

  • Line cleaner
  • Knot Sense UV Resin.
  • Reel Maintenance (the Islander, which has a cork drag).


A Line Wallet, and note each line has a business card with it that identifies what it is.


And I still keep each reel with a protective case


And though not simple, each tip wallet is tagged as well for quik identification



Written by raspberryfisher

2021/07/31 at 17:06

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Z.Gear