Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Archive for the ‘Fly-Fishing’ Category

Simms’ Flats Boots

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First and last: Recommended, but you must fit your boats in a store or be prepared to ship back boots!

I pick these boots up for saltwater fishing, but having using them extensively as my water boats launching, handling et cetera, Judy’s boat this summer, I have had enough time to “bond” with them. With the neoprene socks (ordered separately), they are great.

I would note that Judy’s Seadoo boats did not last 5 days in the Bahamas before they fell apart, but mine dp show some wear, but are in great shape, protect my feet, easy to walk in, and keep the sand out.

Any warnings or disappointments:

  • As others pointed out, Simms sizing is way out to lunch!  I usually fit in a size a Size 10 to 10 1/2 wide shoe.  In this case, I am in a Size 13 Boat and a Large thin Simms Neoprene sock.
  • Availability – though I live near a city of a Million People, there was no store that had any. I was able to get my, while travelling through Dallas last year at a Bass Pro.
  • Size again, no-one makes a boot for a small lady (my wife, hence the try with the poor Seadoo boot).

simms boats_DSC0436

Yes, this is a great boot and sock combination, but as others noted, the sizing information does not reflect what you may be wearing in shoes, boots, waders, et cetera. Find a store.

As a reference, this year, I also purchased a new pair of walking shoes (Merrell’s size 10) and dress shoes (ECCO, size 44 (10 1/2)), and the SIMMs are 13s.

I hope this helps.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/22 at 00:01

Judy’s Lutra Laker

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lutra laker IMG_7631

First, this is not an easy boat to build from plans, if you never built a boat. You have to learn how to interpret plans into a 3D shape, build forms, et cetera.  Yes, there are instructions and a video, but some experience is strongly recommended.

Now, this is not my boat, but my wife’s – Judy. She built it and I supported her, but I am the “blogger in the family”, but she is the Captain!

As you can see in the video, it is on the water, after several months (built across 2 summers) it is running. There are finishing touches to be made, but it sea-worthy.

My summary is it an excellent boat for inland waters, and better than any production boat in its class.  So the points:

  • Wood, it rides well and carves through the water (fun).
  • It is stable, I am very comfortable and standing on the front desk and casting.
  • Lots of space for the day.
  • It runs 20 knots + on 10hp, so it does not eat fuel.

So we been taking it out on local water, before I begin my fall travel period (I leave Saturday).

Changes and suggestions:

  • Judy’s change to a low profile hatch was perfect.
  • Gas tank will be staying to the back, as Judy (the Captain) likes when I sit low on the floor and place my legs under the front deck. For me, it feels sporty, and she gets a clear view and the ride is smoother for those long runs.  Now we need to create a little seat.
  • Looking to add a trolling motor, and the transom could have been wider OR the top of the side wells flat to hold the motor.
  • Transom could be 5cm taller for better propeller placement.

Maybe before the season is over, I will get some detail images up.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/20 at 06:08

Scott Meridian 8wt

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I have not posted for some time, with the rain this summer and the deer eating my garden, I have little to post on the usual subjects. Never-the-less there are some updates, which I like to share.

I bought the Scott Meridian 8wt last winter as a backup rod for bonefishing, and now it is my preferred rod for Saltwater, Pike and Bass. It has displaced a 20+ year favoured Loomis GL3 and a more current Winston BL5.

Why has it gain such favour? It is light, responsive and I can really feel the bend in the rod, allowing me to time my cast well. It is fun!

It does not have the stiff body as my older Sage RPLXi, where you need to over-line the rod to feel it, but feels alive with the designated line weight. Beinf responsive, you can apply some complex setups with ease,

Like my new Meiser 13668 (previous post), and I suspect the Guideline in the picture below, it has exploited the new fast recovery graphite’s available to the rod designers.

Unlike other reviewers, I get no gain or advantage et cetera with any posting. I just share my thoughts, just as a individual with no pressure t produce and maybe help a person or two.

I do recommend (like the many fly fishing pundits), if you are looking for a 8wt, fresh or saltwater, get a Scott Meridan.

I did buy a second rod, for Judy and I.

 

rods_DSC0437

Is there any concern? Small one, maybe as a result of the mass of the flies, maybe an error in production or my cast, my sections do come lose after a few hours. You can use the standard spey two-hand long-rod technique of some wax, a little tape. or keep an eye on your rod.

meridan_DSC0440

scott_DSC0439

It is a light rod, so I encourage you to look for a light reel.  As I self declared earlier this spring, I prefer the engineering and supply stability from Danielsson, so on my rod is a L5W 8twelve, suited for the salt and any other other challenge I can put on her.

Right now, I am using the Airflo Beach 8wt for Bass and Pike. Once you get the head to the tip, the line just flies over the water.

airflo

And yes, I am using a Streamside Furled Leader. In some of the forums, I see debate (often not so kind and focus on the flotation issue) from several of the furled leader manufacturers, but Mike Moline at Streamside lays low and just delivers a very nice leader MADE TO ORDER, and suitable for a 8wt.

Judy more than I likes how these leaders cast too and presents a fly.

So another set of recommendations for my Meridian 8 wt – Airflo Beach and Streamside Furled Leaders

On furled leaders, if dry fly fishing, may I suggest you use the Phoenix Braided Leader and use a little Red Muclin to support it if you feel it is necessary. I would also contend, a leader that is under the surface and NOT dragging your dry fly under is better than a mono-leader on top when fishing slick water for trout. Maybe I have not spent enough time dry fishing on slick water to get annoy about leaders not floating and prefer the subtle look of a furled leader in the water.

All of these recommendations-comments has been based on months to years of use, so hopefully this helps, if you are searching for a new rod for Bonefish, Bass or Pike.  It is a great rod, for fresh or saltwater.

Oh yes, the 11wt Guideline RSi Rod in the above picture is new, and has not seen the same usage as the Meridian. I like it, but it has not seen the same level of punishment as the 8wt, so I reserve any recommendation until it has seen a season or two.

Last comment for today and to close up the opening message. It has been a cool and wet year, so it has been a banner year for our local tree frogs.  I scared this one our of my Lemongrass pot on the deck, in the back.

tree frog_DSC0446

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/20 at 02:17

Travel Spey Rods and More

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rod 1_DSC0340

These are not my usual art pictures, but as this is more about information than illustration, I decided to sacrifice on the photography.

Many many years ago for single hand rods, I moved to “travel” versions, id est rods that were 4 pcs and could fit in a carrier that usually carry on a plane or not be charged with large baggage fees.

This change started with the GL3 9′ 7wt, at a time when there was a debate you sacrifice “capability”. Yet, when I selected this rod (American Angling in Salem NH (now long gone)) from the many I tried, it was my favourite – 2pc or 4pc.  Nearly 20 years late, it still is my goto rod for bass fishing on my local river for nearly 20 years and so far the only “similar” rod that I have liked as much is the new Scott Merdian 8wt.

Five+ years ago, I started spey (two hand) fly fishing. My first rod, as you can see on the bottom with the Red Nautilus 12S Reel is a 14′ Scott 9wt G.  Heavy rod, with a heavy reel and currently my winter skagit setup.  Rods two and three are gone (almost) – I sold my Sage 7136 Z-Axis and trying to sell my Loomis GLX 15′ 9wt, but all rods travel like skis and golf clubs in how they consume space.

As I developed, I decided my previous rods where too “big” (line weight) for what I needed – long rods were good, but a lighter line rod made more sense, and then came the Meiser 1264S, then Burkmeimer 7134 for steealhead and most recently my travel rods.

Spey travel rods, do not get much attention as they should, given they are great rods. The selection may be limited, but they are great rods.

rod 8_DSC0336

So my current limit up of double-hand rods, setup and thoughts.

  • Meiser 1264S – 12’6″ 4-piece with a SGS (from Meiser and Steve Godshall) 31′ 324g head plus 10′ Polyleaders on a Nautlus CF 10 Reel. This is my favourite rod for trout and my local river, as it just casts to my want (a natural fit).
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  • Meiser 1305S-5 – 13′ 5-piece travel rod currently with Guideline 78 (417 grain) PT Scandi – 35′ + 10′ Polyleaders on a Danielsson L5W 8twelve.  The original SGS Scankit (411gr 32′) was nice, but the rod really feels well with the Guideline 3Density line. I have two heads for it FHS1 and a IS1S2. If I was going to add another, it would be new Guideline 3D FHS4 to get the fly deeper when required, but I would use the next rod in lieu of this.
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  • Meiser 13668CX-6 – 13’6″ 6-piece travel travel rod with a SGS 35.7′ 502 grain head with 7wt RIO Heads (so actual shooting head weight is closer to 580 grains).  This is my newest rod, and only recently been released by Bob Meiser. It is light and responsive.
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    I first started out with a lighter line and reel, (Danielsson and NextCast WA 78 520 grain (with head)), which was wrong on both accounts. Yes the rod is lighter and using a light reel may have been possible, if Bob  kept the lower handle to 4.5″ versus the actual 5.5″, so you should be thinking about a 12oz reel or ask Bob to make the lower handle shorter.  The grain weight is listed at 450-750 grain, but I felt the lighter line was under-powering the reel and the provided line was absolutely right!
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    The Nautilus 12S was to heavy, but the Nautilus 12DD (having an empty weight of 12 ounces is right, and can afford a little heavier.
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    I like this rod, and it is a compliment to the 1305-5 above.
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  • Burkheimer 7134 – 13’4″ 4-pc with a SRO Ballistic 38′ 470 grain head with 8wt tips on a Nautilus 12S Reel  (placing the line total head weight close to 550 grains). It is a rod that requires a relax cast and will release, a rod I like using for Steelhead.  As I have gather a collection of some other lines, I still want to experiment and will consider a heavier line.  I have a Nextcast WA 520 grain 47′ line ready for it, and will try the above Guidelines later this year on it (if the rain ever stops, and the local river becomes safe).
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  • The old Scott G1409 – 14′ 9wt 4pc used as a Skagit Rod to search the bottom of a river in Winter with large flies, and currently has a Airflow Skagit 570 with Medium MOW tips, but I think I prefer it with the 600 grain line or greater.  It is on the Red Nautilus 12S reel, and the handle has been modified (previously posted) to be more friendly for casting understand.
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    To be honest, I have not connected this rod, so I am still playing with it, and see if I find that magic I get with the above rods.
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  • Not shown, as it is a short “spey” switch rod is my 10′ 7wt 4pc (travel ready) James Green Fiberglass with the OPST 350 grain line on a Danielsson 3W reel.  Rod is designed for close in fishing conditions.
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  • Not shown, is a Scott ARC 1007 – 10′ 7wt 4pc that has a 7wt multi-tip Airflo line. This is just a great single-hand spey rod that I and Judy will fight over to use. It is great trout streamer rod in normal conditions or when the river is high, and you are casting from the bank.

So what would I take with me, for travel?  Considering you usually can fit 4 rods in most carriers.  If I was going to a trout haven, where I wanted Spey Rods, such as New Zealand:

  • Meiser 1305S-5
  • Green 7wt 10′ and-or Scott 7wt ARC 10′
  • Scott G2 805 – my travel dry fly rod (Judy’s a Scott STS 905)
  • Open to my current fancy

And places where Steelhead, Salmon may also be considered

  • Meiser 1305S-5
  • Meiser 13668CX-6 – consumes space of 2 rods though
  • Open to current fancy and whatever else I might encounter.

rod 4-DSC0339

And what about travel cases.  As I do believe in using what you have, and what I have is no longer available, this may not be to helpful.

  • Abel Rod Carrier – Built like a tank and I trust my rods in them, even it is checked baggage.  Today, the option is get Harding and Sons from Oregon to make you a case.
  • DB Dun – Secure and good for carry-on for 4 rods and reels. A great carry-on case, and is closest match today is from Fishpond.

In the past few years, I have been able to carry-on my rods through Europe, Canada, United States and Bahamas.  The only area forced me to check in the rods, was in Japan.

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Oh yes, I built a new rod rack too, as shown, so I have a place to leave rods for practice and dry when I get home.

rod 10_DSC0335

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/07/03 at 04:15

Fly Reel Backing – Notes

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Suggestions and believes:

  • Backing is only an issue when targeting large fish on rivers that can support a run back to the ocean-lake or saltwater. Otherwise it is a filler.  20m of backing will suffice for trout, bass and pike.
  • For single hand rods of 8wt or less, 20# is sufficient.
  • For double hand rods of 400gr or less, 20# should suffice.
  • Above this, limit, I migrate to 30#.
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  • Use Dacron.
  • Avoid gel-spun, as you do not want to handle this when the line and fish is out.  Yes, I do use it, when I find the stated backing capacity of a reel is less than what is stated, and I need extra capacity, but I use a 20m section of 30# Dacron between the fly line and gel-spun.
  • Never use mono, as it will stress the reel.
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  • To help you identify what strength you have on, colour code your backing.  For me:
    • 20# is Yellow or Green
    • 30# is Orange or Blue
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  • Good connection from backing to line is the Albright knot.
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  • If using shooting heads or looking to change lines, 20# Dacron usually does not create good loops that form around a line loop.  So if you are using shooting heads and using a loop to loop connection at the backing, add 20-30m of 30# to the end to form a loop.
  • So as illustrated, I am using in the following setup.
    • Reel to 20-30m of 30#Orange as a sighter (oh no, I am almost out of line!)
    • Double Duncan Loop knot to join 20# Green backing.
    • Shooting Line End –  20-30m of 30# Orange – Double Duncan Loop knot.
    • Perfection Loop large enough to pass a flyline (as illustrated) OR Albright knot to a running line.
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    • I have had no issues with the Duncan Loop Knot, but make sure your knots are strong.  As I am using these on rods where I am expecting the fish to be under 12lbs and the tippet more so, the knot is not be a critical issue.
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      The only issue can be, when you are being “spooled” and you have past the last 20-30 transition, you have a weak link close to you. I rather have the warning that I am almost out and I accept this comprise knowing that the fly-line itself is stronger than the 20# or 30#, so if you need to break-off, hope for the tipper-leader to break otherwise the flyline is gone, irrespective of the knot.

Danielsson_DSC0205

backing_DSC0256

  • For 30# it is backing from reel to line.  By the same token, you can include an 30# orange sighter on the last 20-20m.
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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/27 at 19:35

Posted in Fly-Fishing

Fly Fishing Reels – IMHO – Conclusion

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I seen in 20+ years an evolution of reels and I would argue reel (pun intended) improvements. But with these gains, we seen companies leave you stranded or push the “greatest” innovations at you.  With my desire to continue and expand my fishing, my portfolio of rods and reels is exhaustive. If I was starting afresh today, I would keep it simple.

For Trout, you do not need complicated and focus should be on rods and lines for presentation, so stick with a reel that is readily available and spools that are readily available, where the reel weights less than 4oz.

For this, I recommend the Hardy LRH or one size larger, the Princess (which I am using).

princess_DSC0209

I recommend this, knowing that Pure Fishing (who bought and now owns Hardy) is sending out signals they are going to cancel this product line that is generations old (and stop providing spare pawls, springs, et cetera).  Never-the-less, given its presence for decades, old reels should be easy to find.

The alternative is the Danielsson Nymph.

loop-nymph

For everything else, except for long spey rods, look to Danielsson L5W and H5D series.  As Danielsson is producing a great product at a great price, with a Swedish sense of support! (versus disposable product lines).

Danielsson_DSC0205

And what about long spey rods?  Sorry, I cannot recommend any current solution in production.  It might be there, but I have not put my hands on such a beast where you get the weight to balance, spool that you can palm and fast retrieve. Closest solution is from Hatch (and it has a closed base), but I have never handled one and always surprise why on the boards the number of used Hatch are up for sale (leaves me suspicious)!

Be prepared to spend some time at a store with some inventory, with a known weight required for you take action.

The alternative is to add weight into the rod or onto the spool.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/27 at 06:09

Posted in Fly-Fishing

Fly Fishing Reel – IMHO – Post 5

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If there is one theme across the multiple posts, there is no singular answer, and you must look at the requirements for the use.

Spey Reels

There is a lot of similarity between Saltwater Reels and Speys, with a few notable differences – drag and weight.

  • Drag: Supporting pressure for 8-20# tippet is nice, and it will assist you in landing a fish, but it is a not absolute.  As takes are often strong, so a soft (low) startup is nice, but not critical. To be clear, I usually keep the drag setting light, and if necessary, I may increase.
  • Noise: Still do not care, but it appears there are many who like a noisy reel and will define this as the only requirement.
  • Rate of Retrieve: High rate of retrieve with a minimum of 150m of 30# backing. Given manufacturer’s boastful claims, make sure the reel is specified supporting 200m of backing.
  • Weight:  A standard reel works weighing less than 10oz can work for spey rods of less than 13′ in length, but long rods need a heavy reel to reduce fatigue.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: If you are only fishing freshwater in summer, this is not a requirement, but it you like me fish in the estuaries and in winter, a seal drag is a good thing.
  • User Maintenance: Not critical, but nice to have.
  • Cross-Functional: Nice to have, as these reels can provide good service for streamer and saltwater fishing
  • Spool Changes: Nice to have for cross-functional use, but as many spey lines are now shooting heads, this is not critical.

So priority is rate of retrieve with backing that has the weight to balance the rod.

Nautilus

Sadly Nautilus has moved away from this line and stopped supporting their older (heavier) reels suited for Spey Rods.  In affect they dropped me, so I have decided to find a new company.

  • Drag: A. and easy to palm it.
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  A for the Older Discontinued Reels, D for the new line up.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: D, given move their move away.
  • Spool Changes: D, given their lack of commitment to support their old product lines and show no interest in maintaining forwards-backwards compatibility.

The now discontinued and unsupported 12S. Fortunately, when I realize they were abandoning this segment, I got spare reel and spool.

12s_DSC0228

Danielsson – Traditional

  • Drag: B
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  D – only for short spey rods. I use them on 10′ rods.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: B
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: C
  • Spool Changes: A

Danielsson_DSC0221

Danielsson – L5W and H5D

  • Drag: A.
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  A
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: A
  • Spool Changes: A

My new standard for Salt and Spey

Danielsson_DSC0205

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/27 at 05:38

Posted in Fly-Fishing