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Switch Lines – my survey

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I have done this blog, as it consolidates my recent look at fly lines for fiberglass switch rods, to allow for an easy objective selection.  The blog is for me, but maybe others will benefit.

I continue to experiment with fly-lines for my long fiberglass rods, specifically two James Green Rods – a 7wt and a 5wt.

This season, my fishing was limited, but I found the OPST with its front heavy end was pulling to much into the mid-lower section of the rod, and easy created a harsh hinge, when the setup was not perfect.  This observation leads me to believe a long front taper would be better.

I previously published my selection of the OPST (which has the heavy front) versus the Wulff Ambush Taper (front taper). Upon reflection, I suspect the issue with the Ambush was too short with a rapid butt transition (I also do not like the memory of the line). I would probably would have been better off using the traditional TT or JWS line, if kept to Wulff product line.

wulff taper

But both OPST and Wulff does a disservice to the fly fishing community, as they do not provide any dimension data on their lines, so given their absence of good documentation, I am looking elsewhere.

So whose websites are easy to use, and all you to determine the best fit.

  • A Rating – Airflo USA >
    .
    If there is any issue. Airflo USA does not have the complete product line, and I suggest you look at the European Site.  https://www.airflofishing.com/
    .
    With previous great service from Tim Rajeff, a well structured website, and use of PU material (versus PVC), Airflo is often my goto line source.
    .
  • B Rating – Tied for Second
    • Monic – Limited selection and I am still trying to decide if I like them, but the website is good. In the once nd only like I have 11wt – clear – I like the core, but wonder if the clear polythylene is too “thick”.
    • RIO – I have heard complaints about RIO quality, but they have never given me grief. Site is good, and they ship to Canada, if a retailer does not have the line, accessory, et cetera.
    • Scientific Angler – Many filters and hover over the line and see the profile.  But not all lines have dimensional data, and the hard to read light text on white prevents this as sharing top spot with Airflo.
      .
      Thirty (30) years ago – before buying lines on the web – 3M SA was my goto source. They since been bought out by Orvis, but prior to this, I thought they lost their edge in taper design.  I bought one 3D spey line from them in 10 years, with no issue.
      .
  • C Rating -Tied for Third
    • Ballistic – Nice spey lines, but taper data is  vague.
    • Cortland – The data is there, but there is some serious broken links. For example, for the spring creek flyline, I get a boot?  Picture below.
    • NextCast – Another spey line focus company, but whose website is not intuitive, but the information is there.  The owner (forget his name) is really responsive.
      .
  • C-  Rating: Tied for Fourth, I am interested, but they make it difficult to compare and validate.
    • Barrio – No experience and they acknowledge they are not disclosing sme details.  Am I punishing them, as they are open that details are not detailed, while others may have compound tapers and are not disclosing them.
      • Sidebar: Trident Fly Fishing has executed in their fly line reviews taper measurements of some of these manufacturers, and I found no evidence – in a quick scan – that SA nor Airflo – are hiding complex taper data. RIO does disclose complex tapers.
    • Beulah > Nice spey lines, but missing front taper data.
    • Guideline > Does a better job than those below in describing line profile, the dimensional data is insufficient (they have been stripping the data out each year).  I do have and like their Scandi 3D Speyline.
      .
  • D Rating
    • ARC – Data may or may not be there (inconsistent), and given the competition, not sure why I would look at them.
    • Gaelforce – Positive reports from some users, and the descriptions are interesting, but the data is not there.
    • SunRay, lots of data and very interesting, but printed so small and fuzzy it is unusable. Trick open the picture only in another tab.  Also given I have attempted 3 times to order lines over an extended period and always out of stock of what I wanted, I give them a fail.
      .
  • F Fail – OPST and Wulff
    • Good people, but poor  data.
      .

 

…………

So what is my idea line ? 350gr?  

I am still working this out, and if the weather is not to cold (too much ice), I will try some mockups, before I draw out the next line, but right now I am thinking about a

  • 26′ head,
  • 16′ tapered front head,
  • 8′ body,
  • 2′ rear taper

scandi idea head

 

……….

And what is out there for my Fiberglass Switch Rods?

Airflo

Airflo Rage Compact

airflo rage

  • + This is near a perfect match!

Airflo Beach

airflo beach.JPG

  • + A slightly longer Rage Compact, with an in integrated running line.
  • + I really like the Beach Line on my 8wt Scott Meridan, and available with intermediate and sinking heads.
  • ~ It is a little long and really design for heavier rods, but never-the-less it has the right form.

Airflo Scandi Compact

Generally not available in the US, as I believe the US arm is focus on the Rage.

airflo scandi compact

  • + Good shape, front taper is a little long, and if purchased, I might eventuality trim the butt.  Weight selection fantastic.
  • ~  Not available from US retailers, but is available in Canada. and the ROW (Rest of the World)

Airflo Switch

airflo switch

  • ~ If you want an integrated lines (versus a head you can chop), this looks like a good choice.
  • The rear taper starts at 24′ versus 28′ with the Rage, a benefit for a shorter 9′ rod, but I like the longer front taper.
  • + It is a dead match with first pass specification.

Airflo’s Delta Tapers are expressed in the Sixth Sense and River Line.

Airflo Sixth Sense – floating and intermediate

airflo sixth sense floating.JPGairflo sixth sense intermediate.JPG

  • – If you needed a line that reach out more, with a little more line control, this is a good choice.  But as I am trying to match a line for close in fishing, I fine the heads too long.  Nothing wrong with the line, it is about the intended use.
  • Appears to have no loops at ends.

Airflo River

airflo river.JPG

  • As above, but with loops for easy and quick changes.

Ballistic

Ballistic Express.JPG

  • A little vague? and would need to spend a few more minutes to ensure weight and line is a match. There lines are good, but given the uncertainty, I would probably give them a pass.

Barrio
Barrio Switch.JPG

  • Looks okay, but they disclose they are hiding the details from you.  Now maybe some of the other companies too are hiding details and do not tell you, but I find this disappointing.

Cortland

Some nice lines, but no match.  I still like my old green DT 333, but found they have change “something” when this line returned to the market.  Yes they do properly document their lines, but there is a lot to clicking to find a profile that you might like and errors in their links.

Cortland Short Spey

cortland short spey.JPG

  •  I included this, as a positive note, for they have a limit selection and some good lines, but I wanted to have a counterpoint to the Compact Switch (below) that is a definite fail, which is a short shooting head and suited for a fast overhead rod IMHO  (versus most-all switch rods).

Compact Switch

cortland compact switch.JPG

  • Yuck, No!  I guess you can make anything work, but this is an overhead shooting head, and not a single hand spey line.

Spring Creek Boot Line 🙂

Who wants to cast a boot! and will it catch a fish?

cortland boot.JPG

Guideline

Insufficient data, for a comparative review to select online.
.
I do have a collection of Spey 3D lines, and once on their website the data to select lines – considering weight, configuration, profile and et ceterawas there. \

Monic

No line match. I have one line for the salt and still trying to decide if I like a fly line made out of clear polyethylene.

Nextcast

Nextcast Coastal.png

  • + Right dimensions and available with different tips.

OPST

Insufficient data, for a comparative review to select online.

RIO

Many choices — too many choices?  Anyway, the purpose was to lay this out and make me think, and do a singular look on one page.

rio lines.jpg

Scientific Angler

Mastery SBT

SA SBT.JPG

  • + In reading the able and looking at the profile, it looks good, but a little short.
  • – Very poor image to read the lengths.
  • – No it is not your eyes, it is what happens when marketing-branding stylists take over and forget about usability. (Remember, I am a Product Manager too, and I have had this battle to).
  • fyi – From Trident’s reviews
    • ” SBT and Rio SHS are lines that are definitely worth trying, and must haves if you do a lot of roll casting or are fishing in tight quarters.”

Mastery VPT

This line came up on several searches and also looks like a real contender, but it is not on Scientific Anglers website.  Is it discontinued?

SA VPT.JPG

Wulff

Insufficient Data

 

…………..

Any what am I am going to buy?

In order of preference ….

  1. Airflo Switch, which has an integrated line
  2. RIO Trout Spey, a little short with integrated line
  3. Airflo Scandi Compact, a little long, but looks good

Anyway, I have sometime to spring to order and play with this line. I would expect an update mid-late in 2019.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/12/03 at 01:34

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Spey, Streamer

Bonefish Goto 2 – Spawning Shrimp

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I got my first bonefish on this, and I still serves well. If I did not have this pattern, I would probably have more small Peterson’s Shrimp tied small.

Starting with a close-up of 4 Variants – for the smallest flies, I like to go with rabbit.  This is white, but I also need to dye some rabbit off-white.

sp shrimp 1 DSC4397

Larger flies, I go with Polar-Bear and this case, some heavy eyes and crystal orange flash, to fish off the boat into some deeper water.

sp shrimp 3 DSC4395

But soft and thick, polar bear with seal and a soft pink heart. This is the colouring we found blend well, but still has some life to it.

sp shrimp 2 DSC4396

And with a little more flash to the heart.

sp shrimp 4 DSC4394

And a group, from top left to right – rabbit, pb-bear and tan rabbit.

sp shrimp g2 DSC4416

This series was inspired by Ruby Babikian, a fine tyer who owns the website > https://hiddenhookfly.com/collections/all-flies/products/spawning-shrimp > but I am not sure how active Rudy is now.

And yes, I will tie in Orange. In this case, I am using Yellow and Orange Seal and some hair from a fox’s tail.

closeup_DSC4441

orange sp shrimp_DSC4443

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/24 at 07:23

Scott Heywood Bonefish Flies

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I have more flies than we need for this years Bonefishing trip to the Bahamas, but never-the-less, it is fun to be inspired and tie a few more.  In this case, using Veverka’s Innovative Saltwater Flies book, I have taken a couple of flies from Scott Heywood.  Though the irony, neither fly is part of Scott’s current recommendation for bonefish.

With the Biclops Shrimp, I wanted a large unweighted fly with the light tone of the Exuma sand, which varies from very white (common) to tones slightly grey (less frequent) or occasionally warm.  I recall one flat on the warm side, where the bonefish where all-over close in and shallow.

I have used more sheep fleece than Scott, to enable a long body look.  I comb the fleece, but I rely on the end of  the (Romeny’s sheep) fleece that had not yet been processed into consistent manufactured buns, so I could keep the unkept curly hair in place.

I also went with a seal body with a monofilament ribbing versus mohair.

I am expecting a soft landing into shallow tailing water, with an initial retrieve.

heywood sheep DSC4403

Then there is the Eye Gotcha. As I dislike artificial craft fur, I used polar bear wih a thicker wing. If you live in the US, I would have used Calf-tail. In the field, I may cut back the mylar tubing mouth by 20%.

The pink heart is brighter when using the Pink Uni-Stretch Thread-Floss.

Heywood_DSC4401

As these are fishing flies, I was only using two coats of lacquer, so no glossy heads for show.

.. Post release add to illustrate better the long shape of the sheep fly

heywood2 _DSC4508

heywood 4_DSC4501

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/20 at 00:41

Catnip Fly

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Gunnar Brammer’s Catnip video does a find job explaining the construction and design, and though I have bought some flies off Gunnar, I wanted a few specific colour patterns for

  • Steelhead in Winter, holding up in a hole – Purple, Black, Blue
  • Trout that may be in a deep pocket – Green, Brown, Olive
  • Pike and Bass in the hot summers, when they are deep – Red, Chartreuse

So I have added a few variants.

Some suggestions ….

  • It is not a light fly, so I would recommend – as a minimum –  8wt line and rod for this fly. I have also used of the boat with my Guideline RSi (listed as a 11wt, but as stated in another review, for me it is a 10 wt).
  • I buy my wiggle tails direct from Paulo at fishon.it
  • Good to a bead store to buy the wire, and use this wire to ensure your beads can fit though.

The purple and black fly with the large olive bead is from Gunnar.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/17 at 21:49

Ikea Ivar Hack

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I order some short Ivar verticals and 3 shelves. I drilled and bolted 2 of the shelves and drilled 36 holes in support of my fly rod tubes, and wading staffs.

If you do this simple hack, I would recommend a 2 5/8″ hole for all of your rob tubes. I was concerned with too much “slop” so drilled holes from 2 1/8″ to 2 5/8″, but once I was done I found this concern not real.

Then the modified shelves are placed high and low to constrained the tube, as the tubes rest on the bottom shelf.

Ivar hack IMG_2267

In the center is a rounded rectangle cutout that holds PVC piping. These pipe hold rods I have built, but paid for a separate rod tube, as they get put into my 4pc travelling rod case as needed.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/28 at 06:40

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Tools

Tarpon Reels

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In a previous series of postings, I discussed my thoughts on reels for the intended use. I wrote this series, as I often see passion mixed with industry marketing override solid thought and analysis. Some of my key messages:

  • We over-worry about weight for trout reels, and should focus on something that is interchangeable and flexible, id est, get a reel that allows for multiple spools and should be about to get spools 10 years later.
    • If you are fishing with silk lines, consider a reel that is open with little backing.
  • The industry’s lack of on-going support for spools is sad. I am not a fan of planned obsolesce.
  • For Spey rods, many reels are too light
  • Sealed drags are good in tough conditions – Winter and Salt
  • Large Arbours are good for fish that run long – Steelhead, Bonefish and Tarpon
  • Anti-reverse reels have a real advantage with the drag control on the reel hand side, but they are heavier.

As of recent, as I have begun working with heavy line rods that are light, such as 12wt rods, I have added to expectations for these large reels for saltwater fishing.

  • Weight – please less than 10oz or 280 grams
  • Diameter of 112mm – while larger is better for retrieve, it does increase the momentum-twist the hand feels.
  • Backing that exceed 200m, preferably with 30# Dacron.
  • Open Spool – lets the backing dry.

Without a good flyshop within a days drive of me to allow me to test reels, I have to rely upon datasheets and experience to select a large saltwater reel with a sealed drag that I believe can take the stress.  My (our) choices are ….

Reel weight spool OD backing price
Danielsson L5W 8twelve 229 B 108 A 227
H5D 9thirteen 247 B 108 B 329
H5D 11fourteen 272 C+ 118 A+ 336
Henschel Anti-Reverse 3 306 D+ 98 A+ 540
Henschel Anti-Reverse 4 370 D+ 107 A+ 520
Abel SDS 11/12 282 A+ 115 A+ 1095
Tibor Signature 11-12S 371 B+ 128 A 785
Nautilus Monster 280 A+ 127 A+ 895

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Notes:

  • Reel with the H5Ds are Danielsson
  • Weight is in grams
  • Spool refers to strength and being “open”
  • OD is the Outside diameter of the spool in millimeters
  • Backing refers to the ability to carry 200+m of backing, with B implying you need to consider braid versus dacron.
  • Price is USD as of 2018-07-28

If money was no concern, you and I should look to the Abdel SDS, or a Nautilus Monster.

If money is a concern, look to the Danielsson H5D 9thirteen and if 200m is an absolute, spool on small braid, such as a Cortland Gel-Spun (in Pink too!) or Hatch Premium.

My answer: Danielsson H5D 9thirteen with Cortland Gel-Spun.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/07/28 at 23:43

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Saltwater

Tagged with

Guideline RSi 11wt Review

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rods_DSC0437

I posted earlier my admiration for the Scott Meridan, but included a picture of a newer Guideline RSi 11wt (which was funded by frequent flyer miles). I deferred any comment, until such time I got some real-time fishing, and now I believe this rod has seen enough water for me to make some valid comments.

In summary:

  • A good 10wt rod that lets you feel well into the cast (bends) with a fast recovery that enables you to hold tight loops as you cast into the saltwater wind.
    .
  • I can quickly load the rod – within 2 false casts from the deck of a boat – shoot the line and consistently hit my target at 70′.
    .
  • I will keep it available for throwing large flies for pike or use it on the salt as a 10wt tarpon rod, (<40lbs), permit rod, et cetera ….
    .
  • I will keep available the following 10wt lines, using a Dianelsson L5W 8twelve reel, with
    • RIO Coldwater QuickShooter with Intermediate Tip
    • Guideline 3D Pike Taper – FHI
    • Cortland Tarpon 10wt

Supporting notes:

The rod is light and it *BENDS*, but this does not mean it is slow. It has a very nice quick recovery, but I found the 3 11wt lines too much weight with a strong cast (double-haul) into the wind, as I was constantly “hitting” the butt on the backcast (id est, over-extending the rod), and thus losing energy and accuracy in the cast.

I have tried multiple 11 wt lines from Monic, Airflo Tropic Punch and RIO Tarpon and all felt heavy, unless you kept the casts short. After which, I put on the 10wt lines – Guideline Pike and RIO CostalShooter XP.

Beyond design decisions, such as making lines heavy, there are always variances in production – rods and lines – I am not surprised or disappointed. Thus, I note spend the additional effort to ensure I have a good match.

With cork applied being lower grade, requiring filler was the one disappointment on the cosmetics, but otherwise the build quality and component selection is fine.

I did like the mesh bag, as it allows the rod to dry and consumes little space in multi-rod carrier.

Value:

As of today – May 7, 2018

  • Guideline RSi from Rheal Pitre – 650 CDN
    .
  • Scott Meridan from Bears Den – 865USD or 1115 CDN
  • Scott Tidal from Bears Den – 495 USD or 638 CDN
    .
  • Sage Motive from Bears Den – 499 USD or 643 CDN
    .
  • G Loomis – Asquith – L’Ami Du Moucheur – 1550 CDN
    .
  • Temple Fork BVK – – L’Ami Du Moucheur – 393 CDN

It is light and fast and makes a good 10wt rod, properly priced.

Will I keep the rod at hand?  Absolutely yes!

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/05/08 at 04:35

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Saltwater