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Archive for the ‘Saltwater’ Category

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

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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.
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  • 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′.
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  • 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 ….
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  • 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
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  • Scott Meridan from Bears Den – 865USD or 1115 CDN
  • Scott Tidal from Bears Den – 495 USD or 638 CDN
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  • Sage Motive from Bears Den – 499 USD or 643 CDN
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  • G Loomis – Asquith – L’Ami Du Moucheur – 1550 CDN
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  • 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

DIY – Bonefish Exumas

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One of the flies that got a lot of attention, our Polar Gotcha.

polar gotcha IMG_1328

Some do it yourself, hints and ideas for bonefishing in the Exumas.

Guides – Recommendation – Garth Thompson

double DSCN0936s

One of the two doubles that Garth got us into, and I believe this was Judy’s best fish of the trip.

I still believe in guides, to help you understand the fish, water, how to see, the water, et cetera. So with this, I can highly recommend Garth Thompson whose instructions are well timed, his directions clear and his sight is amazing.

Guides – NOT – Stevie

Stevie (bonefishstevie) – In a display of territorial aggression Stevie charged me in his boat at speed, I was on my feet on the flats so I was at a significant disadvantage. Once the unfriendly encounter was done, he roared out, ensuring our spot was ruined for the day.

Judy’s note, “he is probably a good guide, but just not a good person”.  See TripAdvisor, but, please note Bahamas regulations limit the number of people on a guide’s boat to 2.

stevie review

Enough said, but I dislike negative reviews, but several indicated it was worth noting on this occasion.

Next time when I see a boat charging me, get the camera out, video tape and post it on YouTube.

Kayak or SUP

Yes, a kayak will substantially improve your access, as often there is a deep channel at the shore, before it opens up the cays and flats. In our case, the channel in front of our stay in the middle of the Airport Flats is walkable, though deep.

In the past, I have found kayak’s painful – literally – and this was no exception. Next time, I am bringing an iSUP.

view in the morning IMG_1271

The view from our front step, as the sun rises at high tide.

Logistics – Car – a necessity

Simple: Berlies Car Rentals and if you are looking for a larger car to move kayaks, consider a Jeep and bring your own ropes.

Berlies is located just outside the airport, they will pickup you as you exit the small airport and drop you off.

Logistics – Flights

The Exumas is an out-island, so the infrastructure is downsized. Daily flights from southern Florida or Nassau are present, but otherwise few long-haul flights are available.

In our case, we flew in by Air Canada from Toronto (that comes in-out on every Saturday) to George Town on a small jet. To make the early morning flight out easy with reduce risk (de-icing, weather), we arrive the night before and stay in Toronto (at the Airport Alt Hotel).

Logistics – Food and Alcohol

Yes, we are on an out-island, where the food comes in by ship on Tuesday or Wednesday, so if you land on a Sunday (Air Canada), expect limited food availability.

We stayed at a very nice cottage on the Airport Flats, booked through VRBO, with a small but complete kitchen, so what were the essentials we brought or should have brought:

  • Cliff’s Oatmeal Bars – withstand the heat well, when you are fishing!
  • Ground Coffee and UHT Milk – we even bring our steel French press.
  • Asian Noodles – Breakfast with Poached Eggs (bought at the convenience) . Alternatively, any canned-dry goods you want for 2 days if you arrive on the weekend – Peanut Butter, Granola, et cetera

And when the week comes, you can go to Prime Island Meats north of George Town, and then swing back through George Town to Exuma Market to pick up anything else. When stocked, you will fine better greens and fruits at the Exuma Market, but the Chicken and Crab salad at Prime Island makes great sandwiches.

Kalik is a great beer. I would note for Canadian’s – Beer is more expensive, but alcohol is cheaper than what I can buy in Ontario. Like Ontario, Alcohol sales is controlled and there are limited retailers, we acquire ours south of George Town at the turn off to the old airport (before Cheaters)

For restaurants, definitely recommend ….

    • Santana’s (get the Grouper), also stop next door into Mama’s Bakery on Little Exuma
    • Shirley’s north of Georgetown (get the side dish of fried plantain)

shirleys IMG_1322

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plaintain IMG_1262

Oh yes, my preference was to stay have dinner at the cottage, letting us fish the flats to sunset.

Logistic – Maps

Google Earth is better than Google Maps, as Google Earth Satellite shows the unmarked roads!

Best interactive map of key locations around the Exuma is courtesy of a unknown person who created > https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1rWCO5UyeQGR4OLZ1VVdpjI6YQJg&ll=23.438098271246115%2C-75.60763117177737&z=13

Cameras – GoPro 5

Just before the trip, Judy’s GoPro 4 died and we bought a replacement GoPro 5. The images from this camera is amazing and I hope to post some of her videos soon.

If there is any negative we found with the camera, is that the GoPro 5’s audio does not work well with Gimbals.

Fishing the Airport Flats – Leaders

Go with long leaders – 10-12′ – with a 8 lb or 10lb fluorocarbon.

bonefish DSCN0960

Judy was using a traditional Bonefish Line with a 10+’ leader and did well. I was trying a clear tip line with an intermediate poly-leader. I do not believe there was any benefit with the clear tip (it still have mass), but the setup still work.

Having dealt with good and bad fluorocarbon, I now only use Seaguar Blue.

Yes, there is wind, but with a 8wt rod, we were fine.

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Fishing the Airport Flats – Tides

The tides are about 90-120 minutes behind those reported at Steveston and George Town.

Fishing the Flats – Walking

The flats are mostly sand, so you can walk barefoot; and when the bottom is more mud than sand, it is better to walk barefoot as the feedback help you to respond so much better to the changing conditions.

My SIMMs booties with neoprene socks continue to serve we well.

As noted last year, Judy as a smaller women can not find a boot from the traditional fly-fishing OEMs that will fit her. Last years Ski-Doo boots died within 3 days, but this year she found some Akona boots at a Dive Shop that worked.

Please remember to cover your feet when you are out in the open (out of the water), as burn feet are not fun.

walk flats DSCN0955

Fishing the Exuma Flats – Flies

Light colour flies, as most of the sand is white with a grey tinge, I would suggest white to a light ecru.

Images of flies in a water, with sand from the flats under.

flies in water IMG_1344

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flies in water IMG_1343
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Judy’s last fish of the trip.

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judy fish DSCN0969

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sunset in water DSCN0976
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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/03/31 at 22:52

Posted in Bahamas, Saltwater, Vacation

Keeled Jerk

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closeup keeled jerk DSC1566First lets credit those who have developed this pattern.

  1. I have always wanted to try Dave Whitlock’s Sheep Minnow Streamer pattern, which has a long body and hook point up for “weedy” water.
  2. As noted in an earlier post, I really like Gunnar’s Youtube videos, including his keel jerk, see video below, which has the long body and hook up look that Dave’s fly has.

Now, I offer my observations after tying a few flies:

  1. (I) Prefer Steve Farrar’s Blend over Craft Fur.  The former has volume without bulk, and allows for a light clean taper baitfish. The latter has a lot of junk at the base that needs to be clean (lots of prep) and difficult to build a long base. I may revise this after a summer of fishing, but I want to step away from Craft Fur.
    1. As you may recall, I already stated I have moved alway from Craft Fur for bonefish flies.
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  2. The excellent materials that this pattern has introduced me include:
    1. Ahrex PR380 Texas Predator Hook – sharp and well built: A+
    2. Ice Dub Shimmer Fringe – creates a nice veil: B
    3. Tear Mender as a rubber cement: B+
    4. Pro Flex UV Resin, I will do some testing latter and report, but it is a good resin, that is “hard and flexible”, as it works into the material (thin): A.
      1. Oh yes, I do use my cactus to hold the flies in the Sun to help set the UV Resign.
  3. As far as eyes are considered, get a set of 8mm and 10mm. I also suggest you will get better value if you purchase these in bulk from ebay or another supplier.

And now for some images, but first Gunnar’s video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch

From the web, another individual trying this pattern for the first time. He/She has done a marvelous job (better than me) in layering the craft fur or the central tail. If there is a lesson for me, thicker tail and less craft fur.

keeled jerk nme

Now, I do recommend you buy flies from Gunnar. All of the Shad (Grey-White) Flies are from Gunnar, and are very well done as illustrated below.

gunnars DSC1560

So here is my attempt with Craft Fur, and develop my handling skill with UV Resin.

The head in front is with a thicker Solarex Flex UV Resin, and eventually standardize to the thin Pro Thin Flex. In review, I would look to less craft fur and more internal tail (in this case, bucktail).

As you can see, I also use ties (and moisture) to hold the hair in, as I work on the fly.

green keeled jerk in cactus_DSC1535

green _DSC1561

And then moving to Steve Farrar’s blend.

blue DSC1557

which has a hollow, translucent look to it.

blue backlight _DSC1563

So what is next?  I am liking the path with using Steve Farrar’s blend and the Pro UV Thin Flex, but will consider some of the following tweaks in future:

  1. Stagger the fibers more (the blue stack is to uniform).
  2. Given it translucent qualities, add a touch of red on the inside. Consider more inner tail.
  3. Play with lengths – should the blue top be shorter? Never-the-less,tIt does pull to a nice taper as is.

last blue_DSC1567

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/01/03 at 04:09

Rigging an 8wt Silk Line

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As I preparing for my next bonefish trip, I have added a Phoenix Silk WF 8wt Line. This is very atypical, but there are many properties of silk that appeals to me in these fishing conditions ….

  • Line is thin, so it will cut through wind
  • Intermediate, slow sink – not planning to treat it to float.
  • Colour is straw and a natural colour, like a flat (though more yellow)

Unlike our modern plastic lines, there is no loop – so you either have to nail knot your leader on or add a loop. Trying and testing different combinations (nail knots slipped off), I settled on

  • Using Miracle Braid, Albright Knot onto the Silk Line
  • Leader Loop, Perfection Loop

MBraid Phoenix DSC1526.jpg

For the rear of the line, repeat with Albright.  You can put in a Perfection Loop or created a knotless loop – YouTube Miracle Braid Loop. I keep to the perfection loop.

Last, a couple of shout-outs:

  • Making silk lines is a craft, done by a few artisans. Thanks to Mike and Jean at Phoenix for continuing this tradition.
  • Tim Rajeff the lead at Airflo USA is a class act. Provides good products and good support. I have been a returned customer for 2 decades now.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/12/24 at 21:11

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.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/29 at 06:23

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.
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    2. Gunnar Brammer Fly Tying Video – Excellent. The information provided is not just to tie a fly, but how to improve as a tyer.
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    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

Notes:

  • 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.
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  • Tail – Old Standby – White Deer.  This is a fine choice, but if you want a really long tail, consider some robust (saltwater) rooster saddles.
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  • 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.
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    Like EP fibers, SF Blend is not cheap, but this material allows you to build a large fly that will not be heavy!
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  • 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.
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    These materials are not available to me locally, so I have to mail order them, and sometimes you are disappointed.
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  • Top Wing – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Bleeding Black. Excellent.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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    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.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/08 at 23:45