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Archive for the ‘Spey’ Category

Tube Bunnies – Supporting Notes

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z Olive_DSC9939

z Chatreuse_DSC9948

Note that I am using white Lady Amherst as my lateral line.

z Black_DSC9957

Supplier – ProTube.  The system provided by Protube is fine, but I wish the same could be said for their supply change.  The broad discussions with retailers in the US and Canada would indicate the faults of supply and availability are up the supply chain – distributor and-or company itself.

I have not found supply to be better in Sweden either, and ProTube’s head office is in neighbouring Denmark.

If I was starting fresh, I would look to Canadian Tube Fly Company .  I would call Stuart and have him to create a kit for the species you want to target.  He also has some great feathers to.

Rigging – I been working with two distinct approaches – trailer and in the tube.

For long flies that are always under tension on a swing, I will extend the hook back using an open loop knot that wraps around the hook eye (like a Turle knot). The beads are used to prevent the knot coming into the tube, and thus defines the length of the trailer.  The tippet should be stiff, and my preferred tippet is Chameleon 12 lb or if I am using 16-20 lb, then will transition to Seaguar Blue Fluorocarbon and be prepared to use a size 4 hook.

The hooks I use are Black or Read Up-Eye Hooks – Gamakatsu Octopus 2306 Sizes 8 and 6, Mustad 92568 BLN Size 6, 4.  or Owner SSW 5115-073 Size 4

The challenge is defining the open loop length, which in the following image is too small.  (I bought this fly out of the UK, so see how they (he) ties flies for a reference).

z hook _DSC0103

And for small flies, put the hook eye into the tube (after you have tied on the tippet).  And which hook do I use for this? – Gamakatsu C14S, size 8 and 6.

z hook _DSC0114

Above is an alternate tie that I like to for black tube bunnies – silicon legs and guinea collar.  I have also done dark purple under bellies to.

Rod – I will use my tube flies to chase trout, but you do not want to use a traditional single-hand 4-5wt to throw my tube bunnies, as the fly is too heavy after it absorbs water. Thus,  if I have my dry fly rod in my hand, and want to move to a streamer, I will change over to a muddler or change my rod – either a two-hand Meiser 12’6 4wt (1264S) or my single hand Scott Arc 10′ 7wt.

Please note the AFTM rating for a single hand 5wt rod is 140 grains, but the line weight of the shooting head for the “Trout” 4wt Meiser is 324gr – much more than single weight rod and can handle the smaller tube bunnies. This illustrates, where traditional line rating for “spey” rods does not transpose to the single-hand family of rod.

I would also caution, if you want to throw larger tube flies on the Meiser 1264 than my previously posted tube bunnies, I would suggest you change materials (Arctic Fox) or get a heavier rod!

What heavier (stronger) Spey rods, do I have

  • Meiser – 1305S – 5 piece (it can travel with me) – with a 411 grain head
  • Burkheimer 7134 – 520 grain head.  Makes a great steelhead rod, but a little too much for most trout.



Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/06 at 01:18

Streamers – tube bunnies

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AA DSC9922

And with the exception of my black flies, this is the gamut of tube bunny colours that I use.

For fly-fishing, I like to throw dry flies, but if the fish are not eating off the surface, I am more likely to move to streamers or wet-flies, versus the effective (efficient) nymph techniques that has been so well refined in the past 20 years.

I will catch fewer fish, but I seem to enjoy the hunt more, with throwing that large streamer in the pool or pocket, searching for that aggressive fish.

So what flies are critical to me, in this pursuit.

  1. Sculpzilla – Size 8
  2. Marabou Muddles – Size 4-6
  3. Conehead Muddles – Sizes 10-6
  4. Tube Bunnies – Tube flies <5cm.

There are other great flies out there – think the Deceiver, Clouser Minnow and anything articulated from Kelly Galloup.  If I was going to add more flies into my box, it would be a Clouser for mid-summer crawfish imitation or Galloups’s Heifer or Dungeon for the good big or go home events.

One observation from our last fishing trip – in soft water where you are stripping in flies – the rear weighting of a tube fly can result in an unnatural pause as the fly slides back with the rear hook weight. It is important to have weight in the head of the fly in these situations.

So here is how I tie my trout tube bunnies for soft water, where the fly may not always be under tension, when presented to the fish. (The alternative is to tie on a Sculpzilla). (Please note that I am experimenting with using an iPhone 6 as my camera for this SBS).

Using the Protube System, put on a medium bullet weight.

1. IMG_6634

Secure your thread, as bulk is important (or lack of it), I am using Danville Flymaster 6/0.

2. IMG_6636

Attach the X-Cut Rabbit for the under belly, at the front of the weight.  Sorry, for the picture, I am also showing a waste piece extending on the far side. This is not necessary.

3. IMG_6637

Using a Magnum (wide) Rabbit strip for the top, cut a 6cm strip,  Trim the tail end to form a blunt taper. This provides for a more natural profile, when being fished.

4. IMG_6639

Leaving 3cm for the rear, wet the front of the rabbit and pull forward to separate the fibers.  Then secure the rabbit  over the X-Cut, at the leading edge of the weight.

5. IMG_6641

Do a tight wrap forward of the under-belly – 3-4  turns, and secure. You should not have advance more than 15mm forward.

If using a plastic head, keep the underbelly to 10mm.

6. IMG_6643

Trim the top head to a taper. This is important to keep the bulk of the head down.

As we are concern with keeping bulk of the head to a minimum, we need to use good thread practices:

  1. No more than 5 turns to secure! I will use 3.
  2. Keep thread the flat – using Danville Flymaster.

7. IMG_6646

Trim the tag – excess. I will often use a scalpel to do this, but in this SBS, I have used scissors. You will also find having a small “trough” where the thread compresses the rabbit will help in securing the Lady Amherst fibers.

8. IMG_6647

Add the lateral line, with the material of your choice.

9. IMG_6650

With one turn of thread, add a clump of Lady Amherst Center Tails fibers that have been separated for the top half of the fly.

I like the colours to compliment the body, reflecting the natural I am “mocking”, but use the irregular pattern to break the uniformity of the rabbit.

10. IMG_6651

Use the bodkin and fingers, separate the feather fibers, while being head with one thread. This is a salmon fly tyers technique (shown to be my Scoville Stack), where he is using the weight of the bobbin to provide just enough weight to keep the father in place.

11. IMG_6653

Once fibers are in place, apply head cement to the top, and add a wrap.  Repeat for the bottom, and as illustrated, I have been able to secure the Lady Amherst on all sides with 3 turns of thread.

12. IMG_6659

Five (5) turn whip finish, then apply a little head cement. Here you can see, I have some bleed into the rabbit, but this will not harm the fly’s action, but avoid doing this.

13. IMG_6660

Pull fly out, apply head and trim the excess front tube, leaving

14. IMG_6664

Push the fly back onto the needle, such that the needle and tube end is flush. Then, use lighter to melt the plastic back to the head.

15. IMG_6665

Take the fly out and trim excess tube at the rear.

16. IMG_6667

I want the hook to set as closest as possible to the front, but not so close that the rabbit rear can foul (wrap) around the hook’s end.


Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/05 at 02:38

Danielsson Reels

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I have great affinity for the Nautilus Reels, but before Nautilus – nearly 20 years ago – I start with Loop-Danielsson “Traditional” Reels. 20 years ago these were the first large arbour reels, reels that were made for fish that ran long distances – such as Steelhead.

Since then,

  1. Loop and Danielsson split their business partnership (under unkind terms).
  2. Sealed drags has become common place – great for saltwater.
  3. Danielsson sells direct – in effect a great reel at a great price.

So this is my new Danielsson HD 9-13.

Below the reel is spooled to handle a spey rod or the salt (bonefish), with 50m of 30lb 3M orange dacron, 150+m 20lb 3M green Dacron backing and a 10m of 30lb transition. The 10m marks the transition from fly line into backing  and I use a large loop (perfection loop knot) to allow for quick change of fly lines – whether it is scandi heads on my spey rods or lines for saltwater (bonefish).


I have played with the reel and I am first to admit a real positive review can only come after a year of hard use, but given the love shown by others I respect and my good history with Danielsson, I am happy to say this is my reel of choice.



Written by raspberryfisher

2017/02/02 at 04:44

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Saltwater, Spey

Spey (items) for Sale

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I am not getting any use out of the following items, so I might as well put them up for sale. Prices are on the SpeyClave Board, as per board rules.

First up, is a G.Loomis GLX Roaring River 15′ 9-10 Rod. A very fine rod and the very first spey rod that I really like. But, as progress in my skills and learning, I decided to keep to a Scandi style (versus this long line), but more significantly a lighter line.

I would contend this rod is great for large rivers and when pursuing King or Atlantic Salmon. A new Loomis Long-Belly 15′ rod currently retails for over 1000 USD, while a TFO 2H is over 460 USD. Posted sales in 2016 had prices from 400 to 600 USD.

Loomis 1 700 IMG_5205.jpg

Loomis 2 700  IMG_5207.jpg

Loomis 3 700 IMG_5208.jpg

Loomis 4 700 IMG_5209.jpg

In support of this rod are 2 Delta Spey Lines – Long Belly with Tip and Standard.  These lines had light usage and in good condition. In fact, I never did use the tips on the long, other than the floating line.  Delta Spey lines currently sell for 130 USD without tips, and I do not believe they offer a version with tips (except the UltraSpey at 270 USD).

Sales in 2016 provided 40 to 80 USD, top price for the multi-tip.

Delta 700 IMG_5175.jpgDelta Spely Long 700 IMG_5176.jpg

Up next, thought less loved is a “seconds” reel.  In my learning phase, I kept my forward arm choked down, so a heavy reel was desired. As many people, expressed their admiration for pawl-click reels, I had “a go” with this, but have decided to keep with my closed drag Nautilus reels enabling palming.

I found the start-up inertia high, so I reduce the springs (which are included), but also note there was an imperfection on the surface of the interior plate that I reduce.

This reel weighs 15.9oz empty, and believe it to be a Symmetry, which currently retails for 500 USD new.

Speyco 1 700 IMG_5164.jpg

Speyco 2 700 IMG_5174.jpg

Speyco 3 700 IMG_5171.jpg

Speyco 4 700 IMG_5167.jpg

Speyco 5 700 IMG_5165.jpg

Last are almost new Ambush lines. Water casted with my customer build fiberglass James Green. After some testing, I decided to go with the OPST, so my experiments are your gain. New lines retails for 80 USD, and appears 2016 sales on the board was 40-50 USD/

Ambush 700 IMG_5178.jpg

Ambush 700 IMG_5177.jpg

Terms ….

  • Paypal or Money Order. I will take the Paypal fees.
  • Buyer pays for shipping, and shall define terms – signature, insurance, et cetera.
  • I will ship by Friday of the week sold
  • Buyer may return for refund, minus fees taken by me.


Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/25 at 23:34

Posted in Spey

James Green 7wt 10′ DH Update

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An update on my setup with James Green DH 7wt 10′ setup. In the last few months, I have moved over to OPST Commando Heads. With a Snap T Spey Cast and the short aggressive head it is allowing me to get the fly, with the trees on my back.

You need a relaxed cast, and I still amazed at how light the rod is, so it is fun rod for small crowded rivers.


Right now I have a 350 gr line + MOW Medium Tips, but I am looking to order and try a heavier line (I have tried lighter lines, but the 350 is the best fit of the lines I do have on hand).

Written by raspberryfisher

2016/09/10 at 05:22

Pop’s Bitters and Cushing Dye

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Much of the spring and early has been tying flies for our (Judy and I) trip in December to the Bahamas (to chase bonefish).  As such, not knowing the conditions, I have been amassing more flies than we need, but this is part of the fun of getting ready.

One observation with bonefish flies, they are really easy-fast to tie, compared to most trout flies and steelhead.

One of the patterns is the Pop’s Bitters, where the fly colour should match the surrounding floor bed, whether it is sand or sea grass (mangroves).

brown bitters DSC_7657.jpg

sand bitters DSC_7655.jpg

For the lighter sand, I did not want to go with white  as it was too bright, so I dye my white deer belly hair to a soft yellow cream.

buttercup die DSC_7630 700.jpg

This is the first time, I used the acid dyes from my mother’s collection (from rug hooking).  My pre-existing library used for steelhead and salmon flies are highly saturated (vibrant) colours, but do not always have the feel of earth..

So as illustrated above,  I used a little “Buttercup” to dye the white deer-hair to a nice light cream. The light sample was in the bath for about  5 minutes and the deep yellow-orange for about 3 hours (will make a great crawfish colour!).

I really like the natural tone the Cushing Perfection Buttercup Yellow gave, so much that I later dyed my Airflo WF7 40+ flyline to the deeper yellow. Two thumbs up for these dyes.

So yes, we have still been fishing (for smallmouth bass).  These pass 2 weeks has been very good, with only last Tuesday requiring concentrated effort to catch-land fish. (The picture was from Monday, the night before when the fishing was easy).

bass DSCN0372.jpg

We have most of our success with muddlers – orange and olive – on floating or intermediate lines.

Judy’s casting has really taken up a notch this year and no longer does she lose to the wind. Needs a little more power into the wind, but the timing is good and the line shape is excellent/

Judy DSCN0342.jpg

The water is warm, seen a lot of damselflies and dragon flies, but not many mayflies. This fish appear to be healthy, as do the frogs, but hopefully this hot summer is not damaging the river.

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Last picture …. Judy took a picture of me and my new toy – a Burkheimer 7134-4, when we were fishing on the Ausable.  The water was high, we threw streamers and did very well landing Brown Trout, though we took very few pictures.

ausable DSCN0333.jpg




Written by raspberryfisher

2016/07/21 at 02:02

James Green 7wt DH – Update – with Reel

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Today, in balancing the rod, I went with the lightest reel I have – Loop (Danielsson) 3W  – and added on a RIO VersiTip (no id unfortunately) which I had with my Scandi 7wt setup to a Wulff Ambush 9wt 390gr line and started casting some nice tight loops.  I was happily surprised at how light the setup is!

Post Publish Note – One website lists the Wulff 9wt as 390grains, but Wulff themselves its the weight as 350grains. I think I have two distinct but similar choices to try:

  1. 9wt Ambush with RIO 10′ InTouch 7wt, getting me to 425grains
  2. 10wt Ambush with Airflow PolyLeaders (10′ probably) getting me to 430+grains.

Lawn casting last night, I was thinking I would want a longer head and less weight, but today it was good. Real good and using a light reel was great!  In talking to James last night, his suggestion is to try a line of 425 grains – or better stated, get 425 grains out past the tip.  So the Ambush 9wt with tip may be best, but I may be looking to work in a 10wt line to compare.

I did not buy-build this rod to throw long, but to fish and catch steelhead in tight quarters, where 60′ is the pool against the bank across the river and trees are everywhere. This appears to suit this just fine and I am happy!  As far as the cast – slow down and at the end of the forward cast, give it a little snap forward and you should a tight loop to the bank on the other side of the river bank.

And the short fiberglass blank will help with getting that fish to y feet.

Some more practice, maybe a little tweaking, but what is left is fine tuning.

The rod with the reel.

james green IMG_1921

With some measurements below.

The fore-handle handle length is right for me, with my cast movement (more scandi under-hand versus a traditional top hand caster), I am finding, I am placing (extending) my fore-thumb naturally from 15.5″ to 17″. A shorter for handle would not be good (and longer would be irrevelant).

The knife represents the balance point, probably a little too far back and noting I have the lightest reel on a down locking reel-seat, I could have moved the reel up by 0.5″ to 1″ inch with a little more cork on the aft grip. Never-the-less, it holds well and I get to use the lightest reel possible, which is great.

jame-green IMG_1923

Last note in this post, I like to keep the cork simple.  In this case, I did add some flourish with some burl cork at the ends, but under my hands, I just want cork. Cork is good in the cold, the wet et cetera, so in the middle of the grip, keep it simple, keep it cord.

I used the rubberized cork, which does provide weight and some real structural support, which is nice at the reel seal entry and forming the butt.  I remain undecided of the flourish with the burl cork is of any gain.  (I used the dark burl for some single hand fly rods as end pieces though).


Written by raspberryfisher

2015/08/12 at 03:45