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Archive for the ‘Streamer’ Category

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 >
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    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/
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    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.
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  • 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.
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      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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • F Fail – OPST and Wulff
    • Good people, but poor  data.
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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.
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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

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

Keeled Jerk – Farrar Blend Variant

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In continuation of my last post, here are my variants using Farrar Blend dressed long for Pike, that are about 8″ long.
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Jerk Group_DSC1586
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Chartreuse to the Greens
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chartreuse_DSC1603
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green-black_DSC1626
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greem black_DSC1645
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green_DSC1647
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The classic Pike Red and White
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red_DSC1644
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amd a fly to suggest Perch ..
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perh_DSC1649
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prech_DSC1657
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and the original experiment in Blue, with the white deer hair center that seperates the base from the top. I have since migrate to using the SF Fibers for the centre.
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blue_DSC1635
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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/02/05 at 02:31

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

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

with one comment

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

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 load 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. Being responsive, you can apply some complex setups with ease.

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

As I get no gain or advantage et cetera with any posting, I share my thoughts, as a individual with no pressure to produce, but forcing me to solidified my thoughts. Hopefully a reader or two will benefit.

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.  The Meridan 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