Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel


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Continue to receive the suggestion that I continue to put up some advisory posts about my travels, so let me discuss luggage – the best things to consider.

If I travel for 4 days or less, I do travel light and do not check in bags, but as often travel in 2 week chunks and may need substantial clothing to cover extremes, I do check-in bags. So with 500,000 miles in the past 3 years under my seat, what are my recommendations and guidelines for checked-in luggage:

1. Form – Your luggage will be damaged, so reduce the risk and investment.  Make sure, it is clean in form and function, such that the handles are hidden, wheels have reduce exposure and avoid pockets-zippers.

2. Again, avoid secondary pockets, as they offer limit value by increasing risk of handling damage and add weight.

3. Weight – As airlines impose greater limits et cetera, be conscious of the weight of the bag and be aware that the largest bags are easy to go over the weight limit!  Keep to a 29″ bag, if you can.

Air Canada basic weight limit starts at 23kg, with the cost of overweight starting at 113.50 CDN$. And you should expect you will lose 5+kg (20+% of this lower limit from the bag alone!)

4. Weight the bag at the store, as often the specifications listed on the website are optimistic light (being kind!).

Lies, dammed lies and datasheets!

5. Clear identification – – For theft management of the bag – do not get black.  Make sure it stands out from a crowd.

6. Your bag’s contents are not secure. Breaking into most bags is simple and with TSA locks et cetera required with simple bypass, that if the thieves after check-in want your bag’s contents, they will get it.

Once you checked-in the bag, you must rely upon the security measure of the airlines and their employees and contractors.

For this reason, I rather use an low cost bag, versus a premium bag that says I have “money”.  Make the bag stand out, but not scream I have money!

Be humble.

7. Always take a spare duffel bag with you. Luggage may break, you may get-buy more than you expect or have an agent (last trip) that demands you to repack – check in your carry-on et cetera.

8. Moving it – 4 Wheels and make sure you can handle it with 22kg inside.

So what do I use?  Samsonite Orange F’Lite and how does it rank:

  1. Cost of Replacement – A
  2. Clean Form – A
  3. Weight – B
  4. Bag Identification – A+
  5. Humble – B+


The internet is great discount store of the world, but like shoes I would buy this at a store. Verify the weight, ensire the form is clean and make sure if moves-carries well.


Sidebar, story from my last travel. I had to repack my bags 2 days ago in Brisbane, as the Virgin Australia Agent demand I limited my Carry-On to 1 bag of 7kg. My camera bag and camera along is 3.5kg, and I was eventually force to pack my laptop, charger, et cetera into my luggage, and protected my camera and ipad

Now, as I tried to register my compliant, Virgin Australia state this was a function and limitation of my ticket from Air Canada and if I have an issue, I need to address it with Air Canada.

Air Canada says this was an incorrect interpretation of the ticket and the compliant should be with register with Virgin Australia at the orgin (which they refused to do).

In short, I had no recourse, but to respond to arbitrary rules imposed on me at Brisbane, with no mechanism to formally identify the fault.

The Qantas return flight from Brisbane to Cairns was just fine!

Morale of the story, if you come across the power tripping person Agent or Security staff, whether they are right or wrong, you just need to accept the fact and go with the flow.

All I can do, is never fly Virgin Australia nor buy a codeshare Virgin Australia flight with Air-Canada.









Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/01 at 19:29

Posted in Work Travel

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.



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.



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.



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.



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.


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



Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/20 at 02:17

Meiser 13668CX-6 and Tips

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Now, as I have adjusted my casting stroke to suit this rod, enabling me to launch my fly, I feel I can comment (and add value) about this new rod.  With the high water this summer year, it has seen little time in my local water and more time on the grass, but I am looking forward to get this rod out this fall and winter.

Handle and Balance Notes

  • Handle Length – just over 24″
  • Lower Handle – 6″
  • Downlocking Reelseat
  • Reel – Nautilus 12DD, which is listed as being 10.1oz (when empty)
  • Balance Point – Just under 20″

Observation and Comments:

It is listed as a progressive rod, and I can feel it more in the butt than my Meiser-S – which is too be expected.  After I adjusted my stroke accordingly with the line provided, I have had no issue to launch my fly with the line provided.

It is definitely lighter than my Burkheimer – 7134 – and I do not yet fell comfortable to put in a comparative analysis of the two.

As a 6 piece rod, it does fit in my travel rod carrier, but it consumes the volume of 2 rods. So planned accordingly, but other than this, I do not believe I am sacrificing anything for a 6pc rod.

If there was one change, it would be to reduce the lower handle to 5″ and be able to use the new lighter rods available. It was too light for my Danielsson Reel, so after some changes of lines and heads, I found the Nautilus 12DD a good fit.



The rod came with a SGS Line of 502 grains at 35.7′ and a note to add 10′ 70 grain tips.  This translates to RIO 7wt 10′ Replacement Tips.

I have experiments with a NextCast Winter Authority 2WA 55 6/7 and it was too light, and I want to get a Guideline 3D+ 9/10 on it, which is  38′ and listed at 570 grains.

TIP Reference

My collection of lines and rods, started needed some organization, but in doing so, I needed to learn a little more.  So I pulled out my scale, did a little research and have the following notes and observations.

Observation 1 – Leaders: Consistency in marking and identification of Airflo PolyLeaders and RIO VersiLeaders is just not there. I believe there is also some variability in the weights as well, but I cannot rule out error in mixing up lines, so this is just a suspicion.

Observation 2: I will  PolyLeaders-VersiLeaders for fine tip Scandi Lines, such as GuideLines’ Scandi 3D

Observation 3 – Leaders: Airflo Polyleaders are usually lighter and back-end loaded, where RIO Versileaders keeps the weight and mass closer to the tip.  Both are good, but I am incline to keep with Airflo as my default, for what I fishing, but this is just a preference.

Observation 4: Weights of ‘*Leaders’ – Some measurements of mass, by Poppy   (hyperlink to Poppy’s posting on SpeyPages fails, so not provided) , and by default I to Poppy’s.

  1. Airflo 5′ Polyleader – I will use with Guideline 3D lines
    1. Floating – 20 grains
    2. Hover – 20 grains
    3. Intermediate – 23 grains
    4. Slow Sink – 20 grains
    5. Fast Sink – 28 grains
    6. Super Fast Sink – 38 grains
    7. X-Super Fast Sink – 77 grains
  2. Airflo 10′ PolyLeaders – Guideline 3D lines, longer anchor or light OPST Lines
    1. Floating – 24 grains
    2. Hover (0.5″ (ips)) – 25 grains
    3. Clear Intermediate (1.5)- 26 grains
    4. Slow Sink (2.6) – 30 grains
    5. Fast Sink (3.9) – 32 grains
    6. Super Fast Sink (4.9)- 56 grains
    7. X-Super Fast Sink (6.1) – 76 grains
  3. 14′ Airflo PolyLeaders – Use with Bealuh Exlixir lines
    1. Floating – 40 grains
    2. Fast Sink – 50 grains
    3. Super Fast Sink – 98 grains
  4. 10′ RIO Spey VersiLeaders – Provided with my Meiser 1305S-5 with a SGS 411 grain line at a length of 32′
    1. Floating – 40 grains
    2. Sink 1.5 – 52 grains
    3. Sink 2.6 – 66 grains
    4. Sink 3.9 – 72 grains
    5. Sink 5.6 – 86 grains
    6. Sink 7.0 – 118 grains
  5. I have  a set of RIO 10′ VersiLeaders, which are no longer provided, which I use with my Meiser 1264 with a 311grain Scandi Line. What I have left in my “wallet” and measured is:
    1. Clear – Sink 1.5 – 25 grains
    2. Red – Sink 2.9 – 68 grains
    3. Blue – Sink 5.6 – 70 grains
    4. Black – Sink 7.0 – 73 grainsWhen these expire, I will replace them with Airflo Trout Leaders.


Observation 5: For Scandi lines with a stout tip, I use RIO Replacement Tips 10′ or 15′ – a consistent length tip with a consistent weight for all tips. In the RIO line up, you have:

  1. RIO Replacement – 10′ Tips
    1. 5wt – 55 grains
    2. 6wt – 65gr grains – may be used with Winter Authority WA35
    3. 7wt – 75 grains – used with the SGS Line with the Meiser 13668CX-6 Rod.
    4. 8wt –  85 grains
    5. 9wt – 95 grains
  2. RIO Replacement – 15′ Tips
    1. 6wt – 84 grains
    2. 7wt – 95 grains
    3. 8wt – 109 grains – used with my SRO Ballistic Express 470gr Line.
    4. 9wt – 129 grains – may be used with Winter Authority WA55, but its acquired with my Airflo MultiTip Line (Single-Hand) and most frequently used with my Scott ARC 9wt 9’6″ 4pc rod.
    5. 10wt – 150 grains

Airflo does not provided replacement tips, but I have a set of tips for my 7wt Multi-Tip line used with my Scott ARC 7wt 10′ 4pc rod.  The tips are 12′ and weight 75 grains, and very nice.

Though, I noted lack of consistency in marking, of the two provider vendors – RIO and Airflo – I would contend Airflo is the better of the two.

And of course there are Skagit Lines

Observation 6: When you want to go deep and-or throw some chickens, consider a thick Skagit line, which would have a thick tip.  To match, I use a mix of10′  RIO MOW for floating and full sink lines, and 10′ iMOW lines from RIO for the mix sink lines, either in T-8 (light) or T-11 (medium).

Observation 7: We make this so complicated for ourselves, and a stick of dy*** would be so much simpler, but this is the essence of fly-fishing.  And the proof, my working table that cross-references tips to lines and rods.

scandi tips


Written by raspberryfisher

2017/07/23 at 22:49

Posted in Spey

Tagged with , , ,

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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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!
    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.
    I like this rod, and it is a compliment to the 1305-5 above.
  • 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).
  • 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.
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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


Written by raspberryfisher

2017/07/03 at 04:15

Barley Soup with Sausage

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A cool weather favourite.

  • 3-5 Savory firm sausages, sliced thinly
  • 16c of Chicken Stock
  • 1.25c of Pearl Barley
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • 2/3 head of Cabbage, sliced in thin ribbons
  • 2 Fresh Carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh Parsley, crushed
  • 2 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 3 tbsp, marojam leaves, crushed
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 6-16 small white and-or red new potatoes, quartered
  • salt


  1. Pot 1 – Combine Sausages, Barley, Bay Leaves and Stock.
    1. You can pre-grill the sausages.
  2. Bring Pot 1 to light boil and then lower heat to simmer.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Pot 2 – Dutch Oven – grill with Olive Oil to soften Cabbage, but do not burn.
  5. After 10-20 minutes, add in Onion,  Carrots, Parsley, and Rosemary
  6. Continue cooking until Cabbage and Onions until they have sweeten.
  7. Longer cooking the better, as long as the Cabbage and Onion is not burnt. Brown is okay, so occasionally stir with a wooden spatula, but otherwise keep pot lid on.
  8. Add in Potatoes, Garlic and Marjoram.
  9. Given vegetables 5 minutes together.
  10. Mix in Pot 1 (Stock, Barley, Sausage) into the Dutch Oven.
  11. Bring to light boil and cook until Potatoes are cooked (not mushy).
  12. As always, use Salt and a light hand with Green Tabasco to season to taste.




Written by raspberryfisher

2017/06/15 at 00:48

Posted in Weekend Cooking