Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Bit More Glass

Cabelas CGR 7' 4/5wt

Recently I was able to pick up a Cabelas CGR 7' 4/5wt glass rod on sale.  A great find since I have been watching them closely for a year or so. Now with the rod in hand, it was a matter of seeing whether or not it performed as well as it looked. 

First impressions....out of the tube the rod looked like something well beyond its price range. No flaws whatsoever in the glass or wraps. The cork was nicer than some of the rods in my den costing 5 times what this retails for. 

The cork is a big surprise and much more than expected. I like the all cork reel seat, which was a selling point for me. The only improvement I would love to see would be nickel silver rings vs the aluminum. But hey, price-point would change at some point. Overall, high grade, comfortable and very little filler. 

The Spigot Ferrules are a nice touch. 

Fit and finish are flawless, and both fit and alignment of ferrules, wraps and guides are spot on. 

The real test in my mind would be how it threw a line. In the hand it has a crisp action that begs for a dry fly.  I had 3 lines on hand that should fit the rod, so I figured comparing all three would the best test I could put together.  (left to right: Orvis 5wt DT, Rio 4wt WF & Mastery Headstart 4wt)

Here's what I found/felt/thought...based on my layman's skills and lack of technical rod expertise. I know what I personally look for and like. Beyond that all is subjective.

I began with the 4wt WF line and my thoughts were "crisp. Easy casting and lively. Easy to toss sidearm loops with." But nothing to speak of. Functional, but I was hoping for more.

The 5wt DT was next.  With this line I felt the rod really found its niche. Casting was effortless and it seemed to load on it's own. I felt I could fish this setup on most any water I fish locally. The rod won me at that point.

The last line was the SA Heastart Master 4wt. I had bought this line on sale for my sons 7 1/2ft graphite rod. It was not spooled yet, so I wound it on an SA System 1 English made 4/5/6 reel with no backing. The Headstart has a short and 1/2 size heavier head for quick loading. With this line, the rod was almost impossible to miss with. I was picking spots on the snow 15-35' and bouncing a #12 Elk Hair Caddis off of them like I had owned the rod my whole life.  A 4 1/2 it was. Would a higher end line in a half-size up cast better? Maybe. But this line fit the rod perfectly.

The rig I believe I will be hitting the water with on the first signs of spring, with only a bit of backing still required.  I'll need to shop for another line for my son I reckon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tying the Northwest Jack

The Northwest Jack

The Northwest Jack was born around 1990 on the Northwest’s coastal rivers, and mimicked the salmon and steelhead smolt that were so abundant. It was originally tied in larger sizes, however it has adapted to its smaller version as an excellent all-around trout streamer.

Northwest Jack Recipe

Hook: 7x Daiichi 2370 "Dick Talleur" #4-8
Thread: Black 6/0 Uni-Thread
Tail: Moose Body Hair
Rib: Medium Gold Ultra-Wire
Body: Silver Mylar
Throat: Red-dyed Tippet
Wing: Black Bucktail over Blue Super Hair

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tying the Phil Nymph

The Phil Nymph

The "Phil" nymph has been with me for about 3 seasons now and remains one of my top producing nymphs. Named after "Punxsutawney Phil" Pennsylvania's seasonal forecasting Groundhog, due to the single material in which it is tied.

Phil Recipe

Hook:  #16-18 Orvis Beadhead
Thread:  Brown Uni-Thread
Bead:  Gold Tungsten
Weight: 4-5 wraps .015 wire
Tail:  Groundhog Guard Hairs
Abdomen:  Groundhog Under-fur 
Wingcase:  Groundhog Guard Hairs

The Tenkara Project

The Tenkara Project

After several years of seeing and reading about Tenkara and the popularity it has gained, I got the chance to get my hands on some gear and my interest as well was spiked. Enter my 11yr old son new to fly fishing and the light went on. He's going sufficiently well on warm-water with his bass setup, but gets frustrated on streams with standard gear, line management and whatnot. One look at the rods and his eyes lit up. He could wade, fish the small streams we frequent & not mess with anything else. SO, with the upside of "keeping him in the game" I began the search for a rod. Not wanting to dump dollars equivalent to a western rig on an experiment that may or may not take, I turned to EBAY. It was not hard to find a myriad of rods and options, and after a bit of research I settled on a 12ft 7.3 action rod for less than $50.

The arrival of the rod came yesterday, and on first glance it is very well made and balances nice in the hand. 

The aluminum tube is a nice touch and should extend the life of the rod in the hands of an 11yr old

The Unveiling

On inspection the rod has no flaws and is ready to go. 

Unfortunately, the -2deg weather and wind will not allow me to test things just yet. And of course "Dad" will need to make a thorough evaluation prior to handing it off to the young fisherman as well.

Next to come, a couple of 14' furled leaders and things will be ready!

I will post a follow-up once some time on the water is completed. And hopefully it will include a few fish in hand accompanied by a young smile.

See you on the water.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tying The Wooly Bugger

Wooly Buggers

The Wooly Bugger is found in a million differing patterns throughout the fly fishing world. Why?  It works. Here are the 2 basic versions that I currently tie and fish locally. Experiment on your waters.

The Wooly Bugger Recipe

Hook:  Standard 3XL #8
Thread:  Black
Tail:  Marabou Tips
Weight:  015 Lead Wire Shank-length
Abdomen:  Orvis Wooly Bugger Chenille
Hackle:  Dry Speckled Badger