"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Japan

Japan is a great country, or so I have heard. I've never been there. The farthest I have ever gotten from the good ol' USA is about 3 miles into Canada. I've also been about 2 miles into Mexico. Other than that, my feet have never left American soil. Still, I have heard good things about Japan. Maybe I will get there some day...

One of the coolest things about the country of Japan is that they build a lot of cool stuff there. A lot of the newest technological advances come out of Japan. My cellphone came from Japan, and what would life be like if I couldn't browse on ebay whilst sitting on the toilet? It would be pretty sad, let me tell you!
(Not actually me)

Japan is also the home of some really cool fly reels. If you have read my blog in the past you will know that I have long been a fan of Daiwa fly reels, dating back to the '80s when my first "quality" fly reel was a Daiwa-made Scientific Anglers System One reel. I still have that reel, although I wouldn't say it's really in working order... Over the years I have owned several other Daiwa reels, all made in Japan.





All of those Daiwa reels have been on the lower end of the price spectrum, but recently I learned that Daiwa has also made some more spendy reels. Reels that are on a par with any of the more expensive fly fishing reels out there, like Orvis, Hardy, and Abel. So I had to get one and see what it was like.

Enter this Daiwa Alltmor-S 200 reel. It's a beautiful machined reel that purrs like all of the older Daiwa reels I have owned. It seems to have been crafted with super tight tolerances, although I am not a machinist and really have no idea what I am talking about in that regard. Let's just say that it seems really well made.


And it looks great! This S-200 is the perfect size for 4 or 5 weight lines. I put a 5wt weight forward line on it and had plenty of room for backing. Daiwa makes an S-100 and an S-300 version, as well. The S-100 is perfect for 3 or 4 weight lines, and the S-300 is made for 6 and 7 weight lines. You can also get the Alltmor D versions of the same reels, which come with a disc drag built in.

Daiwa is not the only reel company based in Japan. UFM Ueda, Marryat, and even Shimano make very nice fly reels for the Japan market. With ebay and other auction sites it's becoming easier to get those reels shipped over here to the good ol' USA. And I am not trying to say that reels made here in America are bad, just that there are other, well made, options out there. Check them out!





Monday, March 18, 2019

Great Waters: The Aftermath



I am worn out. It was a grueling weekend. I worked hard. From the way I feel you would think that I had been pouring a concrete slab or felling a bunch of trees. But no, what I was doing was even more strenuous. I spent the entire weekend tying flies! And talking to people. That last part was probably the most strenuous...

I was at the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo all weekend, and it was a great time. The best part was seeing a bunch of old friends I only get to see once or twice a year. And the rest was fun, too. I tied a ton of flies, mostly KlinkHansons and Glass Bead Caddis Pupae. I talked to a ton of people who were watching me and all the other fly tyers do our thing. It was a lot of fun, but now I don't feel like doing anything. I am worn out. I forgot how tiring this weekend can be. I've only been awake for a couple of hours today, but I already feel like taking a nap. Good thing I am at work. Today should be much less grueling than the weekend was!


My table for all three days of the Expo.

People loved the buttons, stickers, and magnets. 

A display of a gaggle of different colored KlinkHansons

I probably utilized this sign too much over the weekend... there was a lot of stuff to see at the Expo!

As seen at the Lund's Fly Shop booth... The only thing is I think I tied some of these flies when I was in Guatemala doing super-secret espionage work for our government... oh wait, I mean, I've never been to Guatemala...
Sulphur KlinkHanson, size 16

Adams KlinkHanson, Size 16

Glass Bead Caddis Pupae, size 14

Hi-Viz Squirrel KlinkHanson, size 16

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Jimmy

I have done a lot of demonstration fly tying at events both big and small. It seems that a very similar phenomenon happens at all of the big events. I will call that phenomenon "Jimmy".
The rest of the guys at the most recent Fly Tyer's Row. An amiable bunch of guys, and that's an understatement!

"Jimmy" is a small child, usually male, usually in the 8-12 year old range. He spends most of, or usually the entire, day at the event, and at least half of the day hanging out in the fly tying area. He goes from tyer to tyer, asking all sorts of questions and telling all sorts of stories. His questions are usually pretty basic, such as when he picks up a bobbin and asks what it is. His stories are usually much more complex, as he relates tales of heroic outdoors conquests that either he or his dad or the both of them have partaken in. Oftentimes his stories revolve around a giant fish that was caught, or how he caught that giant fish on a fly he tied himself, but the stories might also be about how he saw the biggest moose in Manitoba, or how his dad built their log cabin with his own two hands. You have to take "Jimmy's" stories with a grain of salt, but then again, he is a fisherman after all...
Me, all by myself at Fly Tyer's Row. I think they all left because somebody shouted "Free beer!" 

"Jimmy" always seems to like me. Probably because I have a keen knack for thinking and communicating on an 8-12 year old's level. Just ask my wife... Any ways, "Jimmy" seems to come around to chit-chat and watch me tie a lot, always admiring whatever fly I happen to be tying that day, and talking at me non-stop. Even when he asks questions, it is obvious he isn't listening to my answers. He seems to have the attention span of a gerbil. Oftentimes I will tell him outlandish stories of my own, just to see if he is listening. He rarely is.

Every once in a while he shows up at my table with a parent, usually his dad. Up until that point I have wondered to myself, "Where is this kid's dad?!?!" Dad always seems like a nice enough guy, maybe somewhat aloof, although he rarely seems like someone who would have built his own log cabin...
The latest "Jimmy", holding some of the flies I gave him...

I don't know if "Jimmy" would spend so much time around me if I weren't handing out free flies. You see, I almost always hand out all the flies that I tie at an event like this. It's a good way to get newbies more interested, and most experienced fly anglers are happy to get a free fly every once in a while. Especially if they have listened to me tell them how great my flies work... "Jimmy" has a knack of showing up when no other people are in the vicinity, and a guy like me can't help but tell him to go ahead and take another fly. This past Friday I was tying at an event, and that night's "Jimmy" ended up taking home about a dozen of my flies. Oh, that "Jimmy"!

Three of the flies "Jimmy" got from me... Oh, that "Jimmy"!





Monday, February 18, 2019

Great Waters Expo 2019

One of, if not the, biggest fly fishing events around these parts is the annual Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo in St. Paul. This year's event is happening on the weekend of March 15th-17th at Hamline University near the State Fairgrounds.
Photo courtesy of Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo

For several years I have spent the weekend tying in the Fly Tying section of the event. Essentially I tie flies all day, let the event attendees watch me do that, hand out my Blog-related SWAG, and chit-chat with people about fly fishing and fly tying. When I am done with a fly I usually give it to someone who has watched me tie, so even though I put in a lot of hours of tying, I usually finish the weekend with the same amount of flies I started with. Not that I am complaining; I am happy to do it if it helps get people interested in the sport!

This year not only am I going to be tying all weekend in the Fly Tying section, but I also was asked if I wanted to put on an actual presentation in one of the theater/showrooms. My hands and tying tools are going to be projected up onto a big ol' screen so everyone can see... Better get myself a manicure beforehand! Check out the full list of Presenters, including me, HERE!

My presentation is titled Highly Adequate Parachute Flies and Other Stuff. It's at 3:45PM in Presentation Room B, wherever that is... Hopefully I will find it before my show starts.
A typical parachute fly, adequately tied by yours truly.

I will be demonstrating my patented techniques for tying parachute hackle for dry flies, along with some other crazy techniques I have learned over the years. It should be fun. If you have a chance, stop on by!

For more info on the great Waters Expo, go HERE!


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Rod Love LIII: Wonderod

If you hadn't already noticed, I named this Rod Love post in honor of the 53rd Super Bowl that recently took place. Whenever the Super Bowl comes around I have to choose which of the two teams I am going to root for, because my team, the Vikings, are never in it. OK, they have been it, four times actually, but not since I was 3 years old. And I wasn't a football fan when I was 3, so I can with all certainty say that I have never seen the Vikings in a Super Bowl. Since they again were not in it this year, I decided to root for the Rams. I am not a big fan of the Rams, but they are far easier to root for than the hated Patriots, so I chose them. Now that the game and the season is over, I will turn my attention towards next season. Go Vikes!

Enough football talk! This is a fly fishing blog! Let's get on with the rod love, shall we?


Well, I did it again. I went out and acquired yet another Shakespeare Wonderod. I have owned several over the years, but for some reason I always seem to sell them. It's not that I haven't liked them. I just always seem to find something else that I think I will like better. This time I found a mint model #1245, a 6'6" 5wt "Panfish Special", and it is sweet! It was a good deal, so I couldn't pass it up. The cork looks like it's never been touched. The blank is still nice and white, unlike some Wonderods that turn a sort of yellow with age. The wraps are all good. And the ferrule is snug and pops nicely when taking it apart.

I haven't actually taken it out to give it a test cast yet, you know, because it's the middle of winter and I pretty much live in Siberia. But I can already tell that I will love this rod. It will be a perfect panfish and brook trout rod. I can't wait until spring!

Look at how clean that cork is!
The "EAL" on the blank is the date code. This one was made in November of 1960!
This part of the label is the only thing that isn't perfect. But what do you expect with a 59 year old rod?!?!


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Busy Time!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while! You would think this would be the dead time of year for somebody obsessed with fly fishing, but man, I have been super busy! Leading up to January 1st I had a medium-sized fly order I needed to finish for Lund's Fly Shop in River Falls, Wisconsin. Lund's is one of the best fly shops I have ever been to, and I am not just saying that because they sell a bunch of my Scott Hanson designed flies. And I also am not just saying that because they advertise here on the ol' blog, although neither of those facts hurt...
Some of the flies I tied for Lund's Fly Shop. Go there and buy some!

In the days since I finished that order I have taken on a new task. I am working on the photographs that will be accompanying an article I am sending in to Fly Tyer magazine. I have sent Fly Tyer several articles in the past, and they have even published two of them, so hopefully they like this new one I have written. As always, writing the article turned out to be far easier for me than getting usable photographs. Cameras and all their technical what-have-you's tend to drive me a little crazy. I am almost done, though, and hopefully all of the photos I send in will work for them. Wish me luck!
This photo is just to prove that Fly Tyer has actually published some of my articles...

After I get the article done I will have to start in on another, much larger, order for Lund's, which will be due on March 1st. I also have a fairly substantial order for a private party who has hired me to tie several dozen dry flies in the 22 to 24 size range. I, myself , never fish with flies so small, so hopefully the finished flies turn out OK. I am of the mindset that small flies catch small fish, but I am also of the mindset that the customer is always right, so if he wants small flies, small flies he will get!

Along the way my Beginning Fly Tying classes start in St. Paul in February, (Click Here To Get More Info), and right after that I will be teaching the same classes in Forest Lake, MN (Click Here To Get More Info). After that the local Fly Fishing Expos start, and the Film Tour happens. Or is that vice versa? Oh, and don't let me forget I have a wife and 4 kids to tend to! Or is it 5 kids now...? I can't remember. Oh well, they're all asleep, so I better get back to tying flies.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Son of Rod Love: Steffen 7'6" 3-Weight


Have you heard of Steffen Fly Rods? No? I hadn't either, until I got deeper and deeper into the world of fiberglass rods. Steffen is a small company in Arizona that rolls their own glass blanks. They have the reputation of making some of the best casting rods in the business, so of course I made it a goal to try out some. The first Steffen rod I was lucky enough to acquire was this sweet 7'6" 2/3weight beauty.




It's listed as a 2 or a 3 weight, and I love it with a 3-weight Weight Forward line. In my opinion it is just about a perfect bluegill and brook trout rod. It can handle nymphs and small buggers easily, and it loves dry flies, poppers and foam bodied spiders. The rod loads terrifically in close, yet I can easily cast up to 50 feet with very good accuracy. As I say about most of the fly rods I own, this is one sweet rod!
 
Make sure you check out Steffen Fly Rods!