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

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy Holidays

It's been a fun Holiday season here at The Riffle. A lot of time has been spent hanging out with both my family and the Wife's family.

We spent a lot of time out on the lake at the in-laws' house.

No big ticket fly fishing gifts were received, but I did get several small fishy things. In the "Dirty Santa" gift exchange we did with the Wife's family, I got a perfectly sized fishing shirt that will be a great addition to my wardrobe. It was perfectly sized because I was the one who brought it to the gift exchange, with every intention of grabbing it for myself! I also received two boxes of chocolates, which are also perfectly sized for me...

Hey, it fits perfectly! Who would have guessed...

I received a couple of other fishy things from my sister: a new thread spool rack that will house my rogue spools of thread, wire, floss, lead, and other stringy stuff. She also got me a gift card for Cabela's, which will allow me to get even more spools of stringy stuff. Or something else fishing or tying related. Or maybe I will decide to venture out into some other outdoor sport that I have never done before, like rock climbing or underwater basket weaving. More than likely I will just stick to fly tying and fishing, since it's hard to teach an old Scott new tricks.

I think this is made out of Burl Oak. Or maybe it was built by Burl Ives... I forget.

One fun thing that happened whilst hanging out with the Wife's family was an impromptu fly tying lesson given by yours truly. Two of my nephews and one brother-in-law were my students, and several other family members watched in amazement. All the students tied very passable white wooly buggers during the lesson, nobody impaled themselves too drastically on a hook or other pointy thing, and I think they all had fun. Oh, and they are still all speaking to me, too. So I would say it was a successful class. I planned on teaching them how to tie a Beadhead Rubber Leg Prince Nymph the next day, but other plans got in the way. The good thing is that I am pretty certain I will see all the students again, you know, because I am related to them. So there is a good chance the Prince Nymphs will get tied at some point.
Look at how attentive my students were. But who can blame them? They had the World's Greatest Teacher!

I hope your Holidays were as fun as mine! Happy belated Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Rod Love: Baby Poop Edition

I really am not trying to brag when I say that a quick estimation of the past 10 years of my life shows that I have changed approximately 4 billion dirty diapers in that time span. Again, I am not trying to brag, I just want you to know that I am well qualified to know the color of baby poop, which is the exact color of this next rod in my Rod Love series, the Cortland Pro-Crest.

Vintage Cortland fiberglass rods are not what you would call high-end rods. But they do have a following in the fiberglass fly rod world. It seems as though the Cortland FR-2000 rods are most peoples' pick of the litter, but I prefer my Pro-Crest 7'6" 5/6wt rod. As soon as I made one cast with it in my yard I knew it was one of the smoothest rods I had ever held. And I don't care if it is the color of baby poop, it's beautiful in my eyes...

Early Pro-Crests came with a metal ferrule. Later on they came with a tip-over-butt fiberglass ferrule, which is what my rod has. Both versions came in the same color scheme, which some people find off-putting. I say who cares what a rod looks like, as long as it can cast!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Rod Love 5: Fine Fenwick Fiberglass

That's a lot of F's for one post title...

That's what happens when I write about one of the sweetest vintage fly rods I own, a first generation Fenwick FF75. Built around 1962 or '63, this FF75 is one of the first fly rods built with the patented "Feralite" ferrule, a tip-over-butt ferrule made out of fiberglass, unlike the metal-ferruled rods that preceded it. Using fiberglass for the ferrule improved the action and brought the weight of the rods down considerably. Fenwick's use of the Feralite ferrule catapulted them into the premier fly rod manufacturer of the time.

Feralite ferrule and gold foil, does it get any cooler?

And their old fly rods are still some of the nicest casting tools ever created. I have cast several of them over the years, and all of them were sweet in their own way. My FF75 is no exception; nice and slow, but not too slow. It delivers a 5wt line right where I want it to every time. Or at least it does when I make a decent cast, which is not actually every time, if I were to be honest for once in my life...

Let's take a look at the old FF75, shall we?

The trademark Fenwick wraps.

Old school gold foil

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Fly Focus: Pink Scud

If you are fishing in a quality trout stream, there is a good chance that some scuds live in it. And, as a general rule, trout love scuds. And who can blame them? They are essentially like little freshwater shrimp, and we all know how good shrimps are, am I right? Oh man, I could eat about 50 plates of shrimp scampi right about now... That's probably why I am 30 pounds overweight...

Mmmmm, doesn't this scud look yummy?

There are a lot of scud patterns out there. My favorite is the tried and true plastic bag version, which I learned about 25 years ago or more. I call it the plastic bag version because a thin strip of a plastic zip-lock style bag is used for the shellback. It's cheap. It looks good. And it's an effective fly. What more could you ask for?

Let's learn how to tie a pink version of this scud pattern, shall we?

Pink Scud Pattern Recipe

Hook: Scud hook in size 12-16
Bead: Black or copper, sized to the hook
Weight: Lead wire
Thread: Orange or pink, 8/0 or smaller
Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
Rib: Copper wire, size small or Brassie
Shellback: Strip of plastic zip-lock style bag
Body: 50/50 mix of pink Ice Dub and pink or orange rabbit fur

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Rod Love #4: Diamondglass

I don't know if I have adequately written this in my past blog posts: I love fiberglass fly rods. I love the way they flex. I love the way they cast. I love their inherent understudy lot in life: not as high-brow as bamboo and not as tech-savvy as graphite. I love the way they load a line. I love the disparaging looks I get from other fly fishers when I talk openly about my love for fiberglass. And I love the fact that my casting stroke doesn't have to have pinpoint accuracy to get them to cast well, even though it does have pinpoint accuracy...

That brings me to yet another post in my Rod Love series. In this one I will rave about my Diamondback Diamondglass 805/3, which holds all of the attributes that I discussed above.

Diamondglass rods, especially the older black rods, have picked up a sort of cult following within the already cult-like world of fiberglass rod aficionados. Made for a few years in the early 2000s, it can be extremely difficult to find somebody who is willing to part with one. And for good reason. They are wonderful casting tools that are smooth yet surprisingly powerful. They don't feel soft and whippy like some glass rods, but they also aren't extra stiff like most graphites. They are some of the best glass rods ever built.

A lot of people believe that the best rod in the Diamondglass lineup was an 8' 4wt. I hope to cast one of those some day, but for now my only Diamondglass is the 8' 5wt. I wanted a high-quality 5wt rod that was packable, and boy did I get one. This thing is so smooth I can't even describe it. Usually I would say it is buttery smooth, but butter doesn't do this Diamondglass justice. Maybe super-pureed liquid butter... However you want to describe it, it's one of the nicest casting rods I have ever owned. And its looks exude class. Kind of like it's wearing the fly rod equivalent of a tuxedo. And the thread wraps are its dark red cumberbund...

Since it's such an attractive fly rod, let's look at some pics, shall we?