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

"Write what you know. If you don't know, make it up..." - Scott Hanson

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Strange But Awesome

If you have read some of my earlier blog posts, you probably remember that I am a fan of fiberglass fly rods, and if I had to make a choice, I would probably choose vintage glass rods over modern glass rods, although I say that admitting that I have very little hands-on knowledge of modern rods. Still, in my mind, there is just something really cool about fishing with a fly rod that is 30 years old or older. A lot of those old rods are awesome casting tools, which doesn't hurt.

I recently got a new-to-me vintage glass rod, and it is really cool, but also quite strange. It's made by Daiwa, which is not a brand name that is usually associated with fly rods. I know Daiwa made a lot of great fly reels over the years, but I haven't seen too many quality fly rods made by them. This one was so cool looking that I had to check it out.

It's a Daiwa V.I.P. 43, and it's a 7 footer that is rated for a 5 or 6 weight line. I tried both, and, to me, it feels way better with a 6 weight than a 5 weight. I couldn't get it to load well at all with the 5, but with a 6 it loaded beautifully and laid out 45 feet of line with ease. So, it's a very nice casting tool with the right line, which is part of its awesomeness.

The blank is really cool. It's a nice dark orange, and it's the most translucent blank I have ever seen. Other people talk about old Fenwicks being "glow-sticks", because you can see light shining through them. This Daiwa is so translucent I could almost read a book through it, although that would be silly. Why would anyone read a book through a fly rod when they would have much more fun taking it out and casting it...?

Now to the strange parts of this rod. First of all, it's got a black foam grip. My very first fly rod had a foam grip, and it was terrible. This Daiwa's foam grip is firm and comfortable, and really feels quite nice. The second strange thing is the butt-over-tip ferrule. Other entry-level rods have this type of ferrule, so it's not unheard of, but it's still not something you see every day.

The strangest parts of this rod are the snake guides. They are all the same size! Every other rod I have ever seen have snake guides that get smaller as you work your way from butt to tip, but all the snake guides on this Daiwa are the same, large size. It does allow the line to slide through them easily, but still, it's weird...

I had never seen a Daiwa rod like this before, but since I got mine I have seen two more on ebay in different lengths. If you like strange rods, and can get one at a good price, I would suggest you grab one. If nothing else, at least you could use it to read through,
The Daiwa V.I.P. 43. Look at how translucent that blank is!
I would say it is definitely a 6 instead of a 5...
Some rad thread work!
A very comfortable foam grip
Cool color scheme on the reel seat!

Friday, November 11, 2016

This Is The End

Despite the fact that we are still having one of, if not the, nicest Novembers in the history of Minnesota, it seems as though the nights have finally gotten cold enough to make the bass and bluegills head out to deeper water in my favorite local lake, and they probably won't return until next spring. Which means that the fishing season for me is effectively over. I came to this conclusion on Wednesday afternoon, when I took 10 minutes to walk down to the lake, which had been full of ravenous bluegills on Saturday, and saw a total of zero fish. Actually, that is wrong; I did see one giant carp jump clear out of the water about a hundred yards out from shore, but he was a few inches out of my preferred casting distance, so I won't count him.

Now that the fish are gone and I won't be fishing anymore, I thought it would be fun to look back on the Year That Was, at least as far as my fishing went. I caught a ton of bluegills throughout the year, a few bass, I got out to fish for trout about 6 or 8 times and had fairly good success each time, and I got to cast a bunch of great, old fly rods. What an awesome year! Let's go through some of my favorite photos from the year, shall we?
A nice 'gill on the Wonderod
A nice bass on the Wonderod
My Brother-in-Law's first fish on a fly
The 2nd Annual Twin Cities Glass Cast was a huge success, if you consider 5 guys to be huge...
My favorite trout stream
The kids are not quite as fish crazy as I am, but I am working on that
Went back to my old favorite trout stream for the first time in several years. Had a great time!
A nice brown on my Garcia Americana Beaver Kill rod
Ahh, my Berkley Parametric P-40, possibly the best casting fly rod ever made...
The last fish of the year, a lovely little bluegill on my CGR
Jubilation after slaying a monster
No fish were caught on the last day, but the Curt Gowdy Parametric felt nice as I was fruitlessly flailing away...
A beautiful fall day on my favorite lake!

Friday, November 4, 2016

We've Got Class

This post is pretty much a shameless plug, and I'm OK with that. If you are in the Twin Cities area, or anywhere in Minnesota, or anywhere in the Upper Midwest, or really anywhere in the good ol' U.S.A., and you want to learn how to tie flies, you should take one of my upcoming classes.

First up is my three-session-long beginning class that I call the "Joy of Fly Tying". It starts this coming Tuesday evening at the Community Center in St. Anthony, Minnesota, which is just north of both St. Paul and Minneapolis, and runs from 7-9 PM. Over the three Tuesday evenings we will cover the tying techniques that will allow you to be able to tie 95% of all the flies out there. I'm not saying that we will tie 95% of all the flies out there, but through the nine flies that we will tie, you will learn the techniques that will allow you to tie 95% of all the flies out there. OK, maybe it's 93%, whatever. We will have lots of fun, I will try to be clear in my explanations of fly tying terminology (like, what is a "bodkin", exactly?), I will furnish all the tools and materials for class, and it's relatively inexpensive. What could be better?

If you already know the basics of tying flies, but you are having some difficulty with the dry flies, you should contact Robert at Bob Mitchell's Fly Shop in St. Paul and sign up for my one night Dry Fly Techniques class that is happening there on Thursday, November 17th. We'll learn how to tie a Comparadun, a traditionally hackled dry fly, and a parachute dry fly. Three flies, one night, and hopefully all your dry fly tying consternation will disappear forever. If interested, check out bobmitchellsflyshop.com, or call the shop at 651-770-5854.