"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

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?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Daiwa Reels

I am a Lamson reel guy, but I have also owned a bunch of Daiwa reels over the years, and ya know what? They all have been great reels. My latest one is no exception, even though it's probably older than all of the other Daiwa reels I have owned. It's a Daiwa 730. It's a small click-and-pawl reel from the 1970s, and it works beautifully. It was fashioned as a sort of clone of the Hardy Featherweight, if my research is correct. It doesn't really look like a Featherweight, in my opinion, other than on the insides. The guts of my 730 looks exactly like the guts of a Featherweight, but the outside is quite different. There are less holes on the spool of the Daiwa reel. There is no fancy script writing on the back side of the frame. It's really not that attractive. But who cares?!? It works great, and now I am feverishly looking for another to use as a backup reel for my 4-weight rods.

My new Daiwa 730. Isn't it grand?

Back side.
Its more glamorous Hardy equivalent.

Daiwa is not big in the fly fishing reel world any more, at least in the USA. But if you are looking for a good, low cost reel, try to get your hands on any of their older reels. I am sure you will find you've made a good purchase!
My first nice fly reel, which I bought in 1987. A Daiwa-made System One 456. It still sort of works today!

Same reel with the Daiwa name badge
The 789 version of the System One
And the 789 version of the Daiwa

This and above: A newer Daiwa Lochmor-S 200. Another fine reel.

And the Lochmor 200A, a mid-arbor design.

I thought this old Daiwa glass rod, the VIP 43, was one of the coolest old glass rods I had seen. A beautiful translucent blank, cool thread wraps, a comfortable foam grip. I thought it was so cool! Then I took it out and gave it a test cast. It was rated for a 5 or 6 weight line, but I think it would have been better suited for an 8 or 9. It was so stiff! The closest thing that I have ever come across to the proverbial broom handle. Oh well, I'll just stick with Daiwa reels.