"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

"A dude can't live on just two fly rods alone..." - Scott Hanson

Man, I have some deep thoughts...

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Fly Focus:Crane Fly

Crane flies are starting to get the recognition they deserve as an important food item in a lot of trout streams. When I first got into the sport, nobody mentioned crane flies, or if they did, it was just in passing and it went in one of my ears and out the other. But things are starting to change, and crane flies are finally starting to get some love. Woot! for crane flies!

Around here, crane flies seem to be most prolific in the warm summer months. I have spent several long evenings on my favorite streams in June and July, fully expecting to see some sulphur mayflies or light cahills emerging, but instead finding prolific hatches of small, size 16, golden colored crane flies driving the trout mad. At first I struggled to adequately match the hatch, but I have found a beautiful fly that should work perfectly.

I am not sure who invented this fly, but Brian at Lund's Fly Shop asked me to tie several dozen for him this year, and I will be tying a couple of extra dozen for my own boxes. If you want to tie your own, check out the tying tutorial below. Or if you aren't into tying, contact Brian at Lund's to order some. I think you will be glad you did!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Glass Geek Get-Together

I will be the first to admit that I am a huge glass geek. As in, fiberglass fly rod geek. I love fiberglass fly rods. They fit my casting stroke perfectly. They are perfect for all of the fishing that I do, which is mostly small stream trout fishing and the occasional panfish and bass trip to a lake or medium-sized river. Fiberglass rods let me feel the rod loading and unloading, doing most of the work for me. And they are not the most technologically advanced things out there, just like me. I am a huge glass geek, and I am happy to say so.

And, I am happy that I am not the only one out there! I have a couple of fly fishing buddies who are also glass geeks, and I don't think they would mind my saying that about them. Peter and Greg might not be as geeky as I am, but they have their fair share of geekiness. The three of us get together fairly often during the short summer months here on the frozen tundra of Minnesota, with the sole purpose of casting fly rods in the yard next to my office building. Yesterday was the first such get-together of the calendar year, and boy did we have fun!

Greg (foreground) and Peter (background)
It was a relatively balmy day up here, with temps hovering in the low 60s, and a moderate-to-gale force wind out of the east. And the problem with the yard at my office is that it sits across the road from a large open field, with nothing in it to break the wind. So I would say that the wind was at gale force more than it was at moderate... It made casting a little troublesome, but it was nothing that three bonafide geeks couldn't handle.

We didn't bring all of our glass rods out, just some of our newer acquisitions. Greg has been getting more and more into rod building, so he brought a Lamiglas and a Fenwick that he recently finished, along with a couple of others. The new builds were beautifully done, and they both cast great. They will be nice additions to Greg's arsenal.

Peter didn't have any new rods to bring, but he brought some of his favorites, including a Lemon Drop and a couple of Chris Barclay's rods. He also brought out his bamboo rod, an 8' no-name rod that throws a 5wt line very nicely. We all gave it a go, decided it was a bit on the heavy side, and then went back to our glass rods.

I showed off my new 7'6" 4wt Winston glass rod, along with a couple of others. Everybody seemed to like the Winston a lot, but it is a Winston, so that makes sense. My 8' 5wt Diamondglass and my 7' 3wt Orvis Superfine got rave reviews, as well.

I'm sure this won't be the last get-together of the year. And, if things work out for all of our schedules, there may be a Second Annual Kinni Mini Glass 'Clave later on in the summer, which will be open to all glass geeks or even glass geek wanna-be's. Keep an eye out here, for more info!

Greg, showing how crazy the wind was at times...

Peter with his Orvis Superfine

Comparing notes...

Rods. If you ever get invited to one of our get-togethers, make sure you don't step on any rods!

Peter, gettin' it done with what I believe is my Diamondglass...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Wading While Wet

I have had terrible luck with waders lately. Either they haven't fit or they have leaked like a sieve. The last pair I had, from a company that shall remain nameless, leaked in both legs, right where the neoprene booties were attached to the breathable fabric. No matter how much Aquaseal or Loon wader repair goo I slathered on them, I could not get them to stop leaking. Wading around with instantly-wet socks is the worst! So, naturally, those waders had to go.
With my old waders, I might as well have just done this...

Fast forward to a month ago or so. I found a brand new pair of Frogg Toggs waders on sale in my size, so I grabbed them up. I have never owned any gear made by Frogg Toggs, but I have heard good things about them, ever since they started to make their products, back when I still worked at a fly shop.
New Frogg Toggs! And, no, I didn't just buy them because of the pretty neon orange zipper!

I will fully admit that I am not hooked up right, you know, in the head. I will spend seeming limitless amounts of money on more fly rods than any human could need to own, but I have a problem spending good money on expensive waders. That's probably why I have had so many problems with waders recently. I again did not spend a whole lot on my new Frogg Toggs, so I was a little apprehensive when it came time to use them. Would they be able to stand up to the rigors of stepping into knee-deep water, unlike my previous waders?

Well, on Saturday, they made their maiden voyage. And I am extremely happy to report that not a drop of water got through to my socks. Really, that's all that is required for me to come to the conclusion that these Frogg Toggs are some excellent waders! I have instantly become a fan!

Go Frogg Toggs!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Down With The Sickness

"Oooh, ah, ah, ah, ah!" - Disturbed, Down With The Sickness

Knowing that most of my readers are avid fly fisher people, and knowing what demographic group a lot of fly fisher people are in, I would dare to guess that a good number of you have never heard the song "Down With The Sickness" by the heavy metal group Disturbed. And that's OK. You don't need to know the song in order to understand this blog post. I used the name of the song for the title of this post only because it fits so well with my subject matter. But, if you want to listen to the song, you can find a YouTube video of it by clicking here. If you do watch it, I dare you not to bang your head a little... (WARNING - this song contains a lot of possibly offensive language!) Now let's get on with the blog post, shall we?
Did you know I was so Disturbed?
I have a sickness. It's bad. And I can't seem to shake it, no matter how hard I try. My sickness is that I have a deep-rooted psychological need to own every fiberglass fly rod ever made. I know it seems crazy and irrational, but you could say that about most psychological maladies. That doesn't make them any less real to the people who are suffering. And I should know...

A good number of these are mine...
If I had a couple of free months I could probably go back through all my PayPal transactions to see exactly how many rods I have bought and/or sold over the past gaggle of years. But I don't, so I won't. Let's just say that a lot of rods have spent at least a little bit of time in my fly tying room/man cave in that time. I want to love all of them, but very few have actually found a spot in my heart. Most of them have had some kind of flaw, whether that meant that it didn't fit well with my casting stroke, or there was some sort of blemish that I couldn't get past, or more often than not the fact that I found another rod that I wanted more. Or even that I needed to make some quick cash to help pay for a new car or other of life's necessities. For some reason or another, most rods have been moved on to a new owner at some time or another.

My current stash...
That's not to say that my rod arsenal has dwindled. I still own my fair share of fly rods, and as you can tell by the tenor of this post, my sickness means that I keep an eye out for more and different rods to acquire,
more than I care to admit. It's a sickness, see! I can't help myself!! I need help, ladies and gentlemens! Oh, and by "help" I mean that if you know anyone who is looking to sell an old Berkley Stream Specialist rod, send him my way, will ya? K, thanks!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Life With Kids...

I don't know if you knew this about me, but I am an award-winning blogger. If you only know me from this blog you are probably thinking I am talking crazy, which I have been known to do. But my previous blog, Chaotic Kids & Clutter, which you can still read by going here, won the Best Kept Secret Blog Award at the 2014 International Bloggie Awards. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but that awards says that, at least in 2014, my blog was the best blog in the whole wide world that nobody had heard of. That's pretty cool, if you ask me.

I stopped writing on Chaotic Kids & Clutter a couple of years ago, mostly because of all the comments I got on it from dirty old men about my kids. As you can imagine, comments like those have a way of eating at your soul and making you want to stop writing about your home life, even if your home life may be filled with funny happenings that occur on an hourly basis. Oh well, as my above-mentioned award would indicate, nobody was reading that blog any way.
My four kids and their cousin. My kids are the ones that all look alike...
I write all this for one purpose only: to mention that I have a lot of kids! Four, to be exact. I know that because I counted them all before I left the house this morning... The oldest is now 10, and although I have taken her out into the yard to practice some fly casting once or twice before, she really seems like she might actually be getting excited to learn more about it. A friend gave us some waders that fit her perfectly, and a few nights ago she came down into my fly tying room to look over my fly rods with me. She found a particularly nice 6-foot-long rod and expressed her desire to use a short rod like that, since she is so much smaller than me.

I thought to myself, "Self, that is fine and all, but you don't really want her to use that particularly nice rod, do you?!?!"

"NO!!!", my self screamed back. So I got a new rod. A rod that she, and any of my other kids who might want to, can use and beat up as much as they want.

It's an Eagle Claw Featherlight glass rod. It's 6'6" in length, and rated for a 3 or 4 weight line. We took it out in the yard last night and gave it a whirl. It definitely seems like a 4wt to me, and I am not just saying that because I happened to have a 4wt line I was going to give them...
I paired the new rod with an old Daiwa 730, the best, cheap, old reel you can find for a 4wt rod.

For being the most inexpensive fly rod you can find, it really casts quite nicely. I was able to wow my kids by putting pinpoint casts pretty much anywhere I was aiming. Both the oldest child and her brother were quickly getting the hang of it and laying out nice loops, as long as they didn't have more than 15-20 feet of line out. I think it will be a perfect rod for the kids to learn on. And if they forget my guidance and end up breaking the tip off by jamming it into the ground while walking around with it , I think it will only cause some minor tears on my part. That might seem like hyperbole, but even though it's cheap, it is still a fly rod...