Thursday, July 28, 2011

a peek inside my fly fishing pack

Do you ever wonder what the guy fishing upstream from you is carrying in his vest? I do. There are so many products out there and so many ways to do things that it's hard to know what you're missing out on. In that spirit, I thought It'd be fun to list out what you'd find in my pack on an average day on the water.

1. Filson chest pack. I started using this roughly a decade ago after trying  many vests and other chest packs. I really like the idea of a main compartment that gives you access to most of the things you need without going from pocket-to-pocket. It also has a classic look and is made in the U.S.A.
2. Patagonia Torrentshell jacket. It's cheap, waterproof and I can wear it casually. I'm not a fan of spending $200+ on a jacket that sits in your fishing gear unused most of the time because you'd look retarded wearing it around town.
3. Fly reel. Until I hit the water to rig up I just throw it in my pack so it doesn't get forgotten at home, it's happened.
4. C&F small fly boxes. Usually 2, sometimes 3: One for dries, one for nymphs, one for streamers and terrestrials.
5. Indicators and split shot. I've found this plastic box works great for me, I like having all of this in one spot and I haven't managed to accidentally empty all my shot into the river yet...
6. Shake & Float. I love this stuff, keeps 'em floatin' high.
7. Waterproof video/still camera. It's a bitch to use when you're trying to get shots of your own catch, but awesome when filming someone else.
8. Mini flashlight. For tying flies on at nite or finding your way back to the car, I usually carry a slightly larger one as well.
9. Abel tool. This is not a great tool for daily use, but when you need to trim a fly, hone a hook or open a beer it's good to have.
10. Soft weight. I usually use split shot, but still carry this for some reason.
11. Glow-in-the-dark strike putty. I love this stuff, if you don't have it: Get some! It's great for low light nymphing, but I also put just a trace of it about 2 feet above tiny dries to help me track them, even in daylight.
12. Mucilin. I usually wipe a bit across the first 10 feet of my fly line before I hit the water. I don't know that it works all that well, but fly lines start to sink after a while and it drives me nuts.
13. Bug dope. Mosquitos can suck a dick.
14. Sunblock.
15. Lip balm.
16. Gink. Keep it off that CDC, brother!
17. Tippet: 7x, 6x, 5x, 4x, 3x, 0x
18. 3rd Hand tweezer. I keep this clipped to the inside main pocket on my pack and use it to tie on flies, it's a lot easier to spin than trying to spin the fly in your fingers, a hackle plier works pretty well too.
19. Magnet. I keep two of them attached to each other on opposite sides of the pack cloth. They are good instead of a fly patch for smaller flies as well as for holding a fly on deck while prepping a double rig.
20. Leaders & licenses. I keep my licenses in an empty leader packet in my pack, that way they are always there if needed.
21. Nippers on a zinger. The last 10 years of so I've been carrying around a titanium nipper from Fishpond that I really liked (note: past tense). They stopped making it a while ago, what with its' outrageous price and lack of any usefulness beyond the aluminum version, but it was awesome. It must've snagged on something while I was hiking a few weeks back and the nipper and zinger disappeared. I was beyond bummed out, I only hope the person who finds it appreciates it. Anyway, I replaced the zinger and in an effort not to spend ridiculous $$$ on the new Abel nipper, I'm carrying around an old nipper that's been sitting in my gear bag forever.
22. Forceps. Last time I was out west I bought this rainbow one, I think trout enjoy looking at the prismatic colors while I'm removing a hook from their jaw. I've left a couple of these on the bottom of deep pools over the years and I always carry an extra one in the back of the pack just in case. It's too valuable to be without and I hate trying to use it while working around some sort of retractor/retainer that keeps it from getting lost.
23. Lighter. You never know.
That's a pretty detailed list. On any given day you'll also find a bottle of water and miscellaneous unhealthy snacks in the back of my bag. There will also be extra tippet in 5x and 6x hanging out with the back-up forceps and lighter. I used to carry a small seine that I made from a window screen, but it never helped me catch a fish, so I stopped.
If you carry anything unique that I may have never thought of, please share. I'd love to know about it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

pink im6. yeah, this is happening.

I bought a pink fly rod blank and admitting it feels kinda like I'm admitting my substance abuse problem for the first time. I was feeling like building a rod and I needed a 10 foot seven weight for steelhead fishing. While looking for a blank, I came across this. It's a seven foot, three weight, 2 piece blank and it's really pink.
Last night I installed the reel seat and cork grip, now I need to get the guides placed, wrapped and epoxied, and of course, fish with it.
In actuality I have no need for this rod, I really bought the blank for a couple reasons: It'll be good to build a practice rod before I put together my seven weight (I refinished a bamboo rod about ten years ago and haven't built one since then). Secondly, more and more people have been asking me to take them out fishing and more of those people are women. I thought it'd be nice to have an inexpensive guiding rod with a little feminine appeal.
Building a graphite fly rod can vary in price quite a bit with the rod blank sort of setting the tone. You can buy a $300 blank or spend as little as $25. If you spend $300, you're not likely to skimp on the other components and will end up with a $500 rod, I will have $100 into this rod when it's done. I could have done it for less, but I couldn't bring myself to put a cheap clunky reel seat on it so I went to REC and bought a really nice reel seat.
I don't expect this to be the best fishing rod, but it's going to be used by beginners anyway, although, I have to say I'm kinda looking forward to fishing it myself.
Fair warning: If you ask me to take you fishing, you may find yourself casting a pink fly rod in rural places where they give meaning to that sort of behavior...