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30
Dec

Fly Fishing DIY Addicted #glassisnotdead


So I am not sure what has got into me lately but over the past year I seem to be obsessed with building rather than buying.  Perhaps I am getting in touch with my inner frontiersman?  Whether it is my home renovations or my fly fishing I cannot get this vintage, repurposing, build it yourself mentality out of my mind.

If you have been following me at all, you know I am building a skiff which will launch in March.  (yes, that is a hard launch date!)  I think that was my leaping off point.  Yes, go big or go home!  A few weeks ago I decided to build my first fly rod and I am totally pumped about it.  My wraps are not quite perfect and I definitely made a few mistakes for my first build but overall it came out pretty darn sweet!  The blank is a Blue Halo glass blank, 8′ 5 wt 3 piece.  I outfitted it with a half wells grip and Ti plated guides and aluminum reel seat.  It looks like CW and I are heading out on Jan 2nd to do some damage so I will let you all know how she fishes next week.  Big thanks needs to go out to Cameron Mortenson at TFM since almost every resource I pulled for the build came from his blog.  And before anyone bothers to point it out, yes I know I overlapped a few wraps and yes I know I have a bubble or two in my epoxy….

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For any of you that were wondering about dipping your toe into rod building, the basics are not all that complex.  It does take a fair amount of patience and a willingness to do a bit of learning but if you can tie flies you can build rods.  No disrespect to Zeb Tonkavich, Shane Gray, or any of the other folks that are true artists when it comes to building rods intended.  That is a whole other level of build and finish.  I was just thrilled that nothing has fallen off (yet) and it doesn’t look like a 3rd grader put it together!  Hopefully I will take a few more risks with my second build and we can see how we do.

My other holiday endeavor was to start building my own dubbing brushes.  I thought about building my own station but when I added up the cost and the time, the good folks at Twister System already had this thing wired… get it?  wired!  So I picked up one for me and sent one over to CW for his Birthday.  I quickly spun up a few squirrel tail brushes and pumped out my favorite sculpin pattern.  Yes, I know I need to tie up a bunch of midges for Friday but I couldn’t help myself.  Something inside just had meat on the brain.

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Yes, this is madness!  Where does it stop?  Do I start sewing my own clothes?  Forging my own tools?  Brewing my own beer?  Wait a moment.  OK, sanity is creeping back in.  Definitely not brewing my own beer.  There are some things that I just can’t compete with.

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So what have we learned today?  Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and build something!  It is part of our primal nature.  For the stuff you aren’t going to build, Ditch the big box stores and support your local shops!  Otherwise you will be asking some clueless dude at Bass Pro the next time you need help.  I had someone reply to me the other day that they didn’t live near a local shop so that is why they shopped big box!  Sorry, I’m calling bullshit.  Almost every local shop that will survive the next 5 years has a pretty darn good web presence and good customer service over the phone to support it.  Many will even ship for free.  So buy local or at the very least, stop calling for free advice and then buying somewhere else.  That just makes you a douche.  Just sayin….

Anyhow enough preaching.  I hope you all had a fantastic 2014 and are looking forward to a very fishy 2015.

Tight Lines and Loose Pants,

MBL

 

 

 

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11
Dec

There is “Fish Porn” and then there is FISH PORN…..


So after three different friends sent me this link I figured it was a sign that someone had to post it so it might as well be me.  Fair warning, this is NSFW!  That means NOT SAFE FOR WORK… or kids… or spouses…. or jealous carp.

I mean seriously, I love carp.  You know I do.  And I’m not afraid to admit I have watched a little porn in my day.  But can’t honestly say the thought ever crossed even my twisted mind to combine the two.  It takes a lot to render me basically speechless but yep… Just don’t know what to say.

http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/entertainment/news/a31688/erotic-carp-calendar-actual-thing/

And just for the record… NO, I didn’t buy it… yet.

Tight Lines and Not so Loose Pants,

MBL

 

5
Dec

TFM Stickers and a Sweet Piece of Glass – Gray Wolf Products – Swift Epic 686 !


For those of you that have ever cruised in the “fishmobile” you know my love of fly fishing stickers.  What can I say, I love to fly the flag of brands and causes that I support and associate with.  So with being a recent glass man (Thank you Shane at Gray Wolf… more on that later!) I had to hit Cameron at The Fiberglass Manifesto up for some sweet TFM stickers.  Right now it is spitting freezing rain outside so they will have to wait another day or so before making their way to the vehicle.

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No disrespect to Cameron’s sweet sticker swag but the truly big news is that I am now the proud owner of my first custom build glass rod courtesy of Shane Gray at Gray Wolf Rods.  So first a disclaimer.  I have received nothing free or even discounted from Gray Wolf or from Carl at Swift Fly Rods down in New Zealand.  I wanted to talk a bit about the build experience, the service supplied by both, and the excitement around how the rod turned out and the frustration of not being able to fish this beautiful stick yet!

Let me start with the blank selection first.  I wanted to build a glass rod primarily for carp and smallmouth.  I liked the idea of being able to load a rod in tight situations and make a smooth accurate presentation.  (something that can be a bit more challenging with todays faster rod blanks)  The rub was I also needed the rod to be able to throw a larger weighted fly than most trout situations mandated.  No disrespect to the larger rod manufacturers offerings but I needed something heavier than a 5 weight, longer than 8′, and with a bit more backbone.  After reading, and reading, and yes more reading, I came across a great review on the Swift Epic 686 that Cameron had done.  It even came complete with a picture of the rod with a sweet slab of bronze attached to it.

If there is a guy out there that knows his glass from his ass, that would be CM so who was I to reinvent the wheel.  I interviewed a couple of Rod Builders all of whom were great sources of information and I felt the best fit for me was Shane.  He listened well, gave good advice, and was incredibly responsive to emails as well as calls.  The truth of the matter is that custom rods are not for everyone.  They are not cheap by any stretch (nor should they be for the artistry that goes into them) and they don’t typically carry the same type of rod warranty that you get with factory rods.  The flip side is that you can get the exact rod you want… exactly how you want it…. from wraps, to reel seats, to stripping guides.  Your rod, your way!

Which leads me to Swift.  The Epic is categorized as “fast glass” which is not to be confused with “Helios 2” fast but is definitely more stout than many of the more traditional glass blanks on the market.  (see Swift’s site for more technical details)  I was a bit unsure of a line pairing so I hopped on their site and sent an email through their contact tool.  I was truly a bit surprised when the response I got was from the Director, Carl McNeil.  We had a great email exchange and he was extremely helpful in helping me choose a taper that matched my targeted species and casting style.

The only thing left is to take this beautiful rod on her maiden voyage.  If you are in the market for a custom build I can tell you with absolute sincerity that you won’t be disappointed with what ends up in your hands from Swift or from Gray Wolf.

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Tight Lines and Loose Pants,

MBL