January 31, 2007

Bench Time

I’ve been busy the last few weeks tying a bunch of bass, pike, and muskie flies. It works out pretty good since it’s been cold as heck around here lately. Temps 20 below with wind? No problem, hit the vise and start tying!
Tying warmwater flies are a lot different than tying trout flies. For one, the size of these warmwater flies are gargantuan. Hooks range from size 4 to size 3/0. Due to these larger patterns, there is a lot more material used when tying these flies. As a result, tying times are greatly increased. I’m good if I can pump out a half dozen of these flies in a couple hours.
Trout flies, on the other hand, range in size from size 6 down to size 32. Those size 32s are pretty microscopic. It’s a wonder that a huge lunker trout can feast on insects that small. But they do, so an apt tyer must tie up a bunch of those small midge patterns. The plus side to that, is that a proficient tyer can pump out at least a dozen or so of those flies an hour.
With the forecast for this weekend predicting lows in the -20s and highs in the teens and single digits below zero, plus wind, you can rest assured that I’ll be staying in and tying this weekend. Stay warm!

January 27, 2007

Trout Finally!

I finally got out this season to chase some rainbows. I got up at 530 and headed out the door shortly after, since I loaded up the truck the night before. I arrived at the park, and I settled into my spot on the shallow flats just about an hour before sunrise. I got my first trout right at 730. It was still dark out, and trout are sensitive to light and sounds, so I fished in the dark. Because I was so shallow, and since trout often come in to a bait quickly and leave just as fast, a flasher is just about useless. As a result, I was fishing “blind”, so to speak. I had to wait until I felt a fish on before I could set the hook. I missed two fish this way. I ended up catching one more fish in the dark. The action was slow until about 915, when the sun broke over the hills. Then the action picked up and I caught three more bows in about a half hour stretch. Two of those fish put up a pretty good fight.

It was nice to have the whole lake to myself this morning; nice and quiet . It was good to be out again!

January 25, 2007

New Reel

My new Battenkill Mid Arbor reel and spool arrived this morning. First impression of this reel is the beauty of the fine machining. The drag appears that it will be up for the challenge of a mighty muskie. I’m excited to test this badboy out. I’ll mount the new fly lines to the reel and extra spool tonight when I get home. Tomorrow I’ll probably mount the reel on my new rod and give the whole outfit a few test casts.
Yep. Only 127 days untill the open water Muskie season starts…

January 23, 2007


What better way to compliment a new fly rod than with a new reel? I just ordered a new Battenkill Mid-Arbor V reel and spool. I opted for the titanium finish, which will compliment the reel seat on my new 9 weight rod. I actually ordered the new reel, not because I needed a match for my new rod, but because I needed homes for the new fly lines I got last month.
My current 9 weight reel is an Albright General Practitioner. It is a sufficient reel, but nothing magnificent. The reel is a large arbor model and constructed from cast aluminum, it has a center disc drag. Cast aluminum is not known for its durability, especially for big game fish. In addition, extra spools for the reel go for $55. I needed two. For just $19 more than what I would have paid for the Albright spools, I ended up with a new reel and spool machined from bar stock aluminum, a sealed center disc drag, and an Orvis unconditional guarantee. Plus, the Battenkill MA reel won Fly Rod and Reel magazine’s prestigious Kudos award in 2005. The Albright reel will now be delegated to backup duty. My new reel should be pretty sweet!

January 20, 2007

First Cast

Well, my new rod arrived last night during supper. After the table was cleared and the dishes put away, I eagerly opened the packaging. The rod was beautiful! I quickly put the rod together and mounted a reel on it to feel the balance of the rod. Nice. Since it was dark out, I decided to wait until morning to cast the rod.
I casted the rod this afternoon briefly and I must say, WOW! I casted with a Rio WF 9 wt line and it loaded real nice. The action wasn’t quite as fast as I imagined it would be (because it’s a fast action, and not an extra-fast); once I slowed my cast down just a little bit the line casted wonderfully. It was pretty easy to shoot just about the whole line (100ft) with two false casts. I was in my front yard, and could have probably casted the whole line with ease if I would have casted into the street.
I am impressed; the rod did not cast like a $130 rod (I paid $99), but rather like a higher priced rod. The rod also looked well constructed. Thanks must go in order to Sage for passing down technology from their higher end rods.
The only thing I might question about the rod are two things. The stripping guides, looked thinner than the ones on my RedStart. It could be that higher quality guides could be thinner diameter for the same strength as the cheaper ones. The other thing was that there was a stripping guide just above the ferrule on the upper piece of the rod. My other rods had the guides up just a bit further. The only problem that could happen here is damaging the guide when connecting and disconnecting the ferrules on the rod. I am pleased with my purchase; Time will only tell how this rod holds up to the punishment of the dreaded Esox family. Not to worry, though, as the rod comes with a lifetime guarantee.

January 18, 2007


I’ve got a new fly rod on order. It’s expected to be here tomorrow. The anticipation, the excitement, this is even better than Christmas. I had been mulling over the thought of getting a new rod for a few months now. Ever since I saw that Redington was redoing a couple of their rod lines as well as introducing a new rod and reel, my interest was piqued. To keep it fair, I looked at a bunch of rods from other manufacturers and compared them. I looked at 9 weight rods either 9 or 10 feet in length. I was steering more towards a fast action, since I already own a medium action 8/9wt Redington RedStart. I ended up ordering the Redington RedFly2 9′ 9wt rod. I bought a two-piece rod since compactness will not be an issue when using this rod. This rod will probably be fished from a boat quite often, and mainly used for walleye, pike, and the occasional muskie. This rod should also have a little more backbone than the RedStart.
I decided on the RedFly2 due to the fact that it has a limited lifetime warranty. The blank is a blend of 51 and 42 million modulus graphite. It has an anodized aluminum reel seat, AAA grade cork handle, and comes with PacBay aluminum oxide stripping guides. These features are commonly found on rods over $250. I found this rod for under $100! You’d be hard pressed finding a better deal for the money.
I’m excited to fish this rod. I’ll most likely fish the rod with either a 9 wt Rio Clouser line, or a Mastery Wet Tip, Type V sink. There’ll be a lot of monster flies being cast with this rod, many in the 8-12”+ range. This 9wt might be overkill for the walleye, but would be a blast to fight if I tied into a big toothy pike, or even a muskie. This rod might even be the ticket for catching carp, drum, channel cats, and monster buffalo.

January 12, 2007

Trout Time

Tomorrow morning begins the winter stream trout season in Minnesota lakes. As usual, I will be out before sunrise on the opener again. I’ll most likely be setup in the shallows, sight fishing in about 3-5 feet of water. Usually the rainbow trout are out cruising these flats for insect larvae. Finesse plastics work well in these situations, although I usually prefer to fish a small jig or spoon tipped with waxies or euro larvae. I may sneak out to a little deeper water later in the day. There are some bruiser brood stock fish that cruise the lake. I have yet to hook up with one of these fish, but when they were stocked in 2005 they were in the 5+ pound range. Maybe this will be the year I finally land one of these brutes.
Good luck to all the other anglers making their way out this weekend to fish for stream trout. Tight Lines!