January 27, 2011



WTF is up with gear these days? Manufacturers complain about recruitment and the often high barrier to enter this sport, yet they release stupid ass shit like a pair of goddamn nippers for $50 bucks. For fifty bones, that babdboy better be sporting a Class 4 laser that'll cauterize your tag ends of tippet. Recently read was a conversation debating the merits of zippered waders. No offense, but the items brought up for comparison were a couple of high buck models topping the charts at $425 and $450. $450! For a pair of waders!? What the hell has this industry come to? $450 waders puncture on barbed wire just as easily as a pair of $150 breatheables. Between angling, guiding, and my other occupation (fisheries management), I spend a lot of days in the water. Alot. I've been wearing the same beater pair of waders for going on 6 years now and not one hole or leak has sprung. Not one patch in those badboys. They aren't a pair of Patagucci or Simmps, but rather a $150 middle of the pack model store brand that didn't break the bank. What's the secret? I take care of them.

I'm not the only who's refusing to drink the kool-aid; I know of a fellow blogger and angler who'll soon be ditching his Simms for a similar performing "generic" at a quarter of the price. I'm not saying that the innovation or the technology that gear companies are bringing to the table are unappreciated, because I love gear. I'm a gear junky. But I don't believe that the bar for a mid-level piece of equipment should be set so high. Retail markup on soft goods are ridiculous. The same goes for hard goods in this industry; every "pro" knows the general rule of thumb for wholesale that a fly rod or reel is going for. Times are tough on everyone right now, but a $500 fly reel from a start up company is no way to enter the marketplace. Perhaps take a look at cutting profit margins a bit or ditch the no-fault warranties to move more product. I suppose you'd need to first move out of the Neolithic Age in order to begin embracing the principles of micro and macro economics in the Digital Age. All I know is that an $1100 spey rod isn't going to curry much favor with recruiting folks from the bait dunking and gear tossing crowd. Bubba ain't gonna pay $1100 for any gear but a new compound bow or an AR-15.

So what to do about those extravagant markups? It used to be in the past that the industry just held us all hostage. Unless you were on a pro plan, you had to pay full retail for gear. It took a great deal of time and resource to become outfitted with enough gear to meet your needs and interests; likely more than you paid for your first car, for some, maybe your first house. It seems the prices of these items just kept rising with the times, often higher than the rate of inflation. Where did the profits all go? Aside from a handful of companies, I can tell you where they didn't go: back to the resource. Likely, those huge margins went to stock fridges full of Nestle bottled water and wild PNW steelhead in more than a few executives' guest ranches on a reach of private water on some stream that we all wished we could afford to fish. Lucky for us consumers, a few folks fed up with the whole scene had the balls enough to put themselves out there and found companies that stand for something. Companies like Rise Fishing Co. are selling high end rods at guide prices and donating 20% of their proceeds to fishy causes. These are the guys that are making a difference. They are building a nice user base that will be around long after the old schoolers die off, likely taking a few of the aloof, apathetic companies with them. I say good riddance. Either change with the times or die off. It's called survival of the fittest; natural selection.

If you're in the industry, do me a solid and check out this piece on Angling Trade about the Bristol Bay Academy and see what you can do to help. If you're not, check out organizations like fishy kid, the TU conservation and fishing camp, or the National Fly Fishing in School Program and help get our youth involved. It's up to us because clearly, the mainstream industry isn't doing anything about it. All they care about is whether or not they should get their next pair of nippers in the Brook Trout or Cutthroat Trout graphic finish.

January 26, 2011


CZE Skudz
The CZE Skud. I don't care who you are, what you like to fish for, or what type of flies you like to fish. Who can resist a scud, especially when tied in Yerba Buena or KB "Kind Buds" dubbing? Scuds are proven fish catchers.

CZE Skud, KB Orange
CZE Skud, KB Orange
These flies are worthy of the Red Star.

January 25, 2011


Great Horned Owl
The Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus. Taking a respite from the snow from atop a high perch in my backyard.

January 24, 2011

Hot Stuff

Deluxe Carp Assortment
Check out the new carp assortments, updated with hot new patterns like the Thunderbird and Admiral Akbar. The Deluxe Carp Assortment is smokin'! Available in an 18 or 36 piece assortment. Starting at $40 with Free Shipping*.

Pick up an assortment now and become Awesomer.

January 21, 2011


I recently scored on a bunch of squirrel pelts off of ebay. Five for $12, plus free priority mail shipping to boot. To add to the awesomeness, there were two extra hides thrown in the box. Price per pelt was down to $2.18, the cheapest I've been able to find, even cheaper than Coffin Creek Furs when you factor in shipping and handling costs. The hides were in great condition, all fleshed out, salted, and dried. I didn't find any bugs, but I'm taking no chances. The hides have already been quarantined and sent to the deep freeze chamber for a week's sentence. Between the freeze, a dye bath, and some borax for the non-dyed skins, that should take care of all the critters. Besides, there's nothing a little trip into the microwave can't take care of.

You may wonder what in the hell I'm gonna do with 22 squirrel pelts. No, I'm not gonna make myself a toupée or a squirrel suit. And I'm not gonna use them for Zonkers, though that is a great idea but better suited for a tanned skin. I'm gonna dye up a bunch of them skins and chop them furs for dubbin'. I've got a few big batches I need to make for use down the road. Squirrel is the ultimate fur for a buggy nymph blend.

January 20, 2011

head cement

Sally Hansen's finest
An old substitute for head cement, Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails. Here's a couple of new solutions featuring updated formulas and fresh new colors. Hopefully the Moniker Xtreme wear will live up to it's name, as these will be put into brownliner service. Ironically, that badass green polish is dubbed "Ivy League". Let's see how that cake eater will perform.

January 19, 2011

mason's children

Unassuming, a spool of mason line strikes no fancy to the casual fly angler. Hell, even most fly tyers would look past this spindle of ghastly colored fluorescent pink twine, not even thinking twice about its use behind the vise. It is only in the deep dark reaches of a mad scientist, where upon a routine Saturday morning at the local store, one finds an oddly placed item lurking in the depths of the clearance aisle and thinks,
"fly tying material!".

Mason Line
Composed of nylon, polyester, and/or polypropylene, mason line hardly seems like an ideal material to the typical fly tyer, especially when it comes in cerise. Fluorescent pink isn't typically a color most tyers reach for, unless you're a steelheader or fish Alaska. To the dubbist, the same situation applies; no need to make hot pink dubbing if you won't be tying hot pink patterns. Ah so, but if you're crazy enough behind the vise, good things begin to happen.

Mason Line, frayed out
This particular brand of mason line has a composition that is very antron like. In fact, when chopped up and blended, this line resembles STS Trilobal dubbing from Hare-Line. Almost spot on. I don't typically dub flies in straight pink, unless I'm tying in collars on a batch of Pink Squirrels. However, I do use quite a bit of pink synthetics to add highlights to my dubbing blends. This stuff is righteous. I'm a firm believer that good things don't just happen, you make them happen.

mason line dubbing
mason line dubbing, natural light
The best thing about the mason line? I picked up a 75 yard spool of it for $1, nearly a quarter of it's retail price. Mad indeed.

January 18, 2011


A new concoction from behind the blender.

Time to go take care of some unfinished business...

January 17, 2011


Some micro fly fun with sulky holoshimmer. Thanks to the Winona Fly Factory for renewing my interest in the holoshimmer, an excellent material for small nymph bodies on caddis and midge patterns alike. Of course, his midge patterns kick my ass. Nice work there brother!

micro caddis
I better get to tying up a bunch of midge patterns if I plan on hanging out on the river with WFF and Wendy Berrell next month. Those guys will school this roughfisher; they've been out a few times already this winter and I haven't touched a fly rod since November.

January 14, 2011

Rise Fishing Co.

Rise Fishing Co.
Rise Fishing Co.
Founders Amanda Switzer and Steve Bechard are a combination of hard working fishing guides and fly casting instructors who had a vision to create fly rods that are best suited for the majority of fly fishermen. Having the background of working with many different types of fly fishermen gives Rise the advantage in understanding what most people need in a fly rod. These guys are about as fishy as you can get; they can school just about anyone on the water. Steve is a carper, and oh yeah, Amanda was a little TV show called Guide House. They've both earned the title of brownliner in my book.

Image courtesy of Rise Fishing Co.
Fly Fishing guides Amanda Switzer and Steve Bechard set out to create the best fly rod possible at a price that doesn’t discriminate. "No one is harder on gear then guides, so we work with world class fly fishing guides who help sculpt our rods and put them to the true test of fishing them hard!" Rise currently has two rod lines on the market now, the In-Stream Series, freshwater fly rods, and the Level Series, salt water fly rods. While the In-Stream rods will make a great trout rod, the Level Series is what should grab your attention. The Rise Level Series Saltwater Fly Rods are made from IM-8 and IM-10 Graphite. The reel seats are a heavy duty saltwater safe up locking seat and the guides are all titanium carbide. The fighting butts are standard size on the 6 – 9wts and are over sized on the 10 – 14wts. The color of the Rise Level series rods are a rich blue with black wraps. All Level Series Fly Rods come with extra tip, rod sock and case.

Rise Fishing Co. Level Series fly rod
Of particular interest is the 9 foot 7 weight rod. The four-piece 7 weight rod will perform short casts with tight loops yet has enough backbone to punch flies in to the wind with accuracy. This fast action rod will be just the ticket for sight casting to carp and some topwater action for smallmouth bass. At $249, the rod is a steal. All rods are backed by a Lifetime Guarantee and a $25/$50 replacement section/rod fee. With the supplied extra rod tip, you already have a mulligan.

Although making high quality fly rods is the main objective of Rise Fishing Co., conservation and preserving the future of our sport is high on their agenda. Led by Amanda Switzer, Rise Fishing Co. pledged to set a new standard in the industry by donating 20% of proceed to conservation and getting new people in to our sport through organizations like Recycled Fish and fishy kid. Their hope is that other companies follow in their foot steps to make sure that there is a fishery to enjoy for generations to come. Learn more about how they donate their 20% on the Donate page.

Word on the street is that Rise Fishing Co. is developing a carp rod and a long rod for nymphing in the 10 foot range. This is exciting news for the roughfisher in all of us.
Rise Fishing Co.
PO BOX 3282
East Hampton, NY 11937


Call Rise Fishing Co. toll free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1.800.399.0712.

Stay tuned in on all the latest news and happenings on the Rise Fishing blog.

Stop Pebble Mine!
Visit the Rise Fishing Co. site NOW and enter their contest for a free Rise fly rod and guided trip! All you need to do is sign the petition to Stop the Pebble Mine and register on the Rise Fishing Co. website to enter. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email. Enter by 2/21/11. Winner announced on 2/22/11.

Orders are currently being taken and will ship on February 1st, 2011. What are you waiting for?

January 12, 2011

Postmodern Soft Hackles

The postmodern take on the classic soft hackle pattern Partridge and Orange, et al.

grouse soft hackles
Clockwerk Orange:
Hook: Mustad 3906, Size 8
Thread: 6/0 UNI, Black
Body: Danville 4 Strand Rayon Floss, Orange
Thorax: Roughfisher's Seal Sub Dub, Peacock Poison
Hackle: Ruffed Grouse Body Feather
Head: 3.8mm Tungsten Bead

grouse and orange
grouse and yellow
grouse and green
Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!

January 11, 2011

Attack of the dubz

Walnut ingredients
More of the same, except now in the tasty new flavors Walnut, Char-truce, Red Tide, Highlander, Donkey Kong, and Slim Shady. Ingredient list includes various fibers such as rayon, polypropylene, wool, acrylic fibers, polyamide fibers, antron, trilobal nylon, rabbit, hare's mask, finn raccoon, and Huacaya alpaca. Close up photos taken under natural lighting conditions.

Red Tide
Donkey Kong
Slim Shady
All I need is a killer purple blend and classic white and I'll have just about every color of the rainbow covered. If anyone has a color suggestion, I'm all ears. Leave your request in the comments.

January 10, 2011

Copper Johnsons

Look what I found, a bargain basement score of Holiday Copper Johns, in fancy Christmas colors. The price is always right after the holidays. I guess the price is always right if you tie them yourself....

Copper John
Copper John
Copper John
Copper John
Copper John

January 7, 2011

krystal meth dubz

krystal meth dub
More fun with dubbing. I chopped up a bunch of my recent scores: embroidery floss, lip cord, and Wool-Ease yarn, along with some antron and trilobal nylon and blended away. I added some rabbit and hare (not shown) for some binder and wrapper and the blend was banging. Plenty of flash here. Like a hit of ice.

dubbing ingredients
krystal meth dub
A few obligatory ties with the Krystal Meth dub:

Blue Bomber
Carp Crack
I hope them caprs don't end up with a case of Meth Mouth.

January 6, 2011

more yarnage

Wool-Ease Worsted Weight
More colors to add to the arsenal of Wool-Ease yarn. Wool-Ease Worsted Weight is an 80% acrylic, 20% wool blend, at 3 oz per 197 yd skein. Colors du jour include Blue Mist and Forest Green Heather.

Blue Mist
Forest Green Heather