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What is a Striped-Bass
In the last few decades, the striped bass has rapidly stolen the hearts of saltwater fly anglers along the eastern coast of North America. Members of the Percichthyidae or temperate bass family, “stripers” are quite simply awesome on a fly fishing rod. These energetic anadromous fish are native to the inshore regions of the western Atlantic, but enjoy a wide range (51°N - 24°n, 94°w - 80°w) thanks to a host of introduction and aquaculture programs throughout the world. More...
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desc::In the last few decades, the striped bass has rapidly stolen the hearts of saltwater fly anglers along the eastern coast of North America. Members of the Percichthyidae or temperate bass family, “stripers” are quite simply awesome on a fly fishing rod. These energetic anadromous fish are native to the inshore regions of the western Atlantic, but enjoy a wide range (51°N - 24°n, 94°w - 80°w) thanks to a host of introduction and aquaculture programs throughout the world. More...
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Morone saxatilis

Johann Julius Walbaum, 1792


“The bass, of course, have no idea of the delight they carry on
their shoulders for nearly four million striper fisherman on the east
coast.”


 
- David DiBenedetto, “On the Water”

 


In the last few decades, the striped bass has rapidly stolen the
hearts of saltwater fly anglers along the eastern coast of North
America. Members of the Percichthyidae or temperate bass family,
“stripers” are quite simply awesome on a fly fishing rod. These
energetic anadromous fish are native to the inshore regions of the
western Atlantic, but enjoy a wide range (51°N - 24°n, 94°w - 80°w)
thanks to a host of introduction and aquaculture programs throughout the
world.

 

The four major populations of striped bass along the eastern
seaboard of North America are: the Chesapeake Bay striper, the
Massachusetts Bay or Cape Cod striper, the Hudson River striper, and the
Delaware
River striper. Saltwater fly anglers on the Pacific coast – especially
in the San Francisco Bay area – have also enjoyed playing the striper
game as the fish migrate from the Sacramento River Delta to the Pacific
Ocean. Regionally, the striped bass may be called the striped sea bass,
rockfish, or “rock.”

 

In 1792, the German doctor, taxonomist, and naturalist, Johann Julius Walbaum, discovered and named the striped bass Morone saxatilis,
from the Latin “rock dweller” – quite an apt title as striped bass love
any kind of structure they can find. Stripers search for baitfish in
rocky areas and cut banks that provide shelter as well as in rocky
depressions along the bottom of inshore deltas, saltwater flats, and
tidal lagoons.

 

Striped bass enjoy warmer, more temperate waters and will follow
periodic heat fluctuations throughout the year. In the early spring,
along the eastern coast of North America, stripers sense the shifting
temperature gradient in the north. They will migrate in schools both
great and small from the Outer Banks of North Carolina all the way to
the rocky shoreline of Maine. The leaders of the migration are the
smaller fish, colloquially known on the eastern Atlantic coast as
“schoolies.” These smaller fish are trailed by their larger
counterparts. Migrating striped bass feed primarily on baitfish, and
hold a strong gastronomic penchant for alewives, and menhaden. Stripers
will also dine on sand eels, squid, clams, and crabs.

 

Saltwater fly anglers, almost as instinctively as the bass
themselves, follow the migration, emerging from their cold winter’s
fishing slumber to clean up their outfits
and cast flies again. Once the northern waters begin to cool later in
the summer, the migration reverses its direction and the striped bass
travel south again like the snowbirds of the northeast, looking for an
escape from the brutal Nor’easters of January and February. Intersecting
the migration as it moves along the coast is the name of the game in
fly fishing for stripers and, lucky for the saltwater fly angler, there
are many opportunities to play throughout the year.

 

The striped bass is a beautiful and silvery-sleek fish. It can grow
to impressive sizes of 80 pounds or more with a maximum recorded length
of just over 6 feet! The striped bass fly anglers will most commonly
see, however, are in the 5 pound to 20 pound weight range. There are
generally 7 or 8 dark stripes running horizontally from the striped
bass’ gills to the caudal fin or tail and the fish can take on a
striking light blue-green tint along its back.

 

Because of the wide range of environments in which stripers can be
caught, there are several strategies saltwater fly anglers will put to
use when casting to the striped bass. Commonly anglers will wade the
inshore areas of tidal rivers and saltwater flats with hard bottoms in
search of striped bass. Boats are employed when encountering flats with
softer bottoms or when more expansive areas of deeper ocean, deltas, and
larger bays need to be covered. Some anglers even enjoy surfcasting for
stripers from the shore, and if flies are presented properly, this
method can be an extremely productive way to hook a striped bass. For
those daringly innovative anglers who want to live on the true cutting
edge, spey rods and casting techniques are gaining popularity when surf
casting for stripers!

 

Regardless of the fishing environment, saltwater fly anglers may enjoy the rare
chance at placing a sight cast to schooling stripers, but most
commonly, anglers blindly ply the most likely looking waters with a
search and retrieve technique not unfamiliar to freshwater trout
anglers. When the rare opportunity at sight casting for striped bass
arises, knowing how to pick up the fish is key. When in shallower
saltwater flats, stripers will often push wakes as they search for
smaller baitfish. Learning to see this wake can be invaluable for
anglers who primarily wade inshore areas.

 

When putting the more common blind casting or search and retrieve
strategy to use for stripers, understanding how the fish feed is the
most important piece of the puzzle. Striped bass, like trout, prefer to
let their food come to them. Subsequently, stripers will often hold in
sheltered areas and turn their noses (and hungry mouths) into the
direction of the tide. Here they will wait for the tidal conveyor belt
to bring smaller fish into their holding area. It is thus important to
understand the nature of local tidal currents when fly fishing for
striped bass. Because of this similarity in feeding habits of stripers
and trout, common wet fly and dead drifting techniques work swimmingly
when fishing for striped bass in saltwater and brackish environments
controlled by tidal currents.

 

The trick to the search and retrieve strategy for stripers is
creativity. It’s important to try as many combinations of casting
distances, retrieving styles, and fly depths
as possible. Covering water can be a challenge, but it’s really the
heart of an effective blind casting attack. As with any saltwater fly
fishing, conditions are often windy and long, powerful, and accurate
casts are often necessary. Be sure to tune up your casting before
heading to the salt or brackish water for stripers.

 

Despite the importance of long casts, any salty veteran striped bass
angler anywhere on the eastern seaboard will tell you that you should
“never overlook the water at your feet.” So when your 70 foot casts
aren’t turning up a thing, pay some close attention to the rocky
coastline near your feet and at your flanks … this could be prime
feeding territory for that trophy rockfish!

 

A common and effective stripping method once a search cast is made
is the “over hand” retrieve. This method is similar to hand lining and
offers the angler a great connection to the fly line; even the most
subtle tug from a striped bass can be felt with this method. To use the
over hand retrieve, simply tuck the rod under the casting arm, and
keeping the rod tip low, slowly retrieve the fly, gripping the line with
alternating hands just below the stripping guide. Experiment with
different speeds and cadences when performing any retrieve. Once you’ve
found a technique the fish are keyed on, stick with it! In striper
fishing, it’s always worth retrieving the fly all the way back to the
rod tip as a striper will often chase the fly all the way to the rod
tip.

 

Saltwater fly anglers generally use lighter 6 weight or 7 weight fly
fishing rods for smaller stripers – the schoolies, and larger 9 weight
or
10 weight fly fishing rods when chasing the bigger fish. Striped bass
are tough and energetic fish, but do not generally make long, freight
train runs. Nevertheless, it is important to have a reel in your outfit
with a solid and dependable drag system, a large arbor for fast and
efficient line pick up, and space for at least 150 yards of backing.

 

Stripers will take a saltwater popper fly at the surface, but
saltwater streamer patterns fished on sinking lines often prove far more
effective, especially on brighter days, as stripers will dive to deeper
water to escape heavy sunlight. Overcast skies offer the greatest
conditions for striper fishing because the fish are more active and
their feeding habits and strategies become more daring. Because of the
variability in striper fishing, a fly angler interested in catching
striped bass should ideally carry three lines: a fast sinking line, an
intermediate sinking line, and a saltwater floating line.

 

A stacked arsenal of striper flies has been developed over the last
few decades. Streamers are the most effective and proven patterns, but
the occasional saltwater popper will move stripers to the surface.
Chartruse and white seem to be the most productive colors for striper
flies. Flashy materials also provide a little kick to striper flies.
According to fly fishing legend, Lefty Kreh, striped bass key in not on
the color of a fly, but rather are attracted to the size of a fly.
Listen to Lefty: Pay attention to the baitfish you’re trying to imitate
and select a fly of a similar size.

 

Popular fly patterns for striped bass are Bob Popovic’s Big One, Jack Gartside’s White Gurgler. Sand eel patterns
by Chuck Frumisky, Enrico Puglisi, and Page Rogers are deadly back east
and in the Sacramento River Delta, and Lou Tabory’s Sea Rat is a
classic and should be in your striper box. Not long ago, Leland Fly
Fishing Outfitters’ very own Keith Westra developed a killer striper fly
for Josh’s last trip back east. It was so successful in the Atlantic
salt, we thought we’d give it a couple of casts and strips on the Left
Coast. The result: Keith’s Yak Hair Bunker Fly gets big results in the San Francisco Bay area as well! It’s a bomber pattern to fish!

 

According to Barry and Cathy Beck in their must-read book
Fly-Fishing the Flats, “The east-coast stripers have brought more fly
rodders to the salt than any other fish in the history of fly fishing.”
This is probably true. Striped bass are accessible by anglers on both
coasts of North America, are a joy to chase, and even more fun to catch!
There are certain anglers who dream only of the first sign of the
northern migration. When spring hits and the schoolies are on the move
with the monster stripers a few paces behind, it’s all systems go! David
DiBenedetto was right … if only the striped bass knew the importance of
what each year rests on their shoulders …


                                                                               
                                                                        - Evan P. LeBon
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What is a Sailfish
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Sailfish

Istiophorus albicans, Atlantic Sailfish

Description & Behavior

First described as a species in 1792, the Atlantic sailfish carries the scientific name of either Istiophorus albicans (Latreille, 1804) or Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw in Shaw and Nodder, 1792). The former, more commonly used name distinguishes it from the Pacific sailfish; some scientists disagree on whether the two are in fact different species. The Atlantic sailfish is one of the smaller members of the Family Istiophoridae, with a maximum size of about 3.15 to 3.40 m in length and 100 kilograms. Females are generally larger than males. Distinguishing features include a bill-shaped upper jaw which is circular in cross-section and about twice the length of the lower jaw.

Atlantic sailfishThe first of the fish's two dorsal fins is very long and tall (hence the name "sailfish"), running most of the length of the body, with the 20th ray as the longest. The first anal fin is set far back on the body, and the second dorsal and anal fins are both short and concave, roughly mirroring each other in size and shape. The pectoral and pelvic fins are long, with the pelvic fins nearly reaching the origin of the first anal fin. The pelvic fins have one spine and multiple soft rays fused together. A pair of grooves run along the ventral side of the body, into which the pelvic fins can be depressed. The caudal peduncle has double keels and caudal notches on the upper and lower surfaces. The lateral line is readily visible. Body color varies depending upon the fish's level of excitement, but in general the body is dark blue dorsally and white with brown spots ventrally. About 20 bars, each consisting of many light blue dots, are present on each side. The fins are all blackish blue except at the anal fin base, which is white.

World Range & Habitat

The Atlantic sailfish's habitat varies according to water temperature and in some cases wind conditions. At the northern and southern extremes of their distribution, Atlantic sailfish appear only during the warmer months. These seasonal changes in distribution may be linked to prey migrations. Usually found in the warmer, upper layers above the thermocline, the species often migrates into near-shore waters, preferring temperatures between 21° to 28°C, but is also capable of descending to rather deep water. In general, the Atlantic sailfish is highly migratory and can be found from approximately 40°N to 40°S in the western Atlantic Ocean and from 50°N to 32°S in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. There is an aggregation off the coast of West Africa. Although few records exist for the Mediterranean sea, several juvenile specimens have been caught there. In the western Atlantic Ocean, its highest abundance is in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic coast of Florida, where it is the official state saltwater fish.


Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

The Atlantic sailfish feeds mainly on small pelagic fishes—particularly mackerels, tunas, jacks, halfbeaks, and needlefish—but also eats cephalopods such as squid and octopus. Some feeding occurs at the surface, as well as in midwater, along reef edges, or along the bottom substrate.

Life History

Spawning may begin as early as April, but occurs primarily during the summer months. (The exception is the eastern Atlantic, where spawning can occur year-round.) Spawning in offshore waters beyond the 100 fathom isobath has been reported from south of Cuba to the Carolinas. However, off southeast Florida, the Atlantic sailfish moves inshore to shallower waters to spawn near the surface in the warm season, with females swimming sluggishly with their dorsal fins above the water's surface, accompanied by one or more males. Fertilization is external. A 33-kilogram female may shed up to 4.8 million eggs in three batches during a single spawning. Atlantic sailfish larvae are approximately 0.3 cm at hatching, and they lack the elongated jaw characteristic of adult sailfish, which only begins to develop at about 0.6 cm. At 20 cm, all larval characteristics have disappeared and the juvenile has all the features of an adult.

~ Ref: http://marinebio.org, Aug, 2010

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What is a Redfish
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Redfish

Try Topside for Redfish

by Dr. Aaron Adams

photos by Aaron Adams

Floating Flies for Redfish

Gurgler Fly

AS THE TIDE TURNED and began to flood, I poled the boat across a shallow grass flat, just inside the sandbar that separated the flat from the Intracoastal Waterway. Many of the large boats that blasted past reminded me of Rodney Dangerfield’s short, destructive, ill-fated yacht voyage in the movie Caddyshack. So when I muttered ‘what a couple of Rodneys’ when two boats passing in opposite directions neglected to slow down, and slammed loudly into each other’s massive wakes, my fishing buddy Doug Hedges knew exactly what I was talking about. It was amazing — we were close enough to the chaos of the ICW that we could read the registration numbers on the sides of passing boat hulls, and we were stalking tailing redfish. Except for us, these redfish were unmolested.

You have to give Doug credit, he seems ready to try something new at least once. And on the bow, he stood ready to cast to the next tailer that came into range — with, of all things, a gurgler tied to his tippet. Some folks know this is a good technique, but when I suggest they try a surface fly for tough tailing redfish, most anglers show a look of disbelief, even suspicion. But not Doug, he was all for a new approach.

Why a Gurgler?

A topwater fly is farthest from many angler’s minds when they are casting to tailing redfish. The fish are, after all, digging their noses in the bottom for shrimp, crabs, worms, or small bottom-dwelling fish like gobies and blennies. Why on earth would an angler in their right mind choose a surface pattern? After all, redfish don’t eat with their tails. A topwater fly can be a good choice for three reasons.

Redfish in Grass

First, a redfish intent on digging out prey buried in the bottom is often so focused that it doesn’t see it’s surroundings. This is one reason it is possible to pole a boat right up to a tailing redfish without being noticed until the boat almost overtakes the feeding fish. On numerous occasions I’ve been able to wade close enough to a tailing redfish to touch it with my rod tip. Actively tailing redfish can also stir up enough bottom that visibility in their immediate surroundings drops to zero, obscuring any fly in the murk. In either case, even the most perfectly placed fly might not be noticed.

Second, even tailing redfish pick their heads up out of the bottom every once in a while as they move on in search of more prey. There is a good chance that a redfish moving in search of more food will see the motion at the surface and investigate. And it’s not uncommon for a bottom grubbing redfish to scare up small prey that make a break for it. So that same redfish that was so engrossed in digging for a mud crab that it never saw the perfectly presented fly might see the surface commotion of a gurgler, and mistake the fly for an escaping prey. Many times I’ve watched small shrimp and fish squirt from the water as they try to avoid a feeding redfish. And I’ve seen redfish that were lackadaisically tailing suddenly erupt at the surface to grab these would-be escapees.

Third, in many of the flats where anglers fish for tailing redfish, the seagrass is thick and tall. The densely packed seagrass blades can act as a barrier, preventing a tailing fish from seeing a fly only inches away. And at a very low tide, the upper portions of the grass blades lay across the surface, and the tips reach to the surface at a medium tide, making it tough to get a sinking fly to the bottom. A weedless gurgler helps get around both of these challenges and puts the fly in an area where it can be seen by a redfish.

A gurgler is my surface fly of choice because it is light, so is easy to cast long distances and lands on the water lightly. Both characteristics are necessary when fishing to tailing redfish on shallow flats. The gurgler is also versatile in how it can be fished — loudly, so it makes a lot of commotion, or softly, so it barely ripples the surface. So it’s easy to imitate different prey — soft and slow for shrimp and loud and fast for the finger mullet that can be abundant in fall — and the changing moods of redfish.

When

I first started using gurglers for tailing redfish, in part, out of frustration. My favorite flats for tailing redfish are covered with lush turtle grass and shoal grass. It can be wearing to make good cast after good cast to a tailing fish and get no response because it never saw the fly among the many grass blades. My strategy when fishing for tailing reds is pretty simple — get the fly into the fish’s sight zone and make sure the fish sees it. I know the fish has seen the fly when it changes it’s behavior — it either reacts positively, by following or taking the fly, or negatively, by avoiding the fly or suddenly swimming in the other direction. Often, redfish feeding in thick seagrass don’t react at all, so likely never see the fly.

Redfish with Gurgler

An unweighted fly that sinks very slowly is a good choice in these situations because the fly spends more time in mid-water, where it is more visible, while a weighted fly that sinks straight to the bottom is quickly lost. However, even an unweighted fly that hovers mid-water can remain unseen by a redfish feeding in thick grass. If I can get the gurgler in front of the redfish, it’s a good bet the fish will see the fly.

Another good situation for using a gurgler is when there are a lot of redfish around, but they aren’t staying put long enough to stalk and cast to any particular fish. The first time I tried a gurgler in frustration was on a day when the flat was full of tailing fish. Well, fish were tailing everywhere but where I was. Fish weren’t feeding very long in a spot, but instead would tail for a few seconds and then move on. There was really no point in stalking, so I drifted across the flat blind-casting a gurgler. This can be an especially successful strategy in late summer and fall when juvenile mullet (aka finger mullet) are often common on the flats, and a favorite food of the larger redfish that invade the flats in fall.

My favorite situation for using a gurgler is casting to redfish that are pushing a bow-wake as they slowly cruise from one eating spot to the next. I’ll often see these fish tail some distance away, then right themselves and slowly head off in search of more prey. Sometimes, the dorsal and upper tail fins of these fish will be out of the water. These fish move slowly and deliberately enough that I can guess their course and put myself in the best location to make a good cast. I like to lead these fish by a healthy enough distance that they can’t see the fly or fly line in the air, and let the fly sit until they are within a few feet before beginning my retrieve.

Strategies

When casting a gurgler to a tailing or cruising redfish, I use a leader of 10 - 12 feet or more, with 12 lb. fluorocarbon tippet. For tailers I use a long leader because I try to cast past the fish, to the side the head is pointing. I then bring the fly back over the fish. If the fish continues to tail, I’ll make the fly pop to get the fish’s attention. If the fish is not tailing, I continue retrieving the fly in short strips. Using this strategy, a shorter leader would cause the fly line to land over the fish, likely spooking the fish and ruining my chances for a hookup.

For blind-casting, a longer leader means I have less chance of accidentally lining a fish with the fly line during a cast. The longer leader also provides better separation between the fly line and fly, so there is less chance a redfish coming to check out the fly’s commotion will intersect the fly line.

Cruisers are swimming near the surface, with their cone of vision pointing forward and upward. A longer leader helps me keep the fly line out of this cone of vision during the cast. I use 12 lb rather than 20 lb leader because heavier leader tends to pull the gurgler down. And I find that fluorocarbon tippets make a difference because the waters I fish tend to be clear.

Long casts are usually best, because even redfish that attack the gurgler aggressively tend to miss the fly a few times before they get it in their mouth. With their mouth on the underside of their snout, redfish have to either raise their head out of the water so they come down on the fly, or turn sideways to get a better angle on the fly from below. When a redfish brings its head out of the water to get over the fly, its eyes come above the water surface, so they can spot an angler that is close by. And less aggressive redfish will often follow a gurgler for an excruciatingly long distance, so a long cast gives the fish more time to decide to take the fly.

When a redfish strikes a gurgler, it is usually an exciting show — often an explosion on the fly. The temptation is to rear back and set the hook. In most circumstances, this will result in a fish circling in confusion as it searches for the fly that you just launched past your ear. Remember, they’ll often miss the fly the first time. It takes some control, but keep stripping the fly in the same manner that induced the redfish into attacking it, and strip strike when you feel tension on the line. Don’t lift the rod until you’re sure the fish is hooked. Easier said than done.

Success

Back to the fishing.

Getting in range of a tailing redfish was the biggest challenge. For a while, it seemed that every fish we saw would tail aggressively until we were just into casting range, and then suddenly disappear, only to reappear a few minutes later just a little farther away: a frustrating pattern that redfish seem to follow frequently.

Doug got decent casts to a couple fish, one of which ignored the fly as it moved off to another spot, and a second that looked at the fly and suddenly bolted when Doug stripped the fly ever so slightly. The eruption caused by the second fish was entertainment in itself.

Doug made a couple casts that had been ignored by a third tailer, as the fish alternately tailed and moved, tailed and moved. When the fish had not shown itself for a minute or so, I began to scan the flat for more action. Then Doug let out a "WHOOP." I turned to see his rod doubled over and fly line jumping off the deck and through the guides in pursuit of a surprised redfish. A few minutes later, we had the fish boatside, and Doug had his first redfish on a gurgler. We were able to get one more fish before the tailing action died down, the sun dipped low, and we made the run back to the boat ramp.

Would a standard fly pattern for tailing redfish have worked? Perhaps, but it wouldn’t have been as exciting or visual a take. And we didn’t have to worry about making the perfect cast and keeping the fly snag-free.

Tying the Gurgler

The gurgler is an easy fly to tie, and is surprisingly durable for being made mostly of soft foam.

I use pliable closed cell foam in either tan or white. Tan is good for imitating shrimp and some of the small fish that live on the flats. White is good for imitating finger mullet and is easier to see at dusk, one of my favorite times for fishing for tailing redfish. I use a long shank hook — either for tying a longer, shrimp-like body, or to tie a keel-hook style weedless version. For the standard, long-bodied pattern, I tie in a mono weedguard just behind the hook eye. For the keel-hook style fly, I use pliers to bend the hook backwards, the bend at approximately 2/3 the length of the shank behind the hook eye. The foam body is then tied on the same side of the hook as the hook bend. This fly will ride with the hook point up, making it weedless. I originally began tying the keel-style fly because so many redfish were striking the fly without getting hooked. The theory is that since redfish so often come down on the fly from above, an upward pointing hook should have a better hookup ratio. The jury is still out on this, but the hookup rate is certainly no less than the standard pattern. This clearly means that more research is needed.

Materials

Hook: Mustad 34011, size 4

Tail: bucktail, color to match foam body

Body: closed cell foam, double the length of the hook shank – half tied to the shank, half folded over (from hook bend to eye) as the back

Legs: hackle colored to match the foam body, attached at the rear of the hook bend and palmered to the hook eye

Thread: Danville flat waxed nylon, color to match the foam body

Weedguard: 40 lb mono

Aaron Adams is the author of Fisherman's Coast: An Angler's Guide to Marine Warm-Water Gamefish and Their Habitats (Stackpole Books, January 2004) and the co-author, with Chico Fernandez, of Fly-Fishing for Bonefish (Stackpole Books, October 2004). Dr. Adams is program manager of the Fisheries Habitat Ecology Program, Center for Fisheries Enhancement, for Mote Marine Laboratory in Charlotte Harbor, Florida. Copyright © 2004 Aaron J. Adams and Stackpole Books.

~Ref: Aaron Adams, http://www.midcurrent.com, Aug 2010
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Red Truck Diesel Fly Reel Review


A REEL THAT LOOKS AND SOUNDS LIKE A FLY REEL

Somewhere along the way, we feel some reel manufacturers have lost a connection to the past, instead focusing on over engineering a fly reel to justify its price. . . . Read More.
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A REEL THAT LOOKS AND SOUNDS LIKE A FLY REEL

Somewhere along the way, we feel some reel manufacturers have lost a connection to the past, instead focusing on over engineering a fly reel to justify its price. . . . Read More.
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Specifications

•    Classic Click and Pawl Drag System
•    Machined and Anodized Bar Stock Aluminum
•    Easy and Quick Spool Interchange

•    Cageless reel frame with exposed palming rim


Check out the Red Truck Diesel Fly Reels.




Red Truck Diesel Fly Reels are now available.
February 1, 2011 (San Francisco, CA):  Old-school anglers take note.  With the growing popularity of Red Truck’s proven Diesel Series of fly rods, Red Truck raises the bar again with its traditional series of Red Truck Diesel fly reels. 

Old meets new:  Fully-machined from bar-stock, aircraft-grade aluminum, then anodized for a long life of use, these traditionally-styled fly reels are anticipating your next fishing trip.  The rim-mounted drag adjustment knob awaits your fingers to fine tune the “click and pawl” drag system.  The exposed palming rim is there for you when added drag pressure becomes necessary.  Classic porting reduces reel weight and provides that vintage look.  The sweet sound of the click and pawl drag will announce “fish on.”  A removable brass line guard reduces line wear, while adding to that classic look.  Each reel comes in a handsome leather-capped, padded reel pouch.   




When did fly reels stop looking and sounding like fly reels?  It’s not to say that we at Red Truck don’t like or respect the progression of fly reel design.  It’s just that somewhere along the way, we feel some reel manufacturers have lost a connection to the past, instead focusing on over engineering a fly reel to justify its price.   Fishing a fly reel – one that looks and sounds like your grand daddy’s reel – connects you, as an angler, to a more carefree time when fly fishing was simple and fun.  At Red Truck, our goal is to make fly fishing fun again. 

The Red Truck Diesel fly reel was born from a straightforward concept, “combine vintage cosmetics with contemporary performance.”  We started our design process by searching for our favorite fly reel from the past.  We reviewed reels by manufacturers from around the world, some no longer in business and some from present-day brands.  Our search resulted in two favorite fly reel models.  Each had design and functional qualities we at Red Truck liked.  Our decision at that point was to combine the best characteristics from these two reels into one great fly fishing reel.  The Red Truck Diesel was born.


For the Diesel fly reels to reflect our vision of a traditional fly reel, it first had to look like one.  For this, we focused on two aspects, the porting pattern of the spool and the matte anodize of the reel.  We designed our porting pattern (the arrangement of holes in the spool) after reviewing many vintage fly reel samples.  Our porting design is visually simple, but still very classic.  Of course, our porting also reduces the weight of the fly reel and allows for the fly line and backing to dry faster after a day on the water.

For our Diesel fly reel’s finish, we settled on an anodized matte gray finish with polished silver accents.  The resulting Diesel fly reel’s finish speaks to the fact that a fly reel should first and foremost be a functional tool, nothing too flashy…but it still should have enough flair for that occasional admiring glance while fishing.  On the water, our Diesel’s matte finish also keeps reel-flash to a minimum, which is always important when chasing wily fish.  Not only do our Diesel fly reels perfectly complement our Red Truck Diesel fly rods, they look great on just about every other brand, too.

By reviewing traditional fly reel dimensions and line capacities, we found that it was time for an update.  You’ll notice that our Diesel fly reels are larger in diameter and thinner in width than vintage fly reels.  The result of our efforts is a classic appearing fly reel with large-arbor performance.  Although our fly reels are standard arbor, in effect they are actually large arbor in function.  Instead of removing crucial backing capacity from the center of the spool, we just build up the “arbor” with backing.  Now you have the best of all worlds…large-arbor performance (faster line pickup, less line coiling and a more consistent drag setting) with more than ample backing, in a traditional-looking reel.

Click, acoustics, noise…however you define it, the sound created from a fly reel with a running fish is music to Red Truck’s ears.  We felt it so important that we struggled to finely tune the sound of our Diesel’s click and pawl drag system.  We all knew we had the right configuration when the Red Truck gang smiled during a sound test.  Truth is, we were all imagining the silence of a trout stream being awakened by our Diesel reel announcing, “fish on.”  This sweet music is created by our adjustable click and pawl drag system, which unlike many classic fly reels is easily converted to left or right hand retrieve. The drag control knob is classically positioned on the reels frame for easy access, ensuring you always have the proper drag setting.  But we didn’t overlook contemporary advancements, like an exposed palming rim, used to add more drag pressure during a grand fish fight.

Next we searched the world for the best reel manufacturer.  A company who already crafts fly reels for some of the biggest names in the fly fishing industry.  We desired a facility with talented engineers and craftsmen who know how to leverage current technology, advanced materials and machines which result in the best fly reels presently available.  We found them in South Korea and after much romancing they agreed to partner with us on our fly reel project.

Of course our Diesel fly reel is fully machined from aircraft-grade aluminum.  Unlike cast or molded fly reels, a machined fly reel has a higher tolerance to abuse, allowing for an extended life of fishing.  Machining also creates greater structural integrity.  With this stronger reel, we can remove more material from the reel, reducing weight and offering even greater fishing function.  Unlike classic fly reels, we removed the reel frame’s cage.  This contemporary frame modification not only results in a lighter reel, it also makes for easier spool changes or line/leader wrangling, when the need arises.  Changing spools and accessing your line is a snap.

Of course we didn’t neglect the extra design features too.  We even added a line guard at the base of the reel frame, which reduces line wear and can be easily repositioned for either right or left hand retrieve.  A polished silver counter-balance weight (opposite the handle) ensures smooth operation when reeling line in or on a hot fish run.  And of course you’ll be proud to place your Diesel fly reel back into its classic reel pouch for safe storage.

The word. . .


The new Red Truck Diesel Series reels were born straight from the honest, function-forward design philosophy we have come to expect from the boys at Red Truck. With a classic look reminiscent of the trusty click-and-pawls of yesteryear, these reels are built to stand the test of decades on the water. The Diesel Series reels have all of the aesthetic and functional features that one could want in a freshwater reel, without any of the hyped up finishes and Formula-1 drag systems that are, simply, overkill for trout and steelhead. Now, anglers looking for a classic style reel will no longer have to empty their bank accounts for a vintage Hardy. The Diesel reels allow anyone to enjoy that same screaming sound and timeless style, all on a guide’s budget.  Red Truck’s Diesel Series reels show respect for the past while creating a legacy of their own.

Features. . .


The Diesel Series reels are equipped with a proven, click-and-pawl drag system that has a nice and loud in and out-going click, and easily converts from left to right hand retrieve. They also have a palming rim to apply added pressure when that hot summer steelhead takes off on a screaming run. Precision-machined from anodized aluminum, the Diesel Series reels are built to resist both scratches and corrosion, so they will look just as pretty in 20 years as they do today. 

Fit and Finish. . .


•    Fully machined anodized aluminum construction
•    Machined brass line guard
•    Click and pawl drag system with exposed palming rim
•    Tight, solid, and lightweight
•    Leather and cotton-weave zippered reel case
•    Limited lifetime warranty

Reliability and Durability. . .


All Red Truck rods and reels are built to withstand the test of time in the field, and the Diesel Series Reels are just about as bullet-proof as freshwater reels come.  The proven, click-and-pawl drag system is super low maintenance, and will still sing loud and clear when you hand it down to your grandchildren.  Plus, should an issue arise, all Diesel reels are backed by Red Truck’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Overall Rating. . .


PROS – Built with a loud outgoing and incoming click-and-pawl drag, and machined to ultra-tight tolerances in a timeless, classic aesthetic that will endure decades fishing abuse.


BOTTOM LINE – If you’re looking for a series of reels that will perform day in and day out, whether you are facing feisty golden trout, summer steelhead, or anything in between, the Red Truck Diesel Series is it.  


Check out the Red Truck Diesel Fly Reels.

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What is a Tarpon
The Tarpon is a giant among saltwater game fish. Although it is not the largest game fish a fly angler can catch and release, it’s known as “the silver king” throughout the warm lagoons, estuaries, thick mangrove swamps, and saltwater flats of southeastern North America, the Caribbean, and northeastern coast of South America. The tarpon: saltwater royalty. Adult tarpon can easily reach 6 or 7 feet in length and can weigh well over 150 pounds.
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desc::The Tarpon is a giant among saltwater game fish. Although it is not the largest game fish a fly angler can catch and release, it’s known as “the silver king” throughout the warm lagoons, estuaries, thick mangrove swamps, and saltwater flats of southeastern North America, the Caribbean, and northeastern coast of South America. The tarpon: saltwater royalty. Adult tarpon can easily reach 6 or 7 feet in length and can weigh well over 150 pounds.
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Megalops atlanticus
Archille Valenciennes, 1847
 

“Then the water split with a hissing sound to let out a great tarpon, long as a door, seemingly as wide, who shot up and up into the air … Five times he sprang toward the blue sky, and as many he plunged down with a thunderous crash. The reel screamed. The line sang. The rod, which I thought stiff as a tree, bent like a willow wand. The silver king came up far astern and sheered to the right in a long, wide curve, leaving behind a white wake.”

 
- Zane Grey, “Byme-by-tarpon.”


The tarpon is a giant among saltwater game fish. Although it is not the largest game fish a fly angler can catch and release, it’s known as “the silver king” throughout the warm lagoons, estuaries, thick mangrove swamps, and saltwater flats of southeastern North America, the Caribbean, and northeastern coast of South America. The tarpon: saltwater royalty. Adult tarpon can easily reach 6 or 7 feet in length and can weigh well over 150 pounds. The Megalops atlanticus is astonishingly powerful and is famous among anglers as the mythological silver beast that can walk on water. Tarpon, once hooked, are known for jumping and thrashing about, sometimes longer than 3 hours, their tails skitting across the flat.

The silver king, although caught by indigenous tribes in the Florida Keys probably as early as the 1700s, was officially discovered and named in 1847 by the French parasitologist Archille Valenciennes during his work with Georges Cuvier on their Natural History of Fish, a whopping 22-volume work published between 1828 and 1848. Valenciennes placed the tarpon within the genus Megalops (Greek for “large eye”) because of its prominent and daunting black eyes. Since the turn of the century, a great body of literature, historical and otherwise, has been developed on the subject of tarpon. Fly fishing for tarpon is now a wildly popular sporting pursuit among anglers from Georgia to the Florida Keys, and tarpon are also highly sought after throughout the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Recently, giant tarpon in the 300 pound class have been caught on fly tackle off the southwestern coast of Africa. Tarpon have been so popular in the Gulf region of the United States that in 1955, by act no. 564 of the Alabama state legislature, the “fighting tarpon” became the state’s official saltwater fish.

Rolling and dashing through skinny saltwater flats and estuaries tarpon inhabit a range of 49°N - 44°s, 99°w - 14°e, but they have been recorded as far north as Nova Scotia, along the Atlantic coast of Southern France, and as far south as Argentina. The tarpon uses the thin water of the saltwater flats to feed on smaller baitfish and crustaceans. The deeper water of the open ocean is the tarpon’s spawning grounds. The tarpon does have a counterpart native to the Pacific Ocean (Megalops cyprinoids or Indo-Pacific tarpon), but this tarpon is a much smaller fish and not prized among fly anglers.

Tarpon are an ancient fish that has survived 125 million years of evolutionary tumult. One of the oldest living species in the ocean, the tarpon carries an almost otherworldly presence. Just catching a glimpse of a rolling school of giant tarpon is an intimidating sight even to the most confident fly angler. The tarpon’s huge bucket-like jaws and large black eyes compliment its thick, powerful body. When tarpon clear the top water during a jump, their massive set of mirror-polished scales clatter and clack audibly with the tremendous force of the maneuver. The tarpon’s fins are a dark, steely gray and the tail is deeply forked, providing the silver king with a tremendous amount of underwater leverage and speed.
According to historical accounts dating from the late 1800s, anglers have been able to catch tarpon on artificial flies with reasonable success. Since then fly fishing for tarpon has steadily increased in popularity owing to rousing tales of madly fighting fish from such popular authors as Zane Grey and, more recently, Lefty Kreh. The rising interest in saltwater fly fishing, coupled with tarpon-specific articles and books by other fly fishing greats have fueled the rush to master tarpon on a fly. Today, there is now an extensive network of guides fly fishing exclusively for tarpon from Florida to South America, and a number of tournaments and other competitions celebrating fly fishing for tarpon have also cropped up in recent years.

Fly anglers should understand that there are three classes or sizes of tarpon: baby tarpon, midsize tarpon, and giant tarpon. Baby tarpon range from 5 to 40 pounds, midsize tarpon fill the 50 to 80 pound class, and the giant tarpon weighs in at an astonishing 100+ pounds. Anglers looking to chase tarpon on the fly should think seriously about which weight class they are after before they gear up and head on that tarpon trip of a lifetime. Smaller tarpon are often found cruising on the edges of saltwater flats and in brackish inland estuaries and mangrove swamps. Larger tarpon are usually found cruising and rolling in saltwater flats.

Baby and midsize tarpon offer quite a fighting challenge on an 8 weight or 9 weight outfit. Giant tarpon, however, require much heavier 11 or 12 weight outfits. Fast action fly fishing rods are popular among tarpon anglers for their ability to assist the caster in creating the long, accurate casts (often into heavy wind) required when sight casting for tarpon. It’s important to have top-notch fishing tools when stalking tarpon of any size in the saltwater flats; an angler, even on the best day, may only get 3 or 4 good casts at fish!

Fly Rods
Loop Cross S1
Loop Cross S1 12 Weight Tarpon Rod

As with any saltwater flats game fish, spotting a tarpon can be a challenge. Sunny conditions on saltwater flats can produce some of the world’s most visually taxing conditions, and the sheer brightness of the glare on the water can be overwhelming. A good pair of polarized sunglasses with copper photochromatic lenses can – on some days – be considered the saltwater fly angler’s most useful fishing tool. Yellow photochromatic lenses can be useful for morning light conditions, so if you plan to fish from dawn until dusk, consider two pairs of shades. (Experience in spotting tarpon, or a guide perched atop the polling platform of a specialized flats skiff will also help!)

All Day Polarized Sunglasses
Low Light Polarized Sunglasses

There is a recent movement among saltwater fly anglers who chase tarpon to “dredge” deeper channels and estuaries for tarpon of all size classes. This dredging method is anchored in common blind casting techniques familiar to striped bass fly anglers of the North American coasts. Dredging for tarpon with a sinking line can be productive, but remains a relatively new and unproven tactic in the quiver of tarpon fly fishers.

Deep Water Fly Line

Perhaps the easiest way to recognize the location of a single, pair, or school of tarpon is by the characteristic “rolling” action the species exhibits. The tarpon is equipped with a swim bladder, allowing them to survive and thrive in brackish swamps and saltwater flats as well as the open ocean. Tarpon will periodically appear at the water’s surface to take in a breath, filling their swim bladder before rolling back into the salty depths. This process, although graceful, can cause quite a stir. Fly anglers should be on the lookout for large boils and bubbles in the top water accompanied by a silvery flash – this is likely a rolling tarpon.

Large tarpon in saltwater flats will aggressively chase and take a well-presented fly, adding to the species’ storied place in saltwater game fish mythology. Tarpon will respond energetically to a fly moving directly away from them. Creating this effect can be achieved with a hook cast or a reach cast, both practiced techniques used by freshwater fly anglers. Saltwater flats can offer a fly angler some of the most challenging casting conditions on earth. Long, tuned, and accurate casts of 60 to 70 feet are often necessary. Once the fly is properly presented to the tarpon, the stripping game is on. Anglers will invariably disagree on which are the most effective methods for retrieving the fly when fly fishing for tarpon in the saltwater flats. In one conversation on the subject, one might hear “fast, slow, smooth, jerky” … often in the same breath. Never fear, a local guide will often know just how to play and move a fly to produce results; listen to what they have to say! Be patient though, as tarpon have been known to chase a well-presented and retrieved fly all the way to the boat before striking!

Brackish inland estuaries and mangrove swamps offer saltwater fly anglers amazing chances to cast to, catch and release baby tarpon. Some canal systems – especially in southwest Florida – provide excellent shelter for juvenile tarpon, even through the slow winter months. When fishing these environments, work streamers as close to the mangrove roots as possible. As the tide goes out, more and more of these mangrove roots will be exposed, leaving behind an excellent feeding shelf for baby tarpon. Remember: well-presented flies will move silver kings!



Simply hooking a tarpon can be an operatic experience in itself. The tarpon’s mouth is extremely hard and has been likened to tough construction-grade concrete. Subsequently, successful hook sets are almost more challenging than actually getting an aggressive tarpon to take a well-presented fly. Practice in firm and confident strip setting techniques is extremely important when fly fishing for tarpon. When a tarpon finally chomps the fly, and the hook is set, the fish will put on an impressive aerial acrobatics show. Seasoned tarpon anglers, when trading notes on a day’s work, will often proudly include the number of “fish jumped” as well as the number of fish landed. Tarpon are consistently observed jumping 3 or 4 feet above the water after a hook up. During this aggressive jumping and thrashing, fly, fly line, and tippet are at their most vulnerable point. It is extremely important to protect rigging and tackle by keeping the rod tip as low as possible during the initial few jumps. This process is called “bowing” to the fish, and it’s no secret, bowing to the silver king will minimize the chance of losing a tarpon to a snapped line or leader.

Tarpon fly anglers presented with the challenge of keeping a tail-walking silver king on the line have developed a number of rigging techniques designed to stand up to what many think are the toughest and wildest fighters in the salt. Taking a nod from the rigging standards employed by bill fish and tuna anglers, anglers in hot pursuit of monster tarpon have experimented with extremely complex, heavy rigs. The standard 9 foot tarpon leader, however, consists of a heavy 60 pound butt section, a section of 16 to 20 class tippet, and finally a short, one foot section of 60 to 100 pound mono shock tippet. This rig is the standard for many medium to large tarpon, but there are other options for the really large fish. Be sure to ask your local fly shop about the leaders you should have ready to go before you board the plane for your chosen tropical tarpon destination. Keeping this general rigging rule for tarpon fishing can be helpful: When traveling to far-flung destinations, bring your rigging with you. When traveling to the Florida Keys, a good guide should provide all you need to jump and land the tarpon of your dreams.

Tarpon Leaders

Do not head to the saltwater flats in search of tarpon armed with a sub-standard fly reel. The stress a tarpon can place on even the strongest rods, lines, and leaders is truly impressive – to say the very least. The fly reel is the mechanical link for your connection to the fish and if it goes south, so does your time on the water. Be sure to find a reel with an iron-clad drag system and a large arbor for easy line pick up. The reel should also be large enough to store between 200 and 250 yards of backing; if you find yourself connected to a rolling fish, you’ll use it.

Ultimate Tarpon Fly Reel

When at home along the saltwater flats, tarpon will hunt and feed mostly on baitfish. When migrating and spawning, tarpon are more likely to feed instinctively on smaller crustaceans. Regardless of the situation, however, tarpon will aggressively chase a well-presented fly. Large streamer patterns are the most effective flies for tarpon of all sizes, but some smaller crab and shrimp patterns will yield good results on days when the silver kings are on the move or in a more selective mood.

A favorite classic tarpon fly from Florida to the Bahamas is the Cockroach, developed by saltwater fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh. Other proven tarpon flies include Lefty’s Deceiver, the Clouser Minnow, and the Sea Habit. When tarpon are migrating or on the spawn, the Tarpon Shrimp, Tarpon Crab, and the Seaducer are another trio of useful tarpon flies to have on hand, and the Campeche Special is a brilliant fly for baby tarpon in the mangroves of Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

Tarpon offer fly anglers a unique challenge; discovering the proper blend of power, strategy, concentration, and finesse is crucial when on the flats or in the brackish water in search of rolling tarpon. The majesty of the tarpon survives in a heap of literature from Grey to Kreh, and with good reason. Holding court, the tarpon truly is the silver king of the flats, offering excited anglers throughout the tropics the sport, the drama, the epic struggle, and the joy of the great kings of mythology.

                                                           - Evan P. LeBon  
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Swing Fishing
Swing Fishing 101
109
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detdesc::For most anglers in North America, being introduced to fly fishing comes in the form of trout fishing. In trout fly fishing today, the dead drift presentation is king, whether using weight nymphs and indicators, or dry flies.

But this wasn't always the case. Before plastic fly lines, modern fly tying materials like foam, and advanced silicon fly flotants, fly fishing looked a lot different. With silk lines and sparsely tied mayfly imitations, 19th century anglers on England's chalk streams perfected the 'dapping' presentation, in which a dry fly is carefully alighted in the surface film by an elevated rod tip. By today's standards, dapping seems pretty basic, but it was lethal back in the day -- as it still is on remote waters today.

Before too long, these pipe-smoking, tweed-clad chalk stream anglers had developed a more sophisticated type of presentation, called the swing, which can be used with dry and wet flies alike. In the swing, the line and fly are cast across the current, then allowed to swing, under tension, down and across the stream.

Where dead drifting flies is all about controlling slack to allow an unimpeded drift, swing fishing is all about keeping tension. After the cast, and perhaps after a mend, as the angler holds the fly line to the rod's cork handle, the fly begins to draw a perfect arc across the stream, hopefully across a few fish's lies, and into a position immediately below the angler called the hang-down. From this position, the angler can cast back across and repeat the swing. If using a two-handed fly rod, the angler can do this with incredible speed and ease.

In close touch with the fly thanks to the tight line, the angler can feel every pulse and tick of the fly as it is buffeted by the changing currents. Anglers can also feel intimately the moment when a fish takes -- often violently.

As no surprise, swinging soft hackles charmed the brown trout living in England's chalk streams. Before long, anglers were using the swing to search for salmon in the wide riffly rivers of the British Isles. Although today's trout can, of course, be fished successfully with the swing, it is in anadromous fly fishing where the swing presentation has continued to flourish.

Line technology has improved, and fly design has changed, as the swing has been adapted for steelhead fishing in North America and sea-run brown trout fishing in South America, but the essence of the swing remains unchanged. By casting a fixed length of line, and taking a step downstream between casts, anglers can search every square foot of a salmon or steelhead run in a series of arcs, each drawn just below the last.

Today, as it did a couple centuries ago, the swing provides the space for outstanding angler skill to be practiced, but it also creates the opportunity to sit back and take in a river's majestic surroundings. With line in hand, and fly swimming across the currents, anglers can sit back and watch the birds fly by, observe wildlife come to the water, and basically settle a little deeper into a riverine environment. Because of this zen-like quality, the swing remains the favorite presentation of dedicated salmon and steelhead anglers worldwide.
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Joshua Leland Frazier
Josh is the owner of Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters, which he named after his grandfather, whose love of the sport was passed down to him through generations. Josh travels the world in pursuit of fish, but his favorite fishing holes are back at his roots in the small mountain streams of the Eastern Sierra. 
- "I do anything that is needed to make it all work for my great employees and customers."
83
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desc::Josh is the owner of Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters, which he named after his grandfather, whose love of the sport was passed down to him through generations. Josh travels the world in pursuit of fish, but his favorite fishing holes are back at his roots in the small mountain streams of the Eastern Sierra. 
- "I do anything that is needed to make it all work for my great employees and customers."
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detdesc::
How did you get started fly fishing? What were/are your strongest fly fishing Influences? What was your most memorable or first fly fishing experience?

While conventional fishing with my father on the banks of the San Joaquin each summer, I watched casters of those long rods paint the water with dry flies. These fly fishermen were free to search every nook of the stream for the native, colorful, and wily trout. I feared this type of angling freedom was not available to me. Luckily, driven by the legacy of my Grandfather and images of these "free" fly fishers, I challenged my apprehension and picked up a fly rod.

What do you like to fish now? Explain How?

Steelhead and Tarpon are the fish I travel for each year. I love the Florida Keys, in the off season, for specific permit, tarpon and bonefish trips. I will fish for anything that will come to a dry fly. A six inch golden, in its native water, rising to a dry fly is the best thing in the world.

What is your fantasy trip? What do you see in the future

Fishing any small stream in the golden state with my wife, two daughters and two dogs.

Gear. What is your next purchase and why?

We have just designed the coolest fly-fishing gear in the world. Stay Tuned. After 15 years in the industry, I had lost a lot of the excitement about gear. No longer. I want 5 of each!!

What’s your favorite San Francisco spot? Why?

Much to my wife’s dismay my favorite spot in San Francisco is Fishermen’s Wharf. Everyone there is on vacation, happy and visiting my city. Their smiling faces reminded me that I live in the best city in the world. I also like the Fishermen part of the Wharf.

What music do you listen to when you hop in the truck and go fly fishing?

I listen, exclusively, to Willie Nelson on my way to fishing. His songs are real and dusty, like the roads to the best fishing.

What’s your ultimate fly fishing travel rig? A lifted van? A Range Rover? An F-350? Why?

I have half of the rig. A 16 foot Airstream Bambi. I want a Sportsmobile 4WD with pop up, racks, storage and full sound in Yellow to pull it!

Anything else we should know about you? School? Hometown? Other projects, interests, etc.?

Joshua was born in Oxford, England and has lived in Maine, Boston, Toronto, upstate New York, and San Francisco. Josh is an avid fly fisherman who has fished near and far for much of his life. Josh graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York in 1997 where he studied Economics. Following his graduation, Josh moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began his work in the fly fishing industry with Orvis of San Francisco. In 1998, Josh left Orvis and joined the staff at San Francisco’s Fly Fishing Outfitters and in 1999 he took over the operation, renaming it Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters after his grandfather, Leland Frazier. Since then, Josh has successfully positioned himself and his growing business as innovators in fly fishing specialty retail and fly fishing education both in traditional and online channels. Josh continues to travel the world extensively in search of tarpon and steelhead. He is a Master certified fly casting instructor and is working on his master certifications in Spey casting. During the week, when not at the San Francisco shop, you can catch him teaching private casting lessons at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Casting Ponds.

Josh’s home is now in San Francisco, CA, where he lives with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs. In his free time, Josh enjoys learning guitar with his wife. He is also an avid soccer player who enjoys the competitive city leagues for which the Bay Area is famous.
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Custom Rod Thread Art - Dale P., Clemens, Hardcover
A detailed work covering all aspects thread art from simple weaves to writing a name. Over 100 separate patterns.
6958
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desc::A detailed work covering all aspects thread art from simple weaves to writing a name. Over 100 separate patterns.
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Name::Custom Rod Thread Art - Dale P., Clemens, Hardcover
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thumb::http://www.lelandfly.com/Custom_Rod_Thread.jpg
detdesc::Leland on Custom Rod Thread Art


Most custom rod builders are always searching for new decorative thread patterns with which to distinguish their rods. The interest, enjoyment, and rewards have been so great that a separate art form has emerged. This book is a response to the endless search for new patterns and an in-depth exploration of design and advanced thread techniques. Over 100 separate patterns, never before published, are pictured with step-by-step wrapping instructions. Equally important are 24 different "design variations", almost all of which are applicable to each of the patterns. The total number of different patterns thereby provided becomes mathematically gigantic. In addition, there is an entire section on how to easily and simply design your own patterns. The terms simplify understanding and wrapping even the most complex wraps. Any pattern can be reduced to 2 simple elements: 1) Layout, and 2) Wrapping Sequence.
featdesc::
  • The fastest methods of wrapping the threads and how much tension to use where
  • Methods for accurately and rapidly laying out the wrap
  • A foolproof system for sizing any pattern on any diameter blank
  • How to easily handle a band of many threads wrapped at one time to
  • quickly fill in the background on a closed wrap
  • How to keep track of threads wrapped in a complex pattern, thereby avoiding mistakes and "getting lost
  • Recording details of a wrap for future reference
  • The best techniques of tightening a pattern for professional results
  • A solution to the problem of making Closed Wraps on even sharply tapered blanks
  • Numerous easy ways of fitting in the last threads in a closed wrap for solid thread covering
  • Techniques for all kinds of base wraps - Multiple Thread, Hidden, Endless,and Woven
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What Makes a Good Fly Rod
Every fly rod can catch a fish...that's for sure. However, not every fly rod is a joy to cast and certainly doesn't celebrate the defining attribute of our sport...fly casting. To learn more about what makes a good fly rod, just click the link.
331
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desc::Every fly rod can catch a fish...that's for sure. However, not every fly rod is a joy to cast and certainly doesn't celebrate the defining attribute of our sport...fly casting. To learn more about what makes a good fly rod, just click the link.
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detdesc::

What makes a good fly rod?




The fly rod is the defining element in any tackle ensemble as it is responsible for propelling the weighted fly line
and relatively weightless fly out into the river or lake and to the
targeted fish. It is the angler's primary tool, a synthesis of
functionality and art. The very first fly fishing rods were crude
instruments that got the job done, but today's high performance fly rods
come in many shapes and sizes and are constructed of space age
materials like fiberglass and graphite that would no doubt have the
earliest anglers salivating at the advances in the primary tool used in
fly fishing.



Modern fly rods are designed, first and foremost, to cast fly lines
as efficiently as possible. This goal has created a community of
specialized casting specialists and "fly rod taper" designers who focus
on the physics of fly casting and materials science and engineering in
the search for the most effective fly rod ever produced. These advances
in fly rod design have led to parallel advances in fly line
design and construction as well as a general improvement in the casting
ability of anglers of all skill and experience levels. Improved casting
accuracy and distance, both direct results of modern fly rod
advancements, have also opened new horizons in the sport, allowing
anglers to fish new water and harsh conditions that were never
accessible with older fly rod designs.



There
still is a passionate community of more traditional rod builders and
enthusiasts who maintain the art of creating high performing rods of split cane bamboo.
These cane rods are most often found in the deftly skilled hands of
trout anglers on smaller spring creeks, but several of today's best bamboo rod builders
are also constructing highly effective rods in heavier line weights and
in lengths and tapers suitable for Spey casting.





Components of a Fly Rod




Rod Blank



The fly rod blank is simply the physical rod itself. Each rod style has a
unique shape or "taper" throughout its length designed to deliver a
specific fly line weight or fly line style as efficiently as possible.



Grip



Fly
rod grips are a key component to the fly rod itself. Grips are
generally made of Portuguese cork and are shaved and sanded on a lathe
to create an ergonomic handle. A series of classic grip styles are
available; Half Wells grips are popular in many mid-weight trout rods,
Full Wells grips give steelheaders and saltwater anglers a bit more
control when casting heavier rods, Cigar grips are extremely popular on
the lightest fly rods, Spey grips are long and tapered allowing an
angler to easily wield a two-handed rod of 13 feet or more in length.



Guide



Guides are small coils of light, but durable metal that hold the fly
line close to the rod, allowing an angler to actually use the fly line
and fly rod in tandem to successfully complete a fly cast. These coils
are sometimes referred to as "eyes" and the first guide or guides near
the butt end or handle of the rod blank are called the "stripping
guides" and the rest of the guides are called "snake guides." The final
loop-shaped guide at the tip of the rod blank is simply called the "tip
top." Fly rod guides have "feet" and are secured to the rod blank with
tight wraps of thread about the feet. Generally, guides have two feet,
but single-footed guides are becoming more popular with rod designers as
weight considerations become more important for a modern rod's
performance and marketing story. Recoil snake guides -- guides that
retain their original shape even after being bent -- are also finding
their way to mainstream fly rod design for their enhanced durability and
performance.



Reel seat



The reel seat is metal component that holds a fly reel
to the rod. Reel seats can be as simple as two aluminum rings (called
cork-and-ring reel seat), or can be beautifully machined combinations of
aluminum and wood or composite material for larger, heavier reels. The
reel seat is a relatively new addition to fly rod design as anglers used
to hold the fly reel in their free hand as recent as the mid 1800s.





Fly Rod Construction




The best fly rods, whether bamboo,
fiberglass, or graphite are put together with the utmost care.
Construction is the ultimate determinant of how efficiently the rod
transfers the energy of the caster through the rod to fly line and
eventually to the fly. A poorly constructed rod is not efficient and
will not directly transmit the energy generated by the caster to the fly
line, often resulting in a "wobble" at the end of the casting stroke.
This wobbling transfers to the line resulting in a weaker, less accurate
cast. The better and tighter the construction of a rod, the more
efficient it is, and the more accurate and powerful it will be at all
distances.



In modern graphite rods, the quality of construction is directly related
to the type of source graphite used to make it. As a general rule, the
higher the modulus (a term indicating how much graphite is present in
the rod), the better the graphite. Quality rod makers are continually
searching and redefining the right amount and type of graphite to make
their rods even better. Translation: just the right amount of modulus
graphite will make a higher performance rod. Rods that use modern
aerospace grades of graphite will transfer the most energy with the
greatest degree of ease and also allow for the best accuracy.





Fly Rod Performance and Optimization




Fly Rods and Line Weight



Generally speaking, the weight of a fly line is proportionate to the
size of the species you're pursuing. If you are fishing for smaller fish
with smaller flies, a lighter line weight will allow you to present the
fly more accurately. However, if you are going after big fish, a
heavier line is important for turning over larger flies in the wind and
casting greater distances.



Action and Flex



Fly
rods are characterized by where the rod flexes. A "fast action" fly rod
flexes near the tip, and a "slow action" rod flexes near the butt of
the rod with "medium action" somewhere in between. Action determines the
tempo of your casting stroke. It also determines the ability of your
rod to generate line speed, a term for how quickly the loop travels away
from the rod tip. As it takes less effort to cast farther and more
accurately with a fast action rod, beginning casters are often best fit
with this action.



Length



The type of water and fishing determines appropriate fly rod length.
Smaller streams mean tighter casting situations, and a shorter rod is
much more manageable. Big Western rivers and salt water require a longer
rod for increased distance and power. While, anglers fishing for
steelhead and salmon commonly prefer longer rods for large mends and
roll casts. Generally speaking, a nine-foot rod is ideal for the vast
majority of fishing situations. If you are new to the sport, this length
will perform effectively in a variety of waters and will allow for a
solid development of your fly cast.

Check out the best fly rods available today.

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Whiting 100's, Brown, Size 16
Whiting 100's fly tying hackles are a standard in tying effective and attractive dry flies. There's enough usable material in each pack to tie 100 flies!
4735
id::4735
thumbnail::ZFE-SRI-HACK-100-0016-BR00.jpg
desc::Whiting 100's fly tying hackles are a standard in tying effective and attractive dry flies. There's enough usable material in each pack to tie 100 flies!
itemprice::$15.00
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baseprice::$30.00
Name::Whiting 100's, Brown, Size 16
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Featured::On sale
Category::Fly Tying
Fishing::Trout
Brand::Umpqua
Rod Type::
Primary Color::Brown
Size::
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type::item
mediaimg::http://www.lelandfly.com/Whiting-100s-Brown-Size-16-image.jpg
url::http://www.lelandfly.com/On-Sale/Feathers/Whiting-100s-Brown-Size-16.html
thumb::http://www.lelandfly.com/Whiting-100s-Brown-Size-16-image.jpg
detdesc::Tired of spending your valuable fly tying time sorting through mounds of hackle feathers in search of the right match of size and quality only to find some scraggly bits of shoddy material? You don't have to feel that way anymore thanks to Whiting 100's. These packages of 10 (or so) high quality saddle feathers are pre-sized and designed to allow an efficient fly tyer to produce 100 flies with each package. Spend time actually tying the flies you love instead of fumbling for the right material!
Summary

Whiting 100's offer only the highest quality saddle hackle developed by the world's largest producer of hackle, Whiting Farms. These superb hackle feathers are pre-sized and conveniently packaged with enough material to tie 100 flies! Whiting 100's are available in sizes #12-16 and in colors grizzly, medium dun, and brown. So many flies to tie, so little time '

Details

- Top quality all-natural saddle hackle from the world's largest producer

- Enough material to tie 100 flies!

- Sizes: #12-16

- Colors: grizzly, medium dun, and brown

Common patterns

- Comparadun

- Hackle-wing Midge

Leland on Whiting 100's

Dry fly hackle can be a joy to work with, but if you don't have the right material at your fly tying bench or in your vise, your good experience can turn sour in the blink of an eye. It can be frustrating pick up a stack of saddle hackle feathers with the goal of finding a strand of the right size and the right quality. In short, it can feel worse than looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. A while back, Whiting Farms took on this common frustration and developed a product that has since solved the problem and as a result, Whiting has rapidly secured its place at the head of the dry fly hackle table. Whiting 100's are pre-sized saddle hackle feathers grown and harvested by the world's biggest and best producer of dry fly hackle. These top quality hackle feathers are pre-sized - no more fumbling and guessing at the hackle sizing game. The quills are supple, easy to work with, and a joy to wrap around the hook shank! To top it all off, Whiting packs its 100's with enough usable material to tie 100 flies! Whiting 100's are simply the best dry fly hackle packs, period.

Leland on Hackle

Technically, hackle refers to another group of feather, but for the fly tyer, hackle truly encompasses a world of its own. Hackle is taken from both roosters and hens and these feathers are found on two different parts of the bird. "Saddle" hackle is found on the backside of the bird, while a hackle "cape" consists of the neck and shoulders of the bird.



Traditionally, hackle techniques have been more important to those interested in tying and fishing dry flies because of a hackle collar's ability to render a fly more buoyant. Both cape and saddle hackle can be useful for tyers interested in creating this effect. However, there are a host of wet fly patterns that require hackle as well. This wet-hackle is usually taken from the saddle of a hen which contains a great number of shorter, more thickly webbed feathers. These feathers are commonly referred to as "schlappen," and many Spey patterns also require this type of webbed hackle feather.



Always consider the structural properties of the hackle you select. Dry fly hackle should be stiff and strong to support the fly and assist with floatation. Wet fly hackle must be heavily webbed and will give the fly better movement and water absorption when the fly is actually fished.

Leland on Whiting Farms

Since the mid-1960's when Henry Hoffman started thinking hard about breeding poultry to supply better dry fly hackle, Whiting Farms has steadily built a storied tradition of producing the best dry fly hackle on the planet. Today, this three-ranch operation is run out of Colorado and supplies fly tying operations and fly tying retailers throughout the world. But Whiting Farms was not built on poultry genetics or feathers alone, Whiting Farms was built on passion. Today, Henry Hoffman's attention to detail, innovative spirit, and work ethic are carried firmly on the shoulders of the outstanding genetic hackle products offered by Whiting Farms.

Whiting Farms on Whiting 100's

"One of the most popular fly tying products ever produced, the Whiting 100's Saddle Hackle packs offer convenience beyond compare! The pre-sized Whiting genetic saddle hackle is conveniently accessible within its own protective cardboard backer, clearly labeled and ready for tying 100 or more flies per pack.



The packs come in a wide variety of sizes from #8 to #22 with #24's and #26's available in limited colors. The most popular colors are: Grizzly, Brown, Medium Dun, Black, White, Ginger, Light Dun, Medium Ginger, Coachman, and Light Ginger.



There's no easier way to crank out a dozen flies on a moment's notice than with Whiting 100's Saddle Hackle Packs. Don't be confused by imposters or copy-cats, there's only one genuine Whiting 100's Pack!"

Whiting Farms on Whiting Farms

"Whiting Farms operates on three primary ranches in western Colorado with a central processing, shipping and administrative facility. From these facilities, five major genetic product lines and over 15 minor breed lines are raised to stock 800+ products and generate 100,000+ product unit sales annually, making Whiting the most comprehensive and genetically unique fly tying feather grower today.



Whiting Farms sells feather products world-wide, selling in over 50 countries. Whiting also has a substantial commercial business, selling to fly tying operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Kenya, South Africa, Columbia, Bhutan and Mexico.



Today, Whiting Farms strives to be the clear leader in the continuous advancement and innovation of fly tying feathers."

Whiting Farms on the History of Whiting Farms

"From the mid 1960's until 1989 Henry Hoffman of Warrenton, Oregon devoted his life to producing the best dry fly hackle in the world. His primary motivation was an all-consuming, life-long love of fishing. As an offshoot to this intense interest in fishing Henry also learned to tie flies, often by taking apart lost flies he found on the stream bank while out fishing.



Fortunately (for himself and the world) Henry was born into the right situation. His parents had a small meat chicken breeding operation in California, so Henry grew up learning the basics of breeder selection and poultry husbandry. After a stint in the military, Henry settled in Oregon and made his living tying fishing flies commercially, predominantly dry flies.



In the 1960's good quality feathers for tying dry flies were nearly impossible to obtain and tiers had to rely on very poor quality capes imported from India or China - basically pelted village chickens. In addition, the black and white barred pattern feathers, called grizzly, did not exist in the village chickens, thus major fly patterns which required grizzly hackle garnered a premium price. Therefore, Henry set out in the mid 1960's to find grizzly chickens to raise for his own tying needs and potentially to develop into a marketable genetic hackle line. He searched amongst the county fairs and poultry fanciers in the Pacific Northwest and finally found an exceptional trio of Barred Plymouth Rock bantams. Incredibly, they exhibited excellent (for that time) dry fly capes and also a respectable dry fly saddle. By Henry's own estimation these initial birds saved him 10 years of development; and he was off and running.



Because Henry Hoffman was a commercial fly tier, using the hackle in his own work, he brought an end-user's perspective to his breeder selection. Literally he'd tie flies with the feathers and the best tying feathers determined which roosters became the sires for the next generation. This tying performance criteria put Henry's breeding program in a league of its own and earned the Hoffman Hackle rave reviews and near mythical devotion.



In raising the world's finest grizzly hackle, Henry Hoffman had several factors in his favor: a) being passionate about fishing and fly tying, b) having a directly applicable family upbringing, c) finding truly exceptional foundation stock, and d) directing the stock's genetic development by personally using their feathers.



Henry did three other particularly fortunate things which are even more impressive:

First, he confined his breeding program exclusively to Grizzly for the first 15 years, thus focusing on only one color (also the most important), which greatly accelerated progress.

Secondly, Henry conceived and meticulously developed the first and unquestionably the best dry fly saddle hackle, thus bringing to the tying world a major fly tying innovation.

And the final unique aspect of Henry was he preferred to stay small and focus on quality instead of quantity. The Hoffman operation only grew to 2,200 roosters a year and was essentially a ma pa operation where Henry and his wife Joyce did nearly everything. Even the family helped out, including Henry's elderly mother and father.



By the 1980's the Hoffman Grizzly was world famous, almost legendary and very coveted. The dry fly saddles had progressed markedly and were totally unique, having to be seen to be believed, with individual feathers up to 12 inches long! Henry had also expanded his color range to include white and brown, the other essentials in fly tying. But Henry wanted to get out from under the all-consuming work load and drudgery of his business before he was too old to enjoy an extended retirement of fishing. So he put his life's work up for sale. Many were understandably interested, but few had all the necessary skills to develop further the potential in the Hoffman gene pool. Needed was knowledge and ability in poultry genetics, production and processing, and an equally serious willingness and commitment to devote their professional life to this long term endeavor.



After 5 years of trying to sell his business Henry Hoffman eventually agreed to a deal with Thomas Whiting of Colorado. Tom was then finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas, and also had an M.S. degree from the University of Georgia and a B.S. degree from Colorado State University, always specializing in his particular areas of interest - poultry genetics and husbandry. In addition Tom had considerable industrial poultry experience in managing a commercial egg production complex in Colorado that produced 3 million eggs per week. Henry agreed to consult for 5 years to transfer his knowledge and to initially preserve continuity in the breeding program.



Whiting chose western Colorado to set up the new venture, and in April 1989 hatched out his first Hoffman Hackle chicks there from eggs sent to him by Henry from Oregon. In addition Whiting Farms acquired the another quality genetic dry fly hackle stock in 1997, known as Hebert Hackle, to complement its existing genetic pool and product line. The Hebert/Miner(tm) hackle stock is reknown for incredible dry fly capes and the widest, best and most unique array of natural colors of any hackle stock in the world.

From about 5,000 birds that first year (1989) to over 125,000 total birds harvested in 2000, Whiting Farms has risen to become the largest fly tying feather producer in the world market. In addition, Dr. Whiting has cultivated numerous new natural colors, 20 now and expanding.



Whiting Farms has production on three primary ranches in western Colorado with a central processing, shipping and administrative facility. Also, Dr. Whiting has developed an "American Hackle" chicken line specifically bred for salt water and other wet flies. Coq de Leon feather birds from Spain that provide fly tying feathers are also being raised, and several other feather birds are under development as well for future proprietary products.



With continual genetic progress, Whiting Farms has been able to develop ever increasing quality, value and selection to the fly tiers all over the world. Recent genetic breakthroughs have allowed the creation of a dry fly hackle superior to any ever seen before, and so a new product line was announced in the Summer of 1998; the Whiting Platinum dry fly hackle. To accommodate an across the board quality improvement in all product lines, Whiting Farms introduced for the 1999/2000 sales season the Olympic medal grade designations of Gold, Silver and Bronze. The purpose of this grade re-designation and upgrade was to pass on the genetic and husbandry advances at Whiting Farms to the fly tiers of the world and to further distinguish Whiting Farms' quality superiority. Basically the Whiting Farms Bronze grade is as good as and often better than any competitor's top grade. And the Silver, Gold and Platinum grades are beyond all others. Further genetic advances have made possible an even higher plateau of quality available to fly tiers with the introduction of the "Ultra Platinum" cape and the "Midge" saddle in the fall of 2001.



Genetic hackle is predominantly an American product; there are only about a dozen producers presently, all but two of which are in the United States. Never the less Whiting Farms sells their feather products world-wide. Japan is their largest single foreign market, with Canada, the European countries, Australia and New Zealand buying considerable quantities. Commercial fly tying factories in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Kenya, South Africa, Columbia, Bhutan and Mexico are also supplied by Whiting Farms. Newly developing consumer markets are also expanding in Argentina, Chile, South Africa, South Korea and the former Soviet Union countries. In all Whiting Farms sells their products into 36 countries and 48 states.



In June 1997, Whiting Farms, along with several other western Colorado fly fishing equipment manufacturers, was selected to provide their product for the official gifts from the State of Colorado to the world leaders attending the Summit of Eight meeting in Denver.



In May 1998, in conjunction with the National Small Business Week, Whiting Farms, Inc. was recognized for its success with three awards. The Small Business Exporter of the Year Award was presented to Whiting Farms by the Small Business Administration for both the State of Colorado and the SBA Region VIII (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and North and South Dakotas). Whiting Farms was also given the Pioneer Spirit Award by the Delta Colorado Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the company's rapid growth and contribution to the area economy.



In August 2001 the Federation of Fly Fishers awarded Whiting Farms, Inc. the prestigious Lee Wulff award for their innovations and contributions to the world of fly fishing."
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Whiting 100's, Medium Dun, Size 14
Whiting 100's fly tying hackles are a standard in tying effective and attractive dry flies. There's enough usable material in each pack to tie 100 flies!
4733
id::4733
thumbnail::ZFE-SRI-HACK-100-0014-DU00.jpg
desc::Whiting 100's fly tying hackles are a standard in tying effective and attractive dry flies. There's enough usable material in each pack to tie 100 flies!
itemprice::$15.00
Price::$15.00
pricelevel::$30.00
baseprice::$30.00
Name::Whiting 100's, Medium Dun, Size 14
Rod Weight::
Rod Length::
Reel Line Weight::
Rod Action::
Series::
Featured::On sale
Category::Fly Tying
Fishing::Trout
Brand::Umpqua
Rod Type::
Primary Color::Grey
Size::
Line Weight::
type::item
mediaimg::http://www.lelandfly.com/Whiting-100s-Medium-Dun-Size-14-image.jpg
url::http://www.lelandfly.com/On-Sale/Feathers/Whiting-100s-Medium-Dun-Size-14.html
thumb::http://www.lelandfly.com/Whiting-100s-Medium-Dun-Size-14-image.jpg
detdesc::Tired of spending your valuable fly tying time sorting through mounds of hackle feathers in search of the right match of size and quality only to find some scraggly bits of shoddy material? You don't have to feel that way anymore thanks to Whiting 100's. These packages of 10 (or so) high quality saddle feathers are pre-sized and designed to allow an efficient fly tyer to produce 100 flies with each package. Spend time actually tying the flies you love instead of fumbling for the right material!
Summary

Whiting 100's offer only the highest quality saddle hackle developed by the world's largest producer of hackle, Whiting Farms. These superb hackle feathers are pre-sized and conveniently packaged with enough material to tie 100 flies! Whiting 100's are available in sizes #12-16 and in colors grizzly, medium dun, and brown. So many flies to tie, so little time '

Details

- Top quality all-natural saddle hackle from the world's largest producer

- Enough material to tie 100 flies!

- Sizes: #12-16

- Colors: grizzly, medium dun, and brown

Common patterns

- Comparadun

- Hackle-wing Midge

Leland on Whiting 100's

Dry fly hackle can be a joy to work with, but if you don't have the right material at your fly tying bench or in your vise, your good experience can turn sour in the blink of an eye. It can be frustrating pick up a stack of saddle hackle feathers with the goal of finding a strand of the right size and the right quality. In short, it can feel worse than looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. A while back, Whiting Farms took on this common frustration and developed a product that has since solved the problem and as a result, Whiting has rapidly secured its place at the head of the dry fly hackle table. Whiting 100's are pre-sized saddle hackle feathers grown and harvested by the world's biggest and best producer of dry fly hackle. These top quality hackle feathers are pre-sized - no more fumbling and guessing at the hackle sizing game. The quills are supple, easy to work with, and a joy to wrap around the hook shank! To top it all off, Whiting packs its 100's with enough usable material to tie 100 flies! Whiting 100's are simply the best dry fly hackle packs, period.

Leland on Hackle

Technically, hackle refers to another group of feather, but for the fly tyer, hackle truly encompasses a world of its own. Hackle is taken from both roosters and hens and these feathers are found on two different parts of the bird. "Saddle" hackle is found on the backside of the bird, while a hackle "cape" consists of the neck and shoulders of the bird.



Traditionally, hackle techniques have been more important to those interested in tying and fishing dry flies because of a hackle collar's ability to render a fly more buoyant. Both cape and saddle hackle can be useful for tyers interested in creating this effect. However, there are a host of wet fly patterns that require hackle as well. This wet-hackle is usually taken from the saddle of a hen which contains a great number of shorter, more thickly webbed feathers. These feathers are commonly referred to as "schlappen," and many Spey patterns also require this type of webbed hackle feather.



Always consider the structural properties of the hackle you select. Dry fly hackle should be stiff and strong to support the fly and assist with floatation. Wet fly hackle must be heavily webbed and will give the fly better movement and water absorption when the fly is actually fished.

Leland on Whiting Farms

Since the mid-1960's when Henry Hoffman started thinking hard about breeding poultry to supply better dry fly hackle, Whiting Farms has steadily built a storied tradition of producing the best dry fly hackle on the planet. Today, this three-ranch operation is run out of Colorado and supplies fly tying operations and fly tying retailers throughout the world. But Whiting Farms was not built on poultry genetics or feathers alone, Whiting Farms was built on passion. Today, Henry Hoffman's attention to detail, innovative spirit, and work ethic are carried firmly on the shoulders of the outstanding genetic hackle products offered by Whiting Farms.

Whiting Farms on Whiting 100's

"One of the most popular fly tying products ever produced, the Whiting 100's Saddle Hackle packs offer convenience beyond compare! The pre-sized Whiting genetic saddle hackle is conveniently accessible within its own protective cardboard backer, clearly labeled and ready for tying 100 or more flies per pack.



The packs come in a wide variety of sizes from #8 to #22 with #24's and #26's available in limited colors. The most popular colors are: Grizzly, Brown, Medium Dun, Black, White, Ginger, Light Dun, Medium Ginger, Coachman, and Light Ginger.



There's no easier way to crank out a dozen flies on a moment's notice than with Whiting 100's Saddle Hackle Packs. Don't be confused by imposters or copy-cats, there's only one genuine Whiting 100's Pack!"

Whiting Farms on Whiting Farms

"Whiting Farms operates on three primary ranches in western Colorado with a central processing, shipping and administrative facility. From these facilities, five major genetic product lines and over 15 minor breed lines are raised to stock 800+ products and generate 100,000+ product unit sales annually, making Whiting the most comprehensive and genetically unique fly tying feather grower today.



Whiting Farms sells feather products world-wide, selling in over 50 countries. Whiting also has a substantial commercial business, selling to fly tying operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Kenya, South Africa, Columbia, Bhutan and Mexico.



Today, Whiting Farms strives to be the clear leader in the continuous advancement and innovation of fly tying feathers."

Whiting Farms on the History of Whiting Farms

"From the mid 1960's until 1989 Henry Hoffman of Warrenton, Oregon devoted his life to producing the best dry fly hackle in the world. His primary motivation was an all-consuming, life-long love of fishing. As an offshoot to this intense interest in fishing Henry also learned to tie flies, often by taking apart lost flies he found on the stream bank while out fishing.



Fortunately (for himself and the world) Henry was born into the right situation. His parents had a small meat chicken breeding operation in California, so Henry grew up learning the basics of breeder selection and poultry husbandry. After a stint in the military, Henry settled in Oregon and made his living tying fishing flies commercially, predominantly dry flies.



In the 1960's good quality feathers for tying dry flies were nearly impossible to obtain and tiers had to rely on very poor quality capes imported from India or China - basically pelted village chickens. In addition, the black and white barred pattern feathers, called grizzly, did not exist in the village chickens, thus major fly patterns which required grizzly hackle garnered a premium price. Therefore, Henry set out in the mid 1960's to find grizzly chickens to raise for his own tying needs and potentially to develop into a marketable genetic hackle line. He searched amongst the county fairs and poultry fanciers in the Pacific Northwest and finally found an exceptional trio of Barred Plymouth Rock bantams. Incredibly, they exhibited excellent (for that time) dry fly capes and also a respectable dry fly saddle. By Henry's own estimation these initial birds saved him 10 years of development; and he was off and running.



Because Henry Hoffman was a commercial fly tier, using the hackle in his own work, he brought an end-user's perspective to his breeder selection. Literally he'd tie flies with the feathers and the best tying feathers determined which roosters became the sires for the next generation. This tying performance criteria put Henry's breeding program in a league of its own and earned the Hoffman Hackle rave reviews and near mythical devotion.



In raising the world's finest grizzly hackle, Henry Hoffman had several factors in his favor: a) being passionate about fishing and fly tying, b) having a directly applicable family upbringing, c) finding truly exceptional foundation stock, and d) directing the stock's genetic development by personally using their feathers.



Henry did three other particularly fortunate things which are even more impressive:

First, he confined his breeding program exclusively to Grizzly for the first 15 years, thus focusing on only one color (also the most important), which greatly accelerated progress.

Secondly, Henry conceived and meticulously developed the first and unquestionably the best dry fly saddle hackle, thus bringing to the tying world a major fly tying innovation.

And the final unique aspect of Henry was he preferred to stay small and focus on quality instead of quantity. The Hoffman operation only grew to 2,200 roosters a year and was essentially a ma pa operation where Henry and his wife Joyce did nearly everything. Even the family helped out, including Henry's elderly mother and father.



By the 1980's the Hoffman Grizzly was world famous, almost legendary and very coveted. The dry fly saddles had progressed markedly and were totally unique, having to be seen to be believed, with individual feathers up to 12 inches long! Henry had also expanded his color range to include white and brown, the other essentials in fly tying. But Henry wanted to get out from under the all-consuming work load and drudgery of his business before he was too old to enjoy an extended retirement of fishing. So he put his life's work up for sale. Many were understandably interested, but few had all the necessary skills to develop further the potential in the Hoffman gene pool. Needed was knowledge and ability in poultry genetics, production and processing, and an equally serious willingness and commitment to devote their professional life to this long term endeavor.



After 5 years of trying to sell his business Henry Hoffman eventually agreed to a deal with Thomas Whiting of Colorado. Tom was then finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas, and also had an M.S. degree from the University of Georgia and a B.S. degree from Colorado State University, always specializing in his particular areas of interest - poultry genetics and husbandry. In addition Tom had considerable industrial poultry experience in managing a commercial egg production complex in Colorado that produced 3 million eggs per week. Henry agreed to consult for 5 years to transfer his knowledge and to initially preserve continuity in the breeding program.



Whiting chose western Colorado to set up the new venture, and in April 1989 hatched out his first Hoffman Hackle chicks there from eggs sent to him by Henry from Oregon. In addition Whiting Farms acquired the another quality genetic dry fly hackle stock in 1997, known as Hebert Hackle, to complement its existing genetic pool and product line. The Hebert/Miner(tm) hackle stock is reknown for incredible dry fly capes and the widest, best and most unique array of natural colors of any hackle stock in the world.

From about 5,000 birds that first year (1989) to over 125,000 total birds harvested in 2000, Whiting Farms has risen to become the largest fly tying feather producer in the world market. In addition, Dr. Whiting has cultivated numerous new natural colors, 20 now and expanding.



Whiting Farms has production on three primary ranches in western Colorado with a central processing, shipping and administrative facility. Also, Dr. Whiting has developed an "American Hackle" chicken line specifically bred for salt water and other wet flies. Coq de Leon feather birds from Spain that provide fly tying feathers are also being raised, and several other feather birds are under development as well for future proprietary products.



With continual genetic progress, Whiting Farms has been able to develop ever increasing quality, value and selection to the fly tiers all over the world. Recent genetic breakthroughs have allowed the creation of a dry fly hackle superior to any ever seen before, and so a new product line was announced in the Summer of 1998; the Whiting Platinum dry fly hackle. To accommodate an across the board quality improvement in all product lines, Whiting Farms introduced for the 1999/2000 sales season the Olympic medal grade designations of Gold, Silver and Bronze. The purpose of this grade re-designation and upgrade was to pass on the genetic and husbandry advances at Whiting Farms to the fly tiers of the world and to further distinguish Whiting Farms' quality superiority. Basically the Whiting Farms Bronze grade is as good as and often better than any competitor's top grade. And the Silver, Gold and Platinum grades are beyond all others. Further genetic advances have made possible an even higher plateau of quality available to fly tiers with the introduction of the "Ultra Platinum" cape and the "Midge" saddle in the fall of 2001.



Genetic hackle is predominantly an American product; there are only about a dozen producers presently, all but two of which are in the United States. Never the less Whiting Farms sells their feather products world-wide. Japan is their largest single foreign market, with Canada, the European countries, Australia and New Zealand buying considerable quantities. Commercial fly tying factories in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Kenya, South Africa, Columbia, Bhutan and Mexico are also supplied by Whiting Farms. Newly developing consumer markets are also expanding in Argentina, Chile, South Africa, South Korea and the former Soviet Union countries. In all Whiting Farms sells their products into 36 countries and 48 states.



In June 1997, Whiting Farms, along with several other western Colorado fly fishing equipment manufacturers, was selected to provide their product for the official gifts from the State of Colorado to the world leaders attending the Summit of Eight meeting in Denver.



In May 1998, in conjunction with the National Small Business Week, Whiting Farms, Inc. was recognized for its success with three awards. The Small Business Exporter of the Year Award was presented to Whiting Farms by the Small Business Administration for both the State of Colorado and the SBA Region VIII (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and North and South Dakotas). Whiting Farms was also given the Pioneer Spirit Award by the Delta Colorado Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the company's rapid growth and contribution to the area economy.



In August 2001 the Federation of Fly Fishers awarded Whiting Farms, Inc. the prestigious Lee Wulff award for their innovations and contributions to the world of fly fishing."
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Choosing the Best Fly Rod
Any fly rod can catch a fish, but not all fly rods are a joy to cast. If you define your fly fishing success solely by fish count, you might consider buying just any fly rod, but if you agree with us at Leland that there's more to fly fishing than just the fish, you might want to read more about what makes a great fly rod.
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desc::Any fly rod can catch a fish, but not all fly rods are a joy to cast. If you define your fly fishing success solely by fish count, you might consider buying just any fly rod, but if you agree with us at Leland that there's more to fly fishing than just the fish, you might want to read more about what makes a great fly rod.
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detdesc::What makes the best fly rod?

The fly rod is the defining element in any tackle ensemble as it is responsible for propelling the weighted fly line and relatively weightless fly out into the river or lake and to the targeted fish. It is the angler's primary tool, a synthesis of functionality and art. The very first fly fishing rods were crude instruments that got the job done, but today's high performance fly rods come in many shapes and sizes and are constructed of space age materials like fiberglass and graphite that would no doubt have the earliest anglers salivating at the advances in the primary tool used in fly fishing.

Modern fly rods are designed, first and foremost, to cast fly lines as efficiently as possible. This goal has created a community of specialized casting specialists and "fly rod taper" designers who focus on the physics of fly casting and materials science and engineering in the search for the most effective fly rod ever produced. These advances in fly rod design have led to parallel advances in fly line design and construction as well as a general improvement in the casting ability of anglers of all skill and experience levels. Improved casting accuracy and distance, both direct results of modern fly rod advancements, have also opened new horizons in the sport, allowing anglers to fish new water and harsh conditions that were never accessible with older fly rod designs.

There still is a passionate community of more traditional rod builders and enthusiasts who maintain the art of creating high performing rods of split cane bamboo. These cane rods are most often found in the deftly skilled hands of trout anglers on smaller spring creeks, but several of today's best bamboo rod builders are also constructing highly effective rods in heavier line weights and in lengths and tapers suitable for Spey casting.
featdesc::The fly rod is the defining element in any tackle ensemble as it is responsible for propelling the weighted fly line and relatively weightless fly out into the river or lake and to the targeted fish. It is the angler's primary tool, a synthesis of functionality and art. The very first fly fishing rods were crude instruments that got the job done, but today's high performance fly rods come in many shapes and sizes and are constructed of space age materials like fiberglass and graphite that would no doubt have the earliest anglers salivating at the advances in the primary tool used in fly fishing.

Components of a Fly Rod

Rod Blank
The fly rod blank is simply the physical rod itself. Each rod style has a unique shape or "taper" throughout its length designed to deliver a specific fly line weight or fly line style as efficiently as possible.

Grip
Fly rod grips are a key component to the fly rod itself. Grips are generally made of Portuguese cork and are shaved and sanded on a lathe to create an ergonomic handle. A series of classic grip styles are available; Half Wells grips are popular in many mid-weight trout rods, Full Wells grips give steelheaders and saltwater anglers a bit more control when casting heavier rods, Cigar grips are extremely popular on the lightest fly rods, Spey grips are long and tapered allowing an angler to easily wield a two-handed rod of 13 feet or more in length.

Guide
Guides are small coils of light, but durable metal that hold the fly line close to the rod, allowing an angler to actually use the fly line and fly rod in tandem to successfully complete a fly cast. These coils are sometimes referred to as "eyes" and the first guide or guides near the butt end or handle of the rod blank are called the "stripping guides" and the rest of the guides are called "snake guides." The final loop-shaped guide at the tip of the rod blank is simply called the "tip top." Fly rod guides have "feet" and are secured to the rod blank with tight wraps of thread about the feet. Generally, guides have two feet, but single-footed guides are becoming more popular with rod designers as weight considerations become more important for a modern rod's performance and marketing story. Recoil snake guides -- guides that retain their original shape even after being bent -- are also finding their way to mainstream fly rod design for their enhanced durability and performance.

Reel seat
The reel seat is metal component that holds a fly reel to the rod. Reel seats can be as simple as two aluminum rings (called cork-and-ring reel seat), or can be beautifully machined combinations of aluminum and wood or composite material for larger, heavier reels. The reel seat is a relatively new addition to fly rod design as anglers used to hold the fly reel in their free hand as recent as the mid 1800s.

Fly Rod Construction
The best fly rods, whether bamboo, fiberglass, or graphite are put together with the utmost care. Construction is the ultimate determinant of how efficiently the rod transfers the energy of the caster through the rod to fly line and eventually to the fly. A poorly constructed rod is not efficient and will not directly transmit the energy generated by the caster to the fly line, often resulting in a "wobble" at the end of the casting stroke. This wobbling transfers to the line resulting in a weaker, less accurate cast. The better and tighter the construction of a rod, the more efficient it is, and the more accurate and powerful it will be at all distances.

In modern graphite rods, the quality of construction is directly related to the type of source graphite used to make it. As a general rule, the higher the modulus (a term indicating how much graphite is present in the rod), the better the graphite. Quality rod makers are continually searching and redefining the right amount and type of graphite to make their rods even better. Translation: just the right amount of modulus graphite will make a higher performance rod. Rods that use modern aerospace grades of graphite will transfer the most energy with the greatest degree of ease and also allow for the best accuracy.

Optimize a fly rod to perform its best

Fly Rods and Line Weight

Generally speaking, the weight of a fly line is proportionate to the size of the species you're pursuing. If you are fishing for smaller fish with smaller flies, a lighter line weight will allow you to present the fly more accurately. However, if you are going after big fish, a heavier line is important for turning over larger flies in the wind and casting greater distances.

Action and Flex
Fly rods are characterized by where the rod flexes. A "fast action" fly rod flexes near the tip, and a "slow action" rod flexes near the butt of the rod with "medium action" somewhere in between. Action determines the tempo of your casting stroke. It also determines the ability of your rod to generate line speed, a term for how quickly the loop travels away from the rod tip. As it takes less effort to cast farther and more accurately with a fast action rod, beginning casters are often best fit with this action.

Length
The type of water and fishing determines appropriate fly rod length. Smaller streams mean tighter casting situations, and a shorter rod is much more manageable. Big Western rivers and salt water require a longer rod for increased distance and power. While, anglers fishing for steelhead and salmon commonly prefer longer rods for large mends and roll casts. Generally speaking, a nine-foot rod is ideal for the vast majority of fishing situations. If you are new to the sport, this length will perform effectively in a variety of waters and will allow for a solid development of your fly cast.

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