Sunday, March 11, 2012

My last 6'6" 4pc 2wt Tiger Eye

Here's the latest rod I've built. I finished it up a little over a month ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting pictures. Here are the particulars:
  • 6'6" 4pc 2wt Tiger Eye blank (Sevier Mfg) in green
  • H&H chrome round loop tiptop
  • Alps/Forecast SF guides (one standard wire size 2, one standard wire size 1, six light wire size 1)
  • Alps SF ceramic guide (size 8) as stripping guide
  • Feather inlay with a single jungle cock and grey's pheasant
  • Struble NS winding check
  • Natural burl cork grip with burnt cork accents and rubberized cork ends
  • Struble U-27 NS slide band reel seat
  • Struble walnut insert, lightly sanded and then refinished with Permagloss
  • Gudebrod dark green thread with metallic dark green trim
  • Two or three coats of Permagloss on the thread wraps with one coat of Threadmaster Lite on top
Overall I'm pretty happy with this rod. I do like the green blank. They're not quite "perfect", but I think I did a fairly good job on the guide wraps. I started out with a few coats of Permagloss to really lock down the guides and thread wraps. I'm not sure I totally love the look Permagloss gives as it builds up so I decided to put on one thin coat of TML on top just for the glossy, smooth epoxy look. Besides, I find that Permagloss can be a bit tricky to work with here in NM due to the low humidity. There is one small wavy spot in the epoxy where the finish transitions from the feather inlay over the blank where I wrote the rod size and line weight. Maybe I'll redo the finish in that area. The inscription is on the bottom side of the rod and not shown in these pictures.

I took the CCS measurements for this blank a long time ago and it rates out as a 3wt (ERN = 3.6; AA = 62 deg). Even though the blank was sold as a 2wt, I'll be looking to throw at least a 3wt line on this one.

I should have cleaned up the blank a bit before taking the pictures. Still, I hope you like it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Successful Start To 2012

Better late than never, right? 

I was able to get out for a day of fishing on Friday, my first time this year. What a great day - not the best day of fishing mind you - but a day great outdoors. I'm not sure if it was due to the winter storm warning or not, but I didn't see another person out there on the river all day. Amid the solitude and off-and-on light snow showers, I managed to bring a whopping three fish to hand. I could tell that it's been a very, very long time since I've been out on the water. Knots = hard to remember. Casting = not worth mentioning. Line control = needs improvement. Hook setting = nothing special. Retrieving flies from trees = still got it!

I've been fishing my Tiger Eye 6'6" 4pc 2wt almost exclusively for the past year. However, today I decided to take out my DC Signature V 8'6" 4pc 3wt. My 3wt line is sitting on my Galvan OB-4, which is just a bit too heavy for this rod. I really like the reel so I don't mind using it.

I really like the SigV 3wt especially since it was the first rod I built, but it's not a small stream rod. I'm not sure if it's the action or the length, but I just don't feel comfortable with it in these situations. Now, get me out on a more medium to larger sized stream/river and I find it exceptionally smooth. I'll be on the look out in earnest for a new small stream 3wt late this year. I've got to finish my other rod building projects first ...

Every person I've talked to that has fished this particular river has recommended I use a prince nymph. Well, I'm still waiting to have a fish take a prince. Nevertheless, I keep trying them whenever I fish this river. I mean, every trout likes a good prince nymph, right? There are a lot of stoneflies in this river, so I figure a prince nymph will eventually work for me. In the mean time I'll keep throwing dark hare's ears and Copper John variants; they work well for me. Speaking of stoneflies, I'm hoping these are skins are leftover from last year. It'd be a shame to have missed a good stonefly hatch. The giant stonefly / salmonfly hatch normally takes place in late June or early July. I'm hoping to catch it in prime time this year. I'm expected very low water flows this year so I wouldn't be surprised if the hatch takes place in May or even April.

While wading up the river tossing the aforementioned prince nymph (with my usual lack of success), I spotted a subtle rise in a pool ahead. I stopped and watched the fish feed for about 10 minutes. It's rare that I see fish feeding off the surface on this river (except during the salmonfly hatch when they can't get enough of those big bugs). It was so great to watch that I recorded a short video of it.

There was a noticeable midge hatch going on, and I assumed this fish was feeding off the hatching flies. The best I could do to match the midges was to switch to a size 20 crippled mayfly emerger in the darkest color I had. It wasn't ideal, but I hoped it would be enough. I'll work on tying up some dark parachute adams (sz 24 or so) sometime soon; they should match a little better next time.

On my third or fourth cast, I finally managed to get my fly into position. A nose quickly appeared. My fly disappeared in a slight ripple. Fortunately I didn't botch the hook set and managed to land my first fish of 2012; a very nice brown trout. All three of the fish I caught were good sized, somewhere between 10" and 12" long.

The second fish I caught took another dry/emerger fly with an almost imperceptible take. Somehow I saw the fish move up and take the fly just beneath the surface. I need to get a new pair of polarized sunglasses. Watching your fly is so much easier without the glare. I tried to get a picture of the fish, but it managed to swim free before I could capture the image.

My third fish slammed a dark hare's ear nymph I had tied on. It fought with a vengeance and had some great color. I took a couple quick videos. Here's one just after bringing it in and another of the release.

It's much easier to take a photograph or video of a feisty fish when you've got another person with you. I'm looking forward to getting more fishing videos, especially water shots.

Oh man, did did it feel great to go fishing again. Until next time ...

Monday, October 24, 2011

E/C Caddis

I spent a few hours at the vise tying up some emerger/cripple caddis flies.  These flies are brown/tan variants of the pattern found at Charlie's Fly Box. I've been working on getting the hang of tying parachute style flies, and I'm not quite there yet, but I really, really like the way parachute's fish.  When I found this caddis pattern, I knew I needed to tie some up and try them out.  Anyways, here are the pictures ...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Tiger Eye

I finally had a chance to clean up the 8'6" Tiger Eye from my previous post a bit and take a couple more pictures. I also took the rod over to the park for some test casts. I found it very smooth and comfortable to cast with a 6WF line. Casting out to 45 to 50 feet was a breeze. I've got a new 5wt line (still on the spool) that I'll try out someday as well. My only real problem with this rod is how/when to use it. I'm having trouble seeing myself using this on the small streams I like to fish. A 2wt or 3wt rod is all I've used in the last 2-1/2 years.  Let me tell you, this rod is really heavy by comparison!

I hope you like the pictures ...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rod Build: Tiger Eye 8'6" 4pc 5/6wt

Here's my latest rod building project which I finished up this past week

-- 8'6" 4 pc 5/6wt Tiger Eye
-- REC NBS nickel silver uplocking reel seat
-- Custom turned Laos Amboyna Burl insert with CA finish
-- Burl cork grip with burnt cork trim bands in the middle and rubberized cork fore/aft ends
-- Struble nickel silver winding check
-- REC Recoil RSG stripping guides (size 12 and size 10)
-- REC Recoil RSNX snake guides (one size 2 and eight size 1 guides)
-- H&H large loop, light wire chrome tip top
-- Gudebrod sandstone thread with Gudebrod dark brown and Sulky dark copper trim wraps

Here are two pictures of the thread wraps on the butt of the rod.  I wanted to match the color and texture /pattern of the burl cork as much as possible, so I decided to use the sandstone thread.  When putting the finish epoxy on, I was able to get a bit of "marbling" in the thread saturation.  Some areas on the thread are lighter than others.  I believe most rod builders typically try to avoid this and want a nice even coloring across the thread.  This can be difficult with light colored thread over a dark blank.  However, the mottled pattern is just perfect for what I wanted.  I added the dark brown trim wraps to bring a little contrast to the rod, with the dark copper metallic thread adding some flash and matching the color of the amboyna insert.

Here you can see one of the ferrule wraps along with the first stripping guide.  I repeated the trim banding from the butt section on each of the ferrules.  The stripping guides have a single turn of the dark copper metallic thread and both ends of each wrap.  I left the wraps on the individual snake guides without any trim, just the sandstone thread.  There is a single metallic wrap at the tip top however.

Finally, just a shot of where the most of my wrapping and epoxying took place.  I've claimed the hallway bathroom as my own rod building workspace.  It's called "the fish bathroom".  It's a pretty tight fit in there with the card table, but it works.  When working on longer rod sections or making ferrule wraps (when I need to have two pieces joined together) I have to move out to the kitchen table.  Still, this is my little fly rod building domain.  The small space really heats up with the lights above the mirror and the desk lamp on.  The warmth makes the epoxy set up a bit faster, making applying the finish a bit tricky at times, but I'm working on my technique and trying to get better.

I'll have to get some more pictures of the rod.  These pictures were taken fresh of the production line so the rod needs a little clean up before it's truly ready for prime time.  I just couldn't wait much longer to post some pictures.  Until then, enjoy ...