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 ...

Winter 2011 Fishing

It's been a while since I've updated the blog hasn't it -
Well, here's a quick update on 2011 so far ...

My first fishing trip of 2011 was back on January 29th.  I woke up late that Saturday morning planning on hanging out around the house.  Heidi suggested however that I get out and fish for a few hours.  I thanked her, quickly packed, told her "Thank you" once again, and headed up towards the "local" small streams, which are only about 1-1/2 hours away.

Last year I had set the goal to fish at least once a month.  Unfortunately, I fell short of my goal missing out in June and December.  I wasn’t really planning on setting the same goal this year, but if I was going to get out fishing before the end of January, well maybe I’ll give it another go in 2011.

The weather looked pretty good, but I was a little concerned about how frozen over the stream would be.  I didn’t have to worry.  Sure, there was a fair bit of snow on the ground and ice at the edges of the stream, but most of the water was open and very clear.  It was actually warm enough that I didn't have any trouble with my guides icing up.  The fish were very spooky given the crystal clear water and low winter flows.

January Waters

With small black stoneflies crawling out of the water and small midges and mayflies hatching, I was able to catch my first fish on a little surface action.  An unseen rainbow shot up out of a knee deep run to take a size 20 snowshoe hare emerger.  With my first fish of 2011, we both took home souvenirs.  I managed a quick picture just before my tippet frayed and the fish took off with my hook.  Fortunately, the CDC emerger I tied on next worked just as well, bringing another rainbow and two browns to hand.

First fish of 2011
Fiesty Brown
Frozen Small Streams

Last weekend I went back up to the same stream with a friend.  The morning started off at a brisk 23 deg when we got up to the river at 7:30.  My fingers were anything but nimble when tying my flies onto my tippet, but I was looking forward to fishing again.  I took my Tiger Eye 2wt rod once again.  I normally use a 2wt DT line, but this time I decided to try the rod out with my 3wt WF line.  Instead of respooling the line onto my 3100 reel, I left the line on my OB-4.  I really like my OB-4 reel, just not on my 6’6” 2wt rod.  Still, casting with the 3wt line was really smooth.  All the short casts I needed to make were a breeze with the heavier line, and the rod was still able to cast out to ~40 ft when I wanted.

Morning Pool

I remembered all the small black stoneflies I had seen back in January and put a size 18 black copper john about 24 inches beneath a small dry fly.  A couple fish took the dry fly, but the copper john did most of the work that morning.  I managed to catch 8 fish with a good mixture of rainbows and brown trout.  It's been a week since this fishing trip, but I'm still pretty pumped up about that day and these beautiful fish.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Beautiful Rainbow 2
Beautiful Rainbow 1
Dry Fly Success
Last fish of the morning
Brown Trout on Black Copper John
Head Spots