The Rats Nest

Thursday, February 28, 2013

And So It Begins........

This weekend is the end of the show season for me, last stop Lancaster Pennsylvania.  Although I do have some speaking engagements left, the panic of putting some stuff together to tie will be over till the late fall.  A part of me will miss this facet of my fly fishing year, as I have made some great friends that I typically only see at these shows but once or twice a year.  Another part of me is releived as I won't have to scramble around like a chicken with it's head cut, leave the wife n kids behind for a couple of days for a weekend of spinning fur and feather. 

Dreaming Of These Guys And Bigger

As one things ends, another starts.  The Fly Tying is in full gear and I have been chipping away daily at a couple of very large orders for a couple of shops in between my customer orders.  I am finishing up the last order of January if that puts things in perspective, things are going well but the wait on orders increases.  I guess that's what happens when you're a one man show.  So for those of you out there still waiting, they are coming, I'm just starting the orders I received in February, I appreciate your patience.
Lots Of This Going On...

The best thing about March for me, especially after a normal winter, is its go time  on the water.  I'll be making my way to some water weekly from here on out, especially once I get these larger orders behind me.   The new ride should be here this weekend too, and you can bet that she will get broke in nicely this year.  Just so happens she's on her way from Idaho as I type this, and it seems as though I will be bringing her to her new home this weekend from Lancaster. 

The New Ride, Ready For Departure From Idaho
With spring, I have some new flies to throw around on the water to see if they make the cut.  A couple of which I've shown some sneak peeks on Facebook, others I have yet to let the cat out of the bag on.  Two of them in particular just from looking at them scream fish, and I am very confident they will make the rotation.  I also have a couple of new color options to add to some of the other favorites out there, so be on the lookout for those whenever I get a chance to snap some pictures.  One thing that is certain, it looks like we should have some water this year, and my quest for the "One" will be full on.  I have some really cool things in the works for this year, and things are already off to a better start than 2012.

So, here's to longer days, warmer nights and bent rods.  Get ready, spring is coming......

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Airflo Streamer Maxx Fly Line Review.

 On the heels of my interview with Roger at Ask About Flyfishing last night, I thought it would be a timely post about one of the lines that I like to use when I streamer fish, and impress upon you why I like it so much. 

***Unnecessary Disclaimer***   As I have said before, I am not a real big fan of doing reviews, and I am of the honest opinion that many of the reviews that we find these days in the "blogger-dom" are often incentive driven, lacking true insight, skewed, not compared against other competitors products, embellished upon, cut and pasted from the companies website or anther's review, confusing, not beneficial to the consumer, any and/or all of the above and then some, etc. etc. etc.

As I have stated in the past, I like to really put something through the paces before I make some noise about my thoughts, opinions or suggestions on it.  Having fished this line for over a year now, and tinkered with pretty much the entire series of grain weights, I feel pretty confident in my critique of this product.  For the sake of being fair, I have included 2 other lines in the review to compare this line with, not because I am receiving monetary kickbacks, perks or anything else by including them (I bought and used extensively all of the lines in this review over the past few years), but merely because that is all that I fished exclusively with prior to my introduction to this line.  SO, enough of the small talk, lets get down to business.

To kick things off, lets talk a bit about the line itself, most of this information is right off the Airflo website but it will paint a bit of a picture for you.  Airflo in my opinion finally nailed the welded connections on their integrated lines on this one, as the transition zones on this line are flawless.  This particular integrated line has three (3) distinct sections, all of which are color coded.
The head/sinking portion is black and depending on the grain weight is anywhere from 22 to 27 feet long.  If the head is a bit longer than you like, Airflo suggests you cut the tip 6 inches at a time until you find the right fit for your needs. 

The second section is a thicker diameter intermediate ridged belly section which kind of works like a skagit head in my opinion.  This section of the fly line is the backbone, and helps turnover even the largest of flies with ease as well as the sinking head.  The rear is made up of a floating ridged running line, at about 73 feet or so rounding the whole line out to a nice 100 foot length.  Like most lines by airflo, it is a polyurethane coated line with a low stretch braided power core.  The key there is low stretch, which is an attribute that I think makes this line superior to it's competitors, and I will talk about that a bit later in the post.   
Airflo Reprint

Unlike other lines on the market that typically run in 50 grain increments, Airflo refined their series a little more, running their lines in 40 grain increments that really seem in my opinion to be a shade more fine tuned to the rods that they are meant to be paired with, and as evidenced by the table below, they took the grain guessing game out of the equation for the consumer who only can relate to line weight.  A bonus for all.

Airflo Reprint

As stated earlier, the tapers are unique, the line itself as you can see from the table has different lengths associated to the line size for the sinking portion.  This is a three part constructed fly line folks, the front loaded sinking head, a transition zone of much thicker diameter blue colored intermediate line tapered into the orange running line.  What this equates to is much more fluid turnover even on the largest of flies, and a line that just shoots for the stars, always seeming to want more.  Seriously, if distance is what your after this is your line, and the sink rate on these lines is second to none if getting down is important to you.  The other positive attribute that this line configuration offers is the ability to roll cast or do a quick single spey style cast in an area with no back casting room.   The line due to its taper and configuration, can easily pull a larger articulated fly out of the water column and send it flying, but, like with a skagit set up, you will have to use the principals utilized in proper skagit casting and placement of your anchor to get this to work properly.  A couple practice runs and you'll see what I mean. 

Due to the polyurethane coating and low stretch braided power core, the line tangles less making for a much more enjoyable experience on the water.  I can't impress upon you enough how much of a pain it is when your fishing streamers all day and you spend a majority of your day stretching and untangling knots and tangles from your line.  Let's face it, if your fishing streamers hard, you tax your gear, and the line is the first thing to feel the effects of your efforts.  The Streamer Maxx line hands down from my experience tangles the least out of any integrated line that I have used, Rio or SA, period.  I would go on to say that it on average tangles 1/4-1/8 less than the others do.  That's an enormous positive attribute for me these days as I just don't get out as often as I once did prior to kids.   The SA Galloup Streamer Express line would be next  in this department with the Rio DC compensated sink lines coming in third, as they seem from my experience to tangle the most. 

The second positive attribute to a low stretch core is quicker and harder hook sets.  If you have a line that has a core that stretches, when you strip set on a fish after a hard strike, you need not have to strip as far or as hard to seat the business end of the hook home.  I am sure many of you can relate that sometimes you feel like your going pull your shoulder out when setting the hook with lines that excessive stretch.  As long as you stay in touch with the line, the distance and energy you need to expend to seat that hook home is far less than you would exert with many other lines on the market. 

Most of what I discuss in this review is based off my experiences with these lines from a wade anglers perspective, but I do like many fish from a drift boat from time to time too, and this line is a treat to toss from the horn of any boat.  Like fishing from a wade anglers perspective, be sure to carry only the head and transition zone in the air and shoot the line accordingly, as trying to carry the entire head and several feet of the running line may become problematic for some casters. 

As line technology continues to reach it's pinnacle, there are a lot of choices out there for the consumer, I am 100% sold on the Airflo Streamer Maxx integrated streamer lines.  After fishing them hard for more than a year, I can honestly say that I am not looking back. Thanks Airflo for creating what I believe is a superior product. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Shameless Self Promotion

Big Guns

The title says it all, although I am very honored to be a guest next week on Ask About Fly fishing Internet Radio.  On next Wednesday February 20, 2013 at 9:00 PM EST I will be talking streamer techniques with D. Roger Maves, the host of the show.  Should be a good time, hope to answer some of your questions and just talk about what I love, chasing browns with big streamers.  Tune in, or check it out after as the shows are archived. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Angling Progression, My Streamer Manifesto

For those of you who either know me, follow the blog or have crossed paths with me in one way or another, you might recognize the fact that I get a great deal of satisfaction out of tangling with some of the large brethren in a trout stream, and typically with some sort of concoction that was bouncing around inside my skull that just so happened to come to life at the jaws of my Regal.

We as anglers, seem to all graduate to some sort of facet of the sport.  Some begin the journey and watch it all come full circle, only to finish our days taking part in that piece that got us all started.  Or, if you're like me, you find something that consumes you whole heartily, and you just can't seem to let it go; very reminiscent of an addict with their most coveted vice.

If you hadn't noticed, I really got it bad for launching big streamers in hopes of startling something gnarly, freakish, or in the category of Toad.  With all of this snow I can't help but think about warmer days, full rivers and hours spent combing the water column with big stuff in hopes of finding "Walter".  I guess it wasn't a coincidence that my first fly caught trout fell to a Muddler Minnow in my youth.  As fate would have it, its kind of funny how that all played out for me as I look back upon the years that have passed since that day.

Although I appreciate and still enjoy stalking, waiting out and throwing a dry fly to a nice fish fixated on surface fare, or dredging a fast riffle with nymphs, I find myself less and less intrigued by both of these very rewarding facets of the game, rather choosing to throw big, bypass quantity for quality.  There was a time when all I chose to do was fish in those two manners, putting in hundreds of days a year working on perfecting both techniques, something that I finally realized one day, is a lifelong pursuit that has no end.

 These days, I am committed, obsessed I guess, with the pursuit of large browns via large flies, and I will not waver from the game plan, and have accepted the fact that some days I may go home empty handed as a result of my limitation.  But the thought of a visual attack on my offering, or the shoulder jolting pull of a large trout are what gets my blood flowing, and keeps me reminded that the next cast may reward me with what I'm after.  I can't imagine things any other way at this stage of the game.

For those of you who read this and can't relate, I apologize for my thoughts, but I can't help myself.  For those of you who catch my drift, here's to another year chasing the one, and I hope you at least tangle with a few of those big fish you seek.  As for me, you'll find me on some stretch of water where the numbers aren't high, but the possibility for Walter is always just a cast away.  See you soon, for now I've got several flies to tie.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dust Bunny Winter Stone Video Live

Just a quick one, I apologize for the infrequency of videos, but flies are keeping me busy.  Here is a good quick one to keep your fingers moving and the winter stone eating trout happy.  Enjoy.

Click The Picture To Check The Video

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hog Snare In The News.

So my guide friend Rob Nicholas just returned from his annual excursion to Chile.  Rob has been hosting trips there for close to 2 decades now, and he has had some fantastic trips there over the years.  If you recall, I sent Rob off last year with a few custom Hog Snare streamers in Rainbow trout colors to chase some big browns. 

Well, it appears the "Snares" did Rob and his chronies well, read on:

Jorge With A Nice Brown
The handsome guide is Jorge.  He took that fish just after lunch by wading out and doing
a roll cast....not an easy feat with such a heavy fly.  It was cold and raining hard on this day.
The next day there was fresh snow in the mountains.  Two days later.....97 and sunny!
"Some nice browns fell to your fly on the Rivadavia in Los Alerces Nat'l Park
in Argentina.  I was fishing with Esquel Outfitters whom I believe is one of the best
in the business in all of Patagonia.
Rob With A Nice Brown
Mug Shot

I would love some more of these for next years trips but in darker colors such as black and olive.
Every guide I show them to is in awe.

Hope you are well!"


If you want to go to Chile, Rob has a really good handle on setting that up.  Look him up, check it out his information is below. 

Rob Nicholas
Fishing Guide &

Patagonia Travel Consultant

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