Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Ross FlyStik | Lamson | SA Smallmouth Rig

The Smallmouth Fly Box is very excited about it's newest smallmouth rig, the Ross FlyStik (8 wt), Lamson Konic and SA Sharkskin line setup. The rod came highly recommended by Joe Cornwall of Fly Fish Ohio and it is better than I could ever imagine.

I know the Redington Predator is getting great reviews, but I have been told by multiple people the Ross is a fantastic smallmouth rod. I have noodled both rods and really preferred the Ross because of my fiberglass roots.

This rod is graphite, but feels more on the slower, smoother fiberglass side. The Lamson reel is a fantastic mate for the FlyStik. Can't wait to get on the water with this rig.

This is what Joe Cornwall had to say about the Ross FlyStik in comparison to the Redington Predator:

The Predator is a nice rod, but the Fly Stik is better. Ross is a smoother caster, a tad slower and easier and more accurate in my hands. It’s a superb rod. If you already own a 6wt, I highly suggest the 8wt. While the 6 is a great rod, close to my Scott Warm Water Special in fact, it’s not the best choice for an all-around bass rod. Especially in Minnesota where you have a shot at pike (they’re everywhere), carp, larger bass and MUCH larger smallmouth. It tops out with about a size 2 fly – and not a deer hair bug at that. I’d consider the 8 an ideal rod for Minnesota (that’s where I fished it for the review) and it’s a true 8. Match it with a Headstart 8 or similar BB taper and it’s just a GREAT bass rod. And for $169 it’s about as painless as it gets. It’s great with up to a size 1/0 streamer and will handle a good sized cork or deer hair popper. There’s nothing else close to the ROSS. The Shore Stalker is a better rod at twice the price, the Sage Smallmouth or Bluegill is a better “bass” rod if you use it for topwater or shallow work but isn’t as versatile.

You can read a more detailed review on Joe's online magazine - Fly Fish Ohio.

I don't know much about Lamson reels, but the Konic reel got 4.8 out of 5 stars from 42 reviewers on Should be fine for me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fly Box Hero - Craig Riendeau

I have been experimenting with Craig Riendeau's interchangeable weight system and I think it is outstanding. I emailed Craig in May 2010, sent him a check and he mailed out the black rubber "ringers" that hold the weight to the hook shank. Don't bother trying to find a source for the ringers, or try to use rubber bands - Craig has found the ultimate the ringers from Craig directly at or at Rainy's Flies & Supplies online.

Watch Craig explain the concept and attach the ringer to the hook (and tie all of these flies for that matter) at Craig has a series of high quality, super informative videos on Fly Wrangler TV.

Craig is such an innovative fly tyer creating very unique patterns - the Crawdad Craig, Hairy Fodder and Hairy Fodder Lite, the Georgia Bullfrog...see images below.

Hairy Fodder

Georgia Bullfrawg

Crawdad Craig

All of these flies are fun to tie and super durable. The Hairy Fodder has a lifelike presentation in the water. The sili-legs, rabbit fur and krystal flash undulate in the water imitating anything from a bait fish to a crayfish - very versatile!

I have never met Craig in person, but he mailed my Riendeau Ringers out right away with a detailed instruction sheet on how to tie the Hairy Fodder. Based on the pictures I have seen online Craig is a real Fly Box Hero.

How about the toad he has in the picture above! I nabbed this picture from a site that claims that smallie was from my stomping grounds! The "Upper Mississippi" usually refers to Minnesota and based on the size of that bass it certainly appears to be from up here!

I contacted Craig and this is what he said about the picture above:

"...As for the smallie on your blog, that came from the Mississippi downstream from Brainard. I know where the Linder's hang out! Got it on a 1/0 all white, flashy Hairy Fodder while fishing with guide Kip Veth. He liked the Murdich Minnow on top but I thought going "in their face" with a fast sinking Fodder would get more strikes. I was right by out fishing Kip and my buddy three to one. The one picture pushed the five pound mark. Lost one a few casts later that made that one look small..."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spirit River's Speckled Brown Mottlebou

You may have seen this material in the fly shop and thought "There is some funky marabou." need to pick this stuff up! This material is super active in the water and has very cool natural color variation.

I use Mottlebou in conjunction with brown leech yarn, Wapsi Palmer Chenille and brown/green variegated chenille on the Evening Scratch.

Give this material a try if you get a chance, you'll be very pleased with the look and action!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Northwind Lodge - Ely, MN

We just booked our family fishing trip at Northwind Lodge in Ely, MN. I visited Northwind in the summer of 1989 when I graduated from High School. Great memories...

Now I am bringing my family up there to fish, hike, swim and relax. I got the report that Lake Jasper is exploding with smallmouth activity. Sounds like a promising trip for sure.

Cabin #7 here we come!