Sunday, April 24, 2011

Reel Wool Products - Reel Protector

You may recognize these pictures from a year or so ago. Well....these pouches are starting to take hold here in the Twin Cities. We decided to go with the name Reel Wool Products because we have a series of products going online that are made entirely of hand knit and felted Fisherman's Wool.

The products are hand knit and hand felted by my mother-in-law in Minnesota and the buttons are hand carved in my shop. It's getting hard to find products that are REALLY hand crafted in the USA!

The purpose of these reel pouches is simple, protect your reel from dings and dents while you walk from the car to your fishing spot. Nothing like dropping your rare or $300 modern machined reel on the rocks, or how about rolling around in the back of your truck when you take the short trip to your next favorite spot! The felted wool offers a breathable, protective layer to your reel - eliminating dreaded reel rash. When you get to your spot the pouch unbuttons and fits right in your pocket.

If the reel protector gets wet, the material is naturally breathable and will dry in a snap . Wool is the perfect material around water!

These pouches retail for $29.95 and will be sold at fly fishing shops nationwide and online.

Here is the prototype in the other color we are offering....Brown (no button attached).  In regards to sizing, we are modeling our sizes in 2 classes, Classic and Modern.  The Classic line is modeled to fit the Pflueger Medalist line of reels, the1492 Medalist up to the big pig the 1598.  The Modern is still in the works and will probably be designed to fit a product line from Ross. 

If you have feedback please share it....we are still working out the details on sizing.

Airflo 40+ Shooting Line

I got this line a week ago and I can't believe how far I can cast with this stuff! Over the winter I have been reading about shooting heads and I wanted to experiment a little. Instead of making my own shooting head and having to worry about the hinge breaking, I decided to bite the bullet and grab Airflo's 40+ line. By far, without a doubt the best fly line I have ever purchased. Better than Rio's Clouser line and Rio's new Smallmouth comparison.

Here is a review and demo of how the line and how it works. I have this line (8wt floating) paired with a Lamson Konic reel and an 8wt Ross Flystik - talk about a cannon!

At $74.95 it is spendy stuff, but well worth the investment. I am saving my beans to get an intermediate line too!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Son's First Fly - The Chartreuse Devil

Well....this is a proud day at the Smallmouth Fly Box House!  This is my youngest son's first fly!  Heck of a job!  He even took the pictures!

Great job Elliot!  I know a smallmouth will hit this one for sure.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Silver Bullet

Hook: Daiichi 1730 Stonefly Nymph Hook (Size 8)
Thread: White Flat Waxed Nylon
Tail: Gray Marabou
Body: Hareline Silver Holographic Ice Dubbing
Eyes: Large Bead Chain

This little fly is outstanding crappie and big bluegills. Since we are right around the corner from crappies, I thought I should post the pattern. You can certainly add sili-legs, wings, fancier eyes.....I've experimented with all of that stuff and this simple version seems to be the best.

The whole pattern hinges on the Diiachi hook. The 1730 Stonefly Nymph hook has a hump in the shank that gives the fly a little dancing motion when it is stripped. This hook can be purchased at the Canadian Llama Company for a good price.

I fish this fly on a light rig, typically a 4/5 weight in spring. Cast The Bullet out and let it sink, most times I let it hit bottom and then start stripping it in with sharp strips. Periodically stop stripping and let the streamer drop. This is when the hits usually occur.

I know this hook is pretty specialized, but it is worth the grief of mail ordering. This is my go to pattern for early season panfish. In fact, I ordered a size 4 version of this hook to tie up a bassified version for later this summer!

Fly Box Hero - Bill Musky Modica

I know it's not Fly Fishing, but....

A few years ago I started interacting on a website dedicated to bluegills....BIG BLUEGILLS! After a few weeks I ran across Bill Musky Modica on the site and started interacting with him. Bill had a great spoon technique he was introducing to the group. I read about how he rigged his gear and ran to the store to pick up some spoons and swivels. Meeting Mod flat out changed the way I spin fish.

Bill's technique and rig are highlighted in the May issue of In-Fisherman. The article is titled "Spooning Bluegills on the Long Cast." You have to read Bill's article because the technique applies to everything that swims. I personally have caught bluegills, perch, bass, walleye, catfish, pike, carp, mooneye, drum, shad and crappie using Mod's technique.

Every once in a while someone comes along and revolutionizes a method or pattern. In my book Bill Modica has been added to the Bob Clousers and Kelly Galloup's of the world.

If I spin fish I have a Blue Fox Rattlin Flash Spoon or a Swede on my line - Thanks again Bill!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Yak Pile

Hook: Mustad 34185D (Size 1/0)
Tail: White and Olive Yak
Body: Palmered Yak
Collar: Olive Deer Hair
Head: Spun Deer Hair (Olive)
Weight: Small Dumbbell
Eyes: Red Dome Eye

I have been experimenting with jig hooks and came up with this oddball. I'm not even sure I like this one yet.... Fun to tie though!

What do you guys (and gals) think?

A few days after I was done messing with this design I picked up the May issue of In-Fisherman and found the article called "Spring Hair Days For Smallies". Here is a snippet from the article:

"...that big body of hollow deer hair holds up. It's got so much buoyancy, it tries to maintain a horizontal profile, and its slightly head-down attitude suggests a distracted minnow or leech."

This is not the sexiest pattern, but based on the In-Fisherman article it should be deadly for early season smallies if it is fished slowly and kept toward the bottom. Twitching or any jigging motion is a real no-no with this pattern. Slow and steady is the key to success.

Smallmouth Fly Box Win-Mock


Hook:  Mustad 9674 (Size 2)
Thread:  6/0 Brown Uni
Tail 1:  Furnace Saddle Hackle
Tail 2:  Spirit River Mottlebou
Body:  Brown Leech Yarn
Thorax:  Spirit River Mottlebou
Legs:  Pumpkin Sili-legs
Head 1:  Spirit River Mottlebou
Head:  Furnace Saddle Hackle

This is the Smallmouth Fly Box version of the Win-Mock.  I really like this pattern!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Old Yankee Rodsmith's 6' Canoe Cannon

Here is another 6' small stream rod from the Old Yankee Rodsmith, Andy Manchester. This rod is completely different than the rod I reviewed about a week ago (The Orange Crush).

This baby is a 100% fiberglass, 6' rod. The blank is neutral gray (my wife says it is Khaki) in color and has a dead matte finish. I broke this rod out at the local fly shop and the trouters loved the non-glare finish. Keep in mind these guys usually have nothing nice to say about anybody's gear, so Andy scored super points with this rod. These guys are like those two old Muppets in the balcony on the Muppet Show!

The guides (snakes) on this rig are a tad large (which I like) and the wraps are beautifully finished and really compliment the blank. Just a handsome and super functional rod.

We call it the Canoe Cannon because I use this bad boy in my old canoe. The length is perfect in a canoe, staying clear of the stomping feet of a 10 year old and it is easy to cast and land fish. So far crappies, bluegills and a few bass have be claimed by the Cannon...this year I plan to add a few smallies to the list!

Again, the Lawson Laurentian #1 Dry Fly Special (reel) balances this rod out perfectly. The reel is very simple, but it works perfectly and looks fantastic. Who would have thought a reel made in the 1940's would still function perfectly nearly 70 years later!

Another great rod by Andy Manchester! These 6' rods may seem wimpy with a line rating of 4/5, but they are far from that! These so called "small stream rods" have the juice!

Thank you again Andy.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Old Yankee Rodsmith's 5wt Boron Blend

We had our first super nice day here in Minnesota, spring is finally here! I was fortunate enough to get a custom 5 wt rod from Andy Manchester (Old Yankee Rodsmith) for Christmas. This is my second rod from Andy and I can't tell you how impressed I am with the craftsmanship and quality of Andy's work. The rod is a boron blend and measures out to 6'.

My boys call it the "Orange Crush" because of hue of the blank--I hope to CRUSH a few trout this year with this beauty. It is my first boron rod, so I wasn't sure how it would perform. After 20 minutes of driveway casting I found this rod to be more than I ever thought it would be. The flex of the rod is full and smooth making it a dream to cast.

The detail of this rod is second to none. Andy graduated the rod in increments up to 24", so no more guessing on the length of fish (see below). The snake guides are large and allow line to shoot perfectly with a DT 5wt line.

I love this rod. Many of you may think a 6' rod is not practical, but I encourage you to give one a try. If you are nervous about boron, don't be--it has a flex that is a joy to cast.

I will post a better review tomorrow after I catch some pigs with this rod. Look for fishy pictures tomorrow!

The one issue I had with my first 6' rod was finding a small reel that worked well. I settled on a Martin Model 72 "tuna can" reel and I have to be honest....I didn't like the reel at all. I shot Andy an email inquiring about a good companion reel for the rod and he told me about a reel I have never heard of...a Lawson Laurentian #1 Dry Fly Special? The Laurentian was made in Canada in the 1940's. Turns out Andy was dead on with the recommendation! The reel balances out both of my 6' Old Yankee's perfectly and looks great too!

Here is a great article about Andy from Joe Cornwall's online magazine Fly Fish Ohio.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The WIN-MOCK Streamer

I can't take credit for this stuff, these awesome flies were tied by JeffSod from The Bass Pond Forum. The article was posted by Armand (aka B52 Bugger). Armand said this article was published in 1973 by his friend Fred Bahnson. Here is a quick story from Armand...even trout like this one!

"Many years ago I was fishing with my then brother in law on Stafford Pond in Tiverton, RI. It was August my brother in law could not get out of bed early for morning smallmouth. About 10 am I noticed rainbow trout feeding on midges. What do you do with six pound leaders and no size 22 - 24 midges. It was a sin seeing these large rainbows feeding on small stuff, they should eat meat. I took off my Gaines Bass King put on size 2 Win-mock and cast to one of the bruiser. Scared everyone except this rainbow that wanted to fight. He turned and scoff the fly. It turned out to be a nice four pound trout - I have to tell you we ate him. Smaller size works on trout size 8 or 10. Enough said. To think I wanted to be the Bass King on the Penobscot - fat chance now the secret is out."

The Win-Mock is a very simple fly using materials almost every fly tyer has on hand, I love these old patterns. No need to run to the fly shop for crazy materials....

Click on the article below to read and print at full size.

Thank you Jeff and Armand this one is a winner!