The Paddlesports are Alive and Well

The Paddlesports are Alive and Well: Recently I drove by Collinsville Canoe & Kayak  in Collinsville, Connecticut. Had to swing in and look around. Its was a major treat to see all the different paddle craft being offered and their assorted goodies. Man oh man, the paddlesports are alive and well!

When I was young, the only recreational paddle craft around was the canoe. For the outdoor enthusiast, it was the most revered way to travel lakes and streams. And it is still held in high esteem  today. Canoes are cool. As we moved into the 1980’s, however, the self-propelled paddlesports began to slowly evolve with the growing popularity of the kayak. Now kayak are everywhere. Everywhere!

The Paddlesports are Alive and Well

Like canoes, kayaks are ancient craft first used by native people for survival. Today, however, both boats are extremely popular for all sorts of recreational reasons – including fishing, camping, touring, hunting, photography, and good old relaxation. Get this: in the USA over 300,000 kayaks are made each year, and over 100,000 canoes! Crazy! We love our paddle craft. Got one yet? What are you waiting for? Believe me there is one out there just for you.

Naturally with that expansion came a lot of innovation. The variety of hull materials grew. Of course, some wood hulls are still available, but we now rely mainly on fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon-fiber, rotomolded polyethylene, and thermal formed plastics such as ABS. Each has its own pros & cons & price point. Hull designs have advanced too, as has styles, paddles, pedal drives, electric motors, sails, technical wear, and accessories. You can outfit your craft in endless ways. Soon we’ll have cabins, bunks, a galley, and a toilet aboard. LOL

The Paddlesports are Alive and Well

The Paddlesports are Alive and Well

Then around 2005 we even witnessed the birth of another paddle craft – the standup board. Man, those things have caught on. Across the country, standup boards are rapidly growing in popularity. Between 2010-2014 there was a 3 fold increase in interest. We now produce roughly 50,000 boards a year. And there are upwards of 3 million people using them. Yes, the paddlesports are alive and well. And there is no end in sight…..

The Paddlesports are Alive and Well

The Paddlesports are Alive and Well

Posted in Kayak / SUP Fishing | Leave a comment

Irma Cometh

Irma Cometh: Well, I got out of Dodge..make that Punta Gorda. Flew back to Connecticut last night. Hurricane Irma cometh to town.

She just looked too big, too strong, and too aimed at Florida for me to ride it out here. Started getting ready three days ago. Taped up the windows, dropped the shades, dragged the kayaks inside, emptied the furniture out of both lanais, carried in the grill, took down the art work, hid all the valuables in the strongest room, chucked out the food in reefer, chucked out everything in the freezer, shut off the water, secured a plane reservation, and packed a bag.

Irma Cometh

Meanwhile, outside there was a shit load of patio furniture around the community pool. In a hurricane, they were all potential missiles. Not as dangerous as North Korean missiles, but dangerous, believe me. Unfortunately, there was no place to store that gear. So I got the green light from the property manager to sink the stuff. No choice, really. Had too. Put on a bathing suit and went to work. The photo above show the project about halfway done. Eventually I got it all scuttled.

At that point the stores were out of water, the gas stations out of fuel, the highways gridlocked, and some flights being cancelled. I’m praying no one gets killed, and my adobe survives.

 

 

Posted in Environment, On the Road | 2 Comments

The Joe Brooks Documentary Trailer

The Joe Brooks Documentary Trailer: In July of 2015 I told you about the efforts underway to document the life of legendary angler Joe Brooks. Joe is often called the father of modern fly-fishing, and for good reason. He is that important, and I’m sure Lefty Kreh would back that statement up. Whether you wet flies in fresh or salt, you owe Joe a debt of gratitude.

Well I just got notice that the Joe Brooks Documentary Trailer is up and available for viewing. Good news. Below you will find links to see view it. Check it out. Enjoy!

 Here’s a few more links from my original post.

Posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater, Fly Fishing in Salt Water | 2 Comments

Making and Storing a Euro-nymph Leader

Making and Storing a Euro-nymph Leader: I mentioned awhile ago, that I purchased a 10-foot Scott Radian 4-weight fly rod, to use mainly for euro-nymphing. And along with it, I’ve been making and storing euro-nymph leaders to suit this angling adventure.

Making and Storing a Euro-nymph leader

At the moment, my basic euro-nymph leader is 18′ long. The butt section is 11′ of 16lb test mono, next comes a 2′ “sighter”, followed by 5′ of 5x tippet. Years back when I first tried euro-nymphing, I made my “sighter” from green and red Sunset Amnesia. Nowadays there is a better choice – Cortland Indicator Mono. This special mono comes in a 20′ length at .013 thickness and is neon yellow and red. It stands out vividly even in the noon day sun. Helpful that. After all the “sighter” is there to help you visually track the tippet’s progress downstream. You need to see it well.

Tippet Rings 2.5mm (M) & 3.1mm (L)

Although the “sighter” sits between the butt section and the tippet, I did not connect the two directly. Instead, using cinch knots, I attached a tippet ring to both ends of the “sighter”. (Size 3.1mm)  And then knotted the butt and the tippet to those rings. How come? Think about it. The “sighter” is .013″ (0x) and a 5x tippet might be .006″.  Its too large a diameter difference to jump. Using rings also makes it easier to change tippets in the field. And you can remove the “sighter” from one leader and move to another without shortening it. All good things, but here’s a tip. Be careful to draw down the knot between the “sight” and the ring. (a drop of glue wouldn’t hurt) Otherwise it may slip later.

Making and Storing a Euro-nymph Leader

Occasionally on the stream, I find myself wanting to shift from euro-nymphing to a dry fly. That is best done by removing the 18-foot leader and replacing it with a traditional 9-foot one. The question becomes how to store that 18-foot leader for later use. My solution is to wind the long leader onto an empty Maxima tippet spool. Put a rubber band around it and drop the spool in my vest pocket. This is a handy solution in the field.

Droppers: When euro-nymphing, the bottom fly does 90% of the business. Still a dropper fly can be helpful. Here’s one way to attach it. Cut the 5′ tippet about 2′ down from the “sighter”. Then make a surgeons knot to the remaining 3′ of tippet. Be sure to leave one tag end of the knot long enough to add a second fly.

But I’ve got another idea in mind. I’m going to try cutting the tippet 2′ down and add another tippet ring. (Size 2.5mm) Obviously the remaining 3′ of tippet material needs to be connected to the ring as well. Now I can tie a short piece of mono to the ring too. This will hold the dropper fly. (It looks like a 3-way rig at this point.) I’m guessing this will be stronger than attaching a dropper off a surgeons knot. And it will be easier to replace if broken. We’ll find out.

 

 

Posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater, Gear | Leave a comment

Monic Covert Clear Fly Line – A First Look

Monic Covert Clear Fly Line – A First Look: A couple of days back my 8-weight fly line bit the dust. It was a Rio Bonefish floater, I purchased two years ago. The thing was a twisting, tangling, snarled up mess. Ugh, had to ditch it. And given the cost of fly lines, I was none too happy.

Monic Covert Clear Fly Line

That had me in the market for a new line. Of course, I looked at all the usual suspects. But then I came across something unique – a clear floating fly line. Wow. I had heard about these Monic fly lines, but had no experience with them. Nor did I know of anyone that owned one. Still I was intrigued by the idea. Particularly the possibility that a clear fly line might not spook “tailing” redfish.  That would be cool, if it worked.Ummm.

Monic Covert Clear Fly Line

Well I decided to take a chance on a Monic All Weather Covert Clear WF-8-F. Got it from Bear’s Den. And at this very moment its sitting here on my desk ready to fly. No on the water experience yet, but that doesn’t stop us from taking a first look.

Monic Covert Clear Fly Line

This is an “all weather” line. Which means its designed for a wide range of water temperatures. Love that. I can use it on the New England coast for striped bass, blues, bonito, and Little tunny. And use it down in Gulf of Mexico for “tailing” redfish. And use it in the Caribbean for bonefish. Great. The line is 90′ long. Was manufactured here the USA and has welded loops at both ends. And Monic offers a one-year warranty against defects.

Monic patented the clear floating line process over 20 years ago. And tells us it has been working to steadily improve the product ever since. (This line is the only hollow clear floater on the market.) The line is PVC-free. I’m down with that. The belly is 25′, the running line 54′. And overall, the company projects a “green” pro-environment attitude. I’m down with that too.

Naturally I had to see it float for myself. Couldn’t resist. So I filled the sink and tossed a few loops in the drink. Bingo it works. The line floats and is quite stealthy (Or should I say covert?). Well, we both know the true test of this baby will come later on the water. That’s where the rubber meets the road. So I’ll be sure to report back on the line’s performance in the field. Should be interesting. I’m looking forward to it myself.

Monic Covert Clear Fly Line

 

 

Posted in Fly Fishing in Salt Water, Gear | Leave a comment