A Leon Chandler Signature 7.5′, 4/5wt. Fiberglass Fly Rod

A Leon Chandler Signature 7.5′, 4/5wt. Fiberglass Fly Rod

Leon Chandler Signature 7.5′ 4/5 wt Glass Rod

When his father died, a friend of mine inherited a number of fly rods. A few of which are fiberglass. Being a big fan of “glass”, I asked him if I could check those out.  I also asked if he would sell any. He answered yes to both questions. If you’re interested in this rod, reach me at my home email address and I will pass along his contact info. Note, I have no desire to be part of any negotiating. I’m doing this as a favor.

The first rod is a sweet little Leon Chandler 7.5′ 4/5 wt. It is in super shape. This is a 2-piece rod, with sock and Cortland tube.  The grip is 6.5″ long, cigar shaped, and tapers down fine. And get this –  the original plastic wrap is still over the cork. The reel seat is of good quality. It is single down-locking with a wood insert. The blank is dark brown with a spigot ferrule that shows no wear. There is a hook keeper, one stripping guide, 8 snakes and a tiptop. The wraps are a dull orange, tipped in red. The listed weight is 3 1/4 oz., but my digital scale reports 2.9 oz.? Now I’m never surprised when a rod is heavier than advertised, but this is first one I’ve ever come across that is lighter. So I checked it against another scale, which also reported 2.9 oz. So the jury is in.

Eon Chandler Signature 7.5′ 4/5 Fly Rod

First,  I tried the rod with a DT 4 wt. floating line. It cast the line smoothly, forming a nice loop and only a single tiny shock wave. At 25′ of line it felt wonderfully at home. Without a lot of fuss it then reached 35′ plus leader. Nice. In close, it turned over a leader with just 5 ‘ of fly line. Good, solid performance.

Next I used a DT 5 wt. floating line. Naturally, it loaded the rod deeper. It formed a tight loop and happily went out to 25’. Then reached out to 35′ without a bunch of effort. In close, I would say it is a touch better than the 4wt. So which line did I prefer? The 5wt. It gave the rod more authority.

Overall this rod will be a fine companion on small to medium streams.  Blessed with progressive action, it is also a versatile rod, with the much sought after “glass” feel. With a fish on, I bet it is a royal hoot. Lastly, like all short, light rods, heavy reels should be avoided. They throw the outfit out of balance. Next time around we’ll look at a 7.5′ fiberglass wand built by the Gene Edwards Rod Company, legendary for their bamboo rods.

Interested in reading about other fiberglass  fly rods?  Check out these links. Winston 2wt Stalker, A Cabela 50th Anniversary 3wt, Kabuto 3wt, Diamondglass 4wt. Winston 4wt RetroWinston 5wt , Winston 6wt, Cabela 7/8wt, Winston 8wtWinston 1owtWinston 12wt ,

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Thoughts on Wading Staffs

Thoughts on Wading Staffs

Wading Staff

Falling in a fast moving river is dangerous business, my friend, especially in the colder parts of the year. And for that reason, the older I get the more I rely on my trusty wading staff. It offers a serious measure of safety, one that you should never ignore.

My wading staff is a 30 year old 59″ FolStaff with a carbide tip. It is constructed from 3/4″ aircraft grade aluminum, making it very strong and rust free. At one time FolStaff was pretty much the only manufacturer of quality wading staffs. Today, however, you’ll find staffs from many companies including Orvis, Simms, and REC.

My staff came with a leather holster and a 1/4 -20 thread on top for a camera. The staff folds down to about 10″.  And it has an internal bungee chord for quick deployment. But lets stop right there. Always store this type of staff fully extended to take pressure off the bungee and thereby prolong its life. Always.

Other types of staffs. Wood staffs have been popular for many years and I have owned several. Ash, maple, oak. They are cheap, attractive and can be DIY. But wood has a couple of down sides. Too often they are not long enough for proper support. In time they often absorb water and split. Typically they do not have a metal tip for good purchase on the bottom. (By the way rubber tips on a wading staff are near useless on a rocky bottom, much like rubber sole waders.) And wood doesn’t retract, making it a nuisance to travel with. Another commonly seen alternative is a used ski pole. Why not? They are cheap and have a metal tip. As a result people see them as a real deal. In my opinion, however, you should never use them.  They weren’t designed to bear your full body weight. So if you are suddenly forced to lean into one heavily, it is apt to bend and snap, dropping you in the drink. Beware.

Uses: Wading staffs are useful both in and out of the water.  Staffs are great for descending a steep hillside to the stream. Or navigating a slippery trail. They can also help you retrieve a fly off a tree limb. Help you clear a path though briars. Help you retrieve your forceps when dropped in the stream. Help you ward off a nuisance animal. Even break a car window in an emergency situation. And mine doubles as a camera monopod, allowing me to steady shots with telephotos or long exposures. Get you some of that.

Wading Staff as a Camera Monopod

Lastly, be sure to secure your wading staff to a sturdy wader belt. I like the Fish Pond Rio Grande belt. At some point I may offer tips on how to best use a wading staff in the stream. But enough for now.

Wading Staff on a Wader Belt

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The AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 ED Wide Angle

The AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 ED Wide Angle

You may be wondering why I’m not posting more about fishing adventures. Well its the crazy weather. It has been whacko to say the least. Heat waves followed by sudden drops in temperature. Recently it rained 13 out of 14 days, with more rain coming. Believe me the rivers and streams are swollen, out of their banks and near flood stage. A sorry state of affairs, and summer is half gone! Damn.

AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 ED

So hey, lets discuss photography instead. And in particular lets turn our attention to wide angles, the most important lens an angler can own.  Back in my film days, I replied heavily on a Nikkor 20mm F2.8. Not bad glass, but nowhere near the finest wide lens I have ever owned. That crown goes to the mighty AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 ED. A legendary optic.

AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 Ed

This Nikkor is the widest zoom Nikon makes. The focal length range is near perfect for both close in work and landscapes. In top of that, it is FX, full frame 35mm. (Mates perfectly with my old Nikon D700) Yes you can use it on DX format too, but screw that. DX  has never equaled FX. The AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 ED holds a constant F2.8 maximum aperture through its entire focal range. A useful feature. The glass has a superb Nano-crystal coating to reduce flare. Voila! The images are juicy – stunning, sharp, and saturated, with far less spherical aberration and distortion than you would expect.  Get you some of that!

Is the AF-S Nikkor 14-24 mm F2.8 all strawberries and cream? No. The curved front element will not accept a screw-in filter.  And this baby is a behemoth. It weights a hair over 2 pounds. You heard right, a full kilogram. (my Nikkor 20mm F2.8 weighted 9.8 ounces) And its not cheap; around $1800 new. Get scared off? Cowboy up dude. What you’re getting is a killer image maker. Killer, killer, killer.

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Euro-Nymphing with a Crappie Pole?

Euro-Nymphing with a Crappie Pole?

Euro-Nymphing with a Crappie Pole

By buddy Phil is always figuring out new ideas. You may remember a few posts back he showed us how to use an ice float for fly storage.

Well recently he has been fascinated with learning how to euro-nymph. Hey why not? It is a deadly way to fish. We all know that. But Phil wasn’t about to drop 900 buckeroos on a new super duper euro-nymph rod.  So he did a little hunting around instead and came up with this clever work-around.

He bought a 10 foot, 2 piece, bamboo pole at Walmart. Sold under the brand name “B’n’M Pole Company 10′ Jointed Bamboo Fishing Rod” it cost a whopping 3 dollars and 35 cents. Reasonable to say the least. Then he took it home and wound on some guides. Attached a fly reel, fly line, a long leader, a heavy nymph, and set off to the stream. He tells me it works!

 

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Dolphins and Nets

Dolphins and Nets

This post may seem a bit odd, in that it has nothing to do with fly-fishing, kayaking, or any other outdoor sport for that matter. Still I feel compelled to write it.

Recently my son was on Martha’s Vineyard. On a remote stretch of shore, he came across a dead dolphin. I believe it is a spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), at least the markings and long beak hint at that. The dolphin had no obvious signs of trauma, other than an eye poked out likely by gull. No indication it had been attacked by a shark, or hit by a boat. And that raises the very real possibility it was killed offshore in a net.

The worldwide commercial tuna fishery has killed and continues to kill an enormous number of dolphins. Studies indicate that between 1950-2018 over 4 million dolphins were caught as bycatch in the world’s tuna fishery. How does that happen? Dolphins school with tuna. Commercial fishermen realize that and set their nets around the dolphin, hoping to catch a large number of tuna as well. Obviously that has a devastating effect on the dolphins. In the Indian Ocean it is estimated that over 100,00o dolphins are caught annually as a bycatch in the tuna fishery. And that the dolphin population in that ocean has declined 90 percent!

Thankfully, here in our country  measures have been taken to greatly decrease that bycatch. Our canneries now only except tuna caught with dolphin-safe methods. And you will see that info printed on cans of tuna in the marketplace. That conservation effort has made an enormous decreased in the number of dolphins killed each year in our waters. But the number is still in the thousands.

During my years in Florida, I saw dolphins nearly every day. And I often kayaked alongside of them. They are amazing, intelligent critters, and deserve our respect.

 

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