It’s Bay Anchovy Time

It’s Bay Anchovy Time

With September on our doorstep, it’s bay anchovy time here in Southern New England. These tiny critters have been growing up in our backwaters all summer and are getting ready to exit to the coast. And that is going to call every meat eater – albies, bonito, bass, blues, and weakfish. So you better have a handful of bay anchovy flies on hand!

Handful of Bay Anchovy Flies

Awhile back I did a post on tying a bay anchovy fly. Since then I made a small change to the pattern. To better tie down the top wing, I’m using a piece of copper wire to assist. It makes a neater looking fly and it is also more durable. The copper wire gets tied in early when the Bill’s Bodi Braid is attached. Once the top wing is secured ahead of the bead chain eye, I pull it down tight over the shank and wrap the wire forward to secure it.

Bay Anchovy fly with Copper Wire

The photo below shows the copper wire tied in along with braid. Both end just before the bead chain eye. By the way, I feel the black bead chain eye is an important part of this by anchovy pattern.

Bay Anchovy Pattern with Copper Wire tied in

You might notice that a few flies in the top photo are tied a bit longer than others. Well bay anchovies vary in size from year to year. So having a few bigger ones on hand can be helpful. If I need to trim them in the field, I use a small retractable scissor that Cabela’s sold to fly anglers years back. I love the thing, but its no longer available. Would like to find another one. It is a very practice device in both fresh and saltwater. Great for cleaning up a fly. Great for trimming mono. Real handy around camp. And it has a small retractable tape measure built-in. (In the photo, neither the scissor or the tape measure are fully extended.)

Retractable Scissor for Fly Anglers

Over in my magazine articles there is one on bay anchovies I wrote eons ago. Here’s a link to it  feature article . It appeared in Saltwater Fly Fishing, in 1996. It may be the only full feature ever done for anglers on this subject. It is in PDF format. So if you want to view it on your cell you’ll need a PDF reader app on your phone.  Easy to find and down load. Good luck on the water. It’s bay anchovy time!

Posted in Flies and Fly Tying, Fly Fishing in Salt Water | Leave a comment

Two Scott Meridians for the Salt

Let’s take a look at two fine saltwater rods from Scott- a 7wt and 9wt Meridian. I reviewed the 7wt awhile back, and was extremely impressed with it. In fact it left me jonesing to team it up with a 9wt. Well, that happened.

These two Meridians are without a doubt the finest saltwater fly rods I have ever owned. Why? The key reason lies in how they cast. For many years we were bombarded by high modulus, tip-action rods. I never liked how they cast, in fact I hated some of them. The Meridian has turned the tables. These rods are not tip-action, instead they load smoothly and uniformly down the blank much like the “glass” rods I first used in the salt. But unlike those “glass” rods the Meridian do it with plenty of punch. And they are much lighter in hand. It is a killer combination.

The 9wt Meridian tips in at 4.4 ounces. If the butt extension was removeable this 9wt would be about 4 ounces! Incredible. That’s about what a 9′ 6wt might weigh. Hell, it may even be in range of some modern 5wts. (I wish butt extensions were still removeable. Extensions are fine for boat anglers, but on the beach they pretty much useless.)

For the review, I used a Cortland Classic SL 444 9wt floating line. This is a decent line, but not what you might call a high-performance saltwater line. During the cast the Meridian generated an almost in perceivable single shockwave. Reaching 70 feet was a breeze. Effortless much like the 7wt. And without heavy lifting, the rod sailed 85 feet of line plus leader. Wow. In close the Meridian flexed with 12′ of line out. Don’t think you’ll ever need that? I’ve seen memorable times when striped bass and false albacore ran down the trough right at my feet.

Like the Meridian 7wt, the grip is a 7″ long full wells, nicely made and comfortable. It has a double up-locking reel seat, with a sliding hood keyed to align with the grip every time. The 2 stripping guides are titanium framed. Workmanship is impeccable, making for a very attractive rod. Far better in appearance than any comparable Sage rod. Overall, these 2 Meridians are superb saltwater rods with a proven track record for durability.  Much like Scott’s original “G”  series and Scott’s “STS”, you can feel a legend in the making.

Posted in Fly Rods | Leave a comment

Rescuing a 1987 17′ Aquasport: Part 4

Yes, progress on this project has been slow. You can blame the awful weather for that. It rained all but 3 days in July and the total accumulation makes this the second or third rainiest July on record. Get you some of that craziness.

In the previous post , my son cut away the old damaged transom. This time he and I began building a replacement. This is the only structural step in the entire rescue and likely the toughest and most complicated part too. After this, things should, at least in theory, move forward much faster. Time will tell.

The first step in creating a new transom is to fashion a temporary outside wall. You might think of it as a dam to hold the new layers of fiberglass cloth in place. The “dam” was cut from PVC and painted with a “release” coating to which the fiberglass resin would not stick. And then the dam was clamped to the rear of the boat.

Making the PVC Dam

The Dam clamped to the hull and a new drain put in place

Next the seams between the dam and the existing hull were sealed with a thick mixture of epoxy resin and chopped fiberglass. And at the same time a new hull drain of 1″ PVC tubing was put in place. While all this was drying. Three pieces of heavy duty fiberglass cloth were cut. Each one is slightly longer then the previous piece. If look in the photograph above you will see three marker lines indicating where each layer will end. The idea is to form a strong tapered edge.

Heavy epoxy resin mixed with chopped glass to fill the seams

Roll of heavy duty fiberglass cloth

Then the first cloth layer was draped in place and soaked in epoxy resin, being careful to rub the resin in uniformly so no air pockets formed. Quickly a second layer of cloth was added with resin and eventually a third layer. All of this had to be done before the resin set up. Messy work. Not easy for two guys who have never done it before.

Checking to see if the cloth pieces properly fit

The following day my son removed the dam. Bingo the exterior of the new transom was there to behold. Looking pretty good. Sure it needs some cosmetic work, but that’s no problem.

With the dam removed the exterior of the new transom is revealed

We’re still only halfway done with the transom. Traditionally most transoms had a plywood core. In fact the original was 1.25″ of plywood. Instead, my son will use a 1.5″ thick piece of Coosa board, which is lighter and stronger than plywood and will never rot. The Coosa goes inside up against the first three layers of glass cloth, and then three additional layers of fiberglass cloth and resin are added over the board. In essence the Coosa core ends up sandwiched between six layer of fiberglass cloth. Should be rigid.

Posted in Gear, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Gene Edward’s Model 32# Fiberglass Fly Rod

A Gene Edward’s Model 32# Fiberglass Fly Rod

Gene Edwards Model 32# Fiberglass Rod

Last time we looked at a Leon Chandler Signature fly rod. This time we have a much older and rarer rod, a Gene Edwards model 32# fiberglass fly rod. It likely goes all the way back to the 1950’s – the dawn of “glass” rods in our country.

Gene (Eugene) Edwards along with his brother William (Billy) and their father Eustis, were the Holy Trinity of bamboo rod builders – among the best to ever split cane. Their reputation was worldwide, and their cane beauties are still sought after today. Best I can figure, later in his career, Gene decided to add “glass” rods to their lineup. It was not unheard for cane rod makers to do so. Heddon make “glass” rods right into the 1960’s. Payne made them too.

I don’t know who supplied “glass” blanks to Edwards. To my eye it is a translucent E Glass phenolic resin rod bearing some resemblance to the J. Kennedy Fisher blanks Winston used. The reel seat is  down-locking with a cork insert. Just forward of the grip, in gold lettering, is written Gene Edwards 32# and nothing else.  The rod is 7.5′ in length and 2-piece, sporting a carboloy stripping guide, wire snake guides, a tiptop, and a hook-keeper. All wraps are brown, tipped with orange. The rod weighs 3.8 ounces. It has a metal ferrule which seems firmly connected.

Edwards likely finished these fiberglass rods in his Mt. Carmel, Connecticut shop. They were budget friendly and didn’t sport the same high-end hardware used on the cane rods. They were sold in the shop, through sporting good dealers such as Abercrombie, and likely through hardware stores too.

Given the rod’s age and the fact it doesn’t belong to me, I have decided not to cast it. The rod is not marked for a line, but I bet it is a 5 or 6wt. (HEH or HDH) This rod doesn’t have an original tube (doubt it came with one), and the sock may not be original as well. Overall, the rod is showing its age. The varnish over the wraps has dried out. One snake guide is missing.  And the grip has a thumb groove, which may not be factory. Still this rod could be refinished into a fine-looking, historically significant rod. Below you see it with a reel of the same vintage.

Gene Edwards model 32# with an Ocean City Reel

Hope you enjoyed seeing this fiberglass rod. I know I enjoyed learning about it. If you have any interest in acquiring it, contact me at my home email and I will put you in touch with the owner. I’m doing this as a favor only.Interested in reading about other fiberglass  fly rods?  Check out these links. Winston 2wt Stalker, A Cabela 50th Anniversary 3wt, Kabuto 3wtDiamondglass 4wt. Leon Chandler Signature 4/5wtWinston 4wt Retro,  Winston 5wt , Winston 6wtCabela 7/8wt, Winston 8wtWinston 1owtWinston 12wt ,


Posted in Fiberglass Fly Rods, Fly Rods | 2 Comments

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 ,

Posted in Fiberglass Fly Rods, Fly Rods | 2 Comments