Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bug Card

I received this as a part of a packet of information for the Missouri Stream Team startup I'm a part of along with Chris and Ronnie. I found this extremely interesting and very helpful, especially how it organizes the various insects/crustaceans by their pollution tolerance. One wonders what "pollution" consists of here and how broadly or narrowly that term is being used, but it still gives an informative overview of the situation. Hopefully you find it equally enjoyable!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cray-minal Minds

"Why" you ask would I devote an entire blog post to the gnarly, lobsteresque little crustaceans that roam our streams? Well read on...

These are fascinating creatures on their own, but to an angler they are especially of interest. Here are a few quick points and facts that you may have not known--and may want to know!

  • There are more than 500 species worldwide, about 350 of them are in North America
  • Crawfish mate October-November, a rare time when two can be in the same small area (i.e. attached!). All other times of the year, they keep to themselves.
  • Large crayfish are active from dusk till dawn or on heavily clouded days. Smaller crayfish are active during the day.
  • Crayfish are born, grow to size and die all within about 2 years
  • They molt their shells multiple times as a part of growth, and are "soft" for a few days following a molt
  • Crayfish have been found in the stomachs of trout as small as 5"
  • The largest crayfish can reach 8 pounds
  • All legs and claws can be regenerated if lost
  • "Walk" slowly forward in normal feeding but shoot rapidly backwards if escaping
  • Are a favorite food of everything from Bass to Browns
Now that you're a little more familiar with these bottom-dwellers, here are some great examples of how to imitate them on the end of your fly line:

Chain Gang Crayfish
(Recipe Here)

Fighting Cray

Hunt's Hybrid

Galloup's Craw

Ritt's Crayfish

Something to notice about all these flies are the massive leadeye and, in some cases, lead wraps on the hooks. Crayfish live, feed, breed, and die on the BOTTOM. They crawl around on the BOTTOM. That's where their food is and that's where their safety is. A crayfish in the middle of the water column is one of two things: 1) dead or 2) fake. Let's think about this....

Fish aren't stupid. If someone walked into your dining room and rigged a system of string and pulleys to make your steak levitate mid-air, would your first thought be to bite into it? Hell no! Same with fish and their dinner...put their food where they see have seen it every other time they've eaten it. They know what crayfish are, how they act, what they look like and where they are normally found.

So that awesome crayfish pattern that you are expertly swinging downstream with quick rips back up...get it on the BOTTOM. Fast current? More weight! Slow current? Crawl it! I am definitely going to be fishing more craw streamers in the next few weeks, and I think they will definitely be a good producer for me. Time to get tying I suppose!!

Trash Totals

I added a frame on the top right of the blog that will keep a running tab on everyone's collected trash so far in the contest. Am I guilting/shaming you? Absolutely. C'mon Misters and Misses--get me some photos with scales in it of your trash! At this point the contest is ANYONE'S game. I'll update it every time I get a photo+weight from a contestant.

Change that ZERO to HERO!

Monday, July 25, 2011

BlogRod Poll #3: Choose the Grip Style

The latest round of voting has ended--with more votes than ever--and the Fly Logic FLP has dominated! I'm really happy about the result, but I would have supported any decision of the voters. You will love this blank--very usable. Shaping up to be a great build already, and now it's time to start hanging componentry on it. Starting with the all-important grip!

Fenwick-style Mod'ed RHW
(Front at left)

Half Wells
(Front at right)

Full Wells
(Front at right)

Western/Reverse Half Wells
(Front at right)

This will be a short voting cycle.
Time to speak out about what you want the BlogRod to be!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Trash Contest (Major Prize UPDATE!)

Trash is gross; it isn't attractive no matter what style of art you subscribe to or appreciate. There is nothing remotely OK about a 32oz QT cup half buried in the bankside mud. Or a tennis ball floating around. Or mono snarled in a tree, gleaming in the sun. We all want healthy fish--healthy fish spawn, healthy fish fight harder, healthy fish are more beautiful.

There is a lot of talk these days about barbless hooks, felt-less boots and other important topics. But isn't ensuring that our trash doesn't become the aquatic environment's trash just about the most basic starting point of any conservation effort? What good are attempts to keep AIS at bay if the water is clogged with bait cups? What good are barbless hooks if there are no fish to catch? I think basic trash pickup is where every conservationist needs to begin...and end.

Put down your rod for a few outings and ensure that the fish you catch when you pick it back up WILL be healthier, and healthier more everyday thereafter.

So I am renewing the contest and working on promoting it better. I'll run this through the end of August. Here are the details:

  • To be entered in the contest, just send me an email saying you want to be counted. ( After that, keep me in the loop on how much you've collected and send some photos!
  • There will be two winners
  • The contest will consist of who can collect the most pounds of garbage/trash from their local water. This is an open-ended deal--you can collect from as many places as you want around you, but you have to send photos of your trash and be able to weigh it (hand scale, bathroom scale, whatever). As we go through the contest, as I get photos and weights of trash collected by contestants, I'll keep a posted, running tab going. That should keep the competition alive, nervous and stressful enough to make everyone collect MORE! The bottom line is, the person who collects the most pounds of trash by the end of the contest wins.

I bought this scale from Walmart for just under 5 dollars. It works perfectly for this!
  • Since not everyone has the time to devote to collecting trash for hours a day, and since some are blessed with unusually clean waterways, I've made this a two-headed contest. The one winner, described above, will be meritorious. The second winner will be randomly selected. Since everyone is doing their part to clean up their water, this allows everyone to equally have a chance at winning something.
  1. Two Redington CT rods! One for each winner. Yup, I said it.
  2. A Meat Locker streamer box from Feather-Craft Flyfishing for each of the two winners.
  3. A Mono Master for each of the winners. If you aren't familiar with these, they are a great product to cut down on the accidental loss of one of the most harmful byproducts of our fishing-presence--fishing line.
  4. A copy of "Red Gold" DVD. Google it and read more about it there or on Feather-Craft's website here.
  • The dates for this contest are NOW through September 1st. That means that any trash collected during those dates officially counts for the contest.
  • For this contest I'd appreciate if you'd "Follow" the blog officially (which will help you keep tuned to updates about the contest).
To enter, send an email with your name, address (in case you win!), email address and blog/website to and then keep me in the loop on your progress.

Be cool like this dude and pick some $#&% up!

Fifty Followers!

I got home tonight from trash collecting at a local lake and noticed that this blog now has 50 followers. I have to say that I never thought it'd hit that many, and is really fun and satisfying to have reached it. Let me say again, I really do appreciate every "follow" I get, and short of getting means a lot to me. I'll do my best to keep the activity, photos and stories coming.

The great thing is, for every one of the readers and followers--that contests on the blog are going to start heating up. I have some real smokers in the works that will stretch across the country...and across blogs. Curious? Keep tuned....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quick Update

I am still alive, and yes the contests are a go. I am shocked at the votes for the blanks, but I'm excited to build on whatever you all pick.

I am still intermittently fishing, though nothing worth blogging about really. I think the past three weeks worth of fishing could be condensed into one, crappy, short paragraph. I'll throw something together with some eye-catching photos...keep the masses appeased.

Thank you to all my new followers, there have been quite a few join in the past month or two. It may seem like a mundane little button, and even a mundane feature of Blogger, but it gives me a picture of the fact that people really do read this blog, and--for some reason--enjoy it. So, thank you for following!!

Last but not least, my son was born on July 1st and tipped the scales at 7lbs 6oz and stretching to a respectable 18.5". If he were a Brown, he would have made my month! Instead...he blew my year out of the water. Amazing little fella'. I've spent more time changing diapers than rod building, and more time rocking/swaddling/whatevering than I have fishing. When I read Gierach, it's to him. And when I tell fishing stories--again, they are to him. Eventually I'll have him in rubber pants and I'll commence the blogging. ...well, maybe even before that.

Keep readin'. I'll keep writin'.

Monday, July 4, 2011

BlogRod Poll #2: Choose the Blank

Take note contestants! I've updated the poll now that you've voted and 7wt won out. Here are the basics about the blanks, but ask any questions you like and I'll get you the answer. The photos are purely for seeing what the blanks look like. I've built on all these, and the colors are accurate...if that matters to you. So here is the rundown:

Sevier F/W 7/8: A 2-piece, 9'0" blank that is high on durability, butt-power and good looks. A nice blank with a somewhat progressive feel with what I'd call a fast moderate action. It's IM6 43 million modulus graphite and a nice deep brown/amber color. These are the "Tiger Eye" blanks you may have heard about. I'm going with the 7/8 rather than the 6/7 to speed up the rod a bit since I'm guessing people won't be tossing #24 midges with it; line it with Rio Gold and it's a winner. A great all-around rod.

Batson "Rainshadow" RX6: A 2-piece, 9'0" blank that is a joy to cast and catch on. It's a true moderate action with progressive flex and moderate speed. It's IM6 33 million modulus graphite on a 'glass scrim (i.e. it's really, really strong) and is a deep blue color. This would be the perfect rod for throwing leadeyes or really heavy streamers in close; it'll load tight and cushion the shock of the fly with short line out.

Fly Logic FLP+: A 2-piece, 9'0" blank that is the fastest of the bunch, but still forgiving. It's solidly in the moderate-fast category. The blank is a matte grey-black and is dual-rated for 6/7. It'll be slower with 7 and a bit faster with 6; you choose. This would be the blank of choice for distance work where a balance between durability and sensitivity needs to be struck.