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Friday, March 23, 2012

Airflo Compact Intermediate Spey Lines

Airflo Skagit Compact Intermediate Head:  $54.99, 450-720 grains

After fishing the Airflo Skagit Compact Intermediate Head this spring, all we can say is “Whoa!”  At first fishing the head in steady, even currents it was tough to notice a big difference how this line presented the fly, compared to its floating cousins.  Yes, it turned over big winter steelhead bugs with ease and grace, but so do the floating heads.  Then we saw it…the intermediate head really helped to slow the fly down as it swung across the run.

The next test was to fish the head through runs that had uneven, mixed currents (You know, those runs you know hold fish, but are a pain to get a nice even swing through).  As advertised, this head pulled the fly through the run at the perfect speed, just leaving us on edge waiting for a steelhead to pounce on our fly.  Loop it on and let ‘er rip!!

We've got 'em at the shop, stop in and get an edge for fishing the Peninsula in April through the high-water runoff that will likely last through June at a minimum.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sculpin Helmets

from FishSkull 
Sculpin Helmets
Small, Large, Olive and Brown

    What to do when the river levels spike and there's nothing but rain, sleet and eastside snow in the forecast?  Dust off the vice, of course. Or maybe extricate it from the last tying session's leftovers of krystal flash, marabou, peacock herl, spilled beer, rubber legs, cheetos dust and dubbing. 

The latest variation of the Fish Skull(TM) tying accessories is the Sculpin Helmet, and after some creative tying and testing we have to say they're pretty awesome.

The helmet offers a couple of distinct advantages over traditional methods of weighting a streamer pattern with eyes, lead wire, or a cone.

    First off, they're pretty darn heavy. Maybe not heavier than tungsten, but they drop. The small helmet we rate for five to six weight rods (rods with a 150-200 grain window).  Try them locally on our lakes, eastside trout and summertime on the Cedar river.  Throwing the larger helmets takes a two handed rod or single handed rods rated seven or eight weight (single hand grain window of 200-300 grains) .  The large helmet weighs a tenth of an ounce. Can anyone say Steelhead Sculpin?

    Secondly, not only do they jig up and down when stripped, but they zig-zag due to the shape of the helmet. This was an unexpected bonus when recently testing on a local lake. Any extra motion imparted in a streamer pattern is a plus, and putting a helmet on even a simple rabbit strip fly seemed to increase its motion.

Circle of tube-tied sculpin helmets
    And lastly, they can be tied on tubes. The small size works on 3/32" tubes, and the large on 1/8" tubes (we stock HMH, both available). On standard hooks we'd suggest using a (3X-4X) long streamer model, as the head takes up considerable space. Small helmets are fit for hooks size 6 through size 1, and the large helmets are best on hooks sized 2 through size 2/0.

And maybe it's inconsequential, but the added 3-D eyes really pop. It creates a profile much like a small, river-bound creature, with a look that just says, "Eat me!"
We've also got the standard Fish Skulls - great for Puget Sound!

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Scientific Anglers Textured Fly Lines

It was May on Montana’s unusually “Mighty” Missouri river.  The manner in which we delivered our flies probably wasn’t going to be the most elegant thing in the world.   We knew that the task at hand remained relatively simple: get your fly down to where the fish are and hope they eat it. Easy, right?

We opted to string up the five weight rod with the Textured Nymph / Indicator line. Like the name “Textured” suggests, the outer portion of the line has a definitive feel to it that is similar, but not abrasive like the Sharkskin series.   The surface of the textured line is similar to that of dimples on a golf ball. These dimples reduce surface area when sailing through the guides of your favorite fly rod. 

The days on the river were cold, yet the line refused to retain memory. And when cast it laid out beautifully. The sound made by the line moving through the guides was not at all overbearing or distracting.    

With river conditions as they were, the rig of the day could be called anything but subtle.  To effectively present this mess you needed a decent roll-cast with a fly line that could turn all of this “junk" over.

Sporting a head length of forty nine feet, the taper of the line was specifically made for these types of scenarios. Also, the tip of the line is colored a bright Orange to help detect subtle takes.  Scientific Anglers seems to have blended the best features of their Sharkskin and their Mastery Series lines.  We highly recommend adding an Textured line to your arsenal.