Posts

steelhead

Same line new name – Freightliner Skagit

Same great line (with a few minor changes) but with a new name.  SA launches the Freightliner Skagit, which is the same line from the past few years that we have been using.  The blue line as we called it in the boat.  The Intermediate Skagit gets a new name and a much requested cosmetic improvement , the rear loop will now have a black highlight to help you see the transition from the head to the running line.

New video from SA feature SA Ambassador Jeff Hickman.

Scientific Anglers Freightliner Skagit from Scientific Anglers on Vimeo.

We wanted to completely re-work our Spey offerings, and we started with our Skagit heads. Meet the Freightliner Skagit, an all-new design for Scientific Anglers. Featuring a textured, black marker at the rear of the head, and available in both floating and intermediate heads/kits, the Freightliner will become your next go-to Spey line. SA Ambassador Jeff Hickman dives into the details in this short video.

A worthy cause- Our Two Hands by Bloodknots Fly Fishing


Our Two Hands by Bloodknots Fly Fishing. This project has recently been brought to our attention and is worth your time & maybe your hard earned money.

The idea behind this film is to raise awareness of the plight of the Wild Steelhead in the western states, it’s native home, whose stocks are dwindling. Most of the individuals who are involved in this project are “in the fishing biz”, who spend the majority of their time fishing and guiding for steelhead, using the two handed rod, aka, the Spey rod, using the swung fly method. Some of them are our friends. All of them care deeply for wild steelhead.

Fishing the swung fly with a two handed rod requires skill, patience and lots of faith. The only method I can think of that might be harder to catch a steelhead with is with your bare hands! The attraction for me to fishing in this manner is complex…be it the fact that the technique was developed along the Spey river in Scotland hundreds of years ago to fish for Atlantic Salmon, where there is little backcast room and long casts are needed. Be it the beauty of the casts. Be it the beautiful flies and their histories. Then there is fact that you feel the fish take your fly, sometimes savagely, after you have enticed or irritated it into doing so, as opposed to “feeding” it below a bobber and not feeling anything until you set the hook. Fish when hooked on the swing set the hook themselves, shaking you out of the medatative trance of cast, swing, take a step or two, repeat. You are asking the fish to play along in your game, to join you on a journey of trust and to have faith that you will release it to make more beautiful and perfect creatures. Some of the reasons we love to fish this way is the fight that our beloved steelhead puts up…watching that backing peel off your reel and hearing that drag sing keeps us casting through those slumps and times where you feel like you are on cast number 957 and working towards number 1,000 that this fish is fabled for.

I learned to steelhead fish with a 15′ Sage 8 weight and a floating line on the Salmon River in North Fork, Idaho, swinging flies with names like Silver Hilton, Muddler, Green Butt Skunk, Macks Canyon, October Caddis, Greased Liner, Purple Peril and Skykomish Sunrise, at the beginning of the really hard times for these fish. The steelhead of the Salmon River, ID, swim hundreds of miles to return to their spawning grounds, through the perils dams, netting, seals, eagles and osprey, along with a host of the oceans creatures that are big enough to eat them. The biggest disadvantage against them is what we as humans have done and continue to do to impede their ability to return and propagate their species. Steelhead have the ability to live after they have spawned. Here in the Great Lakes, it is very easy for them to swim back out to the freshwater sea and put that all important weight back on so that they can come in and spawn again. We don’t know how many of the west coast steelhead actually make it back to sea. The coastal river fish obviously have the advantage of a shorter migration, whereas the fish of the Upper Columbia basin have the odds stacked against them.

These fish are majestic creatures who deserve our love and attention. In the lifetimes of our fathers, the steelhead on the west coast has gone from a bathtub like faucet turned full on to a drip out of the kitchen sink.
Please support this film to bring awareness to the greatest of our native fishes.

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Tradition

Welcome Jon Ingham (Speybstrd) to Mangled Fly Blog and his first Contribution.

 

tra·di·tion– noun trə-ˈdi-shən
: a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time

This is the common definition for 2 things near and dear to my heart- fly fishing and whisk(e)y. I like my Bourbon from Kentucky and my malts from the British Isles.  I like to catch trout and steelhead on my own flies tied late at night, with visions of a huge snout sipping in my dry or getting my two handed rod yanked out of my hand from that viscous pull on a swung fly.How can bourbon be from MI, Indiana or heaven for bid, Tennessee?  For me, it needs to be from 51% corn and aged for at least 2 years in in newly charred American oak barrels. It has to be made by old men with first names like Booker, Bill, Elmer or Jim, who have taught their children, grandchildren and possibly their great grandchildren the art and science of mashing, fermenting & running the pot still.  They also will have taught the next generation how to choose the “right”oak for their barrels, how long to age them and what it should taste like for their family style. You can’t teach passion, you either have it or you don’t, but enthusiasm is contagious, while tradition is passed down from those who are devoted unequivocally to their passions for generations.When it comes to fly fishing, far and away my two favorite techniques for fishing to salmonoids are traditional- dries on the surface and wets on the swing. I love stalking that elusive rising trout, casting to them from downstream, floating the fly right down the feeding lane, all the while keeping the fly line, leader and tippet out of their view. Waiting for their snout to break the surface and suck down my offering is full of suspense.  Sometimes the take is so dainty and stealth, you barely see their nose, just the rings of water after your fly disappears. Then, there are those other times where it’s like you’ve handed me a thick Ribeye medium rare,  after a long day of fishing and it’s devoured in a lustful binge of violence- the fly is gone and the fish is screaming downstream afterwards to its favorite “hidey”hole, much like me to the couch with a glass of bourbon in my hand.When it comes to fishing the swing, I do it 7/8ths of the year. If I’m trout fishing and there are no fish eating bugs on the surface, I’m going to cover as much water as I can swinging soft hackles and wets while walking downstream. Sometimes, if the trout are slashing at the bugs on the surface, I’ll take the same approach with my flies and swing a fly tied to “match” the hatch.

Now, Steelhead fishing, it’s all about the tug on a well swung fly, getting that aggressive fish to move to your offering.  It’s the wait, the eternal wait, watching that line swing in front of you, slowly working its way through a greasy seam on its way to the hang down. It’s about hoping that the tension in the line increases and I mutter some of my favorite words, “hmmm, that feels funny”. It’s about the jolt of electricity and all your synapses going ape shit as the rod jolts forward, the drag sings it’s fateful tune and you watch a bar of silver leap it’s way downstream.

If you see me fishing for steelhead with any other method, I’m with one  of my guide buddies, boat and we are “checking out new water”.  There have been more than one occasion that I have been introduced to a fellow fisherman and they look at me and say “Oh, you’re that dude who is always swinging flies at_ _ _ run”. It’s how I was taught to fish for our magnificent foe, Mr/Mrs steelhead, which is a tradition we borrowed from my/our ancestors across the pond for fishing Salmo Salár, aka the leaper.

If you see me fishing for steelhead with any other method, I’m with one  of my guide buddies, boat and we are “checking out new water”.  There have been more than one occasion that I have been introduced to a fellow fisherman and they look at me and say “Oh, you’re that dude who is always swinging flies at_ _ _ run”. It’s how I was taught to fish for our magnificent foe, Mr/Mrs steelhead, which is a tradition we borrowed from my/our ancestors across the pond for fishing Salmo Salár, aka the leaper.

We usually learn our fishing from family and friends, most likely your father or someone else’s father. Maybe a brother. We are taught the skills to catch fish by these mentors and if you are lucky, the why’s too.  My father took me fishing whenever he could manage when I was a kid.  He isn’t a fly fisherman and I did not learn to fly fish until I was in my late 20’s when I moved to Wyoming and go into cahoots with some guides.  I had not fished in a long time, but it was in my soul from the times my dad and I went. I think of him often when I am fishing and thank him for passing on my for love of the outdoors and tell him so frequently. My love of the brown stuff comes from him too- he once told me that while having some J&B, “Scotch is an acquired taste, son”. I’ve certainly acquired it!

I heard lately that we stand on the shoulders of the great fisherman who have come before us and we should honor them by our actions a stream. We should also honor those great distillers who have taught this latest generation of young bucks. I appreciate some of the innovations that we are seeing in the whiskey world, but we should never forget where it all came from.  This past summer, of the greats left our world. Elmer T. Lee, we miss you. May your apprentices and disciples please you.

If you see some Elmer T. Lee on the shelf of your local, buy it, because the supply will all too soon dry up. It’s a full bodied, traditional mash with a tempered and restrained heat I have come to expect from a well made Kentuckian beverage. Soft caramel notes with hints of honey with a twinge of smoke and spice on the finish.

You can thank me later by offering me a wee dram stream side. I will be taking my own advice soon and buying a few bottles and hiding them in the basement, only to bring out for special occasions or for friends who understand, for hoarding whiskey is a tradition too!

Slainté.

 

Streamers still rocking in December

Still have a whole bunch of confidence for the big ugly flies to work in the cold weather, as the season progresses the cold water will so down the response to the swung fly, but currently things are still rocking.  As I was witness to a fish “almost” taking one of my spey outfits.  Thank goodness we had a tight grip on the rod.  Thinking about investing in a bungee cord type of device to secure the rod to the caster.  Look for it online or at your local fly shop.  Gotta love that pull when the tug like that!  Get out and cast before liquid turns to solid.