While at the International Fly Tying Symposium, I had an opportunity to examine Jim Mattson’s new Pulse Disks for the fly fisher. These thin, plastic disks are place on the leader just ahead of the fly, and cause it to swim with a side to side motion that is truly astounding. There are seven sizes to fit all fly types, styles, and dimensions. They are not incorporated into the fly, but rather carried and added to the leader as the fly is tied on. This is a huge benefit, because it allows the fly fiehr to instantly convert any imitation into a pulsing, swimming imitation. Great work Jim!! See the Pulse Disk in action here.
A couple of days before the International Fly Tying Symposium (held Nov. 23, 24) Theo Bakellar, Ben Furimski, and I spent a day fishing for stripers. Theo fished with a variety of his eelskin flies. These are tied with a strip of freshwater eelskin. The skin is very thin and flexible, and so, swims very well. Theo sometimes cuts the skin into a slight spiral to make it swim even better. And the eelskin is very tough—and perhaps smells a bit of eel, too.
There was no doubt that these flies work. While I winched up one shark after another, and Ben took blues and stripers, Theo had at them all with an eelskin Deep Clouser Minnow. In addition, he caught flounder and a squid. Yes, a squid. There must be something to the eelskin imitations.
I just had a note from Jay Smit of South Africa, noted designer and builder of the Jvise. This is a unique vise with many great features. He has donated one of his Damasteel Jaw vises for an auction being held to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital Trust (CHT), the fundraising arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. The jaws are made from stainless maternistic Damasteel from Sweden (normally used for top end knives). Only 6 numbered jaws have been made to date. The jaws were hardened, polished and etched by renowned knife maker De Wet van Zyl from Darkwing Blades
As it happens, it is vise number 1,000, and has a US retail of $1,000.
The bidding starts tomorrow the 2nd of December and closes on Monday the 16th of December.
This is great cause, and if you want to see more and/or bid on this great fly tying tool, see my friend Tom Sutcliffe’s site, here.
I added this fly to the end of my last post on the International Fly Tying Symposium, but I wanted to do a separate post on it just to call everyone’s attention to this novel, and very effective technique. Rattle flies always rattled me a bit as a tier because they required a rattle chamber with necessary modification of the fly’s body. Theo brought along some of his new rattle flies, and when we fished for stripers, he out fished me 2.5 to 1. I am certain it was because of the rattle he had added. Not only that, but the rattle is so say to make that it defies conventional wisdom on rattle lures. It offers the possibility of all sorts of rattle modifications to all sorts of flies.
Theo simply adds a mono loop under the fly and hangs beads on it–pick your color, pick your weight, pick your ear size, pick your bead material. I am already seeing modifications to the mono loop, too. The possibilities boggle the mind. You can be certain that I will tying plenty of bead-rattle flies for the upcoming season.
Today started with a Bible study from 7:45 to 8:30. Nine exhibitors were able to attend. It’s always a blessing to be able to offer such time together for people who are so far away from their local churches.
Then it was time to tour the Symposium a bit. I wanted a chance to examine the new rods that my friend Michael Mauri has been working on. These new Sohi rods are built in both glass and graphite. I was curious about the glass rods because the newer versions of fiberglass are stiffer than the older glass types used in the 50s and 60s. I was very impressed with the rods. They did not try to build old, soft glass rods in the newer, higher modulus glass, but rather took advantage of the material and built very smooth, rather quick rods. I look forward to having a chance to fish these rods next summer. Their website is coming soon—sohiflyrods.com.
I also spent some time at the Tenkara Bum booth examining a variety of these sticks from Japan by such builders as Daiwa, Shimano, and others. There were rods from very soft to medium soft in flex. I tend to favor the slightly softer rods to allow the angler to use more delicate tippets and smaller flies. If you want to check out what they offer, go to Tenkara.
I also got a few moments to talk with my old friend Ken Reinard, the Colonial Angler. Ken and I have had great discussions about horsehair lines, hand made hooks, early American fly patterns, hand built rods, and other tackle items of “ye olde days.” Ken has provided photos of horsehair lines for my upcoming book, Fly Gear, so it was nice to have a chance to chat and get caught up on all our individual projects.
Jay Smit from South Africa, developer of the Jvise, attended this year. It was great to meet him and chat about mutual friends we have back in his country. It was also great to see his vise in action. It is a unique tool, and I will have to get one to evaluate in detail. See more at Jvise.
Jay was sharing a booth with another friend from Canada, Faruk Ekich, who also builds exceptional, Damascus steel vises and the Ekich bobbin (see previous blog post on bobbin evaluations here).
The rest of my day was given over to a fly casting demonstration, a PowerPoint program on “Really Matching the Hatch,” and a fly tying demonstration on hair hackles. It was a great Symposium this year. Watch for next year’s event, it promises to be a great one, too.
The IFTS banquet was held tonight (Saturday, Nov. 23). In addition to the great food and more than our share of talking, there were fabulous door prizes provided by Keough Hackle, SuperFly (great threads), and EstaZ. But the highlight of the banquet was a short talk by Dave Klausmeyer (publisher and editor of Fly Tyer Magazine) announcing that this year’s Fly Tyer Lifetime Achievement Award was going to Chuck Furimsky. He then presented the award to Chuck, who received a standing ovation for his tying skills, product design, and all he has done for fly tying over the last 22 years of the International Fly Tying Symposium. Congrats Chuck, you certainly deserve the recognition for all you’ve done to promote fly tying.
The International Fly Tying Symposium was held in the Garden State Convention Center in Somerset, NJ, this year. It was held in these same facilities last year, and everyone agreed that it was a great venue. This year, Chuck Furimsky, founder and owner of the symposium, asked attendees about the venue, and they all agreed that it was the best facility for this event. It is a great place because it is very large and allows more tiers and vendors to attend. It also allows the teaching of fly casting, something that the old venue did not offer.
In fact, my day started with a casting class. The six students were all very eager to begin, and so we dove into casting with great zeal. We had an opportunity to discuss and practice Wrist Casting, Arm Assisted Wrist Casting, Arm Casting, the Bow and Arrow Cast, the Elliptical Stroke, Roll Casting, The Switch Cast, Horizontal Casting, the Side Arm Roll Cast and Side Arm Spey, the Double Haul, and more. All in all it was a great class, and everyone learned a great deal.
Of course, that was just the beginning of my day. There followed a PowerPoint program on Nymph Fishing, a demo on Advanced Hackling Tactics, and a stint at the Author’s Booth. That left me an hour to visit with other tyers.
I watched Theo Bakelaar tie some of his great foam flies, and then visited for a bit with Lyle Graff (originator of the Rite Bobbin) and Hans van Klinken (“Mr. Klinkhammer”—from Holland). A good time was had by all.
When my scheduling allows, I like to arrive a few days early for the International Fly Tying Symposium and fish for stripers and blues with Chuck Furimsky and with our friends Theo Bakelaar and Harry Schoel, from Holland. This year was one such year. The first day, the ocean was too rough, so we fished the bay. Theo had a new fly design that outfished the “standard” fly I was using 2 ½ to 1. I landed three fish, Theo landed 6. But, he had 4 more on, and I only had 1 more on. His new fly had a very unique rattle on it. More on this design later.
The next day Theo, Ben Furimsky (Chuck’s son), and I were out on the ocean. There were 6-foot swells, and we bobbed about very nicely. Not being one who can withstand such oceanic twisting and turning, I naturally get very seasick. So, I had taken some meds an hour before hand. Everything went very well until I looked down to get my rod. Then it was all over. For the rest of the day, I was a bit more on the green side. However, I fished all day just as hard as if I had not been so sick. I did great. I caught 5 sharks!
Theo and Ben, however, caught blues and stripers, and Theo even caught two flounders and a squid. Yes, a squid on the fly. He will soon be writing a new book entitled, “Selective Squid, with ancillary notes on flounder.” Watch for it at your favorite bookstore.
The EZ extended body is simple to make and highly effective. It is hollow and uses a silicon base, so it repels water and is air filled—a great combo for tying floating flies. Roger Duckworth has an easy to understand video on making the bodies. Check it out here.