Knotted Egg Revisited

I’m always searching about “sussing out” the best materials with which to tie my flies. Sometimes I find new materials that look promising, but which turn out to be no better than the materials I have on hand. Other times I really do find something that appeals to me. This is one of those times. I was looking in the FeatherCraft catalog and spotted “Trilobal Antron Chenille.” (https://www.feather-craft.com/wecs.php?store=feacraft&action=display&target=TD009)

Hmm, this looked potentially like a better material for my Knotted Egg rather than the straight cotton chenille I had been using. And it is! It’s firmer and of course offers the advantage of the trilobal yarn. There are three sizes: small, medium, and large. The difference between small and medium is not as great as between medium and large. These three sizes offer an opportunity to tie three sizes of egg patterns. Small makes an egg of about 4mm, medium makes one about 6mm, and large yield one of around 9mm.

I tied all of them on a size 8 red hook for the photograph so that the relative size of each could be seen. For fishing, I’d tie the small on a size 12 or 14, the medium on a size 10 or 12, and large on a size 8 or 6.

Eggs

Small, top; medium, middle; large, bottom.

Stroft GTM Tippet Material

Stroft

I’m always looking for new equipment items in fly fishing, and I’m always looking with a bit of a jaundiced eye. Not because I’ve seen it all or heard it all, but because my background training is as a research scientist. In science we set a null hypothesis that says something can’t happen, and then we try to prove the null hypothesis to be correct. This means that every avenue must be thoroughly examined, and if anything can be shown to prove the null hypothesis correct, then we must reject all other results, good or not.

I had an opportunity to visit with Andre Giermann from Stroft (Strong and Soft) line manufacturers at the EWF Show I Munich, Germany, a couple of weeks ago. They produce both monofilament fishing line and tippet materials, and their product selection is truly extraordinary. He was kind enough to provide some spools of Stroft GTM tippet material for my testing when I fishing in Austria for a week after the EWF. First, Stroft GTM is produced in mm sizes and not in the inches (or the “X” system). That’s OK, because it’s not all that hard to go online and get a conversion program that will instantly convert mm to inches (http://www.mm-to-inch.com). Then, by subtracting the thousands of inch from 11 we can get the “X” designation. For example, 0.16mm = 0.0063 inches. 11 – 6.3 = 4.7X. OK, so far so good. But then they also have 0.14mm material. Hmmm, that’s 0.0055, or 5 ½ X. And there are other in-between sizes, too. Suddenly tippet selection becomes a whole new ball game. For example, I used 0.14mm (5 ½ X) in Austria to fish dry flies. It’s perfect for size 14 – 18 dries. I used 4.7X for nymphing and was most pleased.

Not only that, but the strength of the material is greater than any other co-polymer material I know of. Strengths are given in kilograms (1 Kg = 2.2 lbs; see: http://www.kg-to-lbs.com. See the charts below to get an idea of how tough this stuff really is.

Now, consider this for a moment. They offer tippet materials in 0.01mm increments from 0.03mm (0.0012 inches or 9.8X) up to 0.3mm (0.0118, basically 10/5 size–0X is 0.028mm). That is, there’s 0.03mm. 0.04mm, 0.05mm etc., all the way up to 0.30mm. From 0.30mm and larger, the step-wise increments get bigger—0.025mm. Hmmm, so many choices! Ya gotta love it, especially down there in the micro sizes. Have a look at the English version of their catalog:

http://www.stroft.de/waku%20katalog%202015%20englisch/waku_catalogue_2015.html, and see pages 8-9 for diameters and strengths of Stroft GTM matrerials.

 

Here’s a conversion chart that I made from the data in their catalog for sizes 7X and smaller:

mm            inches        “X” Size     Lb. Strength

.03              .0012               9.8                 .55

.04              .0016               9.4                  .77

.05              .0020               9                      1.1

.06              .0024               8.6                  1.4

.07              .0028               8.2                  1.76

.08              .0031               7.9                   2.2

.09              .0035               7.5                    2.65

.10              .004                 7                        3.1

 

It’s nice that they make the material in a great range of sizes, including the super micro stuff, and great that it’s strong on the testing machine, but what about the actual toughness under fishing conditions? Surprise, surprise; I was astounded. I fished 4.7X (.16mm) and 5.5 X (.14mm), and was stunned at what I could do with it. Not only that, but the knots were perfectly strong. I got a couple of “wind knots” (actually bad casting knots with a split shot, and a bead head, and a Thing-A-Ma-Bobber all hanging on the leader), and they didn’t break, nor did they seem to weaken the material in any way. By the way, the 4.7X is a full 3 kilos or 6.6 pounds and the 5.5X is 2.7 kilos or 5.95 pounds.

Bottom line, I’m sold. Set me up with a full panel of this material! Of course I will pick and choose, I can’t carry 30 spools of material in my vest. By the way, the spools are small and light and come in 25 meter (27 yards) and 50 meter (54 yards) sizes. For my fishing I plan to use the following sizes, but please, pick and choose as you will.

 

mm   Inches        X size   lb. Strength

.28     0.011           0X            16.1

.26     0.010           1X            14.8

.23     0.009           2X            11.2

.20     0.0079        3.1X           9.3

.18     0.007           4X              7.9

.16     0.0063        4.7X            6.6

.14     0.0055        5.5X             5.95

.13     0.005           6X               4.4

.10     0.004           7X                3.1

.09     0.0035        7.5X             2.65

 

Remember, now, that we get the X by subtracting the thousandths from 11. So, 4.7 X is .7 X smaller than 4X (it’s almost 5X), and 5.5X is ½ X size smaller than 5X and ½ X size larger than 6X half way between 5X and 6X).

I will break these 11 spools down into three packs: 0X-2X, 3.1X through 6X, and 7X-7.5X. Since the spools are small and take up little room in my vest, I have no problem carrying them at all times. I also carry 0.020 inch and 0.013 inch Maxima Chameleon in my vest. These sizes allow me to build leaders in whatever length and final tippet that I need for any and all occasions for trout fishing.

Stroft also offers abrasion resistant materials, fluorocarbons, and others, and I plan to test all of them for future reports on this exciting, Strong and Soft material from Germany.

Now, where to get it. It’s available in a number of sizes from Yellowstone Angler in Livingston, MT: (http://www.yellowstoneangler.com/stroft-gtm-tippet-material.html?options=cart). If you want to be more selective in picking your sizes, they you will have to endure translating from German to English. Stroft does not yet have an order form in English, but go here for the German version: http://www.aspo-gmbh.de/shop/monofile-angelschnuere/stroft-gtm/index.htm. If you wish, you can read all of it via Google Translate (https://translate.google.com).

 

OR, follow along: here are the instructions for ordering.

  1. You should be on the order page for Stroft GTM material.
  2. Page down to the size selection chart at the bottom of the page.
  3. Click on the underlined size that you want (for example, click on

Stroft GTM Monofil 0.28mm 7.30Kg.

  1. The catalog new opens to the order page for that specific material and size.
  2. On the right of the page you will see the word Lauflänge (yardage), click on it and select the size spool that you want (select 25 or 50—I get the 50). You will see the price displayed immediately below in Euros.
  3. Just below that you will see an indicator for quantity.
  4. Immediately to the right of the quantity window you will see a cart and the words: “In den Warenorb” (add to cart). Obviously, click on it and add the material to your cart.
  5. You will get a window that says: “Der Artikel wurde in Ihren Warenkorb gelegt!” (This item has been added to your cart). Click OK.
  6. When you are done with that size, go to column on the left and look just to its top right. You will see a little hand and the word “Zuruck” (back). Click on it and it will take you back to step 2 above.
  7. Repeat steps 2-9 as often as needed to complete you order.
  8. When you are finished selecting all the materials you want, go to the upper right corner of the page and click on: “Zum Warenkorb” (go to cart).
  9. This will take you to the cart and your order summary. Here you can change quantity (“menge”) or delete items (“Loschen” with an “X” button). If you need to get back to the order chart, on the left side just above the descriptions of the materials you ordered, you will see a little hand with the words “weiter einkaufen” (continue shopping). Obviously click on it. I will take you back to the last item you ordered, and then you can go back to step two by following step 9.
  10. When you are satisfied with your order, go to the bottom right corner and click on the “Zur Kasse” button (Check out).
  11. This takers you to a page for name and address:

 

Firma:                          Company

 

Anrede:                     Title

Vorname:*                   First Name

Nachname:*                 Last name

Straße/Hausnr.:*                  Street number

 

PLZ:*         Ort:*                  Zip and city, state

Land:*                          Country

E-Mail:*                       email

Telefonnr.:*                 phone

Mobilfunknr.:              mobile

 

Below that you will see:

Kundennummer (falls bekannt):

Kostenlose 100m Spule Ihrer Wahl (ausgenommen STROFT GTP & STROFT FC) ab 35 € Bestellwert:

Bemerkungen, Hinweise und Anregungen:

 

Which translates:

Customer number (if known):

Free 100m reel of your choice (except STROFT GTP & STROFT FC) with 35 € order value:

Remarks, comments and suggestions:

 

If you want the free 100 mm spool, just write in what you want. For example if you use a lot of 5X, then type in Stroft GTM .16mm

16. When done, click on the “Weiter” button (next) on the bottom left corner of the form.

17. Now you are at the postal page. You will see a statement entitled DHL / Deutsche Post. This just means that in Germany the material is delivered by DHL. In the US, by regular mail. The cost is listed (usually 10 Euro). Again, click on the “Weiter” button.

18. This takes you to Step 3—payment. Use PayPal, it’s so much easier. Click on the little check button to the left in the PayPal row—it will turn blue. Click on “Weiter.”

19. Step 4. Get ready to finalize the order. Check it all over to be certain of quantities, sizes, etc., change as needed. At the bottom of the form you will see a check box labeled:

Ich habe die AGB gelesen und akzeptiere diese.

Which roughly translated means that you are placing the order and agree to the payment for the materials.

20 Click on: “jetzt bestellen” (buy now) at the bottom of the page.

21. You will be directed to complete you PayPal info. Once you do and click pay now, you will get a page that says “Warten auf Zahlungsbestätigung..” (waiting to complete payment)—wait.

22. You should get a message that says “BESTELLUNG ERFOLGREICH GESENDET” (Order received). If not, after a couple of minutes, click on the blue underlined sentence in the wait message (step 21 above), and it will take you to the order received line.

23. Get ready for the best tippet material you ever used.

Night Tarpon

Jake Jordan is still at it, and still delighting his clients with big tarpon at night—a true experience in terror. Well, maybe not terror, but certainly an adrenaline rush and a half. Imagine hooking one if these beasts in total darkness and all you can sense is a lot of very loud splashing and the powerful pull on the rod. If the line hangs up on the reel or your hand, you’ll be swimming with the tarpon and hammerheads. It the fish gets its head and decides to jump, you could be wearing tarpon scales permanently welded to your face.

If you’re interested in night tarpon, see Jake’s link to the right.

night-tarpon

Imagine throwing on the light and seeing this attached to your fly. Hmmm, what’s he up to?

Midges in Holland

Midges (Order Diptera, two wings) are the most abundant aquatic insects on earth. In any fresh water system, the number of species of midges is greater than the number of all other aquatic species combined. Not only that, but they hatch year-round; as long as there is open water, there will be midges hatching. So, in those times of the year when other aquatic species are not hatching, one can always rely on the midges. And that’s what’s happening right now.

Theo Balelaar has been out plying the waters of Holland with adult midge imitations, and doing very well with them. Have a look.

Theo-with-fish

The Holland trout love midges, or maybe it’s Theo they love.

Rainbow-head

This rainbow was particularly well colored, and a midge eater.

The Next Generation

I was greatly saddened by the death of my friend, Hans Aigner (see post below), but I received an email from Theo Bakelaar with photos of his young friend, who is 12 years old, and absolutely in love with fly fishing. He goes to Theo’s house several times a week for fly tying lessons, and get a chance now and then to fish with Theo. Last week Theo was fishing with his young friend, and Theo caught a very fine brook trout on a cane rod and size 20 buzzer (midge imitation). Then the young man, not to be outdone, used Theo’s rod, and caught a real horse of a rainbow. Now here is a superb example of the next generation of fly fishers who will guide and direct our matchless sport.

Theos-brookie

Theo’s rather healthy brook trout.

boy-with-bow

His young friend with a more than rather healthy rainbow.

Hans Aigner Passes

As we were eating breakfast this morning at our hotel in Austria, we received the sad news that Hans Aigner had died in the night. Hans had come to visit all of us at diner on Thursday evening, and I had an opportunity to sit with my old friend for about half an hour and talk about fishing, his cancer, and life in general. He was upbeat, and we had a great time visiting and reminiscing about out times together on the river. I am so glad that he was able to see so many of his friends, and have a chance to talk and have a meal with all of us.

Hans was one of two protégées of the late Hans Gebetsroither, the famous Austrian guide on the Gmunder Traun who developed the Elliptical Casting Stroke. Roman Mosier is the other protégée, and life long friend of Hans Aigner. Hans and Roman both taught fly fishing schools under the leadership of Hans Gebetsroither, and Roman continues that tradition. Hans Aigner taught and influenced many fly fishers in the European community, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew this cheerful and forthright man. I certainly shall.

Hans

Hans Aigner. Although I first met Hans in person in March of 2013 at the EFW Fly Fishing Show in Munich, I knew of him through the fly fishing community. When we met it was if two old, life-long friends were meeting after many years of absence. There was an instant bonding, and we enjoyed many great hours together, fishing, talking of his history with Hans Gebetsroither, visiting the hotel where Gebestroither met his clients, seeing all the famous places on the Traun, talking about other rivers in the area, and so much more. His friendship will always be a bright memory for me. Goodbye my friend.

Austria Day 5

Today was a bit sunny with high overcast that gradually thickened to cloud cover by 6pm. Because it was Saturday, there were quite a few anglers on the water, and I had to pick and choose a bit more carefully than during the week. Right away in the morning, I took a 46 cm (18 inch) rainbow on a gold bead head p.t. I spotted it in an unusual place, and managed to drift the imitation past it. On the fifth pass, the fish took, and in the heavy fast water of the Ager it was a rather drawn out fight, but a successful one.

Then I spent time spotting other fish, but found very few, probably because of the other anglers. Later I ventured to a favorite spot at the base of a curving riffle and carefully fished it with a small, bright pink, Knotted Egg. When the indicator stopped and the line came tight, I could tell immediately that it was a big fish. In fact, it was the biggest I landed on this trip—53 ½ cm (21 inches). Fortunately for me there is a very long curving fast water pool below the riffle, and I need all 100 yards of it to wrestle the big fish to shore. There, I grabbed a few quick photos, measured the fish, popped the barbless hook, and turned the fish back. It indignantly tore off as if I have been but a mere nuisance in the course of its day. Back at the riffle, I continued the very careful search of every inch, and soon turned up a 44 cm (17 3/8 inch) rainbow, again on the egg.

The rest of the afternoon I spent looking for potential rising fish, but the hatch was too thin. Sure, I saw some small fish grabbing mayflies off the top, but none of the bigger boys came out the play. So, the day ended with three fish hooked, three fish landed, and one was the biggest of the trip. All in all a very pleasant day.

46-cm

The fish have to be strong and very healthy to live in the powerful Ager. What must the eat to stay in such tip-top shape?

44-cm

The 44 com rainbow that took the tiny, knotted egg. It’s a great fly for rainbows.

53.5-cm

21 inches of muscle that feels like a 26 inch fish elsewhere.

Modify your Thing-A-Ma-Bobbers

Thing-A-Ma-Bobbers are great, especially in very rough water where other indicators are next to impossible to see. But, they have one serious fault, two if you are to believe what everyone says: (1) they score the leader rather seriously, and (2) they kink the leader. The scoring and abrasion comes from the metal eyelet that is inserted in the tab of the indicator. The answer to this is rather easy–get rid of the metal eyelet. The idea came to me while fishing, and I used by scissor pliers to extract the eyelet. But a good pair of needle nose pliers work better. Get a good grip on the eyelet and rip it out–actually I sort of pry and bend the tab and fuss with the eyelet, but it does come out. Now, the leader goes through easier and faster and doesn’t get abraded at all.

Now for the kink. If the newly modified bobber is attached so that the loop of the leader goes around the tab, as shown below, the indicator does not slip up or down on the leader and there are no kinks when the indicator is removed.

withwithout

Remove the metal eyelet to remove the abrasive nature of the indicator.

Loop-attachment

Use this attachment profile and the indicator won’t slide or kink the leader.





Austria Day 4

Today was diametrically opposite yesterday. Dawn came early and bright, with a bit of fog, but that soon burned off, and we had an absolutely blue-bird day. The Ager was up about 10 cm (4 inches) and just a tiny bit off color. Not to worry. The fish got started a bit later in the morning, but once on the bite, they stayed on. My score was rather dismal—8 hooked, 2 landed. Of course, I blame the fish, who else is there to blame? The Ager’s trout are incredibly strong, and they all seem to be head shakers. I’ve been fishing a Knotted Egg in hot orange or hot pink and a gold bead head p.t. in sizes 14-18, all barbless. So when the big fish shake their heads violently, the hook often pops out. Still, it’s fun to have them on, even if for only a short while. The two that I landed were 25 cm (10 inches) and 50 cm (19 5/8 inches). Even though the landing was not stellar, just being outside and on a great river on a day like this was wonderful—still, there’s tomorrow, and perhaps I’ll will yet manage to land a “big” one (over 50 cm).

Rainbow-and-reel

The perfectly designed and built rainbow!

Austria Day 3

Today was one of those days that only increases one’s distrust of the weatherman. Supposedly it was going to be medium overcast with a few scattered showers. Not. It was heavy overcast and rain, rain, rain. The fish were not as active as I had supposed (and hoped) they might be—they knew what was coming, and we didn’t. So, I had a rainy fishing day—as in all day. Fortunately I was able to find an overhang on a woodcutter’s cabin to stay dry while I ate lunch, and later in the day, a bridge which I could stand under to dry my hands and warm up a bit.

The fishing was so, so, as one might suspect. I did manage three fish of 41-42 cm (16 to 16 ½ inches), and a couple of smaller ones of about 25 cm (10 inches). It still amazes me that a 16-inch fish in the Ager fights as hard as a 20 inch fish in most other streams. I’m also amazed at the excellent body condition of these fish—small heads and wide, deep bodies. At about 4:30 pm, a small hatch of dark mayflies emerged. The fish fed sporadically, but I was able to get several on the dry by just sticking with it. All in all, not a bad day, especially since I had plenty of warm clothes to change into after a nice hot shower.

Rainbow-1

I particularly liked this photo for the rings out in front of the fish’s snout.

Rainbow-2

Notice the body shape of this 42 cm fish–tiny head, robust body. The fish in the Ager are in prime condition.