Category Archives: Industry

William Joseph Tech Series Coastal

Product Review: William Joseph Coastal Pack

These days fly anglers have more option and better products with innovative features than we ever dreamed of when it comes to fly gear. From fly lines, rods, reels to waders we are truly spoiled with great companies and innovative products. With that being said I’ve never been much of a fan of the quintessential fishing vest. But thankfully, like I mentioned, we have a plethora of quality options and alternatives these days from some cutting edge companies like William Joseph, Fishpond and Simms. I haven’t used a vest for over 12 years and prefer a chest pack of some kind. Over the years I’ve bought and fished many different technical packs as my angling needs changed. I’m a bit of a self admitted gear whore and carry everything from extras spools to sharpie markers for coloring flies while on the water. My favorite style has to be a chest pack / back pack combo and almost always am fishing out of one. Lately I’ve been using the William Joseph Coastal backpack Mini Chest-Pack Combo and I’ve really been pleased.

Key features include:

  • A full weight-bearing waste belt that also has integrated pockets for items that you may want quickly accessible like floatant or a point and shoot camera.
  • Two main pockets with many inner pockets with zippers and divides. Great for organizing extra leaders, sharpie markers, bug repellant and anything else that is a must have on the water.
  • Very light, weighing in at only 2 lbs 14 oz.
  • Willy J’s signature TCS (tippet control system) so you can scrap that dangling tippet T that’s always unraveling.
  • Anatomical shoulder straps.
  • Two rod tube holders that can be used to carry water bottles.
  • Removable and independent from chest pack. Great for wading out of a boat or when just the essentials and some fly boxes are needed.

But the most noteworthy and my favorite feature has to be Willy J’s Airtrack Suspension system. The Airtrack pulls the pack away from your back and lets air flow freely so you stay comfortable and don’t end up a sweaty mess. I’ve been fishing this backpack since last fall and so far its been great. If you’re tired of slogging around in a sweaty vest or do long day trips on foot you might want to check out this Willy J setup.

You can buy the William Joseph Tech Coastal Pack here!

 

2011 “What The Shuck” Dealer Rendezvous Update #2

Fish, fish and more, well, other stuff. We all floated the Rio Grande and the river came into shape just in time. Saying the fishing was fantastic is a monumental understatement. The stones (multiple species), flavs, drakes and PMDs are coming off and the fish were looking up.

Here are just a few highlights and quotes from the trip:

“No PFD’s??? That sounds like time celebratory tequila shots” …at 10 AM.

“The Measure Net is only intended for fish.”

“He isn’t big enough to cover that grenade. He needs more surface area. Someone needs to take one for the team.”

“Why did the boat and trailer just pass the truck? So much for safety chains!”

“If I had anyone else in the front of my boat, I would tell them to tie on a brown stone and skitter it, but you should just do whatever the hell you want.”

In all seriousness, the event was great and the information that was disseminated was well worth the 8-9 hour drive (each way).  Simms has some great new products coming out next year, including, flip flops and the return of felt-soled boots.  If you get the opportunity to visit the Creede/South Fork area of Colorado, do it.  It is a beautiful area.

I got the chance to fish with some of the best guides I have ever met, like Mike McCormick from Wolf Creek Anglers.  Also Joe Delling and Mark Engler from Duranglers.  I never laugh as much as I do when I fish with Joe.  Also, Mark, for those that don’t know, is the inventor of the WD-40 fly pattern.  I have heard lots of rumors about what the WD stood for, but I wanted to ask the man himself.  He confirmed what I had heard, but unfortunately, I won’t be repeating it here.

I have got my trout fishing fix for a good while…now back to the warmwater.

 

 

2011 “What The Shuck” Dealer Rendezvous Update #1

Tired Kitty getting some action

With one night under our belt, I felt that you all might enjoy a quick update from the field (it is all work right?!?). As I am typing this, I am sitting in the back of a diesel-powered dodge truck, enroute to launch the drift boat on the Rio Grande River. The power of technology…we are living in the future.

Sunday started with a drive of 8-9 hours to show up in Creede, CO. Immediately the festivities begin. Dinner with a dozen other fly fishing dealers…pretty low key, then we head to Tommyknockers, the local watering hole. Allow me to back up for a moment, at the 2010 event we heard rumor of a local celebrity that occasionally makes an appearance. Apparently, a few years back, some locals were cleaning an old barn and found a petrified cat. That is right an old, dead, petrified cat. What do most people do when they make this discovery? Discard of it properly of course, but in this case, they made it the unofficial town mascot and named it “Tired Kitty”. Remember, it is not a dead cat, it’s just really, really tired. So, as were told, it is pretty rare for TK to show up to the party, but with the promise of endless beer, Tired Kitty’s keeper went home and took the event to a whole new level. I won’t go into too much detail, but plenty of photos were taken, many of laughs had and copious off-color jokes told. For what it’s worth, Tired Kitty has it’s own Facebook page.

Transition…I am now typing while sitting in the back of a drift boat, waiting for shuttles to be run.

Let the story pick back up at our lodging establishment. Our rooms had been assigned and I was assigned to a room with roommate #1 and roommate #2, names have been withheld for reasons you will learn shortly. Our particular room had two rooms, each with one bed and a roll away (ok, it was a mattress on the floor). Earlier in the day, we decided who would sleep where and roommate 2 said he would take the rollaway, since there was another room opening the next night. Well, around midnight, after the festivities at Tommyknokers, roommate 1 and I headed back to the room and retired to our respective beds. Exhausted after a long day, I went right to sleep. Then, around 2:30-3 AM, I was awoken in a little bit of a panic as my door was opened and a figure walk in. I froze and pulled the covers to my chin, waiting to find out my fate. Then, as quickly as the man came into the room, he pulled back the covers and climbed into bed. Keep in mind, this is a twin bed, so not a lot of room for buffer space. I then realized that it was roommate 2 and I quickly said, “I thought you were sleeping in the rollaway!?!”. He grunted, pulled the sheets up and fell asleep. I laid the for a few moments try to comprehend the whole situation. While I don’t think I will ever fully grasp it, I decided I had no other choice but to head to the rollaway bed. As I entered the other room, roommate 1 was sitting up in his bed. After staring awkwardly at each other for a moment, I yelled “What the f@&#!”. He proceeded to explain that roommate 2 was just in his room aggressively looking through every drawer. When he means every drawer, he means EVERY drawer, opening and slamming them. I then said, “Well, I guess I am sleeping in here.”

The rest of the night was a little nerve racking as we weren’t sure if the drunken sleepwalking invader would move again. I got up the next morning and went into my room, there was roommate 2 face down in a pillow. As he heard me enter the room, he gingerly lifted his head and asked “How did I get in this bed?”. I told him that I would explain over breakfast…

He was quite surprised by his own antics. I told him all the details and that “We will always have Creede”. Needless to say, we have been giving him a hard time ever since. I am not sure how I am going to explain all this to my wife.

I have been in Creede for 12 hours and it is already quite a tale. The next update will hopefully include some fishing…

rob4

Quija Nymphing

Last year, I took a friend who had never floated in a drift boat to float the A-section of the Green River.  It was mid-week, which meant that there were very few Floaties on the river.

I had placed my friend the pole position in the front of the boat in order to ensure he would have the best chance at an epic day.  My son was happily perched at the rear, with me on the oars. For anyone aspiring to boat ownership, this is where you end up most of the time; trading your fly-rod for graphite sticks of a much larger diameter.  The sun was intense and the water was high, but the incessant wind was noticeably absent.  The only action on the surface belonged to the fiberglass monsters flogging the water with strips of nylon.  After serving up almost every dry-fly on the menu; the usual suspects like cicadas, hoppers, and crickets, I started visually poaching for ideas by watching the guides in other boats.  I really wanted my friend, who is a capable angler, to catch something, anything.  If someone tells you they haven’t been skunked on the water, they are either lying or selling something, or both.  Most of the guides had their clients nymphing,  DEEP.  A couple of them were throwing rigs fished with weights which looked more at home at Gold’s Gym than on a river.  That being said, their sports were catching fish. My friend didn’t want to nymph fish and instead opted to throw a streamer.  I understood, as it is a lot more fun to cast and strip than to lob barbells.  As effective as nymph fishing is, and I do it all the time, it is a bit like using a Ouija Board, or having sex with a condom; you are never really sure you are communicating with the other side until something dramatic happens.

After a few hours without so much as a sniff, I began to feel the pressure.  I set my son up with a nymph rig hoping to change our luck. He is a novice fly-fisher who, prior to this trip had only thrown dry flies. Within two casts, the drought was over. He proved to be surprisingly adept at hooking the anchor line.  After three repeat performances, he asked for a beetle pattern and a sandwich.

Again, I turned my attention to the other boats, specifically the ones routinely catching fish.  Ethics aside, I made a mental note to throw a pair of binoculars in the boat for the next trip. The closest boat was racking up double hook-ups faster than a fish increases in size when it is “unintentionally released”. I noticed that the anglers consistently catching fish were set up with a two fly rig with the weights tied below the flies, sometimes called dredge or bounce nymphing rig.  Not sure how I feel about this set up. I can’t help but assume that the angler in the front of the boat was bonking fish on the head with his weights while the angler in the back was snagging them.  At the time, my friend decided to stick with the streamer, which eventually yielded some results, not epic results, but results nonetheless. Speaking of results, the guides who set up their clients with the dredge rig were definitely achieving them, which for them is their living.  Far be it for me to deprive a person from earning a living. Ethical questions are rarely black and white, so it appears we have another issue upon which to float, and wade, into the gray.

 

 

Always great conversation during floats...

A Short List of Fly Fishers that I would love to have lunch with…

…or, even better, spend a day on the water with.  Honestly, this was a very difficult list to come up with.  Not because there are few, but because there are so many accomplished anglers both past and present.  One could easily list their top 25, or even top 50, and still feel like important people are being left out.   That all being said, my list is a little skewed (as yours will be too) based on my current angling pursuits.  Here are mine, in no specific order:

Lefty Kreh – What hasn’t Lefty done?  He is a pioneer in just about every aspect of fly fishing techniques, but especially in saltwater.  He developed the fly “Lefty’s Deceiver” and it was featured on  a US Postal Service Stamp.  Lefty has become synonymous with fly casting instruction.  http://www.leftykreh.com

Lee Wulff – Of course we all know Lee Wulff as the father of catch and release and his famous quote “game fish are too valuable to be only caught once.”  The other aspect about Lee Wulff was his constant pushing of the envelope with equipment.  He led the charge of fishing for Atlantic Salmon with a single hand rod, bucking the English trend of using two-handers.  He was also rumored to be able to tie size a size 28 fly WITHOUT the use of a vise.

Brian O’Keefe – Brian has traveled the world fishing all of the places and for all the fish that we all dream of.  If there is an angler we should live through vicariously, it is Brian.  And, just when we are in complete awe of his accomplishments, he will make a beautiful cast just to prove he is completely untouchable.  Photography is also a big part of Brian’s repertoire and it would be great to pick his brain about all of the above.  http://www.brianokeefephotos.com/

Andy Mill – All I can say is Tarpon.  Andy, literally wrote the modern day book on fishing for Tarpon with a fly rod (A Passion For Tarpon).  He was a world class downhill ski racer before turning his focus on the Silver King.  His dedication to the art and preservation of these great fish is a wonderful thing to see in these modern times.  If nothing else, Andy will teach you a reverence for Tarpon.

Dec Hogan – Dec has written the bible for Steelhead (A Passion For Steelhead).  If you consider yourself a steelheader and have not read this book, shame on you.  Dec has immersed his life in the art of two-handed casting, tying steelhead flies, understanding the species and their preservation.  I would love to sit on a bank and watch him dissect and work a steelhead run.

Billy Pate – Another legend in Tarpon fishing, Billy was a very accomplished saltwater angler.  In addition to his world record tarpon, he is the first to ever catch a Black Marlin on a fly and the first to catch all six species of billfish on a fly.  An accomplishment that likely required an awful lot of patience and persistence.

Bob Clouser – Can you say Clouser Minnow?!?  I am such a fan of this fly, that I think I could fish an entire year with nothing but variations of it.  From Trout to Muskie to Saltwater, everything eats Clouser Minnows.  http://www.clouserflyfishing.com/

Scott Sanchez – If ever there is a mad-scientist of fly tying, Scott would definitely be in the running for the title.  A master innovator at the vise, his flies are different and effective.  One of my favorite quotes from Scott reads something like this: “Most of my flies are illegal in California from all the lead and chemicals that are used in tying them.”  Many of his flies are effective on multiple species as Scott likes to chase just about anything that swims and will eat a fly.

Barry Reynolds – Another authority on his respective subject, Barry has become an expert on catching pike and muskie with a fly rod.  His book “Mastering Pike on the Fly” is loaded with so much information, it is really a testament to the time and effort that he has put into pursuing his quarry.  Barry has travelled extensively to chase the long fish and it shows in his knowledge and effectiveness.  http://www.barryreynoldsflyfishing.com/

Tom Bie – Here is an angler that has done it all (if not all, most of it), but his real accomplishment is his network within the fly fishing industry and creating THE magazine for the soul of fly fishing.  There are lots of fly fishing magazines out there, but none capture the essence like the Drake.  Others have popped up, but the Drake is still the benchmark…imitation is the purest form of flattery.  http://www.drakemag.com/

I must close by saying that there are many people that I currently have the honor to spend time on the water with that could very easily be on this list.  I have also fished with some amazing guides that, regardless of how good the fishing was, are the kind of people that I want to call friends.  To those that I am constantly learning from, comparing notes and just plain having a good time with…  Thank you!

Now, who would be on your list?  Comment below…

 

Ten Questions with SA’s Jeff Wieringa

We sat down with Scientific Angler’s Jeff Wieringa and asked him ten questions.  If you don’t know Jeff, you should.  You probably owe a lot of the innovations in fly fishing to his mad-scientist type mind.  He is inventor of Sharkskin and the designer of the new Scientific Anglers waterproof fly boxes.  Jeff was the owner of JW Outfitters before being acquired by 3M/Scientific Anglers.  Enjoy!

  1. FW: Tell us about your start in the angling trade.
    JW:
    My real start was when I was 12 years old and I invented a device that put Zeks floating cheese on a treble hook and compressed it on so it wouldn’t falloff when you cast it . It was very simple made from a 30 cal bullet shell. (See image below). I called it the Master Baiter, I of course had no idea why my mother got so mad about the name. My real start in fly fishing was in 1989 when I designed and manufactured a line of packs, tying bags and pontoon boats under the name of JW Outfitters. That business grew very fast and after 11 years I sold that company to 3M/Scientific Anglers. This is where I still work to this day. I have spent 9 years in the lab designing and engineering products for Scientific Anglers. I now am the Business Development Manager for the business.
  2. FW: What can you tell us about the ideas behind coming out with sharkskin and textured fly lines?
    JW :
    While working in the lab at SA we wanted to try and make a fly line float better. I knew we had taken a line about as far as it could go with floatation with micro balloons and  AST. I started to research how insects are able to walk on water. There is where I learned that roughness can reverse the adhesive properties of water known as Meniscus Force. So the challenge began.I started trying to figure out how small of a profile I needed to emboss onto the line to start making a difference. After figuring that out I had to devise a way to put the texture into the line surface. Not easy. It took two years with dozens of failures and one day it seemed to all come together and I was able to build lines one after another with out any defects.Then all of us in the lab went out fishing the new lines and we were all in shock of how easy they cast, floated, roll cast and had low memory. That was the beginning of the Sharkskin revolution.
  3. FW: The afore mention lines are giving anglers a new advantage. Do you worry about any enemies you might have made in the animal kingdom? i.e gang of back alley tarpon or a posse of burly permit.
    JW:
    I am sure there are some that have an issue with the advantages that our lines bring. I cannot say if those are all fish or not. I did see a guy hook a gator once with a fly using our line.
  4. FW: In the credits of the movie Drift by Confluence Films it gives thanks to “jw and the lab rats at SA”.  Can you elaborate on who the rats are/ what they do at SA?
    JW:Sure, When you take on a project of this magnitude you have a vast amount of talented individuals to pull help from here in the 3M labs. We have PHDs and fish heads here. They (we) are affectionately known as lab rats. There is Del Kauss (line designer) Tim Pommer (product developer and assisted with the sharkskin development) Dale Wiehe ( chemical engineer for SA) John Stark (head lab rat) Bruce Richards ( rock star, line developer and probably one of the top 10 casters in the world) Brett Fortier ( assisted in Sharkskin development).So there is a full team here at SA working on lines, fly boxes and many other accessories. The producer of the movie Drift is a personal friend of mine and also worked at SA many years ago. So we sponsored him by giving lines to him and the crew to use during the filming. So he wanted to thank all of us here at SA.
  5. FW: Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, or Kenny G? And Why?
    JW:
    Kenny Rogers is OK because he dated Dolly Parton. I wouldn’t listen to Kenny G because that is Dustin Carlson’s fav. It would have to be Kenny Loggins for “I’m All Right” from Caddy Shack, which is the best golf movie every made.
  6. FW: Scientific Anglers always seems to be on the forefront of new fly line design. What can you tell us about the development/ testing that goes into new fly line design?
    JW:
    Our lab is constantly working on fly lines. People would be in shock if they new how many lines we destroy on a daily basis. It is our number one priority to develop new lines continuously. This does not include new tapers and colors but also includes new compositions and surface technologies such as Sharkskin. It is important to remember that Scientific Anglers is the company that made modern day lines float with micro-balloons and to sink with tungsten. That is what the foundation of our mother company 3M provides us.
  7. FW: Can you confirm or deny any rumors that 3M might be involved in time travel?
    JW:
    We invented the time travel machine that was used in Napoleon Dynamite but abandoned the project for obvious reasons. That engineer is now developing a device that will be able to tie flys with out any humans involved. We will finally be able to sell flies that will be 100% machined tied. Just think we will soon be able to remove the word Hand from Hand Tied Flies.
  8. FW: What is your home-water?
    JW: I am from California and did almost all of my fly fishing in the Sierras. I actually combined my love of backpacking with fly fishing.
  9. FW: Random fact?
    JW: I hate liver, but doesn’t everyone? Afraid of clowns and mimes. I have been married twenty eight years to the same woman, Connie. Wish I would have bought Apple stock at $12.
  10. FW: Favorite Scientific Anglers product?
    JW: I think the old school System II reels are awesome. For current stuff it would have to be Sharkskin GPX or the new Mastery Textured Nymph for the new DRYTIP that we have incorporated in them. Actually all of our Sharkskin and Mastery Textured floating lines include the new DRYTIP improved technology. Another shamless plug is our lines now have SA ID which in short is writing on the line to tell you what model and weight the line is.

 

A special thanks to Scott “Scoot” Silvers for his help with this article.

 

 

First Sleepwalking, Now Sleep Fly Tying???

Doctors Orders: Take one Ambien (a sleeping pill with apparently some side effects) before bedtime and tie a fly while you sleep.

Apparently, I did just that.  I awoke to find this little size #18 baetis nymph in my vise.  Different from the baetis I normally tie, I vaguely remember dreaming about tying this fly and blending the dubbing to form the thorax.  Sure enough, the thorax is blended just as I remember in the dream.

Now, where did that entire ham that was in the refrigerator go?

 

 

Scoot realizes the results - knows he should have done it sooner.

More Non-Fishing Uses For Fly Tying Materials

With the craze of all the ladies putting feathers in their hair (see our recent post about this), we started thinking about all the materials we have in our fly tying department.  Our findings…the fly tying selection also doubles as a fashion gold mine!  As we stood looking at all the possibilities, we were overwhelmed with all good that we could do in the world, fashion and otherwise.  We thought we could take great fly tying materials and use them to improve a few unfortunate soul’s quality of life.  Here is a sampling of our experiments and case studies.

Case Study #1

Hillary, being a girl and all, has always had a bad case of mustache envy. She considered taking some heavy doses of hormones, but that could lead to some pretty bad side-effects.  A risk that she wasn’t willing to take.  Not to worry…we chose a nice  juicy patch of arctic fox hair and with the help of a little swax (fly tying wax), we were able to shape this beauty. The best part is how well the color matches her hair, it could easily be mistaken for her own.  A mustache this epic hides her smile, but you can see the happiness in her eyes.  Now she has to learn how to eat without leaving bits of food for later…

Case Study #2

Jason was tragically born without eyebrows.  We know, we know…tragedy doesn’t even begin to describe the pain.  We thought about drawing some on for him- a la Uncle Leo…”Woah, woah, no need to get angry.  I don’t care for your demeanor.”- but we knew we could do better.  He is shown here wearing our newly designed rabbit-strip eyebrows.  Now Jason, go out into the world, be proud and show it what you are made of!

Case Study #3

Lara has always been unable to get her ears pierced, due to a strange fear of straight sharp needles. Well Lara, you are in luck! From a distance, we can make a perfect cast and “pierce” your ear before you even know what happened.  “Most” of the time, we are dead-on with our cast and Lara was the lucky one.  Even better, we didn’t use a straight needle…our tool of choice was a size two intruder hook.   The question is, can we complete the impossible and take care of the other ear without any trips to the emergency room.  Enjoy your new intruder-style bling!

Case Study # 4

This may very well be our proudest accomplishment.  Scoot has always had trouble with his confidence, which translated into trouble with the ladies.  We couldn’t figure out what the problem was and after a few mistrials, we were pretty frustrated.  Like everything we do, we never, ever gave up.  Then…BAM…we got it!  Let us introduce you to the new and improved Scoot sporting our very stylish bucktail chest hair implants.  So natural, so long, so sexy…this did the trick and the proof is in the pudding.  He is now the talk of the town and life couldn’t be better.  Go get ‘em Scoot!

Just a few of the great things that can be done, right out of the fly shop. When you are ready to move up in the world, come see us.

 

SHOUT2

The Best Fishing Tattoo Ever?

Imagine the surprise of receiving this picture via text without any prior knowledge that the person was going to be getting this tattoo.  Then imagine that person being your 50 year old father!  I laughed so hard I cried.  My face hurt from the explosion of laughter that followed seeing this picture.

Granted my dad does have other tattoos ranging from band insignias to our family crest, but this was completely out of left field.  Even for my dad!

He calls it the “Shout”.  It’s a Shark Trout.

After his trip to Florida and his experience beach fishing for shark there, he decided he needed to do something to remember this great trip and his love for fishing.  So he created the Shout.

Now, when we go out into the lakes, rivers and streams to fish, we joke about finding another hybrid fish idea for him.  I think he’s got room for a few more.

Tattoo Artist:  James Zehna @ Sailor Jims Electric Tattoo in Logan, UT

 

I Totally Want To Throw Her For Muskie

The fly-tying-materials-in-your-hair-craze came front and center here today.  These very nice girls came by looking for hackles, flashabou and fur to integrate into their hair.  Much like a Tiger Muskie, they seemed to be attracted to the brighter, flashier colors.

We called all of our fly tying supplies and got promptly laughed at when we told them we were looking for long saddle hackles.

We advised the ladies to be careful if they went near any saltwater flats or the lakes with long fish.

When we said we wanted more women to get into fly fishing…this is not necessarily what we meant.

Let us know what you think…