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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…