Sunday, November 8, 2015

the reid effect.


last year i had a chance to meet one of todays best bamboo fly rod craftsmen james reid.  we fished an afternoon and i tried a couple of his rods the troutspey and the 883 salt special.  you can see more about that great day on the water by clicking here.



soon after that day, i had my name on jame's "to do" list and earlier this year he completed an absolutely stunning 8' 5wt. hollow built fly rod with two tips for me.  the rod has a beautiful splice joint which gives the two piece rod a better action, but can be a bit tricky to put together (more on that later).



i got the rod in early april but did not fish it until just this past week (sorry james).  i didn't fish it for so long for several reasons.  first, although i know it is made to be fished and i got it to fish it, that thing is such a work of art i had to get over the initial feeling like i would be taking the mona lisa out into the yard for a painting frisbee toss or something.  also being that this is the first rod i have ever owned that had a spliced ferrule i was a bit apprehensive of my ferrule taping abilities (for good reason as it turns out!).  lastly, i spent most of this year getting acquainted with my water master raft and going through the process of figuring out where and how i like to keep things accessible and (more importantly) safe on the raft.  the last thing i wanted was for the end of my prized bamboo rod's life to come as a slow decent to a river or lake bottom.  apparently i have different hopes for its demise than i have for my own.

so i let the rod sit in the corner (which is very unlike me and new rods) until i couldn't stand it anymore and had to take it out for a fish.  i had become very comfortable and confident with my water master set up, the need to toss around the mona lisa had long overcome just admiring it by looking at it, all that was left was to tape it up and go fish... easier said than done.

i watched james video on taping a splice joint.  looked easy enough and i did it fairly well on the dry run at home.  when i got out to the water, however, it was not so simple.  between the excitement of fishing, the fall coolness, and most of all having only done it once before, i ended up with perhaps  the worse tape job since the invention of the splice joint.


it is amazing what can be done to masterpieces when in the hands of morons.

despite the alien cocoon that seemed to be connecting my rod together, the sections were connected solidly and i was ready to give it a go.  i hung an abel classic on it which balanced it well.  i used an airflo super-dri elite trout line and a nine foot hand tied leader.

if looking at the rod brought a tear to my eye, i was absolutely bawling uncontrollably after the first cast.  i don't think i can even explain the feeling i got.  it was in a word magnificent!

the leader was turning over the bugger i was using a bit more forcefully than i aesthetically liked so i added a couple more feet of tippet to the leader and it was absolute perfection!


who knew chucking a wooly bugger at rising stocked hatchery trout could be such an experience!

casting a rod like this, you can absolutely feel every minute that james spent building it.  i know i am gushing but man this rod has soul.


my first, but far from last, fish on my j.m. reid 8052 standard trout. a little guy.

i spent the rest of the afternoon hunting down trout who dared give up their location by breaking the waters surface...


and j.m. reid bent.




there was quite a bit of activity on this day and the rod allowed me to enjoy every fish to its fullest.


per the article referenced in my last blog... no more hero shots for me.  i never liked, and still don't like, taking pictures anyway so it won't be hard.

from now on i'll keep them wet... it is the least i can do for the creatures that bring me so much pleasure.


nearing days end under a northwest fall sky.


a slightly goofy looking, but extremely happy, old guy.  thanks james for the ridiculously sweet rod.  my brother, you are the ambassador of good times.

as james always says, "cheers".



clay.






brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.  
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
(808)734-7359
www.nervouswaterhawaii.com
info@nervouswaterhawaii.com















Friday, November 6, 2015

an article we all should read

a few days ago i came across this article.  i think we can all learn something from it so check it out here:

http://venturingangler.com/2015/10/26/what-needs-to-change-in-fly-fishing-now/

i have often thought many of these same things so give it a read and i will give you my take on it in a few days.

good times.


clay.






brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.  
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
(808)734-7359
www.nervouswaterhawaii.com
info@nervouswaterhawaii.com



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

zugs and buggers.

many lakes around here closed for the season just as we here in the northwest turned back our clocks an hour in a feeble attempt to save some of the rapidly diminishing daylight.  i spent a couple of days this past week getting in my last licks on some of these lakes with my trusty water master and a couple of lovely light fly rods both old and new.





zug bugs and plain 'ole wooly buggers like these were the flies of choice.  i tie many different flies of varying complexities but when it comes to the files that go on the end of my line, the simpler the better.  i just love to fish classic simple patterns that have been catching fish for decades and are tied using materials that have been around even longer than that.


one day i fished the newest member of my rod collection (family, sickness, addiction, whatever) a sage 390-4 one.  stiff and fast and, to me, perhaps closer to a true 4wt. than an actual 3.  this rod is super smooth, deadly accurate, and generates some wicked line speed with ease.  what a laser cannon that thing is!














no problem being "johnny on the spot" with this rod on any fish that surfaced in a ninety foot radius.




the next time out i went to the complete opposite end of the fly rod spectrum and fished a bamboo four weight that my buddy dean built a while back.  the northwest fall was in full force that day and it rained the entire time i was out on the lake.  if you are not willing to fish in rain, then the northwest is not for you.



though i have had this rod for quite a while now and have caught many a peacock bass and red devil with it, this was the first time i used it trout fishing... finally doing what the rod was intended to do.





...and it did it well.  casting and fishing this rod is simply pure joy.



there are still a number of lakes around that remain open all year round and you can be sure i will be exploring those in the coming months.  for the lakes i have fished so far this year, i'll be seeing you next spring for more good times.


clay.





brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.  
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
(808)734-7359
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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

'pachi memoirs.

One of the great things about tying flies is that it can keep your mind, heart, and spirit in the fly fishing realm even when you are not able to actually go fish.  having tied flies since i first started fly fishing, it has also become an integral part of experiences and memories of days on the water and fish i have encountered over the years.  often just the sight of certain flies will instantly take me back to a specific period of time, place, day, or fish.  the memory becomes even more detailed and vivid for me when i am actually tying a fly that holds such memories.

a few sundays ago, i decided that i would tie this shrimp pattern that i used to use to fly fish for menpachi or soldier fish.  for those not in the know, the menpachi is a red nocturnal fish that is a very popular target for hawaii fishermen (just google menpachi and see how much stuff comes up).  despite having a TON of bones, the menpachi is an extremely popular food fish among locals.



pink 'pachi shrimp fly.


orange 'pachi shrimp fly.

tying these flies took me back to my slightly younger days to a period of time when i used target the menpachi with my fly rod.  my fishing friends all thought i was crazy and chasing this fish made for many very interesting fly fishing experiences.  although these relatively small fish eat flies well, there are a few things about them that make them quite challenging to get on a fly rod.



the spoils of a night out on the rocks (circa 1998)

the first thing that makes menpachi challenging is that, these days, they are pretty hard to find especially from shore on oahu (did i mention they are a popular food fish).  so just finding them on any given night can be tricky.

another thing that makes these fish tough on a fly rod is that the menpachi is a reef fish and the reefs they like tend to be extremely rocky and often times in areas where the sea is very rough.  for the fly fisher, fishing these conditions require superior line control.  you have to stay focussed and  know where your line is at all times.  this goes for the line in the water as well as the line out of the water.  one must always be ready to pick up the entire line from the water to avoid a crashing wave tangling your eighty dollar fly line on super sharp rocks.  when that happens, it is rare to get your line back whole and impossible to get it back with the coating unscathed.  the same goes for the line out of the water.  if the line in your basket happens to fall out even once, there is a good chance that it will end up fubar (f_cked up beyond any recognition).  needless to say, a lot of my fly lines were left on the battlefield.


if that all still sounds like fun to you, then here is the gear you'll need:


- a six to eight weight rod.  i liked an eight weight for the line control properties in rough and windy conditions.  also preferably a cheap one. 'pachi grounds are no place for a thousand dollar set up.


- a nine or ten foot leader.  i used to use a basic two fly nymph rig.  i would use a corky indicator when fishing rougher waters where i would just let the flies drift and bounce around in the chop and surge.  in calmer conditions when i stripped the flies more i would not use an indicator.


- a tiny glow stick attached to the connection between your fly line and leader can be very helpful with casting and line management in the dark.


- a stripping basket.  absolutely necessary.  not an option.


- a good head lamp.


- good rock hopping footwear.  whatever kind you trust your life with the most.  it get's pretty sketchy out there.


- some menpachi flies.  my favorite was my 'pachi shrimp in glow pink, orange, or fluorescent yellow.  i used to tie a ton of them for myself and my friends.  they worked quite well whether fly fishing, bottom fishing off a boat, whipping, throwing golf ball (a popular local rig where an actual golf ball is used as weight with a spinning outfit),  or whatever your preferred "red fish" method may be.


- good medical insurance.  the last time i ever fly fished for menpachi i fell on the rocks, split my head open, and spent the rest of the night at the emergency room.  i had no health insurance back then so a bunch of stitches and some insane medical bills later, my menpachi fly fishing days were over.


you gotta fish at night for these guys. back in the day this was not a problem for me.  instead of going to the bar, we would just grab some taco bell and go fish.  now that i am a  middle aged guy who is pretty much done with his day at around nine...  night fishing?  yeah, that's not going to happen.


other creatures you may run into while fishing for menpachi include:



the aweoweo. photo: alohafrom808

the awa 'aua (ladyfish).


the alaihi (squirrel fish).

the menpachi papio (bigeye jack).

the upapalu (hawaiian spotted cardinal fish). photo: theislandgirleats

yes, and even this guy, but that is a story for another time.

a younger bleary eyed menpachi fishing clay.  yes that is a powell peralta t-shirt that i am wearing.

yep, all of those thoughts, emotions, memories and much more just from tying a few flies.  sean was a bit puzzled about why i spent time tying menpachi flies when i haven't fished for menpachi in years and i have so many other flies to tie... well sean, that's why.  good times.



clay.





brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.  
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Monday, October 12, 2015

yes... they are out there.

just a friendly reminder for the peeps out there who may be unaware.  this fella was caught at the hawaii kai boat ramp this past friday night october 9, 2015 by craig's cousin's boy.  sharks are rarely ever a threat in hawaiian waters but rest assured, they are definitely out there.  this is the one you don't want following you around.  this guy would make even me get out of the water.





it's always good to be reminded that we are in their hood and not the other way around. good times.



clay.






brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.  
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
(808)734-7359
www.nervouswaterhawaii.com
info@nervouswaterhawaii.com

Monday, September 28, 2015

new flies: squimps and specials.

With the easy breezy summer in the islands (well not that breezy this summer) coming to an end.  i thought it would be a good idea to share a few new flies that may just come in handy during the fast approaching fall and winter seasons.  these flies are not exactly new.  they are just slightly tweaked versions of old go to favorites.




the squimp

the squimp is a fly that i like to use on those "tough" late fall and winter days.  over the years it has proven itself as a day saver more times than i can remember.  shallow water bones are always awesome but, as anyone who has done a lot of bonefishing in hawaii knows, sometimes you gotta go big, bright, and deep.  that's where this fella really shines.


squimp.


the wary golden trevally will also fall for a squimp fished deep (where the golden is perhaps not so wary).  the squimp was definitely a day saver on this winter day.

the specials

the reef special is my all time go to baitfish imitation fly.  i came up with this fly in the mid nineties by combining the attributes of a few of the most popular saltwater flies at the time (and still today).   the reef special incorporates parts of charlie smith's crazy charlie, bob clouser's clouser minnow, and chico fernandez's version of the bendback.



 


the clouser minnow, crazy charlie, and bendback all influenced the creation of the reef special.



over the years, the reef special also proved itself as a superior bonefish fly for hawaiian waters.  like the flies that it was influenced by, it is one of those "will catch anything that swims" flies.

i tied up a brown/tan version of the reef special combining the two most popular hawaii bonefish fly colors.


"tan and brown" special.

hawaii bones love the reef special and they love tan and brown colors.

i also tied up a "cichlidae" version of the reef special for fall peacock bass on lake wilson.  at times on the lake, bass and peacocks will school up and chase schools of threadfin shad.  known locally as "busting fish"  these feeding frenzies can happen at any time on the lake but generally tend to happen more in the fall months.  usually when the peacocks and bass are "busting" just about anything thrown into the fracas will get bit.  there are, however, those days when you encounter what i call the "tough" bust.  fish will be hitting bait on the surface but for whatever reason, they will not hit shad lures or flies.  in these situations. i have often done well throwing flies that more closely resemble cichlids.  i'm not sure why that is.  maybe they are trying to take out the competition.  maybe in all the excitement, it just triggers their innate hatred of other members of the "family".  peacocks do really seem to hate (and love to eat) other chichlids including other members of their own species.


"cichlidae" special.


try a cichlid colored pattern like the cichlidae special next time you find yourself in the middle of a wahiawa "tough" bust.

well that's it for now.  who knows what will come flying off the ole norvice next... stay tuned to find out and, as always, good times.


clay.





brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.  
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
(808)734-7359
www.nervouswaterhawaii.com
info@nervouswaterhawaii.com