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Getting ready ahead of time will save you time and frustration on the water

Joseph BanikComment

If you are like me, you like to get in as much time on the water as possible.  I always try to have my rod rigged up so when I arrive, I'm ready to go. Put on my boots and head down to the water, before someone else beats me to my favorite spot. Sometimes you want to see what’s happening with the bug life when you get there. But in most cases if you check the reports or have a good knowledge of the river or lake you plan to fish, you'll have good idea of what flies to use before you arrive.  That doesn’t come without problems… Have you ever just got on the water and on your first hookup you break off your flies? In my case it's often on my first cast and I'm in the trees and the first rig of the day gone. 

 I've come across a product that I wish I'd thought of. LOON Outdoors now has a pack of 3 foam spools (RIGGING FOAM) so you can pre-rig 3 sets of flies before you head out to the water. These are great for those cold days where your hands aren't working so well. I like to rig up my rod before I go and have 1 duplicate rig on the first rigging foam spool. I then have 2 other rigs with possible choices that might produce fish. It's nice to have flies rigged up when you are fishing tiny midges and your eyes are tearing up from the cold and wind.

 Get the LOON Tippet Stack holder or the New FLY TRAP to hold the LOON RIGGING FOAM at https://qualiflyproducts.com/

The Design of Today's Fly Reels

Joseph BanikComment

Recently I have seen an increase of new fly reel brands on the market. I have looked at a lot of them and found that they are the same reel. They just have different colors or different frame machined designs. There are companies that mass produce reels with basic designs and allow the customer to pick from a menu of colors, drag knob and crank handle designs, and will machine the frame to a sketch that the customer provides. The spool, drag design, reel foot, internal bearing and bushings are the same for all customers. I saw where one brand charged over $350.00 for a reel that another brand was charging only $138.00 for – same reel, different color and LOGO.  These brands have no idea of what it takes to design a high quality reel. They know nothing about tolerances, finish requirements, spool run out, material specs and what kind of bearing to use. If you ask them a question about their reel design they can't answer it or they give you some buzzwords like carbon fiber.

 

When I decided to design the Maverick I took my time fishing with as many reel brands as I could. I fished with reels from all over the world. I made note of features I liked and disliked. It wasn't just about the how cool it looked, although that is a big factor for marketing. With my wish list in mind I sat down in front of my computer and went to work. It took many hours and a number of concept designs before I came up with something totally different from what everyone else was offering. Not only different but loaded with features that made it stand out from all others. Some of these features can be found in other brands. But you won't find all the features in one reel brand. Sometimes it is just the little things that matter – like sealing the end of the crank handle so sand and dirt won't get in easily.

 

Here are some of the features that I really liked and incorporated in my design. First thing was a sealed drag system that could be used in fresh water as well as salt water. I sealed the end of the crank handle as well. Anything that rotates should be kept clean in order to function well. Next was the design of the frame. I fished with a reel designed in Norway that had a semi-frame design. I like the idea that it reduces weight and provided access to the spool rim both front and back. If you've ever had a fish running far into your backing and the drag setting wasn’t enough to stop it, you really appreciate the ability to apply a little more drag with your hand. In the heat of the battle doing it by turning the drag knob just doesn’t work. The feel of your hand is the only way to go. I designed the Maverick's frame with a contoured profile to make it very ridged. Unlike the one I fished with, I made the spool rim wider so it would be strong and have the surface area to apply drag when needed. To give this reel perfect balance I moved the drag knob inside the frame. By doing this it move the center of gravity to the center of the spool. It also protects the knob from damage if dropped. The drag is easily adjusted with 2 fingers from the back of the reel. No more inadvertently changing the drag setting. Perfect balance and lightweight design for today's light rods. Every feature, finish, O-ring and bearing used and even the type of machine that would be used to machine the parts was taken into consideration. There is way more to designing a reel than picking items from a menu.

Watch Out for the Redds

Joseph BanikComment

Watch Out for the Redds

I know I bring this up every year. But I believe a friendly reminder is in order to enable us all to keep enjoying our passion for fishing. 

 


Reproduction plays an important part of the trout lifecycle during the fall months for both brook and brown trout. Brook trout usually spawn during late September through October. Brown trout typically spawn in October through late November. However, each stream is very different and spawning will start at different times. 

During the spawn, the coloring on the trout will intensify, especially in the males. Females will create gravel beds called "redds" for the dropped eggs to be fertilized. It is very important to avoid fishing these sections on the stream where you see redds. Be careful not to kick them up or walk on them when wading. It is best to leave trout swimming overtop redds alone and give them a chance to protect the eggs.

Enjoy your fall fishing trip but be mindful of these wonderful fish we so much enjoy pursuing.  

http://www.qualiflyproducts.com/blog/

The Hunt For New Technology

Joseph BanikComment

It has been a while since I have come across a new fly tying vise that really impressed me. I have been tying flies for more than 45 years now and have used more brands and models of vises then I can count. I now use the Griffin Montana Mongoose Vise and I think it's a great vise. I like it so much I just added it to my website. But the Mongoose has been around for a while now. I wanted to bring some new technology to my website. I decided to search for new companies and try new products.

 

Recently I've come across a fairly new company to the US called Stonfo. They manufacture a line of vises and tools that really impressed me. I ordered 2 of their vises the Kaiman and the Transformer to see if they were as good as they looked. Being a manufacturing engineer for over 35 years, I am super critical of machining quality. I gave them a thorough inspection upon arrival. Much to my delight they were beautifully machined and as good or better then most high-end vises I've seen. Their fit and finish was second to none. The quality of components is first class. Ball bearings that will last a lifetime, high-grade stainless steel and aluminum, ergonomically machined levers and cranks, rubber covered knobs and clamps and a mirror-like finish on all components.

 

The Kaiman vise utilizes spring pressure to rigidly hold size 28 to 5/0 hooks. The head is made from stainless steel with hardened steel jaws. It has an inline rotary axis that will rotate 360°. One cool feature is that it will snap into place at 90° increments. This is nice when you are trimming heads, placing eyes and coloring with markers. The head can be adjusted to any angle using the provided Allen wrench. The locking lever can be changed to either side for left or right hand users. The base comes with rubber feet that provides solid steady placement. Each vise comes with a material clip, Allen wrench and instruction book. This is an excellent mid-priced vise that will last even the most avid / professional tier for many years.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RygB-aCUf2g

 

The Transformer vise in my opinion is the best new vise to come out in years. Its price is well below vises that are not even near its quality and advanced innovations.  It's called the Transformer because it's 3 vises in one. The quick disconnect coupling will transform your vise into a standard vise, streamer vise or a tube fly vise in a blink of an eye, without any tools. All 3 heads are included as well as the pins and accessories for the tube fly vise. It is a true rotary vise that smoothly rotates on ball bearings. The hook shank is held inline with the axis of rotation.  The material clip (included) is adjustable and clamps the material where you want it. Each vise comes with a bobbin cradle + parachute attachment (very cool). This attachment is made from stainless steel and it's twice the diameter of any I've seen. The parachute post clip is included. The vise base is nice and heavy with rubber feet. There are 2-dished areas for hook and bead storage and holes for your tools and accessories.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72ZVsnns_rI

 

When you think about how many hours you sit in front of a vise compared to the time spent fishing and what you are willing to pay for a new rod and reel every year, I think the cost for good quality fly tying tools is well worth getting the best you can afford.

http://www.qualiflyproducts.com/store/stonfo-transformer-vise

NOT GETTING ENOUGH HOOK UPS? MAYBE YOU HAVE A WEIGHT PROBLEM.

Joseph BanikComment

How many times have you fished some really good-looking holding water only to come up empty? May be a weight change would have helped.  Using the right amount of weight or applying it in the right place may help you increase your opportunities. All holding water has its challenges.  Reading the water is the first challenge. How fast is it moving? How deep is it? Is the water moving faster at the surface then it is at the bottom? How much room do I have to get the flies down to where the fish are holding? Where are the fish holding in the water column?  There are many more questions and situations that could influence where and how much weight to use. I know when I'm on the water I am making slight changes as needed to get my flies moving at the same speed as the water current and hopefully in front of feeding fish.  Remember to use the rule to keep at least 2 inches between split shot (see my past post at qualiflyproducts.com).  Sometimes we can use weighted flies or a bead head to help us get to down where the fish are. Other times we need to use weighted flies and attach additional weight. The cast we use can also help us get into the strike zone. If you have a short distance to get your fly down to where the fish are, you may want to use a dart or punch cast. This cast drives the flies down fast into the strike zone. Check out Joe humphrey's video Nymphing Techniques (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dhKgm4dztg ) for more on weight and casting.  There are many techniques that can be explored and utilized in any one situation. Keep an open mind and try new ideas, don't be afraid to experiment. You will learn from every adjustment and get a lot of satisfaction from every success.

 

Fly tying scissors are one of the most important tools we use.

Joseph BanikComment

A lot of people will skimp on scissors at first - like we skimp on so many other things like bobbins and even our vise. Fly tying should be as enjoyable as possible. When it comes to tools, your selection of a properly balanced tool is as important in fly tying as it is in your fly-fishing equipment. Good sharp scissors are a must when creating your next fly tying masterpiece.

http://www.qualiflyproducts.com/store/?category=Scissors

How Do You Rig Your Splitshot

Joseph BanikComment

When adding weight to you rig in order get your flies down in the strike zone, do you place the weight right next to each other? When adding split shot to your rig make sure they are at lease 2" apart. This will allow it to drift along the bottom more freely and results in less snags. This seems simple but you will lost less flies, spend more time fishing not re rigging and most of all getting more hook ups.

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Key Points in Choosing a Fly Reel

Joseph BanikComment
  •   The main point to choosing a fly reel is to pick one that can hold the necessary amount of backing and fly line for the weight of rod that you are fishing with.  If you purchased a 5-weight fly rod, make sure you are choosing a fly reel that will accommodate fly line weights from 4-6.  Most fly reels will be available in different models to accommodate a range of fly line weights.  Just make sure that you find yours within that range.  By choosing the correct size of fly reel, you will make sure that it holds an adequate amount of backing for that time when the fish you hook makes the run of his life.
     
  •    Another key point when choosing a fly reel is the drag system on the fly reel.  This is typically what distinguishes the $300-$1000 dollar fly reel from the $50 dollar fly reel.  This is also where it becomes important to determine what type of fly-fishing you are doing and the species of fish.  An inexpensive drag system will not hold up to hard running fish such as bonefish or steelhead.  However, for your typical trout species an inexpensive drag system will be sufficient.
     
  •   Again, choosing the correct size fly reel will also make sure that it is weighted appropriately to balance out your fly rod to help prevent extra fatigue when casting for extended periods of time.
     
  •    Another factor is the amount of fishing you do.  If you spend a lot of time on the water you may want to invest in a higher quality reel. Look for high quality fit and finish not just a cool color. Check for ease of drag adjustment. Is the drag system sealed (water tight) which is a must for saltwater?  Is it lightweight but still have features that will not bend or dent easily (spool rim thickness)?
     
  •   When you choose a reel take care of it. Keep it lubricated, don't set it down in the water or in the mud. Clean it after each use and most will last you for many years.

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It Makes a Difference

Joseph BanikComment

When I was very young I learned to fly fish from Richard Ricko, a well-known rod builder, fly tier and fly fishing ledged from western Pennsylvania. One thing he taught me was to dry and clean my fly line after each fishing trip. To this day I follow his rules: Don't put your reel underwater unless you have no other choice. Upon getting home, strip off the line you used that day and let it dry. Clean your line before you put back on the reel.

 

Taking care of your equipment is essential for maximum performance. I want my line to glide through the guides like it were brand new. It needs to float high in the water and allow me to pick it up and lay it down where I want it. I want to have as little disturbance as possible when laying it out on the water. Line that is left wet on the reel will soon develop cracks and have dirt build up that will shorten its life. Wet backing will soon dry rot and become weak. Cracked fly line will get waterlogged and sink. Dirt causes friction, which will make it harder to cast. Dirt also absorbs water and will cause the line to sink.  This makes it harder to pick the line up off the water and it will land hard, spooking weary fish. Dirt on your line will cause the guides on your rod to wear thin and the edges will get sharp. Your next new line will become damaged from the sharp guides if undetected. 

 

So many times I've seen people set their rod and reel down in muddy water or on the wet sand.  Fishing from a drift boat, their line is often being stepped on or laying in muddy water at the bottom of the boat. But the very next day they are back with that same equipment, having trouble casting or complaining their line is sinking and their expensive reel is making a funny noise.

 

Cleaning:

Start with a container of mild dish detergent and clean water. Coil the line from the tip into the soapy water. Let the coiled line soak for a short time. In a separate container with clean water, coil the line from the reel end into the rinse water container. Run the line from the tip end through a clean cloth. Let it dry for a bit. Then treat it with a good quality line dressing before putting it back on the reel. I run it through my fingers as I wind it on to the reel. It removes the dust and excess dressing.  When I'm away from home on a trip, I run my line through a wet washcloth and let it dry each night. 

Universal Waterproof Bag for Cell Phone

Joseph BanikComment

Waterproof up to 5 meters; dedicated soft TPU with tensile strength, acting as a buffer with drop resistance protection. Protects you mobile phones against water, dust, dirt and sand. Transparent design allows easy access to all functions without having to remove the case. Take pictures under water. Color: Clear / Black. Size: 3.9" x 6.3". Armband length: 13.4" (stretchable). Includes: Waterproof Bag, Armband and Lanyard. 

http://www.qualiflyproducts.com/store/waterproof-cellphone-bag

Choosing the right fly rod:

Joseph BanikComment

Basics

A fly rod is the focal point of your gear, and choosing the right length, line weight and action will make a huge difference.

Length
6' to 7'6" tight spots and small streams
8'6" to 9' for larger water bodies
10' and above: Typically spey and switch rods

Line Weight:
0-4: Small streams to spring creeks, targeting small trouts, small grayling or panfish.
4-6: Average-sized trouts and grayling, small bass, for medium to larger streams 
6-8: Large and deep streams and rivers targeting rainbows to steelhead.
8-10: Bass fishing to salmon and bonefish, up to striper and smaller tarpon.
11-12: Yellow fin tuna, larger tarpon, king salmon, dolphin.

Action:
Action is usually a matter of personal preference. The best way to find out if you like a faster, medium or slower action is too fish as much as you can! 

Qualifly Products now has UV curing lights at a great price. 

 

http://www.qualiflyproducts.com/store/uv-resin-curing-light