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  • About Me:
    I love the Canal!!
  • Interests (Hobbies, favorite activities, etc.):
    Fly Fishing and Tying, Saltwater & Freshwater Fishing, Boating and Jet Skis.
  • What I do for a living:
    Director of North American Retail for Benjamin Moore Paints

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  1. I concur with Dorski's take. Iceland has a lot to offer, off the beaten path. I've fished Iceland for several decades now. Night fishing is especially productive, as related to salmon fishing, especially after hours.
  2. Hi Bruce, you brought back memories of army men for me too, when I read your post! We're very lucky to have a fun hobby as adults and fishing is a good one for sure. Regarding In-Line hooks and Flags, here's a couple of things to think about. One thing that's very apparent is that In-Line hooks make it easier to release a fish. If you're good at staying in contact with the plug, the majority of the fish that you hook, will be hooked in the corner of the mouth. . The difference being with the In-Line hooks, there's only one hook point , so as the fish chomps down and then turns, the hook does its job. If you know you're going to have fairly large fish around, what happens during the first 10 seconds after a strike is very important. When a big fish rolls after taking a plug, the plug twists and a lot of strikes are missed, not because of the hook, but because the hook can't spin. That's why we developed a concept called canal rigging. Instead of using one split ring, you use two split rings on your treble hook and you set plugs up this way when you fish the Cape Cod canal.. Unfortunately with an In-Line hook, when the hook spins, it's a bad thing because you need to ensure that the point is facing forward while the plug is swimming. So generally I don't rig Cape cod style with In-Line hooks. However, when you have a fixed belly mount on a plug, one that doesn't rotate or spin, that plug is a candidate to either be rigged Cape Cod style with a Treble, or perhaps you're going to install a nice wide gap In-Line hooks instead. Both are good solutions and each has certain advantages. If you have a swiveling belly mount then 100% use a treble hook and forget the In- Line because your hookup ratio will plummet with a rotating In- Line hook. Another thing to consider is what type of fish you have around. If you have a lot of blue fish, and your fishing a plug with only fixed mounts, such as a Red-Fim.for example, or perhaps a Spook, adding a second In-Line hook to the tail mount will increase your hookup ratio because blue fish pursue generally from the rear of a lure. Bluefish under 5 lb will always tail nibble and larger blue fish clearly hit the rear half of a bait as well, even when you're using very large plugs, this is apparent. What's basically happen? Is that the Bluefish generally only makes off with half of whatever it kills. The other half sinks to the bottom which is why Stripers love to hang out below feeding Bluefish. This is why bunkerheads are so effective as bait for the chunking community. The ocean floor is often littered with chunks of fish when blue fish are around. Stripers meanwhile are also ambush predators but they kill with a concussive chomp or even sometimes a tail slap. When they tail slap they'll circle back and engulf the stunned bay fish which is laying pretty much promotionless on the surface. They will hit a plug a little harder because they're trying to stun what they perceive is a fleeing or unaware item on their menu, such as a bait, fish or an eel..etc. a concussive strike hits the front third of the bait most of the time. On a big plug. It might be right in the middle a lot of the time. So we rig accordingly If you have clear water with good visibility and light present then there is a greater need to look realistic. Therefore, if you're fishing during the daytime and you have these conditions present, that's when you really want the flag tail. Sometimes we're lucky and we have these conditions but other times we simply don't. The water's either rough and turbulent or it might even be stained. Because of all these things to consider, a pair of split ring pliers some In-line hooks and some Trebles should be accessible while you're fishing so that you can alter and change to meet changing conditions. In the current tank in my shop, I've observed all sorts of plugs and different lures and tins and what not, and I've watched the way they swim with no hooks, with treble hooks and also with In-Line hooks. I haven't found a wood plug yet that didn't function perfectly fine with a flag tail. Many custom plugs also have swiveling belly mounts so there's that to consider because you're probably going to run at least one treble hook on them. Do you really need a second Treble Hook? Especially considering that the tail mount on most every plug is fixed? Generally, I will set these plugs up with flags and if I do have blue fish around I'll swap out the flag for a single In-line on the tail. One of the most popular types of lures is the Bomber style plug. In-line hooks work great on them. The Diawa SP minnow for example, is completely fine with one ore In-Line, or two if desired. It swims exactly the same in the tank and in real life when you're fishing at the beach or wherever you happen to be. If you do wind up putting an In-Line book on the tail of a plug. Make sure the hook point is facing down. Not up. When a hook point faces up as the fish bites down the hook penetrates the top of the jaw where there's a lot of cartilage or teeth and it's very bad for the fish to take a hook there. It can even kill them. Not to mention if you have a predator with teeth you could miss a strike easily because of this. With the hook pointing down the fish rolls and the hook goes right into the corner of its mouth where you want it. This does less damage to the fish and increases your hookup ratio tremendously. As far as the performance in terms of swimming action on a plug, there will always be some endless debate amongst various characters who truly believe that rigging a certain plug a certain way hurts its action. Considering the mass of most plugs, and the weight of the hooks we're talking about, changing swimming action on a plug should be a minimal issue at best. I wouldn't say it doesn't exist, but it's a minimal problem. There are certain lures that absolutely do need to be just left alone. You'll know when something's not working right, just by the way it's swimming. Usually very light lures can be finicky. This makes sense if you think about it. If you take a hook off the back end of a very light lure, that is pretty balanced out of the box, suddenly it becomes unbalanced. With a lure like that, however, you can use a Siwash hook and tire tail on that. That way you still have the weight on the back end and now you have the tail to give you a little bit of extra wiggle.
  3. If I was fishing waist deep in some current at night, with wind and waves I certainly wouldn't have a fly locker strapped to my back - LOL! Nor would I try to stuff 10" saltwater flies into a fleece fly wallet! LOL x 2! The OP didn't want plastic sleeves as a solution. Considering the options that are out there, the Finsport plastic sleeve type solution is good for 7" flies and can be customized, but it does a poor job keeping flies of any size from being misshaped by sets caused from not being secured in place. Plastic sleeves ARE a great way to take a few large flies to the beach though, so if I wanted to rock hop and travel light, I'd defenitely come up with a sleeve like solution. Narrow, long, rectangular sleeves work pretty well actually. The DIY fly locker type solution I propose from Flambeau above is kind of like this one from Bear's Den, which is 12 1/2" x 10" x 3 1/2" but even though their box is double sided, it's a bit shallow so large flies can get crushed. Plus, it's not as water tight as the Flambeau above. Dimensions are good though and it opens somewhat easily. Again, pretty bulky to carry and not at all water-resistant. I use the Flambeau Water-Resistant box above with a sling strap, works fine really, though I will pair down to only a few flies if I'm fishing in a sketchy spot. The Flambeau DIY box is much deeper than the Bears Den box above, it has plenty of room for XL flies even over 10". The larger Finsport bag is okay for many flies but not XL patterns. Morell Foam Boxes are light and easy to use, even in the dark, with waves and wind..etc. But, even the XXL sized Morell box pictured below is too small for larger flies also and they're not quite deep enough, so flies get crushed and when you open the box, the flies can get tangled and they also come loose too easily. Nothing worse than flinging a box open and watching several flies go sailing into the drink. What Morell needs to come up with is a Foam box one size bigger than their XXL, that would handle larger flies. Then you could stock it lightly and have an ideal solution for say a dozen big flies and a few small ones. The trouble with the Morell boxes though is that after you use them enough, the insides just eventually become toast. The magnets that hold the boxes shut also can pop out in time and become lost. With a DIY box, you can glue in the denser foam after you cut slits in it and it seems to last way better. I put that type of foam in my hommade Flambeau jobber and am happy with it. It's like having an empty laptop case on my back all night. It may seem cumbersome but it actually works and isn't too terrible. BTW, do you have a fleece wallet that doesn't crush 10" saltwater flies?? I've used the fleece wallets in the past and had a devil of a time getting a salmon fly with a barbed hook out of them. Plus, I've fallen on them and gotten poked, tried to open them and also been poked as well and worse still, the flies got mangled and tangled. For my salmon flies, I went to a Large sized Morell foam box and never went back to fleece wallets. Unfortunately, they're basically disposable fly boxes. They don't last that well. Anyways, IMO, if a person wants to make a DIY solution, as I said above, a deep, water resistant, rectangular box with a shoulder strap installed is where to start, IMO. Or, just live with the disadvanteges of the plastic sleeves and put your used, soaking wet flies someplace else and NOT back into a baggie with a bunch of dry, unsued flies in it.
  4. If you're looking to make a DIY storage solution, consider starting with a Waterproof, single compartment box, then install a shoulder strap to it so you can carry it and simply flip it behind you while fishing. These types of boxes run about $55 presently and they can be ordered online very easily. Once you get the box, simply cut some 1/2" thick foam of choice and glue it in. The 4 1/5" depth of a box like this allows you to install foam not only on the bottom of the box, but also on the lid, thereby giving you 2 x storage and the flies mounted in the lid don't get tangled with flies on the bottom. It's long enough to handle up to 12" saltwater flies and you get several rows of them. For larger flies, this type of solution is hard to beat. You could also go to an extra large clear envalope solution but larger flies inevitably will "curl." You can remove "curl" by steaming flies btw. Steam straightens both hair and syntetic that develop a set. For smaller flies, storage is a lot easer. I like the clear, simple, non-waterproof hinged boxes.
  5. I would if I could trust me. I think you would literally be in shock if you felt the "snip" of the stall cutters. I think any Tungsten Carbide Anvil (flat surface) and TC Cutter would breeze through braid indefinitely, even under ridiculously heavy use. It's not proprietary to VS. What you want for braid is a flat surface anvil and a cutter. I think most of us would agree, a rusty old pair of needle nose pliers are basically fine for most hook removal needs. But chopping Braid, Mono and Fluoro is really a never ending pain in the ass. It really is. The dudes at the reelbar were amazed when I just freaking said, "Enough!" and went and attached the VS Pliers with the security chord to each winder. What I didn't expect was how long they'd last. BTW, I did have to replace the cutters twice on two of the winders. A part timer tried cutting wire leaders and hooks with one and I suspect on the other, similar BS occured. I will keep my eyes open and ask around. If I find something good, I'll PM you. We did have a pair of inexpensive, floating pliers that were colored like the Hartford Whalers colors (green/blue) that were plastic, but they had a metal anvil and a metal cutter. I can't recall who made them though, but they were like $15 bucks. Every guy in the fishing department owned them. Floating pliers. Great for Kayak fishing..etc. I'll ask around.
  6. Well giant basshole, what we have here is two people, you and I, who use pliers for different purposes. You use Manley's to cut hooks when they get stuck in your hand, or perhaps someone elses? -- and also to remove hooks from a fishes mouth. While I use my pliers as a do it all tool. I can cut braid for decades (and mono and fluoro too, with ease), remove hooks from a fishe's mouth and guess what? I can can also cut a hook with my VS pliers. Easily. So if one ever does get stuck in my hand or impaled in someone else, yes, I could use the VS to snip that hook in half with no major problems. They are just as maneuverable and just as effective for cutting a hook. It's just that doing that regularly will ruin by braid cutting ability and if you did it regularly with your Manley's your cutters would also be ruined. So, the VS pliers are actually better, but more expensive. Which is why I posted the SS 6.5" Stalls that have the same Anvil & Cutter as the 7", more pricey but full Titanium pliers. Any way we slice it, the VS pliers are the superior tool. It's not close, but they are more expensive. $60 to $200 or more. That said, I'm not carrying special scissors. Screw that idea, I just don't care to do it when my normal, everyday pliers handle braid no prob-Bob. I'm not saying you're wrong or suggesting the way you're accomplishing the same thing is as I can accomplish with one tool, is wrong. Braid Scissors are what, $20? $15? How do they last? Rhetorical Quesiton. I'll tell you how well. Not well. At Cabela's reel bar, we tried Braid Scissors and after I expensed several pairs per month, I began examining the failed scissors (of all makes imaginable). The VS Anvil creates a flat surface for the cutter to pin the braid against. The result is a quick, effortless cut. The braid scissor uses two moving blades to pinch the braid. Once the gap widens between the blades, due to stress on the tiny pivot joint, the sciccors ability to trap the braid and cut it evenly fails. Time and time again. One pair of VS Pliers connected to each line winding maching lasted over 10 years. It cost a lot less than 30 or 40 pairs of braid scissors per year times a decade. While I appreciate disposable culture, I personally just use the right tool for the job. The VS pliers do everything the Manlys do but they do it way better, for longer. To me, there's no comparisson. Said with respect to you giant basshole.
  7. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above that I couldn't help the poor guy who got rocked in the back of the cranium with some yahoo's plug. If I could have, I would have helped the poor SOB. I'll never forget the sound of that "WHAP!" Having a cheap pair of compact bolt cutters around is a good idea, not a bad one.
  8. Manley pliers are horrible for cutting braid. I mean bad, as in not even usable. VS Tungsten Carbide Cutters slice through braid, fluoro and mono for decades, with no issues. I wouldn't think a pair of pliers primary job would be cutting a hook. Far from it. That's what bolt cutters are for and if there ever is an accident, fine, use the Manley's but they're heavy, they rust if you don't constantly maintain them and they are inferior cutters for braid. Will they get a hook out of a fishe's mouth? Yeah, but who cares? Any pliers can do that right? Personally I just want to snip braid easily and quickly. The VS cutter is one of the best out there for this. That's why the pliers are well liked. The 7" model, which was out of my budget at the time I bought my 6.5 SS-Stalls, is a very nice pair of pliers. VS pliers are also nice and light and for many guys, that matters a lot. I'm trying to make my surf belt lighter, not heavier. Manley's are virutally useless for my applicaitons. If the concern is removing a hook from flesh in an emergency, yes, the Manley has an offset cutter, which is an advantage in tight quarters. But the cutters aren't designed for use at the bench and if you're cutting hooks consistently, compact bolt-cutters are the preferred tool for that. Not Manleys. Even Manley states, "Not for cutting hooks." At Cabela's, Manley pliers were our most returned fishing pliers. The problem? Broken cutters. People tried to cut hooks with them and then cut braid and they either broke or couldn't cut braid. Otherwise, they're a nice all purpose pair of pliers, but there is no comparission at all between real saltwater fishing pliers and Manleys. There just isn't.
  9. Also, regarding mid-tier pliers vs higher end ones. The main advantage to any nice set of pliers is that you'll be able to cut braid, mono and fluoro effortlessy for a long, long time. If you fish more than 150 or 200 times a year, you should get about about 10-years our of the cutters on a good set of pliers. That's the main reason you buy pliers, but yes, they also double for hook removal purposes - which even inexpensive pliers to falwlessy. The 7" VanStaals are listed at $379 these days. They used to make a pair of 6.5" Stainless pliers which actually featured the same cutter as the 7" Titanium pliers and therefore, both models cutters can easily be swapped out with the aid of a #15 Torx-Bit. The Cutters and Anvils run about $34 per piece. You should ONLY cut hooks with this type of cutter in a complete emergency. Same goes for all other cutters that are Titanium Carbide. The 6.5" plier is no longer available, but they were cool because they had an easier to grip with wet hands no-slip handle and they still got the job done at a fraction of the cost (just over $200). I'd highly recommend them. I've had mine since 2007 and they're going strong. I really like them. The only drawback is you don't get the spring open assist or the full Titanium tang & noses. If you don't want to spend much but you want pliers with some saltwater DNA and thought put into them, another way to roll is to get a pair of Dr. Slick's "Barracuda" "Pisces" pliers, for just over $30. The Bullet Head, Chain Nose pliers are 410 Stainless Steel with Tungsten Carbide cutters. Aggressive Jaw Structure Straight Jaw Only Side Cutter Foam Grips 8.5 Inches Lanyard and Holster Included Available in a Satin or Black Finish I'm surprised nobody mentioned these in the thread (than I noticed anyways). Foam Grips, decent cutter (not VS level mind you), better nose length for toothy critters..etc.
  10. A small pair of bolt-cutters is a very good tool to have around, both in the shop and in the water. Side story: So I'm in my early 20's at the time and I'm lured a popular town beach on the North Shore of Long Islan, far away from my usual Montauk or South Shore areas I would normally be fishing during those days. The beach is pretty small and pretty crowded. There's no waves..etc and seems like everybody's launching pencil poppers and retreiving them aggressively. I notice this nut-job really casting erratically and with way too much effort. Dude was also loud. And drinking a beer. I just stood back and watched for a while. Decided not to fish. So as I'm packing up, I hear, "Wooosh." "Arrrrgggghhhhhh" "#@#SS!" The dude smacked somebody next to him right in the side of the head with a large 3oz Pencil. Both trebbles were embedded in the back of the poor bastard's head. I was unable to help, didn't have a small pair of bolt-cutters handy. Gruesome sight though. Fast worward to many years later. I'm on my boat. I've invited some nice neighbors out fishing for the day. I gave one of the fellas a rod and said, "Try this.." Then I moved to other side of the boat and said, "There's a huge one right over.." When I heard, "Wooosh" My ear was almost taken off by the 3oz Metal Lure I had just handed the nice neighbor. I came "this close" to being THAT GUY in the story before. I can't even imagine how painful it would be to get labasted in the side of the head with a heavy metal lure. Imagine...a Diamond Jig, 3 oz or more. God. I finally decided to invest a few bucks in a reliable set of compact bolt-cutters for the plug bag/boat bag. It's not often you have to cut a hook in the field, but they could be an incredibly important safety item to have around. So yeah, bolt cutters can be of use for cutting hook shanks and by the way folks, they do a FAR better job of cutting today's high quality saltwater hooks. It seems that in the shop, I'm constantly cutting hooks, enough so that a pair of Bolt Cutters were needed. I've seen many tools, pliers, bolt cutters, braid cutters all eventually fail. High-volume retail "Reel-Bars" where millions of miles of line gets spooled each year (no joke) have a way of proving which tools hold up and which ones don't. All cutters get dull. Simple as that. But one inexpensive bolt cutter that held up remarkably well over the years in the Reel Bar I ran was a Capri model called the "Klinge." These things are still under $30 these days. So if you're looking for a pair of inexpensive, compact Bolt-Cutters, these little fellers won't sell 'ya short.
  11. I like this take from Matt here, at this spot, in this particular thread. He's right. This is exactly why we "rig" belly mounts on "Canal-style" plugs with fixed-belly mounts with not one, but TWO split-rings and simultaneously omit the rear treble alltogether. The second split-ring assists in helpint the plug "twirl" or spin under the weight of the turning Striper. This is why "solidly-made" custom plugs offer fixed belly mounts. The designers of said plugs understand this. The makers at Diawa and Shimano and Tsunami do not - mainly because plugs with swiveling belly mounts require significantly more enginnering and thus...manufacturing cost. If your goal is to be the least expensive plug on the market, you install a wire hanger and focus on making the next plug. If your goal is to make a real plug, you install a swiveling belly mount and put a proper grommet in place as well. Stripers do attack the front third to the middle of the bait and when the bait is larger, we see this predation tactic in a very pronounced fashion. This is very true. In my striper fishing career/time I concur on this point. It's simply very true.
  12. I like where you went with this lad! Excellent work!!
  13. Hook placement as related to larger patterns can absolutely affect your hookup ratio and the same is true with Plugs. Who's doing the eating also factors into the equation too. Smaller Blues almost always attack from behind and therefore, they "tail-strike." Larger Blues do also, but they may get further into the middle of the fly because in real life, they always take the prey from the tail and they comp forward (repeatedly). Meanwhile, Stripers gennerally srike with a bite that is more engulfing and "concussive" in nature. The objective from their persepective is to stun the prey and then engulf it. They also absolutely do use their tail when bait is on the surface. They'll "Tail Slap" prey and then circle back and engulf it. On smaller patterns, hook placement is perhaps completely irrelevant. But as we get into larger patterns, hook placement becomes what I would characterize as a "thought" as related to fly design. Tube Flies allow a tyer to position the hook pretty much anywhere and it's something I'm constantly fiddling with thinking about when I decide to improvise and try new ideas. The problem with longer shanked "Siawash" style hooks is that you sacrifice a great deal of body flexibility and thus, you inhibit the fly's ability to move. With some patterns, that doesn't matter in the least, but with other patterns, it may matter a lot more.
  14. ...and so you see, what you wear, it depends on the time of year and what you're doing. In the spring and fall and at night, you just go with breathable, solid, abrasion resistant boot foot waders (wetland style). No need for max thinsulate BS either. Just get them to be slighly big, so you can layer as needed. High-N-Dry or Frog Toggs steelheaders seem to be best bets these days. Simms is nice but way overpriced and no better really. For the $$ I like High and Dry. They are SUPER hard to get these days. I tried to buy a new pair this year and couldn't manage to get it done, so I bought an alternative. Why Chest waders? mmmmkay, so, ever heard of Jelly Fish? Waders give you protection against unexpected stings, which if you fish a lot, happen all the time, every day almost. mmmkay? Then in the summer, during the day, you go to flats boots, or studded wading boots with wading socks folded over the tops of them and shorts. Who needs waders when walking on a jetty or fishing on a sandy beach? Just keep an eye out for Jellies. In sandy, open areas, simple flats boots are perfect. I wear these and love them. Little to no sand gets in. A pair of swimming trunks and I'm good by day. I can go with stockingfoot waders and these also. They work well enough. (not perfect, you will get some sand grit wearing the stocking-feet part of your waders. Get them slightly big to accomodate the neoprene sock or wader bootie. Boot foot waders are very clunky and on an 80 degree or warmer day, I'm NOT wearing that crap. I will wear this though and I will have my stockingfoot waders handy in the truck, for the night shift.
  15. The answer to that question is, on a sunny day, what color do the waves (packed with bait) look like, where you're going to be fishing. I can see distinct olive color when Sperring are thick and present. I can see more of a light tan in the late fall when Achovies are round. Perhaps, if intent is to make smaller Achovy patters, therefore go with perhaps the bottom hue and blend more translucent flash into it (clear or pearl) as this will dilute it and lighten it. If you want to make the fly a tiny bit larger, go a bit darker and use the two middle hues and blend more copper or brown flash into into it. My rule of thumb with this fly is be strong with it, show contrast. The belly will light up and do it's job, which is to attract. The Dorsal line needs separate from the Belly. When conceiving a Clouser we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Think of some of our favorite Metals that we throw into the wash or beneath the waves, when we need 10X+ casting distance. The most effective patterns always have superior contrast. Strong Dorsal lines and pearlescent flanks/bellies will provide this. Pronounced eyes also lends an advantage in clear water. The original pattern I designed took this all into account. Strength of contrast. Smaller patterns tend to do better if they literally look like they're topped with color akin to a mug of Root-Beer. Slightly larger patters are almost always better in a strong Olive/Pearl combination. The fly is moving so if contrast and eye silhouette are present and the predator can see the fly at depth, it's game over!
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