BST Users
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About CaryGreene

  • Rank
    1,000 Post Club!


  • 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

Profile Fields

  • Gender

Recent Profile Visitors

9,435 profile views
  1. I'll defer to you on the Double Handers here Mike. I'm assuming you correctly contend that a Double-Hander can throw a compact head quickly, with no moving water. BUT -- what about stripping the fly all the way back and then getting the head back in the air? From a line manufacturer prespective, what about the nuisance of looped sink tips to looped running lines to looped heads..etc. How does that play into strippig a fly all the way back in to your position and then re-casting? With a one handed rod and a fully integrated D/C line, I can strip all the way and re-cast. With a two-handed long rod, the extra reach allows me to strip the final 13 to 15 feet, by sweeping the rod along the waters surface (forming my Spey-D Loop behind me) but stripping 80' or more of line back means I have to hold the long rod under my armpit right? That's a lot of rod to play with, but the act itself is easily possible. For me, I just prefer to use one hand holding the rod when stripping. My reason is that when I cast, I never truly let go of the flyline (with my stripping hand). I shoot it through my hand (creates a bit of extra friction, but high line speed compensates, full line casts can still be easily achieved). Then, I'm instantly in touch, and I start stripping (or count down). I find it cumbersome to do that with a two-hander. D/C heads can easily get down 10 to 15' deep. Sometimes, roll casts don't pick them up. That's one reason to strip all the way back to your casting position. The other reason is that Stripers and Blues often ambush within the last few feet of a retrieve. I'm very open to two-handed rods (I own more than two-dozen of them and have many conventiional and spinning long rods also). But we're talking beach fishing here. When I tide is slowing (flooding or ebbing) or coming in steadily, what are your thoughts on how to handle that with a two-handed rod? Also, the line must play a huge part in how you're using these rods in the surf. So too must the conditions. Lay it out for us in simple terms - from your perspective & considering how you use the two-handed rod in the surf. Also, a separate quesiton. If you could design ANY line for these rods, what would the basic specs be. (I laid out my wishes back a few posts, focus was on single handed rods). I do have many other questions on this. But we'll save them for now, perhaps best asked over a Boddington's! Lastly, the spirit of this thread isn't to inspire people to change what they're doing. I think we're all here to evaluate lines basically. So how YOU'RE using the Long Rods is YOUR topic Mike (not mine). It's about what you're doing, how you're doing it and what works best. Many of us have two-handed rods. Any expertise you can share will benefit all of us. Don't feel restricted. Just touch on lines while discussing and sharing. That way, the conversation stays relevant. I think we all can agree, Long Rods do have a place in Surf Fishing/Saltwater Fishing. Though their application is and always has been very niche, there is good reason to understand the subject as a whole, but from a decidedly saltwater perpsective. I've stated my preferences. 10 to 11', light, single full wells grip, fighting-butt, stiff action (not bouncy) for open beaches with steep drops to get up over the waves and also, deal with sharply dropping beaches. Would be curious if you would quantify your preferences. What jobs are long Rods in the surf good for? For me, there's no real casting advantage to a 15' Rod. If I line a 9' or 10' rod right, I'll get very good distance. For me/to me, a Long Rod gives better reach for mending (implying an advantage where there is current) and better ability to get over the top of waves and keep the backcast clearance higher, plus an ability to fish along Jetties where back cast clearance can be an issue (say you're standing on a rock at the waters edge, Jetty wall of rocks behind you - roll casting or spey casting a short head in that spot is desireable)
  2. Sounds nice! She just texted me and said to get back out there and finish the yard. Also, she said to vacuum the car, you got sand on her side.
  3. Those wood spooks don't work. Must have had a lucky hit. Did the fish have both eyes? can't tell from the picure. LOL (*okay, now that my appropriate greeting is out of the way >>nice one!) ((look at those Bean waders doin' the do!))
  4. Two Hander is the way to go in this instance, much easier to flip line around using two hands and they pack a nice punch! Thanks for sharing the insights with us Greg!
  5. The craftsmanship on Mikes plugs is amazing and they swim amazing and work great. Mike is the Babe Ruth of plug building.
  6. Thank you Popasilov, coming from you that is quite a compliment because you are one of the kings around this place! How many hundreds of people have you helped over the years? Many! Personally, I think you would want true rotary as a feature because you're going to work on the underside of the bucktails and the teasers. Also, you'll be using larger heavier gauge hooks so many of the vices that are suitable for fresh water flies will not cut it for salt water. Even the economical Danvise I pictured above won't really excel with Bucktails, though it will do teasers okay. If you're not tying up many bucktails, why not just skip the vise entirely. John Skinner did a great video on how to make the entire jig from hook to finished product. If you'd rather use some type of vise, which is understandable, any small shop vise sold at Harbor Freight or Home Depot will easily hold a jig hook. Look for something that does not have a smooth jaw but instead has a little bit of texture to it, that will help greatly with gripping the hook. The drawback is you can't rotate like you can just by holding the jig and working on it like Skinner does. But this method will lock down a saltwater jig hook hook, no problemo! With this type of an approach when you're halfway done with the bucktail, just unclamp it take it out of the jaw, turn it upside down and put it back in the jaw. Always keep your eyes peeled for a Dyna King rotary vise because that's perfect for teasers and bucktails. They're expensive though, but every now and then you might find one someone selling at a club or something. It would probably be overkill though for basic work like you'll be doing. My advice may shock a few people around here who have fancy vices, but if you guys saw what I grew up tying on versus what we have available today, you'd be amazed what is possible! The reason it is possible to tie a bucktail without a vise is at the jig has plenty of surface area to grip on to and once you get used to wrapping and handling the jig head, there's no real danger of poking your finger with the hook. Do bobbins make life a lot easier? Yes absolutely. If you do get a bobbin, make sure it has a ceramic insert and also test it to make sure that it's going to hold the size spools you're going to use and that it has plenty of tension and fits in the palm of your hand comfortably. You could easily use Skinner's method with a bobbin also and you could use the cheap vice I have above from Home Depot with a bobbin as well, so there's plenty of room to grow into this. It's also possible to learn how to whip finish with your hand so you don't have to do the wrap over the piece of looped line that Skinner does.
  7. This time of year, surface fishing around low light conditions can be very fun. If you can find a nice deep cold spot where the high tide starts to flood and some bigger fish come in to feed, try a small slook just working back and forth slowly, you don't want it causing a lot of splashes and commotion, just practice walking the spook back nice and steady. If you can find a little current or water is either coming in or dumping out. Just work one of the far edges where the deeper water meets the shallow water. Let the spook drift along and just retrieve it very slowly back and forth. This technique can be very productive all summer long, especially later in the day or early morning.
  8. Oh okay, was just trying to picture whether it was a "Single-Spey" configuration (which it is) or a "Double-Spey" grip. I don't personally care for Single Spey grips for Saltwater but LOVE them for nymphing in rivers and for situations in Saltwater where I have moving water. They can be a joy. Would love to hear more about how/where/when you fish this honey of a rod! This topic actually does belong in this thread because we're contemplating fly-lines and head lengths and tapers and all sorts of other things like line cores, coatings..etc, on and on! It was only natural that rod lenght, grip configuation, taper, hardware and many other things all would come up. Our goal here, in this thread, is to help people line a rod of choice. There is no right or wrong approach. It's all about what works for YOU (not meaning specifically Greg above, but each of us, on a case by case basis) My personal preferences of course are dictated by what I'm doing. Surf fishing is done from open beaches, its done on jetties and its done in salt marshes and back bays. When I think of a beach rod and the needs therein, I think about waves, wind and all sorts of tide stages. I think about miles of sand. I think about rock piles..etc. Considering Greg's rod above as a solution for a beach rod causes me to frown. I wouldn't like it. But - it works for him, in the way he uses. It would benefit all of us to learn more about how he uses the rod and what he's doing with it, so Greg, if you would, in your response, please respond to only what I've said ^^^ up there ^^^ **Now a Note for our many readers: My general thoughts on the kind of rod Greg is describing and whether or not it's a great beach rod. First, let's properly identify the rod itself. It's a Single Spey rod, with a full-wells girp and a second handle. Waving that rod around as if it were a bonefishing rod, double hauling all day, is nearly impossible. It would be VERY tiring. Single Spey grips can be cast in single overhead casting fashion (when double-hauling) but it can be very stressful on the wrist and arm because they are not ideally balanced and they add weight to the rod. Usually, a Single Spey rod is often cast with two hands, using moving water to "water-load" the blank, or, using short Skagit style heads and using a modified Roll-Cast called a "Spey" cast to arealize the Head. Due to the extreme weight of the short, compact Skagit head, not much effort is required to zing it a suprisingly good distance. It is also possible to Spey cast with a rod that has only a single "Full Wells" grip (the kind you see any garden-variety 9' saltwater rod). BUT - just like it's harder to cast a Single Spey rod (with the slightly longer Full Wells front grip and mini second grip behind the reel seat), it is less efficient and more tiring Spey Casting without the use of your line management hand on the rear grip. For those that have never Spey Cast a true "long rod" like the one's Mike is talking about in the thread, it's actually effortless. You can relax and cast all day long. The Fulcrum of a Spey Cast makes casting very easy. Therefore, and most manufactuerers don't get this all, not even remotely, THERE IS A PLACE FOR LONG RODS on the beach and in saltwter fishing. Contrary to all the marketing stuff out there that suggests 9' saltwater rods are what you want. The problem is, we have precious few lines for Saltwater long rods and the ones we can make work don't have suitable tapers for Saltwater fishing. That said - Double-Hauling has it's advantges though, so there is a trade off. If your rod is light and easily managed, then Double-Hauling is an optimal way to accurately throw long casts, from open beaches or from the deck of skiff or center console boat. When we get into waves and standard 1-3' or 3' to 5" surf, getting up over those waves is important. This is why I personally prefer a longer, single-handed rod with a single, full-wells grip. Something 10' to 11' in length. 20 years ago (or so) few companies made Salmon Fishing rods with single full-wells grips. Other companies made "Single-Spey" rods 10' to 11' long (or longer even, up to 12'9" I think) that came with the slightly longer front full-wells and rear grips. I kind of went a direction with my preferences that made it hard to find a readily commerically avialable solution. Orvis made a Trident TLS 10' 8wt 2-piece that was really good for light-duty surf fishing, it had a single full wells grip and a fighting butt. It was light and easy to cast, double-hauling was no problem. They designed the rod for salmon fishing though, so it was on the "slightly too bouncy" side as most of the rods in this category always seem to be (but not all of them). This was the first 10' 8wt single handed rod I ever fell in love with for beach fishing. A few Years later and kudos to Bob Popovics for exploring the possibility of a longer rod, with a single full-wells grip and a fighting butt -- NOT a mini rear-handle! St. Croix did a Legend Ultra per his specs, in a 9wt too which is IDEAL for all-season beach fishing but they are a salmon fishing company and their tapers are BOUNCY by design. They seem to have slapped his name on a salmon fishing blank and gave it the right grip for beach fishing, unfortunately, the blank itself was pretty heavy (by today's standards) and as a said, bouncy. Still, it was even better than the 10' Orvis Trident TLS and so it became my preferred beach rod (by a mile). Was it hard to cast? Not at all. I could double haul and send a standard 275 or 300 grain D/C fly line into the backing with amlost no effort. Then came the rod that blew my mind. I had Steve Rajeff to Cabelas in East Hartford for Captains Days one year and over lunch, I was blithering away about how nobody makes a true single handed beach rod. Boom. Problem solved. THIS arrived in the mail one day, ATTN: CARY GREENE So now we had an exceptionally light, much stiffer 100% salwater DNA beach rod. A 10' 9wt. Lighter than most 9' rods of it's day, this 10' G.Loomis NRX quicly sold out and became completely unavailable. It featured a standard Full-Wells grip and a fighting butt. The carbon fibre reel seat reduced weight. It had crushable RECOIL guides a swelled tip and a fast, progressive taper. This rod made 125' casts easy. Crazy-cool beach rod. I have three of them and they are by far my favorite beach rods. If you want a rod like this, it may be best to build it or have someone build it for you. They are very hard to come by these days and in fact, only a handful have ever been made. Most of the ones that have been made are simply too soft, because they're designed to water load and Spey cast with. The reason I mention and picture all of this is because, many fly-fishermen fear long rods because quite frankly, they have almost always been generally too bouncy as and also too heavy to put a single full-wells on and appoint with salwater grade hardware. It made no sense to even try the above. However, in theory, if a rod is light enough and conmfortable enough to operate, it's length can easily be more than 9' long. But, herein lies the problem. Longer rods ARE WAY HARDER to control casting single-hand, double-haul style. Most casters will have markedly better resutls with shorter rods. That's because the tip of a longer rod travels a significantly longer distance and therefore, it magnifies casting issues regarding the back cast, forward cast and casting arc. A slight problem with a 9' rod becomes a big problem with an 11' rod. Shorter rods are easier to cast. When I say shorter, I mean a 7'6" rod is by far easier to cast than a 9' rod and consequetnly, a 9' rod is way easier to cast than say a 10' or 11' rod. However, the longer the lever is, the more advantages it has for beach fishing - to a point. I think 10'6" or 10' is an optimal length to get over standard waves easily enough. I'm often casting into moving water but it may be a was off and there may be slack water between me and the moving water, so double-hauling is by far going to be my best-bet, day in and day out. My preference for a beach rod is that it needs to be versitile. This is why I prefer at least 9', up to 10'6", as light as possible, proper saltwater hardware, stiffer, faster taper, single full-wells grip and a fighting butt. That's what I want out of a surf rod. The moment I get off a beach and onto a Jetty or into a salt marsh, or go out on the skiff or center-console, I go to a 9' rod and that seems to be good, though even shorter would be great also. The G. Loomis Short-Stix rod series is amazing for kayak fishing - very easy to cast. Rod length is an important part of selecting the right line. When I use my beach rods (all 10' to 11'9"), I usually need to cast far and get up off the waves. So, I like lines with heads at least 40' long, preferablly though, even longer. The Sic A Sonar Camo Intermdeiate is about perfect for this type of fishing. a 50' Head is exactly what I like. If I don't have a sharp beach drop off or high waves, or a dire need to mend my line (like when channel fishing or working an outflow), I will usually go to a standard 9' rod and be quite happy, in which case, I chose the head length of line for what I'm doing and a 40' head would be an All-Purpose type solution.
  9. My Thoughts on Vises: Lots of brands out there, for price point the Danvise, which used to go for $90 and is still reasonable at $112 is going to be hard to beat for what it is. It will handle most flies and the cam-style jaws are very good. Moving up a notch, I always recommend the Renzetti Traveler Pedastal with the longer bench shaft, which if you buy alacart - gives you higher clearance off the desk surface. Renzetti's Clouser is also decent: True Rotary ability is very nice so any vice that offers that is especially beneficial. I tied for several years on Regal Pedastal with a Bronze Base. I grew to love it. But, it wasn't true rotary. From there, I went to the Renzetti, which was great for Saltwater flies but not for Bucktails. So, I still wasn't satisfied. I bought a Dyna-King so I could do Bucktails, but hated it for Saltwater Flies (compared to the simple Renzetti as described above). The rotation was clunky on the Dyna-King, but, it had a head that could hold very large hooks. Eventually Regal came out with their Revolution series vise. This is a fun vise to tie on. If you bounce from one sized fly to another and value simple, quck, strudy hook grabbing combined with lightning fast rotating ability (thanks to an actual ballbearing assist), this is a fantastic vise. It's pricey but worth it. Personally, I tie on a Norvise because it's superior to the Regal - mainly because I can do more with it, but also because I find it to be the absolute perfect vise. I feel I'm set for life with the NorVise and I truly love it. It has a ball-bearing assist cam, so I can crank flies out way faster. The head is balanced, no lop-sided appenditures to affect spinning. This is key for applying epoxy and other coatings to flies. I can switch heads in seconds, so anything from a midge to a saltwater bucktail (tied on a massive jig hook) is a snap. I can do tube flies, you name it. Mine is set on a granite surface that I cut myself. Here is a picture of their Legacy Vise from their website: Mostly I tie with the Large Jaws or the Standard Jaws They also have a Tube Fly Head And a new Shank Jaw which is pretty cool too. I've been testing it lately. Great option. Then of course there is the offest for Midges or smaller trout flies Ball Bearing assist gives you a whole new world of possibilities. Thread goes on a hook-shank like lightning. Body Braid..etc. All a snap. That matters if you tie like I do, in stages. I don't just make a single fly. I make a couple dozen (at least) in a single sitting. I'm a fast fly tier. My flies don't fall apart either, they're extremely durable. Manipulation of fur, feathers and sythetics is a learned skill, just like using scissors the right way is a skill. I tie in a workshop utilizing natural sunlight as much as possible, but also using multiple LED lamps with telescoping necks. Many saltwater patterns these days are more like assemblyline work than actual tratidional Catskill fly pattern tying that I grew up doing. I have over 200 Norvise empty bobbin spools, which I load mostly with .004 clear mono, but I also use flatwaxed mono for larger Saltwater patterns and Bucktails (mainly becuase it's superior for locking Bucktail fibers in place but also, because it's great for applying a low profile thread base that resins can adhere to). I'll load 20 or 30 bobbin spools in one single maneuver (15 minutes of work once you get good at it) using a drill bit and special Norvise chuck that inserts into the empty spool. Basically I'm peeling thread OFF OF a pre-existing spool, instead of using a bobbin that holds the spool. I love the automatic feed of the NorBobbin. Another incredibly cool part of the NorVise system is the thread post. Instead of an appendage hanging off the Vise post, its a free-standing post with a rubberized stopper. You can reach accross from wherevery you choose to flush mount the vise and simply hang the thread off the post, or, give it an extra wrap on the stopper, then spin the vise and work on other parts of the fly, with other threads or materials. I do this constantly with articualted patterns ..etc. Love this feature! It's also terrific for making Dubbing Brushes. You can position the thread holder on one side of your tying surface, then position the Vise on the opposite side. 3'? 4'? further? It's now possibly to make lightning fast Dubbing-Brushes. 1. Clamp a wide gap short shank Hook intot he jaws of the vice. 2. Load a bobbin with med-fine stainless or fine stainless steel wire. 3. Thread the hook and tie a half hitch, leaving a tag as long as you'd like your dubbing brush to be. 4. Make a rectangular object that is the same height off the tying surface as the vice jaw / hook eye. Clamp the tag with a rubber tipped shop grip and let it dangle. 5. Move the bobbin and lay it accross the rectangular object's surface. I use a hand poured concrete brick that I made from a mold, which I then glued a 1/8"-thick felt on the bottom of also on the top of. You could also make an object from a block of wood as well..etc. 6. Now, you have a wire running from the hook-eye, accross the rectangular "table top" and dangling from the table top is the bobbin. The wire is laying taught and flush. 7. Next, lay out your dubbing brush materials and or pieces of flash accross the table top and on top of the wire. 8. Now grab the clamp that is dangling from the hook eye and simply lay the tag-wire on top of the underwire. The materials are not trapped between the two wires. 9. Open the clamp and now catch both wires in the rubber lined jaw. Now snip off the wire that's on the bobbin and slap it on the thread post, so it's out of the way and still has gravity tension (a feature of the NorBobbin). 10. Grab the clamp in one hand and spin the vise slowly in the other. Set the wire down accross the table if needed to comb out the bursh a bit. Then lift and spin the head faster. The ball bearings allow the vice head to spin very fast, many revolutions per second. When the brush looks right, stop spinning and clip the wire off the hook-eye. 11. Dubbing brush is now finished. Now make the next one. Bam. 10 Burshes make in what? 5 minutes? Lay them aside, move on to next steps to mass-produce a couple dozen ridiculously cool custom flies. I've tried many vises (some custom made) and I've been tying for 50 years now! Imagine that! That's a long time to be growing into the hobby of a lifetime. Personally, I do love the Norvise, but it's an investment for serious fly-tyers and lure builders. "This is the way!" (Mando fan here) Yes, my shop is loaded with all sorts of tools, from cermanic tile saws to bench polishers to airbrush boxes to compressors to drill presses, lathes, steel wire shaft bending jigs, all sorts of fur & feather lockers, synthetics storage, pot metal molds, epoxy warmers, Block Tin and Metal stores, blow torches, jig-saws, band saws, planers, jacks, air tools, on an on - and even a custom made current tank for experimenting. I guess you could say I take tools seriously. Many of my tools are older, my dad was a shop teacher and I inherited a basement full of fun stuff, but I've added tons of pieces to the shop as I've gone along. One thing I've learned along the way is that the right tool for the right job always makes the job easier. --and-- The right materials make tying a certian fly easier. It's like any DIY task really, you can make it easy or you can make it hard on yourself. Life is one big series of choices. I do give the Nor-Vise itself a "10." I haven't found a vise I like better and believe me, I've played around. One of the benefits of working in the tackle industry is that you get to experiment and try almost anything you want to look into. For me, the ball-bearing assist and the changeable heads were a big reason to go all in on a Norvise. But when you factor in the value of the thread post being as far away from the vise as you want to position it and the Bobbin system, it all combines to do more than any tying system I've seen yet. Is it for you? Who knows! A Norvise isn't for every fly-tyer. At different stages of my life, I was very particular about my vise and in fact, all my fishing equipment. I think we all are like that. I source most of my fly-tying materials straight from the manufacturer (to keep costs down) and I haven't bought materials in MANY years. I also hunt and most of my furs or fibers are harvested. Luckily, I have access to a bird farm where we have some pretty cool birds and when they croak of natural causes, I harvest the capes. Perhaps a person gets to a point in this sport where you they use what they've got and it works for them. I'm clearly there - LOL. From reading this thread, I see many others are at or near this point as well. Their vise works form them and what they do. If you are thinking of really getting into fly-tying and maybe advancing from a good or a very good vise to an expert level vise --and-- if you tie Saltwater flies avidly and are passionate about it, I would HIGHLY recommend watching me tie a few patterns on a Norvise, then trying it. I do think the vise is at the top of the spectrum. Is it a work of art like some of the custom made vises out there? Not asthetically but functionally, zowy. It's pretty hard to beat the versatility of the Nor-Vise system. I have an older Brass Norvise set up on a wood plank in the den and every now and then I'll do a tying class or presentation for a club and I'll bring that vise, so if ever our paths cross, I'd be happy to show any SOL member/person what is possible. Final Thoughts on the Renzetti Vises: The Renzetti Jaws are very unobtrusive and that means you can access the hook very easily as you're tying a pattern. They have a pretty fine Jaw Tip too, so once the hook is in place, putting a tail on a fly or working the back 1/4 of the shank is really easy. Because of the offset arm, you get a lot of clearance on the back of a fly. This is great for Decievers and any pattern with a longer tail really. That's why I mentioned the Renzetti, which is easier to tie on than say the Danvise. Final Thoughts on the Regal Vises: A Vise many tyers move up to from the Renzetti is the Regal Revolution Series. Both manufacturers make great vises but the Regal Revo features a ball-bearing assist, which means it spins VERY easily and fast. This might be a feature a production tyer would like. The 'Zetti spins nicely and the handle is virutally weightless, so when spinning slowly the rotation is smooth, but the Regal has bearings and it's another level up from non-bearing rotary vises. Final thoughts on the Norvise: is mounted on a post that you attach to a tying surface and for me, that was something I wanted to do. I wanted to create an amazing tying area in the shop, with a single post coming up out of it. The therad post sticks up in similar fashion (as you can see from the picture above) and it creates a kind of ulitmate simplicity or "zen." If I get interrupted during an "assembly" stage, I just but a fast whip finish in wherever I'm at, then, dangle the thread off reach across to the post and quickly dangle the thread from the theread post. When I come back, I grab the thread and go right back to tying. Because no counter weights or handles are hanging off the head of the vise, it spins longer and more easily and less obtrusively than say a Regal will. This matters becasue when you apply resin to a pattern and then spin gently, you want easy, effortless rotations that don't "jump" to whichever side the counterweight or the handle/arm on the vise is. Norvises spin easily and uniformly true. I also like the jaw locking ability of the Norvise. I can really clamp down. With the Regal, the simplicity is nice because all you have to do is open and close and the hold is very good, but the Norvise jaw power is crazy good as well so all things considered, the Norvise is to me, an even slicker set up than a stand alone vise because I can do more with it and access the fly a little more easily (Regal Jaws are clunky compared to the Renzetti and the NorVise). If you're looking for a portable Pedastal vise, You an also easily mount both the Nor-Vise itself and the Thread Post on Heavy Metal or Stone bases. Then, you can move them around so there's that to consider too.
  10. Hi Greg, Interesting thoughts. So you like a rod longer than 9 ft too? But not anything past 10 ft? 10 ft is an excellent length for the surf - I think. In fact, if a blank is light enough I'm good up to 11 ft. Personally, but I definitely like a single-handed grip because I do a lot of single-handed casting and as mentioned operation of the rod with one hand opposed to tucking it under my armpit. Does the rod you like have a two-handed grip or is it a single spey hybrid grip?
  11. **Said more as a note to our readers than in respnse to Mike on this point - when fishing in river, there isn't a huge need to strip a fly all the way back to where you are standing. You can launch line and cover areas of the river, letting the fly pass through them, either by dead drift method or by mending and swinging line. Shooting heads are fine for this style of fishing and they easily allow for quick changes. You can move from heads with various sink rates to handle changing water flow..etc. You can also change SH Head lengths and switch to ones with different grain weights as well. In Saltwater fishing though, we do often strip a fly all the way back to where we're standing. Therefore, a SH that is looped to a running line becomes much more undesirable than a line where the Head is integrated into the Running-Line. Also, after stripping the fly all the way back, there's the matter of arealizing the Head again AND the issue of the hinge in the cast that even the slickest of braided loop to loop connections cause. Therefore, Shooting Heads are kind of niche solutions. They'll work fine for some applications and not well at all for others. **Again said more as a note our readers - Mike's statement kind of still holds true today. Most commonly available SH today are of the compact ilk. For most of my personal fishing, I also like Head lengths of 40 to 55' becasue lines with longer heads generally cast more accurately and better at distance. Once a fly line starts to "shoot" there is obviously a finite amount of extra distance it can cover, before the head begins to snake and the cast begins to erode or "dump" as Mike says. Longer Heads reach out further before this inevitable process occurs, hence, for distance applications where accuracy matters most, longer Heads are easily better than shorter ones. That's why many Flats fishing lines feature longer heads with smoother, more progressive tapers. The same holds true in Freshwater Dry-Fly fishing. When trying to land on the nose of a Tailing Permit at 90', shooting a compact head isn't the best option - far better to have a line with a longer head that can still turn over a weighted crab pattern - so the Leader and the Head both work together to give a straight-line presentation. Personally, this is why I don't care for compact heads and unless I absolutely need one because of lack of room to backcast or need to shoot line quickly, I become choosy and prefer 40' Heads for all-purpose work and longer ones for more specific applications. In my hands, I can load a 40' Head just as easily as a 30' one, so I get very little benefit from a 30' Head. Other casters may feel the 30' Head works decidedly better for them, which is of course fine because it's entirely and individual decision. This is a golden-nugget from Mike, regarding using Long Rods in the surf. Interesting closing and very similar to my thoughts - coming from my use of Long Rods in Rivers and also in Salt. Mike, you are our resident expert in this category, so I thought it would be very beneficial to get your simple thoughts on this topic into this thread and without derailing a Manufactuerers Line Review into a dissortation of Long Rods in the surf. My Thoughts on Long Rods for Surf Fishing? - I often fish on beaches with sharp drops. There is sometimes back-cast clearance issues facing me as well. I try to fish near moving water, where there is some sort of structural funnel point that delivers bait to staging predators. Long Rods excel when there is moving water present. BUT - I also often need to strip a fly back to my position and operating a Long Rod tucked under my armpit, while stripping fast is a genuine pain in-in-the-ass. I also fish out front a lot. I've come to the point where I think a comprimise is best. I like a rod 10 to 11' long, that's very light and not bouncey like most Spey Rods are designed to be. I like something that handles and flexes like a single-handed 9' surf rod does, but that is a bit longer to give me more clearance on my back cast and also, so that I can reach out into current and mend line easier. Greater reach is often an advantage (to me). I also don't always strip a fly back quickly. I tend to work some flies very slowly and on the bottom. One-handed operation while retrieving is key for me. I rarely place a surf rod under my armpit. I like to control the rod with my dominant hand and manipulate the rod tip while retrieving. Rods that are "too-long" suck at this becasue their elongated rod grips make them awful for one handed operation. Not to mention, the secondary grip on the seat of the rod makes single handed casting all the more difficult. Long Rods easily work best when using two-hands and they are a joy to cast when that's an option. But, for most surf casting, I find too many advantages with a single handed rod to part with one in favor of a long rod. As far as head lengths, on two-handed rods I LOVE longer heads. Again, I'm using moving water to my advantage and therefore, booming roll-casts and Spey Casts are possible, plus, tremendous line mends are possible as well. Therefore, sometimes I will break out a long rod for certain applicaitons and sometimes, I use a full-on Spey Line with a long head. It's not optimal for turning over larger flies, but with standard Decievers and Clousers, it works pretty stunningly well. I like the Rio Long Head Spey line, used with and without sink tips, as one way to flick effortless VERY LONG casts. (120'+). Sometimes I actually want most of my line to float, especially when I'm drifting crab patterns, shirmp flies and other types of patterns where I might even be surface fishing (Gurglers). I don't care for the taper of this line and I wish it had a more uniform belly. It's too wimpy for bigger flies too, which is a drawback as I said. But what I do like about this line is that it has a 66' Head so it's a really specific specialty line for me. I also use this line on single-handed surf rods (10' or longer), when I want a floating line with a long head and yes, I will use short sink tips on it as well from time to time. Antoher tactic I'll deploy with a Long-Rod in the surf is to use a more compact head approach, as Mike descirbes above. I only do this when I don't have to retrieve the fly all the way back and re-cast it (as I mentioned). I start with a Running-Line. I like the Airflo Ridge Running Line Extreme. It comes in 20#, 30# and 50#. I personally like the 30# for most of the applications I deploy this method for when surf fishing. Next, I'll Loop on the Airflo SKAGIT COMP F.I.S.T. Head, which is 22 1/2' Long and features a Floating rear portion of Head, an Intermediate Middle Section and a Type 7 Sinking Front Section. Then, I will either use a 7 1/2' Lightning Leader looped directly to the F.I.S.T. Head, or, I'll loop on a Sink Tip This effectively gives me a 32 1/2', very heavy shooting head that excells at loading a long rod with two hands (effortless two-handed casting). I don't stop there either, because this strategy, for me, dovetails into single-handed rods and overhand casting. One thing you (our readers) may have noticed is that even the D/C lines that are available for saltwater fishing simply don't cut-it much of the time. Sink Rates of 7-ips are cupcake-city in strong currents, when water is deep (90' or more, easily). Open water fly-fishing is not something any line manufactuerer getts yet I'm afraid. So, I use what's out there and improvise. I also use these same Sink Tips on the RIO Long-Head Spey line above. I love that the Sink Rate options with these tips ranges from 7-ips, to 10-ips, to 14-ips and even 18-ips. I frequently even loop a 10' or 18' tip to a D/C Fully Integrated Sinking line as well, to make the wimpy D/C line vastly more appropriate for open water boat fishing, thus enabling me to stand a chance of getting down on a drift in strong currents found in the Race or Plum Gut or off Block Island and in and around Fisher's Island. I have to be careful NOT to strip the head back all the way to the point of bringing in the Sink Tip, that's the only drawback to the strategy. In a boat, I often have no issues keeping the sink tip out of the guides and the only time it will come back in is when landing a fish. To Mike's points above, he's right. They really don't make appropriate lines for Saltwater Long-Rods but I'm using his point to open Pandora's box at this stage of the thread. My biggest complaint with lines made regarding Saltwater lines today is that they're just not thought out well at all. I'll spell it out here and now. Here's what we need: Floating Lines: 30', 40' 55' options. 200, 250, 275, 300, 325, 350, 375, 400, 425, 450, 500+ Grain Weights in both a Coldwater and a Tropical Option Intermediate Lines: 30', 40' 55' options. 200, 250, 275, 300, 325, 350, 375, 400, 425, 450, 500+ Grain Weights in both a Coldwater and a Tropical Option D/C Fully Integrated Sinkin Lines with Intermediate Running Lines: 200, 250, 275 - 30' Type 7 300 - Type 8, 325 - Type 9, 350 - Type 10 All 33' 375 - Type 10, 400 - Type 10 , 425 - Type 11, 450 - Type 12 All 35' 500+ Type 12 30' All models available in both a Coldwater and a Tropical Option This would be a comprehesive starting point from which D/C innovation could move forward. The overall assortment of Floating, Intermedaite and D/C lines would allow fly-fishermen to pick the exact head lengths and grain weights they want for given situations. With technology what it is today, I'd challenge the industry to offer the above D/C lines with Intermediate runnings lines that moved to Quad-Density Heads (3ips-5ips-7ips-to final densities of 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12-ips depending. If a company were to do the above and lay it out really clearly, it would look something like this: 1. WF Floating & Intermediate Lines, Coldwater or Tropical Bird Squall (30' Head) All-Purpose (40' Head) ICBM (55' Head) 2. D/C Lines - Quad Density, Coldwater or Tropical Who knows where an assortment like that would lead, but it would cover all bases and it's a hell-of-a-lot more on-point than offering 5 to 12 lines all named something stupid and having only limited choices available. It's my challenge to Line Makers to wake up and do more.
  12. Hey Mike, when you have time, would you please take us through the lines you like for the long rods, your thoughts on shooting heads..etc? Much appreciated (said in advance).
  13. There is a lot to any sport, fishing included. What's cool about fishing is that there's always room to grow and learn, no matter how into it we get! What's cooler still is all the great people who we meet on our journeys, most importantly those that fished before us and the kids who will fish long after us, God willing that there are still fish left to catch! Yes, I think we all should review Shooting Heads. I'm heavily into them personally so from my perspective, it would be fun. There are a number here in this thread already who use them too, which is great! First up though, I have promised to do Tropical lines. Heads will be next though, after that okay!? When we quantify Shooting Heads these days, the biggest applicaiton from a line-sales perspective is clearly river fishing and a lot of the drainages that people fish for Salmon and Steelhead have cold, sometimes deep, usually swift running water that may lack open places to backcast. Quarters are often tight, and overhanging brush and trees are very common issues that fly-fishermen have to deal with. For this reason, most of the Heads we're seeing these days are meant to capitalize on this market and cater to those fly-fishermen who need solutions. Therefore, Skagit heads, which are very heavy and quite deliberately short in length are designed to conquer moving water and excel in tight quarters. Juxtaposed against the proliferation of Skagit (and Scandi) heads are open beaches, jetties, salt marshes and other saltwater environments like outflows. There isn't a huge market from sales perspective with saltwater fishing and shooting heads compared to the river fishing market. That said, saltwater is a phenomenal opportunity to deploy shooting heads and longer rods, one that is really still very underground and not mainstream. Just because shooting heads aren't popular in saltwater doesn't mean they're not effective or viable. Line sales seems to drive innovation and availabilty of various types of lines that we see on the shelves of fly shops and advertised on the internet for purchase. I will be delving into all of this when we do a proper review, but for now, we'll have to aswer with a general, blanket statement to the effect that longer shooting heads are not commonly available. The trend in the industry was to shorten the heads and increase their grain weights - for the obvious lack of room to back-cast related reasons. Line coatings have come a long way, some manufacturers now bond these coatings right to the very core of the fly lines and impregnate it throughout the line's diameter. The benefit is that as the line's wear, they remain hard and thus slick. That said, braided mono running lines, while noisy, will easily outlast a shooting head's lifespan. Braided mono never cracks and the longer it lives, the more it tends to sink (because it gets nice and dirty, collecting tons of micro-debris over time). Saltwater fly line sales is dominated 10 to 1 by Tropical Floating lines, designed for single handed rods, for flats fishing or for use from the deck of a skiff. Therefore, considering that the lines are cast and stripped back and then recast numerous times per outing, one piece "integrated" lines dominate line sales because they are far more convenient to use. That said, a shooting head with a braided running line is infinitely more durable and when you replace it, you only need to replace the head. Is there a place for 40' to 55' plus heads? Yes, but its a niche that wouldn't produce much or substantial enough sales volume so thats really what holds this category back from being both viable and something manufacturers would be motiviated to pursue.
  14. They all count! Unless you were fishing with the aid of a boat, then nothing counts! LOL Maybe Tim S will one day do that! He should! SOL has always been my personal favorite site and in particular within this community, I love the die-hard surf guys and the saltwater fly-fishing crowd as well. We are all brothers. Here to help each other!
  15. Great feedback Tin Boat & thank you for giving it! I have a stated goal of doing a Tropics review this winter, I've promised before Christmas. Right now, I'm fully immersed in testing them actually, but I have a lot of the work done already.