Tuesday, December 1, 2015

FLYCRAFT - Kickstarter Campaign

Over the past couple of years I have put up a handful of posts on the Flycraft two person rafts, including a T.F.M. Gear Review after spending a few days in a Stealth while out in Montana last fall.

There is a lot to like about the Flycraft Stealth rafts and as this company looks to grow and expand their reach internationally, they have launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to finance a huge production run.  If you've been on the fence on purchasing a Flycraft then this is the time to jump in.

Ben Scribner of Flycraft wrote...  "I had long envisioned a boat that didn’t exist. I searched and searched for the answer. Everywhere we turned was a dead end. I've been a boat guy all my life, from pontoons and canoes to drift boats. There are a lot of boat options out there, but none could do everything I wanted. As I searched for the perfect boat, I couldn’t help but thinking, “You’re doing it wrong!”. The only solution was to design our own watercraft. After two years of extensive R&D Flycraft was born. 

It has been exciting bringing this product to market and to see the response from people in the US. We are now looking for support from Kickstarter backers to help us increase our production quantities and go international!"

Visit the Flycraft website for more information and check out the Kickstarter page to get in on this deal.

Felt Soul Media - Denali & Senior

I don't know if there are any better duo at the craft of telling a story on film as beautifully as Travis Rummel and Ben Knight of Felt Soul Media.  Sure, there are the fly fishing films but they are really making their mark across a broader spectrum with projects like Red Gold and DamNation as examples.

Here are two favorite short films from the Felt Soul Media edit room that have zero to do with fly fishing but will both bring a smile to your face.

More goodness on the Felt Soul Media website and Vimeo page.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Okay, so I'm in NYC with the family for Thanksgiving and even though my best intentions were to have posts already lined up before the trip, it just didn't happen.  Oh well...

What I did have time for was to snap a couple photographs the other night for this stellar giveaway with Skyhorse Publishing, Aqua Flies, Flymen Fishing Company, Hareline Dubbin, and Vedavoo.

Greg Senyo's book, Fusion Fly Tying, has been out for a couple of months now and I have been blown away by the depth of knowledge and innovation that was put into it.  While others were scratching their heads were not sure about using synthetic materials in their fly tying, Greg embraced it and it's not surprising that there area quite a few flies and fly tying products include his name.

If you tie steelhead, salmon, and trout (there are even a couple smallmouth patterns in there too) flies then you need this book.  Can't wait to win?  Order HERE.

A full review of Fusion Fly Tying is in the works along with an interview with Greg Senyo as well.

When Skyhorse Publishing offered to send five copies of Fusion Fly Tying, I thought that it would be a lot of fun to involve a few companies that Greg Senyo has worked with over the years to make this giveaway even better.  Here's what's in the mix...

One lucky winner will receive the following...


Four fortunate winners will receive all of the following...


There will be a total of five winners.

1.  Send an email to tfmcontests@gmail.com and answer this question... 


If you don't, then it's no problem at all.  Send an email anyways.

2.  Please send only ONE EMAIL submission per email address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

3.  Submissions will be accepted until 6:00 a.m. Monday, November 30, 2015. 

4.  On Monday morning FIVE WINNERS will be chosen by random number generator and then listed at the bottom of this post.  The winner will also be contacted by email as well.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Have a great weekend with your family and friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

10 For Fall

Without a doubt, fall is my favorite season for being outdoors.  This season means camping trips and fly fishing for trout in the mountains.  And of course there are chores that came with fall with moving leaves off the yard but it also mean bonfires in the backyard with family and friends on cold nights.

Fall is by far the best season for these and so many more reasons.

Here's the mix of gear suggestions to be properly outfitted for fall...

In a time where the majority of fly reels are with more drag than you would ever need, there is something reassuring about the song and simplicity of a click and pawl fly reel.  One of my favorites is the Classic, along with the bigger brothers in the Switch and Spey.

There are many ways that the Classic can be ordered and the first decision is ported spool or non-ported spool.  My opinion?  Non-ported every day of the week.  The porting design on these fly reels totally takes the soul out of them and they lose a lot of their looks.  Follow that decision by finish, handle, foot, and drag knob and you truly can customize a Classic to your own perfection.  On last reminder.  Don't port.

Oh yeah, the Abel Reels website says 3/4/5 weight but they are suggesting two hander fly lines.  The Classic is perfect with six or seven weight fly lines.

I splurged on myself for the Classic in this photo and ordered it with the new Smallmouth finish and standard black on everything else.  This one is going to be a lot of fun on my favorite smalljaw fly rods. 

Ryan McDonald of Finn Utility has an interesting take on fly fishing gear and in the Essex Side Bag, he has used long wearing waxed twill, waxed canvas, English bridle leather, and brass hardware to create a gear bag that will carry the essentials for a day on the water and more importantly will be a cherished piece that can be passed within a family from angler to angler.

The Essex Side Bag is just one of many Finn Utility offerings that have classic simplicity matched with aesthetics that will look today and decades from now.  Each piece will wear wonderfully with many stories to tell.  

I am really picky when it comes to wading boots and only look for boots that will not only be long lasting but that they be comfortable, have excellent ankle support, and have built in protection around the foot and toe box.  There is nothing more that I hate when wading than pinching toes or ankles between large rocks.  I want my feet to be protected. 

The latest offering from Korkers has all of that along with their Omni-Trax Interchangeable Sole System which gives you options of the sole you need no matter what the conditions.

I am in a pair of boots all week (and quite a few weekends too) with and when I'm off duty, I am either in flip flops or some sort of approach shoe.  I decided to mix things up this fall and purchased a pair of Oboz Missoula shoes since I liked the looks and feel of these lightweight casual do-all shoes.

Skate styling matched with leather with a supportive insole makes the Missoula and I am currently putting a lot of miles on mine in NYC this week.

Impressive as well are the Oboz company ethics with their donation of shoes to Project Sole, planting a tree for every pair purchased, and their headquarters building in Missoula, Montana is run off wind power.

When Shawn Combs gave me a call last year and to discuss what they should do with the Superfine Glass line up it was agreed that a six weight was in order.  Prototypes were rolled and cast.  I lost one of the prototypes (along with my CFO III) in Pyramid Lake to the "Water Babies" and now have one of the early factory builds in my hands now.

The 8'6" Superfine Glass six weight is really good and think of it as the big brother to the eight foot five weight that is capable in it's own right.  Think smallmouth, carp, light salt, and big trout water with flies of all sizes.  It can handle it all.

The six weight (along with the new longer 7'6" three weight) are not listed on the Orvis website yet but these fly rods are showing up in Orvis shops everywhere.

There is a reason that you're seeing more and more Rising Fish nets splashed across social media with guides and anglers using them.  In short, they kick ass.  These anodized aluminum nets, available in Brookie or Lunker sizes, are solidly built with deep rubber netting and grippy handles when wet or dry and they are available in a mix of colors and handle lengths.

Something that Dylan Rothwell of Rising Fish offers with almost all of his products is the ability to personalize.  This Brookie Net has the Retro Fly engraved on the handle and #glassisnotdead on the hoop.  Dylan wanted to make sure he made it mine and he can do the same for you.

There is a lot of technology that goes into your polarized fishing glasses and Smith Optics really has something special with their ChromaPop polarized lenses.  Simply put, I can see things with ChromaPop through the water that I can't and haven't seen with any other polarized glasses that I've ever worn.

The Guide's Choice is a new frame for 2016 and best fit for medium-large face shape and salso features a integrated (but removable) sunglass leash.  These glasses are comfortable for all day wear and available in four frame colors and five different ChromaPop lens colors.

I have had a long standing complaint with multi-tools with that they are typically not that user's friendly or even useful given all the different blades and tools incorporated in them.  Enter the SOG Switch Pliers which have completely changed my opinion on what these type of tools can be.

The Switch Plier is a new offering from SOG and includes twelve tools incorporated in this handy multi-tool.  The real genius to the Switch Plier is the push button which instantly brings the spring loaded pliers to action.  These pliers (along with the many tools) are very capable, comfortable in hand, and this multi-tool is in my go bag.  These pliers have already come in handy more than once.

My day starts with a coffee and I am always in the search for ways to keep it hot all the way to work to enjoy at my desk while going over emails, reports, and mapping out the day.  The Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug matches old school looks and double walled function with the ease of a push button when taking a drink.  The mug is leak proof and perfect for tossing into the work bag with no worries of a spill.  Available in three sizes (12 ounce, 16 ounce, and 20 ounce) and four color choices.

The Adventure SS Shot Glass Set is tucked into my boat bag for an impromptu moment ofcelebration of a good fish caught with four two ounce shot glasses stacked in the steel carrying case.   File this under a great gift idea for a friend (or yourself) and don't forget to include a favorite bottle of spirits to go with it.    

I've been watching Will and Kelly Watters from their launch of Western Rise earlier this year and have been impressed with their thought forward ideas and designs.  The two pieces that have impressed me from the start were the Bitter Creek Anorak and Granite Camp Pant and you might remember these mentioned earlier this year in the IFTD - Baker's Dozen Of Cool post.

We've had a very wet fall (along with historical 1000 year flooding) and I've put a lot of time in with the Bitter Creek Anorak.  I was first drawn to this jacket for the looks but the fabrics and design really have made this one of my favorite outerwear pieces.  One beef that I have with fly fishing specific jackets is that they don't look right anywhere but on the water.  The Bitter Creek Anorak breaks that mold with classic aesthetics, fully waterproof fabrics and taped seams, and perfect for every day and everywhere use.  The Bitter Creek Anorak is cut with a standard fit and adding a layer or two underneath shouldn't be a problem.

The Granite Camp Pant (and shorts) are made of a hydrophoblic fabric with four way stretch and are your wear all pant for summer wet wading, long trail hikes, and kicked back around the fire.  There are a long list of details built into these pants and wearing them will quickly make them a favorite.  The fit on these is more tailored so order a size up if you're worried on how they will fit.

PLEASE NOTE - Western Rise has a great holiday sale going on now with 15-30% off most items on the website.  Use code "TFM" at checkout and they'll toss in a Riverside Ranch Hat in with your purchase.

Well, that's my "10 For Fall".  What's your essentials for the season?

DISCLAIMER - Items for this post were either purchased at full retail price, on an industry discount, or provided free of charge to demo and review by the respective company.  It should be known that any product that is reviewed on this website is one that I have used and would recommend for others to use as well. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

BLACKLAND WOODWORKS - Building A Fly Box - Part 2

In Part 1 of Blackland Woodworks Building A Fly Box post, Justin Whisenant did a lot of work to take a piece of rough board and began turning it into something that was beginning to look like something you'd want to put a few dozen favorite flies in.  Justin completes the work in this post today and the end product is beautifully done.

The magnets mortised into both halves serve to keep the fly box securely closed.  They also add no bulk to the front like a latch does, so the box can slip in and out of pockets easily

A couple coats of shellac provide protection for the wood.  While fairly glossy, it also adds some texture that keeps the box from being too slick out on the water.  You don’t want to watch your new fly box float away.  Also, the box pictured here is one I just completed for a client, and it had some sensational grain.  I just had to show it off.

My apprentice cleaning the shop.  He’ll be making fly boxes soon enough.

The finish on the boxes begins with a couple thoroughly polished layers of my special oil mix.

Is that liner felt?  Would you like it to be?  That line never works, but this European felt sure does.  This stuff is 100% wool and extra thick and dense to keep flies well anchored.  I tried these boxes with foam liners, and it just did not have any soul.  Moral of story, when you need some soul, find a sheep.

Brass hinges and screws reunite the separated halves.  What was cleaved asunder has been rejoined into one.

This fly box is now complete and ready to be filled with flies.

Thanks Justin for the step by step build on this excellent fly box.  I have an upcoming fly tutorial by Matt Bennett of Fly Geek and we'll be giving away this fly box filled with a dozen of Matt's favorite flies.

Visit the Blackland Woodworks website for more information.  Follow along on the Facebook page and email Justin at blacklandwoodworks@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to place an order for your own fly box.

Delta Trout Force - Son Of A F*sh

Here's some fishy fun for your Monday morning from the peeps at Delta Trout Force.

Check out the Delta Trout Force website and Vimeo page for more goodness.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

ROD CATALOG - Green Machine, Conquistador & Brown Trout Edition

With so much always going on, it's easy to lose track of what all the small shop rod builders are up to.  I was pleasantly surprised when visiting the Rod Catalog website this morning that Vlad Milenkovic has been busy working on several different fly rod taper series, knocking out customer builds, and spending some time on the water as well.

I am continually impressed with Vlad's work and he's always willing to push the envelope with build aesthetics and the tapers that he designs.




Please visit the Rod Catalog website to see more of Vlad's stellar work.