Thursday, March 5, 2015

Howler Brothers - Spring 2015

The peeps at Howler Brothers have just pressed "GO" on the Spring 2015 line up of new apparel and it's a stellar collection of fly and surf styles with hoppers, roosters, and even the night's stars in the mix.

Visit the Spring 2015 page to see the new collection and remember to use the "TFM14" discount code for 20% off most items on the website.

Gear Review - Grizzly Coolers 40

I've mentioned it before, but my "real life" job is in law enforcement and after years of working investigations, I was transferred early last year to the Special Operations Division for a new experience.  Along with the change came life back in uniform from plain clothes or a suit, a marked patrol vehicle, and new responsibilities which I've greatly enjoyed learning.

About the time that I moved divisions, Grizzly Coolers had sent one of their ice chests to demo and review.  We use our coolers quite a bit, but certainly not every day, and I figured the best way to put the Grizzly 40 to the test was to carry with me for work.  I drive a Ford F-150 for work and had a cable and lock around to secure the cooler to the bed of the truck.

One of the draws for me with law enforcement has always been that no two days are the same.  One day may find me assisting with any one of four different units within our division and I'm just as likely to assist with any number of critical incidents like might occur through the course of the day.

It's not uncommon for our officers to responds to vehicle collisions, structure fires, missing persons, and other incidents that may hold them on an incident scene for hours.  Working in the heat and humidity of South Carolina, it's important for each of us to stay hydrated and having a cooler full of cold waters and Gatorades in the back of the truck has been excellent to depend on.  The couple minutes it takes each morning to top off the ice and make sure the cooler is full of water and sports drinks is well worth it on a hot afternoon when everyone needs a something cold to drink to keep going.  A 95 degree day (with elevated humidity) is no time to go dry.

So, what do I think after carrying the Grizzly 40 around in the back of the truck for the past six months?  No doubt, this is a premium cooler in every feature and aspect of it's "Made in U.S.A." construction.  Grizzly Coolers are roto-molded with pressure injected insulation and come with a lifetime warranty.  The Grizzly 40 features heavy duty rubber latches, 2" drain plug, and rubber feet on all four corners to keep the cooler in place.

One of the complaints that some make with premium coolers is that the capacity doesn't always match the size of the cooler due to thick interior walls.  I've found the Grizzly 40 to have enough room to hold over forty 12 ounce Gatorade and water bottles and small bucket or two of ice.  If you load up the Grizzly 40 with brews or soda pops then you can expect to get almost 70 cans in the cooler with ten pounds of ice.   

Ice retention is extremely high and even in the heat of the summer I am adding just a bit of ice each day to top things off.  Over this winter I've had ice last several weeks without adding additional ice at all which makes some sense since it was as cold outside as inside.  The trick with any ice chest is to cool down the interior and that will greatly assist with your ice retention.  A frozen gallon milk jug is perfect to place in a cooler the night before you're planning on using it.  Once the interior of the Grizzly 40 is deep chilled on the inside, then it maintains ice for days just like it's supposed to.

Added features of the Grizzly 40 include heavy duty rope handles, tiedown slots, embossed ruler on the lid, and they are available in a mix of colors, including some special edition offerings from time to time which are announced on through the Grizzly Coolers social media pages.

So, the big question, how does the this cooler stack up against the other premium coolers out there?  It certainly holds it's own and the Grizzly 40 has quickly become just one more tool that I carry for work and depend on daily.  I expect that it'll perform flawlessly that way for many years to come.

In the market for a premium ice chest?  Please visit the Grizzly Coolers website for more information or visit a dealer near you to check them out. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

True West Custom Fly Rods - Epic DH11

There are a few that have made the T.F.M. Fly Rod Demo Program work over the years and that's the support from the fly rod companies providing fly rods or blanks and the fly rod builders that take the time to build out many of the fly rods that are on the list.  These fly rods have been in countless hands and it's been great exposure to builders and fly rods that not everyone can get their hands on at their local fly shop.

When Swift Fly Fishing started talking about the DH11 two handed blank, I started receiving messages asking if there would be a demo available and Carl McNeil (as he typically does) offered up a blank if I could find a builder.  The DH11 is quite the undertaking with a lot of cork work involved and I sincerely appreciate Tony Overstake of True West Custom Fly Rods taking on this build.

Tony sent along a few photographs of the grip being made and a second post showing the completion of this build will be coming soon.

Want to get on the list for this demo?  Send an email to

Check out True West Custom Fly Rods for more examples of Tony's excellent work.  Follow along on Facebook for the latest shop news.

COSTA - #kickplastic

It's really easy for us all to forget how some products that we use everyday, like plastic grocery bags and bottles, are something that when not recycled can be with us for a lifetime, with many of them finding their way to the ocean. 

Costa recently started a #kickplastic campaign and this video is worth watching and acting on to lessen plastic in our lives.

Check out the Costa Kick Plastic webpage for more information.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. - March News

The small shop fly rod builder has a lot to keep track of and just one of those things is updating everyone on the latest shop news and projects in the works.  Chris Barclay of C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. recently pushed out a newsletter which provides some insider shop talk and what he's up to this year.

I own several of Chris Barclay's fly rods, both five weights interestingly enough, and I am nothing but impressed with this work and the tapers that he's developed.  The 75p is especially fine.

Enjoy the March newsletter...

"Well, it’s March, and a little more wintery than I expected!  It’s been a long and productive winter so far but I definitely am starting to feel some cabin fever - aren’t we all?!  I’ve been spending time re-evaluating and have a few developments I’m very happy to share with you all now."

"Along with a few subtle styling changes and in an effort to keep things simple and personal I’ve decided to take over doing the inscription on my rods.  Before I explain, let me first publicly thank my wife Valerie for doing such a great job on inscribing my rods up to this point.   She persevered with my persnicketiness and excelled at writing on the blanks - conveying exactly what I wanted. She’s a fantastic woman.  Those of you who have seen my handwriting know that it is not my strong suit - my kids write better than I do.  However, I felt strongly that since I put so much of myself into the rods I build that I should also be the one to sign them.  Considering my lack of handwriting prowess I decided to keep it simple and straightforward - just a few letters and numbers. It turns out, this simplicity fits with my preference and overall vision of building functional, simple rods in a classic, timeless style that are designed to help fellow fly fishers enjoy fishing, not add to life’s complexity."

"I’ve also been ‘studying’ some of the great masters…Paul H. Young, Everett Garrison and Mario Wojnicki, to mention a few.   There is an absurd amount of inspiration in what these men have done and continue to do.  From aesthetics to tapers there seems to be no end to the wonders these men created.   I hope I can follow along faithfully! This year I hope to create a few of my own interpretations of what they’ve done and add a little bit of variety to my own rod offerings.  Be on the look out for more soon."

"One detail I’d like to mention is the ‘discovery’ of a grip shape that is new to me.   I found it on a Paul Young Driggs River rod from about 1955.  It’s so clean and simple that I had to try to duplicate it.  It turns out to be one of the most comfortable grip shapes I’ve ever tried so this will now be available as a standard shape along with my interpretation of a mini Wells grip.

In closing, I want to continue to thank all of you who have shown interest in this little fly rod company and given encouraging words or bought a rod.  

Please feel free to keep in touch with me any time to talk fishing, rods, music or dogs.

Really, thank you. It’s truly an honor to help folks get out and fish.Here’s to the coming spring and good fishing!

Chris Barclay"

Check out the C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. website for more information and don't skip over the In Stock page as he has several fly rods ready for purchase.  Follow along on the Facebook page for near daily updates on what he's working on.

Tail Fly Fishing Magazine - Issue 16

Weird cover but over a hundred pages of great content in the latest issue of Tail Fly Fishing Magazine to enjoy.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Captain John Mauser's Epic 686 Build

Through the course of writing this website each day, I get a lot of emails asking about different fiberglass fly rods, comparisons of this fly rod and that fly rod, and suggestions on what someone should look at purchasing.  It's a lot of fun to help someone find that perfect glass fly rod and a recent exchange with Captain John Mauser of Tailing Tide Guide Service was especially interesting since it's great to see more guides get into glass or in his case, coming back to it.


John ended up buying one of the Swift Fly Fishing Epic 686 Ready To Wrap Fly Rod Kits and outlined the build coming together from start to finish on his website.  He does a great job of walking through each step and explaining what he did to build out his "So Blue" Epic.


Check out the Tailing Tide Guide Service website to see John's write up and photographs.  I'm looking forward to seeing some saltwater fish caught on this outfit in the coming months.