Tag: fly fishing hacks

Not So Secret Fly Floatant Formula

If you are keen to fish dry flies and are tired of constantly applying and reapplying goops and pastes to your flies only to watch them sink two casts later, there’s a little surprise in store. Claim to the idea dates back to the gold rush years, but with a few procedural mods it’s easy as pie to brew up utilizing generic ingredients at a generic price. With otherwise patentable results.

We’re talking fly floatant here, and assuming you don’t spill your supply every time you are on the water, the ingredients/instructions detailed below should make enough to last you (and several compadres) an entire season if not more.


The formula and instructions after the jump …


Fly fishing hacks: self-studded rubber-soled wading boots

Self-studded wondersAs much as I like those Weinbrenner wading boots I picked up a few months back, the fact remains they have rubber soles. Rubber soles just don’t grip like felt, but with the latter quickly going the way of the buggy whip I thought I’d make a few tweaks to mine. The improvement? Studs.

Materials/tools I used

– Weinbrenner Propex boots with Goodyear Aquastealth soles
– #6 x 3/8″ zinc sheet metal screws
– A drill with a 5/64″ bit
– A socket wrench

What I did

I first marked a pattern across the boot bottom. I chose eleven spots on each boot – fairly sparse, guaranteeing I’ll still have some rubber on the road. Next, I drilled holes at each mark just a 1/4″ into the boot (slightly less than the screw length) – I wrapped the bit with masking tape that 1/4″ above the tip to ensure I didn’t drill through the sole. I started each screw by hand, and then finished each off with the socket.


MG signing off (to test them on the river full of slimy rocks)

Fly fishing hacks: Do you retrieve with the right hand, the left, or both?

Retrieve hand may depend on sizeWhich hand do you retrieve with? That is the question.

I’m a right handed person, and like most I cast with the right hand and retrieved (i.e. strip or crank the reel) with the left. At least as far as fresh water fishing went. The reason we’re dealing with past tense here is as follows…

Quite some time ago I found myself on a lonely flat in the Keys, in early June. As it happens, my fly managed to connect with a sizable tarpon, and after fifteen or so minutes of fighting I found my right arm and hand cramping up. Call me a sissy if you must, but I even wound up asking for help – my partner-in-crime just laughed. My exhaustion eventually resulted in an exploded rod, when the nasty beast was within fifty feet of the boat and I levered back a bit too much in hopes of putting the nightmare to rest getting the fish in once and for all. I wound up losing two sections of rod, a fly line, and a fly. In retrospect, I realized the cause was simply being a candy-ass tired.

What knocked me down? Casting a 12-weight all morning, and then having to fight the fish with the same arm. Meanwhile, I knew I could have reeled faster with my right hand, only it was incapacitated by the rod in it. Thereafter, I switched retrieve on all the reels I owned which held more than a couple hundred yards of backing to right hand, meaning whenever I hooked up I’d have to switch rod hands before the reeling began. I’m now doing this with all bigger rigs (say anything 8-weight and above), and it has suited me just fine. While I’d like to say I’ve lost fewer big fish as a result, we all know I don’t hook any fish to begin with I haven’t done any empirical study. Nevertheless, it feels quite natural to me now.

I’m fishing the conditions, knowing I can put more line back on the reel with my right hand when I need it most. And I’m giving my right arm a much needed rest in the process. With smaller rods/reels/targets I still cast with the right and reel with the left.

What hand do you fight with? Do you maintain that position regardless of the type of fish you’re targeting, and the gear you’re using? Or are you a switch hitter like I’ve become?

Delusional Inquiring minds want to know.

Fly fishing hacks: Hauling your rods

rodsnrollWhether it’s a road trip for big water Montana trout or a jaunt across town for carp, hauling rods can be a hassle. If you have a truck, problem solved – you drop them in the bed – but if you’re in a car or SUV it’s a hassle. And if you live near the water or can otherwise afford to fish eight days a week, you might even keep several rigs in your vehicle ready to go. You’ve seen the occasional glam shot of Alaskan guides with a dozen rods on a homemade, hood mounted rack – they’ll work fine as long as you’re an Alaskan guide. Another choice is to spend a hundred dollars or more for interior rod racks from a named brand.

Not keen on whipping out the benjamins, for a while I had large bungee cords strung between between the factory coat hanger hooks. They worked fairly well in the front, but in the rear where the reels were located they sagged, and otherwise bounced around on rough roads. It wasn’t until I found myself doing double time down a gravel washboard while running from a tornado did I realize I needed another solution – during that wild ride the bungees came loose and a pile of rigs went flying.

Soon after that run I found myself in AutoZone, picking up windshield wiper fluid, and that’s when I found the Ultra Clothes Bar from Bell Automotive.


These are the the type of bars you see loaded with pressed shirts inside the cars of traveling salemen’s Ford Tauruses. When I saw them in the store, I immediately thought if they can hold two weeks worth of business attire, there’s no doubt they could hold a half-dozen or more rods and reels. And my roughly $36 bet turned out correct.

For an SUV-based redeployment, two of these clothes bars (that’s correct…$18 a piece, plus tax of course) are needed – one in the rear and one in the passenger compartment. They are adjustable for vehicle width, and have hooks on the ends that are designed to work with both standard automotive coat hooks and interior “oh shit” handles. They are made of sturdy metal (exact composition unknown) – at least strong enough to hang hands on (which many of my passengers do now that the “oh shit” handles are in use). The perforated rubber wrapping on the bars, included to keep clothes from sliding back and forth, are a bonus – they protect rod finishes, and I’ve found it makes for a pretty good streamer drying rack too (just slip the hooks into the perforations for the drive home).

For the nine-foot crowd the system works perfectly. Rods are aligned from rear driver’s side to front passenger side, and by wrapped the loose line once around the rod and guides the line won’t hassle anyone but NBA players. I use a very short bungee cord to keep reel end snug, and I’ve carried as many as seven rods this way with ease. And probably saved seventy bucks in the process.

Happy hauling.