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Michael Gracie

Thumbing it to Andros South

It’s about quality over quantity. Unless you’re standing on a flat with an empty fly box.

With all the chatter about what a pain in the rear it is to fly nowadays, I decided to stack the deck in my favor by doing FIBFest with the minimal amount of stuff possible. I’m carrying just one bag, a 2,600 cu.in. duffle, and going as cheaply as possible on everything besides rod, reel and line. The goal is to do the entire week without borrowing a single item from either the other FIBFesters or our gracious host (other than maybe a little CPU time). Here is the packing list:

bonefishing gearThe Essentials

  • Scott S4S rods(1) in #6, #8, and #10, in a heavy duty postal mail tube
  • Lamson Litespeed reels in 3X, 3.5X, and 4, plus some spare parts for each(2) (’cause I often leave reels directly behind the tires of trucks that are about to back up)
  • RIO Bonefish 6(3), Rio Tropical Clouser 8, Rio Redfish 8 (for when I trash the Tropical Clouser in the mangroves), and Rio Saltwater Tropical F/I 10(3)
  • Roughly 1,100 yards of 30# gelspun backing (don’t be a sissy, you fingers are going to get cut anyway)
  • A leader wallet with roughly a dozen tapered flouro and Toothy Critter jobbies in it, and spools of CFX flouro in 6#, 8#, 10#, 12#, 15# and 20#
  • A hundred flies in a five buck Plano box that doubles as bass bug storage, and another small ($3) Plano box for when we’re on foot

I’ll note that I’m carrying way more flies than I’ll probably need, but it’s a pretty wide assortment, including some weightier stuff for deeper water. Last time around Norman gave me a nice ribbing for not being prepared when we shot over to the West Side, and goodness knows I cave under pressure as it is.

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Fly Reel Anodization Explained: The better to hide from you I say

Ever wonder about all those fancy terms fly reel manufacturers use to describe the finishes on their products? Should you even care if your fly reel is anodized? I did, and do. Thankfully, Phil Monahan of MidCurrent cuts to the chase on the matter:

Fly reels generally come in Type II, although a few may feature Type III anodizing. (Type III is also known as “hard anodizing.”) The “Type” describes the thickness and consequent hardness of the coating. Type II anodizing creates a coating of less than .001 inches, while Type III describes anything between .001 inches and .004 inches. Manufacturers claim that Type III anodizing “penetrates” the metal, as well as coating it, but all anodizing methods penetrate to a certain degree.

What really caught my eye, however, was this:

From a marketing standpoint, hard-anodized reels are a tough sell because they aren’t shiny; the finish is more matte than Type II.

I find it hard to believe that people would choose their reel based on how shiny it is, but I suppose that is the case. I take the opposite tact – I don’t want my gear to look shiny, flashy, etc. as I don’t want the fish to see me coming. In fact, I’ve chosen to stick with Waterworks-Lamson reels specifically for their Hard Alox coating (notwithstanding their otherworldly customer service), because it is both tough AND dull.

Then again, when you suck you need every advantage you can muster.

MG signing off (to find some camo face paint)

Special thanks to The Waterworks-Lamson

I’ve been fishing with Lamson reels since long before it became Waterworks. Before Sage was in the picture even. I caught my first trout with a Lamson reel, and my first dozen spanish mackerel (but that’s a story for another time). They build great gear, and then back it up with the kind of jump-through-hoops service that makes one reminisce about the good ole days of mom and pop shops with their names on signs over the front door.

All of my fresh water gear is cranking Lamson, and much of my salty stuff is too (including the oh so fine Scott S4Ss I picked up this last winter – the 908/4 was taken to task at Deneki’s FIBFest, and a review is forthcoming). The bottom line is…I adore the stuff out of Idaho (and I don’t mean potatoes). Now the love is even more so.

A local Project Healing Waters chapter recently received a contribution of rods and lines, and was obviously looking for some reels. The request went out to Lamson, and there was barely a chance to blink before this hit the inbox…

The reels are being assembled as I write this.

You can make the finest gear on the planet, but without compassion for people less fortunate what do you have? I say not much.

I know our friends in Ketchum have a lot more than just great reels going for them.

Thank you!

MG signing off (to say thanks, again)

Waterworks-Lamson in a clutch

gear bagI’ve been fly fishing with Lamson reels since early in the “Sage days” – as a matter of fact I don’t own anything but Lamson reels, at least when it comes to freshwater equipment. And thankfully, I’m hard pressed to say one has truly failed me yet. However, once in a blue moon, something does go wrong with one of them, but I’ve never been much to worry – Waterworks-Lamson’s warranty service is as fine as fine can be.

[singlepic id=431 w=100 h=75 float=right]The few problems I have had have always been with clutches. A Lamson LP 2.0 was long my go-to trout winder, but about the same time I started fishing the G2/Velocity combo and pushed the LP and it’s six-weight rod friend over to streamer duty the clutch gave out. The LP reels have been off the shelves for some time but Waterworks-Lamson still had a few clutches left, which they sent me forthwith (yes, spares too). That’s a good thing, as I still own the 2.0, have a 1.5 on the Sage LL, and also keep a 3.5 (and spare spool) for windy bonefishing days.

Within the last year and a half, I’ve begun a little change up (although friends say it’s nothing but retail therapy since I never ever go fishing) – the LPs are slowly being replaced by later and greater (note – I didn’t say “latest” and “greatest” because I still look around for deals). I started with the mid range Velocity, and the LP 2.0 with the brand new clutch has just been replaced with an older model Litespeed (which I found brand new in a local fly shop, covered in grime and dust in the back of a display case). The move is mostly because the newer reels are generally an ounce plus lighter than the LPs, and because I like the sealed simplicity of the newer Waterworks conical drag system.

[singlepic id=430 w=100 h=75 float=right]Lighter reels = more fun, although I’ll add the new drags are not without their faults (or at least “were” not without their faults). After a year of use the clutch in the Velocity started sticking, and despite my frequent breakdown and drying after trips. I noticed it was starting to corrode, so I called the company. Sure enough, they’d already solved that problem – the new clutches are now stainless steel (and slightly lighter) than the original steel ones. I got a new one in the mail, less than a week after being on the phone.

No reel is perfect for every fly fishing situation, and no reel will remain without fault forever (even if you are a reel cleaning fanatic such as myself). But it is nice to know the company that makes your gear is willing to back it up with great service. And I’m certain that having a critical part in hand before Saturday rolls around is the equivalent of great service.

Thanks, Waterworks-Lamson.