Thursday, August 14, 2014

Reel Case II

Messing around with some heavy veg tan leather today and practicing carving and tooling. I gave my last reel case to a good friend yesterday.
My wolf. Practicing tooling and stamping. This is quite small and probably not ideal for learning the basics. Turned out  OK though. 

Another idea and certainly something I'll use again in the future. 

You can see the reference for size here. I tried painting the fish... meh. I'd like to try red and green paint. 

Getting ready to stitch. First though I added black edging dye and hand punched 48 stitch holes on every edge. That's 192 stitches.  

Before conditioning. 

After conditioning. 

I love this print and I do it with a small square stamping tool. 

A new home for my 43 year old South Bend reel. It fits perfectly. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reel case.

My first try at a reel case. I bought a vintage South Bend reel a few weeks back. It matches my South Bend glass rod and was made in 1971, my birth year.
  I don't feel vintage though. I've been killing it in the weight room and in my runs and I feel stronger than ever... but I digress. I bought the leather to match and I tried my hand at stamping and I like how it turned out. I found the faux shearling at a thrift store.
  Fly fishing... it's a beautiful and amazing art.    

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Spent the better part of the day on the river with my boys. Ben is really interested in learning to fly fish and he's picked it up immediately. Sorry to gush... but sometimes I'm overwhelmed by how awesome my boys are. I'm shocked that there is love so intense. Ben is already a far better man than I could ever dream of being. He's incredibly thoughtful for everything in the world. He picks up trash because it hurts Mother Earth and he hovers over Liv, constantly vigilant and protective. And Liv... he's like me which worries me. Fearless and careless and I love it. Today was one of the better days I've ever had in my life.

Ben's pick

Teaching Ben how to tie a fly. 


Benny fly fishing

Best friends

My Leadville 100 belt

Wild raspberries

Liv explaining the movement of the water

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday night.

Raining and ~50 degrees. Heading down to the river . 
All to myself. 

First casts with the glass rod.  I'm sold. The subtleties of glass are beautiful.  

This is me happy. 

Monday, July 28, 2014


This guy was the drummer for Nirvana.

Glass vs carbon

 If you aren't interested in fly fishing then close this now, it'll be boring.

Since I started following The Fiberglass Manifesto I've been wanting to try a fiberglass fly rod. Coming from a cycling background I figured it might be similar in difference to a graphite/ carbon rod as a steel frame is to a carbon frame. I wasn't far off. I have two steel bikes, two titanium bikes and exactly zero carbon because I don't like carbon. This is because I've ridden all types and never felt that carbon had a life. Steel and Ti have personality and feel while carbon is just a dead feeling frame. And yes, I fully understand the importance of performance concerns. A similar idea can be applied to casting a fly rod and I noticed this literally the second I picked up my new glass rod.
 This happened by accident when my mom called me one day and said she was at a garage sale and an elderly man had a bunch of fishing gear for sale. He had a fly rod for $15.00, no details, but I told her to get it. Turns out it was a Gladding/ South Bend fiberglass rod. Not valuable by any means. Not like a Winston vintage bamboo that can sell for ~$7000. It's a usable rod that I can toss in my trunk or charge through a stand of brush and not panic if it gets a scratch. It was made in 1971 which is when I was born so that makes it sort of cool to me.

42 year old wraps still perfect. 
 It's heavy. It's fiberglass after-all. Like steel the liveliness of the material comes with a cost. It's 8'6" and felt like a noodle when I first lifted it. Any movement caused it to whip and bend where a carbon rod is far stiffer and requires that you make it move. This simple aspect is why I enjoyed the glass so much when I finally got to cast it. A carbon rod has a certain "margin for error" in my opinion, meaning that if your arm isn't moving perfectly straight in the fore/ aft plane... that's OK, the carbon will compensate. But with the glass rod I could immediately see the flaws in my cast. Any, and I mean even an inch or less, lateral movement caused the tip to whip laterally which is a cast killer. It took concentration to keep the tip in the plane.
 With the compliance of the rod I also found that my forward cast needed to stop at 12 o'clock rather than the 10-11 that I usually use. I literally have to stop the rod straight up in order to get a smooth and full roll of the line. The back cast didn't feel too much different.
 The thing I like most about the rod however is that it is a throwback to older times. It isn't cutting edge and I have a deep appreciation for that. Fly fishing at it's heart is not about catching fish. It's about the act of fishing and because of that I don't feel that expensive or cutting edge gear will enhance that... and in fact I could argue that it actually detracts from it.
 I can already see that this $15.00 rod will become my primary rod. I have 3 other carbon and the only advantage I see with (two of) them is there packability. They're 4 and 5 piece respectively so they are much more portable. Until I get to try a bamboo rod though... I'm sold on the glass.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Leadville camp

Great weekend with my boys up in one of my favorite places in the World, maybe even the whole county... Leadville and specifically Twin Lakes. We found a new site right on the Mt Elbert Forebay. The only downside was that the view of Hope Pass was blocked by trees. Interesting little reservoir in that the water levels vary ~10ft from evening to morning. Tons of fish too.


Ben with a fish on. 

Nice laker. 

Liv sleeping quite elegantly. 


Warm (tan) feet

Family sunset

Alarm clocks. 

Onesie fishing.