måndag 27 februari 2012

Master Bamboo Rod Makers Part 3 - Bjarne Fries Rod Crew


The Fries Rod Crew
Our crew consists of two people. Hanne, the woman I love and who fortunately happens to be my wife, keeps the books of the company, sews the rod bags, sends the rods and keeps the boss in good mood! Me, doing the rest.

Bjarne and Hanne Fries - The Whole Rod Crew

           With this short introduction of the business of Master Bamboo Rod Maker - Bjarne Fries I'll end this part of Master Bamboo Rod Makers. I hope I'll be able to present my favourite rod of his shortly. It's a rod called THE NOODLE and it's perfect to go - FISHING WITH TINY FLIES. To be continued...

lördag 25 februari 2012

Master Bamboo Rod Makers Part 2 - Bjarne Fries From Denmark

          As you can see in the picture in Part 1 of this series of Master Bamboo Rod Makers and read in the caption to it this rod has an integrated bamboo ferrule. This is the invention of the Master Bamboo Rod Builder Bjarne Fries. I had contact with him for like 8-10 years ago when I had to decide which bamboo rod to buy. Recently I sent him an e-mail to get his permission to use the information on his website to explain about this kind of ferrule. Today I got a positive answer from him by e-mail. So I'll let you take part of some of the content of his website about this unique kind of ferrule.

Fries Integrated Bamboo Hexaferrule - F.I.B.H.

During the last years I have been working on a world wide novelty: 
The F.I.B.H.ferrule

The advantages
1. Low weight, about 1.5 grams! The weight of a smaller metal ferule is about 5 grams. This means a weight reduction of 3.5 grams! No big deal, you think? 3.5 grams halfway up a rod means a hell of a lot. Try to tape 3.5 grams of lead wire to your favorite rod's ferrule, make some casts and observe closely, remove the lead and do it again. You will quickly get my point. But we can just design the butt to move the extra 3.5 grams, some will say. OK, but this means more unnecessary material in the butt which can be avoided by a lighter ferrule keeping the butt section as light as possible, no dead weight here Mr.!

2. You will obtain a flexible assembly of the rod! It still will have a stiffening effect compared to a one piece rod, but it comes very close! Far better than a nickel silver ferrule.

3. You will never have to worry about aligning the guides of tip and butt anymore.

4. You will never have a twisting of tip and butt anymore. (A proper fit of ferrules on trout rods will not give this problem, but on a two handed salmon rod used for spey casting and the kind...). 

5. The unique, natural flow of energy from grip to tip.

6. The aesthetical aspect. A flow of pure bamboo not interrupted by some metal thing!

Maintenance of the FIBH-ferrule
From time to time rub the male of the ferrule with candle wax or even better dry hand soap. This will ensure easy separation and set up of the rod sections.
All F.I.B.H. rods come with a special wooden help tool to assist you, if you should have problems separating the rod sections.

How to use the F.I.B.H. help tool

1. Remove the rubber band on one side of the help tool and separate the two parts of this end. Now fit the help tool over the butt section just beneath the female part of the ferrule so that it is placed in the hole of the help tool. Put the rubber band back on the help tool.

2. Sit down on the ground with your legs straight in front of you, and holding the rod under the stripping guide, place the rod between your feet with the tip of the rod pointing away from you.

3. Now place the help tool under the sole of your feet and pull the butt section away from the tip. The rod will separate without problems. Don't use too much force which might cause the tip section to jump away and get damaged.

I am very proud to be the only rod maker in the world to be able to offer my unique F.I.B.H.-ferrule to my customers!

A picture of the F.I.B.H. ferrule on my favorite of Bjarne Fries rods - The Noodle

          As you understand of the first part in this series of Master Bamboo Rod Makers there are others that have adopted the technique and are making fly fishing rods with similar ferrules. Ulf Löfdal is one of them. In fact they know each other and Bjarne told me to give him his greetings. Now I consider that I have done so. Bjarne told me that rod makers were sceptic to this kind of ferrule when he started to build them 13 years ago but that it have been accepted in more recent times. He had the technique published in the online magazine Power Fibers some years ago. I remember that I printed it out since I was very interested in this kind of ferrule. To be continued...

Have fun Fly Fishing and Fly Tying,

onsdag 22 februari 2012

Master Bamboo Rod Makers Part 1 - Ulf Löfdal From The South of Sweden

This little gem (and the comment from the rod maker as seen in the picture caption) caught my attention when I was looking around at the internet for fly fishing gear. It was some months ago I commented about this rod but for like a week ago I got a reply from the rod maker himself - Ulf Löfdal. So today (yesterday local time to be precise) I decided to contact him and ask about the rod and if I could get his permission to publish his pictures on my blog. I got a positive answer and what I have to do now is to make up a plan to be able to become the owner of this precious little rod just made for fishing tiny flies.

Mentor 6' #3 2 pcs Bamboo Ferrule, Reel seat in spalted beech with Bellinger slide band. This rod casts well over 35 meter.
Isn't it beautiful! I have the permission to publish all his pictures and the rods he make has a range from 14' salmon rods down to this particular rod. The tale of a master rod maker and his rods has just begun. To be continued ...

Have fun with fly tying, fly fishing and inspecting fly fishing gear,

måndag 13 februari 2012

Tying up loose ends ...

I notice that I left a loose end in the beginning of the blog concerning this picture here below:

The Modern Mink with a Story

   Obviously something has happened to this fly. What? Well we were on a family outing by a nice little lake. We had a little barbecue and were in general quite happy with life. Naturally I had in the back of my mind that some dry fly fishing would be a proper dessert.

    Unfortunately it seemed that the trout had agreed that they would have a hunger strike that evening. No action whatsoever when it comes to surface feeding. We were about to give up since it was getting dark and the path to the lake isn't so easy to walk in such circumstances. Then I suddenly heard a trout taking something from the surface. Yes, I'm not kidding it was clearly audible although a little harder to see.

    OK, I set out in the boat and took the oars to calmly try to get a closer look and see if I could tempt the trout to take my fly. It was a weary trout and I had to be very careful since there was almost dead calm on the surface. Then I suddenly saw some action on the surface. I tried to cast my fly without rocking the little boat too much. I couldn't see the fly since it was almost pitch dark.

    Almost like when a friend in the north of Sweden had taken us down to over 800 meters down in a mine and switched off the lights on the vehicle. Have never experienced anything darker in my life.

    Only truly passionate fly fishers are crazy enough to take a boat out on a lake when it's almost pitch dark hoping to catch a trout. Well I'm certainly among that crowd. Like a rod  builder and designer said when he was going to help me fixing one of my rods: ”Fly fishing is not an interest or a hobby it's a disease”. I definitely have that ”bug”.

    Well back to the trout where I had placed my fly near to i's last known location. The place where I had seen the trout take something from the surface. Then, just like that, I saw a trout taking something from the surface from where my fly should be. I lifted the rod and felt a heavy weight on the other end of the line. I almost got into a panic state because my fly line were entangled on the bottom of the boat and I couldn't give any line. I thought that the battle was lost already in the beginning. It was almost like the trout was towing the boat away. Just waited for the tippet to brake but strangely it didn't and after a while I had been able to get some line loose from the mess it had become and could play the trout. 

   But I didn't have much line to give so I had to play him hard. Finally I saw something just by the boat and happily I had a net with me and could net the trout. It was a gorgeous old brown trout and in the net the fly came loose. So that was what happened to the fly above. The shape tells the same story. I can't express what I felt but it surely was an event beyond happy. 

   Since it was late in the season and we hadn't had a descent trout meal for a while I took the trout home and the whole family had a delicious dinner together the other day. Have never used that fly ever since that. It's a constant reminder that It can pay off to persevere in fly fishing.

måndag 6 februari 2012

Properties and Triggers Embedded Into The Hulk


With this post I'd like to get to a conclusion of the properties of The Hulk. In other words; the what and why, about this fly. The Incredible Hulk's “raison d'ệtre” you might say.

Let's start from the head. A pretty bulky head makes a lot of noise if you try to see it from a trout's point of view. The ears of a trout (well a trout doesn't have ears like we have but I call it that since it fills the same function) are long nerves that goes along their sides from the head and back to the tail. The things a trout hears or rather senses are vibrations in the water.

Every fly fisherman that have fished small gently flowing streams have noticed that. Suddenly something (e.g. a trout) takes off like a greased lightning. So the trout has VERY BIG ears if you catch my drift. Back to this particular fly I think that this is of major importance in still waters or gently flowing and maybe deep rivers.

So the sound (or vibrations) that this fly makes in the water attracts the trout. Since it's a predator it might be a prey making that noise. So it gets interested and approaches. This is the best case scenario. So what happens when the fly becomes visible to the trout?

Then we arrive at the rest of the deer hair in the fly. I call it a skirt since it kind of looks like it. Whats the purpose with that? It's to make the fly look alive. So here another aspect comes in. The movement of the fly. This is the most important with this fly. The fact that it's looking alive. I always fish this fly with and intermediate fly line with a poly leader ending in a tiny silver ring where I tie in the tippet. The thickness and length of the tippet I adjust according to the weather. Many times, especially when the sun is shining, I've looked closely at the fly while fishing. What I've seen could be described as a little olive squid moving forward. When retrieving the line the “skirt” retracts and when you pause it expands. So it really looks alive. Some words of precaution seems appropriate here. First about he head of the fly; don't trim it to much from the beginning. After a few trouts it'll need another trimming to look neat anyway. Second about the “skirt”; don't make it too long otherwise it'll be caught up by the hook and then it won't look to appetizing to the trout.

Then we arrive to the body of the fly. It just gives some sparkle to the fly and might function as a trigger to some trout.

Then we have the wing. If it's tied in properly it will add to the impression that the fly is a living thing. It will move up and down when you retrieve the fly in a very seductive way for the trout. I have a weak spot for white in a fly and therefore I use fibers from the squirrel tail that has a white tip as a wing on the fly. It works pretty well so that's why it has replaced the original wing I used on this fly.

Finally there is a tail of the fly. I use red calf tail fibers for this and I think that is something that has kind of rooted in me; a streamer or wet fly do well with a red tail. That's just what my experience tells me and the trout doesn't mind it seems. A little word of caution here too. I tie up the tail with the tying thread so it won't get caught by the hook. Well this kind of rounds up how this fly became this way. I might add that I've tried it in different colors but this one works best at least in the waters I fish. I'm open for any suggestions or comments about this fly and how I think about the properties and triggers of The Incredible Hulk.

Have fun if you wish to try it like this or with the improvements you want to make to it according to your waters or preferences,

fredag 3 februari 2012


Let's start with a picture of what we want to achieve and then take it from the start.

I hope that my "nice and tidy" fly tying corner doesn't scare you off

If you have access to Partridge CS11GRS I would suggest that you use this hook and put it in the vice. Not size 6 though (it's unfortunately the only size I have left now). I have used size 8 most and would suggest using 8-12 if you are fishing in medium to large waters. Otherwise just make it smaller if you wish. I think that it would do good in small streams too if used in smaller sizes. Use black thread of your own choice (I use UNI 8/0). Make even turns back to where the barb is. This is important if you use the suggested hook since it is like something that has teflon on it. It's easy to get things you want to tie in spinning around the hook.

Use a stacker to even out a small bunch of bright red calf tail fibres. Be sure to tye them in even turns all the way to a point of c:a 5 mm or 1/5 of an inch from the hook eye and cut the stubs in an angle backwards preparing for the wing.

Tye in a good piece of plastic golden mylar. Start tying from the end where you cut the tail stubs and go all the way back to the tail and then continue back to where you started. Be careful so that you tye in the mylar streched and taught (I use my left hand to grab the hook and the right making one turn at the time). It's clearly visible that it's tied taught since you can see the wraps and the rigs of the tying thread.

I use this type of squirrel tail to make the wing. Just a thin bunch and I like them stacked to. Probably it will be neccessary to make some turns under the wing to get it to stand up in the right angle.

Now it's time to change tying thread. I use clear mono thread. It's very strong. First I tie it in and thereafter I give it drop of laquer (superglue would probably be better) and leave it to dry.

Meanwhile I prepare a pretty good bunch of olive deer hair. I start with trying to get rid of most of the difficult hair on the skin using a comb. Time for stacking again and now I'm pretty pedantic even though I don't enjoy using deer hair. It's an avesome material for certain flies but I just don't fancy it; period.

Hold the bunch of deer hair parallell with the hook shank (I cut some of the stubs off at this time) and make two loose turns of the thread just at the place the mylar tinsel was tied in. Pull firmly straight downwards and be prepared to wrap some extra turns to make the head of the fly. It should look something like the picture below. I also use a permanent marker to get a black whip finish to end the tying of THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

Actually the fly is not finished yet. I usually fish with it a few times and hopefully catch a few trout. Then I trim the head and skirt (that's what I call the two parts made up of deer hair) again to suit my preferences. Finally a couple of photos from my tying corner.

Now go to one of your favorite fly fishing spots which hold pretty big trout or grayling and give THE INCREDIBLE HULK a chance. I can almost assure you that you won't be disappointed. HAVE FUN!!!

torsdag 2 februari 2012

The Incredible Hulk - Swedish Version

Finally I found the fly box containing among other flies the one I call: The Incredible Hulk. The name is naturally coming from a certain Green very known character seen on film. Incredible has a special meaning because, even if this is the final result from a fly I composed many years ago, it attracts large trout and grayling like no wet fly I ever tried. 

I remember a year when I almost exclusively used this pattern and I've never gotten so many big trout as that year. Especially trout from 1+ pound and upwards. I think it was that year that I got my biggest trout ever in my favorite still water and since every trout taken in that water must be put in a logbook (or whatever it's called) where you specify the length, weight and species it seems that it never has been caught a bigger trout  than that one in this water in recent time. 

Although this is certainly not a tiny fly I post it anyway because I've been requested to show it and how it is made so here it is. As you can see this is a used fly and I would estimate that I've taken like 2 dozen trout on this hook since I've been forced to tie the fly or repair it several times. If it's tied properly though it will be just the deer hair part that needs a refinish. A step by step tying description will follow soon since I've been requested to do this.

Have fun and More Info Will Follow,