Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sceptre Rod Testing

After yesterday's snow, I decided to stop by the nearest trout stream and test cast my latest rod. The plan was to check out the stream conditions and the water clarity for the possible weekend outing. I did some test-casting in my backyard last week, but I wanted to try the rod on the water. Amy joined for the ride, too. She is responsible for today's photos of me casting.

I found the stream high and murky, on the blustery March day. Last season I was fishing dry stonefly imitations at this time of the year, and I was pleasantly surprised to find very sporadic scuttling stones with occasional small trout rising. This was by no means a full blown hatch, but it came as a nice surprise, considering the raised water levels and turbidity. The water visibility was about a foot.

I strung the rod with #5 line. Remembering that I tested it in my backyard with this line, I made some casts over an area where I saw a single, lonely rise. While the rod felt slightly underloaded on the shortest casts, it was deft and precise with more line in the air. This will be a very nice line choice for larger water and stealthy long casts with grasshopper imitations in the late summer and fall. The strong wind was a bit too much, so I switched to the DT6 line. I like testing rods in the wind-it is a real fishing situation, while it's so easy to make perfect casts on a windless day. The rod felt sweeter with the heavier line on the shorter 'presentation' casts, punching the loops into the cross-wind. One small trout smacked my dry stonefly, just when Amy got cold enough to get back to the car. After this little fish I had another swift take, before I was too cold to continue. This got my blood working and I can only hope that this wave of unseasonably cold weather will soon disappear. The trout are ready for spring, and so am I!

Speaking about flies-I've been experimenting lately with a moose mane as a body material for dry flies. It proved very easy to work with, and I have yet to test its durability. Here are photos of some flies I tied with it, with different colored backgrounds. Two hairs in contrasting colors create a perfect, flat segmented body.



Great report! Vlad...

The rod sounds another fishing machine... testing in the wind is my favorite way too! I bet that rod got some serious "stable" tip!

I have heard the moose mane body... that looks an awesome body segment... great tie!


flyfishingunlimited said...

Hi Mark,

I was just happy to get out, even though it was brief but cold. I just hope we get a warm front-the stoneflies would be everywhere, along with some hungry trout.

Maybe in a couple of days...


BG said...


I must say that your style and eye for tying are quite unique. The use of materials is very cool....I likey!

Do you like any tying books/manuals/pattern recipe in particular?

Nice work as always... cool rod BTW


flyfishingunlimited said...

Hi Bryan,

I like to play around with flies... When I see an interesting concept, I play around with it-sometimes with more, and sometimes with less success.

I've been sort of interested in some old French dry flies which use "umbrella hackle"-the long front soft hackle. Those designs just work well on slow moving spring creeks-the fly collapses so easily when attacked by trout.

There are some books which show some of those old patterns, and the most known is "French Fishing Flies" by Jean-Paul Pequegnot. Neal Patterson in his "Chalkstream Chronicle" explores some of those ideas, too. Patterson's book, even though not strictly a tying book, is still one of my favorite European ff books.

I always liked books by Darrel Martin-always well researched and written...

Of more recent books, I was amazed with Stalcup's "Mayflies-Top to Bottom", even though I sometimes prefer more simple patterns. Your close-up mayfly photos remind me of that book, so please, keep them coming... Ed Engle's books on small flies are so cool, too.

There are so many good books on the market today, it is hard to keep track of all of them.

Thank you,

Cameron said...

Literally, "cool", report. I can't wait to see what you'll do with this fly rod once it starts getting warm.

two rod said...

I have just found your site and like it very much. We share the same waters so it is intersting to compare approaches.
How did you like working with moose mane? A touch of varnish or super glue makes it more durable. I would highly recommend using peccary. Much stronger with a very nice taper. Al Troth used peccary a lot and his Troth Mayfly used dyed brown peccary. It gives a variegated effect that is most interesting.
I share your enthusiasm for both Pequegnot and Patterson's books. They stretch the horizon of fly tying more than the typical what's new in the 21st century books. Have you read Proper's "What the Trout Said"? An excellent book that is heavily influenced by fishing across the pond.
Stalcup is a model builder but I see that you like his use of super hair. He is innovative with the use of materials but I hate the model building fly tying.
I look forward to future posts.

flyfishingunlimited said...

Hello Two Rod,

I do like working with moose mane, but a bit of superglue is a must. Haven't tried peccary/javelina yet. I do sometimes use superhair, mostly because I accumulated over the years every color of it.

Yes, I have read Datus Proper's book, it is a classic. You have a very good taste in both fly tying and literature.

I totally understand what you mean about 'model building.' I do like tying and fishing saltwater flies, and maybe they are a bit like 'fish-models', but for my trout flies I do like 'less is more' approach.

Glad you liked my blog. Thanks for stopping by,