Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Feather River Steelhead

The Feather River is stacked with fish right now and it looks like it's going to be another good season.  Here are some photos of James and Ron last week.  We'll be posting updates on our reports page so check it out at http://www.flyfishingspecialties.com/reports/feather.html

 Ron Speroni with a nice wild fish!

James with a 20+ incher

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Scott G2 Fly Rod

Scott describes the G2 fly rod as being their technical presentation series.  Scott has a history of making situation oriented or “tool” rods.  Rods that are made to give the angler exactly the characteristics needed for the task at hand.  In recent years rod makers have focused more and more on the “all around” rod.  A rod that can deliver delicate, small dries or emergers while protecting light tippets and an hour later throw an articulated streamer to the far bank. 

In recent years fly rod designers have come closer and closer to achieving the rod that can do it all… here’s the rub; even the best rods that can do it all don’t necessarily do it all pleasurably.  What does pleasurably mean?  It certainly means different things to different people.  I’ve found the general consensus to be, dry fly rods should be softer and slower with a more sensitive tip.  Nymph rods should be longer, have the power to chuck big indicators, heavy, multiple fly rigs and mend beautifully.  Streamer rods should be the most powerful of all; capable of throwing heavier sinking lines and flies the size of a small house pet. 

I take the stance that no fly rod made to date is the best tool on the market for all these situations.  Sure, there are a select few that lay claim to coming respectably close.  I’ve found that at least part of my enjoyment on the water is having the right tool for the job.  I want to vacillate between the realization that the rod in my hand is absolutely perfect for what I’m doing and it being so perfect I forget I have a rod in my hand… I know, I’m tough to please.  :-) 

This very desire is what made me fall in love with the G2.  It has a true medium to medium-fast action providing the caster with oodles of feedback and feel.  It is very well balanced and feels impressively light in hand.  At the risk of sounding weird, I compare casting this rod with taking a bite of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.  It’s so sweet, so smooth and gives you the feel you’re looking for.  I have not found a better tool for dry fly or light nymph angling.  The tip of the G2 has protected size 22 flies tied to frustratingly necessary 7X tippet.  The biggest disclaimer I must include is that the G2 is not a rod for windy conditions.  In a soft breeze or calm conditions it borders on poetic.  Enter a head wind and you’ll find yourself longing for the fast action rods so popular today. 

Aesthetically the G2 embodies the Scott DNA.  The burled elder reel seat with no fuss black components contrasts beautifully with Scott’s unsanded blank.  The finished, Trout Western grip is made from the top 5% of each years harvest and is individually hand sanded… not preformed.  Scott adds hand signing and 12” and 20” measuring wraps to its top-shelf guides to finish this beauty. 

I’ve spent significant time fishing or casting the following models in the G2 series, the 7’7” 3 weight, 8’8” 3 weight, 8’8” 4 weight, 9’ 4 weight, 8’8” 5 weight and 9’ 5 weight.  They are all really sweet but there are differences.  The 9 foot models have a more robust mid section making them a bit quicker and more readily suited to doing double duty with indicators and multiple nymph rigs while still being really pleasurable dry fly rods.  For those of us more likely to fish dries, both the 8’8” 4 and 5 weights are wonderful sticks. 

The good news is if you find yourself with any model of G2 in your quiver you’re not likely to be disappointed.  Scott had a tall task ahead when looking to replace the almost legendary original G series.  If memory serves me, the original G was the longest running, unchanged series in fly rods to date.  It’s still loved and sought after on the secondary market.  The G2 is everything its predecessor was while being much more.
- Jason R.

Airflo Super-Dri Fly Lines


Fly lines are too often under appreciated.  You can have the latest, greatest fly rod and reel outfit that set you back 3-4 months of food or 1-2 months of rent and it still not perform.  You can flail away, work too hard, or simply not be able to accomplish the cast you need.  Don’t save an extra $30-$40 on a cheap fly line, if necessary, save it on the rod or reel. 
There are a bevy of lines with varying tapers, materials and whiz-bang technologies out there that claim, in jargon-laden verbiage, why they are the greatest thing since slice bread.  The truth, as I see it, is that several of today’s top line manufacturers make great lines that will make your fishing experience more pleasurable and more effective. 
Airflo’s latest offering of freshwater lines is the Super-Dri series.  There are 5 different tapers of full floating lines, however this review is focusing on only 3 of them.
-       Elite
-       Exceed
-       Mend

I’ve fished these lines extensively and think all 3 are great.  Which one to choose depends on what tactics you choose to fish and what type of fly rod you own.  The things all 3 share in common are the new Super-Dri material that does a surprisingly good job of repelling water, dirt and other gunk.  The Super-Dri material is also self-lubricating and makes these 100% PVC free lines slick as snot.  Airflo has included their Ridge technology.  Essentially this means there are horizontal ridges running down the length of the fly line minimizing surface area contacting the guides.  This allows for an even smoother fly line that soars through the guides. 
The Super-Dri series features Airflo’s much loved, low stretch Power core.  The low stretch core gives more feedback throughout the cast and is especially good for providing great feel when tight-line or Euro nymphing.  Additionally, it makes for quick, positive hookups.
The Elite taper is a true to weight line (not over-weighted to compensate for fast action rods) with a casting friendly taper.  As we know, most trout are caught at roughly 40 feet and closer.  The taper of your fly line will go a long way in determining how easily you can shoot fly line at close distances.  The Elite features a fairly aggressive 40 ft. head with a compact 7.5 ft. front taper.  This allows for more grain weight up front and provides good feel for short casts while making shooting line a breeze.  I’ve found this taper to be perfect for medium-fast and slower action rods or for experienced casters, accustom to timing, that prefer a lighter feel.  It will switch between dry fly and nymph fishing without skipping a beat.  You can also throw small streamers without too much effort thanks to its relatively aggressive taper.
The Exceed taper features a slightly over-weighted head perfect for many of today’s faster action fly rods.  Standard weighted lines are fine on fast rods with 40+ ft. of line out, however they becomes more difficult to feel and shoot when fishing up close.  The Exceed features an aggressive 38 ft. head and 6.5 ft. front taper that make loading, feeling and shooting line a pleasure.  This a great all around fly line for those who don’t want to carry extra spools and may switch from dries, nymphs and streamers throughout the day.  This line is great for anglers of all levels but is certainly recommended for beginning to intermediate anglers needing stronger casting feedback to master timing.  The extra weight up front also makes this a bit better in windy conditions.
The Mend taper is very similar to the much-loved Salmon/Steelhead taper offered by many makers.  It boasts a long 52.5 ft. head and short 5 ft. front taper.  If you’re a nymph angler looking for a line to roll cast, mend like a dream and, when necessary, throw the nastiest of thingamabobber, heavily weighted multi-fly rigs… this is it.

- Jason R.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The All New Radian From Scott Rods

In the latest of a seemingly never ending string of high end fly rod offerings in the market, the Scott Radian was unveiled at the 2013 IFTD/iCast show in Las Vegas.  I would be remiss if I didn’t start by framing my considerable bias.  I’m a recovering (only slightly) gear junkie.  I have fished more gear in the last few years than most over 20+ years.  My insatiability has begun to manifest itself in tempered enthusiasm and a touch of cynicism.  I find myself instantly skeptical of the often-inflated claims and slogans associated with the latest hot product.

Expensive fly rods are, in my opinion, like expensive cars… unnecessary, but oh so fun.  The aim behind the Radian was, as Scott puts it, “Bring the feel to fast”… a worthy undertaking that has been attempted by nearly all makers with varying success.  As a lover of Scott’s G2 rod I was both interested and hesitant.  The G2 is among the most pleasurable and effective dry fly, light nymphing rod I’ve thrown, but does struggle with sinking lines, heavy streamers or windy days.

Enter the Radian.  Through a labyrinth of tech names and detail, Scott has found a way to build a fast action rod relying not primarily on stiffness but on fast recovery.  Essentially, for us not familiar with the intricacies of fly rod design, make a fly rod with the power of a fast action, but the feel of a slower one.  Now grant you, our senses can only process so much information in a small period of time.  The less time it takes for a fly rod to recover from load, the less we’re likely to feel.  It took me 6-8 times out fishing with the Radian to really appreciate what Scott was able to do.  This is the nicest fly rod I’ve ever fished.

The Radian is both physically light and very light in hand.  The new, larger wells style grip is ergonomically more comfortable and provides great feedback during the cast.  I was amazed how with less than 15 feet of fly line out I was able to get great feedback during the cast, throw a nice loop and drop a size 20 dry fly like a feather.  Concurrently, the Radian handles heavy nymph rigs and streamers with more than enough backbone needed.  The Radian’s sensitive tip is capable of incredibly delicate mends and helps pick up subtle takes when tight line or Czech style nymphing.

Aesthetically this is a beautiful fly rod.  The natural finish blank, dyed burled box elder spacer, self-indexing reel seat, black anodized aluminum components and orange thread accents make for a striking yet understated beauty.  I really appreciate how Scott has upped the game while keeping true to its understated and no fuss history.

I still love my G2, but will undoubtedly reach for the Radian 9 times out of 10.  It is amazing how delicate this rod can be while still excelling in wind and those times you need to put on the 0x and a streamer.  Hats off to the team at Scott for one of the best new rods that’s come out in a long while.

- Jason R.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The "Liquid Gold" Campaign

Liquid Gold Film from Keith Brauneis on Vimeo.

A worthy cause for all interested in fly fishing in California.

"While trout in general are known for their kaleidoscope of color, California's state fish, the Golden Trout, is the most spectacularly tinted of all. Goldens drip color and shape matched only by exotic butterflies, birds and flowers. They are found in a most unlikely place; precariously perched in isolated streams and lakes of the Sierra Nevada, among the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges. Sadly, this remarkable species is threatened." - Craig Ballenger, California Trout

To learn more about the goals of the campaign and contribute to the cause:


Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Shad Time on the American River

Morgan Thalken with a shad caught on the Lower American River

As summer approaches and the weather gets warmer, schools of shad start making their way into the Sacramento River system.  When is that time you ask?  RIGHT NOW!  The Lower American River is kicking out good numbers of these feisty silver bullets.

We spent the weekend targeting shad in the lower portion of the river with good success. 

How Badass?  Chirstopher Walken maybe Charles Bronson....

All sorts of flies are working, Bloody Maria's, Mini Wet Pinkies, Bernie's Bangers and anything pink and sparkly Size 8-12.

It's also a good time to get out with your Spey or Switch rod and practice your casting and swinging techniques. Sink Tips Type 3, or 6 or various MOW tips depending on the spot and depth you're at.

All in all it's a great time to get out and wet a line.

- George

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

FF Guanaja Honduras Trip Report

Guanaja Honduras Trip Report

A few months back Matt Heron and I were thinking of places to host a trip.  We had three main objectives when selecting a destination: grand slams, permit, and tailing fish.  There are several places that we considered but one place stuck out in my mind more than any other.  Part of the draw was a trip to a place a little less traveled and a little more off the grid.  We rolled the dice, booked the trip and prayed to the fishing gods that our gamble would pay off.

Day 1-2
One red eye flight, a few airplane shots, one layover in Houston, and we finally made it to Roatan, Honduras.  Maybe we were being a little greedy by trying to fly in a day early to fish in Roatan because those same fishing gods we asked for a good trip sent us some high winds and rain when we arrived.  Our plan to find a permit on Roatan was spoiled.  What do two fly fishermen do when they can’t fish in the middle of Central America?  Find a bar of course.  The nice thing about being caught in a rare storm on Roatan is that the island is heavily traveled by dive tourists.  Everyone we met on the West End of Roatan was very friendly and welcoming.  It was a blessing in disguise getting hit by that storm because we got to see more of Roatan then had expected.

Day 3
The rest of our group had met up with us along with the lodge manager and back to the airport we went.  We hoped on the puddle jumping Cessna and away we went to Guanaja.  Guanaja is an incredible island about the size of Lake Tahoe with a population of 8000 islanders.  The island has a grand total of 8 cars on it with very few roads.  The preferred method of travel is by water taxi or ponga.  Most of the natives have never seen the entirety of their own island.  These are some very friendly people who mainly survive on the money they make from fishing boats and diving for lobster.

When we landed in Guanaja we were greeted by our guides from the lodge.  We got rigged up right there at the airport and away we finally got to go fishing on our fishing trip.  Our guide took us to some flats on the north side of the island.  The weather was great, clear blue skies, light wind, and great visibility.  As we were motoring over to go check out a flat our guide Darrin stopped the boat suddenly and told us to grab the permit rod.  Matt jumped on the deck and started stripping out line.  It was a single renegade fish that was happily feeding around us.  Matt patiently waited for him to get within casting distance and made that fish eat his Kung Fu Crab on his second cast of the trip. 
Matt went on to battle his fish for a little over an hour.  The reason it took this long was because this was the biggest permit that anyone on the island had ever hooked and it happened to be on a 8wt.  That fish put Matt into his backing at least a dozen times if not more.  We finally landed the fish, screamed out a battle cry, took a million pictures and released it.  The smiles on our faces were priceless, the stars had aligned and now it was time to find Matt a bone fish.  We had worked up an appetite after that fish so we paused for a bit and ate some lunch.  Matt was so exhausted and still shaking from the fish that he could barely hold his fork.  

The bone fishing here is a lot like spring creek fishing back in the states.  This fish are willing but not fools.  Delicate, accurate and quick are your three best friends with these fish.  It was not too much longer after a few groups that Matt hooked and landed a 4lb bone.  At this point Matt had completed two parts of the grand slam so the rest of the day was his to find a tarpon.  We checked out some back creeks and lagoons for rolling fish without any luck.  Finally in a back lagoon we started to see some fish rolling.  They were baby tarpon but in the rules of a slam, it is still a slam no matter the size.  The fish may have been a baby but the cast to get a fly to him was not for beginners.  Imagine a 70’ cast through tight mangroves that needs to kick about 10’ to the right 55’ into the cast.  Yeah, you will probably need to read that again and then you will realize the difficulty in getting these tarpon.  After a few attempts at this cast Matt had a fish agree to eat his fly and he landed his tarpon.  It is not every day that you complete your first grand slam but in Guanaja Matt sure didn’t waste any time.  

Day 4,5
The next few days we continued to get fed like kings and fish our butts off.  We had a few clouds which made it tough to see the fish tailing.  The entire group were telling similar stories about getting middle fingers from permit, catching some bonefish and jacks.  Every boat was getting decent shots and had a few eats from permit but nothing was sticking.  After many attempts I finally got a trigger fish to eat a fly.  This was one of the most bull dog fights I have ever had with a fish.  It went on several slow runs and then would just turn sideways and refuse to move.  By the time I landed him the hook was nearly straight. 
After dinner and incredible lobster dinner on Wednesday night we all sat on the deck with cocktails and a bucket full of chum.  After about a half hour of chumming some remains of a tuna we had a few reef sharks circling the lodge.  It was not long after that we had a shark on the gear rod taking line off the reel like it was nothing.  We snapped a few pictures and released them back into the salt. 
The lodge is everything a fisherman could ask for, surrounded 360 degrees of flats with resident bone fish and cruising permit.  Every morning we all woke up at 5:30am to watch the sun come up and have some extra shots at nervous water and tailing fish.  

Day 6
Matt and I fished together on with Edwin as our guide.  He is the lodges longest employed guide who can spot fish in any light and wind.  Personality wise Edwin is night and day from Darrin.  While Darrin is very quiet Edwin is the polar opposite.  Edwin is very animated and keeps you on your toes.  His excitement when fish are with in casting range will make your heart pump even harder. 
Matt and I took turns on the deck for the first part of the morning.  About an hour and half into the morning Edwin spotted a small group of permit cruising by some docks.  Matt made a few casts at the group and finally one turned and tracked the Kung Fu crab.  We saw the fish put his head down and take the fly.  Matt gave the fish a good strip set and they were connected.  The fish took off in a flash and he was into his backing in a matter of seconds.  After a pretty quick fight the second permit of the trip had been landed.  

A little while later I had a battle with an incredible battle with a refusing permit.  This one was in the 20lb range and after a few casts I got him to eat once.  The odd thing about this fish was it refused to eat another fly and refused to spook away.  In the course of an hour I threw the kitchen sink at this fish.  We went through 18 different flies and a countless amount of casts.  When you here someone say a permit gave them a middle finger, this fish gave me the middle finger and stole my lunch money.

We ate lunch with one of the other groups and told our stories from the morning.  Apparently the other boat had some odd luck with a group of permit.  They had some fish working and chasing their fly when out of no wear an airplane flew in low casted a shadow on the fish and they vanished. 
After lunch we chased some bonefish.  Matt and I both landed a few, so again Matt was on pace for another slam.  We motored over to another lagoon that held baby tarpon and after a few casts Matt had completed his second slam of the week.  I think must be good luck for him when it comes to grand slams.  If anyone is looking to get a grand slam, I suggest they pay for me to go on their trips and just have me sit in their boat for the day.

Day 7
This was the final fishing day of the trip.  We chased some permit in the morning a few small shots.  The highlight of the day was going to lunch at a German restaurant on the island that is only accessible by boat.   They prepared a feast for us with brats, mashed potatoes, and authentic German beer.  I suggest anyone fishing in Guanaja make at least one trip to this place.  The name of the restaurant is The Manatee and the owners will take great care of you in so many ways.  

Day 8
We left the island headed back to airport on Guanaja.  It was a odd feeling leaving, I was not ready to go home.  This is the type of place that as soon as you get there you start day dreaming on how you could make a move and liver here permanently.  What made things reassuring is that we were able to secure another week in March of 2014.  Matt and I will return we already have a few spots filled but there are a few still open.

When we got to the airport in Roatan we met up with some fisherman who had been on Guanaja on a do-it-yourself trip.  They had run into some passport issues and their fishing was what they described as average.  I respect the idea of a do-it-yourself trip but when it comes to salt water fishing having a guide spotting fish with you is priceless.  The great thing about the FF Guanaja lodge is that they are the only place out there that has full time guides.  

We could not have asked for a better trip, well I guess I could have caught a permit to ice the cake.  I think the word epic is thrown around way too much, truly you can only have a handful of epic things happen in your life.  Witnessing Matt get two slams that same week can only be described as epic.  

March 15, 2014

We have rebooked for another week of tailing fish next year.  We currently have 4 open spots but those won’t last long.  Give us a call if you want to book your spot.  916.722.1055

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Post BBQ Photos

Good times at the BBQ yesterday and thanks to all who came.  Isa snapped some photos throughout the day and we wanted share a few.  

The grill master

 Granite Bay Flycasters tying Demo


The Truckee River demo, Nevada side.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring BBQ

Come join us this Saturday for our spring BBQ.  There will be free food, drinks and raffle tickets available for all of our customers.  We will be having an all day fly tying demo from our talented local tiers.  Visit with major manufacture reps from Simms, Outcast, Tibor, Rio, Sage, Smith, Hardy, Adams Built, R.L. Winston Rod Co., Fishpond, Abel, Korkers, Umpqua, Buff, Scientific Anglers, Bauer Reels, TFO, Galvan, Tenkara, and others.