Thursday, October 23, 2014

First Cast: A Tacky Fly Box

Good Morning Folks,
    A while back I started to hear murmurings about a new fly box that was getting ready to come to market.  It was supposed to be a revolutionary new design and far better at holding flies than anything that's come out before.  When I finally learned the name of the box, I wasn't sure if they were trying to be cute and put some kind of gaudy decoration on a typical fly box, or if there was actually something sticky inside that held the flies in place.  Now, if you're like me, you don't own just one fly box.  I'm sure my collection pales in comparison to many, but I've got some with lamb shearling, some with little doors, some metal hooks all the way up to different foam configurations and foam with slits in it.  It really didn't seem like there was much room in the market for yet another fly box design.  Then, I went to IFTD.  
  IFTD was an amazing place.  Lots of huge, colorful booths with everything a fly fisherman (or fisherwoman) could ever want.  Me personally, though, I like to check out the smaller booths.  It seems like that is where more innovation lies.  On one of my trips up and down the aisles, I came across the Tacky Fly Box booth.  Finally, I get to see this box that I've been hearing about!  To my surprise, the box was of a very simple design.  No crazy accouterments or unnecessary gadgets, and a nice, slim profile that will slip easily into a pocket.  
TheTacky table at IFTD.
  I got to meet Tim Jenkins and Ki Aston, the founders and creators of the Tacky Fly Box, two incredibly nice fellows, both scientists (which appealed to my engineering background) and both Orvis endorsed fishing guides.  Not only are these guys experienced enough to know what a revolutionary fly box should be, but they used the scientific method to reach a final design!  How cool is that?!?!
  We talked about fly fishing for trout in Utah, and I tried to convince them that bluegill in Georgia were fun, too!  I tried to learn as much as I could about their fly box and how they went about designing and testing them.  To my surprise, they very graciously gave me a Tacky Fly Box to try out for myself. 
Are you willing to hold an open fly box upside down?
  I couldn't wait to get back to camp that night.  As soon as I got the fire started, I sat down and loaded up a bunch of flies into my new Tacky Fly box.  I put everything I had in it.  Then, started flinging it around like a madman.  First with the lid closed (just to be on the safe side), then with the lid open!  Not one fly moved.  I mean, didn't budge!  I was impressed!  I've lost flies out of my boxes before because they weren't held in securely.  I really wanted to test the holding power of the silicon mat that makes the Tacky Fly Box what it is.  Friday night, after IFTD, I sought out Orlando Outfitters to find the biggest fresh water popper I could get my hands on!  Orlando Outfitters is a great shop with some very nice, knowledgeable guys working the counter.  They've even started their own fly fishing expo to coincide with IFTD, I'll be checking that out in 2015!!!  I picked up a handful of flies, and some more tying supplies (I'm really going to tie some flies one of these days, I really am!) while I was there.  One fly in particular was just to test my new fly box: a size 4 Mossy Green BooglePopper.  My ultralight rods will never cast this monster of a popper, but I had to see if the Tacky Fly Box would hold it!  
  Hold it, it did!  I put the big bug in the box and turned it upside down.  Nothing.  I gave it a shake.  Didn't move.  So, I gave it a fling.  The only movement I could get from the popper was a bit of a rise.  The silicon slits never let it go, though!  
  I've been using this box for a few months now.  It's really become my go to fly box, the first to get loaded up before I head out.  It's thin profile makes it perfect to slide into a back pocket if you don't want to carry a pack or bag with you.  My lumbar pack that I use fishing typically only holds 4 of my boxes comfortably, but I'm pretty sure I could double or triple that number with these Tacky boxes.  Speaking with Ki, I've learned that they have some other sizes and styles in the works, so there will be no trouble with the lid closing on my big poppers when the new boxes are released.  
Another from the Tacky table.  That's a lot of flies!
  The silicon insert is very durable, and, as I've said, holds the flies incredibly well.  Have you ever left a foam insert fly box in a hot car or in the sun for too long?  The foam will degrade and curl and the glue will even let go sometimes.  That was a design consideration for the Tacky Fly Box.  I leave mine in the car, in the sun, quite often and I have yet to see any signs of degradation to the silicon.  I think this box is going to last a long, long time!  Check out the video from Tacky of a Jeep driving over a Tacky Fly Box.  I hope I never experience that with mine, but I feel a little better about accidentally sitting on it!  I've broken a few boxes by forgetting they were in my back pocket!  
  I have tons of praise for these boxes and I hope you don't find me credulous because of it.  There is only one downside that I have found.  I try to be very open and honest with my reviews, and my reviews are purely my opinion.  I think most folks won't find this as a downside and it is a very small thing.  I realize that we are in a global economy and country of origin shouldn't carry a whole lot of weight when making a purchase decision.  The Tacky Fly Box is a very high quality product of which I am happy to own and very proud to have met the creators.  However, the box is manufactured in China and that just tends to be a sore spot with me.  I'm sure it was purely a "final-cost" decision, as US manufacturing can be expensive.  I love the box, I use it constantly and I will definitely be purchasing another when the other sizes come out.  I just wish they were manufactured in the USA.
  That's my review, let me know if you have any questions for me or the Tacky Fly Box guys and I'll do my best to get them answered.  Check out these boxes, if your local shop isn't carrying them yet ask them to!  You won't be disappointed!  I can't wait to get another!
  I hope you're all doing well, 
      Tight lines and Tacky boxes!

You can't have too many mossy log pictures, right?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My First Brown Trout: Upper Chattahoochee WMA

Mornin' Folks,
  I wanted to share a few pictures I took while fishing the Upper Chattahoochee WMA last weekend. Its a really beautiful area up there, and it seems to be quite popular. My time was limited, so I didn't want to venture too far from the road and the car, so it was actually a bit difficult to find a spot that wasn't already occupied. There had been some pretty good storms in the area the night before and it had been raining most of the morning while I was there. I try not to let weather keep me from fishing, if I get an opportunity to go I try to take it. I thought the rain might improve the conditions as there had been some pretty low water up there. 
  I went armed with the TFO Finesse Half Weight and the Galvan Brookie fly reel to get some more testing in for their upcoming reviews. I was very happy with the performance of each and look forward to the next trip with them. I fished a few different flies, but I seemed to get the most interest from a size 14 Elk Hair Caddis. When it comes to trout, I'm still very much a beginner. I'm pretty certain I missed a lot of strikes. Trout tend not to be as aggressive on the take as the bluegill I usually fish for! At least not in my experience thus far. 
  After a few hours with as many splashy refusals, I was fishing around a large pool catching nothing but raindrops. I started working some large rocks and finally got a good take!  I landed a beautiful little rainbow!  He was a feisty little guy! And, fishing a half weight, it was a ball to hook up on this little trout!  With the acrobatics he performed, I don't think he had any idea that he was only 6" long!  
  I returned him to his pool and hiked back up to the car to seek out another spot. It was already after noon, and carrying the one-trout-per-trip curse, I was starting to consider heading home. I absolutely love spending time in the woods, especially in the north Georgia mountains, so I was reluctant to leave. I found another spot that just had a "fishy" look to me ( Thanks to Tom Rosenbauer, I have a better idea of what that looks like now!). There was a parking area with a staircase down to the water, I tend to shy away from those places because I figure they're pretty heavily pressured, so I crossed the road and headed upstream a ways. I don't have any waders yet, so I tend to bushwhack along the bank until I find a spot to fish. I got in the water and started fishing, working the rocks and riffles as I made my way back down toward the car. 
  The car was back in view and I'd been fishing way longer than I intended (the Little Girl was on her way home from being away for the weekend and I like to be there when she gets in). After about 20 "one-last-casts", I got my caddis caught in some submerged branches. When I tried to break my tippet in frustration I felt the line move. A lot more than it should've being hung on a stick! When I got my first glimpse I couldn't believe my eyes! Not only was it not a stick, it was a trout! And a brown one at that!  I had to work to get him around all the rocks and branches to bring him to hand, but I sure was happy when I did. This was my largest trout to date, it was my first brown trout ( a stunningly beautiful fish) and I caught it on a five foot long, half weight rod! I wish I could've gotten some better photos, but I like to return fish to the water as quickly as possible. 
  I had a great day fishing the Upper Chattahoochee WMA and definitely plan on returning. Next time I want to do some more exploring of the smaller streams. The TFO Finesse Half Weight and Galvan Brookie both did a great job and a shorter rod made fighting through the brush so much easier!  
  I hope you're all doing well,
    Tight lines and dry feet!

I wonder if there are any trout holding pools upstream?
Fantastic combo! TFO Finesse Half Weight and Galvan Brookie. 
Stunning colors on these little rainbows!
Steady rain. 
My first brown! What a beauty!
Gorgeous scenery in the Upper Chattahoochee WMA. Fall color is just beginning. 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Down The Hatch Fly Fishing Film Festival

Good Morning Folks!
Orvis Atlanta
  I just wanted to write up a quick post to tell you guys about the fantastic time I had yesterday!  I was able to secure the day off from work, so as soon as I got home from my morning class (Calc II, bleh) the Little Girl and I hopped in the car and headed to the Buckhead area of Atlanta.  At 12:30, the voice of Orvis fly fishing (and fly fishing in general) himself, Tom Rosenbauer, was giving his Small Stream presentation at the Orvis Atlanta store.  I got there a bit early to double check the start time and see how big the crowd was going to be.  To my surprise, I was immediately introduced to Tom and had the opportunity to talk to him about suburban bluegill fishing and small stream trout fishing in the North Georgia mountains.  It was such an honor for me to get to speak with him one-on-one, he is such an incredibly nice man, very generous with his knowledge, just as you would expect from listening to the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide Podcast.  I really regret that I never thought to have my picture taken with him, but I do hope to get to meet with him again someday soon!  His presentation was excellent, just like listening to the podcast, but with pictures, and he was able to answer questions as they came up, instead of waiting for the next podcast to be released!  I don't want to give away all his secrets here, but if you ever get the opportunity to attend one of his lectures, you won't regret it!  
  After the presentation, we had to kill a few hours in Atlanta, which seems to be becoming increasingly harder for us to do!  We had to head over to Terminal West at the King Plow Arts Center for the Down the Hatch Film Tour presented by Orvis Atlanta and Sweetwater Brewery.  The doors opened at 6;30 for a Social Hour with free beer from Sweetwater and some passed appetizers and finger foods.  There was a guitar trio playing some great classic country music to set the mood and some shirts and jackets being handed out to the ladies in the crowd.  The proceeds of the event went to support the Chattahoochee River Keepers, they had a booth set up and were giving out some goodies in exchange for signing up for their newsletter.  
The entrance of the Terminal West facility at the King Plow Arts Center.
There were 300 tickets sold, which meant a packed house!
  The films that we got to watch were just awesome!  The videography was incredible and the scenery and fish were amazing.  I was hoping to find a list of the films, but was unable to by the time I wrote this post.  If I can find it, I'll try to get it posted.  One of the films showed clips from vintage fly fishing movies.  If you know me, you know that I tend to love anything old, and the old footage was right up my alley!  I'm pretty sure I recognized Joan Wulff and Lefty Krey in some of the vintage scenes.  I'm going to have to start digging around and see if I can find those old videos to post here on The Suburban Angler.  The last film shown was a hilarious dramatization of what we all feel when we're out fishing with a buddy who catches every fish in the stream, while we're left empty handed for the day and almost ready to snap a rod in frustration!
  While the films were my favorite part (partly because I didn't win anything), I think the raffles are what really brought the crowds out.  The price of the admission ticket also included one raffle ticket for each guest.  During the intermission of the films they drew numbers to give away several guided fishing trips that covered just about every fresh and saltwater fish species in the Southeast and a great looking wooden Sweetwater Brewery sign.  But, the grand prize for the raffle was a brand new Sweetwater Brewery logo'd Orvis Helios H2 fly rod.  You had to be present to win the raffles, and it took 3 or 4 tries before they gave away the rod.  I think every one in the room was on the edge of their seat, clutching their ticket!  If the gentleman that won the rod happens to read this and decides that it's not for him, I'd be happy to take it off his hands!!!!!
  In case you can't tell from the post, we really had a great time.  Orvis Atlanta and Sweetwater Brewery put on an excellent event and I can't wait for the next one!  They announced during the intro that the Down the Hatch event raised over $5000 for the Chattahoochee River Keepers!  I'm so glad that I got to be a part of it!  If one of these film tours comes to your neck of the woods, you should really try to go.  I promise, you won't regret it!
  I hope you're all doing well,
    Tight lines, cold beers and great films!
Our swag! Who doesn't love free stuff?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fly Fishing Duke's Creek

Good Mornin' Folks!
  I just wanted to share some pictures with you of a recent fishing excursion.  I had read online that most people fish Duke's Creek inside the Smithgall Woods boundaries, which means private, trophy managed waters and very smart/picky trout, but there are very nice, native fish to be found between the boundary and the Duke's Creek waterfalls.  
  When it comes to trout fishing, I'm still very much a beginner.  There is something very special about being alone in a tiny mountain creek stalking these beautiful fish.  With my trusty TFO 2 weight in hand, I set out.  I was in the water just after sunrise and fished steady until just after noon.  I managed lots of strikes, and hooked up a few times, but I was only able to land one, a gorgeous native rainbow trout about 8"-9" long.  That one fish made the whole trip worthwhile, and it's my largest trout to date.  
  I had an absolute ball fishing Duke's Creek, but I wouldn't recommend it.  The terrain and hiking in and out of the canyon makes it very dangerous.  There are far easier places to fish in North Georgia and you will probably be more successful.  I'm glad I fished it.  I feel a bit redeemed, after being skunked twice in Smithgall Woods I finally pulled a trout out of Duke's, but I won't be fishing this stretch again.  Go for the beauty of the falls, but find another spot to fish!
  I hope you're all doing well.
   Tight lines and easy trails!
The sign marking the Falls' parking area.
That's Mount Yonah (or Yonah Mountain) in the distance, just as the sun was starting to come up.
One of the waterfalls on Duke's Creek as seen from the lower viewing platform.
The upper viewing platform with the other waterfall beyond it.
Taking some photos of my Tacky Fly Box for an upcoming product review.  Gotta love moss covered logs, right?
One of the gorgeous little pools on Duke's Creek.  I got several strikes here, but just couldn't get them to hand.
It's definitely a scenic area.  There's lots of tumbling water and little pools. The sun coming through the trees is quite striking as well.
There he his in all his natural, native color! I caught him on a rusty brown colored bead head wooly bugger.  I need to find a better way of taking fish pictures when I'm alone, any advice?
I actually saw several of these cairns on the creek.  Apparently I wasn't the first person to fish here!

This is where I decided to leave.  The creek drops about 8' below that log and it's almost shear canyon wall on both sides.  I had to backtrack a ways to get up out of the water.
Ran up to Cartersville the day before to check out the Cohutta Fishing Co. and pick up a new fly line and some flies.  They've got an awesome store with a ton of gear.  Check them out if you're in the area!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Photos from IFTD and iCAST Day 4

I finally managed to get the last group of ICAST/IFTD photos captioned!  I still have more that I haven't posted yet, I'm going to try to highlight some of the booths that I really liked at the show.  Hopefully these pictures will tide you guys over for a while!
Enjoy, like, follow, subscribe, and comment!
  Thanks, Tight Lines!
Evenin' Folks,
  I know I promised to caption these photos once I got home from the IFTD show. I'm still working on it, I promise. Things have been busy here since returning from Florida. So, as consolation, I offer up more original photos from the 2014 IFTD and iCAST show. Please enjoy!
  Tight Lines!

Native Watercraft had a bunch of their kayaks on display.  They almost look like canoe/kayak hybrids!
Speaking of hybrids, these little hybrid kayak/drift boats from Nucanoe looked pretty sweet!
TFO had a booth jam-packed with rods.  I loved the look of all these different grips lined up in the rack.
Hobie Kayaks, the kayak you pedal! The new tandem model they introduced looks like it could be an awful lot of fun!
It was nice to see a booth from Georgia DNR at the show.  
This map shows all the fishing related companies that call Georgia home.  I was tempted to tack a Suburban Angler business card up near the Oyster Bamboo Rods sticker!
The size and shape of these Ion video cameras seems like they'd be more practical for all sorts of sportsmen to record their adventures.
I want the camo one!
They're about the same size and weight as a chunky little LED flashlight.  Definitely on my wish list!
WTP, Inc had some really cool looking self adhesive products for lure making, I think these eyes can cross over to fly tying pretty easily!
They had too many products to fit the whole booth in one shot!
All of the WTP products are made right here in the USA, too!
Redington had a huge booth with loads of awesome products on display.  I've got to try one of these Butter Sticks real soon!
This picture shows maybe a quarter of the rods Redington had on display.
Redington also had a nice display of their own reels.
A 6' 2" 2-weight Butter Stick, I had to get a close up!
A Canadian group called Mouche had a fishing cabin/lounge set up as their booth.  Check them out on Facebook, it's a really cool concept of passing on flies on the water that they were successful.
Nikko is a soft plastic bait company out of Japan.  While not necessarily for the fly angler, the minute detail of these plastics, I think, could be integrated into more realistic flies.
The front doors of the show, taken on the last day.  I had such an amazing time, I can't wait to go back next year!
Just a beautiful truck in the parking lot.  Oh yeah, it belongs to the Spanish Fly!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fly Fishing Suwanee Creek Test Video

Afternoon folks!
  I went out and fished Suwanee Creek yesterday evening to test out some camera equipment.  I got skunked again! I think the fish know when I have a camera out!  I sped up the video just because I think fly fishing in high speed is pretty funny!  Please like, subscribe, share, comment and anything else.  I hope to have more videos soon!
  Have a great day!
    Tight Lines,

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Photos from iCAST and IFTD Day 3

Updated photos from iCast and IFTD Day 3!  I finally got more captions done!  Only one more group left, I'm on 'em, I promise!

Mornin' Folks!
  Here's more unedited, uncaptioned photos from IFTD. Today is the last day of the show, so I should have a few more photos tomorrow and I'll caption them all this weekend!
  Tight Lines!

The Abel booth  was packed full the entire week of the show.  I was able to get close enough to take a couple pictures of one display case.  I really liked the heft of these line nippers though, and you have to love Abel's different anodizing patterns.
One of Abel's beautiful reels that was on that display.  I love the way these trout patterns look on their reels.
Yakima had this sweet little trailer on display at the show.  I think even my little car could tow it, instead of strapping the kayak to the roof! I wonder if I'd get any more respect at the boat launch?
This and the next few photos were taken at the L.L. Bean Media Luncheon that I was invited to.  I've had a nostalgic affection for L.L. Bean for most of my life and it's gotten stronger as I've gone deeper down the rabbit whole that is fly fishing.  I must say, though, that I was a bit disappointed at the luncheon.  I really liked some of the new products that Beans had on display, but I was sad to see that every one of them was made in China.  It doesn't matter to most people, but it does matter to me and I try not to purchase Chinese items when I can help it.  These were all nice items that appeared to be constructed with quality in mind, so just let that guide your opinions of them.  
How about zip front waders?  
This was a really good looking jacket with lots of pockets and some innovative storage solutions.

Talk about storage!  This fishing travel bag had more pockets than I could fill!

The Fishpond booth had some really nice looking products on display.  I tend to use a lumber pack when fishing, so I was really attracted to this one that's actually designed for fishing!
A good looking satchel from Fishpond.  
Outcast Sporting Gear was showing a bunch of their inflatable boats.  Really nice, full featured and well thought out designs I'd love to try one!
The Renzetti Traveller vice, such a great little size, I love this thing!
A whole basket of FlyVines Bracelets.
FlyVines Sunglass Keepers.  Such a great idea for recycling used fly lines!
This, quite obviously, is a terrible picture of some folks at the casting pond.  Not sure why I kept it in here.
One of my favorite booths at the show, Finn Utility out of Vermont.  Hand crafted, heirloom quality, traditional fly fishing accessories.  I really need to place an order, but I can't narrow down my wish list!
Awesome drying patches, the big one on the left is for your vehicle's visor!  NEED!!!

Another product that is just one of those fantastic ideas!  It's a net and a wading staff!

How's this for a stream side fly tying setup!  This set from C&F Designs includes everything but the feathers!
These J:son Match'n Catch flies are the epitome of realism and durability in a fly!  They've got to be seen to be believed!
Flambeau had a massive booth at ICAST.  This was the fly fishing section...
Bote Paddle Boards had one  of the sexiest booths at the show.  The graphics on these are awesome.  I've really got to try one soon!
The fly tying competition at IFTD.  It was so cool watching these guys tie as fast as they could!
I scored a very appropriately named beer from Rio Fly Lines!
The Best of Show Old Towne Predator XL motorized kayak! How cool is that?
A nice lineup of Ocean Kayaks.