Category Archives: Product Review

Hank Patterson’s Nipper Product Review

The best review ever of the Orvis made-in-USA Nippers. That Hank Patterson–what a guy!

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The Beard Chronicles – Gear Review – Douglas Sky 490-4

I enjoyed watching Marc Crapo and The Beard Chronicles this morning, so I thought you guys would too. Check it out!
-Paul-FrankenFly

From Marc Crapo:
“You only need enough information to decide whether or not you want to cast this rod. It’s a “fast” action stick with tons of backbone and heaps of soul. For more info visit: http://douglasoutdoors.com/

If you have a suggestion or a question or you want to throat punch me don’t hesitate to leave a comment or hunt me down on FB or Instagram @vonbeardly (don’t worry, sometimes I want to throat punch myself. So you’re in good company) ;-)”

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TFO Impact Fly Rod Review


I recently had a chance to get my hands on the new Impact fly rod from Temple Fork Outfitters. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. From what I read, part of this rod’s origin consisted of test rods being sent out to many casting and fishing experts, like Bob Clouser, Lefty Kreh, Flip Pallot, and Larry Dahlberg, to give you some examples. TFO then made adjustments to the rods according to the feedback they received. Granted, a fly rod is a personal preference and even the experts have their own preferences. However, it seems they were after something really special with this fly rod. So I was definitely excited to try one.

When I first took the butt section out of the sleeve, I noticed how light the rod felt, even if I was only holding one section. Then what attracted my attention was the modern looking reel seat and the emerald highlights around the thread wraps near the guides. It’s a very nice looking rod. NOTE: With a little research I noticed the larger sized rods have the modern looking reel seats and the smaller sized rods have rosewood inserts.

So I went out to test cast this new rod using a 250 grain sinking line with a single hook streamer tied on the end. Now, with the full rod in my hand, I could more closely feel how light weight this rod is. It felt great in my hand. With that first casting stroke, it felt effortless to cast. Having just fished with my 6wt Clouser rod, the softness of the Impact showed instantly. Of course, the Clouser is a stiff action rod after all.

I then tied on an articulated streamer with lead dumbbell eyes to see how it would throw something with some more weight. I have to say, more than any rod I’ve casted, even with the flexibility of the Impact, it had enough power to shoot the streamer extremely well. Usually when a rod has that kind of flexibility, I have to use the sling shot and flick of the wrist technique to wing the streamer out there. I didn’t have to do that with the Impact.

I spoke to Captain Austin Auducci and asked him to give me his opinion of the TFO Impact. Austin is the owner and head guide of Grab Your Fly Charters located in the Chicago area.

“I’ve used it as a streamer rod and also to throw top water flies like the BoogleBug. It performs well at both applications. It has the power to throw streamers and it provides a more delicate presentation when throwing top water flies. I do not hesitate to give them to my clients to use.”

What I plan to do in the future is grab a smaller weight Impact for a dedicated dry fly rod. I believe the Impact would make a terrific trout rod. Actually, Austin mentioned the same thing to me.

I’m starting to get the feeling the Impact would be good at many applications. I even read a post from a saltwater fisher stating how much he uses Impacts for salt.

The price point is a little higher than the other TFO rods, but not by much. One of the most attractive features that I love about TFO rods in general is that you get a quality rod at a good price. Even at this price, the Impact is still a bargain in my book.

I was completely happy using my Clouser and my BVK. To be honest, I wasn’t looking for another rod. But after casting the Impact, I plan to use this rod much more. I think it has the ability to become my go-to rod.

-Paul J. Beel

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My new fly tying table from Hartman Woodworking!

The Sugar Creek

The Sugar Creek

While I was on Instagram about a month ago, I came across some awesome photos of fly tying tables made by Hartman Woodworking. Scrolling down their Instagram account had me drooling at the beautiful tables and accessories created by these guys. I wasted no time and messaged them right away about something for myself. After some questions were answered and other photos and options were explained to me, we were off and running. A fly tying table with the options I needed would be entering the build process.

The table is now completed, named The Sugar Creek. It is the table in the photo at the top. Hartman usually names your table after one of your favorite streams.

These guys were great to work with. They are very pleasant and will answer all of your questions. Many of the tables they had designed and created before had different options, but one of the main options I wanted, was the wood section coming straight out so I can attach my vise using a C clamp. I just explained what I wanted and these guys had no problem with it. They asked me what type of wood I wanted for the table and sent me design specs and asked where I wanted my trays and shelves and even the diameter and size of the trays.
One of the options I had seen in their other tables that I thought looked amazing was the rotating tool tray. I selected mine to be a 3/4 circle tray made of black walnut. The table itself is made from hickory. I even told them exactly what size I wanted the table to be, so it would fit correctly on my desk. Three of my trays have a rare earth magnet under them to use for hooks or whatever I wanted. The trays with the magnets just look like normal wooden tray spaces, but are magnetic. The icing on the cake was the LED lamp they mounted on the table.

I just received my table yesterday and I am elated on how well it turned out! It’s beautiful! The pedestal tool tray houses all of my tools, I have a lot of space for my thread, glue, and other tools and accessories. I also have a lot more tying space than I had before. The wooden section that was needed for my vise is perfect. Everything is made just like I wanted and I couldn’t be happier!

-Paul

Read below to find out more about Hartman Woodworking and how you can get in touch with them to purchase a table of your own.

Steve

Steve


Hartman Woodworking is a Father-Son owned and operated business that designs and handcrafts heirloom quality custom woodworking products. We specialize in custom Fly Tying Tables, Benches, Desks and other Fly Tying furniture and accessories. We use the finest hardwoods, long lasting hardware, superior tools, precision cuts, biscuit joints and hand finishing that provides our signature heirloom quality products that will last more than a lifetime. Josh the son, is an avid seasoned fly fisherman and fly tyer who frequently wets his line in the trout streams of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Colorado and always has his eye on the new innovative products for the sport. Steve the father, is a seasoned woodworker that uses his engineering background to design and craft the finest products that are made to be functional, beautiful and made to last for the next generation. Each product is handcrafted in our shop located in Millersville, Maryland where they get individually handcrafted, hand finished, serialized and signed by handcrafters Josh and Steve.

Josh

Josh

We offer some standards products that were originally designed for one of our many customers that have then been sold to other customers that wanted the same products. We specialize in developing unique wood products for the occasional tyer and the professional tyer. Our customers are included in the design process, wood selection, layout and final finishing, by sharing photos of work in process, so that you can even make some changes as things come together.

We maintain a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/hartmanwoodworkingLLC/) where we put lots of on-going photos of what is happening in the shop and some of where owner, Josh, may be wetting his line. There are a lot of pictures on Instagram (http://instagram.com/hartmanwoodworking) so that you can follow all of the current work, products, shop changes or just how some finished products look. We also maintain a fully functional e-commerce website (http://hartman-woodworking-llc1.mybigcommerce.com/?ctk=X3S10OS775Q4VT4QTHWP8PSA) where you can browse and order most of our standard products or request a quote for a custom project.

We also feature some of our products at local fly shops and currently have some inventory at all four TCO Fly Shops in Pennsylvania (www.tcoflyshops.com) and The Beaver Creek Fly Shop near Hagerstown, MD (www.beavercreekflyshop.com). Stop in at one of these five fly shops to see some of our products. Make a purchase or get more information about custom orders! Contact us about any products, questions or just to find out more information:

Via email:

Steve@hartmanwoodworking.com
Josh@hartmanwoodworking.com

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A Look Into: Partridge of Redditch hooks

Partridge logo-green

I figured it was time to write about the hooks I use in the bulk of my fly tying, Partridge of Redditch.

I get asked a lot about my hook choice, especially at fly fishing shows. Here is my usual answer. For streamers, I want a hook that is strong, has a wide hook gap, and is sharp. Guess what, Partridge of Redditch has hooks with all of those qualities.

The three primary styles I use for streamers are the Attitude Streamer, Universal Predator, and Universal Predator X.

Attitude Streamer - ACS

ACS – Attitude Streamer

The Attitude Streamer is a strong hook that has a great hook gap, is sharp and comes in just the right sizes. I use this hook in various sizes for the majority of my smallmouth and largemouth flies. This is an awesome bass hook and I absolutely think this is the best hook out there for these two species.

Universal Predator - CS86

Universal Predator – CS86

The Universal Predator is what I use on trout style streamers. It is a light wire hook that is very strong. I’ve heard some other tiers say they wouldn’t use the Universal Predator for bass because it is a lighter, thinner hook. I can see where they are coming from because you could easily just use a Universal Predator X instead. But what makes me disagree with that statement is that I have used Universal Predators while fishing for bass and they worked great! Just this spring I caught a largemouth that was easily over 6 pounds and the fly I was using was my Bearded Wonder which is tied with two 1/0 Universal Predators. I had no problem horsing that baby in. The hooks held strongly and I still have that same fly in my fly box to use for another day. So don’t knock it until you try it.

Besides the light strength of the Universal Predator, it also has a long shank with the best hook gap in the business in my opinion. It’s such a beautifully designed hook, if I was to marry a hook, this would be the one!

Not only do I use the Universal Predator on trout streamers, I also use it on all of my poppers. The light wire and the strength and length makes for a terrific popper hook. For example, the Zudbubblers I tie are tied on a 2/0 Universal Predator and have worked perfectly for both smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Universal Predator X - cs86x

Universal Predator X – cs86x

Ok, so say you love the style of the Universal Predator but you don’t need it to have the thinner wire. Well, that’s where the Universal Predator X comes in! It has the exact same, beautiful design, but is made with heavier gage wire. It can be used on a multitude of species and would be an excellent hook for pike or muskie. Basically a strong hook that can be used for catching big bad fish.

Dry Fly Supreme - L5A

Dry Fly Supreme – L5A

The other hooks in the Partridge family that I use frequently are their dry fly hooks. The standard dry fly hook from Partridge is the Dry Fly Supreme. It’s the right size and sharp. I haven’t had any problems with hook-ups using this hook. I use it on all of the dries I tie except when the pattern calls for a longer shank hook. Then I use the Nymph Long H1A. Even though this hook is named as a nymph hook, it uses the same wire as the Dry Fly Supreme, it’s just longer. So it works great as a long dry fly hook.

Nymph Long - H1A

Nymph Long – H1A

I hope this gives you a little insight into Partridge of Redditch hooks. I can only report on what styles I have fished and tied with most often, so that’s what I’ve tried to summarize here. I would highly recommend hooks made by Partridge of Redditch. Now quit sitting there staring at the computer screen, go get some!

 

-Paul J. Beel

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Choosing the Right Glue with Kelly Galloup

In this video, Kelly explains the various types of glue he uses when tying and the differences between them.

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Universal Vise Corp. Rotating Fly Tying Vises

ClassicFlyTyer on Youtube gives us some good information about the old vise company, Universal Vise Corp. There were several famous fly tiers who used these vises. I’ve researched these vises in the past and found this very interesting. Give it a listen.

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Deer Creek UV Resin review

Deer Creek Diamond Fine Flex

Deer Creek Diamond Fine Flex

Well…well…well, another review of a UV resin. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t planning to do another review of a UV resin or comparison or anything like that, for that matter. I used to think my light wasn’t strong enough or when it wasn’t completely tack free, that it was as tack free as UV resins get. Then people would say, “Just put Sally Hanson’s over it and it will be tack free.” To me, that was asinine and I wasn’t even about to attempt that process. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of being tack free? I thought all of those things—until now, that is.

Actually, I don’t use UV resins these days unless I have a specific purpose for them. I just use Krazy Glue if I need to seal my thread head or to do normal gluing on streamers. For example, if I need the head of my fly to look good and shiny, I’ll use Deer Creek UV resin. Another instance; I have a soft hackle fly I designed called a “Bit of Alpaca” where I needed to coat the Flashabou body, so I used Deer Creek Diamond Fine UV resin. Then I have this new fly I’ve been working with this summer and I found using Deer Creek Diamond Fine Flex worked perfectly.

Bit of Alpaca

Bit of Alpaca – soft hackle

So there, I said it, Deer Creek UV resin. This is the reason I have come to the point of writing another UV resin review. The truth, Deer Creek UV resin just plain works! The first time I used Deer Creek Diamond Fine, I was shocked and really impressed all at the same time. The light I was using and the light I still use is a Deer Creek pen light. When I first received it, I chuckled and thought to myself, “This little light will never work.” Guess what, it did work and it still works. It takes about 15 to 20 seconds to dry the resin for most applications. Sometimes it may require a little more time. But what matters is, the resin actually dries completely tack free. You can count on it and I count on it for my own flies.

fine

Deer Creek Diamond Fine

Deer Creek just released the Diamond Fine Flex this year and I wanted to try it for this new fly. I’m not ready to say much about this new fly, but I’ll briefly explain, so you understand why I was using the UV resin. This new fly is a bottom bouncer with lead dumbbell eyes. I want it to sink to the bottom of the river or creek and drag it for smallmouth bass. So the dumbbell eyes are coated yellow and of course the way I’m using this fly causes the paint to chip off and it looks like crap. So I now use Diamond Fine Flex on the bottom of the lead dumbbell eyes to protect it from chipping. This worked like a charm! I have been fishing and dragging this fly that you see pictured below with no chips out of the paint. I have also taken this same fly by the tail and smacked it on concrete with no harm done to the paint or the dumbbell eyes. As you can see, there in no discoloration to the UV resin, it is still nice and clear looking.

mc-r

Deer Creek makes one other type of UV resin and that is the Diamond Hard. This is to build up and thicken your resin application, but I haven’t tried that particular type. But I’m sure it works just as well as the other two. Like I mentioned, I have tried the Diamond Fine and the Diamond Fine Flex and I’m completely happy. This is the UV resin for me and I won’t have to worry about writing another review, because Deer Creek UV resin works and I’m sticking with it. I honestly and wholeheartedly recommend Deer Creek UV resin, without a doubt!

Deer Creek is a company located in the UK. You can visit their website here: Deer Creek website

Casters Fly Shop is the main Deer Creek outlet in the United States. You can visit their website here: Casters Fly Shop website

written by Paul J. Beel

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Daylight Foldi Lamp review – Alan Bithell

Enlightenment for the Travelling Tier.

Good lighting is vital for fly tying. Lamps balanced to daylight colour temperatures have been around for some years, They make the best, most comfortable, lights to tie under, reduced eye strain and true colour perception (if that is possible) are the main advantages. For about the last 8 years I have been using an Daylight as my light source for tying. I can say that it has been the best light I have used, and I had many different ones over the years.

As a bench light it has been perfect, lots of light and not in my way, what more can you ask? Well there is more, I don’t only tie at home. The light does fold up quite neatly, which is good if space and weight are not an issue. Also the lamp is mains power only, again no problem at home, a different story on the road.

Last month the bulb in my lamp gave up the ghost. This is only to be expected, and as this is the second new bulb in 8 years I’ve no complaints about the longevity of them. Replacements, though, are a little difficult to track down, and at 1/3rd the cost of the original lamp, quite expensive. I am also concerned that in the future these older bulbs may become unavailable.

With all this in mind I thought it a good idea to find a lamp I can use as a back up at home and for tying when away from home. What I wanted was something easy to carry, with a choice of power sources. Today my new Daylight Foldi LED Lamp arrived. Excellent service as I only ordered it the previous morning.

Being an LED lamp it gets around the blown bulb problem. It is also much more compact than my other light. Surprisingly it is also brighter than my desk light. For power it uses 3 AA size batteries, which, they claim, last 8 hours; a good tying session by anyone’s measure. I’m sure there will be some fade off towards the end of this period. In addition to the batteries it comes with a USB power cord. There is also a mains adapter available as an optional extra. Those three options give me the ability to use it just about anywhere. With a folded size of 23.3cm X 7.5cm X 3.3cm and weighing in at just 1 lb it will travel very easily. The light comes with a draw chord sock to store and transport it in.

The light operates with a courtesy light switch, a bit like your refrigerator door. When the light is opened it comes on, to turn it off just push the head down. The folding foot can be left down when the head is pushed down so you can turn the light off when taking a break during your tying session.

A friend pointed out that the light is not very high, However as the adjustable head will go above the horizontal almost to the vertical it is possible to raise the head without the LEDs being in your eye line, meaning you can move the light well away from your vice.

One great use I put both my lights to is the simplest form of light box I have ever seen. Simply tape the ends of a piece of paper or card together into a large tube, and slide it over the head of the light. Pop your flies inside the tube for photographing. I’ve been using this method for a couple of years with my bench light. However you must, for safety’s sake, remember to turn it off, as the lamp gets hot. My new LED lamp doesn’t get hot. It may get more use as a light box next to my bench than anything else.

My new light came from craftlamps.co.uk Cost £39.99 post free and was delivered within 24 hours of ordering it. Exceptional service as, living in the Highlands of Scotland, delivery can take a day or three longer than usual. Craft Lamps also have the optional mains adapter, £19:99. If you are looking for a new tying lamp, especially one you can use when travelling, I can not recommend this one highly enough.

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The lamp in its carrying case.

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Folded up, compact enough to take anywhere.

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Simply unfold for lots of light.

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Daylight balanced to reduce eye strain.

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30 LEDs for plenty of light.

Lamp_0006_zpsc0d2777b

3 batteries for 8 hours of light.

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The USB cable. Power it from your laptop.

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Using a paper tube as a light box with the lamp.

Lamp_0010_zpsd71450ea

The “light box” working well.

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ProLite Tying Lamps

lamp3I’ve been using a ProLite Dual Lamp for about 6 months and I wanted to use it for this long to get a good feel for the lamp. I know many fly tyers who use these lamps and wondered where they purchased them. Surprisingly, I’ve found that Rite Bobbin sells them directly from their website. I really have enjoyed using mine and like the fact that I don’t have to worry about changing bulbs. The one thing I had to get used to at first was the light coverage. These are strong lights that produce plenty of light, but it is direct light. Meaning, it shines directly on your subject. If you are accustomed to a normal lamp which spreads the light out, then it will take you a short time to adjust. By using the dual lamp, I can angle each of the lights on each side of the fly I’m tying and it gives me all the light I need even if the rest of the room is pitch black. This is the only thing that stood out for me when adjusting to the new light. Everything about the lamp is in in good quality and I have found no problematic issues at all. See below to see the specifications and visit the Rite Bobbin site for pricing.

Basic lamp description:

  • LED bulbs (100,000 hours, plenty of illumination and no heat)
  • pure white light
  • C-Clamp for bench or table mount
  • Post Mount capability (great for traveling)
  • Heavy Base with tray (4 lbs)
  1. Single lamp + magnifier combination.
  2. Dual lamp configuration also offered.  This is my personal favorite, I orient the lamps in a “V” at about 10:00 and 2:00 o’clock and  the fly is never shaded by my hands.  AND, I( can look through the “V” and watch the ballgame!  🙂

These lamps were originally designed as circuit board inspection lamps and the fly tying modifications were added by the company president, an avid fly tyer.

lamp1

lamp2

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