Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Reel Arrived (Gear Preview) Solitude Reels

The Solitude2 reel that was ordered for the custom rod came in today. It is designed for 4,5,6 weight lines. Putting some 4wt line put on it and as soon as I get back from my redfish trip to Louisiana it will get a workout and review.

To find out moreHere are a few pictures after mounting.

About Solitude Reels

The Solitude Reel Company is located in the Skagit Valley just north of Seattle. The valley, bordered by ocean on one side and the North Cascade range on the other, is home to some of the most diverse fishing in the Northwest. Originating from the Midwest as a reel designed for the steelheader the new Solitude has cut its teeth in the heart of big steelhead country and has proven itself worthy of the task. Tested on the famed steelhead rivers and intimate beaches of North Puget Sound, the Solitude Reel has found a home in the Pacific Northwest.

At Solitude Reels, we take great pride in the design and precision machining of our product, a reel that is machined right here in the United States. Many additions and improvements have been made to the original design, most notably is the reversibility of the retrieve. The reel can now be easily converted by the angler himself. All standard parts found in our reel have been designed for increased functionality and strength. The parts themselves, all twenty of them, are high- precision machined parts made in our CNC (computer numeric control) machine shop. All materials used in our reel are corrosive resistant. The drag surfaces are cork on Teflon in the SR2 and SR3 and cork on Type III anodized aluminum in the SR4 and SR5 reels. Both drag systems provide unsurpassed smoothness. A new custom spring system has allowed for superior range in both drag systems, providing the angler who targets large fish with light tippets a multitude of micro adjustments to land their fish. More recently, we have upgraded the SR4 and SR5 reels with stronger springs and larger over sized drag discs. These reels now produce up to 17lbs of drag. The combinations of these modifications have increased the drag capabilities in these reels to include larger saltwater species.

We utilize a stainless steel one-directional clutch bearing, which is encased in a machined Type III anodized aluminum clutch housing. The housing, as well as the hub, rotor sleeve, and spindle are machined with tolerances of .0002” providing a solid and smooth rotation of the spool. The frames are reinforced with added material to reduce flex or contortion and to increase strength and durability. The spools are designed to lock onto the frames easily and smoothly with a tight fit. Large Arbor spools are available for the SR4 and SR5 as an option to the Standard Mid Arbor spool. Intense polishing is done to each part that receives anodizing. The spool flanges and frame are polished to a number 8 finish (mirror finish) before being sent to anodize and then re-polished before assembly. The result is a beautiful finish that compliments the precision feel of the reel. You can expect a reel with an amazingly smooth drag and equally smooth feel and look.

We have now introduced a Type III hard anodized finish to all our black reels in order to provide the highest quality finish for use in extreme environments, particularly marine. Type III anodizing vitually penetrates the aluminum with near ceramic hardness while building-up on the surface by an equal thickness. Although the cost is many times that of Type I or Type II, it becomes worth it to the angler to own a reel that appears like new after many years of severe use.

Careful thought has been put into the functionality, performance, and durability of our line of reels. This attention to detail has led to a reel that will stand up to the toughest of tests. These reels have been designed by folks who fish and understand what a reel should do to give the angler the performance needed to land some of North America’s strongest and most explosive fish. We hope that you will enjoy our product and that it will serve you well on your adventures.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fly Fishing ( How to get started )

What do I need to get started in fly fishing. This question is being asked quite often lately as the sport has definately seen a rise in participants. It is the same question that I put out on many fishing forums trying to decide what was needed. Generally, we all know that a fly rod and reel is needed along with some line. But how many people who are new to the sport realize that a leader needs to be tied to the fly line as well as a tippet to the leader, and that there are different knots used in tying each of these.
Here is a good website to assist you in tying knots:

As far as rod and reels go there are many suppliers out there that offer packages for beginners with some being under $100.00, which is a good deal if you are not sure where you want to go with the sport. One thing that i've found is if you can afford it then you should spend the money on a quality rod, it really does make quite a difference in casting with presentation and distance.
Another thing to remember when picking out a rod is to be sure to pick the proper weight for the application, you can do this by checking out the rod manufacturers website for specifications or by asking around on some of the forums.
A basic overview of rod size would be:
1-4 weight (smaller fish and smaller trout)
5-8 weight (larger trout,bass,smaller saltwater fish)
8-13 weight (saltwater)

The reel that you choose will need to be matched to the rod as far as weight goes. As an example, on my 4wt rod I have a 3/4wt reel and my 7wt rod has an 8wt reel on it. What I have found is when you are fishing smaller weight rod and reels for smaller fish you are usually using the reel as a place to hold your line. When you are tackling larger fish is where a quality reel will come into play. It will give you a larger arbor to hold more line as well as having a quality drag system to help you land the fish.

The fly line is just as important. Starting out you will probably want a floating weight forward line. This will be the easiest line to cast which will assist while you are learning. A good idea is to get a line with a good UV coating and make sure that the line matches the weight of the rod and reel. A good fly line that is cleaned properly should last you a few years.
Leaders should be matched to the species of fish that you will be pursuing.
Tippets are used to connect your fly to your line via the leader. The length of the tippet can be adjusted to accomadate the type of fly you are tossing and you can vary the size of it to meet the fishing conditions.

Picking out a fly to use is not as complicated as you might think. Starting out I basically used poppers, this way I was constantly aware of what was going on and could work on my presentation until I got comfortable to try out different styles. The best recomendation that I could give you here is to visit your local fly shop and ask questions, there is a lot of good advice given.
Some people take to fly casting easier than others. I was fortunate to fish with a guide last year who gave me some basic lessons and helped out where needed for a few days. Other than that it has come from just getting out on the water and practicing. If you are able to there are fly shops that offer casting lessons and it would be a good investment.

I know that this does not answer everything but it's a good start.

Welcome to the sport,

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Fly Rod is Ready

It is finished. I worked on it all weekend and took it off the dryer last night. Guides are wrapped in black with the ferrule wraps have a copper trim. There are two different Rattlesnake inlays above the custom grip.Total weight was less than 5oz. Had a lot of fun building it and as soon as the new reel gets here I will get a chance to use it.
Thanks for following along,

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fly Rod Build (Updated)

The components that I ordered to build this fly rod came in late last week and I was able to start on it Thursday night.
The blank that I am using is a TFO Professional series 9' 4wt, reel seat is a triangular uplocking seat by American Tackle, guides are 316ss by Pac Bay.
The grip is to be custom made out of pieces of different colored cork that will be glued together and shaped on a lathe.
Here is the grip after the lathe work and sanding.
Once the cork was bored out to fit on the blank it was attached with epoxy and the reel seat added and ligned up.
After much consideration and a few phone calls to some of my friends who fly fish I decided to do a custom inlay with Rattlesnake skin to give it a different twist. After all, I am in Texas.
The bottom section is complete and the three other sections of the blank are drying. I will post up a finished rod later.
Thanks for reading and following, feel free to ask any questions.