Monday, July 25, 2011

Gear Review - Elkhorn MA Series Reel, and Elkhorn Fly Line

Well, I finally made it down to Gunnison, and boy was it interesting.  Not only was I amazed by the sheer number of trout in the Taylor River, but their "pickiness" was intense. I do have pictures, but they will be arriving in the email tomorrow seeing as they were taken on a friends camera.  More of the details of my trip will come soon, as well as the pictures. 

The real story behind this post is a nifty little piece of gear that performed amazingly on the Taylor River. I stopped in Elkhorn fly shop on the way down to longmont on friday to pick up the new reel I ordered for my six weight.  I must admit, I was skeptical at first. I was going to be using the Elkhorn MA-3 reel, paired with the Elkhorn house brand fly line.  Everyone worries about having the name brand stuff, so I wanted to prove that Elkhorn can perform as well as brands such as bauer, sage, etc.

The MA series of reels has a sealed disk drag system, making the maintenance almost nothing. The silky smooth cork drag and huge arbor enable swift line pickup, making it the perfect reel for big fish.  The only thing that gets a slight bit annoying is having to loosen the drag completely each night in order to prevent the cork from warping, but hey, it is most definitely worth the few seconds that it takes to do this in the long run.  Other than that, The reel performs flawlessly.  It is also super aesthetically pleasing, which gives some people a special "Warm Feeling" inside.  For a maximum price of only $239, it simply cannot be beat. 

Now, the fly line. I was most worried about how this line would cast, turn over big flies, etc.  Well, after literally abusing the line on all different types of water, I can honestly say that it is the BEST fly line I have ever used. Period.  First off, the line comes in an olive, and buckskin coloration for stealthiness, which is key for some of the larger, spookier fish.  Also, the line has a slick coating, enabling it to shoot through the guides like a bullet fresh out of the barrel.  The big selling points for me on this line were floatation, and its ability to turn over heavy flies. I was able to throw sex dungeon streamers with no problem whatsoever, and was amazed at the line's ability to accomplish such a thing.  Next was the floatation factor. Most floating lines have a tendency to sink under the current, or with the heavy weight of a big streamer. Not this line.  No matter what, it was always riding high above the water, and keeping my streamers from sinking any deeper than the length of my leader.  It is truly an amazing line, and sells for under $70, the typical cost of a name brand fly line.

Overall, this is hands down the best casting rig that I have fished in quite awhile.  The reel's silky smooth, maintenance free drag, and the line's ultra slick coating, drab color, and amazing floatation make  this the best reel-line combo out there.  The fact that every one of their rods, reels, and lines are made right here in Loveland, CO. is also pretty sweet.  All of their rods and reels come with a lifetime warranty, and are handcrafted with exceptional quality.  Check out their awesome website here! I seriously encourage all of you to head down to Elkhorn sometime and check out equipment, stock up on fly tying materials, browse through their excellent collection of fly patterns, and share some of your latest fishing stories!  If there are any specific questions about the reel, line, shop, or anything else, leave a comment, and I will be happy to answer!


(And no, I am not a rep for Elkhorn...just a customer that is very satisfied with his purchase, and wants others to experience the magic of Elkhorn equipment).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Terrestrials, Cutthroat, and Old Memories

I was fortunate enough to make a trip up to estes park with my dad the other day in pursuit of rainbows below olympus dam. We also met up with some family friends that were in from virginia, making it a great experience!  After brief conversations, and many handshakes, we hit the river with high expectations.

I have fished below the dam at lake estes several times before, and unfortunately for us, these fish are super smart for the Thompson.  They get fished to so much that they become super picky, in turn making the catch rates start to dwindle. The upside? Well, it is now dead in the middle of summer (at least for me), and ants, beetles, and even hoppers are starting to show up on the surface of the water. This meant that we could fish big buoyant dries to rising fish.  Well, after several missed attempts, we finally got into some fish, but nothing worth writing home about. Frustrated, we decided to hit up Village Pizza for some lunch, and then we decided to head to Lily Lake in  search of Greenback cutthroats.

When we arrived at Lily lake, the parking lot was full, and people were crammed into, and around the lake.  I suppose this makes sense seeing as it is the most accessible lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, and its beautiful scenery is unparalleled.  Braving the crowds, we grabbed our gear, and walked the shoreline on the lookout for cruising fish. We didn't find any cruisers, but we did find quite a few fish that were willing to engulf our ant patterns, making for an excellent day on the water.

Greenback Cutthroat

I was blown away by the colors on some of these fish...

Now, on to the old memories part of this post. I was looking through some pictures, and found a few good shots of some nice sized bass that I caught a few years back. I thought that they were good enough to put up, so without further ado...

Nice largemouth from a few years back...

Bassin' at night...what a thrill!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chasin' Carp

It has been awhile since I last posted, mainly because I was in D.C for a week, and have been extremely busy with commercial tying.  But, I did manage to get out and fish quite a bit recently. I chased smallies from the bellyboat, largemouth on shad patterns, and most recently, carp on the flats of my local lake.  All of the above events were exciting, but I just can't seem to get enough of carp fishing on the fly.  It really is an amazing experience, and it will truly challenge you as an angler.

About to set out in pursuit of smallies

Nice grassie...these things fight like a saltwater fish!
As I was patrolling the edges of my local lake, I noticed a cloud of mud, indicating that the fish had spooked. As I cursed at myself for blowing my opportunity, I realized that the fish hadn't spooked, but was instead mudding (sifting through mud on the bottom in order to get nutrients) in a circular motion, creating the cloud of mud that I had seen. I put my fly in front of him, and with a little kick of his tail, he engulfed that pattern. With a swift lift of the rod, he took off for the nearest cover, but was slowly brought to hand.

Common carp that finally showed his identity through the murk of the mud cloud

This guy took me in to my backing quicker than I could blink
Overall, it has been an eventful couple of weeks, and I look forward to hearing how fishing was if any of you got the chance to hit the water.  I am headed to the Taylor River, Antero Reservoir, and Delaney Buttes in a little over a week, so I will be sure to let you know how things went. 

Other than that, I am hoping to get a tying tutorial up sometime before my trip, but I want to know what you guys would like to see. There are so many tutorials already out there, but if there is something specific that you would like to see, please don't hesitate to let me know. It is greatly appreciated!

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