Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hollow Fleyes

With my trout season being over for this year and after almost recovering from the depression that follows it, I grabbed myself together and dusted of my streamerbox.
Today I want to bring to your attention a few examples of a a family of flies called Hollow Fleyes invented by Bob Popovics.

... apart from having a strange kind of fancy for goats Bob is also a very creative fly tier that has given the world a few pretty cool and very effective flies. A lot of these flies and the concepts behind them can be found in his excellent book "Pop Fleyes". If you don't already own a copy of this book, go get one. And if you already did, get an extra one just in case, because these books have a tendency of disappearing in thin air once you borrow it to somebody else....

So...  Bob like goats. A lot! Well...  the boy goats to be precise. Bob ties a lot of his flies with bucktail. It's a very versatile material that possesses certain qualities that cannot be imitated by any other material. The Hollow Fleye is no exception. The whole fly is made out of bucktail. At first glance this looks familiar and indeed there is a resemblance to the Deciever but there a few big difference in the way the fly is tied.
To be technically the Hollow Fleye isn't so much a fly, it's a concept that enables the tier to make flies with little material and a big profile. The shape of the fly can be controlled very precise by the tier.
What Bob came up with is very simple to understand and the technique is pretty easy by itself but it will take a few flies before you will be able to really have full control over the outcome.

The name comes from the fact that you are trying to outline just the silhouette of the fly and leaving the inner bit empty; Hollow.... simple.

The basic principle of the technique is to reverse the tying and then pulling back the fibres. I will explain:
After you put the thread onto the hookshank you get a bunch of bucktail which you ty in round the hookshank with the tips of the bucktail pointing forward! After the bucktail is tied in securely you get something to push the bucktail backwards, an old pen will do just fine. After you've pushed back the bucktail you should now have the fibres pointing backwards. With the pen still pushing the fibres you grab the bucktail with your hand and take away the pen, you build a small ramp of thread directly in front of the bucktail. This ramp will push back the bucktail. If you make a small ramp the bucktail will flare widely and if you make it big the bucktail will be almost glued to the hookshank.  So, the shape can be controlled completely by the tier depending on the size of the ramp and the threadpresure. Cool or what?

After you finish this step you can put on another bunch of bucktail a bit further on up the hookshank and repeat the procedure. Most if the times I use three of these layers. If you tie of after these steps you will have a functional fly, but it will look even better if you put it under hot running water for a while and let it dry. The fly will now have a very realistic fishy shape which it will hold all by itself.
Once you're familiar with the technique you start adding your own ideas to it which is what I did with the Hollow Fleyes you see in the pictures below. Mine all have eyes and a small epoxy head. Some are weighted with a few beads put in between the layers of bucktail and I also made them with a grizzle hackle tip, which I kind of like. I am sure I will think of a few more variations.

Well there you have it: The Hollow Fleye, give it a try

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The long awaited rod review

So here it is, a rod review of the infamous Diamondback Classic Western.
I heard lots of rumors about the rods and blanks by this brand and I have been scorching the internet trying to find a blank for a while, but never had any success. And then I went to Norway again this summer and got a great tip (thank you, thank you Preben, I ordered a piece of marble to make you a statue....). After trying the latest (and last) incarnation of this rod this summer I knew there was absolutely no way out of this.
I just H*A*D*D*A*H*A*V*E*O*N*E!!!!!

After contacting the factory directly I am now the proud owner of the very last brand new nine foot 5weight Classic Western that was for sale on this planet. Pretty sure about that last bit.
And I am happy, happy very happy with it.
It has been a while since I got a factory build rod, 'cause I like building my own so much.
And because of that, the factory model already is on it's way to being a so called "custom" rod.
First thing I did after I got the rod out of the tube was cutting of the hook-keeper. I hate those things. They get in the way of your index-finger and the thing about attaching a fly to it, well.... I guess I do just fine with  the stripping guide on the rod.
After operation hook-keeper I dug out the sandpaper and started sanding down the grip into a shape I like and had some thoughts about maybe replacing the reelseat for something a little lighter.
And then I started casting.
And then I cast some more
and some more

Well.. you can probably guess where this is going right?
Yep, it was already pretty dark when I went home and concluded that this blank is very very good.
If a rod can make you forget what time it is, it must be something special, which is exaclty what it is.
It loads beautifully and does everything you want it to do with ease. And with that I don't just mean trying to cast a hole in the horizon, but all slack-line and curves and funky casts that you need when you're out fishing and being able to make this and this presentation can be the difference between succes and a fruitless night out on the water. Oh yeah, and apart from all of the above its looks are something that has to be seen to be believed. That just about wraps it all up and makes it very easy to conclude that this entry is going nowhere. This is not a rod-review.
It's a lovesong....