Monday, February 27, 2012

Scott A3 Fly Rod Review

My first fly rod was a 4 peice fiberglass Eagle Claw trail master with a reversible butt to make it a spin rod. It was a 7 1/2 foot 7 weight. Crazy.  It caught plenty of fish.  My first ligit fly rod was an 8 Foot 4 weight Scott Voyager. I loved it and fished it for about 12 years before it was stolen, and I replaced it with a Scott A3 (4 pc, 4wt, 8.5 ft).

The Scott A3 is a fast action rod that has a stiff butt for chunking lead, and a soft tip for light tippets and dries.  It's super light to boot.  I wanted a rod that I could take to the typical medium sized trout stream in NC. I casted my friends 4wt A3 and was hooked.  I had bought a older Scott Eclipse 4 wt that was originally $600 in the 90's, and it casted like a dream... but it was heavy on the arm. I knew I wanted something lighter. After finding the A3,  I compared it to a Sage Flight, a St. Croix Imperial, and my original Scott Voyager.  It out performed them all.  The sage rod felt great with dries, but didn't have the back bone to push a big foam hooper through the air. The Imperial was close, but a little heavier and not as precise.

I'm not crazy about the appearance of the blue guide wraps and modern looking carbon reel seat, but it just don't matter. And, I've seen uglier rods.

I guess the blue is just different than traditional colors.  I'm not sure why I find it odd.

I put a Lamson Konic reel and a SA GPX fly line on the rod and really dig the set up.  I had to shell out about $275 for the rod, but that was less than the $335 retail price.  I don't need anything nicer. It's already way too much money to spend on a fly rod when I have a other trout rods, but it's my favorite, and my best all around. Scott has a lifetime warranty on all their rods, and they make their rods right here in the old U S of A,  in Colorado.  Anyone interested in buying a St. Croix Imperial 5wt?  Its a great rod...just not as great as the Scott A3.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Photo Editing...for dummies

Having a fishing blog helped propel me into taking more fishing pictures. I love looking at great fishing shots when I can't get to the water, and I enjoy attempting to capture cool pics on a fly outing as long as it doesn't interrupt the fishing or endanger the fish.  Lately, I have been running some of my shots through Instagram (an iphone app) for editing purposes.  It can make a dramatic difference.

Look at the two photos below to see the difference. This picture was snapped from my car waiting in line at the Cookout Drive-thru.  The sky was being brilliantly reflected off the glossy black surface of the building, allowing me to capture the image below.
original photo captured on iphone 4s
Post Instagram production
You can see the difference.  Instagram is easy to use, but is only available on the Iphone.  Since I don't take my Iphone on the water, I can take pictures on a regular camera and then e-mail them to my phone for editing.  I can also put my phone on airplane mode to prevent from "sharing" the photo via the social media tools Instagram is designed for.

Here is a photo I took on my on my Canon Elph point and shoot.  You can see the difference post Instagram editing.

Canon photo enhanced on Iphoto

Same photo, with contrast and filter adjustment on Instagram
The borders are not mandatory on Instagram, and the various filters are numerous. You can also create focal points with clarity adjustments, and a new contrast feature I call the "awesome button" can have dramatic effects.   All the pictures are square, being one of the limiting factors of using this app for photo editing instead of quick photo sharing.

I am an Instagram fan. Get out and fish.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


From one Jones to another (no relation), thanks for the shout out on Fishing Jones.  The Fishing Jones blog recently referenced my Grasping at Straws...the New Hero article on the blog.  Pete McDonald (not really a Jones) writes the Fishing Jones blog and wrote The Blitz: Fly Fishing the Atlantic Migration,  Fishing Jones is a great blog with the most prolific blog roll around.  Check it out.  Thanks for the love Pete.

The Blog

The Book

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Grasping Straws... The New Hero

Sitting at home on a Saturday, not fishing, tracking through the prolific cyber-fly world of blogs, forums, and pod cast, I'm tempted to be an anthropologist of fly casters.  The culture of fly fishing has changed tremendously in the last 15 years, and the resulting ripple effects of the "new grass" strain of fly fishers in intriguing.

Fly fishers fall into one of two mindsets.  1): Those that have life, and fishing supplements their quality of life; and 2): Those that seek life through the fly, and lust for ultimate experiential enlightement.  In my 25 plus years of fly fishing, group 2 has swollen in size under the rain of digital technology.

Let's call group 2, the "Tilley Haters." Pushing the boundaries of conventional fly fishing, this fish lusting punk culture of fly fishers hates khaki, Orvis, hero shots, and tilley hats (really, I've never seen a revolt inciting abundance of Tilley hats on the stream, and I'm sure those big brims work better in the rain than the mesh back ball caps so many of us don, but whatev).  The answer to the smiling hero shot of that trophy torpedo is a the "new hero" shot; displaying that same fish, while the angler's face hidden (with a non-tilley hat of course), blocking a presumably non-smiling mug.  Intense. Serious. Worship like.  Some of this sect are guides, some are trout bums, some are shop owners, some are college kids, some are husbands and fathers.  Most live to fish. Most seem generally pissed. No trophy will ever satisfy. These guys (gals aren't really welcomed in their crass, porn filled, cyber locker rooms) are doing some of the best cutting edge fly design, photography, and fishing. We all benefit from their drive. They are driven by a need to be fulfilled by the ultimate fishing lifestyle, but are too often left thirsting for the next dose of finned heroin to feel momentarily satisfied, grasping at straws. These folks can be skeptical, and weary of outsiders as they protect their secrets. Bitter and booze medicated.  Classic Dicken's, the best of times and the worst of times.

The Hero
The new hero

 Group A seems more diverse. We will call this bunch the Juvies.  These seem to find a kid like wonder to chasing fish, being outside, and making flies in place of tree houses and derby racers of youth.  Fishing is a enhancement to life rather than the way of life.  This group contains weekend warriors, trout bums, people who hate Tilley hats, and people who love their brimmed Filson's. Juvies won't freak if their face is in a photo, but they probably appreciate the fish shot more that the mug shot. Guides, shop owners, business men, college kids, family men, and loners can be Juvies.  Though some may hang their head after a busted fishing trip, few will have an unsuccessful fly venture impact their work, family, friends, and happiness.  Fishing is for kicks, after all (yes, i'm obviously bias).  The truly passionate in this group are about redemption.  Stream redemption, damn destruction, taking a kid fishing, or just passing on knowledge and legend to the current generation.
We need innovators who aren't haters.  Don't be a horny head.

Even since I wrote this article in 2011, there has been a subtle swing.  Orvis has rebranded themselves to engage with the young, hipster fly fisher, and other cultural shifts seem to be happening in this currently diverse sub-culture. (Amended 5/6/14)