FLY FISHING GEAR  ( MORE DIY)



I ROBBED MY TOOL CHEST TO MAKE FISHING GEAR

“To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men — for all men are equal before fish.” —Herbert Hoover, avid fly fishermen,

He was right….


Over many years I have accumulated bits and pieces parts and tools, odds and ends and weird le-junk.  Somehow this year at my age I decided to downsize and put some of it to work, the garbage bin or charitable endeavors.  Junk equaled almost half a garbage can.  I decided also since I live on a lake on a golf course  to take up Fly fishing again, which is a finesse form of the art of fishing.  Fresh air and exercise as soon as summer is gone (105-110 heat index) and a cold beer on my property.  How convenient to practice, open space for backcasts, no competition, and there are fish in there.  And occasionally a gator, which we do not feed.  

I don’t need to cruise a hundred fifty yard pond in a seventeen-nineteen foot bass boat with 250 horses.  I can reach all I want from the shoreline, fifty yards from my front elevator door. And just the other day one fellow pulled a nice five pound bass out.  We release them, a) being a game fish,  b) golf courses are notorious for blatant use of chemicals and no one in their right mind would eat one from a golf course… besides we are sport, catch and release people and if you are a resident over 65 no permit or license is needed.

Saltwater, by boat,  deep or pier fishing is a different set of rules.  Mostly seasonal and size limitations. My conventional fishing gear like spinning and larger heavier casting reels, live bait and some lures work for that in the inter-coastal, bridges and offshore.

Indoors I started making my own fly fishing lures, bugs, poppers etc and actually bought a Griffin Vise ( reasonable and rotates ) and then DIY kicked in…  here are four ideas in how to take old photo parts and make them into new tools. Including a cool display stand to keep things needed, safe and magnetically designed for convenience.  

The boards are Marine grade salvaged from another job. They cut and work with wood grade tools, no splitting, can be tapped, drilled and screwed to be worked a million ways… Brackets came from displays we tossed again from my old photo store.  The big stand holds everything especially items with live fish hooks in them. Thats why the display stand.




FRESH WATER FLY FISHING IS an angling method that uses a light-weight lure—called an artificial fly—to catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel, and specialized weighted line. The light weight requires casting techniques significantly different from other forms of casting. The flies may resemble natural invertebrates, baitfish, or other food organisms.

Fly fishing can be done in fresh or salt water. North Americans usually distinguish freshwater fishing between cold-water species (trout, salmon, steelhead) and warm-water species, notably bass. 

In Britain, where natural water temperatures vary less, the distinction is between game fishing for trout and salmon versus coarse fishing for other species. Techniques for fly fishing differ with habitat (lakes and ponds, small streams, large rivers, bays and estuaries, and open ocean.)

Author Izaak Walton called fly fishing “The Contemplative Man's Recreation".

In fly fishing, fish are caught by using artificial flies that are cast with a fly rod and a fly line. The fly line (today, almost always coated with plastic) is heavy enough to send the fly to the target. The main difference between fly fishing and spin or bait fishing is that in fly fishing the weight of the line carries the hook through the air, whereas in spin and bait fishing the weight of the lure or sinker at the end of the monofilament or braided line gives casting distance. 

Artificial flies are of several types; some imitating an insect (either flying or swimming), others a bait fish or crustacean, others attractors are known to attract fish although they look like nothing in nature. Flies can be made either to float or sink, and range in size from a few millimeters to 30 cm long; most are between 1 and 5 cm.

Artificial flies are made by fastening hair, fur, feathers, or other materials, both natural and synthetic, onto a hook. The first flies were tied with natural materials, but synthetic materials are now popular and prevalent. Flies are tied in sizes, colors and patterns to match local terrestrial and aquatic insects, baitfish, or other prey attractive to the target fish species.

The lures are tied on a jig holder called a fly vise.  The pictures here are ones I made myself from a miniature Chinese Vice Grip I paid a dollar for,  and a couple of X-Acto knives ( Must of had twenty)  and a Lasky Knife sharpener which I used all the sharpening stones to uselessness.  I went to Japanese wet stones and the Lasky was finished….  

The other parts were small ball heads I had a box of and never used.  Small handgrips filled it out.  They hold firm, don’t move and perform nicely with the cost factor of nil… Commercial FLY TYING VICES  range from simple to complex and from 14.99 to 1499.00 depending on your income and ability to hide credit cards from your wife.

The stand I built and HD Magnets from Home Depot made this the most flexible Flying Station and more ideas coming….


THE X-ACTO IS NUMBER TWO


SALTWATER FLY FISHING
Saltwater fly fishing is typically done with heavier tackle than that which is used for freshwater trout fishing, both to handle the larger, more powerful fish, and to accommodate the casting of larger and heavier flies. Salt water fly fishing typically employs the use of wet flies resembling baitfish, crabs, shrimp and other forage. 

However, saltwater fish can also be caught with poppers and other surface lure similar to those used for freshwater bass fishing, though much larger in the flats and shallows, and low tides  Saltwater species sought and caught with fly tackle include: bonefish, redfish or red drum, permit, snook, spotted sea trout, tuna, dorado, aka mahi-mahi, sailfish, tarpon, striped bass, salmon, giant trevally and marlin. 

Offshore saltwater species are usually attracted to the fly by “ chumming” with small baitfish, or "teasing" the fish to the boat by trolling a large hookless lure (Billfish are most often caught using this method).

Many saltwater species, particularly large, fast and powerful fish, are not easily slowed down by “ palming" the hand on the reel. 

Instead, a purpose-made saltwater reel for these species must have a powerful drag system. 

Furthermore, saltwater reels purpose-made for larger fish must be larger, heavier, and corrosion-resistant; a typical high-quality saltwater reel can cost $500.00 or more. 



IMPORTANT:   Corrosion-resistant equipment is key to durability in all types of saltwater fishing, regardless of the size and power of the target species. Rinsing gear in fresh water is essential after usage.  Reels with removable spools have advantage.

Saltwater fly fishing is most often done from a boat, either a shallow draft flat boat is used to pursue species such as bonefish, redfish, permit and tarpon in shallow waters, or from larger offshore boats for pursuing sailfish, tuna, dorado, marlin and other pelagic’s and most popular methodology may be done from shore, such as wading flats for bonefish or redfish or surf fishing for striped bass and other assorted fish. 

Typically, most trout fly fisherman need to practice new skills to catch saltwater fish on a fly rod. Ocean fish are usually harder to catch. They can be extremely spooky, and much larger. Trout fisherman need to practice with at least an 8 weight fly rod and accurately cast the line 30–90 feet if they are going to have success—particularly in the flat areas fishing for bonefish, redfish, permit, tarpon, jacks and more.  They can be spooky but when they hit, it’s an explosion.

Hooks for saltwater flies must also be extremely durable and corrosion resistant. Most saltwater hooks are made of stainless steel, but the strongest (though less corrosion resistant) hooks are of high-carbon steel. Typically, these hooks vary from size #8 to #2 for bonefish and smaller nearshore species, to size #3/0 to #5/0 for the larger offshore species.


MAKING YOUR OWN LURES (FLIES)


You’ll need a vise or make one…  This is a Griffen about $75.00


Once you explore fly fishing, you’ll likely hear about folks who are “fly tying.” This is not a term for tying your fly to your line (as I initially and very naively thought), but rather a term for making your own flies rather than buying them. 

You’d do this to possibly save money (flies are easy to lose in trees or to rowdy fish), but also for the art of it. Flies truly are works of art, created with various materials like beads, foams, animal hairs, and much more. The beginner angler will not be fly tying; there are literally books written on the craft, and it requires a whole other set of tools and skills. This is something to look into after you’ve gotten the hang of the fishing itself.  My Lasky model shown below handles the bigger Salt-Water lures.


THE LASKY SHARPENER IS NUMBER THREE


THE VICE GRIP IS NUMBER ONE


THE LARGE X-ACTO KNIFE NUMBER FOUR IS 

SHOWN MOUNTED ONA PHOTO LIGHT STAND BASE 

AND A LASKY BOTTOM CLAMP WITH MAGNET

The Clipper is top secret for now….


ERRATA

All the extra vises I made are equipped with magnets as the base to allow quick change of devices - the magnets are from Home Depot - medium size and powerful, as are the steel reinforcement plates on all the black bases and allow many configurations and may be changed out as needed for storage or use.  They are a cheap cool solution, they work, don’t move, rock solid and allow rapid changes in concept and even  duplication with the same hackle or bobbin. The base holds two of the vices if needed below. The top picture is a single smaller base.  They all have non-skid feet so nothing moves on my desks.

The small base above is something I use for planning or trimming.

Lots more coming you can build yourself like Bodkins, forceps, Hackle holders and Bobbin holders…. And some pieces below using rails and long rubber bands used to store the various threads.

I chose to build with magnets ( about 3.00 dollars) as small parts and hooks, are safer and don’t get lost… they allow quick changes, multiple vices to allow duplicating or making two flies at once, heavier enough to stay put,  etc.  The magnet plates came from Home Depot and were 98 cents each.   Soon I will list where you can find all the parts and have some fun building something you can use and just as good or better than the expensive stuff.  Below the thread spools are small holes for those tiny hooks and nymph ties and flies. The rubber tie downs keep things ( spools) in check.