Here is what she looks like finished.

 

 

 

 

 

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Champaign Corks for rod grips


Being cheap I like to find what I can for projects. One of my boys had a bunch of champaign corks that he had collected. I imagine you can do your own collecting in various ways…. the cork is really nice, it seems to vary with the brand. Some of it was fine and others more Burl like so it pays to look at different brands. I found that there was also sections  that where lamented with a finer cork at the top, perhaps harder so a corkscrew would not slip. Hmm… I wonder if drinking the wine for the corks would make you a purest. Kind of like dry fly fishermen.

I’m building a fibreglass rod so wanted a bit of a retro look and this cork was along those lines. to get rid of the “neck” I boiled it for about 20 minutes.

I noticed some cork swelled back to place faster than others so I fished them out as soon as they looked good.

Cork came out nice  looking. trimmed the ends off to get them flat and produce a fresh glue area.

Next step mark the “Spine” on all 3 sections

Boring out the reel seat to fit the blank.

I like to use 5 minute Epoxy to glue the blank to the reel seat, here’s the blank cover with Epoxy

Lining up the blank with the end of the seat. Although it dries quickly I like to leave it overnight.

Boring out the cork, These are fairly large in diameter so I wasn’t really carful centring them. A drill press is nice but a hand drill works well. I remember my dad doing this with a brace and bit.

Scoring out the back cork to perfectly fit the front of the reel foot receiver. I like an X-Acto Knife for this.

I lined up the drilled out corks on the blank so they fit nice and then drew a line across the corks to easily find their position again. I also like to number them to get them back in the right sequence.

Here’s a simple cork handle compresser I built 20 years ago. Just a couple of long threaded pieces with washers and wing nuts. I do a quick fit before gluing.

Use a waterproof glue like Gorilla Glue or Tibond II. The squashed out glue is easily cleaned up with a scrap cloth and water. Leave it compressed overnight and you’re good to go.

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Mountain Brook Fibreglass rods


I had order a couple of Fibreglass blanks from Mike at Mountain Brook rods in the US. the Blanks came rolling in the door during the week. Really nice, I have a 4/5 w 3pc and a 6 foot little rod that will certainly by the feel of it will become my small stream Brookie rod. Popped over to Fish Tails fly shop today to pick up a few guides that I was short of. Wanted to do something different with the grip though, kind of bored with the standard white cork and was mulling doing a grip in Birch, but decided to go with Champaign Corks instead. Nice high quality stuff. I’ll post the build as I do it. Just thinking about thread colours for the warps.

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Brookie Heaven


I met a lot of Brookies this year being part of the Stewardship Program.  Say Hi to a few of my friends.

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Stewardship Program


I have taken an interest in the Stewardship program over the last few years and decided to take part this year. I had already done the written test and last Saturday and yes people do fail the ID test.  We did our first outing of the season to properly identify species and qualify for Stewardship licensing. There have been some vocal negative remarks online about the program but I have to say, given the visual proof I saw this is a more than worthwhile program.

I’ve been in Alberta since 80’ and just in that time span I have seen a swing in species domination on some of the stream I love. The native and naturally producing Cuttthroat and Bull Trout population on some small streams has been affected by Brook Trout, in this case a non native and evasive species that out eat and out breed our natural species.

The first part of Saturday’s program was an electrofishing survey that we where all involved in. Leslie from Trout Unlimited who was running the program was great going over what was expected of us all and stressing safety. We ran a section of the creek collecting Trout and categorizing by sorting into different buckets. Great care and respect was given to all species, which impressed me.

The focus was for everyone to ID the different Trout based on criteria so we could quickly spot the species. Care was taken with each person so we could take advantage of all information offered. There where great on-stream discussion ongoing on everything from bug life to habitat and habits. I have to say it was a fun afternoon and even this old Dude was able to learn a thing or two.

It was easy to see the problem by the huge number of Brook Trout compared to the very few Cutthroats. The stats are below, and are really telling.

  • 33 Brook Trout
  • 10 Rainbow Trout
  • 4 Mountain Whitefish
  • 0 Cutthroat Trout

After the fish survey was over we received our last instruction on how to record our catch streamside and follow the details needed every time we did an outing (Paperwork needs to be done during each fishing trip with species, location, etc. recorded) keeping within legal boundaries. This is not an ad hock system and you certainly can fail testing at the various stages. The result is knowledgeable fishermen who are helping balance a system naturally. There where a few Cutties taken but it was low. Only 5 out of the 100 Trout taken by angling where Cutthroats., you can immediately see the offset balance in evasive species.

I came away with a deep respect for the program people involved and what it needs to accomplish. Here are a few pictures of the day.

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Thought I would post some tips occasionally about fly tying, This is one that is really handy. If you have access to pill containers, they make really great dubbing holders. they come in a variety of sizes. Just drill a hole in the bottom with an electric drill and you have a great storage unit. Fills easily through the cap. This one holds 3 packages of dubbing and I just peeled the label off the package and put it on the tube.

 

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New outlook

Spring is always the time I look forward to buying my new fishing license. After a long winter with cabin fever is setting in its an excuse to visit my favorite fly shop, buy the license and feel legal and secure for another year of fun on the water. It has always been a pleasant ritual. I certainly have spent my share over the years on licenses, often buying them in several provinces along with special waters and out of country.

“This year” the wife quipped “you don’t have to buy a license this year” eh! I quipped, “you’re 65, no license required”. I had a moment of shock, when did that happen?. I knew that but I need a license to fish, suddenly a cold chill went over me. What if I’m checked and it was some sort of plot to catch people without a license. Perhaps something in small print or maybe a wives tail, after all it was the wife who brought it up. Ok, Ok keep calm now, don’t lose it, we’ll get through this. I decided to call the local Fish and Game and find out from the source.

A very pleasant young lady answered the phone with a happy “can I help you sir?” Wow someone I can actually understand and speaks English, I felt great that I wasn’t talking to an answering service out of country. I decided to play with caution in case they traced my number. “I have a friend who turned 65” I said thinking how clever I was not admitting to anything. And I want to know if I need a provincial license. I thought if they traced the call I could say he really wasn’t a friend juts someone I met in a fly shop.

“Oh Sir!” she said you don’t need a license any more (caught like a rat in a proverbial trap), just be sure to have valid ID like a drivers license and a current WIN Card. Wow talk about efficient. “Can I help you with anything else” my mind went blank, what did she just say, I thanked her profusely for my “friend” and I’m sure I heard her smirk. Probably one of a long line of Dudes my age with the same question. Humm… so it was true, but how will I handle a CO if confronted in the field, run, admit my lack of a license. Sorry Sir! I don’t have a license that thought almost put me into another panic attack no piece of paper, Oh God here come the jitters.

Paper trail… I have a few of my old fishing licenses from various provinces over the years that I’ve thrown in an old tackle box along with a few of my Dad’s in his Loaded fishing vest that I have never had the desire to de-vest as it reminds me of my time on the water with him and Grandpa. Time to review history to date on the water. Took the vest down and was rewarded with the smell of his pipe after these many years gone. And there it was in an upper pocket in a small dark suede zip case. Couldn’t resist sniffing the bowl to get a whiff of the Old Sportsman tobacco. Went for the upper pocket that I knew was reserved for licenses.

First a guide pin from the Maramachi a wonderful metal object that was thoughtfully made and well crafted. Then wonderful printed versions from Ontario, British Columbia and other assorted provinces. I studied them; often they where quite beautiful and intricate, with fishing themes, fancy crests and classic borders to rival that on currency. And then came buttons, each carefully emblazed with a serial number of the user, completely waterproof and built solid with a huge pin on the back to attach to jacket, hat or vest, what a great idea.

Ok, that was interesting, time to go through more current versions of mine. Many from British Columbia where I grew up or from the USA during trips exploring classic waters, all crafted to emulate the fishing life.

Such a big difference from what I have bought over the last few years. The present state of Alberta Fishing Licenses is a very sad excuse for a till receipt that you don’t want to expose to the sun as it will fade to nothing and water will dissolve it. Nor can you laminate it, as it will go dark. What fiendish mind thought of this, obviously not someone who had spent time in sun woods and water, all of which will spell sudden death to a register receipt, much less wet hands from handling a fish. I kept mine in a small baggie with my WIN card, (kind of a silly option as its not a sandwich). Now that WIN card is a nice impervious to weather plastic credit card type item, much like my boating operators license. There is obviously a disconnect here between licenses and user. My heart pines for these great options of the past, I’m posting some examples here.

 

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