What's different? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: What's different?

09-07-2001, 07:12 AM
Think about the days when the tropical flats weren't over populated by guides and locals with their flats boats. When Lefty Kreh and Ted Williams were fishing areas and targeting species with a fly rod that nobody else was/ had. Their equipment according to todays standards was heavy and slow.
Fiberglass rods, Pflueger reels, no clear/ sink tip/ floating/ saltwater/ wind cutter tapers....

And the flies... I still have no idea if the right fly is the one that closely imitates, stimulates or stands out. But the flies have drastically changed since then as well.

So, my long-winded point is, (need to stop hanging out with solo penguins I guess), what's different with catching today's fish vs. the fish of 50 years ago?

Sure they have A LOT more pressure but I really have a hard time believing that a tarpon can only be caught today with a purple key's style cockroach, connected to a 25# fluoro tippet, thrown with a clear flats taper line, by a titanium rod with an anti-reverse reel VS. one 50 years ago having a streamer thrown at it, mono leader, glass rod, no drag reel.

Actually tarpon may not have been a good example, the big ones are pretty old aren't they?

Anyway, I guess my actual thought/ question is what do you think of the evolution of fly fishing equipment? Other than convenience, is it necessary?

I agree stealth helps, and I am as much an equipment slut as anyone else but, where do you draw the line? I think next time I'm fortunate enought to hit the tropics, I'm gonna try to duplicate the old school style. (After I've landed a nice tarpon on my T&T with a Billy Pate reel of course)


09-07-2001, 08:20 AM
If it counts as "equipment" our communications gear is having a huge effect on flyfishing. In particular the internet, secondly cell phones. Where else can a guy start flyfishing one sesaon and with in 2 or 3 seasons be tying beautiful flies and casting like a pro? And then there's the collective wisdom the net brings together for targeting various species. It's a brave new flyfishing world for sure. Some of that is negative too of course, and a lot of it is good.


09-07-2001, 08:34 AM
To me the evolution is the salt of the experience. Among a few basic innovations much refinement occurs. This energy complements the actual fishing with many pleasant tinkering opportunities, especially in regions with cold winters.

I think there is a threshold though, and most flyfishermen can sense that line... too radical of a departure from the base of tradition is a step over the line. Everyone draws this line differently, but the majority are in a silent consensus.

The connection to the roots of flyfishing is just as strong as the want to innovate, and perhaps the most remarkable thing about flyfishing is this ability to move forward without losing it's past.

Makes me glad I am a flyfisher!

09-07-2001, 10:26 AM
...Every time the airline industry has a "lay-off" another wave of "remarkably tallented" engineers find themselves with way too much free time...many are from the great NorthWest...
Soon they are re-designing their equipment and selling the high-tech creations to gear heads (like myself) who enjoy the feel and performance. The evolution of materials and technology lends itself to our passion...
"Classic stuff" is an art form unto itself...I have a Russ Peak rod that clearly demonstrates this notion. The "new stuff" is amazing and defines "state-of-the-art"...Whatever!? If Ted or Lefty could have gotten their hands on graphite/titanium I suspect they would have...Why not?! (mortgage payments, college tuition, and food not withstanding...)
The important thing is to enjoy your time on the water, be blown away by a noteworthy sunrise, share with friends, see things with youthful interpretation, and never take what you have for granted!

09-07-2001, 10:52 AM
All good points.

I recently got my hands on a 10 WT T&T Horizon – second hand – and can’t believe the difference between it & my 9 wt St. Croix Legend Ultra. I’ll have to pull out my 11 year old LL Bean 11 weight guide series rod and compare it to that – should be interesting.

I just wonder what some of the fish I’ll be trying to catch tomorrow would be like to land on the gear of yesterday.

Back to work – no more waxxing poetic for me.

Let’s rip some lips!!


09-07-2001, 04:57 PM
Catering to the "gear" freak looking for the elusive "edge" is the focus of most manufacturers, whether it is for flyfishing, golf or mining machinery (my background). Most people assume they can compress the learning curve by substituting equipment for "clock time."

I have a friend that I introduced to flyfishing in March 2000. Since that time he has spent over $6,000 on equipment. Has it caught him more fish than the $200 RedStart outfit? Probably. He has the right tool for the species he is seeking, and is comfortable that it gives him the "edge." He still lacks "clock time," but maybe, maybe confidence in your equipment does give you a subtle "edge."

I guess I'm not a total believer in "going back in time." I don't intend to use the Sheakespeare fiberglass rod that I got when I was 12, but I still enjoy using a bamboo rod once a year during the sulphur hatch.

I can't wait to try Sage's replacements for the SPL and SP series.

09-08-2001, 06:28 AM
The fishery has changed from th old days a lot of smaller fish in range of the flyfisherman. The new gear is a factor also. What I have learned from all this gear stuff is that you should get the best possible equipment that your budget will allow. Having had trouble with*a reel that has failed is no picnic. It seems to fail when you need it the most. Also, be willing to try new techniques. The early steelheaders where the*pioneers in developing shooting head ect.

09-08-2001, 07:50 AM
What do you mean about the T+T being different than your St. Croix UL? Better? Or just different?


09-08-2001, 10:16 AM
This reminds me of the debate raging in golf."The new gear is trouncing the old courses! How can we compare our achievements to the past champions?" Meanwhile, average handicaps have hardly improved. Ability is still important, thankfully.
If you read Russel Chathams "Anglers Coast", you'd pick the old days over new gear in a heart beat.
I think that the most significant improvement in fly fishing has been the advent of breathable waders(maybe plastic flylines). Dry and comfortable all day would have been hard to imagine seven years ago. That changes the experiance significantly.
Modern fly lines do most of the work for you. one can throw a fly almost forty feet with out a rod.
Here's a mind twister...I think that the fish are different in some places. I think that introduced species in the Seiras and the Rockies, when first introduced, chowed on the native chubs, frogs and such, and grew huge. Look at the old pictures. People are not catching fish like that today.
The new rods are a pleasure to cast, but to quote a Japanese angler,"Graphite rods are like pornography. They get the job done...but they have no redeeming value." It is awsome to see what a competitive caster can do with a 45 year old Winston bamboo or a 35 year old glass rod.Very humbling indeed.

09-08-2001, 12:38 PM
How true Eddie. We had steak tips BTW, not swordfish :)

09-09-2001, 06:38 AM
Eddie - I like your thoughts - especially the Japanese fishermen quote, it makes you think.

Terry - The T&T feels like it's about 1/2 the weight, I still don't have the casting stroke down but I do know that you can very successfully under-line it. I used my 9 weight intermediate on it for the flats yesterday and was very pleased.

Outside of the gear issue, do you think the fish have changed?Other than eating up the local prey when introduced (good point Eddie). I ran into some pretty finicky stripers yesterday, a few in the Nautilus class followned my fly all the way up to the rod tip. I'm pretty sure tha after spotting me they ran home to change their drawers!!

Look at the littoral society reports, same fish caught in the same areas or several times a year.

Do fish learn from being caught?


09-09-2001, 11:05 AM
Jeff, The Scott Eclips is even lighter for a ten weight and the Winston Bl-5 9 wt can be cast all day like a 6 wt. That makes a big difference for me since I fish from Shore mostly.

09-09-2001, 02:02 PM

I was thinking about selling my antique, bamboo fly rod and taking the cash and buying a Pungo. Now I don't know what to do...


09-09-2001, 02:23 PM
Jim, That would be a big mistake... you will regret it later.

09-09-2001, 04:19 PM
striblue (09-09-2001 03:23 p.m.):
Jim, That would be a big mistake... you will regret it later.

Thanks for the advice John. I've had an Edwards 8 1/2', 4 1/4 oz., "Hunter Special" gathering dust for about 20 years. It has never been used and even has the original wrap on the grip. Took said rod to a fishing show for an estimated value and had a man named Hoagie Carmicheal Jr.(sp.) take it out of my hand and wouldn't give it back until I took his card with his home phone # and a promise to give him a call if and when I was ready to sell it. That was a long time ago, the card has long since disappeared, and hopefully Mr. H.C. is still alive and healthy.

Maybe I'll post it on E-Bay with a high reserve, see what an auction would bring, and then make my decision. Who knows but the rod might not be worth the price of the knife I carry.

Jim D..... and me son just called and said my nephew just caught a keeper off his boat at the dock in Quincy. The lawn can wait.

09-09-2001, 04:27 PM
And my posts keep going back and forth between Mike's name and mine. I've logged out and then back in with no solution to the problem. Sorry for the confusion with the names again. Can't understand how some can post with their "name for the week" and I can't solve this problem. Pete, you can do it all.

Jim D.

09-09-2001, 04:47 PM
Since I would not want you to sell an Edwards ( I have a Leonard and F.E. Thomas). All I will tell you is that Hoagie is still alive and a big shot at the New York Anglers Club and a world famous Reel restorer. That's all I will tell you... Don't sell it, especially to buy a Yak. You could probably buy 5 yaks for what you could get for the rod at a minimum.

09-09-2001, 06:37 PM

Thanks for the advice. There is this stunning and veeeery expensive Randall for sale on line and it takes some re-enforcement to keep from selling the rod to buy the other. Guess I don't have a passion for old flyfishing gear like you lads do. Maybe I'll sell my stub-caster "tin tossing" rod instead. It is the weirdest looking piece of fishing gear I have ever seen. Like something a penguin would show up carrying on a Rip Trip.

Thanks again. Jim D.

09-09-2001, 09:15 PM
Did I hear someone mention "fresh dead" sand eels...?!

Jim, before you do anything about a yak, you need to get with me next Sunday at the cauzzzzway...If you can make it, I'll bring several for you to "sample" and/or "test paddle".
Welcome to "We Be Toyz"...

09-09-2001, 10:01 PM
Dad, I'll trade you a fully equipped Pungo, with an EXTRA paddle, for your old bamboo fly rod?

Heck, I'll even throw in a PFD!!!


09-10-2001, 05:54 AM
This string of post brings back memories of years ago,prior to 1953. My good friend, Al Brewster and myself each purchased a Heddon Riptide, which to my knowledge was the first made for saltwater flyrod. This rod even followed me to Puerto Rico, when I was stationed at the old Naval station in old San Juan. I use to fish the old seaplane ramps that stuck out into the bay between San Juan, and Bayamon. The largest fish I caught there was about a 25 lb tarpon. Today this rod is still fishable. I rebuilt it a few years ago myself, and guess what? it still has both tips. The only problem with it is that the mice ate some of the cork in the detachable extension butt. I should take it out of storage and use it, but it des not cast like the new graphite rods of today. It took a man to cast it all night, I don't think I would be up to it today.

John Desjardins
09-10-2001, 08:45 AM
Roop (09-09-2001 07:38 a.m.):

Look at the littoral society reports, same fish caught in the same areas or several times a year.

Do fish learn from being caught?


Yes, in my humble opinion they do learn.

In the early 80's I lived in a house that had a 1 acre pond about 100 yards behind it in the woods. This pond had a nice population of large mouth bass, was known by very few people and as far as I could tell fished by no one else. One summer I fished it once a week, with lures (pre fly fishing days) in this pond. What I found was that if I used a different lure every week I could catch the same bass week after week. Using the previous weeks lure I would catch nothing. By the end of the summer the lures used early in the summer worked again.

09-10-2001, 09:08 AM
Several years ago I got to know a chap who lived on the River Tweed in Scotland who, in earlier life had been a champion tournament fly caster. His collection of cane salmon and trout rods was worthy of a dedicated room in the Smithsonian. He handed me one of the salmon rods one evening and the assembled 13 feet of hexagonal cane must have weighed in excess of 10 lbs without a reel attached! In his younger days he would regularly bomb 180 to 200 ft casts with this beast using custom home-spliced lines.

I guess the point is that progress is relative and back when those rods were built, they were considered "state of the art".

Personally, I'm real glad they got the graphite thing right. I had an old fibreglass 9 wt rod which would wear the caster down almost as effectively as the fish. That said, in the lighter line weights a well made cane rod is still an absolute joy to cast to rising trout!

09-10-2001, 09:37 AM
Thanks Roop. I think the day we were out with Art Sawayer he handed me a T+T that seemed to be half the weight. It may have been a Scott though. Do you remember? Funny thing is the St. Croix UL go for $300 or more. What a guy to do spend $500 bucks on a fly rod? Not this frugal yankee.


09-10-2001, 10:56 AM
Terry it was a Scott.

Art: good thoughts, I still use my first fly rod, its now 17 years old, a glass Fenwick 6 weight. I use it for trout & warmwater & it definitely takes me a while to get used to it. As a guide put it to me a few years ago, “ I don’t really think you need to double haul to cast a dry fly to brookies!?”

Terry – I agree re: cost. I still think the sport needs to sty within the reach of the common man. Anyone who asks me what gear to buy to start off with gets my standard response, “Sage DS2 outfit – best deal there is.” I traded for the T&T (used), there is no way I can afford a new one, let alone a used one.

I saw a guy on Rip Ryder with a Pflueger reel, wanted to comment but didn’t want to sound like a jerk. He definitely knew what he was doing. The other day I lost the drag on my reel with a good fish on – that was a fun experience!!

I need to track down some Ted Williams era tackle and try it out.

I do very much enjoy the difference & improvements between my St. Croix, Diamondback or T&T vs. my old LL Bean salt rod – night & day.

Just 4.5 days to the weekend!!


09-10-2001, 12:57 PM
Roop (09-10-2001 11:56 a.m.):

I saw a guy on Rip Ryder with a Pflueger reel, wanted to comment but didn’t want to sound like a jerk. He definitely knew what he was doing.

I've landed 3 Albies and countless Stripers on my Pglueger rod and reel. Drag was fine. I doubt it would hold up to the repeated Cow abuse in Chatham. Yous guys must be puttin a real hurt on your tackle down there. Lucky terds. :-)

09-10-2001, 03:27 PM
Thanks Pete
Please check your EMail.
Jim D.

09-10-2001, 03:41 PM
Here's what I suggest Jim...

Shut down the browser.

Clear out the cache, then select and delete all the cookies.

Open up the browser, if it still says Mike then do a refresh.

Should reset to "login" at that point.

Let me know,

09-10-2001, 05:58 PM
Roop (09-09-2001 07:38 a.m.):

Do fish learn from being caught?


I'd have to disagree with John. As a kid I fished a series of farm ponds near my house. The ponds were of various sizes - some tiny and some relatively large - all held healthy populations of both small and largemouth bass. I fished these ponds religiously... every day after school and all weekend. I knew them like the back of my hand. When I first started fishing the ponds, I caught few fish. With experience, 30-fish-in-30-minute days were not uncommon. I became curious as to whether or not I was simply catching the same fish. I heard about ecologists tagging fish by snipping a small corner off of their tail fin. I did just this and found that more often than not I was catching the same fish. In fact, there was one smallmouth which had an easily identifiable external birth defect. Over the years, I probably caught this poor fish 50-75 times. I felt bad actually, each and every time. And as far as keeping the same lure, it did not seem to matter. I fished the same little Rapala (literally) year after year. When I'd snag it on a log or whatever, I'd simply go in and get it. That friggin' lure caught me thousands of fish...or perhaps twenty depending on how you look at it. ;)

09-10-2001, 08:18 PM
Monomoy fish definitely learn. Why just the other day, I heard one say... >sniff< is that pogie oil? Keep those jaws clamped shut junior, ROOP's on the flats again }>

09-10-2001, 08:39 PM
Don't bother digging out that Beans Guide Series. There's no need to compare them, there isn't any comparison. One season of casting my 9 wt left me with the worst case of tennis (noddley rod) elbow ever. I can't even imagine being able to dump the cash some of you guys do on gear, but there is no substitute for the investment in good gear. I've spent good money after bad learning this sport and in retrospect I'd have gladly spent more earlier than working my way up through the learning curve/ gear/ cash get to this point.

09-11-2001, 06:09 AM

I was looking at it last night - I wonder if I can return it?

As far as flats flies go, I think I found a good use for some of the body building epoxies out there that seem to disintegrate in water. I'm trying to mix the epoxy with crushed up crab cakes and use the paste to form the belly of my flies.

Will see how they work out next June, tied a few this weekend and couldn't figure out what the smell was in the house last night. Short shelf life!!

09-11-2001, 06:13 PM
It is getting tougher to return stuff to Beans. It used to be no questions asked but now they like to grill you. he main question they ask is "Did it not perform to your expectations?"

However, if you should have some unforuntate accident with it it is unconditionally guaranteed. Then you could take the value as a credit on something else.

The new Double L series rods are pretty nice. Real fast and powerful. They are also a little more resonable than a T&T.