I always get a little excited when someone brings me a request to make them a custom fishing accessory. When a friend & client named Chad asked me to make them a custom carrying case for their fly boxes, I was more than willing to give it a try.
The idea here was that the case would hold two fly boxes of the same size & that he could wear it on his belt so that his fly boxes would be out of the way, yet always close at hand as he fished & waded the streams.
I wanted to make this case for a custom fit to his fly boxes - like it was made just for the boxes because, well, it was! Figuring out the dimensions for the case was no problem, as he uses Wheatley metal fly boxes. Wheatley fly boxes come in a few different sizes, so once I knew which boxes he had I knew what sizes to cut the leather pieces that would make up his case.
We decided on the color & type of leather to use, the orientation of how the fly boxes would sit in the case, & the type of closure he wanted. Then it was a matter of getting to work. First, to measure & cut the leather:
This case was designed so that the two fly boxes would sit inside one in front of the other, each in it's own pocket. The case would have a flap to cover it. First a pocket had to be made:
Essentially, this case is two pockets put together with a center divider. The divider would have a notch cut out in the middle to make removing the fly boxes easier. Once the two pockets were stitched together it was time to sew the back & flap piece on. A belt loop was stitched onto the back piece of the case, then the pockets were stitched to the back. Once that was done, a brass stud closure was installed, the raw edges of the leather were buffed & dyed, & the case was complete.
Because of the design of this case I had to hand stitch the entire item. There was no way I could make this on a sewing machine. The heavier thread used in hand stitching, along with the classic style of the saddle stitch, helped give this case a truly elegant look. It turned out to be a really fun project!
Do you have an idea for a custom fishing accessory? I'd love to hear about it & make your idea a real, tangible item you can use & enjoy while fishing.
I hope that you've all had a chance to get out to your favorite piece of water this spring & do some fishing. The weather here in the east hasn't been the most cooperative so far, but I'm always watching conditions & waiting for my chances to wet a line.
It has been an extremely busy spring season here in the rod shop, thanks to all of you. I've been honored to get many fine fly rods out the door so far, & many more on on the way to folks who are patiently waiting on them. Here are just a few that have gone out so far:
This is just a small sampling of the rods that I've been honored to make so far this year.
Along with the rods, many of the angling accessories that we make here have been in heavy demand including rod tubes, reel cases, mini packs, fly & leader wallets, etc.
Speaking of angling accessories: I'm always up for a challenge & so when a friend brought to me a project for a custom leather case I was all for it. It was made to hold two Wheatley fly boxes of a specific size & to be worn on their belt while fishing. I'll write a more in depth article about this case in the future, as I think it came out pretty well.
I am so lucky & blessed to do what I do every day. I really, truly mean that. I absolutely love making rods & accessories. If I can't be on the water fishing, then I want to be in the workshop. So when I make a rod for someone, I send that rod out to them hoping that I did my job well; hoping that they'll really enjoy the rod & the experience of working with me. That's what this is all about to me.
The other day I was so happy & excited to get a message from a recent rod client that I found myself smiling all that day & into the next. I can't tell you what this meant to me. His note says it all.......
I want to compliment you on the 8ft 5wt 3 piece rod you built for me. The fit & finish are first rate and indicative of rods costing much more. The rod action is exactly as you described and is what I asked you to build. I was able to fish the rod today for the first time. It easily throws 50 ft of line and has a very smooth action. I was lucky enough to find some dumb trout and took a few Rainbows in the 16” range which jumped as I brought them in. The rod easily handled the erratic motion and I was able to get them in the net without any problems. Again, thanks for a quality product. I look forward to many season on the water with the rod"
-Ron, in New Hampshire
Thank you, Ron! I want to state here publicly what a pleasure it was for me to work with you & make your fly rod for you.
Things continue to be busy in the rod shop. Later this year you should look for the return of the old style fly wallets & a new - improved fly book to hold all your larger wet & salmon flies. I'm excited to bring them to you.
If you'd like a new 3/4 wt fiberglass fly rod for those smaller to mid size trout streams, be sure to check out the rod listed on the Available Rods page. I'm sure you'd love to fish that rod.
I hope you all are staying safe & healthy out there & that you've been able to enjoy some good fishing. If I can be of any assistance to you, please feel free to contact me anytime. I'd love to hear from you.
I've just listed a new, never fished fiberglass fly rod over on the Available Rods page of this site. It's a 7'-0", 3 pc, 3/4 wt rod - just in time for trout season!
This rod has a slightly faster, progressive action typical fiberglass fly rods. This makes it absolutely fantastic for casting dry flies, fishing in faster water, or casting on windy days where other glass rods might be at a disadvantage. However, when you wiggle this rod, there'll be no doubt in your mind that it's a fiberglass rod. Even with the slightly faster action it still retains that sweet relaxed feel that anglers love about glass rods.
This rod features:
-Progressive action fiberglass blank in a rich orange / tangerine color
-Traditional cap & ring style reel seat w/ a walnut burl wood spacer
-Reverse half-Welles shaped cork grip
-Nickle-Silver winding check (above grip)
-Chromed, stainless steel hook keeper, line guides, & tip tops
-Chromed, stainless steel Mildrum style traditional stripping guide
-Orange silk wraps throughout.
-Comes in a custom made brown cotton flannel rod bag with orange embellishment stitches
-All housed in a custom fit brown canvas covered PVC rod tube with padded ends, zippered closure, & leather name tag describing the rod inside
To read more about this rod, & to see more detailed photos of it, please visit the Available Rods page. Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you have about this rod.
The Professor is a traditional wet fly that you're probably not going to read about on all the latest fly fishing news sources. It's been around for a very long time. That doesn't mean that it still doesn't catch trout. It does. It's one of those classic wet fly patterns we should all have with us along the stream.
The short video below is very good in my opinion. I really like it for a number of reasons. First, the skill of the tier is excellent & he does a good job of showing you how this fly comes together. Second, he's using the old style silk (or you could use gut) leader. This is old-school, folks, before hooks had eyes. It is exactly how this fly would have been tied back in the day when it was a new design. Third, in addition to giving you some tips on how to fish classic wet flies, he shows you what this fly looks like underwater, in the drift. That kind of information is invaluable. I don't think we, as fly anglers, do this enough - really looking at our flies in the drift. Knowing that can make a world of difference.
To all of you who celebrate the Holiday, I want to wish you all a healthy & peaceful Easter. I'm sure that especially this year, a lot of folks could use the promise of hope & joy the day represents.
May you all have a blessed Easter!
Another batch of leather fly wallets are fresh off the work bench & ready to make a home for your favorite bug puppets!
Available in mahogany or brown colors of natural vegetable tanned leather, these tri-fold leather fly wallets are a great way to store all your wet flies, nymphs, & streamers. They feature six pages made of 100% wool felt, two inside pockets, snap closures, & are completely lined inside with a soft black suede leather.
These leather fly wallets are among the best you'll find. It would be a treasured possession of any angler to cherish for many seasons & they make fantastic gifts for any special occasion.
To see more photos & to read more about these fly wallets, please visit the Leather Accessories page of this site. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Since today is a day for shenanigans & tomfoolery, I'm re-posting this oldie but goody from years ago. Enjoy........
Once upon a time, a faithful fly angler named Norman was fishing in his favorite stream. He was an especially faithful angler because he hadn't caught a fish in five years. Others had, he knew.
For five long seasons he watched as the rods of his fellow anglers bent with life to the power of fighting trout. Always pleasant to others, Norman congratulated the other anglers on their catches & was happy for their success - in spite of his own lack of luck. They were in there, teasing him - mocking him it would seem. Through the five years Norman tried everything he could think of. He read all the fly fishing books & magazine articles he could, following their advice & directions to the letter. He even went so far as to hire a guide on his home waters, but was declared a hopeless case.
Finally one day, Norman couldn't take it anymore. He sat down along the stream bank & wept at his terrible streak of fishless days. This was the end of the line for him. He made up his mind to sell his rod & all his gear when he got back home.
He wasn't sure how long he had been sitting there when he heard approaching footsteps of someone coming thorough the woods. Wiping his eyes & trying to hide his shame, Norman saw him emerge from the bushes. He was a tall man, decked out in a flannel shirt with an old fishing vest stained from years of use. His old rubber hip waders had been patched so many times you couldn't tell where the patches began & the original wader ended. He smoked an old broken pipe & wore a torn & rumpled felt hat on his head that his long grey hair stuck out from underneath. His long grey beard was twisted & gnarly. Even though this was his home stream, Norman was sure he had never seen this mystical angler before.
The strange angler approached Norman & stood above him. "I understand what you're going through", he said. "For five long years I've been watching you go without a fish. Many times I thought of offering you some advice, but I could see nothing you were doing wrong. However, your faith & persistence in attempting to catch a trout have earned you this prize." The mystical angler then pulled an old tin from his vest pocket & produced a fly for Norman. "Take this & cast it down & across in front of that log on the other side of the stream over there. It will only take one cast. Your hard times are over if you'll fish this fly." Reaching up & taking it from his hand, Norman saw that it was the strangest fly he had ever seen. It had a deer hair tail of translucent green, a body of what looked like fur from a tabby cat, & polka-dotted hackle of red & white. "Thanks," said Norman. Looking up he saw the angler was gone without a sound - as if he had vanished.
"My goodness, I must be cracking up" thought Norman, but there was that bizarre fly in his hand. Figuring he had nothing left to loose, he tied on the weird fly to the end of his tippet & waded out into position to cast.
The fly landed on the water. It took a good drift as Norman mended his line to get a good swing in front of the log. Suddenly his line stopped dead in the water & he felt the pull. Setting the hook, the fight was on. The fish dove down & Norman played him well. Swimming in figure eights Norman pulled the line to straighten him out. The fish went for some underwater branches, but Norman moved it away. Suddenly the trout surfaced for only a second & as he gave slack line he thought the trout looked different somehow, but didn't have time to ponder it at the moment. For every trick the trout tried, Norman knew a counter-move. Back & forth they went like this for hours.
Finally, tired & worn out from the fight, Norman brought this prize trout to hand. It was then that he noticed it was blue!! It was a blue trout!! How could this be?
While staring in stunned silence at this rare sight, suddenly the fish spoke to Norman. "You put up a good fight" the trout said. Startled by this Norman dropped the fish & his fly snapped off his line, but the fish didn't swim away. It floated in the stream with it's head above the water & said, "I have not been played with such care, grace, & skill by an angler as you. I have been bested by you, sir. It has been an honor to be brought to your hand. For your skill & sportsmanship I will grant you three wishes before I swim away. However, choose your wishes quickly, as a hatch will soon be on & I must leave you."
He couldn't believe this was happening. Certainly he must be loosing his mind, but there was the trout, blue as could be in front of him. Norman's thoughts began to race as a grin formed on his face.......
No one knows what happened after that, but Norman never had another fishless day in all his years. So despair not fellow anglers who may be struggling to catch a fish. If you are faithful, persistent, & celebrate the successes of other anglers, regardless of your bad luck like Norman, you may just be lucky enough to find the blue trout.
Seriously though, folks, blue trout do exist - in hatchery trout. This is a naturally occurring, but rare, abnormality found mostly in rainbow trout & in a few brown trout as well. It's believed that this mutation occurs because of an abnormality in the fish's thyroid that produce hormones that cause the odd coloration. At PA Fish Commission hatcheries, they separate these trout out from the others that will be stocked. That's why you never hear of anyone catching one. These blue trout can be found swimming in the pools at the hatcheries. If you want to see a blue trout, contact a PA Fish Commission hatchery to see them.
To read more about blue trout, please click HERE.
There's nothing magical about a blue trout....or is there??..........
I've recently made some improvements to the leather covered rod tubes that I make in my shop. I thought I'd like to let you know about them.
I've started to use a better quality, vegetable tanned leather for these tubes. You can choose between light brown (shown here) or mahogany - the same colors as the leather fly wallets I make. This is very good leather with a natural grain. No two pieces are the exactly the same & will have a slight distressed look, or will show some grain in the leather.
These leather rod tubes are hand stitched in my shop & feature a lid that is fit snugly to the tube, which will ‘pop’ like a ferrule on a bamboo fly rod when opened. It also has snap closures & an adjustable, removable shoulder strap. A very fine way to house you most precious fly rods.
Just like the canvas covered PVC rod tubes, these leather tubes can be made to fit most size of fly rods, to an exact fit for your rod. The heavy canvas shoulder strap is not only adjustable, but easily removed for convenience when traveling, or packing the rod tube.
The aluminum tube used here is heavy-walled (1/8" thick) which makes these tubes heavier than what you're most likely used to. We use these heavy tubes because if you're housing a special rod, you want to protect it well & a thick, strong tube will do just that.
As these tubes are special order items that are made completely by hand, there will be a short wait time for them to be made for you. You can pay in full up front, or if you prefer, a down payment of half the total can be made to begin the tube, the second half due only after your rod tubes are completed.
For more information & photos of these rod tubes, please visit the Leather Accessories page.
Please contact me to discuss the leather rod tubes you need for your fly rods.
I hope that this will be the only time I address this issue concerning the COVID-19 virus. Since you've no doubt heard about this issue & the fallout from it, I wanted to let everyone know that I am still working on rods & accessories, still taking orders, & continue to ship orders out - just as I did this morning. As I work from my little workshop, I've not had to make any adjustments to how I conduct business. So, please feel free to contact me & we'll continue on just as we always have from a custom rod & accessories perspective.
However, it is not business as usual for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. They have announced changes to the trout season & to the adult trout stockings throughout the state. They will not be allowing volunteers to assist in the stocking this season & they will be consolidating stream stockings. What this means is that your favorite stream will be stocked with trout in only a few places where access is easy from the road (think:bridges). In addition to that, your stream might be stocked only once this year, rather then the stockings being spread out across the prime months of the trout season. Yes, trout will migrate, but only so much. If you fish stocked waters & go far from the road, you will probably notice a decrease of the trout population.
This is a shame, as the volunteers who assisted the Commission stock trout (of which I am one) did a lot of work to make sure that the fish were spread out so that the trout were not overcrowded & put in spots that offered food & shelter. This certainly allowed for more fish survival & better fishing. I don't envy the Commission folks who have to do the stockings all themselves. It will be a huge task without the aid of the volunteers.
I hope that you all stay safe & healthy as we go through this trouble & that it passes quickly. Please know that I'll be here, working on all your fly rods & accessories every day, so please feel free to reach out & contact me. As I said at the beginning, I hope this is the last & only time I need to address this issue. Stay safe, everyone!
I think this tune by the Doors states it all very well:
The Pliant Rod
News from the shop of Chris Lantzy, Custom Rod Maker along with industry news, profiles of interesting characters, reviews, history, & whatever else strikes our fancy. Your comments & feedback are welcome. Please email me your thoughts.
Cases, bags, wallets, & other fine leather angling accessories.
See more photos from the rod shop & stream sides!
SEE MORE ROD PHOTOS!!!
Please visit my Flickr pages to see even more rod photos including those available for sale, different rod features, & more. I'll be continuing to add photos there, so check it often.
Watch Some Videos!!
Take a look into the rod shop & see some rods in living color motion pictures!! Check out my youtube videos.