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.
blog & news
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:
Happy St. Patrick's Day, Everyone!!!
I thought I'd take a moment to discuss, on this St. Patty's Day, the fly called the green weenie. It is a simple pattern that has magical powers to catch fish. Yup, that's right, it's a magical fly. Why? Because it seems to catch fish on days when nothing else will. It works in all seasons, too.
Seriously though, the green weenie is a fly that seems to attract trout both because of it's shape & color - bright chartreuse green. It can imitate some green caddis flies & also green inch worms, too. It's effective as both a wet / nymph fly & also great when fished as a streamer.
I've heard many different versions of the history of this fly. Mostly though, it's considered to have originated in Western PA. It supposedly gets it's name from the green weenies used at Pittsburgh Pirates games through the years. Those green weenies would hex the opposing baseball team while giving good luck to the Pirate players when the weenie was pointed at them. Read more about the green weenie of the Pirates, HERE.
No matter where it came from, or how it got it's name, the green weenie remains an effective fly for trout as well as steelhead in many places outside of Western PA. It is a great fly to start someone out with in fly tying, too, because of how simple it is. The legendary PA outdoor sports writer Charlie Meck called this one of his "one minute flies" because that's about how long it takes to tie one.
Here's a short video showing how to tie this pattern:
(one note: this is a slight variation of the green weenie in this video. It's traditionally made with medium, or even micro, chenille - not the fuzzy stuff shown here. It's also usually bright or fluorescent green. I'm showing you this video because the tying is spot on, the colors are close, & it's the best video I could find to show how to tie it.)
If you happen to be looking for trout rather than a pot of gold, the green weenie is an excellent pattern to try. You'll have a lot of luck when you try this magical fly!!
UPDATE: Like so many other public events, this show has been cancelled out of concerns for the public's safety. Towson University, where the show was to take place, has put a halt to all public events. Please support the vendors who were to appear at the show & plan on being there next year.
If you're going to be anywhere near the state of Maryland on Saturday March, 14th (even if you're not), make plans to attend the 2020 Maryland Fly Fishing Show. Unlike other big shows that are lead by the big companies in the fly fishing industry, the Maryland show is much more personal. However, don't think that means it's small - 'cause it's not. This paragraph from their website says it best:
"The large commercial Shows certainly have their appeal, but if you really want to experience fly fishing through the eyes of professional bamboo/graphite/glass rod builders, classic tackle dealers, national known artist and authors, regional guides not to mention our local fly shops throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania then this is a must attend event. We will have on display more than 70 vendors and booths chock-full of everything fly fishing—ALL FOR SALE AT SHOW PRICES!"
As you can see, there's plenty of something here for everyone who fly fishes. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend this year, but please go & check it out. I'm betting that you'll be very glad that you did. You can find out all the details about the show on their website HERE. It would be a great way to kick off your fly fishing season this year!
Below is a short, beautiful video filmed on the water of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, set to the words of John Voelker's (aka Robert Traver) "Testament Of A Fisherman". Even though Judge Voelker wrote those words back in the mid 1960's, they still ring true today.
Take just two minutes & escape whatever the world is tossing at you today to step into the stream in your mind & enjoy this gorgeous video.
Well, spring can't be too far away - the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has released their annual adult trout stocking schedule for 2020.
This year, the Commission will stock 4,600 miles of streams & 130 lakes totaling 7,083 acres!! There is a nearby place to trout fish just about anywhere you are in PA. Proudly, Pennsylvania offers some of the best fly fishing for trout in the world.
Now, I'm not the type to follow the stocking truck around ready to pounce on the trout with my flies the minute they leave the bucket, but knowing when & where the trout will be stocked can greatly enhance your time spent on the water. This is especially true for folks who are making a trip here to PA to wet a line in the hopes of catching trout, or those with very limited time to fish. I always recommend to folks visiting from out of state that they check both the weather & the stocking lists to make sure they're fishing is the best it can be.
You can look up which streams will be stocked & when on the Commission's website in an interactive list searchable by county, HERE.
Not sure what the county is where you'll be fishing? No worries, the Commission has a county guide, filled with maps & other info on their website. In addition to that you can also read all the fishing regulations & even buy your fishing license & trout stamp on their site as well. It's loaded with good, accurate information.
As the snow falls & the cold air outside sends chills, this a great time of year to tie up all your flies for next season & plan a good fishing trip - & now you'll know when & where the trout will be!!
I've said here numerous times that I love to see photos of my rods in the places where they get fished. I really get jazzed at seeing all the cool places my rods go.
Last year I was honored to make a bamboo fly rod for John. He wanted a special rod that could be a family heirloom. This rod had to be one that would be right at home fishing his local trout streams in the Sierra mountains of California. But there was something else - John had a trip of a lifetime planned out that he wanted to christen the rod on. He was going on an epic journey around the southern hemisphere!! Particularly, he wanted this rod for some fishing he was going to do in Patagonia.
We figured out a rod that would work well in both locations. We settled on a three piece rod, so that it would travel well with shorter sections, but still fish nicely, too. This rod came out great with John's choice of wrap colors, reel seat wood, etc.
After John & his wife, Sharon got back from this fantastic trip he told me all about the journey & the fishing. Man, was I thrilled to read about that!!
The photos above & the below are of John casting his custom made bamboo fly rod in Patagonia. I was honored to make a rod that took a trip around the world!! Thank you, John & Sharon, for sharing your journey with me!!
off to a very busy start.......
This year has been off to a very busy start in the rod shop. There will be a lot of nice rods going out the door for the early trout season. One such rod is this custom fiberglass that will see action in many places this year:
This is just one of a few rods that have gone out the shop door so far, with many more to come!!
Do you have need for a special accessory or a custom fly rod? Please let me know about it, I'd love to discuss it with you. After all, if the groundhog is correct, we'll be seeing some hatches on the streams before too long!!
I'm sure that most fly anglers are familiar with the writer John Gierach. If you aren't, then please get yourself a copy of one of his books - any one will do - & I'm sure you're in for an enjoyable time. Those of you familiar with Gierach's writings know that he's a big proponent of bamboo fly rods. They come up in every one of his books & he even dedicated an entire book to the subject.
Last year he wrote a brief article about bamboo rods for Bloomberg News. In the article he address the mystique of bamboo fly rods, & touches on why some folks prefer them to rods of other materials. When addressing the question of why someone would spend so much more money on a bamboo rod then a modern graphite fly rod, his answers is, in my opinion, really good:
"It’s a fair question with a vague answer. Part of it is the way we value the Yankee workshop-like tradition of fine handwork done with what we now consider to be primitive tools, as well as the antique virtues of skill and patience.
But there’s also some unapologetic nostalgia at work here. Bamboo fly rods can recall a time when life was simpler, fish bigger (and more numerous), and fishermen fewer and farther between. Or so we like to imagine."
He goes on to talk about the differences of bamboo rods - how each rod is unique & feels slightly different; how many anglers like the feel of casting bamboo - how "warm" they feel & the "friendliness" of a bamboo rod.
One point he makes that I think is really worth mentioning is that a bamboo fly rod will 'break in' as it ages & is used. Bamboo rods have a tendency to 'warm up' after they are fished for a while. I've never been sure if this is the bamboo material being tempered over many casts, or if its a psychological thing where we anglers get more used to the feel & rhythm of the rod. Whatever it is, I know that the vast majority of bamboo fly rods get better with age, where graphite or fiberglass rods will (after many years) wear out. As Gierach puts it:
"And bamboo rods, like violins, are said to evolve with use, so even if a rod doesn’t have a personality the first time you string it up, it will after you’ve fished with it for a few seasons."
I couldn't agree more with that.
You can read the entire article on the Bloomberg News site HERE.
I always love it when folks send me photos of a rod I've made in action. It makes me smile! The other day was no exception, when I received this photo from Chris:
That's an awesome photo!!
If you look closely, you'll see a black bead head woolly bugger in the mouth of the fish. Let me tell you that is one of my favorite flies. Let me explain.....
If you told me that I could only ever use one fly again, I'd pick - without hesitation - a black woolly bugger. Pound for pound it's one of the most consistently effective fly patterns ever created. There are many reasons for this. First, the woolly bugger is one of those flies that look like it could be something, & it looks like nothing specific all at the same time. It could be a crayfish if you creep it along the bottom. It could be a bait fish if you strip it & give it motion. It could be a hellgrammite or some other large form of nymph or larva. Sometimes you can never be sure what the fish took it for, but take it they do.
The palmered soft hackle & the marabou tail of this fly give it motion & life in the water. The slightest movement will make the feathers undulate in a very good way. It looks very much alive to the fish. Because of this, it's effective even when you drift this fly in a drag free drift down stream. You can also fish it sideways to the current, or even against it in some cases & this fly will produce.
Okay, so why black? Well, because the black color gives a more definite silhouette in all kinds of water. It will show up in murky water, or when the sun is high & bright. It can easily be seen by the fish when the light is low & conditions are darker. If you could only pick one fly for fishing below the surface, choose a black one.
The black woolly bugger has saved me from getting skunked more times than I can count through the years. It's the fly I fish when I don't know what to try, when I'm exploring new water, or on those days when nothing seems to work. Get a day along the stream where the flies that should be getting you fish aren't for some reason unknown to you? Tie on a black woolly bugger in an appropriate size for the water you're fishing.
This was the first fly I ever learned to tie many years ago. It was my fist tie because it's so simple & basic. It's a great pattern to introduce someone to fly tying with. But it's one of those patterns you'll fish all your life because it just catches fish!!
Special thanks to Chris Miller for sharing the photo with me & reminding me why I love the black woolly bugger so much!
Being a rod maker, I'm always fascinated to see & learn how similar items to fly rods are made. I've always been especially interested in how fly reels are made. In fact, it's been an idea of mine to someday make my own fly reel....someday.
When I stumbled upon this series of videos, showing a machinist / craftsman taking us through the process of them making their own fly reel I watched these videos with great interest. In each video we're looking over the shoulder of the reel maker. I could watch videos like this all day long!!
So if you're curious about how a skilled machinist might make their own reel &/or you enjoy watching folks at work performing interesting tasks, check out the video below. In this one we're watching him make the spool for his reel, but you can watch the entire series (which you can see on youtube) as he takes us through his process of making a reel from beginning to end. Enjoy!
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.
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