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.
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!
As another year has flown by, it's time once again for my annual "State of The Rod Shop Address" to you all. It really is amazing how quickly this year passed for me. I've been making rods full time for over fifteen years now & each year seems to go by faster than the one before. I'm pleased to report that the state of the rod shop is better then it's ever been!!
It was a very busy year in the rod shop. It began with a lot of leather work, making some of the best leather accessories I've ever produced. I was able to introduce a couple styles of leather reel cases that I've been wanting to make for years. Both clamshell & D-block style cases are now among my offerings.
These were a bit of a challenge to figure out, as I make them with mitered corners, which leave no visible seams in the case. In leather working, it is the top of the craft to produce a leather box or case with mitered corners. There's only two people in the market that make reel cases this way - & I'm one of them. I'm very proud of these reel cases!
In addition to adding these reel cases, I also redesigned the leather fly wallets I offer. Through the years of making my old style fly wallets, I had different ideas on how to make them better, to bring them up in quality. Well, I believe I've done just that. Now they're made from vegetable tanned leather, they have 100% wool felt pages that have their borders cut with a pinking cut, & they are lined on the inside with a black suede leather. Talk about an upgrade!!
I was also honored to make some really nice custom fly rods this year. Here are just a few of them:
This was the year I finally jumped into the 21st century (well, sort of) by getting onto instagram. I must say that I was surprised - no, shocked - at what I've seen going on there. I am blown away at all the talented folks out there - so many people sharing their passions & work & stories there. It amazes me just how much talent is around in the world. The internet continues to amaze me. The instagram experience has reminded me just how much this sport of fly fishing brings so many different people together from all over the world.
I say this almost every year in this address, but I sincerely mean it: the greatest part of being a rod maker is all the nice people I get to meet & work with. I've been so blessed by rod making that it blows my mind! I have friends & clients from all over the world, people of all different backgrounds, even some famous names you might recognize, & all of them are like you & me - they love fly fishing. I'm so honored to know & work with such awesome people from all walks of life.
I was having a conversation with a friend earlier this year & the discussion of money came up - what would you do if you won the lottery or suddenly came into a fortune. We've all had these thoughts. I didn't hesitate on my answer, which was that I would be doing exactly what I'm doing now. Sure, I'd love to be able to afford a brand new truck, have a nicer home & bigger work shop, be able to buy the fancy bread at the grocery store - but even if I had more money than I could spend I'd still be making fly rods. I would because I love it. It's my passion. I get up every morning & can't wait to get to work. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm pretty certain you can't buy that. I am so blessed to do what I do every day & to work with all of you. Thank you all so very much!!!
To that end, I'm excited to start the New Year. I have a new leather accessory in the design phase now that I hope to introduce before the spring fishing season comes around. I have some other very cool fly rods planned out to make & I'm currently working on a bunch of rods for folks who have ordered them. I plan to hit the new year running. I'm looking forward to working with you folks, making new friends, & continuing to produce the best work I possibly can in 2020.
Happy New Year to you all,
may it be your best one yet!!!
To all of you who celebrate the Holiday, I wish you all a merry & blessed Christmas!!
To celebrate, please enjoy this great version of the Wassail Song by a wonderful piano player & my friend, Phil Aaberg:
I also must share with you my favorite version of one of my favorite tunes of the season as well. It reminds me of the reason for the season!!
There are a lot of talented rod makers out there. When you decide to have a fly rod custom made for yourself, you have a lot of choices. It seems that every time I look at the work of the really good custom rod makers I'm impressed & inspired by the quality of their work.
Recently, I was honored to be considered with two of the better rod makers working today - JP Ross & Shane Gray. Both of these guys produce excellent fly rods, so I was truly honored to be counted among these folks in a recent article by Bang For Your Buck Outdoor Reviews.
The article focuses on rods of graphite, fiberglass, & bamboo. I was featured for my work in bamboo fly rods. This was truly an honor for me. Anytime someone takes notice of my work it makes my day. Seriously, as rod makers we work long hours, alone, & it takes a constant discipline to ask yourself many times if the work you are doing is at the level it should be. When someone praises my rods, it reaffirms to me that I am on the right track in my work.
Thank you to Bryan - the brains behind Bang For Your Buck reviews. I truly appreciate - & am humbled - by his kind words about my work. Heavy in detail, the article is very well thought out & written (& I'm not just saying that because I was mentioned - it really is!)You can read the entire post about the three of us rod makers HERE.
If you like what you see & are interested in having a custom rod made for you or a special angler in your life, please feel free to contact me & I'll be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
If you're looking for a unique gift for a stream or river angler, you can't go wrong with the canvas fishing bags I offer over on the Accessories page. These fishing bags are a great alternative to wearing a heavy, bulky fishing vest. They're made from top quality duck-canvas material for strength & reduced weight. Plus, they are available in three colors: green, brown, & black - & in two sizes!!
Each bag features all of the following:
- Wide, adjustable shoulder strap making them very comfortable to use all day long.
- 2 D-rings on each side for hanging accessories like nippers, landing nets, etc.
- 2 lamb's wool drying patches for your flies.
- Inside center loop perfect for hanging your hemostats or other hook removers.
- 2 large front pockets with velcro closure big enough to hold your fly boxes, fly wallets, or most anything else.
- 4 smaller side pockets with velcro closure made to fit tippet spools, flotant tubes, split-shot containers, & any smaller accessories.
- 6 small grometted ventilation holes on the bottom to allow water & moisture out & air to circulate inside the bag.
- Full cover top flap with snap closure.
- Fully lined inside with a stain & water-resistant lining, making these bags very easy to clean inside.
These fishing bags are made & designed to last a lifetime of heavy fishing & will hold a lot of weight. One of the reasons for that is because the flap, back, bottom, & front are all one piece of canvas. There is no bottom piece or bottom seam to tear out on these bags. The body of the bag is all one piece for maximum strength. Plus, the the pockets are reinforced - the bag is two canvas layers thick at each pocket!! All this adds strength to the material. It won’t rip & it’s very resistant to punctures.
The lining of these bags is not only sewn in at the edge seams, but also fused onto the canvas of the bag. This means that you can’t pull it away from the material – it’s attached everywhere. By sewing the liner in & fusing it to the canvas this greatly reduces the risk of the liner ever getting torn or ripped.
To read more about how these bags are constructed, please click HERE.
If you're looking for a unique fishing gift for that special angler - one that's made to last a lifetime - then please consider these fishing bags.
For more information about these bags & to see more detailed photos, please visit the Accessories page of this site.
If you have any questions about these fishing bags - or anything else - please feel free to contact me & I'll be happy to help you.
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.
DISCOUNTED REEL CASES