CE Tech Innovations Pedestal Base

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By Bob Reece

A firm foundation for your vise is critical to the success of your fly tying efforts. 

This is especially true for tiers who use pedestal bases.  For years I have searched for one that gave my vise true stability.  I finally found one that delivers that and much more.  

We all have our opinions about social media.  One huge benefit of this technological element is being able to discover new products that might otherwise go unnoticed.  A couple months ago I happened upon a post that consisted of one picture.  It showed a nicely machined pedestal base and tool caddy.   It was evident from the picture how wide the base was in comparison the vise.  It wasn’t until I received mine in the mail that I realized how effective and well made it was.   The eight by ten inch base is machined out of 6061 aluminum and weighs in at a hearty five and half pounds.  This alone was enough to make me fall in love with this product.  The stability provided by this platform is nothing short of amazing and has brought a new sense of comfort and confidence to my tying.  

In addition to its weight, the design of this base functions well and makes sense.   At the front of the base sit three machined pockets for holding beads and hooks.  Their depth provides enough room to hold large quantities of each.    The center pocket contains a Neodymium magnet that will hold onto hook, beads or small children holding silver ware in the next room.  The tool caddy displays an additional three pockets that provide more recessed storage for additional hooks and materials.  In front of the caddy and behind the base pockets, sits a cork pad that provides grip for any slippery materials.  

Along the outer edges of the base and caddy are machined holes.  Some of these hold pins that provide a catch for thread, wire and other materials on spools.  The pins can be removed from the holes and moved around, allowing for personalized setup.  The remaining holes provide

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What Cataracts Have Taught Me About Seeing Fish

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There’s more to spotting fish than having good eyes, so don’t assume you can’t see them.

I’m used to being told I have good eyes. Among anglers, that means the ability to spot fish. In truth, I have never had good eyes. I’ve worn glasses my whole life and had to remember where I put them at night because I couldn’t find my glasses, without my glasses. Thanks to the great prescription program at Smith Optics, I’ve always had good fishing glasses and could see well enough. It wasn’t until I developed aggressive cataracts, last year, that I really started to struggle.

It’s no secret that I do a lot of bonefishing. They don’t call bonefish the ghosts of the flats for no reason. Their natural camouflage makes them very difficult to see. When I started losing my sight, my greatest fear was that I would no longer be able to spot bonefish. This fear only got worse in the weeks following my first lens replacement surgery. My vision was pretty poor at first and even now, a month past my second surgery, it isn’t what I’d like. I’m confident that it will get to where I want it, but when I headed to Abaco for bonefish, I was pretty nervous about how I would perform.

It turns out I did pretty good. It was a huge relief to see my first bonefish, and even better to hear, “good eyes,” when I spotted a fish before my guide. Still, my new eyes are not what they should be and it taught me a few things about what it means to see fish. I see plenty of anglers give up on the idea that they will be able to see fish before they cast to them. If that sounds familiar, here are a few things to think about when you’re looking for fish.

You can actually find fish with surprisingly poor visual acuity.

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Sunday Classic / Get A Better Grip On The Spey Rod

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ALL FLY CASTING IS ABOUT CONTROL AND TIMING, NOT POWER.

This is never more true than in Spey casting. Perhaps because there are more moving parts to a Spey cast, rod and line control are crucial. This is especially challenging for the beginner whose muscle memory is only just developing. Often a cast will “break” for no reason. That is to say that, all of a sudden that double Spey you’ve been throwing all morning just doesn’t work any more. Often the reason is a loss of control.

Here’s a tip that will help those of you who are new to two-handed casting maintain control. The first step in a controlled cast is the proper grip. It’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough. Most anglers who are new to the Spey rod think of it like holding a golf club or baseball bat. A familiar tool for most of us, but the Spey rod is quite different and so is the proper grip.

Hold the rod with your finger tips. A gentle grip is all that’s necessary. Using your fingertips accomplishes two things. It keeps your arms relaxed, as you are not tempted to put a death grip on the rod. A relaxed posture is important for fluid movement. Gripping with your fingertips also engages a different set of muscles. Muscles, which are tuned to fine motor skills like writing.

The result is a casting stroke that

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Saturday Shoutout / Yin and Yang in New Zealand

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Every day on the water is a new beginning.

If you fly fish for any time at all, you’ll quickly realize that it’s Mother Nature’s show and we are all just day players. There are lessons around every corner and some of them are in humility. When you are able to accept that and fish for the joy of the bad days as well as the good, you realize, every day on the water changes you. Hopefully for the better.

I ran across this story by Devin Olsen on his blog at tacticalflyfisher.com. It’s great to see how a couple of the best anglers on the planet handle getting served on a tough day, and how they turn it around.

YIN AND YANG: FINDING JOY IN THE TOUGH AND GREAT DAYS IN NEW ZEALAND

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Quiet Fly Line Pickup, 2 ways: Video

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By Louis Cahill

Here are two ways to pick up your fly line and make a cast without spooking fish.

Quiet line pickup is an important skill for fly anglers after any species, but it’s never more important than when bonefishing. Their spooky nature may be the bonefish’s defining characteristic. Ad to that the excitement of the moment and it’s easy to spook fish that might otherwise be caught.

One of the best ways to spook a bonefish is by ripping your line off the water with a loud sizzle. That’ll send them to Cuba. There are two main reasons this happens. Slack in the line when you pick it up off the water, and too much speed too early. It’s easy to do, especially when you’re excited.

WATCH THIS VIDEO AND LEARN TWO WAYS TO PICK YOUR FLY LINE UP OFF THE WATER QUIETLY AND MAKE AN EFFECTIVE CAST.

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Fly Tying: Working With Wire

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By Bob Reece

Wire is a common ingredient in nymph patterns. 

Whether in the form of ribbing or full body segments, this material adds the important elements of segmentation, durability and weight.  Yet, because of its fairly rigid nature, it can be a difficult material to work with. 

When attaching wire to the hook shank, it’s important that it lands on one of the lateral sides of the hook shank.  This means that is should be tied in on the side of the hook either closest to your or the side opposite of that.  This ensures that the nymph pattern is widened horizontally and not vertically.  This matters because most natural nymphs have horizontally widened bodies.  Using this tying method helps to mimic that profile when constructing nymphs.

In addition to the tie in location, the consistency of the thread wraps that are laid down matters for two different reasons.  If the wraps are laid down without consistent firm tension, the wire will shift position when the tier wraps it forward.   Equally important is the spacing of thread wraps laid down on the surface that the wire will be wrapped over.  If the wraps are not evenly spaced and create an uneven surface, that same uneven layout will be reflected in the overlying wire wraps.  

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River Of Dreams

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By Louis Cahill

I DREAM OF WAKING IN A FOREST.

Or where a forest had been, now sooty black. Smoke swirls, orange eyes peer from hunks of coal. Charred trees accuse the sky. White ashes whirl in the air, angels lifted to heaven. I’ve slept through some great conflagration.

I walk, leaving white footprints on blackened ground. Smoke, steals my vision. Trees turn from black to gray, to white. I stop at a river bank where ash becomes grass, high and yellow like autumn. Dark water churns, its surface oily in the soft light. Standing in the river, bare to the waist, my father, his eyes fixed on the water, his hair wet and tossed, his arms outstretched like a cormorant drying its wings. In the current, the dark shapes of fish.

I follow the sound of falling water to a large pool ringed with tall grass. At its center, a deep black pit. The pool flows in on itself, the water pouring over a rocky rim, angry, foaming white. The sound deafening. A gaping bottomless maw, ringed with white foaming teeth, swallows the river and roars at the sky.

***

I think of my father now and see him, not drawn and frail. Not balled and withered, eaten with cancer but a strong young man, shirtless with wild, wet hair. A man from a black and white photograph. The luxury of survival, to carve the past in a form more pleasing.

Standing in an Oregon river, in a run instantly familiar, I swing a fly for steelhead.

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Have A Plan Before You Tie

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By Justin Picket

I literally just walked away from my tying desk and I am now sitting in front of my laptop… 

And not because I just finished whipping up a ton of awesome, fish-enticing flies and I need to order more materials. It’s quite the opposite of that. My idea was that, tonight, I would start refilling some of my boxes for the busy guide season that Spring brings with it, but I didn’t get anything done at all. I tied three flies (none of them the same) and then I got frustrated and had to walk away. Why?

It’s pretty simple. When I sat down at my desk and planted a hook in the jaws of my vise, I didn’t have a plan. I had some hooks. I had some beads. I had some thread. That was about as far as my planning went. I had a multitude of materials strewn all over the place. Bucktail. Sili legs. Mallard flank. Goose biots. UV resin. Marabou. None of it in any kind of order. Sitting there, staring at the mess that is my desk, I was unable to focus on the task that I intended on accomplishing this evening. I wasn’t able to find half the materials I needed, which only frustrated me and pulled me even further off task. My tying session had turned into some sort of “squirrel gone mad” moment and I couldn’t decide which pattern I could tie efficiently with the materials that I knew I had, but probably couldn’t find anyways. Don’t be me! Here’s a few quick tips to help keep you on task while you are sitting at your vise!

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Big Salmon and Rock N’ Roll: An Interview With Eric Clapton

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The name Eric Clapton is synonymous with rock and roll, but in certain circles he’s just as well known as a fly angler.

Clapton has been fishing his entire life but didn’t get into fly fishing until his status as a rock star was well confirmed. He even planned tour dates around famous rivers he wanted to fish. There was a time in his life when Clapton lived the ‘Rock N’ Roll Lifestyle’ like few have done but, since putting down heroin and alcohol in 1987, his life has been more like a John Gierach book than a rock and roll memoir. 

Clapton’s recent angling obsession has been Atlantic Salmon. In August of 2016 he landed a fish measuring 42 1/2 inches on the Vatnsdalsa river in Iceland. That would be the fish of a lifetime for any angler, but Clapton returned in 2017 to land another salmon measuring 41 1/2 inches and weighing in 3 pounds heavier than the first. Not content to rest on his laurels, the rock and roll icon is heading back to Iceland this year and is predicting a personal best, if not a record.

I AM DEEPLY HONORED THAT ERIC CLAPTON TOOK THE TIME TO SIT DOWN FOR AN INTERVIEW AND SHARED HIS THOUGHTS ON FLY FISHING WITH G&G READERS. BELOW IS OUR CONVERSATION.

G&G: Eric, may I call you Eric?

EC: Absolutely.

G&G: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk. It’s ridiculously exciting for me, I’ve been a big fan since I was in high school. I was in several bands and my buddies and I used to cover your songs, so I apologize for that. We were awful.

EC: (Laughing) Well, thank you just the same.

G&G: I renumber seeing the photos of that big salmon you caught in 2016, good lord what a fish that was, it was easily the biggest salmon I’d ever seen. What went through your mind when you hooked that fish?

EC: Oh, it was total panic. The first run was like nothing I’d ever experienced. You know, that fish took me nearly a half mile downstream.

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Sunday Classic / Fly Fishing: Is There a Time When Anglers Should Admit Defeat and Move On?

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IS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN AN ANGLER SHOULD ADMIT DEFEAT FROM A TROUT, PAY HIS/HER RESPECTS AND MOVE ON?

We’ve all been there before, sight-fishing to a trophy trout, only to have it ignore our flies time and time again. An hour or more can go by without the slightest sign of interest by the fish, while it remains in the same basic holding spot all the while unafraid, almost as though it’s staring you down and challenging you to catch it. You press on with unwavering persistence until your patience runs dry. You’d argue that the trout isn’t hungry, and that’s why it hasn’t eaten any of the fly patterns, but every time you start to believe it as a viable excuse, you see the flash of white, from the trout opening its mouth and sucking in a bug. You’ve changed flies more than a dozen times now, you’ve made well over a hundred casts, and you’re ready to throw in the towel. Yet every time you reel in your line and begin to walk away, the feeling of defeat shouts “halt, go back! Just make a few more casts. You can do this.” Sometimes you end up winning the battle, other times the take never comes. The times when your line does come tight and you do hook and catch the trout, do you ever wonder if the fish really ate your fly or if you just accidentally flossed it?

I have a good friend from Colorado that told me he once scuba dived in a river and watched his buddy drift nymphs through runs that were loaded with trout. He said he was astonished to see how many times the tippet of the leader drifting in the current went into the mouths of trout, resulting in the fly of the hook snagging the trout. If you’ve ever fly fished for fresh sockeye salmon, you know that the majority of the time that’s exactly how you catch them. Only on rare occasions do they eat your fly, and even then one could argue it’s only out of aggression from the pending spawn. When my friend told me his underwater account, it made me wonder how many fish I thought I’d gotten to eat my fly in the past, but were actually fish that I really just flossed with my leader and snagged. Were those catches legitimate? Not unless you believe calculated or accidental flossing is legit. Maybe if you’re starving to death I could go along with that, but most of us don’t live off the land.

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