Sunday, January 25, 2015


I might be a little excited to start building a couple of rods this next weekend. I've been looking up tutorials on YouTube trying to get ideas on how to make these rods even more customized. There is a lot of good info out there and some really boring videos (there are good ones too). I decided to try out a couple of ideas on an old broken blank. Atley took some pictures while I worked on the crosswraps.

I need to take more time at this stage...

Ended up being a cool little design, even if it was done a little haphazardly 

Decided to turn it into a double wrap
Definitely looks like a first attempt, but I kinda like the way it came together. The most important thing is that I learned a lot, so with any luck, the next one will look better. I have a question though, I don't see a lot of these type of wraps on fly rods, is it too much? 

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Sometimes you have to invest a morning in hopes of finding a new place to fish for the future. This morning I got out with my buddy Ross to try and follow up on a couple of hunches even though this isn't the ideal time to hit this little freestone type streams. First spot required a bit of a hike, but the small canyon and overview of the valley sure made it worth it.

It doesn't look like much, but I've had good days on streams like this

Could be an interesting place to elk hunt...
Next spot looks like it could hold more water but access is going to be a problem. There's always coming in from the top where it's on National Forest, but I was really hoping to be able to get on the water fishing in less time. Oh well, it still looks promising. The next spot wasn't a new spot by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a place where I thought we might be able to get into some trout with the limited time we had. 

The cold sure makes some interesting ice formations on the stream
The fish didn't really want to play, though I did see a beaver and in the first moment thought it was the largest fish ever. Dang beavers. Had one hit all day and had the decent brown on for a few moments before he spit my Cheech Leech. Guess a day like this was a long time coming, but I think it'll lead to some great times this summer. It did feel good to get out after a week of fighting the flu. 

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Planning Dad's New Rod

I've been able to get out fishing with my Dad a couple times lately, which has been great, and he tried out my 8wt rod that I built a while back. (Read about it here) Dad decided that he'd like one for his own which was perfect timing because I've really been wanting to build another rod. He really liked the look of the reel seat, and the feel of the blank I used for mine but decided that we should upgrade the guides. I haven't discussed color or wrap options with him yet but I suspect he'll let me do whatever I want in this area. When we figure that out I might try and incorporate the wrap colors into the handle just a bit more...somehow. Here's a few pics of my 8wt, I'll keep you posted on how my Dad's comes together.

Nice & simple at the guides

I really like the reel seat

I like the fancy wraps at the ferrules
Shopping for my Dad's rod helped me realize that I should build a 5wt on the same blank while I was at it. Not exactly sure what the plan for this rod is, but I'm going to build it as if I were going to keep it and see what happens. You can't ever have too many rods, can you?

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

I've caught a bunch on this little rod I wrapped up a couple years ago

Totally not-for-show! Red wraps over a reddish/brown blank.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mixed Bag

I think this is true for anyone that ties their own flies, but for me every trip begins at the vise. I tie just about every week. There are different types of tying sessions, sometimes it's trying to figure out a new pattern I saw on the interweb, sometimes it's trying to fill up my boxes for the year, and other times it's just dinking around trying to come up with a solution to some problem (whether fishing related or not). But the best tying sessions always come when I have a trip in the works. Once there's a due date, with a target species and expected conditions, I can really get into a groove and while the hands work my mind can plan fantasize about the upcoming fishing.

On the docket for the long weekend was a spot where there's always a shot at catching a new personal best. Each cast has the potential to bring in a monster. So every fly is tied on a premium hook, each tippet new and constantly checked for nicks, every knot tied carefully and checked for strength. It puts a different edge on the fishing, but not an edge that doesn't allow you to enjoy simply being outdoors with good company, just an edge that keeps you from letting your mind wander while your fly is in play. Of course with high expectations it just goes without saying that we would catch tons of smaller fish. We tried different tactics to try and find the larger ones (bigger & deeper swimming flies, different areas, anything else we could think of) but every offer seemed to be found and accepted by a younger demographic of fish than we were searching for, with only a couple of decent fish showing up.

My Dad with one of the prettier ones of the day

It's been awhile since I caught two fish at once!
Weston with a chunk of bow
These smaller fish did offer one of my older brothers, Brett, an opportunity to get into some fish on a fly rod. While growing up we would occasionally fly fish, but mostly we would spend time in the boat either trolling pop-gear or bait fishing. The main reason for that is Brett. He couldn't walk a stream with us because when Brett was about 5 years old he was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. This caused his joints to swell and left him with pain and stiffness most days. He'd try not to let it slow him down, but the fact of the matter was that fly fishing was put on the back burner in favor of doing something that everyone could participate in. The area that we were going to this trip, however, had a few spots that Brett would be able to access with relative ease and the only issue would be if he could cast far enough and often enough to get into fish. The answer was yes, he could do it, and Brett had a great day fly fishing.

Brett with one of his many fish
The bigger fish seemed to be alluding all of us for most of the day, but we had an ace in the hole. We moved into position and started presenting our offerings. My little brother Weston was stripping an olive woolly bugger, my Dad was slowly retrieving a nymph and I was suspending a nymph under an indicator (Brett was tired at this point and didn't want to try the walk). The big fish of the trip took my Mod. Hares Ear for a ride until Weston could tail him for me.

A nice one
After that we ended up back in the area where we'd started to let Brett catch a few more and he took full advantage of the opportunity. He even found his first large mouth bass, then followed that up with another LMB. 

You just have to lip a Bass, no matter the size
I was fishing a deep hole away from the others and experimenting with color & weight combinations, still trying to find one of the lunkers, when I caught my first Tiger Trout of the year on a purple Woolly Bugger fished as deep and slow as I could make it go. 

First tiger I've caught at this location, and first of the year
All in all it was a great trip out with my Dad and Brothers. We caught tons of fish, saw some great bucks, and just enjoyed getting out together. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Product Review: J Wood Fly Fishing Twisted Leaders

About a month ago I received a couple of leaders from J Wood Fly Fishing to test out and give him some feedback. Now just to be clear, he didn't send them to me so I would write about them here he just wanted some honest feedback about his work and since I like them so much I decided to let you know about it. 

For the last few years I've been using some hand tied leaders that I make myself. I've used a few different recipes and have been pretty happy with the results. So, I wasn't exactly in the market for a new leader. Though I can admit to having wondered about twisted and furled leaders because of the rave reviews that have been circulating through the interweb. I've even been looking into making a furling jig just to try them out (in case you haven't noticed, I like to have a hand in making every piece of gear I use) but hadn't quite gotten to it yet when this opportunity arrived.

The first thing I noticed about these leaders was the way they came out of the package. Mostly the leader straightened without any effort on my part. A small tug on the butt section, as per the directions, completely straightened the leader and it was ready to fish. 

I started out using an 8' 4x leader while suspending nymphs under a yarn indicator. I was worried with the extreme cold that the twisted section of the leader would hold water and possibly freeze, but it never was a problem. A huge plus to using a twisted leader with this style of fishing was how well it held my yarn indicator in place. I was also impressed at how much tippet, with a couple of weighted flies on the end, this leader was able to turn over. As that first day progressed the wind really started to kick up, but I had no trouble casting where I needed to.

Later in the evening we came up on a pod of fish feeding on a sparse midge hatch. Fishing tiny dries to spooky fish is a completely new game but the ability to turn over extra tippet kept me in the game and really made up for a few less-than-perfect casts.

The mark of great gear is if you can stop thinking about it while your on the water and just focus on fishing. Every trip I've taken while using these leaders this winter I haven't given these leaders more than a few thoughts, usually at the beginning and end of the day, but while I'm on the water it was just fishing. I can't think of any higher praise than that. 

That's a J Wood Fly Fishing net too, just in case you were wondering...
Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Good Weekend

It's definitely weekends like this that keep me going throughout the work-week. Two full days to be at home and take care of a few things with the possibility of slipping away for a couple of hours to do some fishing. 

First on the docket was to fix a couple of rods that were overdue. One was my son's that had the tip come off. Not a big deal to fix, and the job went quickly. The second was my older brother Jeff's. He had broken the tip off while trying to remove some ice. After testing out a possible patch job I decided to lose the 1-1/2" that had broken off and put on a new tip. Quick wrap and epoxy and the repair was done. Just to make sure the action wasn't effected too much I test casted it out in the back yard and it felt great. This is a rod that I built as a Christmas present for him a couple of years ago, so I am still a little attached to her. 

Done and done
Sunday brought a morning of a great breakfast with the family and tying up some flies. I bought a new fly box that had a couple of stickers over the cover. What's the point of a clear fly box if you're not going to be able to see through it? So I attempted to remove the stickers and was left with a ton of residue that was really sticky. Didn't believe it myself, but tried it anyway and was shocked to find out that peanut butter works great. Weird. 

Who knew right?
Then Atley and I were out the door to fish a small local stream to see if any fish were active. 

I love living here
Atley just wanted to play photographer today so I was left to do the fishing. First thing we walked down to a hole that usually holds a fish or two but the first few casts didn't bring anything. Rather than start changing flies I added some weight to my nymph rig and caught a surprisingly nice cutthroat for this stream.

Beautiful fish in a beautiful net, compliments of J Wood Flyfishing
The next hole brought an identical looking trout to hand but then nothing seemed to be stirring. We worked our way up stream but didn't move any fish for the next 30-40 minutes and it was obviously time to head back home. All in all a great time out on the water and the perfect end to a nice weekend. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature. 

- Kidder

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Year in Review

It's been a great year. Here are my favorite pics:

First fish of the year

My boy with a nice little tiger to start the year

Went a couple of years without catching a splake, didn't take long to find some this year

Some great bows were caught this year

Got out a couple of time with my Bro-in-Law

Little Brother knows how to fling a fly

Personal best rainbow

Was able to get out several times with my Dad this year, hopefully we can keep that trend going

Darkest rainbow I've ever seen, thought it was a catfish for a minute...

First (and only) largemouth bass to date

Cado knows how to pull in the big ones

Got his first brown trout this year too

Fun stuff under the surface

I didn't catch a pike this year, but this kid caught a couple

Bro-in-Law on his home water,

He's getting more independent 

I love brownies

One of my favorite streams


Biggest chub I've ever caught

My first bluegill
My friend Ross with a great cutthroat

The fish may be small, but that smile ain't

A great brown trout on one of my favorite streams

Can't complain with a roadside brownie on a purple haze fly

The wife didn't get out much this year, but when she did she caught fish

Caught several nice Cutties this year

Atley caught some great fish all on his own this year

Found some new water that held nice tigers

And great lookin' splake

Always great to fish with this kid

Another great cutty, with Mickey Mouse in his eyes

My buddy Lane with a great lookin' cutty

This was the trip that Cado caught about 100 of these cutts

Nice tiger

Slippery, but he's determined to keep hold

We loved having my niece Riann come down and visit during the Summer

Broke my personal best for Cutthroat several times this year

Lane caught some serious cutties too

One of my better underwater pics

Only got to this stream once this year, during a downpour, but what a great day

Personal best Cutthroat, can't wait to go back and see if he grows

Caught my first grayling

My Dad fished circles around me

Found a new pond close to home that I can't wait to get back to

Took a couple of trips to a stream about ten minutes from my house

This is a great place to take young fly fishermen

My personal best Brookie

Little brother only poses with nice fish

This fish was an absolute chunk

Dad caught some great lookin' bows on this trip

Cado had a great day

A great way to finish out the year
Just hoping 2015 can be even close to as awesome, and hope that you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder