Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sage Trout Spey vs Winston Micro Spey

Here is a very good article by Gorge Fly Shop comparing Sage Trout Spey vs Winston Micro Spey. For those intending to make the foray into the small switch rod arena (2wt - 4wt), this is a good read.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Spey Casting Fundamentals

Here is a very good video covering some spey casting basics by Will Turek. I decided to bookmark his video here because I find his explanation very concise and easy to understand. This would serve as a good reference for those interested in learning Spey casting.

I like how he explains the relationship between anchor and D-loop size and also the 180 degree rule of spey casting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

RIO Spey Lines for the Micro Spey Game

Here is a very good write up by George Cook of Sage on the choice of lines from RIO if you are into the micro Spey / Trout Spey / ultralight Spey game.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Making Sense of Switch Rods and Lines - by RIO

Here is a good write up by RIO on how to make sense of the plethora of lines offered by RIO for Switch rods. If you are ever in doubt as to which RIO Spey line to select for your need, read this and be enlightened.

RIO Spey Line Weight Table

Here is a table that I find very useful to quickly reference the Spey line offerings by RIO. This table allows me to quickly find out the length of and grain weight of each line type/model including the MOW tips. I though I will share it here.

Here is the link to the pdf file in RIO website:

RIO 2016 Spey Line Weight part 1

RIO 2016 Spey Line Weight part 2

For those interested in RIO sink tip specifications, they are available here:

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

6 Piece Travel Switch Rod

I have been hunting high and low for a 6pc travel length switch rod for some time now. So, when a newly acquainted fellow angler pointed me in the direction of  Shakespeare fly rods, specifically the Oracle EXP range, I was both delighted and intrigue.

Intrigue because Shakespeare has never been popular for their fly rods. Spinning rods ...yes, the famous Ugly Stick comes to mind but fly rods??!!. I kept an open mind and did some research on the web. There are not a whole lot of reviews that I can find but here are a few good ones:

Here is the promo video by Shakespeare for this rod range:

In the end, I took the plunge and bought the Oracle EXP #7/8 11ft 6pc Switch. I had the rod for a while now and has been fishing with it to put it through its paces. Now I think I am ready to write a review.

The Oracle EXP #7/8 is AFTM rated. This means that it is equivalent to a single hand 7/8 wt rod rating. If we go by the US Switch rod rating, I would rate this as a 5/6 wt Switch rod. After some experimentation with different grain Skagit lines, I concluded the grain window for this rod is between 350 and 450 grains.

This rod amazes me with its recovery speed. Although not marketed as a fast rod, it does exhibit very good recovery and can generate some pretty good line speed. Furthermore, I like the progressive action of the rod. The more you load the rod, the lower down it bends and the more it powers up. I like how it launches the 450 grain Ambush head with ease, flexing progressively to the mid section.

Aesthetically, there is nothing to shout about. It is best described as low key and functional. The cork quality is no worse than my TFO and the blank is matte camo green to reduce fish spooking glare. I was impressed by how well the ferules fit together for a rod of this price range. It shows no sign of loosening or twisting even after pro-long casting. The reel seat is anodized aluminium which means I can use it in saltwater. Despite being 6pc, this rod does not feel heavy at all. In fact the swing weight is comparable to my TFO Deer Creek 6wt. This rod is also built tough and you can really yank on the fish without worrying about breakage.

Overall, this is a great rod and very affordable to boot. I like it that it can be broken down to 6pc and fits easily into my check-in luggage for travel. It cast well, it fish well and the 6pc design makes it a handy backup travel rod.

Here are some pics of fish I have done battle with on this rod.

Giant Trevally

Mangrove Jack

Jungle Perch

Currently the Oracle EXP range of Switch rod comes only in #7/8 and #8/9. I wish Shakespeare would consider making a #4/5 and #5/6 version which I would buy in a heartbeat. I have also spent an hour or so test casting the Oracle EXP #8/9 rod with 450 grain Ambush line. The verdict is that this rod is casting more from the top one third of the rod. The flex is not as progressive as the #7/8. This is not necessarily a bad thing as this "tip flexing" action gives very consistent tight loops. I think the Scandi casters will like this action.

Another option for multi piece travel switch rod would be the Guideline LXi T-Pac switch rod. It is 11'6", breaks down to 5 pieces and comes in  #6/7, #7/8, #8/9 (AFTM rating).

*Updated 11 May 2016:
I just came back from Thailand fishing trip using the Oracle EXP #7/8 rod. This rod has what it takes to handle big fish and is plenty tough too. There was an occasion when I accidentally whacked the rod tip onto a nearby tiled roof during a difficult cast and the rod survived. I was expecting the worst but the rod just went on as if nothing has happened.

Here are some pics of big fish I caught there pairing up the rod with my trusty Lamson Speedster and 400 grain SA Skagit Extreme line.

Chao Phraya Catfish
Mekong Catfish

Giant Pacu

Monday, November 30, 2015

All you want to know about RIO MOW tips

If you are still all fog up as to what is a MOW tip, George Cook gives a great concise introduction on MOW tip in this video.

Instead of the traditional sink tips, MOW tips are increasingly used as weapon of choice for the Skagit guys targeting Steelhead and Salmon. You can refer to this a great article by Asland Fly Shop on how to tactically make use of RIO MOW tips for swinging flies.

MOW tips were designed by some of the most influential pioneers in Skagit Spey, namely Mike McCune, Scott O'Donnell and Ed Ward. The MOW tip is named after the 3 of them.

MOW tips as part of the Skagit system were created for two main reason, consistency in depth control and consistency in casting control. In the past, people will just use sink tip of different length to fish different depth. For example if you are fishing a deep run, you may have been using a 10ft sink tip. When you next get into a shallow section, a 5ft sink tip may be more suitable. However, the 5ft sink tip will shorten the overall length of your Skagit set up and reduce the bite of your anchor. As a result you may find yourself ripping out your anchor more often than not unless you adjust your casting stroke to accommodate the change. With MOW tip, you will find that the overall length remains constant except for the fast sink portion. This consistency in length of the MOW tip results in  good depth control without sacrificing casting.

An article here by Gorge Fly Shop gives a good account of not only the MOW tip but also the newer RIO iMOW tips:

Please do not confuse sink rate vs grain weight of the tips. Sink rate is ips (inch per second) whereas tungsten tips are rated at T8, T11 or T14 for example. "T" stands for tungsten coated. So  a T14 means that the tungsten coated tip weighs 14 grain per foot. So if you have a 10ft T14 tip, the overall weight of the tip is 140 grain. Typical sink rate of T8 is 6-7 ips, T11 is 7-8 ips and T14 is 8-9 ips.

RO also makes tips rated in ips, for example RIO InTouch 15ft sink tips. So if you are using a 15ft sink tip rated at 3-4 ips you may be tempted to think that you are swinging your fly deeper than a person using 7ft of T14. You may be very wrong. T14 sinks at 8-9 ips so it will cut through the current much faster than a 4ips 15ft sink tip.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fixing Spey Casting Faults

Here is a good video by Jon of Ashland Fly shop showing and correcting common spey casting mistakes.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Skagit Fishing Sweden

This is a very entertaining video on Salmon fishing in Sweden using Skagit tactics. For those who love fishing on wild rivers and Skagit casting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Snap-T or C-Spey cast

Here is a good video by George Cook on the Snap-T or the C-Spey cast. Although both are essentially the same cast, there are subtle difference between the two as demonstrated by George Cook in the video above.