Monthly Archives: February 2018

A Barbless Entrepreneur

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Fish hooks have been around for a long, long time. The basic form, function and design of the fish hook was settled centuries ago. Like knives, forks and spoons, there’s not a lot of room for revolutionary change. Probably the single most notable innovation was the addition of a looped “eye” to what were then call “irons” in the mid-19th century. Today, the fish hook is a global commodity with at least a dozen major manufacturers in Asia and Europe. Many of those brands, especially in Asia don’t even compete in the U.S. market where the likes of Eagle Claw, Mustad, Tiemco, Daiichi, Gamakatsu and others hold most of the market share. One would think that an entrepreneur investing in a new business wouldn’t chose fish hooks as their first product. However, recently I had the pleasure to meet one such entrepreneur—Joe Mathis of Firehole Outdoors in Bozeman, Montana.

Though the thoughtful consideration of Kate Vick, part of the J. Stockard brain trust, I was introduced to Joe Mathis over the holidays. J. Stockard had just become a Firehole Outdoors dealer and Kate thought Joe and I might like to meet. Unbeknownst to me, Joe and his wife Deb had lived just a few miles away in Bozeman for about as long I had. Although I’d seen Joe’s product in a few fly shops, I really knew nothing about this company called Firehole Outdoors. Joe and I agreed to meet and talk about fish hooks. I’ve talked with Joe many times since, but our first meeting was a real education for me and the story of Firehole Outdoors is an interesting one. more…

Fly of the Month – The Hatchling Craw

Fly of the Month by J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Brandon Bailes, Athens, AL. Brandon’s passion is exploring and fishing small streams. Find Brandon on Instagram.

The Hatchling Craw came about as my tying has centered more and more on matching the average forage size on the streams I fish. I spend the majority of my fishing time on small warmwater bluelines and after lots of sampling I came to the conclusion that my size 2 and even size 6 craws were not the majority of the population in these waters, instead a size 10 or 12 craw was perfect and fish readily take them! I tie the Hatchling on Gamakatsu B10S hooks sz 10 and 12 but I also use either beadchain eyes or brass dumbbell eyes, depending on how I want to fish them ( under an indicator or actively retrieve/hop them back). So far I have used them successfully on panfish, bass, and tailwater trout. more…

How To Get Speyed – Part 2

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

Part 1 of this article discussed Spey casting origins, benefits of the style, a sensible approach to entry into the Spey world, and a few very basics of line elements. This segment comments on rod technologies and line setups in more detail, in particular the tangled world of “tips.” (An echoing of the erstwhile shameless prophesy: A truly unique Spey cast “how to” description is coming later in this article! Hang in there….)

Step Three: Rods

Full-sized (non-casting-competition) Spey rods are usually in about the 12.3-foot to 13.75-foot length range. “Switch” rods are shorter (around 11 to 12 feet, very roughly) because of their goals and the difficulty in attempting to single-hand a mile-long rod; only goliath-esque hands and wrists could manage single-handing a 13-footer for very long. Both Spey and Switch rods feature prominent fighting butts, which double as the grip for the off-hand in a two-hand cast. more…