Bamboo, Fiberglass, Graphite and Carbon Silica Hybrid Custom Made Fly Rods.. Handcrafted Works Of Art…

In a world of mass produced products bombarding us from every side it’s great that there are still craftsman that still hold the art of building fly rods sacred. If you have spent any time at all on this site you know that I love handcrafted gear whether it be fly rods, leaders or even clothing.. I love products that are crafted by individuals that have a passion for what they are doing and putting out.

Today we are going to look at three of these individuals and show you their work.

  • JP Ross Fly Rods
  • Graywolf Products and Services
  • Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy

First we are starting out with JP Ross of JP Ross Fly Rods and also owner of Rising Trout Outfitter Fly Shop. After spending a good amount of time on JP’s website and reading about him, his history in the business and what he does, all you can say is he is amazing. Truly amazing with what he has done by the age of 41 from opening a fly shop, starting a rod building business and also calling on his understanding of material and fly rod design to come up with his own blanks. This is a rare thing as you know.

JP specializes in Fiberglass Fly Rods and also has a line of Carbon Silica Hybrid Fly Rods which is what I want to focus on. Never heard of Carbon Silica? Well, here is what JP has on his website about what Carbon Silica is and the history of how he developed it.

Carbon Silica Hybrid – Carbon Silica technology came about because JP wanted to release something to the market that was extraordinary for the user and technology advanced.   What we have done is combined the feel of casting glass with the action and fiber of graphite.  By creating a new lamina that combines these materials, we have made a real “hybrid” fly rod.  A carbon-glass hybrid.  We also have incorporated the use of silica into our component process to increase the bond strength of our adhesion. At first we thought this would just be for small stream rods, but later found that it was extremely effective in other rod as well. We believe this is the next step towards the new standard in fly rods, and this technology is proprietary to JP Ross & Co.

With the technology and design figured out it is now time to introduce you to the rod that gets to use that technology – The Black Jack Carbon Silica Fiberglass Hybrid 8’6″ 5/6 Weight 5 Piece Custom Built Fly Rod

The Black Jack is a medium action 8’6″ 5/6 weight built with a fullwells grip, silver reel seat with Buckeye Burl wood insert and black jack fly engraving on the reel seat and on the cork.  Guides are wrapped in a translucent gunmetal gray.  All guides are single foot chrome and the strip guide is a large size 16 for shooting line with ease.  The rod comes with a rod bag and black on black case.  Custom inscription is available for free.

A custom made fly rod with cutting edge technology all for $499.00. If you look at the images above you can tell that JP puts a lot of passion into what he does and his attention to detail is truly fantastic. Very clean.

The Black Jack Carbon Silica Technology Explained – I won’t pretend to understand what JP has done but I can tell you he has done it perfectly. Below is an excerpt from his website explaining the technology behind his creation a little more.

When we designed the Black Jack Carbon Silica Hybrid fly rod, there were a few design attributes and factors we wanted to include in the design.  One in particular was the butt section diameter.  We wanted that diameter to not be too big, so that custom builders could use this blank with wood reel seats.  In conclusion of design and manufacturing the butt section diameter turned out to be  0.40inches or 10 millimeters,  a diameter very easily worked around as a builder. 

Aesthetically, we wanted the rod to be unique, not flashy, and somewhat nostalgic.  So we went with the clear matte finish and left the blank un-sanded, except for the ferrules which are sanded to insure proper fit.

The action however was something that needed technology in order to achieve what we wanted to achieve.  The rod had to be 5 pieces, very durable, not clunky, and seem effortless to cast like a high end bamboo rod might feel, but with a little more tip flex to keep the rod from the typical glass wobble that you get as the line exits the tip section. 

The reason that nice bamboo rods are fun to cast is because all you have to do is move the rod in its casting arc and the rod casts itself.  This is true because of a few physics principals. 

Momentum is actually a combination or product of mass and velocity. A fly rod that is light and thin does not have the natural momentum of a slightly heavier rod like glass or bamboo.  You have to push a stiff light rod to flex and cast because it has less mass.  We didn’t want this push or fast acceleration need.  We wanted the caster to just move their arm and have the rod cast itself, so we knew we needed a little weight in the rod like a bamboo rod, but not much. 

Inertia is the principal of an object in motion.  A larger mass in motion has more inertia than a lighter mass.  So our rod is balanced properly, and has the perfect combination of glass and carbon so that when that rod is in motion it stays in motion until you stop the tip at the end of the stroke.  Little effort is needed to cast this rod, yet the tip does not wobble.

If we made this rod completely out of graphite, the rod would have to be very thick in order to gain mass, and when you go thick in graphite, you get stiff.  We did not want stiff.  We wanted a medium to medium fast action. Medium fast with a 5 weight, and medium with a 6.

If we made the rod out of just glass, the rod would be too slow, too heavy and too big in diameter to be a 5 piece.  It also would have a terrible tip wobble.  We know this because we made prototypes of this same Black Jack in glass, and it did not work. 

So the Black Jack is a Carbon Silica Hybrid.  A mixture of glass and graphite.  2.2 ounces of it to be specific.  Just enough to give the right weight and feel so that the rod feels like it casts itself when in its zone or sweet spot.  This rod is made for floating line, weight forward, and non-weighted flies.  Dry flies, small streamers, and light nymph rigs is where this rod works best.  And when you do catch a fish on it, the feel is amazing.  Better than glass or graphite, and because the rod is a tad bit heavier than normal, more like conventional glass but a tad lighter; when a fish bends the rod and changes the balance point, the angler must counter act to fight the fish and the feel is remarkable even on small fish. 

As you can see JP is a pretty smart guy with his design and development of a truly unique fly rod material. How many people can say they have designed a fly rod material? Right.. not very many..

Check out JP Ross Fly Rods at their website of https://www.jprossflyrods.com/ or Instagram @jprossflyrods

Truly Fantastic Work!

Our next custom rods builder comes to us from Michigan – Shane Gray of Graywolf Products and Services. Shane is a full time rod builder focusing his time on truly awesome fiberglass and graphite fly rods. As I said he lives in Michigan and is obviously an avid fly fisherman focusing on Trout, Bass, Steelhead and Salmon. Shane is an incredibly personable guy and I would guarantee if you got him on the phone and asked about fly rods the guy could give you more information that you can image.

When looking over Shane’s website it doesn’t take long to see the kind of passion he has for what he does. He builds some amazing fly rods and like JP, Shane’s attention to detail is magnificent. Incredible to say the least.

Looking at the first few images above you can tell what Shane is all about. It doesn’t take much to be able to look at a picture of a Graywolf fly rod and see the amazing work Shane is putting out. They are just different and different in a good way.

Shane offers builds on multiple different fiberglass blanks. McFarland Yellow Glass, Swift Epic, Ijuin, Steffen Brothers, Kabuto, Tom Morgan and Trout Smiths. We will take a quick look at a couple of the blanks he builds on but for a full list please visit his website to see everything he can do.

McFarland Yellow Glass – These blanks are known as AMERIGLASS Classic and made in Pennsylvania of honey yellow E Glass. The tapers are smooth, deep flexing with a perfect balance of power from the tip to the butt.

  • Models Available
  • 6’8″ & 7’0″ 3wt 3 Piece
  • 7’6″, 7’9″ & 8’0″ 4wt 3 Piece
  • 8’0″ & 8’6″ 5wt 3 Piece
  • 8’0″ & 8’6″ 6wt 3 Piece
  • 8’6″ 5wt & 6wt 4 Piece
  • As you can see there are a lot of configurations so give Shane a call and he can make just about anything you want.
  • Signature Line – $625
  • Stream Line – $645
  • Perfection – $675

Ijuin Fiberglass – These blanks are soft, full flex, fun rods as Shane puts it. Tomo Ijuin’s tapers are made in Japan out of uni-directional E-Glass. The blanks are painted a wonderful bright green color with white spigot ferrules.

  • Models Available
  • 5’11” 3wt
  • 6’6″ 3wt
  • 7’0″ 3wt
  • 7’0″ 4wt
  • 7’3″ 4wt
  • 7’6″ 4wt
  • 7’11” 5wt
  • Signature Line $635
  • Stream Line $655
  • Perfection $675

As you can see that’s only a couple of the fiberglass options Shane offer so head over to his website and see the other lines of fiberglass fly rods he can build for you.

In addition Shane has a line of Fiberglass Ultra Light Spin Rods. The rod is made from a yellow E Glass and they were designed by Mike McFarland. The rod is a full flex action which makes this rod the perfect choice for your next light line, panfish or trout trip. All the hardware is hand made from nickle silver and all rods are 2 piece models.

Ultra Light Spin Rod Models

  • 5’6″ 2-6 lb
  • 5’9″ 2-6 lb
  • 6’0″ 2-6 lb
  • 6’6″ 2-6 lb
  • Stream Grade Pricing – $395 (For A Custom Spin Rod… Amazing)

And.. Shane also build custom graphite fly rods built on blanks from SAGE, Winston, Thomas and Thomas and Swift Epic. If interested in Graphite give Shane a call or drop him an email.

To wrap it up on Shane and Graywolf Fly Rods.. All you need to do is two things… (1) Pull up Shane’s website and look at the pictures.. Just pull up the pictures and really take a close look at your screen and I can guarantee you will see the incredible craftsmanship that goes into a Graywolf Fly or Spin rod. They are truly a work or art.. And (2) Call Shane.. Yep.. Just call him..

Shane and Graywolf Products and Services can be found at his website of https://www.graywolfrods.com/ or his Instagram page @graywolf_rods

And Last But Not Least!

Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy – If you have followed this page for any time at all you have seen Chris’s name come up multiple times. That’s because Chris puts out amazing work and not only fly rods but truly fantastic leather items as well. I have gone over all the cool things Chris produces so check out some of the previous posts to see what he offers or head over to his website to see the full line. Yes.. I own 3 different pieces that Chris produces.. A fly waller, leader wallet and a small pack. All incredibly built. But.. that isn’t why we are here today. Today we are talking about Chris and the custom fly rods he puts out.

Chris is a jack of all trades when it comes to fly rods with a line of Split-Bamboo Fly Rods as well as Graphite and Fiberglass Fly Rods. We will touch on his fiberglass and graphite in a few minutes but it’s Chris’s bamboo fly rods that we are here today to talk about. WOW!! Now these are works or art and the amount of time spent making a bamboo fly rod is mind numbing. It’s a totally different process and Chris has it down to an art form. Below is a quick look at what Chris lists on his page about the process of crafting a custom bamboo fly rod.

Split-Bamboo Fly Rods – I hand craft each fly rod taking the time to split & plane the bamboo by hand. Often, I gently flame treat my bamboo so that the rod will be darker than a “blond” rod, but not as dark as a brown-toned rod. Only the best components available go on these rods. Let’s work together to make your custom fly rod.

I specialize in fly rods designed for trout & bass fishing of all different rod actions. I make the bamboo blanks from start to finish, taking the time to hand split & hand plane the bamboo. My split-bamboo rods are never built from mass produced factory made blanks. As an option I can hand make all the “snake”-style line guides from stainless steel wire that is extremely light, strong, & will not corrode (see below). I use Ferrules made from Nickle-Silver by Classic Sporting Enterprises. These are the finest ferrules available. The reel seats are all made in the USA & are the best in the world for appearance & function. All rod bags are made in house & to exacting standards of quality as well. All rods are traditional, six-sided rods. For every rod you purchase I offer a five day inspection period in which you can return the rod to me for a full refund -in unused condition- if you decide the rod is not for you. Purchase a custom fly rod from me without risk or worry. 

Let’s be clear.. Like I said. I own multiple items that Chris has produced (not a bamboo fly rod—-yet).. and I can tell you that 5 day inspection period really isn’t needed. I guarantee you won’t want to return it once you get it in the mail, open it and see the type of work Chris does. If you are the person that looks at the rod and returns it.. I would say you can’t be pleased. Plain and simple.

There are three different series of bamboo that he puts out so let’s take a look at them.

Prudential Series -For those of you who want a great casting split-bamboo fly rod, but at an economical price, a Prudential rod is just the rod for you. All rods in this line are 2 piece with 1 tip (2/1). They all feature snake style line guides, chrome stripping guides, & down locking reel seats with walnut spacers with high grade aluminum hardware. You can have any color of silk thread wraps you want. The rod shafts receive several coats of a hand rubbed oil-based finish. They are marked with a personal inscription of your choosing & the maker’s (my) name, rod length, line weight, & serial number. Each rod comes in a cotton flannel rod bag & a custom duck-cloth covered pvc rod tube. These rods are the perfect introduction to the world of bamboo for those of you who have been curious but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars. I warn you though, you may never go back to synthetic rods!!!
Prudential rods are available in any 2 piece length & line weight. The most popular are:
-6′ 5wt
-7′ 4wt
-7′-6″ 5wt
Price: $600 + $25 shipping & insurance

Classical Series

-All rod blanks are made from the same culm of bamboo. The tips are mirror-matched in node placement & nodes are spaced in the “3×3” method.

-Your choice of standard silk wrap colors of red, green, brown, or orange tipped in black. Other colors available at no extra charge.

-Hard chrome snake style line guides, chrome stripping guides & plain nickel-silver winding checks. 

-Top quality cork grip hand shaped in my shop from premium cork rings. All grips are standard cigar shape.

– Nickel-Silver “Super-Z” style ferrules made by Classic Sporting Enterprises. These are, in my opinion, the best quality ferrules available. 

– All standard reel seats are down locking & available in a slide-band or screw-locking style. The standard wood spacer is walnut. The hardware is made from high grade aluminum.

– All rods come in a cotton flannel rod bag & a custom duck-cloth covered pvc rod tube. As an upgrade option,your rod can also come in a traditional aluminum tube with brass end caps for a small additional cost.

– Every rod comes with a personal inscription. Each rod will have the maker’s (my) name, line weight & rod length, & a serial number on one side of the the rod. The other side will have your name or any personal inscription you choose.
All rods 5ft to 8ft in length are available in 2/2 (2 piece/ 2 tip) configuration. Rods 8”6″ to 9′ length are available in 3/2 (3 piece/ 2 tip) configurations.

Your options for rod length & line weight are many. I make rods from one piece 4′-4″ long to 3 piece 9′ in length & everything in between including all rod actions.

Base Pricing Without Upgrades

  • All 2/2 Rods – $865
  • All 3/2 Rods – $995

Custom Series

These are truly custom rods. Here, anything goes. You & I work together to make a rod that is truly unique to you. Every aspect of the rod is exactly what you want it to be. Each rod comes standard with everything listed for the Classical Series, with the following exceptions:

-Your choice of snake style line guides of hard chrome with standard twist or special hand twisted, stainless steel in a reverse “British” twist. (see below)

-Wraps in any color of silk thread you want. 

-All reel seat hardware is made from Nickel-Silver & are the finest reel seats available. You choose from many different wood spacers & styles of reel seats.

-The winding check is made from Nickel-Silver with finely detailed knurling around the edges. 

-Agate stripping guides are standard on all Custom series rods & you can choose between many different colors of stone.

-All Custom series rods come in a traditional aluminum rod tube with brass end caps.

-You can upgrade these rods with anything you want including custom engraving on the rod metal, custom reel seats, feather inlays, silk wrap colors, etc. With these rods we are limited only by our imagination. Contact me for other options.

Base Price Without Upgrades

  • All 2/2 Rods – $1,155
  • All 3/2 Rods – $1,270

As I said earlier Chris also produces a beautiful line of graphite fly rods as well. We aren’t going to go into a lot of detail so you can look over his website but the one thing that he says on his website that I think hits the nail on the head.

What’s The Difference?

So, what’s the difference between a graphite or fiberglass fly rod I make as apposed to one you can buy from a large store or catalog? Almost everything. First & foremost, every one of my rods are made in the U.S.A. With so many tackle manufactures moving their productions around the world for cheaper labor, I make all the rods myself, by hand, & with one thing in mind: quality.

Appearance – The first difference you’ll notice between my rods & the mass – produced ones are the look of my rods. I like to mix traditional elements with modern functionality. The many small differences of my rods add up to become a fly rod unlike any other you’ll use. For instance, many mass – produced rod’s guides are wrapped with nylon thread & coated very thick with epoxy that make for large, over-sized wraps that look out of place on a delicate fly rod. My guides are wrapped with a very fine silk thread & given a low-build spar varnish finish that results in smooth, elegant looking guide wraps. Also, many large tackle makers today are choosing guide wrap colors that are the same color as the rod shaft, & with no tipping wraps. That’s fine if that’s what you like, but when you purchase a rod from me you have many different choices when it comes to wrap colors, which can give your rod a very classy look. In addition, written on the rod shaft will be whatever inscription you want.

Components – The choice of components are another big difference in my rods. Most mass – market rods today sport long, skinny cork grips. I make my standard grips in a traditional cigar shape & the proper diameter for a comfortable rod you can fish all day long. Most mass – produced rods (especially the cheaper ones) don’t put enough line guides on their rods, or they use the wrong size guides in an effort to save production costs. All my rods come with quality line guides that are sized & spaced correctly for optimum rod performance. On many of the cheaper mass – produced rods you’ll also find rubber winding checks just above the grip. Not on my rods. I use quality checks of nickle-silver. Rubber will dry & break down in time. I build my rods to last for generations.

Performance – The biggest & most important difference you’ll notice between my rods & many of the mass – produced ones is the performance of the rod. Just the feel in hand tells you it’s a quality rod. The ease of the line shooting through the guides & the comfort of using it will be luxurious. A well made custom fly rod will be so much smoother in casting line than many mass – produced rods that you’ll never fall for those slick ads in the back of magazines again! All this mixed with classic, good looks that never go out of style & at a cheaper price than some of the large tackle maker’s prices. Contact me & tell me what you want in a rod, or let me help you decide. Together we’ll make you a rod we can both be proud of.

To put it simply.. Chris Lantzy puts out some beautiful fly rods. If you are looking for a true piece of usable art give him a call and talk to him about making you a true handcrafted bamboo fly rod and I can guarantee you that when you step on the stream, creek, river, lake or wherever you are your fly rod will stand out.

Custom Fly Fishing Rods by Chris Lantzy can be found on his website of https://flyrods.weebly.com/ or his Instagram page @customflyrods

That’s was a lot of information and if you made it this far you deserve a pat on the back. Trust me when I say there is a night and day difference between a big box retailer fly rod and a custom built fly rod by one of the three individuals I just introduced you to. Check our all three websites and one of them will be able to build you exactly what you need.

JP Ross Fly Rods – https://www.jprossflyrods.com/

Graywolf Products and Services – https://www.graywolfrods.com/

Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy – https://flyrods.weebly.com/

A Day Throwing Flies On The Blue River With A Moonlit Lunar S-Glass Fly Rod…

Morning came and so did the two hour drive to get to the fishing spot for the day. Along the way my fishing partner Chris and I decided to forego the previous plan of fishing a certain section of the Blue River and opted to hike in to a more remote section of the river. As I got out of the car I had three rod tubes with me and knew I had to pick on as I didn’t want to haul multiple fly rods with me hiking in to our fishing location…. which neither of us had been.

So as I stood there I thought to myself which rods should I take since I get one shot at this. Do I take my Winston 5wt, my Blue Halo 4wt or this new rod I have.. A Moonlit Lunar S-Glass 4wt. Both the Winston and Blue Halo I have fished before so I know exactly what to expect but the Moonlit was new.. unused.. untested.. and unknown to me so a huge risk to pick one that I had zero experience with and especially on a day I couldn’t easily get back to the car and change rods. But.. my experience with the guys at Moonlit Fly Fishing and their incredibly handcrafted furled leaders told me it was a chance worth taking.

So off we went down a path toward the catch and release only section of the river which was far from the bucket brigade as a friend called it. We walked and walked for what seemed like 45 minutes until we finally saw the sign for the C&R Area. This is when we had to start the bushwacking thru all the trees, overgrown vines and thorns.. but we heard the river off to the west so we knew it was close.. Finally we broke thru the jungle and the river looked fantastic.. large pools, long short waterfalls, riffles, overhanging grass banks, rocks…. a perfect place to fish. Now it was time to fish and out came the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass Fly Rod… We will get back to the fishing part in a few minutes…

Looking at the Lunar fly rod its got a great look to it. The 4wt that I have is a bright cherry red color with a white pearlescent band with the Moonlit Fly Fishing logo. Lunar S-Glass with weight is in a white block lettering and looks sharp and clean. To the eye the rod looks great. And yes I know it’s a small thing but to have the dots to line up the sections is something I like and not all rod makers do it. Moonlit does it…..

Cast after cast the Moonlit rod did it’s job. Great presentation, finesse, was incredibly accurate, responsive and could delicately lay a fly where I wanted it on this small-ish water. And coming in at $179.99, I’m not sure there is a better deal out there. Yes there are handcrafted fiberglass rods that are close to a piece of art that demand 4-5 times what the Moonlit does and yes they are truly fantastic looking but the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass does exactly what you need it to do and for those of us that have to think about how we spend the Moonlit rods fit that mindset perfectly.

So Let’s look at Moonlit’s website and how they describe their rods.

Why Our Rods?

An Old Glass Feel with a Modern Twist
Our NEW Lunar Series of S-Glass rods have been designed to have an old glass feel but lighter weight with a bit faster action, we have been able to do this with today’s new age advanced fiberglass materials and the expertise of our rod designer.

Fast Recovering Tip
One thing we don’t like in many glass rods is an overly soft tip that robs your casting energy, and give you arm fatigue. We designed the Lunar rods to have a fast recovering tip that eliminates over oscillation so the rod’s casting energy goes straight into your line without the wobble.

Progressive Taper with Reserved Power
The progressive action allows you to make smooth accurate short to medium casts but it also has a lot of reserved power to bomb the line out there when needed.

Excellent Roll Casts
The Lunar rods with their deep rod flex are also excellent at performing accurate roll casts.

Great Hook Sets
The Lunar S-Glass rods are also stiff enough to give you a great hook set and has enough backbone to fight fish effectively but elastic enough to bend all the way into the handle if needed.

Compact 4 Piece Rods
All the Lunar rods are a 4 piece which compacts down great for traveling and backpacking.

Several Sizes to Choose From
The Lunar rods will come in sizes 2wt, 3wt, 4wt, 5wt, 6wt, 7wt, and 8wt giving you many options to fit your wants and needs. Each size will be a different color:

  • 8wt – 8ft 6in light blue
  • 7wt – 8ft 6in maroon
  • 6wt- 8ft 2in orange
  • 5wt – 8ft blue
  • 4wt – 7ft 6in red
  • 3wt – 6ft 8in light brown
  • 2wt – 6ft 6in green

Bold But Classy
These rods are bold colors like the glass rods people have loved with a nicely done white accent near the handle. The finish and classy wraps are about as good as it gets from a factory produced rod, we paid attention to the details. This is not just a rod that will love to use but a rod that well stand out visually.

Lifetime Warranty
One thing we do differently in the glass world is offer an easy lifetime warranty. Instead of making you ship your rod into us for repairs, for a $45 warranty fee we send the replacement parts right to you, so you are back to fishing faster.

Back to the fishing part..

Like I said the Moonlit Lunar did a fantastic job of placing flies in the exact spot I wanted them despite the howling wind we were fighting. Cast after cast the rod did it’s job and did it well. Fish after fish I was more impressed with the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass Fly Rod and you will be as well.

And lastly.. It’s late in the day. My fishing partner Chris has been standing near a small waterfall and in a pool below there is a nice rainbow.. thick and ready to be caught. He has thrown flies to it for almost 20 minutes to only have her snub him and put her nose up at his offerings. Chris called me over and told me to give her a try. At the time I had a mop fly on.. Yes a mop fly.. Not what I typically fish but they were working that day so I did it.. But this time the mop did’t work and neither did the next nine flies.. After ten flies I decide I am done after the next fly… So I go totally against everything that has worked the past two days and changed my set-up. I pulled off my mono leader and tied on a Moonlit Furled Leader – theDRIFTER Floating Dry Fly Furled Leader a piece of Moonlit 5x Fluorocarbon Tippet and an Elk Hair Caddis fly.. In the entire two days of fishing on the Blue River not a single person had told me they were using anything resembling a dry fly. It was all streamers, wooly boogers, mop flies, etc. Cast number 1 and she came up and totally missed the fly. Cast 2 she nailed it and the fight was on. Fast forward she was netted and released to fight another fisherman.

So when I tied on the new furled leader, tippet and caddis it was different. It’s hard to explain but throwing that set up was a feeling that was so different from the hundreds and hundreds of cast over the past two days. It was smooth and effortless. A thing of beauty. If you haven’t used a Moonlit furled leader you owe it to your self to give them a call or pick one up online. Let’s just say I’m not too far from totally moving away from Mono or Fluoro leaders and using Moonlit furled leaders 100% of the time. They are just that good.

As the sun starting going down the wind picked up and a little light rain started so we decided the fishing was done for the day. All in all it was a great day and I was happy with my decision to stray from what I knew and give the Moonlit rod the chance it deserved. No chance this rod ever leaves my collection…. It’s Just That Good….

You can check out the rods, furled leaders and everything else Moonlit Fly Fishing offers on their website of – https://moonlitflyfishing.com/ or their Instagram page @moonlitflyfishing. You won’t be disappointed.

The Lightest Reel In It’s Class Without A Huge Price Tag – The Redington Zero Fly Reel

The Redington Zero line of reels have been around since 2015 so you have probably seen them in your local fly shop or while shopping online. If you haven’t you may need to get out more. In all seriousness these reels are sticking around for a few reasons… They are just good little reels that do exactly what you need them to do, weigh a crazy light 3 oz. and will set you back right at $100…. actually $99.99! And.. they come in multiple colors – Black, Sand, Teal, Dreamcicle and Avocado… I have two – a Black 2/3 and a 4/5 in that funky Dreamcicle color!

Let’s jump back to that weight topic.. The Zero weighs in at only 3 oz. and in all my research of lightweight reels I can only find one that “claims” to be lighter and that’s the Ross Colorado LT. There are multiple websites that say the Colorado weighs 2.9 oz. So for all intents and purposes they weigh the same thing. One of the main differences in these two reels is that the Zero has an Un-machinable, unique die-cast construction (from the Redington site) and the Colorado is a fully machined reel. The other main difference is the price with the Zero coming in at $99.99 and the Colorado at $295.00. Two different reels at two different price points. It’s really hard to compare the two of them except that they both get the job done for the most part the same way.

Being that the Zero has a click-pawl drag you know that it will have that ever popular clicking when line is being stripped out as well as when you are reeling it in. So for all you Fly Fisher Folk (FFF) that love the clicking sound you are in luck! Although this reel has one of the loudest clicking sounds I have heard it really doesn’t detract from the reel and I actually like it. The drag does exactly what it’s supposed to do which is give a little bit of tension and you do the rest yourself.

The Zero comes in a 2/3 or a 4/5 and in my opinion that makes them a great choice for your small stream fishing. So what are you really looking for when fishing a small stream for smallish fish? A kick butt sealed drag system that gives you a 10 pound drag pressure? Heck no you don’t need that. Can you buy it and be the king of the stream with your $600 reel, sure you can but is it needed… Once again no.. Speaking for myself what I need for small stream fishing is basic, dependable and a reel that holds line for me. And the Redington Zero fits that description perfectly. Pair the Zero with a great rod in the 2wt – 4wt range and you are in for a great time.

  • 2/3 Reel & 4/5 Reel
  • Colors – Black, Sand, Teal, Avocado and Dreamcicle
  • Reel Diameter – 3 inches on the 2/3 and 3.3 inches on the 4/5
  • Backing – 20 pound at 100 yards – Small stream fishing says you will hardly ever get to the backing….
  • Drag – Click/Pawl – Yes the beautiful sound of a click/pawl reel!
  • Construction – Un-machinable Unique Die-Cast Construction
  • Weight – 3 oz. – Super-Lightweight – Lightest Reel In It’s Class
  • Large Arbor Design helps reduce line memory
  • Converts from right hand retrieve to left hand easily.
  • Nylon Reel Case
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • $99.99 Reel
  • $49.99 Additional Spool

So to wrap it up.. If you fish small streams and absolutely love the sound of a reel clicking as line is going out, the Redington Zero might be the reel for you. Actually I would say the Redington Zero IS for you! And.. at $99.99 how can you go wrong giving one a try. I tried one out and bought a second one… I now need a third in that cool Avocado color….

Check out the Redington Zero at your local fly shop, just about anywhere online or Redington’s website – https://www.redington.com/fly-fishing-reels/zero

Custom Rod Builders – Bamboo / Graphite / Fiberglass – Sneak Peek – Coming Soon….

New post coming soon so check back.. We will be doing a spotlight on three custom rod builders with a focus on handcrafted rods that show the level of passion put into each rod by their maker. I am currently working to secure the third and final rod builder but right now we have the following: Bamboo – Custom Fly Fishing Rods by Chris Lantzy, Fiberglass – Graywolf Rods by Shane Gray and Graphite – I am working on identifying a graphite rod builder that would fall into the handcrafted area like the two others listed above but nothing set in stone yet. Check back. Below are a few images from the builders we are going to spotlight along with their website so you can browse how they build their rods.

Bamboo – Custom Fly Fishing Rods by Chris Lantzy – https://flyrods.weebly.com/

Fiberglass – Graywolf Rods by Shane Gray – https://www.graywolfrods.com/

Graphite – We Will See… ? ?

Device Charging With Wind Or Water – No Sun Needed – The WaterLily Turbine

Gone are the days of just heading out into the backcountry to backpack, hike, camp or fly fish with basic gear. Now everywhere you look people are attached to some type of electronic device with just about everyone needing a phone attached to them at all times. Now I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have a cell phone with you at all times because they really can help with navigation, connecting with family, checking social media.. oh wait.. That’s not important…

As we all know phone batteries just don’t last long so what is the answer for power when you are hiking out on the trail or fly fishing next to a river or stream? External batteries… Portable Solar Panels and Chargers.. Yes there are options to keep you connected at all times but let’s look at those options.

  1. External batteries – these are fabulous and work great to keep all your electronics charged. But what happens once you deplete all the power from your external battery..
  2. Portable solar panels – just like external batteries these are great for charging all your devices. They are usually light, can be attached to your backpack, lay on a rock or ground or on the hood of your car. And yes they work great and charge everything you have with the power of the sun. Oh.. except when it’s cloudy, night, raining.. you get the picture. Yep they work great in ideal conditions but how often does that happen?

Just about everything you can find online is solar or battery related when it comes to charging your devices when you are away from an outlet. Until now..

The WaterLily Turbine is a solution to the backcountry charging issues you are having. The WaterLily Turbine works in three different ways. Water Power, Wind Power or Your Power. Let’s look at what this cool little device offers and how you can add it to your gear bag and have unlimited power.

Let’s look at the three ways you can get power using the WaterLily Turbine.

  1. Water Power – WaterLily is a portable charger that gets its power from rivers, streams, creeks, brooks or any type of moving water. If you have water that is moving and can drop this little turbine in it will give you power. Oh.. and it works when it’s cloudy, at night, 24 HOURS A DAY!! It’s truly an amazing little device. If the blades inside the turbine have water going thru them and they are spinning you will have power.
  2. Wind Power – set it up so that the wind is blowing on it and once again if the blades are moving you are getting power. It’s not a complicated concept. If it’s moving it’s working.
  3. The Power Of You – If for some reason you aren’t around running water or there is absolutely no wind there is a small attachment that allows you to hand crank which gives you power on demand. This is a great option for emergency situations.

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to fully charged devices after a night of this little turbine spinning in the river? Right.. Everyone wants that.

And.. The WaterLily Turbine can generate 360 watts of power in a day compared to a 14 watt solar panel pushing out 42 watts of power and if you jump up to a 100 watt solar panel it will produce 300 watts of power.. Yep.. once again on a sunny ideal day these are the best case scenario numbers you are going to get. Did I mention the turbine works when it’s cloudy or at night? Just a reminder…

Now we are going to dig into the features and 100% I heisted this off the WaterLily website. What’s the saying? Don’t ask for permission ask for forgiveness!! I have a feeling WaterLily won’t care that I am using their information and data. So here we go..

  1. Class Leading Blade Design – Blade design has been perfected from nearly 10 years of research and development.
  2. Frictionless Drive – Charge in water flows less than 1mph, or from strong gusts on windy days.
  3. 10 Foot Charge Cable (Not drawn to scale) – Keep your devices safe while charging with our abrasion resistant cable.
  4. 20% More Power – Upgraded circuitry and electrics means WaterLily pushes out 20% more power than the original turbine.
  5. Durable, Drop-Proof Housing – Throw it in! Built to keep the power going through the bumps and bruises of outdoor adventures.
  6. Removable Stainless Steel Lanyards – Set up and mounting options are limitless thanks to 4 flexible removable lanyards.
  7. Sealed Female USB Connector – Up to 15W when you need it, waterproof flaps to keep the USB port clean and dry when you don’t. (USB Output Option)
  8. Chainable SAE Connector – 14.6V of power through a versatile SAE connector. Daisy chain multiple turbines for more power. (12V Output Option)

There are two different options you can choose from when purchasing one of these turbines.

USB Output – WaterLily USA allows you to get unlimited power for your USB devices. You can charge your cell phones, USB batter packs, lights, speaker, camera and any other USB device you may have.

12V Output – WaterLily 12V can power lead acid batteries and portable power stations which is perfect for off the grid situations or you can use it as an emergency power supply.

Technical Information

USB Output – 5V regulated USB output, up tp 3A. Maximum Power 15W, USB 2.0 connector, 10 foot cord.

12V Output – 14.6V DC, up to 2A, Maximum power 15W adn you can connect multiple turbines for more power, 2-pin SAE connector, 10 foot cord.

  • 2.85 lb (1.3 kg)
  • 7″ diameter × 3″ thick (180mm × 76mm)

Water Flow Speed

  • Minimum flow required: 0.7 mph (1 km/h, 0.5 kt)
  • Flow for peak power output (15 W): 7.2 mph (11.5 km/h, 6 kt)
  • Maximum water speed: 9 mph (15 km/h, 8 kt)

Charge Times

In an average river, WaterLily can charge most small electronics at the same rate as a wall-charger. The faster the water flow, the more power WaterLily can generate, up to 15 watts.

If your WaterLily has a 12V output, you can chain multiple turbines together to double, triple or further multiply your power output.

And lastly.. let’s quickly talk about accessories.

Hand Crank – Generate power when water and wind are not available. 10 minutes gets you 6 minutes of talk time. Great in emergency situations.  $24.99

Charging Bag – Keep your electronics dry and safe from splashes while charging. Perfect for charging on shore and in any weather. $34.99

Float – Use the WaterLily float to keep your WaterLily Turbine in the fastest flows! Great for low speed flows, Use for towing with a canoe, kayak or even a low drag sailboat. $19.99

And now to the last part.. How much do these things cost?

The WaterLily Turbine – USB Connector model is $159.99 and the 12V Connector model is $189.99.

So.. if you are backpacking across the Sahara Desert and have unlimited sun pick up a solar panel charger but if not take a look at the WaterLily Turbine chargers. In my opinion this is a really good option and at 2.85 lbs it’s really not bad for a solution to charge all of your devices so you can stay connected.

You can check out the WaterLily website at https://www.waterlilyturbine.com/

Big Y Fly Company – More Than A Massive Fly Offering

I’m sure if you are reading this and enjoy slinging a fly out onto the water you have heard of The Big Y Fly Company. Their fly offering is probably one of the largest I have ever seen. Everything from the Armored Car Beadhead to a Christmas Island Special.. they have it all. If you have ever been on their site you have probably clicked on Flies and you can easily bounce from fly to fly looking at the thousands of options. I’ve done this on countless occasions and it’s fun.. Just looking at flies.. BUT.. right below Flies on their website there is a section for GEAR.. and they have a fantastic offering of gear from Rods and reels to sunglasses and boats. It’s worth taking a look. And.. they have a large line of their own fly fishing gear and at prices that won’t break the bank like a lot of gear that’s out there right now.

Fly Rods – Big Y has four fly rod options

  1. The Big Y Nano Big Game Rod – A 9′ / 7wt / 4 piece IM 12 high modulus nano fly rod. Per their website – the filica nano material impregnated into the carbon fiber makes the rod both stronger and lighter. They have perfect balance, lightweight and have the cleanest and crispest actions. Snake guides, transparent blue finish and comes with a tube and sock. All for $199.95.
  2. Big Y Nano Fly Rod – Comes in 3wt/4wt/5wt and 6wt options. All rods are 4 piece and 9′ except for the 3wt which is an 8’4″. Same high modulus nano material like the Big Game Rod. Also at the same price point – $199.95.
  3. Big Y Nano Nymph Fly Rod – This is a 10′ / 3wt / 4 piece rod made from the same material as the previous two rods. This is a fast action rod. They made this rod a little stiffer than most nymph rods on the market to help get your flies out a little further.
  4. Big Y The Boss Fly Rod – This rod comes in 4wt/5wt and 6wt and all are 9′ 4 piece rods. Price on these is a little more than the other rods offered – $299.95. This rod is all Pacific Northwest made. The blanks are rolled, built and finished in Woodland, WA. Yep.. A local rod 100%. That’s a hard thing to come by anymore. This rod features Pac-Bay striping guides and hard chrome snake guides, rosewood reel seat with matte silver locking components, AAA reverse half wells cork and comes with a cordura rod tube and rod sock.
  5. ALL rods carry a lifetime warranty. What does that mean since everyone is using that term these days – It means call and let them know your rod is coming their way.. include a check for $50 and they will replace your broken rod with a rod of equal or greater value. Not bad if you ask me…..

The two Reel options from Big Y

  1. Big Y General Fly Reel – 5/6wt, 7/8wt and 9/10wt options available. Great reel for both the trout fisherman as well as being able to fish the salt water flats. This reel has a sealed drag system using a carbon disc. It’s machine but out of cold forged 6061-T6 Aluminum, oversized handles and drag knob, caged frame and includes a mesh reel pouch. I have this reel and it is 100% a workhorse. The drag could possibly stop a small steam locomotive. It’s impressive. The 5/6wt and 7/8wt are priced at $129.99 and the 9/10wt is $139.99. You can also pick up a spare spool for a fantastic price of $65.00. You honestly can’t go wrong. I love mine.
  2. Big Y Standard Fly Reel – Four options available on this reel. 3/4wt, 5/6wt, 7/8wt and 9/10wt. This reel is cut from 6061 aluminum and include precision needle bearings on a chrome alloy spindle which makes this thing smooth and handles great. Carbon disc drag and it comes with a neoprene pouch. And as their website states it is backed with their lifetime warranty, as long s you don’t intentionally break it they will take care of you. Can’t ask for more than that….

Moving on.. Next up is the huge Vests and Packs line-up from Big Y.. At eight different packs it far too extensive to write about each of them so here’s a quick peek into what they offer.

Big Y Day Sling – Priced at $44.95. Perfect size for a day on the water.

Big Y Minimalist Lumbar Pack – $29.95 – Designed to be worn as a chest or lumbar pack. It comes with neck and waist straps but the cool feature is it has wading belt loops on the back so you can wear directly on your wading belt.

Big Y Minimalist Pack – $19.95. Small check pack that gives you the ability to carry just the essentials that you will need for a day on the water. This pack will carry at least one fly box.. maybe a couple.

Big Y Minimalist Sling – $29.95. This is the smallest sling they offer but it has enough space to carry everything you would need including a fly box and a convenient place to carry a water bottle.

Big Y Sling – $54.95. Considerably higher priced sling compared to those listed so far but this is their lightest sling pack and has pockets and attachments to carry everything you need.. And the bonus.. this sling is made with waterproof fabric. Bonus !! So light and waterproof and still priced far below other sling and pack manufacturers.

Now we move out of the “sling and pack” types of bags to the larger vest style.

Big Y Solo Pack – $69.95. This thing has it all including a heavier nylon to make it more durable. The Solo Pack is a vest and backpack combo and you can see from the pictures below that it should be able to hold everything you would possibly need plus far more. This thing is cool and I might need to pick one up very soon.

Now a full blown traditional verst – The Big Y Venture Vest – $59.95. This is for those that fly fish and like the traditional look and feel of a vest. As like all their other packs this vest will hold whatever you need for a day on the stream or river. Numerous pockets and a mesh back help to keep you cool on hot days as well as a nice feature of hand warmer pockets to help out when you are standing in a freezing cold stream and your hands need a break. So this thing is great in any temperature.

And lastly.. The Deluxe Fishing Pack – $84.95. Features include – two main pockets on each side (one contains a removable fly patch), one chest pocket on each side, a back pack section and a hydro slot in the back pack, two coil zings, larger pockets, one additional zipper pocket on each side, multiple mesh pockets inside and out, and enough rings to attach every tool/accessory imaginable. Now that’s a great vest…

The last thing I want to go over is the Kabillion fly boxes Big Fly offers. No I am not going to list all of them but here are a few images and you get to visit their website (listed below) to see everything they offer. From the images below I think you can tell they carry of huge number of fly boxes… Whatever you want they probably have. Check them out!!

So that wraps up a quick overview of a few of the Big Y fly fishing items offered. I can tell you that I have been dealing with Amy at Big Y and she is truly one of the most responsive people I have worked with and full of useful information. If you haven’t checked out their website head over today and see what they are doing. BUT.. make sure to check out the gear before heading down the long and interesting path of the flies they offer.

As I typed that last paragraph I went to the Big Y Fly Company website and found something really cool.. HATCH CHARTS!! Tons of hatch charts for a lot of rivers and streams as well as lakes. A Match The Hatch chart and a Saltwater Fly Chart.. And lastly – links to commonly used flies in a number of states. Now that is a really cool page you need to visit. https://www.bigyflyco.com/HatchCharts.asp

Big Y Fly Company’s website is https://www.bigyflyco.com/

Check them out today. The amount of flies, gear and useful information is overwhelming.. It’s a great resource.