View Full Version : Rambling anglers
03-26-2007, 05:37 AM
I was reading the firearms thread -- "Availability of Kifaru Rambling Rifles," by Primalhunter and got to thinking what a Rambling Angler needs. My fishing buds from Michigan used to tie their own flies right at the stream, depending upon what bugs were "happening" there. They had small portable vises and a lightweight kit of materials and could do quite a bit. How many times have you been fishing and said "I should have tied more of this pattern," as the last fly that the fish were hitting on gets ripped of the tippet?
I'm sure several companies offer portable vices, but I'm talking about backpacking, ounce-saving stuff. And we might as well make a whole kit out of it. Call it the Kifaru Rambling Angler's Kit for the Reel World; a lightweight vice and case for materials, the perfectly balanced rod and reel combination, and we have to come up with super-lightweight waders that take up hardly any space.
Anybody have any ideas?
03-26-2007, 07:40 AM
William, I saw a vise the other day that would meet your criteria for being super light weight and very small. Unfortunately it had a clamp style base and would be best suited for small hooks. Their was a small light vise made that had wood screw type threads cut into the upright support post so it could be screwed into a log or tree limb for a steady mount almost anywhere there is timber.
I believe Patrick has said he is thinking of making some super light weight stocking foot hip waders out of his Para-Tipi cloth for stream crossings, at least for his own use. Perhaps he could be persuaded into making some for other Kifaruites out there who would also like and use the same if he would be so kind as to make them for us.
William, you know best what the conditions are like where you fish. The back country waters I fish are pretty forgiving with regard to pattern choices. General impressionistic patterns work well in waters that are lacking in a lot of biomass. Free stone streams and acidic high mountain lakes do not provide a lot of selective feeding opportunities their fish because there is not that much up there for the fish to be selective about. Most fish in such waters feed opportunistically out of necessity, often on terrestrial insects coming from several thousand feet lower in elevation, brought to them by up-slope-blow-in afternoon winds. Terrestrial insects also make up 50 percent or more of the diet of small stream fish, and 70 to 80 or more percent of the food taken at the surface for fish living in high mountain lakes in the summers.
Midge pupa are the main meat and potatoes diet for trout in high lakes on a year around basis, so a few midge pupa patterns in light and dark shades should cover that situation. If you do not want to cut the wings, hackle and tails of of your ribbed dry flies to make midge pupa patterns out of them, there are plenty of ready-made midge patterns out there for sale or you can tie your own. When the fish are hitting knots on your leader and it looks like a light rain is falling on the water, the fish are taking midge pupa from under the water.
Generic nymph patterns like the Hare's Ear, Prince, Pheasant Tail and the Bird's Nest, some Soft Hackles in yellow, orange and green, and of course Woolly Buggers in light, medium and dark tones as well will usually catch fish if the Foam Ant and Foam Beetle patterns are not working for you. A few scud patterns would also be useful but a Woolly Worm can be trimmed down to make a good scud imitation by cutting the hackle down to the body material on the top and sides of the fly, and then from the point of the hook to the eye on the bottom of the fly. A WB would also be used for this but it would need to have its tail pinched off to give it the scud treatment in addition to the trimming.
Additional dry flies to the terrestrials should include some down wing patterns like the Elk hair and any of the Trudes for Caddis, Stonefly and hopper imitations. The Adams and Light Cahill or Pale Morning and Evening Dun up-wings will cover mayflies in the light and medium tones, in a range of sizes needed for the insects you see in your area. So the total number of different fly patterns needed isn't all that many, and the different sizes needed don't increase the total number by all that much either.
The Woolly Buggers can go as big as 6s or 8s, and some smaller ones to fish for damselfly nymphs would also be useful. Drys in 12s,14s,16s are the most useful for the most part, with nymphs in those same sizes and possibly going down to as small as 18s and 20s. The dry flies can also be trimmed to make spinner imitations and emergers, and unweighted nymphs can be greased with floatant to fish them for emergers in the surface film also. A couple of weighted nymph patterns or bead head type patterns also wouldn't hurt. And a bushy dry fly can be used as a strike indicator above a nymph, and it will also hook fish on its own from time to time when being used as an indicator, which puts it way ahead of any strike indicator I know of.
Tying flies on sight always sounds attractive and is useful on fertile waters but is seldom needed on less fertile ones. It is better to buy or tie general impressionistic nonspecific patterns to use in the back country than it is to carry all the supplies and tools you need to tie specific flies right on the spot. How would you know what materials you will need to take if you do not know what you will be tying in advance? The general impressionistic patterns solve that and a lot more problems for a back country angler in my view most of the time, but I also realize that your's and other's angling conditions can and are very different from our conditions here, so your proposed idea merits consideration and exploration for where it applies...Rusty.
03-26-2007, 08:20 AM
You are so right about the smaller ponds and brooks in the mountains around here and elsewhere.
This system would work though, I believe, for water big enough for an increased aquatic diversity. Maybe some of the big Alaskan rivers, or the Allagash here in Maine to name a few. Some of the big rivers in Michigan would fall into that category too.
There was a product on the market a while back called "Elimitracks." Kind of like a thigh-high wader used for scent control. Maybe Kifaru is working on this type of wader, only super lightweight and tough enough to wear right over a hunting/hiking boot? (I hope they make them at least waist high) PERFECT for packing in!
Thanks Rusty, (and don't try and kid me, I know your hooks are sharp) /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
I'd be interested in a super light wader that one could combine w/ a croc or other wet shoe...
03-26-2007, 08:49 AM
Do a search on wiggys waders never tried them myself. 8.9 ounces rubberized sole lightweight nylon.
...got a pair...looking for lighter smaller yet...sounds a little rediculous, but if Patrick made a set, they would be tiny.
03-26-2007, 12:04 PM
William, I will have to check back by that shop this week as as I have some things on order with them. I will see if I can't get some additional information on that vise I was telling you and all about.
On the waders thing, I completely agree with you, chest high would be the way to go and they could double as rain gear too, cutting the weight down considerably for a backpacking angler. I fear material that light in weight would not stand up to stream crossing or wade fishing with boots worn inside of them. Traction would also be a problem with material as slick as the Silnylon material is. That's why I thought the stocking foot waders would be the way to go. I sure hope Patrick looks in on your suggestions, there is more room for new Kifaru products here...Rusty.
03-26-2007, 06:10 PM
Fire away with some suggestions if you have them -- Patrick's always tuned in.
If you happen to find the weight of any of the portable vises you mentioned, that would help for comparison.
I think the Silnylon with a built-in,lightweight and tough boot shell would work?
03-26-2007, 08:20 PM
How about a hybrid...neoprene stocking foot with a silnylon top, chest wader? As a "rambling angler" I too am seriously looking at getting something more lightweight than my neoprene chest waders. I just finished walking several miles yesterday and at least 3.5 miles backpacking with a full load today in my neoprenes. My legs and feet can take it, but I consumed 2.5 liters of water this afternoon because I was losing so much fluid from sweat on my lower body.
The silnylon legs and chest of the waders would also take up MUCH less room in the pack, not to mention a HUGE weight savings.
Ken, I like your idea about using Crocs for a wet shoe, and I've worn mine in the summer for wading, with no waders. Just me and a smile. But you certainly couldn't do any hiking/fishing with the Crocs on. That's when a lightweight wading boot is better. Just MO.
03-27-2007, 04:34 AM
I've seen homemade silnylon waders on the web but would certainly spring for a pair of Kifaru waders, if only for dicey stream crossings.
03-27-2007, 06:10 AM
My lightweight stream crossing waders are less hi-tech. Heavy duty garbage bags with a pair of Chaco river sandals over the top for traction. The same thing out of Silnylon would be great and a bit tougher for repeated use.
03-28-2007, 06:10 AM
MtGoat, that's a great suggestion that any body can try to test the concept, and the price of admission is sure reasonable enough. One question though: How do you hold the bags up? Thanks, Rusty.
03-28-2007, 07:12 AM
I use heavy duty contractors bags (Husky brand I believe) and tuck them inside my belt (with a wrap so it stays). They are actually fairly tough. The concept goes down hill when I use it for rain gear though as I cut arm holes and a hole for my head /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
I typically carry a couple of these bags as they are hip boots/tarps/wind breaker/rain gear/sleeping bag/sleeping pad/trash bag plus???
03-28-2007, 08:10 AM
My wife made me a pair of sock foot like chip boots to wear to cross streams etc. The feet didn't last too long worn over hiking boots but one good thing was they did great for temp. waders (with just socks inside) when I didn't want to get wet. She used coated nylon and except for the wear factor in the foot over boots they held up well. Just tied them to my belt. Maybe something like that with Crocs would work. Not to heavy and packed small. Would be for shallower water than chest waders.
03-28-2007, 04:54 PM
MtGoat, thanks for the explanation that clears up all my questions.
Well the vise is a Spirit River product. Costs 9.95 and is made in China or Pakistan. The shop person I spoke to didn't remember which but he says he sells a ton of them, mostly to bass fishermen who tie jigs on them. Spirit River didn't even have a picture of the vise on the net. It is supposed to have two groves in the jaws, one for smaller hooks and one that goes up as big as size 6/0 hooks, so it ought to handle anything a backpacking angler would need. For sure it was smaller and lighter than any of the other vises they had in the shop and appeared to be fairly well made. It was really a simple and straight forward design. It looked like it might be possible to clamp the C-clamp base to a pack frame to make a fly tying work area on your lap for field use pretty easily. The C-clamp doesn't open very far. It's a cute little vise that's calling my name even though I don't know exactly what I would do with it...Rusty.
Seems to me a pair of wool socks over the syl-waders would cut down on the wear and tear from the grit, while the crocks would stop most of the punctures/cuts.
I'd be interested...
03-30-2007, 07:05 AM
I'm certainly no expert on fly tying (I could only wish), but I found this vise, and I thought about this thread.
Tool Steel Jaws
Rotational Drag Adjustment
Forcing Cone Adjusts Tension
The Barracuda Jr. TREKKER Vise is now offered as a lighter weight vise to accomodate the angling trekker. Lt. wt. in your travel bag as well as your pocket book. Vise less the base weighs less than 1/2 lb. , with ball bearings in the housing for smooth rotation, adjustable drag, easy adjustments for a wide hook range 22 to 8/O, and includes a lt.wt. bobbin hanger and your choice of base (pedestal or clamp).
Looks like to me you could take a velcro strap and secure this thing to logs, large tree limbs, etc., using the pedestal base. It's also offered with a clamp base. Looke pretty compact and light weight to me. Interesting.
List Price: $229.00
03-30-2007, 07:28 AM
OK, I'm still thinking about this thread! I've never categorized myself, but if I did I guess I'd fit into the "rambling angler" group. Just curious on how you fellows are doing things? Especially when it comes to waders/wading boots. Smokepole and I recently went on a short angling ramble (flies only). We backpacked several miles up into a little semi-desert canyon with a really nice creek. In 4 miles we had probably 6 or 7 crossings...wet ones. These crossings require either taking off your boots and socks and donning a pair of sandals or Crocs, wading with your boots on, or taking the time to put on waders/wading boots. We chose to wade with our hiking boots on because of the extreme cold of the creek this time of year, and the frequency of the crossings. Here's Smoke pouring the water out of his boots... /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
To make a long story short (or is it the other way around?), on our trek back out, we also wanted to fish along the way. So we donned our waders and boots, and backpacked out while wearing them. Although my legs were a little tired from the weight of my neoprene waders, and I sweated quite a bit, I found my wading boots fairly comfortable. Granted, the hike out wasn't over extremely rough terrain. Are any of you doing this (backpacking while wearing waders/boots)??? Is it working well?
03-30-2007, 09:10 AM
A vise is not required to tie flies in the field.
Bob Jacklin demonstrated Lee Wulff's method for doing so during a flytying demonstration here in Cody last evening.
03-30-2007, 10:24 AM
Looks like you ended up picking up some DryLite (or Cabelas same-thing) if I'm not mistaken.
I picked up a pair of Wiggy's waders for the express purpose you mentioned - occasional creek/river crossing. They work quite well for their intended purpose. To me, their additional weight more than makes up for the time savings, and increased measure of comfort and safety when having to cross knee-deep cold water multiple times.
If you want to go lighter, why not sew up and seam seal your own out of uberlightweigt silnylon with a footbed reinforced with cordura or some such. Even if you sprung a small leak, the amount of water intrusion (hopefully) would not be so much as compared to the outright submersion of your boots, socks, et al. - a small leak for the duration of time that it takes to walk across a creek/river probably wouldn't even get your boot laces wet.
In high alpine lakes the fish are generally voracious enough to go after any buggy looking thing given the right presentation and location. Lower down where you may encounter some finicky fish, your likely to be reasonably close to a road anyway. Why haul around a big bag full of fly-tying gadgetry and material?
As far as tying flies in the field, I'd just as soon get back to the rig and whip some (of what I've made myself believe I'm missing but probably could do without /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif ) up on the tailgate. I've got an Abel vise and pedestal and my entire fly-tying setup stows in a medium sized Plano Guide Series tackle box ready for vehicular ramblage. Works great!
03-30-2007, 12:52 PM
Those pics are Smokepole. He's wearing a Cabela's Space Rain pullover.
I had my Marmot PreCip clothing.
I agree with you and others regarding the need (or lack of) for fly tying in the field. You can sure bring a lot of flies for the same weight of the tying supplies. I don't even want to haul around that many flies! I have about 10 patterns that work on all the water I fish, give or take a few. I don't tie my own, but I can see that it probably wouldn't be something I would need to do in the field, if I did. However, I found the vise shown above to be pretty interesting.
03-31-2007, 05:08 AM
Sawtooth, where's that photo of the 20-incher I caught?
Anthracitic, what's the Wulff method?
03-31-2007, 05:38 AM
The season here opens later than how early Saw and Smokepole went fishing. I have taken to wearing wading boots designed to be hiked in, with the 5-10 Stealth Rubber soles - of which there are several now out there to choose from - made by LL Bean and Simms, and supplex nylon clothing and wet wading instead of using waders or carrying extra foot wear and changing foot wear all the time. Some dry socks are nice for the hike out but I don't even bother with that most of the time because I am too impatient to take the time to make the change.
I have done this with a fair amount of snow on the ground and ice still on lakes I have waded in to fish, and I have had to hike back out over snowfields, some times having my pant legs freeze solid in the wind. Getting in the water and staying for as long as you can stand and then getting out for a little break helps. Eventually, if you keep at it, the cold won't bother you any longer. You become numb and can fish on with no impedance. This may not be for everyone but is doable and saves on weight and bulk in your pack. It just takes a different mind set. I always have fishnet long johns with me if I am carrying a pack, and they really help with the frozen clothes and keeping you warm and comfortable on the hike out and warming up in your bag if you are staying overnight.
The Spirit River vise was just a basic vise. There was no pedestal base, which has to weigh a fair amount to work well, or any rotary capability like the vise Sawtooth showed us. Most of us carry hemostats to remove hooks from fish with anyway, and hemostats can be put to use as a kind of fly tying vise. You just need a weathered log or stump around with a narrow crack in it to push the eye handles into it to support your vise. I agree with the others who feel that you can usually carry enough flies for the space and weight the materials needed to tie flies with would take up to get through a week or two of fishing in the back country...Rusty.
03-31-2007, 07:10 AM
Smokey, Lee would hold the eye of the hook under his thumbnail to get started and then hold the fly as needed depending on what was being tied in next. Lee tied working flies and being a bit rough didn't bother him nor the fly's ability to attract trout.
I saw Lee demonstrate it at an FFF conclave in West Yellowstone in the '70's but didn't remember exactly how he'd done it until Bob went over the method of doing so the other night. I worked for Mr. Jacklin went he left Bud Lilly and started his own outfitting business.
04-03-2007, 06:01 AM
As I recall, Lee also didn't use a thread bobbin either for his tying in the field. I wouldn't want to give a bobbin or a vise up but I have heard it said by knowledgeable tiers that once you get used to tying with out a bobbin, you will never go back to using one again. That would require an awful lot of half-hitches in my view and add a lot of thread bulk to your flies...Rusty.
04-03-2007, 06:39 AM
We've got a few around here that tie without a vise, Carey Steven's Style (she's supposed to be THE guru of her time). I've watched the process in awe. They're tying huge streamers and the like. I don't see the process working with anything smaller than say a #20. I could be wrong though. If I am, I'd pay money to watch someone handtie a teeny hook.
04-04-2007, 05:47 AM
You could also consider a not waterproof, breathable trailrunner shoe combined with a neoprene sock like the ultralight backpackers use for winter hiking. Feet stay warm, and foot pressure squished most of the water out with each step.
04-04-2007, 07:04 AM
Thanks to all for the interesting ideas on this topic. Looks like from the info provided, that most can tie up what they need before they head out to fish the back country. If a longer trip is planned, especially to water that might hold an unknown variety of aquatic life, then gear up for tying in the field. I really liked the idea of using hemostats that were jammed into a crack in a log. And the last post by Bonasus nailed it -- just take a lightweight pair of sneakers and combine with a lightweight pair of bootless waders for wading.
EXACTLY why I enjoy this message board so much. Great, valuable information.
Thanks again and let's get fishin',
05-02-2007, 09:17 AM
A Leatherman Crunch makes a nice back country tyeing vice. Open up the blade and drive into a (dead) tree and clamp your hook into the clamping jaws.
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