Friday, September 30, 2016

8

September always means a couple of things.  First, my birthday which is less and less celebratory now that I've passed 40.  I'd like to pause or even go backwards a few years but that's likely not going to happen.  Second, The Fiberglass Manifesto turns another year older as well.  This year is the number eight.  Can you believe it?


Eight years of starting almost every morning early working on blog posts with a cup (or three) of coffee.  Eight years of only fly fishing with fiberglass fly rods and never feeling like I should be using anything else.  Eight years of having conversations with anglers, rod builders, and fly rod companies about glass rods and what they are really capable of doing.  Eight years of traveling all over on fly fishing trips with friends and guides.  Eight years of watching the idea that "Glass Is Not Dead" continue to grow.  Eight years of seeing momentum and industry support behind this revolution of sorts.  Eight years of this silly blog being my daily creative release for my (admittedly hack) photography and writing but always honing skills along the way. 

I want to say thank you to everyone that makes checking in on The Fiberglass Manifesto as part of your day.  Thank you to those that follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and are part of the conversation.  Thank you to the small shop rod builders and fly rod companies who innovate with glass fibers, tweak tapers, and continue to blow my mind with the fiberglass fly rods that are producing.  Thank you to the circle of friends within fly fishing that I've been able to surround myself with over the years.  Thank you to the advertisers that make a lot of what ticks around here possible.  And finally, thank you to my wife (and two children) who have always been an incredible support in everything that I do that is associated with The Fiberglass Manifesto.  It is all very much appreciated.  

ORVIS - Get Wild

The latest video from The Orvis Company is a stellar way to jump start the weekend.

Press PLAY and enjoy.



GET WILD.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

REP YOUR WATER - Winter Knit Hats & Something For Your Pup

After a summer of what seemed like months on end of temperatures in the low 100's, it's finally starting to cool down and it'll be soon time to break out the cool weather gear.  Rep Your Water has released a line up of Knit Hats with a few favorites mixed in with some fresh new looks.


Also, Rep Your Water has furthered their collaboration with Wingo Belts with five different dog collars and leashes to choose from.  Sorry cat owners...


Making an order on Rep Your Water?  Remember to use "SHIPTFM" for free shipping for your order.

CATCH MAGAZINE - Issue #48

Each issue of Catch Magazine never fails to fan the fire of fly fishing and all the amazing places around the world to go.  The latest issue is live and worth a look.


CHECK IT.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

BLUE HORIZON BELIZE - A Few Notes On Getting There

For as much traveling as I have been able to do over the last few years related to fly fishing and family trips, I haven't flown anywhere international.  When Scott Thompson of Blue Horizon Belize contacted me about coming down to see what all they had going on there, the first thought I had was wondering if my passport was still good.  Fortunately it was current and Belize does not require a visa for entry so not much to do at that end.

The biggest obstacles on squaring away myself for a trip like this is making sure the calendar is open with everything going on with my wife and children and then making sure that a vacation request gets approved at work.  I'm gone a lot, so checking both of those boxes off isn't always easy.  Somehow these dates were open, the boss approved the vacation request and the trip was a go.


As everything was starting to firm up, there were some reservations on my side that getting there might be a huge hassle or unbelievably expensive.  What I found though was that the cost of the ticket to Belize City from Columbia, South Carolina was less expensive than the last several airline fares to Montana or Wyoming.  What was also very helpful is that once the Delta flight to Belize City was set, Blue Horizon Belize arranged my hopper flight with Maya Island Air to Dangriga and all I had to do was go online and pay for the fare.

Departure was on a Sunday morning with a 7:00 a.m. flight from Columbia to Atlanta with a layover (Delta Sky Club for the win) and then the flight to Belize City.  Once I had arrived it took a few minutes to pass through customs and was put on an earlier flight to Dangriga.  The flight to Dangriga gave a good look at the lay of the land and really sparked off what would be an excellent trip. 

All in all, less than four hours in the air and I was in a totally different place in the world.


Once in Dangriga, the shuttle driver picked me up and drove me around town for a bit explaining where he had grown up, giving some local history, and stopping into the market to make sure that I had a cold Belikin for a proper welcome.

Minutes later I met Scott at the dock and jumped into the panga to shake hands and get to know each other while staff members made a quick trip to fill up coolers with ice to take back to the islands.  In our conversation I found that Scott has lived in Belize for the past eight months and after decades of guide work in Colorado, he jumped on an opportunity to be apart of Blue Horizon Belize.  From the short time that I had been in town, it seemed like the right decision.

With coolers filled with ice and then loaded into the panga, we made the short boat ride across stoppin in at Thatch Caye for a few minutes and then on to IZE Resort where we would be staying.


After a deep water crossing, we eased into the small harbor area at Thatch Caye.  Scott pointed out recent tropical storm damage and the repairs that they had already made from a recent storm.  All I saw was a nearly flawless island escape.  We hopped out of the boat and took a quick walk around the island to check out the lodge and accommodations.  This is a small but impressive island with a great layout featuring a mix of bungalows and villas.  Another neat feature is the Rod Shop where guide and client gear can be cleaned and stowed at the conclusion of a trip.







With the tour at Thatch Caye complete, we jumped back into the panga and made the five minute ride over to IZE Resort.  Scott moves from resort to resort (there are a total of six that the company that he works with owns) and he was staying at IZE Resort with me for the week.

Upon arrival, the resort manager gave a quick tour of the island and my luggage made it to the cabin.  Since Scott was wrapping up another group trip, he made the trip back to Thatch Caye leaving me with the evening to myself on a small island surrounded by shallow flats, bonefish, and maybe a permit if I looked hard enough.










Since I had asked for a late dinner I had a couple of hours to kill.  After a walk around the island to check everything out I decided to go try to find my first bonefish on the fly.  I slid on my flats boots and hurriedly put the Livingston Rod Co. eight weight (which is a REALLY awesome light line eight weight) together with a Solitude 4 fly reel and Scientific Anglers Mastery Bonefish fly line.  I grabbed a few flies, a tippet spool, and found a path beside the cabin to walk into the flat on the backside of the island.

I have never gone after bonefish before and I carefully walked through the shallow warm water and turtle grass keeping an eye open for a tail, nervous water, or a pod of fishing moving over the flat.  A dark shape appeared near the shore and I laid out a cast in front of it only to have a small nurse shark rush the fly to devour it.  I set the hook and the shark moved quickly off the flat taking fly line and then into the backing.  The battle didn't last long and I reeled in the line to find the fly cut cleanly off.

I tied on another fly and began casting at what looked to me to be likely places in the shallows that a bonefish would cruise.  In the evening light actually seeing a bonefish under water would be near impossible.  It wasn't too long however until I felt a quick pull and I was onto my first bonefish.  Several runs later the bonefish slid into my hand.  What a start to the trip.  I reeled in, waded out, and walked back to the cabin to get ready for dinner with a smile on my face.





It was a warm night in the 80's and just as much humidity with a full moon that lit up the ocean through the mangroves.  I retired to the cabin after dinner to prep the gear for the next morning.  Instead of falling asleep in bed, I settled into the hammock on the back porch to the sounds of the waves crashing on the reef while enjoying the ocean winds.  In the middle of the night, though still a warm night, I moved to the bed where it was comfortable enough for the rest of the night.
  
Want to know more about the places mentioned?  Check out the Blue Horizon Belize website along with the Thatch Caye and IZE Resort websites too.

KICKSTARTER - Firehole Outdoors

Over the last 18 months, Joe Mathis of Firehole Outdoors has been hard at work to develop a new line of Euro-style barbless fly tying hooks and now he's looking for support to start things off with a Kickstarter campaign that launched recently that's already gaining some traction.


Now, there are a lot of ideas in fly fishing that find life (or not) through Kickstarter and I really commend Firehole Outfitters in putting an impressive listing of pledge options together which should interest the occasional fly tier to possible dealers.

Visit the Firehole Outdoors website and Kickstarter page for more information.

Monday, September 26, 2016

TOPO DESIGNS X EPIC FLY ROD GIVEAWAY

I've seen hints of this collaboration online for a few weeks now but Topo Designs and Swift Fly Fishing have decided to have some fun by putting together a stellar giveaway.

All you have to do is sign up with your email address to be entered.  The contest ends on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 at midnight Mountain Time Zone.  The winner will be announced later this week.


From the Topo Designs presser...

"Combining our versatile Mountain Pack with a hand crafted fly rod just makes sense. That's why we chose to team up with Epic® (the Swift Fly Fishing Company) to dream up a package begging to hit your home water. Who doesn't like the combination of fun and durable? This limited run collaboration is just that, including a reconfigured 4 weight, 7’6" fiberglass, 5 piece fly rod designed to travel and to feel at home in the side pocket of our Mountain Pack.

For the Topo Designs x Epic fly rod Giveaway we've teamed up with Ross Reels and RIO Products, to collaborate on a ready to fish package for one lucky angler. This package includes a custom branded Topo Designs x Epic (Mountain Pack and Packlight rod), RIO InTouch Perception fly line, RIO Powerflex Plus tippet (5x/4x/3x) and a Ross Reels Colorado LT." 


Read more about the collaboration on the Topo Designs website and enter the giveaway HERE.