Thursday, July 29, 2021

TIGHT LOOPS - For Wild's Sake: The Rare Trout Chronicles Episode 2

The Tight Loops crew continues their 'For Wild's Sake' series with an adventure in search of the rare and tough to catch Blueback Trout.  Press PLAY and enjoy...

Follow along by subscribing to the Tight Loops YouTube channel, check out the website, and checking out their Instagram too.

Crooked Creek Holler (and Friends) Hot Dog Party

Crooked Creek Holler always has the fun going on in Asheville and you might remember the kickoff to the Summer Sessions a few weeks ago where we had upwards of 200 people show up, raffles for a great cause, glass rods to cast, and smoked meats.  
They are following that stellar event up with a Hot Dog Party this Sunday, August 1st, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Southern Culture on the Fly, with the help of Traeger, will be smoking wieners (stop laughing...) and New Belgium Brewing will be providing beers for the masses.   

All proceeds from the gear raffle will benefit Project Healing Waters and the work they do with active military service members along with veterans through fly fishing.

Check out the Crooked Creek Holler website and as always, follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates, new releases, events, and more.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

TROUT MADNESS - A Day in the Life of Robert Traver

A tip of the cap to 406 Fly Lines for sharing this short film from yesteryear on their Facebook page.  I found it this morning and it's a wonderful snapshot into the life of John Voelker, who wrote in the pen name of Robert Traver for years.  His narration and glimpses of his fishing days in the Upper Peninsula bring a smile for sure.

Anytime I share a story that is Robert Traver related, I have to also share a few previous T.F.M. posts from 2010 that highlight a trip with his grandson (and friends) to Voelker's Pond and around the Upper Peninsula for a few days...

If you haven't yet read Trout Magic and Trout Madness, they are absolutely required reading. 

T.F.M. Patched Caps Are Running Out...

Just a quick heads up that the remaining stock of T.F.M. Patched Caps is starting to run a little low and it's unlikely that I'll be able to do another batch.  When these are gone, they gone. 

All six cap color and patch choices are in stock currently, though I'm down to single digits on a couple of them.  They are priced at $35 each shipped with international shipping running the price up to $45.  Each order is shipped with a few T.F.M. decals.   

If interested in placing an order, send me an email at  I can take payment through PayPal, Venmo, check, or credit card.  The next batch of orders will ship early next week.
Jump over to the T.F.M. Store for these caps and a bunch of other great gear to represent T.F.M. with. 

P.S.  For those wondering, I may do a throwback edition of both the Comrade and Retro Fly t-shirts next.  I have absolutely no timeline yet when I'll be able to do those. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

CUBALAYA - Introducing the Fair Chase 6-8 Weight Click Pawl

Longtime readers know that I have a real soft spot for click and pawl fly reels.  I have a collection of a few dozen vintage Martin and J.W. Young fly reels and then a few more modern click and pawl fly reels from everyone from Hardy, Orvis, and The Spey Company.  I like the way they work, sound, and they are a neat match to many fiberglass fly rods. 

A relative newcomer to the game, Cubalaya, made waves a year or so ago by creating the Fair Chase click and pawl fly reel which starts on the tame everything big end of the spectrum.  Tarpon?  Permit?  Redfish?  Roosterfish?  No problem. 

They are working backwards now with it's slightly smaller Fair Chase 6-8 Wt. Click Pawl fly reel that was just released and they'll be showing it off at iCAST this week in Florida. 

Here's a few looks at the Fair Chase which is available in five colorways.  


Once the Cubalaya crew gets back from iCAST, Mike and Holly Wildes have said they'll sit down for an interview on T.F.M.  Look for that in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, check out the Cubalaya website and follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest shop news.

Ari 't Hart, Rest in Peace

Over the weekend, the news circled the internet that famed fly reel maker, Ari 't Hart passed away.  He leaves a legacy of innovation, design, and purposefully creating fly reels that defy what many would consider a norm.

In his memory, I'm sharing three short videos that give a bit of insight on who he was and also some looks into his reel shop.

I've long admired several of the Hart fly reel designs and yet I don't own one.  I should get serious about finding at least one as they match perfectly with a fiberglass fly rod. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

An Interview with Paul Osimo on "Fixed Spools" and the Lo-fli Story

I guess it was the fall of 2018 when I was first aware of Lo-fli and the idea of a "fixed spool" fly reel design with their Kickstarter campaign that I highlighted in a long ago T.F.M. post.  They didn't meet their fundraising goal but designer and angler Paul Osimo didn't give up.  He continued to work on his design, more field testing, trying new things, making new things, and from time to time I'd see an update on their Instagram page of their progress. 

Do we really need a "fixed spool" fly reel?  Maybe not but I really like new ideas and I think it's a good thing that there are people out there who can re-imagine something that you and I might of thought that can only be done one way.  That is where innovation is born.

With the Lo-fli webstore launching today, I asked Paul if he'd mind answering a few questions which his answers are shared with a few images as you scroll down.  Enjoy.

Let's start here, can you tell us the Lo-fli story?

Lo-fli began with me poking around tucked away streams and constantly wrestling with that odd feeling of obligation to fight a fish on the reel. In my attempting to scramble excess line back onto a reel after as successful hook-up it seemed like I would drop the fish half the time, I don’t know where that places me in the levels of fly fishing talent, but luckily I’m an industrial designer and I don’t mind bending products my way when I want/need them.

I started thinking about adjusting my fly equipment to better fit a specific purpose. Did I need an actual reel? Probably not. Didn’t tenkara offer a straight forward solution? Not really, only because I wanted to retain some flexibility with line length and the ability to control a fish in close quarters. So, I went about designing a system that provides a variable length of line but maintains a small footprint and celebrates my preferred line-in-hand method of fish retrieval. Is it perfect? Nope, nothing ever is, which is why product design is so damn fun. 

Looking back at your fixed spool design, there's been a design change and it's now made in brass instead of plastic.  What have you learned during the past several years in regards to the final design of the fixed spool?

While the fixed spool started with a proprietary attachment to the rod, the biggest design adjustment occurred right after I was trying to guess how many left handed and how many right handed fly anglers might want this product, and was turning into a small personal nightmare. For this reason, a standard (universal) reel foot was adopted. The material had been purposefully left up to the air for a good long while. I was considering ease of manufacturing, cost, all sorts of other factors, but the final decision for brass was made when, through focus groups, the weight of the spool proved an important factor in maintaining a familiar weight/balance in hand for people more accustomed to western fly fishing. 

I’m constantly learning and forgetting and learning again that in design, it’s super easy to go wild with details, but much more often than not it’s the most simple, no frills answer that prevails. To me, that’s what this fixed spool is.

Why fiberglass for the fly rod that you're offering and how does this elevate the Lo-fli experience?

For the specifications that this system was designed to exist in, i.e. tight, woody, places you bushwhack into and bushwhack back out of I needed a rod that was short, sensitive, responsive, but most importantly it needed to be crazy, brutally tough. I grew up using hand-me-down fiberglass equipment and I was not at all kind to it. Only after buying my own equipment, carbon fiber rods specifically did I start breaking my rods, such a bummer. I cannot think of a bigger pain in the butt than getting all the way into a secluded area and then having a rod break. It's heartbreaking. This rod is not a 2-weight that’ll magically lose its tip as you shove your way through some tight cover, I assure you. It is a whippy little workhorse of a rod and a real pleasure to use to boot.

In my quest to offer a badass rod with my newly patented spool, I floated around fishing forums, rod building forums and spoke with local rod builders about what the fly fishing rod landscape looked like to them. All my research regarding pricing, size requirements, fun factor all kept coming back to this one fiberglass spinning rod blank offered by Batson Enterprises Inc., the SPG720.

I ordered one and I absolutely fell in love. It had all the qualities I was looking for, so I called Batson and asked them about making this one piece blank into a 4-piece, colors, seeing about manufacturing, etc. Let me tell you, those people know fly fishing and the years of adjustments and fine tuning I think really paid off. This rod is just about the most enjoyable, versatile piece of fly equipment I have honestly. A sweet kayak rod, great in the sticks, it fits in a darn carry-on, it’s super responsive, light as heck, it’s fiberglass, what more could a fiberglass rod enthusiast want?

Who did you design the Lo-fli fixed spool and fly rod for and who's going to appreciate this most and in what type of angling situations?
I designed this rod and reel for anyone that shares my love for tight fishing situations and those that appreciate the concept of a purely line-in-hand fly fishing experience. I’m most excited to get these designs out to anyone who is interested in trying a unique flavor of fly fishing. This project has been in the works for several years now. 

Where have you done field testing at and what did you learn?

Since filing for the patent four years ago, I’ve had friends and strangers alike field test these products in the wilds of central Maine, central Pennsylvania, coastal New Hampshire, the Gulf of Mexico, and a ridiculous number of New England’s named and nameless creeks and streams. Out of curiosity, I even brought a test version to Guadeloupe to see what sort of bend a jack or yellowtail snapper would put on it. Not exactly what they were designed for, but these pieces proved themselves time and again as useful and enjoyable fly fishing options.

Who's on the Lo-fli team and what does the future look like?  Are there other ideas in the mix?

The team is me and a handful of supportive and unpaid friends who are infinitely better at rod design, marketing and CAD than I am. Frankly too many to list, but they know who they are and that I friggin cherish them. Most importantly I have an extremely supportive and loving wife and daughter that keep me pushing forward with this exciting venture. They put up with a lot, which is not lost on me, but this has all been an excellent excuse to get out into the sticks for frequent hikes and nature walks. So there’s that.

As far as next steps, I would love to offer some more varied lengths and weights in the fly rod department and a spectrum of smaller diameter fixed spools are already being developed. Some peripheral fly equipment like nets and gear bags would be pretty slick too. It really all depends on interest, which is something I’ve been openly and unapologetically annoying about extracting from my social media followers and local anglers. I’m confident that these designs will be enjoyed by our fans and future customers. They’ve waited long enough!

Last night, someone on Instagram sent me a note in response to a photograph that i shared of the Lo-fli setup with a comment of "So that Lo-fli reel is simply genius yet also crazy...".  I agree but we need crazy thinkers within fly fishing to take us to new places with outside the box ideas.  

I have a Lo-fli fixed spool and fly rod that I'll be messing around with for the rest of the summer and I'll report back my thoughts in a later T.F.M. post.  There are a couple places around here where it should shine and be a lot of fun. 

Take a moment and visit the Lo-fli website.  Orders are shipping this week and I'll be interesting to see where these fixed spools and fly rods end up. 

Follow along with the next chapters of Paul's story on Instagram and Facebook.