Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Moonshine Revival Fly Rod - Review

In the Fall of 2017, I bought myself a Moonshine Revival.  I fiberglass rod and one that I do believe is made in Asia.  But it was a good rod.  WAS?  Yes, I sold it with a about 5 other rods and several reels as to purchase some more rods and reels because that is what I do.  And Moonshine Rod Co does make at least one model here in the US by hand but it's graphite.  I know some local guys that fish Moonshine rods too.
This rod is a medium-fast rod.  Almost a slower moderate feel but loads quicker than a vintage Cortland 619 (if you've ever owned one).  It has a vintage glass look the the blanks and loads and casts and loads well.  I was casting small to large flies - nothing articulated.  And it had a smooth feel to the rod.  A solid feel when "fish-on" but seemed to lack soul.  Like the soul my old Fenwicks.  I did expect a deeper bend with a 13' Smallmouth on in the riffles.  I did cast 5WF and 6WF line.  Such an attractive rod.  The rod seemed as if I had pulled it off the rack at a sporting goods store (instead of handcrafted).  Attractive enough to buy yet good enough to perform - as a "budget" glass rod.  I use that term loosely because fiberglass rods can be astronomically priced -and graphite too.  For $225, I expected something great and I got a "good enough" feel with great looking components.  It's described as classic glass - almost throwback rod.  Classic glass in my opinion, has a slower cast and deeper bend.  You do get an extra tip and it is nicer than those mass produced glass rods from companies like Maxcatch.  And I bought 2 of those Maxcatch rods for the boys but I'll save a review for later.  I only used this rod 2 or 3 times but I obviously didn't fall for it but we all have different tastes.
  • Good flex tip - kind of a mid-flex feel to the rod.
  • Great components
  • Looks great
  • 2 tips
  • Could possibly pass as a 5/6 rod
  • I'm not as sure if this rod is as Slow as described.
Am I trashing this rod or the company that sells it?  Nope. They are fine, hardworking folks that also make smoking pipes.  If I did fish graphite, I would definitely own the Moonshine Drifter or Midnight.

Definitely not an entry level rod.  Quality work with a great warranty.  Definitely a mid-priced rod.  Would I recommend this rod.  Yes, if it fits your budget but you could save up a bit more for something better.  Leave any questions in the Comments or email me.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Echo Bad Ass Glass - Fiberglass Fly Rods and Smallmouth Bass

Last Spring, I injured my knee and my ankle. I was laid up for a month before heading off to Canada for mountain biking, hiking, urban exploring and the likes of physical exertion my ankle wasn't ready for but knee had mostly healed.  I then spent the summer riding my mountain bike to strengthen my knee.  Then I was ready for Fall.  When Labor Day came, I was up for a great amount of wade fishing.  At least 2 days a week.  Sometimes, 3 or 4 outings of about two to four hours.

I haven't been regular in blog posts but there are a lot of outings and photos from last Fall to share.  One of my goals last year was to fish as many fiberglass fly rods that I could.  After all, I had spent time collecting them and rebuilding one of them in the Winter.

The last 2 posts have patterns and photos of fish from the Fall. I will say that it was the most productive year for Smallmouth fishing that I have had since 2013 and possibly EVER.  I did catch a lot of good size creek Smallies.  Lots of good 12"-13" inchers with some 14"-15' and even a good 16".

While there are a lot of really good fly fisherman out there and some folks that know how to hit those fatties, I think that I've really found how to fish local Ozark creeks for bass and panfish.  And that's mainly how I fish.  Creeks and a few streams here and there.

Over the next month, I will do reviews of such rods as old Fenwicks, newer cheap China made, mass produced rods, new glass and the such - and even another rebuild and new builds.  I would say that the Echo BAG surprised me with trout and smallmouth - and yes, even on panfish.  And WOW, do I have an amazing "on stream" photo with the ECHO BAG.

AND, I've got to start throwing in some tomato growing and salsa recipes  . . .  and okra too.  yup, a little gardening. 


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Pat's Rubber Legs and Smallmouth Bass

Caught on Pat's Rubber Legs this summer.

I'm not a fishing Pro - I'm not on any "pro-staff" or catch lunkers.  I wade small streams.  I catch small to medium fish with a few nice ones thrown in every now and again.  But this I do know . . . there are a LOT of people who enjoy fishing creeks and small streams for bass and panfish.  And like me, they don't have to "rip lips" and catch fatties to enjoy the day.

When I started fishing for smallmouth bass, I did what the books and forums suggested and what and where the fly shops suggested to go.  I didn't do so well.  Until, I found flies that worked for me.  I ocassionally caught Smallies on Clousers but they didn't go after it like my Shucker pattern.  I also found that there were a lot of mayfly hatches on some of these streams and that I found out about Pat's Rubber Legs to "match the hatch".  And the Smallies love it. It could match stoneflies, mayflies and possibly a helgrammite or just look buggy enough to pounce on.

Caught and released on a Pat's Rubber Legs and on a 6' fly rod.  Yup, a 6' fly rod this late summer.

That nymph became my savior.  When the bite is subtle, it is my "go-to" pattern.  AND, even if they have lockjaw or shy because someone else just left the fishing hole.  It's my "trigger fly".

A few weeks ago, during an epic 4 hour wade session the Smallies didn't cooperate as they did the previous week or the week before.  I usually start out with my Shucker pattern which is a weighted streamer.  If that doesn't work, I switch to Pat's and then to the Panfish Charley . . .

There are a lot of tying videos for Pat's Rubber Legs - make sure you use wire to give weight to those Pat's.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Fly Tying Instructions Foam Flies for Smallmouth Bass

I made this fly a day or two before catching this guy.  My box is loaded with foam flies.

This is a pretty easy foam pattern.  All you need is a Beavertail cutter from River Road Creations - or just do your best to cut a pattern with scissors.  I've caught a lot of fish on foam flies made with and without foam cutters.


  • for this size cutter, I'm using a TMC 8089 #10 for bass.  Smaller or larger cutters may require a different hook size.  
  • Beavertail Cutter from River Road Creations
  • Whatever thread you have but not something small that is used for nymphs.
  • Rubber Legs
  • 2mm Foam - from the fly shop, walmart, whatever.
After watching the video, let me know if you have any questions.  You may have to click the video twice.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

New at Rod Building - Me too.

My comleted rod build.

This winter, I did a rod rebuild.  A first for me.  I had read "Handcrafting A Graphite Fly Rod" by L.A.Garcia over and over again at work.  My father used it to craft a rod for me and passed the book on.  I also watched numerous videos online.  Since I wasn't sure if I had the patience much less the skill, I then looked for a cost effective (but not overly cheap) way to build my first rod.

Obviously, this isn't an in-depth guide to rod building.  It's not overly complicated and you'll need some patience.  Don't rush the build.  Do research and planning before you start.

Items you will need - the obvious.
  • rod blank
  • snake guides
  • stripping guide(s)
  • tip top
  • reel seat
  • handle
  • hook keeper
Items you need to craft the rod. - *YOU CAN BUY KITS
  • wrapping tool (you can do wraps without a tool)
  • rasp
  • masking tape
  • epoxy
  • thread wrap
  • thread finish
  • thread sealer - to hold color of thread but some threads don't need it - RESEARCH!
  • burnishing tool
  • winding check (optional)
  • thread clippers
  • thread pick
  • tip-top adhesive
  • mixing cups
  • mixing sticks
  • finishing brushes
My blank  -  I bought a 8' fiberglass Cortland 502 for $8 at an antique mall.  The first outing I caught Smallies and immediately fell for the rod.  It was falling apart and knew that it was going to be rebuilt at some point  - and it only took 2 1/2 years to actually pull the trigger.

Stripping a rod down for a rebuild is a whole other part which I may post later.  It may or may not include a stripping agent and then varnish . . .   you get it.  As I mentioned, didn't want to invest too much because a rod blank can be costly depending on build.

The handle is dried out, wraps are dried out and cracking, reel seat and handle had to be re-epoxied, a guide was broken, stripping guide was rusted - you get the picture.

I stripped down a rod that I knew would be worth the rebuild but wouldn't be a complete loss if it was a disaster of a build.  I spent only $8 on the rod.

Before doing the build, I made test wraps to see if they would match.

This is before the thread finish is applied.

I decided to place thread finish over the wraps and the logo to save what was left of this rod and the fact it was Made in the USA.

A finished product.  I added a hook keeper, replaced the guides and handle but kept the reel seat.  I added another stripping guide - 2 stripping guides for a slower action rod that required a 7 ATMA level line.  I can now use 5 or 6 weight lines which loads and casts quicker - which is partially due to the fact I added one more guide.  Originally, there was only 5 guides, 1 stripping guide and a tip-top.  The line did slap or wrap around the blank between the stripping guide and handle.  This rod is a 5/6 weight rod with a good deep flex that is sensitive and fun on large or small fish and can casts large or small flies.

I used a hand wrapper from Mudhole. I bought the building kit with a 9 hp dryer.  With a promo of free shipping if purchase of $100 or more I spent about $125 with $79 going to the wrapping kit and dryer.  Obvisouly, it's a good investment for the rod dryer.  AND, it came with an instructional CD.  I will suggest that you buy the rod dryer because it beats the heck out of turning it every once in a while and prevents dripping and running and provides a cleaner and more uniform finish on wraps.

Along with many other rod building tutorials from multiple users, Mudhole has some instructional videos on YouTube.  I took my time on this build.  I watched Mudhole's video as I built for reference.  Make sure you research the type of rod blank you need and that the thread is going to look good because you don't want no ugly rod.  Mudhole and other sites have info on measurements for guide spacing and they have great customer service.  Proof Fly Fishing has good products and Matt is very helpful too.  Look around at different suppliers for your needs because every builder is different and every build is unique.

If can build a rod, you can too.