Monday, April 26, 2010

Act Now! Special "SA Gray" custom Bamboo Fly Rods

Available - Two (2) Shane A. Gray Bamboo Fly Rods.  These fly rods will be gone within a couple of weeks unless you act now!
Both fly rods are 7' 4-weight with a Payne 98 taper and swelled butt on last 18" to give a little extra stiffness and punch.  Both will have a Reverse Half-Wells grip and he is building one (#62) with an Olive wood insert reel seat with Nickel Silver down locking threaded barrel hardware, Agate stripping guide and dark brown silk thread double tipped with black and classic chestnut. The second one he is planning on using a cork insert with Nickel Silver hardware and Agate stripping guide, but it's not too late to request a different reel seat, thread color or other custom requests. (Check out the photos of some of his bamboo fly rods)

These rods are a step above his normal build. Bamboo Fly Rods of this quality normally will sell for $1300 - $1500. I can sell them for $899 if you act quickly. These fly rods can be ready to ship in about 2 weeks.  Shane has not advertised them yet to his other dealers.  Once he's finished building them, he will notify his dealers and they will be snapped up.  Normal turnaround for a custom bamboo fly rod of this caliber is 5-6 weeks.
If interest, email me at or call me at 303-755-2105 (Mountain Time).

Tight Lines--------------<*))))><
Larry Snyder

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Want a memorable fly fishing trip on Colorado's scenic mountain streams and lakes?  Then look no further thanColorado Skies Outfitters in Parker, CO.  Theo Anest, owner and head guide, books guided wading and float trips for Trout on the most famous rivers in the Rocky Mountains as well as for Warm Water species; Large and Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Tiger Musky, Crappie, Perch and Blue Gill along the Front Range.  AND the High Octane Wiper Bass are sure to get your adrenaline flowing.  Or you can even fish for muscle packed Carp, pound for pound one of the hardest fighting fish in fresh water, on the South Platte within view of downtown Denver.
Easy access to the Blue River, Big Thompson, Colorado River, Eagle River, Roaring Fork and South Platte is reason enough to book your trip.  Colorado Skies Outfitters, through their membership in Rocky Mountain Angling Club, is also pleased to provide access to over 40 Private Pristine waters throughout Colorado and also access to private bass ponds throughout the Front Range.  Rod fees are accessed for Private Water trips and vary according to destination.
If you choose wading or floating the rivers, Theo and his crew of professional guides fish 365 days a year, rain, snow or shine.  There are tailwater fisheries, below the dams, that stay open even in the dead of winter.  If you dress for the weather, winter time can be very rewarding with fewer fishermen and less wary trout.   The guides will put you in the right spot to catch fish, that is, if you don't waste all your time taking in the scenery.   Most rivers in Colorado give you a variety of scenic beauty.  They can run through deep canyons with high mountain hills all around you and then flow out into high altitude plains with breathtaking mountain vistas.  The South Park area has views of many 14,000 foot snow capped peaks (Colorado has more 14ers than any other state).  OH... you paid for a fishing trip?... OK, the rivers are filled with Rainbows, Browns and some Brook and Cutthroat trout.  The mountain lakes and reservoirs have Cutthroats, Browns and Rainbows, Kokanee Salmon and Pike.
The Front Range, east of the foothills, is a high plains dessert.  Denver, the Mile High City, sits at the foot of the Rockies and everything east is plains, slowly sloping toward Kansas.  There are many reservoirs and ponds that Colorado Skies Outfitters can take you to.  They have Bass Boats that can put you in the right spot for fly fishing the Warm Water species.
What's included:
  • A patient, knowledgeable, professional guide
  • Flies, waders, rods/reels, and all other accessories - they provide Premium Equipment from Ross, Scott, Simms... no beat-up leaky waders like some guide services
  • Transportation to and from the water
  • Gourmet catered lunches on full day trips
  • Cold water and soft drinks
What's not included:
  • Fish.  As a conservative minded guide service all fishing is Catch and Release
  • A Colorado Fishing License
  • A gratuity for your guide
20% off trips from November 1 - February 28
Tight Lines————-<*))))><
Larry Snyder
Phone: 303-755-2105

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

T. L. Johnson Fly Rods are now available in Blanks

Want to have one of the finest fly rods in the World, but it's price is just a little out of your reach? Build your own!
T. L. Johnson Fly Rods are now available in blanks. The cost is half the finished fly rod price. That's right... You can buy his ($375 finished) Emerger 2 fly rod blanks for $187.50. Even if you use high end compontents, you can build it for under $300. His SLX fly rod blanks sell for $337.50 whereas a finished SLX costs $675. Again, finish it yourself for $450 - $500. The LX, LTS, LL, SL2 and SLP blanks are $337.50 also.
Don't be fooled by who makes their blanks in the U.S. and who doesn't. Unlike other manufacturers, Terry Johnson doesn't put his name on his import line. His Fish Creek fly rods are built overseas to his exacting specifications and are great casting and affordable, but are sold under the Fish Creek brand. If it has the T. L . Johnson name, you know the rods are made entirely in the U.S.A. Terry has his own shop where he builds all the blanks for his T. L. Johnson brand. His patented high-modulus graphite, using exclusive carbon helix uni-directional construction techniques, creates a blank with superior hoop strength as well as improved response. His exclusive ferruling system reduces section to section flat spots, swing weight and has a smoother load transfer. T.L. Johnson’s commitment to the highest quality is apparent in his entire collection.
Purchasing a T.L. Johnson fly rod buys you a certain exclusivity not available with the more popular U.S. brands.
Treat yourself to possibly the BEST fly rods Made in the U.S.A.

The quality of his rods are putting the fly fishing industry on notice. "Build it right or stay home."
This is T.L. Johnson country!

Contact me if you have any questions regarding availability.
Tight Lines-------------<*))))><


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Support our Troops

There are many groups that are serving our men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our government is falling far short of providing the support they need. A few of these groups, that I am aware of, are Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., Army Bass Anglers, LLC and Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, Inc. Many of our soldiers have life changing handicaps and these groups help them contend with their injuries, depression and overall wellness. These groups offer fishing as a means of comfort to our soldiers, who have given more for the freedoms that we enjoy than most of our politicians, by giving them something else to concentrate on.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is a nationwide group dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active duty military personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings. Locally (Denver, CO area), Project Healing Waters volunteers meet regularly with current war veterans and heroes and also Vets dating back to Vietnam, Korea and WWII. Along with teaching them how to tie flies and cast a fly rod they have even enlisted the cooperation of the Colorado Division of Wildlife to fish private stocked ponds. Other states have volunteers doing similar things. Project Healing Waters uses private donations to take our heroes on Fishing Trips all around the world. They don’t even think twice to ask airlines and hotels to comp. a flight or housing to help defray the cost of these trips.

Army Bass Anglers sponsors events like “Fishing for Freedom” tournaments that pair local fishermen with wounded Soldiers, for a day of tournament bass fishing on an awesome fishery, especially for them. They depend on local businesses, volunteers, and caring local and regional anglers in the San Antonio, Texas area and specifically with Fort Sam Houston’s Brooke Army Medical Center. They also work closely with a 12,000 square foot replacement building for the 1,200 square foot existing Warrior and Family Support Center formerly called the “SFAC” (Soldier and Family Assistance Center) located at Fort Sam Houston.

The Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, Inc., a Billings, Montana based non-profit corporation, provides high-quality therapeutic and rehabilitative recreation, primarily to young enlisted servicemen and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan still in rehab in the military hospital system. They do this by taking traumatically wounded servicemen and women Fly Fishing for trout on Montana’s rivers and streams. A quote from the W&QWF website reads “Fishing is a solace…the opposite of war…a gentle and healing occupation.” (Luis Marden)
If you can help in any way, either by donating your time or money, or if you are a Vet that is having trouble coping with life at home, contact these organizations. Reach out to help yourself by helping others.

For more information on these great groups:
Email Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing at
Email Army Bass Anglers at
Contact Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation by going to

For more information on Project Healing Water Fly Fishing in Colorado, contact me. If I don’t have the answers, I’ll get them.

Tight Lines---<*))))><
Larry Snyder

Saturday, August 8, 2009

You'll want to know more about T.L. Johnson Fly Rods

Until I have a full report on all his new products, you will just have to wait for my complete Product Review on T.L. Johnson Rods and his new Reel. But for now, here is what's being said about Terry on-line. PAULRITTEN wrote: "Just picked up a new TL Johnson rod and figured that I don't see many reviews of these that I'd add mine... Anyway, I took it up to the mountains this weekend in search of trout.... The rod is a new one, but is the old style (green blank). I have no idea if the new colored blanks coming out have a different action
Admittedly, I prefer newer glass rods to the classic Fenwicks, Silaflex's, etc that have so many benefactors, so please keep that in mind. I find the classic rods to be a bit "thick" and this rod is definately not that. This rod is fast! Quite a bit faster than my Diamondglass 8' 4 weight (my favorite of the line) or or event the 6' 5 weight. I'd actually put it up there with my Winston WT graphite rods. In other words, exactly what I was looking for image
I had the rod strung up with a TT4 line and was able to cast amazing distances although it load as closely as the Diamondglass 4 weight. Still, the area I was fishing is just covered with little pools (20 - 30' long) followed by a small drop-off to the next pool. I was easily able to stand in the middle of one pool and work the next pool back to front even into a Rocky Mountain wind.
There were numerous little brookies and cutts that were about the length of my hand and the rod certainly did give some "life" to those fish, but was in no way overpowered by the 14" brookie either.
In my mind, this rod is perfect for the mountain west - short, powerful, able to cast quite a distance, and able to handle wind. If you prefer a rod that loads more quickly, this probably isn't it (maybe uplining it would work?) - but for out here in Colorado I think it is my new go-to rod."
swampsavage wrote: "I have one on the way... looking forward to receiving it. The reviews have been great and it may well be my "go to" rod for Appalachian blue line streams. Got plenty of 4, 5, and 6wt lines (WF and DT) to try out on it. Hope to be giving reports from the Cherokee Nat'l Forest and Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park next year, God willing." Pocono wrote: "I'm considering purchasing an 8'0" Synergy SG rod from Terry Johnson. Conceptually, I like the idea of using graphite in the butt section to give it a little more power and to keep the blank profile thinner. Does anyone have any experience with this rod/blank? If so, I'd appreciate hearing from you before I go ahead and make the purchase."
gearboy wrote "Pocono, Check the post by PaulRitten in Fishing with Fiberglass about a TL rod. I've only ever heard great things about any of his rods. They don't get mentioned much here and not sure why."
Pocono wrote "Thanks for the feedback. When I talked to Terry he said that he was making the Synergy SG with E glass, not S glass. He also has a new blank color; which he's calling buck. He was going to send me some pictures of the new blanks (he described the color as similar to the old Phillipson eponite blanks), but I haven't seen anything from him yet. It's the 8'0" 4 wt. that I'm interested in."
Mountainshark wrote "Pocono, you will not be disappointed in any of the TL Johnson rods. I have the 8' 5 wt, 7'6 4/5 wt, and 7' 4 wt, all of the rods cast great and have the look and feel of the high quality glass rod that they are. The work, service and knowledge that comes out of his shop is second to none. The 8' 5wt is one of my favorite rods when I hunt big fish, it performs like glass, but has power down deep in the butt section when it's needed. The 4 wt's are wonderful dry fly rods for the rivers and streams I fish here. So far, I have not had a single complaint from anyone who has used one. I'm not sure why some guys get hung up on the fact that there is graphite in the butt section. To me it seems like not buying a modern car because there is plastic parts on it."
PAULRITTEN wrote: "Mountainshark:..... I agree - his workmanship is second to none. I have been lucky enough to see in person his entire line of rods and he will soon be making me a graphite 7wt to replace a Winston that I just can't get comfortable with (although he doesn't know it yet...). His service is unbelievable as well - how many builders will hand deliver a rod to you after apologizing that it took 2 weeks instead of 1 to get your rod done (due to a family emergency I might add). Add to that the fact that his blanks are rolled in his own shop to tapers that I find outstanding, and what's not to like? When you compare his prices and rods to those of the big boys - no comparison in my mind. I'm sure Steffen and others are the same, but it seems like Terry gets overlooked a bit."

Well folks... that's just a teaser until I have all the details on his new products and redesigned lineup. If there were a picture of perfectionist in the "fly rod" dictionary, it would be of Terry. For now, though, you can salivate over what's currently available at Fly Fishing CRAZY.

See you on the BACK CAST!
Tight Lines-------------<*))))><
Larry Snyder
Owner: Rocky Mountain Web Connection, LLC

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Product Review: Elkhorn Fly Rod and Reel

Elkhorn Fly Rod and Reel is a small company in Loveland, CO. They produce high quality, affordable products that will give you a lifetime of service without breaking the bank. Elkhorn now offers over 50 models of high performance, affordable fly rods in weights 1 through 12. Three and six piece spey rods and hand crafted two piece, two tipped, bamboo rods are among the latest offerings.

But they didn’t stop there. They also offer precision machine cut fly reels in their affordable lineup. No "die-cast” or inexpensive shortcuts are taken in the construction of these quality fly reels. Currently, two series of Elkhorn fly reels, the MA and T Series, are offered to perfectly complement their graphite fly rods and a Classic series that when matched to their bamboo rods will please even the most discriminating purist.

I’ve been fishing one of Elkhorn’s most popular Traveler series rods for about 7 years now. It is a 9’0”, 3 weight, 4 piece rod and is matched to an Elkhorn T1 reel. I use this everywhere in Colorado. I prefer the feel of the light line and progressive medium-fast action over my 5 and 6 weight rods when fishing Colorado streams and Rivers. It generates some serious line speed. The 4 pc. rod measures 30 ½ inches in the case.

The Nomad Series is a budget priced rod that fishes much like the Traveler series. It has the same progressive medium-fast action with a gunmetal-titanium colored anodized aluminum reel seat and beautiful rosewood inserts (seven and eight weights have saltwater style seats with a fighting butt) and a matte finish with black thread wraps.

If you’ve ever hiked into a remote area to fish, you know that light weight and compact is important. Elkhorn’s 5x Series 5 piece rods pack to 20-25 inches. And their Ultralight Pack Series 7 Piece Rods pack down to 17-19 inches. Both have a seamless progressive medium-fast action. The 5 piece comes in 3-5 weight with a 9’ 8 weight available as well. The Ultralight 7 Piece comes in either a 8’6” 4 weight or a 9’ 5 weight. I’ve never fished these rods, but have checked them out in Brian’s store and the 7 piece feels to have the action and flexibility of a 3 or 4 piece, while the 5X would compare to most 2 or 3 piece rods.

As I said earlier, Elkhorn makes some quality affordable fly reels to compliment their fine lineup of rods. Their most popular is the T Series. It is a mid-arbor reel that features an over-sized cork-on-delrin disc drag system for deep, smooth, controlled stopping power. This drag design ranges from free spinning to “stop them in their tracks” power. It provides a perfect choice for fresh or saltwater applications at a sensible price. The T series is available in four sizes. The T-1 covers 2/3/4 weight lines , T-2 is 5/6 weight, T-3 is 7/8 weight and the T-4 handles 9-12 weight lines. And, of course, all Elkhorn reels include a reel pouch.

Next is their MA Series. MA stands for maximum arbor which translates to faster line pickup and minimum line coil. These gorgeous reels are fully machined with multiple lightening ports to remove excess material without compromising strength. And these reels incorporate a cork-on-teflon disc drag system. The result is an ultra-light reel with work horse stopping power.

Elkhorn’s Classic Series reels are manufactured to replicate reels of much higher cost from days gone by, yet offer the same look and feel of these beautifully crafted reels. Machined from billet stock, these reels feature an authentic click/pawl drag system sure to please even the most discriminating purist. Available in two colors: Antique Gold or Silver. As with all Elkhorn reels, they include a reel pouch.

Now, for you ladies! Elkhorn has incorporated pink and raspberry colors in some of their model rods and reels. These colors are absolutely gorgeous and will stand out on the stream like a Gucci purse. I took a Raspberry Traveler Series 905-4 Rod and a Raspberry T-1 Reel to fly fishing class and the women couldn’t take their eyes off of it. The t-3 and T-4 Reels also come in a gorgeous dark blue color as well.

Check out all these products plus the Western, Big Game, EX and Tonkin Split Bamboo Series rods, plus their complete line of blanks at and for a nominal fee, Brian will even laser engrave your business logo and/or name in the reel seat for a truly custom outfit.

I’ll be seeing you at Fly Fishing Crazy.

Tight Lines---------<*)))><

Larry Snyder

Owner: Rocky Mountain Web Connection, LLC

Monday, June 1, 2009

Switching to the Fly Rod

If your going to take the spinning rig along then you might as well forget about trying the Fly Rod. But, if you're serious about trying to learn fly fishing, then just take it and practice your techniques. If you don't catch anything, they'll still be there for the next trip. You might be surprised how well the flies work.
In my experience, if you can master the fly rod, you will catch fish when the blade throwers aren't. Find out what patterns are working for your area and give them a try. Local fly fishing shops can tell you if there are any hatches and what time of day. Fish the recommended dry flies at those times to trout you see rising. At other times, fish a recommended nymph (ask about which ones work in faster water and which work best in slow).
In Dry Fly Fishing, size, shape and color are the important factors. Use a floating Fly Line and rub a floating line dressing on about the first 15 feet of the tip of your line. You will need to attach a tapered leader to the fly line. I recommend a 7 1/2 foot leader tapered down to 5x (about 4 pound test). Depending on the size of fly, you will need to taper it down further with tippet. You must taper the tippet 1 size at a time; i.e. 5x to 6x to 7x. Never jump a size or your leader will not lay out straight when you cast. The rule of thumb for tippet size is the fly size divided by 3 equals the tippet size. For example 5x tippet can be used with size 14 or 16 flies, 6x with size 16 or 18 flies and 7x with size 20 or 22 flies. If your a beginner, try to stick with the 14 - 18 size flies. When casting to a rising trout, try to cast your fly about 4 to 6 feet directly upstream from the last rise and try to get the fly to float drag free down to the fish. I will address how to compensate for drag later. During a hatch, a fish will generally rise at fairly regular intervals, every 10 to 20 seconds or so. If your fly floats over the fish in a natural manner, the fish should take it. If not, cast above it again as long as the fish keeps rising to the naturals. A lot of times, it's a matter of timing your drift to the rising rhythm of the fish. If your fly doesn't float naturally, it can put that fish down and you might as well start casting to another rising fish.
As I pointed out in a previous BLOG, unless there is an insect hatch at the time you're fishing, you will catch more fish nymphing. Use the same line, leader, tippet size rules, as with dry fly only add a strike indicator on your leader and split shot about a foot above the fly. I prefer the small, half inch size, cork bobber type strike indicator that slides on the leader and is held in place with a tooth pick. It can easily be adjusted on your leader for the depth of water you're fishing. The object is to get the nymph down to the bottom but not so deep that you are getting hung up all the time. Use a small BB size or smaller split shot to get it down. The size of split shot will depend on the speed of the current. Not getting down and ticking the bottom on the drift, add more weight or move your strike indicator higher on the leader. Getting hung up all the time, use less weight or move strike indicator down. Nymph selection, here again, check with a local fly shop on what's working. I always carry size 16 and 18 Hairs Ear's, Buckskins, and Pheasant Tails. They seem to be good all around patterns.
OK, let's try to tackle this drag issue. Drag occurs when the current of the stream is pulling your LINE faster than a natural fly floats. If this occurs, it causes your fly to drift faster or slower or to be pulled toward your side of the stream and does not look natural. Imagine watching a nymph being washed away from the rock that it was clinging to. It will be swept down stream with the current, no faster, no slower. A stream will have different layers of current speed from the middle out to the edge with the middle generally being faster and the edge slower. A keen eye can see these different speeds of current. The point of change of each layer of current is called a seam. The same is true with depth. The current will be faster on the surface than along the bottom (for some reason those rocks slow the water down - physics 101). Fish are basically lazy they will find the slowest current possible where they feel safe, but can still intercept food being washed passed them in the faster current. So, the idea is to drift your fly along those seams just on the fast side. The fish will be lying just on the slow side waiting for food to be washed by. They slip out into the faster current to intercept the nymph then slip back into their easy chair. In the case of the dry fly, they rise up to the faster surface to take the fly then they settle back down to the bottom.
So how does this affect drag? As I said, in nymphing, you want to drift your fly down just on the faster side of the seam. That means your fly line is floating on slower water than the nymph is in. This causes a belly in you line upstream from the nymph which eventually casues the nymph to slow down and to be pulled toward you, both unnatural movements that will turn a fish away. The way to compensate for this is a method called mending. In the case just described, you would need to mend your line downstream. To do this, immediately after casting your nymph, with a little lift and flip of the Fly Rod tip you flip just the line on the surface downsteam a foot or two so that the nymph is above the fly line to begin the drift and will catch up to it. You may need to mend the line more than once before the drift ends below you. The same applies to dry fly fishing. Mend the line before the fly reaches the rising fish so that when it gets down to the fish it will be floating naturally.
If you take the time to work on these techniques before you give up on fly fishing, you will probably catch a fish or 2. As your technique improves, so will your catch rate and some day you will be telling this story to other spin fishermen.

Good Luck and Tight Lines------<*)))><

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