Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fly Fishing Benefactors SNAKE I Fly Reel

The SNAKE I reel from Fly Fishing Benefactors is a great reel at at great price.  Lightweight, smooth with a nice responsive sealed drag system, it accommodates a Cortland 4.5 weight line on a Sage 4 wt. XP just perfectly.  Cortland has discontinued the half-weight lines, but the new AVID line from RIO is very similar in design.  Everett  of TEAM7x is very impressed with this new offering from RIO.  The inexpensive spare SNAKE I spool carries a 4 wt. Cortland Sylk for a 3 wt. custom 9 footer or an Orvis Superfine 4 wt.  The thin, supple Sylk line seems to perform better a weight over; i.e. a 4 weight line on a 3 weight rod especially with a faster rod like the Sage XP.

I'm very impressed with the SNAKE I.  It is nicely machined, a great color and competes with the Lamson Litespeed weight-wise.  Although spec'd for a 3 or 4 weight line, I see no reason why it would not carry a 5 weight line with perhaps a bit of trimming on the running line end.  Best of all, FFB donates a portion of it's profits to several great causes!  Check out their other offerings or give Carl a call at FFB, he'll be glad to assist you with any questions.

 Note the porting on the spool which helps to remove weight.  The spool knob  (above) will NOT fall off in your hand when changing spools.  FFB has a great video on their site that highlights the features of the SNAKE I.  They also offer some good deals on lines/leaders and accessories.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Natchaug River...back to normal!

Following the weekend rain and cooler temps, the Natchaug has regained normal flows.  We expect the conditions to hold for this week, hopefully into next week and the start of summer!  Monday showed tea stained water but much better levels. Current water levels. (Good wading and flows at these levels.)  Emergers continue to take trout.  Our guests a week ago took several nice fish on a combination of emergers and soft hackles fished just under the surface  as evening approached. Today at the 6:00 o'clock hour, caddis, sulphur spinners and BWO's provided a compound hatch.  This was the most prolific sulphur spinner activity we've seen so far, but they were in egg laying mode and did not fall as of 8:20 PM. As has been the case most of the season, rising trout were few and far between; the off color water no doubt the issue.  We expect the next few days to be good; the larger runs and pools are still holding very nice fish and the increased flow has certainly extended what was looking like an early end to spring fishing.

"Evenings on the Natchaug" look good for the next week and hopefully beyond...TEAM 7x has dates available...AND space is available for the June 18 fly fishing intro at Charlie Brown Campground. Email us at This is an opportunity to try all brand new models of SAGE rods provided by The Lower Forty Outfitters of Worcester, our TEAM 7x supplier.  Stop in and visit Jim Bender at The Lower Forty...directions by clicking on the link to the right below.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Evenings on the Natchaug...leaders

The current flows on the Natchaug, like many freestone streams can be tricky; back eddies, boulders, natural obstructions cause conflicting current and can create instant drag when fishing dry flies.  The majority of our guests and fly fishermen we encounter (although rarely on the sections we fish!) are improperly set up with their fly line/leader system.  Most use loop to loop which can create "hinging" during the cast and present another area to hang up the fly in windy situations.  Many are fishing with a leader too short or with too short or no tippet section.  If loop to loop works for you, fine but we suggest giving the following a try...TEAM7x believes it will improve your transition from fly line to leader and turn your fly over easily while extending your drag free drift.

We use a 5 turn nail knot with a 3 foot piece of 20 lb. test mono to the fly line tip. Maxima Chameleon is a good choice since it is a stiff, hard mono. This creates a solid butt section.

Once the nail knot is complete, cut the butt section to 24 to 30 inches and tie your leader in with a 3 turn blood knot. To a 9' leader add 24 to 36 " of tippet.  We use a 5x or 6x leader and add 5, 6, or 7x as the situation requires. If a new leader is necessary, you've still got plenty of butt section.  Use Knot Sense on the nail and blood knots if you like.  The butt section transitions the fly line to leader much better than loop to loop...IN OUR OPINION...try it and see if it doesn't result in better turn over!  A 13 to 14 foot leader system will result in better drag free drifts and in the clear and currently lower water of the Natchaug,  reduce the chance of spooking that big trout! I tie and prefer the traditional knotted up leaders from Umpqua material with Varivas flouro tippet.

Try the "fixed butt section" described works for us!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Natchaug River, Eastern CT's finest

Yesterday afternoon and evening our guest took several nice rainbows on emergers and on top to a variety of patterns.  Water levels are good at this point but a shot of rain would be a big help. The clear water and slower flows now require 11-12 feet of leader when targeting rising trout; and be on 7x, of course!  Frequently we see too short leaders, short or NO tippet, or an unbalanced system which presents a problem in turning the fly over and in controlling drag.  The Natchaug presents lots of back eddies and subtle current, and can be a challenge to controlling drag on many sections.  More about how we set up our leader system later.

At dusk a blizzard of caddis, spinners, sulphurs and BWO's had trout rising in good numbers.  As usual, TEAM7x and guest were the only ones enjoying some great fishing in the areas we frequent on the Natchaug.  Our guest, a resident of Cape Cod made an interesting point; the Natchaug is the nearest trophy trout stream to the Cape...think about it; he's right!  "TEAM 7x and the Natchaug, a revelation," in a follow up email...thanks Steve!

We're hoping the great conditions hold thru the next weeks.  We'll be conducting our 2nd fly fishing intro session at Charlie Brown Campground on June 14 on the banks of the river.  If you're interested let us know as space is available on a limited basis.  We feature all new Sage rods and reels and it's a great chance to try all the Sage trout series fly rods courtesy of Sage and The Lower Forty outfitters our TEAM7x supplier.

COMING SOON!  A review of Cutthroat furled leaders and the "Snake 1" fly reel from Fly Fishing Benefactors, a great reel at a great price point!

ALSO:  The NATCHAUG dozen, 12 proven patterns we use repeatedly on the river.