Tag Archives: fly rod

Fly Rod and Reel Resting Against a Tree

If you see a nice fly rod and reel resting against a tree at a popular access point and there is no other car close by, just leave it there. Eventually the owner will realize where he left it and he will come back to get it. If you find a rod and reel underwater in a river, take it to the closest tackle shop and tell them where you found it. Also write down the manufacturer and the serial number on the rod. Then call the manufacturer, they may have the owners name and address on record.

Choosing a Fly Rod – Fly Fishing Article

Choosing a Fly Rod

Be Nice To Your Fly Rod

Jeff Murray Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
Many of my Scott Fly Rods that I use often are over 30 years old and they cast as well as the day I bought them because I take care of them.

A friend recently purchased a new fly rod and broke it while casting the first day out. When I asked him if he had put ferrule dressing on it before fishing, he looked at me with a questioning expression and asked “No, what is that?”
I always apply a light coat of Murray’s Ferrule Dressing on each ferrule on a new fly rod and every six months there after. This helps assure a smooth non slipping ferrule joint and can prolong the life of the ferrule.

Length of Casts

Casts Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA - Big Spring Creek - Circa 1976
On Big Spring Creek, Harry Murray finds that it is often more productive to sneak in on the trout than make real long casts. (Photo Circa 1978)

Experienced anglers know it is best to never cast further than is necessary to keep from scaring the fish when in freshwater. Excessively long casts can result in a loss of accuracy, loss of drag control, inconsistency in strike detection and missed strikes. In low, clear flat sections of the streams we are often compelled to punch out long casts, however, judge this by the stream conditions.

Save a Fly Rod

A good fly rod does a great job in fighting a fish like this, but they are not built to jerk solidly hooked flies out of trees.
A good fly rod does a great job in fighting a fish like this, but they are not built to jerk solidly hooked flies out of trees.

When a fly gets caught in a tree over the stream which is out of reach the proper way to attempt to free it is to point the rod straight at the fly and pull the line gently with the line hand. If the fly has now wrapped the leader around the limb it will probably pull free and you have saved the fly. If it has wrapped you will break it off but the rod will not be damaged. Never jerk back with the rod like you are setting the hook on a fish. A friend just did this with one of my favorite Scott fly rods and broke the rod. It is foolish to break a $795.00 fly rod in attempting to save a $2.00 fly.

Easy Trout

Fishing Trico is one my favroite alongling games. On Armstrong at Livingston, Montana I had three dozen trout rising within casting distance.
Fishing Trico is one my favorite angling games. On Armstrong at Livingston, Montana I had three dozen trout rising within casting distance.

Now that the Trico hatch is in full swing on our trout streams you can rest assured that these trout probably have examined more artificial flies than most anglers. The trout know this hatch well and want to feed on the naturals as an exceptionally tough brown trout showed me one morning on a small Pennsylvania stream when he took 67 naturals in a measured 60 seconds.
Here are some of the ploys I use on this hatch that help me.
(1) I always get to the stream well before the time of the day when I know the hatch is due to start and stay well after it is over. Often the trout are easier to fool when the naturals are sparse.
(2) In order to get a drag-free drift over a steady riser I usually use a “puddle cast” which creates extra slack in the leader.
(3) Although I normally fish 7X leaders on this hatch i find that 8X leaders often renders a more natural fly drift.

New Angler, Part B

Trout Fly Fishing in Eastern and Western Spring Creeks.
Trout Fly Fishing in Eastern and Western Spring Creeks.

“I am new to fly fishing and need advice on rods for freshwater fishing”. This question came in as email and I believe many anglers are at this point.  In  order to answer this in a meaningful way I will discuss the outfits I use in various types of fly fishing and why.  I will break this down into four separate blogs and post one each week:

(A) Small Mountain Streams
(B) Large Eastern Trout Streams and Western Spring Creeks
(C) Large Western Trout Streams
(D) Bass Streams and Lakes

Part (B) Large Eastern Trout Streams and Western Spring Creeks

In answering my beginning anglers question for help on “selecting tackle: let us look at the ideal outfit to use on large trout streams in the East. This could be the Beaverkill in New York, Big Spring Creek in Pennsylvania or The Jackson in Virginia.  I use flies as small as 24 Tricos on 7X on these streams and go up to nymphs as large as size 8.  Accuracy in fly placement as well as delicacy is very important on these streams, as is drag-control on the drifting of the flies. I find that a delicately tipped 9 foot 4 weight rod is perfect for this eastern fishing as well as fishing Western Spring Creeks.  For me personally rods which require lines larger than four do not give me the delicacy I like and rods shorter than 9 feet long rob me of drag control. My favorite rods are the Scott G2 9 foot 4 weight 4 piece and the Scott Radian 9 foot 4 weight 4 piece.

Fix Those Line Wraps on a Fly Rod

Take your rod apart and place the butt section under your arm to correct any knots that occur in the upper part of the rod, this saves a broken rod.
Take your rod apart and place the butt section under your arm to correct any knots that occur in the upper part of the rod, this saves a broken rod.

Frequently the wind or an underpowered casts causes the line to form a knot around the upper part of the fly rod. When you are wading in deep water or in a canoe this can present a problem that could easily break a rod by causing excessive bending in an attempt to reach the tip of the rod to untie the knot.
Here is a method I use that is easy and safe to use. Simply take the rod apart at the middle ferrule. Pull 6 feet of fly line off the reel and place the butt section of the rod under your arm. Bring in the tip section of the rod and correct the knot and then reassemble the rod and you are ready to go.
I also use this method when I am wading a deep river and want to change reel spools in order to go from a floating line to a sinking head line.

Fly Fishing Tip: Are you casting too much?

Fly Fishing Tip: Are you casting your fly rod/ fly line too much??

Fly Fishing: Line Flash Fly Rod Casting
Line Flash – A great way to tell the fish somethings wrong!

Fly Fishing Tip: Are you casting your fly rod/ fly line too much?
“Don’t cast too much, you’re going to spook the fish!”  These words often heard from fly fishing guides around the world.  The basis for this statement can be readily seen in the picture above.  What you see is “Line Flash”.  We see it in the picture as a reflection of light, much the way a fish sees it.  When a fish sees this through his window to the outside world he doesn’t recognize it as line flash but he does recognize it as something “abnormal”.  Those “abnormal” happenings are what spook fish be it a Heron, Eagle, Angler, Snake, Line Flash or your casts smacking the surface of the water repeatedly.  These all spook fish, especially the older, often bigger fish.
Unfortunately, we make many casts while practicing our casting on a lawn, pond or slow section of water.  We here at Murray’s Fly Shop are guilty of promoting this style of casting because when we teach casting in our classes, we make lots of repetitive casts.
This practicing often involves “false casts” or casts which don’t actually let the fly land on the water (or leader land on the grass) where the fish are.  The more you take this practice to the fishing arena, the more opportunity you have to spook fish due to “Line Flash”.
So, the next time you are on the water do your best to:
1. Keep False Casting to a minimum.
2. Get rid of the feeling that you have to make the perfect cast to present your fly to the fish.
3. If you must False Cast, do it off to the side of where you think the fish is to prevent the line flash from occurring immediately over its head.
4. While practicing: Practice making one cast, let the cast land on the water (or grass), then make another cast.
5. Should you feel the need to make multiple false casts to lengthen your cast, try adding a single or double haul.  If that doesn’t do it, you may need a different fly line (one with a different distribution of weight throughout the head).

Learn to Cast a Fly Rod

Learn to cast a fly rod Learn to Cast a Fly Rod (or brush up on your skills) perfect your double haul, steeple cast, slack line mend, puddle cast or maybe you need to work on your Backing/ Fly Line knot. We will cover these and more in our Fly Casting and Rigging Workshop.
Sign up for the Fly Casting and Rigging Workshop Saturday February 16, 2013 from 10:00 – Noon at the fly shop in downtown Edinburg, VA.

Selecting a Fly Fishing Rod by Action – Part II


We have put this video together to help you understand the different fly rod actions and their fly fishing application. Harry Murray discusses why one eight weight fly rod action works better for bonefish while another action works better for bass, particularly smallmouth bass, fly fishing applications. Our goal with this four part series “Selecting a Fly Fishing Rod by Action” is to allow you to walk into your local fly shop, pick up and cast a few fly rods and be able to determine which one will perform optimally in your fly fishing situation.

Selecting a Fly Fishing Rod by Action – Part I


This video is the first in our multi part series on selecting a fly rod to suit the needs of the flyfishing YOU plan to do. Our goal with this series is to enable you to: walk into your local fly shop, pick up a fly rod and be able to tell if it will meet the demands of the fly fishing you plan to do based on it’s action.
For example: A 6 weight fly rod which is designed to cast large streamers should be expected to perform poorly when forced to cast size #18 dry flies. When you walk out of the fly shop excited about your new fly rod, we want that excitement to continue and not end the next time you go flyfishing when you find out it is too stiff or too soft to meet your needs.

Mildew and your Fly Fishing Gear

How do you know when to wash your fly rod sac and replace the backing on your fly fishing reel? A quick, easy and accurate test is to smell them….If they smell like mildew wash the rod sac and replace the backing.  I like to allow my fly rod and flyfishing reel to dry for several days at room temperature out of direct sunlight before storing it for longer than a day. You are reading this too late and you let your fly rod/ sac/ backing mildew? Depending on the degree of mildew, this could be the end of your fly rod.  Clean your fly rod with a dish detergent and allow it to sit out to air dry for several days then check to see how badly it is damaged.  Cork grips and rod wraps will be the hardest to salvage if they are soft after this drying period.  Fly reel backing – replace it.  Rod sac – wash it in a mild bleach solution  and allow to air dry.  This will discolor your rod sac but it will still be functional and protect your fly rod while in the case.

Baetis and Clouds and Trout

Pseudocloeons and Baetis equal Trout Food
Baetis, Pseudocloeons, Blue Wing Olives.  Overcast days on the Shenandoah Valley trout streams can produce great hatches throughout the winter months.  A 3 or 4 wt. fly rod combined with a floating fly line, 9ft. 5x or 6x leader and a few flies to match the hatch will provide ample entertainment when the hatch is on.  I like to start off with a #20 Mr. Rapidan Parachute or #18 Baltz Dry Para Nymph then switch to a #20 CDC  BWO if I am getting refusals.  I prefer the first two flies since they tend to be more durable patterns and are easier to see on the water.  Remember to watch areas around springs since the water will be a bit warmer in these areas on those cold winter days.  Check our Trout Fishing Report to stay up to date with current fishing conditions on our local trout streams.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Report

The warm weather has kicked the local fly fishing in to gear!  The North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River are both in great shape and are fishing well (for April).  Kelly landed this 15 1/2 inch Smallmouth Bass on an Olive Marauder #6 on 4/7/2010.  A Sink Tip III Fly Line will work well for helping to swim your flies deeply through the ledges and deep pockets.  An 8 Wt. Fly Rod will help you cast the heavy flies and lines a bit better than a 6 or 7 that we typically use in the summer.

Fly Fishing for Brook Trout in the Shenandoah National Park has been very good with mayflies and caddis coming off throughout the day.  There is still a lot of water so if you are willing to hike into the upper reaches of your favorite stream, you will likely be rewarded with a few more willing fish.

Dangerous Trick

When your fly becomes hooked on a tree limb several feet beyond your reach, there is a great temptation to stick your rod tip all the way up to the fly and try to twist and turn the fly until you free it. This is not a good practice because you can easily break your fly rod…..There is no fly worth risking breaking your fly rod.

Check your Fly Rod Ferrules

Scott Fly Rod ARC957 Ferrule
Throughout the fishing season each of us should periodically give our fly rod, reel, fly line and other gear a thorough inspection to check for damage or indications of premature wear. Â At the end of the season I like to cast, clean, thoroughly dry and visually inspect my fly rods before I store them for the Winter. Â I clean the fly rod including the guides, ferrules, blank, grip and reel seat. Â Check for loose guides and ferrules. Â Check the grip for damage. This simple inspection/ maintenance can save countless hours of down time next season.
While doing this, I found that our Scott ARC957 Fly Rod’s ferrules are a bit too worn for another season. According Scott Fly Rods chief rod designer Jim Bartschi, the internal spigot ferrules should have a gap between 1/8″ to 1/2″ when the two pieces are put together like you are ready to fish.
The fly rod in these pictures has been used well over 100 days per year for the last 10 years and the last time I sent it back to the Scott Fly Rod Company for ferrule work was three years ago. Â It is at Scott right now for another ferrule rehab.
Something that many anglers overlook is the fact that ferrules do wear and if you forget to apply ferrule dressing periodically they can wear rather quickly (watch Harry’s Ferrule Dressing video).  This wear occurs with sleeve (overlapping) ferrules but is not as obvious since there is no constant reference point. The rate of wear depends on a variety of factors such as; frequency of use,  are the ferrules clean,  do you apply ferrule dressing, etc.
What happens when the ferrules get too close/ wear out? Worse case scenario is that you break your fly rod on the fish of a lifetime. Â The reason it breaks is that a worn out ferrule will slip, allowing the thinner part of the ferrule to absorb all of the stress of casting or fighting a fish or pulling your fly out of the bushes.
What should I do if  my ferrules are worn out? Send your fly rod back to the manufacturer and ask them to repair your ferrules.  If you rod has a lifetime warranty this is covered by that warranty.  If you have no warranty, most manufacturers have their own in-house repair shop which can handle the repair for a nominal fee.
If you have any questions about your fly rod and fly rod care, please email us or give us a call (540-984-4212)

Scott Fly Rod ARC 9'6" 7wt. Internal Spigot Ferrule
Worn Ferrule: Should be repaired! Notice how close together the sections are. Much less than 1/8".

Graphite Fly Rods Need Ferrule Dressing

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I know we posted this some time ago but I have recently seen a rash of fly rods broken at the ferrules and after much discussion with several of the manufacturers’ rod builders, our conclusion is that the ferrules are slipping vs. a design flaw. A question I am going to pose to anglers in the future: Have you ever taken your rod apart at the end of the day and found that one of the ferrules was not snug? If you answer yes to this question then you need to apply ferrule dressing… Keep your rod out of the repair shop and on the water!

Take a kid fishing!!

My Grandson Jake’s first Smallmouth Bass on a fly rod… Up at 4:00am and on the river by 5:00.. the early “kid” got the fish. Grandson Jake with his first Smallmouth Bass on a Fly Rod