Fly rod action explained...

What does fly rod action mean? What does fast action, medium-fast, or slow action mean and why is it important when picking a rod? Rod action can be confusing to understand for many anglers. One of reasons why action is hard to explain, is that there is no set standard or definition within the fly fishing industry for what action means. What is fast for one company might be medium-fast for another and vice versa. Also one companies definition of action might be slightly different from another. Here is a short list of words and definitions that will help you to understand fly rod action to a greater degree. 

1. Recovery speed - How fast the rod returns to straight after being bent or cast. The stiffer the rod the faster the recovery.

2. Flex or rod profile - Where the rod blank bends. A mid flex rod bends closer to the middle of the rod when cast. A tip flex rod bends more towards the tip when cast.

3. Line speed - How fast the line move through the guides when being cast. Rods that generate higher line speeds will shoot line further after a proper cast. 

4. Action - A combination of flex profile or taper (where the rod bends) and stiffness (the rods recovery time after being bent).

The benefits of fast action rods are that they typically cast further and generate higher line speeds, while the downside being a lack of feel and accuracy during shorter casts. Not all fast action rods are designed exactly the same, this is where rod profile becomes critical to understand. A fast rod with a flexible tip will have more feel and acuracy in closer ranges than those with stiffer tips. A fast action rod with a stiff tip can typically cast a mile, but can be a chore up close. Next time you are looking for a rod don't just focus on action, but pay attention to the flex profile. Also fast rods are not necessarily better than slower rods. The slower the action the more forgiving a rod is during a bad cast. A medium or medium-fast rod are typically better performers for short range fishing situation (and can be more enjoyable to fish because of the ability to feel the rod to a greater degree during the cast). There is no right or wrong rods (well there are some rods that are wrong for everybody). Your rod choice should be determined by your experience level, preference, fishing situation, and budget (for most people). 

Tight Lines,

New Products at IFTD and ICAST show 2017

This year at the IFTD show we introduced three new products with high praise. Our new T1 reel, Anthem rod, and Truth rod were received with high praise. The T1 is a throwback in design to our original TYPE1 reel with a modern updated edge. It features a sealed drag system, is light weight, and comes at a very affordable price of $240-$260 USD. Our new Anthem rod received a generous amount of praise with its beautiful golden olive, lightly sanded blank and flawless performance. It's our new medium-fast action rod with an MSRP in the low $200s. Our new Truth rod is our flagship fast action model featuring the highest modulus graphite, titanium components, beautiful high quality cork, and a stealth look. Keep an eye out for these new products at our retailers and online later this year!

Tips for offshore fly fishing

Billfish, shark, marlin, amberjack, barracuda, bonitos, jack, and tuna are some of the many reasons I have become addicted to offshore fly fishing. My first several trips offshore I faced the daunting challenge of figuring out what in the world I was doing. Not a lot of people fly fish offshore and when they do the techniques are varied and ambiguous. Before my first offshore trip I researched and prepared the best I knew how, but I still had a lot of questions. Here are some tips, gear advice, and info that can help you when it comes to fly fishing offshore.

Gear necessities

1. The fasting sinking fly line you can find - My first trip offshore we pulled up to a wreck and immediately there were fish all around the boat. The problem was they were about 30'-50' below us and I only had an intermediate line. Try as I may, I struggled to get the fly deep enough to get a take. After that I went home and bought the biggest and heaviest fly line I could find. That line was a game changer on my next trip when I encountered a very similar situation. Deep water = Deep fish.

2. 12wt+ Rod - Big fish means you need a big rod. Imagine hooking a large shark, tuna, amberjack, etc, and being stuck with a smaller rod! I usually throw a 12wt rod or bigger. 

3. 8wt -10wt rod also - I know I just said you need a 12wt rod, but fly fishing offshore in tropical environments can throw many different situations your way in one day. Bring your trusty 8wt flats rod with floating or intermediate line. If you run into a school of fish chasing bait or dorado handing around a weed line the 8wt will do the trick and can be easier to cast off the boat!

4. Thick tippet and wire - I normally throw 30lb mono straight leader offshore, but always carry wire tippet with me. Trust me, its very frustrating to get repeatedly cut off by large barracuda or shark because you forgot your wire. 

5. A reel with a strong brake - I fish our Revolution reel offshore every time! The 25lb drag brake is an absolute must. 

6. Big flies tied on big hooks - Big flies that push a lot of water are a must. I find large single hook musky or pike flies do just fine. I like weighted flies to help get the fly down quickly. It's also important to have a variety of different saltwater flys in your box. You never know what you will run into offshore. 

Tactics

1. Fish wrecks and underwater structure - Fish love any structure they can find. Any good captain will know the wrecks and locations where fish commonly hold. It's very common to pull up to a wreck and find that their are fish all around the boat in a short amount of time. Fish see the boat and get curious which will draw them near.

2. Use live bait and chum - Some purists don't like the use of chum or bait to bring the fish in. I think why waste time making your fishing harder than it needs to be. Chum will bring the fish to the boat and live bait (tossed off the boat one at a time) will tease the fish into casting distance. 

3. Trolling works (bait and switch technique) - Trolling usually involves conventional rods with hookless lures to bring the fish to the boat close enough so you can cast your fly and hook the fish. This is a common technique for billfish or marlin. 

4. Chase birds and agitated water - If you see birds diving into what looks like a bubble bath you have found a school of hungry predatory fish. The challenge is to get close enough and quick enough to get your fly into the feeding frenzy! If you can it's going to be game on!

5. Follow shrimp boats, weed lines - If you can find a large shrimp boat in your travels it can be extremely lucrative to give them a follow. Fish will often follow them feeding off the bi-catch. Make sure and be courteous to the boat before you start chasing them around! Most captains don't mind and some will even trade some shrimp for a magazine, newspaper, etc... (shrimp boats can be at sea for long periods at a time). Weed lines or other surface structure also often hold fish.

6. tease fish to the surface using hookless lures - Sometimes you can pull of to a wreck but the fish just won't come up form the bottom. I have found throwing a conventional rod with large crank style lures (no hooks) can help tease the fish from the bottom to the boat. Once the fish are near the surface switch out for the fly rod and get ready!

7. Keep your fly in the water - Last summer I caught a black fin tuna on the fly rod! It was a thrilling catch, but I never would have caught it if I hadn't kept my fly in the water. Before I hooked up with the fish, I hadn't seen anything moving in the water for about 20 minutes, but yet I kept casting, letting the fly sink, and stripping it back in. While I was doing this it just so happened that a school of tuna swam by and took the fly! I didn't see them coming, nor was I expecting them, but keeping my line in the water paid its dividends!

Fly fishing offshore can be intimidating and challenging, but sooo rewarding! These tips and tricks can help, but they are only a starting place. I know some of these tips are unconventional... but they are effective. Hire a good captain, get offshore and see what you can do! I guarantee one good day with the fly offshore will have you hooked for life! Maybe you have some advice we didn't list. If you have any other tips leave them in the comments section... Tight Lines!

Four reasons to love winter fishing

Many anglers spend the winter season dreaming of summer days casting dry fly's to foolish fish, while their rod and reel are gathering dust in the garage or closet. Don't get me, I love fishing the warm summer months as much as anyone, but I tend to spend my time daydreaming about those large winter trout more than anything else! Fall and Winter is the time I love being on the water! Right now you are probably thinking "WHY"? Here are four reasons you need to get on the water this winter!

1. Solitary Bliss - In our neck of the woods, there is some great tailwater fishing. My problem with tailgaters is the crowds and fishing pressure! When I fish I want to be alone in the blissful wonder of a solitary day on the water, not fighting for a hole with some random stranger. Winter thins the crowds... dramatically! I have had days alone on a stretch on water in the winter, when the norm is huge crowds during the warmer days. Because the fish have less pressure they are also a more willing to play in the winter. Its a win-win, less people and fish with a bigger appetite. 

2. Big Fish - Catching 50 dink trout on the 3wt is fun and everything, but there is nothing like hooking up with Grandaddy trout! Big fish come to play during the colder months. Browns typically in the fall and rainbows in the spring will move out of their deep holding water, looking for a place to spawn or for a warmer stretch of water to take refuge in. The same stretch of water where you only saw little guys in the summer can often hold the big guys in the winter! If you are looking to catch larger fish, winter can present some great opportunities. 

3. Water Clarity - I love sight fishing! There is nothing like seeing a trout smash your fly with your own two eyes! The water clarity in the winter can be fantastic (especially across the rockies) and this can make for a really good time. Winter can be the best opportunity to sight fish for large trout!

4. Streamers, streamers, and streamers - Nymphs, drys, midges, etc... are all great, but nothing compares to throwing large meaty fly's! Winter is prime time for chucking meat!I love tying streamers, throwing streamers, I love the take on streamers, I love watching fish chase streamers, and I love the fight on streamers. Big fly's = Big fish!  Nothing beats a large aggressive brown trout trying to murder your fly with pure aggression! 

Winter is a fantastic time to fish, so stop reading this blog and go string up that rod and reel, because its time to do some winter fishing! 

Tight Lines

The Small Things: How to Catch More Fish on the Fly

This year I have taken many trips with both beginner and intermediate fly casters. The one question I am often left with at the end of a trip is why one person catches more fish than another? Is it the cast, the mend, the fly, the drift, or just pure luck? Throughout the year I have made a small list of things that can dramatically improve your chances of catching fish. This isn't a list of major things like longer casts, matching the hatch, or even how lucky you are. This is a list of six subtle techniques that will improve your fish count. 

1. Set the hook by pulling down stream from the fish - It's common knowledge that fish normally feed facing upstream into the current. Many fly fisherman make the mistake of setting the hook by lifting the rod straight up in the air when they get a bite. The problem with this is that you will frequently pull the fly out of the fishes mouth by setting the hook this way. One of the best ways to set hook is by pulling the rod down stream towards the fishes tail. You do this by pulling the rod in a diagonal motion away form the fishes mouth. This allows your fly to set right in the corner of a fishes jaw, instead of running the risk of pulling the fly out of the mouth. The direction you set the hook can dramatically improve your hook up percentage. Give it a try!

2. Stealth Matters - Trout are spooky little fellas. They see, hear, and sense danger in order to protect themselves from predators. When fishing for spooky trout (or other fish) it's important to do all you can to avoid spooking fish. Her are some things I do to stay sneaky. 1. keep a low profile - I like to hide behind grass, boulders, trees, etc. I often cast from a crouched position when hunting spooky trout. 2. Wear colors that blend into your surroundings. 3. Avoid a false cast if you can - Fish can see and sense your line in the air. 70% of my casting on freestone streams is a roll cast of some type. Learn to master the long roll cast. It can save the day in a tight space. 

3. Get your fly at the right depth - While trout will of out of their way to feed, they mostly like to eat what is placed right in front of them. Most people think making a good cast is enough, but big fish commonly feed deep. You can place the fly directly in front of a feeding trout only to get the snub, because the fly isn't deep enough. Tungsten bead head fly's, split shots, fluorocarbon tippet can be lifesavers when it comes to sinking flies quickly. Next time a fish gives you the snub, try going deeper!

4. Keep your line wet - On slow fishing days people get frustrated. Common signs of frustration are changing flies numerous times, getting stuck on trees and branches (more than normal), wind knots, tangles, and too much time sitting on the bank. The best thing you can do to catch more fish is to keep your line in the water as much as possible. Keep casting, moving, and trying. Sometimes the fly isn't the problem, it's just slow. The more time you spend fishing, the more fish you will catch. I know this seem obvious and overly simple but too many fellas are stuck on the bank when they should be catching fish!

5. Go small - Small flies work. If I have the right fly but it's simply not producing I will often go the next size down. I do this with streamer's, nymph's, midge's, and dry's. Small flies work

6. Keep moving -  Don't get stuck fishing the same hole all day. When I fish I like to move. I have no problem fishing miles of water in one day. Don't get me wrong I will stop and spend time targeting a particular fish, but coving more water is one of the best ways to catch more fish. The more water you can set foot in, the more fish you will come in contact with. 

I hope some of those small tips help!

Tight Lines,

Matthew Taylor

Designing better fly reels...

When we first started Taylor Fly Fishing in early 2013 the most common question people would ask us was "why make ANOTHER fly reel"? The question was simply trying to tell us "isn't there already enough fly reels out there already". While the question was a bit annoying to us at the time it did have a valid point; why should we make another fly reel? For us the answer was simple, we believed we could make a better looking, better performing, more durable, and less expensive fly reel than what was currently available. The average fisherman can't walk into a shop and throw down $700 for that fancy new piece of machining, but does that mean they have to settle some something less than greatness? For us the answer is no. For us designing a better fly reel means keeping to our core values: durable, stylish, and affordable. Durable means that the reel can handle the abuse of long days on the water, slips and falls, getting knocked around guide boat, etc... For us stylish means perfect machining, slick look and feel, and colorful options. For us affordable doesn't mean cheap but value. You shouldn't have to refinance your house to purchase the reel of your dreams or choose between putting food on the table or that beautiful piece of machining. So far we feel like we have designed reels that reflect our values. We still have more we want to accomplish: new innovations, new designs, and new breakthroughs. Designing better fly fishing products is our passion and our hope is that our passion leads you to more fish!