Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Trips To Take: Bolivian Golden Dorado

Trips to Take: Bolivia for Golden Dorado

The newest edition of American Angler magazine showed up in the mail last night and I was immediately drawn to the impressive photo on the cover:

I read the article and found it quite interesting. In August of 2009, American Angler contributor and filmmaker Dr. Grant Wiswell traveled to the remote Bolivian headwaters of the Amazon River on an exploratory trip in search of Golden Dorado. As I am trout fly fisherman I thought it was pretty cool how these huge Dorado behave similar to trout in the river. I can only imagine what it would have been like to cast to these huge beauties who had never seen an artificial fly before!

I did a little more research today about it, and the trip is no joke. It's an intensive trip into the middle of nowhere, in what has been called "Cocaine Country". What little reading I was able to find on the subject didn't sound all that dangerous though, but it isn't cheap. The author and a small party of angling adventurers stayed at a newly opened camp on the Itirisama River called Tsimane Lodge ( The lodge offers a 10-day trip, not including air time from the States to Bolivia. The site doesn't include pricing which lead me to believe it's not something I will be able to afford in the next say....20 years? Certainly not before the kids are out of college or I win big in Powerball *crosses fingers*, plenty of time to brush up on my Spanish.
Anyhow the article is interesting and I'd recommend it as it is a quick read.

Apparently they are creating a film of the journey as the trailer can be found here:

Yep, I am pretty sure I could handle that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wire, Wire, Wire

I had been meaning to post something on wire ever since Brandon blogged about the Wapsi Ultra thread ( a few months back. There has been some discussion recently at RMF on the very topic which reminded me to get on it (

When I first started tying I didn't know much about wire so I just used the Danville wire that came in my beginner's kit.

I immediately found that if not properly re-wrapped and stored the design of the Danville spool lends itself for quite a mess when the wire fell off the spool and got tangled with everything. For this reason alone I don't use Danville wire much any more, though I do have a fair amount of it. It's cheap, easy to find, and works fine as long as you store it properly though I make enough of a mess tying and don't bother with the tangles any longer.

I quickly discovered UTC Ultra Wire, the key material for Barr's Copper John, which is my primary wire of choice now simply because of the size and color options available (see chart below):

Charlie's Flybox (a.k.a. the greatest place ever carries just about every spool available for a decent price. My tying cabinet is now stock full of a variety of colors and sizes, though I always seem to accumulate more. I really like the UTC wire as it is easy to use and store and doesn't come untangled nearly as easily as the Danville wire has for me. Plus with the size and color combinations the possibilities are endless. Brassie size is perfect for hook sizes 18-22. For sizes 16 and up, and for stonefly and streamer ribbing, go to "Medium". Small size ultra wire is perfect for ribbing Gold Ribbed Hare's Ears, Zug Bugs, etc. I use X-Small for tying Zebra Midges, and for midge patterns smaller than #20.

More recently I have begun using Largatun Non-Tarnishing Wire. I am not as familiar with the options and colors available, though I think Largatun makes a fine product though it's a little more expensive. They make a wire even smaller than UTC that is easily manipulated. I have stocked up on a few spools, particularly of their X-Fine size because it's smaller than the X-SM UTC wire and less messy than Danville. I really like the sheen of the wire, which apparently comes from the amount of polished precious metals, and it seems to hold up better than Danville. The length of wire on each spool is 7 yds. for small size, 10 for fine and 15 for X–fine and is available in 3 finishes: cold, silver, and copper.

According to Scruffy Fly of RMF, the diameters of some of the different sizes are as follows:

UltraWire XSM = .004"
Largartun Fine = .005"
Danville Fine = .005"
UltraWire SM = .007"
Largartun SML = .007"
34 gauge = .007"
UltraWire BR = .009"
Dnvl Brassie = .009"
UltraWire MED = .013"

The only other wire I have been using is a lead-free wire wrapped to add weight to nymphs and streamers. I know Hareline and a variety other companies put similar wire out. I got a whole box with a variety of sizes from Cabela's a few years back and haven't had a need to replace anything yet. Lead-Free = Good.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Hatch

"Once a year, an epic insect hatch invades Colorado's Black Canyon sending tingles down the spine of every trout and every fisherman who brave the nearly vertical 2,000 foot scramble into the Gunnison River gorge. This film is a tribute to this incredible place and the people who will fight for it's future as a unique ecosystem."
I recently purchased my own copy of "The Hatch" documentary which was produced and directed by Travis Rummel and Ben Knight and available through Felt Soul Media and absolutely loved. It's only about 18 minutes in length but is very well made. The documentary centralizes around the annual Pteronarcys californica (salmonfly) hatch along the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Having experienced this unreal hatch first hand I can tell you this documentary does a great job of capturing the awesome chaos that unfolds during the hatch.

While the film focuses on the beauty of the Gunnison River as it flows through the Black Canyon and has a great deal of fantastic fish, huge salmon flies, and breathtaking scenery, the underlying message is the extreme importance of water conservation. It is rather disturbing to think about how much water we waste and it's impacts not only on the Gunnison but all other rivers. The film does a great job explaining how our water consumption can devastate such a pristine environment and experience the Gunnison offers today.

"Fly fishing to me is something that is so special that I don't like to share my section of stream with a lot of other people, and that's my love of the Gunnison." - Woody Pattishall

Best Documentary Gotham Film Fest NYV 2005, Official Selection: Banff Film Festival, Banff World Tour, Telluride Mountain Film Festival, Taos Film Festival, Durango Independent Film Festival.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Size Conversion

SwitterB posted the above graphics on his blog and I am posting them here really for my own reference for no other reason than I am too lazy to consult with a ruler to determine millimeter to inch conversion and appropriate bead or hook sizes.