Recent Articles

Keeps a licking and keeps on ticking … »

An observant fellow notes a trout swimming in a Swiss lake appears odd, and discovers trout are evolving natural defenses against the local Osprey …

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While I don’t think the Timex watch is a Swiss invention, it engenders new respect for a heretofore fragile salmonid.

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I imagine the local Osprey are likely perfecting the Immelmann and how best to engage fish using, “Death from the Side.”

The squeals of outrage will demand a watery Jihad »

mule300While the old adage insists, “ … in Spring, a young man’s thoughts turn to Love,” the Global Warming variant may change that antiquated lyric to, “ …in Summer, a young trout’s thoughts turn to Hybridization.”

A recent study of wild trout intermingled with hatchery fish, based on lakes and hydroelectric dams in Norway - suggests that wild fish and hatchery trout rarely inter-breed. It’s thought the high mortality rate of pen-raised, pellet-fed, fish – coupled with the inability of hatchery fish to make use of spawning creeks – means the two strains rarely occupy the same space at the same time, and interbreeding is negligible as a result.

Released trout accounted for nearly 30% of the sexually mature fish in the reservoirs and it was assumed that the prolonged use of non-indigenous and previously released fish in hatcheries posed a risk to the genetic integrity of wild fish. However, it appears that wild fish maintain their natural, genetic structure, principally due to the high mortality of indigenous and released hybrids and to the fact that released fish do not migrate when spawning.

- from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science

My tortured blend of humor and lay science suggests this phenomenon could be due to their “fast food” diet. How inhaling pellets shat from a cannon leaves hatchery trout couch-prone and listless – versus chasing a shapely wild female up the riffle and into the Gravels of Lust.

But Global Warming and its corresponding changes in water temperatures apparently changes this delicate relationship. With elevated temperatures, “Couch Potato” fish suddenly mount everything, including beer cans and sunken grocery carts and the gene pool resulting is a crazy mash up of hybridized fish.

Despite widespread release of millions of rainbow trout over the past century within the Flathead River system5, a large relatively pristine watershed in western North America, historical samples revealed that hybridization was prevalent only in one (source) population. During a subsequent 30-year period of accelerated warming, hybridization spread rapidly and was strongly linked to interactions between climatic drivers—precipitation and temperature—and distance to the source population. Specifically, decreases in spring precipitation and increases in summer stream temperature probably promoted upstream expansion of hybridization throughout the system. This study shows that rapid climate warming can exacerbate interactions between native and non-native species through invasive hybridization, which could spell genomic extinction for many species.

- Excerpt from Nature Climate Change, July 2014

As I’m one of those horribly insensitive louts that claim to have tread lightly on his environment, (which we now realize as “having our way with the Old Gal,”) and after leaving what few scraps of the watershed that remains to the New Breed of fly fishermen, can only cackle at your indignity when you see some obese Grass Carp mounting that silvery, noble Rainbow (as it lies panting in the hot water), and how righteous you’ll sound when you insist we kill everything with Rotenone, so the gene pool is kept sacrosanct …

In addition to leaving you whatever we couldn’t eat, along with the discarded plastic wrapper of everything we did consume, we’ve imparted to you our antiquated snooty attitude towards salmonids. No doubt you’ll cling to this last bit of purism despite rising hemispheric temperatures, and with the Trout-centric enviro-lobby’s urging – will launch a Genetic Cleansing, or watery Jihad … whichever Politically Correct term you’ll devise for eradicating all the warm water fish that don’t mind hybridizing with lawnmowers or Salmo Salar …

Exploring what little damp remains »

Tracking down “little blue lines” on a map hasn’t proved fruitful of late, given that which was once blue … is now overly warm or dried up completely.

Having come over the hill from Santa Rosa last week and skirting the edge of Lake Berryessa, I noted a lot more bank was visible, yet Putah Creek still had ample flow despite scarring from the Monticello Fire of early June.

Olives, Pomegranates, and walnuts are compelling, but I’d played the  “Domestic Goddess” for most of the last month – it was high time aprons and fruit Pectin played second fiddle to a wisp of fiberglass waved in anger.

Last year I had fished Putah Creek from above, through the UC Davis campus and south of Interstate 80, and while access was plentiful due to sprawling campus, the water was sheathed in oak woodland which alternated with brambles, thickets, plowed fields, and blackberry bushes. So parking nearby was easy – yet achieving the water without injury proved much less so …

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Wading being a mirror of the terrestrial experience – given the perils of interlocking wader-killing underwater limbs, slick clay patches, and rotting vegetation that appears firm until it isn’t.

Opaque olive water may be off-putting to the trout crowd, but it’s a welcome sight to us “frog water” aficionados that recognize a combination of tough access, obvious bouquet, and discolored water, are hallmarks of the “new Wilderness” … ignored by fishermen, scorned by dog walkers and joggers, and home to unknown fisheries and homeless encampments.

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… and while everyone else roars past oblivious to the dark line of trees hiding the creek from traffic, it’s not without its moments ..

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… and even if the bulk of its inhabitants were of the five-inch class, there were indications that an occasional resident reached larger dimensions. Naturally, they would only make an appearance when sliding across the slick clay yielded a tree branch through a wader leg – as only outright suffering makes wary fish less so.

Kelvin_CheckDam

A point debated by my fishing buddy, whose obvious delight at basking in the sun while monopolizing the only real estate permitting a free and unfettered back cast, overcame his lust for larger fish.

After clawing my way through alders, clinging underbrush, and gingerly negotiating a homeless bunker complex, the idea of resting without peril next to the babbling brook was most attractive.

While many complain about the Lack, I shift my attentions to the Plenty »

The drought and its unrelenting grip on the weather remind us of the absence of many things; moisture in any form, fishing of every type, and how Fall is being kept at arm’s length, denying us even a brief respite.

… unless you count forest fires as welcome change.

This year we had fires in every significant trout drainage in the state including; Hat Creek and Fall River, Yosemite, the Upper Sacramento, American, and anything else sloped towards the Pacific and sporting an overly warm dribble from the Sierra.

Naturally ebullient and unwilling to dwell on all the things denied us, I’ve busied myself with the Plenty, letting those prone to sourness swear at inclement conditions and hot weather.

olives1The Unexpected Plenty: defined by a big rig negotiating an onramp poorly and leaving 10000 pounds of Jalapeno Peppers on the edge of the road.

The Hoped for Plenty: that Garlic field whose harvester missed enough furrows as to allow me to squirrel away enough garlic to render myself off-putting to a Zombie Apocalypse, an uprising of Vampires, or most anyone ringing my front door.

… and the Unasked for Plenty; the appearance of enough Olives on the trees ringing the fields to allow me to dabble in toxic chemicals, converting the bitter and astringent Olive into something more docile and table worthy.

Fishing has been relegated to observation of the watershed and the realization that the two greatest despoilers of the environment are actually the root of the creek’s continued survival…

Man, for all his shortsightedness and many faults – occasionally preserves a watershed by intent. While that is infrequent in my unclean waters, occasionally we grow tired of crapping on the small and defenseless, and guilt makes us part with a few farthings for restoration work.

That other great despoiler of watersheds is the Beaver. Considered an unwelcome invasive in both South America and Europe, as it has great appetite for bank burrowing and tree felling, neither act endearing the beaver to anything else sharing the watershed.

As my creek has been dry since July, and does so each year at that time, the only life left in the watershed is contained in pockets of deep water. After the floods of Winter, the beaver rebuild their dams over the Spring, deepening the creek measurably, and these “islands of water” are all that remain for the fish, flora, and in stream fauna. Without beaver and his incessant engineering, I would have no fish.

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I still patrol the last few islands every couple of weekends. I carry a rod so as not to be considered a “person of interest” by the occasional jogger or landowner intent on my doings.  I note the mink and beaver that occupy the remaining water and realize that predation doesn’t need my help. In this overly warm, stagnant environment it’s likely each fish hook thrust through jawbone could weaken the few brood stock that are left, and imperil next year’s fishing.

Which will be moot if this drought persists.

Where we fish from the shores like Gentlemen »

tweedWith little to fish for and the only hatch forest fires, I’ve little to hone my skills than science.

Neovison Vison” is Latin for our pal the Mink, and a study released on the biological implications of Didymo diatoms spread via animal agent has recently concluded in Patagonia, Chile. Mink, like waterfowl, are able to travel much farther than smaller waterborne animals (up to 10 KM overland), making them a poster child for diatom spread given the damp and humid environment their fur represents.

… and how anything liable to rub onto felt soles is likely to do similar when in contact with a Mink’s arse …

Anything immersed in water and coming into contact with damp substrate can carry diatoms, but waders and shoe uppers are an unpleasantness anglers only talk about in hushed circles. We know that were we to point fingers at others with greater fervor would bring into focus our remaining unclean habits and our hypocrisy, and would force us to cast from the shoreline like proper gentlemen.

It’s my opinion our beloved pastime and its many pundits continue to ignore issues associated with waders and wading shoe uppers, having performed their “due diligence” by pointing the finger at felt soles, and ignoring the larger issues of us being the vector for a lot of watershed ills.

Unfortunately true concern for the watershed may have us ensconced in a placental plastic membrane, or Tweed and Deerstalker, as science is proving reluctant to condone anyone or anything’s feet in the water …

“.. wildlife vectors may limit or negate the efficacy of biosecurity measures focused exclusively on the human role in dispersal (e.g. ‘check, clean, dry’ and gear washing stations) to date, management of D.Geminata has not considered wildlife vectors (Reid et al. 2012) a key oversight in terms of conservation planning and efforts to contain or exclude D. Geminata”

Factor in the omnipresent nature of waterfowl and their intercontinental migration patterns, and should diatoms live within damp duck down as they do in Mink fur, they’ll be viable for sixty days flight time, akin to our damp wading gear, yet instead of drying in our garage, landing nightly in a new watershed, and spreading diatoms with each immersion.

Geese were also mentioned as having direct interaction with D. Geminata (swimming, feeding, or touching the bloom).

The article has not yet been released into the public domain, and is available only as a paid download, and therefore cannot be redistributed yet.

IT concludes that 23 mink sampled in two rivers had on average about 3000 live diatoms rinsed from their fur after capture (capture was on dry land), and the kind and type of diatom found roughly matched their occurrence in Nature.

Animals captured near heavy concentrations of D. Geminata had more cells on them than those caught in rivers of weaker diatom density. Which is not surprising at all, and is consistent with common sense.

While humans are one of the animal agents that spread algal cells, and our jets and boats and vehicles make us especially well suited in doing so, our simplistic notion of “our dirty feet” being central to diatom spread and subsequent bloom is growing more holes than a good Swiss cheese.

Dissolved Phosphorus controls the presence of Didymo “bloom” and most of the continents have their own subspecies of the diatom – and have hosted it for some time.

Of particular interest to me is the article’s mention that salmonids are also able to spread D. Geminata. To date we’ve enjoyed an egotistical notion that we are the root of most watershed evil, but even migratory fish scrub the occasional rock – and carry diatoms further up or downriver.

Rainbow trout were mentioned specifically, with a sample of 20 fish having been scraped of mucous yielding no live D. Geminata cells, but Chinook salmon were mentioned as having a better likelihood of harboring live cells in their mucous, but are as yet untested.

This notion I find completely fascinating and potential humorous, given how us anglers flock to salmon streams during migrations, and how our feet may have been blamed coincidentally for spreading the plague our quarry brought with them …

… that ought to bake your noodle.

How to tie a seven inch Rapala Rainbow Trout »

I couldn’t help thinking of some young fellow with his tongue clenched between his teeth manhandling some thick-stemmed saddle into an unruly imitation of his first fly collar. That was one of many Defining Moments for those of us persisted, as we could have cursed loudly and abandoned the sport, yet we somehow persevered until the source of our pain became child’s play.

… (mostly because we were masochists) and being one of the many that kept at it, I find myself eyeing the future and realizing some of those hardships will soon vanish, to be replaced by some other test of resolve.

At the moment it’s merely Plano and Rapala that need worry about their revenue given hard plastics are the most consumer friendly printing medium, but 3D printer technology is improving so fast that foodstuffs and metals will burst from our nozzles as precisely as they do with commercial applications and industrial printers. Like all technologies, only miniaturization and mass marketing are needed to bring their price down to the point where they’re spitting out See’s candy about as fast as you can order it from Amazon.com.

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Some canny fellow takes a micrometer to his favorite lure, pumps the data elements into his printing software, and outputs a Wee Wart or jig head, or … saddle hackle …

Textiles are likely to be a snap given most are already polymers. A hint of heat and a spiral tuck, and it’s not too much of a stretch to see fly components crapping out of that same nozzle.

Beads, jig heads, rattles, eyeballs, spat by the gross from your printer and ready for a final dusting of spray paint or glitter.

3dLure

Like the music industry and media moguls of Hollywood, angling is likely to see angry executives insistent that “home tied” Rat-L-Traps constitute the new Communist Menace, and insist on a lifetime fishing ban for the perpetrator.

… whose wife will be ecstatic at the prospect of her spouse finally shouldering chores without being nagged incessantly.

… and you hunch over to protect all the sensitive bits »

While I’m not entirely certain what felled me, the romantic version involves the rushing of air overhead, a flash of yellow, and then the snarl of a bright yellow plane climbing for altitude. It’s the Brownliner’s version of hearing the squeal of skidding tires in an intersection, yet instead of the sickening crunch that follows, we get the oily vapors of some nameless chemical descending from above.

While crop dusters are part of the watershed, the guessing game resulting from being dusted ranges the full gamut. Plane screams by overhead and chemical follow; by midweek either the thinning spot on your head has filled in noticeably – complements of fertilizer, or is thinning further, due to Paraquat.

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You’re never sure whether the guy saw you and mashed the nipple to cover you in something he thought hilarious, or it’s your luck that made you emerge from the undergrowth just in time to take a shellacking.

I spent a week scratching most of my nether half, from crown to ankles, so the Math is fairly simple. Half the time it’s fertilizer and the other half is something to kill crop pests, and all the time they’re unwelcome.

Or it was that new concentrated purple-label Tide that smelled to high heaven. It’s even scarier to assume something that’s supposed to clean you up is more caustic than airborne Bug B Gone …

The Great Wader debate that wasn’t »

Pink_Camo197Look at this,” he says as he thrusts a pair of waders under my nose, “the thread’s broken on the knee and they’re unraveling already.”

I don spectacles so I can see where he’s pointing, little worm tracks of abrasion on his zippered breathable awesomeness, and I’m not sure whether it’s fabric that’s deteriorating or an honest abrasion that’s causing the knee to decompose.

“That’s what you get for buying these weak-assed breathables,” I says, “Neoprene is way tougher than breathables and they’re only a tenth the cost.”

He wrinkles his nose in disapproval, “Yea, but Neoprene is hot and makes you stink.”

Now I’m the one that’s incredulous, “Stink? … You’re sacrificing wading functionality over a bit of sweat?

I continue the lecture, “Stink is the essence of fishing; it’s climbing into your sleeping bag smelling of repellant and wood smoke, it’s the reason your wife backpedals on your return, and it accompanies your gift of Deadness in her sink. Stink is salmon eggs, squid, or night crawlers wiped onto a pant’s leg or forgotten overnight in your car. Stink is a mashed sandwich in your fishing vest, it’s proof of success, of Manhood, and without stink fishing would buckling under the influx of carefully manicured stubble and Metrosexuals.”

“Furthermore,” I says – with the bit firmly in mouth, “ when dipped properly Neoprene is not overly hot, it doesn’t ship water inboard when you fall in, is warm in Winter – ensuring you can outlast other anglers in icy water, is comforting if you break a leg and forced to spend the night awaiting rescue, and has a tough nylon outer fabric that resists abrasion coupled with a cushioned foot to ensure you can wade all day in comfort.”

Unconvinced, he gives me that squinched up, weaseled look. “True, but you still smell bad, and you wear pants under your waders and they get wet with perspiration …”

I chuckle, “If we’re talking about me specifically, I don’t need waders to smell bad, they only change the odor from my ‘normal off-putting’ to its unspeakable musty variant …”

“ … and”, as I deliver the death blow, “ … Neoprene is form fitting so when you emerge from the water in front of them sunbathing bikini clad 20 year olds, your ‘rubber girdle’ has a slimming effect, instead of the blousy, voluminous look that breathables have …”

He nods quietly, “I hadn’t thought of that, you have a point.”

Hook manufacturers abandon steel hooks adopt “Sticky” Plastic to save Steelhead »

SkeletonNow that magnetic fields are thought to be the reason behind a salmon’s unerring ability to return to the river from whence it spawned, similar research finds the same mechanism in Steelhead Trout.

The elation over the discovery is being tempered a bit with further studies, suggesting  reinforcing rebar and steel used in a concrete hatchery pen plays havoc with navigational skills of both species of Parr, and might be making “migrationally challenged” salmonids.

“I would not go out and tell hatchery managers to pull out all the iron pipes and replace them with PVC or aluminum,” said lead author Nathan Putman, a researcher at Oregon State University at the time of the study who is now at NOAA Fisheries Service in Miami working on fish migration questions. “We know it has an effect. What is not clear is whether the fish can recalibrate their magnetic sense after leaving the hatchery, or whether they are confused for the rest of their lives.”

ABC News Study: Hatcheries Can Disrupt Steelhead Navigation

Migration skills being synonymous with survival, suggests some scientists may be a bit red faced knowing they’ve been pouring hundreds of thousands of juveniles into ponds containing submerged Toyotas and the debris field associated with decades of lost fishing tackle.

Naturally, we’re going to share the blame with the architects, as it’ll be all the lures we lost as kids that are preventing a long overdue resurgence in salmonid returnees.

… and because YOU insisted they were the penultimate game fish (note my Brownlining sense of moral outrage) we can neither put our feet in the creek NOR use anything but plastic fish hooks and weightless everything.

Certainly the IPO may make you some coin, but the value of Alibaba.com will be the money you save »

The financial wunderkind of Wall Street are already lining up in anticipation of the IPO of Alibaba.com, a Chinese B2C web company that makes Amazon.com look like a neighborhood market.

… and it may seem odd to be talking high finance and initial public offerings on a fly fishing blog, but Alibaba and I are old friends, and has been the source of much of my fishing tackle, and all for pennies on the dollar.

Whether you plan on investing in the company is immaterial, what’s important is to understand how you can leverage their business model as a simple customer.

Computers were once thought to make offices paperless, electronic transactions replacing whiteout, staples, typewriters, and most interoffice correspondence. That promise has never been been realized  yet the migration from paper to electronic media continues. Each step forward results in some unforeseen Target debacle that makes us all leery of anything more complex than a #2 pencil ..

The internet held similar promise diminishing the “bricks and mortar” retail presence in lieu of countless web clicks, and while its impact on physical stores has been substantial, companies with significant retail presence have augmented their square footage with websites, and leverage both mediums.

What the Internet did successfully is destroy the notion of “B2C”, business to customer relationships, as the worldwide draw of a web presence made many millions of micro-transactions hugely profitable.

Pre-Internet a company would require a minimum order of 5000 bicycles to establish an account, and only other businesses could absorb that volume, private citizens could not.

The internet has undone the notion that other businesses are necessary to broker consumer sales and manufacturers are now free to cut the middleman out of transactions to enhance profits. Alibaba is an aggregator of manufacturers within a searchable interface that allows consumers to find manufacturers willing to sell direct to them, instead of only to other businesses. Consumers benefit from wholesale pricing, manufacturers get more profit per transaction, and the jobber is reduced to making the small dollars that bulk discounts can grant – rather than making profit at the expense of both manufacturer and consumer.

As manufacturing has largely been shipped overseas, China and the Orient are now the manufacturing engine for the entire world, and Alibaba breadth of product is ample demonstration that “Made in America” has been replaced by Hong Kong, Sialkot, or Hanoi.

Many of the rods, float tubes, waders, fish hooks, and fly tying materials, that we paw through at your local shop stem from the Orient, which is why Alibaba.com is such a compelling shopping experience.

I’m not a fly shop, how can I benefit from wholesale?

As you can buy float tubes, motorcycles, or saddle hackle from Alibaba, all you need is the desire to buy a bit more than a bubble pack of something, or perhaps you wish to broker a purchase with a group of like minded fellows from your casting club.

Let’s take simple brass beads for fly tying as an example. Launch your browser at the http://alibaba.com address, and enter the search term,”fly tying beads” on the search bar at the top of their website.

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Here is an example of the first vendor returned by that search, the Qingdao Leichi Industrial And Trade Co., Ltd., of Shandon, China. They sell every fly fishing item known, from fish hooks to IM6 fly rods and reels. From our perspective the most important feature is the Minimum Order required by the company, and for Tungsten or Brass socketed fly tying beads, that is 500.

In a fly shop a 25 pack of socketed brass beads is somewhere between $3 and $4. This manufacturer’s price varies weekly based on the international spot price of copper, brass, or tungsten, so a quote request (delivered typically as an Excel spreadsheet attached to an email) will only be accurate for a limited time.

The last time I purchased copper beads from this vendor they were about $4 per thousand, which is what a jobber like Spirit River pays. Most jobbers will allow the shop to double its money on the retail price, so it will sell a 25 pack to the store for $1.50 – $2.00. The jobber makes about $80 on its $4 purchase, netting them a profit of about 2000%.

… which is why both consumers and manufacturers want to reduce the middleman’s share.

Was I a fly shop owner Alibaba would be my only catalog, as I no longer need the jobber or his wares. The limitations of fly fishing’s niche customer base suddenly mitigated by my ability to get product directly from the manufacturer, thereby increasing my profits substantially.

… which has been the promise of micro-transactions and the Internet, now realized.

Because many thousands of small transactions are the same as a few large transactions, all manufacturers are moving to this B2B / B2C platform, and why Alibaba is such a hot topic among the retail brokerage houses.

Sending Money overseas, avoid Banks

Conducting business overseas has also been simplified by the Internet. There are three basic options available; your local bank, an ePayment vendor like PayPal, or Western Union.

Doing business with an entity like Qingdao Leichi Industrial And Trade Co., Ltd, will require you to exchange US dollars for Renminbi or Yuan. As the currency exchange rates also vary daily, prices quotes are usually good for a fixed amount of time. Banks like Wells Fargo or Bank of America should be avoided, as they are still stuck in archaic bank to bank exchanges and typically levy a $45 charge for brokering the transaction and money swap. Paypal (if the vendor accepts it, and many do) has a sub-$10 fee, as does Western Union, which can transfer money to Pakistan or Hong Kong faster (usually overnight) than banks (about a week), and for about a quarter of what banks charge ($10).

A Western Union account can be tied to a credit card making repeat shopping easy. You will need to call your credit card company on large transactions, and certain countries are on “watch” lists – due to fraud or hostile governments, you may need to pre-authorize the transaction to the destination country in order for it to complete its journey.

contactInitiating contact is done via email with the vendor. Each company has a contact name to request price quotes and all will contact you in English.

For small items like fly tying beads or fish hooks I typically ask if I can get samples, or can I pay the shipping to receive samples.

I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not, and typically will explain what my anticipated transaction will be if satisfied with the samples. You don’t need to be a company to do business here, so tell them up front you’re looking for a buy of about 10,000 beads, 2500 each of 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm, and perhaps a couple thousand more in Tungsten.

The Perils of the Orient

Each of the vendors on Alibaba are interested in sales, not fraud, and each of them have a satisfaction and longevity rating, allowing new customers a bit of insight into their past dealings.

It’s never a sure thing, but ask yourself how many of the thousands of affiliate shops on Amazon are intent on fraud. Good ratings drive sales, and sales is the reason they are offering their services, so it’s reasonable to assume a modicum of professionalism.

Copyright laws have little bearing in China and imitation goods are rampant, so you need to be cautious about “Made in China” versus a wader that appears to be a famous US manufacturer at a fraction of the cost. Sometimes it really is the same wader, sometimes it is merely an imitation of that wader, made of very poor quality materials and leaks like a sieve.

Note the availability of the “Battenkill” reel for $35. Whether this is the same reel rebranded by Orvis, we’ll never know. Request a sample, and if it’s a good reel, order a dozen more for your casting club and use them on rods loaned to the public during free casting classes. Fly lines and rods are available for a fraction of store prices, why not equip your club with an inexpensive and serviceable set of tackle for casting practice.

A great deal of the rods and high dollar equipment we use (float tubes, reels, etc.) are made by these same manufacturers and re-labeled by American companies, so you’ll need to do extra diligence before dropping the large dollars. Ask if a vendor in the states carries the item already, perhaps you can view or inquire of that middleman for additional information. Caveat Emptor, baby.

Take this standard one man rowable boat. In the US it may go for $600 –$1600 each. This vendor lists it as $300, minimum quantity only one needed. Postage will boost its price much more, so always inquire of the shipping fees. Typically DHL is used for normal packages, and freighter is likely used for the bulky pallet sized items. Nothing of size shipped from mainland China to the US will be cheap.

Alibaba.com is also one of the best sites to bulk purchase fly tying materials. Most of the iridescent and opalescent synthetics in use today are also manufactured in the Orient, so getting a few skeins of something that sells by the yard will save you considerable money.

It’s worth a couple evenings simply browsing all the categories and viewing prices. Our colloquial terms for items may not hold in their listings, and “float tube” might be “floating boat”, but you’ll find plenty once you drill down to the proper keywords.

The only real downside is you can’t park it by the John for uninterrupted browsing, like the old Herter’s catalog ..

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