Monday, February 23, 2009

Horrocks-Ibbotson Collection

Above is a collection of vintage Horrock-Ibbotson(H-I) fiberglass flyrods that I have been acquiring. By using a variety of resources I have been able to start this collection in a fairly short period of time and at very little cost. I could have spent more time and money to obtain an ultra mint collection but I prefer to find rods in good condition so I can FISH them as is or restore them to a fishable condition. Here is a list of what I have starting at the bottom and working to the top:

-Mohawk Rainbow #1408 2pc. 8" - I plan to do a complete restoration of this rod. I will take it down to just the blank and refit it with all new components.
-Mohawk Gunnison #1422 3pc. 8'6" - I did a partial rebuild on this one, leaving the original cork handle and reel seat.
-Mohawk Rainbow #1407 1/2 2pc. 7'6" - This is one of my favorites and is in good enough condition that I would rather leave it with the character that it has.
-Mohawk Rainbow #1408 1/2 2pc. 8'6" - I have started restoring this rod. I will leave the handle and seat. When I sanded the paint off the blank I found the fiberglass was green. This is very cool and I am really excited about this build.
-Mohawk Red Wizard #1262 2pc. 8' - The Red Wizard is in my Top 3. It is a good shape and fishes really well. It will stay as it is.
-Ike Walton #1347 1/2 2pc. 7'6" - I love this rod. It is, by far, my favorite. It is mint and casts a #5 line with ease. A true pleasure to fish with.
-Thunderbird #1458 1/2 2pc. 8'6" - This rod is in OK shape but it casts like a cannon. It is definitely a big stick kind of rod. I love the power of it for a Bull Trout/Steelhead rod but it needs a makeover.

I also a have a selection of H-I original reel seats that I plan to use in rebuilds that include replacing the seat.

I cannot express enough how much joy I get out of actually fishing my collection and if I ever do spend more on a "minty" rod it will still get fished. That is what they were made to do and if a rod has a soul I am sure that is what it would want to do. I believe that the history of these rods is not finalized and I truly enjoy adding to their legacy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Old Friends

How do you say,"Good-Bye"?

It all started 8 years ago when I saw them sitting on the display in the fly shop I was guiding for. They were perfect and I had to have them. Well I bought them and have been on many, many adventures over the years. They have been in streams in 6 states including 2 summer tours in Alaska. In all these years I have put at least 700+ days in these boots and not once did the ever let me down.

Now they are ready for retirement. In their birth they were the mighty Simms Guide Boot and now, to the average person, they are a beat up and weathered ole' pair of boots. To me, though, they are a portal to the many days I have spent pursuing fish in the wonder of the places they live. But make note that I said, "Retire" as there is no chance I will be throwing them away.

I was never good at, "Good-Bye's".

Friday, February 13, 2009

For Sure Shot, sure to make the jaw drop!

14" Brook Trout caught high in the Central Cascade Range, Oregon

Every now and again you take a photo that turns out to be amazing. The above shot, for me, is one of them. This picture was taken with a point and shoot camera. The only modifications made were cropping and minor changes to clarity.
I will be trying to make this an on-going post with For Sure Shots taken by myself and others. Anyone that would like to post a photo can contact me thru email at

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Winter Magic with the RED WIZARD!

Fall River, Central OR

I went on a quest for trout today that led me to the banks of the Fall River. This is a spring creek in every sense. It has cold, clean water and finicky trout. Add heavy snowfall to that equation and you could have a frustrating day. This is exactly what I was thinking as I sat in my truck watching the snow come down at an incredible rate. But I was there, needed a fish fix, and never let a little thing like weather stop me before.

I strung up my H-I Red Wizard, which I hadn't fished yet, and rigged it with my standard winter time nymphing set-up, something heavy to get down and something small and red. As I walked down into the first section of water I was hoping to see rising fish as the Fall can give up some great dry-fly days, even in the dead of winter. But I saw no risers and didn't get any takes with the nymphs so I headed up river.

The water up river is SLOOOW with a bright, sandy bottom. This is a challenging section, demanding ultra light tippets, long leaders and small flies. Trout are rising! I cut off the nymph rig and went for the fly that I know would be money, FlyGoddess' size 32 midge. But, alas, it was stuck in a hat that I was NOT wearing....damn! I rifled through my box of midges and found a size 22 that I thought would work. After fumbling with numb fingers I finally got it tied on and laid out my first cast. SIP! Fish on! The nice rainbow to the right would be the reward and after several more casts I caught another. As the hatch started to unwind I headed back down river to see if the bugs were also working their way down.

On the walk down stream the snow made a change to larger flakes and the air warmed a little. Changes like this when you are winter fishing can bring on high hopes of a hatch so I put it in high gear and charged down to my favorite slot. When I got there trout were rising everywhere snacking on a nice hatch of baetis mayflies. Game On! What ensued was nothing short of magic and was something you hope for but usually never materializes. I caught over a half dozen nice trout during that baetis/blizzard hatch, all on the dry fly. As anyone that has fished small flies in extreme conditions knows, that is a fine day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Flyfishing is a serious obsession for me and has been since I first picked up a fly rod. I cannot seem to throw anything away that has to do with fishing. Above is a prime example. I haven't thrown a fishing mag away since 1996. Well, 13 years later I now have 243 of them and I look to acquire I few more years of Flyfisherman so......... Where will it end?

Don't ask to see all the flies and rods and..............

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How far would you walk for Native Trout?

I was asking my self that question 2 miles into what ended up being a spectacular day of trout fishing. The day started the same way that these trips always start for Nate (my partner in fishing crime) and I, breakfast at the Sunspot in Terrebonne. Then we made the 45 minute drive up to the locked gate that keeps the riff-raff out of the Metolius River Wilderness Area. This would be the starting point for our epic day.

We rigged our rods and loaded up all the gear we would need for the day and headed off. After a couple of miles of walking we couldn't take it anymore and made a break for the river. The first hole was uneventful, which is not what you want after a 2 mile walk. But we headed up river with excitement because the next hole up is a Bull Trout hole. Bullies was the main reason I was up there in the first place, I really wanted to catch one on a Fiberglass rod. When we got there we fished it hard but only got a few small Rainbows and some Whitefish. NO Bull Trout! Back to walking.

Walking gives you time to think and time to catch up with and old friend. Before you know it you are another 4 miles up and on the next good hole. A hole we call, simply, The Buckets. I stepped in, made my first cast, and.......Fish On! A fine chunky rainbow. We caught a few more nice 'Bows in The Buckets and then started walking. Another 2 miles and we are on the most beautiful hole on the river and the last shot at a Bully for the day. I swung flies thru that hole several times and touched nothing. Then Nate and I fished thru with our trout rods. That is when things got exciting. We lost track of how many Rainbows we hooked in that hole but it is safe to say I had the best trout fishing of my life on the Metolius river that day.

It was a straight 2 hour walk out that day and we put 16+ miles on our wading boots. So to answer to the question, "How many miles would I walk for Native Trout", the answer would be, "I would walk to the edge of the world for a shot at glory".