Sunday, January 21, 2018

THE PALOMETA CLUB - On Getting There & Settling In

I guess that it's a little weird to be finally working through a trip that I took early last year but in a way I like letting something like this simmer on the back burner to bring out the gravy.  Last year was a non-stop blur from the time that I returned from the Palometa Club until the lights went out on 2017.  Now's time for playing catch up before the rush starts all over again.

Each spring for the last few years, artist Paul Puckett has organized a trip to the Palometa Club in Punta Allen, Mexico with a group of friends with a focus on permit and good times.  Most of the group goes year to year but inevitably someone has to sit out and I was able to get in on an open spot.  Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co. organizes reservations for the Palometa Club and really have it dialed in from trip preparations and expectations to all logistics leading up to arrival in Punta Allen.

Most of the group going on this trip were based out of Charleston, South Carolina and we all were able to book the same flights to Cancun, Mexico. An early morning departure meant we were on the ground a few hours later at the Cancun International Airport and after collecting our luggage and getting through customs, we met others with our group at an airport bar.  Manny, our shuttle driver, greeted us there and after a handshakes we were packing loads of gear in two vans to head south to the Palometa Club.

The trip from Cancun to Punta Allen involved a three (or longer) hour drive with a stop at roadside cantina for a late lunch of tacos and drinks and then another stop at the grocery store in Tulum for any last minute needs or provisions for the week.  The drive south took us in and out of the tourist and authentic and it was neat to have the time to take it all in.

After the grocery stop in Tulum the hour long journey to Punta Allen goes down a rutty dirt road through the jungle.  The shuttle drivers certainly have every corner and washout memorized but it's still a bit unnerving to sit in the backseat with the van swaying side to side and palms fronds slapping the windows while drifting corners at speed.  We were sure to come to complete stop at the local "speed bumps" which were sections of large diameter nylon rope laid across the road in front of driveways scattered across the route.  These ropes were surprisingly effective

When the vans pulled beach side to the front of the Palometa Lodge, everyone excitedly piled out to stretch and realign their backs.  We were greeted by acting manager and international permit junkie, Mike Gifford who went a long ways to take care of us through our week in Punta Allen.

As soon as roommates were figured out and luggage sorted, Mike was mixing drinks and putting beers in hands at the bar.  Waves were washing up on the beach, the smells of dinner were in the air and everyone was easing into the week nicely readying fly fishing gear and assembling fly rods and reels for the rack.

I kicked off my flip flops with no plans to put them on again until we were leaving.  This was going to be a pretty sweet week, permit in my hands or not. 

Early morning starts for all of us meant early to bed with a lot of anticipation for the days ahead.  Anglers and guides assignments were posted on the white board, leader knots were checked and double checked, and fly boxes sorted.  It was time for bed.

For more information, please visit The Palometa Club website.  Follow along the latest lodge news (with a heavy dose of permit photos) on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

FIREDISC X PAKMULE - Haul Gas Giveaway

Good timing that while I am working on long term gear reviews with both FireDisc and Pakmule that they have joined together with the "Haul Gas Giveaway".  Up for grabs is a 24" FireDisc Deep and a Pakmule Hitch Basket.  Both are great pieces of gear to have access to.

The winner will be announced live on the FireDisc Facebook page at 12:00 p.m. CST on Thursday, February 1, 2018.  Enter HERE and good luck. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

LOON LIVE - New Year New Nymphs

Tonight kicks off the first of many Loon Live fly tying sessions from the friends at Loon Outdoors.

Tune in tonight and work on your "small stuff" fly box with step by step instructions on how to tie the Down Rigger and Misery Midge.

Loon Live will start at 6:00 p.m. PST this evening.  Register for the free fly tying session HERE.

Just learning to tie your own flies?  Play catch up with the Fly Tying 101 sessions HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

ORVIS X BARBOUR - The Great Defender Adventure Sweepstakes

The Orvis Company and Barbour have teamed up on The Great Defender Adventure Sweepstakes and they will be giving away a unique 1995 Land Rover Defender 90 that will be ready for someone to put some serious dirt miles on it.  

The sweepstakes started last fall and entries will continue to be taken until June 22, 2018.  You may enter online, at Orvis retail locations, or by mail.  Check the official rules for more info.

Someone has to win this stellar ride, it might as well be you.  Enter HERE.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

C. BARCLAY FLY ROD CO. - Introducing the Synthesis Series

I've said it before that a small but seemingly always growing group of small shop fly builders continue to drive a lot of what is new in the realm of fiberglass fly rods and it's great to see this trend continuing as the interest in fiberglass fly rods continues as well.  

One of those bright stars in this is Chris Barclay of C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. and he continues to tinker, change and design from zero great new tapers for anglers to enjoy.  His latest offerings, along with a few future offerings, are now grouped into the Synthesis Series and are a blend of two previous series of fly rods.  

Chris Barclay wrote...  "My Synthesis Series of rods is complex yet uncomplicated.  These blanks are made domestically here in the US for me, to my exact specifications.  A technologically advanced fusion of parabolic and progressive fly rod tapers, blending my two previous series of rods without watering down the effectiveness and feel.  

Making use of advanced compound tapers, seamless and functional tip over butt ferrules and traditional E-Glass.  Not necessarily progressive or parabolic, the best of all synthesized into a new classic.  Smooth and unhurried with quick recovery.  Responsive tip, mid and butt sections.  You feel the cast and the fish."

The Synthesis Series fly rods will include the following models:
  • 68:  An 6'8" 3wt 3 piece I like to call the Blue Ridge Special.  Small secluded mountain streams and brook trout. 
  • 72:  A 7’2" 4wt 3 piece I like to call the Driftless Special.  Delicate delivery and casting control.  
  • 79:  A 7'9" 4/5wt 3 piece I like to call the General Practitioner.  A general purpose trout rod.  I will make this one with an extra tip on occasion and will also make a 5 piece travel version.
  • 82:  An 8'2" 4/5wt 4 piece rod I like to call the Tailwater Special.  Long casts, tiny flies and ultimate control.  
  • 7-6:  A 7’ 6wt 3 piece (black glass).  This is my infamous Lil Stiffy, previously a limited edition rod I designed for small water, big fly big fish rod.  The unique rod taper provides an incredible ability to shoot and control line that leaves plenty of room for big and little fish feel and control.
Fly rods that are coming soon:
  • 777: A 7’7” 7wt 3 piece rod I call the Jackpot.  A bass rod I designed to pull big fish out of heavy cover.   Suitable for fishing mangroves, salt ready.  
  • 8-6:  An 8' 6wt 3 piece.  Hex hatch in Michigan or Smallmouth in Missouri.  Big brother to the Lil Stiffy.  
  • 868: The 8’6” 8/9wt 4 piece.  A saltwater flats worthy rod.  Lighter than you think possible with superior accuracy and distance control.
 Pricing for the Synthesis Series will begin at $625.00 and builds will include the following:
  • Snake Brand light wire Universal Guides in their new ECOating - Bright or Darkened
  • Classic and durable Mildrum carbide stripping guides
  • Custom designed brass and nickel silver reel seat hardware made by Masatoshi Okui of KINEYA Reels
  • Flor Grade Portuguese cork grips and seats.  Ventilated grips available on most rods.
  • The fine Pearsall's Gossamer and Kimono silk wrappings
  • Marine grade spar varnish
  • Mill finish aluminum tube with domed brass ends
  • Custom designed rod sock
  • Optional wood and micarta seat inserts, accents and downlocking seats also available. 
  • Possibilities are limitless so please contact Chris Barclay to talk over options 
To discuss this new series of fly rods more in depth with Chris Barclay or to place an order, please visit the C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. website and consider following along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest shop news.

BLUE MOUNTAIN DRIFT - Custom Cliff Outdoors Fly Boxes

What does a tattoo artist (who is also a fly fisherman) do when he sees a new Cliff Bugger Beast fly box?  If you're Mike Rennie of Blue Mountain Drift then you grab your markers and lay down custom artwork on the clean side of all your favorite fish.  And then he did it again and again and again.

I like what I see.  A lot.

Recently Mike has been working through a stack of fly boxes and has these seven available for sale.  Or, if you have your own idea for a custom fly box, reach out to have one commissioned.  $120 will get one of these or the one you're thinking of in your head.

Interested in one of the Cliff Outdoors Beast fly boxes that you see here or do want to talk to Mike Rennie of Blue Mountain Driftabout your own custom fly box?  Send him an email at and consider following along on Instagram too.

Friday, January 12, 2018


The Fly Fishing Film Tour kicks off later this month with it's Bozeman premiere and then over the next three months the show will be popping up in cities and other fishy places from coast to coast.

Check out the schedule to see when Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to your town.  It's always best to pick up tickets online or at your local fly shop as shows typically sell out.

Where will you catch the F3T this year?