Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tenkara USA Sale #OptTenkara

We've always loved Tenkara. Part of what makes it unique is it's long history, roots and connection with Japan. Tenkara USA is not trying to reinvent the wheel here. They have been fortunate to connect and be taught by the most respected anglers in Japan and also been counting on their support in the development of all Tenkara USA products. That provides insights into tenkara that one could not get otherwise, and helps in the development of our product as well as the instruction we provide. We believe the easiest way to keep tenkara simple is to look at the Japanese tenkara anglers and what they have to teach.

Our guide Ryan Ratliff has been a long time fan of Tenkara, he often takes his children out to fish and tenkara is his go to method with them. Tenkara Fly Fishing, literally meaning "fishing from heaven" is a simple type of fly fishing practiced in Japan. It's simplicity: a rod, line, tippet and fly proves to be very effective in mountain stream trout fishing.

We've currently got a Tenkara USA sale running right now through December 2nd, 2019. Pick up a great Tenkara USA rod as a wonderful holiday gift for the angler in your life.

Click Here For The Sale

Watch Ryan's Review of the Hane Rod from Tenkara USA

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

2 QUICK Nymphing Solutions (Convert ANY Fly Line To EURO)

It's mid-November 2019, and we recently went out on the Mad River to do some fishing and product testing. It's one of our favorite times of the year to fish. The leaves are clearing out and the fish are putting on the feed for the winter season. So we thought it was the perfect time to try out new RIO Euro Nymph Shorty and the Scientific Anglers Euro Nymph Kit that came out this fall.

With how popular the Euro style of nymphing has become, how important it is to us on the Mad River we've found these two products to be especially useful.

Check Out The Video

Rio's Euro Nymph Shorty is an ultra-thin, super-sensitive fly line designed for Euro nymphing. The line is deliberately made short (20 feet) so it can be added to the front end of a regular fly line utilizing the thin welded loop on each end. The idea is that anglers can fish their normal fly fishing style with their regular trout line, and when they come to a run they want to fish Euro nymph style, they simply loop the Shorty on and start nymphing. Quick, easy and no need for an extra rod or reel.

The Scientific Anglers Euro Nymph Kit can convert almost any single hand trout rod quickly to a Euro Nymphing setup. The kit includes a 20′ floating Euro Nymph Tip (0.25″ diameter), our Absolute Euro Nymph leader, and foam storage spool. It's compact and quick to use!

If you want more versatility on the river with more convenience and options, we'd definitely recommend you pick up one of these and try them out. Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Abel VAYA Series Fly Reels: The Bar is Set!

This year the International Fly Tackle Dealer show happened in October and for the past five or six years, it's been in July and we weren't able to go this year because it coincided with our annual redfish trip down to New Orleans at the Woodland Plantation. This year was unique in the fact that our sales reps came through in July and August to reveal all the new products to be released at the show in October, so we had an early scoop of what was going to be debuted at the dealer show.

This was a great opportunity because this new VAYA Series of fly reels from Abel won the Best New Saltwater Fly Reel award at the show and it was also chosen by Fly Fisherman Magazines Gear Guide as the best new fly reel of 2020. That is exactly what we felt about it here at Mad River Outfitters.

The word "vaya" is Spanish for "Go" and it's Abel's slogan to go along with this reel telling you to go, get out there and fish! First off, looking at this reel technically, it is backed up with outstanding performance. The first thing that jumps out about the VAYA is it's half-ported backside. It gives the reel a unique look, a distinctive weight and a beautiful sound.

The reel has one of the most smooth drag systems we've seen in a saltwater fly reel, which is what we should expect from Abel. The drag is essentially silent, though you can feel it working which is a must. The half-ported backside is the perfect platform for adding some color or one of Abel's many hand painted designs that they're so known for. It has an engagement O-Ring for the spool, which we initially had difficulty removing. But with a simple following of the provided instructions, wiggling the spool back and forth with a gentle pull, we had it off easily. However, it took a little getting used to.

The spool itself features a precision balance dual-pawl drag engagement system that eliminates the need for a counterweight. We've never seen this on a fly reel before, making it totally unique. Though we're not technical guys, we can tell you that the reel is amazingly smooth. The drag system is encased and features a five disc alternating carbon fiber and stainless steel drag system. We just can't get over how smooth it really is.

Another feature we liked was the engraved images on the inside of the reels. Each reel features a different engraving. On the VAYA 4/5 you see a hopper dropper engraving, in the VAYA 5/6 you have a grasshopper and streamer and in the VAYA 7/8 you have a bonefish gotcha and a streamer. Re-attaching the spool to the reel is easy as it simply slides over the reel and clicks, locking it into place. No need to worry about it coming off when you're on the water. All of these reels feature a very large-abor, which we like. The large-arbor in these reels is going to eliminate coils in your line and allow you the highest pickup available in most modern large-arbor saltwater fly reels. The drag knob in the back is large, has a great positive click and since the rear of the reel is concave, it is easy to get your fingers around it.

When we first saw these reels back in July / August everyone in the shop said it's a real winner for Abel. Especially if you're familiar with the quality of Abel reels. We will say, that Abel is not known for being inexpensive. They are traditionally some of the finest machined reels in the world and are made in Colorado. The Abel VAYA comes in three sizes total:

There aren't many cons that come with this incredible reel. The only negative we'd have to say is that the spools can be a bit expensive, we suspect it could be because of the attached pawls. So if you're an angler that likes to have two or three extra spools for additional applications, it might be a little hard on the wallet. The engravings are certainly cool, but we're not sure that they're necessary as you don't see them often and it could've been worth skipping them to save on the $40 or so dollars it cost to have them etched into the reel. We've got the VAYA in stock now, with more colors coming in November and December 2019. Each reel comes in an amazingly handsome black box with a reel case that can fit over the handle, a product registration card with a lifetime warranty, and a vinyl sticker.

These reels are setting the bar and needless to say we are very impressed to see them in action for many years to come.

Watch the video review here:

Purchase your Abel VAYA Series Fly Reel Here

Monday, November 4, 2019

Jim Heilman - J&S Custom Crafted Lures

We love to team up with and support local artists, fly tiers and anglers in Columbus, Ohio to bring you unique gifts, tools, flies and more. We recently had local craftsman Jim Heilman in the shop for a brief interview and video about his unique hand carved, copper cut mayfly figurines. We like to bring attention to the folks that deserve it for the unique things they bring to our industry and over the next month and a half we're going to be bringing you unique gift ideas that are perfect for every angler this holiday season.

Without further ado, we'd like to introduce to you, Jim Heilman.

So, who are you and what do you do?
I grew up on a farm in western Ohio. My love of the outdoors began at an early age. Two of my earliest memories are going fishing with my dad (cane pole and can of worms) and whittling willow wood with my grandfather. Over the years, fishing and wood carving developed into life-long interests that merged together when I retired.

After retirement, my wife, Sue, and I began a small business named J & S Custom Crafted Lures, LLC. My focus is hand making old-fashioned inspired wood fishing lures and also a limited number of decorative fish. I love sitting at my work bench carving and painting my creations.

What did you look to for inspiration for items you produce?
Anything that lives in the water fascinates me. I enjoy the challenge of capturing the beautiful colors of Ohio fish. I marvel at the old time lure makers and fly tiers. I consider them very skilled artists in their own right. My own artistic style is very simple and straight forward.

I have been a customer of Mad River Outfitters for over 20 years. Because of Brian and his staff, my interest in fly fishing, fly tying, and especially mayflies, has grown strong. As a wood carver and fly fisherman I wanted to find a way to celebrate the importance of mayflies in the method of the fishing I enjoy so much. After much deliberation, I came up with a design for a large mayfly sculpture made of wood and copper.