September Events

Sept. 4th – Writer and photographer will be in the store to discuss his global travels and corresponding conservation interests.  Begins at 6:30 this Friday @ the store.

Sept. 17th – Puget Sound presentation by EWA staffer Alex Collier on fall coho and the upcoming fall SRC season.

Sept. 30th – Safely Handling and Releasing Fish – Dave McCoy will discuss proper handling of fish intended for release as well as some creative ideas on how to capture your catch in a more stylistic way even with your phone.  #keepemwet

Fall Women’s Events

Sept. 11th, 2015 – Women’s Creek Outing with Abbie Schuster – 2 spaces open, call store to register
Oct. 15th, 2015 – Ladies Night at EWA @ 7pm – Wine, snacks and talk the sport
Oct. 22nd, 2015 – Ladies Casting at Salty’s @ 5pm – followed by Happy Hour
Dec. 10th, 2015 – Ladies Night at EWA @ 7pm – Wine, snacks and private shopping experience

Pink & Coho Salmon Clinic – Aug. 20 @6:30pm

Free in store event here at EWA.  Staff guide Jason Rolfe will discuss flies, techniques and locations to help your success rate increase while on the Sound in search of these awesome fish.  Please RSVP at the store either in person or via email…shop@emeraldwateranglers.com or phone…206-708-7250

Brian Irwin Slide Show – Sept. 4 @7pm

Sept. 4, 2015 – Brian Irwin  7pm
@  EWA Store

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DCIM100GOPRO

Hailing from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Brian is a regular contributor to Fly Fisherman Magazine, member of the Outdoor Writers Association and photographer.

From the Upper Tuolumne River under the smoke of the Rim Fire to the northern reaches of Mantioba, from Texas’ Lower Laguna Madre to the flats of Southern Belize, Brian will explore how human impact is affecting a not-yet-faltering set of waters.  Dam removal, agricultural runoff and nascent conservation efforts will all be discussed as I share a year in search of trophy brookies, redfish, permit and Snake River native cutthroat.

Upcoming Events – July 2015

Underwater Creek Release

July 16th – Fly Fishing Puget Sound for Salmon: It’s almost that time of year! Pinks will be here first, with Coho and Chum following them up, and if you’re really lucky maybe a chinook or two thrown in. Stop by for our free seminar on all things salmon–we’ll cover flies and tackle, and where and when to fish in order to catch a salmon in the Puget Sound! Thursday, July 16th, 6:30 pm, FREE.

More July Events TBA….

Upcoming Events – June 2015

ps_parkerseattleSUP

Summer is upon us and we have some great presentations and events with some wonderful people coming up this season.  For June, here is what we have lined up at this time, keep checking back to see what else we add.

June 4th, 2015 – Fly Fishing the American West:  EWA guide Bobby Foster will go over the mountains of the west, from the Rockies of Idaho and Montana to the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest. Join Bobby for the seminar where he’ll share tips and tricks from his experience as a guide in Idaho and elsewhere. 6:30PM FREE @ EWA Store

June 11th, 2015 – Writer’s on the Fly #5:  This is going to be one you won’t want to miss as we have Chris Santella, author of 50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die here to read and play some music from is band.  Also joining will be our good friend Catie Webster and Sam Lungren reading from some of their published and unpublished works.  Beverages and snacks provided.  7pm FREE @ EWA Store

June 16th, 2015 – SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Fly Fishing:  While popular already in the south for Redfish and other species, SUP has taken a bit longer to catch on here in the PNW.  Come in and see some of the applications we are using to employ these stealthy craft and hear what and where we intend to use them later this summer….pink salmon in Puget Sound maybe?  Join Parker Bunbury as he discusses all things SUP.  6:30pm FREE @ EWA Store

2015 EWA Fly Fest Schedule

We are excited to see everyone at our first annual EWA Fly Fest tomorrow, Saturday May 30th! The event will be from 10am – 4pm at Lincoln Park in West Seattle. We will be in the North end of the park (upper area, not beach), gathered around Picnic Shelter 5. We have a great schedule of events for tomorrow:

2015 EWA Fly Fest Schedule

10am – 4pm: Test cast rods from all of our manufacturers
10am – Noon: Casting Instruction
10:30am: Fly Fishing the Cascade Creeks Seminar
11am: Demystifying Spey Lines with Eric Neufeld of Airflo
Noon – 1pm: 7th Annual EWA Guide Cook-Off
Noon – 1pm: Free Food and Beverages
1pm – 4pm: Casting Instruction
1:30pm: Demystifying Single-Hand Lines with Eric Neufeld of Airflo
2pm: Fly Fishing the Puget Sound Seminar 

Our retail store will be open regular hours tomorrow from 10am-6pm and is only a few minutes drive from Fly Fest.

Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

Upcoming Events | May 2015

Writers on the Fly

Thursday, May 14th, 7pm, FREE

Join host Jason Rolfe for an evening of readings, art, beer and shenanigans at Writers on the Fly #4.

Our featured readers this month include Cameron Chambers, author of Chasing Rumor out soon from Patagonia Books; Cameron Scott, poet and fishing guide in Oregon and Colorado and the author of the poetry collection The Book of Ocho; and finally Catie Webster, a writer and flyfisher making her way from Montana to a new home and new job in Seattle!

We’ll see art from the inimitable Amy McMahon, and have an outdoor gear drive for our featured non-profit, YMCA’s BOLD/GOLD Outdoor Leadership Program!

Trout Unlimited Duwamish Chapter Meeting and Presentation: Flyfishing Puget Sound with Dave McCoy

Tuesday, May 19th, 6:30pm, FREE

Join the TU Duwamish Chapter for their monthly meeting and presentation by local Puget Sound flyfishing guru Dave McCoy as he shares tips and tricks for fishing the Puget Sound learned from nearly two decades on the water here!

This event is free, and great for anyone looking to learn more about Trout Unlimited and the unique and exhilarating fishery right outside our backdoor!

Fishing the Cascade Creeks Presentation with Alex Collier

Thursday, May 21st, 6:30pm, FREE

Alex Collier is no stranger to the blue line, and he’s ready to share his knowledge of fishing the many creeks and larger streams that tumble down along the Cascade slopes. From highway 2, to the I-90 corridor and beyond, Alex will show you how to find the fish, what flies they like to eat, and talk about the best equipment for chasing the beautiful, wild trout that call these streams home.

EWA Summer Fly Fest and Guide Gourmet at Lincoln Park

Saturday, May 30th, 10am-4pm, FREE

Join the EWA Staff and Guides for a fun day at the park! Product reps from Scott, Hardy, Winston and Patagonia will be on hand to show off the latest gear, rods and reels, while EWA’s own certified casting instructors will be giving free casting clinics and presentations.

We’ll be holding our annual Guide Gourmet Cookoff, as well. Come and taste the best shore lunches our guides have to offer, which will be judged by a panel of local chefs and food lovers.

This event will be a lot of fun for the whole family–we hope to see you there!

Coming up in June…

Flyfishing the Mountain West with Bobby Foster

Thursday, June 4th, 6:30pm, FREE

Writers on the Fly

Thursday, June 11th, 7:00pm, FREE

SUP Fly Fishing with Parker Bunbury 

Tuesday, June 16th, 6:30pm, FREE

Trout Rod Reviews

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Photo and Review by Alex Collier

With Summer just around the corner (or already arrived depending on who you ask), most of us have trout squarely on our brains in Washington.  Within a few weeks all of our trout fisheries will be open, and with the low snowpack this year, a lot of them will most likely immediately be in shape.  As such, now’s the time to start assessing your gear for the wide range of water types and fishing techniques we have throughout Washington and into Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Northern California.

If you are just getting into the sport, or if you are interested in exploring a new rod that will cover a different situation better than a rod you currently own, we’ve tried to take some of the confusion out of the equation for you–or at least provide a starting point for you in your search for a new rod.  Below we have the trout rods we carry in store broken down into the water size they cover best.  You’ll also most likely notice that this also separates the rods into weight/length and rod action to a certain degree.

A quick word about what we mean by the different river size designations we’ve listed.  For the purposes of this listing we’ve broken it down into Small, Medium, and Large Water:

By “Small Water” we mean rivers and creeks where casts of 10-20 feet are the most prevalent, and where the flies of choice are mostly dry flies or lightly weighted nymphs.  The rods in this range are usually in the 2 and 3 weight full to mid flex categories (or slow to medium action), and are usually on the shorter end of the spectrum.  The small mountain creeks of Washington are a great example of this water type, as are the small brook trout streams of the East Coast.

“Medium Water” is going to be rivers where casts of 15-30 feet are more of the norm, or where dry/dropper rigs, slightly heavier nymphs, or smaller unweighted streamers are common.  These rods are often a bit more versatile because of slightly more backbone and length, which gives you the ability to mend and control line on the water easier, while also maintaining the ability to delicately present dry flies in small spaces.  Rods in this designation are going to be 3 and 4 weight mid flex (or medium to medium-fast action), and are going to be in the 8-8’6″ range.  These are great rods for the Cedar River outside of Seattle, bigger stretches of the Middle Fork of the Snoqulmie, and some of the smaller rivers of Idaho, Montana, and Oregon.  A lot of these rods would also be good dry fly rods for fishing out of drift boats.  By and large, most of these rods will handle quite a few scenarios in the trout world.

“Large Water” is going be everything else for trout–bigger, deeper water where dry/droppers, heavy stonefly nymphs, or streamers are the common fly choices and longer casts are necessary.  These rods will also handle casting in the wind better.  Most of these rods are going to be in the 4 and 5 weight mid to full flex category (or medium fast to fast action), and will be in the 8’6″ to 9′ range.  Where these rods normally excel in generating higher line speeds and longer casts, they sometimes sacrifice a bit of feel at closer ranges or when going for smaller fish.

And with that, on to the listings:

Small Water

Echo Carbon:  7’3″ 2 wt ($170) — Small, light weight rod with a lot of life that is also an absolute bargain!  This rod has a lot of life, excels at closer ranges, and is a blast as a very small stream rod.  The Carbon definitely qualifies as a slower action rod, and might take some getting used to if you’re new to casting or have a more aggressive casting stroke, but the trade off is a really fun rod to fish in small, tight situations.

Echo Glass:  6’3″ 2 wt.; 7’4″ 4 wt; 7’10” 5wt ($200) — Fiberglass is making a comeback in a big way, and these rods are a great value if you’re trying to get in on the action!  Full flex, and designed to excel fishing in tight quarters.  These rods are a bit heavier in hand than their Scott counterparts, but they have an great feel when casting them.  The 6’3″ 2 wt. makes just about any fish feel like a real bruiser!  A great WA Mountain Creek rod series.

Scott F2 (Fiberglass):  7’7″ 2wt.; 8’4″ 3 wt. ($645) — In all honesty, a remarkably smooth and lively rod that is amazingly light.  These rods feel like they’re flexing all the way into the cork when casting, and are a blast to fish.  These are real game changers when it comes to fishing the mountain creeks and other smaller trout rivers in this area!  Worth every penny when it comes to the smile you’ll have on your face fishing them.

Scott G2:  7’7″ 2 wt. and 8’4″ 3 wt. ($745) — A shop favorite!  Extremely light weight, incredible performance and feel, and a beautiful looking rod as well!  Lots of technology goes into the making of this rod, but what you need to know is that it’s amazingly smooth, tracks really well without any extra movement (even though it flexes pretty deep into the rod), and is really light in hand.

R.L. Winston WT:  7′ 2 wt. ($750) — Winston’s classic all-graphite small water rod.  Slightly heavier in hand than the BIII LS, but with a smooth medium to medium fast action.  All of the Winston feel you expect in a fully graphite package.  Really, really nice small stream rod that a lot of people consider one of the best all-graphite rods ever made.

R.L. Winston BIII LS:  7′ 2 wt.; 8’6″ 3 wt. ($795) — While technically listed as a “medium-fast” rod on Winston’s site, we find these rods to be much more “medium” than “fast” (and a bit softer than the WT).  These rods are really light in hand, have the buttery smooth action you expect from a Winston, but finish the cast without a lot of wobble in the rod.  Classic details and the boron addition to the rod blank makes up a classic Winston rod that delivers great accuracy and responsiveness.

 

Medium Water

Echo Solo:  7’6″ 3 wt. ($120) — A great entry level rod for those wanting to get into the sport, or wanting a lighter weight rod to add to their quiver.  An fairly light rod with a nice action to it.  It doesn’t have quite the feel of the Carbon, and would tend to be more on the medium action end of the spectrum, but for $120 with a lifetime warranty you can’t beat the price!

Scott A4: 8′ 3 wt. ($395) — The A4 is a nice rod series that doesn’t totally break the bank.  And while it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the G2 does, it is still a really fun rod to fish.  Even at an 8′ 3 wt., this rod still has enough backbone to cover some slightly bigger water and throw some slightly heavier flies.  Light and responsive, this rod will cover quite a few different situations for you, and will be a rod that you can grow into if you’re new to the sport.

R.L. Winston Nexus:  8’6″ 3 wt. ($475) — Don’t let the 3 wt. label fool you:  this rod is a medium-fast 4 wt. at heart.  A great rod for throwing dry/droppers, or for bigger dry flies from drift boats or on bigger water…but with the lighter weight of a 3 wt. rod.  You don’t get the classic Winston Green color, but you get a rod with the ability to fish multiple water types at the slight expense of the feel you would normally associate with both Winston rods and 3 wts. as a whole.

Hardy Zenith Sintrix:  8′ 3wt. ($599) — A nice medium action that strikes a balance between feel and strength.  A bit softer than the Scott A4, but more responsive than the Echo Solo.  Also very light in hand with a slender taper.  Still has enough backbone to turn over some dry/dropper rigs, but might struggle to step up to much more than lightly weighted nymphs.

Scott G2:  8’8″ 4wt. ($745) — A slightly faster version of the above listed G2 offerings.  Fantastic dry fly rod on bigger rivers that would also be well suited to step into dry/dropper and even some unweighted or lightly weighted streamers.  Fantastic feel and action despite a bit more backbone makes for a really good all-around trout rod.

 

Large Water

Echo Solo:  9′ 5wt. ($120) — An overall nice rod with a pleasant casting action for a great price!  This rod can cover the Yakima, Puget Sound, and other larger trout fisheries.  It doesn’t have all the technological advances and is slightly heavier in hand, but is still a rod with a lot of good things going for it.

Scott A4:  9′ 5wt. ($395) — A step up in backbone and speed from the 8′ 3wt. that maintains all of the other positives of the shorter version.  Solid value for a smooth medium to medium-fast action rod.

R.L. Winston Nexus:  9′ 5wt. ($475) — If the 3wt version is really a 4 at heart, this 5wt. is a 6.  High line speeds, bigger flies, and windy conditions are the name of the game for this medium-fast to fast version of the Nexus.  What it lacks in traditional trout feel, it makes up for in backbone, while maintaining a pretty soft tip for turning flies over and delivering them with a bit of touch.

Scott G2:  9′ 5wt. ($745) — While the bread and butter of this rod series is in the lighter weight versions, the 9′ 5wt. still delivers a nice medium to medium-fast feel that doesn’t feel too stiff or clunky.  Slightly more heavy feeling in hand than other rods in this class, but with the responsive action that runs throughout the G2 series.  Still a really nice trout rod.

R.L. Winston BIIIx:  9′ 5wt. ($795) — Simply put, a spectacular trout rod.  Buttery smooth, medium to medium-fast action but with enough backbone to handle bigger situations, this rod can handle a lot of different things:  small flies with delicate presentations, dry/dropper, and streamers alike.  The BIIIx could even step down and feel really good fishing some more medium sized waters because of the soft, but strong tip and mid section.

Scott Radian:  9′ 4wt and 9′ 5wt ($795) — Strength.  Finesse.  Feel.  Lightweight.  This rod really does a little bit of everything, and does it all really well.  The 5 wt. has enough power to make long casts on the Sound and then deliver delicate presentations with small dries in the freshwater.  Plus, the lightweight nature of this rod makes it a joy to cast, and the responsive nature makes it easy to feel the rod loading, even at short distances.  If you were only looking to invest in one rod that would cover a lot of different locations, it’d be hard to argue against either the BIIIx or the Radian in the 9′ 5wt.  range.

 

We hope this review/listing has been helpful to you as you explore new options to cover different fisheries in the area.  But, we also know that reading our thoughts on these rods will only go so far.  So if you would like to cast any of these rods at any point feel free to swing by the store where we are more than happy to throw a line on a rod and let you test cast them for yourself!

 

Thanks for reading!

Gear Review: R.L. Winston Nexus Rods

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Anyone familiar with the fly fishing industry knows the reputation of the R.L. Winston fly rod company:  buttery smooth performance labeled as the Winston “feel,” top of the line technology and quality craftsmanship, and the iconic green color of their high-end Boron rod series.  But there’s a new dog in the fight for Winston–the all new, mid-price point graphite Nexus rod series.  If the Boron rods are the older, more mature siblings that listen to Miles Davis vinyl records, the Nexus rods are the younger, more rough around the edges siblings who prefer their music a bit louder, and with a bit more funk.  Their all-black finishes serves as notice of the transition from the sensitivity and feel of the “Winston Green” Boron rods, to the bring your lunch pail to the river blue-collar Nexus rods whose graphite blanks have sacrificed a bit of feel in the pursuit of speed and power.
 

Make no mistake, however:  these are still Winstons at heart.  The burled wood inserts on the 3wt. through 9′ 6 wt. rods, the anodized aluminum reel seats on the 9’6″ 6 wt. through the 12 wt., the overall lightness in your hand, and just enough of that classic feel all let you know that you’re holding a rod built by a company that prides itself on quality.  And while these rods certainly have their flaws, they are a massive upgrade over the former entry-level price point Passport rod series, and they continue the recent movement by the classic rod companies to put a rod series on the market at the entry to mid price point, but that have a touch of the feel and look of a rod three or four hundred dollars more expensive.
 

Over the last few days, Reid Curry and I have had the chance to cast the 4 Nexus rods that we are carrying in the shop–the 4 rods that fit into Western Washington specific fisheries:  the 8’6″ 3 wt., the 9′ 5 wt., and the 9′ and 9’6″ 6 wts.  So while this review isn’t completely comprehensive since it only covers 4 out of 17 rod models, a few things have jumped to the forefront on all of these rods that make it seem possible to make a generalization or two that most likely will hold true across the spectrum.  Most notably in that regard is that these rods are definitely on the faster end of the rod action range, and we felt that each of the rods cast best when either over-lined by a full weight, or when matched with a more aggressively tapered line.  A standard trout taper of the matching weight just didn’t keep the rods loaded, and in the case of the 3 wt., you just couldn’t feel the line much at all.
 

So, without further ado, here’s our thoughts on casting these rods in front of the shop over the last 2 days (which maybe that’s an “ado” I should mention–these aren’t on the water tests, which could very well change the feel of these rods a touch):
 

 8’6″ 3 wt. ($475)–  As I mentioned above, we ended up with a 4 wt. line on this rod because the standard Airflo Elite Trout taper in a 3 wt. just wasn’t doing anything for it.  Once we over lined it, the rod began to come to life (there’s a chance that a line like the Airflo Xceed in a 3 wt., which has a slightly more aggressive taper would also do the same for you).  Either way, what you should hear in that statement is that this is a quick 3 wt.  If you’re looking for a mid flex rod to deliver dry flies in tight quarters on small creeks, this probably isn’t the rod for you.  We felt that even with a 4 wt. line on it this rod really started casting well after about 15-20 feet of line was out.  As such, we could see this rod being fun to fish on some of the larger West side trout rivers, definitely on the Yakima, or in situations where you might be needing to throw weighted nymphs or smaller streamers for trout.  This 3 wt. has enough backbone to it to really hold its own in those situations, while maintaining the lightness of a true 3 wt. rod.  (As as side note, there’s a chance that the 7’6″ 3 wt. would be a totally different rod, as we’ll talk about in a minute with the difference between the 9′ and 9’6″ 6 wt. rods having noticeably different feels–the extra length of rod could lead to a faster rod, as it does in the 6 wt.  If the 7’6″ does have a bit more bounce to it, then it could become a really good option for our smaller mountain creeks.  Hopefully we can cast one soon to find out for sure.)
 

 9′ 5 wt. ($475)–  Hands down, this was our least favorite of the 4 rods tested.  While it could be wedged into the “do it all” category that is reserved for 9′ 5 wts., we felt that it lacked a bit of the touch you normally look for in a lighter rod as well as the backbone you look for in a heavier one.  With a standard 5 wt. trout taper line, the rod performed relatively well in the 15-30 foot range, but really started to lose power once you moved past 30 feet.  When we lined it up to a 6 wt. of the same taper, the feel in the 15-30 foot range disappeared, and the troubles past 30 remained.  If you’re looking for a “do it all” rod that can handle closer casting fairly well, and longer casting with a bit of effort, this rod can do it for you.  But, there are certainly several other rods on the market that perform a lot better than this one in both of those departments.
 

 9′ 6 wt. ($485)–  Definitely our favorite of the 4 rods.  If you’re looking for a “do it all” rod from this grouping, this one would be it, and it would also stack up fairly well with other “do it all” trout rods across the market.  The action is nice and smooth throughout the casting range, and there is definitely a backbone hiding underneath of it that allows you to reach out with longer casts.  This is a rod that would fish well on Puget Sound for cutthroat, pink salmon, and most likely even have enough power to handle cohos.  On the flip side, you could also turn over dry flies pretty well, and it certainly could handle any nymph or streamer applications you would want to toss its way.  One of the draw backs of this rod for us in the Puget Sound region is that the 9′ 6wt. only comes with a burled wood reel seat and no fighting butt–you have to step up to the 9’6″ 6 wt. in order to get those.  While that obviously has no effect on rod action or performance, and if you’re only going to freshwater fisheries the wood has a more classic look, it would be nice to have the anodized option for those of us looking to fish this rod in the Sound so you don’t ding up the wood insert.  Overall this is a nice rod for those not wanting to spend $700-800 on a high-end rod, but who want the performance sometimes missing from the entry-level rods.  It will cover a lot of situations for you, and will do so well.
 

 9’6″ 6wt. ($485)–  In addition to the anodized reel seat and fighting butt, as well as the obvious length difference that gives you better mending control and clearance off of the water, the major difference in this rod is added power.  While some rods lose power when length is added to the same line weight rod, this one has more backbone than the 9′ 6 wt.  But, it comes at the expense of feel.  This is a true nymph/streamer/Puget Sound rod that allows you to launch line with a relatively smooth action, but is one that would fall short if dry flies or finesse casting are in your daily schedule.  One other thing we noted with this rod was that it cast best when matched with a true shooting head line like Airflo’s 40+.  When matched with the Airflo Xceed (which does have a slightly more aggressive taper than a standard trout line), the rod just didn’t stay loaded on longer casts.  Shooting head lines will also help in the Puget Sound/streamer/nymph situations where punching heavier flies on longer casts is crucial.  Bottom line with this rod is that power is the name of the game.  The added length can feel a bit cumbersome if you’re brand new to casting, but if the above mentioned situations are what you’re looking to do, this rod will handle them well.
 

 All in all, the Nexus rods are a nice addition to Winston’s line-up…especially at the sub $500 price point.  What they sometimes lack in feel and finesse, they make up for with power, a light weight feel in your hand, and a blank that tracks well throughout the casting range.  Add in high-end looks and components, and you have a quality addition to the ever-advancing mid price point rod market.