This month I was honored to have been asked to do an interview for "On the Fly South" online magazine. This was a fun interview, Usually people want to talk about the vise or how Norm and I started to work together. That is fine as I always like to talk about Norvise. This interview was a little different as you will see. To check out "Getting a Grip on the Fly Tying Business" Click the image below.
I am always humbled when I am asked to do these types of things. Never in a million years did I think I would be in this position. Thank you for reading, thank you for your support, and thank you for tying on a Norvise! Till Next time...
Tight Lines - Tim
By Braden Miller
Thursday, after 8 days in Emerald Isle Albie fishing, spending time on the beach with my family, wearing board shorts and flip flops we made the four hour drive home to meet Tim at my house. Mom and I were home for a hour and a half, just enough time to unpack the trucks, switch some clothes into another bag and we got back in the truck to head to Sylva, NC for the Tuckaseegee Fly Shop’s Norvise Demo Day at their Sylva location. Our 6 hour drive ended up being close to 8 hours due to accidents and all lanes closed for a bit. Friday morning we woke up to temps in the 40’s so we traded our board shorts and flip flops for jeans, sweatshirts and shoes! Mom, Tim and I got some breakfast before we headed to the shop to set up our vises for Demo Day on Saturday before we heading to the river with Shannon “Big Mess” Messer (I loved how he answered the phone Tuck Fly Shop, Big Mess speaking can I help you?). We all got our waders on (even Mom) and headed out to do some Euro Nymphing, which I had not done before.
Tim and I both were using the Temple Fork Outfitters Drift Rod. After a quick Euro Nymphing lesson and some tips from our amazing guide, Big Mess, Tim quickly caught his first wild rainbow of the day and I wasn’t far behind him. After fighting Albies in the Atlantic Ocean for a week, I set the hook rather strongly and launched two poor little rainbows right out of the water. Luckily for both the fish and myself they stayed on the hook and landed back in the water. We fished several sections of the river and probably caught 25 or so wild rainbows and Tim landed one wild brown.
We caught a bunch of beautiful small rainbows, a handful of decent sized rainbows and I caught a rather chunky fellow. Shannon recommended we have dinner at really good BBQ restaurant called Haystack Smokehouse. Man was that some good food; from the Brunswick Stew, to the pulled pork, brisket, andouille sausage and especially the Banana Pudding. I can personally say we will never go to Sylva and not eat at the Haystack Smokehouse (man now, I wish I could eat dinner there tonight). It was an early night for the three of us so we could be ready for Demo Day Saturday.
Brr, Saturday morning was even colder than Friday! This was the first morning this year I have seen frost on our truck. We arrived at the shop around 7:45 to make sure we were ready when the store opened and so Tim could record his episode for the shop’s *podcast called, Tuck Cast, With A Splash of Bourbon, with Shannon “Big Mess” Messer, Bobby the Bearded Wonder and Coach Dale Diesel Collins. Tim and the guys talked about the story/history of Norvise and what makes it so unique. They dove into Tim's relationship with the late Norm Norlander and what it takes to produce the Norvise Fly Tying System. Saturday was Big Mess’s 50th birthday and Tim’s 49th birthday.
Once the shop opened there was a steady flow of customers throughout the day. We meet some current Norvise owners that came to visit for Demo Day. Some upgraded their vise or added a new Auto Bobbin or two to their collection. There were some who came to the shop to check out exactly what the Norvise was capable of and some came with intentions of joining the many other Norvise tiers. Tim gave his normal show demo for a group of people, he challenged several to take his bet could he tie a wooly bugger in under 60 seconds? If you have never seen him in person at a show, Tim bets someone that if he can tie a wooly bugger in under 60 seconds then they have to purchase a full set up and if he fails, he will give them a full set up. I have been going to shows with Tim for two and a half years now and I have never seen him lose… not too many people ever take the bet. I spent my day tying game changers and a baitfish or two. Every time I finished tying a new game changer, someone would buy it from me. I know selling flies is what a tier strives for, but for those of you who know me, whenever I tie a new fly, especially a game changer, I form this sort of attachment to each one of them. I am very thankful to those who loved the flies I tied Saturday so much, they wanted to fish with them. I look forward to seeing what they catch.
Mom, Tim and I all had a wonderful day at Tuckaseegee Fly Shop for their Norvise Demo Day. We look forward to returning to Sylva soon to visit the shop again, see all they guys and Norvise fans, and of course to do some more fishing in the trout capital of North Carolina. Thank you to everyone who came out to the Norvise Demo Day to see Mr. Tim and I, and for checking out what makes the Norvise the most innovative fly tying system on the market today. If you are ever in Sylva or Bryson City, North Carolina you have to remember to stop in one of Tuckaseegee Fly Shop and say hello. Till next time...
Tight lines - Tim
Here is installment #2 if the beginner fly tying series we are doing for The Riversage Journal. In this video we talk about some of the knots we use to tie on and finish the flu as well as tying a staple Trout Fly that should be in every Trout fishers fly box. Click the logo below to see the video.
We hope you are enjoying watching this series as much as we are enjoying bringing it to you. while you are there check out the Riversage Journal, there is a ton of good information there for the beginner and advanced outdoors men alike. Till next time...
Tight Lines - Tim
As Fall is upon us and Winter is fast approaching the "cold" fishing season will soon be here. For many of us, our thoughts turn to winter time fishing. The winter months can be some of the best fishing of the year. Due to the weather conditions we face during December, January and February they can be some of the toughest times to be out there. I would like to give some of our thoughts and insights as to how we dress for the tough months in hopes that you can extend your time on the water. Hypothermia is a serious consideration during this time and we want to be sure you are protected from the elements. Let’s start with our feet and work our way up.
Layering is the key to staying warm in the winter and our feet are no different. We generally like to start off with a liner sock of some type. Polypropylene gets the nod here as it is the best material to wick sweat away from your feet, the key to keeping your feet warm. From here the temperature will determine the next layer for me. In mild times say 30 degrees and up a simple wading sock works for me. In extreme temps, 30 and below I will usually wear a liner sock, a cotton type crew sock and then a heavy wading sock like the Simms Extreme wading sock. This combo keeps my feet warm in the coldest of days. Play around with your sock combo until you find a system that works for you. One item of note; as you add layers of socks on your feet those wading boots that feel great in April and May might be too tight in January. Tight boots equal cold feet, period! A sizable investment for sure, but a pair of boots a size or two bigger can be a godsend.
Next would be the body layers. Again the conditions will determine how many or how few layers you need. Anything that touches your skin needs to have some wicking properties. We all sweat and the key to staying warm is to get that perspiration away from your body. One of the newer products on the market that gets the nod from me is Merino Wool. A Merino wool base layer will go a long way to keeping your body temperature regulated. My next layer would be some sort of fleece. Simms and Redington both have several different types of fleece in different weights to fit your needs. From light weight shirts and pants to heavy weight crew tops and extremely warm one piece “jumpsuits.”There is a product for everybody. To this I will usually add a Windstopper jacket of sorts and this combo seems to keep me warm on most excursions. On those extreme days I might add a mid weight or heavy weight layer of fleece on top of a light weight layer. The key is to have interchangeability in your system so you can adapt to the changing climate.
Hands head and face. We all have heard the saying that you loose most of your body heat through your head. If that is the case lets cover it with a quality hat to prevent that from happening. “Beanie” type hats are fine in mild temperatures; I wear them all the time. I particularly like the visor type of hats from Simms. The next step up would be the Extreme hat from Simms. We call it the “Elmer Fudd” for obvious reasons. Insulated to the max with ear flaps to boot if any hat is going to keep you warm this is the one. Not the most fashionable looking hat, but when it is 10 degrees keeping warm is the priority. Remember this isn’t a fashion show. To this I might add one of the polar Buffs. This insulated, fleece lined “collar” is designed to keep your neck warm, and can be worn on your face like a half mask. Both are a priority in order to keep warm. Last but not least are gloves. I like the finger-less models so I can have some dexterity when tying knots. Actually I believe it is impossible to tie knots with gloves on. If you are prone to cold fingers one of the fold over mitts may be better. These have a finger-less glove inside and a mitten flap that will fold over the entire thing. A great idea, but fishing with mittens on will take a little getting use to. In the winter time try to touch as little water as possible. Once you get your hands cold in February it is tough to get warm them back up without leaving the river. Some of those hand warmers stuffed in your top wader pocket and help with this.
During the winter season, especially during bitter times I try to always fish with a partner. Safety in numbers goes a long way when it is 20 degrees out. I try not to stand in the water for extended periods of time. If you feel your self getting cold get out and go for a little walk. The foot traffic on the rivers is usually light this time of year. Many times I can walk for ten or 15 minutes to get warmed back up and return to the same spot. Also I always carry a “fall in bag”. If I do happen to take a spill (and believe me I do) I have a warm, dry set of clothes waiting for me at the truck. If you do go in the water this time of year IMMEDIATELY get out and head to the truck. As I said earlier Hypothermia is no joke and needs to be taken seriously. Get out, get dry and go home. The fish will be there tomorrow.
Hopefully these tips will keep you warm and out on the river this winter. Have a safe and fun filled winter season. We hope you catch a ton of fish. Till next time…
Tight lines - Tim
As many of you know way back at the beginning of Covid we started a fun little fly tying competition called the Norvise March Madness contest. Basically we took the format from the popular collage basketball tournament and modified it to fit a fly tying contest. Recently I wrote an article about the contest, we were fortunate enough to have the article picked up by Fly Fishing and Tying Journal. Check it out here...
It is a pretty cool feeling to see something I have written published in a major industry magazine. I would like to thank Tony from Amato publishing for running this article, Chris Dougan and Casey Miller for all of their help on this. Proud moment for us at Norvise, we hope you enjoy. Till next time...
Tight lines - Tim
P.S. We will be running the March Madness contest again in 2021, stay tuned for the official announcement later in the year.
This week's blog post comes to us from Norvise ambassador Mike Corrigan. Mike spent some time chasing the fish of 10,000 casts during the pandemic and he shares his experience here. This is a timely post as we just put up his video "Mike Corrigan ties the Comet Minnow" on our YouTube page. You can see the video by clicking HERE If you have not already you may want to subscribe to the new Norvise YouTube channel. we are posting 2 videos per week, this is a great resource for learning new techniques on the Norvise.
Since landing my first Musky a few years ago, I have been addicted to the maddening follows and the mayhem that ensues if the fish do commit. When able to spend a day on the water pursuing Muskies, I generally define success simply by the number of “follows”. Fish or no fish it is a day well spent just to be able to entice these predators. Interestingly, the smaller lakes that do have Musky here locally are generally devoid of other fly rod species; there are Musky and there is bait!
A year ago I decided to hire a guide and get serious about chasing Musky. Where I am living in central Canada there are a lot of Musky, but no guides that cater to fly anglers. As a former guide, all I was looking for was someone with the knowledge of the water and the habits of the fish. The lake the guide selected was absolutely perfect for fly fishing, it is a long narrow lake with lots of bays and as it turned out an abundance of fish; both Musky and Tiger Musky. Much to the guides surprise, we did very well that day, well enough for me to plan a trip back in 2020.
Over this past winter, with last years trip in mind, I contacted some buddies in at my local fly fishing club (Manitoba Fly Fishers Association) and it was very easy to fill the 5 other spots. The plan was to stay at a drive to lodge a few hours away, in the heart of Musky country, and give it a go. Four of the 5 others had never cast a fly to a Musky let alone seen one in person. With expectations tempered for the “fish of ten thousand casts”, and warnings from the lodge owners that Musky on a fly was a tough go, we hatched a plan. Fly fishers, it seems, are certainly the eternal optimists.
Between that December 2019 fishing pact with the group and the whole world being turned upside down with the COVID issue things were touch and go. The trip was on then off then back on, then delayed. Our assigned week was moved 3 weeks past the season opener, but we did have the plan finally come together with the original 6. The 4 newbies hired the guide I had used the previous year for a day; splitting the morning and afternoon session so all had a chance to learn the way of the Musky.
The fly patterns we used were small compared to the ones that are touted as a requirement to catch Musky. The fly I refer to as my “Goldfish” accounted for my 40” and 41” fish plus numerous other smaller ones. We didn’t throw flies any longer than about 5”. The Musky were also keyed into top water and large 1” square poppers did the trick. As an aside, I do fish Musky from a pontoon boat on some of the smaller local lakes. I have observed, on several occasions, that during the Hexigenia hatch the Musky will slurp these easy prey like a Trout. So, it is not all about the top predator only eating baitfish. Apparently, Musky like to change up their food source as well.
For the duration of the trip we all fished barbless hooks. It is not a local requirement but it is just the way we fish. Most of the Musky we landed did not require any hook removal whatsoever. With their nasty sets of teeth we reasoned that they bite down on the fly and their teeth get tangled in the material that we dressed the fly with. Once they feel the net they seemed to open their mouths and the fly “self-released”.
One morning we had a rain delay and I went through leader building with the Knot2Kinky wire. It is amazing stuff to use once you get comfortable with the knots. As most anglers know a normal store bought leader would be good for one toothy fish and then it is finished.
During the week we noticed some rather odd Musky behavior. We had several fish put their noses literally on the gas motor as we were using the electric to maneuver the boat along the shoreline. We also had a 40” plus fish follow us along the side of the boat (within a rod length) for several hundred feet of shoreline; we literally cast over its head into the likely holding water. It seemed they may be programmed that a release of a tired Walleye might happen? For most of the week we would follow up a cast with a large oval pattern with the rod tip, often seeing Musky appear from the depths. We would drop the rod tip well within the water column, so the fly would have a downward movement followed by raising the rod tip and subsequent ascent of the fly. This technique would end up producing several fish including my largest. Figure 8’s aren’t impossible with a fly, but they are more difficult.
The week really was one for the memory banks and it was a trip of a lifetime for most. We have plans for 2021 already in place and we may do some exploring to some neighbouring lakes as well. Like I say this part of Canada is Musky Central and there are lakes available with the 50” plus brutes, but I am still “baby stepping” my way up to them after landing some of the hawgs on this trip.
Were were recently approached by our friend Ray Miller of Riversage Journal. Riversage journal is an online publication that focuses on wing shooting and fly fishing. There is a ton of great info here and best of all it is free! Ray had asked us to shoot a series of videos geared to the beginning fly tier. In the first installment we talk about some of the tools you need to get started and the differences between some of the types. To see the video click the Riversage logo below.
We will have a new video in the next several issues, each one will go a little deeper in to the world of fly tying for the beginner. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us. We would love to here from you. Till next time...
Tight lines - Tim
I was recently asked to be a guest on Justin Lovell's podcast CB Fly Fishing. We talked a bit about Norvise, O'Neill's Fly Fishing and TFO. You can give it a listen here.
Tyler and I spent the afternoon this past Saturday on the river testing out some new TFO two handed rods. Steelhead season is right around the corner as is our O'Neill's Fly Fishing / Norvise Hosted Steelhead fishing trip. (BTW, we still have 3 spots open if you are interested contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org). We thought the dog days of Summer are a good time to get out, knock the rust off our 2 handed casts and get these new rods figured out.
We hit the water with 2 new rods on Saturday, the Axiom 2 Switch in an 11' 7 weight (350 to 550 gr) and the brand new (not even released yet) LK Legacy 11'6" 7 weight (450 to 550 gr). The A2 Switch won basically every award a switch rod can since it's introduction close to a year ago and the LK Legacy is a brand new stick, only a select few people have had the chance to cast this rod at this point. Needless to say, we were excited to hit the water.
While this was not a "fishing" outing it didn't seem right to be on the water without the opportunity to at least catch a fish. I believe it was John Geriach that said "in fly fishing there is a fine line between knowing what you are doing and standing in the river looking like a fool". Not wanting to look like fools, we put a small box of buggers and swimming nymphs together and headed to out favorite Smallmouth river.
We had a conversation with Nick at TFO prior to this and got some guidelines from him on head weights for each rod. With this info we headed to the river armed with several Skagit heads (thanks Ed) the 2 rods and a pack of MOW tips. Simple leaders were tied at the truck and after rigging, we were ready to go.
We started with the Axiom 2 Switch. Nick recommended a 450 Skagit head for this rod. That is what we started off with and I can tell you he was spot on. Shortly after a few practice casts I stripped off a bit of running line, loaded up a Snap T and let fly. The D loop and anchor jumped off the water like a Labrador in one of those Dock Dog competitions and at the end of the cast the running slapped the but section of the rod with the tell tale sign of the rod saying "oh yeah' there is more". The first thing I noticed about this rod is how light it is. It is feather light and balanced, tip positive, with the relatively light TFO BVK 3+ reel. The second thing I noticed about this rod is how thin the top grip is. The area where your top hand / thumb goes is REALLY hollowed out. The grip, in conjunction with the overall light weight of the package will make for a very comfortable set up that can be cast all day long. We tried several MOW tips from floating to 7.5' sink tip (where we Steelhead it is RARE we need to go past 7.5' of T11). and this rod handled them all. I am really looking forward to getting this rod out on the river this Fall and Winter.
The second rod we put through it's paces is the new series form TFO called the LK Legacy. We have a couple of single handers in this series. We have been impressed with all of the LK rods so far, especially when you consider the price point. This was the 11' 6" rod rated for a 450 to 550 grain head. Nick had recommended a 500 or 525 grain head for this rod. We already had the 450 rigged up so we decided to give that a go. While it does say 450 gr on the butt section of the rod, I could not get the rod to do what I wanted it to do. We quickly switched to the 500 grain head, it was like night and day. This rod has a nice deep, progressive bend. It almost feels like the head is too heavy and I found myself needing to slow my stroke down a bit. Once we got the head weight and the stroke speed dialed in man, can this thing launch some line. It is funny, with the single hand and the 2 hand LK rods we have we had to search a bit for the right line combo. Both series I was a little hesitant at first as to weather I would like this rod series or not. Be it the single or two handed rods, I find myself liking this new series, liking them a lot! I guess this is why we take time to test rods and match lines so we can get the performance out of them that we need. I really think this new LK series of rods will be a force to be reckoned with.
Remember that part about standing in the river looking like a fool???
Some of the action shots...
This was a fun time on the water testing and matching some new gear. If you have any questions about these or any of the other great TFO products please feel free to contact us. Till next time,
Tight lines - Tim
When Norm Norlander designed the NorVise it quickly became a classic tool to tie better quality, more consistent, and quicker flies. I think what we are all learning is that as we use the vise the versatility seems to be endless. I have had mine since the early years of its existence, and I am still finding new things it can do, with a few adaptations.
Years ago I wanted to come up with an extended body for a Mayfly and a Stonefly pattern. I took a piece of yarn, put one end in the vise and began spinning. What I ended up with was a section of yarn that would, when folded back on itself produce a stiff tightly wound body. The upside for production tiers was you could create the bodies assembly line fashion for later use. This technique morphed into using two or three strands of 30 gauge coloured wire and using the same spinning technique (without folding the wire back) to produce a very finely banded segmentation on the shank of small nymphs; it almost appears woven.
Flash forward to recent times and a new issue to deal with. With the advent of newer fly lines, there are a seemingly endless variety and an apparent specific application for every species! Saltwater lines are stiffer than Trout lines for example. Manufacturers are now offering Bass and Musky/Pike taper “warmer water” lines; lines that are stiffer than Trout lines, but softer than Saltwater lines. These lines are exceptional for throwing big flies, but the issue in more northern climes, with cold mornings or cold Fall days there is a lot of line memory when cold. As the day warms the issue does diminish.
So, back to the NorVise......I have always used a stripping basket in my boat to keep the fly line under control and away from the “line grabbers” which seem to be present even on a clean casting deck. Recently, I added a foam insert in the bottom of the basket with “pegs” made of old 60lb monofilament I had laying around (30 years at least). So, cue the NorVise to create the "pegs".
Step #1 as with the Mayfly/Stonefly bodies and the wire, I put one end of a 10-12” piece of mono in the jaws of the vise and spin the vise; holding the other end with forceps.
Step #2 once the mono becomes difficult to spin, place scissors at the midpoint of the mono and fold the forceps end of the mono back to the vise. Once the scissors are removed you will notice that the mono wraps back on itself to form the stiff “peg”.
Step #3 carefully remove the mono from the vise (so it doesn't unravel) and put both ends in the forceps and burn the tips together (not the loop end).
Step #4 move the forceps to the desired length (3-4”) and re-cut and burn the end as in step #3. I use "pegs" 3" long. You can use other things for pegs such as golf tees, etc. but the flexibility of the mono gives less resistance on the line as it exits the stripping basket.
TOP: The finished foam insert with the 9, 3" high "pegs". After poking holes in the foam base, I used a glue gun to hold the "pegs" in place.
BOTTOM: The foam insert in the bottom of the stripping basket.
The basket That I use is a leaf bucket or laundry hamper that is about 24" high and 17" in diameter. I decided to use 9 "pegs" in my basket and it does prevent the line coiling and line memory issues to get me through the cool part of the day and prevent the inevitable tangles. I use a multitude of lines from the big 3 manufacturers and they all, to some degree, have the same line memory issue.
Here is yet another great use of the vise in a non fly tying application. There are many, many more. This post is yet another example of why the Norvise is "The Most Innovative Fly Tying System On The Market" . Till next time.
Tight Lines - Tim