Sunday, March 4, 2018


 At left, a little restoration project of my own.

Pictured: a 1492 1/2 China-made Medalist reel. I've carried this little 1" wide gem around for a bit looking for a good use. It's a right-hand only wind and is plenty of reel for any trout I'm likely to hook this summer in these waters.

Cue the dock scene from Jaws where the chief says "there are no other sharks like that one in these waters." Always trust a lubber to know the disposition of local waters. Just sayin'

Anyway, I've been looking for a special use of this little beastie.

I've spooled it with just over 40 yards of backing and 100 feet of 20 lb level running line. I've left space to hold a 225 grain OPST head, a 10' floating tip, and leader should I be pressed and need to roll it all onto the reel in haste.

I've a several rods in the 3 wt though fast 5wt which could hold this little OPST style set-up.

I'm visiting rivers this spring where wading access is poor and where the ability to "reach-out"  to holding ground requires zero backcast. Thus the OPST heads.

Otherwise, I love the Wulff TT lines.

"Right tool for the right job." 

I'm happy to put this little reel back into a use it deserves.

I've some great rainy-day streams to visit.


It's not quite spring and that's the agony here.

Some stoneflies are hatching. Saw a few yesterday on a hint from Bill Phillips. Thanks Bill!

Streams are high and chocolate. They're not as blown-out as last weekend but definitely bank-to-bank and fast with 7" of very sloppy snow from Thursday (fell in about 6 hours) on the melt.

Next weekend I swing some large rootbeer colored flies for early smallmouth in the Huron.


Al Ritt will be at the Beer Grotto Monday night tying socially. We tie different flies but he's a fun fellow to hear talk. That'll get me excited for spring, too. I'm only 100 flies behind where I want to be. That's not bad.

I'm tying mostly double-hackled and palmered bodied flies right now that are best described as loch flies. I'm giving trout something larger in profile this spring and we'll see how it goes. I've been corrupted in part with the thought of fishing larger flies throughout the water column.

I always have a page of sparse soft-hackled flies in my box so if my plans fall to naught ...


I received a fly vest full of accouterments from the widow of a buddy who passed last fall.  It was full of the sort of impulse buys that go unused or forgotten over most of a career. I've got it hanging in my library. I did take the armored stream thermometer.

I'll think of Dean every time I check the water. It'll help my fishing log.



  1. I had that same reel made in US. I should have never sold it.
    Sparse is good.

  2. I love the sparse soft hackle. I'm trying some fuller flies, too. I've a boxload of coachmen streamers. Can't let them go to waste!

  3. Great line-holder there. And I really like the looks of the new Medalist as well.

  4. I too like the looks of the new medalist. I haven't had one in my hands yet. Probably this weekend.

    I love reels and the fine machining and the precision and ... But ultimately, a coke can on a spindle does the job. My fish are smaller than yours.

    This one is really too small a diameter for "old" stiff plastic lines but the new supple stuff takes only 30 seconds to stretch flat and isn't an issue. I'm using a lot of Wulff lines which are low on the "supple" scale yet a little hand stretching while I'm sitting on the bank makes everything alright.

    In fact, all fly fishing gear should come with a warning label: this equipment requires a ten minute warm-up for optimum performance. Ten minutes on the bank, minimum.

    1. True. The mono-core lines need to be stretched before fishing. It only takes a minute but it sure makes a difference. Hey, still not as much work as maintaining a silk line. I do prefer the hand-ability of braided core lines though.

      Wasn't gonna say it, but yeah, that is a small diameter reel, and that model Medalist, because of the frame design, has a relatively smaller spool than most of its class. I think it was Ted Trueblood, years ago, talking about line coil, who suggested not going smaller than a reel rated for a 5wt line, and going narrower rather than smaller in diameter. I've found that narrow reels like the Hardy Marquis or Princess, the Orvis Battenkill, or Red Truck Diesel, in 5wt, are not outlandish on 3wt and 4wt rods, and are more functional, not only storing line in larger coils, but also affording the ability to gather line quicker, which is handy if you encounter a honker you may want to get on the reel. 5wt being the smallest, T.T. also advised going up a designation on all trout reels -- a 7wt reel for a 6wt rod, etc. And I read an interesting article claiming that a heavier reel adds power to the cast, in the same way a heavier hammer drives a nail better than a light hammer, equal force applied.

      The little Medalist looks perfect for a 3 or 4wt DT (functions as a long-belly Spey). You're not long-distance casting with it are you? It's for small water in tight places, right? Though not a performer like the OPST head, a DT performs the little anchor-point and roll-casts fine, and will easily cover a 40' cast, and with a less intrusive presentation than the shooting head. And you're all set to go should you want to tie on a dryfly.

  5. I'm loaded up with a nice Wulff TT in 3wt on a Galvan Brookie reel and I've got a lovely 4wt Wulff TT on a Douglas click-and-pawl of suitable spool diameter to not kink. The Medalist and OPST? Just a plaything for tight spots on light line.

    The 5/6 wt OPST set-up will live on a Cascapedia (awaiting delivery now) and the big stuff lives on a new model 4" Bougle. Yes, I'll bring them when I come. Just spooled the Bougle last week.

    Yes, I can palm the Bougle reaching under. Dally thumbs-up and you never hit the handle as it spins.

    1. Sounds like you have it handled, and loaded for fun.

      Know a good place to take the Cascapedia. Also the 3wt outfit.