Monday, 30 January 2012

The Whole World In My Hands

Sometimes it is nice to be able to see the whole world at once and in a physical form when scouting for a possible location for Flywater Exposed. I think that my new toy (pictured above), when combined with Google Earth is going to make the search much more enjoyable. I got this globe on sale for only $10 at Cotton on Kids. One day when finances allow, a big high quality globe will sit atop my desk. For now this will do.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Spinning Out

Two new rods
I have been a little distracted again as I just got my hands on two rod blanks that I have wanted for some time. They are Sabre E glass ultralight blanks, model 110. I had one of these years ago built up as a spin rod and it was possibly the most fun piece of fishing tackle I ever owned. I also cast a fly line with it and it was something else. Super slow and soft, I think it would be perfect on my local tiny stream. The blank is 6' and 1 piece rated for 0.5-2kg line (1-4lb).

I am going to build one up as a fly rod, and will test it to find the best line - I will definitely post a few photos of it here once finished. The other will be built into a spinning rod. I rarely fish spin tackle these days, but with this blank I will definitely be taking it out once in a while, partially for the memories I hope it will bring back, and partially because I think this blank builds into the most fun rod one can possibly use when not fly fishing. 

Choosing a Reel
I used to know all about the current spin reels from the major manufacturers, however over the past 5 years or so I had grown detached from what was available in spin tackle. I figured that since I am a fan of the highest quality tackle available, I had better do some research. Since this blog is about fly fishing and travel, I think it is best not to go into detail about my selection process other than to say I did not set a budget, I wanted the best I could get in a spin reel, and I generally had favoured Daiwa reels in the past. After lots of research I was leaning towards the Daiwa Exist 1003, however after having it in hand at a local tackle store along with a few other high end reels, I have pretty much settled on the  Shimano Stella 1000FE. Looks to be a fantastic reel, however not as nice (to me) cosmetically to the Stella 1000F from the early 2000's that I owned in the past. Apart from looks it felt better though, and that old reel is still being used by my best friend and mostly in saltwater almost 10 years after I purchased it and it has never been serviced, and rarely even rinsed or cleaned externally. Can't ask for more than that so I figure I can't go wrong. 

As for a reel for the fly rod version that I build on the other blank, I will most likely throwing a Hardy Featherweight on it, but will make a final decision once the correct line weight is decided on after test casting.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

FWE Favourites - Confluence Films

The guys at Confluence Films must certainly know a thing or two about planning a fly fishing trip. Over the last few years they have visited, fly fished, and filmed in a heap of exotic or just plain exciting destinations. I purchased a copy of their first film "Drift" early in 2009, and it still remains my favourite fly fishing film. That being said, I am yet to see their two newer offerings - "Rise" and "Connect". I am hoping that will change soon, as I plan on adding both of them to my collection as soon as I can. I am especially excited to see that "Connect" is available on Blu Ray.

"Drift" was definitely a part of the inspiration behind Flywater Exposed. The fact that Confluence Films use film rather than still photography as their medium does not matter. They still provide an absolute feast for the eyes with superb camera work. The stories are fantastic too, and the music works so well with the footage. In particular I loved two songs from Drift "Run River" by Jon Swift which I now have on my iPhone, and the song Charlie Smith sings while playing his banjo on the dock.

Do yourself a favour, and at least check out the trailers and order one or perhaps all three films for yourself at

To keep up to date with what the Confluence Film team are doing, don't forget to like their Facebook page.

It's also worth checking out this review of Connect at MidCurrent

Ascension Island - Part 1 - Fishing Opportunities

Ascension Island is the first place I have looked at in any great detail since Flywater Exposed was launched last September. As I mentioned earlier, I will not be doing any more in depth reports on possible locations for Flywater Exposed after this until I have narrowed down the possible locations significantly. I realised quickly that I could spend a lifetime going through everywhere on earth that looked interesting, and never end up fishing or photographing any of them. Since I have already gathered a lot of information on Ascension, I thought it might be a good idea to report some of my findings for a couple of reasons. Firstly it will give you, the reader, an idea of what to expect later when I do start reporting on other areas of interest. Second, I am hoping you might notice something important that I have overlooked. As always, please feel free to comment. I will most likely work out a set format and key points to address for all future in depth reports

I will refrain from going into too much detail about the island itself as plenty of information can be seen at the Ascension Island Government's official site or the Ascension Island page on Wikipedia if you are interested. I will focus Part 1 of this report on the fly fishing, and in Part 2 I will look at the photographic opportunities Ascension may offer.

Location & Access
Ascension Island lies approximately half way between the horn of South America and Africa in the South Atlantic Ocean's equatorial waters (see map here). As such, this volcanic island is extremely isolated. It is part of the British Overseas Territory, and in the past has mostly been difficult to get to unless one was working there. In recent years, it seems it is a little easier to get there. You can even find cost and organise booking flights here.

The Fishing
The first thing a search on fishing Ascension Island will show is that it is a place that is most noted for it's big game fishing potential. From what I have read, it is a paradise for those in search of big tuna, marlin, and sharks offshore. This offshore fishing is already established, so heading for Ascension to fish offshore in a game boat would defeat the purpose of Flywater Exposed. I would not rule out going offshore with a local, but I do not want it to be a chartered trip on a game boat. As I am intent on finding relatively unexplored waters, I am most interested in the land based and inshore fishing at Ascension. Apart from the black jack, there is not much information on the inshore fishing. There is mention of a few other species, but information is hard to come by. A sure sign that this area has not been explored to it's full potential. One of the few other species I have heard about is the blackfish, which appears to be a species of trigger fish. They seem to be in large numbers, even right in the most populated area of ascension. Check out this video of them following this swimmer from the jetty to the shore - there seems to be a lot of them and they look to be fairly big.

I did read somewhere of someone snorkelling not far off a beach and seeing big yellowfin tuna. I also found this post from a kayak fisherman catching the big yellowfin.  As there is deep water in close and probably a fair amount of unfished shoreline, I have a feeling there are probably some rock platforms that might offer the opportunity to cast at large pelagics from the shore. This footage of someone hooked up to a yellowfin on fly off Ascension makes me wonder how much hope there is of landing a big yellowfin on fly off the rocks though. Watching the other fish being hooked and landed on the bamboo pole right next to the fly fisher is pretty interesting too!

Fishing the beaches, I am assuming that there would have to be other worthwhile targets other than black jack and blackfish. This definitely warrants further investigation, and I think it may be best to contact people that have spent a lot of time on the island, and possibly marine biologists and researchers to get a good sense of what fish species are available. If Ascension ends up as one of the higher rated areas on my list for the Atlantic region, then I will spend the time to find out more.

I will leave you with this blog post that I stumbled across in my search for information on Ascension's shore based options. It is about bait fishing, but gives a bit of an idea of what is available, and what the place looks like. The person who wrote the post mentioned catching 13 different species on his trip, and I am sure there are many more on offer, especially if one is willing to walk in to more remote parts of the island.

Friday, 13 January 2012


After my recent post about how easy it is to get distracted while researching, I thought it would be worth taking a day to re-evaluate how I go about the process of selectiong Flywater X. After Ascension Island, there will be no more detailed research on any locations until they have been narrowed down, as there are a massive number of areas in each region and to research each in detail could take a lifetime in itself.
So, how will I approach it?

Firstly I will be looking for areas that look interesting on a map. I will then check that there are no major safety concerns (war zones, piracy, aggressive natives). At that point they will go on a list with all the other places in the region that look promising.

I plan on working out a rating system over the next week to help me quickly discount some areas, while leaving others that appear to have more potential to move onto the next stage.

Those that are highly rated will then be checked for accessibilty. As long as there is a viable way in, I will try and find out about the areas fish stocks. I will need to know if there any worthwhile target species, and if the area is subjected to any major fishing pressure. If things are still looking good, i will then take a more detailed look into the actual fly fishing opportunities as well as looking into the landscape, buildings and people from a photographic perspective.

At that point it is time to work out how to narrow the list right down to a "regional final 3" Those will be researched in depth and put up for consideration against the final 3 from each of the other regions. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Ocean Geographic - Almanac of Our Seas

Inspiration is Everywhere
When I picked up my copy of the National Geographic - 50 Greatest Pictures yesterday, I also noticed Ocean Geographic. It appeared to be a high quality publication, so out of curiosity I picked it up and had a quick flick through. Some of the images were breathtaking, and as Flywater X needs to be a location with water, I figured that there was justification enough to make the purchase. The fact that there happened to be an article about conservation photographer Mattias Klum was a definite bonus, and I can't wait to read it.

If you have an interest in our oceans and their conservation, do yourself a favour and see what the Ocean Geographic Society are up to at, where you can also subscribe to the magazine. 

They also have a Facebook page if you prefer to keep up with things that way.

FWE Favourites - The Fiberglass Manifesto

What We Read

Cameron Mortenson of The Fiberglass Manifesto with his first redfish

You will notice posts here from time to time with FWE Favourites in the title - just like this one. Featured will be either blogs or websites that we read or refer to often. The blogs will then be added to the blogroll, and the websites will be added to our links page.

The Fiberglass Manifesto (or TFM for short) is mentioned in previous Flywater Exposed posts, and it's author Cameron Mortenson is a great guy. If you have any news relating to, or questions about fiberglass fly rods or fishing them, I am sure he would be glad to hear from you. Cameron can be contacted at

You can also keep up to date on their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

National Geographic - 50 Greatest Pictures

Inspiration and Eye Candy
I don't usually buy National Geographic, however I couldn't pass up the opportunity to own a selection of some of their greatest photographs when I saw it today. Get a copy while you can. It is certainly worth a look, and will provide plenty of inspiration if you are planning a trip involving travel and photography in a far away place.

For a taste of what's inside, check out the Wallpaper Gallery 

Also worth a visit is their home page at 

An app is also availabe on iTunes if you are keen to have these images available on your Apple mobile device.

Ooh, Something Shiny!

Distractions and Detours
Once may be a mistake and twice may be a coincidence, but I have a feeling that there will be a third time - perhaps more. I bet you are wondering what I am talking about, don't you?

Well, when researching it is easy to branch off in another direction. On a fairly open project like Flywater Exposed, it is easy to be looking at the fishing and photographic opportunities somewhere, and suddenly be distracted by something interesting that ends up taking you down the scenic route, so to speak.

The first time I made this "mistake" was when researching an island a few years ago. I will be revisiting this particular island later on Flywater Exposed, so I won't go into too much detail. What I will say is that pirates were a concern in the area, and I somehow seemed to be spending just as much time researching modern day piracy as I did looking into that island and it's potential.

I noticed another such occurrence today. It stemmed from yesterday's post, where I noted that I certainly would not be adding number 1 on the linked list as a possible Flywater X. If you looked at the list, you would most likely understand why I decided immediately that it was off limits. Still, there I went again, getting off track from the goal of finding a remote destination to fly fish and photograph. Knowing that almost certain death would result from going there, I still felt the need to take a turn off for a moment and look into it further. I have found a number of links that relate to that particular island from the list, and from people living a similar lifestyle elsewhere already. I may even share some of this new found information in a future post. Anyway, what I am saying is that it is easy to get distracted from a goal when researching. It has happened to me twice already with this project, and I am sure that this is no coincidence. It will definitely happen again.

Despite the inevitable delays to the final goal, I think it adds richness to the whole experience. I hope you will enjoy the occasional posts that result from this wayward research. 

Monday, 9 January 2012

Ascension Island Appetiser

Black Jack Feeding Frenzy
My research of Ascension Island so far has turned up very little on the inshore fishing available, but I am getting a few clues together. What I have learned is that one of the species that would most likely be encountered is the black jackCaranx lugubris. I don't know if I would like to hook one in a rock pool like in the video shown below. Check out the speed as they smash into the baitfish and make sure you watch until the end so you can see where the baitfish that didn't get eaten end up.

More videos and some links to images will be posted in my full Ascension Island report later this week.

Top 10 Unusual Islands

More Possible Destinations Uncovered
When a list of Unusual places shows up somewhere, the first questions that comes to mind are "is there water?" and if so, then that is quickly followed up with "what fishing opportunities might be available in that water?"

When looking for images of Ascension Island, I managed to stumble across an unrelated image linking to this page listing their choice for Top 10 Unusual Islands.

Of course I had to look, perhaps Flywater X was right there in front of me. Lets just say that a few of these islands will eventually be the subject of further research. I think their number 1 might be off the list though somehow - you will have to visit the link to understand why!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Nikon D4

Another Flywater Exposed Camera Contender
Nikon recently made an official announcement of it's new flagship camera, the 16.2MP full frame D4. Like the new Canon 1D-X, it is quite moderate in resolution (by todays standards), and to many the D4 looks like a fairly minor upgrade to the D3s. The approximately 2MP difference between the new Nikon and Canon models is so minor it isn't something I would consider if trying to choose between these cameras.What has me interested is the post by Joe McNally mentioning one thing that I feel has let Nikon down on it's past digital SLR's - skin tones. Joe seems most impressed and I must admit that his examples look pretty good. 

Of course Nikon has made some big improvements to the video, however this is not something that is important to me. I won't go into any of the technical details as these can be found at the Nikon website. As a Canon user I don't know as many details about Nikon gear, but once the D4 is shipping I will definitely keep an eye out for more details and reviews, and perhaps even test one for myself. I'm no fan boy or brand snob,  so the best camera for the job will be the one to come on the adventure. I am assuming Nikon will also release a higher resolution D4X at some point to replace the current 24.5MP D3X. If that is the case, I will give that camera some serious consideration too.

I have a post coming up soon going into detail about what is required in a camera for Flywater Exposed, and what the best camera for the job might be. Stay tuned.

Ascension Island Research Begins

Ascension Island in the Atlantic Region is the first of many possible locations that I am researching in detail. Hopefully within a week I will be able to give a full report on the opportunities on this fascinating island. Already the land based fishing sound pretty interesting despite the area mostly being known for it's offshore gamefishing opportunities. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A New Year Begins

With a new year upon us, it's time to get serious about the journey that is Flywater Exposed. Before I go any further, I would just like to say I hope everyone had a great break over the Christmas and New Year period. I know I did, despite being busy and even working in between, and this is reflected by the lack of posts over the last month. 

While you are waiting for the next post (promise it won't be as long as last time), make sure you get out and enjoy a sunset - or if you don't mind an early start, perhaps a sunrise on some magnificent water. May the new year bring you all lots of fish, adventure, and wonderful memories. For those of us who like to take a camera with us, some great light as well. Here's to a big year at Flywater Exposed.