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'Calico Syndicate' Inventing New Ways to Get Flies Down Fast and to Cut Through Kelp

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December 06, 2012

'Calico Syndicate' Inventing New Ways to Get Flies Down Fast and to Cut Through Kelp

By Tim Romano

Fly fishermen who need to get a fly deep quickly might be interested in the techniques and fishing gear being developed by the Calico Syndicate, "a group of six friends who have a passion for saltwater flyfishing and chase calico bass off the coast of Southern California."

They have been experimenting with casting heavy lines in order to get their flies down to 40, 50, 60, and even 100 feet deep through high current and massive kelp beds. The Syndicate has tried 72 different line recipes using stock lines and materials over the course of the past seven months, according to Keith Munemitsu, one of the mad scientists pioneering this technique. He said they “are now comfortably casting 800-950 grain lines up to 12 hours a day, from boats in the open ocean many days in a row.” They are doing this on big, but not huge rods, like nine and 10 weights—supposedly without much fatigue.

Pretty nutty eh?

Not only are these guys developing insanely heavy, but easy casting lines, they have also developed what they call the "Kelp Cutter": a super abrasive leader which consists of four feet of Spiderwire Spectra connected to a couple feet of fluorocarbon. This lets the heavy lines to literally cut through kelp once they've hooked up to a fish.

You can check out their videos on YouTube and head on over to their Facebook page to learn more and perhaps join the conversation if you’re the kind of whacko that needs to get flies way down, fast, or needs to saw through a forest of seaweed when landing fish.

“We have made a conscious decision to share our findings openly with the general public because we truly believe that there are much wider applications to what we are doing… East Coast Striper fishermen, Ling Cod & Halibut fly anglers, etc… anyone who needs to get a fly deep quick – but retain the ability to cast into structure or tight areas," said Munemitsu.

I'm thinking about begging to try out one of their lines in a local reservoir about 20 minutes west of me. It's very deep and holds large musky and lake trout.

Comments (9)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Heavy lines, but easy lines to cast? There is no secret about what you need to get down. It is a matter for me, whether I want to stay with flyfishing, and do it?...or use conventional gear, and much smaller, mono/braided lines, and lure wt. and get down much easier, and more comfortable fishing. Just saying I can do it flyfishing doesn't get it with me. It has to be enjoyable, and that is in the eye of the fisherman.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Sounds extremely nutty. but I've had more than one situation where I've needed that kind of depth for a fly rod. *(Clinchfu warning)* That's where I bring along the conventional gear, cast the full sink fly line and then take two or three casts with conventional gear while I wait for my fly to hit the "Zone".

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I don't even bring the fly gear along. In one of those boats shown, you can have 3 guys casting with conventional gear, getting down, and have fun catching fish, and now have 3 guys casting wt.'d flies, heavy lines, and it becomes dangerous, and no fun besides.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Interesting,I like new frontiers in fly fishing.I've tossed up to 600 grains offshore and I'd like to know more about what size rod they are using and the length. Are they using billfish rods? Also, I can tie an Albright Knot and believe it to still be one of the best......but it would have helped to see the "reverse" aspect of their knot.
I've also used the Braided/ Spider Wire type lines in rocky areas....but I did have problems with extended fights sawing through fly line.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

P.S. The way I solved the abrasive sawing was fly line to a mono loop, through one end of a barrel swivel, then attach the Spider Wire to the other end of the swivel then to the fluro tippet.This however isn't acceptable if one is fishing for an IGFA fish.

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from Rhythm Rider wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Great post. Thanks for bringing these guys to my attention. They are pretty excitable about pushing new ways to fly fish.

Makes me think about Russell Chatham's book "The Angler's Coast" about him and Bill Schadt's coastal angling exploits in the 60's and 70's. They were casting old gear and heavy line for stripers and what not. These guys just kicked it up a notch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Noah Gates wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

This would work when chasing lakers on the fly

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I didnt know Richard Petty fly-fished!!

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Post a Comment

from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Heavy lines, but easy lines to cast? There is no secret about what you need to get down. It is a matter for me, whether I want to stay with flyfishing, and do it?...or use conventional gear, and much smaller, mono/braided lines, and lure wt. and get down much easier, and more comfortable fishing. Just saying I can do it flyfishing doesn't get it with me. It has to be enjoyable, and that is in the eye of the fisherman.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Sounds extremely nutty. but I've had more than one situation where I've needed that kind of depth for a fly rod. *(Clinchfu warning)* That's where I bring along the conventional gear, cast the full sink fly line and then take two or three casts with conventional gear while I wait for my fly to hit the "Zone".

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I don't even bring the fly gear along. In one of those boats shown, you can have 3 guys casting with conventional gear, getting down, and have fun catching fish, and now have 3 guys casting wt.'d flies, heavy lines, and it becomes dangerous, and no fun besides.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Interesting,I like new frontiers in fly fishing.I've tossed up to 600 grains offshore and I'd like to know more about what size rod they are using and the length. Are they using billfish rods? Also, I can tie an Albright Knot and believe it to still be one of the best......but it would have helped to see the "reverse" aspect of their knot.
I've also used the Braided/ Spider Wire type lines in rocky areas....but I did have problems with extended fights sawing through fly line.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

P.S. The way I solved the abrasive sawing was fly line to a mono loop, through one end of a barrel swivel, then attach the Spider Wire to the other end of the swivel then to the fluro tippet.This however isn't acceptable if one is fishing for an IGFA fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rhythm Rider wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Great post. Thanks for bringing these guys to my attention. They are pretty excitable about pushing new ways to fly fish.

Makes me think about Russell Chatham's book "The Angler's Coast" about him and Bill Schadt's coastal angling exploits in the 60's and 70's. They were casting old gear and heavy line for stripers and what not. These guys just kicked it up a notch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Noah Gates wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

This would work when chasing lakers on the fly

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I didnt know Richard Petty fly-fished!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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