Drop the Hokey Cokey and make a faster fly cast

Here's the hook keeper 3 step:
1/ You are walking along the river between pools with fly rod in hand, fly hooked on to the hook keeper. Low and behold a 4 pound Brown trout appears in a nice lie only 20 feet in front of you. Heart pounding you launch into action to make a cast.
Drop the Hokey Cokey and make a faster fly cast
We occasionally get asked why we do not put hook keepers on any of our rods - there are a number of very practical reasons why we do not…
Here's the hook keeper 3 step:
1/ You are walking along the river between pools with fly rod in hand, fly hooked on to the hook keeper. Lo and behold a 4 pound Brown trout appears in a nice lie only 20 feet in front of you. Heart pounding you launch into action to make a cast.
You unhook the fly from the keeper and try to pull out some line - the line to leader connection catches at the tip top and precious time is wasted while you fumble around almost doubling your rod in half in order to reach the tip top and free the catch at the end at the tip. You then fluff and fart around trying to get a little line out and then manage to flap and flail out enough line to make a cast. You peel off loops of line in the sand and dirt around your feet, stand on your line a couple of times, do the Hokey Cokey and turn around. 
By this time, fish, friends and all hope have moved on.
Hokey Cokey fly fishing
"You stick your fly rod in, you pull your fly line out..." 
This whole rigmarole is further exacerbated on shorter rods with long leaders.
Even with a 9 ft rod this is problematic. A standard 9ft tapered leader with a couple of feet of tippet added means that that the leader to line connection is well inside the tip top and is difficult to get out  and get underway casting. Regardless of what line to leader connection you use (loops, nail knots etc) - although a needle knot is pretty low profile, they still catch at the tip top and you still do not have enough line to actually make a cast.
Even after you reach up and “encourage” the line to leader connection out past the tip top you’ll need to strip off a few feet of line in order to have enough fly line out past the tip to cast a loop and work sufficient line out to make your full cast.
2/ Hook keepers tend to catch & tangle fly lines when shooting line and fighting fish (the reason why you won’t, or shouldn’t, see one on a saltwater rod)
3/ We much prefer the clean elegant look of rods without a hook keeper and have followed this on all our fly rods. Honestly - they are a pain in the ass, you’re better off without one in our not so humble opinion.

There's a better way.

A far more effective way to hold the line and fly so that it is ready to go at a moments notice: 
Take your line and bring it down and around the fly reel and then hook the fly back up on the furtherest (is that a word?)  guide you can comfortably reach. This way you are ready to pop out a cast at a moments notice. Those guides are plenty tough (or at least ours are) they can take it.
Fly Casting fly rods hook keeper
The doubled over line will be a rod length and (at least ) a half long depending on how far you managed to reach out to hook the fly in a guide.
To make a cast simply slip the looped line off the fly reel, let it hang and give the back of the fly rod a sharp tap or two. The fly will drop loose from the guide and you are ready to cast. With practice you can sweep up and cast in one motion - your line and fly will never touch the ground.
Fly fishing fly rods
On a 9ft rod that's nine feet plus at least another 4 to 5 feet (you can just about reach your own height doing this) - thus you have about 14 feet ready to cast, one false cast and a short line shoot and you are in reach of the nice brownie 20 feet way  - and it took only seconds to do.
Fly Fishing fly rods
It's a much more effective method than unhooking a fly from a hook keeper and trying to pull fly line and leader to line connection out of the tip top, then pulling enough line out to make a cast and launching into that first cast Hokey Cokey.
You see, we really do think about fly fishing when we design gear. We are a small company, we fish, hand-craft and cast our own gear. Tradition absolutely has an influence over what we do, but in most cases we prefer to go with practical over conventional. 
Give it a go, it really is a winner  ;-)
All our fly rods use the very best quality Universal snake guides available - made by our buddy Mike at Snake Brand Guides USA. Our 590C fly rod, like all our carbon fiber (graphite) rods features titanium coated strippers and black nickel universals - they are tough.
(In case you were wondering - The rod used in these pics above is one of our very first 3 piece Epic 686's - it was made for me by Shane Gray,  we swapped a build for a blank to see if either if us were any good - and we both were.)
Fly rods


Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit $199.00
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry Fly Tying kit features the very best Italian made tools by Stonfo and a pair of remarkable hand crafted fly tying scissors by Renomed of Poland. There are no finer fly tying tools made. We've taken the best of the best and presented them in a thoughtful waxed cotton canvas tool roll featuring genuine leather trim and straps fastened with classic brass catches. The hand stitched waterproof tool roll houses & protects these high quality tools and features two additional pouches to tuck away fly tying materials and hooks. The Renomed "Fly Tier" scissors feature a 'super cut' finely serrated blade that makes cutting deer hair and fur a breeze, and the larger scissor handles afford comfort and extraordinary durability and functionality. Tool Collection  Renomed Fly Tier Super Cut scissors (retail US$45) Stonfo Dubbing Twister Stonfo Hackle pliers Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Dubbing Brush Stonfo Bobtec1  Adjustable Bobbin With Ceramic Insert (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless steel) Stonfo Elite Whip Finisher (Stainless Steel)
Streamer wallet fly wallet Streamer wallet fly wallet
Backcountry Streamer Wallet $69.95
Back Country Streamer Wallet Carry and show off your streamers in style in our cotton canvas fly wallet Handcrafted and waterproof in waxed cotton Canvas, genuine sheepskin and hand tooled leather. Each wallet is hand cut and stitched from waxed cotton canvas and lined with lambswool. Measuring  12cm wide by 17 cm closed (4.5" x 7") Big enough to house and protect even the biggest lures and streamers. Streamer wallets have a few advantages over dropping your expensive streamers in a fly box. The open ended design and fine lambswool liner drys flies and lets them breath Flies are kept separated - No more tangled flies and hooks Easy to see and easy to grab - particularly if you have stinger hooks on your streamers They look sensational and big fish love them! Measuring 11cm wide by 17 cm long closed (4.5" x 7") Waterproof, small enough to fit in a wader pocket but capable of holding a large collection of flies
Skeleton Pocket Knife Skeleton Pocket Knife
Skeleton Pocket Knife $49.95
Stainless Steel Skeleton Utility Knife Our paired back skeleton knife features a locking blade and belt clip. Easy to clean, and at just over 2 inches folded (55mm) and pocket knife size, it's the perfect everyday carry or the ideal addition to your fly fishing kit. Sheeps-foot Blade A sheepsfoot blade is shaped with one flat edge that meets the opposing edge at a curved tip; one edge is flat to the tip while the other edge runs parallel, curving at the sharp end to provide a curved tip. The dull flat edge is ideal for providing the user with lots of control over the blade and is favoured for whittling, trimming and cutting where a high degree of control is required.   Blade material: 3CR13 s/s Handle material: 2cr13 Blade length: 55mm Blade thickness: 2.5MM Blade finished: steel Knife length: 140mm A great quality handy utility knife
Fly Tying Vice Travel Fly Tying Vice
Backcountry Travel Vise $69.95
Backcountry Travel Vice Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry vice is a robust, beautifully built, no-nonsense fly tying vice. Featuring hard steel jaws, quick lock cam and all packed away in a stylin' protective felt case made from recycled plastic bottles! Holds hooks from size 2 to 22 Hard steel jaws Quick-lock cam' operation Rotary head Fully adjustable Allen key Recycled PET felt carry pouch
Stroft Tippet carry system Tippet Stroft Cutter and Carry System - Complete Set
Stroft Cutter and Carry System - 3 spool Set $27.95
3 Spool Stroft tippet system Three high quality German made Stroft Cutter & retaining rings - made to fit over standard Stroft tippet Spools. Spool Holder Stroft short strap - Vest strap & Carabiner The ideal system to hold, dispense and trim Stroft tippet A retainer rings and high quality cutter ring. Cutter is razor sharp, and coated in come magical stuff that is corrosion resistant. (We couldn't even spell the alloy) Fits all Stroft spools from 25m to 50m (ABR, GTM, FC!, FC2, Fluer) Includes color coded easy peel labels  This is an incredibly well made tippet system! *does not include spools of tippet material - Stroft Tippet Spools available for purchase separately  Got questions? - Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.
Stainless steel Hip Flask Hip Flask
Good Libations Stainless Hip Flask $24.95
The Good Libations Stainless Steel Hip Flask  Carry your favourite adult beverage in style with our Good Libations Stainless Steel Hip flask. About the size of a small fly box it's the perfect addition to your fly vest or bag. Smooth rounded corners make for quick extraction in times of celebration. Stainless steel and about as tough as they come, at a hearty 9oz ( 28 ml) there's plenty to share! Stainless Steel Silicon cap retainer Easy sippin' ergo design Bigger than most Cheers! Capacity: 9oz ( 266 ml) Dimensions: 127mm x 83mm x 29ml Material: Stainless Steel Positive Mood Adjustment

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