If this doesn’t make you want to strap on some backpacking gear and do some back-country trout fishing, I don’t know what will!
My bro shot this with his drone in the Eastern Sierra…so cool!!!
While on a fly fishing trip to Iceland’s Vatnsdalsá River, EC caught a 28-pound Atlantic salmon — the largest fish of the summer on that river.
Read all about Eric Clapton, the fly fisherman at Men’s Journal
If you’re like most anglers, tungsten was probably just a faint blip on the outer edge of your radar screen until fairly recently. Sure, Jeopardy fans and techno geeks probably knew that tungsten is used to make filaments for electric lamps and vacuum tubes — and waterfowlers discovered it to be an alternative to lead and steel in shotgun shells several years back. Anglers have been late to the party but we are catching on quickly!
As it turns out, tungsten is really useful!
Before we get too far along here, let’s take a look at exactly what this mystery substance is. Simply put, tungsten is a hard metal that has a high tensile strength. It’s extremely dense for its size — more so than even lead — and is quite resistant to rust and oxidation. It can be forged, extruded and spun into many different forms such as foil, powder, rod, mesh and wire, which makes it highly versatile. So multipurpose is tungsten, in fact, that it is being hailed by some as “the new lead.”
At roughly 20 times the price of lead, tungsten’s largest drawback is cost. That aside, however, there are many attributes that make it extremely attractive to anglers.
Quite possibly tungsten’s greatest quality is the fact that it is non-toxic. We’ve been using lead sinkers for so long now that nobody really thinks twice about it, but the simple fact is lead is extremely poisonous to humans and can be lethal to water birds and other critters. To that end, there’s a large movement towards getting lead out of our lakes and streams. Great Britain banned the use of all lead sinkers in 1987 and since 1997, it’s been illegal to use sinkers and jigs weighing less than 50 grams in Canadian national parks and national wildlife areas.
On the home front, New Hampshire became the first New England state to outlaw lead weights in fishing tackle in 2001 and Maine has since banned the sale of lead sinkers weighing a half-ounce or less. In May of 2004, New York State followed suit. Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently discussing the ban of lead sinkers and jigs on National Wildlife Refuges where birds such as loons and trumpeter swans breed.
Weights and lures made from tungsten are non-toxic, which is a good thing for the environment — and anglers who handle them. From a lure manufacturer’s standpoint, tungsten products are a lot safer than lead to produce.
Tungsten is also attractive because it is more dense than lead. That means anglers can use smaller weights to get down. Bass pro and past Bassmaster Classic Champion, Skeet Reese, of Auburn, CA, is a big fan.
“Tungsten weights are cool because they are much more compact than lead,” he says. “When practicing a technique like flippin’, the smaller sinker will more easily penetrate the cover and get you where you need to be. You also get a quicker fall rate when your offering hits the water. From a cosmetic standpoint, I like that I can use a tungsten sinker that is a lot smaller than a lead sinker of the same weight. A smaller sinker gives you a more natural presentation.”
Tungsten is also starting to replace lead in lure body design. Terminator has a tungsten spinnerbait which has a small body profile without compromising the lure’s weight. Lucky Craft has puts tungsten bearings into some of its rattling plugs and several other lure manufacturers have plans for tungsten as well.
Reese says that one of the largest advantages of using tungsten weights is that they are much more sensitive than lead.
“Tungsten sinkers are hard and that helps to transmit a lot more of the action through the line,” he says. “Tungsten really allows you to feel what your doing down there. And when you’re drop-shotting, shakin’, Carolina rigging or fishing a Texas-rigged worm, these sinkers will create a lot of noise when they tick the rocks.”
While bass fishing is a hotbed of tungsten use now, there are many other arenas in the world of fishing where it’s being employed. Tungsten beadheads have become quite popular for tying natural-looking nymphs that need to get down deep and its even found its way into fly lines.
“All of our sinking lines are made with tungsten now,” says Simon Gawesworth of Rio Fly Lines. “We use the powdered form in the lines. Being more dense than lead, we can make a thinner diameter line that sinks quicker with it. Steelhead fishermen, in particular, have really taken to the stuff. Tungsten is also environmentally friendly and safe to produce at our factory.”
Okay steelhead junkies, hang onto your hats…here are 10 massive steelhead that will make your heads spin!
Nick English with his massive, jaw-dropping and and well-publicized 37-pound beast caught on the Kispiox River in British Columbia.
Andrew Fairclouth, right, with guide Gill McKean, hooked “Moby” on a fly in BC’s Kitimat River. While Moby was not weighed prior to release, he was very likely in the mid 30’s. Using Sturdy’s Weight Formula (length x girth squared x .00133), which was developed for Dean River steelhead, you get an amazing 35.8 pounds. The Skeena/Kispiox Formula (length x girth squared divided by 775) designed to estimate the weight of the extra girthy fish those drainages are prone to produce, gives you 34.8 pounds.
In either case, Fairclouth’s steelhead would eclipse the fish long accepted as the world fly rod record of 33 pounds, set by Karl Mauser in 1963. Read the incredible story of “Moby” HERE
The current IGFA All-Tackle World Record Steelhead was caught while salmon trolling in the salt!!!
Chuck Etwart caught his 36-pound steelhead onOctober 5, 1954 in the Kispiox River
This massive dark buck was caught and released by Jeff Wissing (left) on the upper Quinault River with guide George Rose (right) in 2004. It measured 46 inches, with a 24 inch girth and weighed approx. 35 pounds!
On October 8, 1962, Karl Massuer listened to his beloved San Francisco Giants defeat the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series on the radio and then went out and caught this 33-pound World Record Fly-Caught steelhead on the Kispiox River. A pretty dang good day!
By the way, the starting pitchers that game were Juan Marichal and Whitey Ford, respectively… neither of whom got a decision. The winning pitcher that game? None other than Don Larsen…who had thrown the only Perfect Game in World Series history as a member of the Yankees on October 8, 1956!
All I know about this leviathan is that it measured 44 inches by 24 inches, which using the steelhead weight formula, comes out at 32 freaking pounds! WOW!!!!!
Peter Harrison of Port Hadlock, WA shows off the enormous 44-inch, 29.5-pound wild steelhead buck he caught in Washington’s Hoh River on a spey rod. The mammoth steelie created quite a fuss in angling circles for a couple reasons… First off, it’s huge (duh!). It was weighed almost 24 hours after it was caught, so it was most likely a 30 plus pounder alive. Secondly it was a wild fish that was killed…
Read more about it HERE
This obese chunkier of a steelhead got released by a client of guide Gill McKean of West Coast Fishing Adventures (left)while fishing a yarn ball under a float in BC’s Kitimat River. Estimated weight: 30 pounds!
On October 1st, 1985, Clay Carter beached an enormous steelhead at lower Patch on the Kispiox River in BC. He quickly measured the fish and let it go (So awesome!). Using length and girth measurements, the fish was estimated to weigh 37 pounds!
A fiberglass replica of Clay’s prize catch is on display just inside the Pioneer Saloon dining room. in Ketchum. A photo of the memorable moment hangs just outside the grill. Clay’s close friends and the Pioneer Saloon are proud to keep alive the memory of this gracious sportsman.
For more info, check out my steelhead techniques