TFO Pro Burnie Haney Highlights the GTS BBC 7116-1


TFO Pro Staffer Burnie has been putting the GTS BBC 7116-1 rod through its paces in upstate New York.

According to Burnie, “This past week I was able to get out and put the TFO 7’11” Mag Hvy through the paces and  I can say this is my new best A-rig rod… Hands down this thing’s a beast, light weight, with  plenty of power and the full cork grip provides ample room for comfortable two-handed casting.”



The GTS Swimbait rod has a softer tip, to allow an angler to easily lob large baits, but, a stout butt to aid in the hook-set and landing phase. 


The GTS Swimbait rod is the ideal tool for big, water displacing lures. Because of flag pattern on the Swimbait blank, the rod stores a massive amount of energy during the loading phase (back cast) and effectively releases the energy during the unloading (forward cast) phase, making delivery of large swimbaits, Umbrella Rigs, and large crankbaits easy. The Swimbait rod features an extended, full-cork handle to help reduce fatigue and allow anglers to comfortably position the rod while retrieving a lure.



Click here for the VIDEO.


For more information on the GTS BBC 7116-1, check out

For more fishing techniques and tips, check out Burnie’s weekly blog or his column in Lake Ontario Outdoors Magazine.





Nor-Cal Spey Days With Kiene’s American Fly Fishing Co.

This Saturday and Sunday, August 27-28 Kiene’s American Fly Fishing Co. will be hosting it’s annual Nor-Cal Spey Days.
They will be hosting spey casting and fishing clinics on the American River throughout the weekend, and have some special in store deals going on. Looking to add to your two-handed rod quiver? Check out their specials on Deer Creek Spey Rods.
Sessions will be split into two days: one for beginners and one for intermediate to advanced spey casters. Norcal_speydays_event
Beginner classes will be hosted by Kerry Burkheimer and feature Doug Duncan – one of the west coasts finest two-handed casters-with help from Andy Guibord, Phil White and other great spey casters they will help beginners find their stroke.  Each beginner will get individual instructor for 50-minutes.

Intermediate to advanced clinics will be hosted by Kerry Burkheimer and also feature Doug Duncan, Andy Guibord, Phil White and other super great local spey casters.

The event will be held at the Watt Ave entrance on the American River Parkway…just off Highway 50.  Refreshments will be served to participants.
For more information, please visit, Kiene’s American Fly Fishing Co.

So Cal. Albacore (Part 2)

By Nick Curcione, TFO Advisory Staff

Here is the second part of an article published last week by TFO Advisory Staffer Nick Curcione.

Similar to pursuing billfish on fly, fly rodding albacore requires teamwork.

Because trolling functions as the principal means of locating fish, you need a strategy from the moment the first fish is hooked. Particularly with albacore, it’s important to bring fish hooked on a trolling line to the boat as quickly as possible. If that fish is lost, there’s a good chance the remainder of the school will swim off despite chumming efforts. Therefore trolling tackle, which can be as simple as hand lines, must be stout enough to efficiently subdue the fish. Depending on the size of the boat, as a minimum I like to troll two lines. Whatever the number, someone must quickly clear the trolling lines so a fly can be cast without the likelihood of costly tangles.  Casting strategy depends on the size of the boat, but generally, it’s most effective to have only one angler cast after the initial hookup. According to your casting arm, cast from the stern corner where the line will pass outside the cockpit. If one angler is right-handed and another a lefty, with the trolling lines cleared, it’s possible to have both cast at the same time. Two casters are also possible if one angler makes a backcast presentation. Otherwise, establish a rotational pattern where one angler casts and moves out of the corner so a second angler can slide in and cast from the same spot. Another variation on the rotation theme is to have only one angler fly fish until he or she hooks a fish, whereupon a second angler steps into the corner and begins making presentations.

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Two anglers are definitely feasible, but make sure both of you are adept at line management. Photo by Scott Leon.

Regardless of the option chosen, to effectively fly fish under these conditions, the one auxiliary item I would not forego is a stripping basket or bucket. You might get lucky and have the line simply fall on deck, but it’s almost inevitable someone will eventually step on it. Equally frustrating, eventually it will catch on something causing you to lose precious casting time.

Though albacore can put on some mind-blowing surface blitzes when they decide to annihilate a chum line, more often than not your best shot will occur at least several feet down under so it’s best to outfit yourself with a fast sinking line, preferably a shooting head setup. Typically when fishing live bait or casting jigs, the presentations that sink fastest consistently draw the most strikes, so assume the same thing when presenting flies.

Since albacore feed primarily on the likes of anchovies and sardines, you can’t go wrong with baitfish patterns like Clousers, Deceivers, Sar-Mul-Macs and Jiggies. For color combinations, I rely on the formulas that have worked for decades on the trolling rigs. As a general guideline, in low light conditions like you find in the gray dawn hours and on overcast days, darker colors like black, and green and yellow are good choices. As light increases you may want to change to red and white and red and yellow combinations. When the sun is brightest at midday, blue and white is my first choice. Size wise, try and simulate the baits that will be thrown as chum. For anchovies and sardines, this will generally range from 2 to 6 inches in length.

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The TFO Bluewater series combines the right amount of cast ability, with fish fighting strength. Photo courtesy TFO.

As members of the super strong tuna family, albacore will challenge you and your tackle. This is one style of fishing where the reel plays a vital role in the fish fighting stage so go with a top quality mechanism like the Atoll series. Long scorching runs are the norm so the drag should remain absolutely smooth. In the course of making several sprints, albacore sometimes veer toward the boat, which can create slack in the line. I’ve lost a number of fish when this happens, but with the advent of large arbor spools I can now pick up line faster and it’s no longer much of a problem.

The simplest leader setup is a straight 3- to 4-foot section of class tippet (I usually fish 20-pound test). I tie a bimini loop in one end, twist it, fold the loop over itself, and tie a double surgeon’s loop and interlock this to the loop in the tag end of the fly line. The fly is tied directly to the tag end of the class tippet. Over the years I’ve used both loop knots to allow the fly more action on the retrieve and standard ties like the improved clinch and palomar knot, but really haven’t found any difference between the two. Just be sure to tie your knots properly, because if there is a weak spot it will soon spell disaster with fish of this caliber.

Contrary to some misconceptions, it isn’t necessary to try to burn the fly through the water to draw strikes. I do use a fairly rapid retrieve, often with two hands for more positive line control. When I get a strike, I simply apply resistance by holding the line firmly. Given the speed they’re traveling when they take an offering, there’s no need to strike back violently. If you do there’s a good chance you’ll pop the leader. When they feel that initial shock of resistance, they’re going to accelerate and you have to make it a priority to be sure that any remaining line clears the rod guides. When that is accomplished just hang on and relish the awesome display of power emptying line from your reel.

If you missed part one, here it is, So Cal. Albacore (Part 1).




So Cal. Albacore (Part 1)

By Nick Curcione, TFO Advisory Staff

If the conditions are right, and they swim to within range of the sport boat fleet, a seasonal affliction, locally referred to as “albie fever,” suddenly seizes a sizable number of Southern Calif., saltwater anglers.

During the last few years a growing number of fly anglers are also beset by this phenomenon.

On the west coast they are referred to either as long fins or albies, not to be confused with the little tunny, (false albacore on the east coast). This west coast version is the white meat member of the tuna family, Thunnus alaunga, and in large part spawned the development of Southern California’s offshore party boat fleet.

Unlike their yellowfin cousins, albacore typically do not venture close to shore. They swim from Japan across to the mid-region of the Baja Peninsula, up the Calif., coast, sometimes heading as far north as British Columbia and then they head back towards Japan.


The author holding one of many Albacore landed not far from San Diego. Photo by Nick Curcione.

A publication from Scripps Institute in La Jolla indicates that during this 5,300-mile trek, they travel an average of no fewer than 16-miles per day. Food, (primarily in the form of anchovies, sardines and sauries) and water temperatures, (62 to 68-degrees is their preferred range) will determine their swimming routes, but it’s a generally accepted fact that you seldom find big schools of albacore within 20-miles offshore. Thirty-five to 40-miles would be considered a short run, while trips of 100-miles or more are not uncommon. So if you’re setting your sights on these blue water nomads, you need a true ocean-going craft. If you don’t own one or have access your best alternative is a private charters for up to six anglers on sport fishing boats.  Aside from safety considerations, a critical factor in choosing a boat for albacore fishing is the ability to carry a significant amount of live baits.

A typical experience was a trip on my friend’s sport fisher he used primarily for marlin fishing.  About 80-miles southwest of San Diego’s Point Loma we ran into roving schools of skipjack. These speedsters of the tuna family glowed like neon lights as they ripped through traumatized pods of anchovies. When skippies are on the feed like this it doesn’t take much finesse to hook up.  Practically any streamer you slap on surface will be attacked instantly. In fact, as I discovered then, when albacore are mixed with skipjack, it can be difficult to get a fly to them because the skipjack often tend to be much more aggressive and simply beat the albies to the fly. Both will rip line off your reel with incredible speed but albacore typically make a more pronounced dive for the depths. In this straight up down tug-o-war your rod better have plenty of lifting power. For that reason my go to fly fishing sticks for this type of fishing are the TFO Bluewater series.

To locate albie schools modern electronics like depth sounders and radar are an absolute must. But don’t neglect the age-old practice of keeping your eyes peeled for activity like diving birds or surface disturbances. The most efficient and direct way of locating a school of albacore is by trolling. While you can take fish by immediately casting a fly after a fish hits a trolled lure, to draw the school to the boat for consistent action you need to chum with live bait, primarily in the form of anchovies.  It’s a great help to have someone aboard who knows how to chum effectively.  When and where to throw out another ‘chovie’ is not random and a mate who knows how to pitch baits to keep albies close and in a feeding mood is worth his weight in gold.

Check back next week for part 2 of Nick Curcione‘s article on West Coast Alabacore…