The Locofoam Story - Global FlyFisher

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The Locofoam Story



A series of new materials with names as intriguing as Locofoam, Locoskin, and Siliskin give tying both terrestrials and other flies a whole new dimension.


By Harrison R. Steeves III
Click for a larger version of Bluegill
Bluegill
Click for a larger version of Yellow Hopper
Yellow Hopper
Click for a larger version of Disco Beetle - Yellow
Disco Beetle - Yellow
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Chartreuse Slider
Click for a larger version of Crab
Crab
Click for a larger version of Gold Scaleback
Gold Scaleback
Click for a larger version of Green Bottle Fly
Green Bottle Fly
Click for a larger version of Locoskin Japanese Beetle
Locoskin Japanese Beetle
Click for a larger version of Los Alamos Ant - Lime
Los Alamos Ant - Lime
Click for a larger version of Los Alamos Ant - Yellow
Los Alamos Ant - Yellow
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Mega Bug
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Orange Popper
Click for a larger version of Red Damsel
Red Damsel
Click for a larger version of Sand Eel
Sand Eel
Click for a larger version of Silver Scaleback
Silver Scaleback

About a year ago I happened to be in Blue Ridge Flyfishers fly shop shooting the breeze with the owner, Blane Chocklett, who happens to be a good friend of mine. He was all excited about a technique that Joe Blados was using to create the material for his crease flies and was busily going through the procedure that Joe used to laminate a foil overlay to a sheet of 1/16th inch thick foam. Tedious to say the least and one that I had seen Joe demonstrate some years before, but which never appealed to me because it just seemed more trouble than it was worth. Anyway, I stood there for awhile watched Blane messing around with the material and it occurred to me that there just might be an easier way to do it. I was curious to see if something I had played around with in the past might just give better results than the technique Joe was using.

I hooked some samples of the overlay material from Blane, went home, and ran a few quick tests with the foil and foam. The technique was much faster than that of Joe Blados and the results were far superior. The next day I took the samples down to Blane and we started playing around with different colors of foil and foam. By using different combinations of the two materials we found we could create some truly wonderful color combinations and our excitement level grew with each test. After a week or so we began to consider the possibility of going commercial with the product, but were faced with the fact that while the technique was very easy to do it was labor intensive and neither of us wanted to spend all our time cranking out foam for the retail market. We were also faced with the fact that while we could produce reasonable quantities of the material we couldn't begin to produce what would be needed if the product really took off.

For a few months we were happy to produce what we could, sold a reasonable quantity of it, and tied a whole bunch of new fly patterns with it. One of the neat things with the technique was that we could produce both 1/16th inch and 1/8th inch thick foam with the foil overlay. We both use these two thicknesses in our patterns so we were very pleased to find out that it worked on both types of foam. Still, we were stuck with slow production, so going commercial with the product, and I mean big time commercial, was out of the question. We spent a lot of time experimenting with the foam, probably too much time, and one day Blane's wife, Dru, walked into the shop and said "you guys are crazy to spend so much time messing around with that loco foam." Needless to say the name stuck.

Not too long after that I happened upon something that changed the course of the entire venture. To make a long story short, it was a procedure that allowed us to produce relatively large sheets of the material rather than the 4inch by 6inch sheets we were producing with the old method. Now we figured we were in business since we could turn out a 9by12 sheet of laminated foam in just a few minutes. This put a whole different light on the situation, which, while still requiring a good bit of time, was much faster than the old method. We set up a production line and began cranking it out in relatively large quantities.

We began incorporating the laminate foam in most of our old patterns and developed quite a few new ones as well. When the foam was introduced at a large fly fishing show we sold almost all we had, so we knew we had a winner. One of the problems we faced, however, was narrowing down the combinations of colors we were producing. We had really gone overboard! So we sat down, figured out which combinations seemed to be the best for all purposes and finally narrowed the field down to about 19 different combinations. This may still be too many, but it seems as though there is a use for every combination so until we figure otherwise that number will just have to stand.

Well the story doesn't end there. About a year ago a friend of Blane's dropped by the shop and in the course of the conversation he revealed to Blane what line of work he had gotten into. It just so happened that he was dealing in a number of products that might lend themselves well to what we were doing, and Blane latched on to some samples of material. The next day Blane called me and his excitement level was about as high as it could get. I drove down, took a look at what he had done and yes, it was definitely exciting. It was more than exciting. This opened up a whole new field of fly tying materials, all with foil coatings, and the procedure was so easy to do that it seemed too good to be true. The end result was the production of two new products, Siliskin and Locoskin, which we have been experimenting with for the past six months or so. These two new products have been incorporated into quite a few new terrestrial, salt water and warm water patterns. I'll have to admit though that with the advent of winter only a few of these patterns have been field-tested, but the ones that have been tested produced some spectacular results. For example, one of Blane's salt-water patterns proved to be incredibly successful last November on false albacore and aroused the admiration of such notables as Lefty Kreh and Bob Popovics. What more can I say? Who wouldn't be pleased with catching over 40 false albacore in a short period of time?

As for the terrestrial patterns, those that were tied with Locofoam proved to be outstanding last summer. We fished them all over the east coast with tremendous success, and they proved just as successful on my trip to Colorado last summer. I remember one river where I used only a single pattern and quit after a couple of hours because it just seemed indecent to continue taking fish. Some highlights with the new Locofoam terrestrials were; (1) taking a 24 inch and a 22 inch brown on two successive casts with one of the new beetle patterns, (2) taking three fish on the Frying Pan, all over 20 inches, on an ant pattern (who would ever fish an ant pattern on the Pan?), (3) picking off a couple of dozen fish along the banks of the Gunnison one afternoon with an LA Ant. I have also had correspondence with numerous individuals whose experiences with these patterns seem to parallel mine, so I know it's not just happening to me.

Now we are just waiting for warmer weather to test all of the new patterns tied with Locofoam, Siliskin and Locoskin. Needless to say, it can't come too soon. Both of us are anticipating one hell of a season.

The LocoFoam website (dead!) with information on the product, flies, videos etc.

Ed. Note: Locofoam, Locoskin, and Siliskin can be obtained from Blane Chocklett at his shop Blue Ridge Flyfishers. Call him at (540) 563-1617 or visit him on the web at Blue Ridge Fly Fishers (also dead!). Try The Mudhole in stead.
Many of these patterns are new and unpublished, so talk to Blane if you need further information.

Click for a larger version of Silversides
Silversides

 


User comments
From: Jason · justsomebody·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted June 13th 2008

Some of the Loco Foam products are available from mudhole.com.


From: Theo Kiers · theo·at·aksomhosting.nl  Link
Submitted October 30th 2007

Hi Martin,

I am sorry if I offended you. I did not mean to. It was just that I really wanted to read more about the subject and then all of a sudden the popunders were popping up all over my screen. I wrote the comment in the heat of the moment just after killing the umteenth popup. I should have waited 5 minutes.

The most important part of my comment is the last sentence though. I do think (as a fellow designer of sorts) that this site is awsome.

I have visited quite a few Fly Fishing sites lately after dusting of my fly rod that I bought as a teenager on a holiday in Scotland with two mates, some 30 years ago. I had never used the rod. I don't think I even cought a single fish with it. But now the fly fever has gotten to me. And I must say I can't get enough of this site. Keep up the good work.

Theo

p.s. I corrected the typo in the previous emailaddress.


GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted October 25th 2007

Theo,

I gather that you are referring to the links to the locofoam site, which does not exist any more?

Our problem is that this story was written in 2002 - 5 years ago - and that we have no chance of checking these links. When sites die, we try to remove or correct links, but it's a never ending game.

I will remove and put up a note on these immediately and hope for gentler reactions and more forgiveness next time you stumble upon such links...

Martin


From: Theo Kiers · theo·at·askomhosting.nl  Link
Submitted October 25th 2007

Do you realize that you irritate the hell out of people puting up links like the ones above. Especially on a high quality website such as this one :(



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