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September 25th, 2000

Hot Tip!
By James Castwell

This is not 'Gonzo' journalism. This really is a hot tip, a hot tip about something that does not exist anymore. At least not in the same way it did. This tool is darn near indispensable for tying leaders, cutting the new braided lines, cutting mono, tying flies and just about everything else related to fly-fishing. Sound good? What is it? Where has it been? Is it new? How fast can I get one? Do I need it?

The Original

The answer is a 'cauterizing battery operated gizmo resembling a miniature soldering gun.' The wire is very fine and heats up by a single battery, a two battery model is optional. You can't possibly live a day longer without one now you know it exists.

The Cortland Line company used to sell them for all of the previously mentioned uses but does not anymore. I found them a few years back and got six. Over the years I have had to give some away to buddies and am down to just two. With some digging there is a way of picking the end off and replacing the battery, (about the fifth one on the one I am using these days). They are not indestructible, the tip-wire will eventually burn through. The are shot then.

The Medical Version

Now for the good news! I found some more! You can find them at your doctors office and veterinary clinic. They are used for sealing blood vessels and other places where they need fine pin-point heat. They won't have the Cortland name on them anymore, may have some medical name or such. Never mind the name, get one.

I use mine mostly when tying flies. At my age I get a bit uneven in my work and this thing burns off any errant stuff poking out from under my whip-finish. Amazing what happens to a bit of feather when hit by the hot wire. A small puff of smoke and I am redeemed as a fly-tier.

The thing works great for cutting that nasty braided line too, cuts and burns it all at the same time. One shot and your done. I often use it when I am tying backing to fly line and the end of the arbor knot too.

You may have to wheedle one out of your doctor or vet, but go for it, well worth the effort. (Get two if you can.) Price is no object, like I said, you just can't live another day without one. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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