Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bear tracks, boy scouts, and skunks

Yep, that picture above is supposed to be a waterfall. It's more like a ski slope. We got up this morning and hit the road at 7:30am to fish the Bushkill up at Resica Falls Boy Scout Reservation. We got a tip from someone that it might be good right now. Little did we know, it was about 70% frozen. There was also about 15 inches of fresh snow on the ground.

We gave a donation, filled out an accident waiver, and started the hike. Getting down the hill to the stream wasn't a problem. But, you know when your grandfather used to say "You kids don't know how good you have it. When I was your age, I used to walk to school uphill both ways, barefoot, and in the snow"? He should have changed barefoot to felt wading boots with about a foot of hard packed snow stuck to them. Then it would have been really awful.

One thing we noticed right away were bear tracks. I'm not talking some tracks with drifted-over snow where a bear might have walked. These were fresh bear tracks, probably made about an hour before we got there. I saw three sets of them and luckily, I didn't see a bear.

Finding open water wasn't too difficult, the first mile below the falls had sections of open water that were anywhere from 5 to 20 feet wide. The problem was finding open water you could safely cast through. There was about 10 feet of ice protruding out over the water on both sides. We wound up slowly going out on our hands and knees to distribute the weight, and for the most part, staying on our knees to fish.

As for the fishing, yeah, that's where the skunk came in. We were fishing on giant icebergs, so I didn't expect much, but we did connect to fish. I had a few strikes on midges, as did Nick. Jack fought one that took a midge but the fish ran him behind some floating ice and he lost it. I also fought and lost a small rainbow on a woolly bugger about half as big as him.

Did we catch fish? No. Did I have fun and find a stretch of water that will be awesome once the ice is gone? Absolutely. Nick also got this awesome shot of some ice over top of the water.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I love elusive snow trout, midges, and typing "not skunked"

I got a small window of opportunity to hit the water late this afternoon. I was the only person there, and hiking knee high in snow was NOT fun.

I was amazed when I finally made it to the water that dozens of fish were AGGRESSIVELY feeding on midges on the surface and in the film, right in one small little run. Unfortunately I didn't have many midges on me. I tied on a tiny size 18 BWO, and trailed it with an Al’s rat. After about a dozen casts I connected with a 13 inch rainbow on the rat. That fish being caught spooked the whole stretch so I moved upstream. I saw two more fish rising. I switched to a WD40 and got a tight roll cast right where it needed to be. I immediately connect with a brown no shorter than 22 inches, and he proceeds to break me off by hitting some fast water. I was using 8x and wasn't expecting any big fish so my drag wasn’t set. DAMN! I then had another hookup on a smaller fish but lost him. Not a bad day on the water and I avoided the skunk.

Now, I learned my lesson and I'm knocking out lots of tiny dry midges. I feel a new post coming on....

By the way, if you're not familiar with Al's rat, here's a youtube video of Al Miller tying it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My first fly swap - flies completed

I've been in a funk with tying since Somerset. I've been experimenting with all the new materials I got and nothing I've tied seems to look right to me. I get 3/4 of the way through a fly and then it gets tossed into that giant pile of "**ck up flies" that I always say I'll strip down some day to get the hooks and beads back. Yeah, that never happens. I think the pile is close to 100 flies right now.

I did however to knock out some midges. I decided to join a fly swap on the PAFlyFish forum, and the subject was midges. You have to do two patterns, 15 of each fly. I decided to go with the rubber band midge I posted earlier in a size 22, and a zebra midge in size 18 with a hot orange tungsten bead head. I've had luck so far this winter with a hot spot zebra midge, and I have yet to catch a fish yet on the other pattern but A)I think it would work and B)I only tried to fish it once. I want to see if anyone else has luck with it.

Here's the results

Hot spot zebra midge
size 18 curved scud hook
black uni-thread 8/0
UTC copper wire - sm
5/64 Rip Lips hot orange tungsten bead

Rubber band midge
Orvis size 22 scud hook
Black rubber band (body/ribbing)
black superfine dubbing
Uni-thread - iron grey 8/0

They do look pretty sexy all lined up in a fly box. I'll have to knock out some for myself.

Well, that's about all I got. If you need me, I'll be snow blowing for the next week. There's almost a foot out there since 6pm! I need to fish this weekend. It's been almost two damn weeks.

I'm not a big hockey fan..

But, I will gladly go when I get a free $200 Flyers suite ticket!

I had a great time. They had open bar, cheesesteaks, wings, salad, munchies, etc. And, we won 5-2!

Although, my happiness was short-lived when I woke up to a 2.5 hour commute! I hate snow.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recap: The Fly Fishing Show - Somerset NJ

48 hours later, and $170 poorer, I'm still dizzy for all the stuff I saw on Saturday. It was a great show. Unfortunately, there was so much to see on the floor and in the 6 hours I was there, I still didn't even get a chance to get time to take in one seminar or film. Oh well, there's always March in Valley Forge. I spent my time picking the brains of as many fly tiers as possible, and finding good deals on tying materials. It's amazing to me how much the trends have changed since last year's show (or maybe it's just that I don't remember anything from last year).

  • I'd say at least half of the tiers I saw had a cautery pen (for burning) and used clear cure good with the UV light. Last year the UV light was a bit of a novelty item.

  • There was a huge emphasis on freshwater streamers. I couldn't walk a few feet without seeing a barbell eyed zonker pattern being tied.

  • The place was absolutely packed with saltwater flies. They were everywhere.

  • I was surprised that I didn't see much Euro-nymphing flies being tied.

  • Everyone was going big on the patterns. I'm a big fan of small nymphs (pheasant tails, hares ears, CJs, etc) and I really didnt see much of that going on.

  • Lots of deer hair.

  • Lots of tube flies.

  • People paying way too much money for anything with the word SIMMS printed on it.

Highlights of the show for me include:

Bruce Corwin - I spent a good amount of time checking out his Spider patterns first thing in the morning. They are amazing! They look so real. He used Mono for the legs. I've already been trying to make these patterns. I can't wait to plop them down hard under a low hanging tree branch in the summer and see if trout take them. He was a really nice guy and more than happy to explain his tying tricks.

Norm the Nor-Vise guy - I always enjoy watching him come up with crazy patterns on this vise. What interested me more this year was his auto-retracting bobbin system. I was inches away from purchasing one, but the thought of having to spool all my thread on his special spools, along with the cost of each spool deterred me. Anyone have any good ideas on a similar bobbin?

Lefty Kreh - I watched him try to teach a woman how to cast a fly rod. He was literally able to rock a 50 yard cast with the flick of his wrist and no elbow flex at all. I'll never understand how he does that.

Fishy Fullum - This guy was awesome, as was his mustache. He took the time to answer every single question I had on his patterns. He's amazing on the vise and he also had a sick spider pattern. I saw him tying this pattern with these crazy bubble-head beads. He said they were from Spirit River Flies, and I must track them down.

Speaking of Spirit River, here's a hummingbird pattern from the man behind it, Bill Black. He also had some great materials including this peacock herl that he bleached, and dyed really bright colors. I need to order some of that for steelhead patterns.

Enrico Puglisi - This was probably the funniest 15 minutes of my day. Not only did this guy knock out flies non-stop all day, but he was also constantly joking around and making the crowd laugh (and believe me, there was a crowd around him ALL DAY). The way he used the cauterizing pen to make eye sockets in a bluegill pattern blew me away.

Other highlights include getting some first hand knowledge from Steve Rajeff on spey vs. switch at the Loomis booth (and being absolutely in the dark after a minute when the discussion went to grains and resins), some crazy old guy walking up to the professional tiers and showing them these milk egg patterns floating in a jar of water, and convincing everyone of them he talked to to buy a dozen because they were so amazing looking, and talking to Ibrahim Mesinovic from Sweden. This guy was awesome. I wish I would have taken pictures of his patterns. He had these lipped minnow patterns and some balsa wood floating baitfish that blew me away. He even told us some of his techniques, one of which included dropping cut up ping pong balls in acetone and dipping patterns in it once they melt to make them rock solid! That was insane to me but his flies looked awesome. I'm going to be hitting him up for some materials :)

And now, for the haul...I felt like I didn't buy that much, but when I got home and pulled it all out I realized that I did get a lot for my money.

Harelin Cautery Pen (which I highly suggest to anyone that ties to clean up their patterns)

Loon UV light and Rio UV knot sealer - One of the featured tiers (don't worry man, I won't drop a dime of you) tipped me off to this. You don't need to spend the $50-$100 for the clear cure goo or bluelight epoxy setup. Buy a $12 pocket UV light from Loon, and a tube of the Rio for $5, and you're set. I've been testing it out on patterns and it's awesome. It dries almost instantly.

Aaron Jasper's European Nymphing DVD - I watched about half of it so far and I'll write a full review on it soon. It's pretty damn informative.

About five 100 packs of hooks, including this new bent stonefly hook from Saber which looks pretty nice. Now I just have to test them out.

Two 100 packs of hot head tungsten beads from Rip Lips.

Ceramic midge bobbin

Dubbing brush

Senyo's Shaggy Dub in black

5 different colors of krinkle antron

8/0 black uni-thread (would you believe this was so hard to find? It took me months)

More rubber legs in various sizes/colors

Swiss Straw

Fly Lips - has anyone else tried these yet?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Find me tomorrow, get a free beer

I'll be in Somerset NJ for the expo most of the day tomorrow. There is a picture of me posted on this blog. If you recognize me, walk up and yell "DUB THE THORAX", I will buy you a beer, no questions asked.

Also, thanks for the feedback for the next episode of Dub TV. It looks like I'll be doing a video of the tungsten stone and some midges. I've also noticed a high amount of traffic based on google search for the psycho prince nymph, so I'm gonna make a video of that as well.

Also, since I'm happy with the way things are going, and everyone commenting/providing awesome feedback, I've made it official and purchased If you're a lazy typist, feel free to omit the ".blogspot" going forward and it will get you here to look at my crappy flies.

See you at the show,


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feedback requested - DubTV Episode 2

I sat down tonight to start off another episode of DubTV and realized that I have no idea what to do a video of. I'm open to suggestions. I'm willing to do a video of any pattern I've posted on here so far, or something else you can think of (besides the Sex Dungeon. I hate that thing now).
I've had a few people ask how I get my egg patterns so small, but I feel like there's already 200 other videos that will show you that.

What would you like to see?

Well, since I don't have a video relating to tying or fishing, here's a video of my son singing about cows.

Also, anti-shoutout to snow! Another 2-4 inches tonight, followed by a cold front where it is going to stay below 25 degrees all weekend means that fishing on Sunday with any gear I bought at Somerset is going to be worthless.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Woolly Buggers - a look inside the box

I like my woolly buggers weighted, which means I occasionally lose a few of them, especially the tung head ones. I noticed on Sunday night that my supply of them was depleted so I started tying.

When I fish these flies, I notice that I have the most luck with either big ones, or small ones. I've found that size 10 never does well for me, but a size smaller or a size bigger do the trick so I did a row of size 8 and a row of size 12.

When tying smaller woolly buggers, I've found it tough to keep the shaft of the hook weighted, wrapped with chenille, and still maintain a slim profile. I've experimented with some different material and found some dubbing and random polyester material to work well. Using ultra chenille makes the fly look too bulky in a size 12, but I found a thinner chenille called micro chenille which can be purchased on ebay and in some craft shops that does a great job (this also makes really great small san juan worms).

Besides that, I stick with marabou, saddle hackle, and some nice beads. I picked up some hot orange tungsten beads on ebay and I really like how they look on brown size 12 buggers. Here's some shots of the box. I kept the non-slotted side reserved for some zonker slumpbusters, and the now infamous sex dungeon. Here's some more shots of them. Enjoy.

Also, is anyone else going to be at Somerset this weekend for the Fly Fishing Show? I'm looking forward to catching AK Best's Seminar on tying, Aaron Jasper's thing on euro-nymphing, and Ben Turpin's presentation. If you're going on Saturday, drop me a line and maybe we can talk over a beer or three.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mega-post from the Sex Dungeon! (safe for work - I swear!)

Well, I kicked Pneumonia's butt after it kicked mine for almost the last three weeks and I'm back in business. Unfortunately, I had to back out of the Salmon River trip this weekend so I can get back to full speed. My bro-in-law is up there now and reported the skunk today so I don't feel too bad.

Since I can't fish, I've been doing a lot of tying. I actually got a new vise delivered to me from Bass Pro Shops yesterday. I went with the Anvil Apex because it came with a C-clamp, pedestal, material clip, and it looked like it handled a WIDE range of hooks.

I hate to say it, but I don't like it at all so far. It's supposed to be rotary, but you have to loosen a wing nut to rotate it and when you do that, the whole barrel becomes loose. I'm most likely going to return it and hopefully pick up a new one at the Somerset show next weekend.

One thing I don't like about my old vise is that it has a tough time handling a hook any larger than a size 8. I decided to put the new vise to the test on a few size 6 long streamer hooks.

It seems like I can't read a website, pick up a fly fishing magazine, or listen to a podcast without Kelly Galloup's name coming up. This guy is supposed to be the master of big streamers for big trout. After seeing his Sex Dungeon tandem hook streamer, I had to try to tie one, if only for the fact that I can say I tied a Sex Dungeon. I studied pics of the pattern and checked out a YouTube video on how it's done, and then tried it out.

Before I post the pic, here is some advice if you attempt to tie this fly.

1.GO LONG on your streamer hooks. my 3XL size 6 hooks did not seem long enough..or maybe it was that my lead eyes were too big.

2.Learn to spin deer hair. I suck at it so bad, and you can tell on this fly. This is only the 3rd time I've ever tried to spin deer hair and I still need a ton of work.

3.Go smaller with the beads. The only plastic beads I had were ones we use for monster channel cat fishing with spin tackle. They are way too big on this fly.

After 45 minutes on the vise, this is what I came up with.

Yeah, I know. I suck at tying flies. It's embarrassing how bad it turned out. The head looks awful. I don't have the patience to sit there with scissors and clip deer hair. Plus, it makes a mess. But I spent all the time tying the thing and I'm now determined to catch at least one stupid fish on it. Expect a ton of "tried out the Sex Dungeon but got skunked" posts this year until I find a fish dumb enough to hit it. My thoughts are that it will be a 8 inch largemouth that finally hits it and that it will happen around August. I will try it once the ice is off my favorite pickerel lake at the end of February though.

Now that I embarrassed myself, let's move on. My last post was a crappy i-phone pic of my steelhead box. I decided that I should give you some better images, and some more insight in to my favorite patterns. Here's a few recipes on some patterns you might not have thought of trying. Keep in mind that I like to keep these flies simple, because you lose so many. They are really quick to tie so you can knock out a dozen at a time.

This pattern was shown to me by the guys we stay with when we chase chrome. I've heard it called a steelhead nymph, or a steelhead caddis. It's a bit different than a standard estaz egg. It has a glass bead, and the estaz is only sparse at the top. THe body is wrapped thin with bright colored thread or preferably, Lagartun french mini flat-braid.

Size 12 Scud hook
Lagartun French mini flat-braid wrapped thin up the body
Killer Caddis glass bead (color to match pattern)
Petite Estaz (or regular Estaz for a puffier thorax..see pic 2)

This next one is something we just kind of came up with while fishing up there. We started having luck on small black scuds, so we started tying them with a brighter colored head as an attractor. I eventually decided to flip it up, making the scud brighter and adding a black head for contrast. One thing I noticed with regular scuds was that steelies shredded the fly really quick and the scud backing would rip off fast. So, instead of bringing the scud back all the way to the head, I cut it off 3/4 up and just did a thick black head coated with cement. I also added some extra coloring in to the scud back.

Size 14 Scud hook
1/4" scud back
UTC Ultra-wire - brassie (copper)
Uni-Thread 6/0 - black
Harelin Steelhead ice dubbing
Berol Prismacolor in darker shade than dubbing - colored on scud back

Here's an egg pattern that I haven't tried yet but I've read about it. It's called Bear's Crystal egg. I knocked out half a dozen of them.

Size 12 Scud Hook
Crystal Flash tail
White 6/0 Uni-Thread
Otter's Rubber Egg
Glow Bug yarn - white

Here's another really quick tie. This is a really basic attractor stonefly.

Size 14 Scud hook
Uni-thread 6/0 - black
Black goose biots
Uni-Floss (body color) of your choice
V-ribbing - clear, small (wrap over colored floss)
Harelin steelhead ice dubbing
Swiss straw (wingcase)

And last but not least, here's a red and black version of the Tungsten Stone I posted last week. I love this fly. It's a freaking paperweight.

A few more patterns, and I can put this box to sleep until I hit the water in a few weeks.

And before I go, I want to give a shout out to Maxim magazine. I hate this awful publication. Someone got me a subscription to it years ago, and for some reason it never stopped showing up each month. I barely ever open it anymore, but that changes when Olivia Munn is on the cover. A girl who loves video games? Yes. Now if they could only get a shot of her in waders....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Steelhead Box part 2

Well, my cold turned in to pneumonia. Great thing to have when you're scheduled to leave for a 3 day weekend steelhead trip. Not sure if I'm going, but if I do, here's a sneak peak at my arsenal. It's almost done. I tied every fly. I should count them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It only says "Shop" (plus a sexy stonefly pattern)

First off, I apologize for the lack of recent updates. I've been swamped with getting caught up at work, and I'm still pretty sick. Antibiotics aren't working. I have a super-cold.

Even though I wasn't feeling well, I needed some time on the water after a stressful work week. We got 3 inches of snow yesterday, and another 2.5 inches today but I still managed to get out to the water in between bouts of snowblowing. When I got to the stream, it was just the way I like it, a ghost town.

I only saw one other fisherman on the water on the whole stretch I fished. I love when it's like that. The fish aren't pressured, and you can get some peace and quiet. I realized today that I do all of a sudden miss the Little Lehigh Fly Shop. I fish there often in the winter, especially when it's really cold. It was a nice place to go in and warm up with a cup of coffee for a few minutes. Plus, the fish were actively feeding on midges nonstop both on the bottom and on the top. Having 7x or 8x tippet would have been nice. I unfortunately forgot to throw some in my chestpack and I can't just stop in the fly shop anymore to pick some up. I walked by the shop and the reality of no longer having a convenient fly shop sunk in. It used to say "Little Lehigh Fly Shop" above the door and the majority of the letters were scraped off. We're now stuck with "Shop".

As for the fishing, the fish would'nt even look at midges on 6x so I was forced to change flies every 20 casts until I got some action. I saw a ton of suckers with trout tailing behind them, and I got lucky on a pink sucker spawn. I wound up with 4 or 5 fish, almost all of them were cookie cutter stocked bows around 12 inches, and this one brown.

I'm not complaining about small fish. At least I was catching something and avoided driving home to skunkville.

In other news, the stonefly tying has been progressing nicely. I've been working on a stone that will get me down in the water column FAST without the use of a ton of lead. I love fishing for steelhead but I hate chucking and ducking and I'm not patient enough for swinging flies. This one is full of lead on the underbody and has a big tung bead. It could sink a cruise ship. The 6 legs were a pain to get right, and they could still use some work.

Overall, I'm really happy with this fly and I think I'm going to knock out some more, but feedback or suggestions are much appreciated.

3XL Umpqua Stonefly Hook size 10
Tungsten circle bead - black
.015mm lead underbody
6/0 Uni-Thread - black
Black goose biots
UTC copper and black wire, wrapped together
Wingcase - black raffia
Steelhead Ice Dubbing - black
5 minute epoxy

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Psycho Prince

There. I'm officially the first person in history to photoshop a fly pattern into a frame from the movie Psycho.

My loving wife got me a subscription to Fly Fisherman magazine for no reason other than the fact that she's awesome. (Thanks babe) I forgot that she had ordered it for me so I was suprised when the issue was waiting for me when I got home yesterday. While flipping through it tonight, a pattern caught my eye. It was called the Psycho Prince Nymph. I really like how this one turned out and I'm gonna definitely chase chrome with it next weekend. I loved the mottled turkey carapace.

1x Nymph hook size 14
copper bead
uni-thread black 8/0
goose biots - amber (tail)
goose biots - white (front legs)
purple ice dubbing (body)
black ice dubbing (thorax)
UTC Ultra Wire -copper (ribbing)
mottled turkey feather (carapace)
chartreuse glow bug yard (wing sprouts)
Side view (I left these photos really large so you can click through for hi-res)

Top view

Also, I realized tonight that I really need to start tying in a more organized/cleaner fashion. Here's my desk right now. I have not straightened it up since Sunday. It looks like a fly shop threw up on it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stoneflies and Fan Mail

It's definitely been stonefly party time at the vise this week. I listened to a pretty bad podcast today while stuck in traffic on the turnpike and they had a guy (can't remember his name) talking about how prince nymphs are killer steelhead patterns and how they like the peacock herl. That motivated me to sit down and knock out a green and black stonefly pattern with a peacock thorax. I tried one with biots and one with rubber legs. I weighted the hell out of these with wire and added a tungsten bead to get them down to the chrome with a quickness. Thoughts?

Peacock Stone
3xl Orvis curved nymph hook
black tungsten bead
black goose biots or medium rubber round legs
6/0 black unithread (also used for the body
.015 lead wire.
UTC ultra wire, olive (sm)
Strung Peacock Herl
Black craft store raffia (wingcase) coated with Zap-A-Gap

In other news, I received a kind message the other day from a prominent member of one of my favorite fishing websites. I found it to be awesome that someone actually looks forward to reading this thing and doesn't spend all of their spare internet time at work watching THE WEBSITE IS DOWN over and over again.


First...Love reading your Blog. Never read a blog before and yours is great...!
Just looked at yor McFly Foam entry. I have been using that for a while and it really is great.
I don't throw eggs much at all, but let me tell you what I found. At the Salmon River the BLUE Mcfly Foam tied as sucker spawn works extremely well for Steel Head. So, tried it on Trout and it works well on them also.
I don't do well with the strike indicator/bobber and egg...I end up with a tangled mess more often than not. That is just my poor casting skills I'm sure. That is why I don't throw them much.
Next, really like the look of your red head pheasant tails. I never would have thought of them and will tie some up after I send this PM.
Lastly, Thanks for the blog. I have learned a lot from it since I don't get out much. I check it two or three times a day to see what is new. I am on the PC all day while working.

Wishing you and yours a great, healthy and prosperous New Year.

**name witheld**

Thank you for the kind words sir. I greatly appreciate it. Also, I'm going to take your advice and place some of it in my flybox.

DubTV - Episode 1 is live

So, this is basically a test of the camera. I first tied an entire pattern, but the file turned out to be 4.5gb, and it was over 2gb after compression. That's too big for Youtube. This one turned out to be just under 1gb and took an hour to upload.


Monday, January 3, 2011

It's rubber leg time!

I started getting busy tying some big rubber legged stones for the Salmon River trip. I had a few conversations with fellow fly chuckers over the weekend and after seeing some of my rubber legged patterns, they said they always had problems tying the legs in properly. So, I thought it would be a good time to maybe test out the new HD camera and make a tutorial video. Expect the first episode of DubTV shortly.

Here's a quick peek at some of the sloppy flies I've knocked out tonight. I have no idea if they will work but we've gotten strikes on big obnoxious patterns like this in the past from steelies.

In other news, I returned to work today from vacation. I spent the day wishing I was on the side of a stream somewhere. I need to get rich quick and retire. Suggestions are welcome.