Monday, February 28, 2011

When I say stone, you say fly

I picked up those bent stonefly hooks again tonight and figured I'd give it another go. I'm still planning that next trip to the Salmon River at some point in the next month or so and I wanted some peacock-flavored stones. These babies turned out pretty sweet. Sure, they aren't Father Nature's amazing junglecock stones, but I haven't been this happy with a new stone pattern in a while. I tried keeping one slim, and one super buggy. Both are ribbed with copper wire, but one also uses a stripped peacock herl quill, and one uses clear vinyl ribbing.

Saber bent stonefly hook size 10
Uni-thread black 6/0
UTC copper wire, small
clear vinyl rib - medium (pic 1)
peacock herl (pic 2 ribbing)
dubbing - mix of olive squirrel, black beaver, and olive brown ice dub
black goose biots
Wapsi thin skin (mottled turkey)
.015 lead wire underbody

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy Sunday

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Building a better Caddis

I started messing with a few ways to build a caddis pupa. So, internet peoples, which one do you prefer?

First, I tried some caddis green ice dubbing, olive UTC wire, brown goose biot wingpads, a few wraps of hare ice dubbing, some hungarian partridge, and finished with a mix of superfine black and dark olive squirrel dubbing.

For the next one, I used the same dubbing, wire, and biots (except I clipped the tips), but I went with a chartreuse floss for the body. I also bought some of this Senyo's Shaggy Dub rubber dubbing-type stuff and I had no idea what to use it for. I mixed it in with the dubbing instead of wrapping the partridge hackle.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Taste the rainbow (nope, not eating trout)

I stopped by the Orvis shop on my way home tonight and picked up some orange zonker strips, some wire, some flash, some lead, and some really nice dubbing. I also realized I hit Angler's Pro Shop over the weekend and never even pulled out the stuff I bought there to use. I didn't have much time tonight but I decided to work on a few attractor nymphs. I got some really cool rainbow flashabou that I thought would look neat as ribbing. Between that and a mix between olive squirrel dubbing and some olive brown ice dubbing, I came up with some interesting patterns that I can't wait to try out. I love the multi-color effect on the ribbing.

I tied all on scud hooks, using tungsten beads in size 16 and 18. I ribbed with the flashabou and small gold UTC ultrawire. I tried one with a dubbed body. I really dig this squirrel dubbing and I want some more in different colors. It's really buggy.
All have a single strip of pearl flashabou for the wing case.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Preparing for the thaw

We got about an inch of snow last night. That's the 2nd time in two days. This really needs to end. It's getting old. The good news is that spring is right around the corner, and the big thaw will be starting shortly. That means high fast water and big patterns.

I took some time to knock out some zonker slumpbusters in a variety of colors to be prepared for it.

All were tied on size 6 Mustad streamer hooks, regular zonker strips, tungsten cone head beads, UTC medium copper wire, Lagurtun French Mini-Flat braid for the body, and have a .015 leaded underbody. They are paperweights for sure.

In other news, I had an interesting weekend. I found myself rather drunk, and getting a tour of the Yards Brewery at 10pm on Saturday night. Being a huge fan of the brew, I was in heaven. I even got to try different types of malt. But when we got to the bottling section, I felt like I was in an episode of Laverne and Shirley.

Friday, February 18, 2011

An absolutely gorgeous, non-skunked day

I was up until about 2am tying flies and watching TV, but I really didn't mind when I got up before 8pm today because I knew it was going to be an awesome day. My son doesn't like us to sleep. After spending some quality time with the wife and little guy at a nearby park I headed up to the stream. I had heard that yesterday the water was still really clear. That wasn't the case today. When I got there, it was about 50% higher than usual, and starting to get pretty discolored. I had dry flies ready to go, but quickly realized that wasn't going to happen. Oh well, at least it was about 62 degrees.

I met up with Schiff, one of the moderators over at my favorite place on the web, Eastern PA Fishing Reports. We threw a bunch of different flies at lockjawed trout for a few hours. After probably about 1.5-2 hours and six different fly patterns, I had a brown trout try to slam my slumpbuster when I had it stripped almost all the way in. I watched where he went, cast again and got him about a minute later. If you aren't familiar with that fly, click here for a photo of one from a previous post. The one he hit was a size 6 in chocolate brown. Sorry for the poor pic. He tried to swallow the fly and I didn't want to keep him out of the water for long after I removed it. He was beautiful wild brown trout, about 11-12 inches long.

After another half hour of no action, I headed upstream and changed up my flies. my brother-in-law, Nick, showed up to fish with me and we started working the holes in front of the trout nursery and planned to work our way downstream. The water was starting to really pick up and started turning the color of chocolate Yoohoo. I figured if streamers were no longer working, I needed something to get their attention. I threw on a neon pink honeybug as an attractor and trailed it with one of my favorite patterns, a rubbered legged red copper john.

A holdover rainbow, in full prespawn colors (I love when they get the deep red gill plates) decided to take the copper john. He was a nice 14 inch fish, really plump and healthy. I also forgot how fun it is to hook in to a fish that A)You can't see and B) is in really fast high water. I'm so used to sight-fishing for spooked fish in low flows and gin clear water from this really cold winter we've had.

After losing about half a dozen flies in some big rocks, we hit a few more holes downstream, praying for some rises since there were dozens of size 22 BWOs flying around. That didn't happen. Nick unfortunately got the skunk, and I didn't land another fish. The only other highlight of my afternoon was when I decided to tie on the sex dungeon after exhausting every other fly I thought would work. I started stripped it under a foot bridge where I know a dozen big bows like to hold. I couldn't believe it, but one came up and nosed it as a I was stripping it in. I'll have to try it again sometime.

The sun started to set and we packed it up. I couldn't have asked for a better day. I caught some fish on a few of my favorite patterns to tie, enjoyed the nice weather, and had some great company. I can't wait for spring.

Patterns, patterns, patterns

It was 60 degrees today. It's going to be 65 tomorrow. I walked outside today around noon and just knew that I had to take a vacation day on Friday. Needless to say, I'll be in jeans and t-shirt, hunting for a BWO hatch. I love this weather.

So yeah, here's some new flies I've been toying around with.

I noticed when I looked at my fly box that I never quite messed with the color blue for any attractor patterns. I picked up some royal blue flashabou at Cabelas so I gave it a go on some size 18 nymphs.

Size 18 scud hook
Tungsten bead
Uni-thread 8/0 -black
Peacock herl died green, stripped (ribbing #1)
Flashabou, royal blue (ribbing #2)
Z-lon - grey (tail)
Senyo Laser Ice Dub, neon blue

I also acquired some olive quills recently. This stuff annoys me because it kept breaking, even after soaking it in water. I think my olives look better with just thread. This fly looks like hell but I'll post it anyway.
size 22 dry fly hook
olive quills
microfibbets - light dun
hen wing feathers - dun
14/0 olive thread

Here's my first attempt at a Hot Wire Prince. I changed it up a little bit and tied it on a 3xl nymph hook. I'll probably play with it some more. I think it's screaming "GIVE ME RUBBER LEGS!" I was quite happy with the yellow and olive wire combo.

size 18 3xl nymph hook
gold bead (avoided tung so it wasnt too heavy with the double wire)
goose biots - amber
UTC ultra-wire, sm, olive, and yellow
goose biots -white (wings)
peacock herl
hen saddle feathers (legs)

I took a shot at really small Copper Johns. I figured with the coloring it could double as a stonefly or as a small baetis nymph. This is a size 20. I'm not posting the recipe because it's readily available and my eyes are getting heavy.

And last but not least, I have a new egg. I was reminded that it was pre-spawn for the bows last weekend when a male bow soaked my net with the nasty stuff. I wanted to experiment with UV epoxy so I came up with this. I just take a bright tungsten bead, glue it on a size 18 hook, and then build thin layers of epoxy around it. Just keep doing a paper thin coat, hitting it with the light, repeat, etc. After I had it nice and round, I added some pink coloring with a prismacolor. It will definitely be heavy enough but I'm not sure if it will catch fish. It looks pretty cool though :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A little announcement

Hey everyone. Sorry for the lack of posts so far this week. Been working a lot and haven't had much time in front of the vise, or on the stream. I promise to get some new patterns posted tomorrow (lots of them!)

For tonight, I'd like to take a few minutes to let you all know about our newest (and first) site sponsor. They are called Rip Lips Fishing and their website is They are based out of Connecticut. I found these guys originally through Ebay, because they have great deals on Tungsten beads for tying. I've tied quite a few patterns with their beads (and caught quite a few fish with them!) so it's only fitting that I support them. If you go to most fly shops, you'll be able to pick up 20 tungsten beads for around $8-10. These guys have them at $11.99 for 100 packs! It's a great deal. They also have flies, fly boxes, and other fishing gear. Feel free to check out their site and stock up.

Here's a sneak peak at one of the new patterns I tied with their beads. I call it the Citrus CJ.

Size 16 2XL Nymph hook
UTC ultra wire - brassie (Chartreuse)
Peacock Herl (thorax)
Goose biots - tan (tail)
Hungarian Partridge (legs)
Sili skin - pearl (wing case)
Rip Lips Tungsten Bead (hot orange)
UV Epoxy

Sunday, February 13, 2011

6 random things from this weekend

1.Our local weatherman, who calls himself "Hurricane Schwartz", is full of sh*t. He had everyone amped up for a warm weekend. There was some mention of it being in the 50s. Maybe the clouds just followed me all weekend because it was cold, overcast, and windy as hell. I learned a lesson here. Never trust a guy who always wears a stupid bowtie.

2.I went fishing for an hour in the grinding wind on Saturday. There were a dozen other suckers out there who thought it would be nice. The fish had lockjaw and the wind prevented you from casting more than 15 feet.

3.I posted a month ago that I bought an Anvil Apex vise. Well, maybe I just got a defective one, but it was awful. When you loosened it for the rotary function, it was so loose that I thought the whole thing was going to fall apart. Also, a size 12 caddis hook chipped the jaw. It's not like it was a titanium hook or anything either. I boxed it up and sent it back. Since Hurricane Schwartz sucked, I quit fishing early, headed to Cabelas and wound up with the Renzetti Traveler. It just seemed easy to use, and I was able to test it on tiny 24 hooks all the way up to size 2 saltwater flies and it seemed to have no issue.

4.I also got a bunch of new material this weekend including Sili-skin, a few new colors of flashabou, some dyed peacock herl, and even some synthetic hackle. (Sounds weird, right?) I'll get to posting some new patterns I've been playing with shortly.

5.There's been a lot of traffic directed here from the "Father Nature's Life on the Fly" blog. First off, thanks for adding our site to your blog roll! But anyway, you all need to go look at the flies this guy is tying, specifically the jungle cock stonefly. They are amazing.

6.Holdovers - The stream that runs behind my house has not been stocked with trout since October 4th. I haven't caught one since mid-December. Today is the first time it's been more than 60% ice free in a month so I decided to check it out for a little while. This poor stream has had so much salt from the roads and tons of drainage dumped in to it so I was really suprised when I actually saw a trout. He was about a 13 inch rainbow, and looked pretty healthy. He was also smart. The second he saw me looking down on him he darted up in front of this rock that used to be a nice holding spot for fish. Now, since the water rose, it's covered in tree branches and would snap your tippet in seconds if you got without 5 feet of it. I did try another hole downstream where I actually had a hookup on a size 12 caddis pupa but he spit the hook. Oh well. At least I know some of them made it. That makes me happy.

Enjoy your week.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Saturday

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Return of the trout bum

I just realized that it's 2011. Hell, it's almost the middle of February. I read a while ago that John Geirach had a new book due out in May. That means that we'll have another book of stories about an old jaded fly fisherman and his adventures with AK Best.

Some people don't like or understand Geirach's books. I personally love them. I have almost all of them, and I think I've read most of them twice. They help pass time on the cold winter nights when I have insomnia (which is about 5 nights a week anymore).

If you haven't read any of his books, you can pick most of them up for under $6 shipped on Ebay. I highly suggest checking them out. Trout Bum, and Sex, Death, and Fly Fishing are my faves. Click here for more info on him over at Midcurrent.

So what made me think of John Geirach? This post on Unaccomplished Angler, which is simply brilliant.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Glass beads and bent hooks

I was going through some of my tying stuff tonight and I found two packs of Killer Caddis glass beads that I never used before, in brown and black. I decided to mess around with them.

I purchased these bent shaft stonefly hooks that I finally got around to using. They are made by Saber and the website is if you feel like checking them out, although I don't see these hooks on the site right now. Here's what they look like:

I decided to incorporate the glass beads into the stonefly. I came up with a pretty interesting pattern. I really like how the bend in the hook gives the fly a nice curve. It's also my first time ever tying a fly with swiss straw so I know it's not perfect, but I'm sure I'll get better with practice and come up with a nice pattern after a few more tries at this.

Bent stonefly nymph hook size 12
.015 lead wire (thorax is weighted)
Black goose biots
Uni-thread black 8/0
Swiss straw
Black superfine dubbing
Killer Caddis glass beads (brown and black)

I've also been on a pheasant tail kick so I tried some tiny PTs with the glass beads. I did a nymph version with a wood duck tail, and a soft hackle version.

Size 16 short nymph hook
Ringneck pheasant tail fibers
UTC ultrawire small, gold
Mallard died wood duck (nymph tail)
Killer Caddis glass bead
Hungarian partridge (soft hackle)

That's about it for today but before I go, I need to hit you with this:

Beautifully skunked

I snuck out for an hour yesterday to the stream behind my house. I knew I'd be skunked trying to fish for the handful of trout that survived the ice over and the bait dunker stringers but it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the air was just warm enough to be ok with a windbreaker. I didn't mind not catching anything. I chucked double buggers to any open water I could find, but no luck.

I've been on a black and white photo kick recently. I just love the contrast of it in the winter and the iphone pics desaturate well in Photoshop.

Also, this is cruel, but I have to admit that I was laughing when I saw it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The superbowl

I don't really care who wins, but who has better fans?

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

My day, in Fs.

Family time

Fishing in the rain

F***ing good beer

Pheasant tails ( got me. But it SOUNDS like an F)

tiny worms

It's now stopped freezing rain and is just straight up pouring outside. There's going to be runoff, and the streams will get high quick. I'm planning in hitting undercut banks with some worms. I remembered a guy at Somerset tying these tiny san juans on a 22. You need micro chenille, because the regular stuff is way too thick. Luckily, I have tons of it.

These are sloppy as hell because I'm just knocking out a quick few and leaving.
And yes, that's two on the vise. Trying to cut down on the photos I have to upload.

Just to give you an idea of how small they are, here's a photo of them side by side with a typical size 16 pattern you'd find in a fly shop.

I'll let you know how they work.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A double digits day and one of the patterns that did it

Something told me to go fishing today. I'm not sure what it was, but I had a hunch that I would catch fish. I decided to take a vacation day and get to the water at 9am.

We've been bombarded with snow, ice, sleet, and all of a sudden on Wednesday, it rained. Flows have been really low, but I was keeping an eye on the CFS of the stream and I figured Thursday would be muddy runoff, and Friday would be high, fast, clearer, and oxygenated, or in other words, the perfect storm for fly fishing.

Well, I was kind of right. It was fast, at least in the morning, and it was clear, almost gin clear. But surprisingly enough, it was still kind of low. After an hour of being skunked, I connected and landed a few fish on eggs. It didn't seem like that great of a day, but then I saw a rise. Then, another rise. It was one of those rare occasions where I was in the right place at the right time. I switched to midge dries and emergers and started working my way down the stream. I honestly lost count around 8 or 9 fish and I'm guessed I landed somewhere between 11 and 13. It was one of the best days of fly fishing I've ever had, and it came in the middle of February on a surface bite. There were some small fish, but there were also some of the biggest fish I've ever pulled out of that stream. Here's some trout porn:

Now, here's the pattern that worked the best today. I don't quite know what to call it, but it's hands down my new favorite midge. I kinda came up with it last night while messing around at the vise at 1am.

Size 22 emerger hook
Body - Uni-thread, black, 8/0
Wing sprouts - CDC puff (natural, looped )
Thorax - sparsely dubbed with muskrat underfur (stole this from the Al's rat)

You can also break up the CDC a little bit to make a crippled version.

I was fishing these guys using 7X, and trailing off a bigger fly. My best luck came from starting off with a size 18 Adams dry. The trout would come up to check out the Adams, nose it, back off, and then rise up right away and smash the midge. They were truly taking it as food, not just biting and throwing it. Quite a few of them had it pretty far back in their mouth when I landed them.

After a long day of fishing, I had to come up and take my whole PC apart. I had a corrupt video card. Dual DVI monitors can burn them out quick. I just got done installing a new Radeon and I dig it so far. I'm tired and need a good night's sleep. Plus, there's fishing to do tomorrow! long as Ryu doesn't blast us again..