Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY fly box for mailing flies, and holy cow, we turned one!

I didn't even realize it until this morning, but a year has passed since I started this blog. Hard to believe. I'm quite surprised at how many of you actually stop by to read and comment on my half-assed flies and sub-par fishing experiences. I started this thing to pretty much chronicle my fishing and tying, and it still surprises me every week that there are more followers, and I see my name pop up on more and more blog rolls. Thanks to everyone for following, stopping by to read, and adding a link on your site. Special shoutout to Mike @ Troutrageous. He was the first blogger to comment, and link to me and the traffic started flowing in as soon as that happened. I'm really surprised I made it this far. It seems like there are more and more new blogs out there every day and I'm honored that all of you stop by to browse and comment. Thanks again.

Speaking of Troutrageous, I got the mail last night and there was an envelope with a return address that simply said "T!". I opened it up and now I have some new stickers for my car and tying bench. Thanks man.

I also got something else interesting sent to me today from one of our readers via text message. He wrote a rap about my "Damn Lucky" post. (seriously, I can't make this shit up.) I'll keep his name out of this save him the embarrassment, but here's the message, exactly as I received it.

It was a cool black night and a clean white moon
Dub the T was on the stream, tryin' to pursue
Some trout for his blog or maybe a big carp
tying on his fly...headlamp in the dark

Just hit the east branch up in Perkasie
and his mission is the find that one big trophy
Seen a pool full of trout aint no need to tweak
all ya dudes know whats up with Dub the T.

So he hooks some fish on streamers and midges...
He casting on the banks and underneath the bridges
He lays down the line and say what's up
Then Lucky jumps in and now he's stuck.

I got this message while at work and I laughed so hard that I literally spit coffee on my desk. He said to sing it to the beat from Regulators by Warren G.

Anyway, here's something actually fishing related. I've been joining a few fly swaps, and mailing out some flies I sold and I came up with a good idea.

Remember all those cassettes from the 90s? You know you still have that Nirvana Cas-single, and House of Pain's first album on cassette. Now you can put them to good use.

1.Get yourself a empty cassette case. I would take out the Debbie Gibson sleeve, unless you're mailing the flies to Owl Jones. He loves Debbie Gibson.

2.Grab a pair of pliers and rip out the little plastic points that were used to go into the cassette holes. This is so they don't press down on the flies that will be on the other side of the cassette.

3.Measure and cut a piece of craft foam (yes the stuff you use for tying, and the same stuff you get at Michaels for .99 a sheet) so it fits where the sleeve used to be. Just coat the back of it with some superglue, and press it into the inside of the case.

4.Fill it up with the flies you were supposed to mail Cofisher for winning that contest two weeks ago. (Co- as an added bonus, I included one of the woven stoneflies tied by the author of the rap song above. I'm curious to see how it works out west...Oops, did I just give everyone a clue on how to figure out who our rapper is?!)

5.Close it and you're ready to mail it. These actually fit in regular letter envelopes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Damn Lucky

My son is finally asleep after a long tantrum. It's still 58 degrees outside at 9pm. I know the beast will be out tonight in search of food, quickly sucking mud into his mouth like my son rocking a McDonald's milkshake. He's a solid 10 lbs, and I've had two run-ins with him that left my leader frayed.

I throw on a hoodie and some sandals and head out the door in shorts. I have to keep reminding myself that it's almost December.

The park is closed, but that's never stopped me. There's an old footbridge that crosses the stream, and it's surrounded by street lights for the nearby walking path. The sight fishing is excellent. Even if the football-shaped monster doesn't appear, there's always this.

I stood in the middle of the bridge, stringing up my six weight and tying on the only fly I know I'll need, a heavily weighted size 10 white bugger. They say to throw black in the night, but that rule doesn't apply to a stretch of water with some artificial illumination.

The fish are holding the edges of the shadows tonight, afraid to come out in to the light for some reason. I can see long shapes with tails moving around skittishly; knowing they aren't carp, but not quite sure what species I'll be casting at. I'm going to have to work for them.

I position myself in front of a pricker bush, but high enough on the bank to cast over it. I chose this spot because backcasting is easy and there are no branches waiting to eat my fly. After a dozen long casts and slow strips, a man and his dog appear above me on the bridge. He asks what I'm fishing for and tells me that he's sure I won't catch anything. Before he could finish his sentence, I feel the pull. Keeping my rod high and reeling quickly, the fish came to the bank. He was a small pickerel and I think I was about as suprised by him as he was of me. His teeth sawed through the 3x tippet with ease after about 5 seconds of flopping in the shallows. So much for only needing one fly. He got to escape, and I got to avoid having my skin bleed from the bush in front of me. It's a win/win, besides getting a photo.

The man and his dog walk off. I re-tie and start stripping. I fish for 15 minutes without another hit, running the banks, bouncing the fly off structure, hitting the middle channel. I then hear the footsteps again. The man is coming back with his dog. I think to myself "This guy is good luck, I'm going to get a hit if he stops again." He stops to ask if I caught anything else. Just then, I connect again, this time to a stocked rainbow trout that was about 11 inches. He fought like his life depending on it and spit the hook on his 2nd jump.

The man then yells like a little girl and points about 15-20 yards downstream. He tells me to look. I turn my head and there he his, the beast. He was coming right at me and frantically feeding. I knew I'd get him. It was a perfect setup. I check my knot and cast. Then it happened.
In his amazement over the size of the carp, he stopped paying attention to his dog. It was a young golden retriever who decided to greet me, and then take a bath. I watched in agony as my fly swung right where the carp was.

The man said "Oh he's gone. Something must have scared him." I didn't have the energy to say anything. He then started walking away and said "C'mon Lucky, let's go home", and the dog went running back to his master. Ironic name, huh?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nice way to end a day of shopping.

Green Flash Imperial IPA on draft. Ballast Point Big Eye IPA to go. Doesn't get much better than this.

Saturday Morning Midges

I put together a few different midge patterns last night and this AM. Pretty happy with them. All size 20-22. I really dig the black bead one. I think I'm going to call it a Flying Zebra.

Now I just need to find some water that's not chocolate milk..

Happy Saturday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Gobbler

A little Sculpin tying before feasting. Happy Turkey Day!

Weekend recap, and bugs, man....lots of bugs.

Ah...Four day weekend is on and it feels damn good. I just wish the stream wasn't so blown out. Oh well. I'm still going to try and fish somewhere this weekend. It feels good to finally get some time for a big blog post.

I'll start off with a recap of the Fly Tying Symposium. We decided to do a blogger carpool so Mike from Troutrageous and Matt from Functioning Fishaholics showed up at my house around 7:30am to ride out to NJ with me. We nerded out on the way there talking about blogger jargon and fishing and the 1+ hour drive felt like 20 minutes.

We got there just after the doors opened so it was nice to be able to make the rounds before the crowds showed up to check out the flies, catch up with some old friends, and meet a few people who I previously only met online.

One of the craziest flies I saw all day was from a guy named Mike Williams. He throws giant duckling flies for Musky! After some googling, turns out he's a fellow blogger with a blog called Big Fly Chucker. Head on over there and follow him. He ties some crazy big streamers as well.

I also got to check out bugs from Gaeron from My Life on the Fly. He had some sweet patterns. I also spent a lot of time watching Aaron Jasper, George Maciag (Watch out for a Featured Fly Tier post on here shortly about him..I'm going to make sure the woven stonefly is included. It's sick!), and Bruce Corwin was showing me how to tie stonefly bodies by hand and a really sweet October Caddis made from Organza.(Bruce, thanks for the fly and material).

I'd like to give a shoutout to the Swedish guys. They have skills! Ulf Hagström absolutely amazed me with his big mayflies tied on Partridge Klinkhammer hooks. They were beautiful. I wish I got a better picture of his bugs. They looked great.

One thing I was disappointed in was the amount of vendors there. There wasn't much competition, which meant not many good deals. No 100 hooks for $10, or cheap grizzly saddles. The cheapest was a grade 2 for $70! I did spend way too much at Kevin Compton's booth. I stocked up on UV Quill Body, Jan Siman dubbing, Hend's Shellback, Dohiku and Patridge hooks,and some Performance Flies wire. If you're looking for really small wire for ribbing, Kevin's stuff is actually more narrow than the X-small UTC ultra-wire. I highly suggest checking it out. Great deal. I also picked up a pack of Sculpin helmets, just because they looked funny.

After the show, I offered to take those guys fishing since they've never fished the Little Lehigh. I figured it should be pretty easy to get them on some fish with some midges and eggs. It actually turned out to be pretty tough. There were a few hits, but I was the only one that pulled in a few. This bow was pretty. I love when they have a lot of spots around their head.

Mike and Matt, I'm sorry guys! I suck at guiding. Maybe next time...

So, on to the bugs. I sat down the last two nights and tied about two dozen micro nymphs. All size 18, all tungsten beads, but in various colored bodies and dubbing. I also knocked out a few more Czech nymphs to test out the Hend's shellback and I love it!(I kept the resolution high on these shots so you can click for detail)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Not looking good

4 day weekend, and every damn body of water looks like this. So much for fishing this weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2011

And the winner is...

I said I'd give it a week to announce a winner from the "name that worm pattern" contest. Well, it's been a week and with all pun intended, the early bird got the worm. I'm going to go with Monoworm! That was the first reply, and I think it just fits. The winner is Cofisher, author of Wing Knots and Tangled Lines. Shoot me your address and I'll twist up some bugs to send your way. I'm also happy to say that the worm did kind of work on Saturday. I had a bow take it but he spit the hook when I got him close.

A bigger post will be coming tomorrow, including a tying show and fellow blogger road trip recap, my first shot at pseudo-guiding people on my home water (which resulted in failure), and bugs. Lots and lots and lots of bugs. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pink vs. Pink, Fly Tying Symposium, and Fly Giveaway Reminder

New Bugs

Continuing on the European style fly kick I've been on, the czech nymphs are starting to take up some more space in one of my nymph boxes. I came across a cool Davie McPhail pattern that uses floss instead of dubbing but has a similar feeling to a czech nymph. He uses a razor blade to lightly cut through the bottom, giving the appears of brushed out legs come off the belly of the fly. here it is compared to a fairly basic pink-hot-spotted czech nymph (with too big of a thread head because I'm a bit tipsy). I like to tie my czechs with a few strands of shaggy dub at the head. I think it just gives the fly a tiny bit more movement and I've found that they outfish the ones I tie without it. Sometimes it's the little things...

Which do you think will fish better?

Fly Tying Symposium
Just a reminder, the Fly Tying Symposium is this weekend in Somerset NJ. I'll be heading there early Saturday morning to try and find some hackle before the hairdressers wipe it out! It actually turned into a blogger road trip because I'll be carpooling with Mr. Troutrageous and the Functioning Fishaholic. We might even attempt some fishing after the show if the water levels drop from all the rain we've just had.

If you're going, drop a line here if you want to meet up with us, grab a beer, and get 5 minutes of fame on a blog or two. Also sounds like it will be quite a meetup with the guys that troll frequent the forums over at PA Fly Fish. (Although stay away from that SBecker guy...Every time I fish with him I get skunked. He's cursed!)

Fly Giveway
If you missed the post from a few days ago, I'm going to give away a nice assortment of flies to the person who comes up with the best name for the worm pattern I created. I have a favorite so far, but I'm going to let this run for a week so there's still time to make a suggestion.

That's about all I got. I'll see some of you on Saturday!

first post from....

My new iPhone 4S. I'm in love with Siri.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Realistic Worm Pattern and a fly giveaway contest

The idea for this pattern came to me on Sunday. I was fishing for some SUPER SPOOKY stocked rainbows in the creek behind my house. There's about 4 of them left and they dart under a bridge into slack water that's impossible to catch a drift though as soon as they see you.

I crept up and waited the 15 minutes for them to get unspooked and then started drifting eggs and san juans in front of them. I hooked in to a couple on eggs, but didn't get solid hook sets. After that, I was literally bouncing flies off their lips and they weren't taking them. I then tried caddis larva, mayfly nymphs, midges, and even some buggers with no luck.

I was about to pack it in when some guy sets up immediately across from me with a spinning rod and a container of drift worms. First cast and SMACK!, a rainbow takes the worm. He lands the fish (and kudos to him for releasing it) and casts again. Second cast, same thing. He hooks and lands the biggest of the 4 fish, also released.

This made me realize that maybe coming up with a realistic worm wouldnt be such a bad idea. I was at Dave's in Doylestown earlier in the day digging through their clearance bin, and I found a pack of Orvis bright red nymph skin with glitter flakes in it for $1. I bought it thinking I could maybe use it on some steelhead patterns.

Well, something made me try it tonight. I took a 4X streamer hook and bent it, Vladi worm-style. I made a fat clitelum with some .30 lead wire and built the body with some 3/0 monocord. I tied in a strip of the nymph skin and some 5X mono tippet. I made loose wraps with the nymph skin, and then ribbed it with the mono. After whip finishing, I colored it up with a brown Prismacolor marker, and hit the fattest part with some bright orange. Then I slapped on a coat of Hard as Nails and that's it. I think I need to find maybe a lighter colored tan marker instead of the dark brown, but I think this fly is gonna work.

Now I just need a name for it, so here's the deal. Post your name suggestions in the comments and I'll mail out 3 of these patterns (and some bonus surprise flies) to the person who came up with my favorite suggestion. I'll let this run for a week before announcing the winner.

So yeah, back to Sunday. I didn't catch anything, but my god, it was a gorgeous day on the water. I walked away with some nice pictures.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hot off the vise

With winter approaching, I've been trying to fill the box with nymphs and midges. I started doing some reading on mayfly nymph(particularly Baetis) imitations that people are using overseas, mostly because tying PTs and HE nymphs bore the hell out of me these days. I found some cool ones from Czech Republic and Poland. It seems like a common trend over there is some sort of shell back, thin thread ribbing, and a coat of epoxy, and also keeping the fly very narrow so it sinks fast in the water column. I was messing around and came up with these. I'm going to tweak them and clean them up a little. Then of course I'll need to see if they work!

Size 16 standard nymph hook
Tail -Coq De Leon or Pheasant rump feathers
Hareline scud back material (clear for the body, brown for the wingcase)
12/0 black thread (ribbing)
A mix of various color Hare dubbing
Legs - I tried Hungarian Partridge and Pheasant feathers
A coating of epoxy, and then a coating of Hard as Nails

I also had good luck on red zebra midges over the weekend so I decided to try the Rojo Midge pattern I found online. The one I found had the red bead but that pearl glass bead did so well on those zebra midges last weekend that I decided to stick with that.

Size 20 curved nymph hook
Red 8/0 Uni-thread
UTC silver x-small ultrawire
peacock herl
glass bead (craft store)
white Antron (wing sprouts)

Also, I had mentioned earlier in the week that I was knocking out some flies for a few customers. Here's a big batch of rubber leg copper johns. I left the legs extra long figuring that the guy could cut them down to whatever size he wants. Below that, a bunch of custom woolly buggers that were ordered. These are all in the mail.

In other news, It's been such a busy week and I realized that I'd be a crappy parent if I didn't post up Michael's Halloween picture. Not sure if I mentioned it before, but my son is absolutely obsessed with cows. Not sure why. It started about a year ago and now my house is full of cow print everything.

He was actually super exciting on our way to drop him off before work this morning because some cows were right up along the road. You should have seen the look on his face. Priceless. He was talking about it all night.