Monday, January 30, 2012

A couple of bugs, and please let me clarify....

So, I didn't realize the Somerset post would draw so much traffic. I checked my stats Sunday morning and realized the post made it on to Trout Underground's twitter feed, which had the place jumping with unique visitors all day. (Thank you Mr. Chandler) If you're stopping by for the first time, welcome to the site. Take some time to dig through the older posts. There's usually more tying photos but I've been lazy.

I'd also like to apologize if my show recap came off as negative. To clarify, the Fly Fishing Show is enormous and I'm sure Mr. Furimsky and crew put in tons of work to pull it off. If you've never been there before, it's definitely worth checking out. Don't let my negativity hold you back. It's full of materials, people who are amazing at twisting up bugs, sweet gear, and seminars. I think I was just expecting some better deals. I didn't find them but after reading other recaps, some people did. Dave Kile over at PA Fly Fish put together a nice video recap of the show.

So anyway, if you're not on Instagram, I posted a few pics tonight of some stuff I've been tying. After watching some streamers being tied at the show, I came to the realization that less is more. I've been loading my streamers up recently, attaching a ton of feathers. Sure, they look pretty, but I noticed that short of using a heavy sink tip, they don't fish as well. After seeing more of a minimalist approach from the few guys at the show, I decided to back off on the bird parts. Here's a simple Fish Skull streamer that can be tied in about 5 minutes. I call it the Vitamin C and I can't wait to try it this weekend.

Size 6 Streamer Hook
6/0 UNI in brown
Orange Marabou
Brown Craft Fur
Oversized skull eyes fastened with a little epoxy
Orange crystal flash

1.Tie in the marabou just in front of the hook point. Palmer to about 3/4 the way up the shank. Tie off.
2.Make a dubbing loop, wrap to the eye, and half hitch.
3.Cut off some craft fur, and pull out the short fibers just like you would with some deer hair.
4.Add the fur to the dubbing loop, give it about 10-12 spins (keep it semi-loose) and wrap forward. Tie it off and comb it back.
5.Add about 4-5 strands of flash for the lateral line on each side and then whip finish.
6.Slip on the skull, and epoxy on the eyes.

I also saw Howard's blog post over at Wind Knots and Tangled Lines and he got me on a terrestrial kick. I whipped up half a dozen Hopper Juans tonight. These things have a lot of steps but once you get into tying them, it goes fast and you get better at making them with each fly. I'm not going to post the steps and recipe, you can head over to The Hopper Juan to check it out. They sit well on a bottle of Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

Also, I came across a pretty nice new blog today. It's called Fumbling the Fly and the guy ties a mean Circus Peanut. Head on over and become a follow and tell him I sent ya. :)

Also, wanna laugh? Gfen breaks down his thoughts on Tenkara. (Watch the F bombs if you're at work)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Somerset Fly Fishing Show - Recap

It feels like it was just yesterday that I was at the 2011 show. I can't believe a year flew by already. After a long night with the kids having sleeping issues, I didn't get to bed until 2am, and was woke up by Michael at 6:55am telling me he wanted to watch the sun come up with me. So much for getting some rest last night.

That slowed me down and I didn't wind up getting to the show until about 9:45am. Needless to say, parking sucked and I got in some exercise walking to the place. I passed through masses of cars and SUVs covered with bumper stickers; old Cadillacs covered in TU and Hardy stickers, and the younger crowd vehicles with Jettas rocking 20 inch rims, covered with Simms, Sage, and "Insert hip fly fishing website here" stickers. Quite the generation gap.

I was surprised when I got inside. It really was not that crowded at all like it was in the last two years. I thought that was a plus. To be perfectly honest, I didn't find the show to really be that great. Almost half of the floor booths were lodges and guide/charter services, or some fly fishing magazine with jacked up subscription prices (But wait! You get a free LED flashlight and cooler with purchase!) There's a reason why the "free issue" they give you when you sign up has the price removed from the front - it's because they are charging you more than the cover price for a year!

There were a decent amount of vendors, much more than the fly tying symposium had a few months back. But, the great deals were not there. At least I didn't find them. I look at it this way. If I'm driving 1.5 hours and paying a $15 admission fee and have to pay $5 for a slightly-colder-than-room-temperature beer, there better be some damn good discounted gear. I just wasn't seeing it. I think the economy is still taking a hold on the fishing industry and the vendors that are left don't have much wiggle room.

Yeah, there were the 100 hooks for $7 deals, and if you don't tie flies you could pick up a dozen at The Fly Shack for $10, but I didn't come across much else. At the end of the day, you could order that stuff online, pay shipping, and still come out cheaper in the end than driving to the show. The best deal of the day was the waste collector that clips on your vise that catches all your clippings while tying. After shopping around at 5 different vendors who had prices ranging from $21 to $40 for the same damn thing, I finally found a place that had one for $12. SCORE!

Where I did get my money's worth was just watching the flies being tied. I saw some great patterns, got some great ideas, and many of the guys were more than willing to allow you to pick their brain for 20 minutes. The only downside was that a lot of the guys just weren't at their booth. There were quite a few empty seats as I was walking through.

I also probably could have attended a show or two to get the most of my money, but when I finally was ready to check out a seminar or film, it was either Bahamas or Alaska. I was hoping for something a little more local. Oh well. There's always next year.

At the end of the day, I guess it was worth going. It got me out of the house. I got to see some old friends, and meet a few cool people. Here's some highlights:

1.The Tenkara Booth
I got to meet Daniel from Tenkara USA and he was a really cool guy. I also got to check out a Tenkara rod for the first time and I have to say, it's got me intrigued. I might have to bite the bullet and buy one.

2.Pat Cohen from Superfly
Three of us just stood there and watch Pat stack some deer hair onto this massive fly for about 15 minutes. It was impressive. Plus he was a really nice guy, and gave my bro-in-law the fly after he was done tying it. If you get a chance, make sure you watch him tie. His sculpins are sick. (The flies at the top of this post were all his.)

3.Lefty Kreh not getting beat up by the Tenkara posse
But seriously, it's always cool to watch a legend cast a fly rod. Sorry for the blurred pic, there was a mob surrounding him and I had to lift my phone in the air to snap a shot.

4.Derek Deyoung of CanvasFish
This was one of the coolest things I saw all day. My jaw dropped when I turned the corner and saw his big original canvases on display. Seeing his designs on a shirt or water bottle do not do them any justice. They look so good up close. He was even working on a painting at the show. I would have loved to buy a print, but even the small ones were a $105. Hell, the bumper stickers were $10. Like I've said before, slap a Simms logo on it, sell it for thousands!

5.Al Ritt's sculpin
This guy tied a sweet articulated streamer and it was the best use of the sculpin helmet I've seen so far. This pic really doesn't do the fly justice. I appreciated him taking the time to show me the pattern

Although I didn't get pics, I also really liked the streamers tied by Mike Schmidt from Angler's Choice, and I always enjoy stopping by to chat and see flies from George Maciag, Bruce Corwin, and Kevin Compton.

Also, I have to be honest. My favorite part of the day had nothing to do with fishing. It was my stop on the way home at the Porterhouse outside of New Hope PA. They have the best freaking burgers ever! It was also nice to wash it down with an Avery IPA.

EDIT - 2/8/12
Before I get any more comments about how this post is harsh, please read my follow up post before you pull the comment trigger and begin to bash me. This post was not meant to be offensive. I have nothing but respect for everyone involved with pulling off such a big event. I just didn't have much fun there.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Somerset Fly Fishing Show - Blogger meetup anyone?

So, the entire fly fishing interwebs are buzzing about the show this weekend. It's going to be a really fun time and you'll get the chance to see all the Tenkara worshipers beat up Lefty Kreh. So far I know that Shane the bug flinger will be there, and I think Mr. Troutrageous, and the Functioning Fishaholic will be in attendance, but are there any other fellow bloggers planning on making the trip? I was thinking we could all maybe set up a meeting point and grab a beer somewhere.

let me know if you're interested and we can come up with something. It would be great to put some faces to all the names.

I don't have much else right now. I'm feeling a little better, and tying a ton of flies for some swaps, which I'll post once completed. Also got a nice package of wet flies in the mail today from the PAFF soft hackle swap. Expect pics of those coming soon as well.

Besides that, enjoy these wicked Pigeons.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snowy Sunday

Nick asked if I wanted to fish on Sunday. We had gotten about 4-5 inches of snow on Saturday. It was brutally cold. I'm still really bummed the hell out over Jake's passing. But, I went anyway, thinking it would take my mind off things for a short while.

Well, it didn't really help. I miserably stomped around in the snow for an hour to catch one brown trout before packing it in due to depression and the lack of feeling in my fingers. I lost a fly box a few weeks back on the LL and I was hoping that at least the fly shop would be open so I could see if someone dropped it off. Nope, of course not. Lady luck has not been on my side recently. Sorry for the poor pictures. I just wasn't in the mood.

We had the stream to ourselves.

Here's a half-assed photo of Nick gearing up.

The anti-skunk savior who took a small flashabou midge

The only redeeming part of the afternoon was a few cold Lagunitas Maximus IPAs, and this little goofball waiting for me when I got home. I can't believe how big he got. He's almost a month old already.

Also, in case you missed it, thanks to Jason over at Tenkara Talk! Making that embarrassing video was worth it because I won the Tenkara USA net! This thing looks so nice that I don't even want to use it. I might just have to hang it on the wall of my bar.

And keep an eye out for a post about the first official Instagram fly swap once I receive my bugs! Gin Clear did a great post about it, so you should just head over there to check it out. I really need to get tying. I'm also involved in a fatty streamer swap over at PaFlyFish that I need to get going on!

That's about all I got. I have to speak at the funeral tomorrow and I could really use a good night's sleep. Maybe I'll catch up with some of you at the Fly Fishing Show this weekend?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saying goodbye

Jake and I became friends 18 years ago, during our senior year of high school. Over the years, girls came and went, addresses changed, our hairlines backed up, and our waist sizes increased, but we always stayed in touch. He gave the best man speech at my wedding in 2006, and I returned the favor at his wedding in 2008. He was my brother from another mother, and the only person I've known for that long that I've never gotten into a single arguement with. Jake, you were the best friend I could possibly have asked for and I truly miss you. Rest in peace.

Jacob Lee Burkett
10/10/1975 - 1/19/2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Whoring myself out in an attempt to win

So, in case you missed it, there was a contest over at Tenkara Talk. There's a sweet net up for grabs that I'm in love with. Basically, you get a sticker mailed to you and you have to put it somewhere creative and then send them a pic of where it ends up. I haven't really been able to get out of the house with a new baby around, so I decided to stick it on a record and dust off my turntables. As a disclaimer, I'm about five beers deep (8.2% beers!), if that justifies this at all :)

On a somber note, stop over to Mike's gone fishing and offer your condolences if you get some spare time. He just lost a family member. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Mike. Sorry for your loss.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It was a good day

I started out by going here:

And I left with this:

Then I went out to lunch with him:

and then for a nature walk.

I came home and tied up a bunch of these:

Also, there's only two days left in our Facebook fly giveaway contest. Looks like we have a three way tie so far! Share the link, post a pic, like some pics.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scouting new water, a small milestone, and did someone say fly giveaway?!

I found a new shortcut back to my house the other day and slammed on my brakes when I saw this stream. When I found it, it was 25 degrees outside and it was NOT frozen over. This means it most likely has some spring influence with consistent water temps and could possibly hold trout. I took a pic of it so I didn't forget to go back and explore it. My god, it's taunting me. I want to fish it.

I might try to check it out tomorrow. I'll post my findings. In other news, we hit 100 followers today. I was pretty suprised by that, and pretty damn happy! Thanks to everyone for stopping by. You might also want to swing by and become a fan of Dub The Thorax on Facebook. Rumor has it that there might be a fly giveaway going on....

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A small amount of time

I was on my way home and I only had a small amount of time to wet a line. The sun would be gone in half an hour so I had to act fast. I picked a spot closest to my house out of convenience and to save time, although I knew from scouting it on a regular basis that there were only 4 or 5 trout left in the 100 yard section I would have access to. They were rainbows that were still holding over from the stocking three months ago.

There was no time for waders, and I chose a small tan bugger. Stockies are stupid and will typically chase them across the stream.

I slid down a steep bank and hopscotched across some wet rocks to a spot where low hanging branches wouldn't annoy me. My feet got a little wet but there was no time to think about that. I stripped line as fast as possible and rocketed a cast. The bugger had a splashly landing about an inch from the opposite bank.

I started to strip line and I noticed a dimple. Then another. Then another. There were at least two, maybe three fish in the back corner of the pool, sipping on size 20 tan midges in slack water. I pulled the bugger in and started to string up some 7x tippet. As soon as I got a fly tied on, my phone rang. My son was sick and fatherhood waits for no one. I sulked away, back to my car, sadly watching those fish continue to sip. There's always tomorrow. Maybe.

Fly Fishing Film Tour? Yes please.

I'm pretty psyched. There is actually a date this year within driving distance of my house in Media PA! Any fellow bloggers wanna do a road trip?

Fly Fishing Film Tour 2012 | from The Fly Fishing Film Tour on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Black, white, and 59 degrees

You couldn't ask for a better day in January in Pennsylvania. It was crowded so the typical great holes all had idiots wading in the middle of the stream, but the trout I came across today absolutely loved that red midge from my last post. Now if only I would have noticed the trash stuck in the bushes before that last shot...

The Midge Parade

The older one wore himself out with tantrums. The younger one is in a bottle-induced coma. My wife is sleeping. As soon as the lights went out upstairs, the basement lights when on, the beer was cracked, and the Xbox started to hum. I got sick of dying 10 million times in Modern Warfare 3, so here's some midges I've been working on. Before you say "wow, those suck", keep in mind that you could fit a dozen of them on your finger nail. All size 22 and 24 (with a few 20s in the box just in case).First up is a variation of Al's Rat that I simply call "The Rubber Rat". This has been my most successful midge pattern so far this winter and it started from scrap material. I had some rubber leg scraps left over from hoppers this past fall. They were Orvis Sexy Legs which are a little thicker than regular rubber legs. They were a dark brown and orange mottled color and are pretty pricey, so I didnt want to waste them. The extra strength allows you to wrap tight and create a better taper. I kept the head just like the original rat with Muskrat dubbing.

Next, a basic thread midge with Flashabou ribbing. This stuff works great to rib, and definitely gives the midge a sparkle. I tie these with and without beads, depending on where I want to fish them in the water column. Jan Siman dubbing for the thorax. Feel free to try different types of flash.

Here's a variation of the Poison Tung. I tie these with a glass bead because I think it makes them pop a little more under the water, plus I don't like my midges to have tungsten. I kept the profile very slim, and I oversized the rib just a bit (Small vs. X-Small) just to have it sink every so slightly faster in the water column.

Finally, here's the midge that slayed them for me earlier this week. It's a cross between a Zebra and a Disco midge. Red thread, oversized UTC wire rib (same color as thread), and a peacock herl thorax. When tying flies this pattern, I like to whip finish behind the peacock so the red isn't sticking out like a sore thumb near the eye. It also helps keep your eye cleaner when trying to thread 8x tippet through it.

Also, here are a couple of newer blogs you might want to keep on your radar. Beertrout is anothing blog out of PA (Gotta represent the homeland!). I love the name so much that I won't make fun of him for having a can of PBR in a couple shots.

Another is Penn Sportsman. This one was just started by my neighbor and good buddy, Rick. This guy catches some huge fish from Stripers, to Steelhead, to lunker bass, so I'm sure this will be a good one to watch in 2012. He also has some nice patterns posted already. Tell him I sent ya!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Still going.....  Detailed pattern post coming soon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Braving the cold and getting my first fish of the year

When my wife said that I had some free time from babyville and that I should go fishing yesterday, I packed my gear and was out the door in ten minutes. I immediately ran back inside and put on another layer of clothes. I didn't realize how cold it got. It was 16 degrees when I left the house, and 18 degrees with 25 MPH winds when I got to the stream. It was probably a dumb idea to fish, but it was over two weeks since I wet a line and my cabin fever was setting in big time. Thank got for my Orvis fleece gloves. I highly suggest getting a pair of these things. Your hands stay toasty, and they have the finger covers which fold back when you need to tie a knot or strip line.

I was very happy to see not a single other person on the stream. I figured that would be the case, because my nose started to run and was freezing on my home-from-work-for-2-weeks beard within a few minutes. After about a dozen casts, I remembered how much winter fishing can suck. The guide ice was awful, especially with the bad winds. The only good thing was that the areas that are usually a muddy mess were nice and solid.

I already had a bugger on so I started off with that but a I quickly realized it was a bad idea since the thing turned into an icicle pretty darn quick.

Switching over to midges, I no longer minded the cold. Fish came to hand one after another on a new red midge pattern I tied up the other night. I must have landed 5 or 6 fish in about an hour. My hands were too cold to keep taking pictures, but I did snap one of my first fish of 2012, a nice wild brown.

I didn't last too long in the cold weather, so I headed home to down a few beers and playing with my new Christmas present I finally picked up with all my gift cards, an Acer Android Tablet. After a few days of use, I can say that I do prefer the Apple interface better on my iPhone, but I'm still learning this and I look forward to all the open sourced tweaking goodness. Now I just need some new fly fishing apps for it (Hint Hint Orvis - I'd be happy to do an app review!)

A couple of beers later, the vise came out......

and eggs were tied with a quickness. (I always run out of hot pink and orange for some reason)