Monday, February 27, 2012

sloppy casts, crappy flies, and a repeat of last weekend

On Sunday, I decided to hit the same stretch of water I hit last weekend because I had so much fun with rising fish. I headed up solo, and to be honest, it was pretty much identical to last weekend, only about 5 degrees cooler.

I opted for the sloppy-tied CDC n' Elk Caddis I posted on here the other night. I found fish rising in the same stretch, but due to increased fishing pressure and a lot more people wading, they were really hugging the opposite bank. With the current moving fast about 6 feet out of the bank, the only shot I had at the consistent sippers was a long really sloppy roll cast with a lot of extra line stripped out, to give the fly a few extra seconds near the risers. I had my first fish on in about 10 minutes after I got there, and proceeded to land 4 more, and lose about 5, including a monster brown that slammed my caddis so hard that he broke off my 8x tippet after only having him hook for about 5 seconds. Nick joined me for about 15 minutes before I headed out, but I won't say how he did. (If you read this blog can probably guess)

In all seriousness

As a parent, today's incident at Chardon High School scares the hell out of me. I remember watching the Columbine incident on TV many years ago and while it was upsetting, it really hit home today when I think that my kids could have been at that school. My heart goes out to the children who were murdered and injured and their families. The reality is, this could happen anywhere and at any time.

What I think upset me the most is when I found out that the alleged shooter made posts and posted pictures on Twitter referencing what he was about to do, at some point last night. No one did anything about it. If one person would have spoken up and reported it, this could have all been avoided.

I know myself and the majority of my readers are very active in the social networking community and I think we all share a responsibility to report things like this. All I'm saying is, if you see something like this that might rub you the wrong way, it can't hurt to report it, whether they are a high school student or an adult.

RIP to the student that has passed away and I wish the rest of them a speedy recovery.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Product Review - Sage 1830 Reel

I got to talking to someone the other day that was new to fly fishing about buying a new small stream fly rod setup on a budget. I went over line sizes, action, etc, and I made a few suggestions in a rod and fly line. When we go to talking about reels, I realized that I've been beating the hell out of my Sage 1830 for almost two years now and it has never failed me.

I picked this reel up because I wanted a new small stream 4 weight setup, and at the time, I was a little strapped for cash. I was at Cabelas browsing through all the reels under $200 and I was considering a Ross or a Lamson. Then the sales guy said "How about a Sage?" I obviously know that Sage makes amazing rods, but reels? I was a little hesitant.

After taking a look at it, testing out the drag, and making some test casts in the parking lot, I decided to give it a go. It's really light for it's size, and has a nice titanium finish. I think I paid around $160 for it at the time, but you can now pick it up for under $140.

The drag on this reel is amazing. It's really sensitive and can be adjusted quick and easy with a turn on the knob. I'm not sure if Sage actually makes this or just had their name stamped on it, but it's definitely a workhorse.

The finish is great. I usually keep a rigged up rod in the car and this thing gets thrown around, dropped on rocks, dipped in water, and it's still looking almost new. On average, I fish about 3 times a week, and I have yet to run in to a problem with it. Only the handle is machined, but I don't think it really matters.

Here's the official specs that I pulled off the Cabelas website:
Sage's new 1800 series represents the ideal combination of incredible performance at an unbelievable price. Each features light, all-aluminum construction, large arbor, quick-release spool change and a premium sealed graphite drag system. The innovative "floating tripod" drag provides the kind of smooth startup, consistency and power you've come to expect from reels costing three times as much. A machined ergonomic handle makes for comfortable retrieves. The entire reel is protected by a tough, nonglare titanium finish for enduring good looks. Includes a padded neoprene case.

Diameter 3.37 inches
Weight 5.5 oz.
Capacity 100 yards 12lb w/WF4
Line weight 3-4

You can visit the Sage website for more info. I'm not sure they make this model anymore, but if you can find one, it's well worth the price. I've landed probably over 1000 fish on this thing and it hasn't failed me yet.

This product review was done on a reel that I personally purchased. Sage is in no way affiliated with this review and I did not receive anything for free.

Sloppy flies on a Friday night

I had quite a few beers tonight while at the vise. The results aren't beautiful, but I'm still going to try and fish them.

Some size 20 generic micro nymphs

I picked up some barred olive CDC the other day and decided to whip up some CDC and Elk caddis. These are size 20 and really sloppy, but they look to be a perfect match for the bugs I saw last weekend. My experience last year with CDC on caddis patterns is that the longer and bushier the CDC, the better they fish (and float)

The ammonite nymph. I'm still out of nymph skin and scud back so I used ziplock bag. I didn't realize I had a tear in it until after I took the pic. I'm still gonna post it for the hell of it. I do really like this technique of folding a partridge feather over the thorax and pulling down the fibers for the legs.

And finally, Craven's Pigsticker. I picked up some Mustad 37160 hooks for dirt cheap this week and when I googled them, this was one of the first patterns that came up. Quick and easy to tie. (I will admit, I tied these earlier this week but they were still sitting at my vise so I took a pic.

If you'd like recipes or instructions for any of these patterns, feel free to let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to provide them. Back to drinking. Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Massive articulated streamers? Oh yes.

Lots of material. Some fish skulls. Some 30 lb nylon coated wire. These things are fun as hell to twist up and I can't wait to chase some warmwater fish and maybe some big browns with them.

They are all size 6 2XL streamer hooks. The lower half of them are marabou, some flash, and some rubber legs. The upper halfs are a combination of more marabou, schlappen, craft fur, Senyo Laser Dub, and some more flash. I mixed up the fish skull sizes and eye colors. Click through for hi-res photos.

Want to win a few of these meaty monsters? Become a Dub The Thorax fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter, and keep your eyes peeled for more info soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I absolutely love dry fly fishing in February

After a long week, I was looking forward to some time on the water on Sunday. What orginally looked like bad weather turned into an almost 50 degree sunny day. I spent Saturday night tying up a bunch of midge patterns, both weighted and dry, and I was hoping for the same rises we ran in to last weekend.

I had planned to fish with Matt, the Functioning Fishaholic. I had fished with him once before after the tying symposium, and unfortunately he got the skunk. I didn't want that to happen again. I told him we'd find rising fish and I was hoping it was true. I had remembered him saying he only caught one trout on a nymph before, and I thought it would be cool to have him get his first one on a dry fly.

We quickly rigged up, hiked about 150 yards upstream, and there was no need to walk anymore. There were risers spread up and down a 100 yard stretch of water, and as luck would have it, there were plenty of other fishermen, but not in this stretch.

The Little Lehigh used to have a no wading restriction in the heritage stretch, and since they lifted the restriction, this stretch of water has been plagued with people standing right in the middle of the stream, directly on top of some of the best holes. If you're one of those people, no offense, but c'mon man, you can roll cast to the opposite bank without getting your feet wet. Just because you can wade, doesn't mean you should.

Moving on, I started off with a size 20 Griffith's Gnat, and Matt opted for a Griffith's he tied, but with brown hackle. We instantly noticed bugs coming off and skating across the water. There was a variety of black and brown midges, a few BWOs, and believe it or not, a really nice dark tan caddis hatch, around a size 20. Matt's fly was a pretty damn close imitation. He ever pulled a black adult stonefly off his neck. It was like springtime; bugs everywhere, you were comfortable in only a hoodie, and I wasn't complaining.

It didn't take long before I was in to my first fish, a little wild brown trout with some nice coloring took my dry after about 10 minutes and like 40 casts over his head.

After landing him, the ducks and geese decided to go absolutely bonkers in the stretch of water we were in and all the rising stopped. They were splashing all over, diving under water, and all the trout darted.

I went another 50 yards upstream and I found where they went. About 15 to 20 fish were surrounding a fast chute, gorging on caddis as they came down the bubble line. Nick also showed up and started fishing just above me. I hooked in to another wild brown, this one about 14 inches and brought him to hand. Absolutely beautiful fish. I almost want to get this picture framed, even though he wasn't huge.

Matt was still fishing downstream from the geese and only had a few misses. I motioned him over and gave him my spot. It didn't take him long. I watched him land his first dry fly trout, a wild brownie, on his own fly. Doesn't get any better than that.

After those two were caught, the hole spooked a little and the rises were more sporadic. It also didn't help that other fisherman noticed us hooking into fish and were creeping up into the opposite bank, spooking them even more. I never understood why people have to do that.

We fished for about another 45 minutes, each of us missing a few, before calling it a day. Nick unfortunately got the LL skunk once again. I swear that stream hates him.

You can check out Matt's version of our trip here, and below is a video of his interview from this past weekend with Delaware Valley Outdoors.

The fishing was great, but I think my favorite part of the weekend was some time in front of the vise with Michael. He's started to get good at Honeybug Inchworms! I do have to whip finish for him though.

In other news, I'd like to give a shoutout to Morgan over at Tight Lined Tails of a Fly Fisherman for the flattering post he did about some of the bugs I've been twisting up. I met him through Instagram and he has a really great site which has something that my site has been lacking these days... Daily updates! Head on over, check out his blog, and follow him. Some good reading!

Also, I'd like to apologize for not posting up the stacked foam beetle tutorial I mentioned in my last post. My memory card got wiped out so all the pics were gone. I'll redo it shortly.

If you need me, I'll be counting down the minutes until spring...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When you run out of scud back...

Ziplock bags will work in a pinch. Since I've started tying these back in the fall, they've outfished pheasant tail nymphs 2 to 1.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A new brown midge pattern

This is my latest brown midge pattern. I've fished the Al's rat for the last year or so and it's been very effective. It opened my eyes to how well a basic tiny brown midge can be. I wanted to change it up and make it a lot more flashy. I took some wire ribbing, added a tiny bit of elk for the wing, and some flashy dubbing. After a few failed attempts and some minor tweaks, this pattern actually worked for me this past weekend, so I whipped up some more. It was the addition of the hair wing that actually had a fish take it. I fished a heavy anchor fly and had this trailing in the middle of the water column. Tying in hair on a size 22 fly is a little tough, so remember you only need a few fibers.

Size 22 Tiemco TMC2487 scud hook
Uni-Thread dark brown 8/0
Performance Flies Copper Wire (I'm done with Ultra-wire after using this stuff. It's awesome for small patterns)
Yearling Elk Hair - Put it in the stacker backwards and tie it in so the thickest butt section sticks out the back.
Jan Siman Peacock Bronze dubbing
Dark brown glass bead

Also, stop back tomorrow for a stacked foam beetle tutorial that's super easy and makes a great looking bug. More later.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February Dry Fly Fishing and Goodies in the Mail

Nick and I decided late last night to sneak out to the stream today, going against the wishes of our wives. These things unfortunately happen sometimes, and there's not much that can be done about it. :) When we got there, we realized we had the entire stream to ourselves. We had an inch or two of snow last night, and that usually turns most people away. Although it was still snowing, it was almost 40 degrees around 2pm, and actually quite comfortable due to a lack of wind.

My experience on this stream in February over the last two years told me that I needed to have some dry midges, but I wasn't 100% sure that would be the case today. As we rigged up, I refused to put a fly on. If I don't see bug activity right when I get there (the parking lot is very close to the stream), it usually means nymphing, but something told me I needed to check upstream before I busted out the lead and tungsten. A short three minute walk put us on some rising fish. I quickly picked out a size 18 Griffith's Gnat. These fish were pretty reckless with their rising, and I didn't think size would matter that much. I was going for a midge cluster, and it worked.

Within about 5 minutes, I was in to my first fish, a wild brown trout, about 10 inches, who was coming up every 15 seconds from behind a big rock. He took my fly on my second cast. As I brought him to hand, he did a quick head jerk and swam off. Not-so-long release, and I can live with that.

In the next hour hour I have two more bigger rainbows do the exact same thing, spitting my fly as I'm beaching them. I then finally realize that I had crimped the barbs when I tied these gnats. That explains it! It also reminds that I shouldn't leave for the stream without my net. Lesson learned.

I obviously didn't get pictures of these fish, but Nick actually took some video footage. I just got my hands on Adobe Premiere, so it will be a good way to get my feet wet with some advanced video editing. More on that later.

Nick unfortunately didn't have any small dries on him, so he had a tougher time. I gave him one of mine and he lost it in a tree. He headed out after that. I continued upstream and found another pod of fish rising. I brought a small brown to hand, and popped the fly without touching him. When they are only the size of your finger, it's better not to even get them out of the water.

Then it started to get cold, very very cold. Wind picked up. Snow picked up. The rises eventually stopped and I switched over to a smattering of midges, eggs, nymphs, and worm patterns. I covered a lot of water and threw a variety of flies at every feeding lane and holding spot. I picked up two fat rainbows, both of which I let go without snapping a pic because my hands were too cold. Not only did I forget my net, but also my half gloves.

So although this post isn't too photo-heavy with fish porn, I did snap a couple shots of Nick to test out Instagram's new filtering options with. I dig how they turned out. (see above as well)

When I got home, I was greeted with an envelope stuffed with stickers from The Fiberglass Manifesto. My ride is going to be covered with them. The new round pumped fist sticker is amazing. Thanks Cameron.

I've also been meaning to share a shot or two of the net I won from Tenkara Talk. This thing is beautiful and I almost don't want to use it. It might hang on the wall at the bar in the man cave until I get the balls to get it wet. Being a dumbass on Youtube can pay off once in a while.

Also as a reminder, if you are in to fly tying and want to join a terrestrial swap, head on over to and sign up. Now, back to the beer. It's IPA nation tonight!

Feel like joining a fly swap?

Owl didn't name it, but I'm going to be a smartass and call it "MONSTERS OF FLY TYING". We're doing a swap with 25 people. The only rule is it has to be a terrestrial pattern with at least one part of the fly using foam. If you'd like to join, head over to to register.

I'm off to chase fish on midges in the snow. More later.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Some flashy stonefly and nymph patterns

I started experimenting with some materials I haven't touched in ages tonight. I got mixed results, but here they are. Feedback welcome.

Someone asked me about stoneflies for the Salmon River yesterday. I realized I hadn't tied some in a while so I sat down tonight with some thick UV wing material I picked up at some fly shop in a clearance bin early last year. It's kind of a bitch to tie with because it's really thick, but it made a cool looking wing case on this stone. The pictures don't really do it justice. This material really flashes. I also came across some Partridge Klinkhammer hooks that I never touched. Even though they should be a dry fly hook, I liked the curve of them and tried them for this stone. I need to work on it some more. The back is too slim and the front is too fat. Maybe I'll post a more perfected one later.

Hook - Partridge of Redditch Flash Point Klinkhammer, size 12
8/0 Uni Thread - Black
Tail and Legs - Black goose biots
Body - Pearl Fly D&K UV Quill body, and UTC ultrawire in black
Thorax - Jan Siman peacock dubbing in black
Wingcase - UV wing material (sorry, forget the exact name and the bag wasn't labeled)

I also played around with some basic thread body nymphs. These are both on Dohiku size 14 wet barbless fly hooks, have Montana colored tungsten beads, CDL tail, and double ribbed. The ribbing on the green is Lagartun non-tarnishing french tinsel, and UTC copper. The tan is UV Quill body and Performance Flies .10mm colored copper wire in brown. Both dubbed with Jan Siman peacock in different colors.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Czech High Definition

I finally got a chance to really mess around with the Hends Shellback tonight.

It's not very flexible, but still makes a sweet looking Czech Nymph. I did the last bug in the photos below with regular scud back from Hareline so you could see the difference in materials. I knocked out like 20 of these things in various color, thickness, and weight. I busted out the macro lens tonight so click on the images for super hi-res.

Size 12 Scud Hook
Various natural and synthetic Dubbing (Jan Siman, Hareline Ice Dub, Natural Hare Dubbing)
.25 lead underbody
Hends Shellback (various colors)
Cortland Fairplay 3X Tippet (I get this stuff at Walmart and I like tying with it because it's got a smokey grey color to it)
Black Prismacolor marker (color top front of shellback)

Also, I'd like to give a shoutout to Joshua Binkley. Joshua won our Facebook wall photo contest and I shipped him out a dozen flies. He dropped by the wall tonight to share a photo of a nice fish he caught one on of my midges. He said he went on to pull in about a dozen fish. Nice going and I'm glad the patterns are working for you!

You know you fish too much when...

The walls of your quasi-office at work are covered with beat up flies you've found in your pockets from over the last year.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Amateur Hour

I was really excited today. I haven't really fished in two weeks (unless you count a quick late night run to the local creek in search of stockies. Lost one, but that's a whole other story).

Nick, Bob, Jack, and I decided to hit the Pohopoco, a tailwater at the foot of the Pocono Mountains. I checked the gauges, and I knew it was going to be tough fishing. The water level was the lowest it's been in weeks, and it was only 34 degrees. We were going to have to work for them.

The spot that Becker had shown me last fall was now posted, so that lead us to another spot we had success at before, although it was all with small fish and somewhat boring water.

Did you ever have those days where you just suck at fishing? It happened to me today. It was cold and windy. My hands were freezing, even with my half gloves on. The fish were holding tight against the far bank under lots of mountain laurel and low hanging branches so it required some casting skills and proper presentation to avoid getting caught up. The wind kept fouling my cast and I'd wind up stuck in the tree about every 4 to 5 minutes. After checking my fly box, I lost two Czech nymphs, three Vladi worms, a Copper John, three San Juan worms, a CDC n' Elk Caddis, a Griffith's Gnat, and two Baetis nymphs. Yep, it sucked. It was amateur hour all day, at least for me.

None of us had any luck all morning, besides a few hit and misses. Nick and I decided to hike up this small trib to check it out. It was really beautiful and I did see a few fish, but they were spooking when you got within 20 feet of them.

We decided to head back upstream to the starting point and fish for another half hour. We saw some greyish-tan midges coming off but rises were extremely sporadic. I missed two in a row on a Griffith's gnat, only to get it stuck in a tree a few casts later. I was about to give up and I heard Nick holler from upstream. Someone finally got a fish. Nick landed a wild brown on a size 14 Czech nymph. He then caught a wild rainbow a few minutes later. That would be the only action we saw all day.

Congrats on the fish, Nick. I dig his new Columbia chest pack, but with the yellow fishing license in the front, he kinda reminds me of Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba. (Sorry, but he caught the only damn fish all day and needs his balls busted)

Well, I have to get my fly boxes restocked with some of these. Goodnight.