Monday, December 31, 2012

Isn't she pretty?

My newest addition to the arsenal. It's a new Ichthus 3/4 weight fully machine reel from Risen Fly. I paired it with a 7 foot 2 weight Onyx rod I just picked up, and a Wulff Triangular Tapered Floating line. And for an added touch of sexy, I put a small amount of hot orange backing.

I can't wait to test this baby out. Full review coming soon. You should check Risen Fly's site because everything is 30% off right now, AND THEY HAVE $10 FLY LINES, which I also got in a 4 weight and strung up on my Sage 1810 (line review coming as well!).

Yep, I'm looking forward to doing some fishing in the snow tomorrow. I even busted out the GoPro today for some sledding action with Michael.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Birthday (and a question)

Sorry, this isn't fishing related, but if you've been reading my blog for over a year, you'll remember that I was quite surprised the day after Christmas last year when our 2nd son arrived 2.5 weeks early.

Well, a year has flown by and it's been a tough one, but watching my son grow in this last year has been amazing. Happy 1st Birthday Ethan. I love you, and I'm sorry you had to wait longer than almost any other kid in the world to have your first Christmas :) Here he is ripping up some cake on his birthday.

Also, DTT stickers are on the way. The first ten people to A) like us on Facebook, and B) leave a comment here get one for free. That being said, I was offered a really good deal on t-shirts. Would anyone be interested if I had them made?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

When your hands stop working....

You're off work for 7 days. The first day of vacation, your area gets clobbered with rain, and the normal flows of 100 turn into quasi-lakes running at 800.

Three days later, 2pm rolls around and you get the itch to get out of the house. Three days after the onslaught, it's running at 250. Tough, but fishable. You check the weather. 35 degrees. Urgh. Still fishable. You also notice sunset is 4:28pm. Not much time to fish.

You first sort it out with the wife, and make sure the kids are going to be ok. You then run as fast as you can, gathering your gear. You only grab the 6 weight because streamers should do the trick.

You head races with thoughts of water that's not quite muddy, but more of an emerald green as it starts to clear. Trout just have to be on streamers. They'll work.

Half an hour later, you're at a red light in a gauntlet of holiday traffic, tying up a leader and knotting on a big black bugger you just tied with some oversized grizzly hackle. It looks fishy as f*ck. You won't have much time so rigging up now will get you five more minutes on the water. You also realize your car is on fumes. 22 miles to Empty. You can make it.

When you finally get to the stream with only 4 miles until your car dies, it's just as you imagined. That deep emerald green, with just a tinge of leftover muddy brown, still running a little high and fast. There are only two other anglers. One you pass as you're getting your gear out of the car. He mentions he was there all day and only got two on buggers. He wishes you luck. You know this guy from fishing this stretch and he always does well. If it took him all day to get two, you have your work cut out for you. The other guy said he missed two. Great.

On the way to the run, you realize that you're an idiot because you checked with weather, but dressed for it to be in the 50s. This windbreaker is not cutting it. By the time you get to the fishable water, your hands are already numb and your nose is running. The sun is starting to drop below the trees and it's only going to get colder.

First cast. Strip, strip, strip. Nothing. Repeat. Repeat. Move 5 feet downstream. Repeat.

OK. You decide to swing. Swing, twitch, swing. nothing. Repeat Repeat. Damn it. Your hands are getting cold. The gloves are on the car but there's no time. Swing. Strip. Swing. Strip. Nothing.

It's getting dark, and you realize that if you have any chance in hell of catching a fish, it's not going to be on a streamer.  You then also realize once you clip off the bugger, your hands have stopped working.

It's something we've all been through. Your hands just are too damn cold to do what you want them to do. It feels like someone has injected ice cubes in your knuckles and they are locking up. You fight through it and after fumbling for 5 minutes, you have an 11 foot leader setup with a big nymph, and a worm pattern you came up with a year ago that's heavily weighted. You also opt for a strike indicator, sensing that if they do take, it will be subtle today. You second guess yourself with the indicator since you rarely use one, but you continue on anyway.

Your cast in a run that you KNOW must contain fish. It's getting darker. A giant brown trout comes up, and gingerly slurps up your strike indicator, pulls it underwater for a foot, then releases it. He does it to spite you. This is why you never use indicators. You consider an egg pattern the size and color of the indicator, but then realize your hands have the dexterity level of 0 and there would be no light left after trying to tie one on.

At least you know for sure a fish is there. Four more casts through the run with nothing. You're frustrated, cold, hungry, and you aren't looking forward to standing in the cold and getting gas.

One more cast. You decide to cast closer to the bank. The indicator gives a little nod. You think it's a snag but you set. All of a sudden a silver bullet shoots out of the water, shaking it's head. You bring it to hand and marvel at all 15 inches of it's beauty. It's really chromed out and could pass for a small steelhead. You then smile as you release it with ease because you remembered to crimp your barb.

You head back to the car and want to warm up a little bit before driving off, but there's no time. Only one thing left to do.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The world didn't end...yet

Until it does, I'll be whipping up these. Happy Friday. Don't die.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 5 winner announced!

With lucky number 10 coming up, Fish4Life is our winner! Congrats man, and send me your address. You can check out his blog, The Fly Hook Chronicles.

And with that, the 5 day giveaway that took two weeks has officially ended. Thanks for everyone who commented, shared, and contributed, especially to:

Support these guys. They all sell some quality products.

In other news, today starts a one week vacation from that place called work. If you'll excuse me, it's time to get my Griswold on (Or more appropriately, Eddie).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Beautiful woven stoneflies by George Maciag

I mentioned in my post about George Maciag last week that besides George's Killer, he also tied these crazy woven stonefly patterns. He sent me over some pictures to share. I learned to tie these in his class, and they take about half an hour, but are worth it in the end. If only mine looked as nice as his. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The belated day 5 giveaway contest - Random stuff!

Well, this is 5 days late. My apologies. Anyway, I had some random stuff lying around that I gathered up to make a nice little giveaway package.

First up, a Trout Unlimited baseball cap with a small fly patch on the brim courtesy I got this sent in the mail when I signed up for TU and it doesn't fit my giant head, so I'm going to give it away.

I also grabbed 4 of the meatiest streamers sitting at my tying bench to give away. Two are articulated and two are single hooked, but all four should do good work.

Finally, I threw in some random stickers that I had lying around. Two from The Fiberglass Manifesto, only because my car, tying bench, and fly boxes are already covered with them, a big TU sticker which I don't have real estate for on my car, and  Dinkerbrat sticker (only because I don't own a dog!)

Once and for all, here are the rules:

Rules: will get one entry in the drawing for commenting here. For every FB share, tweet, or Instagram post about this, you'll get another entry. My Facebook account link is at the top of this page for easy access to sharing.. You can find me on twitter via @dubthethorax and Instagram via @mike_phazeone 

2.You can only comment once here so make sure you include where you shared this in your comment.  

3. The maximum amount of entries is four per comment. (Comment examples-"Hi this is John Fisherman, I shared on twitter via @jfish, shared your FB post, and tagged you in my instagram photo" - He just earned himself 4 entries)

4.You can only enter once. Don't be a jerk and make up fake twitter accounts. (I know who you are)

5.This contest will run until 12am EST. I will assign everyone entry numbers and use a random number generator to choose the winner tomorrow. 

6.if you're outside the continental US, shipping costs may apply. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shopping, Cookie Monster, and Trout

I know, random blog title, right? I also know that I owe you guys one more contest. I will get it online tomorrow, I swear. It was just a busy day.

I started off with some Christmas shopping and that meant stopping by The Classic Fly Fisherman to get a gift card for my stepdad. That also meant buying a ton of fly tying stuff at a bargain.

Then, despite my oldest having a little vomiting problem this morning, we ventured to Sesame Place. It was insanely packed with people, but the kids had fun. They had a holiday parade and tons of Christmas lights. After all the CT tragedy stuff, I really needed some time with my kids today.

After changing diapers, wiping runny noses, dodging strollers, and fighting traffic, I was kidded out. I needed a release. I grabbed the 5 weight and darted to the stream around 9pm. No carp, but a trout was willing to cooperate.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 4 winner announced!

Congrats to Dean over at for winning the MooseKnuckle lanyard! Enjoy it brother!

I had some unexpected sick children this morning so contest #5 will be posted later this evening and run through Sat. I'm planning something a little different so make sure you check back later.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Featured Fly Tier: George Maciag and his "Killer" fly

About a year and a half ago, I decided to take a fly tying class at the local LL Bean with my stepfather. Our teacher was George Maciag. At that point, I was self taught, learning from Youtube and copying what I saw on different forums. My flies weren't great, but they worked. I thought I was pretty good....until I met George. George is an amazing fly tier and a hell of a fisherman. With his science background, it sometimes felt like I was in biology class. He would show you the correct way to tie in a feather, but then explain why it should be that way, whether to be anatomically correct, or to give the fly better action. I learned a huge amount of knowledge from his class. He's also one heck of a fisherman, and I've seen many pics of his steelhead from his trips to the Erie tribs and the Salmon River.

You can catch George at the upcoming Fly Fishing Show this January in Somerset NJ. Make sure you check out his woven stoneflies. They are a thing of beauty. Although it appears his most famous pattern is "George's Killer". I've heard this fly mentioned dozens of times on the stream and online, and it can be found right up front in the Heritage Fly Shop on the Little Lehigh, available for purchase. George was nice enough to provide a bio and step by step patterns on tying the killer.

He can be reached via his website,

George Maciag has been involved in fly fishing and fly tying since childhood.
He holds college degrees in biology and biology education. His many interests include
entomology, nature photography, and stream ecosystems. As a person who taught
high school and college biology for many years, he is skilled at communicating his
knowledge about the life cycles of fish and the organisms upon which they feed.
George keeps pace with the technological advances in fly tying while maintaining
his passion for classical patterns and materials used in the past. He is particularly
interested in the Catskill style of tying wet and dry flies. The timeless feather-winged
streamers that originated in the Rangeley Lake region of Maine are another area of
The Fly Fishing Show and the International Fly Tying Symposium, both in
Somerset NJ, are two major events in which George participates as a celebrity tyer. He
is also featured in the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing show at the Valley Forge Convention
George is currently serving as the fly fishing professional at the Saucon Valley
Country Club. In addition, he is a fly tying instructor and naturalist at the Graystones
Preserve in the Pocono Mountains. George also teaches fly tying and casting at the
L.L. Bean store in Center Valley PA. He has also instructed at numerous fly shops and
gives both private and group lessons. His classes are very popular since he has the
ability to combine science and humor to the sometimes complicated mechanics of fly
Among flies of his personal design are; George’s Killer, George’s Thing, and
George’s Woven John.
His teaching skills are a tremendous benefit to anyone wishing to learn the
intricacies of fly fishing.

George’s Killer
Note: This is not the original white headed pattern originated by Kutztown legend, Frank Keim. This version was modified by George Maciag in 2004.
Materials List:
Hook: 3 or 4 X long streamer hook. (Mustad 79580 works well)
Thread: Red (210 denier for tying on the tail. 70 denier to tie in the mallard flanks.
Bead-head: Any color, size of bead to match hook size.
Weight: Lead wire
Tail: Squirrel tail
Wing: Four Mallard breast feathers. Colors can vary.
Lateral line: Krystal flash
Eye: Painted
Hook size
Bead size
Lead (10 wraps)
Tying instructions:
  • Fit bead onto hook.
  • Take 10 turns of lead wire behind the bead. Add a dab of superglue then quickly tuck the lead wire into the bead. The lead not only weights the pattern but provides a foundation upon which to tie the mallard feathers.
  • Trim a clump of squirrel tail. Place the butts against the lead wire. Secure with a layer of red thread. Be sure the red thread completely covers the squirrel.
  • Trim the squirrel to form a short, squared off tail. The tail should not extend more than a few millimeters beyond the hook bend.
  • Lacquer the thread and lead and set aside to dry. (Prepare several of these and then proceed to the next step)
  • When the lacquer is dry, wet the four mallard feathers and tie them in using the following sequence; one on the underside, one on the top, one on the far side and finally one on the near side. It is important to stroke the feathers into a bullet shape.
  • Use a fingernail clipper to trim the butts of the mallard flanks.
  • One more important note is that the feathers should just barely cover the squirrel tail. The beauty of this fly is that there are few short strikes since there is not much of a tail.
  • Build up the gill/thorax area with the red thread.
  • Tie in strands of Krystal flash on each side. On sizes 12 & 10 use one folded piece of flash (resulting in two strands on each side) for larger sizes, use two pieces resulting in 4 strands on each side.
  • When applying the Krystal flash, do not use too much thread tension. This allows the flash to lie nicely along the sides of the fly.
  • Whip finish.
  • Lacquer the thread area. When dry, paint eyes on the red thread.
  • When the eyes are dry, apply a coat of hard as nails to cover the eyes and thread.
Variation: Egg-Munching Minnow
    • Use a hot orange or salmon colored bead. Also, use brown thread rather than red for tying in the flank feathers. Brown flank looks good. Use red thread to tie in the squirrel tail.