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Monday, January 16, 2017

Mil Spec Loop Wing Emerger - Mayfly

More Ammo for Your Dry Fly Box

This is another fly from the Mil Spec series that brings all the trout to the yard.  When I originally started tying this style of fly, I was using thread and wire to make the abdomen, dubbing for the thorax, and snowshoe hare's foot fibers for the wing.  This pattern is very similar in form, but I switched to all synthetic fibers because I could change the colors to match any mayfly that I was using, and I could tie it much faster.  The simplicity of this fly is kind of why I like it so much.  Not only does it do a great job of looking helpless on top of the water, I can also tie these in about 3 to 4 minutes each.

When I fish this fly I really like to use a floatant that will bind itself to the materials that I use.  Loon Lochsa is really good at floating basically whatever you squeeze it onto, and Loon Payette Paste is kind of an unusual solid floatant that you can kind of mash into the thorax and wing of this fly to keep it riding high for a longer period of time.  Or...  You can just be like Curtis and use bacon grease as your floatant.  At the end of the day it's really just up to you...

~ Cheech

Material List

Add to Cart   View in store

Hook: TMC 2488 Nymph Hook - 18 - 25 Pack     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Olive     
Tail: Sparkle Emerger Yarn - Brown     
Wing: EP Trigger Point Int'l Fibers - Dark Dun     
Thorax: Super Fine Dry Fly Dubbing - BWO     

Other tools from the tutorial:
Tiemco TMC Adjustable Magnetic Bobbin     
Loon Ergo All Purpose Scissors - 4"     
Marc Petitjean Whip Finisher     

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mil Spec Cripple - Mayfly Pattern

Mayflies are Cheeseburgers*

*If you listen to Pink Floyd while reading this post it will make more sense.

Mil-Spec Baetis Cripple
 Imagine if you had an addiction to cheeseburgers.  Any time cheeseburgers were available you went out of your way to eat as many as possible, and not only are you addicted to cheeseburgers, but everyone around you was also addicted to cheeseburgers - I know, it sounds like a Fly Fish Food staff meeting.  (Ok, I love writing this post so far...)  Now imagine that cheeseburgers grew legs and were only in a certain spot for a short period of time before running away from you.  You know what I'm thinking - chase the cheeseburgers with sprained ankles and torn ACLs.  Same delicious cheeseburger, less running around.  Mayflies are cheeseburgers for trout.

Now that you have imagined cheeseburgers with tangible limbs, we'll talk a little bit about mayflies and the laziness of trout.  Trout, much like my children, work as little as possible in order to get food, and if there is a bug in the water that is easier to eat than the others they are all over it.  All they care about is caloric intake.  Without diving too far down the entomology rabbit hole, we'll just say that some mayflies die before they are ever able to fully mature.  They are void of their nymphal shuck at this point, but their wings and tails are all wadded up in clumps of delicious trout cheeseburger.  Not only do they have kind of a distinct footprint on the water (jacked up wings and tails), they don't move at all because they are dead, or otherwise incapacitated to the point where they don't move.  Had these patterns been named in our day and age with all the political correctness, they would have been called something other than "cripples," but thanks to our fly fishing forefathers, we have cripple patterns. 

Long story short...  Mayflies die on the surface.  Mayflies that die in the surface film look tasty to trout.  Trout proceed to eat tasty jacked up mayflies that are stuck in the surface.  Tie mayflies that look all jacked up so that lazy fish will eat them.  Live long.  Prosper.

A few notes on this fly...  I have been messing with body types for mayflies quite a bit, and I realized that I could get a body to look just like a nice quill or biot simply by using flat thread and markers.  This body style was so realistic and so easy to adapt to different bugs that I called it the Mil-Spec body one day at the shop.  The name kind of stuck.  In addition to this, the trigger point international fibers are treated with floatant (even though I use Lochsa on this pattern), and they also have great sheen on the water.  It's been one of my go-to materials lately.


**Before you watch this video, it's worth noting that the flies I have done with Chartpak markers tend to bleed color out.  I have had better luck with sharpies and prismacolors.

Material List

Add to Cart   View in store

Hook: Fulling Mill 35050 Ultimate Dry Fly Hook, Barbless - 18     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Olive     
Tail / Wings: EP Trigger Point Int'l Fibers - Dark Dun     
Wing Case: Nature's Spirit CDC - Dark Gray Dun     
Thorax: Super Fine Dry Fly Dubbing - BWO     

Other tools from the tutorial:
Tiemco TMC Adjustable Magnetic Bobbin     
Loon Ergo All Purpose Scissors - 4"     
Marc Petitjean Whip Finisher     

Friday, January 6, 2017

Make Your Own Squirrel Dubbing

The Best, Buggiest Stuff Out There

Wet fly with squirrel body
This video really doesn't require much introduction because all the good stuff is in the video.  Lots of people have been doing this for a lot of years, and I had started to do it more and more with used up squirrel zonker pelts.  As soon as I used up all the zonker strips, I'd trim off the remaining fur off the head portion and blend it up.  The cool thing about doing this with the whole pelt is that you can get dubbing in different lengths as described in the video.  The recipe ratio that I like is about 4 parts squirrel to 1 part ice dub, and you can mix and match quite a bit between UV cinnamon and UV lavender ice dub. Anyway, blend away and tie buggy stuff!


Materials from the tutorial:
Whole Squirrel Skin - Natural Fox     
Whole Squirrel Skin - Natural Gray     
Ice Dub - UV Cinnamon     
Ice Dub - UV Lavender     

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Modern Nymphing: Video Review

European Nymphing Video Review

Rainbow victim of Euro style nymphing (photo Devin Olsen)
We don't do a lot of video or film reviews mainly for the simple reason that there's just a lot of stuff out there from Youtube to the many film festival entries each year to Uncle Ken's DVD collection of fly fishing and tying videos from the 80's. So when we saw that Lance Egan and Devin Olsen, arguably two of the better nymph fishermen on the planet, team up with Gilbert Rowley -- a very fishy guy who happens to be a ninja behind the lens -- we knew "Modern Nymphing: European Inspired Techniques" was one video that we'd have to look over.

As background, Cheech and I have been familiar with and ramping up with Euro style nymphing for the past few years. I've known about similar techniques for many years prior but really never gave them much thought, convinced my traditional strike indicator methods were getting the job done just fine. While I can't point to a specific point that convinced me, I can say my nymphing approach has forever been changed. Even more, based on the results we've seen and what I've seen from others, including Ryan Barnes, Lance and Devin, I'm a firm believer in its effectiveness. So if you've never tried it or remain unconvinced, the one thing this video will do is to get you off your duff and finally give you the push you need to start the learning curve.

So how does this video/film stack up against other educational fishing films out there? In a word: it doesn't. It's in a class of its own. While maintaining its core goal of educating a fisherman on the techniques of Euro style nymphing, it offers very pleasing cinematography that is uniquely combined with plenty of action as they catch fish after fish after fish. So while Lance and Devin do a great job explaining things, Gilbert has done a fantastic job capturing all the action and putting it together into a format that's easy to follow and even easier to watch.

From a more descriptive standpoint, the video follows a logical outline first giving you the introduction to the general methods they'll discuss and why they're so effective. That's followed by discussion on gear recommendations and why you'll need said gear. They very clearly discuss the rigs you'll use, how to build them and how to use them. This includes clear diagrams on the setups they're actually using in the film as well as how to rig your flies, tie knots etc. From there, you'll learn (or better said, be shown) about putting the rigs into action with casting, drift control and hook setting techniques. As a final piece to all of it, they then spend time reviewing effective fly patterns for this style of fishing.

On a closing note here, if you're serious about getting into this method, you need this video as well as George Daniel's "Dynamic Nymphing" book we reviewed a couple years back. You can purchase the video online here or you can pre-order the DVD's here from our store.