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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Grey Boy Buzzer


A Must-Have Chironomid Pupa


grey boy buzzer
Grey Boy Buzzer
If you haven't seen or fished the popular Grey Boy Buzzer, it's about time, as they say in Cheech's home town, you get all "lerned up".
 Either way, there's good reason it's a popular style chironomid pupa pattern -- it plain works. And by "work" I mean that it's easily becoming a staple in my fly box, right alongside the Oil Slick Buzzer and my standard Universal or the smaller quill bodied patterns.

And to put on my nerdly bug hat here, one of the reasons it does so well is that it's a spot-on imitation of a pupating chironomid as they ascend to the surface to hatch. Although there are many different color combinations you'll see in the naturals, one of the more common ones I see is the gray/white segments with black and/or red segment dividers that we're imitating with the Grey Boy.
Grey-boyish looking pupa

As with most of my pupa patterns, I'm fishing these with a strike indicator and hanging them anywhere from a foot to twelve feet or more below the indicator. Just switch it up until you find where the fish are feeding. Once you dial that in, it's usually on like Donkey Kong.





Finally, once again, the materials here are super-simple. I tie more of these with White UNI-Flexx, but the gray color also works very well. Just ask this fine colored up Colorado Cutthroat from the other day.



A colored Colorado Cutthroat who likes Chironomids

Material List

Add to Cart   View in store

Hook: Fulling Mill Czech Nymph Hook - 14      
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Black      
Body Ribbing: UNI-Flexx White      
Under-Body Ribbing: Veevus Holo Tinsel, Cranberry SM      
Wing Buds: Veevus Holo Tinsel, Orange, MD      
Breathers: McFlylon - White      
Coating: Loon Fluorescing UV Clear      

Other tools from the tutorial:
Stonfo Hackle Pliers    


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Belly Scratcher Tube Fly - Rainbow Trout Version

You Need Some Tubes in Your Life

Belly Scratcher Tube Fly

I just realized that the title of this post seems like a gadget sold on an infomercial.. "Do you ever have trouble scratching your own belly??!!?? Well today is your lucky day!!!!"  Sorry to disappoint those of you who have problems scratching your itchy belly, but this post is about a tube fly.  

Perch Flavor
I was intent on showing Curtis that he really needed to fish conventional gear in the thick reeds that surrounded the boat that day.  It was early summer and the bass had just finished spawning - enough for them to start to hunt for food again.  My baitcaster setup was rigged "properly" with 50 pound braided line, a high speed reel, and a hollow bodied frog that I had custom colored and could get to "walk the dog."  Curtis had his Sage Bass rod rigged up with a TUBE fly of all things.  It was his Deflectinator fly that wobbled and vibrated due it's backward cone at the head.  Just like all of Curtis' flies that proceed to kick my butt, I said something to the effect that it was a stupid fly and started bombing my frog.  Curtis rigged his tube fly with a Gamakatsu weedless hook designed for fishing Senkos and I'll be damned...  that tube fly swam right through the weeds and snot just like it was supposed to and caught plenty of fish.  That tube fly proved to be a viable way to tie a truly weedless fly pattern that could be fished in heavy cover, and in doing so, it kind of piqued my interest in tube flies.

My first tube fly fish.
8 or 9 years later was literally the first time I decided that my interest had been piqued enough.  It was  earlier this year (2016) when Curtis and I were at a tying Expo in Steelheadlandia AKA Albany, Oregon when I tied my first tube fly.  We were sharing a booth with Loon Outdoors and we tied along side Matt Callies, Jeremiah Houle (AKA Super), and Tom Rangner (AKA Tony Ranger) for two days.  Traditional Tom stuck to the steelhead basics with a custom flavor, but Matt and Super ruined me with their cool tube-ish creations that seemed to welcome any type of material that they were throwing at them.  I think I was under the same impression as a lot of trout guys who are looking into tube tying for the first time.  It seemed like I needed a whole bunch of special gear to do it, it seemed like I needed a fancy two handed spey thinger, it seemed like there wasn't much application for trout or bass, and... I was too stubborn/lazy to try it.  At the end of the show I sneaked back to Super's vise and tied what would be my first tube fly that resembled an intruder.  The lights went on, and I started dreaming up how I was going to use this system.

Bluegill Flavor
Luckily for us, Bruce from Pro Sportfisher was also at that show and we were able to see the very latest and greatest from the tube fly tying front.  The Pro Sportfisher system breaks down tube tying to it's most simple of forms.  You put a needle in your vise, you shove a tube on the needle, and you tie a fly.  No other attachment needed.  This is not to say that you won't want to grab up some of the "big boy lego" attachments as Bruce Berry  and Morten Bundgard of Pro Sportfisher call them.  Tube flies on the Pro Sportfisher system can be as simple or complex as you want them.  They can be fished for Taimen in Mongolia to Bluegill in Montucky, and they flat out catch fish.

Check out all of the Pro Sportfisher Stuff we have HERE 

Why tubes?  There are several reasons you might choose to fish a tube fly, but the top two that I can think of are: 1- Leverage when fighting a bigger fish.  If your shank is longer, there is a greater chance of a larger fish using leverage and throwing your hook.  A short shank hook stays buttoned much better.  2- Hook longevity.  For example...  If you are fishing a streamer and you hit the hook point on a rock it will dull quickly.  Sure you can sharpen it, but it will probably not have that factory edge on it anymore.  With a tube, you just tie on a new hook.

The Belly Scratcher Minnow needs no introduction, so here's the video on how to tie it on a tube.  Happy tying, and I hope your interest in tube flies has been properly piqued...  If it is, blame Matt, Super, Curtis, Tom, Bruce, and Morten... just not me!

~ Cheech 


Recipes:

Rainbow Trout

Tube: Pro Sportfisher Micro Tube - Clear (+)
Hook Guide: Pro Sportfisher Medium - Clear (+)
Thread: Veevus GSP 50D - White (+)
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten Bead 4.6mm - Gold (+)
Bead Connection: Articulation Wire (+)
Body1: Ice Dub - Minnow Belly (+)
Body2: Senyo's Fusion Dub - Pink Lady (+)
Body3: Ostrich Herl - Pink (+)
Body4: Black Barred Rabbit Strip - Olive Variant  (+)
Head1: Bruiser Blend Dubbing: Brown Olive (+)
Head2: Bruiser Blend Jr. Dubbing: White (+)
Eyes: 3D Eyes 5/32 - Super Pearl (+)
Marker: Chartpak - Olive (+)
Marker: Ultra fine point sharpie - Black

Yellow Perch

Tube: Pro Sportfisher Micro Tube - Clear (+)
Hook Guide: Pro Sportfisher Medium - Clear (+)
Thread: Veevus GSP 50D - White (+)
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten Bead 4.6mm - Gold (+)
Bead Connection: Articulation Wire (+)
Body1: Ice Dub - Minnow Belly (+)
Body2: Senyo's Fusion Dub - Eat a Peach (+)
Body3: Ostrich Herl - Olive (+)
Body4: Rabbit Strip - Olive Variant  (+)
Head1: Bruiser Blend Dubbing: Brown Olive (+)
Head2: Bruiser Blend Jr. Dubbing: Canary (+)
Eyes: 3D Eyes 5/32 - Super Pearl (+)
Marker: Chartpak: Black (+)
Marker: Chartpak: Cadmium Orange (+)

Bluegill

Tube: Pro Sportfisher Micro Tube - Clear (+)
Hook Guide: Pro Sportfisher Medium - Clear (+)
Thread: Veevus GSP 50D - White (+)
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten Bead 4.6mm - Gold (+)
Bead Connection: Articulation Wire (+)
Body1: Ice Dub - Minnow Belly (+)
Body2: Senyo's Fusion Dub - Eat a Peach (+)
Body3: Senyo's Fusion Dub - Sky (+)
Body4: Ostrich Herl - Kingfisher Blue (+)
Body5: Rabbit Strip - Olive Variant  (+)
Head1: Bruiser Blend Dubbing: Brown Olive (+)
Head2: Bruiser Blend Jr. Dubbing: Cream (+)
Eyes: 3D Eyes 5/32 - Super Pearl (+)
Marker: Chartpak: Black (+)
Marker: Chartpak: Cadmium Orange (+)
Marker: Sharpie: Fluorescent Blue

Tools
Stonfo Dubbing Twister (+)
Pro Sportfisher Tubefly Needle (Mandrel) - Large (+)
Stonfo Comb and Brush (+)
Flush Wire Cutter (+)
Tear Mender Glue (+)
Loon Applicator Bottle (+)



Monday, May 16, 2016

Masked Marauder

two tone stone


Masked Marauder variation


I have been intrigued by stoneflies for the last few years, and I take great joy in fishing them in fast water that is often passed up by anglers searching for hatches and dragging the bottom of the stream with micro flies.  Most anglers where I live are intent on fishing smaller flies in the slower runs, and while they catch fish, they typically pass up bigger stoneflies and faster water all together.  Any time spent in the riffles with a seine will quickly reveal how many stoneflies there are, and how they must be a significant food source.  Those seine samples also taught me that golden stoneflies are completely two toned - dark on top, and light on bottom.  That seems like it would be very obvious, but most commercially tied golden stonefly nymphs have a big ol' gold bead at the head.  Yes they catch fish... BUT, I was obsessed on making the whole thing two toned.  This is why I started pulling thin skin or skinny skin over the bead, and after just a few experimental flies, I knew that it had the look that I was looking for and the fish agreed.

Brown Trout taken on a Masked Marauder style stonefly

The Masked Marauder is more of an idea than an exact recipe, and the key to these flies is that they need to be completely two toned.  A variety of materials can be used for the abdomen including marabou, dubbing, chenille, and larva lace.  The thorax can be a variety of dubbings and hot spots can be added at will.  The tail and legs can be various materials, but I typically use round rubber legs, sili legs, or biots.  Tie this bug to match your naturals, and more than likely it will catch some fish for you.

~Cheech

Buy the Masked Marauder (HERE)




Updated Recipe:

Golden Stone

Hook: Daiichi 1710 #10 (+)
Thread: Danville's 70 - Brown (+)
Bead: 3.8mm tungsten - Gold (+)
Weight: Lead Free Wire - .020 (+)
Tails: Nature's Spirit Turkey Biots - Callibaetis (+)
Body/Thorax: Arizona Mega Synthetic Dubbing - Golden Stone (+)
Ribbing: UTC Wire SM - Copper (+)
Flash: Veevus Holographic Tinsel Med- Copper (+)
Wingcase: MFC Skinny Skin - Mottled Brown (+)
Legs: Grizzly Micro Legs - Rootbeer (+)


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Oil Slick Buzzer

A Flashy Chironomid Pupa

Weighted (top) and Un-weighted (bottom) Oil Slick Buzzers

It's really hard for me to pass up a chance to fish Chironomids -- especially when fish are actively cruising and picking off the Chironomid pupa as they ascend through the water column. So each year as I refill my buzzer boxes, I usually end up tweaking a few existing patterns or try something altogether new. 

A couple of years back, as I was messing with a new (to me) type of flashabou, I realized it was more translucent than some of the other flashabou or tinsel materials I'd tied with before. Then the gears began to turn when I started to wonder how it would look wrapped over different colors of thread or wire. Turns out the thread color didn't matter as much, but the wire sure did.

And when you tightly wrap the flashabou over the wire, it creates a sorta "oil slick" looking reflective translucent effect. So when I needed a name for this pattern, I turned to the fly naming Ninja, Cheech, and that's what stuck.
The black wire version (2nd from right) creates a bit of a blue hue

Cool looking colors aside, what I have now realized after fishing this for a couple of years is that I've caught more fish on this pattern than really any other buzzer (chironomid) pattern I use.
The inspiration behind the Oil Slick Buzzer: A pupating chironomid 


Oil Slick Buzzer-eating chunky brown trout
As far as materials go, it's a simple one, but it's important you get the right flashabou (or tinsel if you choose).

Material List


Hook: Fulling Mill Czech Nymph Hook #12 (+)
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten, 2.3mm, Jet Black (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Black (+)
Body: Saltwater Flashabou, Mirage Opal (+)
Under-Body Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire, BR, Red (+)
                                or UTC Ultra Wire, BR, Black (+)
Wing Buds: Veevus Holo Tinsel, Orange, Med (+)
Flash Back: Veevus Holo Tinsel, Blue, Lrg (+)
Breathers: McFlylon, White (+)
Coating: Loon Fluorescing UV Clear Fly Finish (+)

Other tools from the tutorial:
Stonfo Hackle Pliers  (+)





Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bruiser Bugger

Beef Up Your Bugger

Bruiser Buggers

The Wooly Bugger is probably the most popular fly on the planet, and it can be tied in about any configuration you can imagine.  I really like a heavily weighted bugger to fish in rivers, and you all hopefully have seen the complex twist bugger with it's large tungsten cone head.  The Bruiser Bugger was created just because I was addicted to throwing the new double pupil eyes on about every fly that came off my desk.  For my river buggers I like them big and bold - long tailed and thick headed dragons that move a lot, dive deep, and push water.  My stillwater buggers (for lakes) I like to make more like leeches - Shorter sparse tails, short hackle, and minimal weight.  The Bruiser Bugger is a pretty quick tie that really moves well and pushes water really well.  They will be a great addition to your streamer box.

~Cheech



Recipes:

Yellow/Brown

Hook: Daiichi 2461 #2 (+)
Thread: Veevus GSP - 50D (+)
Eyes: Hareline Double Pupil Eyes - Large Yellow/White & Black (+)
Tail1: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Yellow (+)
Tail2: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Brown (+)
Body: Cactus Chenille - Rootbeer (+)
Hackle: Variant Neck Hackle - Yellow (+)
Legs: Silicon Streamer Legs - Magic Lemon (+)
Head: Ice Dub - Pheasant Tail (+)
Overwing: Bruiser Blend - Canary (+)


Olive/White

Hook: Daiichi 2461 #2 (+)
Thread: Veevus GSP - 50D (+)
Eyes: Hareline Double Pupil Eyes - Large Yellow/White & Black (+)
Tail1: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Olive (+)
Tail2: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - White (+)
Body: Cactus Chenille - Pearl (+)
Hackle: Variant Neck Hackle - Olive (+)
Legs: Silicon Streamer Legs - Olive Gold (+)
Head: Ice Dub - Olive Brown (+)
Overwing: Bruiser Blend - Brown Olive (+)


Brown/White

Hook: Daiichi 2461 #2 (+)
Thread: Veevus GSP - 50D (+)
Eyes: Hareline Double Pupil Eyes - Large Yellow/White & Black (+)
Tail1: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Brown (+)
Tail2: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - White (+)
Body: Cactus Chenille - Pearl (+)
Hackle: Variant Neck Hackle - Chinchilla (+)
Legs: Silicon Streamer Legs - Speckled Copper Brown (+)
Head: Ice Dub - Pheasant Tail (+)
Overwing: Bruiser Blend - Brown (+)


Midnight Fire

Hook: Daiichi 2461 #2 (+)
Thread: Veevus GSP - 50D (+)
Eyes: Hareline Double Pupil Eyes - Large Black/ Chartreuse & Black (+)
Tail1: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Black (+)
Body: Cactus Chenille - Black (+)
Schlappen - Black (+)
Legs: Silicon Streamer Legs - Black/Chrome Red (+)
Head: Ice Dub - Black (+)
Overwing: Bruiser Blend - Midnight Fire (+)


Friday, April 22, 2016

Titan Rod Vault Install

A Huge Win for Mobility

The truck rigged with two Titan Rod Vaults
Over the years, we've messed around with different ways to transport rigged rods from location to location when we're fishing on different waters during a day or hole-hopping on local rivers and streams. From the ol' windshield wiper "clamp" trick to shoving them out a window to transporting them inside the vehicle getting rod tip slapped as we drove and finally to a more recent contraption I built with PVC tubes, magnets and bungie cords, we tried them all. And all of them were very poor methods to get quickly in and out with no rod damage but could also weather a jaunt down the freeway if needed. Finally, after a few rod scratches, a number of drops and one painful rod break, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and get something better.

So we started shopping around for other solutions and found a few products designed to carry rods more securely. Ultimately, we settled on the Titan Rod Vault from Denver Outfitters as it seemed to have more of the features we wanted:
  • Rod Protection
  • Ease of removal and put away
  • Tube length (we fish a few 10 footers for Euro style nymphing)
  • Ease of install and mounting options
  • Security. You can lock the vaults themselves and also padlock the tube clamps to the rack you install it on.
  • Business end of the Titan Rod Vault 



















  • Cosmetic, yes, but we really wanted a cool wrap so we went with a Brook Trout theme from a fish we caught a couple years back.
Custom Fly Fish Food wrap
Even though Denver Outfitters has a great set of instructions on how to mount and install, I figured we'd do one ourselves. One very important thing I'd recommend if you have a truck with no shell, like my Tundra here, give a look at US Rack. They carry high quality racks with a ton of different mounting options. And they're cheaper than the standard Thule or Yakima offerings. Since my truck has a bed rail system, it was awesome to have the US Rack system attach right in there with no drilling or other obtrusive mods to my truck.  

Anyhoo...check it out in the video here...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

California 420 Leech

Makes Fish Get the Munchies

california 420 leech simi seal
California 420 Leech

Anyone that's fished leeches, buggers or other patterns using John Rohmer's Simi Seal dubbings knows how insanely effective they are. In fact, I was looking in my stillwater boxes the other day and realized I've got a lot of patterns featuring simi seal. And as many of you know, we work with John on custom colors and blends of most of his dubbings, so when Cheech came up with the "420" series of dubbing colors for Bruiser Blend, we knew John could work the 420 magic on the Simi Seal.

And magic he did work. The color is an awesome darker olive with UV highlights in red and green. It's the perfect leech color for the darker olive leeches we see, so I knew the first pattern we needed would be a leech.

If you've ever wondered why wooly buggers and those types of patterns work so well with trout, well it's because trout eat a lot of leeches. Check out Phil Rowley's section on leeches here, but they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. I tend to like olives, browns, blacks and dark reds but it depends on where you fish of course.

Leech (Courtesy Phil Rowley)
I was going for a pattern here that had some color variations like we see with naturals. Leeches are often comprised of a number different colors, so besides the 420 Simi, I threw in a collar and tail that would add some highlights.

Material List

Hook: TMC 5263 #10  (+) or
           U 103 (50 pack) #10 (+)
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten, 3.3mm, Metallic Olive (+)  (Nickel, Metallic Brown or Metallic Green also work well)
Thread: UNI 6/0, Olive (+)
Tail & Collar: Coq De Leon Hen, Soft Hackle with Chickabou, Speckled Yellow Chartreuse (+)
Tail Flash: Krystal Flash, Rootbeer (+)
Body: Arizona Mega Simi Seal, California 420  (+)


Other tools from the tutorial:
Stonfo Combo Brush/Comb  (+)
Turbo Dubbing Spinner (+)