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The Anatomy of Fly Design

The Anatomy of Fly Design

A breakdown of the creative process in designing a pattern There's a certain mantra in fly design that basically says "it's all been invented, so you're basically just ripping off someone else's pattern". To an extent that is likely true. We all attach crap to a hook and it's called a fly. So at a high level, the first dude to ever do that, is likely sitting on his cloud laughing at us all for ripping off his idea. At a more realistic level, I think you can borrow techniques and aspects of a given fly design and incorporate those into a pattern you are designing. Who's to say what constitutes a "new" pattern? Is it a small change in color or a swap-out of a few materials? That's a judgment call, but if someone wants to change the color of my Fripple and call it a Stripple, then have at it. But whatever you decide on in your design, it may not be new or revolutionary, but it's part of a creative process that every fly tyer must go

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Callibaetis Emergers a la Deep Dish

Callibaetis Emergers a la Deep Dish

The Deep Dish dishes on the fish For those of you that follow our site here, you know that we're fanatical about field-testing our patterns and tweaking them as needed. The Deep Dish Callibaetis, tutorial and fly design found here , has continued to sizzle on our trips -- both still water and even rivers. As with any field-test flies we throw, we usually try to fish them side-by-side with other patterns to see how they stack up and we try to fish them in a variety of waters to get a better idea of how they'll perform. As with my first rounds of field-testing, the most recent results prompted this update. Just a few days ago, we hit yet another high mountain lake that held good numbers of native Bonneville cutthroat. Early on, the dry fly action was insane and we didn't really have any reason to try a dropper, but eventually the fish went deeper with the sun rising higher, so I decided to throw on a dropper. After a few unsuccessful midge patterns and a damse

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Online Fly Shop Ready to Roll...

Online Fly Shop Ready to Roll...

We finally got our act together Baby steps, right? After a bit of poking and prodding from a number of people here and there, we finally got our act together and built an online fly shop to showcase some of the custom patterns we feature here on the site. So starting today, you can go to store.flyfishfood.com and you'll see the (somewhat limited) selection of custom flies we have to offer. If you want parachute adams or regular pheasant tails, this isn't the site for that. We're focusing on more specialty patterns. Over time, we'll add more patterns and eventually materials and who knows what else... Check it out and let us know what you think and what else you'd like to see there!

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A Hook is a Hook, Right?

A Hook is a Hook, Right?

Why skimp on your most important piece of gear? Copper John tied on a TMC 2499SPBL The hook.  The essence of a fly, and the business end of what makes our sport what it is.  When I first started tying flies, there was a wide array of hooks that could be bought at the fly shop, online, or in my case in Dennis Brakke's garage.  When I first started out, I bought the original Mustad hooks that were so popular because they were cheap, readily available, and strong.   These hooks were very functional, but they were lacking what I later found to be the most critical part of a hook...  A sharp point.  Sharp hooks are critical to fly fishing because of the minimal pressure applied to the fish (compared to most other styles of fishing) when setting the hook.  Sharper hook points will protect your tippet, penetrate more easily, and essentially catch you more fish.   I remember my first pack of Tiemco hooks, scratching the hook across my thumbnail only to have it dig in - THIS was a

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Hook Review: Allen D102BL

Hook Review: Allen D102BL

Sharp, Sexy and Functional I don't very often design a fly around a specific hook, but when I got my first shipment of Allen D102BL hooks a few months back, there were several flies that screamed to be built on this puppy. Elk Hair Caddis tied on the Allen D102BL First off, I'm a fan of wide gap hooks. I think they give you a little more leeway in designing the pattern (room to move and adjust) and as long as your proportions are right, the flies tied on hooks like this should look great and will hook fish like no other. From a functional standpoint, the hook is barbless but the slightly exaggerated upturn of the hook point provides a possible additional "grab" for those of you worried about coming un-buttoned on a fish. The price is the next grabber on these hooks. A very reasonable price combined with the quality, makes for a very attractive option. I've purchased hooks from other manufacturers at similar low prices, only to find the hook quality and

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Tying Tip: Finishing a Parachute

This is "the" way to tie off a parachute hackle You may have tried other methods (we sure have), but this is one sure-fire way to tie off your parachute hackles in probably the cleanest and easiest fashion. You just need some super-glue a bodkin and to check out this Youtube video where we explain it:

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Field Test Results: The Blingnobyl Wrecks...

Field Test Results: The Blingnobyl Wrecks...

A Serious Attractor Pattern Emerges A cutthroat that slammed the Blingnobyl Ant The Blingnobyl Ant is another field-testing work-in-process pattern that has been seeing some time on the water this summer. As I  wrote about a few months ago , the pattern was originally designed to capitalize on this sparkly craft foam I found at the craft store. I like sparkly things and project that fascination onto the fish I'm targeting. It's only logical. Be that as it may, a recent trip to a high mountain lake brought up the possibility of throwing some bling at some native Bonneville Cutthroats. The evening hatch was more midge-focused than terrestrials, but I tied on a Blingnobyl as sort of a pop-gear type effect from which to trail some midge emergers. Even though the fish were laser focused on the Foamerger pattern, I caught a surprising number of fish on the big glitzy dry. Logical. The following day proved to be the litmus test for the pattern. Both during and af

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Zaggin' Zook Bass Popper

Zaggin' Zook Bass Popper

Walk the Dog A few years ago, I was fascinated with a common lure the bass guys throw a lot -- the Zara Spook. It's a topwater "walk-the-dog" style lure. Anyway, the hypnotic zig-zag motion with the accompanying clicking sounds were basically a dog whistle for fish on many occasions. As is my modus operandi, I set out to copy that motion with a fly. The Zaggin' Zook was born. I took it through a number of on-the-water tests and fine-tuned the shape and weight distribution and came up with the final version that seems to do ok. It's nowhere near the action you'll get with the real lure, but it does a good job zagging back and forth given the right movement of line and moves a lot of water when you want to give it a sharp pop. Give it a try Hook : Gamakatsu B10S 1/0 Thread : UTC GSP 100 Denier Underbody : 0.30 lead free wire Body : Rabbit and Squirrel Strips, Ice Wing Fiber, H2O Baitfish, Chartreuse Hackle Flash Head : Pre-shaped Rainy's Foam Po

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5 tips to selecting good deer/elk hair

5 tips to selecting good deer/elk hair

Avoid bad hair days with these simple steps Mini Workers help fly orders I have been working on some fly orders lately and realized that I needed a new patch of elk hair for some caddis patterns.  I used to just go to the shop and grab whichever package of hair was "next in line" to be purchased, but over the years of having bad hair experiences, I have changed my strategy drastically.  I realized that there is almost a checklist of things that I look at to ensure that I buy the good stuff.  This checklist is also a good way to get looked at funny while you are shopping. << Buy the highest quality deer and elk here >> Not all hair is created equally.  Decide what flies you need to tie and buy hair specific to each technique.  It's obvious that deer is different from elk, and caribou is different from moose, but each person might have their preferences.  I know this is somewhat common knowledge, so I won't go into it too much...  Some

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Tying on Jig Style Hooks

Tying on Jig Style Hooks

Gettin' jiggy wit it... Over the past few years I've seen a definite resurgence in the use of jig style hooks for tying flies. Once relegated to the bass or jig fishing world where I had to "sneak" my hooks from the bass hook section in stores, these effective hooks are showing up more and more in the line-ups of most fly hook manufacturers these days. So what do you gain with these funky looking hooks? Well for starters, they typically are intended to ride hook point up, thus reducing snags on the bottom. There is also possible improvement in hook-up success due to the lever arm created by the bent section of hook. If this holds true, it would also explain why fish are more often hooked in the upper part of the mouth on these style hooks. You'll also notice that a lot of the competition guys are also fishing on these jig style hooks, and they don't mess around when it comes to fish "hookability". A jig style crawdad pattern As far as

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