Social Icons

twitterfacebookInstagramgoogle plusrss feedemailyoutube

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Real Mayfly

The Modern Day No-Hackle




Several years back, I used to frequent a river that had many slow meandering sections that were LOADED with wily browns and rainbows.  There were more productive sections of the river, but there is something about being able to plainly see feeding trout that makes one stop to ponder.  I called these fish "fly inspectors" because they would rush over to the newly landed mayfly and just sit there under it and watch it go by.  I think that every trout angler has been window-shopped like this before, but it got frustrating when it was almost every cast.  I eventually figured out that the classic no-hackle was the thing that worked the best, but it would last one fish until the wings were mangled back to window shopping status.  I had just bought some medallion sheeting and started to experiment with making something that would seal the deal with the inspectors.  The Real Mayfly is the result of many test trips back to that river, and even though the wings can get a bit deformed when you catch a fish, the sheeting is durable enough to mend back into place.  I have found that a sticky liquid floatant like Enrique's Poo Goo, or Loon Aquel are a must for this bug.  I have tried fishing this bug in many applications, and it really isn't designed to fish in faster water or riffles.  Only in the window shopper zone.


Cheech



Material List

Add to Cart   View in store

Hook: TMC 101 Dry Fly Hook - 18 - 25 Pack     
Thread: Veevus Fly Tying Thread - Olive - 16/0     
Tail: Mayfly Tails - Light Dun     
Body: Nature's Spirit Turkey Biot Quills - Baetis     
Wings: Medallion Sheeting - Buggy Light Dun     
Legs: Antron Yarn - Gray     
Head: Nature's Spirit Fine Natural Dubbing - Baetis     

Other tools from the tutorial:


Tips:  I like to keep this as sparse (note 16/0 thread and light wire hook) as possible with a bit of bulk at the head.  The head will retain floatant.  Also, I tie in a split tail with two fibers on each side (added buoyancy) because even window shoppers won't count your tails.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Gut-bomb Bloodworm

This fly has guts --


In my way of thinking, the chironomid larva is the hotdog of the stillwater trout world. Plump, juicy, full of tasty goodness and they're all over the place.



If you stillwater fish at all, you're no doubt familiar with Phil Rowley. He has done an excellent job on his website documenting many stillwater bugs, but of particular interest is his page on chironomids. As he points out and shows, via some excellent photos (credit to him as the image below is snagged from his site), there are several aspects of the bloodworm that are noteworthy.

Photo from Phil Rowley - Flycraft Angling

Beyond the color, slender profile and overall size/shape, the biggest thing that jumps out is the translucency. You can literally see the innards of these critters. So with that banging around in my half-empty skull for a few days last year, I started to mess around at the vise. Many iterations later and some well placed field experiments, I'm pretty happy with this pattern as it has evolved.

While I went from a variety of colors of materials, ribbing, threads and hooks, I settled on what gave the best translucent effect. Plain ol' clear scud back, midge flash, Thread and the key ingredient: Loon UV Fly Finish

As you'll see in the video that follows, the UV Resin allows you to keep a slender profile, but still build up a translucent "shell" around the guts while still holding the color of the Sharpies. You can mix and match colors from all red, to red/tan or red/green or anywhere in between. Just use different Sharpies.

Material List

Hook: Partridge Czech Nymph #10 (+)
Thread: Uni 8/0 - Black (+)  & Fluorescent Orange (+)
Body: Scud Back, 1/8", Clear (+)
Ribbing: Midge Flash, Cream (+)
Body Coat: Loon UV Clear Fly Finish, Flow (+)



EDIT/UPDATE: This pattern has been seriously putting the hurt on trout this spring. Here is an updated post on what we've been doing with it...

(**Update: You can now buy these from our online shop**)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thin Skin Fly Specks

Does it catch fishermen or fish?


One winter I got into a serious tungsten nymph phase and I was trying to think outside the box to create patterns that I fish a lot.  I had done stones, pupae, princes, PT's, copper juanitas, and about everything else.  I had tied EVERYTHING; so I thought.  I was using a lot of thin skin for my wing cases because it's one of my favorite materials to tie with.  I think that most everyone has tied with thin skin at one point or another, and it has been around for quite a while.  The reason I use it for wing cases on nymphs is that it has many advantages over other natural materials that are rather obvious.  It's more durable, you can cut it to any shape, it has a slight sheen, and it comes in a wide array of colors.  *DISCLAIMER...  I realize that I may have just offended many fly purists, so realize that this is just my pea brained opinion here*  I first saw thin skin fly specks in a materials catalog, and I immediately ordered it.  This material was on the borderline of one of those materials that might just catch fishermen, but maybe not be so hot in the water.  I tied up a bunch of stuff, but my favorite is a little stonefly that absolutely slayed on the river.  I used the thin skin for a shell on the abdomen and for the wing case.  


Recipe
Hook: Daiichi 1250 #12
Bead: Copper to match size
Thread: Red
Tail: Brown goose biots
Abdomen: Hare'E Ice dub - hare's ear
Shell and wing case: Thin Skin Fly Specks - tan
Rib: Coats & Clark thread.  Summer brown <--- such a dumb name for a color
Thorax: Hare'E Ice Dub- hare's ear
Legs: Tan round rubber marked with a brown marker.


I also tied a rock roller caddis that has been one of my go-to bugs to fish as of late.  I also used it to cover essentially half of the fly.  



Recipe
Hook: TMC 2488 #12 
Thread: For some reason I used brown???  Use black.
Bead: Black to match size
Abdomen: Senyo lazer dub - chartreuse
Under rib: Ostrich herl
Rib: UTC wire - SM chartreuse
Case: Thin Skin Fly Specks - olive
Thorax: Krystal dub - black
Legs: Fine round rubber - black


This fly also fishes extremely well and I'm pretty pleased with how the fly specks kind of break up the pattern a little bit.  My overall assessment of the fly specks thin skin is that it is a great product that fishes really well and makes your fly look cool too.

Cheech


Date
1/26/13
FlyFishFood  Review
Product
Thin Skin - Fly Specks
Manufacturer
Wapsi
Reviewer
Cheech

Score
Comments
Quality
8
Great product as expected.  My only knock on it is that the spots can get rubbed off if you handle it too much before tying it in.
Price
10
At right around $2.50, it lasts a long time
Practicality
10
Really enhances the fishiness of a fly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Extended Body Mayflies

The Extended Body PMD

Tying anything with an extended body can be a bit of extra work, but this style of Mayfly -- specifically, a Pale Morning Dun -- can be pretty effective and is made a little easier by using River Road Creations' foam cutters and the extended body pins from Renzetti. 

PMD's or Pale Morning Duns are a type of mayfly seen commonly during May, June and July. From the Ephemerella genus, which includes Sulphurs and Hendricksons, it's a very important and heavy hatch across many western waters. Characterized by its pale yellowish color, the insect will make its way to the surface to emerge and then spend a dangerous amount of time emerging from its nymphal shucks before being able to dry their wings and escape the surface of the water. This pattern is meant to be a relatively high floating adult pattern. It can be used both in faster currents as well the slower moving "picky" water where fish need a more precise imitation. It's a great style of pattern as well and can be adapted for Blue Winged Olives and Green or Brown Drakes as well. 


Mayfly

Imitation:  PMD

When to use:   June, July, August

Where:  Most tailwaters

How to fish it:  Fish as dry in fast or slow moving water.



Hook:  Mustad C49S #16 - #18
Thread:  UTC Ultra thread 70 Denier Olive
Body:  1 mm white foam (colored yellow)
Wing:  River Foam®  Lt Green 
Thorax:  PMD dubbing
Legs:  Yellow Mallard Flank


Tying Instructions:

  • Cut the body foam and wing foam with the appropriate sized foam cutters (the pattern shown here is a #16). Using an extended body pin, secure the foam pieces to the pin and tie the extended body with 5 segments evenly spaced. See the video for a better explanation of this. Remove the body from the pin, color it according to your specific imitation (I use Sally Hansen's dyed yellow) and tie onto the hook at the tie-in point of the 5th segment. With the foam secured to the hook, attach the one-piece wing section to the hook shank by coming up underneath the hook splitting the wings on either side of the body. Figure-eight wrap the wings into place. Tie in the mallard flank legs behind the wings and then apply a thorax with the dubbing, making sure to completely cover the wing tie-in to just in front of the wing. Tie in another set of legs on either side in front of the wings, build up a thread head and whip finish.
And here's the tutorial:



Thursday, January 17, 2013

C&F Design Hackle Pliers

A Pansy Tool?


On more than once occasion I've been accused of being a pansy for using hackle pliers because we all know real tyers use their fingers. Now, while that pansy description is certainly accurate on many counts -- especially my propensity to carry a bottle of lotion in all my fishing bags and packs (I'll take crap for that one, but damn it  my hands must remain "burr-free" in order to not catch on my tying thread), I'll stand by my C&F Design hackle pliers. 

Just like scissors, I went through a number of different types and styles of hackle pliers over the years. Some of them worked better than others, but they overall lacked grabbing power or were more difficult to handle. Material slippage, material breakage (too strong on the grips or not enough "give" when the wrap starts) and tool slippage are some of the problems I've run into. I'm sure it's also cuz of my ungangly fingers and the fact I can't really tie flies all that well, but there had to be something more my style out there...


Then a couple of years ago, I found the "ones". C&F Designs puts out the best (IMO) hackle pliers on the market. Now, fair warning, the price on these bad boys might cost you a day's pay but they'll hopefully be the last ones you buy.

Here's why I like 'em:
  • They won't slip. The jaws are precision made and quite strong.
  • They have "give". If you look closely at the pictures here, you'll see a small joint just above the finger holder ring thingy that acts as a sort of cushion or shock absorber. So when you start to wrap your material, it has a much lighter touch and is less likely to pull the material out of its wraps or break it entirely.
  • They're easy to handle. The small size fits nicely into your hand and the pinchers are easy to grip.
  • You look much cooler using these manly tools than you would say using your overworked fingers or other pliers.




Date
1/18/13
FlyFishFood  Review
Product
Hackle Pliers
Manufacturer
C&F Design
Reviewer
Curtis

Score
Comments
Quality
10
Well built and designed
Price
2
At $30, you might want to save up a bit for these pliers.
Practicality
8
Hackle pliers are mostly optional, but these are useful for the purpose intended.


Dr. Slick Razor Scissors

Warning...  Extremely Sharp.


I was in the middle of throwing a whip finish on some random foam rubber leg attractor when I heard the most gut wrenching sound I had heard in a long time.  The metal "tink" of my new Dr. Slick razor scissors hitting the concrete floor.  As I lunged to inspect the damage, I was just hoping that they didn't land tip first.  Well, Murphy's law was governing that situation, my scissors were toast, and I had to finish the day with my old standby scissors. (***  The kind Doctors at Dr. Slick did surgery on my scissors and they are back on the varsity team)

<< Buy Dr. Slick Scissors on our store >>
As a general rule; never mess with a fly tyer's scissors!  NO clipping fingernails, NO cutting coupons, NO knocking them off my table, and NO (to my daughter) cutting duct tape!!!



Now that I have that off my chest, I'd like to calmly review the best scissors that I have ever used for tying flies.  When Dr. Slick razor scissors first came out, I was somewhat shy about spending $25 on a pair of scissors, but just like all of the other new cool stuff, I eventually broke down and bought them.  Right off the bat I was impressed with the way they could cut so cleanly through any material.  The tips are the most important feature of these bad boys because they remain razor sharp all the way up to the tip.  They also taper down to a nice point so you can get into tight areas and make clean cuts (read - trimming the wingcase behind the bead on a flash back nymph).  Also, for cutting thicker materials, you might need a bit more tension between the blades.  They come with a tension knob so you can adjust them to fit your tying style.  They also feature wide loops for fat fingered tyers like Curtis, and smooth blades instead of the popular serrated blades that most scissors have these days.


Dr. Slick
These scissors excel in cutting most materials especially synthetic fibers, and other difficult-to-deal-with items like medallion sheeting.  I use medallion sheeting as a true test of how sharp a scissor truly is.  Sharp = clean cuts without mangling the sheeting.

Cheech


Date
1/17/13
FlyFishFood  Review
Product
Razor Scissors
Manufacturer
Dr. Slick
Reviewer
Cheech

Score
Comments
Quality
10
Best scissors for tying.  HANDS DOWN.
Price
7
More expensive than most scissors, but worth it.
Practicality
10
Great all around tying scissors.  Like any good scissor, don’t cut wire with these…


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spirit River Dyed Peacock

Just for prince nymphs?





I am a sucker for peacock herl, and try to find any imaginable reason to add it to fly patterns.  Up to this point, there have been some serious limitations to the colors available.  Frankly, I really didn’t want any other colors, but when my local shop started carrying these Spirit River Dyed Peacock Eyes, I had to buy one of each color.  I was somewhat skeptical at first when I saw them, because I have dealt with bleached peacock before, and the durability just isn’t there.

Purple Prince Nymph

I noticed that the barbs on the herl seemed very small, but I was pleasantly surprised once I started wrapping it on my very purple prince nymph.  The barbs fluffed right out, and the durability was definitely there.  I even gave it some extra hard tugs to see what the breaking point was.

Stonefly using the yellow dyed peacock


 It’s tough…  Once tied in, it almost took the presence of a super translucent dubbing that was wrapped in the most perfectly even dubbing loop possible.  I have had a blast tying with this product, and look forward to adding it to flies in the future.

Cheech


Date
1/15/13
FlyFishFood  Review
Product
Dyed Peacock Eyes
Manufacturer
Spirit River
Reviewer
Cheech

Score
Comments
Quality
8
Not all herl is created equally, but the batch I got was top notch.
Price
5
A bit pricey, but if you are a herl junkie, it's a must have!
Practicality
9
You can add peacock herl to anything.