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Real Mayfly

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

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The Gut-bomb Bloodworm

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

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Thin Skin Fly Specks

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

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Extended Body Mayflies

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

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C&F Design Hackle Pliers

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

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Dr. Slick Razor Scissors

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

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Spirit River Dyed Peacock

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

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