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Get a handle on your dubbing

Get a handle on your dubbing

Avoid a furry mess Dubbing Organized into organizing containers When it comes to dubbing, you'll see a lot of methods to both collect and contain the various fur, fuzz and fibers. I remember my first fly tying kit from High School and it included a couple of small bags of hare's ear dubbing and a synthetic dry fly dubbing in just a couple of colors. From there, my collection has increased just a tad over the past 24 years and I found it's important to keep better track of dubbing so I'm not buying the same stuff over and over again and so I can find what I need. With that said, I've broken it down into two points of focus: Collection and Containment Right off the bat, here's a universal truth for anyone that really gets into the tying gig: You will collect far more dubbing than you can ever use (see the monstrosity above). That being said, start your collecting by remembering that if you like a certain style of dubbing, you'll more than likely w

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Double Wide Cheech Leech

Double Wide Cheech Leech

The Cheech Leech Grows Up How big is too big?  I was busy last summer testing articulated flies, and in particular, how big of a fly was too big for my local trout.  Well, long story short, I couldn't come up with anything that was too big and offensive.  I had a lot of different flies that I had been throwing at them, but the fly that was the most productive was a larger version of the Cheech Leech that I started calling the Double Wide Cheech Leech. The funny thing is that many of the fish that we were catching on this bug were no bigger than the fish that were eating the normal Cheech Leech.  I think their strikes were a predatory response to something encroaching on their territory. This fly really swims well and moves like crazy due to the huge amount of marabou that is used.  This bug is definitely more comfortable to throw with a 6 or 7 weight rod... ~ Cheech And the video:

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Swinging Midge Style: The Opal Swinger

Swinging Midge Style: The Opal Swinger

Swing High, Swing Low... Add caption It was a few years ago that I was fishing a decent midge hatch and happened to realize that, in a given stretch of river, the fish would end up keying a bit more on my pupa dropper pattern as it completed its drag-free drift and began to swing in the current. After a few solid hits and a couple of fish to hand, I decided it was time to go "all in" and I tied on a Syl's Midge and started swinging. Not surprisingly, we had a great hour or two catching fish after fish on the swing. Since then, I've had a few great midge swinging outings and I've dialed in a few more patterns that work well on the swing. This flashy pupa soft hackle is one of those. I tie it in a variety of sizes from as small as a #22 up to a #14. By using a high quality hen cape, like the Whiting one pictured here, you can get the supple soft hackle style feathers in some very small sizes. And as with other midge pupa patterns, the flashy body imitates t

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Chickabugger

Chickabugger

An effective "one material" fly. Chickabugger When I fish lakes, I really like to have something in my box that is different from the typical brown, black, and olive wooly buggers that are commonly sold at shops.  When I got my first pelt of Whiting Soft Hackle with Chick-a-bou, I immediately started thinking of stillwater applications for it.  I wanted to tie something that was super simple and very effective, so I think you will see this in the Chick-a-Bugger.  This can be modified in size and color to fish like a leech, damsel, or even a small minnow.  All I know, is that there are a ton of moving parts that the fish love. Material List: Hook : Allen S402 #10   -- Buy here -- Thread : UTC 70 Chartreuse or Olive   -- Buy Here -- Tail/Body : Chick-a-bou Collar : Soft hackle from Chick-a-bou pelt.   -- Buy Here -- Also, here are some other useful soft hackle links. The Importance of Good Soft Hackle. UV Fly Tying: Soft Hackle Drake Soft Hackle Stonefly ~

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Fly Hack: The Quicker Picker Upper

Fly Hack: The Quicker Picker Upper

The Lazy way to pick up hooks Telescopic Magnet This is a quick and easy addition to our "Fly Hack" series. As is often the case when I'm coolly but slyly cruising through the local craft stores, I found this little gem in some miscellaneous section of the store and immediately had visions of recovering hoards of lost hooks that had gone under my tying table in and amongst all the stuff I can't reach (very easily) down there. I think it cost something like 4 bucks and the magnet is actually strong enough to pick up a lot of hooks at once and even some bigger metallic junk, if you're so inclined. The nice thing about this tool is that it's telescopic, so you don't have to get down on all fours to search for your dropped hooks. Just extend it out, sit there comfortably in your chair and run a sweeping search grid across your floor until you hear the tell-tale "click" of the hook being picked up. So next time you're at the local c

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Dyna-King Barracuda vise review

Dyna-King Barracuda vise review

A vise built for generations Dyna-King Barracuda When it comes to quality vises, I think it's very clear that Dyna King is almost in a league of it's own in regards to craftsmanship and durability.  When you buy a Dyna-King vise, you are really buying the vise that your grandkids will use.  Dyna-King is a family run company that has been producing vises for over 30 years, and continually seems to get better.  One of the things that impresses me the most about Dyna-King is that they use the same high quality jaw in all of their vises.  In my opinion, the jaw should be the focal point of a vise - nothing else really matters if the jaw isn't a hook holding workhorse.  Not only is the bone crushing jaw the focal point of the barracuda, it's the focal point of all  of their vises.  After spending about the last month and a half religiously tying on the Barracuda, I think I have a pretty good idea of how this vise performs. The Jaw: So I'll jump right to t

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The Quill Gordon

The Quill Gordon

And a new hackle brand As we do from time to time, we like to try as many materials, tools, vises and anything else out there that we can work into our fly tying repertoire (fancy word for "crap we do"). Anyway, I had seen some good things said about Clearwater Hackle and decided to try them out. We'll probably work up a more in-depth review on their hackle in general later on, but this was one of the first patterns I churned out of the vise.  As you can see on their website, they offer some really nice colors in a variety of capes, saddles and soft hackle pelts. Additionally, Cleawater's tag line is "Quality Hackle at an Affordable Price", so you can hopefully snag some good values on their products.  Quill Gordon Dry Fly The hackle on the fly here was from a Light Barred Ginger Cape #2. It's a great hackle color to begin with and it really screamed Quill Gordon to me. I had some pretty sweet quills from a recent midge session

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The Yong Special

The Yong Special

A Legendary Midge Pattern In certain circles, it is rumored that anciently there was a fly pattern that possessed such magical fish-catching mojo that no fish could resist its siren-esque call. A fly with material so secretive that it was said there existed only one source of it hidden high in the Andes of Patagonia on the testicles of a golden Guanaco. A fly pattern so powerful that any angler who should possess it was assured of 100 fish days and to whom women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. 100 fish days?! Nonsense, you say? Well, kidding aside, the Yong Special was a very highly hyped, highly effective and subsequently highly controversial pattern originated by Andy Kim, a popular guide on the San Juan River in New Mexico. I know there's been a lot said, both good and bad, about Andy and his patterns but my experience comes first-hand from a few times I ran into him on the water. The first time I came across the famous "Yong", I was fishi

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Tie a Killer Hare's Ear

Tie a Killer Hare's Ear

Subtle changes to make your pattern stand out. Kicked-up Hare's Ear Pattern As I was preparing this article, I realized that I literally changed  all  of the materials that are used for the classic Hare's Ear.  Guard hairs for the tail, adios.  Dubbing from the hare's mask, gone...  etc.  It's been a few years since I have been tying flies with Arizona Synthetic and Mega Synthetic dubbing (not to be confused with Arizona Simi Seal), and they have become a major staple on my desk.  It has that perfect blend of bugginess and shine that I really like when I'm tying subsurface flies.  Aside from the dubbing, I'm also using Whiting Coq de Leon hen fibers for the tail and legs, and thin skin for the wing-case.  I like to have a lot of these in my box because they are a quick tie, and are very effective.  I usually have them in sizes 10 to 16 in a variety of colors.   Material List Add to Cart   View in store Hook : Daiichi 1560 - Traditional N

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