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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Foamerger: Midge Emerger Extraordinaire

My go-to midge pattern for fussy fish

New Dressing for the Foamerger
This is literally one of the easiest patterns you'll EVER tie.

The pattern, however, was designed out of pure frustration. I was fishing a phenomenal midge hatch on

the Green River in Utah one day and after a couple of hours of fishing my traditional midge patterns (griffith's gnats, true midge dries etc), the score was: Picky Trout -- 1000; cold dumb midge fisherman -- 1. I landed only one fish in three hours. As I packed up and picked the pieces of my ego up from the rocks, a dude comes walking along the trail, sees the rising fish, takes one cast and nails a fish. Must've been luck. Next cast: fish on. I suck.

As I walk by, he actually strikes up a conversation and I came to find out he was fishing a fly his son had given him and he wasn't sure of the name. It was a variation of a palomino midge and it was designed to sit in the surface film.With new hope of redemption for my next midge encounter, I got busy trying to understand what it was about that style of pattern that made such a difference. I came to understand, as a lot of people already know, midges have a tendency to hang vertically in the surface film as they struggle to emerge from their pupal stage to an adult. With this in mind, I sat down at the vise to figure out a pattern that fit the bill. The palomino was ok, but when I tried to get it to float vertically, it didn't look much like the pictures of real insects I was looking at. After a bit of trial and error using different materials and patterns, I found one that floated vertically and resembled the bugs. I tied up a few more and set out for the Green the following week.

The fish gods were smiling on me that day as my new little midge invention did the trick. I fished the same hole and came up with much different results as I lost track of the number of fish I hooked that day. My friend fishing across the way, ended up with 1 fish as he refused to change from his good ol' Griffith's gnat. Anyhoo...the fly was dubbed the "Foamerger" and earned a permanent spot in my midge boxes from then on.

Foamerger in the surface film
As it also turns out, this pattern has far outpaced any of my tried-and-true Baetis patterns during the early stages of the Baetis hatch in the Spring. I can't remember why, exactly, I tied it on one day in early Spring as the Baetis turned on, but it turned a so-so day fishing into a great day of dry fly fishing for nice Brown Trout. So I made a point to keep it in the mix even when the Baetis hatch grew stronger and the midges less important. Time after time, this little stupid looking fly kicked the snot out of my Baetis patterns. I'm guessing it's the way it hangs in the surface film or maybe just the overall general impresssion of an emerging bug, but either way, it's been good to me.

I realize this video needed an update and figured it was a good time to add a variation on this original pattern. I would use the old "dressed down" style on anything smaller than a #24 and the new style with its wing buds and brushed body on larger patterns. The one in the new video here is an #18

Hook: #18 and larger: Partridge Czech Emerger #18 (+)  For smaller sizes: Daiichi 1130 #18 - #32 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier Black (+)
Shuck: EZ Magic Dub, Black (+)
Thorax: Gray or Black Ice Dub dubbing to match natural (optional) (+)
Wing Buds: Red Holographic Tinsel, Medium (+)
Head: Gray or Black Evazote 3/16" foam (+)

Size #26 Foamerger (original style)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Fly Rod Unboxing: Loop Cross SX

A new rod in the house!

We were stoked to hear about Loop's new Cross SX series of fly rods a few weeks back and had
heard some really good feedback from a few folks who had tried them out. Of course, we had to get an order in and try them out for ourselves. Here's a little unboxing and first-look video we did as they arrived in the mail. Stick around for a more in-depth review later on....

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mohawk Sculpin v 2.0

Upgraded fly with upgraded parts

This fly has kind of been on the back burner in my box, but it has caught plenty of fish since it's birth.  Also, since we got these Finz from Jonathan Kiley we have been going nuts by putting them on about any fly pattern that warrants them.  The Mohawk sculpin was a perfect candidate for some fin addition surgery, so on they went.  The original mohawk sculpin is listed HERE for your reference.  You will see that we have made minor changes to other parts of the fly, but for the most part the fins are the only big change.

Recipes listed under the video.


Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread: Danville 140 - Brown (+)
Head: Fish Skull sculpin helmet - Brown (Small) (+)
Body: Arizona Diamond Dub - Olive Brown (+)
Fins: Kiley's Fish Finz - Brown (Medium) (+)
Tail: Micro Pulsator Strip - Black barred medium brown (+)

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread: Danville 140 - Olive (+)
Head: Fish Skull sculpin helmet - Olive (Small) (+)
Body: Arizona Diamond Dub - Bronze peacock (+)
Fins: Kiley's Fish Finz - Olive (Medium) (+)
Tail: Micro Pulsator Strip - Black barred olive variant (+)

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread: Danville 140 - Black (+)
Head: Fish Skull sculpin helmet - Black (Small) (+)
Body: Arizona Diamond Dub - Midnight fire (+)
Fins: Kiley's Fish Finz - Black (Medium) (+)
Tail: Rabbit zonker strips - Black  (+)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Savery Creek Bootcamps for 2016

Fish all day and tie all night

Portly Savery Rainbow on a Hopper
We're excited to announce our upcoming Fly Fishing and Tying Bootcamps at Savery Creek for 2016. If you haven't heard of the bootcamps before or the timing didn't work out previously, we're announcing the schedule early this year. If you're not familiar with them, we plan everything for you, setting you up with guided fishing during the day and tying flies with us in the evenings. Food, lodging, flies and Cheech's entertaining anecdotes are all included.

The dates and details are outlined below. In the meantime, check out some of the photos...

An evening on Savery creek

Savery Rainbow that ate a Cicada

Terrestrial Bootcamp: Savery Creek Wyoming; June 16th through 19th

The Lodge at Savery Creek

Savery Creek is easily one of our favorite places to fish. We've yet to find a better place where you can entice huge Rainbow Trout to the surface for a variety of dry flies. They have a penchant for terrestrials, so we'll focus on fishing big dry flies. The bootcamp will run from Thursday night June 16th through Sunday morning June 19th with two full days of fishing in there. Rather than this being just a stay in a lodge with some guided fishing, we're going to focus on learning about terrestrials, tying some awesome terrestrial patterns with hands-on instruction, learning strategies and best of all -- taking what you learn and putting it to use on this small stream catching some of the biggest river or stream Rainbows you'll ever see. How about getting a 24 inch fatty rainbow to slurp up the Cicada or Hopper pattern you tied the night before? Yeah, it's like that. Just the fact that you will be fishing juicy terrestrial patterns to huge fish all day should be enough to get your motor running. Forget New Zealand, this is dry fly Shangri La.

  • We have spots for 6 to 8 anglers. First come, first served and spots will fill up fast. If there's enough interest, we may expand to more sessions.
  • The cost will be $1400 per angler for three nights lodging, two days fishing (with guides), food, fly tying materials and flies (if you don't want to tie or want to save the ones you tie).
  • We will provide a few vises but if you have a vise and tools that you can bring, it will be helpful. We will provide all materials. Again, the fly tying part is totally optional. But if you want to get one-on-one instruction from Cheech on how to tie his Project Hopper, it can't hurt.
  • We advise bringing your own rod, but if you don't have a suitable one, let us know and we can make arrangements. We suggest a 5 or 6 weight. You could get away with a 4 weight, but a 23 inch 6 lb fish full of fight will appreciate a beefier rod. 3X or 4X tippet is great.
  • 50% deposit will hold your reservation. Email me: to snag a spot.
  • Contact us for travel suggestions, but you can fly into Hayden, Colorado; Rock Springs, Wyoming; Laramie Wyoming, or even Salt Lake City, Utah.

Streamer Bootcamp: Savery Creek Wyoming; August 18th through 21st

Another pig on a streamer
Once the summer flows have kicked in high gear on Savery creek, the name of the game is big fish on big streamers. While you can still catch a them on dry flies (see above), our goal in this bootcamp is to learn about and catch enormous Rainbow Trout on streamer patterns. We'll also spend plenty of time tying streamers as well. Email if you're interested:

  • We have spots for 6 to 8 anglers. First come, first served and spots will fill up fast. If there's enough interest, we may expand to more sessions.
  • The cost will be $1400 per angler for three nights lodging, two days fishing (with guides), food, fly tying materials and flies (if you don't want to tie or want to save the ones you tie).
  • We will provide a few vises but if you have a vise and tools that you can bring, it will be helpful. We will provide all materials. Again, the fly tying part is totally optional. But if you want to get one-on-one instruction from Cheech on how to tie his Project Hopper, it can't hurt.
  • We advise bringing your own rod, but if you don't have a suitable one, let us know and we can make arrangements. We suggest a 6 or 7 weight. You could get away with a 5 weight, but we'll be throwing big flies to big fish. Plan accordingly.
  • 50% deposit will hold your reservation. Email me: to snag a spot.
  • Contact us for travel suggestions, but you can fly into Rock Springs, Wyoming; Laramie Wyoming or even Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Don. Fly Wallet Review

Classic and modern at the same time.

The Don 

I'm usually a "function over form" type of guy when it comes to rods, reels, and fly boxes.  I just want something that "works," and I don't take much else into consideration.  When I first saw the Don from the Provo River Fishing Company my first thought was that it would be cool for someone who was into classic stuff like fiberglass and bamboo, but I didn't realize that it would be a perfect fit for some daily streamer storage.  I have a big ol' Fishpond Sushi roll that I really like because of the capacity to hold about 5 bagillion streamers.  Also, because of this, I typically keep the sushi roll in a sling pack on my back so it can be a burden to get access flies.  Before heading out, I typically grab 5 or 6 streamers that I want to fish that day, and stick them in a small plastic container that goes into my back pocket (if I'm wet wading) or in my wader pouch (if I'm wearing waders.)  I decided to use the Don instead of the plastic case for this purpose, and it's a great fit in my arsenal because I can fit more flies in the don, and the soft edges are more comfortable in my pockets.  At the end of a fishing day, I just open it up and let any wet flies dry out before putting them back into the sushi roll.  It worked really well with streamers, so I started putting some nymphs in it as well with similar results.  The only thing that I didn't really use it for was for delicate dry flies that need to maintain a certain shape and can't be "smashed."  It was really nice to have a dozen or so of my go to patterns in a pocket that I can access without having to get into my main pack (I know...  I'm extremely lazy.)  

Regarding the actual wallet though...  The price tag is a bit spendy, but the craftsmanship that goes into these is second to none!  Everything is hand made out of premium materials, and it has a magnetic closure that I like quite a bit.  The magnetic closure is a great way to mix modern materials into a classic design.  All in all, I really like the Don because of the durability and the ease of use in my system.  If you into classics with a modern touch, this would be perfect for you.

For further information about the Don, check out

~ Cheech

Thursday, December 10, 2015

That's Not a Fly. It's a Lure!

Learn the rules!!!  dang rookie

Is this a fly or a lure.  Do you care? Neither do I.

I think we have all seen it happen before on the interwebs, an expo, or on the river.  I frequently see this type of expert authoritatively prance into the expo room floor.  He's dressed in his zip-off wet wading pants and long sleeve "technical" casting shirt with sandals and socks.  His flip up polarized lenses are ready to be slapped into place in the event that he needs to cut glare on any water he may confront.  He has an Indiana Jones style hat perched upon his crown with a lambswool patch that masterfully shows which "flies" he has been catching trout on.  His right hand is tightly gripping his wading staff as he scouts for people who need to be "educated," and his left hand is jostling for something deep inside his black leather fanny pack that he wears facing forward (probably a fly box of patented "flies".)  He spots a young tyer who is happily dressing some foam poppers out of 90% synthetic materials and super glue, and he is now locked on like a mako shark on a chum trail.  Our expert has found his pupil so he plops down in front of him and proclaims....  "NICE LURE!"  With those two words our expert has educated this young simpleton that "flies" are tied out of feathers n' fur dammit!  Not polyurethane, antron, and resin!!  What he was "making" were, gasp, "LURES."  

Fly or lure?  Don't Cuuuuurrrrrrr
I'm always looking for forms of entertainment in my life, and witnessing this behavior is about as good as it gets for me.  As I have said many times, I really enjoy fishing.  Fishing with flies...  Fishing with lures... Fishing with bait...  Ice Fishing...  All of it.  I really like fishing!  The beauty of this is that I don't have to make up sets of phony rules that dictate how I will fool fish into eating hooks.  I don't have to limit myself to what I put on a hook and call a fly (because that's how I'll present it to the fish.)  Really though...  who cares!!??!!  Who cares what the thing on the end of your line is called as long as you are having fun, right?  Lure? yep.  Fly? yep.  Fun? yep.  Let me be very clear though.  This is just my opinion, and you don't have to agree with it at all.  The reason I bring this up is that there are a lot of experts like our "Expo-Educator" who really can't sleep at night if they don't convert everyone to their way of thinking.  One of these days I'll get one of them to show me the manual with the rules. 

I worked in a shop for a little while some years ago, and the owner always would say "these are the good-ol-days of fly tying." Meaning that we have more variety and quality in materials than ever before.  There are pre formed hopper legs, curly tails, tungsten formed stonefly heads, and soft squishy eggs.  The question I have is, where to you draw the line?  No synthetics? No beads? No delicious soft squishy eggs? No pre-formed bodies? If I were to answer my own question, I'd say that you don't draw the line at all.  With the vast amount of synthetic materials out there, the definition between fly and lure is probably best left to the presentation of said lure or fly.  If you can cast it on a fly rod, you are fly fishing.  If you can cast it on a conventional rod, then you are lure fishing.  Or how about this...  If you throw it in the water in hopes to fool a fish, it is called fishing. 

This is definitely in no way a dig at anyone who prefers to tie flies or fish a certain way.  If all you do is wear tweed, fish a bamboo and a hardy, and swing classic wet flies?  More power to you.  If that's how you have fun, then you are doing it right.  What I have an issue with is when people "educate" others about the do's and don'ts of fly fishing and fly tying when it's unsolicited.  Maybe I'm way off base here, so I welcome any comments on why it might be important to make sure we follow the supposed rules of "fly" vs. "lure." 

~ Cheech


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Belly Scratcher Sculpin 2.0

Even picky fish can't resist this one

Several years ago I went on a sculpin rampage because of the number of sculpins that we have in our
Beady Eyes
local rivers.  There were some that came off the vise that were good, some that came off the vise that really sucked, but there were a few like El Sculpito, the Mohawk Sculpin, and the Belly Scratcher Sculpin that needed a bit of extra attention and development.  The Belly Scratcher in particular was such a pain that I kind of stopped tying it for a while due to the tedious forming of the fins.  I had talked to Jonathan Kiley who makes awesome latex fly parts and told him that he should develop some sculpin fins out of latex to make my pattern easier to tie.  The prototypes came, and not only did he nail that shape of the fins, he included a tail with each set of fins.  The tail added so much movement in the water that I decided to change the way the body was constructed.  Instead of rabbit, I built the body out of a 20mm shank and some AZ diamond dub. I also noticed that the head of the fly would not keep its shape very well if I relied just on the trim job that I would give it, so I reinforced the bottom of the head with UV resin.  Anyway, the initial tests have been very impressive with this new pattern and we will be releasing a larger version as well.  Let us know how this bug fishes for you!

~ Cheech 

Recipes under the video.


Shank: Flymen 20mm (+)
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread 1: Danville's 140 - Black (+)
Thread 2: Veevus 200D GSP - White (+)
Connection: Articulation wire (+)
Tail/fins: Kiley's Finz - Olive Medium (+)
Back body: AZ Diamond Dub - Bronze peacock (+)
Front body 1: AZ Mega Simi Seal - Dark olive (+)
Front body 2: Palmer Chenille - Olive (+)
Weighting system 1: 2  4.6mm tungsten beads - Gold  (+)
Weighting system 2: 1  3.8mm tungsten bead - Orange  (+)
Head: Bruiser Blend Jr. - Brown Olive  (+)

Shank: Flymen 20mm (+)
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread 1: Danville's 140 - Tan (+)
Thread 2: Veevus 200D GSP - White (+)
Connection: Articulation wire (+)
Tail/fins: Kiley's Finz - Tan Medium (+)
Back body: AZ Diamond Dub - Tan (+)
Front body 1: AZ Mega Simi Seal - Amber Olive (+)
Front body 2: Palmer Chenille - Root beer (+)
Weighting system 1: 2  4.6mm tungsten beads - Gold  (+)
Weighting system 2: 1  3.8mm tungsten bead - Orange  (+)
Head: Bruiser Blend Jr. - Tan  (+)

Shank: Flymen 20mm (+)
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread 1: Danville's 140 - Brown (+)
Thread 2: Veevus 200D GSP - White (+)
Connection: Articulation wire (+)
Tail/fins: Kiley's Finz - Brown Medium (+)
Back body: AZ Diamond Dub - Copper olive (+)
Front body 1: AZ Mega Simi Seal - Brown (+)
Front body 2: Palmer Chenille - Root Beer (+)
Weighting system 1: 2  4.6mm tungsten beads - Copper  (+)
Weighting system 2: 1  3.8mm tungsten bead - Orange  (+)
Head: Bruiser Blend Jr. - Barf Brown (+)

Other things used:
Loon Fluorescing UV Resin (+)
Loon UV Thick Resin (+)
Glue: Zap a Gap  (+)
Marker 1: Chartpak - Celery (Olive) (+)
Marker 2: Chartpak - Delta Brown (+)
Marker 3: Chartpak - Black (+)
Fugly Packer (+)
Rattle Bass Fangs scissors (+)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Easy Jig Style Nymph

Simple and Fishy

EZ Jig Nymphs

The story of this pattern started in a motel room on the front end of a couple of days of brook trout fishing. We often bring tying gear to pass the time in the evenings and to re-stock boxes. The departure from home this time was a bit on the hasty side and so I grabbed only a few materials and hooks as I ran out the door. So with a quick tie (or a good beginner pattern) in mind, I ended up throwing together a number of these simply jig nymphs.

There's nothing inherently special about the pattern. It's a jig style nymph, which is a fairly popular style of flies these days, and it incorporates Hare'e Ice Dub -- one of my favorite materials.

The idea is to keep the fly two-toned and vary the colors to match your local insect populations. The Brook trout below took this olive colored version for a damsel or maybe a scud.

Brook trout on the EZ Jig Nymph

The nice thing is you can tie these up at a pretty quick clip and they require only a few materials. They are great in the still waters as well as rivers or streams.
Another Brookie on the EZ Jig Nymph
Here are a couple of different recipes

Black/Rusty Orange

Hook: Partridge Jig Hook #10 - #16 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Black (+)
Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead, 3.8mm or 3.3mm Black Nickel (+)
Body: Hare'e Ice Dub, Black (+)
Ribbing: Krystal Flash, Copper (+)
Thorax: Hare'e Ice Dub, Rusty Orange (+)

Olive/Rusty Orange

Hook: Partridge Jig Hook #10 - #16 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Light Olive (+)
Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead, 3.8mm or 3.3mm Black Nickel (+)
Body: Hare'e Ice Dub, Olive (+)
Ribbing: Krystal Flash, Olive (+)
Thorax: Hare'e Ice Dub, Rusty Orange (+)

You can also get the entire Hare'e Ice Dub Dispenser here (+)

Also, the Stonfo combo dubbing brush/comb tool (+)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Griffin Montana Mongoose Vise Review

Bring your hooks... any hooks.

We just filmed a video set-up guide and review.

griffin montana mongoose vise
Griffin Montana Mongoose vise

If you have been following our articles and videos you will see that the vast majority of our tying is done with
the Griffin Montana Mongoose vise so I though it would be a good time to tell you all why.  As a fairly afflicted fly tying addict I know that most of you will agree that there was a time in your fly tying "career" that you decided that you needed a better vise to help you tie better, more comfortably (or you can just insert whatever justification you used to buy a new vise here.)  Some might have started with a top-o-the-line vise, and never had vise envy, but let me assure you...  Vise envy is real!  Curtis and I have tied on pretty much all of the commercially (and readily) available vises out there, and we basically can have our pick of any vise we want.  We choose the Mongoose.

After tying with the Mongoose since about 2006, here is my list of pros and cons about the vise.


Hook holding 
#32 Bunny midge from the Mongoose
As I have ranted before, I think that the purpose of a vise is to hold a hook at 100% strength with minimal any hook that I throw at it with 100% positive lockout, and with minimal adjustment.  The Mongoose is the best of the best when it comes to hook holding power with minimal adjustment because I can take 7/0 trokar out of the vise, turn one knob a few times, and then seat a #32 hook and get tying. I'm not saying that I make this transition very often, but the fact is - I can do it... easily.
effort and minimal adjustment.  My definition of a hook is also a bit more broad than some might use, because it includes 7/0 heavy wire Trokar
6/0 Musky fly from the Mongoose
hooks that I tie sailfish flies on, to 4/0 jig hooks that I use to pour lead onto for bass fishing, to the standard tout fare of #2 to #20, to the micro #32 TMC 518 hooks that we use on Utah rivers during the winter and early spring (yes, they are effective and very necessary at times).  There are very few vises that I have tied with that can hold

One Jaw
There is no "midge" jaw or "super tough big boy" jaw that I need to install to get that holding power - it's all done with the same jaw.  The point of the jaw is fine enough to accommodate the smallest hooks, and with the twist of a knob the jaw is ready for a much bigger hook.  All you have to do is seat the larger hook a little bit further back in the jaw to get it to hold.  This, is a huge deal in my opinion because I don't want to have to take the time to change jaws in a tying session, and I don't want the extra cost of having to buy two of arguably the most expensive piece on the vise.

Material Clip
Material clip being used as a drying rack
This vise has probably the best material clip that I have seen on a vise.  It has a wide spring that can be easily adjusted and used with one hand.  If i'm tying midges I can easily slide it right up next to the hook, and if I'm tying bigger streamers, I can move it back far enough to be out of the way.  It can also be used to keep the back hook of an articulated fly out of the way while tying them.  When I tie with other vises, this is usually the first thing that I miss about the Mongoose.

These vises are made in Montana by people who understand what it takes to meet the demands of beginner tyers all the way to production tyers who tie thousands of dozens of flies per year.  I have beat this vise to death.  It has been thrown in the bottom of my wader bag, It has been checked with my luggage, and it has suffered the abuse of tying huge saltwater flies.  It works the same today as it did when I got it out of the box.

Even Curtis can figure this vise out
I really only have had to call Griffin once about one of the screws that broke, and instead of trying to
troubleshoot how, and why I did it, they just asked me for my address.  No questions asked, they sent me the stuff I needed to get up and running again.

Whole package
The Montana Mongoose comes with more goodies than any other vise on the market for the price.  With the Montana Mongoose you will get a carrying case, pedestal base, c-clamp with extension rod, supreme ceramic bobbin, and a hackle gauge.  The most critical part of this is the fact that they add a stem extension if you want to use the c-clamp.  This is something that many other companies overlook.


Pedestal base
Because the rotary hub on the vise is offset from the stem, and doesn't sit directly above it, the vise can tend to rock toward you while using the rotary function.  There are many fixes for this all the way from using a different pedestal base (which Curtis and I both do), to welding the current base to a bigger hunk of metal.  You can either add weight to it, or make it wider.  Both work.

Initial calibration
This is a very minor con, because once it's set up right it requires very little maintenance.  To get the vise to rotate silky smooth, I had to tighten the rotary assembly (with the bolt on the very back of the rotary assembly) just right.  Not too tight, and just loose enough so it doesn't wobble.  Once it is just right, the rubber gaskets still touch the sides of the rotary assembly that causes them to stick a little bit.  Just add a tiny bit of reel oil to those bad boys and you will be silky smooth.  I re-apply oil to them about every 6 months and I tie a lot.

To sum it all up... This is, in my opinion, the best vise on the market due to the things listed above.  It has all the features I'm looking for in a vise, but the most important feature is that it will hold ANY hook with 100% positive lockout.  That means no slipping ever... EVER.  (sorry for yelling).  In my opinion a vise should be designed around the jaw - everything else is just gravy.


We have the Mongoose (for a steal at $185) and many other vises available HERE.

Here are some videos using the Mongoose.