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Friday, November 20, 2015

Best Flies for Beginners: The Top 7

Our Favorite Flies to Get You Started


The Venerable Hare's Ear
We recently did a list of 4 simple "getting started flies" and we were surprise by the number of positive responses from people who were just getting started tying. We realize a lot of our patterns here are very technical, so we've spent a lot of time recently getting back to basics. We've re-done several tutorials and have now completed our series of the 7 basic patterns every fly tyer should learn. These patterns will showcase different techniques, materials and tools to help round out your tying skills in order to move on to more complicated patterns and also help you build your own creative patterns or variations.


Not only that, we've also compiled a few curated fly tying kits on our website that correspond to these patterns. So if you're really just starting out, we've got the materials, tools and vises to go along with these tutorials. You literally have no excuse to learn to tie now.

Before you get too far, we've outlined a series of steps to get started. You can refer to our Fly Tying 101 classes here or a summarized list below:

1. Get Supplies: See what we recommend here.
2. Take the basics classes: Learn the basic techniques you need to know before ever tying a fly
3. Learn the flies listed below
4. Practice
5. Practice
6. See 4 and 5
7. Move onto any of the other patterns listed on our site. You're a pro now. ;)

So let's get started! Click each pattern to see the video tutorial and associated recipe. Each recipe has links to the materials in the online store. Or you can click here to get all materials for all flies in one fell swoop.

1. Zebra Midge
http://www.flyfishfood.com/2015/11/beginner-fly-tying-zebra-midge.html
2. Easy Caddis Pupa
http://www.flyfishfood.com/2015/11/beginner-fly-tying-easy-caddis-pupa.html
3. Easy Hare's Ear
http://www.flyfishfood.com/2015/11/beginner-fly-tying-easy-hares-ear.html
4. Easy Pheasant Tail
http://www.flyfishfood.com/2015/11/beginner-fly-tying-easy-pheasant-tail.html
5. Brassie
http://www.flyfishfood.com/2014/01/build-better-brassie.html
6. X-Caddis
http://www.flyfishfood.com/2015/11/beginner-fly-ting-x-caddis.html
7. Wooly Bugger
http://www.flyfishfood.com/2013/06/build-better-bugger.html






Beginner Fly Tying: Easy Caddis Pupa

Two materials for an effective pattern



I have dabbled a lot in tying caddis pupae, and I have tied everything from super complicated to very simple.  This pattern was born on one of those mad dashes of tying the night before a trip and realizing that I didn't have many sub-surface caddis patterns in my box.  I whipped up some of the most basic patterns I could think of, and that involved a tungsten bead, a bit of dubbing, and a thread body.  They worked fine the next day, but I wanted to add an element to maybe make them more realistic.  I changed the body from thread to thin cut latex because the latex can add really good segmentation, and the results have been excellent.  All in all, this is a pattern that has just enough realism to go along with it's simplicity, and the fish like to vacuum them up.

Check out the recipes under the video.



Recipes:

Green

Hook: Daiichi 1120 #14-18 (+)
Bead: Tungsten 2.8mm (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Body: Kiley's Nymph Skin - Caddis green (+)
Thorax: Nature's Spirit hare's mask dubbing - Natural (+)

Cream

Hook: Daiichi 1120 #14-18 (+)
Bead: Tungsten 2.8mm (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Body: Kiley's Nymph Skin - Natural Latex (+)
Thorax: Nature's Spirit hare's mask dubbing - Natural (+)

Beginner Fly Tying: X Caddis

A simple and effective dry fly.



Chances are that you have heard of the Elk Hair Caddis, because it's one of the most popular and effective dry flies on the planet.  The X Caddis is a very close relative of the Elk Hair Caddis, and it is probably just as effective.  Craig Matthews delevloped the pattern to represent an emerging caddis, but it can work as everything from an attractor to a mayfly.  Just change the colors and sizes to match your local insects.

Check out the alternate recipes under the video.




Recipes:


Tan

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14 to 16 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Shuck: Sparkle emerger yarn - Tan (+)
Body: Nature's Spirit fine natural dubbing - Callibaetis (+)
Wing: Nature's Spirit select cow elk hair - Natural (+)

Black

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14 to 16 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Shuck: Sparkle emerger yarn - Black (+)
Body: Nature's Spirit fine natural dubbing - Black (+)
Wing: Nature's Spirit select cow elk hair - Natural (+)

Olive

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14 to 16 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Shuck: Sparkle emerger yarn - Gray (+)
Body: Nature's Spirit fine natural dubbing - Baetis (+)
Wing: Nature's Spirit select cow elk hair - Natural (+)


Beginner Fly Tying: Easy Pheasant Tail

Simplify one of the most effective patterns in the world


The pheasant tail is arguably the most popular nymph pattern in the world.  This being said, if you look in 5 different fly boxes, you will probably see 5 different variations of the bug.  Why? Because they ALL work.  This is basically a standard pheasant tail without a wingcase and legs...  It is another really basic, two material fly, that seems to work anywhere fish eat nymphs.  

See the additional recipes under the video.



Recipes:


Original

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14-18 (+)
Bead: 2.4mm tungsten - Gold (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Tail/Body: Pheasant tail fibers - Natural (+)
Ribbing: UTC wire sm - Gold (+)
Thorax: Peacock herl - Natural (+)

Frenchie Variation

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14-18 (+)
Bead: 2.4mm tungsten - Gold (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Tail/Body: Pheasant tail fibers - Natural (+)
Ribbing: UTC wire sm - Copper (+)
Thorax: Peacock herl - Hot pink (+)

Black/Purple

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14-18 (+)
Bead: 2.4mm tungsten - Gold (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Tail/Body: Pheasant tail fibers - Black (+)
Ribbing: UTC wire sm - Red (+)
Thorax: Peacock herl - Purple (+)







Beginner Fly Tying: Easy Hare's Ear

The Messier the Better


The Hare's ear has been around for a log long time because it just plain catches fish.  I think that fish mostly eat it as a clinger mayfly nymph or a caddis pupa due to it's messy appearance and unique movement under the water.  I typically have some type of variation of a hare's ear in a size 8 all the way to about an 18, and yes, each of them has it's appropriate application.  This fly is originally designed to be tied almost completely our of the fur from a Hare's face, but due to all of the new materials that we have access to, the "hare's ear" is more of a concept than a fly tied from a certain part of a rabbit.  As you will see here, there are many different ways that you can make variations to this pattern...  have at it.

Make sure to look at the alternate recipes under the video.




Recipes:

Natural

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14-18 (+)
Bead; 2.4mm Tungsten - Gold (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Tail: Teal - Dyed wood duck color (+)
Body: Nature's Spirit hare's mask dubbing - Natural (+)
Ribbing: UTC wire sm - Gold (+)
Wingcase: Fino skin - Brown (+)
Thorax: Nature's Spirit hare's mask dubbing - Brown (+)

Olive

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14-18 (+)
Bead; 2.4mm Tungsten - Gold (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Tail: Teal - Dyed olive (+)
Body: Nature's Spirit hare's mask dubbing - Olive (+)
Ribbing: UTC wire sm - Copper (+)
Wingcase: Fino skin - Black (+)
Thorax: Nature's Spirit hare's mask dubbing - Dark olive (+)

Black

Hook: Daiichi 1180 #14-18 (+)
Bead; 2.4mm Tungsten - Gold (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - Black (+)
Tail: Teal - Black (+)
Body: Nature's Spirit hare's mask dubbing - Black (+)
Ribbing: UTC wire sm - Gold (+)
Wingcase: Fino skin - Black (+)
Thorax: Nature's Spirit hare's mask dubbing - Black (+)

Tools/Extras:
Loon Flow resin for the wingcase (+)
Beadmaster bead tool (+)




Beginner Fly Tying: Zebra Midge

Simple and Effective


The zebra midge is probably responsible for more fish caught in my first few years of fly fishing than any other pattern.  The great things about a zebra midge are that it is among the easiest flies to tie, and it can easily be modified to be tied in a wide range or colors and variations.  I think black is the most common color but I fish a lot of brown, olive, and red too.  

Here's the video, but make sure to check out some of our alternate recipes below.



Recipe:

Black

Hook: Daiichi 1120 #18 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - black  (+)
Bead: Tungsten 2.4mm - gold  (+)
Wire: UTC wire small - gold  (+)
Dubbing: Ice dub - UV black (+)

Olive

Hook: Daiichi 1120 #18 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - olive (+)
Bead: Tungsten 2.4mm - copper (+)
Wire: UTC wire small - copper (+)
Dubbing: Ice dub - olive brown (+)

Brown

Hook: Daiichi 1120 #18 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - brown (+)
Bead: Tungsten 2.4mm - copper (+)
Wire: UTC wire small - blue (+)
Dubbing: Ice dub - UV brown (+)

Red

Hook: Daiichi 1120 #18 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 - red (+)
Bead: Tungsten 2.4mm - white (+)
Wire: UTC wire small - silver (+)
Dubbing: Ice dub - UV Dun (+)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cheech's Low Fat Minnow

Them Minners work reaaaaaal good...

Bluegill Low Fat Minnow


The Low Fat Minnow isn't really much of a secret anymore, and it's been fished for everything from Tarpon to Trout.  It has gone through many different versions over the past two years, and I've dialed it in to maximize effectiveness and simplicity in tying.  Here is the original "write-up" about the Low Fat: 
I love fishing for bass.  Always have, always will.  Largemouth bass are my favorite fish to chase by far, and up until about 5 years ago, I did it with a fly rod only.  "Fly or die," was my mantra until I found my self living near, and having access to a private pond with an excellent population of healthy bucketmouth.  This pond was covered by weeds most of the months out of the year, and I tried in vain to create the ultimate weedless fly, but I eventually came to the conclusion that I needed to get serious about gear fishing if I wanted to catch these fish.  Long story short, I have about 14 baitcast rigs that get USED.  I love everything about throwing big stuff for bass, and don't be fooled that it is any less technical than fly fishing.  


One fall, I was fishing a lake that has a huge bluegill population and we were throwing lipless crankbaits that yielded a fish on seemingly every cast.  As I lipped a nice fish, It YACKED all over the deck of the boat.  Up from the gullet came 4 or 5 bluegill minnows that really made me change the way I looked at fishing with bluegill patterns.  I could literally see right through them, and their guts looked like little strands of krystal flash.  Instead of going to try to find a crankbait with those characteristics, I immediately started creating a fly in my mind.  Fishing with gear WILL improve your fly fishing and vise versa...  Gear fishing that day led me to start working on a pattern that has both great profile, and translucency.  Through much consultation with Uncle Ken, we decided that Senyo Laser dub is a very versatile material that really has some excellent properties in this fly, and the marabou acts the "guts" of the minnow that will not stay translucent.  When stripped, this fly will flip around and do a 180, so its best to fish this one on a loop knot.  I also didn't put any weight on this fly because the hook is a bit more beefy and will help the fly get down a bit. Happy fishing, and let us know  how the "Low Fat" treats you.

White on White Low Fat
Since then, the biggest changes are to the head material and the hook.  After we came out with Bruiser Blend I knew that it needed to be incorporated into the Low Fat Minnow.  HERE is a good example of a Perch tied with, but the longer fibers of Bruiser Blend didn't really lend well to a small baitfish profile.  Bruiser Blend Jr. is about half the length of the original formula, so it's much better for tying flies with a smaller profile.  The hook that I use is the Daiichi 3111 for most applications, but I will still tie them on a Gamakatsu B10s from time to time.  I like the 3111 because it has a short shank and a very aggressive point.



~ Cheech

See the original video and our most popular recipes below this video.


***The Daiichi 3111 has been out of stock for quite a while, but these hooks work well in a pinch.
Gamakatsu SC15 Size 1
Gamakatsu B10s Size 4
Partridge Nordic Tube Hook Size 2


Chub 

Hook: Daiichi 3111 1/0  (+)
Thread: Danville 140 - White  (+)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - White  (+)
Underbody: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Tan  (+)
Chenille: Palmer chenille - Rootbeer  (+)
Outer body (top): Bruiser Blend Jr. - Tan  (+)
Outer body (bottom): Bruiser Blend Jr. - Cream  (+)
Eyes: Fish Skull living eyes - Ice (Silver) 5mm  (+)
Head: Loon UV clear resin - flow and thick  (+)
Markers: Top: Brown and black. Bottom: Orange.

Bluegill 

Hook: Daiichi 3111 1/0  (+)
Thread: Danville 140 - White  (+)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - White  (+)
Underbody: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Olive  (+)
Chenille: Palmer chenille - orange  (+)
Outer body (top): Bruiser Blend Jr. - brown olive  (+)
Outer body (bottom): Bruiser Blend Jr. - cream  (+)
Eyes: Fish Skull living eyes - Ice (Silver) 5mm  (+)
Head: Loon UV clear resin - flow and thick  (+)
Markers: Top: Black stripes and dot.  Bottom: Neon blue and orange.

Shad (Click HERE to add all items to your cart)
Hook: Daiichi 3111 1/0 (BUY HERE)
Thread: Danville 140 - White (BUY HERE)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - White (BUY HERE)
Underbody: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Muskrat Gray (BUY HERE)
Chenille: Palmer chenille - Pearl (BUY HERE)
Outer body (top): Bruiser Blend Jr. - Gray holo (BUY HERE)
Outer body (bottom): Bruiser Blend Jr. - White (BUY HERE)
Eyes: Fish Skull living eyes - Ice (Silver) 5mm (BUY HERE)
Head: Loon UV clear resin - flow and thick (BUY HERE)
Markers: Top: Gray and black.  Bottom: Red gill stripe.

Sexy Shad (Click HERE to add all items to your cart)
Hook: Daiichi 3111 1/0 (BUY HERE)
Thread: Danville 140 - White (BUY HERE)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - White (BUY HERE)
Underbody: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Kingfisher Blue, Fl. Chartreuse, Muskrat Gray (BUY HERE)
Chenille: Palmer chenille - Pearl (BUY HERE)
Outer body (top): Bruiser Blend Jr. - Gray holo (BUY HERE)
Outer body (bottom): Bruiser Blend Jr. - White (BUY HERE)
Eyes: Fish Skull living eyes - Ice (Silver) 5mm (BUY HERE)
Head: Loon UV clear resin - flow and thick (BUY HERE)
Markers: Top: Gray and black.  Bottom: Red gill stripe.

White on White 

Hook: Daiichi 3111 1/0  (+)
Thread: Danville 140 - White (BUY HERE)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - White (BUY HERE)
Chenille: Palmer chenille - Pearl (BUY HERE)  
Outer body (top): Bruiser Blend Jr. - White (BUY HERE)
Outer body (bottom): Bruiser Blend Jr. - White (BUY HERE)
Eyes: Fish Skull living eyes - Ice (Silver) 5mm (BUY HERE)
Head: Loon UV clear resin - flow and thick (BUY HERE)
Markers: Top: None.  Bottom: Orange.

Perch (Click HERE to add all items to your cart)
Hook: Daiichi 3111 1/0 (BUY HERE)
Thread: Danville 140 - White (BUY HERE)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Pale Yellow (BUY HERE)
Underbody: Nature's Spirit Prime Marabou - Olive (BUY HERE)
Chenille: Palmer chenille - Orange (BUY HERE)
Outer body (top): Bruiser Blend Jr. - Brown Olive(BUY HERE)
Outer body (bottom): Bruiser Blend Jr. - Pale Lemon (BUY HERE)
Eyes: Fish Skull living eyes - Ice (Silver) 5mm (BUY HERE)
Head: Loon UV clear resin - flow and thick (BUY HERE)
Markers: Top: Black stripes.  Bottom: Orange gill plate and fins.


Here is the original Bluegill video.


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