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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bunny Midge

Small, proportionate, AND visible.



UPDATE!

We wanted to highlight a few newer materials that we have been using in our midge tying.  Snow shoe hare's foot kind of got hard to find for a little but, so we started to play with some other options.  Poly yarn works well, but we just got some EP trigger point international fibers that is a very fine option for wings.  I have no idea what "trigger point international" means, but I'm translating it as "really good winging material."  We also wanted to show how to use Veevus body quill as a trailing shuck because it has just enough luster to make an effective shuck.  Keep in mind that I always use floatant on this bad boy, and Loon Lochsa is definitely my favorite.

Check out the new video:


Updated Recipe:

*We used a Tiemco hook in the video because it's what we had at the bench.  The Gamakatsu C12-BM is a great hook too because it's barbless and it has a bigger eye.


Hook: Gamakatsu C12-BM - #28 (+)
Thread: Uni 8/0 - Black (+)
Shuck: Veevus body quill - Tan (+)
Wing: EP trigger point international fibers - Quick Silver (+)

If you want snowshoe hare's feet, we have those too (+)







A dozen #30 bunny midges on a dime
Several years back all of my free days in the winter consisted of arriving at the river about 8:00 am, rigging up the 3 weight and walking slowly down to the stretch of the river where the fish liked to eat dry flies.  I HATED nymphing, and I would rather go and sit at the side of the river waiting to see a nose, fin, or tail come up for a snack.  I quickly realized that my offerings needed some tweaking if I was going to be able to take advantage of these risers.  I had been tying a lot with snowshoe hare's foot (because I had no money, and good hackle costs money...) and I began to tie with some small hooks.  I started with a #24 and got the fly to be proportionate without a lot of added bulk where the wing was tied in.  I wanted a shiny trailing shuck and a very faint rib.  I started with a wire rib, but adding any more metal on an already minuscule hook was going to compromise the buoyancy of the bug.  I settled on tying thread of a slightly different color.  Off to the river to fish, and the bugs performed very well, except for the fact that the fish seemed to be taking size 64 emergers that day.  I would drift a #24 right down Santa Claus lane with no takers.  I had to go smaller.  The fly shop was on the way home, and they thought I was nuts for asking for #30 and #32 hooks, but hey, THEY were the ones who had them on the shelves.  The next weekend, the smaller flies performed amazingly, and I have been fishing small flies ever since.  I tie this fly from #18 to #32 in black, brown, olive, gray, etc.  The key is the wing and the shuck; you can do whatever tickles your fancy in the middle.


Recipe:
Hook: TMC 2488 #18-28 or TMC 518 #28-32
Thread: Veevus 16/0 or Uni 8/0 color to match natural bugs
Tail: Midge flash - root beer or opal
Rib:  Uni 8/0 thread - dun or iron gray
Wing: Snowshoe hare's foot - dun

This one is tied on a #32 TMC 518 hook.














AND... the HD video tutorial.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rod and Tippet Selection - Don't Give Fish Bad Blood

It's not about you.  It's about the fish

Small river, big gear.  Cheech fights a nice brown with a 5 wt and 2x tippet

One 4th of July I picked up two of my five brothers (No.  No sisters.  Yes. Crazy mom.) on the way to our favorite bass lake so we could avoid the craziness of parades, barbecues, and extremely overweight people wearing shorts that are a size too small...  (sorry for the visual, but it helps me get in the zone.)  We launched at first light, and we rode the glassy water until we got to the happy hunting ground of submerged reeds and weed lines.  That's where the bass lived. That's where we would throw large hollow bodied frog lures and hope they would get engulfed by the jaws of predatory largemouth.  I opened up the rod locker to find that I hadn't brought a single fly rod - but I
Frog Bass
wasn't shocked - I left them home on purpose.  A day on the lake throwing heathen gear with my bros was going to be a great time even if the fish didn't cooperate a lot.  One Brother saw that I had 12 baitcasters and two spinning rig set ups ready to fish, many of which were rigged with 2 to 65 pound braided line, and he was wondering why I needed such heavy gear to chase fish that were probably going to max out at 3 pounds.  I explained to him that each technique was optimized by a certain rod and reel setup, and that I could technically get by with one rod, but my effectiveness would go down substantially.  Even though a rod was rated "Heavy" and for 1/2 oz to 1 oz lures on 15 to 20 pound test, It was absolutely the best tool for the job for these 3 pound fish because the jig I was throwing was very heavy, and I was going to be flipping it into some heavy cover.  Luckily I didn't have to use that rod very much because the fish were absolutely crushing topwater frogs tied to 50 pound braided line all day.  The key to this situation is that I had the proper rods lined up for the proper technique that I was going to be using.  The fly rods stayed home partially because fly fishing with three people on a bass boat is a nightmare, but most importantly, they weren't the right tools for the job that day.  (And before you tell me that you can do anything with a fly rod that you can do with a baitcaster, number one - this isn't the article to have that debate, and number two - look up punching mats for bass.)

What's my point with all of this conventional gear talk?  My point is that you should choose the right tool for the job.  If you know that you are going to change the oil in your car, you wouldn't be grabbing a handsaw would you?  You wouldn't go in to the auto parts store and brag to your buddies that you proceeded to change your oil with a handsaw right? "Yup, it took me about 17 hours, but by damn, I got it done.  It takes years of experience to learn how to change your oil with a hand saw, but you'll learn."  In the conventional bass fishing world I really don't hear much bragging about landing fish with light lines and light rods, but I'm sure it exists.  In the fly fishing world, however, stories of over-fighting fish with light gear are told as if they are badge of honor and a qualification of skill.  Now here is my main point before people get bent out of shape. If you use gear that requires you to fight fish longer than needed, you are greatly increasing the chances of killing fish. I have had some very interesting conversations with people about this, and I have to qualify one instance where fishing a light rod with light line is still a good way to land fish quickly - tight line "Czech or Polish" nymphing.  The longer rods used in this technique (typically 10' to 11') have a bit more backbone than a rod of normal length, and they are made for bringing in fish quickly so they can be scored in a competition setting.  Tippet has come a long way in recent years too, and some of the 5x and 6x tippets are amazingly strong and abrasion resistant.  In addition to using these rods and tippet, they are usually fishing in pretty close proximity, so it's easier to control the fish.  I guess I just don't understand the guy who goes out purposefully undergunned so he can fish, as one of my old fishing partners put it, "So I can feel the fish."  He was notorious for over fighting fish due to his undergunned gear.
17" tiger trout.  6 wt rod and 3x tippet


Several recent conversations that I have had have led me to think about the process I go through when I pick equipment for a certain trip.  Below are some gear selection opinions from Cheech's tying dungeon: (Keep in mind that these are my opinions...  and even though I feel pretty strongly about this stuff, you are entitled to your opinions as well.)

Rods:
I realize that this might be easier to do if you have several rods to choose from, so if you are limited to one or two rods, it might be a good idea to get something that could cover all of your bases moderately well.  Generally speaking, and from a trout perspective, a 9' 5 wt or a 9' 6 wt will do you just fine.  If you have a whole barrel full of rods, (#firstworldproblems) choosing a rod can get a bit more tricky. What are the factors that determine what rod to use?  Is it the fish that you are chasing? Is it the type of fly you are using? Is it the environment in which you will be fishing?  I say it's all three.

Flies
For me, I look at the flies that I will be throwing first.  If I'm going to be throwing double articulated meat, I might take along an 8 wt even if I'm only targeting trout up to 22".  The 8 wt will allow me to more comfortably cast the large streamer all day where a 5 or 6 weight might wear out my shoulder.  Also, if I'm going to go fish a small stream with a huge hopper, I might opt for a shorter 4 wt rod instead of a 3 or 2 wt because it will be easier for me to turn over a larger fly (especially if the wind picks up.)

This chunk was even a challenge on a 7 wt
Fish
The next thing I consider is the type of fish that I'm chasing.  If I know that I'm chasing large stillwater cutthroat up to potentially 10 pounds, I'm not going to bring a 4 wt even though my go to fly for them is a small low fat minnow.  I usually string up my 7 wt with about 15 pound fluorocarbon tippet, not because I need it to cast the fly, but I need it to fight the potentially large fish.   If I'm going to go fish for bluegill, I know that there is no fish in the lake that is too much of a match for the trusty 3 wt, so I'll take it.  This being said, there have been many bluegill trips when the wind picked up and I ended up tying my bluegill flies on to the 7 wt I was using for bass.

Environment
Finally, I'll consider the environment that I'll be fishing.  If I'm going to be casting into the wind from a drift boat all day, I'll probably go with a heavier rod like a 5 or 6 wt even if the day involves casting small dry flies to rising fish.  A 4 wt is my preferred dry fly rod weight, but sometimes the wind can turn a 4 wt day into a 6 wt day.  Another thing to consider is obstacles in the water.  Curtis is notorious for breaking out his 9 wt while chasing bass because he might have to dig one out of the slop and salad.  A 6 wt doesn't do so well on salad duty.

Tippet:
I use the term "tippet" loosely because it can mean anything from 50 pound power pro braid (Curtis is guilty of this one) to good ol' Stren.  The point is that, like choosing a rod, you should consider flies, fish, and environment to make a decision on tippet.

Flies
The fly that you are going to fish has a big impact on the tippet that you should be using.  One time I had tied a bunch of hoppers for a guy who was going to use them on his local small stream full of eager brookies.  He messaged me to tell me that my hoppers were twisting up his line a lot and that he wasn't satisfied.  When I found out that he was using 6X tippet on a size 4 hopper, I explained to him how a 3x or 4x tippet would be a better choice.  Not because of the gnarly 10" brookies that he was catching, but because of the big foam fly that chews up small tippet like Curtis on a plate of corn bread.  This is only one example, but many times we just think about the size of fish we are targeting to make a tippet choice.  For the most part, micro tippet + big flies = twisted tippet and many swear words.

Fish
As I stated before, this is probably the most popular factor for choosing tippet, but one that I use very little.  I like to fish the heaviest line I can get away with, and I have been guilty of fishing 0x fluorocarbon for 16" demon eyed fighting rainbow trout on my favorite stillwater.  Why? Because I keeping  all of the fish you catch.  Landing a fish on extremely light tippet and an extremely light rod is certainly doable, but it is also a good way to kill them if it requires you to fight them for a long time.  I'll say it again If you use gear that requires you to fight fish longer than needed, you are greatly increasing the chances of killing fish.   Here is a simple breakdown of  fish, lactic acid, and bad blood.  When fish struggle they use muscles and tissue -> muscles and tissue use oxygen to operate -> once the oxygen is gone, lactic acid builds up -> lactic acid is toxic to fish -> once the lactic acid builds up, it is released into the blood -> fish need good blood to live -> lactic acid in the blood makes it bad -> as Taylor Swift reminds us, "now we've got bad blood" -> some bad blood can turn into good blood again -> some bad blood can kill a fish hours, or even days, after being caught -> over fighting of fish results in bad blood -> don't give fish bad blood.  This can also be said for fighting fish in general...  Get them in quickly regardless of your rod and tippet!  Don't be the guy who takes 8 minutes to land a 14" fish on his 6 wt indicator rig just so people know that he hooked up...  Yeah, I've seen that guy a time or two.
This fish was landed and released quickly with 3x tippet
can.  In regards to light tippet, just because I'm fishing in a creek where a 3 pound fish is a trophy, it doesn't mean that I should only fish 3 pound test.   There is also the mentality that some people like the challenge of landing a fish a very light rod and on tippet rated much lighter than the size of the fish they are pursuing.  This actually isn't a problem... If you are

Environment
Are you fishing a crystal clear spring creek where the fish scatter if a caddis fly so much as farts?  This might be a good reason to use lighter tippet... OR it might be a good opportunity to work on your fish stalking game and casting presentation.  The difference in diameter from 8x to 6x is very minimal, but the strength difference is substantial, so maybe challenge yourself to be able to catch the same fish with slightly bigger tippet.  I'm not against targeting big fish with light tippet - as long as you are disciplined enough to break a it off if you are fighting it too much.  I have seen large fish eat tiny midges presented on tiny line that can be landed quickly.  They are typically on heavily pressured water and kind of know the drill so they don't fight much and hold still while you release them.  Other environmental factors for tippet selection are underwater snags, tree branches that like to catch flies, etc.  It's not fun to snap off flies on a snag just because you are set on using light line.


This whole post was spurred by some interesting conversations that I have had this week, and I just want to point out that I own 2 wts and 3wts that I LOVE to fish.  I have spools of 6x and 7x, and I'm not saying that I never use them.  I just wanted to point out that you should use gear that allows you to land fish quickly and responsibly.  If you target fish with gear that purposefully extends the fight of a fish, you are basically poisoning that fish (see bad blood.)  I also realize that if we cared that much about fish, we wouldn't deceive fish with fake food, and then torture them by shoving needle sharp shards of metal through their mouths.  I get it, we all injure fish, and it's the nature of our sport!  Lets just be more ethical in our fish injuring practices by using the appropriate gear.

~Cheech

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Low Brow Articulated Streamer Pattern

Fish like food - Feed them meat


low·brow
ˈlōˌbrou/
adjective
adjective: low-brow
  1. 1.
    not highly intellectual or cultured.

The Low Brow kind of just happened one day at the vise while I was covered head to toe in flash and craft fur.  I was in the middle of making a bunch of dubbing brushes, and I had an idea for a black, red, and blue brush a.k.a. Midnight Fire.  I wanted kind of a more neutral pattern that wouldn't sink quite as quickly as the Street Sweeper, and I also had an epiphany that I needed to tie more with silicone streamer legs in my flies.  Like the Street Sweeper, this pattern uses two different types of dubbing brushes, but it also adds the element of silicone legs, rabbit, and ballz-eyes at the head to make it move in the water a bit differently.  

For the flash part of these brushes I'm using the metallic colors of ice dub (which are very straight fibers) and ice wing fiber cut to 2" lengths.  The best way to cut up a bunch of ice wing fiber is to lay it on one of those fancy cutting boards and try to preen it all so it's all facing relatively in the same direction.  Then take a circular fabric cutter (yes, the cutters that look like razor sharp pizza cutters) and cut it all to the desired length.  Check out these videos to learn how to make great dubbing brushes.  HERE

Anyway, this is a really fun fly to tie, and you can tie them rather quickly if you make up several brushes in advance.

~Cheech



Midnight Fire
Back Section
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread: Danville's 140 - Red (+)
Tail: Zonker Strip - Black (+)
Legs: Silicon streamer legs - Black/chrome red (+)
Brush 1: Ice Dub - Red (+)
Brush 2: Ice Dub - Steelie blue (+)
Brush 3: Ice Wing Fiber - Black (+)

Connection
Articulation Wire (+)
Articulation Bead - Magenta fire (+)

Front Section
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1/0 (+)
Weight: Lead free wire - .030 (+)
Eyes: Ballzeyes - Anodized red size large (+)
Tail: Zonker Strip - Black (+)
Legs: Silicon streamer legs - Black/chrome red (+)
Brush 1: Ice Dub - Red (+)
Brush 2: Ice Dub - Steelie blue (+)
Brush 3: Craft Fur - Black (+)

Olive Gold
Back Section
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread: Danville's 140 - Yellow (+)
Tail: Zonker Strip - Olive Variant (+)
Legs: Silicon streamer legs - Speckled froggy green (+)
Brush 1: Ice Dub - gold (+)
Brush 2: Ice Wing Fiber - Minnow Back (+)

Connection
Articulation Wire (+)
Articulation Bead - Gator belly (+)

Front Section
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1/0 (+)
Weight: Lead free wire - .030 (+)
Eyes: Ballzeyes - Anodized green size large (+)
Tail: Zonker Strip - Olive Variant (+)
Legs: Silicon streamer legs - Speckled froggy green (+)
Brush 1: Ice Dub - gold (+)
Brush 2: Ice Wing Fiber - Minnow Back (+)
Brush 3: Craft Fur - Dark Olive (+)

Gold Red
Back Section
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread: Danville's 140 - Red (+)
Tail: Zonker Strip - Tan (+)
Legs: Silicon streamer legs - Sparkle sand (+)
Brush 1: Ice Dub - Gold (+)
Brush 2: Ice Dub - Red (+)

Connection
Articulation Wire (+)
Articulation Bead - Gold (+)

Front Section
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1/0 (+)
Weight: Lead free wire - .030 (+)
Eyes: Ballzeyes - Silver/Red size large (+)
Tail: Zonker Strip - Tan (+)
Legs: Silicon streamer legs - Sparkle sand (+)
Brush 1: Ice Dub - Gold (+)
Brush 2: Ice Dub - Red (+)
Brush 3: Craft Fur - Tan (+)

Other items used:
Loon Fluorescing UV resin (+)
Flush Cutters (+)
Streamworks Tungsten Scissors (+)
Stonfo Comb and Brush tool (+)
Zap-a-Gap super glue - thin (+)


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Deep Dish Green Drake Nymph

A Beefy Bug


Photo from Troutnut.com
I remember the first time I ever saw a Green Drake nymph while seining a local small stream. I thought, based on the juicy plumpness of the bug, any self-respecting trout would treat it like a comparable Porterhouse steak. Turns out, that's not too far from the truth, so I like to come to the river armed with a few beefy drake patterns to imitate these obese nymphs.

Before jumping into the tying part, it's good to understand what we're dealing with here. Cheech calls this #nerdalert. I call it getting to know what to feed the fish.

The Green Drake or Western Green Drake is part of the Ephemerellidae family and is an oft-pursued "destination" hatch on many waters in the West, including the famed Henry's Fork in Idaho. Like their cousins, the more common Pale Morning Dun (PMD), Drakes are crawlers, which account for the super-buff Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque legs. You'll also find another smaller Drake species in the Drunella genus, commonly known as Flavs or Lesser Green Drakes. They too can be imitated along the same lines here and this pattern was designed to handle both. Simply adjusting the size up or down will cover the bases on both bugs.

Deep Dish Green Drake
With any pattern, there's always a balance of tying difficulty, imitation and usefulness. So I usually decide, mostly through trial and error, what constitutes a must-have feature on a fly based on these three aspects. With the Deep Dish, it's a bit more involved than say the piece-of-cake Dubbing Emerger which could be turned into a drake by simply varying colors, but isn't so crazy that you're having to tie in three sets of perfectly matching legs.

But all in all, this is actually a fun pattern to tie and it's really not too difficult. Give it a try. We've also included a couple of variations to handle darker or lighter nymphs. I normally carry a darker version because the nymphs are often very dark green, bordering black. So it's good to have both flavors here....

Olive (Light)


Hook: Daiichi 1530, #12 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Peacock Green (+)
Under-Body: .020 Lead Free Wire (+)
Bead: Mayfly Nymph-Head, Clinger & Crawler, Small, Olive (+)
Tail/Body: Pheasant Tail, Dyed Olive  (+)
Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire, Olive, Small (+)
Thorax: Hare'e Ice Dub, Olive Brown or Peacock (+)
Legs: Dyed Hungarian Partridge, Olive (+)
Wing Case: Fino Skin, Brown (+)
Back Stripe: UNI Double Sided Mylar, Orange/Peacock #16 (+)

NOTE: For a bigger bug, go with a #10 hook and the medium sized Nymph-Head, #8 would be the large sized Nymph-Head

Other Tools, materials:
Loon UV Fluorescing Clear Fly Finish (+)


Black (Dark)

Hook: Daiichi 1530, #12 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Black (+)
Under-Body: .020 Lead Free Wire (+)
Bead: Mayfly Nymph-Head, Clinger & Crawler, Small, Black (+)
Tail/Body: Pheasant Tail, Dyed Black (+)
Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire, Black, Small (+)
Thorax: Hare'e Ice Dub, Black (+)
Legs: Dyed Hungarian Partridge, Black (+)
Wing Case: Fino Skin, Black (+)
Back Stripe: UNI Double Sided Mylar, Orange/Peacock #16 (+)


Friday, January 8, 2016

Street Sweeper - Articulated Streamer Pattern

More brushes than a street sweeper


Street Sweeper



It's no secret that fish love to stick flashy things in their mouths.  Some of my most effective patterns are almost entirely made of flash because of how the fish react to seeing such a huge wad of shiny plastic strings.  The Articulated Trout Slider, and the Sparkle Minnow Variation are prime examples of flies that go above and beyond with flash... The Street Sweeper is no different.  It's kind of funny
Blue Halo + Street Sweeper = Rainbow
how it all works out too, because I have heard countless people that use little to no flash because they learned somewhere that flash should be used in moderation.  Well... I'd say that's true sometimes.  Just like it's true that other times your fly should look like a Las Vegas billboard advertising an all you can eat lobster and filet mignon buffet!  The Street Sweeper is the Vegas buffet of flies.  

I use two basic brushes on this fly, and the first one is very simple: gold and red ice dub.  The second brush uses gold and red ice dub, tan craft fur, and barred UV predator wrap.  the trick is to go kind of sparse with the craft fur, and cut the predator wrap fibers off the "stem" and lay them on the brush kind of sparsely.  I use one entire length of predator wrap on a 15" brush.  I'd recommend making up a bunch of these brushes before you start tying these.  For more information on how to make a dubbing brush, and a list of tools to make great streamer brushes, click HERE.











Gold
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread: Danville 140 - White (+)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Long Marabou - Tan (+)
Body (in brush) Ice Dub - Gold (+)
Body (in brush) Ice Dub - Red (+)

Articulation beads - Ruby Red (+)
Articulation wire - (+)
Flymen fish spine shank - 15mm (+)

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S 1/0 (+)
Eyes: Fish Skull Living Eyes - Fire 8mm (+)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Long Marabou - Tan (+)
Body (in brush) Ice Dub - Gold (+)
Body (in brush) Ice Dub - Red (+)
Collar (in brush) Ice Dub - Gold (+)
Collar (in brush) Ice Dub - Red (+)
Collar (in brush) Craft Fur - Tan (+)
Collar (in brush) Predator Wrap - Barred UV (+)




Silver
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #1 (+)
Thread: Danville 140 - White (+)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Long Marabou - Muskrat Gray (+)
Body (in brush) Ice Dub - Silver (+)
Body (in brush) Ice Dub - Red Red (+)

Articulation beads - Ruby Red (+)
Articulation wire - (+)
Flymen fish spine shank - 15mm (+)

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S 1/0 (+)
Eyes: Fish Skull Living Eyes - Ice 8mm (+)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Prime Long Marabou - Muskrat Gray (+)
Body (in brush) Ice Dub - Silver (+)
Body (in brush) Ice Dub - Red (+)
Collar (in brush) Ice Dub - Silver (+)
Collar (in brush) Ice Dub - Red (+)
Collar (in brush) Craft Fur - Medium gray dun (+)
Collar (in brush) Predator Wrap - Barred UV (+)

Chartpak black (+)
Chartpak Dark brown (+)
Tear Mender (+)
Loon Applicator bottle (+)
Cautery tool (+)
Loon Fluorescing Resin (+)
Streamworks 5" Scissor (+)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Streamworks Scissors: Review

Another player on the market

Adjustable Tension 5" 

After a vigorous effort in cleaning up my desk last month it's almost back to the point of no return.  The thread is exploring all the nooks and crannies of my desk like little cobras looking for trouble, and the marabou is basically honey badger marabou because it just does whatever it wants. I'm OK with that, because a disaster zone on my desk spawns creativity.  Aside from the fact that I have a maze of thread snippings and tufts of marabou orchestrating a hostile takeover of my desk, I realized that I have a pretty impressive collection of scissors right now.  I use all of them for different purposes and for different time frames, and I'm not about to stop aquiring new models.  See, for the addicted fly tyer, new scissors being introduced to the market is like a fat kid (Cheech) going to the gas station and seeing a new flavor of Cheetos...  The fat kid buys Cheetos...  I digress, even though I love Cheetos (but my keyboard doesn't...  Which leads me to think that I should invent an orange keyboard...  yep.  anyone want to start a kickstarter campaign with me?)

Ok, so the above is a very good example of the adult onset ADD-ish scatterbrainedness that I deal with every day;)

I'll try to stay on track here, because there is some important reviewing to do with the new Streamworks scissors that we have been playing with lately.  I used to have some Streamworks fly boxes and tools a long time ago, but I hadn't really seen any of their scissors until they showed up a few weeks ago.  One thing that we have heard over and over again from tool startup companies is that their stuff is just as good as the "expensive" stuff that the other guys sell because it comes from the same factory in Pakistan.  Usually the "other guys" means Dr. Slick.  I say that because Dr. Slick is usually the brand that holds the standard for quality in the fly tying tool arena, especially for scissors (even though I have gotten a pair or two from Slick that were less than spectacular).  The reality is that the majority of tying scissors come from Pakistan, and for the most part, the factories over there do a decent job.  If the same product were made in the USA, we'd probably be paying upwards of $100 per pair.  The issue with the scissors from Pakistan is that their quality control is usually not up to US standards even though they promise up and down that they are "very very good my friend...  I'll make you a deal my friend."  To make a Pakistani scissor into a premium product, some good ol' 'Murican quality control needs to take place.  Dr. Slick does it, Rising does it, and after talking with Streamworks, we verified that they do it too.  A claim that quality control takes place could mean anything from "we break down each pair and put it through rigorous tests," to "we make sure the color is right," so we were very interested to see where the Streamworks products fell in line.  They sent us each the 4.5" arrow point, the 4.5" spring action scissors, 4" all purpose curved scissor, the 4" all purpose tungsten scissors, and the 5" adjustable tension scissors.  Of all the scissors, I was immediately most interested in the 5" adjustable tension scissors (similar to razor scissors), and the 4" tungsten scissors.  We have had really good luck with the Dr. Slick Tungsten scissors, so I was curious to see how these would hold up; and the adjustable tension scissors were listed at a much lower price point than other comparable scissors.  The initial inspection definitely showed that there was additional tweaking and polishing done to these - kudos to Streamworks...

I have been tying with these for about a month now, and I do my best to change them all out for different applications so I can get a good idea of how they will perform.  Here are my top 3.

1st place: 4" All Purpose Tungsten Scissors
The Tungsten scissors are definitely my favorite because of the nice edge that they can keep.  The
Add Tungsten 4"
harder metal allows them to perform for a longer period of time than regular scissors, and I even accidentally dropped them tip first onto a concrete floor with very minimal damage. My concrete floor has been the kryptonite for many a pair of fancy scissors (which subsequently get thrown across the room like Nolan Ryan aiming at Robin Ventura's face.)  I was stoked to see that these scissors were still usable after their fall.  The only thing that I'd like to see better on these is a finer tip for precise cutting behind beadheads etc.  They are absolutely comparable to Dr. Slick Tungstens (I wish they were finer too.) MSRP $24.95 BUY HERE

2nd place: 5" Adjustable Tension Scissors 
These scissors were intriguing to me because they are basically a razor scissor at the price of a regular scissor (MSRP $14.95), AND they have the good serration situation that I really like.  One blade is serrated and one blade is smooth, and for whatever reason, that combination cuts through materials like Curtis cutting in line to buy a new pocket protector.  Obviously a 5" scissor is a bit much for most general tying situations, but they really found a home on my bench when it came to trimming game changer style flies.  The blade was long enough to maintain the angle I needed, and the blades cut through the body wrap material with no problem.  If they come out with a 4" version of this scissor, it will be a force to be reckoned with.  Downfalls? Nothing really, except for they need finer tips. BUY HERE

3rd place: 4.5" Spring Action Scissors
This was the biggest surprise to me because Curtis and I did a review on similar scissors a while
Adjustable Tension 4.5"
back, and we were less than impressed.  My expectations weren't very high at all, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they actually had a really good edge on them!  I tied a bunch of midges with them, and I think that's where they will fit into my rotation due to the limited opening space.  Even though they are 4.5" scissors, the actual blade is really short, so they are designed for finer tying.  They felt a bit weird in my hand at first, but I eventually got used to them after tying a few bunny midges.  This scissor would benefit from a very very fine blade, but they performed well enough right out of the box. MSRP $11.95 BUY HERE

The other two pair of scissors were good, but I really didn't tie with them very much because I typically don't like arrow points or curved scissors.  One thing I will say about the curved scissors is that they are just slightly curved, which is something that I prefer if I'm using them.  My last pair of Dr. Slick curved blade scissors were curved so much that they were almost unusable...  All in all, these are very solid scissors that are from overseas, but get a lot of good ol' American elbow grease to make sure they are up to par quality wise with what we expect.  

~ Cheech