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Monday, October 31, 2016

Callibaetis Soft Hackle

Chimera's Kryptonite

Callibaetis Soft Hackle

There is truly something special about fishing high elevation lakes that take a bit more effort to reach.  These lakes are typically off the beaten path just enough to keep a lot of the other anglers away, and most of the time there are maybe only a handful of people around.  Low fishing pressure mixed with a healthy population of fish usually means that the fishing is fast, furious, and simple.  I wish it were that easy, but at some of our favorite spots the fish have really become snobs about what they will and will not put into their mouths.  I'm constantly searching for a new wonder bug most of the time when we go fish these places, and then I'll look over at friggin' Curtis and he's got yet another fish on guess what...  Yeah.  The stupid Chimera.  I say it's stupid because it's usually the culprit for me being out-fished, and it's not because I don't have them in my box... It's also not because Curtis doesn't offer to share.  I'm just stubborn.

The only reason that I'm sharing this whole "fake" hatred of the Chimera (which is actually one of the most effective patterns that we use), is that I finally found a bug that hung in there and gave the chimera a full on beat down.  Granted there was an insane callibaetis hatch going, but it still wrecked em' nonetheless.  This pattern was used over two different trips, and it performed equally well on both trips while many other patterns were tried with much less success. I wish I knew what the secret was for this fly, but the fish really preferred it so much that I ended up throwing two of them at a time (Check out the videos below.)

As far as the construction of the fly, it's really nothing groundbreaking in regards to materials and it's really kind of just a mashup of an AP Emerger and a Hare's Ear Soft Hackle.  A couple of keys to the fly that are maybe a bit unique are the "veil" of ice dub that adds just a tiny bit of flash, and the bead placement that makes the soft hackle flare out a bit more than normal.

~ Cheech

P.S. -  A few notes regarding the materials I chose.  I really prefer to use the partridge that you get right off the skin because you can get the size that you want, and the feathers are in great shape with few broken ends.  I used a skin from Nature's Spirit, but the skins that we have from Hareline are also excellent quality.  I have listed the other options below.  Also, I used Snowshoe Rabbit's Foot Dubbing on this fly, but you could also get away with hare's mask dubbing that I have listed as well.  I also used the HMH Spartan vise on this bug just for fun.  It's the first time I had ever tied on one, and it's a very nice piece of equipment!

Material List

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Hook: Fulling Mill 35085 Nymph Hook, Barbless - 14     
Thread: 8/0 UNI-Thread Waxed Midge - Camel     
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten Beads - Copper - 7/64" (2.8mm)     
Tail / Hackle: Nature's Spirit Primo Partridge Skin, Natural     
Rib: UTC Ultra Wire - Copper - Small     
Body: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Rabbit Foot Dubbing - Hare's Ear     
Thorax: Ice Dub - UV Brown     

Other tools from the tutorial:
Stonfo Comb/Brush Tool     
Hungarian Partridge Skin - Grade #1     
Hungarian Partridge Skin - Grade #2     
Nature's Spirit Hare's Mask Dubbing - Natural     
C&F Design Hackle Pliers     
HMH Spartan Vise - Pedestal     

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fall Streamer Season

Throw the meat

Slider Eater

It's been a while...  I know...  Right now there are some pretty exciting things going on with Fly Fish Food because we are putting the finishing touches on our retail shop in Orem, UT.  It seems like every waking hour is spent getting everything set up in the shop, but it will all be worth it in the long run!  Anyway, as we sit hanging the millionth bag of dubbing on the wall, we dream of tying flies and fishing big streamers like we used to in the fall.  Really it's not that bad, and I soaked a few streamers a few weeks ago.  

As we rolled up to the brand new spot that we had never fished, I was debating on whether to take a streamer rod, a Czech nymph rod, or both.  It seems like every time I'm considering this it turns into a no-brainer and I just grab the streamer stick.  Adam and Curtis grabbed nymph sticks and up the trail we went.  As I decided which fly to tie on, It's always a hard decision on a new water that I have never fished, so I took into consideration how deep the river was, how fast it was flowing, how accessible it was...  Well, not really.  I assessed the situation for two milliseconds and immediately tied on the Articulated Trout Slider in gold because it has become my ultimate confidence fly.  I tried throwing other stuff that day, but all of my eats came on the gold slider...  Go figure.  

This led me to think about how I select flies for streamer fishing, and I think I have it dialed down to a handful of patterns that I always make sure I have.  I also have become pretty partial to some materials that have allowed my streamer tying to get better and better as I practice new techniques.


1- Articulated Trout Slider.  This pattern (the gold one) is typically the first streamer that I tie on because of how it moves in the water.  The fish have some kind of addiction to gold too.  It really could be part of the Kardashian family because of all the hype and bling, but the back end is too slim.  We have a tutorial to show you how to tie it (HERE), or you can buy them (HERE) now that our friends at Fulling Mill are on board with it!

2- Complex Twist Bugger. This is the ultimate fly for the last minute tying sessions before a fishing trip.  There are lots of times when I have some new fangled device that I think is going to crush, but the damn complex twist usually outperforms them all.  Dear Complex Twist Bugger, stop making more complicated flies look bad. Sincerely, Cheech.  Tie it (HERE) or buy it (HERE).  Also, the new Gator Grip from Loon makes this fly very easy to tie.

3- Belly Scratcher Minnow. This fly has been tied in a bazillion different configurations since I started tying them, and it seems like they all work!   Really though, I usually have 5 or 6 of them in chub color because it mimics a lot of different bait fish.  I like to tie this one on when the fish are having snooty attitude issues and they need to be educated.  Tie it (HERE), or buy it (HERE).

These three flies have probably accounted for the majority of my streamer fish this year, mostly because I have confidence in them and I fish them pretty hard.  This isn't to say that I don't fish other patterns, because I do...  a lot... It's just that these patterns are the ones that I know that the fish will absolutely eat.

If you are into creating your own sauce to feed the fish, there are a few staple materials that I seem to use a lot more than others, and you will see them a lot in our tutorials.  This should be no secret, but I really like micro pulsator strips, schlappen, polar chenille, ice dub in metallic colors (gold, silver, copper, holographic silver, red, blue steelie etc), and nature's spirit prime long marabou.  

These flies and materials should help you put some chemically sharpened steel into a few fish faces this fall!  Best of luck!


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Aero Baetis v 2.0

A Solid Mayfly Nymph

Since I first featured and did a tutorial on the original Aero Baetis here almost three years ago (crazy how time flies) and true to form on most any pattern I work with, I've come to tweak a few aspects of the fly that I feel make it an even better performer.

Update: We now have these in stock on the store. Buy them here.

The first major change was the hook. I've become less a fan of the 200R style hooks with the small gap and long bend like that. I don't think the shape and small gap give me much more than a stronger, larger gaped hook. Granted, they give you an awesome natural-looking shape to a finished fly and as I've heard some people mention, the smaller tapered gap might serve to obfuscate the overall hook shape. But given that any fish taking a fly will have to ignore the ginormous hook appendage coming out of the insect's butt, I find myself tying more in wider gaped hooks and not worrying about that little aspect of it. Plus, getting beads on those hooks can be a nightmare.

I also updated the body and ribbing material to something less bulky and more flashy. The thorax is now a half-and-half natural/synthetic material in the Hare'e Ice Dub -- one of my favorite nymph dubbings.

And not only does this style nymph play well as a Blue Winged Olive nymph, I use it almost as often for PMD nymphs and Callibaetis nymphs. You just need to swap out the appropriate colors and mess with sizing a bit.

Material List

Hook: Daiichi 1550, #14-#18 (+)
Thread: Danville 70 Denier, Olive (+)
Thread 2: Danville 70 Denier, Fl. Orange (+)
Bead: 2mm Tungsten (2.4 on #14), Black Nickel (+)
Tail: Coq De Leon Tailing Fibers, Med Dun  (+)
Body: Veevus Holo Tinsel, Med, Brown (+)
Ribbing: Dyed Pearl Flashabou, Olive (+)
Thorax: Hare'e Ice Dub, Olive Brown (+)
Wing Case: Nymph Skin, Bronze/Tan - Clear (+)
                   or Fino Skin, Brown (+)

Other Tools, materials:
Loon UV Fluorescing Clear Fly Finish (+)
Stonfo Combo Comb/Brush (+)