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Monday, July 17, 2017

Bionic Ant

Bionic Ant
My favorite summer-time fishing technique is to float rivers from a Fly Craft or Hyde drift boat and accurately cast ants to weary, bank-hugging Trout.  Until about 10 years ago I largely overlooked the importance of ants and beetles for summertime Trout.  Sure, I fished a lot of cicadas in early summer, hoppers late summer and even threw the odd cricket pattern but I rarely fished ants.  I've since learned what I was missing!  I find this to be true of most of my fly fishing friends and fly shop customers.  Generally speaking, we seek out hatches and otherwise nymph or toss streamers during non-hatch periods.  While all of that is fun (and can be very productive), I relish the opportunity to fish dry flies, and large ants have become my summertime go-to dries.

Getting an ant pattern that is buoyant, easy to see, and fish approved wasn't easy.  There are several patterns out there that check one of  those boxes, maybe two, but rarely all three.  The Bionic Ant has become my go-to terrestrial, and really, my go-to dry fly during non-hatch periods and often during major hatches!  Sure, the Bionic is basically an oversized sailor ant pattern with a few extra materials, but the biggest change for me regarding this pattern is its size.  Previously, I fished size 16 and smaller ant patterns.  Not any more.  Other than a few experiences with European Grayling, I don't really fish ants smaller than a 14 (Grayling have small mouths compared to Trout and although they'll gladly attempt to eat a large Bionic Ant, they rarely get it in their mouth well enough to hook them).  Anyway, my point is that I recommend you try fishing ants much larger than you'd think.  I mostly use size 10 & 12.  With a foam body, white top for visibility, small legs for movement and silhouette this pattern gets attention.  Add a nice brown, or my favorite, coachman brown, hackle to the center and you have a buoyant, visible, fish catching fly.  One final tying tip, use oversize hackle and trim it flat on the bottom.  See the video for more info.

Don't overthink this.  Remove the "hatch-matching" thoughts from your fishy brain.  Go big, be accurate with your casts, fish near overhanging brush, or along grassy banks and make sure you get a nice "plop" with your delivery of the fly.  Most important, make sure the fly is drifting free of drag.  Combine that formula with a river or stream full of Trout and you'll see why the Bionic Ant has replaced standard dry fly patterns in my fly box.


Material List

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Hook: TMC 100 Dry Fly Hook - 12 - 25 Pack (Sizes #10 - #16)     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Black     
Body: Foam Ant Bodies - Black - Large (or medium for #16, #14)     
Wing: Para Post Wing Material - Cinnamon Caddis     
Legs: Daddy Long Legs - Black     
Hackle: Whiting Eurohackle Saddle - Dyed Natural Brown (or any other brown hackle)     






Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Carp Hybrid Variation

Add Some "Tickle" to Your Carp Game



Carp are superfish. I have done some carping in the last several years, but it wasn't until about last year that it has become more of something that I plan to do as opposed to a plan B trip.  Carp are excellent fish to fight because they will absolutely kick you in the nether regions if you are not on your A game.  Trout are built like first generation Kia vehicles where you really have to baby them to ensure their survival, but Carp are built like military grade Hummvees with extra gas in the tank.  They have specialized scent that pick up the slightest bit of non-natural scent on your flies, they have specialized gill systems that deliver oxygen to their bloodstream more efficiently than a trout, and they have battle armor that even a missile from Kim Jong Dangus couldn't penetrate.  Yes, in my opinion they are a superfish that make a very worthy target for the fly fisher.  

If you have tried carp fishing you have probably seen, or at least heard about the Carp Hybrid pattern developed by John Montana. I think part of it's appeal is that it's a fairly basic fly that catches fish, and it uses minimal materials (chenille, peacock or chenille, and a soft hackle).  I have made a few minor changes to suit my needs (wants) and have done really well with this variation.  The most notable is the "tickler" that I added to the tail of the fly to increase movement when the fly is being gently hopped on the bottom.  Tie some of these up in various colors to see what your local carp like best. 

** Also, watch to the end to see the choice words I have for the brahma hen hackle I was trying to work with.

Cheech



*** I also like to use the Daiichi 1120 size 6-8 on this fly as well.  It stands up on it's head really well.  Feel free to substitute different materials and colors to make this fly work for you...

Material List

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Hook: Gamakatsu SL45 Bonefish Hook - 4     
Eyes: Bead Chain Eyes - Black - Large     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Red     
Tail: Ultra Chenille - Red     
Tickler: Nature's Spirit Strung Marabou - Red     
Body: Sparkle Emerger Yarn - Tan     
Soft Hackle: Coq De Leon Hen Saddle - Speckled Medium Ginger     



Other tools from the tutorial:
Cautery High Temp Finishing Tool     
Griffin Montana Mongoose Vise     
Tiemco Razor Scissors - Gold, Half-serrated     
C&F Design Bobbin     
Loon Water Based Head Cement System     

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tungsten Surveyor

SURVEY THE RIVER BOTTOM

Tungsten Surveyor

The Tungsten Surveyor is one of my lesser known patterns, which I find interesting since the pattern is one of my more productive flies.  It just works.    
The Surveyor is a product of my love of Wapsi, rainbow sow scud dubbing and the hares ear.  When I found fish really liked the Rainbow Warrior, another of my confidence flies was a bead head hares ear.  With the success of the Warrior, I couldn't help but wonder how the fish would react to a hares ear tied with rainbow sow scud dubbing.  Naturally, I started tinkering with a nymph similar to a bead head hares ear by substituting the hares mask dubbing for rainbow sow scud dub.  A few versions later I had changed bead colors (gold to silver), adapted ribbing materials (gold tinsel to silver wire) and borrowed red thread, pheasant tail and pearl flash back from the Rainbow Warrior.  The result is the Tungsten Surveyor.  Fill a row in your nymph box.  If you're out of space, buy a new Tacky or Umpqua box to fill with fish catching Surveyors.

Material List

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Hook: Hanak H 400 BL Jig Hook - 14     
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten Beads - Nickel - 7/64" (2.8mm)     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Red     
Weight: Lead Wire Spool - .010     
Tail: Nature's Spirit Ringneck Pheasant Center Tails - Natural     
Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire - Silver - Small     
Abdomen: Wapsi Sow Scud Dubbing - Rainbow     
Wing Case: Pearl Tinsel - Large     
Thorax: Wapsi Sow Scud Dubbing - Rainbow     



Other tools from the tutorial:
Renzetti Master Vise     
C&F Design Bobbin     
Stonfo Comb/Brush Tool