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Monday, January 23, 2017

Mil Spec Nymph

Thin to Win

Mil Spec Nymphs

"Now that was a cast," I privately assured myself as I landed my small PMD emerger about 7 feet in front of the fish that had been taunting me all day.  He was the guy that was telling his fish buddies "hey watch this," and he would rise very aggressively, and then stay subsurface for 15 minutes.  Little did he know, that I had a fresh dry fly itch, and it was going to get scratched that day.  This went on for about 40 minutes or so, and this fish had me right where he wanted me; frustrated, searching for exactly the right bug, casting hurriedly...  I had dry fly fever.  Curtis will attest that I change flies more than humanly necessary, and this trip was no exception.  On went a little curved shank bunny jobber, with all the right floaty parts in all the right places.  This bully of a fish lost that battle on the very cast that I had reassured myself that it was a good cast...  He was a brute.  All of 13" and he got a stern tongue lashing from me before being released to taunt another day.  This fish, however, won a battle for the rest of the fish in that river because he made me lose my focus long enough during my tirade of clipping off and tying on new patterns that I left my pack unzipped and I dropped my "mayfly" box (of about 350 flies) into the river.  I didn't realize until the next week.  I half-heartedly looked, but I knew that this probably just meant that I was going to have to hit the vise pretty hard to replace them.  Off to the shop to pick up a box and a bunch of hooks...

Mil Spec PMD Nymph
I tell that story because that dumb little 13" fish spurred this whole new mayfly box that I have been working on, and I've been quite pleased with some of the patterns that are lining the rows.  Not only did I want some super ninja techie flies that have all the detail, I also wanted some quick ties that I could crank out in short time.  As I was deciding what to tie, I was set on figuring out a bug that was both super techie, and super easy.  Long story short, my stripped peacock quills switched to flat thread and a marker, and it was kind of hard to tell the difference.  I was also in the middle of cleaning and tweaking my AR-15, so I started calling this technique the "mil spec" technique for lack of a better term.

A couple of notes when tying these: DO NOT USE A CHARTPAK MARKER like I did (sorry to yell), but the chartpak ink dries a bit slower, so it can bleed into the body, making it a one toned fly.  Sharpies work really well.  Also, try different colors of thread like burnt orange, purple, brown, gray, etc. etc.  The sky is the limit with these bugs.

~Cheech



Material List

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Hook: TMC 2488 Nymph Hook - 18 - 25 Pack     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Olive     
Tail: Sparkle Emerger Yarn - Brown     
Wing: Whiting Brahma Hen Saddle - Mottled Gray     
Thorax: Super Fine Dry Fly Dubbing - BWO     
TBD: Mirage Tinsel - Opal - Small     



Other tools from the tutorial:
Tiemco TMC Adjustable Magnetic Bobbin     
Loon Ergo All Purpose Scissors - 4"     
Marc Petitjean Whip Finisher     


Monday, January 16, 2017

Mil Spec Loop Wing Emerger - Mayfly

More Ammo for Your Dry Fly Box



This is another fly from the Mil Spec series that brings all the trout to the yard.  When I originally started tying this style of fly, I was using thread and wire to make the abdomen, dubbing for the thorax, and snowshoe hare's foot fibers for the wing.  This pattern is very similar in form, but I switched to all synthetic fibers because I could change the colors to match any mayfly that I was using, and I could tie it much faster.  The simplicity of this fly is kind of why I like it so much.  Not only does it do a great job of looking helpless on top of the water, I can also tie these in about 3 to 4 minutes each.

When I fish this fly I really like to use a floatant that will bind itself to the materials that I use.  Loon Lochsa is really good at floating basically whatever you squeeze it onto, and Loon Payette Paste is kind of an unusual solid floatant that you can kind of mash into the thorax and wing of this fly to keep it riding high for a longer period of time.  Or...  You can just be like Curtis and use bacon grease as your floatant.  At the end of the day it's really just up to you...

~ Cheech




Material List

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Hook: TMC 2488 Nymph Hook - 18 - 25 Pack     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Olive     
Tail: Sparkle Emerger Yarn - Brown     
Wing: EP Trigger Point Int'l Fibers - Dark Dun     
Thorax: Super Fine Dry Fly Dubbing - BWO     



Other tools from the tutorial:
Tiemco TMC Adjustable Magnetic Bobbin     
Loon Ergo All Purpose Scissors - 4"     
Marc Petitjean Whip Finisher     



Monday, January 9, 2017

Mil Spec Cripple - Mayfly Pattern

Mayflies are Cheeseburgers*

*If you listen to Pink Floyd while reading this post it will make more sense.

Mil-Spec Baetis Cripple
 Imagine if you had an addiction to cheeseburgers.  Any time cheeseburgers were available you went out of your way to eat as many as possible, and not only are you addicted to cheeseburgers, but everyone around you was also addicted to cheeseburgers - I know, it sounds like a Fly Fish Food staff meeting.  (Ok, I love writing this post so far...)  Now imagine that cheeseburgers grew legs and were only in a certain spot for a short period of time before running away from you.  You know what I'm thinking - chase the cheeseburgers with sprained ankles and torn ACLs.  Same delicious cheeseburger, less running around.  Mayflies are cheeseburgers for trout.

Now that you have imagined cheeseburgers with tangible limbs, we'll talk a little bit about mayflies and the laziness of trout.  Trout, much like my children, work as little as possible in order to get food, and if there is a bug in the water that is easier to eat than the others they are all over it.  All they care about is caloric intake.  Without diving too far down the entomology rabbit hole, we'll just say that some mayflies die before they are ever able to fully mature.  They are void of their nymphal shuck at this point, but their wings and tails are all wadded up in clumps of delicious trout cheeseburger.  Not only do they have kind of a distinct footprint on the water (jacked up wings and tails), they don't move at all because they are dead, or otherwise incapacitated to the point where they don't move.  Had these patterns been named in our day and age with all the political correctness, they would have been called something other than "cripples," but thanks to our fly fishing forefathers, we have cripple patterns. 

Long story short...  Mayflies die on the surface.  Mayflies that die in the surface film look tasty to trout.  Trout proceed to eat tasty jacked up mayflies that are stuck in the surface.  Tie mayflies that look all jacked up so that lazy fish will eat them.  Live long.  Prosper.

A few notes on this fly...  I have been messing with body types for mayflies quite a bit, and I realized that I could get a body to look just like a nice quill or biot simply by using flat thread and markers.  This body style was so realistic and so easy to adapt to different bugs that I called it the Mil-Spec body one day at the shop.  The name kind of stuck.  In addition to this, the trigger point international fibers are treated with floatant (even though I use Lochsa on this pattern), and they also have great sheen on the water.  It's been one of my go-to materials lately.

~Cheech

**Before you watch this video, it's worth noting that the flies I have done with Chartpak markers tend to bleed color out.  I have had better luck with sharpies and prismacolors.

Material List

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Hook: Fulling Mill 35050 Ultimate Dry Fly Hook, Barbless - 18     
Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier - Olive     
Tail / Wings: EP Trigger Point Int'l Fibers - Dark Dun     
Wing Case: Nature's Spirit CDC - Dark Gray Dun     
Thorax: Super Fine Dry Fly Dubbing - BWO     



Other tools from the tutorial:
Tiemco TMC Adjustable Magnetic Bobbin     
Loon Ergo All Purpose Scissors - 4"     
Marc Petitjean Whip Finisher