Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I am going to take a couple days off to celebrate Christmas with my family and start to get organized for my trip to Florida. I'll be back online in a few days.
Merry Christmas to you and your family and may you have a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year (with lots of time to get out on the water!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tying Time - Variation on a Variation part 4

Well, I think this theme has just about run its course, I'll finish with a flourish of three more variations.
The first one is a variation on my rootbeer bugger. It has an orange glass beadhead. The orange could look like an egg, or just a shiny attractant that flows with the other colors of the fly. I like the glass beads for some of our shallower streams. It sinks the fly, but not as deep as brass or tungsten, so it won't get hung-up as much. If it isn't getting deep enough, just add a pinch of tunsten putty.

The second fly is my yellow/olive WB with a green glass bead. Gives a little flash and will sink the fly gradually.

The last one is the old standby olive WB with an olive glass beadhead. Nothing spectacular, but maybe just that little bit of distinction that will trigger a strike.

What variationsdo you tie?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tying Time - Variation on a Variation part 3

I call this fly the"Bruiser." Yes, it is a big, meaty chunk for hungry fish, but it is black and blue, too. This WB is definitely a variation of the egg-sucking leech, which usually is tied as a black WB with an orange or red head. I once read that rainbow trout are attracted to the color blue in flies. So this seemed like a natural color combo for those early season rainbows that cough-up hatchery pellets when you land them.
Note: you might not (probably won't!) find in a fly shop all the different colored beads I use. Last winter my buddy Jerry Bernier bought a big supply of various colored glass beads and I bought a couple bucks worth off him. The red, pink, yellow and clear ones make great egg-flies. The others show up on my woolly buggers and larger soft hackle flies.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tying Time - Variation on a Variation part 2

Here is another variation using the red "gill-bead" to add a splash of red. This might also be a variation of the Egg-sucking leech pattern. The color doesn't show on the scan, but I also "ruggedized"this fly using fine red wire as a ribbing. This adds another bit of color flash and also anticipates the success of the fly by adding the wire rib to keep the many fish which bite it from tearing it shreds. If you aren't an optimist, you are a fly fisherman! BTW, I always put a layer of head cement on the hook prior to wrapping the chenille body on my woolly-buggers. I almost always add a wire rib over-wrap, as well. Usually fine gold wire, but sometimes copper or red. This fly also has a few strands of black crystal flash in the tail. You might also notice that I usually tie the tails on my WB a little shorter than you might see elsewhere. It pisses me off when I get short-strikes and have to pinch off some of that flowing tail. So, I got into the habit of tying a little shorter tail, cutting down on missed strikes. It might look a little short to the fisherman, but the fish don't care!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tying Time - Variation on a Variation

It is a well-known, revered tradition that when the snow starts to fly, New England fly fishermen hunker down in front of their vises and crank out flies to fill the holes in their fly boxes for the next season. As you can see by the dearth of fishing reports, this fisherman has hunkered down sooner than ever! Before this latest snowstorm hit, I was over to the Evening Sun fly shop chewing the fat with Charlie, Nelson and John and replenishing some tying supplies. Charlie was sharing some unique material he had just acquired and when I got home I sat down at the vise to try it out. It is really just a variation on some readily available materials in a unique color. I tied a few flies with the new material and when I stuck them into the foam block next to some other flies I had recently tied, it struck me that I was continuing the variation on a theme. The theme is tying tried and true patterns and the variation is to use some different colored materials to show the fish something different, but potentially even more appealing. The idea is not to be different just for difference sake, but to try to improve the effectiveness of existing patterns with "new" materials. The flies already tied so far are (Surprise!!) woolly-buggers. Yes, I tie them in all the "regular" colors - black, olive, brown and white. Lately I have added "root beer" to my repertoire. For the last couple years, I have also been using some material variations. The most successful of these has been to use yellow chenille body with olive tails and hackle. I will share some of these variations with you over the next few days. Keep in mind a couple things. First, these are tied to fish, not to win any beauty contests. Second, I just smacked them down on my scanner without combing, arranging or multiple scans. What you see is what the fish see and they don't give a darn, as long as it looks tasty!
Here is a variation on a variation. A yellow-body, olive bugger with conehead AND red glass bead tied on a size 10 nymph hook. The main variation here is the red bead. A lot of real successful flies have a splash of red. Some people think this simulates an injured fish or the color of the gills of a bait fish. Whatever the reason, this is the prototype and if it works, I'll tie some more, or it could just be an interesting "one-off" variation. Stay tuned for more variations on a variation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stan on the Swift River - Discussion with George

Yesterday I was up on the high bank upstream of route 9 spotting fish for Stan, when George (of woolly bugger fame) came along and kibitzed for a few minutes. (You may wonder about the sudden influx of videos. I was trying out my new FlipVideo, so stay tuned for more on-the-water action!)
He-e-e-e-r-e-s Stan! (And George!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last trip of the year?

Today Stan and I made the trek to the Swift River. 60F air temps and 46F water temp was close to December perfection. The video is a chunky rainbow from below the hatchery pipe.
We had the whole run to ourselves for most of the morning. The water was pretty high (about 160 CFS) compared to the low flows of the last couple months. Almost no rises were seen, so most fish were fooled with nymphs, such as olive scuds.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Local bamboo rodmaker

I direct your attention to the sidebar on the right under "My Favorite Blogs and websites." You will see a new entry for Riverstix, operated by DJ Duggan, a local bamboo rodmaker also offering repairs and restoration, as well as custom building graphite and glass rods. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have no commercial connection to DJ, but admire his work and respect him as a classy guy. Take a look at his site,and the next time you stop by Evening Sun fly shop in Pepperell, take a look at his rods that Charlie has on display.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Free Fly Tying Class - Manchester, NH

Click on the title of this post to access the Manchester, NH Public Library calendar, where you can register for the FREE Fly Tying Class to be held on January 31. See the post below about the Nashua, NH class for an overview. The class is free and all tools and materials are provided.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Swift River - Dec 4

They say "The Tug is the drug" and I needed to get out and feed my habit. Dick and I headed out to the Swift River and had good day on the water. (Aren't all days on the water good?) We spent most of the time below route 9. We had the run below the hatchery pipe to ourselves for about 15 minutes. then a few other folks spread out down the stream. Only saw a couple fish landed. This is Dick with the rainbow he landed. I only brought one to net, but broke off quite a few. Dick and I had just been talking about breaking off fish on light tippets and I proceeded to demonstrate the process. Small midge larva, SJW, and green copper John all accounted for fish, although there was quite a long time between tugs.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Learn to Tie Flies - Free!

If you have always wanted to learn how to tie flies, here is your chance. My buddies Jim Norton and Stan Jodziewicz will be teaching this free class at the Nashua Public Library on January 24. Click on the title of this post to get to the registration page. All tools and materials are included and there is no charge for the class. There will also be a class in Manchester, and I will post that information, in case Manchester is more convenient for you than Nashua. The classes are jointly sponsored by the State of NH Fish and Game department's "Let's Go Fishing" program, and Merrimack River Valley chapter TU, along with the folks at the library.