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.