Saturday, October 3, 2015

Tying "Tuft and Tail" Patterns

Being a believer in the keep it simple stupid mode of tying, and fishing for that matter, these types of patterns are some of the most effective out there when fished properly.  This style lends itself to both topwater patterns, and to subsurface patterns.   In fact, one of the things I like so much about the RS2 is that it can be fished deep, and at times in the surface film as a small BWO or midge emerger.  A friend, Bill Silvia, ties essentially the same pattern you see Tim Flagler tie here but with a tuft of pearlescent ice dub for the wing bud, and does very well on the South Branch and other rivers with this simple pattern.     

Tie some up and sharpen your hooks!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tying the Autumn Splendor Streamer

Like I said in recent previous posts, Tim has been looking forward to hitting the streams this fall when the rivers rise and the trout become active for big meals.  Here Tim ties the Autumn Splendor, a perfect pattern for big fish in swollen fall rivers.  This is one fly that will get down to the fish in a hurry.  With all of the rain we are getting (it's about time), this will be a good choice in the next week or two...and beyond.

Sharpen your hooks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sunday's Brown

Here's a short video Tim took of the brown trout I caught Sunday evening on the South Branch (see previous post).

Sharpen your hooks!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Unstructured Time - We Fished!

Late Sunday afternoon I got the bug to fish after spending the weekend working outside and playing some golf.  I knew the river would be super low, but also knew the recent chilly nights and warm but not hot days would keep the water temperatures cool enough for the fish.  When I got to the river it was about 5:30 PM and Mr. Tightline Productions, Tim Flagler, was already there getting geared up. Tim is one of those guys that even though we hadn't talked in a few weeks, we just pick things up where we left off and move forward.  By the time we had our gear on and rods rigged, we covered a lot of ground both literally and figuratively.

It was a beautiful late summer evening with clear skies, the sun low in the Western sky, and a light cool breeze carried the undeniable smells of Autumn - drying corn fields, freshly cut straw and hay, and leaves nearing their last days of forming canopies to protect shade lovers from the high sun of summertime.  When we walked up the river, I was stunned at how low the water level was. I dropped my thermometer in and after a few minutes checked it to find temperatures in the mid 60 degree F range. After a quick assessment, we decided to head downstream to a few deeper runs and pockets.

I stopped at a deep pool that had good flow and was in the shade.  Tim continued downstream a bit intending to hit a few relatively deep riffles and runs.  After watching the water for a few minutes I decided to tie on a small, weighted Walt's Worm since no bugs were in the air or on the water.  My leader was about 10-11 feet long, tapered to 5X.  I did not add any weight to the tippet, the current was slow enough I thought that the weight of the fly would get it down naturally if I cast it carefully with a slight upstream mend.  On the second cast, after a short drift, my line twitched ever so slightly and I set firmly into the jaw of what turned out to be a good-sized, beautifully colored pre-spawn brown trout.

I worked the pool slowly after that continually watching the water surface for rising fish, but to no avail.  There were a few dark caddis in the air by now and some late season light cahill spinners.  As the sun fell and the sky darkened, random fish would rise here and there, but they were all "one-and-done". So I patiently plied the currents with the small nymph working hard to maintain drag-free drifts in differing levels of the water column.  After some time I was rewarded with a nice rainbow trout that was a few inches bigger than the brown that was strong and determined, jumping several times before I got it to net.

Soon Tim had headed back up and when he reached me he told of a couple of decent fish he caught, also on subsurface flies.  We had only fished for about an hour and a half, but it was wonderful to be back on the water immersed in the subtleties of flowing water and all that thrives above and within it. The time is unstructured, but everything else is clearly defined by the ever changing boundaries of nature.

Sharpen your hooks.        

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Red Quill

Here's one of my favorite traditional Catskill dry flies, the Red Quill.  It imitates the male Hendrickson, Ephemerella subvaria, mayfly that hatches in mid-April here in New Jersey.  There is something very special to me about tying and fishing these patterns that I can only describe as being akin to eating comfort food - everything in life just seems balanced and peaceful. 

(Click on photo to enlarge)
Sharpen your hooks!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tying Vinnie's Isonychia Nymph

This is what we are tying in anticipation of Autumn fishing; its a pattern my buddy Vincent came up with some years ago that works quite well.  You can tie it as shown, or wrap some wire weight along the shank to give it some mass so it gets down quickly in the fast runs and pockets where the naturals are found.  I tie it both with and without weight - for the weighted ones I tie in a short length of red thread on the bottom of the head so I can tell which is which.  If you like to fish two flies, a weighted Iso nymph is a great anchor fly.  For your dropper fly, go with something small like a pheasant tail, RS2 or some other midge pattern you have confidence in.

Any 2X long nymph hook in sizes #10-14 will do.  And yes, I used 6/0 Danville black thread......sometimes you have to give the olive thread a day off.

Sharpen your hooks!   

Monday, September 14, 2015

Henley and Matt

Hopefully we'll be fishing this coming weekend now that things have cooled and rains have brought the rivers up.  In the meantime, I thought I would share this picture my oldest daughter took of my son walking with the little man at the Bronx zoo last weekend.