Friday, April 21, 2017

The Red Quill - Tied by Joe Fox

Here's a great video by Tim Flagler/Tightline Productions, of Joe Fox tying a Catskill Red Quill dry fly using techniques he learned from Catskill legends Walt, Winnie and Mary Dette, his great grandparents and grandmother. The Dette's are one of my primary tying influences, and I spent many hours in their fly shop in my younger years watching them tie and asking questions, and learning not only about tying flies, but also how to fish them.  Joe now runs that same fly shop in the front room of that white house on a quiet street in Roscoe, NY where he welcomes anglers from all over the world with the same friendly, warm regard his family did for so many years. 

Here's a link to the Dette Fly Shop: Dette Trout Flies - Since 1928

Sharpen your hooks.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fishing With Henley and Friends

Yesterday we took my 3 year-old grandson Henley fishing at one of the bass ponds a short drive from his home here on Hilton Head Island.  The pond has bass, bream, crappie and catfish in it, and lots of turtles and a few other four-legged reptiles that made it hard to fish at times.

Here's the little man heading to the water armed and ready to do battle.

We got him rigged up and fishing in no time with his Ninja Turtle fishing pole his uncle Hunt bought him last time they were down visiting.  Once he started fishing, there was no telling him how to do it, he was on a mission and focused on the task at hand. 

He fished for a while, casting off the dock, trying both sides, while the turtles watched closely hoping a free meal might fall off his hook.  While all this was happening, the other pond denizens took notice and before long we were joined by them.  I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that any fish that might be nearby swam off to safer waters.

These guys also seemed to be waiting for a free meal.  It's likely that some folks can't read signs, or just don't care, and feed them from the two fishing docks, so when they see anyone on the docks, they come calling.  They averaged about 6-8 feet in length, and then of course, there was the king of the pond that looked to be a good 10 feet long that couldn't be bothered with us.  It stayed on the far bank sunning itself, which was just fine with us.

I don't think many folks get ticketed.......

At the end of the day we had a good time even though Henley didn't catch anything.  He was fascinated with the turtles and the alligators, which in itself was worth the trip to experience. The alligators are very cool, from a distance, and unlike any creature I've ever come across when trout fishing.

Sharpen your hooks!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Galloup's Improved Blue-winged Olive Nymph

I've been tying some new flies for this year, and one of them is a Baetis sp. nymph that comes from the vise of Kelly Galloup.  I saw his video on it, and it's one of those patterns that just looks like it will work. It's a fairly straightforward tie that is similar to a pheasant tail nymph, but with a couple of changes in materials, and the addition of gills.  Yes, gills, that are tied in at the thorax and meant to fold back along the abdomen using a light material, that in water, fades to a mostly translucent veil.   Kelly uses Senyo's Lazer Dub, but I used EP Trigger Fibers in mine.

It's an interesting take but does make sense as the gills of a baetis nymph are a prominent feature of the natural.  There's a line of thinking (myth) that this genus of mayflies hatches on the stream bottom and that may be why this pattern is effective, but they don't, they hatch just under or in the film. Baetis do crawl or swim to the bottom to lay their eggs, which may be part of the confusion.

So the early season verdict is that this pattern works.  In fact, my son fished it earlier this week and took a bunch of fish on it.


Hook: #16-20 nymph
Thread: 6/0 Danville olive
Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
Abdomen: Pheasant tail fibers
Thorax: Ice dub - peacock
Gills: Senyo's Lazer Dub - sparse
Wingcase: Peacock herl

Here's Kelly talking about this pattern and tying it.

Sharpen your hooks!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tying the Top Secret Midge...On a Size #26 Hook!

In his latest tying video, Tim Flagler ties Pat Dorsey's Top Secret Midge pattern, which is a hard enough task for most tyers without having to get it right in front of a camera.  If there's an upside to tying this pattern, it is that it's fairly easy to tie and works well in sizes #20 on down to #26. It was designed for fishing tailwaters, which are midge factories, but it works well anywhere there are trout (midges can be found in just about any river or lake in the world). 

To give you an idea of the size, here's a comparison with a size #20 above it on a quarter. 

Sharpen your hooks!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The X-Caddis

I go through quite a bit of deer and elk hair, as I use it often for various dry flies and emergers. Last week I was placing an order from Blue Ribbon Flies, and I saw that they had early season cow elk hair available, so I ordered a piece.  This stuff is great; fine hair with nice even, unbroken tips and the perfect color for medium to lighter colored flies.  I tied up a bunch of tan X-Caddis with it, which is a pattern developed by Craig Mathews of BRF, and the results speak for themselves.    


Hook: Partridge Dry Fly Supreme #16
Thread: 6/0 Olive Danville
Shuck: Amber zelon
Body: Tan zelon dubbing
Wing: Natural early seasons elk 

Sharpen your hooks. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Clear Water Dry Fly FIshing In Norway

Here's a great short film about dry fly fishing in Norway on a beautiful, crystal clear river called the Laagen. 

Looks like something I may have to add to my bucket list.

And here's a link with information on the fishing and the river: Fishspot

Sharpen your hooks!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Winter? Spring? Fly Tying Is Where It's At

As I write this the bright winter sun is streaming through the living room windows giving the room a golden glow.  Outside, high up in in the red oak where a past storm tore off a large branch exposing the hardwood to insects, a pileated woodpecker taps loudly as it searches for a late day meal.  On the south facing hill below that, several dozen robins root among the thick blanket of dead leaves searching frantically for a meal to fight off the cold.  They hop from spot to spot, grabbing leaves with their beaks and toss them aside hoping to reveal a worm within the warm, decaying matter.   They don't stop moving; I wonder if they stay in motion in an effort to keep warm.  Nevertheless, many chirp that familiar song that often accompanies the blooming of daffodils.

It wasn't but a couple of days ago that it seemed spring was overtaking winter with temperatures in the 60's and friends texting me to leave the office to go wet a line.  There was no fishing this weekend, but we have done plenty of fly tying and thinking about warmer days and rising trout.  The shows are over, the last one being Lancaster a week ago, and that was a great time as usual.  Before I get to the fly tying, here's a shot of me and some of the hoodlums that sit along fly tyers row on the show floor enjoying a cigar after Saturday dinner in Lancaster, PA.

(Click to enlarge photos...or don't)
With opening day in New Jersey and Pennsylvania being about a month away, we are tying flies in anticipation of warmer weather, hatches, and rising trout.  Below is a Hendrickson Sparkle Dun that I tied today, as we typically see these mayflies hatching around opening day in NJ and PA.  They hatch later in the month of April in the Catskills and Delaware system.  I also tie these with a snowshoe rabbit foot wing; both work well for these early season mayflies. 

And of course, we are tying several versions of blue-winged olives, as these little flies are abundant and often the only mayflies hatching in early season.  This is a variation of the Comparadun; woodduck flank tail, thread abdomen, tied on a size #20 emerger hook here.  6/0 olive Danville thread, don't leave home without it.  

And here's a new pattern designed by Bucky McCormick of Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone.  It's called an Almost There Baetis, and imitates an emerging blue-winged olive.  The tail is woodduck fibers, thread abdomen, small dubbed thorax, and grey EP trigger fibers for the wing; also tied on an emerger hook.  Tie some up and fish them with confidence.

And finally, there's a new Atlantic Salmon fly rocking the crusty fly fishing world called a Jock Mop!  Look for details in a future post.

Sharpen your hooks.