Archive for the 'fly pattern design' Category



10
Sep
11

Fly Tying & Fishing: Little Fort Leech

For my last two stillwater fly fishing outings, the lakes were alive with all manner of insect activity. Last week there were Caddis, Damsels and Dragons and a smattering of Callibaetis. Today, there was a non-stop Chironomid hatch, sizable midges, Caddis, Callibaetis, Tricos, Dragons and on both occasions the overwhelming productive fly was the Little Fort Leech. 

It isn’t that I didn’t try other patterns, but few came to other patterns, despite diligent attempts to present the flies just so. As soon as I went back to the Little Fort Leech the assault continued. It was a bit spooky. I experimented with green, brown, olive green. Rejection. Is it the black? The red dash? The gold bead? The peacock and black chenille? Since I first discovered this pattern, it has been a stalwart stillwater pattern. 

I do attempt to do more on a lake than kick about trolling a woolly bugger. I mix up the retrieves; sometimes I kick, wind drift or anchor. The Little Fort Leech fly is in my top 5 any time. 

06
Sep
11

Fly Tying: Ostrich Herl (Gills)

I have had a liking for Ostrich Herl since I incorporated it into The Orb, a Callibaetis mayfly emerger pattern. Today, I came upon a pattern displayed at the Hatches fly tying forum in 2006, tied by Mihostanev. It is a perfect example of ostrich herl incorporated into the abdomen to suggest gills and/or just life. I intend to experiment with the pattern to tie some manner of Caddis larva/pupa for the upcoming October Caddis emergence this late Summer, into Fall.

Hatches Forum 2006, Caddis Larva by Mihostanev

We will see if I can set aside enough time to tie, and what my effort looks like when I am done! Ostrich herl ranks up there with peacock, marabou and (well the preferred list goes on and on).

31
Aug
11

Fly Tying: In The Film, Emergers

The Orb Callibaetis Emerger, SwittersB

I haven’t been able to get out much this Spring/Summer to fish due to family health issues. I am looking forward to getting out onto a lake soon and experimenting with assorted patterns. It is a part of fly tying/fishing that I enjoy…the experimenting with patterns that you know just have to be successful….but sometimes fizzle. All fun and often amazing. The Orb was hugely successful the past two seasons on lakes as an emerging Callibaetis Mayfly. Fished in the top foot or so of water, with a ‘greased’ leader or beneath a strike indicator (bobber or supportive dry fly)  it rocked. Others tie a similar pattern with a deer hair wing canted forward, plus the bead. I have not tried that…but this simpler version works also.  

28
Jul
11

Fly Tying: Fore & Aft Patterns

I am by no means a fly pattern historian. I leave it to others to delve back through the annals of fly tying. The fore and aft style fly pattern is reputed to have originated in England over a century ago. Most patterns (save those with new synthetic materials) probably had multiple originators in the far corners of the fly tying/fishing world.

The fore and aft is often offered up as a midge cluster. Well, that seems fine for a very small pattern, say size 16 to 20, but my experience with say the Renegade pattern is it has done amazingly well in B.C. lakes as a Caddis pattern beneath the surface. I recall a small, remote lake near Wavy L. that to this day afforded some of the most amazing fly fishing I have ever experienced. The Renegade pattern was in tatters, with the tinsel and rear hackle trailing behind. There were no chironomid/midge in sight. Only, Caddis/Sedge were emerging and skittering. As tempting as it was to put on a large dry Caddis pattern, the sunken Renegade was intoxicating to the fish and to me. I will never forget the fly line zipping through the water as the Kamloops took the fly and jetted off across my path. 

Whether the body in tied thinly or rather plump, like the Renegade, experiment with the fore and aft hackling on a pattern. Try it as a searching pattern where exact dry fly /emerger pattern presentations are not called for. Lakes and busy surface streams would be good choices. The hackles can be the dry fly quality feather or even a softer hackles for a busier look. I have include a Renegade I tied and a Stick Fly (midge) pattern that shows Ostrich Herl for the hackle. 

26
Jul
11

Fly Tying & Fishing: Open Eye Hooks

The Gateway Hook Company unveiled their product about a year ago. I haven’t yet come across this open eyed hook in the shops I frequent. The concept is evident: no threading the eye of a hook, particularly a small hook. You or someone ties the flies on a Gateway No Tie Hook. A loop is constructed on the end of your tippet and cinched down around the open eyed hook. A blocking nub is at the end of the hook’s open wire eye to prevent the loop from sliding off. I will leave to your imagination/assessment as to what is saved or avoided with the product.  Gateway No Tie Hook Loop Knot Tutorials

17
Jul
11

Fly Tying: Basic Dubbed Nymph for Beginning Tier

Generic Dubbed Nymph at Hip Wader that provides a good tutorial for the beginning tier

This little tutorial S-B-S provides several visuals that will help the beginning fly tier: The Bead head + wire wrapped shank. This helps add dense weight to the fly to get it down; the tail is synthetic and more durable than hackle barbs or a clump of fur; the use (dubbing) of animal fur, whether from a skin or out of a bag is a traditional facet of  tying. Learning to prepare the fur prior to dubbing is important to get the most out of the material. The Hip Wader site has nice tutorials….explore, but come back here!

Wire wrapped shank + bead head for dense weight (Hip Wader)

Another consideration here is Lead Free Wire for fly tying. I am often using lead wire on my shanks because I have spools of it, big spools. But, I have also bought and have been using the less dense, stiffer Lead Free wire. The combo of wire wraps + a bead head may provide the necessary weight to get the fly down. On smaller flies, it may be token effort without some form of shot on the leader. Either way, the combination of wire + a bead is a good tool for the beginner to consider. In more exacting imitations, a few more turns of wire and no bead may be called for. Some patterns won’t call for any weight. Swimmer nymphs fished higher in the water column don’t need to plummet to the depths. Research Lead Free wire and shot and alternative materials used in wire and shot.

 

10
Jul
11

Fly Tying: Brian Marz’ & the Chubby Chernobyl

A S-B-S tutorial by Brian Marz for a Golden Stonefly pattern just in time. Note the unique color of the pinkish-tan calf tail that Norm Woods uses for his wing material. Norm Woods’ Chubby Chernobyl by Brian Marz  The pinkish-tan calf tail may not be readily available (an Oregon thing), so you will have to substitute a non-pinkish hued calf tail. An animated, buoyant, buggy looking critter just in time for Summer.

Norm Woods' Chubby Chernobyl Golden Stone (Brian Marz)


09
Jul
11

Fly Fishing Creativity Links (must be the altitude or chemistry)

Erin Block

Jay Zimmerman at Colorado Fly Fishing Reports Blogspot (nice tutorials on flytying and pleasant photography) and his partner in fly lines Erin M. Block at Mysteries Internal (gifted wordsmith and passionate fly fisher) are nice places to visit. Check out both of these sites. They both have a warmth to them that suggests no pretense, totally welcoming. I like the Clown Foot Caddis/Sally that Zimmerman created (note earlier today I wrote about attractor pattens or flies capable of the dry/dropper set up…check out the Clown Foot). And, tell me if you don’t enjoy the insightful way Erin puts words down that resonate.


04
Jul
11

Fly Fishing: Observe & Study

One of the enjoyable aspects of fly fishing (and also of fly tying) is the why of it all. This is then followed by the how, what, where, when of it all. You observe as you pass through the wild. You take it all in. Insects on the rocks, on the water, in the air, on the shore side bushes. Birds scurrying about and maybe the fish visibly feeding.

You observe what is going on and make a selection or many selections in attempting to solve this transitory puzzle. Maybe you are partially or totally successful; maybe you zero out. If so, only a few will really be certain of the why. The rest will ask why and launch into followup study.

This past week, I had occasion to work over a sporadic hatch of PMD’s and two types of Caddis. I worked the convergence of currents below an island. As I watched the slashing rises down stream, I noted the pattern of rises just inside a seam on the slightly faster water side.

I only saw a few insects alighting and steadily drifting toward shoreline vegetation. I put on an a PMD emerger, a PMD dry, a PMD floating nymph. Nada. But, a greenish yellow bodied, brown hackled wet fly sporadically took fish as it swung into the area of the seam. But, there were a lot of missed/hits and bumps. Why? I noticed drag. I noticed when I reached beyond with longer casts, I through quite a few upstream mends to avoid the drag. This resulted in the wet fly sinking more before it came around and started to rise….bang.

Now, I kind of new, by now the theoretical why of this…the fish turned off by drag; the rising fly simulating an upwardly emerging something. But, I wanted to study the why a bit more. I turned to David Hughes fine book: Matching Mayflies.

SwittersB

 I researched the why and reaffirmed and improved some of my correct but muddled thinking about how mayflies emerge toward the surface. This studying of the various ways mayflies emerge from the nymphal confines was beneficial as to how I would tie various patterns in the future and as to how I would present them.

Also, tucked in Hughes book was a bit about presentation in exactly the same kind of shoreline slack water/adjacent to faster water I had encountered that same day. The casts were perfect but the offered mends did little to get the fly down or avoid drag even while I missed fish after fish. Hughes offered up: present from farther upstream and inside more; reach cast with a wiggle stack.

So, my why’s from the stream were researched when I got home to research (or you could call a friend, talk to a fly shop). I developed some what, how, where, when info (I am the who) and am eager to get back out there and try it out. This is, as I say, one of the enjoyable parts of the sport. Observe and then ask why as you pass through. 

03
Jul
11

Fly Tying: Wet Fly (Oversized Hackle Barbs for Wing)

USING OVERSIZED HACKLE ON SMALLER HOOK FOR WET FLY

Pulling hackle barbs off of a larger hackle and tying them in over the eye of the hook, then after creating a body, pulling them back over the body. Key: make the barbs only the length of the hook shank (not longer or shorter). 

Oversized Barbs Used Here and Pulled Back Over Peacock Herl Body (SwittersB)




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