Archive for December 31st, 2009


Fly fishing Kiritimati (Christmas Island May 2009)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I didn’t make this video, but much of the visuals here sure take me back a couple years ago when I visited this exotic location. Worth a look if you intend to go here someday. I have posted elsewhere here about that trip. Query Christmas Island or Kiritimati in search box, upper right.

I went end of November, into December. I am told Spring has become a favorite now, along with newer accommodations on the Island besides the Mini, where I stayed. Maybe the Mini isn’t running out food these days. I didn’t mind the P&B sandwiches that smelled of fish, but a packed lunch of cold tuber, cold white rice and cold fish and water was unsettling to the gut more than once.


Western Rivers Conservancy

I was watching Ed Ward’s Skagit Master DVD and noted several spots incorporated into the DVD highlighting the accomplishments of the Western River Conservancy. Good efforts.

Hoh River, Washington


Fly Tying: Basic Pattern Progression (Woolly Worm to Woolly Bugger and more)

This post is about the beginner recognizing the pretty obvious progression of a pattern of tying, but also, a strong reminder that these basic patterns would and do take an enormous amount of freshwater fish. We often hasten our tying experience toward more complicated patterns (hence they must be more worthy) and leave behind simple patterns, that are fish magnets. The above pattern is representative of such a pattern. It could be tied from a size 2 to a size 18 and take countless fish. Body and hackle colors could be mixed and matched. You will note that there is no tail. The Woolly Worm is often seen with a red tail of red hackle fibers/barbs or a tuft of red synthetic yarn. The red tail is traditional, but a more subtle color  could be used.

The below pattern is a thicker view of a Woolly Worm with the tail.


You notice the fly is thicker with the chenille body and the prominent red tag tail of yarn. The tail is theorized to be an attractor. The body of this Woolly Worm is similar to that seen in recent years for the fly shop Woolly Bugger…

Woolly Bugger SwittersB

The late Ed Story of Missouri, tied the Crackleback pattern, akin to a miniature Woolly Worm, which he fished top to bottom and touted as his primary fly via his Feather Craft enterprise.

Crackleback ~ Byron Haugh (Tier) Han Weilenmann (Photography)

I hope you can see the simplistic beauty of this basic tying premise and not hasten away from it. Large and small, top to bottom, the basic bones of these patterns must not disappear from your fly box. A basic technique in all of them is palmering the hackle, usually rear to front. The hackle is tied in by the tip and wound forward, incrementally spaced out, over the abdomen/thorax area and tied off at the head. How you tie the hackle onto the shank determines whether the hackles angle forward or as most often backwards. Above in the Crackleback, the feather was tied in with the underside of the hackle facing forward; this caused the hackle barbs to angle forward. Usually the feather is tied in with the top or shiny side of the hackle facing forward; causing the hackle barbs to angle backwards. All of these patterns will be affected by the degree of stiffness in the hackle used.


Fly Tying: Doc Spratley (Stillwater to Steelhead Pattern)

Doc Spratley (Western-Fly)

When I took fly tying lessons (Doug Stewart, Stewart’s Custom Tackle) some 35 years or so ago, one of the patterns that Doug Stewart used was the Doc Spratley pattern. We tied it in black. You can see above, that the pattern (abdomen) can be tied in any number of colors. The tiers will categorize this pattern as an emerging caddis pattern. I think that would be a good concept, as well as a smallish bait fish pattern in the right colors or a steelhead pattern. This is a good quality pattern for beginning fly tying, but also, for catching fish. Oh, and for the sake of beginners, the other patterns Doug used to teach basic applications of materials to the hook were: Gray Hackle Peacock, Bivisible, Montana Stone. Oh, isn’t that a very nice picture? Very pleasing.

Doc Spratley @ Western-Fly

The Chronic Fly Fisher Doc Spratley

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December 2009

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