Archive for March 20th, 2010


Fly Tying: Scud Pattern (Estaz Body & Angelina Hair)

I saw Jean Paul at was sharing his creative skills with dubbing and specifically Angelina. I recalled a few years back inserting Angelina here and there as suggestive of legs and antenna, whatever required movement. I tied this scud pattern with dark olive Estaz and cut up Angel Hair (Angelina) Size 12 hook, black wire ribbing, clear plastic shellback.


Fly Fishing: Kids, Flies, Spinning Rods and a Casting Bubble

Yes, it is cool that Danny and Lizzie, at five years of age, waving around that fly rod. That is the ultimate goal for many. It is the symbol, the means toward acceptance in the, ah fraternity. For kids, I advocate a different approach, a reverse approach. Place the emphasis on the fly and forget the mechanics of the rod and casting; at least on outings.

The fly becomes the focus, hold on, on the end of a leader with a casting bubble. All propelled out via a spinning rod and reel. Whoa Nellie! Nope. My three sons have an avid appreciation for fly fishing. All can throw a long line via one hander or two hander and they all started with spinning rods/reels.

Years ago, I learned this technique for fishing mountain lakes. I intro’d my sons with this technique rather than slip sinkers, trebles and Power Bait. The kids had enormous success and soon had great confidence in dry flies and wets. The back cast and roll cast were not necessary. Sure there were tangles and loops and sideways casts, but in the end it was and is a successful way to teach a kid to have confidence in a fly and to see the take. In time, the practice and introduction of the fly rod and all the intricacies of the presentations can begin. All my sons were adequately using a fly rod on streams and lakes by 8 or 9 years of age. Not perfect but catching fish.

The above picture (sorry for blur) is of an almost 7 years old son that caught & released this beautiful rainbow while using a Humpy propelled by a casting bubble via a spinning rod/reel. This was a memorable moment. Note, he was wearing a bucket hat from the Little Fort Fly Shop in B.C.

A few year later, the same angler has advanced to a tube, a fly rod and even greater confidence. As the years have progressed, he has built upon those early successes (and failures) and lucky for him knows a gazillion things more than I did at his age. Consider slowly implementing the fly rod. Use the spinning rod and casting bubble. Even nymphs can be used with this setup along the edges of lakes in shallower waters. Keep the leader the length of the rod at most. Small little 5′ rods require a shorter leader. One hangup thing: when the rig is cast, the bubble, if weighted or filled with water, will precede the leader and fly. This can cause the fly/leader to hang back and wrap around the mainline. When the rig lands, usually a few cranks causes the casting bubble to come back closer to than the fly. Then let it set and teach kid to start slow cranking retrieve and pause, retrieve and pause. Keep slack and wind bow out of the line. Once the fly is on the water, keep the rod tip to the surface…sound familiar?


Fly Tying: Spruce Fly Streamer (Matching the Wings)

I posted re this pattern a year or so ago (6-19-08). This pattern accounted for a large rainbow from a Central Oregon lake on a cold, windy day. I couldn’t launch with the winds, so I walked the shoreline, getting out the best cast I could, letting the Intermediate line sink, then strip back with moderately fast strips of 6″ or so. The fly seems more attractor that bait fish. The paired wing (hackles) if paired and tied in correctly, will provide a flexing of the wing and suggest life.

Traditionally, the tail on this pattern is tied with peacock swords (shorter, more vivid colors). I used  red hackle barbs from a Schlappen feather. I used red floss (can use silk or tri-lobal/1 strand) for the body. The tedious part for me is wrapping a tapered body. I wrap the body up and then part way back up and this creates a somewhat tapered body. I did not rib this pattern. The thorax is comprised of good quality peacock herl. I tie in 2 herls. I wrap the two herls to create a nice plump thorax. Do not crowd the eye of the hook. You have to leave space for the wings to be tied in as well as a hackle collar.

Now the important part is matching the Badger wings. The lesser used Badger hackle is used. The tier wants to select two feathers on the cape that are side by side to assist in matching the length. Take the two feathers  and match them for shape and curvature first. Equality is important here. Align the two feathers by starting at the tip then make sure they match progressing toward the butt.

Each feather has as a dark side (top) and a light side. Each feather has a slight curve (concave-bottom). To pair the feathers place the two feathers dark side/convex side together. Measure the feathers for length with the feathers not extending beyond the tail. Now lay the paired feathers along the top of the shank and at a point at least a hook eye’s width back from the eye.  The butt sections will extend out over the eye. Eye the tie in point and snip off the excess butt sections. Tie in the paired wing feathers, but make sure they don’t rotate and misalign here. Tie in, inspect, unwind and straighten them up if necessary until you get it right because this is the important part of the pattern….the correct alignment allows for correct movement.

Next tie in a larger Badger hackle with longer, webby barbs. Wrap the hackle 2 times. Trim the excess. Create a nice thread head to cover the materials. Add head cement if it suits you. If you study capes, you will see Silver Badger hackle suggested for the wing and collar. Furnace hackle is more common and just as good as the harder to find Silver. Don’t put on a bead head. If you weight it (I never have), then wrap a weighted underbody at the thorax area and then over wrap with the peacock

Hook: Sizes 6, 8, 10 on a 3x long streamer hook of your choice.


Fly Fishing: Golden Trout (Introgression & Tetched)

I have fished for this hybrid golden and once the novelty (there unique appearance) wears off, there is a sense it is a bit odd…a bit off. Yes, the fish took the fly, but once they did the word mediocrity comes to mind. The words sludge, drag, short circuit, tetched come to mind. Maybe others have had an entirely different experience with this strain of ‘trout’….hybrid Golden- Rainbow Trout . I believe these hybrids are different than the California Golden Trout.

“Years of exploitation, mismanagement and competition with exotic species have brought these fish (Golden Trout) to the brink of being designated as threatened. Introduced brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) outcompete them for food, introduced brown trout (Salmo trutta) prey on them and introduced rainbow trout (O. mykiss) hybridize with them, damaging the native gene pool through introgression.”  A different perspective of introgression.

Ugh...A Disconnect (Pennine Trout Farm)

The man’s happiness aside, the setting and the fish go hand in hand…manufactured environment and manufactured fish. This was exactly the kind of setting (less refined) in which I encountered my goldens. I don’t seem to mind traveling to B.C. and catching triploids, a hybridized trout, why do I have such a block on these other trout? Aesthetics, personality…I just don’t know.

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March 2010

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