Archive for September 6th, 2010


Fly Tying: Animal Fur with Guard Hairs

When I first learned to tie flies, synthetic dubbing blends were unavailable. Fly bodies were often from wool yarn, chenille or animal fur. I recall using one of our ‘older’ coffee grinders (grinding your own beans was revolutionary in itself, if you were only familiar with Folgers. So, when I appropriated our one and only coffee grinder to blend fur cut from the hide…well, it didn’t go over well. Fur on the hide usually came packaged in small patches, unless you knew someone who trapped or knew how to manage road kill (I won’t ever explain my one and only effort at skinning a rabbit).

One method, less used today, was to cut fur from the hide and dub it onto the hook, guard hairs and all. The spiky appearance was appealing and still is today. Today, dubbing loops are more popular to capture the fur, which allows for a uniform body and display of the guard hairs. The attached pic is of a nymph in which I dubbed via a loop Muskrat hair with the guard hairs included. Guard hairs can be separated out from the fur when one only wants the pure fur for dubbing a nice tight nymph or dry fly body. Today, synthetic dubbing’s (Ultra Fine, etc) make the tying/dubbing sleek dry fly bodies a breeze. But, every now and then, I find a patch of fur that has been properly stored and avoided the moths. It takes me back to dub a fur body. The thorax on the pattern is a couple turns of black Ostrich. The fly was tied on a size 14 hook. Attached, also, is the Hare’s Ear fly pattern (the more popular non-synthetic material these days to dub with), notice the more chaotic blending of fur and guard hairs when spun or twisted vs. captured in a loop with a minimal amount of twists and then wrapped around the shank. Both ways are equally acceptable.


Steelhead Jig Fly Tying ~ Jay Nicholas

Steelhead Jig Fly Tying Video

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Fly Fishing: Rip Presentation..What Is This?

I was perusing Bish & Fish and saw a reference to ‘rip’ fly fishing in his article about what time of day to fish for trout. I thought maybe I knew what it was, but decided to research it. Well, everyone appears to know what this means except me. Little if any explanation on the net. But, that name is still catchy for many: Rip Tide Charters, Riptide Tackle, Riptide Anglers, Rip Tide Fly Rods, Rip Tide Reels, Riptide Magazine…..what the hell is a rip tide or rip as it relates to fly fishing. I picture a strong outgoing tide with an undertow, one you don’t venture into at the coast. But, beyond that….hmm? So, I queried the original source for all this..Bish & Fish. I queried his search box and came up with some leads.

In this instance, I think it is when an inlet stream or river enters a lake, as opposed to a river meeting the ocean? I assume a ‘rip’ is a ‘riptide’? No? Well, I still don’t really know. Presentation, structure, contour, holding water, feed. All about that, but something new to learn for sure. Interesting.

“Rips occur wherever current flows over an area where the depth changes rapidly. For example, rips can be created by shoals, ledges, reefs, rock piles and even wrecks. Basically anything that disrupts the contour of the surrounding bottom can lead to rip formation. On the surface, a rip is identified by a distinct line of choppy water known as a rip line. The force of all the water flowing over the reef or shoal pushes against the surface creating the line of chop.”  New Britain Herald

“These rips are formed by current flowing over a raised section of rocky bottom, also called a reef by some fishermen. Careful boat-handling is often required around reefs and ledges, since many are studded with enormous, boat-eating boulders. As with a shoal rip, the shallower water of the ledge or reef creates a stronger current and a choppy rip line. Sometimes a big ledge will contain several rip lines formed by rocky sections that rise up higher than the surrounding ledge structure. It’s these “high spots” that often offer the best fishing.”  Reel-Time

“Most fishermen who fish river and stream mouths make a beeline for the centre of the rip, cast out and retrieve up the rip. Many catch fish using this method, but it is my observation that the fishermen who catch the most, and biggest fish, do not fish in the main rip where the river enters the lake….In the diagram hereabouts I have attempted to illustrate the dynamics of a typical rip. The diagram is not to scale, but designed to show how most rips develop, and the prime positions to fish.”  Oh, back to the original source…Bish & Fish...why did I wander off?

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September 2010

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