Posts Tagged ‘Fly Tying: Wets

07
Aug
11

Fly Fishing: Streamer Presentations

Streamer Presentation Techniques

The reality on many streams and lakes is that ‘baitfish’ imitations account for many large fish. Probably, in many instances, streamers account for more trophy fish than the traditional fly  patterns. That said, many anglers don’t have a streamer pattern in their boxes or forget where they are. So, a good over view of how to fish a streamer, particularly on a river is in order. There is more to it than the wet fly swing/strip it back presentation. I have an assortment of Muddler’s, Spruce Flies and, of course, Woolly Buggers in my streamer box. Do I fish them enough…nope.

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)

23
Jun
11

Fly Fishing: The Water Is Alive

For the beginning fly fisher recognizing your insects can be confusing. On a lake, the insect population is seemingly distinct and more recognizable: hexagenia, callibaetis, dragons, damsels, and of course, the other creatures of scuds (rivers too), leeches, water boatman, chironomids (rivers too) etc. Maybe, at first you might confuse a damsel and dragon. On a river or stream, the puzzle can be a bit more confusing. 

The other night, an associate was fishing the McKenzie River. There were what appeared to be bright yellow, large mayflies out over the water, “as big as a dragon fly”. There were additional yellow mayflies near shore bobbing up and down and almost like a swarm. The fly fisher saw no surface activity from fish.

This is confusing for a beginner and also for the non-beginner. But, this is truly part of the fun of fly fishing! This part of the thinking, observing, planning, deciphering, responding that makes the endeavor so satisfying….at least if you successfully sort out the puzzle. If you don’t observe to start with or if you observe but can’t sort it out then it is daunting. But, don’t let it be.

Keep it exciting and do the research, which has never been easier for the beginner given today’s on line resources: identify the river (or lake) you were fishing. You can do this before or after your fishing. What hatch charts can you find for that water? What insects are present during what months or when you were fishing? Research those insects. Find pictures of the nymphs, duns, spinners for that mayfly lets say (or caddis?).

In my friends case: what were those ‘large’ yellow mayflies? PMD, PED, Yellow Sallys (stonefly), Epeorus, Golden Stones. Color, size, hatch location, stage of life (dun, spinner), hatch method, time of day…can be important in narrowing down the insects you are seeing. Asking the local shop; writing knowledgeable fly fishers who really know that water shed and insects. The resources are there. Then be armed with patterns for several insects from the bottom (nymphs) up to the top. Remember there can frequently be more than one mayfly hatching at the same time and the duns and spinners can be simultaneously present. Recognize the busy egg laying spinners (no fish activity); the hatching duns, different mayflies from spinners (in this case there could have been the hatching Epeorus, hatching Pale Morning Duns, and egg laying PMD spinners.

In this instance, I did a little research and learned something interesting. The larger, yellow mayfly called Yellow Quills or Epeorus is a mayfly that ‘hatches’/’emerges’ beneath the surface and then moves to the surface to view. Now I know that I should have, for that particular mayfly on that river a larger yellow wet fly to be fished beneath the surface. I learned from my friends bewilderment and hopefully you will too.

So, stay patient. Study. Ask questions. Observe and keep notes. Take a picture if possible. And enjoy the puzzle! Then again, I did some more research and in Arlen Thomason’s excellent Bug Water, he and Rick Hafele arrived at Heptagenia solitaria…a PED. All part of the puzzle.

03
Jun
11

Fly Fishing: The Pale Morning Dun (Summer’s Hatch)

For the beginning fly tier and fisher, the Pale Morning Dun is a ‘predictable’ hatch on Western rivers from June into September. It is a late morning to early evening window of opportunity  for a hatch that has a pronounced pre-hatch nymph ‘drift’ before the emergence on the surface. It is enjoyable to figure out and to fish to. It is one of several Summer hatches that are satisfying to discover and react to.

PMD Adult Wing (McKenzie River Page)

The ‘crawler’ nymphs will move from the rocks and bottom debris where they have hidden. As they move up out of the protection, toward the surface, they are now at the mercy of the currents and trout. This drift, in moderate to slower waters, can take place over an extended period of time as the nymphs drift, wiggle upward, split their wingcases atop the thorax area, wiggle further toward the surface, shed that nymphal case at the surface (emerge) and poke through the surface film (meniscus) to ‘hatch’. The adults will drift a bit further as those now upright wings (opaque) dry a bit and then they lift off into the air, fluttering and drifting with the breezes of the day, toward shore. (Is that a mega paragraph or what?)

The Clear PMD Spinner Wing

This whole process provides stages of presentation that are satisfying  & predictable: nymphs drifting along the bottom in the moderate to slower waters (careful wading, longer distance-stealth presentations?); then emerger/wet fly/flymphs/floating nymphs in the top foot or so of water to the surface; dry fly action and later spinner fall action as the females bob about in quieter side waters to lay eggs and then fall with their clear, spent wings stretched out to the sides like a partially submerged little airplane in film…drifting down in the slower currents.

So many opportunities here for presentations from bottom to top. Once you find a hatch of PMD’s on your favorite stream note its location.  Your patterns will tend toward the tan to dark tan (mottled earth tones) in sizes 16-18 over the course of the summer. You can research Google Images for PMD nymphs, emerger, dry and see a large variety of pattern options. 

 

08
May
11

Fly Fishing: Hemostat Triple Twist~Grab Tag & Pull

h/t to John Newbury from FB re this knot tying technique: The Hemostat Knot.  This might be particularly helpful when the finger tips are frozen, or for general use.


For the beginning fly tier, you would be well served to practice your tying techniques while tying a limited scope of patterns. The temptation is to tie every pattern in that book and more that come to mind. Tie this and tie that. If you were limited to just tying as a past time with no opportunity to fish your creations, then tie hither and yon, but otherwise I would stay toward basic nymphs, dries, emergers, streamers and flymphs/wets (or, the basic patterns for the species you chase….it could be a variety of streamers only for a predatory species). This way there is a practical benefit to your targeted tying.


Flymphs: this style of ‘wet’ fly is worth a study on your part and worth a lot of tying. Selection of hackle and style of body are the two key considerations. Sparse patterns for almost dry fly presentations have/had their place. But, buggier dubbing and softer hackling offer a great deal of animation and life. A flymph can fish from the bottom up to the top with the correct presentations: Leisenring Lift.


A couple presentation considerations: study spey (two hander) casts and research their applicability to a single hander. Jean Paul from Roughfisher mentioned this the other day and it true. Line handling with bigger flies or more staged presentations can be easier by moving line, dumping it and then rolling it out into a zone. Research this. Also, for the stream fishing angler chasing primarily trout there is a tendency toward only using a floating line and rarely a sink tip. I use five lines for stillwater but severely limit myself on rivers when chasing trout. (I carry multiple spey line heads). But, a readers comment about using sinking lines and manipulating the fly up through pools and rapids reminded me of watching an old timer fish streamers with a clear, intermediate line to fish streamers on a river (something I would normally only use on a lake). 

01
May
11

Fly Tying & Hair Extenstions: My $25.00 Worth, More or Less

Rooster Saddle Hackle for Extensions

My daughter recently asked to raid my hackle bins for some lengthy rooster feathers for extensions to be crimped into her hair. She helped herself to a half dozen feathers. At about 3 feathers for $25-36 crimped in, I can spare the feathers, because of my OCD (Obsessive Consumerism Disorder)

I don’t doubt this fashion craze is of consequence for some shops and the beginning fly tier, albeit short term, I believe. It the hackle sources are jacking prices to the shop, shame on them. This subject matter is actually pretty stale, but you need to maintain momentum as a beginning tier. 

So, my advice to the beginning tier, ride out the fashion craze. Tie wets, flymphs, nymphs, emergers and streamers. Tie anything that doesn’t require the premium dry fly hackle. Fish them and catch fish.

23
Mar
11

Fly Tying: Proportions of the Fly

This is a refresher for the beginning/intermediate tier. The visuals are a good refresher of how big each part of the fly should be. You will see intentional variations beyond the standards, much like watching the casting stroke of a distance fly caster. It is strikingly beyond the standards often taught to a beginner. That is fine. Learn the standards as you will exercise them most of the time.

FLY PATTERN PROPORTIONS @ DEREKSPACE

 

Another Version of Proportions @ Stillwater Slim

RIVER MAGIC

 




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