Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tying the Blue-Winged Olive LTD


The Blue-Winged Olive version of the LTD is by far my best producing BWO pattern, and has been for many years. And it's this time of year, when you are lucky enough to be on the water when those little olive bugs come off that it truly shines.

BWO LTD Recipe

Hook:  #18 Standard Dry
Thread:  8/0 Olive Dun Uni-thread
Tail-Abdomen: Natural Pheasant Tail
Thorax:  BWO Orvis Spectrablend
Hackle:  Medium Dun Dry
Wing:  Medium Dun CDC

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tying the UV Pink

The UV Pink


The UV Pink is a standard UV-dubbed midge pattern as you can see. But with the addition of the red under-body, it transforms when wet, making it a very effective pattern in certain settings.

Note the Pink coloration when wet.

When the pattern is removed from the water it dims to what you see in the photo. When submerged, the pink is even more pronounced.

Both patterns are effective in their own right. But I have found the UV Pink to at times make the difference, keeping it a standard pattern in my box.

UV Pink Recipe

Hook:  Orvis Beadhead #18 - #14
Thread:  8/0 White Uni-thread
Bead:  Gold Tungsten
Rib:  Fine Gold Wire
Underbody:  Red Flat-Waxed
Abdomen:  White UV Dubbing
Thorax:  Peacock Herl

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rebuilding Classic Glass (Continues)

The Original Johnson Profile 800 8' 7WT

The 1st Phase prior to shipping

Retaining only the blank and original cork, Bass-Bug with his keen eye for giving life back to a worthy rod began breaking it down.  

A Blued Garrison Style Reel Seat and a Burled Buckeye insert was picked.

And here is my "Sneak Peak" just received, with the blank stripped and cleaned, and seat temp fitted. 

Next comes Black snakes and tip-top, along with Merlot Wraps.

She's going to be a beauty. 

Bench Changes of the Stubborn Kind

This is my Bench....there are many like it, but this one is mine.

I have a stubborn way about me at the bench...always have. I get comfortable with techniques, tools & layouts, to a point that I have changed little since 1989. New techniques for new materials I'm fine with. But the rest of the bench pretty much stays the same. 

I'm also partial to things of function given to me by friends & family. Not only do I still use the same core tools that I first purchased after my first tying class in '89, but I have several gifted to me, that I will not part with. One of which is a custom profile plate given to me by a good friend. This item has been with me for years and I love it. However, my clumsiness has broken it twice. Not due to the design....due to me needing to pull it, remove it & spin it countless times because of my workstation space issues. I had to come up with something different before I destroyed it. 

SO....remove it I did, and it is now officially my travel vise profile plate. Which would still be my main vise had my family not provided the new Medallion for my 50th Birthday. The cut down and modified Regal INEX did the job for 25 years.  I still use a brass Sheppard's hook for dubbing loops, that is 25+ years old, amidst all the fancy dubbing tools that are out there. I told you I was stubborn.

But what to do for a profile plate?  

Could the answer be right in front of me after all?

My trusty Cigar box?  Which has been on my bench for an easy 13 years. Picked up at a yard sale at my neighbors house. They were $.50 each. 

Formerly just my materials bin. But with 2 brass eyelets, some 550 cord and some white poster stock....It worked perfectly.

Problem solved!  

No more need to swing anything out of the way. 

Just close the lid. 

Now mind you I do realize, this is no giant leap in creativity, or engineering brilliance. It is however, a solution to a problem that did not require changing my bench in a major way. Nor did I have to give up my profile plate. And while I have looked at the aftermarket plates for years.....well, I told you from the beginning.....I'm stubborn.

New Retrievers

Newly Minted Retrievers
Fresh off the Practice Squad

Some flies you just seem to tie more than others. I think there's a reason for that?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tying the Marabou Mohair Leech

Marabou Mohair Leech

The Mohair Leech is as much a staple in my box as the Wooly Bugger and Hare's Ear. A true cross-over pattern that fishes great on both Warm and Cold water species as well as still-water and streams. I have not met a fish yet that won't eat it. Here are my favorite variations. Adjust the colors to suit your particular water. 

Marabou Mohair Leech

Hook:  #10 - #4 Straight eye round-bend Streamer hook
Thread:  Black
Underbody:  .020 Lead Wire
Tail:  Marabou Tips
Abdomen:  Mohair Yarn

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tying the Foam Butt Indicator

Foam Butt Indicator

The Foam Butt Indicator is a blend of the best of several worlds. It serves as an excellent high-floating indicator due to the combination of foam, heavy hackle and the New Zealand wool. The mix floats well, casts well, is durable and will occasionally bring fish to the top.

Foam Butt Indicator Recipe

Hook:  #10 Caddis Emerger
Thread:  6/0 Black/Brown
Tail & Body:  Thin Fly Foam
Hackle:  Grizzly #12
Wing:  New Zealand Indicator Wool

Friday, December 4, 2015

Steak & Eggs

Steak & Eggs

Or...Green Skittles and Eggs to be exact

Steak and Eggs is a term used within the fly fishing community when we fish a tandem rig consisting of a large nymph and an egg pattern.  Here is my favorite version of that combination. 

When I am drifting eggs I want my pattern to get down quickly. To do that, I use a #10-12 tungsten beaded Skittle. Most often the chartreuse green variety. 

And for the egg?

I prefer a #14 double-egg McFLYFOAM pattern tied on a #14 Mustad #9671 nymph hook. Tie the first egg on at the end of the shank, then another one behind the eye.

When fish are looking for eggs, give them what they want. And while you're at it, may as well toss a steak into the mix for good measure.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Tying the Brahma & Orange

Brahma & Orange

The Brahma & Orange is a heavy search pattern for those months when an orange hot-spot is the Soup-Du-Jour. The UV-Epoxy coated Fluorescent orange thread and Holographic tinsel work together perfectly for both a single fly or tandem fly rig. 

Brahma & Orange Recipe

Hook:  #12 Caddis Emerger
Bead:  Gold Tungsten
Wire:  .020 
Thread: 70 Flo Orange Ultra Thread
Tag: Holograghic Tinsel
Abdomen: Peacock Herl
Hackle:  Tan Brahma Hen

Sunday, November 29, 2015


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Friday, November 27, 2015

Best Catch of the Year

Lillian Quinn

As the year draws to a close, we were blessed with the best gift of all to celebrate on Thanksgiving. Our little Lilly, and a freshly minted Pop-Pop.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Yellow Breeches

Fall on the Yellow Breeches

After a long season, I was finally able to get on the Breeches for a couple hours before winter sets in. Sunny, 61 degrees and clear water made it almost impossible to drive past. With not a lot of time to spare, I chose to hit a familiar stretch. The Allenberry Run. 

The water was skinny, but it did not let me down, bringing a nice little Brown to hand just below the barrier wall in the first few minutes, courtesy of the Golden Retriever.

First 2015 Breeches Trout

Working from the barrier wall downstream to the bend, I was able to pick up 2 more just like the first one. All on the Golden Retriever.

Working upstream of the wall 2 more fish came to hand. Both on the C2C nymph. The last which was the largest of the day, a strong 17 incher which put up a great fight.  

All 5 fish were Browns. The largest 2 coming to the C2C nymph.

A great visit to beautiful water

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Streamer Hatch

When the leaves fall, the Streamer Hatch comes off

Each year the fall signals one of my favorite hatches. The Streamer hatch. It's that time of year when streamers of all kinds begin to shine and most times the largest fish of the season come to hand. 

This year the box is filled with 8 patterns. Four of which are Bugger/Zonker  patterns and four more tied in classic bucktail fashion. Of the bucktails, 2 of them are converted feather-wing patterns, which will be new for this year. Their original twins have done very well for me over the years, but with last years success with bucktails, I felt I would give their conversions a try.


Ralph's Little Pine, The Guinness Trout, The Golden Retriever & The Black Mohair Leech

These 4 patterns are my stable of weighted nymphs, doubling as both dredging nymphs and fished beneath an indicator.


The Yella Dog, The Furnace Green, The Firehole & The Northwest Jack

These four bucktail patterns will carry their weight in my box this fall.  The Firehole and Northwest Jack are both longtime patterns. The Furnace Green and Yella Dog are the bucktails twins to their Featherwing patterns, tied with bucktail to compliment the originals. Hopefully they will prove to be as productive.

Yella Dog Bucktail Recipe

Hook:  Daiichi 2070 #4
Thread:  6/0 Black
Rib/Tag:  Small Silver Tinsel
Body:  Yellow Floss
Throat:  Red Tippet
Wing:  Bucktail  (Rootbeer/Brown/Black)

Furnace Green Bucktail Recipe

Hook:  Daiichi 2070 #4
Thread:  6/0 Black
Rib/Tag:  Small Gold Tinsel
Body:  Green Floss
Throat:  Red Tippet
Wing:  Bucktail  (Rootbeer/Black/Rootbeer)

NOTE:  Videos for all other listed patterns are found in the "Video Archives"

Its the  season of short leaders and ferocious strikes.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Gurglers and Gills

The Grizzly X-Gurgler

Tonight with a couple hours of daylight remaining, I hit the door with my CGR and a half dozen #10 Grizzly X-Gurglers. No pretense on where I was was to be a bluegill night. No need for a fly box, poppers and buggers. I would not need them. I was heading for a 1 acre pond and gills in fall colors.

They did not disappoint. Willing to rise to my diminutive offering, they gave the little DT4 a workout.

Throwing the X-Gurgler to Bluegills is like tossing a Snickers bar to a group of kids...they're gonna pick it up once the figure out what it is.

The rise often coming telegraphed by a torpedo-like rush from the weeds. The little grizzly and foam offering took a beating, but held up well with the initial fly lasting the night and 20+ fish. No summer sluggish fights tonight. They were in attack and run mode.

Some days are just meant to be bluegill days. A beautiful fish that fights like hell and takes a fly with gusto. 

Tying the X-Gurgler Video

See you on the water

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tying With Bullwinkle

Four very productive Moose Hair patterns

(L-R,  M&M Nymph, Neon Moose, Blue Moose, M&M Tenkara)

Moose body hair is one of the most common materials found in a fly tyers bench. It's excellent for tailing, wing cases, shellbacks, and is often added to bucktails. Yet except for larger nymphs, it is often overlooked as a tying material. Moose body hair, or at least the right "type" of moose body hair is one of the best "larva" style body materials on small nymphs and wet flies. Especially when coated. When coated, it seems to "pop" with an almost natural appearing body. 

But, Not all moose body hair is the same. While it is all sold under the same name, you are looking for the larger, less useful version actually. On the left you see a near perfect patch of moose body hair. For tailing that is. straight, with a fine stiff black tip.  On the right is a lesser grade of moose body hair.....but notice the thick cream bases fading to a tannish-brown midsection and then a soft thin black tip. THAT is what you want.

My choice of coating is Bug bond, a UV resin. But Sally Hansen "Hard As Nails" works excellent as well. I feel the UV Resin brings out the color of accent ribbing a bit better. 

A Rainbow that couldn't resist the M&M Nymph


For tying videos of the above patterns, all 4 are found in the Video Archive

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Blue Moose Nymph

Blue Moose Nymph

The Blue Moose Nymph is one of 3 patterns I tie utilizing moose body hair. It has been a very productive pattern for me when the leaves fall & the water temps drop. This is one of my first picks when the fish are midging on those bluebird winter days, but will not take on top. Fished under an indicator, this nymph has saved a good number of days for me.

Blue Moose Recipe

Hook:  #18-22 Curved shank nymph
Bead:  Gold Tungsten
Thread:  Black 8/0 Uni
Abdomen: 2 strands Moose Body Hair
Rib:  2 strands Blue super hair (twisted, with one wrap as a tag)
Body:  Coated with Bug-Bond
Thorax: Adams Grey Orvis Spectrablend
Wing: Dun Turkey Flat
Collar:  Olive Ice-dub

Monday, November 2, 2015

WindKnots & Tangled Lines Contest

The Piscatorial Prize!

This summer, one of my favorite sites on the web ran a contest for a new slogan to be used on the site. I was humbled to get the email that my entry was selected. 

""Everything I needed to know about fly fishing I learned from a jar of salmon eggs"

It meant even more to me because it was inspired by my Dad, gone since 1998,  he was my favorite fishing partner. Later in life he would comment to me, "not to get too high in the britches with fly fishing, because everything I knew about fly fishing he had already taught me with this" , and he would hold up his polar creel and a jar of salmon eggs. Which was identical to the one I still own today since they were bought together. 

I have to apologize for the lapse of announcement and post. Things just slipped by me as fast as the rest of the summer has. But a very big "THANK YOU" to Howard both for the prize contents as well as the choice of my words.

If you are looking for a great site to check out where you can enjoy a look at fly fishing from all angles, give "Windknots & Tangled Lines" a visit. 

 Windknots & Tangled Lines

See you on the water!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall Gill

Fall Gill

The often looked-down-upon and seldom praised Bluegill. Pound-for-pound one of the best fighting fish that can be caught on a fly rod.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tying the Foam Butt Caddis

The Foam Butt Caddis

The Foam Butt Caddis has with me for as long as I can remember. It was originally tied as a cricket pattern for trout (in which it does well), and over the years gained popularity as bluegill candy. But when tied slightly larger and with a stinger style hook, it transitioned to a large gill /bass fly. This pattern each year picks up my largest gills and countless bass when twitched around lily pads, bank edges & even open water. It's durable and floats like a cork. 

FBC Recipe

Hook: #6 Gamakatsu Stinger
Thread:  Black 6/0
Body:  Thin Razor Foam (Cut 3/16" wide)
Hackle:  #10 Black Dry
Wing:  Ginger Elk



Few things are as exciting as bass on the surface with  fly rod.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Colors, Caddis & Gills

Colors, Caddis & Gills

With fall quickly approaching and a bright afternoon beckoning, the chance of some late season surface action was on my mind.

No wind, no algae and no surface activity to speak of. At first glance water that was normally full of activity towards late afternoon appeared dead. I decided to tie on a Ginger Foam Butt Caddis and go prospecting.

The #6 stinger-hooked FBC was the only fly I tied on the rest of the evening. 

Fall colors were quickly found on a night of hungry gills. This was the first and smallest of the evening. They hit hard, fought like champs and ran me through the weeds like old veterans of the bogs.

A clone of the 18-20 fish just like it that came to hand. Gills with shoulders, all on top and all on the same fly. A great night on the water, but I fear possibly the end to my surface warm-water action of 2015. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Biot Caddis Emerger

Biot Caddis Emerger (Green)

This pattern was shown to me in Western Washington more than 20 years ago, and has recently been collecting dust in my box. However, this fall it has made a resurgence, catching a good number of fish after multiple refusals with several patterns. A timeless style and a much duplicated pattern, it's simple to replicate and fill those empty bins. 

Biot Caddis Emerger Recipe

Hook:  #18 Orvis Curved Nymph
Bead:  Gold Tungsten
Thread:  Black 8/0
Abdomen: 2 Caddis Green Turkey Biot
Wing:  Wood Duck Flank
Thorax:  2 Peacock Herl

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fall Glass

Cabelas CGR 4/5 and Heddon 320

This weekend I was able to get the 7' 4/5wt CGR out for some fall fishing. This rod is quickly becoming a favorite. It throws a DT5 Cortland 555 as nice as any rod I've held in it's class. While requiring the timing of glass, this rod lacks noting in performance. 

Fishing near Benton on Fishing Creek the water was skinny but the fish were feeding. The low clear water and leaves on the water made for some tough fishing, but I was able to pick up 2 browns while losing a third and best fish of the day to shoddy net handling on my part. Fish came to a #16 Squirrels Nest and a #12 Valley Caddis.

Fish were dressed in their fall colors as well.