Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Queen of the Waters

Queen of the Waters

Catskill Style

The "Queen of the Waters" as history has it, was originally tied in wet fly fashion by the brothers Professor John Wilson and Professor James Wilson. The pattern is said to have its roots in the "Professor" pattern as well and accepted history is that it was also the pattern (in wet) that Theodore Gordon caught his first fish on.

The Queen of the Waters has been tied in just about every style that fly tying has to offer. Due partly because it lends itself artistically in style, and also as a testament to that fact that it has continued to catch fish through generations.

Queen of the Waters
(As tied by Ray Bergman)
Courtesy of FlyAnglers OnLine

This pattern is my personal benchmark in tying Catskill style patterns. It is the most difficult of all the Catskills (for me) to tie correctly and consistently. Whenever I feel the need to tie in that style, I sit down at the vise and knock out a 1/2 dozen or so Queens. Once I get my proportions right, I know I am ready to move on.

But don't let history fool you into thinking this patterns effectiveness is lacking. It has proven itself on both western and eastern pocket water, bringing many of both Cascade Cutts and Northeastern Brookies to hand over the years. 

Give this pattern a try at the vise....then put it in your box.

Queen of the Waters Recipe

Hook: #10 Mustad 94831
Thread:  8/0 Tan Uni-thread
Tail:  Medium Pardo CDL
Abdomen:  Orange Floss
Rib:  Small Gold Tinsel
Body Hackle: Greenwell
Wing: Mallard Flank
Hackle:  Greenwell

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Quill Gordon (Slate Drake)

Quill Gordon

(Slate Drake)

The Quill Gordon is a pattern known by all with a history embedded deep within the roots of the Catskill history generations deep. Recently, many have walked past it in their tying lives however, thinking it's use is surpassed by more recent patterns. Sadly, it's effectiveness on the water as well as the style of tying is lost to those same people.

I have found the Catskill patterns to be both very effective over the years along with being a joy to tie. My favorite being this particular variation of the Quill Gordon when fishing over Pennsylvania's Slate Drake hatch. I hope it adds to your box as well.

Image Courtesy  of "Flyfishingconnection"
Isobychia (Eastern Slate Drake)

Quill Gordon Recipe

Hook:  #14 Standard Dry Fly
Thread:  8/0 Dark Brown
Tail:  Medium Pardo CDL
Abdomen:  Stripped Peacock Quill
Wing;  Mallard Flank
Hackle:  Golden Speckled Badger

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Following Storms

Slow night following the storms

 Hit a local pond last night that usually brings fish to the surface. But the water was up a bit from the storms of the past few days and a little cooler. I probably saw only 5-6 bass boils over a 3 hour period. I'm stubborn on warmwater and stuck with surface flies, and it proved my undoing for the evening. Patience paid off in the last 20 minutes of daylight at least, with 2 small bass and this one gill coming on a blonde Foam-butt Caddis. I took the pic of the gill because of the brilliant colors it was showing, but the flash killed the blues in the low light. All the fins and gill-plate were rimmed in a neon blue, and the breast and pectoral fin were a bright orange.  A beautiful fish.

Still, a good night on the water.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Damsel Project

The Damsel Project

In an effort to take advantage of a local water covered in Damsel and Dragonflies where the bass seam to focus hard on, this pattern is the result. Having not seen water as of yet, it has passed my tests of profile, durability, ease of tying and floatability. The true test will be water, and the opinions of the fish. Good or bad, I will report back to review how it does and any changes identified as being needed.

Below are pics of the floatability test. The pattern sat without floatant for 7 hours overnight.


Hook:  #8 Mustad C53S 
Thread:  6/0 Black
Tail/Head:  1/8" wide Black Razor Foam
Abdomen:  Blue Floss
Wing:  Grizzly Hackle Tips
Thorax:  Olive Ice-Dub
Hackle:  #6 Grizzly

Monday, July 13, 2015

Our Little Secret

Our Little Secret

This caddis pattern didn't come about by any original tying technique or claim to a newly discovered pattern. The Little Secret Caddis was nicknamed during a hatch when it was catching fish on a day when most weren't during the evening caddis hatch on the Tully. It's simply a pattern that works. But that's our little secret.  

OLS Recipe

Hook:  #16-18 Caddis Emerger
Thread:  8/0 Brown
Abdomen:  Caddis Green Turkey Biot
Wing:  Wood Duck Dyed CDC
Hackle:  Golden Badger

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Popper Hatch

From the Middle of the Lake

Look closely and you will notice one important thing. The water is empty. Not of fish, but of fishermen. And 360 degrees around me the view was the same. There are plenty of bass, gills and pickerel to be had. And all willing to crash your well-placed popper. But it's virtually unfishable unless you "get in". I guess that scares folks off? And do you want to know what makes it even funnier?.....There is an Orvis Proshop less than 3 miles away on the same road. 

The Mule Deer Diver was once again the bug of the day.

The pond was a a place of constant rise forms. fish were looking up and feeding right up until dark.

I spent the entire evening stalking feeding fish. See a rise find a hole in the algae and lily pads, and "plop" your bug in it. Pause a few seconds, and give a short twitch. 

Between the algae and fish, I rotated 3 poppers. And lost one of them to a large pickerel that hit and snapped me off like a durned barracuda. A heckuva rush, but the score remained...Pickerel one.....Ralph Nuthin.

The last fish of the evening. 

The rise forms stopped with the setting sun as if a hatch had ended.  Between a dozen fat gills and twice that many bass, both the rod and the shoulder got a good workout tonight. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tying the Mule Deer Diver

The Mule Deer Diver

The Mule Deer Diver was originally tied for float-tube popping on Western Washington State's lakes and ponds. 25 years later and now on the East Coast, it remains a staple in my box and continues to catch fish whenever attached to the leader. Simple to tie & easy to trim, it floats like a cork and has great diving action through the water. 

MDD  Recipe

Hook:  #6 Gamakatsu Stinger
Thread:  6/0 Black
Tail:  White Bucktail
Hackle:  Dark Barred Ginger or Grizzly
Legs:  Dun Medium Centipede Legs
Head:  Mule Deer Body Hair

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top-water Hat Trick

This evening, a small bit of local water gave up a top-water Hat Trick

It's not often many of the local ponds will give up all three on a given night, and even less often for it to be on surface poppers. Tonight however, all 3 came on a #6 Mule Deer Diver.

Mule Deer Diver

Hook:  #6 Gamakatsu Stinger
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail:  White Bucktail
Hackle:  Grizzly Tips
Legs:  Dun Centipede Legs
Body:  Mule Deer Body Hair

The nights Best Gill

The nights Best Bass

The nights Best Pickerel

A great night on the water. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Single Life

After years of pursuing those things in which I "thought" I needed, I finally got rid of all of my unnecessary drag.......Disk Drag.

For years, like most, I chased the latest in reel technology. Make it lighter, make it wider, I need a larger arbor, I need a butter smooth drag system, I need something that will protect those 7x tippets yet stop a freight train in current. A lot of money and time was spent researching, buying then selling quite a bit of machined anodized aluminum as a result. 

But then a few seasons ago while fishing a small stream with my favorite 3wt glass rod, the realization hit me.  After decades of fly fishing, I couldn't recall putting a single trout, bass or panfish on a reel, let alone applying the reels drag. Yet I insisted on buying reels in which close to half of the cost applied was to justify the advanced drag design. So....I went back to the beginning. And what I found were lighter, slimmer and perfectly balanced pieces of perfection, that sang to you if and when a fish was actually placed upon it.

 Single action "Click-Pawl" reels that get the job done.

Gone are the large arbor hunks of technology and engineering. Back to the simple elegance of a click-pawl mechanism, in a standard arbor, narrow configuration. Having fished on both coasts, I have never seen my backing save for 2 times, and both were on Salmon and Steelhead. And in both cases, neither fish was ever stopped or landed. Ironically, both were with a high-end disc drag reel. So why did I not see things sooner?

The "Click-Pawl"

The testament of time applies to the click-pawl drag system. From the 50's to the present....cast and painted reel frames, to machined and anodized....little has changed. Proof of which is the fact that so many of the different models, produced by differing manufacturers, have pawls that can be interchanged. Why fix it if it's not broke? Which is why click-pawl designs are seeing a resurgence of sorts, and manufacturers are finding they need to once again offer a single action reel. 

All a person need know how to do is set the hook.....and if need be palm the spool. The reel does the holds the line. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tying the Long Cress

Long Cress

This pattern is my all-purpose Cress Bug / Scud pattern for most all of the local limestone and Spring Creeks I frequent. It's a simple to tie, quickly reproducible & effective must-have for my box. Tied in sizes 14-18 and in both natural and olive Hare-tron, 

Long Cress Pattern

Hook:  #14-18 Caddis Emerger
Thread: Rusty-Brown 8/0 Uni-thread
Rib:  Fine Gold Wire
Body:  Natural Hare-tron 
Shell-back:  Tan CDC