Monday, February 29, 2016

Tying the AP Thorax

AP Thorax

The AP Thorax is a constant in my box throughout the year as an "All Purpose" mayfly pattern. A durable, well floating pattern that crosses multiple hatches.

AP Thorax Recipe

Hook:  #12-14 Standard Dry
Thread:  8/0 Black
Tail:  Medium Pardo CDL
Abdomen/Thorax:  Adams Grey Beaver
Wing:  Pheasant "Church Window" 
Hackle:  Cree or Barred Ginger

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Rebuilding Classic Glass (The Conclusion)

The New Profile

The project that began this past summer has come to a close. After fishing the Profile 800, 8' 7wt for most of the summer, it became apparent to me that while I liked the needed a few changes if I were to keep it as my primary bass rod. 

The original Profile

The breakdown begins

After much soul-searching the decision came down to a Buckeye Burl insert, in a Blued Garrison Style seat, Merlot/Black wraps and Black snakes and tip-top.

Bass-Bug really knocked it out of the park. 

As is true-to-form, my good friend and rod-builder always adds a surprise touch. Such as the Jungle Cock overlay which was perfectly added and the measurement bands as well.

Butt-to-tip, the rod which is the same age as I am at 52, has a new lease on life. Even the tube received a new label.

 Outfitted with a Cortland Retro II and Orvis Hydros WF7F Bass taper, it all came together.

Many thanks to Bass-Bug and his patience. 

See you on the water!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spring Crappie

Spring Crappie

For those of you who hold a warm part of your piscatorial heart for Specks, they are coming soon to a water near you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tying the Rump Caddis

Rump Caddis Emerger

The Rump Caddis is an effective emerger pattern year-round. Fished either as a dropper or drifted under an indicator it is a steady producer on most all waters. However, it really shines when fish are chasing emergers to the surface. In that situation fish from upstream dead-drifting to place your fly in their feeding zone at the end of the drift, then apply a Leisenring Lift twitching the fly to the surface as it rises in the current.

Rump Caddis Recipe

Hook:  #14-#18 Orvis Beadhead
Thread:  8/0 Black Uni-thread
Bead:  Gold Tungsten
Weight:  .015 Lead wire
Abdomen:  Hareline Hare's Ear Plus #1
Rib:  Gold Wire
Wing:  Pheasant Rump Fibers
Hackle:  Pheasant Rump Filoplume
Thorax:  Peacock Ice Dub

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Special Set of Tools

A Special Set of Tools

A good friend of mine had been hinting that he had something nearly ready to send my way, and it had my curiosity to say the least. I was like a 7 yr old kid waiting for Christmas morning, since everything I have ever\received from him has been exceptional over the years. Well,  low-&-behold this is what arrived in the mail today.

Top to bottom:  Bobbin Threader, Leg Tool & Dubbing Teaser

The "Thank you for your service" was very much appreciated by itself. But the craftsmanship, time and effort goes far beyond words. They will remain a permanent addition to the tying bench.

A huge thank you to Bass-Bug!

Well done my friend

Sunday, February 21, 2016

While Standing in Water

While Standing in water

An Excerpt from the book "One Small Trout"

While reviewing my files this morning, I came across a picture from this past season of my Son and I,  which brought this essay written several years ago to mind.  

                A year passes and another begins as again the cycle repeats itself, leaving behind a mental Fresco of waters. A painting in vivid display that rolls along through the walls and caverns of your mind reflecting many things in which you already knew would hold a place, yet many in which no significance was felt at the time. It’s a painting of value which is permanently bonded with your memories.   You cannot erase it. Nor could you truly affect its creation. Your part was in choosing to “be there” in those moments of time adjacent to the memory painted. By simply placing yourself in the path of the brush you affected each stroke, and each moment applied the pigment. Those colors are what carry through year-to-year for me. They are the continuity that regardless of the final painting, all was as it should be in the end. They lend a sense of understanding to my personal fresco.  
                My year always begins on the cold palate of a world in grey-scale, where nature adds it’s occasional bright whites and soft Sepia’s to make things “pop”. All is subdued in my eyes. Even the movement and pace throughout the day becomes a color of the season. The grey hues paint the smoothness of birch in contrast to the course and gnarled black walnut. Distinct individually, but blending in a monochromatic nature that only winter can provide. Some fight it on their own grounds, wanting the color to return in its most pleasurable form. But I tend to embrace it for what it is. It’s a time for care. Where a wading misstep cannot just make you recoil from the cold water, but affect your day in far more dramatic fashion.  It’s a time when even the silvers and champagne pinks of a rainbow’s flanks provide the highlights to the shortened fights and willingness to come to hand.
                As spring transitions into view green takes control. It is the exclamation point to the high waters and slightly too cold rain that carries with it the expectation of warmer days ahead.  Fish take on the attributes of the weather, going from hot-to-cold just as quickly. A time of Spring Gobblers and the arrival of the year’s first bugs, even though the conditions at times turn off the fish in the same breath causing one to take pause in the seemingly wasteful nature of an otherwise wonderful hatch. But when the fish turn on, they do so with a certain gusto that only spring can spawn. They are hungry just as we are, and they respond in kind. For me this is a time for streamers, violent strikes and memories of my Dad, minnow bucket tight to his side and a fish on.  Spring carries with it the many memories of traditional season openers and the artist takes a broad brush.
                Summer, like winter, is a time to slow things down and pick our times. They are bright days and sudden thunderstorms bringing torrid and muddy waters. The heat takes its toll on both fish and fisherman alike, where a slower pace and a welcome sanctuary are keys. The long evenings mean heavy hatches in the fading light of dusk and frantic swallows soon to be followed by bats.  Where you find one fish you will find them all, as the common need for cool waters draws them together. My summers are times of fiberglass rods, light tippet and stalking the dawn in search of wild brown trout before the first rays of sun touch the water. A perfect cast and a fish willing to rise to my dry fly presentation is what pulls the most vibrant colors of summer to view.  It feeds me and makes the greys of winter stand in contrast even that much more. They are days smelling of bug juice, sweated waders and fish, punctuated by a much appreciated cold beer during recovery.
                Fall is both the peak and a fitting end to the season, and nature has a way of closing things out with dramatic flair. Nothing in nature compares with the colors of fall, when even the fish take on the brilliant colors of their surroundings. The vermilion backs of native brook trout explode in contrast and the orange spots and buttery gold of brown trout are things to behold. Fish know when fall arrives, and they slash and chase as October brings the largest bugs of the year. The haunt of the deer woods pull me in separate directions through autumn, with each year declaring no clear winner. It’s a time of my largest fish, warmest memories and a time for reflection. My approach changes and technical fishing is replaced by large caddis dries accompanied by tandem bead-heads. Both fisherman and fish scramble for the last vestiges of life before the leaves drop and the greys of an uncertain winter looms.
                Each piece of a year on the water is a wonder unto itself, worthy of celebration on its own merits. But when brought together on a piscatorial palate, for those willing to place themselves in the way of the painter they form a work of art surpassing all value. Each year a new fresco appears in my mind. Each one different, yet all are special in their own ways. Included are children’s smiles, special days, flies tied,  remembered fish, water shared with friends and pieces of myself. A masterpiece, painted perfectly on the walls of my mind…while standing in water.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yellow Breeches Brown

Yellow Breeches Fall 2015

Orvis Far-and-Fine
#14 Valley Caddis
Just above the barrier wall

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tying the Quill Gordon Wet

The Quill Gordon Wet

With March and April fast approaching, it's time to fill the bins of the "most used'. Always on that list is the Quill Gordon Wet. A staple in my box, as it has been for countless other fly fisherman over the years. A timeless classic from the Catskills.

Quill Gordon Wet Recipe

Hook:  #14 Standard 2XL Nymph
Thread:  8/0 Black
Tail:  Barred Lemon Wood Duck
Abdomen:  Stripped Peacock Herl
Hackle:  Dun Hen Hackle
Wing:  Barred Lemon Wood Duck

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Tying the Faux Pheasant

Faux Pheasant

Following the previous blog on my Pheasant Tail Dubbing Blend, this is the fly in which the dubbing blend was originally designed for. Nothing new in design, as it is a pretty standard nymph pattern, but it's the "Pheasant Tail" variation I tie and reach for when times call for a pheasant tail nymph.

Faux Pheasant Recipe

Hook:  #14 Standard 2xl Nymph
Thread:  8/0 Black
Rib: Fine Copper Wire
Weight: 7 wraps .015 lead wire
Tail & Wing-case: Pheasant Tail
Abdomen & Thorax: PT Dubbing Blend  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pheasant Tail Dubbing Blend

Ralph's Pheasant Tail Dubbing Blend

As Fly Tyers we all have our favorite materials, patterns and techniques. And while I love pheasant tail as a material in fly patterns, I've never grown a fondness for the Pheasant Tail classic pattern. Nothing against the pattern, it has proven itself over a period longer than I have walked his earth. But I lean towards dubbed bodies on nymphs. I like movement and trapped air. And I prefer a little flash. So the classic PT Nymph just never gained my confidence over the years. But be that as it may, the result has been to find a dubbing blend that I do have confidence in. One that has the color when wet that PT has, and the rest of the properties I'm looking for. Here is what I use. If it's for you, by all means give it a try.

This blend provides a soft, easy dubbing material, with just enough flash along with the translucency of the woodchuck.

The PT Dubbing Blend applied, both dry and wet.

The Blend. Two parts Beaver, 1 part Woodchuck Underfur, 1 part peacock ice-Dub and 1 part Olive Ice Dub. I use a coffee grinder to blend. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tying the Little Olive Done

The Little Olive Done

The Little Olive Done was originally tied to match those mid-winter, early spring hatches that get weathered out. When the Blue-Winged Olive hatch around you is struggling to take shape, and the dead and crippled begin to pile up in the eddy...This is your fly. Once I see fish begin to appear to be "midging" on the edges when there are BWO's in the air, I know they are feeding on the casualties.

LOD Recipe

Hook:  #16 Orvis Tactical Wide-Gape
Thread:  8/0 Olive-Dun Uni-thread
Abdomen: Tying Thread
Hackle:  Silver badger with Eyed Peacock Herl
Wing-case:  Eyed Peacock Herl