Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tying in Dry Fly Hackle Techniques

Tying in Dry Fly Hackle Techniques

With all the speculation and discussion on the proper ways to prepare, tie-in and wind dry fly hackle, this video attempts to demystify the subject.

See you on the water

Monday, March 28, 2016

Tying the REC Nymph


(Ralph's Emerging Caddis)

The REC (Ralph's Emerging Caddis) is a simple but extremely effective emerger pattern to tie. It was originally tied with this dubbed abdomen color to match the emergent caddis flies on Pennsylvania's Tulpehocken Creek. However, has since proven itself on countless waters with the abdomen color tied to match any particular hatch encountered. When changing colors, I always utilize the same dubbing materials in order to maintain the intended translucency. I fish this pattern beneath an indicator most often, but it does equally as well dead-drift with a Leisenring-lift applied to the tail of the drift.

REC Recipe

Hook: #12-16 Standard Scud
Thread: Black 6/0 Uni-thread
Bead: Gold Tungsten
Abdomen: Blend 50/50% Highland Green Icelandic & Insect Green Poly
Wing: Wood Duck
Hackle: Wood Duck dyed CDC
Thorax: Peacock Ice-dub

Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Top 7 Streamers

My Top 7 Streamers

(Top-to-Bottom, Left-to-Right)

(Mohair Leech, Hen & Herl, Little Crappie Fly, Firehole, Golden Retriever, Northwest Jack, Ralph's Little Pine)

These seven streamers aren't just what makes up the bulk of my streamer fishing. These 7 are my streamer box. If I want or need to go to streamers, one of these 7 patterns will do the trick.

The Mohair Streamer fishes well on both streams and still-water, and is a standby for most fly fishermen.  I tie it in black, olive, purple and rust.

The Hen-&-Herl is the perfect pattern for eddies and shallow runs.

The Golden Retriever and Little Crappie Fly both fish equally as well as a nymph under and indicator or as a streamer on most any water.

The Firehole and Northwest Jack complete my bucktail stable.

Ralph's Little Pine is by far one of my top streamers, and fishes perfectly tight-lined.

For full tying video's on all 7 patterns visit my video archive:

Ralph's Fly Box Video Archives

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tying the Benton Caddis

Benton Caddis

After observing the primary caddis hatch on a stream just below Benton PA, last season, My goal was to tweak a pattern to replicate the bug from the "fish's eye-view". The result was a blend of 3 patterns. The EHC, CDC & Elk, and the Fluttering Caddis. After a full season of out-fishing my standard caddis patterns, it's here to stay. 

It floats well with durability and gives the perfect footprint on the water. 

The Benton Caddis Recipe

Hook:  #12 Orvis Tactical Dry Fly
Thread:  8/0 Olive-Dun 
Abdomen: Olive CDC
Thorax:  Brown Dry hackle
Wing: Light Elk

Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Top 7 Trout Nymphs

My Top 7 Nymphs

(Left-to-Right, Top-to-Bottom)

Valley Caddis, Tactical Caddis, REC, C2C Nymph, Squirrels Nest, BWO Nymph, Green Skittle

I am currently under the process of rebuilding my trout boxes, changing style and sizes in an effort to avoid purchasing another pack. Going slimline where I can, matching box sizes with their places in the Fishpond Lumbar Guide that I'm currently using, etc. With dries, I just can't get myself to use anything but a compartment box. Therefore not much is changing on that aspect. But the nymph boxes (the largest of them) is all changing. And after organizing the layout, I sat back and reflected on which patterns I would take with me, to every water? Not just the hottest pattern on a given water....which ones would I feel well equipped with, if I had to choose across the entire region? 

Weeding out the "water specific" patterns, or patterns that for whatever reason do amazing on a particular water, but don't seem to catch a thing anywhere else, and setting aside eggs and streamers often fished as nymphs, I broke things down to seven patterns. In reality, these are the 7 nymphs that carry the vast majority of my time on the water, season after season. 

Browse the video archive, for tying videos on all 7 patterns.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Gills of Spring

Christening the New Profile

Spring is officially here, and the Gills are hungry. The best way to shake off the shack nasties is some time on the water. Tonight, that water was a local pond.  The new Glass....casts like a dream. 

The fish would not take anything moving, unless it was descending. To give them what they wanted, A Foam Butt Caddis was tied on, and on an 18" dropper, a Little Crappie Fly. Twitch it and they left it alone. Just let the rings settle and they took it on the drop.

The Gills of Spring

The perfect way to ring in the new season. Glass and Gills

Went through 6 LCF's. Time to hit the bench. 

The Little Crappie Fly

Monday, March 14, 2016

Allegheny Brookie

Allegheny Brookie

Tying the Gold Steak & Eggs

Gold Steak & Eggs

The Steak & Eggs tandem is a staple in my box, having proven itself time and again. Normally tied with colored wire and furnace hackle, the Gold Steak uses gold wire and grizzly hackle. Adding the Shrimp Ice-Dub to the egg brings a little more flash to a great set of flies. They are one of my most productive tandem rigs in my box. Especially when you need to get deep fast.

Gold Skittle

Hook:  #10 Caddis Emerger/Scud
Thread:  Olive Dun Uni-thread
Bead: Gold Tungsten
Body: Gold Wire, Peacock Herl & Grizzly Hackle


Hook:  #16 Caddis Emerger/Scud
Thread:  70 UTC Flo-Orange
Egg:  Apricot / Steelhead Orange Mcflyfoam
Collar: Shrimp Ice-Dub

Monday, March 7, 2016

From Behind Glass

From Behind Glass

An Excerpt from "Tomorrows Fish"

Written 12 years ago

            This past Spring I had the opportunity to fish a piece of water that I had not been on in 19 years.  While visiting the family home in Central Pennsylvania for my nephew’s graduation, I had come prepared to take advantage of expected good water as any fly fisherman would do in the month of May. I planned to fish the Twin Bridges section of Huntington Creek near the town of Stillwater. The stream is near where I grew up, and the last time I had fished that particular stretch was with my Dad in 1989 prior to his passing. I intended to get on the water early since the day’s events would consume my afternoon.   
            Arriving at the stream at 6:30am, I was surprised to find no other cars in the common parking area.  It was a pleasant discovery to say the least.  I had decided to fish a rod that I had built myself in the early 90’s. It’s a 7’ 3wt glass rod that I find hard to leave at home on days when I know that dries will be the order of the day. It’s built on a 2-piece Lamiglass Firecane blank, and an absolute joy to cast. This day however, I had 2 reasons to carry the glass rod.  First, I had recently lined it with a new Sylk line from Cortland, which is supposed to be designed specifically for glass and bamboo rods.  The line was intriguing to me and had not seen water yet.  Secondly, because the slow casting action of the glass just seemed to fit what I was after that morning. 
            Despite recent rains, I found the water to be just a tad bit high, but nearly crystal clear. I moved upstream of the bridge initially to seek out some shallower pocket water. There were no bugs coming off the water at first, and no sign of surface activity to be found.  But after searching out a few pockets I began to see a few tan midges begin to come off, along with sporadic Pale Morning Duns.  I tied on a #16 pale-olive Blue-Winged-Olive LTD pattern, and in short order brought 3-4 fish to the net. The morning had begun to shape up quite well & the Sylk line proved to cast just as perfectly as advertised.
            The fishing had an unhurried casual feel to it.  No heavy concentration required, nor was it desired. That morning I found myself holding a conversation much of the time with my Dad as well, both in my mind and I believe out loud at points. It was similar to the mornings we had fished together in the past.  Neither would say much throughout the day.  The fishing would be punctuated with the occasional “THERE you go”, accompanied by a glance and nod of approval from the other while acknowledging the fish. This would then be followed by a single matter-of-fact word….”Brownie”….or “Rainbow”. Simply answering the question you knew was on the mind of the other. And fishing would go on silently. I had discussed fly selection with him to myself, points to cast to, & just how nice the creek seemed to be that morning. I was still alone on the stream at that point.  Though admittedly it could have been just as much a result of the crazy guy in the waders talking to himself, than anything else. One quick moment of studying from the bridge could well have chased any perspective fishermen away promptly. Either way, I was thankful for the time.
            I decided to move below the bridge as the day progressed in order to search out the larger pool.  The sun was just about to hit the water, and I expected the tail-out to see some rises soon. I slipped into the water and set up in a position to fish most of the pool from downstream, when I noted a couple of March Browns come off the water at the bottom of the riffle.  I studied my box for a moment, talking to my Dad about which pattern to choose. And we settled on a #14 March Brown Haystack.  It’s a pattern I like to tie using a particular patch of coastal deer hair with heavy barring, very similar to woodchuck hair.  The little glass rod cast a nice lazy loop, and as the fly hit the water it was instantly slapped by a fat little stream-bred brown.  I was admiring the distinct colors, and as it slipped from my hand into the clear water of Huntington Creek I glanced up.  The morning was far too perfect to have been alone, and I had proven enough times that I was not that good of a fly fisherman to have pulled this off all by myself. I smiled and thanked my Dad for picking the fly. I continued to fish that fly for the next hour as a number of fish chose to bow my rod and put on a show.  Releasing another fat brown trout into the water I felt the sun begin to heat up the back of my collar.  It was time to go.  I had enjoyed no sweat, no bugs & no people throughout a perfect morning.  And had been graced with another chance to fish familiar water with my Dad….from behind that little glass rod.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tying the Hen & Herl Streamer

Hen & Herl Streamer

The Hen & Herl streamer was presented as a gentleman's favorite pattern for Merrill Lake in Western Washington which I was intending to fish about 25yrs ago. It proved to work just as he stated it would. Over the years it has been my streamer of choice when I wanted a small unweighted streamer with excellent darting action when retrieved. It fished well on both still and moving waters.

I wish I could recall the gentleman's name but unfortunately I cannot. My thanks to him either way for an excellent pattern.

Hen & Herl Recipe

Hook:  #10 2370 Daiichi
Thread: Black 6/0
Body: Peacock Herl
Rib: Copper Wire
Wing:  Furnace Hen Tips
Thorax:  Black Ostrich Herl