www.ralphsflybox.com

www.ralphsflybox.com

Monday, January 30, 2017

Basic Dubbing Techniques

Basic Dubbing Techniques

(And how they apply to your patterns)

 

Recently, I received  a number of questions regarding dubbing, how it is applied & how do you get it to go on a certain way for a specific application?
For this Video we will address how small technique changes, while using the same materials, will adjust your dubbing in such a way that it can apply to dry fly, large segmented dry flies/wets & wet/nymph patterns. 

In order of the example provided (left-to-right)



Standard Dry Fly Applications
(Single strand saliva dubbed)

Segmented Abdomen Applications
 (Waxed dubbing loop, counter-spun)

Wet / Nymph Applications
(Waxed dubbing loop)

Basic Dubbing Technique Video




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Winter Prototype....

What If?.....To the vise!


Those times when you just can't get a fish, or a rise, or a particular water out of your head?  You know them. A nagging thought...what would have worked? Or if something did work....why? And what would improve that? So as I sat thinking, it hit me. That's where it almost always begins...with a casual thought. 

To the vise!


So here I am again. A winter prototype. Do me a favor...give it a try.  If you get out before me, get one wet.  Let me know how it does for you. Send a pic if you have it, and offer up a name. 

My thoughts....
It would compliment an egg when the sucker spawn are adrift. The properties are all great as a hot-spot or trigger point on their own. Drop one off an egg, and give it a try. I'm thinkin' it will bring fish to hand.


Winter Prototype Recipe

Hook:  #12 Scud
Bead:  Clear Glass Craft Bead (Gold Lined)
Thread:  Flo-Orange Ultra-thread
Abdomen:  Shrimp Pink Ice Dub
Thorax:  White UV Ice Dub




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Winterfest 2017

The 9th Annual Winterfest Fly Fishing & Tying Conclave

For the normal person who dons a hat, pulls on waders & picks up a fly rod....THIS is not the scenario anticipated each year. However, for our gathering of Piscatorial misfits, it is the highlight of our year.  



Upon arrival on Saturday it was a balmy 28 degrees with intermittent sun and flurries. The fish didn't seem to mind however, and after a few minutes Eggs were identified as the soup-of-the-day.


Doug was the first to strike


I was fortunate to test my new Cane-and-Silk Glass on a 21" Hog of a rainbow.


The first hour was a good one.



The Cane & Silk threw a great loop and handled fish with ease. 


It handled both large fish and heavy nymph rigs matched with an SA Frequency magnum line.





As more folks arrived, we broke for warming toe and lunch.


Thanks to the host for the exceptional accommodations.

The break would prove eventful however, as the weather moved in with some snow.

 ALL

 23
 Digits
Were cold. 


But the fish didn't mind.


Jim joins the gang, and begins to catch fish. Why? Because that's just what he does.


And his fly of choice?  The Rainbow. Tied by none-other than his Grand-daughter. How cool is that?


 Kaitlyns Rainbow


Jim did however invent the 1st ever "Sage Trot Line" technique. While crossing the creek to get some warmth he decided to drop his rig into the current at the head of a run. Once warm, he headed back and retrieved his rig at the tail-out of the pool below. 

Sadly, it did not render a trout. 

His version may differ from ours....since he does hold "piscatorial license" to the said event.



The afternoon would offer up my best trout of the trip.


The day would be capped with Prime rib, Potato Logs and beverage.


Morning would bring sun, with hopes of warmth.





Jim's camera at work.

The day would begin slow, but as the sun\hit the water, things picked up a bit.


For me, several fish hooked, and one landed. Hot fly on Sunday, was the Little Crappie Fly.

Little Crappie Fly




The fish of the event however belongs to Doug. A tremendous fish! Well done!





A truly great time on the water, shared with friends.

Many thanks to Ron and Chris for both their hospitality and friendship.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winter Grey



Winter Grey



The break in the waters natural rhythm caught my eye as I watched my line drift below and begin it’s swing, pulling along with it my egg-and-nymph tandem.  Not certain I was getting deep enough for the heart of the pool, I stripped in line, thumbed the ice from my guides and added another split-shot to the rig.  The grey day was consuming in a heavy sort of way that only deep winter can bring with it. Yet somehow, with the press of water against my waders the world seemed just a tad bit less heavy, bringing a calming to my bones and a breathe of anticipation to my soul. I eyed my target, flipped my line forward and then roll-cast my rig back out to the point across the stream from my position, instantly putting two good mends into my line in an attempt to get as deep a possible in my drift. My eyes followed the small bit of yarn and I caught myself holding my breathe just a bit as my flies passed through the lie I just knew held fish. Nothing…..but there it was again, in the run just upstream. That break in the flow. Was it a rise? Or was it a periodic anomaly or burble in the current causing me to think it was a rising fish? I stood staring at the location for a good three minutes or more, expecting to see it happen again. No luck. Must not be a fish.

I had worked the hole with several dozen drifts with nothing to show for my efforts, yet confidence remained high as I switched the egg to a Skittle and added more weight. Patience is a virtue in cold weather nymphing, and I was sure with each change I would bring a fish to hand. I ignored my brain as it started nudging me about not being able to feel my fingertips. “Not important” I reminded myself. Warmth and comfortable digits is not a luxury afforded the winter fisherman. And there it was again.  But this time, before I turned away it happened once more and I saw it. It was indeed a fish, and a sizeable one at that. The blood seemed to instantly return to my fingers.

Now comes the hard part. Convincing oneself to “de-rig” while cold, for the off-chance that a January fish will rise for your offering. The odds are not on my side as proven by experience. Yet the increased heart rate is undeniable and it is something I find myself unable to turn away from.  The nipper bites through the fluorocarbon and out comes the midge box. I’m hedging my bets against a dry, thinking a film offering may be the way to bring that big charcoal nose to the surface again. The choice is a #18 Little Olive Wet, and the tippet is 6X. Fingers are gone now, as I blow on them and watch again for another rise. Moments later it arrives on queue. I strip line measuring my distance as the energy of the glass rod greets my hand in the cork. There is no other sense in the moment but that of casting a fly as my tippet touches the current a few feet above the position of the rise. I cannot see my fly, following only my line and the knowledge of where my fly “should” be. When it happens. That same subtle burble I had seen several times before. The lift of the rod is met by a half second pause. Most likely a moment of disbelief on the part of the fish. Then violent head shakes as the true weight of the fish is realized. Each run my heart is in desperation for the 6X tippet. Each headshake is wrought with fear for the #18 barbless hook. Yet I’m alone on the water and talking out loud to a fish that shouldn’t still be attached to my line. Unable to turn the head in any way I watch as all 20 plus inches of it streaks past me toward the bottom of the pool and into the current below,  I’ve lost the battle. And almost in tandem with the thought, it’s gone. In a breath,  the adrenaline that is coursing through my veins catches up to me....I am cold. My hands tremble as I bring my fly to the keeper, the warmth in my fingers gone with that amazing fish. With the rod under my arm my hands find warm pockets and I stand in the water looking out over pool.  The heaviness of the winter grey is gone, replaced by the crimson flanks and dance of a fish that for a brief moment was part of me. That in itself, is enough.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The CarpetBagger Nymph

The Carpet Bagger



I became aware of the Carpetbagger nymph through Neil Selbicky of Rogue Guiding. 
Rogue Guiding

After countless photo and videos of steelhead taken I knew I had to try it.  Well....Neil wasn't lying.  The CB Nymph is he real deal. The version I tie is a slight variation on the Midnight Fire Carpetbagger. It is by far my favorite version and has proven its worth on both trout and smallmouth for me here in the Northeast.

THANKS NEIL!




CarpetBagger Recipe
Hook:  #10 Mustad 9672
Bead: Gold Tungsten
Weight: .015 Lead Wire
Thread: Black
Abdomen:  Orvis Black Wooly Bugger Chenille
Legs/Tail:  Cabelas Blue-Black Sili-Legs

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

CGR GLASS : A Year in Review

Cabelas CGR Glass Rods

A year+ on the water review


It's no secret that I am a fan of the Cabelas CGR Glass rod series. Since picking up the 7' 4/5wt model in 2015, it didn't take me long to add two more of the line to the stable as well.  Last winter it was the 7'6" 5/6wt and this past summer came the 7' 6" 7/8wt model to round out what I wanted. As for the rest of the line? They all look very enticing, but I have personal glass already filling those slots, so despite my affinity for the line, they would seldom see water. 

Since first purchasing the rods, I have settled on a few things to complete the rigs as I would fish them. A personal favorite reel of mine is the Martin MG7, which I found to originally match the 5/6wt rod perfectly. So much so, that I began the hunt for 2 more near mint MG7's to complete the set. These rods just seem to balance perfectly with them, and with the sale prices of both the rods and used martin reels, a pretty nice rig is afforded a patient buyer for well under $100. 

SO.....with 2 seasons carrying the 4/5wt and a full season of intended application for the big brothers of the line....how did they fare on the water?


CGR 7'  4/5wt


The 4/5wt was the selling point for me on the CGR line, and I am still very much a fan.  It is equally at home from light warm-water to trout streams, and proved itself very capable early on. This rod came to it's final rigging for me with an Orvis DT5F line.  While it will cast a 4wt line just fine, I feel that it is at heart a 5wt. I find the rod to do extremely will with dries and light single nymph rigs.  It begins to drop off picking up line once you add much weight to it, regardless of line used however.  It will fish heavier rigs mind you, but not with ease, and I found myself pushing the rod more than fishing it comfortably by days end. 

On design and fit, I have found no fault in any aspect of the rod. I know many are not a fan of the cork-and-ring reel seat, but I personally love it. My reels hold well, with no slippage or loosening over 2 years. The spigot ferrules are remaining tight and the cork is without issue. I tend to fish this model the least, but only because it is fighting for time with several other rods and I feel it is limited a bit for the rigs it will throw.





CGR 7'6"  5/6wt


The 7'6" model is my personal favorite of the line. This rod will bend in half on a 24" Rainbow or a 3lb Largemouth and never blink. I find this rod to be a true 6wt, and with an aggressive taper line will throw anything you tie on short of large bass or saltwater rigs. This rod loved the Orvis Warmwater WF6F line from day one and I use it on both warm-water and cold-water applications. 

I am a huge fan of the light fighting-butt and both fit and finish are perfect. this rod will throw as much line as you need effortlessly, and has the backbone for indicator/splitshot/tandem nymph rigs. After a hard year of use, the cork is flawless though soiled, and the reel seat and ferrules remain as tight as new.  It remains my go-to nymph/light warm-water rig. 




CGR 7'6"  7/8wt



The 7/8wt CGR is flat out a workhorse of  a rod. However, opposite of the light 2 rods preceding it, I find it to be a true 7wt rod and likewise its carries an Orvis WF7F Warm-water taper line. This rod has been put through the trials in a single busy season. Dragged through cedar swamps, lily pads, pond-edge brush and coastal marsh this rod has held up perfectly. It is built for popping light to medium hair bugs accurately and quickly becomes an extension of your arm. I carry an 8wt line spooled and ready for really larger bass flies, but only fished it a few times. For me, it struggles with picking up a heavily loaded 8wt line and becomes no fun to cast through the day. It will do it if called upon, but with a 7wt line I find myself unable to leave this rod at home. 

Fit and finish held up on this rod flawlessly. I had my doubts since I am hard on my warm-water gear. But the cork, reel seat and ferrules have held up just fine. And at a sale price of $59, I find it hard to beat for a sub-8' glass bass rod. 




Conclusion

The Cabelas CGR glass line not only feels great initially, but fishes well and holds up very nicely.  They have all found a permanent place in my stable, and have left much more expensive rods sitting idle for most of the past 2 years. I would not feel worried or hesitate in relying on any of the 3 models I own regardless of the trip.  They have held up MUCH better than I initially expected and for the money they are unbeatable in my opinion. 

See you on the water!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 In Reflection

2016 In Reflection



Each year, time on the water, friends and events paint a fresco on my mind. 2016 like every year before it followed suite as well. As I look up in my mind it's filled with my family, great fish and friends.  A one-of-a-kind masterpiece that is not only painted forever in my memory, but also carries me through into 2017. 


A great fish landed with the help of good friends. A perfect start. 


Another opening day on Fishing Creek with my youngest. A great time for both, but so much more for Dad.


This year we broke out the tubes


My oldest daughter began fly fishing as well and I was able to be there for her first fly rod fish.


I became an official member of the Windknots and Tangled Lines Prostaff member.  

Thank you Howard!


I not only made a good friend in Chris but I was fortunate enough to witness this smile in person.  



Once again had a chance to share water with old friends.


Another Bow festival with my Son



And hunting partner



Grand Daughters 1st Birthday!



And for the first time in many years all were present and accounted for. 

I was truly blessed.

Add a few fish into the mix and I couldn't ask for more.








And after 20 years since the last, I was able to make what will most likely be my last freefall jump (#128) 



For those who have visited the blog through it all...THANK YOU!

Looking forward to 2017!