Monday, January 29, 2018

Splitting Hare

Splitting Hare

The venerable Hare's Ear shows it's effectiveness in a lineage of pattern variations that all do the same thing in the end......catch fish. 

The Hare's Ear nymph is the quintessential pattern that combines the right color when wet, movement, flash & profile. It has morphed in many ways since it's inception, and today's fly tyers in many ways have departed from. Yet the original pattern that sprouted from the Hare;'s mask has passed along it's genetic fish catching qualities none-the-less.

First learning to tie in the early 90's while living in the pacific northwest, this variation was the predominant one found in local bins. Gone were the guard hairs in the tail, replaced by pheasant tail fibers. And while natural hare's mask, it was pre-clipped and in a Hare-line dubbing ziplock bag. Strongly influenced by Gary Borger's tying style. 

The same pattern as above, with the addition of hen pheasant softhackle legs and a bead-head. This was the style Hare's Ear that I cut my teeth on at the bench. It is a pattern that has caught every cold water species that I have pursued, as well as most warm water. 

The GRHE softhackle.  What box doesn't include this pattern?  If it doesn't include it, there is a needed hole there that needs to be filled.

The basic bead head. Tied #16 through #20 is one of the most consistent flies in my box.  A classic pattern that is one of the most productive variations of the original. 

The C2C is my contribution to the GRHE legacy.  It took the place of the original for me from coastal cutthroats on the Olympic Peninsula to the streams of the Mount St Helens drainage and Eastern Washington. As I moved back east it remained at the top of my box, and more than 25 years later, the C2C remains my "One Fly" pattern. 

Tying The C2C

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

One's Better Judgement

SO...about 15 years ago, I had a disagreement with the owner of a company that makes a very nice fly fishing product.  The company had decided to place an advertising badge on the home page of their website for Greenpeace. Now, I don't know what your affiliation is with this group, nor do I really care. But I in fact despise them, as an enemy of the sporting community. They are against all bloodsport, would shut down hackle companies if given the chance, and basically stand against everything that we are. I know, I fishermen are not "the same" as hunters (of which GP uses to make most of their marketing) to some. We like to distance ourselves as "higher on the sporting ladder". But in reality we are not. Wearing organic underwear, living in a solar tiny house  and lying to yourself when you say tofu crab tastes just like real crab does not turn fishing of any kind into a non-bloodsport. So in my mind, to support GP is to support a group that is against the very same community that buys your product. Makes sense to can make your own judgement. 

Anyway...I called and spoke my peace, we had it out n the phone, I vowed to never use the product again, and for about 15 years I did not. 

Then a few weeks ago greed grabbed my mind with it's dirty little hands as I saw one of those things  for 50% off. Now, I never said it was a poorly made product. Quite the opposite, But my better judgment lost the argument, and I bought one. I knew it was wrong. I knew better. As a result....on my first fishing trip of the year, while crossing the creek on the first day....Between ice and a slip that could have turned out very bad. A tether broke, and that product was swept down an ice filled stream. 

I can hear the teachers voice as if it was yesterday...."Mister Long...MISTER LONG!.....PLEASE turn around in your seat and pay attention!"

I reckon we are never too old to be taught a lesson. 

If you release them, you are always catching "Tomorrow's fish".

Monday, January 22, 2018

Tying The Micro Skunk

The Micro Skunk

The Micro Skunk is a variation of a variation. While steelheading in the Pacific Northwest during the mid-90's, the spin fishermen were doing well with micro-jigs under a casting bubble. The most popular pattern seemed to be a #10 jig pattern variation of the Green Butt Skunk. I began tying it as a beadhead and it has since done well for me on both coasts. Though the materials have changed over the years, the pattern has remained the same. It has done well for me for both trout and as a popper-dropper in warm water.

The Micro Skunk

Hook:  #14-#16 Orvis Beadhead
Bead:  Black Nickel
Thread: Black
Tail:  Red Tippet
Butt:  Green Hareline
Rib:  X-small Silver Wire
Abdomen:  Tying Thread
Hackle:  Black
Thorax:  Black Ice-Dub

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Herl Dubbing Brush Techniques

Herl Dubbing Brush Techniques

After fielding a number of questions on this topic, I felt it easier to demonstrate my techniques and how I apply them.

Thanks for Watching!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018 Winterfest

2018 Winter Opener

This year's opener was a record setting one for the group. The morning started out at 6 degrees, with a layer of 1" clear slush in the waters surface. Add keeping a watchful eye out for passing shelf ice and you could call it cold and a little sketchy. But....the option was "not fishing", therefore we donned our gear and got in the water.

Len, warming fingers

Re-rigging takes on a whole new life when you can't feel your fingers.

Doug had the 1st hookup, but it ended with a break-off, as did our first 3 hoop-ups of the day. Could have been too much pressure, or ice. Either way, we were not doing well to the net.

About mid-morning I finally convinced another fish to pick up my #6 Coyote Ugly...and the fight was on. Heavy fish.

Tying The Coyote Ugly 

Problem reel was frozen solid, and I only had about 30ft of line out that I would manage the fish with. I was essentially fishing with an 8'3" 6wt Tenkara rod. 

Thank goodness for a little room to run (or as close to running an old fat guy wearing waders in 9 degree weather can get anyway), and the net work of Len....we landed her. 

The ice gave up an estimated 28" hen. 

It was a quick recovery and even after a lengthy fight, she was impatient to get back and shot away with strength. 

The only fish landed on the trip, but a great weekend overall, and we will take it.  Along with the still recovering fingers and toes. 

Good friends and good water. 


Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 On The Water

2017 On the Water

Looking back on 2017, there are times, places and fish that stand out above all the rest. 

The year marked the culmination of a 3 year long project to putt together "Summer Bugs". A project that falls close to home.

It began on the water with the scream of a single-action reel 

To share some great time with friends

And the chance to be present while good friends had great days as well

The Spring opener opener was highlighted netting a beautiful fish for another good friend 

And a gift of Gold

2017 was a little bit of everything Warm water, both stalking local banks and kicking through lily pads in the tube. 

It included a wonderful Fathers Day gift shared with my daughter

And ended with a chance to share the water with another

as well as share her first trout on a fly rod.

All-in-all, it was a year that not only brought some great moments, but it was the type of year that keeps a person looking forward to more opportunities to share future time on the water. 

Welcome 2018!