Saltwater Patterns

Having flyfished in the surf only once, I’ve been anxiously anticipating the next chance I get to hit the surf.  Well, the opportunity has finally presented itself in a weekend trip to Cape Cod, and two meet ups through PAFlyFish; and yes…I’m psyched.  The fall run…a chance to fish for bluefish, striper, and who knows, maybe even a false albacore (god help my 8 wt rod if that happens). 

I’ve been tying up a storm in anticipation.  I’ll admit it can be daunting trying to decide which of the countless fly patterns to bring along on a salt trip.  I tied up a ton of random patterns for my Outer Banks trip, and wound up only using the smallest white clouser minnows i brought, nearly running out because I had tied too many other options.  My best advice is to keep it simple.  Another blog I follow sums up this idea  much better than I can, so I suggest you check it out.  Long story short, I stuck with tying clousers, deceivers, sand eels, and a few overly artistic topwater flies.  Stick to two or three sizes and a few color options and you’re set.

 Arsenal of Clousers

Some Deceivers (still upset i forgot the throat on the chartruse…oh well)


Sand Eel

Crease Fly



Post-Flood Exploring

After all the recent flooding in PA, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to the creek this morning.  First stop was the park at Valley Forge, and I didn’t stay long.  But I did get a couple cool shots of Lafayette’s sycamore since it was struck by lightning a few weeks ago.  According to The Historic Trees Project:

“This oddly shaped sycamore stands a few hundred yards from General Lafayette’s Headquarters at Valley Forge. It is estimated to be 275-325 years old, which means it would have been a witness to the winter encampment of 1777-1778.  One source   speculates that the tree’s unique shape may have been a result of its extremities being used by soldiers for firewood or poles.”

I never stopped to think about it, but this tree has seen few things over the years…it’s a shame to see it gone.

The water was in decent shape…just a little cloudy and high. But after an hour or so without any luck, I decided to hit a different spot far upstream from here.  Here, the water was crystal clear; and as an added bonus, much of the stream-side brush was washed away, giving my casting some room for error.

Tight Spot

Gorgeous Brownie

I wound up catching three wild brownies on a scud pattern.  Not a bad morning at all.

Soup Night

More rain and cooler temps…sounds like a good night for soup.  So I made my favorite recipe from when I was growing up…my Mom’s ham, string beans, and potato soup:  Saute an onion in a little bit of oil until almost clear.  Chop up ham into bite-sized pieces, add to onions, and stir for a few more minutes.  Add chicken bullion and water to the pot.  Chop up potatoes and string beans, add to pot, and simmer until all ingredients are soft.  Add salt/pepper to taste and enjoy.

(the pic does not do this justice!)

Oh yeah, I tied a predator popper tonight too…another Brad Bohen ripoff.

Al’s Rat SBS

Another Al Miller original, the Al’s Rat is easily one of the most effective midge pupa immitations out there.  Just like Al’s Trico, the key to this pattern lies in it’s simplicity…you only need three things to tie it.  Hook, thread, and a pinch of dubbing.  Simple enough?

The only change that I make to the pattern is that I like to use curved scud hooks.  The original pattern, as tied by Mr. Miller, used standard straight shank hooks.  Either way will work.  I just think the curved shank looks a little bit buggier.

Al’s Rat

Hook: #20 scud

Thread: 8/0 Brown UNI

Thorax: Muskrat underfur (any dubbing will work)

Step 1:  Secure the hook in your vice and pinch the barb if desired.

Step 2: Starting at mid-shank, begin wrapping the thread forward.  Stop just short of the hook eye.

Step 3: Wrap the thread back towards the bend of the shank, clipping the thread’s tag end as you secure the first wraps.  Stop just past the bend of the hook.

Step 4: Wrap back up to where we stopped earlier, leaving some space behind the eye.  Notice that by starting the thread and initially wrapping forward, this creates a natural taper in the body of the fly.

Step 5:  Take a pinch of muskrat underfur and dub the thread.

Step 6: Wrap to form a small thorax with the dubbing.

Step 7: Form a tiny head, whip finish, and dot with head cement.

Step 8: Go Fishing.