More Sculpins

Its cold outside and work will soon be taking over my life for a few months…amazing how some chicken feathers and thread can help pass the time and distract me from the rush.

Just a few more pics of flies to be swapped.

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Rear ends

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Tandem chubby muffins

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Progress

Para-Loop Midge

I  joined another fly swap on paflyfish and needed to pick a pattern to tie.  The tricky part was that there was no real theme to the swap, so I could tie absolutely anything I wanted.  This proved tougher than I had imagined.  But I was able to combine a few techniques to tie something I thought would be appropriate for the cold weather which is now upon us.

The one “major,” reliable hatch on my local trout stream is midges; and I learned last winter that these tiny bugs can provide some of the best fishing of the year.  Griffith’s gnats have always been my go-to midge pattern, but I had an idea for a new pattern to try.  Now its kind of a pain (and probably unnecessary) to tie a #20 para-loop; but it wound up looking pretty good…especially in the water.

 

RECIPE

Hook: # 20 scud

Body: 8/0 UNI – Black

Wing: Grizzly tied in a para-loop

Thorax: Muskrat

 

 

Craft Store Goodness

This past weekend, I found myself browsing the craft store for anything on the cheap that I could use to tie flies.  I wanted to make a fly box I saw on another site, but they didn’t have the stuff I wanted.  Regardless, they did have an abundance of embroidery yarn…

…which is perfect for making sucker spawns.

The mini steel box is coming along  nicely.

Surf Candy Slim

So in honor of catching my first striped bass this past Sunday, I thought I would post a step-by-step of the fly I was using.

The pattern itself is far from a secret.  Bob Popovics turned the saltwater fly tying world upside down in the 80s and 90s  by engineering his “fleyes” in a way that served a particular purpose, or solved a problem.  Tying with epoxy wasn’t a new concept, but Bob took it to another level, and brought us the Surf Candy in the process.  It’s a simple fly, which can be modified to imitate almost any baitfish by varying the colors and the thickness of materials.

My variation evolved out of a lack of materials.  Specifically, I was looking to make a fly that would imitate a sand eel.  I wanted to use the surf candy as a model, while keeping the profile long and slender.  But I only had white super hair, so I used a silver sharpie (yes, the kind people use for autographs) to darken the materials used for the back of the fly.  Along with some crystal flash and 3-D eyes, I think the fly looks pretty good…apparently my tiny bass agreed.

Materials

# 1/0 Daiichi 3111

(any saltwater hook will work, but I like this style with a shorter shank)

White UNI thread

(but I’ll bet clear mono would look cooler…if you’re feeling fancy, that is)

White super hair

Pearl crystal flash

5-Minute epoxy

Super glue

Silver Sharpie

Small 3-D holographic eyes

Secure hook in vise.

Begin wrapping your thread back to around a quarter inch behind the eye.

Secure the white super hair to the underside of the hook.

Tie in crystal flash as desired. I use 4 strands.

Cut another bunch of crystal flash and color it with the silver sharpie. Then tie this in above the crystal flash.

Whip finish and trim your thread. Then color the top half of your head with the sharpie.

Using your favorite super-glue, attach your 3-D eyes, leaving a small gap between them and the hook eye. This will suggest the pointy shape of a sand eel's head.

I like to mix epoxy in bottle caps. It holds enough to coat a fly or two, and then I can throw it away when I'm done.

Coat the fly with your freshly mixed epoxy and let dry. It will typically take more than one coat, so don't worry that it looks crappy just yet.

Much Better.

Once you are satisfied with your body, let the epoxy dry (hint: keep it moving to keep the finish even) and apply a final coat of head cement/sally hansens. Finally, trim your super hair to the desired length.

Take 'em for a swim.

Blue Winged Olive SBS

Now that fall is here, I thought I would dedicate a post to my favorite pattern for the overcast, drizzly days when blue winged olives start showing up again.  I’ll start off by saying that the inspiration came from the Better-Winged Olive post on Global Flyfisher.  But since the original pattern called from a few materials I didn’t have, I simplified it and made it work with what I did have…hackle, dubbing, and thread.

It’s a versatile pattern because it can pass for both a dun or a spinner, depending on the situation.  And while it’s simple, there are two key features of the pattern.  The first is the thorax, which is loosely dubbed to suggest the bulk of the natural duns.  The second is the trimming of the hackle.  This helps the fly ride lower in the film, imitating both the natural BWO, and almost any mayfly spinner, for that matter.

This being said, this pattern can be modified to match nearly any dry fly scenario.  Just substitute a larger or smaller hook, change the tail and hackle color, and you’re covered for essentially any hatch.  But to stay on track…when I am fishing a BWO hatch, I’ve had my best luck tossing a #20 to represent the smaller baetis variety. For the larger drunella lata, I would suggest a #14 or #16.

Recipe

Hook : # 14-22 dry fly

Thread : 8/0 UNI

Tail : Dun hackle

Body : Olive Orvis blended fur dubbing

Wing : Dun Hackle, underside trimmed flat

Step 1: Secure hook in vise and pinch barb if desired.

Step 2 : Wrap thread back to the hook bend.

Step 3 : Measure hackle fibers to one hook length and tie in at the bend.

Step 4 : Dub a tapered body.

Step 5 : Tie in hackle and loosely dub a buggy-looking thorax.  This loose dubbing will add some lifelike bulk to the front end of the fly, while leaving some space to wrap the hackle forward.

Step 6 : Liberally wrap your hackle forward to create a thick, buoyant wing.

Step 7 : Build a small head, whip finish, and dot with head cement.  You’re almost done.


Step 8 : With your scissors, clip the underside of the wing, just above the hook point.  This will let the fly ride low in the current.

My largest wild trout of the year came on this pattern on Valley Creek during a warm day in March.  Hopefully, it will produce for you as well.