ole’ MushMouth

this otherwise flopped-photo reminds me of a fantastic quote from one of my all-time favourite photographers and somewhat mentor as i had the fantastic opportunity of being one of his assistants years ago in Paris- Nick Knight.

” I think photography has been wrestling with a burden of telling the truth, which I don’t think it was ever particularly good at “

mushmouth trout m.fauvet-TLC 29-8-15
MushMouth was an eight pound plus bruiser with an appropriately nasty kyped jaw. circumstances decided differently, preferring to show us a different truth, one i find infinitely more interesting than the truth my eyes told me.

Palmering, Pilgrims, fly tying history, the Worm and the Plague

thanks to this great comment left by reader Phil Foster on yesterday’s brainwashem’ young- Julian’s Wouf-Wouf salmon fly in regards to my mentioning “in the fly tying world, ‘palmering‘ means winding a hackle around the hook shank, not pulling hackle fibres back before winding/palmering the hackle to the hook shank.”

palmerworm 3“Per “The Fly Fisher’s Illustrated Dictionary” authored by Darrel Martin…….PALMER
A forward-spiraling hackle, a running hackle, with or without stem gaps; also called a ‘buzz hackle’; any fly tied with palmer hackle. The tying technique of spiraling a hackle laterally along the shank or body of a fly; the hackled, artificial fly resembling the Palmer worm, dated 1651; an artificial resembling a Palmer-worm, a hairy, wandering tineid moth larva. The term ‘palmer’ comes from the wandering pilgrim-beggar or palmer, “… the Palmer got its name from the pilgrims who walked …to the Holyland in fulfillment of a vow. When they came back home they wore pieces of palm leaves in their hats to signify they had made that long journey and were called palmers….Because a caterpillar , with all it’s legs, does a lot of walking, it likewise became a palmer” ( Harold Smedley, ‘Fly Patterns and Their Origins'[1950]. The medieval Palmer wore crossed palm leaves to indicate his travels.” The Palmer Worm is a small worm covered with hair, supposed to be so called because it wanders over all plants”( Charles Bowlker, ‘The Art of Angling’ [1839]”

which got me to wondering about how the verb ‘Palmering’ originated (actually, i’ve been wondering about this for years but never took the time to do a little research…) and found some interesting if not mostly completely non-fly tying related results yet they’re all related to this very stylish and hairy bug. enjoy !


Dictionary

palmerworm
noun palm·er·worm \-ˌwərm\
Definition of PALMERWORM
: a caterpillar that suddenly appears in great numbers devouring herbagepalmer worm

“I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured [them]: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD”

“Ancient Palmer Worm. THE Palmer-Worm, or Pilgrim-Worm, mentioned in Joel i. 4, and Amos iv. 9, was a voracious, hairy caterpillar, which was, with the locust, a scourge of the East. Even before it reaches the winged state it is very destructive, but after it attains that period, its ravages are terrible.”

“That which the palmer-worm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the canker-worm eaten; and that which the canker-worm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.”

suffice to say, and for our fly tying purposes, even if it is somewhat amusing to see how our prickly friends where transformed into crawling, earth-sucking  Mothra-esque demons, we can completely ignore all this biblical stuff, safely continue our fly tying activities and sleep well at night knowing how the hackling technique got its name.
 
palmerworm 2 it’s a little sad to see such a lovely creature get so much bad press but in the end, we’re still around to admire its beauty and be thankful for inspiring early fly tiers to create what is one of the most basic tying techniques there is.

brainwashem’ young- Julian’s Wouf-Wouf salmon fly

today’s super-duper tying treat come to us from young Julian Furlaga and be sure to remember that name because i’m very certain we’ll be seeing a lot more from him in the future.
very well tied and explained * and pleasant to watch, Julian’s most excellent tutorial not only shows us how to tie a great salmon/migratory fish pattern but also that these patterns don’t require a rocket science or brain surgery degree to tie; a barrier a lot of adults seem to have a hard time climbing over…

this tutorial’s special and be sure to notice how the lad put on his special Sunday shirt to make the video, enjoy !

* in the fly tying world, ‘palmering‘ means winding a hackle around the hook shank, not pulling hackle fibres back before winding/palmering the hackle to the hook shank. i’m sure Julian will have sussed that out soon.

you Dumb Bunny !!!

what’s better than a bunny streamer ?  a Dumb Bunny streamer !

besides being a bit different, what makes the DB maybe better than most ? this great new pattern from Tim Flagler has some interesting features, let’s take a look at them:
– first of all, it’s a bunny fly and bunny flies rule.
– the fly rides point up and i like streamers that ride point up.
– there’s only two materials, bunny strips and a pair of dumb bell eyes.
– its construction is super-simple. beginner simple.
– it looks really good, specially when wet and swimming. (see vid)
– wrapping the body strip around the shank adds just enough bulk to give the pattern’s profile a nice differentiation between body and tail.
– trimming the body’s underfur not only helps to recreated the wedged underbelly shape most baitfish have but also helps the fly to track straight.  as an aside, a thought that instantly came to mind was one could also wrap lead wire around the hook shank prior to wrapping the bunny strip to add more weight for faster/deeper waters and also to accentuate the keel effect.
– as another aside, i don’t really see the point in painting the dumb bell eyes as they’re already pretty close as they are to the basic black shape of fish eyes but maybe that’s just me being a lazy sod…

lots of good points, aye ? enjoy !

Fly Tying- a Blae and Black/Black Pennell two-in-one wet fly

blae
[bley, blee]
Origin
adjective, Scotland and North England
1. bluish-black; blue-gray.

“Ye must be fair starving, Paul,” quoth she softly with her hand on my arm, and I daresay my face was blae with cold and chagrin.
‘The Shoes of Fortune’, Neil Munroblae and black McPhail

now, what’s interesting in this fly’s name is that it doesn’t have any blue components.

ok, black materials almost always have either a blueish or reddish highlight reflection when/if the light hits it just right but it doesn’t matter a single bit because i’m rambling about something irrelevant instead of getting to the point which is: this a f’n awesome fish catching and beautiful fly.

as for the two-in-one and noted in the vid, this pattern is a Black Pennell with a wing. the Black Pennell wet designed by Mr H. Cholmondley (pronounced Chumley) Pennell is a classic that shouldn’t need any introduction to anyone born since 1870.

“Quoting from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedly; “H. Cholmondeley Pennel, 1837-1913, English poet-sportsman and author of The Angler Naturalist 1864; Modern Practical Angler, 1873; The Sporting Fish of Great Britain, Modern Improvements in Fishing Tackle, and Salmon & Trout , 1885, of which he was also an editor, was the originator of that type of hackle fly known as the “Pennell Hackle.” He also originated the turned down eyed and tapered hook which carry his name.
His choice and recommendation of that particular type of hackle fly was in three colors: brown, yellow and green. The body, instead of being bushy or soft, was hard, silk wrapped and thin. The hackle, tied very sparsely, was a little longer than usual.
Although he probably did not realize it when he recommended these patterns of thin bodies and lightly dressed hackles, he started something, for many tiers now recommend and say “dress sparsely,” but he was the first to realize that a lightly dressed fly was oftentimes better than one too heavily dressed.” *

history aside, whether this pattern needs a wing or not to be effective is most probably anyone’s guess and not the fish’s. what it will obviously do however is give the fly a bigger profile and make it look like a bigger somethingoranother instead of a smaller somethingoranother. the good thing about including a wing is it can always be trimmed off waterside with our nippers when big(ger) isn’t on the day’s menu.

enough talk, here’s how to tie the beast. enjoy !

since we’re Pennelling today and variety being the spice of life and all that, here’s an anorexic version of the standard BP tied by superman-tier Hans Weilenmann. following Han’s method you’ll be hard-pressed fitting a wing in there but we all know this fly doesn’t need a wing…

* quote source: Fly Anglers Online

brainwashem’ young- Tweedstart

via Eoin Fairgrieve

“Fifteen years ago some River Tweed ghillies got together and organised a morning for local children to learn about various aspects of becoming an angler – We called the event Tweedstart. Today Tweedstart has introduced thousands of children to fly fishing in the Scottish Borders. This is a short film about the project:”

this kind of initiative is all good, all around. kids get out of the classroom, get a better understanding and discover their inherent connection with the outdoors that just can’t happen within walls.
much more than just a fly fishing school, they get to learn about the water’s ecosystem and discover what a precious resource waterways are, water safety, camaraderie/teamwork, how a well managed fishery can be vital plus to a region’s economy and maybe best of all, go back home with fond memories and mud-stained clothing and hands.

with the hope that organisations such as Tweedstart and others around the globe will influence the creation of even more like-minded operations with kids with the fantastic help of people like Eoin and many others, here’s a few videos showing just what a great job they’re doing. enjoy !

 

Inches fraction and decimal to Millimetre chart

primarily of use for us fly fishers to compare and better understand the sizes of fly tying beads and tippet/leader/line materials, here’s a handy chart that’ll hopefully help make sense of it all.
note that inch fractions have a hard time keeping up with their decimal and mm counterparts, at least in our ‘real world’ applications such as bead diameters. some times we just have to round off and make do with what we can get…

fraction-decimal-mm chart

i restrained the chart size above to match the most common sizes for our fly fishing purposes, should you want more click the pic.
for a plethora of just about anything to just about anything conversion charts click HERE to access The Engineering Toolbox‘s main page.

some previously posted charts of interest:
Single and Double Hand Fly Line Weight Charts
Fly line Gram to Grain chart