Fly Tying- Building a better Boobie

by Philip Rowley

Boobie flies, lovem’ or hatem’. personally, i’m somewhere in between but loving them or not isn’t really the point of today’s post but one of cleverly thought-out fly design and technique(s). we’ve already seen a myriad of tying videos here on TLC and this is one of the most thoroughly thought-out and complete ones i’ve ever had the pleasure of studying and here’s why:

– a curved hook always gets my preference when it fits with the fly’s design and this one fits it super-well. as alluded to in the video, these flies can be easily be inhaled and a curved-in hook point in my opinion not only holds fish better once hooked but really help in keeping the fly in the fish’s mouth instead of down its throat. even if you’re not a die-hard barbless fisher (and you should be !) please either find a similar factory barbless or crush the barb well when tying these patterns.

– thickish tying thread as stated makes for better tying-in of thin foam parts as it’s less likely to cut through. besides, there’s no need for finesse here.

– trimming marabou fibres from the stalk instead of using the feather’s tip is the way to go. even if the tip seems flexible it isn’t half as flexible as the fibres lower down the feather and, because of the asymmetry of the tip’s fibres it’s a lot harder to get a good, even bunch along the whole tail’s length.

– the thread wrap between the tail and hook shank greatly improves the tail’s position and swim. all you need is one snug wrap to get this.

– trimming the tied-in tail by tearing them off with the fingers because nothing makes a ‘deader’ tail than by trimming it with scissors.

– ‘made-for-Boobies’ chenille really makes a difference from the standard synthetic chenille. this particular model isn’t very translucent which can be a good or a lesser good thing but the more important element with this pattern-type-specific material is the way it moves when fished. the fibres fold back on retrieve and resume their original shape when stopped and this gives the fly’s body a ‘breathing’ effect while still holding its structure to push water, give a very visible profile and combined with the foam eyes, creates a water-flow turbulence which in turn greatly enhances the tail’s movement even with the slightest and slowest retrieve. in other words, the fly doesn’t need to be torn through the water to make it come alive and its the combination of all these elements that makes these patterns so effective in triggering strikes.

– unless you’re going to tie a lot of these things, factory-made foam eyes are the way to go as they’re perfectly symmetric. its not an aesthetic thing but one of how the symmetric eyes will be perfectly balanced. asymmetric eyes make the fly swim erratically and usually twist on itself during the retrieve and that’s no good.

lots of good stuff there easily transposed to a whole lot of other less offensive patterns so, there isn’t a lot to hate is there ?
be sure to watch in HD by clicking the video’s settings button, enjoy !

It’s the little things

having a nasty knee injury at the peak of fishing season leaves one with several options:
get mad, frustrated at everything, everyone, take up religion as a way of thinking that it’s all just part of a greater scheme and/or that i probably deserved it for having stolen candy as a child at the local 7-11 but, that’s dumb.
or, it can be just like all the other times where there’s been physical constraints and you just take care of it the best you know and wait it out and try to turn down-time into something positive because the ex-hippie (i never was a hippy btw) tells me that somehow, some way, just about every situation in life can be turned around into a positive one. at least that’s the plan.

so, this time, the idea was to finally rework TheLimpCobra’s layout and navigation parameters to something that:
a) i really like and feel more at-home with.
b) something you’ll really like or at least find more enjoyable and user-friendly with any viewing device.
c) well, in the same sense that it would be boring to always eat the same things or brush your teeth with the same toothpaste or have sex in the same way over and over, a little change is a good change.

instead of having to open the menu to access behind-the-scenes stuff, you’ll find all the different pages at the top bar while categories, search tab, top views and comments, email subscription and maybe a few other future adornments by simply scrolling to the bottom of any page within the site. photo and video size and resolution have been upped. i’m particularly happy about the photo part as most of my own images are about textures and minute details within the frame and this way you’ll get to see them closer to how i see them and closer to how they where intended to be seen. i hope.

along with the memory that the last time i was out fishing (initially, the plan was to try to seduce a blubber-lipped carp but… ), it was hard to keep an exact count but a conservative count concluded to more than sixty perch landed in what, maybe three hours. none of them where big even by perch sizes but i felt like a kid and was one of the most fishy-related fun i’ve ever had. when Monsieur Knee gets better the plan is to get to a triple-digit perch count. it doesn’t matter if it is or not but if i do i’ll consider it a world record and something i can silently boast about, at least until the next injury pops up which once again reminds me that it’s all the little things that count and make life special and every day and moment are worth celebrating so, here’s some zip-bam-boom fireworks for you that i hope you’ll enjoy.

13-7-15 fireworks 2 m.fauvet-TLC

My seatrout mojo is a bad mojo

here’s the scene- i’m on a lovely Scottish river that’s noted for having a good run of seatrout. there’s also a lot of golden-bellied brown trout and salmon but since seatrout are far and few between in my part of the world i decide to spend the evening trying to catch what’s been so far an elusive species for me or who knows, maybe a salmon. on the way to a promising looking run, all of a sudden mayflies started popping up, dancing all around me and all-exciting rings started to happen all over the pool. a lot of them.

those rings where created by the aforementioned golden-bellies. the as-yet unstrung rod was an 8wt more than capable of of handling the biggest seatrout this river might offer and the flies in my box where all seatrout/salmon type things which could never be confused with the mayflies that where dancing about and being chomped by my buttery friends.
the little voice said: pursue the quest and persist ! so i listened, got ready, waded in and started the evening wilfully thinking that one specie’s appetite was sure to be wetted by another’s.
the hatch got stronger and stronger and the feeding frenzy carried on relentlessly despite all my line-thrashing and Spey swoops and whomps right over the trout’s very heads. i even tried swinging and retrieving my seatrouty morsels in front of their noses and they’d just continue sipping the bugs away, sometimes right next to my offering and at others, right next to the line that was moving in front of them. these guys where in gluttony mode and nothing could put them down… you’ve already guessed that once again, seatrout where only a bittersweet, delisional dream that never came through.

once back at the camp, my friends where very happy to tell me in great detail of all the lovely browns they caught, released and took pictures of and that made me very happy for them. i showed them my ‘trophy pic’ above and since they are friends and good friends, i guess no-one felt the need to say “should have taken the trout rod instead, Marc…” and i fully agree with that unstated statement.
fishing for seatrout is a boring, fruitless and frustrating endeavour. they’re not even pretty and i know this because i’ve seen countless photos of them that other people have caught. i’ll probably never do it again but then, i just might if i ever get in better terms with my mojo.

Tim’s Little Black Stone

by Tim Flagler via TightLineVideo

hard to think of a nicer, simpler, great surface footprinted, Wonder-Winged, low-riding adult stonefly pattern.
harder yet to think of anything else i could add to what looks like the end-all stonefly imitation except for… enjoy !

ps- well ok, just one thing. try not to crowd the hook eye so much with excess materials when you’re tying your own… :lol:

Fly Tying- April tells us all about her Rhea

first, here’s the beast.
3 Rheas well, three of them…

as for the telling all about part, here’s April Volkey giving what’s in my mind/experience the finest and most thought-out fly tying material how-to-use demonstration i’ve ever seen.
it’s not about constructing a specific pattern but about exploring the endless possibilities and hands-on practical aspects of this long, durable and very lively fibre and incorporating it to all manner of salmon, steelhead flies or basically any kind of wet fly or streamer whether it be for fresh or saltwater. be sure to watch it in HD, enjoy !

 

as for the beast itself, click on the threesome for more info.

Fly Casting- The Foundation Casting Stroke

before anything else, i want to extend a great big thank you to Jason Borger for sending me this video to share here on TLC ! first described in drawing form in his seminal book Nature of Fly Casting, today’s treat is as far as i know, the first animated rendition of the Foundation Casting Stroke.

let’s first have a look at the video in ‘real time’. enjoy !

ok, with all the other styles of fly casting around what makes this so special ? there are several aspects.
– firstly, as opposed to most other styles i can think of (with the exception of say, the 170° or other distance competition-specific methods), the FCS is the only stroke/cast/line path that all works in one plane.
as a reminder, most other styles are somewhat based on a more elliptic stroke. some more, some less elliptic but the main result is typically a back cast where the line travels behind the caster beneath the rod tip or at least much lower than the subsequent forward cast.

lifting the elbow literally ‘lifts’ the line over the rod tip.

JB 'Pistoning' FCS
its purpose is to track throughout the stroke as true as possible which means effectively having a higher BC trajectory keeping the line and fly away from obstacles and also a greater degree of fly placement precision.
– the FCS necessitates the full use of the caster’s arm. the stronger shoulder joint and muscle groups do most of the ‘work’, the quicker-to-move elbow adds a bit of speed and rod butt angle change to the stroke and the wrist and fingers finalise both speed-up and stop of the rod butt while refining the movements the bigger/stronger groups initiated.
this ‘big to small’ approach not only makes perfect sense bio-movement-wise but also greatly reduces the risk of injury, discomfort and fatigue.
– actively engaging the whole arm during the strokes and particularly the up and down ‘pistoning’ motion of the elbow makes getting a narrow and/or super-controlled loop thanks to SLP ‘Straight Line Path’ of the rod tip a piece of easily repeatable and consistent cake. among all the aspects of the FCS, that alone should get most casters interested.
another aspect i find invaluable to the FCS is it prevents what i term ‘arm laziness‘. this laziness is common amongst casters of all levels for what might be one of a million reasons but one thing i’ve noticed throughout the years is it’s often the root of many problems. to put it another way, exaggerated arm movement rarely leads to anything worse than a bigger than normal loop whereas not enough or just-at-the-limit movement very easily leads to casting nasties.

is the FCS the end-all of fly casting ? no and yes. it most definitely is not the kind of cast we’d want to do when casting big, heavy flies or teams of flies and most casting styles don’t rely on casting in a single plane to be effective and people definitely catch fish without casting the line over the rod tip.
learning the FCS however takes our casting game to a whole other level. once we’ve assimilated it to our bag of tricks we’ll be a more complete and therefore more efficient caster. it’s well worth the extra play/work to get this one down pat.
as a final note, i personally don’t consider the FCS in the least bit to be a purely vertical overhead style. we can use the exact same elbow up-and-down ‘pistoning’ as Jason calls it to any other plane in various degrees from completely horizontal and from one side of the body to the other by simply replacing the up-and-down movement of the elbow to one that goes out-and-in. as a supplement to this article, i’ll try to make a video of the ‘out and in’ motion in the near future.
for more on the SLP aspect of the FCS click here HOW STRAIGHT IS STRAIGHT LINE PATH ? and check out the comment section.

here’s  a slomo gif that’ll hopefully help to completely assimilate this all-important movement.

JB's FCS 303fps slomo

i’d like a mention that Jason’s upcoming book Single-Handed Fly Casting is in the photo/drawing stage and that the list for the 1001 signed and numbered copies is filling up quick. be sure to click HERE to reserve your copy soon, the casting world’s been waiting for this one and i’d expect them to go fast…