~ Julian Barnes, ‘Nothing to be frightened of‘
today, August 2nd is my dad’s birthday. he died what seems like ages ago and contrary to the too-often heard “I loved him or her” when refering to a close deceased person, i can’t for the life of me understand why that love would stop with that person’s life.
that wasn’t a rant, it’s just my way of saying nothing’s changed so, here’s an image for him. i don’t remember him being particularly fond of flies or bugs in general but he was really keen on photography and as such might like it. happy birthday dad.
～ Friedrich Nietzsche
the original version might have been about voids but intentional misquoting is where it’s at, man.
as promised, here’s a special-guest fly tying nugget via buddy Tim Trengrove from Wellington, North Island New Zealand.
Wellington happens to be as far away on the other side of the globe from me as possible, any further and he would have to come from space !, and i know this because i have an app on my phone that once leveled, shows what’s on the other side of our beautiful planet as if we where looking straight through it. it looks like this. cool, huh ?
ok, now that i’m finished with my pointless interjection… today’s topic is about traditional influences in contemporary fly tying and durability and more specifically, hackle durability by using the Reversed Hackling method. Tim’s explanation is straightforward and should suffice in itself but if it isn’t i’ll include the link to previously posted video in the comment section that explains it well. enjoy !
thanks for your contribution Tim, it’s greatly appreciated. i know your trout season’s about to start and i hope it’s a grand one !
Like Jim said
Tiny caddis were already crawling up my back when the first trout began rising. In the Southern Hemisphere summer, no rain for some weeks meant the flow was much lower for the post-Christmas period. Perhaps that and the extra hot day brought the caddis on as daytime hatches in this river were an unusual sight.
My normal fly choice would have been a caddis pupa but, having tied up some Partridge and Yellow spiders, I was keen to use them instead. The results were astounding, but unfortunately not for all the right reasons.
Browns and rainbows up to 3.5 pounds grabbed the fly and tore off down the pool. Some cartwheeling across the surface, others leaping high. There were break-offs and other midstream releases. What upset me way more than losing fish was the sight of seeing some of my flies unravelling. Flies that looked pretty in the box, but now were not surviving these fish. My spider tying technique was rubbish.
Later, after reading The North Country Fly by Robert L Smith, I adopted the traditional tying method for spiders. This made for much more robust flies and I’ve been waiting for another daytime caddis rise since then.
The whole “robust” thing got me thinking about fly construction. There will always be a place in my fly box for North Country fly designs like this Woodcock and Hare’s Ear.
The hackle is tied using the traditional tip-first method then wound once the body is constructed.
What I wanted was a fuller-bodied fly which was as strong as or stronger than the umbrella-shaped spider.
Starling with hare’s mask on a Kamasan B160 #16. Something along the lines of a Stewart’s Spider but not as unruly in appearance. This led me to reading how Jim Leisenring constructed his flies in The Art of Tying The Wet Fly & Fishing The Flymph. Jim typically used the reverse hackle tie-in for his soft hackle wet flies and instead of making a narrow collar of hackle, he spiralled the hackle rearward. The tying thread was then wound forward through the hackle to the tie- off position. This gave the hackle a fuller appearance and helped make the fly incredibly strong. I took those ideas and incorporated them into spiders.
If you can see differences in hackle construction looking at the two photos, your eyesight is very good! When both flies are moved about in the water together, the differences are seen more clearly. I tie these in #16 for slow, clear water and #14 for faster water. In the last season this pattern accounted for brown trout in slower rivers near my home in Wellington and the Mataura in the South Island, and rainbows in the fast flowing Tongariro. So long as I tie a decent knot and work on not being stupid after hooking fish, most of these flies make it back home. That is a big improvement on my first spiders.
When it comes to tying wingless wet flies, I like to tie the hackle in a similar way.
As Jim Leisenring has been such an inspiration, I will leave the last words to him.
“The art of tying the wet fly rests upon a knowledge of trout-stream insect life, a knowledge of materials used for imitating the insect life, and an ability to select, prepare, blend, and use the proper materials to create neat, durable, and lifelike imitations of the natural insects”.
(The Art of Tying The Wet Fly & Fishing The Flymph by James E. Leisenring and Vernon S. Hidy, 1971, page 34)
Tim Trengrove, New Zealand
hard to think of a trout fly fisher anywhere around the Globe that hasn’t heard of or used Hans van Klinken’s notorious Klinkhammer emerger, one of the rare true innovations the fly tying world has seen in what seems like millenia.
lots of tiers from that very same Globe have made tutorials for this particular pattern and they’re pretty much all pretty good if not actually great but one thing’s missing: they’re not Hans.
generally speaking i guess, the way i see it is no matter how close one tries to stay close to the original, there’s always a slight personalization when translating someone else’s work and as such they become variants. there’s obviously nothing wrong with those variants, however from a learning perspective, and again this is just my own point of view, it’s of greater interest to learn from the original and vary from there instead of learning from variants and varying even more.
with a good portion of the important aspects of this fantastic pattern’s how-to details highlighted/blown up in split-screen, we’ll get it straight from the horse’s mouth whilst simultaneously having the opportunity to admire Hans’ glorious man-belly. enjoy !
or, a Bread Fly for Carp.
ok, bread isn’t a natural food source for animals but a lot of them like it. a lot.
as far as our scaled friends are concerned, whether they find access to it because people like to toss bread crumbs in urban lakes and ponds for ducks or whatever other creatures that might be in there, or if crumbs are used to lure them in by fishers, they somehow find it irresistible so it makes all the sense in the world to use bread imitations even if those imitations don’t look in the least bit like bread… but that’s another story in itself i suppose.
so, today’s nifty tying tutorial by Yuu Cadowachi shows us how to tie a nifty crumb. accessible to tiers of all levels and requiring few materials, the usual variants such as not adding weight or varying colours and sizes should put you in the right ballpark for your local fish. lastly, carp aren’t the only fish that enjoy bread. mullet, catfish, bream and even trout (and i’m sure i’m missing out on a whole slew of other species) can all think it’s a tasty snack so having a few of these patterns stashed away might come in handy even if these species aren’t usually at the top of your list. enjoy !
Isonychia… cool name.
torn somewhere between the desire to go fish these critters in their home waters and lavishly repeating that word in some lovely redhead’s ear, i guess for today we’ll (well, i’ll… ) have to just enjoy this creature and tying video from afar.
Primarily an East coast, Midwest (US) insect, this rather handsome emerging ‘Slate Drake’ pattern is simply awesome by it’s simplicity, sturdiness and general profile. in a sense, a mayfly is a mayfly is a mayfly and as such, by changing colors and sizes, the basic pattern will make an all-over all-around great emerger for any waters.
as always, the Mat Grobert/Tim Flagler team make an excellent tutorial displaying excellent technique and know-how well worth paying special attention to.
” Their nymphs are among of the fastest-swimming mayflies in the world. They can power their way through fast riffles with ease, and their imitations should be fished with fast twitches.
They are unique among mayflies in that they have extra tuft-shaped gills at the base of their fore legs, a structure normally found in stoneflies. ”
images and nymph quote from TroutNut.com. be sure to click either pic for more info on this sexy bug. enjoy !
some would say that HackleAndWing‘s version of the not-so-new latex bodied caddis pupaepattern is a little overly fussy and i’d mostly agree. however, tying hard-core bread and butter fish attractors tend to be a simplistic and sometimes monotonous endeavor so, sometimes its nice to add a little fuss just for the fun of adding fuss.
extremely well explained with tons of details worth paying special attention to, the final result has all the trigger points, proportions and profile the real pupae has and is well, yummy to say the least. i hope you’ll enjoy.
just sent in by buddy Trevor Hayman, a Large Dark Olive spinner – Baetis rhodani
“Quite a few of these around on the (Southern England) chalk streams right now.”
this kind of ultra-lovely bug image gets me going in a good way. i wish i was on those chalkstreams right now but that’ll have to wait till next month so, to get in the mood i immediately went to the local café, ordered a double espresso and got to work on making a few somewhat dark olive imitations for the trip. i’m feeling really positive about this one !
thanks again Trevor !
as tradition would have it, i sat down to tie some much-needed deep-down nymphs, carefully selected all the necessary goodies, bead-heads and other assorted non-floaty materials and went off to make some coffee before starting the assembly process.
once back, all that water-absorbing crap got pushed out of the way, the caffeine blasting long-ago recollections of André Breton’s writings in a random cortex…
“The aim was to resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”
his definition of the Surrealist Revolution movement-
n. Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or in the craft of fly tying, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.
Philosophy. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all other psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life.
all that maybe meaning that this guy’s strung-out subconscious decided that since my dry fly boxes are overabundantly filled in the real world, the dreamy side of things, the one that can’t count flies nor boxes nor reason with reason and thinks soft watches are cool just went ahead, took over, blanked the brain better than any mind-numbing substance could ever do and a dozen or so of my standard March Brown dries size 16 where there waiting for me when my fingers stopped twitching and my eyes opened. a fair amount of drool gently puddling excess materials further proved the “solving all the principal problems of life” part above because wet excess materials don’t fly all about the house and are easily collected and binned.
i’m quite certain that Breton’s arrogance would never have admitted fly tying to be a worthy expression of his beloved revolution/movement but that’s his loss. among other displays of numptiness he was more than happy to vehemently proclaim that music was shit which, even if that’s correct to a certain extent with regards to rap, pop and country music, those musical forms didn’t even exist back then and it’s a stupid thing to say even if it probably felt good to say at the time.
for those interested in the more materialistic aspect of this pattern,
subconscious love and several juicy materials from my buddy Lucian Vasies at troutline.ro
hook- Maruto D82 BL
thread- Veevus 12/0 brown
tail- Coq de Leon Pardo Rihnon
abdomen- Mad Rabbit (Romanian hare mask)
thorax/wings- Ultra Dense CDC fibres in a dubbing loop, wound with the fibres teased upwards at each turn. be sure to give the bottom a nice Brazilian to keep the imitation flat on the surface and treat the whole thing with Loon Lochsa, the stuff’s awesome.
its a really good-all-purpose mayfly imitation that’s done me good for many years. its my standard.
” Some like it and some don’t ! “
too bad for the ‘don’t’ crowd because for the ‘do’ers’, this simplest among simplest to tie flies is also one of most catchiest there is because almost every fish you’d care to catch on a fly rod happily eats worms: ’nuff said.
notice how the beadhead/chamois skin combo is positioned towards the rear 2/3rds of the hook shank, this helps (a little) in preventing the chammy skin from wrapping around the hook whilst casting. what really helps most in that regard is to keep casts short and mostly to use Oval/Elliptic/Belgian two-plane casts for thes bugs just as one would when casting flies that have limp materials extending behind the hook gape.
fishing-wise, real worms get regularly washed into river systems during storms or heavy rains so the obvious time to use their imitations is after a spate but we all know that worms catch fish anytime and anywhere so…
apart from the hook and thread there’s only two materials, a beadhead (optional) and the most important element to get the all-important wormy goodness; real chamois skin or more correctly, chamois leather.
substitute synthetic ‘skins’ may seem ok when they’re dry but the wormy goodness of the real skin really gets its effect when wet. it’s even slimy to the touch ! (if that doesn’t get your fishing fingers twitching you might as well take up golf. or curling).
i somewhat regulary see these skins in the auto parts section in stores (these skins are par to none in getting a spotless finish on a vehicle after its been washed) but they can also be found on Amazon, Ebay, etc.
they’re not the cheapest of tying materials but a portion will easily make hundreds or more flies, maybe an expense to share with mates.
once again, ’nuff said. enjoy !
here’s a seriously interesting emerger offshoot of the infamous G-Gnat.
created by Blue Ribbon Flies and demonstrated by Tim Flagler at MidCurrent, this little bug should do the do and do it well anywhere there’s teeny-tiny midges coming off and dancing about the surface. this one’s in size 20 but the basic idea in various tones and sizes to match your local bugs are sure to raise some trouty interest.
maybe its just me as it took me a little while to figure out the G-Gnat component in this pattern but fly names are fly names and its always good to respectfully attach a variant to its original, and said component happens to be: a very volume-reduced few turns of grizzly hackle over a short peacock herl thorax. those few turns are good enough for me and i’m positive, more than enough for a hungry fish. enjoy !
some high-level fly design from Lucian Vasies any and every nymph fisher might (read should) take into consideration: it’s that good.
“Winged Nymphs for Dynamic Nymphing could be considered a new frontier in fishing nymphs and a new way to tie flies. Some fly tiers consider them ugly. In terms of a classic construction and after the traditional rules to tie a nymph, these flies are quite ugly. These flies don’t follow the rules for conical bodies or for the tail made from feather fibers. What about the typical streamer wings? Something like these was never seen on nymphs. But appearance is not important to these nymphs. Their goal is not to please the fisherman, but to catch fish.”
Lucian’s a buddy and i know he won’t take this sideways but the fold-over wing isn’t exactly new but that’s of no importance. what is however is this concept is as hot as it gets when it comes to wet fly and nymph design.
here’s my ever so succesful ‘bladge i started tinkering with four years ago. it’s a black midge just subsurface wet, size 20 where the soft, fold-over wing was inspired by Peter Dobbs’ Shwartza (bottom pic) created in the early ’90s for the UK reservoir competition scene which in turn might have been inspired by the soft wing tied semi-upright Clyde style flies from a hundred and more years ago. Clyde wings are typically tied with wings slips from game birds. they’re nowhere as stiff as genetic cock hackles but they retain their wing shape a lot more than the marabou used in the Shwartza or fuzzy fibres found at the base of starling feathers i use for the ‘bladge.
what they do have in common with Lucian’s ingenious idea of using CDC fibres is all these super-soft materials collapse back when wet. since they’re tied in wing-style every fibre is free to move around, both undulating with the current and creating a very life-like ‘outer shell’ of the imitation’s body, something any other tying method has a very hard time replicating. play around with the concept, i promise you won’t regret.
for more on the Shwartza click the pic
you well, i… at first thought that just like the Wooly Bugger, there was never-ever going to be any use of yet another redundant pheasant tail nymph tying video this tutorial reminded me that its rather stupid to have those kind of thoughts and that even though it won’t get any rounder, working on making a better wheel definitely can’t hurt: it keeps us going and thinking and maybe catch a few more fish and all that ain’t bad.
i like this video because its silent. generally speaking, removing one sense makes the other senses sharper and in today’s case, we’ll just need to focus our eyes a little more than usual to pick up all the finer details of this fly’s construction.
i also like this pattern because its all in claret, warm, reddish tones. most bugs don’t have claret, warm, reddish tones but it’s undeniable that in many situations fish are very attracted to them and as a bonus, the reddish colour separation from the usually not-in-the-least-bit reddish waters we fish makes flies of this tone stand out thus a little easier to track whilst fishing them.
in my eyes, this fly is very well proportioned. not so much in a hard-core realistic just-like-the-bug way but just right as a really effective fishing fly. even though almost all the elements: tail, abdomen, wing-case(s), legs and head are all basically the same colour, they all stand out either individually or combined to become effective fish-attracting trigger points and this is what maybe caught my eye the most and want to share this video with you all.
maybe its the silent aspect that really kicks in this fly design observational approach or maybe it was the last four cups of coffee but whatever it was, i hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from this tutorial as much as i did.
as in Louisa Runnalls’ Big Ugly Bug.
tied as-is in monotone fluoresciness makes it an all-out attractor pattern and even though it’s bound to catch buttloads of fish, this thing will nevertheless bring out a few urgggggs from the die-hard imitative-or-die freaks but i encourage the straight and narrow to read on.
now then, let’s take the exact same BUB pattern and shift the colour scheme to say, an assortment of browns or olives and we end up with something that looks like it was born on Earth; perhaps a drowned caterpillar that somehow grew two antenna/leg things on either end, somewhere between the brach where it fell off of and where the fish saw it in the water.
these unnecessary and unusual appendages combined with this fly’s perfect symmetry will without a doubt instil great curiosity and confusion in the fish’s micro-brains which in turn leads to the opened-mouth reflex we see amongst people at the supermarket when trying to decide between product A, B or Z, which concludes this tirade and brings us to the old saying:
“if you can get a woman (or man) to laugh, he’s (she’s) halfway in bed”, if you can get a fish to open its mouth, you’re half way there…
ok, there’s nothing strung-out about this spider pattern but i just like the way it sounds…
on to today’s nifty bug tutorial by Hans Weilenmann; a quick look at Mike Harding’s A Guide to North Country Flies and How to Fish Them (a reference book on this style of fly i highly recommend) reminds us that apart from a few style-deviant patterns, NCF’s are indeed wet flies but they’re generally unweighted and are designed to fish dead-drifted on, in or slightly below the surface but traditions are just like rules and rules and traditions are meant to be broken, bent, corrupted and distorted, at least in a fly-fishy sort of way so, just as Harding’s Brassie Boa, Brassie Midge, Woodcock and Red Brassie and Copper Wire Dun (that one’s really yummy) that also have a wired body instead of the traditional waxed or unwaxed thread bodies, Hans’ version takes the same route by adding a little tiny bit of weight to what’s normally a pretty weightless fly. this extra weight shouldn’t lead you to believe these variants will sink the flies to the riverbed because they don’t, specially if there’s anything more than a slow current. on the other hand, they will go just underneath the surface currents quite easily and also help to turn over a team of two or three flies when the wired spider is tied on as point fly. of maybe more importance, at least in my eyes, the wired bodies will automatically add a little bit of flashiness, something that will be of great use to us when the fish are in a flashy mood or when getting their attention when they’re in sleepy mode.
as always, Hans gives good tutorial and this one’s no exception and now its time for him to take over. enjoy !
Davy Wotton needs no introduction. for me, he’s one of those few people that when he speaks and shares his wisdom, i’m all ears because those words are the fruit of many, many years of experience and always lead to not only learning something new but also a new mental approach to that particular subject and today’s ‘Attitude Adjustment’ does just that.
it’s not just a super-easy way to very quickly get our flies at the right depth but also gets us thinking about how flies move and how we can alter those moments during the drift or retrieve.
here’s just a few text tidbits to wet your appetite:
“There is no doubt that bead headed fly patterns have a place but not always. That said by a simple process the fly fisher can for the same fly pattern used have many options in so far as altering how that fly will fish and by what attitude or movement it can be presented be that dead drift or with animated movement such as fishing wet fly, soft hackles and streamers.”
“So here is the deal. l carry with me a box which contains tungsten beads of different sizes and colors, size of bead is of course related to the weight. Many of my fly patterns are not adorned with a bead head included on the hook shank.
l now have many options to change the fly by the addition of bead size and color, or number of beads used, more to the point by the addition of the bead to the tippet or leader above the hook eye it will cause the fly to fish hook up.”
click the pic to access Davy’s complete article. enjoy !
and HERE for previous articles on Davy’s wisdom posted here on TLC
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 Munro
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
some people like egg patterns and some people don’t but what i’m seeing in Charlie Craven’s great step-by-step tutorial is a tying technique that’ll be of interest to any fly fisher. (except for the die-hard dry fly purist… )
– as is, the Nuke of course looks like a very yummy fish egg still encapsulated by its embryonic sac but if we play with the basic pattern, use an as-close-to-clear as possible egg yarn and say, add two big black eyes we’ll have a fantastic alevin imitation.
– if we don’t add the veil and use that same egg construction shape and stack several close together along the hook shank and then trim to shape once the yarn is all fluffed out we have a really interesting, super-easy, translucent, lively and very attractive streamer body.
– the very same egg shape would make a much nicer head for egg-sucking leeches than the typical chenille.
– this stuff doesn’t hold water for long so we can easily build up a bulky fly body and still have something easy to cast.
– i’m sure there’s plenty of other uses to this technique i haven’t thought of but by now i’m equally sure you’ll see that it’s not just about egg patterns.
click the pic for Charlie’s complete step-by-step. enjoy !
named as a Czech Nymph by Hackles & Wings, what i’m seeing in this lovely bug is an all-purpous, any time, anywhere caddis larvae imitation that’s bound to be the ticket whichever method you choose whether that be tightline, cast up-across or downstream, on a dropper beneath a dry or indicator. as always, match colour and sizes to match your local bugs and include or delete the dubbing hotspot, specially if you’re targeting trout.
i seriously doubt the darkened head would ruin a hungry fish’s appetite so, in a pinch you can pull out dubbing from the rest of the body while on the water and have a gammarus/freshwater shrimp ready to go !
here’s the materials list-
Thread: Uni 8/0 Tan
Hook: Tiemco 2487 size 10 (ditch that and use a nice, similarly shaped barbless hook instead !)
Adhesive Lead Foil
Body: Rabbit Dubbing, light green and SLF
Hot Spot: Orange SLF
Thorax: Natural Hares Mask
Back: Body Stretch, transparent
Ribbing: Uni-french, gold and Nylon Thread 0.15mm
and here’s how to tie this little slim & trim quick-sinking beauty. enjoy !