Brainwashem’ Young: Kheiran’s Special Fly Tying Challenge

be warned, she’s too cute for words. this is a fly tying tutorial like you’ve never seen before.
sit back, try to remember the combination of serious and creativity all mixed in with a serious amount of goofy we all had as kids but mostly, enjoy!

People Fish

a little something to change from the norm for you today.
it’s all about fish but not the kind that typically pops up when we think of our slimy friends.

clever, charming, a simplicity of filming that greatly flatters the subject and really-really funny.
it’s in the now but also in the then all the while being timeless; the Charlie Lyne/Caspar Salmon duo have produced a real gem. here’s Fish Story, if this doesn’t bring a smile i don’t know what will, enjoy !

i wonder what it is.

countless hours and days spent in the woods streamside all over the globe and i’ve never seen a tree like this. how little i know; i need to get out more often…

‘I want to believe’

i’ve always found that to be somewhat of a strange statement. it seems to me like we have three options; either we believe or we don’t and instead of wanting, it might be more reasonable to say ‘I’m open to believing’ but that makes for a dull poster. wanting, specially when it concerns alien sheep, already tips the scales towards belief but i never wanted to believe in alien sheep, they wanted me to believe in them.photographed last spring along a stream that holds surprisingly large brown trout in northern England just a few days before the Brexit referendum, i’ve been wondering ever since if there might be a connection but then, it just might be something I’d like to believe.

the little guy takes the cake

was out streamside seeing things that aren’t really there,

fullsizerender
when out of the corner of the eye i saw this beautiful little puff look up in my direction and continue towards me picking up wee morsels along the way, chomping them down quickly.
the main camera and tripod where precariously balanced on a pointy boulder so i grabbed a few images of Mr. Mouse with the phone. its not the smallest of phones but i can only imagine that it probably must have seemed as a wall to him but that was neither here nor there for this guy, he was on a mission, a straight-line mission.mr mouse 1

here he is bottom-right pushing against the phone to get through ! 😆
take care Mr. Mouse, you made my day.

mr mouse 2

Fly Tying- Like Jim Said

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 ?

wellington
hmmm, spelling isn’t all that but i still think this is really cool…

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.

tim-trengrove-3
Photo by Paul Slaney

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.

tim-trengrove-2
Photo by Paul Slaney

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.
tim-trengrove-1

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

A Revolution in Fly Fishing Films

found on Fly Lords facebook page, here’s a more than welcome change from the usual, virtually always the same, and getting boring as hell trend in fly fishing videos.
there’s no droning higher ground morals or self-validating or ethics speech. no fancy, costing an arm and both legs travel to what once used to be an exotic location nor brand names being hashtagged down our throats.
just a simple, normal T Rex catching a catfish with a fly rod: nice, nice and nice…   enjoy ! XD

Once you’re finished sucking out the marrow

you can go all DIY and carve your very own EDC BoneFishing rod ! coming out soon will be a carbon-reinforced sinew reel to complete this outstanding outfit, until then, let’s enjoy something quite novel.

ps- note the complete absence of bone loading yet very nice and tight loops. it kinda makes one wonder why loading and unloading a fly rod is so often referred to as the end-all in fly casting.

better late than never ?

or was it better safe than sorry ?

 

whatever it is and considering i can’t really distinguish between the two, this little animiobjectophiliac* greeting card in an abstractosymbolic way signifies or at least points to the end of winter and the beginning of spring. spring is a good thing because trout waters will open up again around here and i can continue my fishing cycle in peace and leeks and fish can be as one.

fish leek valentine

* ok, i made that up but it’s a combination of Animism, the belief that non-human entities—such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects—possess a spiritual essence and objectophilia, a sexual fetish focused on particular inanimate objects or as they say; for the lover of fine things…
and yes, its indeed been a long winter.

the Infernal Triangle of the Nymph World

first of all, the Sanford and Son episode that inspired these magical nymphs-

ok, that was to a) get you throught the “Oh, No ! Not Another PT Tutorial !!!” feeling you probably had when you opened this page and b) a little Sanford and Son rerun every ten or twenty years doesn’t hurt.
so, now that we have the historical background and ermm feelings covered, let’s have a look at this lovely trio of nymphs through yet another awesome video from Davie McPhail.

all three are based on the very same Pheasant Tail nymph design. one’s a straight-up PT and the other two are variants.
these two variants, in my mind, aren’t really necessary because as we all know, no other nymph will outfish a PT but they’re there to remind us that if we keep the same concept and proportions as the OGPT, we can play around and customize and make ourselves feel good and feel special and still end up with an equally succesful, inexpensive and dead-easy to tie nymph.
on a more practicle note, while the variants will necessitate more than just two materials, these materials are also stronger than pheasant tail fibres making for flies that will resist a little better to tiny teeth, forceps, angler clumsiness, underwater rocks abrasion, etc.
a lot of tiers will have an iffy feeling about tying a complete fly with wire instead of the classic thread but trying is believing. keep in mind that the wire’s weight actually weighs the fly down quite a bit or at least a heck of a lot more than it might seem at first. that weight is also distributed throughout the fly’s body instead of the usual just-behind-the-head of the typical beadhead nymph and results in a more realistic movement through the water. for even heavier versions, lay a lead wire base in the thorax region before attaching the tying wire and and skip the wire build-up sequence.

here you go, you’ll find the materials list below, enjoy !

materials used in the video- (feel more than free to improvise)
Hook, Kamasan B175 (something barbless is of course better)
Thread, Extra Small Copper Wire (thinner is better, specially if you want more weight. the smaller spaces between wraps means filling in those spaces with wire instead of air)
Tail, Pheasant Tail Fibres
Body, Pheasant Tail, Natural Dubbing and Killer Bug Yarn (this one’s hard to get but there are several equally effective substitutes available)
Thorax Cover, Pheasant Tail and Natural Dubbing

remember the last time you where swimming in the sea at night,

the inevitable ‘duh-DUHHHHHH’ playing over and over in your head getting louder and louder further increasing the super-creepy yet i love it and i don’t care, that only happens to others feeling ?
well, you couldn’t see it but this is what was going on beneath you.

Fly Tying- The Klippies en Kolgaans

most of the tying videos i share here are about the whats (flies) and how-tos (techniques),

hqdefault

but this little doozie from South Africa’s pride and joy, Fanie Visagie (a.k.a Gordon Van Der Spuy) is more about the how or rather…  give a totally nutter yet completely lovable guy a vice, tools, video cameras and some exotic fluff and see how he manages to put them all together in his own very particular style and in other words, this is a real treat. enjoy !

better Wading through Yoga

for most anglers, this is about as close to any kind of exercise as they’ll get…

%22power snap%22

but fear not ! and even though i know for sure 99.9% of you will just laugh and scoff the mere idea i’ll reach some sort of blogger’s nirvanaish bliss if just the 0.01% can relate you can still work on your ‘power-snap’ and also become a little fitter or at least live with a little less pain and have a freer movement range that’ll of course make your days on the water better and also improve your posture, tv watching experiences, driving comfort, your work day, gaming, sex and all the other trivial things in life thanks to a few rather easy stretch routines.

forearmplank
Forearm Plank (think of it as full-body SLP)

“Colorado lakes and rivers lure fly-fisherman with natural beauty, peaceful waters and hard-fighting trout. But, as serene as fishing may be, overuse injuries are common. Many anglers complain of pain in the shoulder, elbow and wrists that can last for hours or even days after a fishing trip.”

A number of factors lead to overuse injuries. Casting technique, rod weight, rod design and physical stance can all affect the likelihood of developing overuse injuries. For most anglers, some amount of pain is difficult to avoid. But just a few minutes a day spent opening and strengthening the shoulders, elbows, forearms and wrists will help avoid overuse injuries.”

have a beer or three, don your waders and click either pic for the complete article while trying not to break anything in the process. enjoy !

upplank
Modified Upward Plank – “Push it all Into the Clouds”
gorilla
The Gorilla ! grunting is recommended.

Strange Things Fround Inside Fish *

i have a bream

 

ok, but what’s in it ?

as a fisher who doesn’t kill fish its not a question i regularly ask myself but its indeed an interesting topic. i’ve always heard of weird things like license plates, beer cans and whatnot showing up in shark bellies but it seems like our slimy friends have a diverse appetite that goes far beyond the typical insect or smaller fish.
 
“A friend of mine was trolling in Loch Long, and hooked a seithe. An enormous cod seized the seithe, and paid the penalty by being brought into the boat himself. His girth seemed unnaturally large, and, upon opening him, a brown paper packet of sandwiches, enough for luncheon for a pretty large party, was taken out. They could not have been less injured, mustard and all, had the cod’s stomach been a sandwich-box.

No-one knows whether they ate the sandwiches or not. The fish can consider itself lucky it didn’t meet Colquhoun himself – bloodthirsty old rascal, he would probably have shot it. Cod are the dustbins of the sea and will eat almost anything, accounting for how, in his 1895 Sea Fishing, John Bickerdyke remembered how a captain called Hill accidentally dropped a bunch of keys over the side in the North Sea and thought them lost for good, only to recover them several weeks later in the belly of a cod he trawled up many miles distant – but I guess in those days cod were so abundant that the idea of a dropped set of keys not ending up inside one must have seemed fairly ludicrous. Then there is Dr. Day’s story of a seven inch candle found inside a cod which may have been in search of enlightenment; and others said to have swallowed guillemots, partridges, turnips and even whole hares. The mind boggles at how or where a cod would come across a hare, but then again…”

click here for the complete gastro-piscatorial article on Thefishingmuseum online. enjoy !

* yes, Fround…

Demon Death Ghoul Streamer

what the heck… i don’t usually go for all this halloween goofiness, flies with multiple hooks and even less whatever type of music this might be considered to be but ! this just-out streamer tying tutorial by Michał Zapał of Live 4 Fly Fishing in Poland really stands out from the crowd. in fact it just might be a first in the genre and as such is much welcomed. let’s just consider it as a loud breath of fresh air. congrats Michal, we’re hoping to see more. lots more.

be sure to check out his page on Facebook for a large variety of very nicely tied flies but in the meantime, sit back, crank up the volume and enjoy !

ps- should you really want to go all-out with this Evil Death Ghoul stuff i couldn’t think of a better match to cast this Evil fly than the Stickman Rods Evil Black T8 9′ 8wt 😉

Fly Casting Instruction Breakthrough- How to control someone else’s casting arm with your brain

you’ve attempted everything; you’re trying to help out this lost soul with his casting but whatever you do he has no control whatsoever over his wrist and it’s flip-flopping-flailing all over the place, so is the rod and of course so is the fly line.
he’s embarrassed, frustrated and is having second thoughts about suicide and you, poor instructor are wondering how this guy has gotten through life so far without swallowing his own tongue.

casting hammers

snickering blatantly, motherly insults and verbal threats start the healing process but remain sterile. the Casting Hammers aren’t working (one for each knee), there’s blood, snot and tears all over the rod you lent him for the course (he doesn’t know it yet but he’s just bought your whole outfit at four times its original cost), your Xanax bottle is empty and if you’re not lucky to be bald yet you’re probably pulling out enormous grey tufts whilst trying to figure out what to do next when low and behold, all of a sudden some science geeks in the form of helping angels working out of their parent’s garage have come to save the casting world with just a few old radio parts, suction cups, alligator clips and a low-end model iPad, the whole lot is easily transportable to the casting field in a messenger bag.

wipe the sucker down (be sure to over-charge him for the towels and antiseptic) plug him in and finally get him to cast properly for the first time in his life. at this point it doesn’t really matter if he’s conscious or not because we’ll be working on electrically-induced muscle memory that’ll automatically be stored in his inner him. you’re now in charge, just as it should be.

yeah i know, that was silly (except for the Casting Hammers. i do use them frequently and they work a charm, believe me) but you know, casting, fishing, chocolate, science, dreams and realities all blur into one at a certain point…

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.

It is Traditional.

during my recent UK stint big buddy and today’s special guest blogger Mark Surtees invited me to fish two historical southern England chalkstreams; the Avon and the Wylie, both part of a handful of rivers in the Salisbury area that where some of the play and testing grounds for all the famous chalkstream fly fishing authors/forefathers: Skues, Sawyer and Halford the Weird just to name a few that still mostly established our manner of fishing as we see it today . although there’s a lot to learn from the past, i tend to not get all gooey when it comes to visiting historical places but i’ll have to admit that the day was a bit of a fishing highlight and i left it with yes, a certain mushy yet very pleasant aftertaste: the good kind, the kind that says mmmmmm… and brings a smile.
i’d heard of these famous waters all my life and they and their inhabitants, keepers and fishers have often been subjects right here on TLC but for one reason or another, never got to grace their exquisitely manicured banks.


i was lucky to just catch the tail end of the Mayfly season, the ‘real’ mayfly as it’s often considered in England, the big, milky-yellowish Danica. as another treat, the ranunculus where still flowering and we where able to enjoy them just in time as the weeding started just the next day. there’s a certain irony to this culling as the water weeds are a great breeding/hiding ground for all the insect groups the fish love to eat but these slow-flowing waters can get completely covered with the stuff making it unfishable. although i was an invited guest, keeping in mind the exorbitant prices it costs to fish one of these beats, i guess it’s understandable that fishers prefer to cast their flies on water instead of catching weeds on every cast. they do make life a bit difficult drift-wise…

i’m realising that my intended short introduction to the main event of this post is turning into a tirade… but i have to add a little more. hopefully you’ll consider my words as an appetiser or foreplay for the main course ! but since these rivers have special rules, and that’s what all this ‘tradition’ stuff is about i’ll be quick.
i didn’t get to keep the booklet that was allotted to me for the day but it basically goes like this: fishing from bank only (pretty cool not to have to wear waders) with either dry flies or nymphs (i’m equally cool with that specially that there was a decent amount of bugs flying here and there and fish where feeding happily on or near the surface) and the really weird and very unnatural one to me: upstream only.
from a practical point of view, considering the above rules, the slowish water with no special currents, the mowed paths above water level and easy casting space, my go-to approach would be my usual across-stream presentation while keeping a low profile. it’s by far the easiest and most efficient manner to get a great drift. if the fish takes the fly, great ! and if it doesn’t we can easily try another presentation or several without ever lining the fish or spooking it by lifting the line to recast. etc, etc, etc.
we had a good talk about the whys and what-fors with not only Mark but several other friends we met along the banks during the day and no other could come up with any other explanation apart from Tradition

“It is traditional, when discussing the southern English chalk streams, to speak, or even to write, in a tone of thatched and rose bowered wistfulness. It seems impossible to talk of these beautiful rivers in anything other than worshipful whispers. They represent an angling wormhole, a time passage back to the days of horsehair, cat gut and silk. Places where an angler, too twisted and tight wired by modern living, can kneel amongst the meadow flowers and cast at fat trout rising in the pale flint knuckled channels between the ranunculus beds, romancing across the years with the saints of the chalk streams who kneeled on these very same banks a hundred years ago.
Sadly, such a communion is beyond me because my knee isn’t up to bending much. This is due to a nasty “improperly ironed trouser turn-up” incident which caused me to whack it on the corner of the kitchen table last Saturday. Not being able to kneel and, with the added disadvantages of middle age and considerable bulk ruling out any possibility of demonstrating how to make oneself completely invisible behind a buttercup or a handy clump of meadowsweet, the prospects of a wistful riverbank commentary on the joys of chalk stream angling with a Frenchman seemed somewhat limited.
Via his book, Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice, Frederick Halford had an enormous influence over the regulatory framework for chalk stream fishing. For example, whilst some rules can seem a little odd to the uninitiated, it remains the case that fish in these waters have to be approached with some discretion or they will leg it in to the safety of a weed bed or under a reedy bank. They are exceptionally easy to spook. Applying a little common sense will tell you that in this kind of environment, if you stand upstream of a rising fish, wave a stick about and hurl a string at it, then it will generally clear off.
It is commonly believed that this perfectly rational thinking is the root of the “upstream only” rule. Astonishingly, it seems not, this more subjective analysis, scornful of the wetties, probably is:-
“On one point all must agree, viz., that fishing upstream with fine gut and small floating flies, where every movement of the fish, its rise at any passing natural, and the turn and rise at the artificial, are plainly visible, is far more exciting, and requires in many respects more skill, than the fishing of the water as practiced by the wet-fly fisherman.”

Mr Halford is also very firm on another matter, that of dress. He advocates that one should only ever fish these rivers in elastic garments made of wool. Stockinette stitched wool to be precise. Our Fred had an entire suit constructed from material which must have been a form of exceptionally hairy Victorian Lycra. It cannot conceivably have been comfortable, warm summer evening spinner falls must have been a distinctly tickly affair and it surely caused some significant difficulties with “unnecessary dampness”.
So, whilst his view of upstream casting remains influential and an amusing irritation to French visitors, his proclivities with respect to itchy elastic body wear have been discarded over time, no doubt due to irritation of an entirely different nature.
However, interestingly, a stockinette stitch is used in some forms of compression bandage and this would obviously be extremely useful for my knee. So, by channelling the spirit of Halford as my sartorial guide, and accepting that modern technology can better the fabric, I propose to have made a full body Lycra fishing suit decorated with butter cups and meadowsweet.
Although it may present some minor difficulties in the pub at the end of the day, or on the bus home, this will provide injury support and offer a perfect blending with the bank side vegetation. In fact, because it will make me all but invisible to the fish, I may even be able to cast downstream.
Just like Marc…  *
”vive la revolution”

and just to show that Mark is somewhat of a rebel himself, here he is performing a Traditional Downstream Grayling Release (untraditionally known as the Grayling Flop) on one of those very hallowed upstream-only chalkstreams…


* you’ve probably already guessed: i was fishing slightly upstream to a semi-regularly rising trout when all of a sudden a nice big boil happened straight downstream on my side of the bank no more than two rod lengths away. close to fifty years of instinct/habit/reflexes (and you can add every other knee-jerk reaction action to the list) instantly kicked in and i thoughtlessly did a Snake roll and placed the fly dead centre of the still small ring and had an instant take from a beautiful golden-bellied brown and i don’t feel the slightest remorse from my heinous crime…

thanks for such a lovely day, Mark. it’s always a treat to see you but this was really special.