Wednesday, September 15, 2010

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Bass in a beautiful Maine lake

Photo by Beth B.

Earlier this month (July 2009), we traveled back east for vacation. Part of our trip included a stay at a cabin on Great Pond, Belgrade Lakes, Maine. My New Hampshire-based brother-in-law is also a fly fisherman, so this gave us the chance to paddle around our arm of the lake in an old canoe, casting to the rocky shoreline and/or trolling. We caught a mixed bag that included smallmouth, largemouth, rock bass, and one small pike. Flies that worked well included one of my homemade wine-cork poppers, Bakke's Dragonfly (steelhead dry), and traditional Muddler Minnows. The best fish were caught trolling Muddlers in approx size 4.

FYI the solar-powered house we rented ("The Rink") is owned by Ben and Emily Swan, who direct Pine Island Camp. It is a great location and the lake is beautiful. Ben and Emily gave us a very enjoyable tour of the camp, and lunch with the campers.

All in all, it was a wonderful, classic NE summer experience.

Yours Truly, multitasking.
Photo by Kate

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Old English Iron Blue Dun

From Trey Combs, Steelhead Fly Fishing and Flies (Frank Amato, 1976):

Tail: Golden pheasant red breast feather fibers
Body: Blue-gray dubbing (muskrat) ribbed with oval silver tinsel
Hackle: Natural black or dark gray
Wing: Gray goose or gray squirrel tail

This was Peter Schwab's favorite steelhead pattern. he called it, "the most universally successful fly I have ever seen." For Schwab it was best a clear water summer-run dressing, and he fished it at the exclusion of many patterns he had designed and made nationally famous. (p.95)
note: my example in the photo uses natural gray sheep's wool rather than muskrat.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Floating Fillet Knife on the cheap

I recently found a brand new Quikut American Angler fillet knife at Goodwill. I didn't like the cheap, narrow plastic handle, but the blade was sharp and flexible, and for $1.99 there wasn't much to lose. I sawed off the handle -- which was actually made of polypro and quite tough -- and replaced it with a new handle in walnut and cork. The tang on the blade was very short, so I extended it with a strip of scrap metal before epoxying it all together. For extra strength, I also ran four sections of strong wire (bicycle spoke) lengthwise through the handle. Next step is to make a sheath and it will be a nice addition to the camping and fishing kit.

Before & After:

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You can see that my handle is much larger than the original. When you're wet, cold, and wearing gloves, a large handle made of non-slippery natural materials offers great
ergonomic benefit.

If you like this kind of thing, Helle of Norway makes a nice one ($63 at Ragweed Forge; look for the Hellefisk model). Brusletto (another Norwegian company) also makes one; $69 at World Knives.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Campari & Lime Polar Bear Spey

hook: silver 1/0 Spey hook
tag: silver tinsel
body: lime green and raspberry dubbing, wound in silver tinsel loop along with natural polar bear fibers of various lengths.
wing: natural polar bear length of body
collar: mallard flank
head: red

Monday, June 16, 2008

new fishing buddy

Made a new friend at Armitage Park yesterday:

Beautiful afternoon, although very windy as you can see from the video. Caught four fish, all cutthroat -- one on green bodied soft hackle, two on Greenwell's Glory (wet), one on Brown Hackle Bee.

p.s. thanks to my wonderful family for the Father's Day gift of new *breathable* waders!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Old Fly Patterns

Inspired by easy access to old angling literature via Google Books, I've been tying some British patterns from the 19th century. Here is one I'm anxious to get in the water:
One of Mr. Tod's Favorite Hackles

from Ewen M. Tod, "Wet Fly Fishing, Treated Methodically"
London: Sampson Low, Marston (1907).

p. 236:
".... During the first week of May, in 1877,
I was busily fishing "the Tummel," with
frost and snow all round me.....
Curiously, even now, I remember that
my best fly was one I dressed with the
neck hackle-feather of the cock starling,
but with the addition of a mere dot of "
peacock herl," placed immediately under
the hackle itself. I presume that it gives
additional lustre to this imitation, and so
attracts the trout, especially in cold dark
days, when he is not inclined to show his
nose on the surface of the water. "

Flies pictured:
hook: wet fly hook #14 - 18
abdomen: waxed primrose silk
thorax: peacock herl.
collar: starling

The Greenwell's Glory is a 19th century pattern from the north of England. The pattern has a lot of history; here is an extensive article. It looks like a good match for the Blue Winged Olive, a very important early and late season hatch here in the Willamette Valley. Here are a couple of variations:

Greenwell's Glory 2

Greenwell's Glory 1

from Tod, page 210.
Body. — The yellow tying silk, waxed with cobbler's wax,
to impart to the body a greenish-yellow hue. This is ribbed
over with yellow gimp, or finest gold wire.
Hackle— Coch-y-Bonddhu.
Wings. — Blackbird, tied in a bunch, and split.
Season. — April, May, June, and September ; in fact, it is
the most valuable and generally useful of all the wet flies
known to the author, who obtained the pattern direct from
the Rev. Canon Greenwell himself, so that it is authentic."