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.