Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Sparkle Emerger Under Water

Here is a follow up video to our last post that Tim Flagler from Tightline Productions made, that shows how the sparkle emerger captures air bubbles around the abdomen.

Tim prefaces the video with the following:

This fly cannot be judged by how it looks in the vise or in the fly case at your local shop. It has to be seen underwater, imao that's where fish spent most of their time.

The following video illustrates some of the fly's many attributes like trapping air bubbles and translucency, but it falls short by not showing its most important feature– the wonderful shimmery look the antron sheath has underwater, in a real stream with natural sunlight. Gary believed (I know this from reading his book) and so do I, that the shimmer is what makes trout really take notice.

LaFontaine Sparkle Emerger Underwater from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tying the LaFontaine Sparkle Emerger

The Orvis news posted our latest tying video, which is one of our go-to flies all year.  We tie them in the 4 primary colors that Gary details in his ground breaking book, Caddisflies.  These colors will cover 80% or more of the available caddis in North American trout streams.

1. Brown & Bright green
2. Brown & Yellow
3. Gray & Black
4. Ginger 

LaFontaine Sparkle Emerger from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.

Enjoy and feel free to ask questions.

And sharpen those hooks!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Name Calling

By now you have likely seen the video we made with Tim Flagler on how to tie a bead head Bird's Nest.  It was picked up this week by one of the fly tying magazines and posted on their website.  The video prompted petulant comments from a tyer who made it clear that my version is NOT a Bird's Nest, as he had seen the original tied by the originator, Cal Bird.

The reason?  My version has the hackle tied "beard" style, while Cal tied it with the hackle enveloping the fly 360 degrees.   He went on to say that Cal disdained our way of tying the fly, and concluded via underwater observation, that Cal's way of tying the fly killed compared to "these quarter round patterns." results show that the fly works equally as well tied either way and that the fish don't give a shit.  The fly works, period. 

And that leads us to an important question, which is: If a fly is NOT tied exactly as the originator tied it, can it still be called the same fly?  I sort of feel I'm wasting my time here, as I think most of us feel that it doesn't matter as long as the change is minor and/or does not change the overall appearance of the fly. 

Here are a few examples of other flies that are tied differently than the originals, which coincidentally, I found on the web site of our detractor:

* The original Pheasant Tail nymph as designed by Frank Sawyer, was tied with only pheasant tail and copper wire and had no legs.  Some versions are tied with a peacock herl thorax.  And still others are tied with legs.  All of them are called Pheasant Tail nymphs.
* The original Adams was tied with mixed brown and grizzly hackle golden pheasant tippet for the tail.  Some tie the tail with moose body hair, or dun hackle fibers.  Again, all of these versions are still called an Adams.

Anyway, we got out on one of the local trout streams today and managed to bring a few rainbows to net.  A hot spot caddis larva and LaFontaine sparkle emerger did the trick.  The water was clear and cool, and still a little high.  The air was calm, and cool enough that by dusk you could see your breath.  Little Blue-winged Olives came off sporadically, as did size 16 light caddis, but the trout weren't interested in taking them off the surface.   It was good to be on the water with only the sounds of squirrels foraging in the trees above, and the geese above them, flying over in formation.

Now I wonder if I am sharpening my hooks right.  I guess we'll have to make a video and wait for the comments.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fishing and a Video

I like to fish in the fall (or Autlumn) as much as any time of the year.  There are fewer anglers on the water, the trees are showing their true colors, and the birds and other animals are on the move again after settling down for the summer.  And it just seems to be a quieter time to be on the water.

Last week Tim Flagler asked me to help out on a video he was asked to make for the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, to promote their fall trout stocking.  We met up with the good folks from the hatchery one early morning and did some fishing in the South Branch of the Raritan River for the cameras, and this is what Tim put together using some of that footage along with a bunch of other shots from the hatchery and elsewhere.  If you're interested, I'm the guy in the red cap that doesn't know what the hell he is doing with the fly rod.

I also managed to get out a few times recently, all before this week's stocking took place, and the fishing has been good.  In addition to catching plenty of wild fish, we also caught holdover trout from the spring stockings and before.  Oddly enough, I did go to the pool where some of the footage above was shot for an hour or so, and only took two fish that I think were put in the day of the filming.

The rivers are in great shape for this time of the year - a little high, clear and cool.  During the day there are some Slate Drakes hatching and Tiny Blue-winged Olives.  Just before dark there have been small size 16 tan/gray caddis that come of in waves.  It's pretty cool the way these caddis will hatch in a wave that lasts maybe 5 minutes, the trout come up for them, and then they disappear along with the rising trout like someone flipped a switch.  Then 15 minutes later, they show again for a brief time. Mr. Q managed to catch a wild rainbow, brookie and then a brown the other evening during one of the caddis hatches, all of the fish around 6-inches long and pretty as a picture.  These caddis are fast fliers, keeping low to the water, and I have yet to capture one to I.D. them because of this.  I think I know what they are, but I'd rather know for sure.

Wednesday late afternoon, was also productive, with scuds and beadhead Bird's Nests being the ticket.  Caught a bunch of wild and stocked fish in the quiet that only fall can bring.  While fishing through one long riffle, I had the pleasure of watching a mink as it moved about the rocks and limbs on the opposite bank, occasionally taking a brief bath in the cool river. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tying the Copper Beadhead Bird's Nest

Here's another tying video produced by our friend Tim Flagler at Tightline Productions.   I just tie the fly; Tim does the real work, and it always shows in the finished video.  Watch in full screen mode, the clarity Tim gets is incredible.

I had fished the Bird's Nest nymph on and off over the years with some success, and then one day back in the 90's, I was introduced to a bead head version. I was fishing the Beaverhead River in Montana with friend and guide, Cory Tumolo, and he was having success with a size 18, gold bead head Bird's Nest and offered me one. Shortly after tying it on, I was into one of those hard fighting browns the river is known for. In fact, for the next two days, it was my fly of choice when the trout decided not to rise. Since then, this fly in various sizes has occupied my nymph box - most of them being a copper bead head style, as that version has been the most consistent producer for me throughout the U.S.

On Northern California waters, it's the only bead head fly I fish.  And on my home waters of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, it's one of my go-to patterns when I have to fish subsurface.  It can fished alone, or in tandem with a smaller nymph trailing a size 12 or 14; I also will fish small Bird's Nests trailing a larger nymph.  It goes with out saying that this fly can also be trailed beneath a high floating dry fly to cover both surface and subsurface feeding trout. 

If you don't already fish this very effective nymph, I recommend you add some to your fly box, and use them with confidence.  The medium brown version shown here is the original color and most popular among fish and fishermen, but they also can be tied in olive, cream and dark brown.

And don't forget to check your hooks when you fish, and sharpen them when needed - you'll catch more fish. 

Go get 'em!