Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Fly Fishing Show - Somerset, NJ

The big fly fishing show is this coming to New Jersey weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - January 27, 28 & 29 - at the Garden State Convention Center 50 Atrium Drive in Somerset, NJ.  We'll be there all three days tying flies, signing books and doing presentations. Show Hours are: Friday 9am – 6pm  Saturday 8:30am – 6:00pm and Sunday 9am – 4:30pm.

Here's my schedule for the weekend:

Author's Booth - Friday 4:00 PM, Saturday 3:30 PM, Sunday 2:30 PM

Friday Seminar - Strike Room 1:00 PM – Mayflies - Eastern Hatches, Patterns and Techniques
Saturday Seminar - Catch Room 2:00 PM – Eastern Hatches and their Imitations

Sunday Seminar - Strike Room 1:00 PM –Simple Flies for Sophisticated Trout

For more information on the show, directions and other programs being offered, click here: The Fly Fishing Show - Somerset, NJ

Hope you see you there.

Sharpen your hooks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fishing for Sea Run Arctic Char in Greenland

Beautiful, clear rivers and rugged terrain combined with a fly rod makes for some pretty great fly fishing in a place few folks think of as a fishing destination.  Looks awesome.

Sharpen your hooks!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Henley Turns Three Today

He's off to a good start, the fly rod won't be far behind.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tying the Rusty Rat

In this video I tie an Atlantic salmon fly known as the Rusty Rat.  The Rusty Rat is a classic hairwing salmon fly that was developed by Joseph Pulitzer II and Restigouche County, New Brunswick fly tyer Clovis Arseneault.  The original pattern actually had a black thread head, but sometime later the red thread head became the standard.  The pattern also become popular when tied using other colors of floss, thus in addition to the Rusty Rat, we now have Green Rats and Blue Rats. As usual, Tim did an awesome job producing the video.

Here's a Green Rat, which is also a popular color for Atlantic salmon.  I actually tie more of this color for clients than the Rusty Rat, as I am told it produces better overall for them.

Sharpen your hooks!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sawyer Pheasant Tail Nymph - The Original

In the years since Frank Sawyer created his ubiquitous Pheasant Tail Nymph, tied using just pheasant tail fibers and copper wire, the fly has undergone several incarnations here in the USA. Many of these variations involve the addition of peacock herl for the thorax, and legs, and of course there are several beadhead pheasant tail patterns widely used.  All of these variation have one thing in common; the use of thread to bind the materials to the hook.  Sawyer's version, meant to imitate the slender, streamlined Baetis sp. nymphs so common in the chalkstreams of England, is elegant in its simplicity and very effective.  It's my preferred version, which I often fish alone on a long leader and light tippet, straight upstream.  Whether I'm fishing the shallow riffles of an Eastern freestone, or those of the Madison River, the fly produces.

Sharpen your hooks!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Elements of Style - The Prince Nymph

The Prince nymph is an elegant, effective subsurface fly that in its original form is recognized by fly anglers all over the world.  With subtle changes in materials and the position of them, we have tied the same fly the same way, the results of which are two distinct profiles of this wonderful fly. 

One is tied with a coachman brown hackle collar and the white goose biot wings turned upwards. And the second is tied with a brown speckled hen hackle collar and the white goose biot wings with the tips turned downwards.  It's the same fly, yet each style offers a specific profile.  See what you think below.  The first set is taken from a top angle, and the second set from the side.         

Click on photos to enlarge


In the end, I think either pattern, when fished properly, will produce equally as well as the other.

Sharpen your hooks!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Reader Writes - Thoughts on Nymph Color

Phil M wrote us an email asking about our thoughts on why light colored nymph patterns are successful:

Ginger Hare's Ear Nymph

Here is an interesting question I would like your take on:

I grew up in New Jersey, moved to Illinois and will be moving back to New Jersey in the near future.

In looking at the major Eastern hatches (Sulphurs, Hendricksons, Slate Drakes, Cahills and BWO’s) most of these nymphs are either an olive, a brown, or an olive brown mix. That being said, anglers in New Jersey do very well using a light colored Hare’s Ear nymphs. Some March brown nymphs are a very light brown or cream mixture and I’ve see nymphs marked Sulphurs that are almost white or hendrickson nymphs tied with an orange hue. I am aware of the molting stage that make these nymphs lighter, but in the case of the species of mayflies I mentioned, shouldn’t 99% be an olive, a brown or some mixture therein? 

If a majority of these natural nymphs are an olive, a brown or somewhere in between, than why do we see success with light colored mayfly nymphs?

What would be your preferred choice of nymphs for NJ?

Thank you.

My take is that I agree with Phil's take; the majority of mayfly nymphs are on the darker side, most are mottled with dark and medium dark colors primarily browns and olives, with some golden or amber shades mixed in the mottling.   Many of the lighter nymphs are burrowers - they dig down into the sand or silt, which naturally tends to be shades of light brown and tans.  The trout see these nymphs mostly when they ascend to the surface to hatch, otherwise they are burrowed in the sandy bottom out of sight.  When stonefly nymphs molt, they are white for a very brief period before their new carapace hardens and becomes mottled with pigment. 

So why do trout readily take lighter nymphs?  I think for the same reason they take any fly - trout are opportunists.  They will grab anything that looks as though it may be food if it is drifting naturally and they are in a feeding mode.  I also think there are times when a trout takes a fly drifting by them simply as an intuitive, ancient reaction to "test" its authenticity, just as we know they grab small sticks or rise to a strike indicator.  Also, depending on the  color thread used and the dubbing blend, I have seen many light colored nymphs that darken quite a bit when they get wet.

 Natural Grey Hare's Ear Nymph

Rusty Hare's Ear Nymph (Hendrickson)

In the end, we really don't know for sure why trout take any of our flies no matter what color they are, except that in the absence of hands and fingers the only option they have to grab anything for any reason is to use their mouth.

Sharpen your hooks!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bud Lilly - Fly Fishing Legend R.I.P.

Bud Lilly, who became one of Montana’s best-known fly-fishermen and pioneered the catch-and-release ethic that saved wild trout fisheries and powered a huge expansion in the state’s outdoor economy, died Wednesday. He was 91.  Read more here: LINK

Sharpen your hooks and let 'em go.