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Tight Lines!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fly Tying Class

Having been an avid fisherman for my entire life, obviously I have tinkered with making my own baits over the years.  I've had a few successes and more than my fair share that failed.  I generally fish for warm water species, but ironically my best lures have been flies which are traditionally used for trout fishing.  Obviously, they are used for more than just trout, but that is the image most people conjur up when they hear someone talking a bout fly fishing.

I've never been a "fly tyer" per se; however, I did many years ago tie a couple patterns which were surprisingly successful.  One I called a black gnat. It actually was similar to what is considered a black gnat  pattern today, only it was missing the red tail and was nothing more than wrapped thread and some hackle from a black feather I found in the yard.  It was ugly, it was disproportionate, it was deadly on pan fish.  The bluegill in the local "lake" loved it!  In fact, they destroyed it...literally.  My success led me to try another pattern, only larger for the bass.

Here things took an odd turn.  I decided to make a streamer so I snatched up a pink feather duster, and used a split shot for a head and basically made some pink concoction of feathers and thread which in my eyes was a perfect offering for our local bass.  It was completed with a full married feather sticking out behind the hook and the hackle was more like marabou, but none the less there it was.

I headed back to the lake and started working it and happened across some bass bedding down.  THEY KILLED IT!  It was amazing how well they hit it.  It was not until years later that I actually thought about why they were so aggressive.  Being it was a light pink color, and reds are the first colors to fade in water (around 10 feet or so) I assume it took on a slightly pinkish hued gray color to the fish since I was in about 6 - 10 feet of water.  Mix that with the body shape of waving marabou and a full married feather at the back; add being stripped in on the fly line and I can only imagine it was being treated as a hostile crayfish attacking their nests.  So, the bass ate it to protect their brood.  What a huge success!

My first three wooly-bugger patterns.
Fast forward to last Tuesday, and a more formal attempt at fly tying.  I signed up for a fly tying class at a local outfitter, Tangent Outdoors.  Our first class was a great mix of basic concepts and techniques mixed with a few variations of one of the best multi-species flies that I know of and have fished, the wooly-bugger.

Personal flare on an age old concept.
So I know I am no pro, but to be honest, even if the flies don't look "perfect" they will still catch fish - and tying is a blast.  I never imagined I would like it as much as I do.  After the class, and a few days of down time I decided to play around with a couple different patterns using the same principles we learned for the buggers.  My renditions are certainly unique, and yes, that is a peacock herl on the grub shaped version on the left.  I wanted to give it a different look beyond the normal marabou and thought using the herl would be a good way to add a distinct tail as well as adding flash around the body.  The second was just a "skinny" bugger you could say.

Tonight, we had class number two, and things got smaller...we were working on nymphs.  I apologize for the poor job photographing these but it is late and I'm tired.  Plus, lets be honest...a great shot of a rookies fly isn't going to make it look much better anyway, lol.  We did learn a lot, and I feel much more capable after only two classes.  We finish the level 1 classes next week, then I should be on to the more advanced class tying larger bass and musky flies!   Yeah, I'm just a little stoked about that!

Left two are basically the same technique with different positioning, fly three was an introduction to using dubbing and the last, and in my opinion best by far, is a "soft hackle" version with a dubbing body as well.
 If you are interested in fly tying, or taking a guided trip on the New River, I highly suggest contacting Tangent Outdoors.  They flat out know their stuff and seem to genuinely care about your success both immediately and long term.  Great people and a great product, hard to go wrong...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mystery Tackle Box

So,  often times we anglers get tons of offers spammed to us, and being we are mostly men and are very susceptible to buying anything shiny we tend to "take advantage" of those offers.  Our wives seem to think we are crazy and that the "deal" we got wasn't really that good.  BUT if we had not taken advantage of that offer we would not have that one lure that's way in the back of the box that we might have to use one day... jeeze come on!

Anyway, I ran across a cool little deal which I think may be worth while.  It's called the "Mystery Tackle Box".  Basically, you subscribe at $15 a month and they send you some assortment of lures.  Some may be good, some may suck, and some may be really odd like this Dahlberg Diver Frog that was part of this months package.  Very cool looking, but... odd lol.  Anywho, you can get the first month for like $5 and try it out.  Here is a shot of what all I got this month:

I have not used any yet but here's my impression on each right out of the box.

Dahlberg Diver Frog:  Probably made to catch more fishermen than fish, but could be a good large mouth lure?

Baby Ubershad:  This guys looks like a hit.  Perfect size for our small mouth and with the swimming tail a slightly different look than all of the other "flukes" on the market.

Sidewinder:  A good sinking worm like a Senko but more of the zipper style and has internal rattles.  I think this guy may be great for cool days and anywhere you would use a shakey head  or senko. 

Ugly Otter:  This guy could easily be a replacement for the brush hogs we all through in the deep brush.  I think this will have a slower fall and should flutter the appendages great on the fall.

4/0 Mustad EWG Hooks:  I think we all know this type of hook, and the brand Mustad.  May not be something new and exciting; but definitely a solid hook.

Now once I get the change to try these fellers out this spring, maybe I'll touch back on them and see how they really fared...

Fishing License

Whoo hooo!  After way to many years I have finally stepped up and done what I should have done years ago... got my life time license!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A new year...

Well, if anyone actually reads this they will see that A: Either I didn't fish any more last year or B: I didn't record it.  Honestly, I didn't fish much; but I didn't blog any.  I never seem to get to fish as much as I would like, but often times there are other things going on, and fall was especially busy last year so the fishing suffered.

BUT -- It's a new year, and the new year means a new dedication to fishing more than last year... just like every year lol.  Hopefully this year things work out a little better.  On a good note, I finally had enough money to spare to get my lifetime license!  SO WORTH THE MONEY!  260 bucks spent, but now I never have to buy another state license!  To me, that's freaking epic.  Maybe later I'll spend another 260 for the trout license?  IDK... Probably, lol.

Speaking of trout, I plan on taking a fly tying class in a few weeks from Tangent Outfitters in Pembroke VA.  They do some great guide work and the cost for the tying class is so cheap (and it includes the materials) that you can't go wrong.  I'll try to remember to talk about it on here in case someone happens to stumble on this site.  The store itself has a pretty good selection of lures.  They have stuff for everything from native trout to musky!  And the cool part is most of it is known to be good stuff for the river and local lakes.  So you don't see a ton of junk like you do in most tackle shops. 

In fact, a friend and I are contemplating doing a guided trip for Musky... if that happens then I really hope to post some great pics!!!