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Well we are in the dead of summer now. Still a little more than two months out, and with daily highs in the 90's, theres not a lot of steelhead fishing to be had! To pass the time, why not focus on filling your boxes for fall? When I sit at the bench, many times the fly that I create or the pattern I tie uses difficult materials or techniques. The more I fish, the more I like to experiment and use rhea, lady amhearst, and other materials that can be troublesome. But again, the more I fish, the more I have come to realize that these flies are tied more for my enjoyment than the fish's. A steelhead is not a particulary picky fish. Find a well rested and unharrassed fish and it will more than likely eat whatever you put in front of it, whether it is a traditional salmon fly, a marabou spey, or a simple woolly bugger.
Recently the flies I've been cranking out have been old reliables that I've fished for years. Enter the marabou spey. The fly above is known as a hobo spey. They are relatively quick on the vise, can be tied in many colors and weighted or unweighted, and they catch fish. Pretty much all you do is spin a couple marabou feathers in different colors onto a hook and tie it off. Recently I've been using more Scandinavian style overwing flies such as the whiskey hangover- to good success, and haven't really fished a hobo spey in a while. But as I've been tying them lately, I remember some of my first takes I ever had swinging streamers. A marabou pattern caught my first Cattaraugus Steelhead, swung on a light sinktip. Sometimes in slower tailouts, they can even be fished on floating line and long leader as sparser tied marabou sinks well when waterlogged if given a quick strip to get it under the surface. It also has a ton of movement, and puts fish on the board. With each fly I tie, I can feel my excitement grow.
So while you sit at the vise this summer and fill your box. Tie up some old patterns that you used to fish years ago. We go through cycles. We push the envelope with the newest and most up to date techniques and materials. It leads to progression and personal growth as an angler. But growth without remembering our roots is meaningless. One of the best ways to see just how far you've come is to revisit some of those old fly patterns. Along with the nostalgia it will bring, I guaranteed you fished those flies for a reason.
Me, I'm pretty fired up about getting another tug on a hobo spey.
|Posted on December 10, 2015 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
Starry Night is tied in a classic hairwing style on an intruder hookshank. It is a solid clear to light murky water fly that takes steelhead where ever they swim. It's a fun fly to swing in the upper half of the water column, plus it's a quick tie on the vice!
- Medium sized hookshank and intruder wire
- Purple anadromous brush
- Purple diamond braid
- Purple krinkle flash
- Natural Guinea Fowl
- Jungle cock swords
Step 1. Tie and glue in intruder wire.
Step 2. Cut off a small clump of the purple anadromous brush fibers and tie in as a tail.
Step 3. Tie in and wrap the purple diamond braid up the hookshank up to just behind the eye.
Step 4. Cut off a larger clump of the anadromous brush spin it in a dubbing loop, and wrap around the shank.
Step 5. Tie in 4-6 strands of purple krinkle flash over the wing.
Step 6. Tie in natural guinea fowl as a collar.
Step 7. Tie in the jungle cock swords, tie off, and glue.
|Posted on December 9, 2015 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
Over the past few weeks, we have experienced very good steelhead and to a lesser extent lake run brown fishing. There are solid numbers of fish in every river as we speak, and with mild temperatures and rain in the forecast, the next few weeks should be fantastic fishing!
Tying Demo- Whiskey Hangover (AKA Black & Blue Steel). This is one of the best big river steelhead flies in my arsenal.
- Medium hookshank and intruder wire
- Weighted Eyes
- UV Polar Chenille
- Peach or orange chenille
- Pink, Blue, and Black Craft Fur
- Rainbow Flashabou
- Jungle Cock Swords
- Yellow and Orange Barred Rabbit Strip
Step 1. Tie in the intruder wire and weighted eyes. A lot of people like to fold over the wire and tie it back down, but I tie it in with loose wraps and then glue it to the shank so I don't waste the wire.
Step 2. Tie in the polar chenille first, then the peach chenille. Wrap the peach chenille about two thirds the way up the hookshank, then use the polar chenille as hackle through the peach chenille.
Step 3. Cut off a chunk of pink craft fur.
Step 4. TIe the pink craft fur in backwards (so it hangs over the eyes) then fold it back over the shank and tie it down.
Step 5. Cut off a larger chunk of blue craft fur and repeat the process.
Step 6. Cut off a chunk of rainbow flashabou (around 8-10 long strands).
Step 7. Tie the flashabou in half, then fold the forward section over the hookshank.
Step 8. Tie in the black craft fur the same way as the pink and blue craft fur.
Step 9. Tie in a pair of jungle cock swords. I like to strip the fibers off the quill so then I can fold the quill back and lock it down tightly.
Step 10. Cut off a chunk of yellow and orange barred rabbit fur from the pelt (or strip), and spin it in a dubbing loop. (The photo is before the fur has been spun).
Step 11. Wrap the spun fur behind the eyes and tie it in. Glue when done. (Finished product shown).
Step 12. Swing up steelhead.
|Posted on August 13, 2015 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
With the nights starting to get a little longer and the temperatures dipping into the low 50s overnight, I'm starting to feel the itch of fall steelheading on the Catt. Early fall can present a number of both opportunities and challenges. Generally the season kicks off with low and clear water, and it looks like this up coming late summer-early fall is no different.
One productive way to pass the time waiting for the first push of chrome or for conditions to improve is to sit down at the vice and tie some up some proven weapons or to experiment with new materials or designs. In anticipation of a busy fall, I've been putting a lot of time in on the vice to whip out a ton of guide patterns. These patterns are the old standbys, generally the first on in the morning and the last off at night.
One proven pattern is the pumking (named after a beer):
This pattern is a great all around fall pattern. It's a pretty simple pattern to tie, doesn't take long to finish, and catches fish. Pretty much why it's a guide pattern. The pattern combines olive and black (two favorite steelhead colors) while a brighter head catches fish's attention. These are crucial elements to creating any successful steelhead or lake run brown pattern.
Finally, any successful pattern has to have a good profile. When fishing the swing, you want to show the biggest part (profile) of the fly to the fish. One way to form a good profile without overloading the fly with material is to tie materials in backwards, then fold it over the fly. I tie almost all my streamers in this fashion, and it can be done with just about every material. The pumking uses predominantly craftfur for the body, and reverse tying works awesome.
Finally, when tying in weighted eyes, tie them in on the underside of the hookshank. That way your fly will swim right side up. And place your stinger hook in point up. You'll get much fewer snags that way.
Tie em up guys!