Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ebay Listings Ending Tonight

Find all the ebay listings HERE
Some craft fur baitfish colors. I try to match my favorite crank bait colors when I tie these. If you have one you like send me a photo. I'm always looking for inspiration.

The flies that end tonight include several articulated streamers including a couple sex dungeons and my own streamer fly "The Buttkicker." Galloup likes big heads on his streamers so mine stay big.
 Finally there are two lots of saltwater flies with one tailored to the flats specifically.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ebay Listings 4-8-15

Apologies for the late post about the Ebay listings that went up last week.  They end tomorrow.

Bendback flies are in both my saltwater and freshwater boxes. They are a great weedless fly and ideal for dealing with grassy conditions on the flats or in the rivers. I generally keep them in my favorite clouser colors (chartreuse/white, Pink/white, etc).

I keep my bass streamers in a wide range of sizes. On the large end are flies with lots of marabou and a large profile to move vigorously in the water. In the mid range would be fox fur baitfish patterns with a thin, but long profiles. Finally, I keep several different types of small zonker style flies. I use both rabbit and squirrel zonkers. However, I am particularly fond of squirrel for micro streamers for flies int he size 10 and 12 range. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A study in Galloup.

I got the chance to meet and watch Kelly Galloup tie flies this year in Austin and at Troutfest. This experience was a bit surreal because one of the very first fly fishing magazines I ever read (now close to ten years ago) contained an article about his patterns….for all I know he might have written it. I do not have the magazine any more to be absolutely certain.  However, I am certain the article detailed two flies I never forgot: The Sex Dungeon (somewhere out there a Google algorithm hates how fly tiers screw with it) and the T & A Bunker. I found the heads of both flies fascinating, and at the time I had no idea how to make either. I certainly did not even know you could spin dear hair at the time, and would not have even considered stacking wool as an option. There were some early tying attempts, but I had few resources to learn techniques from at the time and fell away from articulated patterns.
            Fast forward to the fully committed tier I am now, and perhaps it will make sense that I take on new styles of tying as studies in technique. I look at tying styles as I imagine an artist would and work to replicate the techniques of other tiers to improve my own skills. Once the tying is replicated well enough to be fishable, then I fish the flies to see if I recreated the movement as described by the original tier. For example, Galloup ties his sex dungeons with a much wider head then the commercial patterns available. He explained this head achieves is a front hook that brakes faster then the rear hook making the tail kick around the side of the fly as it is stripped. If you have never thrown a sex dungeon in the water and made it move… you should! It will change how you look at streamer action.
            When I do a study in any tier’s style I try to focus on their techniques (ie. wool heads and spun deer heads) rather then replicating everyone of their flies. A style usually breaks down into a few techniques applied in only slightly different ways to achieve different effects on a given fly.  In the case of Galloup’s flies it broke down into the type of head, the type of tail, and the placement of marabou wings.
            I experimented at creating both wool and dear hair heads, even adding in the “sighting dot.” I have to comment on wool for heads because I found the correct wool some years ago and then never could since. The key here, and Galloup confirmed this in his talks, is to avoid the wool patches still on the skin. Supposedly Spirit River is now carrying the correct wool. I actually found wool rovings at Hobby Lobby that are the loose sheared wool (no skin) that works best for these kinds of heads. They also carry a wide variety of colors.
            The tails were far less complicated, but new to me. The galloup patterns I had seen so far always had marabou tail (similar to a woolly bugger), but I was fascinated to see the differences in the swimming action of the patterns like the Silk Kitty, which has deceiver style tails instead of marabou. Having now tied them and put them in the water I say that the action is more of a slither then the marabou tails, which seem to make the rear hook kick outward. It’s a bit hard to put in text... go tie some and fish them.

            Ultimately as a tier I want to take the new techniques and then apply them to new flies of my own design. This leads to learning ways to add different features to new flies. Take for example, if you need to add a tail that moves more then the rabbit strip you tried on prototype 1 of a fly. Perhaps a palmered marabou tail is the solution….perhaps not, you try it and see.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

4-1-15 Ebay Listings

No April Fool's Jokes are present below.

All current ebay listings can be found here.

This week's listings include some classics. As I am sure most  readers will know the Clouser minnow. Keep it as a staple of their arsenal. I learned early on to tie mine on salt water hooks so they will always fish no matter what water I am fishing. These are some of my favorite colors.

 Additionally, there are several varieties of bass and sun fish flies included as I have been prepping my own boxes for the spring fishing to take off.  I fish two categories of bass and sunfish flies. The first is a series of small insect/frog style patterns and the second group includes suspending and bottom dredging streamers. The sizes vary but I usually don't throw many things over a size 2.

Don't underestimate the big fish catching power of small flies. A size 12 ant can take on a very big bass. River bass will always continue to feed on some stuff that falls into the river from shore. Take advantage of that fact.

 I have also added a buy it now option for some of my Dirt Cheap Divers. These were designed to avoid the efforts needed to produce deer hair divers and make a fly cheap enough to leave in a tree if you hang up trying to make the necessary casts under over hanging branches. These do a great job of that diving ker-plunk that has made Dahlberg Divers so effective.  Try them with a sink tip or sinking leader they are even more versatile.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ebay Listings 3-25-15

This week's listing are heavy on the baitfish patterns with some top water thrown in the mix.

Find all the listing HERE.

Some of the notable flies in the batches this week:

The black and purple EP Fiber baitifish is a local staple of night fishing and particularly well suited to the jetties at night. Tied on a 2/0 B10S (2X heavy).

The micro poppers are a personal favorite for any freshwater in Texas. The small size ensures that sunfish that slam this fly actually hook up. Most popper miss many fish because they are too wide bodied. Don't be fool by the small size these popper can land big fish and 50 fish days are common without changing the fly.

Weedless baitfish patterns tied on worm hooks have been popular locally to suspend around weed beds. 

Mirco streamers have fished well for me all winter. These size 8 streamers are based on classic squirrel wing streamer patterns with a few modern updates such as 3D eyes. They are hard to beat when mimicking small baitfish.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Weekly Ebay Listings

I am going to start adding a weekly set of Ebay listing of flies I tied. This week favors redfish and speckled trout flies, but there are also a couple bass fly assortments. Check them out HERE

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fly Gallery Bully's Blue Gill Spider

Bully’s Blue Gill Spider
Hook: size 10-12 1xl dry fly hook
Thread: UTC 140
Wire: Lead wire 0.020 or greater
Body: Medium rayon chenille
Legs: Medium Round Rubber legs (usually white)

The Bully’s Blue Gill Experience

The Bully’s Blue Gill Spider is a staple of blue gill and river bass fishing in Central Texas. Develop by Roxanne and Terry Wilson, this fly makes use of the aggressive nature of bass and sunfish by descending quickly and fluttering while stripped to mimic a struggling or escaping insect. With a body made of chenille, Bully’s blue gill spiders can be constructed in any color of available chenille. The legs MUST BE RUBBER! No silicone legs! The specific action of this fly requires legs with the flexibility of rubber. Silicone is not flexible enough at short lengths to achieve the same effect in the water as rubber. This versatile fly has even led to controversy in our club as rival sunfish anglers debate which color variant out fishes all others. Woolly bugger chenille in brown with brown rubber legs versus chartreuse medium rayon chenille with white rubber legs is often the local debate.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fly Fishing Show Breakdown

It’s the winter fly fishing show season in Texas once again, and I thought I would pass on some advice about getting the most out of the shows you attend.  Shows break down basically into five categories: Keynote Speakers, Classes, Products, and Fly Tiers.

Keynote Speaker:
Flies from Dave Whitlock's seminar
These individuals are usually of national or even international renown for their skills. In other words, they were likely paid to come speak and did not just volunteer to help the hosting organization. As an attendee these should be priority one. They represent both a unique chance to learn something as well as an investment by the hosting organization. Thus, attending these seminars is critical to the event as well as making a good impression on the invited speaker. Few things are worse then speaking to a nearly empty room. Really well known speakers will have a crowd get to their seminars early if you want a seat.
Admittedly, scheduling conflicts will occur and you will have to decide which of the two seminars you want to attend. I always consider the likelihood of seeing a speaker again or if I can directly contact the speaker later in the show or at their shop.  In all cases the goal is to learn! I usually have a notepad or someway to write down important points in any seminar I attend. A lot of information will be taught by speakers during the whole day, and staying organized will make referencing it later much easier.

            Classes represent a means to learn a skill. A class is led by a skilled volunteer from the hosting organization. These usually include casting, fly tying, and perhaps more unique courses such as tenkara or entomology. These are usually happening throughout the event and will over lap at least a little with other events, but the classes are often small with mostly one on one instruction in the subject being taught. These are a great way to get a foundation in something new or get advice on something that has been troubling the past.

            Shows usually include a number of product dealers or company representatives. These people and the items in their booths are a great way to examine new products or even purchase items not regularly found in your area. They are also a great way to test and learn about items that are technically complicated.
Fly rods are a great example. Will you cast better with an $800 dollar rod? What does a fiberglass or bamboo fly rod cast like? Casting areas are standard at fly shows. Get one of these rods in hand and cast it.

Fly Tiers:
            There are whole shows dedicated to this facet of fly fishing, but in general the tiers will be featured as a gallery with several tables each having a tier or two present. Alternatively, they may be spread out with the organizations to which they belong. Often clubs keep a skilled tier at their table to attract people. Be sure to find a local club and chat with them in you are not already a member. 
If you enjoy tying be sure spend the time watching a fly being tied from start to finish and if you still do not understand the tricks…sit there and watch it again. Tying is about the details. Often it is the minor touches that give a fly its eye appeal, not the big obvious things. It is not uncommon if you are willing to spend the time watching the process for a tier to give you the fly. Admittedly this is entirely up to the tier, but it does happen frequently.

The winter shows are very good in Texas I hope to see you there.

Feb. 7, 2015
Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival
Bethany Christian Church, located at 3223 Westheimer Houston, TX.
From 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Admission fees are: Adults $10.00; Students (with valid I.D.) and Seniors (62+) $5.00; Children under 12 Free; Family $15.00.

Feb. 20-22, 2015
GRTU Troutfest
6:00 PM Friday Feb 20th 2015
EXPOSITION: Free Admission
Saturday Feb 21st 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM & Sunday Feb 22nd 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Fly Fishing Film Tour Feb. 21st
Doors open at 6:00 PM, show is from 7:00 - 9:30.
Purchase Tickets ($15/adult, $12/children 12 and under) at the GRTU booth in the expo tent.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Making your own Flavor of Flies

I often mess with other people’s fly patterns on my vise. In other words, I adjust the materials or modify the pattern in some minor way.  At what point do minor modifications make a new pattern? I have no idea and I am not too bothered by it because I do my best to give credit to the patterns that inspire my own. That being said, I will happily bastardize anything that I see needing a little “Bertrand Flavor.” Usually, my personal touch comes in one of three forms:

1)   Simplification
Simplifying flies is always risky. It is safe to assume the original pattern included essential materials in the pattern. However, I feel the features of the materials often outweigh the amount of material used. Thus, it is often possible to reduced the steps or amounts of certain materials, but maintain the specific and often essential quality in the pattern. For example, a Half Back fly includes a second palmered hackle over the anterior portion of the peacock hurl body. However, I find that the flies without the anterior hackle catch fish equally well. I believe the anterior hackle is unnecessary because the qualities of rear palmered hackle are enough to create the right features in the water.

2)   Modification
Alternatively, I can take an existing pattern and add materials or steps to the tying process that produce a more reliable fly (at least until its actually tested on the water). These modifications often take simple forms. Brass beads are common additions to many classic patterns, but I favor colored glass beads too. These beads come in many different colors and can add either bright contrast or more subtle accents to a common fly. What is most important is that the pattern now looks slightly different from the common pattern thrown by most others on the water.

3)   Substitution
Again these choices can be risky, but often prove a rewarding solution once tested on the water. I admit when I substitute it is often because I lack the exact material called for by the pattern recipe. Sometimes these choices work out and some times they do not. For example, there is no substitution for rubber legs on a Bully’s Bluegill spider. While other leg materials can be tied on the fly, no other material has the appropriate stiffness to act correctly when stripping the fly. Silicone and spanflex are both too soft to return to the open standing position necessary to create the parachute like descent in the water that drives blue gill crazy.

When I make the decision to change a pattern I usually tie about 5-6 for my fly box. If the flies prove themselves I will add more. However if they do not act as exoected in the water or failed to produce I remove them from my flybox.  However, with 5-6 flies, I ensure have enough flies to properly test it on the water (and leave a few in trees).

You have to be fearless about tying flies. Often changes to flies prove ill advised, but every so often a tier stumbles into really amazing flies by simply taking at shot at something with a bit of unique flavor.