Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Stonefly Tute

Stonefly Tute

 Here's an easy stonefly pattern for #14 and larger stoneflies. I use crochet thread for the abdomen instead of dubbing. It makes a good segmented body quickly and without the fury mess of dubbing.

Demonstration using a 3x long #12 hook, Black Stonefly

Hook; 3x long #12, #14  9671 Mustad
Thread; Black 8/0
Weight; .015 Lead wire
Tail; Black Goose Biots
Abdomen; Black Crochet Thread
Wing pad; Black goose wing fibers
Thorax; Black dubbing
Legs; Black saddle hackle
Head; black thread.

1. Thread base hook shank and let thread hang even with point of hook

2. Weight. Counter wrap lead wire on thread forward towards eye. 

 2a. From here I can spin lead towards eye stopping where I want to end abdomen

2b. Put a few thread wraps in front and behind lead to keep from moving. Bring thread to end of hook shank.

3. Tail. Tie down split goose biot tails. If you have a hard time splitting the two biots you can make a small dubbing ball at the hook bend and tie a biot to each side.

4. Abdomen. Tie Crochet Thread. (Butt end of Crochet Thread up against lead.)

 4a. Wind crochet thread one wrap in front of other for abdomen as shown. Leave a little bit of the tag end exposed just short of eye.

4b. Tie down tag end and bring thread midway between abdomen and eye

5. Goose Fibers. Tie in goose fibers up against abdomen as shown. I leave the shiny side up.  
 6. Thorax rear . Dub a small ball of black dubbing right in front of goose fibers as shown.

7. Legs. Take a black saddle hackle and trim end leaving short barbs exposed. These short barbs will catch thread and prevent the feather from slipping out

8. Legs. Tie down hackle up against small dubbing ball

8a. Wind hackle twice around shank and tie off keeping it butt up against dubbing ball.

9. Thorax front. Make a small dubbed ball for front of thorax.

10. Wing pad. Before I fold down wing pad I trim top of hackle.
Fold Goose fibers forward, trim and tie down. Make tapered head with thread.

11. I trim bottom of hackle even with hook point.

 As you see using the crochet thread it already appears to have a segmented body. If I decide to dub the abdomen I’ll use 4x tippet material for a rib over the abdomen for #14 and larger stones and 7x tippet for #16 and smaller stones.



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Gold Rib Hare's Ear Tute

Gold Rib Hare’s Ear

 The Gold Rib Hare’s Ear, or GRHE, could be one of the most heard of all-purpose nymphs known in fly fishing. It is commonly used and can be tied in natural Hare’s Ear, Dark Hare’s Ear, Olive, Yellow etc.
 This tute is how I tie the Bead Head GRHE. You can use anywhere from a size #10 to a #18 hook. I use a 1x or 2x long hook when I tie with a bead.

Note; There are many ways others tie this nymph. Some use stiffer tail fibers but on a bead head I like to use soft hackle fibers from a gray hen back. I believe this gives a little more movement in the water. Also I use a section of brown speckle turkey tail fibers for the wing pad.
If I tie this without a bead I use a shorter hook length, guard hairs from a Hare’s Mask for a tail and weight the hook shank with lead wire wraps.

Hook; 3906b #12 Mustad
Thread; Camel
Bead; Silver 1/8
Tail; Gray hen back fibers
Rib; Gold flat tinsel
Abdomen; Natural Hare’s Ear with guard hair
Wing Pad; Brown speckled Turkey Tail fibers
Thorax; Natural Hare’s Ear dubbing
Legs; Picked out thorax

1. Bead. Put bead on hook. You might have to crush the hook barb to install bead.

2. Thread base shank bringing the thread to start of bend

3. Tail. Pull off fibers from a hen back soft feather and measure about the length of the hook shank and tie in.
4. Tie on gold tinsel at start of bend. It should be facing over the tail. If you are using two sided tinsel, where one side is silver and other side is gold, tie in with silver side facing up. When you wind the tinsel the gold side will show.

5. Abdomen. Dub abdomen with a taper from the hook bend getting bigger towards the eye of the hook.

5a. Once I get to about a third back from the eye I dub a little dubbing to the bead than bring it back to where I want to tie in the wing pad as shown.

6. Rib. Wind gold tinsel in open wraps over abdomen and tie down in front of tapered body. After tying down I’ll add a little dubbing over the tied down tinsel leveling out the front half of dubbed thorax.

 7. Turkey Fibers. Tie in a section of turkey fibers extending over the abdomen as shown. I tie the wing pad down with shiny side of the fibers facing up. 

8. Thorax. Dub thorax making sure the thorax is bigger around than the abdomen. I dub this a little looser than the abdomen being I’m going to pick out the thorax for legs. 

9. Wing pad. Fold turkey fibers over thorax and tie down behind bead. Trim and whip finish or I use two half hitches.

10. Legs. Using a dubbing needle pick out thorax dubbing from each side of thorax to make legs.

11. Finish. I use a clear coat of nail polish over threads to secure. I have used tying head cement before but have had the beads tarnish so now I use nail polish. Some tiers coat the wing pad with nail polish but I leave it as is.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Old Faithful

Old Faithful
 I remember when I first got into fly fishing in my 20's. I had bought an inexpensive rod and reel just to try the sport out before investing too much money. I remember my first expensive rod. I wanted a fly rod made in the USA and checked reviews to see what my choices were. Fly fishing in Pennsylvania I felt a 8' 6" rod length in a 5 weight would be the best all around choice for trout form small creeks to bigger streams. My first 'expensive rod' was back in 02 and was a 2 piece Scott SAS. It is a medium/fast action and from the time I got it, it transformed me into a better caster and made me enjoy the sport of fly fishing ever since. It cast Woolly Buggers as well as small #18 dries. It is a little stiff to today's standard quality rods but for some reason we worked well together.
 Now a days I have an assortment of specialty rods from medium to fast action. a couple of bamboo rods and quite a few Fiberglass rod. The SAS doesn't get used much any more but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Actually if someone comes along and doesn't have a rod I'll let them borrow it for a day. It is a fish catcher!! I don't think I ever got skunked with it and have had a few people catch their first trout on it. Other than that it is my rainy day, bad weather rod. With a natural non-glaring blank It doesn't show any abuse marks from nicks/scratches or dried rain/water spots on it. Sure, the cork grip shows wear but other than that it really doesn't show the wear for all those years and bad weather it's been used during.

 The morning was overcast and rain was in the forecast for later on in the evening. The late morning temperature crept above freezing. I suppose it was in the 40's something by the time I got to the project area of Neshannock Creek. I was already dressed pretty warm for the over hour drive down. I put on a pair of neoprene chest waders for more warmth and gathered my gear on the tailgate. My intentions were to take out a vintage fiberglass rod but when it started to sprinkle I decided not. I reached into the back seat and pulled out the two piece Scott SAS. I sort of chuckled to myself knowing that now a days it only sees bad weather fishing.
 Down at the creek the water was running on the faster side and a little high but I expected something like this with all the snow melt we had the previous few days. There was still a few snow piles in the parking lot and also a few areas of snow on the ground beneath the trees across the creek where the sun doesn't reach. Though the air was a bit warmer than the past few days, I'm sure the water wasn't going to change much in temperature. This is the kind of creek I never know what the catching is going to be like. Sometimes it may take a while to find what they want but other times it might just be I have to be lucky enough to get one to open it's mouth for a meal. With the cold temps I didn't expect they would be moving around much but I started with a Woolly Bugger anyhow. I scoured the area pretty thoroughly but couldn't get anything to strike any of the color buggers I offered. I resorted to nymph fishing.
 It took some time, patience and persistence but the first strike came with just a delicate stopping of my fly line that looked unnatural even for a snag. I wrist set the hook not too aggressively just in case it was a bottom snag. When I felt the movement on the other end I wrist the rod with a little more of a forcing tug to make sure of good hook penetration. The fish wasn't too aggressive but did put up a short energetic swim around before I got to net it.

 The next strike came during a cold showering rain. The take was more evident as the fly line took a sharp dip as my stoneflies were drifting slowly in a deep pool of water. I set the hook with confidence that it was a trout. Sure enough the trout retaliated with a sharp head tug before taking out line. I tightened my cold wet hand over the cork grip and held the fly line with my left hand controlling the tension. I watched as the fly line started to rise from the water depth and then I watched the trout take air. He came completely air born with it's tail flapping to and fro as if swatting pesky gnats. It reentered the water with a splash and dove deep. I noticed it was much bigger and fatter than the first trout. It put up a more exciting fight and I let it swim about without any over powering resistance on my part. Being the bite was real slow I didn't know if I'd get another hook up or not so I enjoyed the fish tugging on the line.

 I fished another hour trying my hardest for one last catch. I switched patterns often and even moved around a bit more. The only thing I caught was a small sucker and I suppose it just happen to yawn when the nymph I was using drifted in front of him.
 In the approximate 5 hours I was there, a few other fishermen tried their luck but didn't stick around very long. I imagine it was because of the cold rain and that the fish weren't really biting. I never seen anyone of them hook up to any trout. Old faithful came through again with at least a couple fish.
 By the time I exited the chilled water each foot felt like they were molded in a block of cement and I had ankle weights strapped on. I couldn't feel my toes but at least they weren't hurting. After changing clothes in the parking lot I grabbed a sandwich out of the cooler and sat in the truck till it warmed up a bit inside.
 Rolling north on I79 I lit up an Alec Bradley Sun Grown, turned on some rock and roll and traveled up the interstate towards home.