Clouser Minnows on the Auction Block

Clouser Auction

Please check it out. They'd make a great gift for your favorite angler.

Secret Desire

Secret Desire

I just completed a set of flies for another fly swap. The theme for this swap was Steelhead Flies. This fly design has been swirling around my head for some time now. I'm glad I was finally able to interpret my thoughts into a pretty decent attempt. Please tell me what you think. Here is the recipe.

Secret Desire
Hook: TMC 7999 Salmon/Steelhead, Sz. 4
Thread: Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon, 210 Denier, Black
Tag: Mylar Tinsel, Silver
Tail: Whiting Bird Fur,Purple, Filoplume from the base of the feather
Body: Orvis Flexi Floss, Fuchsia
Rib: French Tinsel, Medium Oval, Silver
Underwing: Krystal Flash, UV Gray
Wing: Marabou Blood Quill, Hot Pink
Hackle: Whiting Bird Fur, Purple, Schlappen like larger feathers

Here is the family photo.

Secret Desire Family Shot

Pink And Blue

I wrangled the boys over at the FFOTW Forum to do something nice for one of the hosts of the site. Jason Brown is expecting in December. I thought we'd have a baby shower for him. We didn't want him to stray too far from the Fly Fishing Fraternity (the other FFF) so it's a baby shower fly fisherman style. Jason sadly said he had already put his fishing equipment away in anticipation of two o'clock feedings and diapers. So we're all tying up some pink and blue flies he can look at while he practices sleep deprivation. Hopefully he'll be back on the water soon.

Here's what I came up with Pink and Blue Bunny Flies as well as Pink and Blue Ants. I call it "Eight is Enough"

Fly Fishing Baby Shower

How'd I Do That?

Clouser Picture Setup
I've already been asked how the picture from the last post was done. I used some basic techniques and Photoshop to make it look half way normal. Double lighting and a curved background are the basics. The background is a piece of white 1/8" foam I had from fly tying. Close proximity to the light source also softens shadows considerably. I did so many things wrong. The exposure should have been calculated with a grey card. White balance was off by a mile. The arrangement could have been more symmetrical. I can go on and on. Dusting the cobwebs off my brain, plus adjusting to digital media rather than film, and owning no macro lens, all posed challenges. I've stated before that photography is a process of elimination. You learn to eliminate all the things that do not work until you come up with a formula for success. The huge bonus using digital media is that I went from nothing to published in about an hour. My minute abilities with Lightroom and Photoshop got me to results that I could at lease publish during the high pressure of NaBloPoMo.

Clouser Minnow Swap

Team Clouser
I just finished photographing, sorting and shipping a dozen Clouser Minnows tied by fly tyers from across the country. I was the host this fly swap. Participating in this capacity was a lot of fun. The swap even helped me learn some new tricks in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Here is how it works. Someone declares they want to host a swap on a Forum. The forum I hang out at is Fly Fishing On The Web ( The host gets to pick what type of fly to tie or a theme. I picked Clouser Minnows. Enrollment is open to members until there are a sufficient number of tyers and then the swap is closed. The host sets the due date and instructs the members where to send the flies. Forum members produce their creations, plus one extra fly. The flies are sent to the host along with a return mailer and postage. When all flies are received the host sorts the flies so that everyone gets one fly from each participating tyer. Many hosts photograph the flies to share with all the members of the forum. I did the team photo above and also made a composite of the individual fly photos I took. All the above steps have been completed and I also made a trip to the post office today to ship all the members their flies.

What happens to the extra fly? We auction the extra set off on ebay and donate the money to a fly fishing centric charity. We have selected Project Healing Waters. An organization that helps injured veterans that are returning home. Healing Waters assists in their rehabilitation by teaching them to fly fish. We have several more auctions planned in the near future for this great organization.

I have now participated in a few fly swaps. All quite different but always a lot of fun. A big benefit for me has been an opportunity to be disciplined about producing a set of flies in a timely manner. Tying season is starting out and the swaps have given me a chance to get back into the groove for my winter sessions at the tying bench.

Striper Moon by J. Kenney Abrames

Striper Moon: Fly Fishing Techniques and Flies for Striped Bass in Estuary, River, Bay & Surf by J. Kenney Abrames.

From a unique man comes a very unique volume that is continually referenced by striper fly fishers throughout New England and beyond. This brief and enlightening tome takes salt water fly fishers out of the routine of predictable big cast and strip, strip, strip mentality and encourages fly fishers to do something we often forget to do, think. Think, where am I, think, where would the stripers need to be, think, is the exact fly needed or is how it is fished more important, think, what is the best time of day and also best moon phase to hunt stripers

Abrams brings revelations to the surf fisher that stripers hunt very close to shore and will swim in the hump of an incoming wave in order to harvest tumbled and disoriented prey. Other instruction includes using drift and mend techniques similar to fishing for trout with streamers. The author also likens striper prey to the trout fishers insect hatch. He asks, when are the peak times for herring, crab, krill and sand eel.

The topic of fly tying, for which Kenny is well known, is somewhat down played considering how colorful and beautifully crafted his flat wing imitations are. His salt water fly patterns are some of my all-time favorites to tie. What the author teaches us about flies is that a perfect fly fished with a poor presentation will not catch as many fish, if any at all, as a perfectly presented fly that is only an impression, but not an exact copy. If the fly is within the size range of the bait the fish are targeting and fished well it will catch more fish. He openly admits that no two flies he ties are alike. What he suggests is that colors in the ocean are constantly changing and giving different impressions at different times and so do his flies.

Equipment is also covered, giving ideas on what makes a good set up for a coastal striper fly fisher. All his explanations are presented with the caveat that the equipment does not catch the fish, the fisherman catches the fish, reminding us, presentation, presentation presentation.

In addition to giving the fly fishing community this well executed document, Kenny continues to instruct locally to intrepid fly fishers who gather at selected locations along the coast. He also hosts a helpful website that shares the same name as the book Striper Moon. The site extends the value of his instruction to the internet community and includes a forum where he is happy to answer anglers questions and encourage dialog among members.

I highly recommend this book and I know I will return to it often for reference and inspiration.

Halloween Treat

Have a happy Halloween!

Candy Corn Fly
Comments (2)


Just as I was about post this, I noticed this in my feed reader. Although his is much neater. What are the odds that we both thought of this today?

Connect the dots
You can download your own set of dots here. I first mentioned Jeff and Drawing Flies 365 in January. He is still going strong passing the three hundred mark today.

No Bunny Wednesday

No Bunny Wednesday
Moody Special, A big honkin' Sand Eel and Dave Skok's PC Clouser.

Last night Captain Nat Moody of First Light Anglers used no bunny fur to instruct our class. After quelling the unsettled surprise of the class we got down to business. First up was the Moody Special which is Nat's deadly imitation of a Mummy Chub. (I know I've butchered the name. Leave a comment and help me out folks.) This is an early spring bait fish pattern that Nat says has been extremely successful. Next the classic Clouser with a twist, using some of Dave Skok's material for the belly and then some Kinky Fiber. Finally an all Slinky Fiber Sand Eel pattern. We got to tie two of each of these flies during the class and I managed to squeeze in three more for a good night of nine flies. My sideline flies were two more Mini Gurglers and a Deceiver with a deer hair head in the same colors as the Moody Special. I also discovered I need a sippy cup for the second week in a row.

Fly Tying Update

I need to bring you up to date on what I've been tying for the last three weeks. I'll roll all three sessions into one post. Let's start with January 16, and instructor John Kelsey. John is a meticulous tier and his flies are some of the most striking and beautiful in my fly box. He likes sparse flies in the style of Ken Abrames. During a discussion on the First Light Anglers Discussion Board the topic of small krill type flies for striped bass was brought up. Many times they are feeding on very small crustasions and will not take a respectable fishy looking fly. John has discovered that they become selective when feeding on this smaller food. My take is that if they are taking small food they get fixed on quantity of a single source to fill their belly. Thus the selectivity. To combat this John has created some flies that give the impression of that food. Here is part of that prolific evening. I tied a total of nine flies that night.

John Kelsey - Tiny Striper Flies
Soft Hackle, Krill, 10 Strand Streamer, Saltwater Bivisible, Orange Worm, Little Garthside Gurgler.

Next on January 23 we were double teamed by Dan Harrison of Harrison Anglers in Western Massachusetts and Walt (Otter) Mueller Jr. of Blue River Designs in Breckenridge, Colorado. Dan showed us all the merits of foam by tying the Fat Albert. I was able to to complete two. I was surprised at how easy and fun these flies were to tie. Dan assures us that this is one of the most complex foam flies. If we can tie this one, we can tie most of the other foam dries. He was a great instructor and he's also a fine writer. He was just published in the most recent issue of Fly Fisherman.

Following Dan was Walt Mueller, Jr. who is the inventor of "Soft Milking Eggs" from the Montana Fly Company. This product looks amazingly like real salmon eggs. They even sell fertilized and un-fertilized imitations. The antron fibers represent the light cloud of milt on the eggs and also help to hold the egg on the hook. This is a simple and effective pattern during spawning season. Otter says they will trigger a strike during any season. He also showed us a simple one material midge pattern.

Fat Albert, Midge and Eggs
Fat Alberts, Midge and Eggs over easy.

This past week George Sprague showed us some very cool techniques for Crease Flies. These flies are gaining wide acceptance in the salt water fly fishing community in spite of their resemblance to a traditional fishing lure. George has taken the art of this foam creation to new heights. I was very impressed with these flies, even with the quality of my amateur efforts. These flies were also fun to tie. I can't wait to try some on the water.

Crease Flies
Crease Flies.

There's your update. Tight Lines!

Drawing Flies 365

I thought 30 days of blogging was tough. How about drawing every day for a year and then blogging about it daily. That's commitment! Jeff Kennedy will draw a fly fishing fly every day for a year and post the results over at his Drawing Flies Blog. The art work is wonderful and he is drawing using a wide range of media. Good Luck Jeff.

via Moldy Chum

Tying Trout Flies with Patrick Brown

This week trout flies were on the menu. Three classics for every fly box.
The caddis is sweet! How do I know? I tasted it.

Pheasant Tail, Wooley Bugger, Caddis Pupae
Fly Tying with Patrick Brown - Pheasant Tail, Wooley Bugger, Caddis Pupae

Tying Freshwater Flies with Rick Little

Fresh Water Flies Tied with Rick Little
From left to right; White Marabou Streamer, The Usual, Montreal Whore, Soft Hackle Wet Fly and Pink Floyd. These flies are from the heart of Maine. We tied these under the instruction of Rick Little. Rick is a long time member of the tying class at First Light Anglers. He is a great guy, a hell of a angler and an excellent tyer. He will be tying commercially for the shop this year. His class was well planned and he was thoughtful in his presentation. He supplied each student with a handout for the flies tied in the class. The handout will be posted on the discussion board at FLA. He tied each fly first, then had step by step instruction for everyone to follow. These flies were relatively easy flies to tie and all have a sense of motion and life in each pattern. This is due to the use of marabou, snowshoe hair and soft hackle. There will definitely be some additions from this class in my fly box next spring.

Tying With Captain Peter Yukins

Flies Tied With Captain Peter Yukins
This weeks critters were tied with the help of Captain Peter Yukins. He is an employee of First Light Anglers and also guides on the North Shore.
From Left to right; Pete's version of a Ray's Fly, front view of Pete's Lobster Fly, Puglisi Style Cunner, Pete's Pheasant Style Cunner. The last fly is made by just layering bucktail and pheasant. A really nice looking fly. I added a natural eye from the pheasant rather than a 3-D eye. I like the old style look of the natural. This fly would look amazing with jungle cock eyes. The Mrs. thinks the Puglisi flies are "as cute as a button." I hope the fish think they are "so cute they could just eat 'em up!"

Fly Tying Season Has Begun

Snake Flies
Last Wednesday was the season opener for tying classes at First Light Anglers. Captain Nat Moody, one of the owners of the shop, started us off with a good versatile impressionistic critter, to limber up the bobbins and the vices. The design is a modified snake fly. This has Nat's signature bunny tail partially encased in easy body. It includes both types of rabbit strips in the construction. The zonker strip for the tail and then the cross cut strip palmered around the hook. Marabou covers the palmered crosscut. Bucktail is wrapped around the aft bunny tail. We finished off with a spun deer hair head. The head on the left is trimmed for a diver style fly. The other is a larger head used to push lots of water for surface action or a gurgler. If you are undecided, leave the heads bigger and trim waterside to suit conditions.

It was great to see all the guys at the class. The new format is well worth it. Only twenty more classes till striper season!
Next Page