Sunday, July 21, 2013

Damsels in Distress

Damsel, near South Cerney by Brian Robert Marshell, CC-BY-2.0.

During the sunniest part of a July afternoon, on our local tributary, I have encountered smaller sized floating damsels, both red and blue. I watch in amazement as they swoop down like Apache helicopters, and pick on mosquitos, and adult midges that are either just above the surface or stuck in the surface film. What is intriguing to me is the notion or perspective gained of the limited presence of damsel or dragon flies  near running waters in fly fishing literature. Most literature on the subject is typically confined to stillwaters. For instance, in Dave Hughes's Handbook of Hatches (2005) he states "Damselfly adults are present on all stillwaters, all across the continent".  Is it possible that the focus on stillwaters is largely due to a lack thereof interest in damsel/dragonflies by trout in running waters? To answer this question I had to tie up a respectable pattern that would entice river-life trout.

Wind thread back to the barb of size 14 dry fly hook.

Tie in thin piece of 2mm foam near barb.

Tie in size 14 River Rd. Creations Cutter - Caddis/Ant body at point.

Tie in one peacock herl and hackle.

Wind herl and hackle to 1/3 from eye and cinch down foam.

Use the foam cutter to stamp out wings from thin packing foam, which are lined up. Use a drop of adhesive to ease the process.

Fold the foam over so it secures the wings and half-hitch your thread at the head. Markings are made with a black Sharpie.
Top view

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cutting Foam

I was becoming rather frustrated when it came to neat foam bodies on my foam flies. Not to mention, the whole process can be time consuming, especially when your limited to scissors, and steady hands.  My solution was to invest in a foam body cutter product offered by River Road Creations, Inc. I decided to choose their Hopper/Caddis/Ant complete set that generally sells for around $48.00 USD. The set includes fiver cutters (sizes 8, 10, 12, 14 & 16), a cutter caddy and a cutting pad.

Shortly after unpacking my cutters, I put them to the test. I started with 2mm adhesive backed foam and then progressed to 4mm or two sheets of 2mm adhesive backed foam stuck together. In both cases, I was pleasantly surprised when the cutters performed beyond my expecations.

The foam bodies are quite universal - they can be used to replicate various bodies, wings and even legs.

So...if your looking into improving your foam flies, I hope you will give the River Road Creations foam cutters a try. I am confident you will be happy with the performance of the cutters and the overall quality of your foam flies.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Terrestrials are Coming!

It's that time of year. Dry and hot weather means big meaty treats for trout such as grasshoppers and beetles. Here's a simple pattern that encompasses both. Is it a hopper or a beetle? You can add legs, but I think it fishes just as good without them. Zap-A-Gap is a key ingredient that helps stop the foam from twisting.

Parachute Grass-Beetle

Hook: Size 14 Umpqua U203
Thread: Olive 70 UTC
Foam: 2mm Tan (colored slightly with olive marker)
Body: Olive Hares Ear Dubbin
Parachute: Tan Antron
Hackle: Grizzly
Thorax: 4 Olive Goose Biots

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing a happy Independence Day! From Friend of the Fly. The Uncle Sam was inspired by Don Holbrook and Ed Koch's Midge Magic. The fly is evidence that embroidery floss is a dynamic material that is not limited to the minute midge.

Uncle Sam

Hook: Size 14 1x Nymph
Body: DMC Embroidery Floss
Hackle: Turkey Plume
Head: White UTC 70 with wrap of turkey plume and cement

Monday, July 1, 2013

Simplicity is the Wet

Friend of the Fly welcomes you to a blog dedicated to creative fly tying. Here's a selection of wet flies that are easy too tie, look good in the box, and drive the trout crazy. I skipped the Ron Bergman style traditional floss and went with a thread body.

Wanna-Be Steelie

Hook: Size 14 1x nymph hook
Body: UTC 120 Fl. Chartreuse & Fire Orange
Hackle: Lemon Duck
Head: Black UTC 70, Head Cement

Better Orange & Pheasant

Hook: Size 14 1x nymph hook
Body: UTC 120 Fl. Fire Orange
Hackle: Hungarian Partridge
Head: Black UTC 70, Head Cement

Black Hen Caddis

Hook: Size 14 1x nymph hook
Body: UTC 70 Black
Hackle: Black Guinea Hen Feather
Head: Black UTC 70, Head Cement

When fishing wet flies, I have noticed that the hackle will sometimes wrap around the body of the fly, which in a way does not serve the hackles purpose. For instance, in W.C. Stewart's The Practical Angler, initially published in 1875, Stewart suggests a pulsating presentation of the wet fly hackle to entice trout. More specifically, the pulsation is the movement of the hackle, which adds to the fly's life-like appearance. Stewart referred to these flies as spiders. To reinforce this type of presentation, the hackle can be supported by a thorax of several wraps of dubbin as demonstrated in the fly below.

Yellow and Partridge (Variant)

Hook: Size 14 1x nymph hook
Body: Yellow Mac Fly Foam
Rib: Small Gold Copper Wire
Thorax: Hares Ear Dubbin
Hackle: Hungarian Partridge
Head: Yellow UTC 70, Head Cement