Monday, December 29, 2014


Jig-A-Buggers' tied by Darren Dunbar
The Euro nymphing technique generally suggests slender - heavy tied hooks that sink fast, which makes absolute sense.  However, I felt like I had been missing out on some good fishing, using one of the all-time greatest and favorite fly's: The Woolly Bugger. Consequently, I devised the "Jig-A-Bugger", which is essentially a sleeker designed Woolly Bugger that incorporates some of the most productive features - a marabou tail. Additionally, I swapped the traditional chenille body for DMC Floss and limited the hackle to only the thorax region. The fly below is hackled with red organza ribbon that I salvaged from a recent X-Mas gift. Finally, the fly comes complete with a heavy tungsten bead and lively rubber legs. I like to use the Jig-A-Bugger as my point fly on a dead drift. The fly is quite dynamic, in that it allows you to fish as a streamer on the end of your drift. Happy Holidays ~ D2

Jig-A-Bugger with Red Organza Ribbon tied by Darren Dunbar

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Disco Spinner

Disco Spinner tied by Darren Dunbar
The Disco Spinner is inspired by the Disco Midge and the sipping trout I've sometimes passed, on my way to faster currents. Generally, a large percentage of spinner falls do occur in calmer currents. According to Rick Hafele,"the females of a number of Baetis species crawl underwater along the sides of rocks or aquatic plants to lay their eggs on the bottom rather than on the water's surface". Fooling the trout with a dead mayfly presentation usually requires some stealth casting and thin tippet.

Top View Disco Spinner

My favorite element of the Disco Spinner is the body, which consists of DMC floss and thin holographic mylar tinsel. I wrap the DMC over black fly tying thread to create some segmentation. In my opinion, the tinsel wrap creates some attractive illumination and emulates the almost transparent spinner mayfly body in it's natural form. Regards ~ D2

Disco Spinner tied on FOTF Super Point Barbless Hook

Disco Spinner

Hook: FOTF SPB-100
Thread: Black UTC 70 Denier
Tail: Micro Fibbets
Body: DMC Floss
Rib: Holographic Mylar Tinsel
Thorax: Super Fine Dubbing
Wing: White Poly, Krystal Flash

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Ten Commandments of Fly Tying

 Here are The Ten Commandments of Fly Tying compiled and writ in stone by the fly tying prophet D2 of Friend of the Fly. May good tying be with you!

I. Thou shalt refrain from the belief that fly tying will save you money. Tyeth thy flies for the sake of good health and well-being.

II. Thou shalt not covet thy fishing partner's wife's Rooster, nor his wife's Hen nor her other features such as ginger hackles, luxurious beads, finger nail polish or other covetous objects of desire!

III. Thou shalt not crowd the front of the hook. Leave ye not less than 1/3 of the hook shank for the most heavenly head.

IV. Honor one's vice with proper hook placement so it may last long upon the desk space ye have created. Keepeth one's hook a distance equal to at least one hook wire diameter between the hook and the jaw edge.

V. Remember the stormy day, to keep it open for your flies, for they will be useful in days ahead. In it you shall labor the fruits of glorious flies for the likeness of thy trout. 

VI. Thou shalt let there be good lamp light for the health of thy eyes and the magnificence of thy flies.

VII. Thou shalt keepeth thy wine at arms length and solvents with their caps on at the time of thy labor, foreth to protect the holiness of
one's fly tying altar.

 VIII.Thou shalt keepeth proper tension on thy thread without breakage or loose adherance. Use thy weight of ye hanging bobbin for good measure.

IV. Thou shalt live by fine and sharp scissors, no less; and it shall come to pass when thou shall have dominion over thy flies.

X. Thou shalt not reveal to the world the Holy Grail. Mankind has sought the perfect fly that always catches fish. We know you have it so to reveal it would render the fly box to contain only one, thus ruining my day.

Note: Commandment X. borrowed from Geoff Halls Ten Commandments of Fly Fishing

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's Time to Disco: Disco Midge that is...

Get Down with D2 and a Size 24 Black Disco Midge

Whether you're still caught in the disco era is merely irrelevant when it comes to the Disco Midge. Frankly, the only dancing that will result from the use of this fly is the dance of the elusive trout during the toughest of winter conditions. Unfortunately, I can't tell you who the originator of the fly is, but  the fly's advent can be easily traced to the San Juan River, a famous tailwater fishery in New Mexico. This attractor styled fly replicates midge larvae which, are typically quite abundant in tailwater. However, I've had great success on dam-less rivers too, especially during the winter when your hatches are limited.

Ah yeah... Gotta have the Midge Money Shot

The original Disco Midge pattern is rather simple and calls for a Flashabou or Krystal Flash body and a peacock herl thorax. Like I usually do, I decided to change things up with an addition of a glass bead head, small sized pearl mylar tinsel,  a Super Fine dubbed thorax, and some fine copper wire for ribbing and weight. I use different colored threads under the mylar tinsel to create alternative flashy color schemes. I also really like a petite glass bead head, which has a way of re-creating the gas bubble that aids in a midge's ascent to the water surface. Overall, this is a very easy fly. From my experience, the most difficult element of the process is getting the small bead on a minute sized hook. Regards ~ D2

Size 24 Red Disco Midge
Disco Midge (FOTF version)

Hook: 18 - 24 Curved Shank
Thread: UTC 70 Denier
Body: Small sized pearl Mylar Tinsel
Ribbing: Fine copper wire
Thorax: Super Fine Dubbing
Bead: Petite Glass Bead

Monday, September 29, 2014

Taming the Comparadun: Problems and Solutions

Comparadun  tied by Darren Dunbar
The Compardun is an essential low profile, no hackle dry fly pattern that was developed by Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi. The fly is highly influenced by Fran Better's "Haystack", which is mentioned in Caucci and Nastasi's book "Hatches". The fly is highly versatile, since the color of the body can be changed to match a variety of mayflies. My favorite replications include the Blue Wing Olive and the Mahogany Dun.

The construction of the fly can be somewhat intimidating to some fly tiers, due to the required set-up of a fan-like deer hair wing. Keep in mind that there are many fly tying technique variations when it comes to tying the Comparadun. Nevertheless, try the following suggested tips to make Comparaduns' a fun and easy to tie.


Problem: Inability to splay tail properly
Solution: Leave a 2-3 inch tag end of thread off the bend of your hook that is centered between the  micro fibbets or hackle fibers, which is pulled towards the eye o the hook. After you tie down the tag, run a loop of thread underneath the tail, which will help elevate it nicely.


Problem: The body is too bulky or without an attractive taper.
Solution: Use a "fine" dubbing sparingly. Build a taper with thread prior to wrapping a biot body or simply just use a tapered thread body. Ensure that the tail is tied in near the bend of the hook in order to utilize a majority of the shank for the body.


Critical:  Steve Schweitzer at The Global Fly Fisher suggests"Selecting the proper deer hair for use in a comparadun is critical to making the fly easy to tie. Choose summer deer hair, hair that is thin and less straw-like". Selecting a pad with short tips for smaller flies will ensure the wing is constructed with a longer hollow-like fiber, which is beneficial when it comes to the flotation of your fly.

Problem: Wing is not setting up in nice even fan.
Solutions:  Use the thickness of a matchstick as a general guide for your deer hair bunch.

When tying in your hair it's paramount to start with one or two loose wraps. This technique is quintessential on virtually any elk or deer hair wing.

Build a dam of thread in front of the held upright wing.

Wrap 2-3 tight wraps of dubbing behind and in front of the wing.

To tidy things up you can adjust the wing with your fingers. Pull the fibers down so they flare in an even 180 degree arc; then you may apply some head cement on the base of the wing to make it secure.

Regards, D2

Comparadun tied by Darren Dunbar

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Motivated Fly Tier: Avoiding the Doldrums in Fly Tying

My Best Depressing Shot of a Fly Tying Vise
Fly tying, as much as we love it, can sometimes become a tedious experience; and hence the aspiring fly tier may experience the doldrums or a period of fly tying inactivity. This inactivity can be attributed to a number of factors. Even the most accomplished fly tiers can experience a lack of creativity or motivation to crank out new or familiar patterns. Personally speaking,  I do admit that I have had my fair share of apathy in which days, weeks, and even months passed before I finally put a hook in the vise.

Nevertheless, do not fear! Famous poet William Cowper once wrote "Variety's the very spice of life that gives it all its flavour."  The following is a compilation of variants that I hope will keep your bobbin going...

Share Your Creations and Passion for Fly Tying via the Internet
Join an online fly tying forum or post your experiences via Facebook or Google Plus and network with other fly tiers from around the world that have similar interests or styles. These social media networks are good tools, which allow a fly tier to explore many evolving aspects of fly tying, which in-turn should help generate fresh ideas and keep you cranking out quality flies.

 Tying Club Photo from Fly Fishing Frenzy Web site
Join a Fly Tying Club
Meet people with a similar passion who generally want to make fly tying a pleasurable experience. This is a great chance to improve skills and generate new ideas by conversing with fly tying newbies or old fly tying veterans. Check with your local fly shop or click on the link to find a fly tying / fly fishing club in your area.

Read a Fly Fishing / Fly Tying Book
Knowledge is power! There are numerous good fly fishing and fly tying books out there that should assist you  in your quest in becoming a better fly tier. Sometimes a problem with technique or the inability to grasp a particular concept in fly design will be detrimental to your progression. Whether you're reading about the fly tying forefathers, entomology or how to tie the classic wet fly, books are an excellent aid and training device, especially when you're in a rut. Some of my favorite books include: Production Fly Tying by A.K. Best; Bugwater by Arlen Thomason; Caddiflies by Garry LaFontaine; The Founding Flies by Mike Valla; and of course, don't forget Ray Bergman's Trout.

Sell or Gift Some Flies
Nothing can be more motivating when it comes to fly tying when you're showcasing your skill to familiar and the unfamiliar fly fisherman. Rather than lowering your expectations with tied-for-self flies, you're pressured to impress with the best of quality when tying for other fisherman.

Keep your Bench Clean and Organized
Have you ever spent 15 minutes looking for a bodkin or bodkin threader? Have you ever misplaced that size 20 grizzly hackle? Well, if so, you're guilty of an unorganized fly tying bench. The aformentioned scenarios can actually be quite frustrating, which can only compound the doldrum problem. In my opinion, a clean and organized fly tying bench is more appealing and inviting. Some steps to organize yourself can include the integration of a "fly tying station". The station can be made up of various components or a custom single piece with integrated storage, thread and tool holders.

Go Fishing
G-Man Drops in on the Middle Fork Willamette
Time on the water is highly invaluable in terms of inspiration when it comes to fly tying. Utilize your fish catching experiences as a road map to improve upon old patterns or create the next hot pattern. For instance, keep a small journal of some of the key elements (name of fly, fishing method, water clarity, etc.) that went into the fish being caught. Bring a small net and sample some of the local invertebrates. This observation in its natural form, is far more impressive and inspirational than what can be observed via digital images.

Regards, D2


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

October Caddis Pupa and the October Jig

Orange Caddis Pupa Photo from Lure Resort Web site

Ah yes! Fall fishing is almost here in the NorthWest! With fall comes the return of the large October or Orange Caddis, Dicosmoecus - a favorite hatch for many big dry fly fishermen. Traditional flies in large sizes like the orange Stimulator and the orange bodied Elk Hair caddis mimic the enormous adult flies just fine, but what about the less recognized pupa stage? Well, to be blunt, the October Caddis pupa stage and its importance in trout fishing success is controversial. This is mainly a consequence of studies that have revealed a pupal drift and emergence that generally takes place in less that worthy trout taking waters at less than ideal times (dark). For instance, author of Bug Water, Arlen Thomason, stated: "But in the rivers and streams where I've fished and observed the Dicosmoecus hatch, I'm forced to question the rationale for using flies that imitate the pupa stage".

October Jig by Darren Dunbar

I have to admit that there are only a handful of October Caddis pupa variations tied when compared with more notable caddis species. My favorite is the Brick Back Caddis by Skip Morris, which in my opinion does take fish consistently. However, I was missing a similar replication in a Euro Jig style, which would fulfill my contemporary fishing style. My solution is the October Jig. My favorite aspect of the jig is the UV Loon coated holographic tinsel that is ribbed with brown micro tubing. The jig is heavily weighted with wraps of lead and a tungsten bead. Regards ~ D2

October Jig by Darren Dunbar

October Jig Recipe

Hook: Jig (Sz. 6-8)
Thread: UTC Black 70 Denier
Body: Orange Holographic Tinsel
Rib: Brown Micro Tubing
Overbody Coating: Loon Outdoors UV
Collar / Schuck: Root Beer Cactus Chenille
Legs: Brown Hen
Wing Case: Natural CDC
Head: Black Micro Chenille
Bead: Black Tungsten

Monday, August 4, 2014

Introducing Friend of the Fly Hooks

Friend of the Fly Barbless Jig

I'm proud to introduce the Friend of the Fly line of fly tying hooks that will be available later in September. I spent a majority of the summer testing these hooks, and the results were impressive to say the least. If you're looking for a quality hook that meets or exceeds Tiemco quality at a lower price, I invite you to give the Friend of the Fly Hooks a try. The hooks will be available via my online store sometime in September. Here are just a few of the models I will offer...
Regards ~ D2

Friend of the Fly Super Sharp Point Barbless Nymph Fly Hook
Friend of the Fly Caddis - Grub Hook
Friend of the Fly Dry Fly Nymph Hook

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lady Di Attractor Pattern

Ladi Di Tied by Darren Dunbar

I discovered the Ladi Di through an article by Gary Lewis in the Bend Bulletin. Even though a good article, there's no mention of the fly's originator. Nevertheless, the pattern is quite similar to the Madam X, albeit tied traditionally in yellow. Gary's Ladi Di recipe calls for a fluorescent thorax, but I opted for fluorescent pink, which worked equally or better when it came to trout catching effectiveness.  I also changed the deer hair tail to elk hair, which is a little stiffer. The Ladi Di is universal, since it can be used to: hold a dropper; float solo on the dead drift; skate on the surface, or swing subsurface. Surprisingly, I even caught one on an unattended rod while dropping the boat anchor! Make sure to give your thorax a thorough coating of cement to protect the exposed thread from unwrapping. Regards ~ D2

Ladi Di Tied by Darren Dunbar

Ladi Di - Friend of the Fly Recipe

Hook: Dry Fly Hopper (Curved Shank) 3x
Thread: Black UTC 70 Denier
Tail: Natural Elk Hair
Body: Peacock Herl
Wing: Deer Hair
Legs: Black or Brown Round Rubber
Bullet Head: Folded Deer Hair
Thorax: Fluorescent Pink UTC 210 Denier

Thursday, July 10, 2014

PT Euro Jig Fly Tying Video

When tying Euro Jig flies, it's ideal in keeping the body slender for maximum depth penetration. I think many Euro Jig tiers initially adhere tailing, body and ribbing materials near the bend of the hook, which often ends in a bulky and unattractive fly. In this video, I demonstrate a method that will help you master a fine Euro Jig body. The method merely encompasses the initial material wraps from the bead to the hook bend. Regards D2

PT Euro Jig Tied by Darren Dunbar

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Goddard Caddis

Goddard Caddis tied by Darren Dunbar

While out on a recent trouting excursion, I stumbled upon creek side rotting wood that hosted a great number of tan adult caddis flies. I immediately began to think of effective patterns that would mimic these crazy tent winged bugs. Some flies like the Elk Hair Caddis were all too familiar. Then I remembered the Goddard Caddis and asked myself why I have not tied it yet. I think for many and myself included, the first few Goddard Caddis flies tied are time consuming due to the trimmed conical body. Additionally, the deer hair spinning and trimming technique can be a challenge and takes some time to hone in some favorable consistency.

How did the Goddard Caddis originate? Well...English fly fishing author and legend John Goddard and his friend Clive Henry came up with an idea of a stillwater dry pattern that mimicked the caddis shape or silhouette. The idea was later conveyed to the fly tying perfectionist and Master Andre Puyans who developed what was initially called the G & H Sedge in Great Britain. Later on, the G & H Sedge was modified by Puyan, eliminating a seal fur underbelly and clipped upper hackle.

The Goddard Caddis floats exceptionally well on both still and rapid waters. The fly can be modified using permanent markers and different colored hackles to match your local species. Regards ~ D2

Goddard Caddis tied by Darren Dunbar

Goddard Caddis Recipe - Friend of the Fly

Hook: 2xl Long Dry Fly (Sz. 12 - 16)
Thread: White UTC 70 Denier
Body: Spun and Clipped Deer Hair
Hackle: Grizzly Dry Fly
Head: Fire Orange UTC 70 Denier
Antennae: Fibbets

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hare's Ear Flymph

Hare's Ear Flymph tied by Darren Dunbar

Vernon S. Hidy featured his half nymph - half wet fly in James E. Leisenring's classic "The Art of Tying the Wet Fly". According to William Tapply at Fly Anglers Online "the flymph imitated "that dramatic and little-understood interval of an aquatic insect's life: the struggle up to the surface as well as the drift (of some insects) in or just below the surface film." The original Flymph body was tied on an upturned hook and consisted of nothing but natural materials such as hair mask, peacock, and squirrel. Since the Flymphs inception, the flies traditional design has been altered by the progression of fly tying and the availability of effective synthetic materials. One prime example of this rebirth is the Transition Flymph, which has a Z-Lon schuck that is meant to replicate the emergence or transitional adult stage of a Caddis or Mayfly.

I've tied and casted many versions of the Flymph and I must faithfully admit that my favorite is the Hare's Ear Flymph. My favorite element of the fly is the body, which Leisring acknowledged as being key in imitating an insect. I use red thread throughout the tying process, which tends to add an additional visual dimension to the body; I create segments with wrapped gold wire; and then tease out some guard hairs with a piece of velcro.

While your still in the "Flymph" phase, you may wanna check out The International Brotherhood of the Flymph Web site, a site dedicated to the legends Leisenring and Hidy. Regards ~ D2

Hare's Ear Flymph Recipe

Hook: Wet Fly Sz. 14-16
Thread: Red UTC 70 Denier
Tail: Brown Colored Pheasant or Hen
Body: Hare's Ear Dubbin
Ribbing: UTC SM Gold Wire
Hackle: Partridge


Monday, June 16, 2014

A Big Thanks to Rick at McKenzie River Shuttle Service

A big  thanks to Rick at McKenzie River Shuttle Service who got us out of a pinch on Monday. Rick provides river shuttle service for guides - outfitters - rafters and the general public for both the McKenzie and upper Willamette rivers in Oregon. Please consider them if you're in the area and in need of such a service. Regards ~ D2

McKenzie River Shuttle Service
Phone: (541) 912-0044
McKenzie River image from USGS Web site

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Introducing the Hockey Mom and other Euro Jigs...

"Hockey Mom" Euro Jig by Darren Dunbar

Introducing the Hockey Mom, a tough,  hard working fly that is capable of an infinite amount of support, and unconditional love on the stream. In my opinion, the core element of this fly is the resin covered barred rubber body, which creates a unique look that was largely inspired by a successful Panther Martin spinner I once used to cast for trout back in the day. The tail is white poly tagged with black marker and sealed with Flexament. Regards ~ D2

Image from The Edmonton Sun

Hockey Mom Recipe

Hook: FOTF Comp Jig (sz. 10 - 12)
Thread: Black UTC 70 Denier
Tag: White Poly tagged with Black Marker or White & Black Bucktail
Body: White & Black Barred Rubber Legs (Coated with UV Cure)
Thorax: Pink Shrimp Hare - Tron
Bead: Tungsten Copper

More Traditional Jigs...

Red Tag & Partridge tied by Darren Dunbar

Palmered Red Tag Jig tied by Darren Dunbar

Flash-back PT Jig tied by Darren Dunbar

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Prince Nymph Jig

Prince Nymph Jig tied by Darren Dunbar

Even the most rudimentary fly fisherman can distinguish Doug Prince's "Prince Nymph" from the multitude of other available classic and modern nymph patterns. Since the patterns inception, the Prince Nymph has undergone a sort of evolution, with popular knock-offs such as the purple "Psycho Prince" and don't forget the flashy "Fly Formerly Known as Prince ". Then came the "Prince Nymph Jig" which is essentially a Prince Nymph tied on a competition style jig hook. This style hook has been popular on European waters for almost three decades and has been used extensively in fly fishing competitions. The fly is commonly used in conjunction with a Czech Nymphing or Tight-Lining Technique, which allows continuous control of a bottom induced dead-drift. The flies design is advantageous, in that the hook point travels in an upward fashion, mitigating the possibility of snags. Due to hooks effectiveness, flies lie the Prince Nymph Jig are becoming increasingly popular with North American fly fisherman.

TYING TIP: The Prince Nymph Jig can be a challenge to tie and the jig version should be no exception. Remember that the hook point will point up, so tie your tail biots upside down when your hook is in the vise. Set your wings after you rib your tapered body on an upside down hook. I use two bobbins - one with black thread and one with red for the hot spot. Add lead wraps to the thorax area to get it down deep, where it belongs! Regards D2

Prince Nymph Jig tied by Darren Dunbar

Prince Nymph Jig Recipe:

Hook: Jig
Thread: Black UTC 70 Denier
Tail: Brown Good Biots
Body: Peacock Herl
Ribbing: SM Copper Ultra Wire
Wing: White Goose Biots
Collar: Brown Hen Hackle
Bead: Copper
Hot Spot: Fl. Orange UTC 70 Denier


Monday, May 19, 2014

Casanova Caddis

Casanova Caddis tied by Darren Dunbar

The Casanova Caddis is an innovative dry fly caddis pattern developed by Austrailan, Roman Moser, also known for the infamous Balloon Caddis. I can only assume that Moser deemed the "Cassanova" name due to the good looks of the fly - in terms of buginess - when compared with other caddis replications. The Casanova pattern construction is unique,  due to the flies body, which is formed by dubbed deer hair. Many may ask: Why not spin the deer hair? Well,  after trying both dubbing and spinning methods, I can attest that the preferred dubbing method produces the best results.

Deer Hair Dubbing Noodle

Tip: When preparing the deer hair dubbing noodle, apply generous amounts of wax to your thread and saliva or water to the hair to encourage adequate adherance. Start with 15-20 deer hairs, twisting in a clockwise position, as used in traditional dubbing methods. Trim and taper the body, leaving strands to represent legs and antennae.

Casanova Caddis tied by Darren Dunbar

The Casanova Caddis deserves a place in every fly fisherman's fly box. The flies realistic look should impress upon the most weary of trout; it floats exceptionally well due to the floatation qualities of the deer hair and CDC under-wing. The only issue I foresee with the Casanova pattern is its limited visability due to the use of a naturally colored rafia wing.

Casanova Caddis Recipe:

Hook: 2x Long Dry Fly Sz. 12-14
Thread: Brown UTC 70 Denier
Body: Dubbed Deer Hair
Under - Wing: CDC
Wing: Brown Rafia (cut to shape)
Antennae: Deer Hair (optional)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Terranasty Salmon Fly

Terranasty Salmon Fly tied by Darren Dunbar

The Terranasty has to be one of my favorite late spring and early summer dry flies. The fly is a replication of an adult Salmon Stonefly, which is an all-to-important hatch for both trout and trout fisherman on Western U.S. streams. Surprisingly, in terms of popularity, the fly does not receive the attention as garnered by comparable flies such as the Stimulator and Clark's Stonefly. Interestingly enough, with my research, I was unsuccessful in confirming the pattern's originator; I only can conclude that it is a product of the Idylwilde Fly Company based in Portland, Oregon.

Terranasty tied by Darren Dunbar

The Terranasty in not one of the easiest flies to tie. In fact, the pattern could be considered the fully loaded Cadillac of dry flies with all inclusive options such as front and rear biot ends, a formed and hackled foam body, a luxurious elk hair wing, sleek high performance rubbery legs and of course, crystal flash accents. Nevertheless, do not let this pattern's dry fly classification fool you into repetitive drag-free dead drifts. With my own experience, the Terranasty's fish catching worthiness begins to shine when it is swung subsurface. Regards ~ D2

Terranasty Salmon Fly Recipe:

Hook: 3X Curved Shank Sz. 6 - 10
Thread: Black UTC 70 Denier
Body: 2mm Orange Craft Foam
Tail & Atennae: Black Goose Biots
Hackle: Grizzly
Outer Wing: Elk Hair
Inner Wing: White Poly
Flash: Pearl Krystal Flash
Thorax: Hot Orange Ice Dub UV
Legs: Round Black Rubber "Perfect Rubber"


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ian's Brass Ass

Ian's Brass Ass (Friend of the Fly Version) by Darren Dunbar

When I look at Ian's Brass Ass, I immediately think of two things: Buzzer's and Brassies. The orange cheeks resemble a Brit influenced "Buzzer" and the wrapped copper wire is synonymous with the all-to-popular "Brassie". I also wonder how exactly Ian came up with the "Brass Ass" name? Nevertheless, the fly continues to be one of Orvis's top selling flies.  According to the fly's orginator,"The Brass Ass was developed for fishing off the breakwalls along the Gt Lakes for steelhead in 1993". Ian considers the fly to be a searching pattern that will catch a dynamic range of fish. Personally, my favorite element of the Brass Ass is the epoxy thorax and illuminated cheeks.

I have heard that the original Brass Ass cheeks were merely comprised of slices of orange garbage bags. However, most contemporary Brass Ass cheeks now glow from the use of orange holographic tinsel. When tying smaller Brass Asses for trout (sz.16-18) you may consider using alternative materials, since the tinsel seems to be a bit large. The Brass Asses tied in the photos are comprised of died turkey plume fiber cheeks. Moreover, I substituted the epoxy coating with Loon UV Clear Fly Finish, a superb product.

TIP: The Brass Ass calls for the copper wire to be wrapped well down the hook bend. Before wrapping the copper wire, adjust the hook position so the eye is pointing towards the tying bench. This angle helps you initiate your copper wire touch - and - turns. Once you have completed the wraps of copper wire, re-adjust the hook, so that the eye is pointing at an a slight upward angle. This upward adjustment will eliminate your thread from sliding off the hook when building up your thorax and head.

Ian's Brass Ass (Friend of the Fly Version) by Darren Dunbar

Ian's Brass Ass Recipe (Friend of the Fly Version):
Hook: Curved Scud Sz. 16-18
Thread: Black UTC 70 Denier
Body: Copper Wire
Thorax: Black Thread
Cheeks: Turkey Plume Fibers
Coating: Loon UV Clear Fly Finish

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rock Star - Salmon Fly Nymph

"Rock Star" Salmon Fly Nymph by Darren Dunbar

I have noticed the presence of more and more Salmon Flies - both nymphs and adults - on the rivers. This is evidence that for many fly fishers of the Western U.S. it is close to go time as trout begin to key in on these gentle giants. The nymphs can be taken by trout anytime of the year, since they generally inhabit streams for around three years before transforming into the adult stage. These transformations makes for hot fishing during late spring and into early summer as migrating nymphs drift towards shore with the objective of trading their exoskeleton in for a new pair of fluttering wings.

The Rock Star is my replication of the Salmon Fly Nymph, which embodies similar characteristics, some flash, movement and in my opinion just the right amount of weight. I have to admit that throughout the production phase, I was a bit concerned about using the craft foam for the wing case and the fly's ability to sink. However, after some trial casting, I found that the fly sinks like a rock, largely due to the hook shank completely wrapped with non toxic lead. Regards ~ D2

"Rock Star" Salmon Fly Nymph by Darren Dunbar

"Rock Star" Salmon Fly Nymph Recipe

Hook: Sz. 6 - 8 3X Streamer / Nymph
Thread: Black UTC 120 Denier
Tail: Black Goose Biots
Abdomen: UTC Black HOLO Tinsel
Ribbing: Ultra Wire Black
Wing Case: Thin Adhesive Backed Craft Foam
Thorax: Black Chenille
Legs: Black Round Rubber
Eyes: Melted 25lb. Monofilament
Weight: Non Toxic Lead

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mother's Day Caddis Larva and Pupa Patterns

Many fly anglers would probably consider the Mother's Day Caddis hatch (Brachycentrus, a.k.a. grannom)  significant and the perhaps for many, the advent of the new fishing season. With careful consideration and observation of  pre-existing American Grannom patterns, it becomes quite apparent that the one major characteristic includes a glowing green body which varies from a lighter chartreuse to a darker blue green. While I do think adult caddis patterns are effective, I really wanted to create some productive flies that represented both the larvae and pupal stages of the grannom, which in my opinion are equally or even more successful.

The main elements of the Detached Body Caddis I created can be linked to Davie McPhail who provides a great You Tube tutorial on the fly. However, my suttle changes to the fly include a twisted DMC Floss body and different colored flash. The organza ribbon compliments the fly and has a way of replicating the amber glow effect that precedes a completed pupal emergence.

Detached Body Caddis  - Grannom by Darren Dunbar

Detached Body Caddis Recipe - Grannom Recipe
Hook: Scud Sz. 12 -14
Thread: UTC - 70 Black
Bead: Black Tungsten
Rib: Sz. Sm Copper Wire
Underbody: Black Holographic Tinsel
Ext. Body: Twisted DMC Floss #907
Hackle: Amber Colored Organza Ribbon
Antennae: Mallard Flank
Thorax: Peacock Ice Dub
Interestingly enough " the American Grannom, is the most common cased caddis larva found in trout stomach samples. That's because the larvae live in precarious positions and have a light, easily digestible case".  Here are a couple fast sinkers that should turn trout heads.

Peeking Caddis #1 - Grannom by Darren Dunbar
Peeking Caddis #1 -Grannom Recipe
Hook: Sz. 12 3xl nymph/hopper
Thread: UTC - 70 Brown
Extension: Twisted DMC Floss (touched with marker)
Hackle: Black Saddle Hackle
Casing: Two Strands of DMC Floss
Bead: Tungsten
Weight: Non Toxic Lead
Peeking Caddis #2  - Grannom by Darren Dunbar
 Peeking Caddis #2 Recipe
Hook:  Sz. 12 3xl nymph/hopper
Thread: UTC - 70 Brown
Head: Black 2.4mm Tungsten Bead (Superglued)
Body: Two 2mm green colored glass bead
Thorax: Black Hares Ear Dubbin
Casing: Twisted Brown, Cream & Olive DMC Floss
Weight: Non Toxic Lead

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Twisted Sally

Twisted Sally by Darren Dunbar

The Twisted Sally is my own creation that was largely a result of not wanting to tie a Clark's Stonefly and an excessive amount of yellow poly yarn laying around that I wanted to make use of. The pattern is meant to mimic the "Yellow Sally" or small Golden Stoneflies. I'm quite sure there is a number of similar patterns out there; nevertheless, what makes this pattern unique is the body formed by twisting the yarn. I cut about a 3 inch strand of poly yarn, tie one end on the hook, and twist the other end at least 15 times completely around. Once the twisting is complete, you sort of loop the loose end towards the tie in point and immediatedly, with the help of your fingers, the two strands begin to fuse together, which gives you a braided or segmented look. Once I have completed the fly, I like to soak the poly body in a silicone solution that will maintain effective flotation of the fly. Regards ~ D2

Twisted Sally by Darren Dunbar

Twisted Sally Recipe:

Hook: Standard Dry Fly #14
Thread: Brown UTC 70 Denier
Body: Pearl Holographic Mylar
Wing: Elk Hair
Abdomen: Yellow Poly Yarn
Thorax: Golden Stone Hare - Tron Dubbin
Hackle: Brown Dry Fly Hackle

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Last Chance Cripple - Baetis

Last Chance Cripple - Baetis by Darren Dunbar
The advent of the Last Chance Cripple can be traced back to Idahoan Rene Harrop. Harrop designed this Bob Quigly-esque fly to fool the finickiest trout of the Henry's Fork in Idaho. The fly captures the essence of the sometimes unsuccessful transformation from aquatic nymph to Mayfly Dun, which trout seem to key in on.  Some major characteristics that make this fly effective include a biot abdomen, an emphasized thorax, an Antron shuck, and don't forget the visibility and flotation offered by the CDC and hackle.

Last Chance Cripple - Baetis by Darren Dunbar

Here are a few tips that you may consider when tying the Last Chance Cripple - Baetis version.

TIP 1: Try to limit bulk on the hook prior to wrapping the biot by limiting your eye to hook bend wraps to three passes when securring your tailing material.

TIP 2: Tie in your biot on the opposite side of the hook, tip nearest the eye, so the convex or curve of the biot faces up. This enables a nice wrap of the biot and a rough segmented effect.

TIP 3: I found that whip finishing the fly on top of the CDC puff is often neater and alot easier on smaller flies rather than trying to finish from underneath.
Last Chance Cripple - Baetis Recipe
Hook: Size 16 Dry Fly
Thread: Oive UTC 70 Denier
Tail: Mallard Flank & Antron
Body: Olive Goose Biot
Thorax: Blue Wing Olive Superfine Dubbing
Wing: Natural Dun CDC
Hackle: Grizzly Dry Fly Hackle
Regards ~ D2