Monday, December 14, 2015

New Jig Flies for 2016!

Now that good fishing days have been limited, I've been focusing on filling the fly bins with anticipation of a busy Spring! Here are some recently tied and tested jig models that have respectfully made their place on the Ebay Store. If you're a tier, please check out the store and my selection of premium hooks and beads.
Merry Christmas! & Happy New Year! ~ D2

Lime FlashBack Jig

The Lime FlashBack: A good Spring point or dropper fly that mimics green caddis or small yellow stoneflies!
Rainbow Warrior Jig

Rainbow Warrior Jig: An anytime trumped up version of a proven classic!

Black & Quill Pellet Jig

Black & Quill Pellet Jig: A slim, deep, fast - sinking searching fly with a red trigger that just works!

Prom Date Jig

Prom Date Jig: Isn't She Beautiful!

November Red

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Orange Termite Patterns for Trout

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the arrival of a hatch of sputtering Orange termites seems to symbolize the end of summer, the kids returning to school. cooler temps and perhaps some better fishing to come. Every late summer, I seem to be fooled by the termites notable clumsy presence, as I mistaken them for the large and all-to-important subsequent October caddis hatches. However, taking a closer look, these misfits are nothing but orange/ brown colored seemingly ubiquitous ants with large wings! 

Orange Termite photo from Do - It - Yourself Pest Control Web site

Thinking back, I've always had good luck with an orange bodied elk hair caddis around this orange termite occurrence. Nevertheless, I was curious to find out if there were more specific patterns that worked equally or even better.  Surprisingly, I came across some interesting patterns tied by an Aussie, Warryn Germon that in my mind demanded some recognition. The following flies are Germon influenced with some attractive variants that may turn a trout or two. Regards D2

Lowland Termite Variant by Darren Dunbar

Lowland Termite Variant
Hook: Standard Dry Fly sizes (12-14)
Body: Orange Holographic Tinsel
Wing: 2 Grey Cock Feathers stripped on one side and in delta formation
Legs: Brown Cock Feather (3-4 turns)
Thorax / Head: UTC 70 Denier Fl. Orange

Bush Termite Variant by Darren Dunbar

Bush Termite Variant
Hook: Standard Dry Sizes (12-14)
Body: Rust colored Antron or Poly
Wing: Pheasant Tippet
Legs: Brown Cock Feather (3-4 turns)
Head: UTC 70 Denier Fl. Orange

Fluttering Termite Variant by Darren Dunbar

Fluttering Termite
Hook: Scud sizes (14-16)
Body: Burnt Orange Ultra Micro Chenille
Wing: Elk hair and Grey Cock Feather
Large Head: UTC 70 Denier Fl. Orange

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Striving for Consistency in Fly Tying

Some Friend of the Fly Rainbow Warriors
The old adage that "two flies will never look alike" holds some truth.  Nevertheless, whether you're the occasional tier or the seasoned fly tying veteran, we all seem to seek some consistency in are fly patterns. Consistency is especially vital with commercial fly tiers, in that customers expect to find nearly perfect renditions of their favorite flies at their store of choice. Here are some tips that may help you tie mere perfect clones of your favorite flies.

Pick a Model Fly

An artist who seeks an aesthetic canvas, selects the ideal object in which can be observed and expressed at best. In other terms, pick the ideal fly or the fly that represents what you want to appear on a hook in your vice. If you don't have the "ideal" fly, find one at your favorite fly fishing fly supplier. Pictures are nice, but not a true representation of the flies characteristics. You will get a better feel of what makes a certain fly by physically having it in your hands and near your vice.

Get to know your Fly

Let's admit it, most initial attempts at a new or existing fly pattern do not always bring ideal results. For instance, I remember tying my first Hares Ear nymph, and coming to a conclusion that the finished fly looks nothing like a Hares Ear, but more like an unattractive blob not worthy of any trout. Many fly tying experts will tell you that it sometimes can take a minimum of a dozen or more tied flies before complete comprehension and a respectable consistency is established.

Compare your fly tying with Baking the Perfect Pie: Counting = Consistency

For some, the idea of counting repetitions or hair fibers might seem foolish. However, paying special attention to such components will not only help consistency but foster a rhythm in your fly tying. For example, counting thread or material wraps can help you attain consistency when it comes to a fine tapered fly body (Tail to Head, 1, 3, 5, 7 wraps).  When using such material as peacock herl or pheasant tail, try to use the same amount the strands for each fly when forming a tail, constructing a thorax, shaping a body or thorax. Dubbing, hares ear and elk or deer hair can be measured in pinches. I've actually heard of tiers counting deer hair strands for the wings on dry flies, but to me, such an act is time consuming. Not to mention, any noticeable indifference caused by the inequality is subtle.

Keep a Journal

After you have narrowed down how much ingredients and work goes into the "ideal" fly, record your findings in a journal. I often make useful notes on each fly, including problems I experienced, or unique techniques that were implemented to bring the best results. Ultimately, these notes comes in handy when you suddenly have the urge to tie an old favorite that has not had its place in the vise for some time.

Have Fun!

All in all, just remember it's just fly tying, not rocket science! Hope these tips will help you and make you appreciate your finished patterns more! Regards ~ D2

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

20 Reasons you might be a Fly Tyer...

Regards, D2

1. When you bypass an after-work beer with your colleagues to purchase Rafia at Michaels.
2. When your wife gets hot about a midge sized hook stuck in your infant's sock.
3. When you have to explain to your loved one that you were searching for "nymphs" not "nymphos" on the computer.
4. You take a second look at dead road-kill.
5. You look to your vise as a pedestal to your own eternal well-being.
6. You salvage the rubber elastic in your retired and crusty fruit-of-the-looms for the legs on your Stimulators.
7. A girl at Walgreens knows that you prefer Sally Hansens Hard as Nails.
8. You know who Al Troth and George Griffith are.
9. You've been caught several times on your lunch break staring at the fly section of the latest Cabela's fly fishing catalog.
10. You make your own coffee so you can spend a few bucks on dubbing down at the local shop.
11. If you live near a stream and have neighbors that are concerned about your butterfly net escapades.
12. You get excited when you see a fine saddle hackle.
13. Your vacuumm cleaner has been clogged more than once with UTC fine copper wire.
14. You secretly laugh at fly shop customers staring over bins of flies.
15. You have considered picking off that Starling outside with your Daisy Pump Action.
16. You have had a feather stuck between two fingers with Super Glue at least once.
17. You have more pictures of flies you have tied than your entire collection of family and friends photos.
18. Your fly tying desk has been showcased on the Animal Planet "Animal Horders" television series.
19. You look at chickens like you've never looked before.
20. You subscribe to the Friend of the Fly Blog.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Holo Hare Red Nymph Fly

Holo Hare Red Nymph Tied by Darren Dunbar

On a recent trout outing, I could not help but notice the unusually low stream depth conditions we are experiencing here in the Western U.S. The water was clear as gin, and my weighted nymphs seemed to spook the trout hanging in the deeper pockets. As I stumbled back home, on the slippery free stone, I pondered on another tactical method that would bring results. I recalled the French Nymphing technique used for shallow spooky waters and the slightly weighted flies used to lure in weary trout . And then...I came across the Holo Hare Red Nymph.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the Holo Hare Red is a product of U.K. professional fishing star Hywell Morgan? The fly appears to be an attractor styled hybrid hares ear fly with British inspired holographic cheeks. The original pattern calls for a mixture of natural hares ear dubbing and Lite Brite Pearl. However, I opted for a hares ear &Wapsi Rainbow Scud mix that seems to make the fly pop equally or better. Use this fly with a downstream / lining approach or as a top or mid fly on a tight line system. Regards ~ D2

Group of Holo Hare Red Nymphs

Holo Hare Red Nymph (FOTF Version)
Hook:  2x Nymph (sz. 12-16)
Thread: UTC 70 Denier Fire Orange
Tag: Red Medium Holo Tinsel
Thorax/Abdomen: Natural Hares Ear & Wapsi Rainbow Scud Dubbing
Ribbing: Silver Ultra Wire
Cheeks: Red Medium Holo Tinsel

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

March Bubble Wet

March Bubble Wet tied by Darren Dunbar

The March Bubble Wet is inspired by Ralph Cutter's adult diving patterns. Cutter suggests that many adult caddis and adult mayflies either swim or crawl below the water surface to lay eggs. Cutter notes that "their respiratory systems require free oxygen, so the insects carry an air bubble (called a plasatron) with them as they prowl about underwater)". While I concur with Cutter's findings, I also believe that there is strong evidence of an air or gas bubble present at mayfly or caddis emergence. This phenomena is illustrated in the late Gary Lafontaine's  ever-popular book Caddisflies. In a nutshell, Gary opined that a the caddis emergence entails a gas bubble inflated within the caddis pupal skin, which aids in the ascent to the surface.

While there is not a clear picture of what exactly this gas bubble looks like to the trout, we may only assume that there may be a flash of light that keys a trout into a pupa feeding frenzy. For me, the March Bubble is not just a simple wet fly with an over-sized attractive glass bead. The bead not only creates some enticing flash, but helps set the hackle into an attractive splay that is entirely effective.  Other key components of the fly include: a bright yellow DMC Floss rib that illuminates some segmentation; and a tapered clear UV finished body, which aids in an increased sink rate and adds some durability. Regards ~ D2

The March Bubble Wet Goods

March Bubble Wet Recipe:

Hook: FOTF SPB-100 Sz. #12-#14
Thread: UTC Tan 140 Denier
Body: Thread (Finished with Loon UV Clear)
Rib: DMC Floss
Bubble: Over-sized glass crystal / rainbow bead
Hackle: Hungarian Partridge
Wing: Mallard Flank
Head: Colored Brown with permanent marker.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Graphic Caddis

Graphic Caddis tied by Darren Dunbar

The spring time green caddis hatch on Western U.S. rivers is instrumental to say the least. As water temperatures rise, green caddis larva transition to a pupal stage, which essentially is the gaseous metamorphosis accent to the waters surface. Of course, not every hopeful caddis will make it without notice of a nearby trout. With that said, it is easy to recognize why this transition is considered the most vulnerable stage.

One of my favorite green caddis pupa replications to tie and fish is John Barr's Graphic Caddis. The fly is striking with a buggy, but attractive look. Two key ingredients include an ostrich herl head and live-like Hungarian partridge for the legs. A pearl flashabou tag represents the much talked about gas bubble that occurs during the pupation. Barr's recipe calls for a Micro-tubing body. However, I opted for 10 lb. Hi -Vis yellow mono filament line. I used a green permanent marker on white thread to create the two-tone effect. Use some mallard flank fibers to create antennae.

While a great tie, the Graphic Caddis also performs on the water, especially when swung or using a dead drift - Leisenring lift. Tight Wraps ~ D2

Graphic Caddis on the rocks! Tied with Friend of the Fly Caddis Grub Hooks

Monday, January 12, 2015

Forbidden Flies?

Controversy is nothing new in the sport of fly fishing. For instance, early 20th century English chalk stream fly fisherman were held to a dry-fly-only doctrine fabricated by Frederic M. Halford that codified the ethical use of the traditional dry fly. Fly fishermen that followed the dry fly code were deemed purists. However, the dry fly cult - like following was challenged by one of the greatest trout fisherman on Earth as we know it, George Edward MacKenzie Skues. Dr. Andrew N. Herd wrote, Skues "achievement was the invention of fly fishing with the nymph, a discovery that put a full stop to half a century of stagnation in wet fly fishing for trout, and formed the bedrock for modern sunk fly fishing". In his books "Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream" and "The Way of a Trout with a Fly", Skues delves into the successful use of sub surface flies as an alternative that was largely ignored by dry fly purist Halford.

While the use of the nymph in contemporary fly fishing is wide, there seems to be a new controversy among fly fisherman. For instance, the use of ever-popular San Juan Worm, a fly merely made of a strip of red Ultra Chenille, is often frowned upon, since it is "worm-like" and not a pure representation of an aquatic insect. Additionally, synthetic Glo Bugs or egg flies are also considered taboo by some, since there presentation is anything but "fly-like". Some may argue that the egg presentation is too easy of a tie (junk fly) or gives the fly fisherman an unfair advantage. Nonetheless, flies like the Eggi Juan Kenobi and the Worm Eggate can be highly effective and are an outlet if matching the hatch just isn't cutting it. I can just picture ol' Halford turning in his grave now!

Dave Hise's Eggie Juan Kenobi tied by Darren Dunbar

Each and every fly fisherman most likely will have a different opinion on what makes an effective and appropriate fly. This sort of indifference makes the sport interesting and challenging. Can you imagine being limited to a handful of flies? Frankly, in my own opinion, it should be up to you to decide your fly preference. All in all, if it feels right, go with it and remember that it's just fishing. Regards ~ D2

The "Worm Eggate" by some guy named ArticWolf tied by Darren Dunbar