Monday, July 25, 2011

More Dee Practice

I'm still fiddling in my spare time with tying dee style wings.  I'm happy with the results, but there is till some improvement needed.  I really like the blue dee but realized after that I tyed the wings in'll still fish, but bummed me out.  For some reason the picture also shows the wing cock-eyed on the blue and that is not the case, guessing it's the outside photo shooting...nothing beats real sunlight!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dee Style Wings & Speypages Monthly Challenge

Spey Page's July monthly fly challenge was an Akroyd tied with dee style wings.  I once again took the challenge and followed the step by step that daijones so masterfully had done and shared on the website. This has long been a fly/style that I wanted to try but never got around to it. This was the perfect time to try it. Everything is pretty straight forward with the tying. The only somewhat confusing part (confusing, not difficult) the rear half of the fly is bulked up a bit with some dubbing spun in a loop and cock hackle wrapped through that portion. When you get to the thorax or front half of the fly you don't build it up, but rather lay down some floss and wrap a spey hackle and a collar keeping everything fairly sparse. This is done to give the wings a place to lay out flat. Bushy butt and a flat front. As I tyed this into the wee hours one Friday night, I was amazed at how well things were going for a first time through tying. Then came the setting of the wings. I'm pretty sure anyone who has tied wings on spey type flies usually gets a little anxious when it comes to setting wings. I had consulted with Charlie Dickson and Wylie Haggerty at Spey Nation about setting wings on dee style flies. I even brought some turkey tails for them to look at and let me know if they were adequate. I set the wings on the first try and they looked good except they curved up at the rear of the fly. I tried everything to get them to lay flat. I reset and reset, even cut new slips from the same wing, different wings, nothing worked. I started going back through my tying trying to diagnose a mistake, but nothing jumped out. I finally settled on a set of wings with a slight curve and called it a night. I posted and consulted again and it seems that this is a common problem that can be corrected with steaming and bending to shape. Live and learn. I'm excited to crank out a few more of these and take them for a test swim. In the photos you can catch a glimpse of my latest driftwood fly display.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Teach Your Children Well

Since I seem to be accumulating fly rods lately (or at least that is the way the critics see it...LOL). It only seems fitting to pass the older ones down to the next generation. My oldest daughter age 7, has over the past few years shown interest in fishing and is rapidly becoming my new fishing buddy. We for the most part get out a handful of times each year and she shows plenty of enthusiasm. I try to keep the fishing simple and productive. Typically she uses an ultralight spinning rod and I use a 5 weight fly rod. On one of our recent outings she quickly became annoyed at me tossing several fish her way as she struggled to catch anything on the spinning rod. In the past I've let her reel one in on the fly rod which she was delighted to do. This time I let her try casting the rod with a lot of guidance. She was thrilled to watch the fish come up and smack at the fly. I asked her what she thought and she announced that it was pretty cool. I encouraged and criticized her where needed and told her too relax, that it was her rod that she was using. A blank stare appeared and she asked if I was serious. I assured her that I could only fish with one rod at a time. She didn't hook and land any fish that day, but she was willing to continue in the future. We spent Friday evening dry casting in the yard for practice. It wasn't long and she was frustrated to tears but determined to make progress. The biggest hurdle was convincing her to try using her left hand for casting, since she is naturally left handed, but uses a spinning rod with her right hand. After some encouragement from her mother she tried it and things improved. Saturday came and it was time to take the practice to the water. After a stinging nettle experience we were in the water and letting things flow naturally. I pointed out possible holding water for fish and where to aim the casts. I could tell right away she was more relaxed and comfortable. I tried finding a fly that would float well, catch fish, and that she could see easily. It took a bit of trial and error but we got it fine tuned. It wasn't 10 minutes into fishing and it happened....she hooked and landed her very first fish on a fly rod which she casted and reeled in on her own. After that we took turns casting and catching fish together. What a wonderful experience.  I reminded her that it isn't always this easy and there still is a lot to learn, but she should be proud of herself for not giving up. I certainly am proud of her and look forward to our next trip.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Switching It Up With A Good Friend

It was time to take the new switch rod to the water and also take my buddy Martin out and let him whip the water into a frenzy with the 13 foot 7 weight two handed rod. I had Friday late afternoon free to get acquainted with the new 4 weight switch and fish the Canandaigua Outlet near Junius, NY. I had been there the previous week with my oldest daughter and we did pretty good with small bass and fallfish. I had high expectations for some great bass action, but that never really happened. I have to say though the four fallfish I caught were the biggest I've landed all in the 10-13 inch range. These are a blast to catch on the surface because they usually don't hesitate and just react. Mission one accomplished: get the feel of the rod and a few fish to boot.
Early Saturday morning after staying up too late tying and watching Skagit Master Volume I, I dragged myself out of bed and picked Martin up and headed to the Salmon River which had bumped the flow to 750 cfs for a summer rafting water release. 750 cfs is usually very nice to fish for steelhead, but I was worried about that flow and a 4 weight switch rod. It turned out be very nice actually, considering I was only targeting fallfish and bass and trying to show Martin the basics. We headed up to the Compactor Pool and I took the 7 weight and was explaining a few things to Martin and letting the fly swing across the current, when on the third swing the line tightened and I soon had a small bass at hand. I continued to explain more, when I missed a fish and then landed a fallfish. That was enough, I handed the rod to Martin and said "here, just do what you can for now" and get to feel the tug drug. It wasn't long and Martin was feeling the jolt in the rod as well. I jumped in with the switch and we were soon having a blast. I soon noticed that Martin had connected with a fish and was soon landing his first fish on a spey rod, a nice little smallie!! This was more than I was expecting out of the day and we were merely 40 minutes into it. After things settled down a bit, we worked on casting a bit more and getting use to the feel. We continued fishing down hitting a few fallfish here and there and just enjoying a great day on the water together....therapy if you will. Mission accomplished. By the end of the morning I was really liking the switch and feeling comfortable with much so that when I landed a small brown trout, I never thought twice about getting a picture of my first trout on the switch until after I released it. It's safe to say I'm very comfortable with it. Martin also shot a couple of short videos of me casting, boy do I need some more practice/therapy. We polished off a couple of sausage sandwiches and an IPA or two to wash them down. We both agreed that we need to do this more often.
First Fish on the 4wt
 Martin Letting it ride
 Martin's first fish on the two hander

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ordinary Flies....Extraordinary Location!

My buddy Gary asked me to tie him some flies for an upcoming trip.  Of course I said, OK.....then he told me the local!  The Ekaluk River near the Arctic Circle!  I'm still trying to figure out how to stowe myself in a fly box, but it's pretty cool to have flies I tied head to such a cool destination.  The flies were reccomended by one of the guides up there.  Hopefully I'll get a picture of one of the fish caught with my flies later this summer.