Monday, June 27, 2011

The Highs and Lows of Spey Nation IV

I've been looking forward to this years Spey Nation for quite some time. The comradery, the two handed rod and reel representatives, the top notch on the water demonstrations, the endless line of try before you buy rods, the raffles, the barbecue, the beer, and the general ball busting. I got up as early as I could to chase unicorns...the result was a fallfish and a small bass. The weather had been a bit gloomy, but the showers held off for the entire day except at the very end. After chasing unicorns, I made my way to the event running into friends old and new. Geoff Schaake is the brainchild behind the event and has a ton of support and all should be thanked for their efforts. I made the plunge after last years event into the two handed rod realm and it's been no turning back. This year I convinced myself I needed a 4/5 wt switch rod to round out my need for more spey style fishing on smaller streams and smaller fish. I spent a good amount of time eyeing the Beulah rod rack and test driving their rods. Eric Reed was working the booth and he earned his money for sure since there never seemed to be a slow time for him. Walt Geryk had his hands full putting Hardy and Greys rods in peoples hands. I ran into Nick Pionessa who runs the Oak Orchard Fly Shop in Buffalo along with his merry or should I say motley crew. I spent a good deal of time chatting with Charlie Dickson and Wylie Haggerty discussing dee style wings and sampling scotch and bourbon. I ran into new friends Alex Cerveniak, Eric Lynch, and Scott Anderson. The beer started to flow and the burgers were calling me. As I was getting ready to slip out mid afternoon and visit Malinda I ran into my long time friend Matt McGowan and got him on the water to try his hand at two handed casting. I am not the person to teach anyone casting. That is my disclaimer and I'm sticking to it. I got him to move some line and the general outcome was positive. After that I ran to Malinda's Fly Shop and threw down some money picked up some supplies and yes a new Beulah 4 wt switch. After 12 hours on the road, water, and Nation it was time to head home. I left Malinda's crossed Route 13 and headed toward Route 104. Pause to drama affect. Off in the grass there sat a New York State Trooper. Guilty I was, rehashing the days events and thinking of casting that new rod. The car was suppose to be on autopilot! 54 mph in a 30 mph zone. In all of my life I have never met a nicer cop. I explained to the officer that I just blanked out and wasn't paying attention. I admitted my mistake. He looked over the car trying to find fault. Inspection, registration, headlights, signals, tires.....something to give me a break. And drum roll please for affect.... the ticket was unauthorized stickers. That Spey Nation sticker in my back window got me!! It really bummed me out to be pulled over after having such a cool day, but it could have been worse. Now I gotta find some time on the water to christen the new rod.

Walt Geryk

Scott Anderson

Rick Kustich

Eric Reed and Nick Pionessa

Friday, June 24, 2011

Headed to the Nation

I've waited for what seems like forever for the Spey Nation on the Salmon River in Pineville, NY date to roll around on the calendar.  One day and counting.  I've got a rod in mind too.....uuugghh this can't be good.  Up until last year I've owned two fly for small fish one for larger fish.  The one I've owned for nearly 15 years.  I splurged last year bought a two hander and it's been no looking back.  It's a whole new experience mentally and the rewards are even more so. Spey Nation is the place to test drive almost every major two handed rod supplier out there.  One must not forget the great folks that make this event possible. I've also donated a gift to be raffled off. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Night Hawk Spey Pages Challenge

HOOK: Alec Jackson 1.5
THREAD: 6/0 Fire Orange (Uni Stretch underbody)
TIP: Small Oval tinsel - silver
TAG: Yellow Floss
TAIL: Golden Pheasant Crest w/ Hen Saddle Dyed Blue at the base
BUT: Red wool
RIBBING: Small Oval Silver Tinsel
BODY: Holographic Silver Tinsel
BODY HACKLE: Golden Pheasant dyed black
THROAT: Pheasant Rump dyed black
WING: Goose Shoulder dyed black
TOPPING: Golden Pheasant Crest
SIDES: Jungle Cock nails
CHEEKS: Hen Saddle Dyed Blue
HORNS: Macaw

Frank G Swarner III offered to do a step by step of the Night Hawk for June's Monthly Challenge on Spey Pages. If you are not familiar with Frank's work he is very talented in the area of spey to say the least. Be sure to check out his blog too . This is the Brad Burden "Spey" variation of the Night Hawk hairwing pattern that was designed by Stanford White. I had searched the pattern out when I heard Frank would be doing it. I was hooked instantly and had to try it. Disclaimer: this is by far the most involved fly I've tied to date. Though it's not a full dress salmon fly, for me it might as well be. I had intended to have my version done before Frank's but it didn't happen. This was a blessing because Frank's step by step was detailed that I avoided major pitfalls by reading his tips. I had to substitute a few materials which is par for the course. I replaced the kingfisher with hen saddle dyed blue and the macaw horns should have been red. I also counter-ribbed the hackle to make it more durable. Thus the body hackle doesn't look neat and tidy, but more buggy and I intentionally got a little fluff from the collar hackle for the same reason. Things that I screwed up in my eyes (yes I'm sure there are more).....the bulked up underbody was a bit much. I tend to overwrap everything so I should have left that part alone. The oversized head was my fault for not reading Frank's instructions more closely. This was totally avoidable but I was so happy that the goose shoulder wings came out acceptable that I didn't bother to read his tips about tapering the trimming of the wings. Overall I was happy with the outcome and always welcome a new challenge. Please feel free to comment.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Perchy Spey & Tube

Part of being a commerical fly tier is that it gets harder and harder to tie flies for yourself!  This isn't a bad thing, but I find myself getting irritated with patterns in my head that I want to experiment with.  It eventually gets to a point when I actually do get to experiment the end result can be very satisfying.  I came across these barred dyed artic sheep patches from Dave at and I knew right away what I wanted to do with them.  The hair fibers on these patches are easily 8 inches long and the barring makes them extra fishable.  The vernewto festered in my head for over a year, and now the perchy spey came to head in just a few short weeks.  Now I gotta take these out for a test drive very soon.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Deerfield Recap

I've spent most of this week going over the events from last week's Deerfiled River Spey/Fly Day.  I was running behind trying to get to the event and have time to set up.  When I arrived there was a small crowd and most people were still getting set up so I didn't feel so bad.  The location was this gorgeous wooded spot on the banks of the Deerfiled River.  The weather was perfect and just a gentle breeze to remind me that I don't usually tie outside. One of the first people I met was Phil Krista.  A kilt wearing gentleman with a powerful presence and casting ability that commands respect.  We spoke about the need for more tyers to contact their local VA Hospitals and donate what time they can to help soldiers rehabilitate and recover from their service. Phil is definately a presence to reckon with and his pitch is contagious.  As the day kicked into gear I met some really great and interesting people (most of which I've fortgotten their names....I'm working on this).  I tyed a few flies and explained different styles. Hell I even casted a 15 foot two handed ocean rod with Phil's direction....I'm not ready for the surf.  The highlight for me was that the fly wallet and flies I donated was the first item the raffle winner chose.  A great cause and a great reward for me personally.  Reel Recovery was on hand to take donations.  Then came the big ticket auction items.  Trips to Alaska, Argentina, rods, Dick Talluer rememberance collection, etc.  Just some amazing stuff at real great prices, but the items just weren't moving.  A sign that the economy is still healing.

After the event the wife and kids picked me up and the plan was to take the kids tent camping if the weather was good.  The weather was perfect and we were all tired from the days events which made the campfire all the more entertaining as we cooked our dinner on it.  The overnight temp. dropped to about 45 degrees and the morning was a bit chilly so we packed up early and found Dunkin Doughnuts as quick as we could.  The kids were excited to have camped out in the tent and the wife and I were happy to be enjoying the simple things in life.  I am thankful for a great many things in my life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Deerfield River Spey/Fly Day June 4th, 2011

Here is my raffle donation.  Hand made fly wallet and flies by me.....Had a lot of fun making these and hope they get a great home this weekend.