Monday, May 13, 2013

Spey Magog

I was recently challenged with converting the collors associated with the famous Atlantic salmon streamer known as the magog smelt into a swingable spey like fly.  I use this termonology very loosley, since you can certainly swing a magog smelt. 

What was desired was something with a little more flow and movement to it.  The big colors being; white, purple, yellow, silver tinsel, a splash of red, and checkered black and white.  The black and white checkering coming from teal flank feathers.  Did I mention the flies needed to be fairly easy to tie?   I started out with an Alec Jackson Size 1.5 spey hook, silver holographic tinsel and fire red thread.  After covering the rear 2/3 of the shank with the tinsel I did two turns a white marabou, then wrapped back over the turns with the thread for durability.  I advanced the thread forward a bit to cerate a gap then repeated the same steps for yellow followed by purple.  Then came a couple of turns of teal flank feathers for a collar, a bit of flash, and some peacock herl strands for an under wing.  A pair of jungle cock eyes and a dyed black pheasant rump topped the fly as a wing.  I was pretty pleased with the results.

 I then took a size 3 Alec Jackson spey hook did the same tinsel and thread steps as above.  This time I took marabou tips and tyed them pointing reward similar to the John Shewey's Spawning Purple method (  I did so alternating from white, yellow, and purple.  When I got toward the front of the hook, I added and extra patch of the white to the bottom side of the hook.  Again a teal flank collar, some synthetic flash underwing, and some peacock for a topping.  I then added some Flymen Fishing Company Living Eyes secured by some Clear Cure Goo.  I had a keeper in my mind!  I played around replacing peacock with synthetics and was indifferent in my opinion. 

My next option was to replace the marabou with arctic fox for the layered wings.  This version was okay in my mind, but I like the more vibrant colors from the dyed marabou.  I presented the sample flies to the interested parties, and the arctic fox wing seems to be the lead style, with a more pronounced collar of teal. 

Either way I have a keeper fly or flies for swinging.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yak Attack

Ever since my wife won a free beginner kayak lesson from LL Bean, I have been tossing around the idea of getting my own. With the warm weather of spring knocking and winter going dormant, the urge grew even more.  I did a fair amount of research online and eventually reached out to a friend.  I use to work with Doug Reagan a few years back and knew that he had his own canoe and kayak livery along with his wife Diane in the heart of the Finger Lakes.  I contacted Doug and set up a time to get down and see what he had on hand.  My oldest daughter came along to see the selection.  This is a tricky call since kids love instant gratification and they are always excited at the thrill of getting something new.  Who am I kidding?  I like those things too!  Did I mention that I brought the trailer along with me too?  It didn't take long and I was tossing around which model would fit my needs and more importantly, budget.  My most pressing issue was, can I fish from it?  I really didn't want to buy and angling kayak knowing that I don't have a lot of kayaking experience to begin with.  I played it safe and went with a standard model.  I can always upgrade later if need be.  The final decision was an Old Town 10 foot Vapor XT.  Abbie and I took it out for a spin at the local boat launch.  A little getting use to, but when we were done, we wanted to know when we were going to do that again.

I have gotten to cruise around a bit with the yak, but mostly the kids keep wanting to try it out.  I manged to take them out on a half day of school and get some more practice.  Now it's becoming a family affair, as I hoped it would......and I even let our family dog come along for a spin.  The family dog is a bit of a challenge, but time should fix that. 

I did manage to break free and try fishing from the kayak, but this too is going to take some getting use to.  The main problem being that it's quite tricky to keep the yak situated and not drift too far off the desired course. And then there was the dumping of the yak.....I tried to take the family dog out again, and the trouble started while trying to launch.  No matter how you look at it, I dumped the yak dog and all.  Not one to give up easily, I gave it another go.  The dog wasn't totally impressed with this idea, but did better once we got moving.  Whetehr the temptation of birds flying over head or loss of balance, but either way the dog fell overboard again.  I managed to keep the yak right side up and retrieve the dog.  Nothing beats the learning curve!