Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sili-Joint Synthetic Minnow


Hook: Mustad 3366 (Size 2 or 4)
Thread: White Flat Waxed Nylon
Tail: White Wing n' Flash Fibers
Body: White Wapsi Palmer Chenille
Eye: Doll Eyes
Weight: 10 wraps .025 lead
Head: Clear Loctite Silicone

I initially tied this pattern in early 2009 as a version of Ward Bean's Articulated Streamer. I chose to use Palmer Chenille over hackle because the chenille is far more durable and it has a nice sparkle to it. I don't like flies that fall apart, I'm all about making sure the stuff I tie is as durable as possible. Plus, feathers are super expensive!

After I got the initial pattern worked out, Joe Cornwall posted his Murdich Minnow pattern on Fly Fish Ohio. Once I saw the silicone I knew he was on to something. Palmer Chenille is a great material, but I'm not a huge fan of it's action in the water.

Silicone is a great material because it holds on to the eyes like you wouldn't believe. It is very durable and has a very realistic feel - kind of squishy. Joe Cornwall was right on with this discovery (he uses a Liquid Nails product).

I use 2, Mustad 3366 hooks just like Ward did with his original hackled Articulated Streamer pattern, but I bridge the hooks together with fly line backer instead of mono.

The front portion of this streamer is greased with silicone, but in the tail portion the Palmer Chenille is left loose - business in front, party in the back! The tail of this streamer dances just like a jointed Rapala!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Will Ryan's Soft Shelled Craw

Hook: Mustad 9672 (Size 4)
Thread: 6/0 Brown Uni
Claw: Spirirt River Brown Speckled Mottlebou
Shell: Natural Buck tail
Legs: Orange Saddle Hackle
Eyes: Black Mono Eyes
Weight: .025 Lead (Fastened on Either Side of the Hook Shank)

This is my version of Will Ryan's soft shelled crayfish. Looks pretty lifelike, but not very lively in the water.

Truth be told I'm getting tired of the tying bench and want to start fishing! I'm going to wrap up the season with a few more from Joe Cornwall. The Red Foxee Clouser is next, just ordered my fox pelt yesterday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Improved Clouser?

Here are some Clouser Minnows that have been retooled. Notice the red thread behind the lead eyes? Clouser Minnows bounce off rocks all day and fish hit them very hard. The area behind the lead eyes gets beat up and the fly tends to come apart. Those wraps make this fly much more durable and also doubles as gills. With 2 coats of head cement this fly will last all day and then some.

Bob Clouser coats the head and wraps with epoxy, but I hate epoxy. Mixing epoxy, preventing runs and waiting for stuff to cure is such a hassle. Plus, the stuff is expensive!

These methods were taken from Art Scheck's book Tying Better Flies. I especially like the dark section on the top of the minnow taken from the dark portion of the buck tail. Another detail (along with the gills) that should make this fly more effective while using up a part of the buck tail most tyers throw away.

Let's not forget the use of a strange hook....the Mustad 33903. This is fantastic hook for weight forward patterns. Make sure to check it out.

Anyway the pattern is the same as the one below, but the little details make a big difference!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tying Better Flies by Art Scheck

I just finished Art Scheck's Tying Better Flies--what a great book! If you look at my Clouser Minnow on this blog after reading this book you'd notice something is flat out wrong. Scheck's book gives all sorts of time saving and practical tips that make your patterns more durable and effective.

This is not just a book of patterns, it is far more than that. The information Scheck provides here can be transposed to just about any pattern. The step-by-step images are top notch, each picture is clear and the layout is easy to follow.

Now getting back to the Clouser I tied on this blog (below).... The wraps I have behind the lead eyes are too sparse. I have re-tied the Clouser and will re-post the new and improved Clouser. The wraps behind the lead eyes need to be more substantial. Scheck even goes so far as to use red thread for these wraps which double as gills on the minnow.

I have done a ton of dubbing this winter and this book has really helped me shrink the learning curve down to only a few hours. My dubbed bodies are layered and tight instead of loose and fragile.

You'll learn a ton from this book, I know I have. This is a great additional to any fly tying library.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fly Box Hero - Art Scheck

Art Scheck has reached fly fishing God status at our house. His books strip away all of the crap that goes along with fly fishing and provides practical information about everything from tying the strongest knots to tips on making your flies more durable. His writing style is down to earth, without the unnecessary fluff found in most fishing books in print today.

My fly fishing methods have completely changed (for the better) thanks to Scheck. I have built 3 custom fly rods for myself and my young children, tied my own tippets and leaders, and my Clouser's and Buggers are virtually bombproof.

I am now restoring 2 bamboo rods given to me by a dear friend. There is no way I would take on any sort of rod building or restoration before Scheck's Fly Rod Building Made Easy book. He shows you how to make rods without spending a fortune on specialized tools. You don't need to spend a ton of money to fish!

If you are serious about fly fishing you have to get his books. The rod building book is excellent. His Tying Better Flies and Fly Fish Better books are some of the best fly fishing/tying books written today.

Art Scheck is the author of
Tying Better Flies, Fly Rod Building Made Easy, and A Fishing Life is Hard Work and has been the editor of Scientific Anglers Fly Fishing Quarterly, Orvis News, American Angler, Fly Tyer, and Saltwater Fly Fishing. He lives in Anderson, South Carolina.

The Dark Uglies - Jonah Fly

Hook: Mustad 9672 (Size 2-6)
Thread: 6/0 Brown Uni
Tail: Brown Maribou
Flash: Gold Krystal Flash
Body: Brown Leech Yarn
Hackle: Brown Hen Hackle
Weight: 10 Wraps of .025 Lead

In Art Scheck's book Fly Fish Better he calls patterns like this Dark Uglies. Scheck called this one a Jonah Fly - "junk on a hook." Dark Uglies won't win any fly tying style points with your buddies if you try bragging about them at the vise, but on the water they work great.

Scheck says you should tie them in black and brown in size 4 and 6. I went one step further and tied it in a size 2....just in case. You should also tie a few unweighted versions for shallow water or cruising over weed beds.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Loctite Minnow

Recipe: Mustad 3407 (Size 4)
Thread: White Flat Waxed Nylon
Tail: White Buck Tail/Silver Krystal Flash/Ice Wing Fiber UV & Pearl Minnow Mix (Layered)
Body: Hareline Medium Krystal Hackle White Clear
Eye: Holographic Eye
Weight: None
Adhesive: Loctite Silicone Sealant

Joe Cornwall unveiled his version of the Murdich Minnow last week and I really like his rendition. I've tied this pattern many times and had some luck with it last year.

For the 2010 season I have switched my main smallmouth rod from and 8 wt fiberglass rod to a 6 wt glass rod. This pattern is large, but since it is 99% synthetic it can be easily thrown with a 6 wt. rod.

I found this Loctite material in a tube at my local home center. Once dried this material has a very cool rubber-like quality that repels water and is virtually bombproof. The silicone also gives the minnow a neat swimming action it doesn't have when the pattern is "dry."