Friday, May 27, 2011

New Smallmouth Fly Box Boat!'s official, the Smallmouth Fly Box has a new (old) boat! Bought it today! It's an 18' Lund boat, galvanized trailer and a 50 horse Mercury. Has 2 live wells, rod lockers, full console, nice seats, running lights, fish finder...

The motor purrs like a kitten and the trailer is a beauty. Need to add a bow mounted trolling motor and we'll be in business.

I will be replacing the deck this summer and adding the new trolling motor. This girl will be on the river with the kids and dogs in no time. I'll admit I'm a bit nervous about running a long shaft motor on the river, but I'll take my time to learn the river and be fine.

All in all it's no big deal, a new/used boat that needs a little work.  Up until now I have been a lowly canoe/wade/shore fisherman.  Nothing wrong with that, but now I'm turning a corner towards getting on some real fish and maybe even taking my boys water skiing. 

The official name of this dingy is "My Baby Girl" after my baby girl on the left.  Unless I come up with something better before I letter the boat!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Half and Half

This is just a great looking fly! Anything tied by Clouser and Lefty would have to be a killer! I have tried this one with the saddle hackle and had some trouble with the saddle hackle fouling the hook. I think some Yak fibers will add the length and and action in the tail without any hook interference.

In Bob Clouser's book Clouser's Flies Bob writes about this pattern and how he casts it into deep pools, letting it flutter down in the water column. The tail section is quite visible as it falls. Clouser says to watch it drop and soon as it disappears - set the hook! He claims some of his largest smallmouth are taken this way! I think the key to this pattern is the long flash section in the tail.

The gill section on this pattern is just awesome. Nice tip from Bob about leaving the loops loose, letting the red hair follow the thread.

When you stop and think about this pattern it's pretty easy to imaging why it is so effective. Let's face it, this is a large offering! What bass or pike could resist such a large meal, especially if it looked injured? Being the opportunistic jerks they are, bass and pike slam this one!

Both of these guys make it look so easy! Bob Clouser and Lefty Kreh are true icons to the sport of fly fishing and tying....great video!

Yak Hair Clouser


Hook: Mustad 33903 (Size 2)
Thread: Gray Dual Duty
Belly: White Yak
Flash: Gray Ghost Krystal Flash
Top: Olive Krystal Flash
Weight: Medium Lead Dumbbell

In preparation for our Ely, MN trip I have been throwing together a series of Clousers. I bought some Yak fur a few months back and decided to use it on a few pike sized Clousers.

I'm sure most of you have seen Yak by now, but many freshwater fisherman don't invest in the material because it is bulky stuff. Yak is fantastic for bass and pike flies! It has significant mass in the water, but also has a nice translucent quality. The Clouser above is a good 4" and truth be told I could tie a 12" streamer if I wanted to. The fibers are literally 12+" long.

Yak comes in a staggering variety of colors, from polar white to bright pink. I went with olive because I know it will be a hot color in Ely.

The Dual Duty thread I use on Cousers is available at most textile/ craft stores. I have received a few emails from Fly Box visitors stating that the Dual Duty thread wasn't very durable. The variety I have is like steel cable. Make sure you get the Dual Duty with a polyester core. The thread is super durable even when something toothy grabs it. The thread soaks up an incredible amount of head cement.

Also, I wanted to comment on the Gray Ghost Krystal Flash used on this pattern. I recently picked up this material and I absolutely love it. The flash material has a fine texture and lifelike quality, so it pulsates beautifully when stripped. If you haven't picked up the Gray Ghost you really should have it! This is just one of those materials that makes a pattern a slayer.

If you are tying for tooth critters or hog bass, grab some Yak and get tying!

They always look better with eyes and a few coats of heat cement!
Get your holographic dome eyes at Bustin Bass Baits - the best deal on the internet!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Pink Lady

Hook: Mustad 3366 (Size 6)
Thread: 6/0 Pink Uni
Tail: Pearl Spirit River Bodi Braid
Body: Pearl Spirit River Bodi Braid
Flash: Gray Ghost Krystal Flash
Over Wing: Tan Craft Fur
Eyes: Medium Bead Chain

I was messing around in the shop trying to come up with a new crappie pattern. Well you have seen this one a million times, another Clouser rip off.

I like this one because of the Bodi Braid and Gray Ghost Krystal Flash combo. The sparkle of this fly is really neat. Craft Fur is great because it is so light and is less coarse than deer hair. Don't get me wrong, I love deer hair too, but for smaller patterns Craft Fur is easier to handle (in my opinion).

3 colors - The Pink Lady, Silver Surfer and Gold Fingerling (Yes...a James Bond reference!)

I finally found use for that pink thread in the thread rack. I remember as a kid catching a mess of crappies on pink Mister Twisters. I thought this little lady would look nice with a touch of pink!

Update on this pattern:

I have been told by many people in the past few days that this is a "bonefish pattern." Well.....I put it together for crappies and field tested it last night. The water is still cold here in Minnesota, but I caught a gob of perch. This pattern seems pretty universal to me - time will tell.

For all of you die hard bonefish guys....relax, it's ok to use saltwater patterns in freshwater! Minnesota is far away from the ocean.... As Mike Alwin always says to me "Douglas, there are no rules in fly tying!"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fishy's Smallmouth Fly

Hook:  Mustad 3366 (Size 4)
Thread:  6/0 Orange Uni
Body:  Brown/Green Variegated Chenille
Wing:  Spirit River Mottlebou
Wing 2:  Orange Span-Flex
Eyes:  Black Medium Bead Chain (4 beads)

This is my smallmouth bass version of Fly Fish Ohio's - Fishy's Bonefish Fly.  This is such a simple, but very cool pattern to tie.  In hindsight I probably should have left the Span-Flex longer, but this still has great action in the water.

Sometimes the simplest details escape us.  The bead chain eyes on this pattern (4 instead of 2) is just great.  No matter how this thing hits the water it lands facing up on the bottom.  The materials have great action in the water!

I may also use a different hook in the future, but I fish mainly in rocky sections of the Mississippi.  The Mustad 3366 is cheap and I have thousands to burn...

Thanks again for posting the original pattern Joe (Cornwall)!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hobie Fish Gripper

In preparation for our trip to Ely, MN I picked up a few Hobie Fish Grippers. Ely is loaded with Northern Pike, some big ones and millions of hammer handles. The Hobie Fish Gripper locks onto the lip of the fish reducing odds of getting hooked in the hand, but it also reduces the risk of injuring the fish.
This style of gripper was made popular by the kayaking crowd. They are always looking to reduce weight and maximize space in their kayak. Here is a review of the Hobie Gripper on YouTube.

Initially we looked into a Boga Grip, but at $150 it was way out of my price range. We don't need the stainless steel parts in Minnesota, no salt water here! The Hobie Grippers are $14 and has great reviews online for both fresh and salt water applications.

These grippers float, weigh a whopping 5 oz. and glow in the dark! The price is definitely right and were recommended to me by a Lake Michigan salmon guide on a recent trip to Chicago. If they grip and hold the Chinook and Coho I saw, they will certainly hold anything I catch in Ely!

I was concerned about the plastic factor, but the gripper is heavy duty.