Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fly Box Goddess

Hook:  Mustad 33903 (Size 4)
Thread:  6/0 Uni (Camel)
Tail:  Spirit River Mottlebou
Body/Head:  Medium Rootbeer Chenille
Hackle:  Rootbeer Palmer Chenille
Spirit River's Mottlebou
Hackle:  Ginger Mallard
Weight:  Small Hourglass (Lead)

This is SFB version of Mike Jacobs Bronze Goddess.  There was nothing wrong with the original, but I made some adjustments according to our tastes at SFB.

First off, I replaced the chick-a-bou tail with Spirit River's Brown Speckled Mottlebou.  Mottlebou is one of my favorite products because it has a nice random color scheme.  The action in the water is amazing too.  If you don't have this material you need to find it

Rootbeer Palmer Chenille & UV Chenille
Secondly I replaced the palmered rooster body feather with another SFB favorite...Rootbeer Palmer Chenille from Wapsi.  Palmer chenille is a durable alternative to hackle that is perfect for warm water patterns.  This material adds the bulk needed to prop up the mallard feather, but also offers a bit of sparkle.  Wapsi Palmer Chenille is available in many colors, but I always have orange and rootbeer on hand (lots of it)!  Notice the sparkle in the thorax portion of the picture above...that is palmer chenille doing its job.

Mustad 33903 Kink Shank Hook
I also made a hook change that was inspired by Joe Cornwall's Mixed Media pattern of Fly Fish Ohio.  Joe uses a kink shanked hooks to help hold the dumb bell eye in place.  The weight fits right in the kink allowing you to secure the weight easier.  I used the Mustad 33903 on all of my weight forward patterns.  The kinks also keep all of your flies in proportion.  The use of the kink shanked hook yet another great tip from the folks at Fly Fish Ohio.

The Bronze Goddess was one of our favorites in 2010 and 2011.  Mike Jacobs did a fabulous job by adding the mallard flank feather.  That little collar does wonders for this pattern.

Mike's original pattern used common materials and I'd like to think we kept it pretty simple too.  Palmer chenille and mottlebou should be in your kit if you tie warm water patterns. 

Here is Mike Jacobs original pattern  - talk about awesome!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fly Box Hero - Mike Jacobs

Bronze Goddess
I have never met Mike Jacob's, but he certainly is a Fly Box Hero.  Mike is my latest Fly Box Hero because of the Bronze Goddess (which was finally published in this month's Fly Tyer Magazine).

I originally heard of the Bronze Goddess from Ward Bean's Warm Water Fly Tyer website.  Ward had it posted for over a year, but did not give pattern details (other than it was tied by Mike).  I tied up a few Bronze Goddess's from the picture and hit the river.  I knew right away it was a winner....the Bronze Goddess has all of the characteristics of a great pattern.
The size is perfect at about 3" long and the color is
outstanding.  The mottled color resembles many food choices!
The Boss

Mike also has a variation of the Bronze Goddess called the Boss Tom.  I had only seen pictures of this fly, but I tied a few up based on the pictures.   It seems to be a variation of the Goddess that uses wild turkey feather for the tail.  This is another very effective pattern for smalmmouth bass.  I had a special evening with the Boss Tom last week where I caught 4 fish over 16" in one hour.  Like the Goddess this fly has great curb appeal without the use of rare or hard to find materials.

Black Lite Brite Leech
The Goddess was a big producer for me this year, but so was another pattern that Mike created - the Lite Brite Leech.  This is a very basic pattern I keep on hand in case the fish get funky and crave something black.

Mike Jacobs really is a great fly tyer and has helped many people get started fly tying.  His online store the Hawkeye Fly Tyer is a fantastic place to get materials if you decide to shop online.  Hats off to Mike for the great flies and his article in Fly Tyer Magazine.

Here is a link to The Iowan Magazine that features Mike Jacobs and Ward Bean (along with some of their friends).  

The Armadillo

Hook:  Mustad 33903
Thread:  White Flat Waxed Nylon
Tail:  White Blood Maribou
Body:  White Krystal Flash
Body Plates:  White Craft Foam
Hackle:  White Krystal Flash

Gartside Gurgler
The Armadillo is a little fly is my cross of Jack Gartside's Gurgler and Curt Nordrum's Seagull.  The cross of these two patterns yielded this super floating fly.  This fly is light as a feather and very easy to see on the water.

Cast it, let it sit and twitch away.  You can skate it with quick strips  or use a little of the rod tip to tug it under water - either way this one is a winner.
Curt Nordrum's Seagull

All in all the Armadillo is easy to tie without crazy materials.  You certainly could swap out the Krystal Flash with hackle.  I went with Krystal Hackle to maintain the bright white look.  Aren't fly tyers silly?  We worry (at least I do) about color schemes when fish can really care less - especially bass!

Jack Gartside and Curt Nordrum both created great patterns with simple materials.  The Armadillo traps air bubbles, skates, gurgles, pops, dives....a great all around offering to a hungry fish.

Fly Box Dad

Hook:  Tiemco 8089 (Size 10)
Thread:  6/0 Uni (Camel)
Claws:  Pheasant Rooster Tail
Head/Body:  Brown Leech Yarn
Shell:  Pheasant Rooster Tail
Segment:  Medium Copper Wire
Weight:  Small Hourglass (Flattened)

This is my version of Skip's Dad by famed fly tyer Skip Morris.  Joe Cornwall first made me aware of this pattern in his book Fly Fishing Warm Water River.  Under a strike indicator this one is deadly!

First off I loved the pincher's because they are small.  Pheasant tail fibers are the perfect choice to form the claws, the key is to keep them from looking too menacing.

At the vise I had a few problems with the original pattern. The body in the original craw was dubbed, but I found it to be hard to bulk up.  My flies always seems to look too thin for my liking.  I grabbed you stash of brown leech yarn and quickly solved the problem.  Leech yarn is buggy, cheap and bulletproof, perfect for the Fly Box Dad.

I also took a ball peen hammer to the hourglass weight and flattened it out!  Now the craw sits perfectly flat on the bottom of the river.  Take your weight, put it on a smooth surface (anvil) and give it a few whacks.  You'll be left with a flat weight that will always ride correctly.  You can see the difference in the picture if you look closely.  One weight is left round and the other is flat.  This is a small improvement to the original, but I think it is important.

Lastly, I didn't like the hook in the original pattern.  Once the body was fattened up it tended to crowd out the gap.  The Tiemco 8089 always solves my hook gap problems.  The 8089 is a fantastic choice for smallmouth flies!

Lastly, I have been painting my weights lately - something I just never took the time to do in the past.  My wife's nail polish has "accidentally" made a home in my fly tying box.  The stuff is cheap, comes in a million colors and as far as I can tell pretty durable.  Nail polish dries extremely fast too!  Ward Bean uses nail polish on his poppers, so I thought why not use it on my crawdads.

This is not a new pattern - I am not claiming to be the creator.  It is my rendition of a classic fly that is a killer.  The pincher's are kind of a drag to get right at first, but once you get a few under your belt it is a breeze.