Friday, December 28, 2012

Bill Franke (One-Pfoot) 1948-2012

Pflueger 1494 with all One-Pfoot Mods
With great sadness I am writing to let you all know that Bill Franke passed away just before Christmas.  For those of you not aware of Bill's talents you should go to his website  Bill was famous for producing high quality fly fishing gear including aftermarket parts for the Pflueger Medalist fly reel.  The parts are extremely high quality and transform your ordinary Medalist into super attractive works of art.

R.I.P. Mr. Franke, you will be greatly missed.

Here is a copy of Bill's obituary:

William Swift Franke, 64, of North Conway, passed away surrounded by his family on December 21, 2012 at Memorial Hospital following a long battle with cancer.

Bill was born on August 13, 1948 in Oak Bluffs, Mass. to Nancy Hazelton Swift Franke and William Henry Franke. When Bill was six, the family moved from Martha's Vineyard to Medfield, Mass. As a teenager, Bill moved to North Danville, Vt. where he lived with the family of Ann and Guy Hodges. Following graduation from Danville High School in 1966, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War before being honorably discharged as Sergeant E5 in 1969.

Bill's professional life revolved around fly fishing. In 1972/73, Bill tied flies professionally in Aspen, Colo. When he returned to the East Coast, he completed a machine operator course at the New Hampshire Vocational Technical College in Berlin. In 1974, he launched Timberline Rods with a partner; through the company, he designed and developed a line of four-piece pack rods. In addition to those sold under the Timberline Rod name, he produced hundreds of pack rods under the L.L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports labels.

In 1988, he opened W.S. Franke Custom Fishing Rods in North Conway. At this time, he also designed a replacement foot for Pflueger Medalist reels, which led to the creation of One-Pfoot. Eventually, this company branched into designing and machining all replacement parts for Pflueger Medalist reels. He sold One-Pfoot in May 2012 and the company continues to thrive under its new ownership.

As a licensed guide, Bill introduced many people to the challenges and rewards of fly fishing. Bill's dedication to the sport was personal as well as professional. He spent as much time as possible on the spring creeks of central Pennsylvania, and fishing for trout and landlocked salmon in New Hampshire and Maine. He also loved fishing for Atlantic salmon in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, especially spending time each year on his beloved Miramichi River in New Brunswick. As an outdoorsman, he also enjoyed bird and deer hunting every fall.

Bill was defined by his passion for life and family — under his lead, his family's motto was "It's always an adventure." From fishing tours, camping excursions, visits to museums, day trips to see Broadway shows in New York City, midnight excursions to L.L. Bean in Freeport, and a wide variety of "mystery tours," Bill's enthusiasm was infectious; he found and shared joy in the smallest details of life.

Bill leaves his wife of 40 years and the love of his life, Karen Sims Franke, of North Conway; two daughters Megan Hinckley and her husband Dave of Arlington, Mass., and Michelle Ruth Olds and her husband Doug of Kurtistown, Hawaii; and three grandsons Emory Swift and William Douglas Olds, and Malcolm Charles Hinckley. He is also survived by his siblings: sister Gale Rad of Medfield, Mass., brothers Dean Franke of Silver Lake, Alexander Franke of Conway, Conrad Franke of Newport, Vt., and Eric Franke of Plainville, Mass.; his father-in-law William L. Sims of State College, Pa.; brother-in-law Richard W. Sims and his wife Norrine, of Port Matilda, Pa.; six nephews and a niece; as well as members of his Vermont family: Ann Hodges of North Danville, Vt., Rita and Don Laferriere of East Haven, Vt., Carol Hodges of St. Johnsbury, Vt., Guyla and Brad Woodbrey of Raymond, Maine, and Tim Hodges of North Danville, Vt.

There will be a celebration of Bill's life in the summer of 2013; additional details will be forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in honor of Bill be made in support of Jen's Friends Cancer Foundation, PO Box 1842, North Conway, NH 03860.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fly Box Hero - Missouriflies

We have have been posting a ton of patterns and links to lately.  I don't know his actual name, so forgive me for addressing him by his website title.  It only takes a few minutes on his sites (blog, YouTube Channel and website) to see his handy work and it is very impressive.  He has flies for all species on his sites, so make sure to look him up!

Black Ops...A lesson in simplicity

Let's look at his pattern called Black Ops in the video below.  When I started fly tying years ago I was drawn to unnecessarily complicated patterns.  Often times complexity is just a waste of time.  I'd pull out my Mona Lisa fly and get stumped while my buddy with a Wooly Bugger killed them.  Missouriflies Black Ops is perfect in that it is simple, cheap and very durable.  Check out his YouTube Channel for more details.

Speaking of Wolly Bugger....check out the Missouriflies version....

Buggy Dubbing

After watching his YouTube channel and studying his patterns you notice the super buggy dubbing base on almost all of his flies.  If you haven't seen his air compressor dubbing video you need to check it out.  Look at his wooly bugger (above) and you will see the dubbing replaced the palmered hackle on the body of the fly.  Hackle can be expensive and let's face it, without counter wrapped copper wire it almost always is a weak spot in any pattern.  Missouriflies blended dubbing is a very nice substitute for hackle and certainly is a foundation worth perfecting.

Weed Guards 101

Another technique that I feel really finishes off a fly is a weed guard.  Missouriflies hard mono weed guard technique is painfully simple.  I struggled with weed guards for years until watching his video.  Go grab yourself some hard mono and get practicing!

Hard Mono Weed Guard

Don't can buy

Maybe you aren't a fly tyer, but you want to get your hands on a few flies.  Here is a link to Missouriflies online store where you can buy his stuff.  His patterns are built on quality hooks and his prices are very reasonable especially since the patterns are so durable.

Here is a link to Missouriflies YouTube Channel.  Tons of great information here!

Hat's off to a great fly tyer and fisherman

Our hat's off to Missouriflies!  His patterns and work online warrant our praise and support.  Great stuff!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Tallywag Fly

Sorry to give you a Missouriflies o.d., but this is another awesome pattern.  You have to give credit where credit is due.....  The magnum zonker and the plump dubbed body....really nice stuff.

Hard Mono Weed Guard - Great Pattern!

A fantastic video that shows how to make a hard mono weed guard.  How about that pattern?  Simple and super deadly!  I prefer the dubbed version, but for speeds sake you can beat the chenille variation.

Compressor Dubbing

I found this video on Kevin Frank's blog Fishing According the Kev.  This is a video by Missourisflies, a great fantastic fly tyer.  Check out Missourisflies here.

This is a fantastic idea and talk about cheap!  Missourisflies is a great online resource.

Deep See Eyes

See Eyes - Non-Toxic Machine Aluminum

Here is a new product for us at the Smallmouth Fly Box called See Eyes.  I'm sure some of you have been using them for years, but I ordered some from the Bears Den and think they are great.  Similar to lead dumbbell eyes, these are made from machined aluminum.  See Eyes are much larger than lead (up to 3/8") giving you a nice large pupil when you attach the eye.  The non-toxic factor is big for us as well!

I found See Eyes while searching for Clouser variations for the SMFB winter project.  See the video below for a very nice Clouser tube fly that incorporates See Eyes.  Here is a link to the Bear's Den if you want to give them a try.

Here is the description from the manufacturer:

Machined from high-grade aluminum. Designed for patterns where a large pupil is important, without adding excessive weight. Includes prismatic (flat) tape eyes.

Size 7/16" Deep See takes 6.0 Molded Eyes (3/8")
Size 3/8" Deep See takes 5.0 Molded Eyes (5/16")
Size 1/4" Deep See takes 3.5 Molded Eyes (7/32")

Another See Eye Example

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mono Weed Guard

NeedmoreDEET's Glades Streamer
This is one of those patterns that will take everything.  I especially like the mono weed guard.  Here is NeedmoreDEET's instruction on how to make the weed guard.

"I use Mason's or similar hard mono (Berkley Big Game works OK, too). Use needle nose pliers, or better yet steal your kids jewelry making pliers (the ones with rounded needle tips), to make a "crease" in the mono at each bend point."

1. cut mono, crease and fold in half;
2. measure - +1/8 - 3/16 past barb -- +1/8 extra for tie in.
3. crease 1/8 of tag ends. serrated pliers make a nice texture for grip. Bend 90 degrees and tie in so that the other side with the bend runs to the barb. You can strengthen the angle by cross wrapping around the base if needed, and depending upon how stiff you want the guard. 
4. at this point I hit everything with super glue or CCG
5. gently bend backwards to measure. crease anywhere from 1/8" - 3/16" and bend toward the shank. tuck under and you have a useful weed guard.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Missouriflies Hammer Head Crayfish

Images Courtesy of

Hook:  Mustad 34007 (Saltwater) or Mustad 3366 (Freshwater) - Size 4-6
Thread:  6/0 Brown Uni
Claws:  Squirrel Tail
Body:  Blended Dubbing (Synthetic Yak, EP Fibers, Synthetic Yarn)
Eyes:  Beadchain (Black) - 6 eyes total

I found this pattern online and loved this one at first sight.  A gent by the name of Missouriflies came up with this and has had great luck with it.  You can buy flies directly from Missouriflies here.

I haven't tied one yet, but it looks simple enough.  The hardest thing to replicate is the dubbing blend.  Blend up some synthetic yak, ep fibers and red lion synthetic yarn and you're in business.

The Hammer Handle Crayfish is appealing to me because it is pretty simple and is made of common materials.  The squirrel tail pinchers are very nice.

The two rows of eyes (2 in front followed up by a row of 4) gives the patterns nice balance and weight without the heft of lead eyes.  The dubbing blends the second row of eyes nicely and gives the body mass.  Great stuff.

Thank you Missouriflies for coming up with the Hammer Handle Crayfish, it is a keeper!