Monday, April 11, 2011

Current River Report 4/09/2011

Time Fished:  All day
Weather:  Sunny and hot
Water Level:  About normal for this time of year
Water Clarity:  A tiny bit off color
Access Fished:  Baptist

     Just a quick report.  Fished Baptist just about all day on Saturday.  Started off throwing streamers in the morning trying to catch something big.  I did catch a few but nothing really big.  The best was about a 15 inch brown that took the yellow streamer from my last post.  Around 11am I went back to the car to eat lunch and switch to my 4 weight.  The fishing was very slow during the middle of the day.  I did manage to pick up a couple on a royal coachman wet.  I went WAY downstream, a choice I was regretting during my walk back to the car.  When I finally did decide to turn around I switched my leader to a French Nymphing setup.  I had a #14 cream caddis pupa with a tungsten bead as my point fly that resulted in all but one of my fish going back upstream.  This makes sense because caddis were hatching a little bit throughout the day, although they never did hatch enough to get the fish's attention on the surface.  Luckily, the fishing picked up a bit once the sun started to go down.
     It was a pretty good day fishing, although not a spectacular day catching.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Streamer Binge 2011

I've been on a big streamer kick lately.  These are fresh off the vise and getting wet (and hopefully ate) on the Current tomorrow.
Bloody Black Sex Dungeon-about 5 inches

Circus Peanut Variation-4.5 inches

Foxy Cougar-4.5 inches
A different view.  The head on this fly is Arctic Fox in a dubbing loop.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Clyde Style Wet Fly Step by Step

As promised here's the step by step.  This is my method of tying them which keeps the fly very sparse.  All you'll need for this fly is a starling skin(except for the hook and thread).

Starling and Olive
Hook:  Mustad R50X, size 16 shown
Thread:  Pearsall's silk, olive
Wing:  Starling wing sections
Hackle:  Starling

Step One:  Start your thread going, back just about an eye length(about five or six wraps)

Step Two:  Cut a slip from a left and right starling wing feather.  Make sure they are the same width.  
I prefer between 1/4 to 1/3 of a hook gap wide.  Place the slips together so the tips are even and they curve out.  These slips will form the fly's wing

Measure the wing to be about a hook length long and present it to the hook.  Holding it tightly with your thumb and middle finger with the wing just barely touching the hook pull the thread up through your fingers and around the wing.  Pull straight down with the thread to set your wing.  Keeping hold of everything wind back three or four tight turns.  Check to make sure everything's sitting right.  If the wing is askew you might be able to wiggle it into place.  If not,  unwind and start over.  Once the wing is set right cut the remaining wing fibers off at an angle.  This will help form a taper.

 Wind back to about the hook point and then back up.  Put a wrap or two directly in front of the wings to set them upright.  The wings should already be curving away from each other.  If you want them even more outward you can figure eight your thread through them.

Measure a starling feather so the feather fibers are about a hook shank in length.  Don't worry if they're a little long.  Preen the fibers back and cut the tip leaving a little delta.  This is where the feather will be tied in.

Tye the feather tip in on the under side of the hook so that the feather is cupping towards the fly.  If you pre-trimmed the tip right you shouldn't have anything to trim off at this point.

 Fold the hackle and wind one to two turns.  The fly shown has one and a half.  Lock down the feather with two or three tight turns and trim the excess.  Tidy up the head if needed, whip finish and you're done.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Clyde Style Wet Flies

I'm a bit of a soft hackle addict but never really used many regular down-winged wets much less up-winged wets until last fall.  I tied a few of these up on a whim just to change things up and was pretty happy with the results.  I still prefer regular soft hackles most of the time but during a hatch Clydes really shine.  They're utterly simple but can represent many stages of the insect hatch.  Fished under the surface they could be a drowned dun or spinner or even an emerger that didn't quite make it through the surface film.  Grease it with floatant and you get a low floating, delicate(albeit incredibly hard to see) dry that will fool any fish.  Fished upstream or up and across is the best way to go.  If you try swinging them the wing makes a little wake that the fish want nothing to do with.  Dead drifting wets is definitely difficult but it's something every wet fly fisherman should learn.  I also prefer fishing more than one fly at a time.  I'll usually fish a flymph or spider as my point fly to represent the nymphs and a Clyde as my top dropper to represent the hatching mayflies.  An exception would be when I'm targeting a rising fish.  When I'm targeting a single fish I usually fish just one fly on a long fine leader, at least 10 ft. and down to 6X or even 7X.  A decent way to start out learning to dead drift wets would be to put a length of colored mono or even a coiled mono indicator into your leader as if you were French Nymphing(more to come on French Nymphing).  Keep an eye on your leader and an eye on your fly, or as usually is the case, where you think your fly is.  At any sign of movement set that hook.  I would also start out as close as you can get to the fish; you'd be amazed how close you can get to fish with some good wading.  I could go on and on about fishing wets but that's a whole other post.  The DVD Wet Fly Ways by Davy Wotton is a great starting place but practice, practice and more practice is the back to the flies.
     These are by no means new flies.  Quite the opposite actually.  The Clyde style evolved on the River Clyde in Scotland well over a century ago.  The Clyde is a swift flowing river that received heavy fishing pressure and as a result the fish weren't exactly easy to catch.  Sound a little like some of our rivers?  More gaudy overdressed patterns fell out of favor and more drab sparsely tied flies became the go to patterns for these picky fish.
     Tying these flies is fairly simple and straight forward seeing as there's not much to them.  However it's very easy to overdress them.  They'll look kind of funny at first and you'll think you tied them too sparse.  The body will seem too thin and the hackle will look too long,  the fish ,however, will like them.  For hooks I prefer using standard wire dry fly hooks to keep them light.  Keep in mind they are usually fished near the surface.  Thread is generally Pearsall's silk and is also used to form the body a lot of the time.  If doing a herl body or something similar I will use normal thread sometimes but the silk is more often the thread of choice.  As stated the body is often just thread but dubbing or peacock or pheasant tail, etc. can be used.  Just remember to keep it as thin as you can get and generally only go back to the hook point.  When doing a thread body I do a layer to the hook point and then back.  Wax is great to have when working with the silk thread.  It protects the thread and can be used to darken the color of the thread.  Veniard's is my favorite, natural bee's wax works very well also.  I seldom rib the flies, but when I do I prefer size small or extra small wire.  A contrasting color of thread also works very well as a rib.  The wings can be formed from any number of wing quills.  Flank feathers from mallard, teal, or bronze mallard also work very well.  I typically use slips from a right and left feather but the folded or rolled feather techniques certainly work.  The wings are set upright and kept thin.  I make them about 1/4 of a hook gap wide.  Hackle is from game birds or hen.  One or two turns of hackle are used to keep the fly sparse.  I size the hackle so that the barbs are about the same length as the hook shank.  A little bit longer hackle never hurts, though.  A partridge skin for lighter colored flies or larger flies and a starling skin for darker and smaller flies is a good starting point for materials.  If possible get skins that have the wings.  You can use the wing quills for the wings on the flies.  For example a starling skin and a spool of olive thread are all you need to cover the olive hatch.
     In closing, I'm not in any way suggesting that these flies are some kind of magic fly that you should replace all of your tried and true's with.  A lot of us get in a rut and fish the exact same way with the exact same flies no matter what.  The fish certainly notice this which explains why last year's hot fly could end up being this season's dud.  Changing things up now and then certainly keeps things from going stale and helps make you a more well rounded fisherman.  When the fish seem to want nothing to do with every fly in your box it might be time to try something new, or in this case very, very old.  
Brown and Partridge with Duck Quill Wing

Olive and Dun Hen Hackle with Starling Quill Wing
(Great BWO Fly) 
More to come later on these flies, including step by step tying instructions.