Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Frugal, And Heathy

Grouse and purple, yellow, green, red, orange, brown etc.....
Glancing through the pages of a book I came across an interesting bit of information concerning the history of North Country flies. It seems that the tyers of that era were truly frugal and liked to keep their flies simple. Now I won't argue that being frugal was the only reason for tying "spiders" and was the only reason was to save money, perhaps they knew the true reason was the fish catching qualities of these flies.

An example that was stated in the book was the fact that of spider tyer loved a pattern love using Grouse and Partridge feathers so much he tied 11 variations of the flies using 11 different silk threads. Now that I hail as frugal and very crafty....you can cover a wide range of insects with one basic pattern.

In my youth I was blessed with lots of meats...cold cuts as they were called were a big part of my diet. Most of these I loved and there were a few that I prized. Pressed Ham was at the top of tasty...in a sandwich of lettuce tomato and pickles it could not be beat. Then like most foods pressed ham was replaced by "healthy meats" meat that had no taste and not much texture..they were given the name of "gourmet deli" and with price tags of 9.99lb they swept away "pressed ham" which was not really ham but a sausage full of various pork cuts and true spices. Several weeks ago while visiting a Polish bakery I had my rye bread and horns. While moving to the checkout I noticed this delicious looking piece of sausage. Man that looks like pressed ham. I picked one up to try and low and behold I found my moms lunch table again.

Now to the grandest of Italian deli, Mortadella...this bologna with its highly flavored "white" pork pieces, which are fat..along with peppercorns and pistachio nuts and sliced thin must be tried.

Culinary delights...indulge, it's all healthy.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

And A Small Stream Runs Through It

In the movie a River Runs Through It I can recall Paul responding to his brother Norman when asked to go with him to Chicago, he replied "I'll never leave Montana brother"....the next group of photos and sparse prose will show you why "I'll never leave Connecticut"

Paul knew what he had, and I know what I have. On a day like this in late January on a piece of public land I was given all that an outdoors man as well as an avid angler of the wild stream can take in. It was one of better days without question. The air was warm, a brisk breeze from time to time and brilliant sunshine. The waters where the riffles flowed were like diamonds sparkling to a point where I was partially blinded. Along the stream were canyons where water flowed into deep crevasses and beneath fallen trees. It was in these places where wild brook trout hold...and the right balance of fly, drift, and patience paid off.

Wild jewels...color beyond belief...proof they do exist.

Not a lot of reason to leave.

Icy remnants remained. Spectacular beauty.

This guy broke water several times, trying desperately to toss the fly. When finally at hand he spit the fly. I managed a photo as he looked back at me as if to say "I won"

All that one could ask for...and close to home.

Impressive, then again I can say the same for everyone of these miracles of nature.

A wonderful day in brook trout forest.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

I Need More Room In My Hook Drawer

About a month ago I asked a question...that question was did Sylvester Nemes ever create a soft hackle fly. I received a couple of responses and they both they were basically the same. The only flies that he created were Syl's Midge and a salmon fly called Salars Nemesis. The background was sketchy with a photo of the fly on the dust cover of a book authored by Nemes, a photo that sort of created more questions. Well I managed to find a fly tied by Nemes and I feel confident that I can now tie it properly...not so fast Alan. The color of the body material is somewhat different from his original. Now this could be from natural aging, or it's a color that he had dyed himself.

Now what this created was a quest to bring these salmon flies down to size to enable them to be fished for trout. I have over the last weeks tied a few of these flies on smaller hooks. My search for the perfect hook has been narrowed down to three. I tried to keep both the traditional salmon hook but finding a small size was a challenge. I selected two brands, the Partridge N2 low water salmon hook size 10...and the Saber 7055 size 8. Another hook that has worked is the TMC 200R size 8. I have fished a couple of these flies but an actual true test won't be done until the weather warms and conditions better.

Salars Nemesis tied on a Partridge hook.

Mickey Finn variant tied on a Saber hook.

Another variant, this is a Royal Coachman.

A no name fly, tied on a salmon hook.

A very subdued colored salmon fly tied on the TMC 200R hook.

Here are the three hooks that I used in the patterns above. Top hook, Partridge N2 size 10...Middle Saber 7055 size 8...Bottom, TMC 200R size 8.

Fun times are ahead. I can't wait.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Christening.....

My new hat. Truly it is some of the finest head-wear an angler can wear. My old hat had just about crumbled the last time I wore it. It had been with me on my adventures over the last 7 years. It now sits in a place of quiet, where dry and warm are the norm. In case you are wondering where you could get the ultimate in headgear you can contact the "Searun Brook Trout Coalition" you'll find the link at the bottom of this post...I can't say it will help you in your fishing but it sure will benefit the "salter" brook trout.

I christened my new hat on a small stream in Connecticut. It was a beautiful day and so comfortable. I'm a fly fisher and fishing is the ultimate reason for being out here on the streams, but not the only reason. I love photographing natural things no matter what they are. The pictures may not appear as I saw them but I try to give you the closest thing....weeds, in the right light they are so beautiful.

These seemed to be growing, fungi perhaps?

The third cast of the day, with my new hat on yielded a well conditioned brook trout. This lovely creature literally slammed a soft-hackle.

Can you imagine a brook trout living here, well 3 of them were, and 2 of them got away.

This chameleon was my last fish of the day. It took a rather large fly, dinner and desert in one. Beautiful days friends.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Two Flies, Only One Needed

I can" believe it's been a week. Well a week ago I met up with Kirk at a small stream that was chosen for it's access to it, by that I mean there's parking and it's usually plowed. The stream is at times a problem with it's vegetation, mainly nasty thorns. We chose to fish at what I consider winter prime time 10 am..water warms a bit and fish seem to be active. That fly pictured above is an adaptation of an Ausable Bomber tied as a wet fly. I challenged myself to fish only soft-hackles, wet flies for this year and this is one of the flies I fished that day.

The conditions were fairly nice for January with cloudy skies and temps near 40. The stream had a stable flow with only a few icy spots. The only issue was the fact that the fish were not hitting. I fished two patterns and Kirk must have fished several others and all without success until we came upon a deep little hole with a nice riffle leading into it. I let the Bomber wet go and as I twitched it a fish moved to the fly.

Soon this bright fellow was at hand. Both Kirk and I could not believe how beautifully colored he still was. As it turned out this was the only fish I was to bring to hand. And you know what it was all I needed.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New England...Streamers And.

The featherwing streamer fly may have not originated in New England but it is New England where it was nurtured and and refined. One area of New England, the State of Maine and the town of Rangeley have become one in the same when it comes to the streamer fly. Many patterns that were so beautifully crafted back in early 1900's are still being tied and fished today. There's a dedicated following and a group of tyers that keep these flies in the eyes of newly fly tyers, anglers, and historians.

I'm sure that every state that comprises the New England region has contributed to the history of the Rangeley-New England streamer.

"Orange" a simplistic feather wing streamer tied in the Rangeley style.

"Platte River Special"
"Platte River Special"...a fly tied in the Rangeley style....a western pattern that I converted at the request of a Colorado angler.

Another well known New Englander....clam chowder, this is Rhode Island style, my favorite.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Some "Not So" Forgotten Flies

Good morning. I started with a filling breakfast consisting of sausage and gravy over a biscuit.

Last week or so I was shown a photo of a soft-hackle salmon fly...that started a mini-obsession. Since that photo I have done some searching to find out if there were others out there, by others I mean soft-hackle salmon flies. I located a source of some interesting patterns, that source was my own desk. Back in 2001 Jeanette gave me a book for Christmas, the title of it was "Forgotten Flies", an awesome publication of 550 pages of some of the most beautiful flies ever. Glancing through I found some patterns that I liked and set out to tie them. The materials which I do not have for these patterns were substituted but the likeness was still there.

The hooks were not available to me, but thanks to an Ohio gentleman who sent me some of his stash, along with some frugal purchases made elsewhere I managed to put these irons in a vise and I created some beautiful patterns.

This fly is called "Green Body Pheasant"

This fly is called, "Squirrel and Pheasant"

"Yellow Body Pheasant"

"Blue Body Pheasant"

"Royal Pheasant"
The common theme to all of these flies is size 8 hooks, silk floss bodies and a collar of pheasant. While they are not small stream flies, they would be at home on larger rivers.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Some Firsts Of 2018

Changing weather, as iconic New England as brook trout. Well over the last couple of weeks we have been in a deep freeze, with a nor'easter thrown in. Air temps have had to struggle to hit 10 degrees. With weather like that stream fishing was out. Now for a change, a moderating trend in temps started Monday and which will end with today's high temp of 50+ degrees. This change took me to a stream on Tuesday where I would be able to work a fly or two and perhaps be rewarded with my first fish of 2018.

The day was cloudy and although gloomy the possibility of a peek of sun was there. The sounds of the woods were silent, only a bluejay could be heard, probably alerting every creature to my being there. I enjoy quiet out there but only from man made noise, the natural stuff is welcomed.

Sparse tracks going in. Perhaps a hiker.

The stream was flowing nicely, open water and breaking ice. Careful wading was a must. I had tied on one of the soft-hackle streamers I just finished tying. Working every possible section of stream I searched for a willing player.

After many casts I connected, a brook trout slammed the streamer. He was beautifully marked and strong. My first wild jewel of 2018 was at hand.

This run was on fire this day. I had numerous strikes here. They came from various places along it's length and it's shallows and depths.

My second brookie of the day/year came from the run above.

Last years nest, with an icy topping....it's lovely out there.

I did use several other flies today, but this is really all I needed.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Thanks Jack....More Soft-Hackle Flies

Over the years I have expressed my admiration of Jack Gartside. A true genius in the fly fishing world. Many of his patterns continue to put fish on the hook. In his book "Fly Patterns for the Adventurous Tyer" which features fresh water patterns from little bugs to large streamers. Many of Jack's patterns feature the use of ring neck pheasant. This bird has a multitude of feathers which can be used, I would say that all of the feathers can actually be used.

The flies tied below while not Gartside patterns do incorporate feathers from the pheasant. And as the book title say's "Adventurous Tyer"...so Jack here are some simple flies tied in the soft-hackle tradition.

The Pheasant Soft-Hackle Streamer 1
This streamer fly has a gold thread body. The wing is a fluffy pheasant marabou feather. The hackle collar is two pheasant shoulder feathers.

The Pheasant Soft-Hackle Streamer 2
This streamer features an orange thread body. The wing uses a fluffy pheasant marabou feather. The collar is two pheasant shoulder feathers, one light colored and one dark colored.

This simple caddis pattern uses a tan thread body. A peacock herl thorax. And a grizzly marabou pheasant feather.

Adventurous...I think so.