Saturday, March 17, 2018

"Smile Friends, Smlie"

"Top "O" The Morning" folks. St. Patrick's Day 2018. Sitting down to a slice or two of Irish soda bread, with several cups of "Green" Mountain coffee, and dreaming of a great supper of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. I love this day, it's a happy day, one that has always been festive since the days of my childhood. I can remember my mom singing "oh the Clancy" a tune that has stuck in my head for all these years. I found out this morning that the first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in Boston, who would have ever thought that "big smile" I say to all, today we are all Irish, Happy St. Patrick's Day... lift your glasses and cups and enjoy.

In this day of GPS, cell phones and the like, it seems as if the day of the paper map is going the way of the dinosaur. Exception, not with me. I still use the old fashioned paper map to find out where I'm going, and where I've been. The DeLorme Atlas like the one above is always in my car. I at times will map out directions to those "thin blue lines"... I have several DeLorme atlases in different states with CT. and Maine seeing the most use with Massachusetts closing in.

How many of you still use maps like this?

A "blue line" found with the aid of a map, and it's the little blue lines that feed this stream that will be on the list to check further.

Smile, spring is but a few days away.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Betters And Gartside

The longer I fish the more I come to rely on certain flies to get the job done. Looking back over the years most of my successful patterns have had in their material list a few materials that have made them so great. The materials also have been favorites of two very special fly tyers. Fran Betters and Jack Gartside two gentleman who created so many successful flies, flies that have a following world wide.

A favorite material of Fran Betters was the Australian opossum and which he dyed rusty orange. Quite a few of his patterns used this material as dubbing. Jack Gartside had a love of the ringneck pheasant. These feathers were used in so many of his patterns. So I took these materials and worked them together to make some "fish appeal" flies. The photo above shows the marabou of a hen pheasant. Most tyers bypass this insanely fish taker feather and choose to use only other feathers in the skin. Using these pheasant marabou feathers I create wings in several patterns...they work.

Now Mr. Betters dyed his possum rust orange, some of the hair came out "real" orange, and some not so. The not so has some nice features and when dubbed on a fly it creates a nice difference in the body.

This pattern uses an orange dubbed body. It does not incorporate a wing, only a soft hackle collar.

This pattern uses an orange dubbed body, with a light colored marabou wing. It features a soft hackle color of bleached starling.

This pattern features Jack's and Fran's materials in one fly. The body is a darker colored possum body, a dark colored marabou wing, and a pheasant feather for a collar.

You can see some of the materials, different ones at that here. One constant was the fact that Fran's favorite color thread was used.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Changes, Some Good And Some Good.

This is a stream I visited last month. It was a time when we were in a spring like thaw and it was so welcomed after the deep freeze we had in late December and much of January. The stream I am very familiar with having enjoyed it for many years. It also suffered like most streams with drought like conditions for a few summers. Last year it fished some what on the off side which was to be expected. As of the new year I tried this stream in January, big mistake. The stream was ice bound, I could only drop a fly in the water in only a few places. It was cold that day and I should have stayed home an enjoyed my coffee and read a book.

On this day I had no idea what to expect as far as catching a fish. The first few pools I fished gave up nothing. It was not until I came upon this one that my day really brightened. The second or third drift that I saw the line stop, tension and suddenly I felt the fish.

Soon at hand was this stunning brook trout. A side note, that pool was where I caught my first fish of the year several years ago on a cold windy New Year's Day.

This pool with it's mound of wood at it's back is a place that should hold a fish. That statement is true but for some else and not for me. Over the years I have lost a lot of flies in here but have not taken a fish....until this day. I drifted my fly towards the back near the wood pile on the left. I felt the hit, it was a substantial hit. I set the hook and the fight was on. I won't go into the details of it but I will show you the result below.

This wild creature is big for this stream. He was very strong and may have been living here for some time. I was thrilled and fortunate he liked my offering.

With a mouth like that I give fair warning to any small brookies "stay away".

This stream yielded several more brookies. I fished it upstream and found some profound changes from the heavy ice. Come May I'll get the real picture.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Stewart's "Black Spider"

The "Black Spider"...why have I waited so long to feature this "classic"...well wait no more. This fly was created by W.C. Stewart and published in his book "The Practical Angler" in the year 1857. Now here is a fly that defines the word "minimal". It consists of but two materials, thread and hackle. Stewart felt that a simple fly, properly presented would catch fish. He felt so strongly that he pretty much used one fly for all of his fishing.

Stewart along a few others of his time knew that the sparse subtle movement within the various currents of the river would be the trigger needed for a trout to strike the fly. There are many insects the black spider can represent, but it represents many more that it doesn't. It's the movement, size and shape that makes it so deadly.

Stewart's "Black Spider"
The fly consists of a brown thread body, and hackle from a Starling. The trick is to wind the starling feather from the back of the hook forward to the eye, about 3 turns, without breaking the feather. I can't recall finding this pattern in fly shop bins...maybe that's a good thing.

Orange Butt "Kebari"
I truly enjoy tying "Tenkara" flies. Their simplistic look, and the reversed hackle just hits me in a fine way. It also takes it's share of fish.

Now for some breakfast.