Sunday, October 29, 2017

Look What I Found At Bears Den

Yesterday I went and did a little hunting, not with a gun but with my eyes. The field was "Bears Den" an excellent fly shop located in Taunton Mass. What a shop if you can't find it here it probably does not exist. Wandering about I found some tying treasures, one I'll share with you the others shall remain secret.

I spotted this beautiful hen pheasant skin, the feathers were pristine. Beautifully marked and the sizes were just perfect for soft-hackles, spiders and flymphs. I love shopping like this for you can see for yourself what your buying. Online and catalogs don't really show you the quality of what your purchasing. Moving along through the shop I picked up a few more items that I would never have purchased but seeing them in front of me I said "that will work".... So below are a couple of flies that I tied using the materials I purchased at Bears Den.

Bead-head #1...pretty simple eh! But movement where it counts.

Bead-head #2, this one uses a feather tied from the above hen pheasant. It just has that appeal of a drab colored insect.

If your in the area stop by, if not they also do a great mail order business and will satisfy your needs.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cane And Silk, Another Fly Rod

A couple of months ago Mike Kattner from Cane and Silk Fly Rods reached out and asked me to field test a fiberglass fly rod. The rod is built for small streams but may also be used on larger waters. The rod is beautifully made and he has done fine work on the classy but simple features which highlight the rod. The rod is a 6' 3 piece rated for a 2 or 3 weight line. The color is what Mike calls "Lizard Green", the color is very pleasing. It comes with a uplocking reel seat, and the cork handle is of cork that is not full of filler. The rod balances very well and the casting stroke feels "just right".

Mike does a beautiful job of highlighting the rod guides with the proper color thread. The overall finish of the rod is outstanding. I have not tried this rod on the stream but plan to very soon. The rod comes with a flannel bag, which is nice and soft.

3 piece with spigot furrules.

As you can see the rod is handsomely appointed. 

Cane And Silk

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Franklin Land Trust, Good Work Continues

I spent some time yesterday at Franklin Land Trust conserved property, "Crowningshield". My day began with some spectacular views of the countryside, even though the sun did not break onto the the trees it still made for some beautiful post card scenes. I walked down to the stream and observed how much work has been done here since Josh Morse and myself first fished here two years ago, I think I still have a bruise or two on my backside from the walk. The air was crisp and the clouds at times won out but my time here was all that I could have wanted. This little bit of land along with the stream it protects will remain as you see it. So many have worked so hard to achieve this so we all can benefit from it's beauty. My thanks to Franklin Land Trust, Massachusetts Division of Fish and Game, Trout Unlimited and Fields Pond Foundation for their work. I would like you to check out F.L.T. site and tell them what they have created and how much it's appreciated. or

My view yesterday morning. What a way to start the day.

I can remember the first time on this run, it's pretty much the same.

There is work being done to create habitat. This is a prime example.

What a place to stop and enjoy a cup of coffee. I would have done so if I had not left the thermos in the car.

Another example of stream enhancement. Chop and Drop. Trees are cut and allowed to fall into the stream to create cover for the brook trout.

And of course the reason for it all. Wild brook trout.

I had the pleasure of meeting three people along my way. These folks were familiar with Crowningshield....if any of you can please visit, you will not be disappointed.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Oh Yes This Did Really Happen To Me

"You Can Catch 'Em On Anything" That was the title of a chapter in John Gierach's book "Fly Fishing Small Streams" and one day last week I put that phrase to the test. By the way if you have not read that book I strongly suggest you do. It is one of the best books I've read.

Now back to fishing. The stream I was fishing had a pool in which I saw two brook trout just setting there taking in some nourishment. I had a bomber on but changed my mind and selected a pretty sparse fly instead. The fly is posted above and it was not much more than a lightly dubbed hook with a turn of hackle. The hackle had broken off and was just about hanging on. I tied it on and cast it up from where the brookies were. It drifted near them and instantly one of them darted for it and took it.

Well John your words came true and here is the proof.

I picked up some Italian sausage at a small market. The label said "hot" sausage but knowing markets I took that meaning very lightly. That afternoon I grilled it up and man did it look awesome.

As it cooked I took a small piece to test to see if it was cooked. Well folks this is one time when "hot was hot", I want to tell you it smoked me. The Mrs. was not pleased but she tolerated it.
Some red and green peppers and a few onions and a hard roll and the burning was not the bad.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NW CT. And The Berkshires

My last couple of outings have been on some small streams in northwest Connecticut as well as the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I am familiar with these lovey streams and have had various results when fishing them. My last time here in this area was back in 2015. Upon my arrival I was thrilled to see ample water flowing. Apparently the area was blessed with more rain the last time.

It did not take very long for me to scatter the brookie. They were all over and soon they were gone at least from my sight. I worked various runs and riffles with a bit more stealth.

My cautious moves netted this male in spawning colors.

The streams were productive considering the bad years of 15and 16. The trout were scattered between pools and the riffles.

This stretch held a nice brookie, I would guess it to be 14 inches. He went for the fly but at the last second backed off and was not seen after.

But a little further upstream I connected with another fine jewel. I'll be back up this way before the snow flies, and I'll be looking for that 14 inch fellow.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The "Ginger Caddis"

October and the thoughts abound. The caddis, what a great month to fish this erratic flying insect. Truth is the caddis is a fly that I fish with confidence the whole year, and I would add with success. Most streams that I have fished have caddis, and even though the hatches are scarce the trout will not let the bug just float by. While there are many caddis flies out there and most work like charms. Here is my version of a caddis that will work in October and the other eleven months...again simplicity is key. Here is the "Ginger Caddis"

The fly is tied on a curved hook, some with a wing of different material. This one has a wing of marabou from a partridge. On others I use a small amount of elk hair. The body material is fox squirrel from the belly. This material is awesome, it comes alive in water. The hackle is ginger partridge, on many of these I'll tie them with 3-5 turns of the feather.

This version is tied without a wing. You can see the spikiness of the body material. This fly get attention.

Here is a wild jewel caught in October on the Ginger Caddis, next will be November and so on.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Tale Of What Was To Be, Or Not To Be

Thursday morning 6 am found us on the road heading to one of our favorite places. The area is that where a couple of unique streams which flow into the sea and our home to special friends of ours called the "salters"....By a few ticks after 8 we were pulling into the parking lot of Leo's restaurant in Buzzards Bay. This is the home of the best blueberry muffins south of Maine. We enjoyed those lovely muffins along with several cups of coffee and off we were to Red Brook.

Crossing the bridge I gazed down into the pool below, hoping to spot a salter but it was not to be. Well being there I said toss the streamer in and lets find out for sure. The streamer was a top producer of mine in this stream and if there was a trout there I could get it to strike. Cast after cast and nothing, even a change in flies brought the same result. At that time a thought entered my mind and at the end of my day it would prove itself.

We moved up Red Brook to a beautiful area with several nice runs and pools. The stretch has lots of cover that hold the brook trout. A hour later and I was facing the realization that there were no fish to be had. I decided to drive to a second stream which was a short drive from Red Brook. On or way back to the car I stopped to fish the pool under the bridge again. On the second cast the streamer took a vicious hit, I pulled and the fish was on, then off. I felt its weight for a moment and I knew it was a good fish. Several more casts and on we went to stream 2.

We pulled into the parking area of the second stream and the sight that greeted us was mind clearing. This is such a beautiful peaceful area that all you need do is just walk the woods trails and your day would be fulfilled. This stream is without question a Hornberg stream. I have never fished here without taking fish on that Honrberg.

I don't know if this pool has a name, but I'll call it "Frustration Pool"....I fished here and several flies were used. The result was the same and that result was nothing. I spent a good amount of time working streamers without a strike. After some thought I guessed that the fish were where I wasn't, they were probably much further upstream tending to other necessities. I chose to make this the final place to fish this day. I tied on a big heavily hackled wingless dry fly and sent it off on a drift. I could see it begin to swing near a large log. The fish rose and grabbed that fly. He was on and going downstream. It's been some time that I have had a trout run line form my reel but this one did. I managed to turn him only to loose him to some slack line. A fifteen minute period went by and I managed to bring another trout to the surface, only without a hookup. It was getting late and we said lets head back and have something to eat and choose what was next.

"When all else fails have a bowl of hot chicken soup"...I chose to call it a day, while not a single fish came to hand a lasting memory was entered into my minds journal. Perhaps next time my friend we will meet face to face...

Monday, October 9, 2017

Jack Gartside, A Great New England Fly Tyer

I started tying flies back around 2000. At first it was pretty much a glob of feathers and hair on a hook. As I attempted to learn more about the finer points of fly tying I thought perhaps a fly fishing show would help. Back then we had a great show that took place just outside of Boston and that was the first one I ever attended. It was there that I met Jack Gartside. I knew nothing of the man but in the time I spent in front of his table I learned a great deal. I noticed he was tying on a Regal vise, the next day I ordered one from Hunters in New Hampshire. Jack was tying his soft-hackle streamers, and talking, like a sponge I soaked up everything. I purchased several books he published and learned from them. Every show after I made a point to stop and visit with Jack. My encounters with Jack were short but I learned much. Sadly Jack has passed but I like to think he's close every time I tie or fish one of his creations.

The "Sparrow"...some say it's a nymph, some say it's a wet fly, I call it a soft-hackle. Pretty effective fly for most fish.

This is close to the original Gartside "Sparrow"...the first version is mine and is not quite the same. I think Jack would not object.

This is the Gartside "Chicken Poop Caddis"...pretty simple fly.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

New England..

This is the season to top all seasons. Nature has come forth to display her magnificent work. Jeanette and I had a day planned last week to get out and see some of Autumn spectacular views. We drove up up Vermont in the early hours. Stopping for breakfast at an old diner circa 1939 and had the most friendly breakfast one could ask for. Driving west we entered a service road to the Green Mountain National Forest. Not more than one mile in we parked the Honda retrieved the pack, a couple of bottles of water and some nuts and off we went. We hiked some of the prettiest areas of New England. Please follow along.

Vast areas of hardwoods and fir. Mixed in were white birch.

Rivers and streams were at seasonal levels, no doubt brook trout were getting ready to spawn.

New England is covered with numerous abandoned apple orchards. While not all of them produce sweet apples " some I tasted were a bit on the tart side, like a lemon" but some were so sweet. We took some home and they will be baked later today. As a side note, ruffed grouse were where the apples are.

Classic New England, Vermont style. We here in Connecticut are about a week away from peak color. I hope to gather some of it's Autumn treasures.

An all New England breakfast. Eggs from Wolcott Connecticut, bacon from New Hampshire, horn from New Britain Connecticut, and coffee from Vermont.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Herl And A couple Of Antique Flies

Herl be it peacock or ostrich is a staple in the construction of Atlantic salmon flies as well as steelhead and a few trout patterns. The feathers themselves seem to possess a magic that will trigger a fish to strike. When they are incorporated in Atlantic salmon flies they are beautiful. Some of the trout flies that use peacock are both beautiful as well as effective. I think almost every angler has a Royal Coachman fly in their fly box that's only one pattern, I'm sure you can name one or many more.

The flies posted here also use peacock and Ostrich in there construction. These flies were first tied in the 1880's. Simple and elegant North Country Spiders.

Thompson's  Fancy"
"Thompson's Fancy"....Body, Slate Colored Silk...Two Twists of Black Ostrich Herl at the tail and under the shoulder...Wing, Gray Feather.

"Blades Purple Dun"
"Blades Purple Dun"...Body Purple Silk dubbed with fine Peacock herl, and over ribbed with purple silk...Wings Blue Hackle.

Monday, October 2, 2017

October 1st...It Starts

I turned the page to October yesterday and was very happy to be able to fish for a few hours as we head into this wonderful season we call autumn. As I walked to the stream the air was crisp and the flannel shirt was a comforting buffer from the morning chill. There was a vanilla like smell wafting through the forest that made me feel good, perhaps someone's breakfast being cooked in one of the homes that are close. The morning sun as it glances upon the stream creates a mosaic that an artist would have a tough job of recreating. All of this happening within a few minutes of being there, and the best is yet to come.

A beautiful slick pool along with a small stream reflection. The waters here break into a deep section of water, a likely place for a brook trout to be waiting.

The dry fly drifted but a few inches before it was taken. Soon my first October brook trout was at hand.

A gorgeous little run. Along that section of woody debris was a brookie.

This one...

Another reflection. This pool was as quiet as any section on this stream. The brook trout were somewhere in its dark water. I was forced to go deep and try to get one to take.

The beadhead worked and this fine red spotted brookie was the reward.

We have not a rain in weeks, but this little spring was flowing nicely. It's cold water providing some volume to the stream. This is one of many that keep the stream flowing healthy.