Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Claret And Starling

Claret and Purple Starling Ray Tucker Tied and Photographed
Claret and Starling this is a spider pattern that has been bugging me for some time. I spent a week looking through many books trying to locate this pattern. I'll tell you this that there are many many similar patterns out there but they are not like the flies I remember seeing somewhere. So I took it upon myself to tie the fly as I remembered it. It consisted of Claret silk thread for a body and Starling for the hackle.

It was over this past weekend that I was on the "flymph forum" when I happened to see a thread about a fly named "Claret and Purple Starling" Clicking on it I found what I was looking for. The post was started 2010 and that's where I first saw it. The flies pictured above are the "Claret and Purple Starling"..they were beautifully tied by Ray Tucker...

This is the Claret and Starling tied by me before I saw the actual photos of Ray's. Claret silk, and Black Starling.

This one has Claret silk and a bleached Starling hackle. I love bleached Starling...hard to get.

Mole skin, Ray's flies called for this as a dubbing and on the next pattern I used it in the construction.

This is the Claret and Starling with a Mole dubbed thorax.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Few Hours With Fran And His Fly

The Ausable Wulff, a Fran Betters classic. I tie them but they just don't seem to look like his. None the less they fish very well and I guess that's why he created the pattern in the first place. I chose to fish the Ausable Wulff one day and like most times it brought a few to the surface. Some friendly pointers from Fran on how to fish his creation helped me to present the Wulff so that any brookie in the vicinity would take it. Now I must say that Fran was not with me at least in body but he was there in my mind. It does one good to pull an old fly out of the box and fish it. They may not always work the way you want them and that's OK. I would suggest that the next time you pull a fly out of your box make sure it's a Betters Ausable Wulff.

One of a few that could not let the Ausable Wulff pass.

How the Wulff looks after being chewed on for a few outings.

An Autumn brook trout from a couple of years ago. The Ausable Wulff in his lip.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Spring, Hiking, Sore Knees and Pleasure.

Sore knees to the max. Spring of 2020 seems to a bit worse on the joints for some reason but I'll not bother you with that. I have over the past week been on the lookout for my favorite spring flower. Trillium has had a wonderful effect on me for many years and to describe the feeling is something I can't do, I'm not the best when it comes to selecting the right words. I have been lucky to find trillium along a few streams, in various stages of bloom. My feelings are this weekend should be a great few days to see it in full bloom.

When you look at this free flowing freestone stream you can see how my knees could have a problem at the end of the day...well worth the pain for sure. It seemed that every pocket held a brookie. One of them was a wee 3", but was determined to grab that size 12 fly.

A few of the brookies were more substantial.

I love seeing wood stacked up like this on a stream. The benefits are tremendous for the brook trout.

Those little plunge pools are a favorite of both brookie and me.

Polenta...corn meal and tomato sauce. So simple and so good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

It's A Visual Thing...

Fly fishing can be so complicated, so frustrating. It can be intimidating along with a bit of lack of self confidence. That's how some people see it and that is not what fly fishing is. I see it as a way to let yourself be part of something that is more than fine rods, and large fish. A stream that is close to home as opposed to a river in a far away place. Fly fishing should be a visual thing. A time when you enter the stream and stop to look around. To see the suns rays highlight the riffles. To hear the sounds of birds going about their daily lives. To see a squirrel going to and fro as if he didn't know where he was going. It's a time when the importance of a priceless rod is secondary as is the thought of a large fish. Now try this the next time out and see if your outing is a better one.

The flies above are of simple materials. They are not complicated. They do not carry a pedigree and you know something else, the trout don't care.

A cream spider. The fly looks beautiful here....

Silk and a hen feather. It looks like royalty when placed with a creation of nature.

So folks go out and enjoy fly fishing and distance yourself from the back ground noise...."study to be quiet" Walton.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Streamers, And A Moment In Life

Over the years I have enjoyed fishing, tying and talking about streamer flies. As you well know by now my use of these flies in small streams has been successful and I will not hesitate to use them. My use of them is not always based on serious thought, most times I just look in the fly box and I'll pluck one out and fish it. Most times I'll be rewarded with a taker and even if that doesn't happen I still have the feeling of success for I blame me and not the fly for my inability to bring one to hand.

The three streamers pictured here are with out question the best streamers for small stream fishing. Over the years they have accounted for many fish. They are always in my box. They are the Black Ghost, McKay Special and Montreal Whore. They are simple marabou streamers that catch fish.

A dark swirling pool on a small stream. It's waters swollen from recent rains. Beads of white foam rise to the surface like clouds in the sky. A dark shadow appears in mid current, perhaps a brook trout...no it's only a branch caught in the current. I reach into the fly box and select a streamer, the Montreal Whore. The fly is cast into the swirling current of the pool. I see it's marabou wing teasing seductively. I tighten the line and see the fly go under the dark water. Suddenly the line stiffens and I feel the weight of a fish. A fight takes place and I know I must keep the line tight. The bottom of the pool is littered with logs, branches and who knows what else. The fish knows he has to find some of that cover to be able to rid himself of the streamer. His valiant effort falls short and he is brought to hand.

Is this a moment of Zen...I can only say it was a moment in life when all...

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Making The Right Choice

Good morning all of you wonderful people. While having my breakfast yesterday I was trying to choose a stream to fish that day. The day before we had a tremendous amount of rain, in the 3" range. Now most small streams drop pretty fast I wasn't so sure this time that the stream first chosen would be OK to fish. So stream #2 was selected and as it turned out that was the right choice. The weather guessers said mostly sunny with a few clouds with temps in the low 50's...and so off I went.

When I walked down to stream I was greeted by this lovely display of violets.

The stream was a bit high. It's flow was maybe three times normal. Remember these are wild fish in here and they are tough and can take the high flows. As a matter of fact I saw a couple of rising fish, and I was even able to tell what they were rising to. My determination was they were midges and the way I know that is because they were swarming in front of my face. A Griffith's Gnat would have been great but a brown soft-hackle also worked.

These brookies were in fantastic shape. From experience I can tell you this is a big fish for this stream.

The stream splits somewhat just above this run. Above that is a beautiful waterfall.

A gorgeous stream with a beautiful waterfall makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich seem like a gourmet selection.

This stream is pristine. There are five anglers who fish this stream and I know everyone...that's why it shall remain pristine.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Along The Banks

A part of the wonders of small stream fishing is taking in all that surrounds you. The land in spring is really transforming and the beauty and wonder is all around. Here are some of my observations from a recent sunny day.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Easter 2020

Easter Wishes to all of you.
Remember that life is beautiful when it's simple.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Spring It's Here...

I know of no pleasure that is more conducive to digging within the ribs than true fly fishing, wading a river or brook alone. Man's greatest need today is not more human contacts, but an opportunity to be alone where the God of Nature can get a chance at him.

After all, the good things come from within, not without.   O Warren Smith.

On a recent outing I was greeted by what I would consider a true spring day. A day that dawned cool and cloudy. A day that within an hour or so turned sunny and bright, and with that sun a warmup began. The stream was at a typical spring flow, and various plants and bushes showed signs of green. The green really show up within the brown drab look of the forest floor.

My first trout lily bloom. That bright yellow flower really made me feel good.

Another thing to brighten an already wonderful start was this healthy brook trout. He took a fly near the surface and showed me how to put a bend in a fiberglass rod.

A semi-dry fly. Thread, coq de leon tail, peacock thorax and ginger hackle...simple.

This brookie is in the running for the most beautiful fish of 2020...it's early but just look at him.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Black Ghost

The Black Ghost a streamer fly created by Herb Welch of Haine's Landing, Maine in 1927. It was tied that year at the Boston Sportsmen's Show by Nellie Newton of Portland Maine. From what I have read the first fish caught on the Black Ghost was a five and a half pound brook trout. It was taken in the Songo River, Sebago Lake in Maine. The angler was Mr. Merritt from Connecticut.

Since that time the Black Ghost has been fished worldwide. It has taken trout and Atlantic salmon as well as bass. The streamer is tied in a couple of variations. One of them is a bucktail, the other a marabou version. The fly above is tied as a featherwing which is the original way Herb Welch had it tied.

This is a marabou Black Ghost. I tie this fly and fish it often. I actually prefer it to the featherwing version. Marabou has so much movement in the water and as a casting streamer is far better.

Here they are side by side. The marabou is a shorter fly and the featherwing much longer. The featherwing makes a fine trolling fly and is used often on the lakes and ponds. It is also tied in a tandem style.

Where ever have you seen this photo? A few posts back I told you of my experience fishing it. Aside from the recent post I fished this stream years ago. It was late December. There was ice formed along the banks and the stream had narrowed. I had a Black Ghost marabou tied on. The fly was dropped into the stream and was pulled under the shelf ice. The line went tight and a fish was on. The fight was impressive in that tight stream. Moments later a beautiful male brook trout was at hand. He did not stay on for long and was back in the stream in seconds....this was the time before I carried a camera. He is still etched in my mind.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Brook Trout Forest...A Spring Day

Wow what a beautiful spring weekend we just enjoyed here in Connecticut. Both days were just awesome with the edge going to Saturday. On that day I chose to fish a stream that I had not fished since last fall. I was anxious to see what old man winter had dumped upon it's waters. I was excited to see these beautiful wild yellow flowers in bloom along the stream. Amazing in that they choose to grow where they do. Marshy and damp are understatements.

The stream....a familiar run. It pretty much looked the same as it did last time I visited, only difference was there is now more water flowing in the stream. This run has some interesting history for me and I will go into detail on it in a future post. On this day a soft-hackle drifted through the run drew a swift strike.

This time the fly held and my first brookie was at hand. He was a healthy guy with an interesting hump to his back.

As the sun worked it's magic, the brookies became active. In this run it seemed that every little pocket held a fish. Some of them taking the fly as it drifted while others slammed it on the retrieve.

An interesting part of this stream. I usually don't venture up this far that being because the knees have started barking. But this day I accepted the issue and I'm glad I did. And no I did not use the log to cross the stream.

A couple of brookies like this one were holding in a pool above that log.

And to cap off such a beautiful warm early spring day in Brook Trout Forest I spotted this darling...Trillium about to blossom.