Sunday, January 31, 2021

How it's viewed from both sides....soft hackles and spiders....

An icy stream in NW CT. yesterday. This place is off limits for awhile. Beautiful scene. Now the weather guessers are saying a major snow event for tonight and tomorrow. The snow I can deal with but when it covers up the ice underneath it's time to stay home and plan, tie flies, cook and maybe get organized, things such as fly boxes which have no organization what's so ever.  Somehow the disorganized fly box is OK and works well for most of the year I still like to get it in shape for at least one month.



A soft hackle/spider. Just tied it looks beautiful in its dry state. But that's not how the trout see it and that's what matters. Below you will see just how these soft hackles appear when in the water.

This fly has a sparse dubbed body and hackles. If you look closely you will see tiny air bubbles on the whispy fibers. To a trout this shows life.

This fly shows those air bubbles on the dubbing and hackles. It also shows how the hackles move simulating life.

Here you can see lots of air tiny bubbles on the dubbing and hackles. Also shown the the orange silk thread body through the sparse dubbing.

This spider really shows how life like a few turns of hackle along with some sparse hares ear thorax dubbing can show life. Also the trapped air bubble in the thorax area  is just what a mayfly does as it is moving to the surface to hatch.

Chilly days call for a hot bowel of "chili" No whimpy stuff here.


Thursday, January 28, 2021

The "Pool".......

On a recent outing I found some willing brookies in an unlikely place. The day was sunny and rather bright. The air temp was enhanced quite a bit from the strong rays. On days like this I tend to fish the dark places in the stream, areas that have decent cover for the brookies. I will from time to time try other areas and on this day I was fortunate to find some willing fish. I had on a soft-hackle fly, a Partridge and Green. I came up on this pool. It was not deep but had enough water to hold a trout. The log laying in stream provided some cover and there was enough woody debris in stream to make the fish feel safe. I cast the fly and allowed for a short drift. As the fly neared the log I stopped it and began to lift it up toward the surface. As it reached the surface I saw a brookie come up and swipe at it.

Several more casts and another one swiped at it. The pool was clear so I could see the action. These fish were coming right off the bottom.  The soft hackle fly was pulsating as if it were hatching I could see it doing what it was supposed to do.



Partridge and Green.

These are a couple of the brookies I brought to hand. I estimate there were at least ten brookies in that little pool. Again very healthy well fed fish.

This guy looked like something tried to make a meal out of it.


Monday, January 25, 2021

This and that, and here and there...

Good morning folks. I hope your New Year is better then your last year. I'm a pretty frugal individual. I'm a person who likes a bargain that's genuine. It's not a bargain if it's crap if you know what I mean. While shopping at the grocery store I saw a package of blueberry muffins that were going out of code. These are not bad but are a bit on the stale side. I bought them and split them, buttered a fry pan and grilled them. They were totally awesome. Our breakfast this morning.


Maybe you have been wondering why I have not posted much about my Tiny Ten. Well that is because I broke it. While fishing it I got hung up on the bottom, attempting to free the fly I broke a section. I notified Sam Kates told him of the issue and he promptly sent me a replacement section. That my friends is service. While Sam's company is small his customer service in great.

Here is a stream that is perfect for the Tiny Ten. Yesterday while walking in the woods we gazed into the pool just ahead of the tree. There we saw 3 beautiful brookies soaking up the sun. I will get back there soon.

Great fly that has been working well .... Partridge and Green...that green silk body takes on a different shade when wet.... Notice the Tiny Ten rod is lying in the photo. Trout Flies and Flowers.

Sometimes it's not to bad...

 Sometimes while fishing I  hit the record button by accident. Most times I record a bunch of sky or trees. This time I managed to get some decent small stream action. The pool where this brookie was caught on a Olive and Partridge soft hackle also produced several others.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

They're looking up.....

Rowan made a comment in one of his posts referring to brook trout always looking up in a small stream. This is true no matter what time of year. I always say try it even if the probability is low. I will fish a dry fly any time and in winter when I choose that dry fly chances are it will be a "bomber"...that super creation on Fran Betters. Then there are times when I'll fish a dry fly pattern that has no place being in your fly box this time of year let alone tied to your tippet and floated in a stream. On this day I had the desire to fish a fly that  has not been seen anywhere in months not even in the warm corners of your basement. That fly is the ant. I tie a simple ant pattern using a foam cylinder with a white spot for visibility. I buy these cylinders from Bill Skilton. Along with some black thread and a few turns of black hackle I have a fly that floats and gets attention.



These foam flies, an ant and some bee patterns were in my box and were given water time on a stream.


It was an awesome day with several brookies rising to the ant. Many of them quite small. In the semi calm water is where most of the activity took place but I still had my share of strikes in the riffles.

This was my best of the day. He took the ant in a heavy riffle near a fallen log. One thing that stood out was the fact that these fish were so healthy and well fed. Maybe the reason is the amount of ants their eating.

Yes folks it's mid January and ants are working.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

How to tie the chickabou streamer.....

A post that I did earlier on a chickabou streamer generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally. Many of you asked how about showing us how to tie it, so here it is. By the way I just want to say that this fly is not something I created but it's a fly based on a Jack Gartside pattern called a soft hackle streamer. The thread I use is Uni 6/0 Camel, but you can use any brand you like. The Hook is a Firehole 718 #12.., feel free to use the hook of your choice.


Start the thread behind the eye and wrap rearward to about mid shank.

Select 3 chickabou feathers. If possible choose 3 different sizes. Is this step critical well maybe not but it makes a nicer profile in the finished fly.

Wrap the feathers forward. Each feather should take about 4 wraps. Keep the wraps close and tie off. Take the same steps with each feather tying them in front of the last one. These father can become flightly but by stroking them rearward and a little moisture they will conform.

You can see the fly taking shape. The process is not difficult and you should be able to tie this in no time.

The complete fly. Now comes the collar
Select a soft hackle feather. Again it's your choice. I like a darker one for it adds contrast.
Wrap your collar, 2 turns is adequate.
Whip finish and the fly is ready to fish. I hope this helps, but if you have questions I'll be happy to answer them.

Monday, January 18, 2021

"nondescript".....I think not.

One of many streams I have crossed in my lifetime. It may look like just an ordinary regular stream we come across when going about our daily routines. What is a bunch of moss covered boulders, dark tannin stained water and a sound that is not heard anywhere but along it's banks. There is a mystery here and it's different form any other of the hundreds of streams like it. I have encountered  these streams all over the eastern United States from Maine to Virginia from mountain to sea and they all are special. my next crossing will be like my first crossing.

I can remember all of my stream crossings though it might take a few moments to recall them. Like a book the mind will highlight those streams when the pages are turned.



So special to recall such a wonderful creature. A wild jewel, something that has no equal. It need not be "big" to be valuable to both angler and non-angler.

Feathers and thread. It's a simple way of describing these flies. The sight highlights the thoughts I have of a warm and green time along that stream...

All that is needed here is a moment to look back and reflect what may or may not have happened that day.

A cucumber, now that is "nondescript"...well not so. When it's put into a brine with garlic and spices it turns into a Kosher delight.


Friday, January 15, 2021

Fishing "chickabou" and fine winter fare...

Remember the fly I wrote about a couple of posts ago, well I have fished it a few times now in a couple of streams. I was surprised how well it was recieved by the local char, not really surprised because I had a strong feeling it had the attributes of a fish taker. But the surprise came by where many strikes came from. The fly actually is a small streamer but it was being taken near the surface like a caddis emerger. Some of the brookies swiped at it as it was swinging and several slammed it as it sat near the bottom.  

I wish I had underwater video of the flies action for it was remarkable. As the fly lay motionless in the current the darker portion of the fly expanded which chickabou will do. Well that expansion drew some violent strikes and that led me to believe the brookies were taking it for a sculpin. Many small streams have generous populations of sculpin and they are a sought after food source for trout.



A brookie that took the chickabou fly.

In this riffled section of stream is where the chickabou fly was taken as a caddis.


When wet you can see a sculpin like resemblance.  From a large head to a thin tail. And when the water flows through it life is put into action. I have tied a variant of it using a short shank hook. More on that later.

Baked gnocchi.....cut peppers, onions, tomatoes approximately 1" pieces. Add minced garlic, olive oil and frozen gnocchi. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a 450 oven for 18-20 min.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Webster -Wiki and others....How did I miss these.

"Classic"...serving as a standard of excellence....Often the use of this word is dramatically overplayed. I for one use it but in very limited instances. Many times this word is not used when actually it should. Classic is used in most every which way describing food to automobiles and I can attest to as well as you can that this is farther from the definition. The book you see in the first picture was gifted to me by a reader of this blog. It has been in print for over 60 years. While the author is a name I'm familiar with I have never read the book. Mr. Atherton  in his writings within the book share many of my beliefs as well as many that I intend to use going forward. His thoughts on impression in both fly construction and how the fish react to that impression have been a part of me since I started this journey. He also used numbers to identify his beautiful fly creations. So simple and yet I struggle with naming the flies I create. One of his creations was numbered 5...a dry fly. So at the bench using some materials given me along with the book I attempted to tie the #5 "Classic"...



Atherton's #5...again some of the materials are equal to the originals and some have been improvised. My attempt at tying a Catskill style fly is far from a master Catskill tyer. I honestly believe that John Atherton would agree that it's impression is close enough.

Another book that I was gifted. It to should be hailed as a "Classic"...I have never read the book but it has been out there for decades. Mr. Smith also hold many of my feelings about flies, fishing and where it all takes place.

The "Classic" Partridge and Orange Spider. 

My first numbered fly in the tradition of John Atherton...# 1 Spider.