Tuesday, April 17, 2018

6 Good Reads

As always, I'm playing catch up around here after being in Asheville for a couple days for the Orvis Guide Rendezvous (which was a STELLAR time by the way) and jumping back in with a six pack of recent online stories worth your reading time.  Enjoy...

OUTDOOR LIFE - JUMP ABOARD THE FLY FISHING TRAIN

THE DRAKE - BLUEGRASS AND FIBERGLASS

FLYLORDS MAG ON MR. JERMS

DEER TROUT - ALEX WITH SEXY RIVERBOAT TALK

GINK & GASOLINE - JASON HAD SOME TRUST ISSUES

FIELD & STREAM - BLADE SKILLS LEVEL EXPERT

Okay, that's enough.  Get back to work.

MICHIGAN TROUT UNLIMITED - Au Sable River Boat Raffle

There are few things that conjure up the nostalgia of northern Michigan fly fishing more than the Au Sable River Boat and Michigan Trout Unlimited is raffling off a boat, trailer and cover as part of their annual fundraising effort.  Funds raised will be used for youth education and diversity programs.

Somehow I've never experienced fly fishing from a river boat but that's likely to change later in June with a float planned with Alex Cerveniak of Deer Trout.  I can't wait.


Want in?  Tickets are $20 each or six for $100 and the winner will be drawn on September 15, 2018.  The winner does not need to be present at the Lovells Historical Museum to win.

Purchase tickets and more details on the Michigan Trout Unlimited website and a deep rabbit hole of river boat goodness on the Au Sable River Boat Association Facebook page to click "LIKE" on.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

ORVIS: 50/50 On The Water

Orvis has been building on the focused idea of opening the door wider to bring more women into fly fishing for well over a year now with the 50/50 On The Water campaign.  Orvis's push for gender parity in the sport of fly fishing jumped forward this week with a new website and this video going live.    



Along with this video and others, there have been some great interviews already posted on the website that are worth a look...

ORVIS Interview:  Kami Swingle
ORVIS Interview:  Katie Cahn
ORVIS Interview:  Jen Ripple
ORVIS Interview:  Hilary Hutcheson

Visit the Orvis 50/50 On The Water website for more information, upcoming events, videos and more.

Roughly Speaking Podcast - Listening to Lefty

This interview was recorded just weeks before the death of Lefty Kreh and is just a really great conversation to take in while you're at work or are on the road today.


Visit The Baltimore Sun Roughly Speaking Podcast page to listen.

Monday, April 9, 2018

V-STICK CUSTOM FLYRODS - "So Blue" on Blue on Blue

Whenever I see the always color heavy work of Renato Vitalini of V-Stick Custom Flyrods, I have to constantly remind myself that I don't need a new fly rod.  That certainly doesn't keep me from wanting through.  Damn, he's good.

Renato's latest build is on the Swift Fly Fishing Epic 990 and this "So Blue" nine weight looks so great in a wash of so many other blues.  The cork to EVC foam transitions are so tight and even the reel seat hardware anodization is spot on with the other blue tones.  Renato has an eye for color with what works well together and this build is certainly a great example of that.










Visit the V-Stick Custom Flyrods website for more on this build and others.  Follow along the latest shop news on Facebook and Instagram.

REDINGTON - "IN THE LOOP" Coming Soon...

For better, or maybe for worse, In The Loop is coming...



New episodes going up each week and coming soon.

Visit the Redington website and take a look around and click "Follow" on the Redington Vimeo page for the latest videos.

P.S.  The ZERO, which is one of my favorite sub-$100 clicker fly reels, is now available in a new color way.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

THE HANGDOWN - Spring Time and the Swingin's Easy

I've said it before, but almost everything cool that I find somehow has a nexus first to Instagram.  I recently started following Sean Mitchell, a.k.a. @the_hangdown, and really impressed with both his tying ability and the photography that he is sharing through his profile.

We started a conversation a week or so ago and since spring is kinda in the air where steelhead swim, I asked if he'd put together a short list of favorite swing patterns.  Sean came through with a great write up, images and recipes to tie your own.  Read, take notes and then hit the vise.


Sean wrote...  "With the rising popularity of tying flies with composite loops, tiers around the world have begun to take their own artistic license with the technique. Stacking ingredients in a loop can be seen in dry flies, soft hackles, and even nymphs. The way the composite loop inspired me was to take the classic patterns I love and give them a facelift. I wanted them to hold less water while retaining a substantial profile. My favorite tying material, hen hackle, is much sparser when spun in a loop. Also, the technique is much more durable than simply palmering hackle feathers. Finally, blending materials in a loop can be more natural looking and less bulky than trying to alternate materials. I love taking natural materials like chickabou and pairing it with just a little touch of sparkle, such as ice dub. This gives the fly a subdued shimmer that closely resembles the natural fauna in the water. With water temperatures on the rise, hungry trout are on the hunt for these shimmering large meals like a dace or trout fry.

With the coming of early Spring, our rivers swell with muddy run off and Spring showers. Major hatches like the Hendricksons will not arrive for weeks or even months from now in some places. Where I am, in Vermont, dry fly season doesn’t really take off until June.  However, crane fly larvae and leeches emerge in the Spring. Hold-over fry from the summer before and sculpins are being tossed about in the fast, murky current. This puts the swung fly at an advantage this time of year. Not to mention Spring run steelhead are about to ascend the great rivers of the Pacific Northwest. So, naturally, now is the time to choose a handful of flies to add to your box that you feel confidence in.

The system I use to choose and create flies can be summarized by two words: simplicity and versatility. I want a few patterns that I can use in several different scenarios and I want those bugs simple enough to where you can tie them in 25 minutes or less (taking my time). I have shared my selection of five patterns with you all to hopefully inspire you to go out and swing a fly this Spring. Three are inspired by the Intruder style fly, but they are by no means true intruders. I rig with wire rather than tubes or wire insulation connection. I basically do this to minimize tail fouling and to reduce swing weight on a hooked fish. They are also not tied with rhea or ostrich and, while sparse, are bushy in comparison to the real deal. The other two pull heavy inspiration from my two favorite tiers, Jack Gartside and John Atherton. They are as follows..."

“STOP, HAMMER TIME”

"STOP, HAMMER TIME" RECIPE
HARDWARE
25MM Senyo Intruder Shank
Standard Senyo Intruder Wire
SM/XS Lead Dumbbell Eyes
Gamakatsu 2557 #6-#2

FORWARD HACKLE
Mottled Gray CDL Hackle
Cobalt Rubber Legs
UV Dun Ice Dub

BODY
Silver Braided Tinsel

TAIL
Krystal Flash

The “Stop, Hammer Time” is an Intruder Inspired pattern with a single forward hackle comprised of CDL hackle, ice dub, and rubber legs all spun into a composite loop. This fly has a substantial shoulder, which moves a lot of water, especially considering the fly’s smaller size. Use this with a slack-line presentation around mid-depth to deep structure with a s5-s6 tip on cloudy days or throw on the 8s-9s tip with a broad side presentation deep in buckets when the suns out.

“CLUCK NORRIS”

"CLUCK NORRIS" RECIPE
HARDWARE
25MM Senyo Intruder Shank
Thin Senyo Intruder Wire
Gamakatsu 2557 #8-#4

FORWARD HACKLE
Olive Brahma Chickabou
Olive Rubber Legs
Pheasant Tail Ice Dub

BODY
Gold Braided Tinsel

TAIL
Krystal Flash

The “Cluck Norris” is a VERY sparsely tied fly. It is meant to be fished either at or just under the surface with either a Scandi head or a Skagit with a 2s-3s tip. This fly has a great “jiggly” swimming motion when swung through medium-fast current and flashy yet subdued by a shroud of natural materials. Simply designed to catch a fish that is looking up. Also, a great fly to sink on a tip and strip out of trenches. Watch for the take near the bank.

“GHILLIE SCULPIN"

"GHILLIE SCULPIN" RECIPE
HARDWARE
25MM Senyo Intruder Shank
Standard Senyo Intruder Wire
XS-MD Lead Dumbbell Eyes
Gamakatsu 2557 #4

FORWARD HACKLE
Dark Mottled Gray CDL Chickabou
Dark Mottled Gray CDL Hen Hackle
Burnt Salmon CDL Chickabou
Olive Brahma Chickabou    
Red Rubber Legs

BODY
Gold Braided Tinsel

REAR HACKLE
Burnt Salmon CDL Hen Hackle
Olive Brahma Chickabou
Ice Dub Steelie Blue

TAIL
Krystal Flash

The “Ghillie Sculpin” is a bucket dredger. Plain and simple, sometimes you need to get down. It’s just flashy enough to have some iridescence when near the darker riverbed. All of the feather stacking in the shoulder along with the short rubber “gills” gives this fly a ton of structure and maintains a broad shoulder even when stripped with the swing (a favorite tactic when the fish are very active). I won’t lie though, it’s not a fun fly to tie.

“LETHAL WEAPON NO. 7”

“LETHAL WEAPON NO. 7” RECIPE
HARDWARE
25MM Senyo Intruder Shank
Senyo Thin Intruder Wire
Gamakatsu 2557 #8-#6

BODY
Dark Mottled Gray CDL Hen Hackle
Burnt Salmon CDL Hen Hackle
UV Dun Ice Dub

The “lethal Weapon No. 7” is the last in a series of flies. All seven flies are tied in different variations of spun dubbings and feathers found on a hen hackle with chickabou cape. The No. 7 is one of my favorites in the series because of its versatility. Desiccated, an angler can target top feeding fish with a skated presentation. The fly is neutrally buoyant when soaked, allowing the angler to utilize this bug anywhere in the water column with any sink tip. A favorite way to get down and dirty with the No. 7 is to chuck it on an extra fast sink tip. Cast straight across, well above where you want to present the fly. Immediately mend upstream and pull the line toward you 6-10 feet. You are trying to allow the sink tip to dive and dig into the subsurface currents. Count to three and give one aggressive strip in. This strip will drag the fly into the lower part of the water column, in line with the sunken tip. This also takes out any remaining slack in your line, engaging your swing. The best take using this method is right after the strip. It never fails to startle the hell out of me.

“LETHAL WEAPON NO. 5”

“LETHAL WEAPON NO. 5” RECIPE
HARDWARE
25MM Senyo intruder shank
Senyo Thin Intruder Wire
Gamakatsu 2557 #8-#6

BODY
Olive Brahma Hen Hackle
Pheasant Tail Ice Dub

The “lethal Weapon No. 5” is tied with brahma hen. This makes it smaller and less sturdy in fast water than the No. 7. I tend to fish this like I would fish a woolly bugger. Mid water column, slower water and, in this case, smaller waters. Because of its light weight, this fly could easily be thrown with a 4-5 wt single hand rod and swung for second year hold-overs in your trib out behind the house. Best of all, all seven Lethal Weapons are easy and cheap to tie. Add a cone head or lead-free wire if you like; I like how they swim without weight more though.

Want more?  Follow Sean on Instagram at @the_hangdown.