Monday, February 27, 2012

Trout fin set and first Rangeley style streamer

This weekend was a pretty good one at the vise. A project that started a while back when I first came across this post by Don Bastian, was to tie all these flies and put them in a presentation box. Obviously, I'm nowhere near the standard of tying of Mr Bastian, but I think these flies came out pretty good for the most part. There are one or two I will retie, due to the wing setting and one with a poor body, prior to shipping them out. 

Here's the set

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dolly Varden and a Wet fly order

Making slow and steady progress in my quest to tie great wet flies for show. Last night, after completing an order of wet flies for a customer, I broke out my new stash of quills and tied a Dolly Varden. Hook is Mustad S70-3399 size 6, the standard for show flies.

I have to say I'm pretty happy with how it came out. Still some stuff to work on, but my wing setting is getting much better, and thus the heads on the flies are getting smaller and more manageable. Body on this one could be more smooth, and the wing a little longer, but overall, pretty decent.

Here she is 

I've also been posting my flies on various forums for feedback and critique, without which I wouldn't be able to improve my skills. Someone liked what I was tying as asked me to tie up a set of flies (he specified the patterns) for fishing in Maine. 

Here they are
4 Olive trout Fins - 2 size 8 and 2 size 10
2 Golden Pheasant - 1 size 8, 1 Size 10
2 Babcock - Size 10
2 Parmachene Belle - Size 10
2 Jock Scott - Size 8

While pretty time consuming to tie, they look pretty good for fishing at least.

Anyone interested in these can shoot me message and we can work something out.

As always, thanks for reading my blog.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Goodies in the mail

The last few days have been like christmas morning when i've come home from work to find a slew of packages from various sources. All fly fishing related, unfortunately no checks from Uncle Sam as yet!

First, when Cameron over at The Fiberglass Manifesto busted out some new t-shirt designs, I had to have one. It arrived yesterday - the Comrade shirt in black, "a beaut' as our Aussie friends would say.

Next, my good buddy Gary Tanner from The River's Course, is a very good  semi professional dyer of capes and saddles, not to mention a damn good fly tyer (he likes it spelled TYER, as do I for that matter, but I digress). I purchased some great salmon streamers a while back from him, and one of the feathers he used was deep green color of his own creation. I mentioned to him I was getting into tying Rangeley style streamers, but had little knowledge of hook selection etc, and he was kind enough to send me a nice xl hook and a couple of prepped wings to test out. So my first Streamer fly will be a Tanner Special, to debut soon. Thanks Gary for the nice gifts, I hope you like the fly I concoct.

In addition, Gary, has also submitted several great streamer patterns to the STREAMERS365 project, the first of which debuted on Feb 14. If you haven't checked that out yet, I suggest you get on over there and see whats happening. Gary's fly also features the deep green colored wing.

Following on from Streamers365, the flies featured each month are auctioned off on eBay, and the funds raised going to support various charities. I managed to snag two of the flies from January, a nice Funky Sunrise and The Manager. My goal this year is to pick up a couple of these flies each month and have them put in a frame at the end of the year. A nice piece for the tying cave.

I got some free feathers too from a buddy on the classic fly tying forum. Some African Flamingo. They are great two tone pink and white feathers, so y'all can expect some nice flies to come from these little fellas in the coming weeks.

Finally, it wouldn't be decent post with out something from the vise. I took some time last weekend to get my streamer box refilled with Red Rocket's, designed by Mike Schmidt at Anglers Choice Flies. All the flies he's designed and tied are available to buy directly from him. I like to tie them up, and I've tied a lot of his other smaller patterns, but these suckers are fun to tie and are HUGE at about 5 inches. Great for browns and steelhead, and possibly other fish like pike and musky. Check out Mikes work at the link above and also check his blog for interesting snippets from his fly tying and fishing addictions.

That's all folks for now.

Tight lines if you're out this weekend on the water

Monday, February 13, 2012

OwlJones Terrestrial Swap

Being new to this blogger game, when I saw Owl Jones was having a fly swap with Outsmarting Fish and Dub The Thorax I decided to jump in and have a crack a published pattern come up with a nice innovative foam type fly that will catch fish. Not that I'm new to fly swaps, as in the last 6 months I've registered to participate in no less than 13 swaps, not including Mr Jones':

Winged Wet Fly Swap
2 Midge swaps
Big streamer for trout swap
Small streamer swap
Dry Fly swap
2 Nymph Swaps
2 Steelhead swaps
Bass fly swap
Married Wing Salmon Fly Swap
Spring Brookie Swap
And now i'm on the Owl Jones Foam Terrestrial Swap

That, at 12 flies per swap is box full of flies. Not bad, since most of the flies i would never have tied for myself.

I don't think I'm wrong in saying, the winter fly swap season is a sure fire way to replenish your boxes while still tying flies you are familiar with. Not only that, the return of the flies is a great way to get ideas for flies to tie in future.

If your interested in a foam terrestrial swap, head  on over to Owl Jones, and get in on the action, and while your at it, give him a follow on twitter, there's a prize up for grabs when the 1000 followers mark is reached!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Horizontal Wing

Finally, after 6 weeks of tying classic wet flies, last night I got the wing on one to sit horizontal to the body.

It sure does make them look that much better. At least for show cases anyway. I'm sure the fish don't mind how they look, and I bet after a couple of casts and clips of trees and rocks, they will look like a dogs dinner again!
Still, a minor breakthrough on my quest to tie GREAT (not just good) looking flies.

Don Bastian's Original Olive Trout Fin

The tip is a little ragged, and the body could be smoother, but I'll take that wing any day. There certainly is a lot to be said for good quality quills, that have a uniform thickness along the fibers. I think my previous white quills were causing the wings to collapse and fold under each other. 
Thank to the guys at Hook and Hackle for supplying me with a good source of quality quills by Nature's Spirit. I'll be coming back for more.

So, upward horizontal and onward!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Isabella - A freestyle wet fly

I briefly mentioned in my last post that my daughter had her first birthday last weekend, so I thought I'd tie a freestyle wet fly and name it after her.

Here it is - Isabella (my daughter's middle name) 

Significance of the colors:
Pink - for a girl
White - There was a huge snow storm the night she was born
Gold - what girl doesn't like shiny things
Brown - she has the most beautiful brown eyes
Grey - just compliments the pink I believe

Tied on a Mustad S70-3399 Size 6

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quiet times and birthday celebrations

It’s been a quiet last few days on the fly tying front. Tied up a few more wets.

Black Prince - hackle is a bit long



Bottle Imp

Blockhouse - needs a better wing

Dugmore Fancy

 Still lots to work on, i.e. consistency. It’s appropriate that flies with similar construction should look the same regardless of materials used. Wings should look the same, hackles and throats should be of a consistent length, tips and tags should start at the same point on the hook, heads should be shiny and compact, and of course, ribs should always be 5 wraps.
My aim for the next few tries will be to get all this locked in, and hopefully I’ll achieve that.
I’m gonna tie up the 6 variants of the Trout Fin as a birthday gift. I’ll post them once they are done. Maybe in between times, my order of floss and wing quills will have arrived and I’ll get to tie up some other patterns.
I’ve found the Bergman Collection on Hatches Online is a great source of images and material, and lately I’ve been working through patterns for which I had materials in my stash. Some of those have started to run down so new materials were a necessary evil – like fly tyers ever need an excuse to expand the hoard!! I also picked up a nice copy of Trout on amazon, the second edition from 1952. Its been reported that the illustrations in the older editions are superior to the newer reprints. Lets see

I had planned to attend the fly fishing show in Somerset last weekend, but a date clash with my daughter's first birthday encouraged me to change my plans and attend Lancaster show instead. I’m definitely looking forward to it after reading many great reports from Somerset Show. Lets see if there are any deals to be had at Lancaster.

I've got some flies to finish for fly swaps over on the NAFF Forum, nymph and dry swaps. Hopefully I can get those knocked out this weekend before my quills come, otherwise, they'll never be finished!