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Fly Tying


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About WiscoRon

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    Bait Fisherman

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    brown trout
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  1. Only suggestion is maybe put the “wing” out over the hook point. The idea is to develop drag when the thing is sinking so it turns over and lands on the beads, with the point up. In my experience, bonefish aren’t very picky eaters. They basically have the apatite of a brown dog. A fly’s just got to look eatable. Movement is probably more important than fine detail. The bead chain or dumbbell eyes give Charlies, Gotchas and Clausers a “hiding” effect. So, like utyer says, a range of big and heavy eyes for larger flies and deeper water and lighter and smaller for skinny water. And some with no eyes, like Puffs, for skittish fish in very shallow water. And, like utyer says, color should match the bottom. It’s just a hunch, but I suspect even a bonefish would spook at a fly that wasn’t the color of the prey it expected to see in a particular spot. So, a range from all white for white sand bottoms to brown for turtle grass. And, eyes should match the body. Like, white or silver bead chain on white flies and brass on brown. I’ve also taken to tying a few with mono weedguards on the dark ones I’ll throw into turtle grass. Oh, and, make sure your beadchain is saltwater safe. (Don’t ask me how I learned that one.)
  2. As I’ve said elsewhere on this forum, I think an important and often overlooked issue in vise selection is how jaws hold up to a range of hook sizes you use. I think manufacturers do a disservice by claiming that their vises securely hold hooks from 26 to 6/0. That may be true, for awhile. But it probably will damage the jaws. And it is probably responsible for a lot of the complaints we hear about durability. The basic problem is that one size doesn’t fit all. It’s difficult to tie on to a 22 hook that is mostly covered by a standard jaw. So the tendency is to put the hook way out on the edge of the jaws and then clamp down hard (on very hard hook steel), which is necessary because so little of the jaw surface comes into contact with the hook. The result is chipped or rolled edges on the jaws. On the other end of the range, standard jaws aren’t designed to hold a big hook. Most jaws don’t stay parallel when they open wide, so that the big hooks tend to work loose and move toward the wide end of the jaws. Again, the response is to clamp down hard. The result is worn and bowed jaws. There seem to be only a couple of options if you intend to tie on a wide range on hooks. First, get three sets of jaws (usually called midge, standard and saltwater) for your vise and change them as appropriate. Or, get three vises and switch off when you change hook sizes. This, of course, is expensive. But I think the only other option is to use the wrong size jaws for the fly you are tying, and then complain about the soft steel. After a few ruined jaws, that can get pricy too. Beyond that, I agree with something that TroutBum once said here: Most of the decisions that go into selecting a vise are like those that go into selecting a boy/girl friend.
  3. Couple of thoughts from over the years. First, the point of a vise is to hold a hook while you tie a fly. And, frankly, all of the ones on the market will do the job, at least for awhile. So, all the decisions are about something else. One legitimate issue that doesn’t get much attention is hook size and jaw damage. I think manufacturers do a disservice by claiming that their vise will securely hold hooks from 32 to 6/0. They might hold for awhile. The problem is that the jaws won’t last long. Two problems. One is “access.” It’s difficult to tie on a 22 hook that’s practically covered by the jaws. The tendency, then, is to place the hook way out at the edge of the jaws, which soon causes them to become chipped or rolled at the edge. On the other end of the hook range, if the hook is too large for the jaw design, the jaws are not parallel so the hook tends to work loose. Or, explode out of the vise, which can be more dramatic. And, repeatedly clamping down on a too large hook causes the jaws to bow out after awhile. In both cases, with too small and too large hooks, you’ll have a tendency to clamp down harder than necessary, to get a good hold, which hastens the damage of the jaws. The solution, if you regularly tie across the range of hook sizes, is to get interchangeable jaws (often called midge, saltwater and standard) or three different vises for the different hook sizes. As far as I can see, there’s no other way around this problem. Beyond that, like TB says, choosing a vise is a lot like choosing a girl/boy friend.
  4. I'm a guide part time. If I can I reschedule, if not we deal with it but it limits the fishing possibilities as far as distance you may travel. Most people who hirea captain want to be comfortable and not get wet. On a very windy day, small craft advisory) Your faced then with 2 situations, put the trim tabs down and better the ride while getting soaked or leave them up, stay a little drier and go home with a back ache, sometimes no matter how close you stay to the shoeline you have to travel into open water (manatee zones, low water etc). Remember that most clients arent used to saltwater fly fishing let alone saltwater fly fishing in the wind. All my guide friends agree, may be were just soft. the lee side is always the best choice as Dave suggests unless the wind direction messes with the tides but even then you can make do, ex. Last week I was out with a client and an east wind was blowing around 15 mph and gusting in the low 20's. Not a big deal but it was blowing the water out pretty bad and the outgoing tide was super low. I got out and pushed the boat across a sand bar, it was that shallow, towards a deeper trough where I had seen a bunch of snook and a few reds a couple days prior. Fortunatley I was out of the wind once across the bar and polling around we had the fish to ourselves. Guy caught his first snook ever that day. Personally, I can fish most anytime I want, I choose not to deal with the wind unless I have to. If Im on a fishing trip to an exotic place of some sorts, Im with you guys, Pull out the big whippin sticks and haul some line around! On Capt Matt's comment about back aches, a few years ago a hungry guide on Andros convinced me that a 15 knot wind was "no problem" and I spent the next three days laying on ice packs. Sure, you can find a lee to fish and bulk up with a 10 weight. But, it's the getting out and back that hurts. Repeatedly dropping off of five foot crests in a skiff can do in even a strong back. Thanks for the discussion.
  5. This is a follow-up. I'm the guy who broke the Danvise, right out of the box. The eBay seller replaced the broken part, quickly and with no questions asked. He didn't have to do that. I, after all, broke the damn thing. With that said, what I broke was a PLASTIC screw that adjusts the rotating tension and holds the whole thing together. And, it didn't take much to break it. I was hand-tightening the mechanism to stop the rotation. This, in my view, is a serious weakness. I don't yet know if, like others have said, the jaws are soft. I'll have to tie a bunch of flies to find out. On the other hand, one of the things that attracted me to the Danvise is the claim that it firmly holds very small and very large hooks, without extra jaws. It seems to do that. So, what do you say aboout excellent service on a not-so-good product? One thing. I'm pretty sure this won't be one of the pieces of fly fishing equipment that I'll pass on to my grandchildren.
  6. Call me a reprobate, but I’m still using the old Mustad 94840s for most standard dry flies. Sure, the newer hooks are sharper, stronger and sexier. But I don’t really think that the marginal difference in quality makes any practical difference in a fishing situation. I can’t honestly say I ever missed or lost a fish because I was using an 840. And, for me, they float better than, say, Tiemco 101s. (No doubt a better tier wouldn’t have that problem.) Besides, it makes me feel pretty smart to be using an old fashioned hook that costs half of the new fangled ones and still gets the job done. My fav or hoppers are the Mustad 94831s in size 6. They’re extra long and extra light and just fit right on my deer hair pattern. You gotta look for them (I think they’re out of print) but I stocked up last year and have enough to last for the rest of this lifetime. And I can’t complain about Mustad 34007s for bonefish patterns. I sometimes touch up the point with a file, but that’s probably not even necessary. Again, I’ve lost my share of bones, cudas and permit (and probably some of your share too), but never because of the hook. Lest you think I’m a shill for the Mustad corporation, I do like other hooks for other jobs. I love Orvis 8810s in 3/0 or so for bass bugs. They’re light, strong, sharp and have a wicked gap that just looks lethal hanging under a deer hair frog. And, I recently sprang for a bunch of TMC 600SPs for tarpon flies. They’ve got a properly short shank, great shape, strong point and are as sharp out of the box as any hook I’ve ever seen. At $1.40 a piece, they ought to be good. But, then, when you go through all the effort to get in front of a nice tarpon, it doesn’t seem that the hook is the place to start being frugal. Nice discussion. Thanks, everyone.
  7. Great report on Andros, Ryan. I'm another Wisconsin boy who escapes to Andros every winter. Everyone’s advice has been good. I’ll just add a couple of my opinions for people doing this for the first time. Of course, January isn't the best time to be down there, because of the weather. As you mentioned, there's the pretty constant wind and what they call "cold fronts." (It's funny to see locals all bundled up and shivering when the temperature gets down to the low 60's. I just remind myself of what it was like when I left Madison and feel really toasty warm.) I've found a 9 wt. is a little better than an 8, for punching line into the wind. Something I wasn't totally prepared for on the first trip was the no-see-ems and mosquitoes. When the wind does die down, you can get eaten alive. And, of course, we always try to find a good lee to fish...which is where the bugs like to hang out too. Now I pack extra DEET to keep from getting bit up and a tube of hydrocortisone for when it inevitably doesn’t work. I enjoy doing it the way you did, fishing pretty much on my own and with an occasional local guide. The organized lodge experience seems too much like work to me. You gotta get up and out on schedule, put in your eight hours (with a lunch break) and then be back by quitting time. All regardless of the weather and tides. On my own, I can pick the choicest tides and weather to be at my favorite spots. I may not spend as much time on the water as the lodge people, but I find the quality much better. And, I save a couple hundred bucks a day, which I can parlay into an extra week on the island. I’d also recommend getting away from the lodge and out into the community. The people are absolutely great! And the local food!! The little restaurants and conch stands ain’t gonna win any Michelin stars, but I don’t think I’ve eaten better than fresh cracked conch and peas and rice. Others have experiences to share?
  8. I'm also the proud owner of a brand new broken Danvise. The basic problem for me is that the lever that tightens the jaws works from front to back, so that when you work the lever to secure the hook, the whole head assembly rotates to the back. I think that would be ok, if you had three hands: one to hold the hook in place, another to work the lever and the third to hold the head so it doesn't rotate away. The solution, I see from the enclosed DVD, is to hand tighten the rings on the rotating assembly until it's stationary. (Not much of a rotating vise at that point, but I'm willing to compromise.) But, before reaching the point where the jaw assembly was stationary, I heard a "pop" and the thing fell apart. Seems that the screw that runs through the head broke. Before buying this thing, I read a bunch of rave reviews. Now that it broke, I did a Web search and found out that breaking this screw is a fairly common problem. And, that's how I came across this thread. So, if anyone still wants a Danvise, let me know. I have a nearly new one for sale. It comes in two pieces and might make a good paper weight.
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