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Fly Tying

Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. Great report... "Be a hero... take a kid fishing" and that's how I roll as well. When she's a bit older if you ever come my way down to south Florida all of our canals are just loaded with exotic panfish on steroids (that will take a light fly rod to school....). Oscars, Mayan cichlids, and those are just the most common ones - every one of them just attacking any wooly bugger or similar fly...
  2. The hook number you've cited "34007" is a stainless model. It's duratin equivalent, I believe, is the "3407" that might just be the difference in price you found... Mustad also makes a line of premium fly-tying hooks these days. The Signature Fly Hook equivalent to the 34007 is the S715Z - but I've never seen or used any of their signature line... You can be sure that everything imported into the US these days is really jumping up in price... Recently I bought a spool of Seaguar 80lb fluoro leader material to make tarpon leaders with - that spool was normally in the $40 range if memory serves - it's nearly $90 now.... Since my politics are somewhere to the right of Attilla the Hun... I'm looking forward to next November... I'm pretty ignorant of freshwater hooks for fly tying since I've never needed them. I'll be watching this thread to learn a bit...
  3. Most fly fishers won't ever end up in the salt - and those that do have concerns about their gear. Here's how I maintain my gear that's in hard commercial service day after day... After a day in the salt or brackish waters every rod and reel gets a freshwater rinse (hose at fan setting - no hard jet of water...). Fly gear has the line stripped off down to the backing and gets that same thorough rinsing including special attention to each guide, etc. Once it's all rinsed off thoroughly the line is wound back on the spool wet, the drag is reduced to zero and the rig is stored upright with the reel cover up on the rod - not over the reel, until it dries... That's it folks... Any time I'm asked about warm water, warm soapy water, etc I point out that any detergent will remove essential lubricants from your reel... I don't like any detergents on fly line either since they might attack or degrade that plastic coating on the fly line... Modern fly backing is always synthetic (dacron - or the newer super braids...) so there's nothing to rot although mildew on your backing is very common - it only affects the appearance of your line - synthetics don't rot... The only thing I ever do to my fly lines is use a scrubbing pad (the one that Scientific Anglers sells), when the line is wet... Once it's dry a bit of line dressing (also form SA...) thoroughly rubbed in - then carefully polished off with a dry cloth (the slightest bit of extra dressing attracts dirt and grit like a magnet...). As for that reel, every now and then (maybe twice a year) I'll break down my fly reels and add a tiny drop of oil on the spool shaft, handle pivot, etc. Parts that rub together might get a tiny bit of grease -no more... and they just seem to last forever... Reels with the new sealed drags get returned to the manufacturer if service is needed - but that's almost never with my Nautilus reels. Reels with a cork drag get a bit of neat's foot oil on the drag surface and that's all... Hope this helps
  4. A reel dunked in freshwater- not a very good idea… but not a total disaster… A reel dunked in saltwater needs immediate attention or you’ll wish it was done in short order. This from a guy who’s been repairing and/or maintaining reels ever since I was taught the basics - fifty years ago. At one time I had customers bringing me reels by the bucket full… The good news about fly reels is that they’re relatively simple compared to today’s very complex high end spin or plug casting reels. That said I’m betting that anyone who dunks their reels for a “great photo” — isn’t the guy who has to fix it when a bearing goes bad… I’ll get down off of my soapbox now.
  5. Since I"m a commercial operator - I've been checked by three or four different agencies from time to time... Park rangers in Everglades National Park. FWC officers in various places, and the Coast Guard at times. Find myself saying Sir to the young'uns with the CG.... Most don't care if I catch a single fish -but they really care that I'm operating safely, carrying passengers for hire these past 26 years...
  6. An alternative when setting up leaders is to switch to fluorocarbon leader material… Make your knots without regard for any curling or kinking, then simply attach your fly to a solid anchor and stretch and hold the leader tight for a moment… Any curls or kinks will disappear like magic. It’s a characteristic of fluoro - and the reason why most of us saltwater types no longer use leader stretchers. They’re just not needed with fluoro…
  7. Hope they’re not expecting any business from tyers like me….
  8. I long ago realized that I was a failure at scissor sharpening- until I learned to get the kind of tailor’s snips that have blades mounted on spring arms that are removable… Once I could remove one blade (each blade is screw mounted) then hand sharpening with a series of bench stones was easily done… After a blade is removed it's easy to sharpen the remaining blade - then re-attach and remove the sharpened blade allowing you to do the other side. I start with standard soft Arkansas stone - then finish with a marble hard natural stone - both very lightly oiled... I've re-sharpened the pair of Clover scissors (believe they're from Japan) at least a half dozen times over the years and they're still performing well. The only other tip I can provide is not to use a good pair of scissors for rough work ... for that I use much bigger scissors (Fiskars, and others)... I try to only use my good scissors for small amounts of natural materials...
  9. yep, it does get hot down here... too hot for those accustomed to northern reaches... One solution is to pick up that fly rod - and fish at night... Every docklight holds fish at night down here, so do the shadows under bridges.... litt'luns, and fish that eat the small fish (or shrimp or crabs) . The best part is that you can actually sight fish them (as long as you remember that only your first few casts have much of a chance at getting bit.). The only time the night scene is not worth looking at are on colder nights (for us, when the water temps get down to 65 degrees and the air temps even colder... ). Each to his own...
  10. You’re probably right… On the other hand if you fish the tropics like we do, here are two certainties… No two days are ever the same and at the end of many years on the water you’d still be seeing things you’d never seen before…. After nearly fifty years since my first foray into the backcountry (miles and miles of creeks, rivers, and bays in a mangrove jungle setting). I’m still being surprised at some of the things we run into.
  11. When you find reds (or black drum) schooled up, they can get very competitive and actually push each other out of the way to strike a fly or lure… Unfortunately where we find them when they’re schooled along the coast of the Everglades they’re being followed by bull sharks so closely that the moment you hook up the sharks attack and the reds scatter… Great fun for a moment or two then all of them, sharks and all are gone… This only happens for us in the fall when small groups of bull reds come inshore for a few weeks… then disappear back out into the Gulf.
  12. Used ostrich many years ago - but only a few times… looks like a great material for larger flies - but doesn’t actually provide much of a benefit when it’s wet in my world… I still use peacock herl for really big deceivers (the Southern Deceiver in size 4/0…) and for the Big Eye Bendback. In recent years, when I was filling orders for shops, not much call for the peacock either - but remember, all of my efforts were for the salt… Now that I’ve added peacock bass to my charters I may start using some of that peacock herl again. I tend to buy in bulk so I probably have a lifetime supply of strung peacock if I choose to use it…
  13. Always notice how folks "up north" are really looking forward to the warming weather they need to kick off their sport... Meanwhile, down here in paradise... we're having a relatively mild winter - water temps are finally in the mid seventies each - and one of my anglers caught his first big tarpon last Wednesday (about 80lbs in a river that's less than 100 feet wide down in the coastal Everglades - not on the fly -but not for lack of trying...). My world is just so much different than what freshwater anglers work with. As usual though, my camera work leaves quite a bit to be desired.. Here's one good photo from earlier that day - a 28" snook caught and released very carefully along our mangrove jungle shorelines...
  14. Worldwide most folks involved in production tying… are ladies… Nimble hands, attention to detail, just a few of their many advantages.
  15. Here’s another tip about tying with synthetic materials… As a general proposition less is more with most synthetics… Matter of fact when you finish a pattern you should be able to lay it on your hand and see right through it..
  16. Here’s a tip for anyone bargain hunting fly materials at shows… If you go the very last day of a show just an hour or two before closing you might find some great bargains if you offer to purchase this or that as they’re beginning to pack up the goods for the road… Early on before I had solid wholesale connections it proved very valuable buying necks, saddle patches,etc for this tyer…
  17. I worked fishing, boating, and one or two fly fishing shows over the years starting in the early to mid eighties… At first I was volunteering to assist one shop or other that were ordering flies from me, then finally as an independent commercial tyer once I was picked up by Umpqua. My usual routine was to tie flies all day long, selling them to anyone that wanted them to cover my expenses… while also assisting in whatever booth that was hosting me. Those various shows were invaluable, allowing me to meet many professionals and become well known in the industry. That was how I was picked up as a contract tyer for Umpqua… When I came back to guiding full time in 1996 I continued to work shows - but as the years went by did so less and less. At this point I haven’t worked or even gone to a show of any kind in some years. My preference will always be time on the water. If I’m ever forced to give up guiding I’ll consider going back to tying commercially if I’m still able… If I go down that road again, fly shows will be part of the deal…
  18. If you expect the clerk in the fly fishing portion of a Bass Pro shop to be skilled in fly tying, good luck. The best you can hope for is that they know what’s displayed and how to ring up a sale…. At least that’s what I’ve seen in my local big box sporting goods stores…
  19. I buy a good bit of gear on ebay (when I'm not going direct to one manufacturer or other...) and I regularly see items posted for a lot more than they sell for locally (understatement). Sometimes it's a case of the seller simply ignorant of the value - but I wouldn't discount good old fashioned greed.. Over the years, as long as i stick to stuff I'm very familiar with Iv'e done well. Every now and then though I've ended up with something that I didn't want - but that's the game...
  20. Looked at the photo shown - and it's definitely a stainless hook... but then I looked at his other photos - and none of them are on that hook type... Here's a pic of the one conehead fly I've been doing recently for comparison... It's on a Mustad 34007 1/0 hook (very standard saltwater hook for fly tying...) and it has the largest brass conehead that Wapsi sells.. That conehead is just big enough to slide over the hook's barb (and occasionally I have to crimp the barb just a bit to make it fit....
  21. Have no idea what to do with all my tying materials (you could literally stock a fly shop with what I've collected over the years, buying feathers by the pound, tails by the hundred and hooks by the thousand per size..). I'm guessing my place will look like locusts visited -- if it's anything like death sales I've attended down here in paradise years past.... Seems like everyone likes a bargain and someone will have one heck of a yard sale... for this or that. If I'm ever forced to leave the water and am no longer able to fill orders... then I'll be the one running that rummage sale... Kids are another matter.... I've never charged a penny for demonstrations or talks if it's for kids (and got in a quiet dispute with the IGFA when they wanted me to donate my time - while still charging kids to attend... ). To this day I'm still the guy who will fix a kid's reel, or rod - for free if I can (but they have to bring a parent with them when they come.. ). Thinking back on all those years since I got my first job on a boat (1973....) it's been a heck of a ride and i hope it's not ending very soon at all...
  22. I do something similar - only I call it re-cycling where you take old chewed up flies (and poppers) cut down to where you still have usable materials -then re-build... Of course fishing in salt or brackish waters there's more than a few times where you're saving materials and replacing the hook. Unlike freshwater anglers I'm not using any legs on my poppers (legs of any kind are reserved for crab patterns mostly )with an occasional bug meant for a bonefish... This time of year my bookings are few and far between (that will change towards the end of February and by April I'll be lucky to have any days off the water..). So for now I'm filling lure orders, sorting out rods (still have two to put new guides on as well as one brand new rod that will go on my skiff as soon as it's done....). Just posted a pic over on Instagram of a part of an order for anyone interested (under lemaymiami...).
  23. Those "outrigger style" weedguards were originally meant for very specific conditions in parts of Biscayne Bay where you have, at times, fish over very thick turtle grass that will snag up any fly with something not quite as effective as that outrigger... Years and years ago I taught fly tying classes (both formal, at night at our local community college, early eighties.. and informally with tying nights for local fishing club members) and the test I suggested back then was simply to tie up whatever pattern you were going to use and drag it slowly across your lawn - if it snags up - try something else... or a different weedguard... One of the nice things about this kind of weedguard is that if it's not needed or wanted, it's a simple matter to clip it away and do without... The presentation I came to favor for big bonefish was pretty much gambling.... I'd lay the fly out at least ten feet from a big tailer or cruising fish and note very carefully exactly where the fly landed in relation to the fish - then allow it to sink motion-less. Over turtle grass that meant that the fly was down in the grass... The gambling part? Pretty simple, you were gambling the fish would move to where your fly was - and not move it until the fish was within two or three feet... Bonefish never tail in the same direction for very long -at least not where we were fishing - so fairly often that "gamble" failed and I'd have to pick up the fly and make another presentation. The problem with the fish we were on is that they were terribly spooky and most close presentation just spooked them entirely - and that was that... Remember as well that back when I was fishing bonefish a lot - the average size of a bonefish in the Bay was 8lbs - and the tailers we were working were considerably bigger.... Hard to believe that all these years later when an 8lb fish is hard to find in those same areas.... If I remember correctly the original bendback type flies were in fact meant for bass in freshwater. Chico Fernandez took that style of fly and came up with his own version -then popularized it with a feature article for saltwater and the idea took off from there. As far as the design's weedless characteristics so much depends on the actual conditions you're fishing - and how you're going about it. Over in the Ten Thousand Islands area weeds are rarely a problem - but working around mangrove shorelines and downed trees something relatively weedless is a great idea.... Hope this helps...
  24. Speaking of peacocks (the fish, not the bird)... if you make the move and you ever have occasion to come south for a day or two down to my area, south Florida... Every bit of freshwater holds a variety of opportunities in canals, ditches, ponds, etc. and a fair amount of it can be fished from the bank... Along with peacock bass we have lots of exotics - fish that look like panfish on steroids (or some kind of chemical..) like oscars, mayan cichlids, snakeheads, along with the usual more normal freshwater bass, bream, etc. Just to spice things up a bit some of our freshwater canals, if they're close to saltwater will also have the occasional saltwater fish like snook or tarpon... As already noted a kayak or small car topper skiff can greatly expand your access - but anglers on foot do pretty well with just a rod and a few flies or popping bugs... Lots of opportunities - some in very un-likely places like an urban canal right behind a shopping center... Come on down... remember as well that along with DIY stuff you'll find a great variety of fishing guides to do any kind of fishing you're interested in.... (anyone interested in what I offer... an email request to [email protected] will get you a brochure by return mail...).
  25. Any of those should work on pompano with the appropriate hook and an Intermediate or sinking line…
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