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Fly Tying


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About JOAT

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  • Birthday 06/03/1969

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    Soldotna, Alaska
  1. Pack out "more" than you pack in. That's my motto. As a second to that, I don't go anywhere without a trash bag tucked away. We can't fix the remaining litterbugs. We've been running anti-littering public education for about 50 years. If they haven't got it yet, they aren't going to get it. However, litter is like a magnet. One bit of trash on the ground is like a big sign that says, "it's OK to drop your crap on the ground here". We shouldn't walk by trash, even if we didn't drop it. I personally think we should drop the "pack it in" part and just promote, "Pack It All Out". Just 2 weeks ago I stopped in to an out-of-the-way lake with road access and a small boat launch. Not another soul around the whole time I was there, but I put in a bit of casting along the shore searching for a pike and then let the dogs have a good swim. Since it was right after ice out and the weed beds haven't grown back in yet, I didn't have any fishing luck from shore in that area(have to go back out there with the boat to get to the good fishing areas), but it was still a nice morning of Alaskan solitude. When my activities were done, I put my gear up, grabbed a trash bag and proceeded to walk the edge of the parking lot and boat ramp. In short order, I had filled the bag up with everything from a case worth of beer bottles to McDonald's wrappers to fishing debris. Just as I was picking up the last visible bit of trash at the end of the boat launch, I noticed that a state parks warden had pulled up to the other end of the parking lot and was just sitting there in the middle of the access road about 100 yards away staring at me. As I tied up the trash bag and walked back over to my vehicle, he drives over to me. He stopped, got out and proceeded to thank me for picking up the park and then offers to take the bag of trash and he'll drop it at the dumpsters back in town. I got the feeling that this may have been the first time the guy ever saw a member of the general public just randomly picking up trash in a state park. We shared some chit-chat for a few minutes, I expressed by anger with litterbugs, he thanked me again for picking up the trash and I went away with a smile on my face for leaving the place better than I found it. The way I see it, a guy can either sit around and complain about the way things are, or he can actually get off the couch and do something to make things better. You want to make a real impact, go to a fishing spot with a light to moderate crowd, grab your trash bag and start picking up all the trash you can find and do it deliberately and in plain view of everyone. If you see some "fresh" trash next to someone, ask if it is there's as you pick it up. Shame is a great motivational tool. If you don't have other people helping you within a couple minutes, then those present are a lost cause. After picking up the fishing area, grab your rod and start fishing. Every set of eyes there will know what you considered to be "first things first".
  2. Interesting stuff, esp about the availability in Canada. Over here (Alaska) it can be sold by a Native Alaskan after they have turned it into a "craft item". So, a native friend of a friend who can go up and get polar bear fairly easy came up with a nifty end-around play to foil the government regulators. He cuts his polar bear hide into strips that are about an inch wide and vary between about 2-6 inches long. On one end, he hot-melt glues a little triangle of felt with 2 little doll eyes glued on top of it. Some of the hair is natural, some of it he has dyed (lightly) to shades of orange, yellow, green, etc. Anyway, he puts 3 of his eye-balled bits of polar bear "craft" into a ziploc bag and attaches his official native craft label proclaiming the contents to be "Polar Bear Ice Worms". He sells these "crafts" to fly fishermen, who get to take the "ice worm" apart and make flies out of it. The pieces I have are on the hide and have about 2-3 inches of hair length on them.
  3. I got a small bag of polar bear hair. Pretty amazing stuff and very hard to come by. Super buoyant and naturally "shimmering pearlescent”. I'm at a loss as to what to tie up with it. I don't want to waste any of it. So, if you had a little polar bear hair and were targeting salmon, trout, and maybe pike, what would you make out of your polar bear?
  4. JOAT

    Is it wrong...

    No, I didn't buy the duster... it was part of the store's personal property sitting on top of a service counter with some other janitorial stuff. I just saw it out of the corner of my eye and instantly thought about tying a fly. Heck, it even prompted me to stop at Sportsman's Warehouse on the way home and pick up a few pieces and parts.
  5. JOAT

    Is it wrong...

    ...that I was walking through the store today, saw a feather duster and had a sudden urge to get a vice, hook, and thread to see what I could make out of it?
  6. In Alaska, we have Geocache Alaska as a statewide non-profit representing all geocachers in the state. Most states have their own state and/or local organizations that do similar things. The biggest problem geocachers run into is permission to place caches on public lands. By forming a club, the groups can approach parks land managers to negotiate blanket use permits for geocaching. As for Alaska, there are well over 4,000 geocaches in the state. I bet a quarter or more of those are in the Anchorage metropolis region.
  7. A hard-core geocaching master here. I've been on the board of directors for our state's geocaching organization for the last couple years. We run a statewide geocaching education program and secure a lot of blanket landowner permits for geocache placements as well as host many geocaching events throughout the year. It's a great outdoor activity that gets whole families off the couch and back into the outdoors. I have such a hard time browsing this site due to the use of the acronym "FTF" all over the place. That is a highly used geocaching acronym that stands for "First To Find". Kind of a game within the game to see who can get to a new geocache first after it is published. Everytime I see it on this site, my mind says "First To Find", which never seems to fit into the context of the rest of the post. As for your GPSr, while many of them will work and you can even geocache using a GPS-enabled smartphone, I highly recommend Garmin. I've been using Garmin since the days of their GPS-40 model from the early 1990's. The latest handheld models, such as the 62 series, will allow you to actually download up to thousands of geocache coordinates plus all the cache listing information right into the GPSr. This way you can pick and choose caches to hunt in the field, rather than having to sort through them on the computer at home and pick which ones to enter the coordinates for. You can actually load up your GPSr and just hit the field to decide which caches to look for while you're out there. Then the GPSr will keep track of your finds to make logging them online at home a lot easier. Feel free to ask me any geocaching or GPSr questions you might have. I'll be glad to help.
  8. Not being able to see it (due to burry pic, put camera in macro mode first), I'd say keep it. If the materials were that bad, then just cut them off the hook and start over. Not sure why you'd throw any fly in the trash when you can always salvage the hook.
  9. Re the video... I like that method and I'm sure it would work well for lighter weight stuff. I just couldn't trust that for a big salmon that was pulling only on the rear hook. Will have to give it a try for some smaller streamers. I do have some smaller coated wire leader that I use for pike rigs. (speaking of which, I'm sure this particular fly pattern would work just as well for pike as it would for the salmon that it was originally intended for) As for the nail knot sliding down the shank, I'm fairly sure the combo of glue and full length thread wrap would prevent the knot from sliding, but even if it did, the furthest it would go is to the bend in the front hook and you'd still have the fish, right? Flies are more or less sacrificial, especially a big streamer that is getting eaten by a fat 20# Coho! So I wouldn't expect something like this one to last a real long time when dragging it through a school of 10,000 salmon. BTW... even though I live 3 minutes from the famous Kenai River, I very rarely participate in King Salmon fishing anymore. It is yet another of our world's great fisheries that has been destroyed by bad management and massive over harvest. The tourist driven sport fishery has been targeting trophy Kings for the last 30 years and now there are very few trophy sized Kings left. As an example, a local tributary stream that I spent countless hours on as a child was filled with huge Kings spawning every summer. I recall many monster fish in the 60-70 pound class traveling up those waters. Now, that same stream is nearly dead. The biologists have a fish weir setup so they get to count every single fish. Last summer they had a total of 22 Kings go up that stream and the largest was maybe 25 pounds. And there's no way of knowing how many of those made it past the bears to actually spawn. At any rate, I choose to fish the exceptionally healthy stocks of Sockeye, Pink, and Coho salmon as we need to give the Kings a break. If I were emperor, I'd shut down all retention of King salmon for the next 6 years to allow the stock a chance to recover via maximum escapement, but since there are politics involved, we'll probably keep fiddling around until the King is dead.
  10. Thanks for the replies. I'm curious about these methods that don't have a physical tie into the leading hook about the strength of the trailing hook on larger fish, such as salmon? Here's a pic of the fly I tied (I'm thinking about doing a little trimming to clean up the head as well as shorten the tail a little bit) along with a pair of nekid hooks that are tied together by the same method. That is 30# mono (which I use for nearly all of my traditional salmon leaders, so I have a lot of it around) with a physical connection to both hooks. On the fly, I then wrapped thread over the nail knot and secured the mono down the length of the shank prior to coating both mono knots and the wrapped section with cement. The bulk of the nail knot isn't a problem as it gets buried behind the eye bead and hidden by the rest of the materials on this particular fly. Other than the hook point going through the rabbit skin, there is nothing actually tied to the trailing hook on this one.
  11. Did my first attempt at a fly that uses a trailing hook last night. Working from a pattern in a copy of Fish Alaska magazine. It didn't give any details on how to tie in the trailing hook, so I used a piece of leader and put a snell on the trailing hook and then ran the leader up the shank of the primary hook and used a nail knot to attach directly to the shank behind the eye. I then used my tying thread to wrap down the mono leader to the length of the shank and soaked the whole operation in head cement before continuing on to tie the rest of the fly over the top of that. It looks like it will work just fine, but I was curious if there are other methods or knots that folks use for doing something like this?
  12. JOAT

    Squid fly

    Awesome. The "internals" were completely different than what I was imagining. Thank you very much for explaining the steps. This one I must give a try!
  13. I'm thinking big Pike. Still working up to decent mouse and frog flies up here. A baby duck would also be a good one for Pike. Looking forward to seeing everyone's little critter samples!
  14. JOAT

    Squid fly

    If I understand this correctly, you have a piece (or is it two?) of mono trailing off the rear of the hook and the eyes are glued to that. I'm guessing it is similar to a shrimp/prawn tie? Is there a good step-by-step break down of how to tie this fly? It looks like a real saltwater salmon slayer!
  15. JOAT

    Squid fly

    So how are you attaching the eyes on this layout? Are they just glued directly to the feathers?
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