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Fly Tying


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Everything posted by mainbutter

  1. +1 here in MN, freshwater drum are referred to as sheepshead, some of the locals shorten it to just "sheepies". I was confused when I moved here from TX, but there you have it with local terminology. Same with the post earlier mentioning dogfish.. bowfin in some places, small shark species in others. I've yet to catch a sheepie on a fly, but sometimes I can't keep 'em off my cut bait when going after catfish. I've tossed flies after catching a half dozen in a short period of time to no avail, but it was pretty murky water in the 'sippi.
  2. I don't bother with a taper on my 9wt most of the time. Let's face it, I'm flinging big waterlogged streamers that push water or creating a commotion with poppers. 20lb mono is my go-to. Fly line to mono to fly. I don't even really use a terribly long section of mono. I'll use a small section of more bite proof material at the fly if I'm worried about esox, which I usually am. WIth my 4wt, I use a store bought tapered leader, and tie on 4lb test tippet. THAT is when I usually try to be sneaky and have a delicate presentation
  3. As a poor out-of-college student I was able to afford the Cabelas package that comes with rod, reel, line, rod case, and many accessories including a how-to DVD, in a 4wt for panfish. If I was giving my young self advice on what to purchase, I'd recommend that same product. I'd say "think about going for a 6 or 7wt, but that 4wt really is perfect for panfish and smaller LMB." I'd also say "watch out for doorways, they are hazardous to rod tips on long rods".
  4. Wacky rigging is unweighted. Stick a hook right through the middle of a soft plastic, no weight. Weight several inches below a hook that is baited is "drop shotting". These flies look like they imitate a senko or other stick bait rigged "wacky" style. Typically the soft plastic baits that are fished wacky style are made by mixing very fine sand or salt into the melted plastic, because most of the plastics used commercially are buoyant. A standard senko sinks a few inches every second with a "shimmy" motion during freefall. I love these flies and have been meaning to try to imitate a senko myself because of the success I've had with them! I pour my own soft plastics though so it's just as easy for me to use the real thing. Drop shotting is a technique I haven't used much but I have had success with while ice fishing, using a weight to drop a really small fly and keep it 6'' off the bottom. Open water I tend to fish over weeds a whole lot, while drop shotting really shines on reefs, over gravel, and across sand. If I tried drop shotting in the weeds I'd come up with a line full of snags and salad.
  5. 9wt has me happy for pike. I haven't tried big musky flies yet, but I'm itching to. I'm a little intimidated to try something like a big 12 inch fly, but I'm not writing it off yet. Do you think you can get more size from your setup than you're casting now? I know I can, but I'm sticking to 6'' long flies for the most part. Some of them are pretty heavy and weighted for some jiggy action though.
  6. I'm not sure how it'd be different with small trout, but when I'm fishing pike/musky/bass (or 12-15lb alaskan silver salmon) with a 9wt fly rod and beefy rabbit strip flies, my rod doesn't have the UMPH to set big hooks. I point the rod at the fish, take up slack, and give a hard pull on the line. This is the only way I found to really bury a bigger hook, especially into bony mouths. There is NO finesse to this. Muscle that hook point deep, and using stretchy monofilament as my leader (sometimes a fluoro tippet) will offset any risk of shock breakage. That said, I don't always set the hook hard. If I'm catching small bass all day and am content to let a few get away, I might not "set" it at all. A sharp hook often does a good job on its own when a fish chomps down.
  7. As of my recent trip to Kodiak, AK, I can say that Alaskan Silvers and pinks coming up streams WILL attack flies, not all caught are "flossed". This was my first trip with a fly rod to AK, crystal clear water to watch 'em see a fly, only to turn-chase-CRUSH! Pinks - I had the best luck on the smaller flies in my box.. pink marabou or rabbit fur was the material of choice for a variety of ties. Silvers - I had my ONLY luck with a purple/black egg sucking leech pattern. However I did have a 14.5lber put my 9wt to the biggest test it's ever seen! Fast stripping did not get fish's attention in the current, all my takers were on slow drifts. It was sure fun to see fish see it and react to it. Of course with a big school of pinks, for every one that paid attention another twenty couldn't care at all.
  8. It depends state to state, some have a "within X inches of the mouth" rule to accommodate barely missed strikes that hook outside the mouth and that notorious "fixed bead followed by a bare hook" fishing tactic.
  9. Working in retail management, I've gotta say that so many of the behaviors listed here would get any one of my employees fired, or at the very least a final warning and a long discussion. The worst part of some of the terrible experiences described here is that the workers in these fly shops violated the #1 essential rule of retail: SALES. Refraining from derogatory terms to describe these individuals and their behaviors is difficult, but I'll avoid it. They failed to act in the best interest of the business, heck they failed to show common decency towards other people. My best advice to anyone who has this experience is to report it directly to the management. There may be some cynicism as to whether such comments are listened to, but at least in my business they are. In fact you may be doing them a favor, you never know when an employer is in need of an excuse to fire a poor employer but doesn't have documentation to do so safely.
  10. Long story short: Kodiak Island, this August 20, never fly fished for anything except LMB/pike/sunfish in the midwest. I have a 9wt 9' TFO signature II and WFF line. I am hoping to get my first salmon on a fly if I can find some that are running, but I have no idea what species will be running the day or two that I will have to fish. I'm hoping silvers, pinks, or chum will be running as I have had the best luck getting them to hit artificials on spinning gear. Any suggestions on flies that I should bring along or how to fish 'em? Google hasn't been very friendly trying to find information about fly fishing Kodiak, most of the guided fishing websites I come across say "Fly fishermen must bring their own gear".
  11. I've fished in bear territory and have seen them while on the river in AK.. all big coastal browns, and more frequently than I like it's a momma with cubs. I give mommas the whole river. I share the river with loners, but take a long walk if I've seen a bear. I also never fish solo in bear country. I never carry bear spray.
  12. The most noble fish? The Whale Shark, because of its grace and majesty. The most noble fish that I've caught on a fly? The Bluegill, because I can always count on their behavior to help me figure out where the bigger predators are.
  13. Anything streamer looks like a minnow or a crayfish, or even just fuzzy and bug like, will work for LMB and SMB
  14. I have 4 colors I use: - black - red - white - clear monofilament Most material covers my thread. The red will stand out on occasion and that's fine. I do match my white patterns with white thread, and will use monofilament fishing line to tie some streamers where I don't really want to see thread, but its mostly for aesthetic reasons.
  15. Anyone use FTD's sea dragon dubbing? I've been thinking it might be a good replacement for pricey long-stranded chenille I use on my bass streamers, and maybe double on something I can use for carp bugs. I like the look of the very few flies I can find pictures of that use it, but very few people seem to have posted ties using it, at least that I can find with google.
  16. Typically when people talk about flies under the ice, they are specifically talking about SMALL nymph-style flies with a little more lead to help them reach the depths of wintering fish, and almost exclusively fished with bluegill, crappies, or perch in mind. While artificials are used for pike early into the ice season, I've never heard of flies used under the ice to specifically target pike, and usually by this time of year most pike fishing is done in my neck of the woods with various sizes of dead suckers or shiners fished on a quick strike rig, often under a tip-up. I'd love to see someone find flies that work well under the ice for pike! I'm betting with flashabou, a stout hook, some lead, and some creativity, there is plenty of room for a pike ice fishing "fly" (the term gets tricky here because really at that point it's a jig with fly tying materials tied on).
  17. I'm putting together a short birthday wish list of "wanted" materials for warm water flies and need some help. I fish for the easily targeted species in Minnesota lakes: Pike Largemouth Bass Bluegills Crappies I've got a decent selection of rabbit strips, congo hair, flash, and stick on eyes. I know nothing about feathers and am confused by words like "hackle" or "herl", but think that musky and pike flies that look like they are full of feathers are absolutely beautiful and stunning. I'll be adding some CCG to the list too to help finish the heads and keep eyes from falling off. Thanks for any suggestions!
  18. I like 'em a lot, I'm a pretty big jig+plastic fisherman when I break out the spinning gear so the motion of a forward-weighted fly is very natural to me, and the sink rate is pretty gentle compared to jigs. Up and down motion catches a lot of fish.
  19. I may be doing some small game hunting this year (particularly hoping to get some mammal fur, most likely snowshoe hare or other rabbit species, and may even try to get a raccoon). Has anyone taken the fur off of these animals and prepared them for fly tying? I'm thinking more about zonker strips and crosscut strips than just shaving off some fur for dubbing purposes. I've found some stuff via google, but not really anything that sounded like firsthand information and the results of their efforts. Thanks for any information on the subject! P.S. I've begun work on carving my own hooks out of bone lately, using cow leg bones. It's slow going so far but I'm getting excited, I think for slightly thicker diameter ~sz1 hooks it'll work out nicely!
  20. This may be an uncommon question, but since this is a commmunity of crafters who make things that go on the end of a fishing line, perhaps someone here can give me some direction. So in the pursuit of "do-it-myself-ness" and using natural materials as much as possible, I've been thinking it might be kind of cool to make flies that use hooks made from bone, rather than buying premade hooks. Has anyone ever looked into this or know much about it? I have a near limitless supply of cow soup bones (roun, marrow filled ones that the dog likes to lick out the middle completely clean. I may also get a deer or two this year while hunting. Ideally some years down the line I'd like to have hooks I made myself from natural materials, fur and other materials that give a fly it's character, and perhaps even some kind of homemade thread or thread-replacement material to bind all that stuff to the hook for a 100% "did it myself with what nature gave me" flies, if for no other reason than to have something pretty to hang in a frame on the wall. I'd love any tips on how to go about making various homemade hooks! Ty for any replies, until then it's off to google.
  21. I'm thinking I may be just a victim of bad luck, that between less than ideal weather for carp fly fishing (lots of rain and lots of hot sunny days makes for poor visibility and high water) and some health issues that kept me off the water more than I'd like, it's just not happened yet. I even tried two new spots today. The first looked good but was too difficult to fish more than a small section. The second had to be a good spot, since when I was leaving after a few hours a couple of bow-fishers showed up and said it's a good spot for carp but that this year had been poor for them. I know that the lakes and creeks I've been hitting are supposed to have carp, but I just am not able to find any visibly that are feeding. The only carp I've caught this year have been in deep pools in the mississippi a long bomb cast with a heavy sinker away from shore.. not fly fishable
  22. Well so far my goal of setting a fly hook into a carp this year has been bunk. Not only have I not gotten a carp hooked, I haven't even seen one tailing. I officially need any kind of help possible. I've scouted, canoed, and walked the edge of a dozen lakes in the minneapolis metro area. Other than some jumpers, I haven't had much of a chance at all to figure out these guys. I've got some carp-y flies. I've got a soft presentation. How the heck do I go about finding tailing carp?
  23. I've caught plenty of 2-3lb bass on my 4wt. I haven't had any 4lbers on it yet, but I don't catch many 4lbers anyways. Just be VERY careful if they take your line into any weeds. Slack line is your friend in such situations. I've hooked a number of snot rocket pike on the 4wt as well, but a good number cut my line. I prefer using my 9wt for fun funky flies and being able to cast 60lb fluoro leader that is essentially bite proof. Still you can catch small/medium pike on very light gear. Every year in Minnesota and Ontario, numerous 20lb+ pike are caught by ice fishermen on 4lb test monofilament, no reason similar tippet on a fly rod won't have the same chance.
  24. Poppers are my favorite because topwater blasts are awesome. However I've had most of my success crawling and swim/jigging crayfish flies.
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