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Fly Tying


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About mikemac1

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    Brown trout
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    Bozeman, Montana

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  1. Do I have the right materials? Can I actually replicate the Fly Tyer fly? Is this a fly other swappers might find useful? Here are the seven candidates so far: Spring 2007 - Q’s Beach Bug +1 Summer 2009 - Bullet Head Trude Tube Fly Couldn't tie a decent one Spring 2019 - Platinum Pilchard Material shortage Summer 2019 - Charlie’s Gurgler Autumn 2016 - Carrie Special. +1 Spring 2013 - Hovering Damsel Nymph Summer 2012 - Zip Shrimp - Couldn't tie a decent one Narrowed it down to four. Which of the four do the swappers prefer?? Charlie's Gurgler Carrie Special Hovering Damsel Nymph Q's Beach Bug
  2. Count Me In - Pattern TBD Woke up this morning thinking it would be an easy task to choose a Fly Tyer pattern for this swap. As ESPN’s commentator Lee Corso might say: “Not So Fast”, the choice is not easy. I’ve got Fly Tyer issues back into the late 90s, although I recently sold about 27 issues to a collector. Still there’s a big stack of mags to go through and I would guess at least a 1000 patterns. After an initial review this Sunday morning over coffee, I narrowed it down to seven potential candidates. The questions that remain are: Do I have the right materials? Can I actually replicate the Fly Tyer fly? Is this a fly other swappers might find useful? Here are the seven candidates so far: Spring 2007 - Q’s Beach Bug Summer 2009 - Bullet Head Trude Tube Fly Spring 2019 - Platinum Pilchard Summer 2019 - Charlie’s Gurgler Autumn 2016 - Carrie Special Spring 2013 - Hovering Damsel Nymph Summer 2012 - Zip Shrimp A decision will follow after I wade through dozens of material boxes to see what’s available.
  3. Moose Hair Quill Soft Hackles Sometimes simple is the ticket. I was on a remote section of the lower Big Hole yesterday and being stumped by fish that just didn’t know how it supposed to work. It was one of those smoky, weird mornings where the light was eerie. Still warm enough for hoppers to be active in the grasses, I connected with a few nice fish early on the Creamsicle hopper. The tricos came out about an hour late and betrayed the locations of lots of fish. But, my heretical approach with tricos (streamers or hoppers) just wasn’t of interest to any fish. So I cut off the hopper, tied on a bugger with a soft hackle trailer. Bingo, fish after fish started coming to hand on the soft hackle. The winning ticket were my Moose Hair Quill Soft Hackles. Quill bodied flies are an effective way to create a segmented body without a lot of bulk. But I’ve always found working with traditional quills to be tedious (soaking) and expensive on a per fly basis (20-25 cents each). Enter moose body hair. A typical patch of moose body hair is around $5. Lots of different colors available. A package of 25 quills the same cost. I’ve never counted the number of hairs on a moose body patch but it is more than 25. The real advantage here besides cost is that no soaking is required and moose hair is very flexible, durable and doesn’t break often when tying. Here’s a few examples. Tie with a contrasting thread to accentuate the segmentation A Moose Hair Quill Partridge and Orange Purple and CDL Hen More than 25 quills (hairs) on this patch
  4. Make sure you are not nicking the hook point as you wrap. Additionally, if the hooks you are using have rough edges at the end of the wire at the hook eye, that can cause the thread to fray. If you are breaking thread while wrapping the body of the fly, it is usually caused by nicking the hook point. If you are breaking thread when finishing the fly, ragged edges on the hook eye is usually the culprit.
  5. Apart from the weight distribution of materials, my experience has been related to hook type (eye configuration), knot connection and leader characteristics. Here are three tips from my perspective. Down eyed hooks are more prone to roll than a straight eyed hook. A clinch knot provides a firm connection between leader and fly, Any twisting of the leader will immediately transfer to the fly. A non-slip loop knot used with a straight-eyed hook will mitigate to some extent the twisting influence of the leader as the fly is free to orient itself independent of the leader Long (7.5-9’), light leaders (ie 3X range) will inevitably twist a bit and that twist will influence fly orientation. Short (4-6’), stiff leaders (2X-0X) resist twisting, thus not providing that influence to the fly. As a side note, there is the Daiichi 1850 Flat Eye streamer hook which combined with a non-slip loop know pretty much guarantees the fly will orient correctly if the weight in the fly is balanced.
  6. Flies in the post tomorrow morning - Tracking: 9405503699300018142210 6 - Disco Shrimp – Tube Fly Version Tube: Classic Pro Tube Thread: UTC 210 Brunt Orange Disc: Pro Sonic Disk Head: Coyote Mask Eyes: Black Beads Antennae: Gold Crystal Flash Legs: Tan Silli Legs Body: 3mm Tan Foam over Tan Arizona Diamond Dub Rattle: Micro fly rattle
  7. Keep tying and you will get better. And, all those flies you never use can still be useful: Taking Stock
  8. 1962, 14 years old, my mother signed me up for a YMCA fly tying class in SoCal. Run by the gurus of the Pasadena Casting Club, I took to it right away. Within weeks, the casting club gents had me on their casting pond teaching me how to cast. My first rod was a 7' Wright-McGill Trailmaster, a Pflueger Medalist and some level line. It would make a good fence post today. My friends and I would scramble into the remote San Gabriel mountain streams and catch native coastal rainbows—rarely over 8” long. We’d clean and salt a few and cook (so to speak) on hot boulders. After a tour in Vietnam (1969) I ended up in Tacoma, Wa where I purchased my first real fly rod—a Fenwick FF70 at a Rexall Drug store. With new line (the good stuff) on that Medalist reel, I was able to ply waters throughout Western and Central Wa for a few years. Then came the clincher—I got stationed in Great Falls, MT. Needless to say, I learned a lot about fly fishing in the Montana school. I caught my first Firehole trout in 1972 on an Iron Blue Dun wet fly. I left MT in 1973 for tours around the U.S., Europe and Asia, always with my fly tying and fly rods in hand. It truly has been a lifelong passion thanks to those old gents of the Pasadena Casting Club.
  9. I would recommend two books that will go along way toward helping your fish the Fox, Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass (Harry Murray, 1989) Smallmouth Strategies for the Flyrod (Ryan, 2004) Back when I was stationed in the East, these works helped me catch a lot of smallies in the mid-Atlantic and in northern Minnesota and Canada. I don’t know anything about the Fox, but if there’s a decent population of smallies there, this information will help.
  10. Even though things in popular spots in SW MT are crowded now, it will all start to change in the next few weeks as hunting seasons open up, days shorten and nighttime temps drop. Despite reaching the 90s by noon, it was in the low 40s at dawn the other day on the Big Hole. Fished all morning, not a soul insight. Locals will begin abandoning the river and head out hunting. Tourists will head back to their warm and comfy homes. Those of us who fish until the dead of winter sets in will find plenty of isolated and lonely water. (You can actually do that today if you go where the fish are and the tourists aren’t).
  11. Even the fish needed a breather in the warm morning sun after a short tussle. 90 degree days need to go away.
  12. I first visited Bailey’s in 1973 when we’d travel down from Great Falls to fish the park on 3-day weekends while I was in the USAF. I couldn’t afford much in his shop. At the time I was taking home about $60/month. Gas was $.30/gal in GF and we were driving a Ford 150 PU with a camper. At Gardiner we were shocked to find gas was .$39/gal—outrageous and damn near unaffordable. Indeed, fishing wasn’t easy back then for a poor serviceman.
  13. Simple answer — If a pattern calls for or requires Epoxy, then UV cured cement is the current state of art replacement. Otherwise no. However, the attributes of UV cured has taken tying much farther than Epoxy could.
  14. I fished a section of the lower Big Hole last Sunday and the flows have dropped by half since then. Early morning water temps might be in the low 60s, but by noon they are hitting the 70s and the fishing really drops off. Hoot Owl closures really do help the resource as the fish don’t have anywhere else to go. By chance, the closures went into effect today, so the Hoot Owls had to stop fishing as well. Here’s one that showed in my back yard this evening waiting to ambush the local rabbit.
  15. Here’s a different link: Montana Hoot Owl Closures
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