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Fly Tying

Blackwater Virgil

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Everything posted by Blackwater Virgil

  1. THANK YOU, flytire! Will try to order some ASAP and see if they'll do what I want them to. The old fly I had was essentially a seaducer pattern with the single bead head, and it looked good in the water, and moved well, but IIRC, I only had 3 or 4 and they got gone fast. I think I got them from the old Wm. Mills, Co., makers of high end bamboo fly rods and purveyors of all sorts of things flyfishing. The apparently went out of business long ago, and I haven't been able to find the single beads or flies tied with them since. It's probably no biggie, but I just liked the idea of a single bead so moss and weeds could or would more easily fall away from the fly. Again, thanks a bunch!
  2. Thanks for the effort, guys. Just thought I'd ask. Don't have a pic. The last one I had got broke off and lost many years ago now. Just thought a single round bead would give me the action I'm looking for, but would shed weeds better than big bead chain eyes. C'est la' vie, I guess.
  3. It's been a long time now, but I once got some flies that were basically a Seaducer pattern with round brass heads that had hole for and aft, but were also split so they could be placed over a hook and then closed with pliers or whatever. Does anyone make these any more? They made a neat looking head, and I was just curious. So many suppliers! So little tim!!!
  4. Can't certify anything, but one theory I've heard about why dogs (the bird dogs I've had seem to be the absolute WORST!) roll in stinky roadkill and the like is that it covers up their own scent, and this lets them get closer to prey without being detected as what they are. Seems logical, but in the end ... well, who knows? All I know for SURE is that if you want a dog who'll be at least somewhat less likely to roll in roadkill THOROUGHLY And come back to "share it" with you, and get it all over your clothes (why do they INSIST on rubbing it all over you?), do NOT get a good bird dog!
  5. Really clear water CAN be a problem sometimes. If you can find some fertilizer with very low numbers (like 2-2-2 I think it is?) and dump a bag or two into the water, you may get some algae growth and that will give insects something to feed on, and THEN the insects will be ABLE to grow there. Just a thought. The algae gives the fish (and YOU) some cover, provides a MUCH more productive fishery, and usually makes fishing easier. Even a couple of bags, fed out slowly so as to not "burn" the fish with it, might just transform that little fishery, and make it MUCH more productive. With all the stuff already falling into the water, or growing there, it can only add to the fun, and fertilizer isn't expensive, either.
  6. Wow! That georgeweil.com site is something! THANKS!
  7. When I use them on the Muddlers, I just try to tie them in about center. The extra weight gives them more action in a river setting where there's a good current. Also gets them a little deeper a little quicker. I always cast as far upstream as I think it'll take to get the bug down to where the fish are or at least can see it, and then strip it a couple of times, or occasionally use the rod tip, depending on my intuition at the time.
  8. Thanks, guys. After 50+ years of tying pretty simple stuff, that has served my needs very well, I finally can't resist the alure of the most beautiful flies in the world. I'm amazed at some of them. It's pretty much the same as when I saw a real Rembrandt for the first time. I just stand there in awe and amazement. Appreciate the advice. Classes are very rare here in south Georgia, so that's probably not a very viable option, but I can ask at Bass Pro and try to get there for a session or three. With salmon being so distant from us here, we just don't see many of them here, and their expense is part of the reason for this, of course. But what tier could NOT be impressed by their simple, awesome beauty? I can't. I know anything I tie will probably impress her, but the person I REALLY want to impress is ME, and that's a lot harder. With neuropathy in my hands now, that's going to be a tall order, but what's life without a challenge, right? I'm retired, so at least I'm not on a schedule. I suspect I'll have to improvise on at least some of the materials, but the salmon won't care that much as long as they stay under glass on the wall. I've always been a sucker for big challenges, but I wonder if this time I might have set the bar just a bit too high? Your comments help, though, and maybe with the refs cited and some youtube videos, I can come up with something at least passable. Those pheasant crests ARE right spendy, but I don't know anything that would substitute for them. At least I'll have a bunch of tailing and wing material! Thanks to you all. This is a challenge I knew I couldn't meet alone, and you've been very helpful. Thanks!
  9. Good info. Thanks, guys. I want the 3/16" dia. stuff because it turns over larger hooks better so the hook rides up - a good trait in the snaggy waters I often fish. Just barely enough wt. to turn over my #1 Eagle Claw 455's I like on my shad flies, too, and there, getting the hook to ride up is a significant factor in whether they're hooked well, or in the soft outer portions of their mouths, and thus tear out and let the fish go free. It's too much work to get there and hook one, only to lose it, and needless when the hook rides upward. This is a trait of all metallic eyes that helps significantly in other applications as well, in avoiding snags. Next time I'm over in Metter, where the most closely local Ace Hardware store it located, I'll ask them about getting a spool, and how much it'd be, and try to post back here. It always helps before pulling the trigger to know just what the tariff is, I know. I use most any size bead chain I can get, and in colors, too, but that 3/16" size is my go-to size. Bigger flies take more wt. to sink properly, and it'll be interesting to see how they do in the salt this summer. I may well need to go to brass or lead eyes since the fish seem to usually bite best when the tide is moving in the tidal rivers and creeks. The moving water and higher density of salt water makes getting a fly down to the fish harder there sometimes, and they can't bite it if you don't get it down to them. And BTW, one of my favorite sub-surface flies for big bass is the marabou muddler, and adding bead chain eyes to them gives the head more up and down movement, which sometimes proves a bit more tempting than flies without the BC, plus it'll get down deeper in a current, too, which often helps. Nothing beats fishing where the fish are, right?
  10. I've been tying in one fashion or another for 50+ years, but always pretty simple flies that served the purposes I was after pretty well. Therefore, I've never stretched my talents very far. My son and daughter in law recently bought a house on the river locally, and she asked me if I could tie up some flies for a shadow box for the new home. After giving it some thoujght, I decided to TRY to tie up some salmon flies, since I think they're some of the most beautiful fly patterns, and that this would make them nicer for a shadow box type display. I've tried a few, and they weren't terrible, but surely need some improvement. Have a book by Poul Jorgensen that I got long ago, and it has a plate with some classic patterns and tying directions. That'll help. My initial efforts were good enough to look fairly good in a shadow box, but no brass ring compared to the "real" thing. Jorgensen's book provided a great tip. To ge the topping to kick up, he just dented the shaft at the right location, and just tied it in. It's the little things like that that can be frustrating. If anyone can give me some fine pointers that'd likely help me come up with some good ones, I'd really appreciate it. Those of you who tie these type flies sure do inspire me, and make me want to at least TRY to emulate what you do. I marvel at some of the stuff I've seen here. Thanks to anyone who can help me with this.
  11. For crappie, I like little streamers with a good dose of silver and/or flash material mixed with marabou. Add in some bead chain or other weighted eyes, and you've generally got a winner. I like white with a little red - often just red thread to tie in the head and/or bead chain or other eyes. They tend to like slower retrieves often, though when they're feeling frisky they'll take some faster moving stuff. You've just got to figure it out each day you go out. For bream, I really like floating bugs and poppers and sliders. Sliders often work better than poppers in sheltered waters, but when they're not really hitting, the poppers can sometimes stimulate a hit when the sliders and rubber bugs aren't tempting enough. I think they often, if not usually, hit slow sinking "bug" and nymph immitations best. When it comes to shellcrackers, they mainly eat crustaceans and nymphs, and flies that imitate those do best on them, at least in my experience. Again, it varies from day to day what they want to be stimulated enough to strike, and it's a matter of figuring it out and trying stuff until you find the right combination that particular day on those particular fish. It's a whole lot of fun, though, and THAT is why we're fishing anyway, isn't it?
  12. Yes, they do, but it's really hard to find just the right size I want here. Just thought I'd make an offer if anyone might be seeing a similar situation. If I can find some more, I'll buy a BIG quantity. I don't ever want to be without them. I like the way they have just enough weight to give the flies I tie a little more action in the up and down plane, which fish often seem to bring at lest a bit better response from the fish. Little things always make a diffference, or at least often enough to keep me using them a good bit. I only got one response from my offer, so I guess buying a whole spool isn't in the picture, but it was worth a try, at least. Thanks for considering it anyway.
  13. Once they soak up water, they may not be quite so hard to cast if you have a heavy rod. I do a lot of bass fishing with a 9' #9wt. line, since I often have to at least TRY to horse one out of some really snaggy places. Lose a lot of flies that way, but it sure keeps life exciting. I'm betting those flies will work very well, and it'll darn sure be something the fish haven't seen before. They may have little brains, but what they have seems to notice every little thing, and seeing something new often gets their attention AND makes them want to bite it to see what the heck it is. With the success of the wachy worm technique, I can't imagine it NOT doing well - provided it's castable of course, and I hope you'll report back on how they cast. And BTW, if they get rather sluggish to cast, you might just want to use a smaller chenile. It really doesn't take a huge thing to make bass bite, ya' know? Just a FWIW. Looking forward to your report.
  14. Ditz, you really cracked me up. All I could say was "Amen!" Hadn't thought about that one, but you're right. You guys really amaze me. The creativity here has me hooked! I doubt there's a subject here that can't be expanded upon by a number of you. And here I was concerned that I might be asking a dumb question. Looks like I'm not alone, I guess, and that's comforting. BIG time! Whenever I ask locals things like this, they look at me like I had two heads! It's really nice to have a place where my "dumb" questions are not only taken fairly seriously, at least as a theory, but expanded upon so they don't look quite as crazy as I thought they might be. I guess I need to get to know more fly fishermen. There aren't many in my area, and those that do use the long rod seem to keep quiet about it. Bugs DO tend to sell well at the tackle shops, though, but a lot of guys just use old fashioned cane poles in the river and slingshot them under the willows for bream and redbreast. They do quite well with that, and the sound of a tight line singing in the current will always get my attention. I'm too clumsy for it, though. I can keep my mind on either the tip of the pole or on the bait, but not both. One track mind, I guess? And one or the other ends seems to get tangled in the overhangs every other cast. I like my fly rod MUCH better, and standing off a little further tends to earn more strikes from the big reds. Many don't give them the credit they're really due for skittishness, but the big ones DO like to clam up if you make much noise or get too close. The little ones are careless, but the big ones are pretty cagey rascals, and who DOESN'T like catching the big ones? Just wanted to say "Thanks" for taking some of my more fanciful theories seriously, and giving good comments about them. If we don't theorize, we don't have much direction, and can't improvise as effectively.
  15. You know, I was given a huge amount of 3/16" bead nickeled bead chain many years ago - it'd have filled a quart Mason jar - and I've just about used up the last of that. With the price of little 12-18" sections of bead chain being what they are, is it possible that some of you might want to split a whole roll of it? I'm not sure what it's up to, but I can check with a local Ace Hardware. Those folks are my favorite hardware store. They can get just about anything you want, and I'm sure they can get the right size bead chain. The 3/16" size is what I use for shad flies, and any bass or salt water patterns I've tied. SW fish always tend to bite best when the tide's running, and though I haven't done much of that, I plan to this summer, and get my feet (and maybe other body parts?) wet. They seem to have the right weight to make good crayfish flies, and the shrimp flies I've tied look pretty good. I've thought that just the right weight keeps a falling fly poised at the right angle so it looks "natural," and keeps it oriented like a real shrimp or crayfish is likely to hold itself as it falls through the water column. Presentation does matter pretty often. Would anyone here want me to see what I can get a whole roll of it for, and split it? If it's not TOO high, I think I could swing it. Got a hospital bill two days ago, and that'll cramp my style a bit, but .... what the heck! It'd be for a good cause, right??? Who'd be in for a large order of 3/16" bead chain? The small sizes go further, so they're "cheaper" in the long run, and I can get small quantities of those, but I've become accustomed to having so much of it handy that I've used it at times when I may not have really needed to. I'm thinking a full roll would about fill a gallon jar, and I'd want another quart or so. Nothing like having plenty of them handy. Who'd be interested in something like this???
  16. I noticed as a young kid that fish seem to respond or react to the sounds things make when they hit the water just as much as they seem to react to their appearance. Clear water and many, many repetitions convinced me that the sound of the "plop" made almost as much of a difference in fish's reactions as the item's looks. Dad used to find himself out of beer, and one of his favorite Sunday afternoon activities was to dispose of a good cold one at a leisurely pace. Only problem was the beer stores were closed on Sunday, so he'd go to a local bootlegger he knew that ran from a big mill pond, and while he took care of his business there, I'd catch and throw grasshoppers, crickets, or anything I could find in the water, and it being clear and my being almost directly above them in the millhouse, I got a good view of them at rest and how they responded to the many various offerings I'd catch. The flightless pea green (chartreuse or green chartreuse) grasshoppers were always the hands down winner for fastest reaction and least degree of caution shown by the fish. It seemed they didn't have to be facing the "plop" to be able to tell what was hitting the water. That's when I began to realize that the sound made such a difference. I then observed that those chartreuse hoppers seemed to be built a little denser than the crickets, and most other colors of grasshoppers. I've reverified this many times through the years. That changes the character and degree of the sound light wt. insects make when hitting the water, and fish seem to respond to those variations in sound. I also know that water is a MUCH better conductor of sound, and that it travels 4 times as fast through water than it does in air. This, I reason, should be a help to fish's hearing, and what allows them to sense sounds so well through their lateral lines, or maybe other mediums that help them sense sounds/pressure waves of whatever kind. That makes me think that the subtleties of the sounds a lure or fly make on entry into the water is more of a factor than we often give it credit for being. I've tried often through the years to recreate the density, weight, etc. of various flies and lures to test my theory, but have not been able to have consistent success doing it, probably because I'm usually more at ease when I'm tying and don't really "bear down" in my efforts to recreate some "plops" that I sort'a half-way am trying to duplicate, but what successes I HAVE had have been kind'a interesting. Just adding some epoxy glue to foam spiders or other flies can have an impact, I think, though it's not all that great, usually. However, we've all probably had experience with a single particular fly we've tied producing better than others that look essentially the same. I can't help but wonder if the "plop factor" isn't at least sometimes a factor in this? Have any of you observed anything like what I have, and what have you done or been able to do with the observation? I've found simple eyes made from plastic bead headed straight pins can make a difference, but whether it's the look or the slightly altered "plop" that makes the difference, I can't tack down, so have to resort to surmising what the difference really is. Anybody got some comments on all this? Observations? Ideas to input?
  17. It's funny, but my impression has been that, in general at least, fish take flies with bead chain eyes, and I've often wondered just why. That's what got me wondering if it was the genetic misfit bug-eyed look, the rattles, the creation of sound by water rushing over those little holes, or what? I guess that I'm just the type who's never quite satisfied unless I'm stumped, and trying to find answers? Anyway, I've had few opportunities to pose this question to any who'd take it seriously, and thought I'd pose the question here, where many seem to take such matters more seriously than most folks do. Thanks for the input. I still don't know the answer, and likely never will, but thought some input might help. Physics and fishing DO connect at some points, as does the behavioral "sciences," and many other fields. It's a darn shame we don't live long enough to really be able to study all these things, and still have time left to tie and fish, isn't it?
  18. I think so too, but it's probably very subtle, but fishing more or less sheltered waters often, subtle rattles are plenty, usually. I know I catch fewer fish with plugs that rattle loudly than I do with much more subtle sounding ones, or those without any dedicated rattles at all. I'm sure the swiveling of the hooks as a plug wiggles makes at least some sound. All these questions, and no real way to definitively KNOW the answers. Sure keeps things interesting, doesn't it?
  19. I forgot. One theory I've wondered about, but have never really looked into, is the question of whether those little holes in the bead chain that kinda' look like pupils, COULD, at least theoretically, produce sounds in water apart from the rush of water over the fly itself. If you've ever blown over the mouth of a jug and made a sound, you know what I'm talking about. Since water carries sound over 4 times as fast as air, and much more efficiently, and it has always seemed to me that it might also create sounds of that type more efficiently. Since a fish's lateral line is much more efficient in water than our ears are in air, it seems to me that it stands to reason that even lower frequency sounds, such as might be created by those little holes having water rush over them, might just create enough sound to give flies tied with bead chain a little something "extra" - a signature sound if you will - that could be an asset to the fisherman, especially if he's hungry. I love fishing, but I like CATCHING even better, even if I throw them back. I tend to at least TRY to pay attention to little things more than most, but of course, we all miss stuff. This is one thing I've wondered about for a long time but have never looked into, really. Has anyone here got the knowledge/training to opine on this with any authority???
  20. Well, from my simple country boy perspective, fly tying HAS saved me a BUNCH of money IF you consider what the cost would have been to buy the flies I've used. However, it's a lot like reloading your own ammo. You don't REALLY spend less. You just get a lot more shooting (or fishing) for your buck. Of course it helps that most of my ties are pretty simple, and that I often use scrounged stuff to tie with, or feathers I pick up in odd places for cheap. It's all in how you do it, but mainly, for most of us, the only limiting factor is how much moola we have AVAILABLE to put into it - just like with any other hobby/pastime/love. Saving money is really not a very valid question, really, because that's not the point of it at all in the first place. I'm sure we all got into this by just WANTING to see if we COULD do it, and once we learned how, we naturally want to advance to the point our skills and learning will allow. THAT is what it's all about, in the end, and expenditures and economy are NOT the prime considerations at all. Never has been. Therefore, it's really an extraneous question that doesn't really HAVE an answer, properly considered. It's just a human endeavor that we love, and what THAT is worth can't be calculated in dollars, EVER. They just don't relate at all. What measure can anyone put on things like satisfaction, knowledge, skill and the simple enjoyment of it all??? If you think you can place a dollar value on that, you're probably fooling yourself. BIG time!
  21. I've used bead chain eyes on my shad flies for a long, long time now, but along the way, came to use them on some of my streamers for bass and my little bugs for bream. They've always seemed to add a little something to many of my ties. They help sink a fly, of course, but those bulging eyes have a simple "magic" about them that I think may help as well. It's always conjecture to talk about what fish think, but what they do is observable, and it's always seemed that most wildlife, aquatic or otherwise, often seem to kill the genetic anomalies that sometimes appear. Those big, bulging eyes could be seen as a genetic mutation that needs to be eliminated, and with fish, having no arms or legs, he only way to eliminate them is to bite (and usually swallow) them. That's my theory, anyway, and I guess I'll stick with it 'till something better comes to mind. With nymphs, it seems to enhance their performance as well. I also like them on small crayfish/scud type flies for small species. I usually weight them at the rear, like a shrimp fly, but sometimes in front. They tend to work well both ways. I've wondered if a fish's brain is too small to notice the difference, at least at times. The placement of any weight, like bead chain eyes, affects the fly's balance, and therefore its action in the water, and that's what I use to guide my instincts in creating flies with BC eyes - always asking "what do I want the action and fall to look like?" Do any of you do something similar?
  22. I presently keep a number of necks in a gallon size plastic zip-lock freezer bag, but then they're stored in oversized big plastic boxes with good sealing tops to guard against moths, etc. Just anohter idea?
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