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Fly Tying

Mark Knapp

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Everything posted by Mark Knapp

  1. I don't think I can help you do it better. The subtleties are lost on me, but I like them.
  2. My head is spinning. The two midges, one is a Zebra and one is a Mercury, they are pretty much the same except for the change of the bead, and maybe wire color. They are different (published?) patterns. This would indicate to me, that sometimes a subtle difference would validate a different pattern. With other flies is seems one could change quite a bit and it would still be a variant of the same fly. I'm not bucking it, or complaining, just pointing it out. It's not my intent to merge the other thread with this one.
  3. Please let me first say that this thread is in no way meant to be antagonistic or adversarial, we all have our own opinions on this subject and these are just mine. It's also not meant to be a challenge for everybody to try and find examples of flies that I thought were originals that someone else tied before me. I am quite sure it's possible that someone, somewhere may have done similar things. If you find some please share them with me, it will be interesting to see how others approached the same patterns that I did. Next let me say that I'm writing this in the middle of the night because 1) the subject has me so excited I can't sleep (no really, all I can think about is answers to this question) and 2nd) this is a huge subject and it's likely to take me awhile to get all my thoughts down. My wife and I run our own business, (a custom knife shop and art gallery) If I spent all the time tomorrow during working hours that I'm going to spend writing this tonight I would be subject of many scowls and frowns because we have way too much work to get done before Christmas and I shouldn't be spending so much time on this. I am the master of my own domain, that's why I'm doing it while she's asleep. Some of you may know that six years ago I challenged myself to catch each of Alaska's game fish with an original fly pattern of my own. It's a tall order but first we need to know what an original is. I knew that if I saw examples of what other tiers tied to imitate a particular food of a targeted fish, I couldn't help but emulate that tier. I purposely didn't seek tying recipes, look at flies or read fly tying books. I approached it from another angle. When I decided to become a custom knife maker I did the same thing. I purposely didn't take classes in knife making, apprentice under established makers, watch you tube videos, or read books about it. I knew that if I did, I couldn't help but emulate what I saw. Instead, I just started making knives. I established my own style first, then got the necessary training to make quality knives. As you would expect, I broke a lot of rules at first. Back to fly tying. My approach was simple, find out what a targeted fish species liked to eat, research that food item and tie something that looked like it. What is an original Since there's no way for me to know weather or not someone has tied a pattern like mine before or not, I will say that my originals are original to me. That's to say that I tied them with no help from anybody else. I didn't look at recipes, or examples of fly patterns. I looked at the organism and tied what I saw. I had very limited "formal" training in fly tying. I had just gotten one of those rudimentary fly tying kits for Christmas (you know, the ones you can get for about $30.00) and spent all Christmas day tying flies, I was 51 years old, but I had been an artist and craftsman my whole life. This was just another medium to be creative in. Being un-schooled in the art, I broke a lot of rules though. It helps that the fish I fish for most of the time have never seen another fly, lure or human being. One more thing I never went into this project wanting to develop new patterns to license or sell. I'm doing it just for me, for the challenge. You may call whatever you see here an original, a variant or a published pattern (we all have our own ideas about what those are. I'm not sure what a published pattern is except that mine are published here and in my blog) The only thing I ask is that if you saw it here (or in my blog) first, and you want to use it, please credit it to me. The first fly on a float trip I noticed that the grayling were feeding heavily on a little white moth. I gathered up a few and googled it. Here are some excerpts from my blog about tying a spruce bud worm moth. "In my research, I learned that the moth is likely a spruce bud worm moth. In many parts of their range they are bigger and darker, but up here in northern Alaska they are quite small and very pale. I thought I had an original idea, to tie a fly that emulates the moth, but as it turns out, it has been done before, lots of times, but I could find where anybody did it the way I did it. I still liked the idea and copied some pictures of it (the real bug, not the imitation) off of the internet." And here's my imitation. Many experienced fly tiers will say that this moth breaks all the rules, it doesn't have a hackle, it won't float. In fact it didn't float very well. It laid in the surface film just like the real moths do, and the grayling ate them up. They worked until they got waterlogged. I put floatant on them and they'd work some more for a while. Finally, I'd change the fly. I caught a hundred fish a day on these flies. The next fly Here's my example.... I tied as realistic a bumble be as I could tie, but it took 45 minutes. There he is in the middle just under and a little to the right of the real one. Who's going to spend 45 minutes per fly? Answer, not me, not more than once, so I simplified it and tied all the others in just a few minutes each. Now, can you call all those bumble bees with the chenille and hackles originals? Nope. Here's another look at the real bee and my fake bee. And all my moths and bees. Here's a grayling on one of my original spruce bud worm moths. And, one on one of my bumble bee variants. I'm quite sure I can't call this an original, although I didn't follow a recipe or look at other bumble bee flies. Next I tied what I call an "egg butt scud" an "egg head scud" an "egg butt nymph" and an "egg head nymph" Can we call them originals? Probably not. I took two commonly tied flies and put them together. I never saw anyone else do it but am I the first one to do it? Probably not. Lets call them variants, or hybrids. Do they catch fish? you bet. While launching my boat in the lake that day, all the fishing reports were coming up with nothing. Mine was the only fish we heard about caught on the lake that day. It was pretty rewarding. This lake is one of the only places I fish that does get a lot of pressure, mostly from spin fisherman and trollers. I actually do OK on this lake with flies. I often open the stomachs of fish I catch to see what they're eating (not a new concept, I know). These snails came out of a rainbow. I had never heard of a snail fly before so I'm working on one. (I have since heard of a snail fly but won't look at one till I've developed my own) Now, some salt water flies. We catch a lot of these spot shrimp, and so do the salt water fish we target. So I tied these. Are they Originals? I don't know. Certainly, lots of shrimp have been tied. I tie these up to 7 inches long, I use flash chenille, hackle, pearlescent mylar and monofilament. All common materials, I bend my own hooks (6/0 and 8/0), I weight them with lead wire and fish them down to 120 feet with fly lines I make myself. I developed the pattern myself without any recipes or examples of other flies. You can decide for yourself if they're variants or originals. I would say probably not but have to say I've never seen any like them. Here's a close up. Here's what I call a "Non-Pelagic Squid" I've never seen anything like it, I developed it myself, and we catch a ton of fish on it, so much that I named my boat after it ( a private boat, I don't do charters, have nothing to sell). This one is articulated, probably over 6 inches long. There may be something like it but I haven't seen it. I would call this one an original. (now someone can show me something like it and shatter my fragile ego) Here's a few more, A hot pink Non-Pelagic Squid,(on the top) a tiger rock fish imitation (middle right) It's articulated, over ten inches long and over five inches from top to bottom. It's weight-ballanced for the fly lines I make. At the time I couldn't get hair long enough to make them so I bought cosplay wigs on eBay for the hair. I still use a lot of costume wigs for fly material. They come in every color, even glow in the dark. On the bottom is a sea lance imitation. There may be some similar flies out there, I just haven't seen any them yet. Call it a variant. I also tie them with a beads the length of the body, that may be more original. I've never seen a Tiger Rockfish pattern before, I've never even seen a fly that big before. I make a China Rockfish pattern like it and we catch a lot of fish on them, mostly ling cod and halibut. I use fake fur, flashabou, Lady Amhurst cheeks, 3D eyes and 10/0 hooks. We cast them, though it ain't pretty, fish them between 60 and 120 feet down and tickle the top of the structure with them. I suppose arguments can be made, on all the flies in this post, either way depending on where your line between an original and a variant is. I'm just doing it for the fun of it, not for all the riches and glory that can be had in developing original fly patterns . I understand that part of the art of tying flies is tying the essence of the bug, not necessarily the exact bug. I see the art in that too, it's just not always practical to tie lifelike replicas for fishing. I hope you are all having as much fun as I am tying and fishing flies. All my best. Interested to know where you all think each of these lies in the scale between "Original" and "Variant" It might not be a "Black and White" thing. I gotta go to bed now.
  4. Hi Mr Deck, It's an interesting question and one I've been thinking about quite a lot lately, mostly because of this thread. What is an original? I didn't want to high-jack this thread with my thoughts on the question so I was (am) going to start another thread with the title "What is an original". In answer to your request to see some pictures of original flies I humbly refer you to that thread.
  5. All mine smell like moth balls. But everything else in my cabinet does too. If they didn't I'd be writing my own book entitled "Feather Thief"
  6. I'm trying to see what you are shaving with that spokeshave.
  7. Yes, it's a long winter. I do go ice fishing though. I like to tie jig versions of my favorite flies and watch down the hole. I can see how fish react to the jig. It lacks the presentation of a fly fished version but I learn a lot and it's fun.
  8. good luck http://www.flytyingforum.com/index.php?showtopic=86877&p=719578 Thanks, I will keep you posted. I probably don't have the right to complain if something goes wrong though, I was amply forewarned.
  9. Green Caddis Outfitters is up and running and looks like 50% off on fly boxes, I ordered two.
  10. I like this one, gunna look for one.
  11. I made it my goal six years ago to catch all of Alaska's game fish with an original fly pattern of my own. I'm up to 26 species now. Of course I also tie the known patterns, but it doesn't count toward my personal challenge when I catch a fish on one of the classics.
  12. I'm enjoying it already. I'm going through an Orvis fly tying manual from cover to cover and tying four examples of each fly in it. Thanks everybody.
  13. Somewhere in my infantile stage as a fly fisher I read where the back cast was a pertinent aspect of what fly fishing is. It was only 6 years ago. Some things evolve and it's possible I had some out of date material. Many of the classic fly fishing manuals I have are no longer applicable for many reasons. I will keep looking though.
  14. I'll go along with that normal bit, it doesn't say "back cast" - which isn't really normal in all places. I'm not all that religious about fishing, if you follow the laws; I don't care how you go about it. I really don't think using strike indicators is pure fly fishing, but it is widely accepted by modern anglers, so.. Some of those "nymph rigs" seem to have weights that would pull the line, especially if the line is ultralight. It's funny kinda, I use a fly rod for all kinds of fishing not to increase the challenge or make the fishing more difficult, but rather to simplify things and make catching fish easier and more efficient. I guess if I wanted a complicated challenge I would take up bait casting with all the thousands of situation specific lures and rods. For some reason, I couldn't find a reference to a "back cast" in the material I found today. I know I read it somewhere though, maybe as an example not necessarily a rule or regulation. Where ever it was, it did not exclude a spey cast or roll cast in the definitions of what is fly fishing. I will try to find it. I agree with you about strike indicators. It's quite popular to use a little bobber as a strike indicator when drift fishing with beads up here. To me it's not really fly fishing either, to me it's just bobber fishing and boring. I don't really fault people for using a piece of yarn on a leader as a strike indicator, I just like to feel or sense the bite instead. I'm told I probably miss a heck of a lot of hits without the indicator. That's OK with me. I also try to stay away from split shots, preferring to tie the fly with the correct weight for the circumstances. OTOH a very well respected fly fishing guide up here, a friend of mine (recently guided for the world record arctic grayling) likes to say "What's the difference between a good fly fisherman and a great one?" answer "One more split shot" To each his own religion.
  15. These classic salmon flies blow me away, well done.
  16. I'm sure other species will eat these but are they primarily for steelhead?
  17. From IGFA Rules 2. Casting and retrieving must be carried out in accordance with normal customs and generally accepted practices. The major criterion in casting is that the weight of the line must carry the fly rather than the weight of the fly carrying the line. Trolling a fly behind a moving water craft is not permitted. The craft must be completely out of gear both at the time the fly is presented to the fish and during the retrieve. The maximum amount of line that can be stripped off the reel is 120 feet (36.57 meters) from the fly. F. FLIES The fly must be a recognized type of artificial fly, which includes streamer, buck- tail, tube fly, wet fly, dry fly, nymph, popper and bug. The use of any other type of lure or natural or preserved bait, either singularly or attached to the fly, is expressly pro- hibited. Only a single fly is allowed. Dropper flies are prohibited. The fact that a lure can be cast with a fly rod is not evidence in itself that it fits the definition of a fly. The use of any lure designed to entangle or foul hook a fish is prohibited. No scent, either natural or artificial is allowed on flies. The use of scented material in a fly is prohibit- ed. From Orvis Orvis Fly Fishing What Is Fly Fishing? Fly fishing is an angling technique where an artificial "fly" is used to fool fish into biting. The techniques used to cast and present the weightless fly differ greatly from any other form of angling. When fly fishing, you cannot cast a standard lure; spinner or plug with a fly rod and line, and likewise you cannot cast a weightless fly with a spin casting rod and reel. The weight and taper of the fly line itself is what allows the fisherman to cast and present the lightweight fly.
  18. I agree with all you've said. Certainly you would need to consult your jurisdiction. The back cast rule in the IGFA includes spey casting and roll casting. Part of the wording in IGFA and Alaska regs includes wording similar to this; the line must carry the fly in the cast not the fly, lure or terminal gear pulling the line in the cast. I will look it up and post it here when I get a chance. Everybody here has their own religion, my opinions are just that, my opinions. I'm somewhat of a purist, bait to me would defeat the purpose of using fly gear. I fish with a fly to make it more challenging and exciting, I hunt with a bow for the same reason. It got too easy, (boring) for me to fish with conventional gear or hunt with a rifle. I could spend more time in the field before my limit was filled. I traded quantity for a higher quality experience. I assumed it was the same for all of us. I would not impose my ideals on anyone else but I don't mind telling you what they are. I say, do what you want as long as it's legal. To me, it's not fly fishing if it's not with a fly rod and a fly any more than hunting with a cross bow is bow hunting.
  19. I have done some limited packing and I would love to do more. I would pay $30.00 for one without a second thought. If I had back all the thirty dollar bills I've wasted on more foolish things than that, I could buy a pretty nice boat. In a prior life, I made plastic injection molds and yes they will cost considerably more than $10,000.00, but you probably already know that. Please let me know when and if you are in production. Please put me on your list for one. I have four patents and have gone into production on a few things and while I will never get rich at it, it has been exciting and rewarding. Don't quit your day job but I think you should do it.
  20. That looks like a bone fish, yes? I never realized how much iridescence they can have in them. Well, I can see one advantage of your salt over mine, you still get to fish. I won't be able to fish again till May and had to stop in Oct. I'll have to content myself with Ice fishing and tying flies. I'd love to see more.
  21. Vicente, Mark. Thanks for your input both of you. I'm mostly a wade fisherman so my streamer solution needs to fit in one of the pockets in my vest. Right now I'm using a plastic box with foam that's slotted to hold the hooks. I can get a bunch of streamers in it but they get disorganized and in the tight confines of the box it's tough to get articulated streamers in without tangling with the non articulated ones. Hmmm, maybe I have too many in the box and need another. Yes, more boxes, and more pockets on your waders. Have fun.
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