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Everything posted by phg

  1. Here is a good illustration of various hackles. http://www.eflytyer.com/materials/feathers.html All of the top row, and the bottom row, from the blue feather to the right, are webby hackles. For a woolybugger, the feathers on the bottom row, from the blue feather to the right, will all work well. The last one on the right, the schlappen, may be too webby for smaller 'buggers.
  2. Woolybuggers are generally tied with saddle hackle. Other than Whiting's and Metz's genetic hackles, most saddles will be webby enough. Web refers to the part of the feather where the barbs have distinct fuzziness, rather than the clean, well defined single strands found on dry fly hackles. All hackles get webby near the base, but some are webbier than others. Chinese and Indian saddles are what one usually uses for woolybuggers and the like.
  3. Dacron is the best choice, because it doesn't stretch, and it's very strong for the diameter. The stuff you see in fly shops is overpriced, but convenient. The high cost isn't the material itself, but the packaging and marketing. On the other hand, dacron kite line is a lot cheaper, and often stronger....
  4. ...maybe that is why it was donated. There doesn't really seem to be any real use for a DT line, which is why they are disappearing. The old argument was, when one end began to wear out, you could reverse it on the spool and get another season or two out of it. In reality, though, once the coating begins to crack, you may as well pitch the line. Another "suggested" use is to cut the line in half. Then you have 2 shooting heads. That might actually be the best use, but you can find better shooting heads, so why bother. Generally speaking, a DT line can be cast effectively in the 30' to 40' range, so, if you are fishing smallish streams for big fish (think salmon in Alaska) you should be able to get good use out of it.
  5. I've been using a few different styles of Saber hooks for several years now. I find them to be better quality than Allen or GCO, but not as good as Daiichi or Tiemco. Also, I've never had a hook failure. For the money, I'm quite satisfied. I particularly like their standard dry fly hook.
  6. I prefer speckled hen back, but really, all the options mentioned will work. I use a lot of snipe as well as partridge. It's hard to find a hackle that's too soft, or, for that matter, too long. In the water it all adds to the illusion of movement.
  7. phg

    TFO warranty

    They kept my check. :-( The broken rod tip was promptly replaced, though, and the rod was back in action much quicker than I expected. Quality product + reasonable price + good service = great company to do business with!
  8. The snowshoe hare grows extra long fibers between its toes when they grow their winter coat, hence the "snowshoe". These extra fluffy feet allow them to run on top of soft snow. Those are the fibers you are using for the Usual. Other hares and rabbits simply don't have those long stiff fibers around their toes. The woodchuck fibers might work, but they will be softer, giving more movement to the fly. Calf/kip tail would be a closer substitute.
  9. The steam from a tea kettle should work perfectly, just be careful to keep your fingers out of the way. Steam scalds are nothing to take lightly. I would say buy new feathers. There for a while, quality matched duck quills were hard to find, but Spirit River is doing a good job. As for critique, all your wings are way too long. #3 is the only one that comes close. Check the Ray Bergman collection on Hatches to see good examples of how thy should look. Don Bastian is one of the best practitioners of the craft. He also has the photos on his personal WEB site. Worth checking out. Wet fly wings aren't really hard to do, but you aren't going to get them right on your first few tries. Don usually mounts his wings with the tips up and out. I was taught to do them down and in, but now days tend to do them Don's way, because that's what people want to see. This article from Hatches Magazine is a good tutorial on tying a classic wet fly: http://hatchesmagazine.com/blogs/Hatches/2010/07/01/ibis-white-by-john-mccoy/
  10. phg

    Rod Building

    The MHX is a decent blank. I've been favorably impressed with the ones I've assembled for others. It isn't the most cost effective blank out there, but it's good quality for the money and it stands up very well against much more expensive blanks. Assembling a graphite rod is not difficult. If you can tie flies, you can do a great job wrapping a rod. Go for it, and don't be afraid to ask questions.
  11. Man, the difference between the hackles we used in the 50's, 60's and 70's versus the hackles we have today is like night and day! Since the swine-flu scare a few years back, it has become difficult to find Indian and Chinese capes, but there are a few still out there. Get one of them and compare them to a modern genetic cape. You'll wonder how anyone ever managed to tie a decent dry fly.... I can try to take some pictures, later today, to illustrate the difference. I still have some of the old capes. They make great streamer wings....
  12. I find it easiest to wrap both hackles at the same time. As for how many wraps, half as many, more or less. On a dry fly, I normally wrap twice behind the wing and 3 times in front. With a doubled hackle, that becomes once behind and twice in front. I find it works best to cut them off separately at the head. Just remember that most of the double hackle flies were developed back in "the good old days" when Indian or Chinese capes were the norm. It often took two hackles make the fly bushy enough to float properly. With today's genetic hackles, with their higher barb count and stiffer barbs, I rarely wrap a double hackle anymore. Instead, I select one of the many multi-colored hackles that are available today. For example, brown and grizzly mixed can be approximated with either a barred ginger or a cree hackle.
  13. I've never done it, but I've often thought about it. A small day pack would be all you'd need, even for the boots. Add a couple bottles of water and some snacks, and you're ready for a full day. I rarely hike more than a mile, maybe two, before I start fishing, though, and in the heat of the summer, I'm likely to be wet wading anyway, so it's never been much of an issue.
  14. I was looking (and drooling) at the Renegade at the Fly Fishing Show in Atlanta. That solid "floor" is a major improvement over the predator and other inflatables. The SUP technology makes a big difference. I wish Dave offered a trade in program....
  15. I have no place to store a framed pontoon, but all my fishing buddies seem to have them. In order to go on a float with them I had to bet something. A couple of years ago, Dave Scadden introduced his frameless boats. After a lot of hesitation, I went for the Outlaw Predator. The price is a little daunting, but it's a great boat, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Deflated it is about the size of an average suitcase. Inflated, it's a full 8' boat. I was concerned about the oar towers, but they were well thought out, and I found that I could keep up with the framed 'toons on open water. The Predator is rated for up to class 4 whitewater, and weighs less than 20 pounds. Check out the lineup on http://www.davescaddenpaddlesports.com/ (no financial interests, etc., etc.)
  16. Originally, the tentacles came from cheap knock-offs of a Koosh Ball. There are tons of kids toys that have them. The are usually aimed at toddlers, and often cost $1 to $2. Some are smaller, some are larger, and come in various colors. Check your local dollar stores. edit: These "Puffer Balls" are an example: https://www.amazon.com/Rhode-Island-Novelty-Puffer-Balls/dp/B002LHA064/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1488206235&sr=8-7&keywords=kush+balls
  17. That's not bad at all. Yes, you did crowd the head a bit, but not all that much. Definitely a keeper!
  18. Rhode Island Red is the original Royal Coachman color. A good quality RIR cape is dry fly quality and will tie size 10, 12 and 14 flies. Compared to modern generic hackles, it is large and sparse, so you might have to use two hackles to get the density you'd prefer. The saddle should make good streamer hackles, and the spade hackles should be good tailing material. The hen is where you get the material for soft hackles. I really don't think any of the feathers off a cock would be soft enough.
  19. When I first found that I need a wading staff, I used an old ski pole, or a convenient tree branch, and they worked just fine. The only problem is portability. A five foot long pole takes up five feet of space, and most cars aren't that wide. It's the same problem one has with 2-piece fly rods. Several years ago, I bought one of these on sale: http://store.hookhack.com/Light-Weight-Collapsible-Wading-Staff/productinfo/LTWTSTF/ It is a shameless Folstaff knock-off for less than 1/2 the price. In six sections, it folds up very compactly, it is made of 3/4" aluminum tubing, and very sturdy and it floats (or at least the cork handle does). I keep it in the holster whenever I go fishing, taking it out whenever I feel a staff is needed. In swift water or slippery conditions, I keep it in hand. It comes in handy as a hiking stick, when climbing up steep banks, or as a probe to see just how deep the water is, or as just a staff to lean on. More than once, I've lost my balance, snatched the staff from it's holster and had it unfold, and assemble itself in time to keep me from falling. If I need both hands to fish, I simply drop the staff into the water, and depend on the tether to keep it close to hand. If you are wading is soft muck, the tip can become stuck and pull loose, but generally, you just work the staff in a circle until you've enlarged the hole enough to pull the staff out. That is the only instance where a solid staff would be an advantage. Otherwise the convenience and portability of one of these is a no-brainer.
  20. I've used the pink and the chartreuse worms to good effect when fishing delayed harvest streams in mid-winter. There are almost always aquatic worms in the water, especially if there is any mud bottom. I don't really like making them, it isn't really fly tying, but they can be very effective, and can save the day when nothing else is working.
  21. You really need to hold out for midge saddles. With several broods a year, it shouldn't take long to "catch up." I'm just not sure there was the demand for midge saddles that was once anticipated.
  22. Whenever I go fishing, as soon as I get back to the car, before I do anything else, I break down the rod and put it in the tube. I will leave the cap off, or open, so it can dry out, but I never leave it assembled. This prevents rods from getting broken in car doors, or falling off the roof, or any of a dozen other accidents that can happen if the rod isn't stowed properly. The one exception is when I'm staying on the water, either camping or in a cabin, and I expect to fish again soon. Of course, that's also the one time when I have broken a rod tip by slamming a car door on it (it slipped just as I started to close the door, and there was no stopping either one.)
  23. phg

    Henry's Fork?

    I am no expert on Henry's Fork. The one time I fished it, trout were rising all around me, and the air was filled with insects (you had to keep your mouth closed), and I failed to catch anything. I don't even think I got a bite. A couple of the guys with me did manage one or two, but nothing of size. Very humbling. We were fishing just a short distance down stream of Rene Harrop's place. Anyway, Aston has several fly shops in it (google "fly shop Ashton ID"). I'd suggest you contact one of them and get the hatch chart and fly recommendations for that time of year. It is an expense, but consider hiring a guide for 1/2 a day. He/she will educate you on the correct flies and techniques for the stream. Do that on your first day and you'll catch a lot more fish during your stay.
  24. ...and you need to learn to reduce the size of your pictures, so we can see them without having to scroll....
  25. These are anti-snagging/snatching rules. An 1/8 oz jig has a pretty good sized head. We use them for shad flies, and they can be a bear to cast! Also, the 1/2" gape restricts you to a size 2 or smaller hook. You shouldn't have a problem if you wind a single layer of 0.30 lead on a size 2 salmon hook.
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