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Fly Tying

Capt Bob LeMay

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About Capt Bob LeMay

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    Advanced Member

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  • Favorite Species
    Everything that swims in the 'Glades
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  • Location
    south Florida

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  1. Nothing like storms in colder weather to test your stamina. In summer, down here, I try to have my anglers on the water one hour before dawn. That takes some doing on my part since each day it’s 93 miles from my home to the ramp.
  2. I long ago gave up on mono loops for patterns that have a tendency to foul when wet (long saddles, rabbit strip, maribou, etc.). Instead I much prefer a sparse amount of bucktail as an “under wing” tied in first to allow the tail to have something to lay on, preventing it from wrapping around the hook. Works very well for me instead of that mono loop...
  3. During hot weather months (or anytime when lightning is a possibility...). We try to be on the water before dawn and off the water as early as possible... Lightning isn’t funny. If you’re inside your car though, you’re fully protected no matter how bad it gets...
  4. Y’all are playing my song... and I do try to learn from my mistakes (if possible)... Or as a buddy said years ago after I did every thing wrong and still got the fish... “Well, that’s one way to do it...” Seriously though, some days I go home thinking I’m a genius... other days I go home talking to myself. One thing I can pass along though that I learned from the best charter boat captain I ever worked for... He said to go after every fish like it was the only one you’d see that day... Pretty good advice for a guide. By the way, I’m a year and a half using a trolling motor (after at least 20 years doing without one...) - and still learning. Sometimes that troller will help you working a fish to the boat - other times it will hurt you... Like I said, I’m still learning which is which.
  5. Amen... and the one thing I always tried to point out when I was trying to teach newbies interested in fly tying was that the fish were the judges for our efforts. If fish refused your fly - no matter how nice it looked then put it on a wall somewhere and go with a pattern they would eat...
  6. Their best feature was a color sample folio that they sold to wholesale customers for less than twenty bucks if memory serves... It contained a maribou sample of every color (between 30 and 50 all told...) they dyed materials into and it was absolutely accurate. If you ordered rusty orange that’s the exact color you’d get... The materials of theirs I still have are mostly broken pieces of dyed bucktails- by the pound per color at very reasonable prices. They’re still handy when tying bucktail jigs and need accent colors to go with the basically white or yellow tails. Once again, wish they were still around.
  7. Here’s another suggestion that will greatly improve any tyer’s consistency and aid in getting those proportions exactly, time after time (as well as the colors of each material). Simply, look over the flies you’ve tied of that one pattern -and save the best one as a “Master pattern”. Then each time you come back to that pattern you’ll have a standard to strive for. T will also speed up your efforts if you ever get into production tying. I actually have masters I saved from back in the eighties to ensure that all these years later I can reproduce a pattern to a close standard when desired... Over time and use, some patterns will evolve- and that’s when I shift to a new master, replacing the original if desired. From hard experience I can recall times when I generated a new pattern - then when it really produced only having its shredded remains, then trying to duplicate it without success... Very frustrating.
  8. I've noted a distinct difference these days in the saltwater fly tying world as well... Older tyers like me are much more involved with natural materials - feathers, hair, and tails while younger tyers have learned to use synthetics almost exclusively for their creations.... As a commercial tyer for many years I learned to buy my materials in bulk. Strung saddle hackles and neck hackles - by the bundle (3 to 7 ounces per bundle) or simply by the pound (what amounts to a lifetime supply in one color or another...). As a result I rarely ever need to visit a fly shop for basic materials and haven't kept up with the world of synthetics except to note that in my wholesale catalogs you see new materials listed every year, while natural materials rarely change, except for when one supplier or another is no longer in business (I miss Hobbs Feather Company to this day - even though they went out of business thirty years ago...).
  9. I keep a pair of Shimano flats boots on my skiff (nothing like running aground and having to get out and push in places that aren't exactly "foot friendly"..). They're zippered, have a pretty tough sole with lugs for traction and I'm just guessing here... but imagine a size or two larger would work well for stocking foot waders... They're not very expensive and since I'm not a freshwater angler at all (except when way up inside the freshwater headlands that drain down into brackish or saltwater portions of the Everglades... ) you'll want to check out their possible use with guides or shops that actually are in the water day after day... Good luck and post up what you choose...
  10. Thank you very much SilverCreek for that drawing and the accompanying illustration (the only one I've ever seen...).. My normal deerhair (excluding deer tails...) has always been from Wapsi - belly hair for spun and clipped work needing very bright colors (dyed over white) and those lovely natural and dyed strips on tanned skin from them as well... For many years as a commercial tyer (saltwater) I did my best to avoid filling orders for spun and clipped (or razored) patterns since they're too time consuming and result in less money earned rather than more... Now that I'm no longer tying for shops and other guides - most of my efforts are for my guiding customers to make sure we have the flies we'll need year 'round - and yes, there are a few deer hair patterns for those needs.. Once again, thanks for a very un-expected lesson... - and of course - here's a photo to go with it... The Razor cut Mullet...
  11. First chance I've had to visit here - been going day after day with bookings (figure folks have been cooped up long enough and most that I know are fully booked now..). Caloosa - those are great looking minnow patterns - and 239 (Naples area phone code...) do great stuff as well. When I get back on the water on Tuesday it will be all tarpon for us... for at least three days. Just nothing like the 'glades.
  12. I've never fished the Homosassa area at all - and my stomping grounds (the Everglades) are completely different (understatement). That said, since I was a commercial tyer for many years (quit it about three years ago now) I've tied for more than a few shops - and guides. That includes at least 35 different tarpon patterns at one time or another... and all of my royalty patterns still active with Umpqua are - you guessed it... tarpon patterns. The only orders from guides in that area that I filled were for one of my signature patterns the Sand Devil... Here's a pic... It's tied up on an Owner Aki hook in sizes 1/0 up to 4/0 - and here's a tip.... if you have a tarpon pattern you like always do them in two sizes - a 4/0 and a 2/0, or a 3/0 and a 1/0... A refusal of the big fly? then go to the smaller version (and maybe a lighter, longer leader...). Here are a few patterns I'd want - anywhere in the world for big tarpon (small ones get different flies entirely...). This is my version of John Emery's famous Cockroach pattern that's been around for years and years - and is still catching fish today world-wide... most tarpon anglers will have at least a few rabbit strip patterns... Here's one that I drew royalties on for a few years... the Swamp Rabbit in 3/0.... I did this in five colors - and would want some in light colors and some in dark colors - along with the black death (red/black), I'd want "burple" (black/ purple) on hand. Note: the Swamp Rabbit has a very sparse underwing of dyed bucktail - same color as that rabbit strip (makes the tail foul-proof, an important feature in any rabbit strip pattern...). This photo shows a batch of Swamp Rabbits still in production... in "grizzly brown" One last thought about tarpon patterns... In some areas (the Keys, Homosassa, and others where tarpon are heavily pressured...) any info about patterns is going to be the equivalent of a state secret.... (serious understatement).... Shops will talk up what they have to sell - but guides get lockjaw with rare exception... Whatever you tie up expect the guide to have "something else" and go with whatever he (or she) recommends. Your best bet is to look very closely at the fly he hands you - both in dry state and after it's been in use for a while.... The Holy grail for me would be a new sample to take home with me so I could learn how to tie it properly (and it would never, ever, see the water if it was something special...). Hope this helps, and please post a report on how your trip goes. Homosassa season is well after our own (the interior of the Everglades is the first place here in Florida that gets big tarpon up shallow every year- and we've been in fish for weeks now...).
  13. As a guy who not only fishes every kind of gear around... fly, spin, plug casting... I've always been interested in how a lure or fly sinks - and at what attitude, nose first, tail first, or mostly level... Along the way I've learned that I can influence how the fly or lure suspends or sinks - and at what rate, by varying a few things. The first item for sinking lures and flies is how it's connected to the leader. If I want the hook end to remain level as it sinks I employ a knot to the leader that is fixed and not "flexible" at all. A few examples of this kind of knot would be the clinch, the palomar, or the snell (probably not a knot at all...). Even a bonefish jig with this kind of knot will tend to sink in a more level fashion... The actual size and material used for your leader has some influence as well. Now if I want the lure or fly to sink nose first the attachment is always a loop knot which allows the fly or lure to pivot against the leader connection and go down nose first... In fly fishing we have an advantage since we can greatly vary how the terminal end (the fly) behaves by merely changing the fly line (or going to a setup that already has a different type of line ready to go). That's why as a general proposition I like my lighter rods (7, 8, and 9 wts.) set up with floating lines, and my heavier rods, 10 to 12 wts. , set up with full intermediate lines.. Yeah I know for freshwater anglers a 7 wt is not a "light rod" but I'm a salty type and we use heavier rods than most freshwater types..
  14. Where is your trip.. that alone will go a long way towards a recommendation on what to tie and bring with you... Mind you, I have had many anglers over the years bring a selection of tarpon flies (some buy them other tie them..) that rarely get used since we've got to be very specific in the Everglades and many Keys style tarpon flies simply don't work well in the dark waters of the 'glades..
  15. As great as the clouser is for most species worldwide... We’ve never had a single tarpon bite on one... Have absolutely no idea why.
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