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Fly Tying


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About johnnyquahog

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  1. Saltwater flies that were once constructed using 5 minute epoxy are good candidates for the thick resin. These include but are not limited to Mikkelson’s epoxy baitfish series, Bob Pop’s surf candies, his ultra shrimp and sand eels. Bob (a pioneer in both epoxy and acrylics) and most progressive tyers have advanced to the acrylics. I’m still living in an epoxy world for these patterns. I equate the thin resin as a modern replacement for the two ton or 30 minute epoxy for thinner coats and where a rotisserie motor was required for curing. YMMV.
  2. Now there is a vise you don’t see everyday. I think the A.K. best McKensie is pretty rare as are the accessories. Nice!
  3. Based on your requirements you want to give the Renzetti Saltwater Traveler a hard look. Andy Renzetti invented the true rotary vise which is what most saltwater tyers want if they are using light cured acrylics, silicone, epoxies, spinning, stacking and trimming deer hair as well as a bunch of other stuff. Popovics, Clouser, the late Lefty Kreh and many of today’s fly tying ambassadors tie on a Renzetti vise. Of course, not all of them had to pay for them like we do... (smiley goes here)
  4. There is lots of information on the internet that is easy to find. More than you probably want to know. The following is a good start, but just a start. In the 40s and 50s, a Catskills fly-tier named Harry Darbee crossed Thompson Barred Rock roosters with Old English Games, Blue Andalusians, and several other breeds, in an effort to create the perfect dun-colored neck cape. He sent eggs to a Minneapolis lawyer named Andy Miner, who employed meticulous breeding methods to create a range of colors and feathers unparalleled in their time. A great deal of the hackle available today owes to the bloodlines of these two breeders.
  5. Funny you mention the size #32. About 25 years ago I used to attend many of the monthly UFT (United fly Tyers) meetings in Burlington, Ma. There were always some notable people there, some local legends and some global legends. One guy always brought along his fully dressed size 32 Royal Coachman dry fly for others to check out. It was in one of those small plastic cubes with the magnifiers on each side.
  6. In 1982 my manager handed me a copy of sports illustrated that had a feature article profiling Jack Gartside. I read the article and was amazed at what a character he was. (I just now googled it). I sent away for his self published catalog and bought a few flies. Over the years I would see Jack at United Fly Tyers meetings, our local club and other shows and venues. Jack was as frugal as it gets, working odd jobs when he needed, tying flies in his cab while waiting for fares in Boston, a voracious reader, great story teller, adventurous and the most innovative fly designer crossing both fresh and salt water that I’ve met. At the time he would spend his summers in west Yellowstone with his cat living in his car, fishing, tying and selling flies. He said that one ringneck pheasant can produce thousands of flies. I often say he used everything but the beak and feet and I’m not even sure about that. I watched him fish on Woodbridge island in the mouth of the Merrimack river. Someone just dropped him off there. Every time I drifted by in my boat he had a striped bass on the line. This island is four feet under water at high tide with a fast moving current. The fishing community lost him too soon to cancer. There will never be another like Gartside, trout bum, striper bum and class act.
  7. I love my (auction find) older generation Abel 3N in guide / matte finish with the cork disk drag. This was supposed to be a great bonefish reel but I use it mostly for striped bass.
  8. The Pfleuger Medalist series, especially those made in the USA, has to be one of the most simple, reliable, popular, numerous reels ever manufactured. They can still be found in great condition. I still have at least a half dozen and use them frequently but this is by far the oldest one I have.
  9. Reels are my weak spot. This Keneya bi-metal reel is no longer mine but I have the same model with the addition of a counter balance loaded with a synthetic silk line that matches up with bamboo.
  10. H. ... you won’t find many mayflies on the Swift (below the dam to Caddy Lane) if at all. I’ve seen a few Hendricksons or red quills but not enough to want to fish them. This water is pounded non stop so each trout gets quite an education. There is a group of guys that go real real small with midges. My success on top was usually terrestrials, ants, beetles, crickets, inch worms, bees and so on Subsurface it was buggers, pt nymphs and leeches. Although not very sporting I did sight fish with yarn egg flies at the Y pool which is stupid fishing. So back to Catskills style. I did have a great day below the dam on the Deerfield with the light Cahill. While they are beautiful and have great history they have lost quite a bit of popularity because we just don’t see as many of the big mayfly hatches that many of these patterns represent. A stream I once fished with amazing hatches in the 80’s is practically dry now since both a ski mountain and golf course are sucking up the aquifer. The new condo developments didn’t help either. As mentioned the bivisible looks easy as does the “conover” to start with. Tight wraps and tight lines.
  11. Things must have changed in the past few years when I used to read the comparison reviews. I thought there was Whiting and then everyone else when it came to density of feathers, barbule count, usable feather length, # of feathers and # of flies one could tie (cost per fly). I don't even recall if I got to choose the color of the Collins saddles I have. I was going to suggest the Whiting intro hackle pack which gets you 4 half capes, maybe even in your chosen colors for $66. Bearsden says they might even have one with cree. I had trouble getting into the collins web site above, just got a splash page... but now will have to check them out just based on the accolades here.
  12. Kelly Galloup cautions in one of his videos to never leave a hook in the vise over night as bad things can happen. Never really thought about it but I’m sure that in the last forty or so years I probably did just that a few times.
  13. By all means get a true rotary vise. Kelly Galloup has a couple of good videos on selecting a vise that are worth watching. If you ever get into epoxy or LCA you will appreciate the true rotary features beyond just checking out the far side of the fly. I like renzetti because that was the only true rotary I knew about in the early 80’s and after I spent a session watching Dave Whitlock work his magic with deer hair got what later evolved into the 3000. Several years after I got a top end renzetti to do saltwater, mostly 1/0 to 6/0 stuff. There are more fine choices today than ever but do a little research and by all means get the vise that you want since you are the only one that may be spending countless enjoyable hours in front of (or is it behind?) it. Tight wraps!
  14. Hey.. I got one of those vises as well as a couple of rite bobbins. I'm a fan of both.
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