17
Jan 17

Flies (and gear) for Belize

Belize… smallest fish of my 2010 trip.

Belize, 88 days away, means I need to get back at the vice and it means different flies than I’d have in my box otherwise.

On the bonefish front, it means small flies. #6’s and #8’s… yes… #8’s. Not only smaller flies than you are likely to fish in the Bahamas, but also adding a weed-guard is a good idea.

For tarpon… well… I do dig on the bunny flies and I could stand a few more lighter colored tarpon bunnies. I’ll likely ties some #1’s for any tarpon I might come across.

Now… this is a trip with my daughter and while our goal is for her to catch a bonefish on a fly (if we end up at a mud, don’t judge me), it is possible we need to throw some gear for fish as well. I’m never really too sure what spinning gear to bring along for maybe catching a bonefish. That isn’t what I’ve been doing. So, might need to seek out some consultation on that front.

How much fly fishing I get to do is really a great unknown. The #1 priority is to keep the girl happy and have a good vacation. That certainly means I’ll fish less than I would like to fish, but there WILL be some fishing.


31
Jan 16

Back at the vice

We moved and in that process all my fly tying materials, even the desk itself, were packed up and carted the 2.7 miles from the first house to our new home (I’m never moving again). This was the sixth move for the fly tying desk in the past 9 years, but it is still with me.

Moved, but not ready.

Moved, but not ready.

The new home didn’t have room for my desk, but the garage did have room and that’s where it ended up. It is a little cold in there, but this is California, so a little cold is just that and nothing a space heater couldn’t rectify.

Now… now I have a trip on the books and speeding toward me like Christmas or my anniversary, close now and soon it will be right on top of me and I better get to planning  and actually DOING stuff to get ready or I won’t be.

So the boxes got unpacked and put away and I figured out how to get some power over to my little detached corner for the light and the heater and found a folding chair and now I’m back in business.

It felt good to be back at the vice after a few months of not being there. It felt good to set up a little bit of tropical thinking in this little corner of suburbia.

I tied flies for bonefish to reject, to flee and to crush, all of these outcomes are almost certain to happen, maybe even on the same cast.

Two weeks and they are getting on a plane (on planes, plural) with me and flying across the country and then out of it and touching down in a place I don’t know well at all, but kind of love and know I will love for the rest of my days and I’m going to use those bits of metal and plastic and thread to carry out one of those imperatives of my soul, of my being, to look for the shadow on the sandy flat, the movement contrary to the chop or the current, the flash of a tail, the gray ghost in his stunning habitat.

I think about that as I’m wrapping the bare hook in my garage with the space heater humming and a glass of not-very-good rum sitting mostly undrunk on my desk, getting in a Caribbean mindset. I think of what might look good to a bonefish. I think about movement and flash and what might tangle and how something might fish and the colors that might be intoxicating or repulsive to a creature with a brain the size of a pea and who will outsmart me more than I will outsmart it.

And I tie. I tie each fly in its own way, creating what seems to be asking to be created. Whip finish and head cement and take out from the jaws of the vice and put it with its new fraternity and put the next blank canvas in the vice and think again of skinny water, casting decks and polarized lenses.

The haul for the night.

The haul for the night.


02
Dec 15

The most awesome fly ever

I know this has made the rounds, but damn… this is just the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I love everything about this. Makes me think about getting that trip to Christmas on the books… 2017?

 


03
May 15

Vices

A new member to the family… my new Peak Vice.

Peak vice

It was time for a new vice and while I like nice things, I don’t like paying a lot of money. There are a lot of very nice vices out the and some come with eye watering prices. I’m never going to own one of those. The Peak was a decent compromise. It isn’t a $30 vice, but it isn’t a $500 vice. The cost, $149, seems like a pretty good value. “Made in the USA,” the vice seems well made and solid. I’m looking forward to it.

The c-clamp this came with was too bulky to work with the fly tying desk I have, which has doors I can close to keep all the hooks and goodies safe from our toddler. I simply used the other c-clamp I had, which has a nice skinny profile and works better with the doors.

I’ve tied a few flies on this so far and it takes a 1/0 pretty well. Maybe it will work on a #22 and I will do everything I can never to find out.

Welcome to the family Peak.


20
Apr 15

Abaco Magic Fly – UV Ghost Reverse Gotcha

When I fished with Tom Albury in Abaco a couple weeks back I started off with a fly that looked super sweet (and I was kind of proud of) and the fish absolutely hated it. I tend to be a Presentation > Fly Selection kind of guy, but there was clearly something about the fly they stabby, stabby hated.

I opened up my three fly boxes for Tom to select from the hundreds of flies I had brought along. He picked out a fly I tied on a whim and had never fished. It was a gotcha, but it had no craft fur or bunny wing. Instead, it was a wing of just more UV crystal flash. When that fly entered the water it looked like a little firework suspended in time at the moment of explosion. It lit up brilliantly, all sparkles and glitter.

The first cast with that fly and the fish charged it down, eager and determined to get it in its belly.

Kept that fly on the rest of the day and every fish that saw it ate it.

Here’s a version of that fly. Pretty simple. I put a strip of black crystal flash down the back (to mimic the vein on a shirmp) and put some UV cure goo on the back, giving it a keel and a “glass back.”

The UV Ghost Reverse Glassback Gotcha. Say that 3 times fast.

The UV Ghost Reverse Glassback Gotcha. Say that 3 times fast.


25
Sep 14

Black Death (because it sounds cool)

I dig the black death fly. I’ve tied a few, cast maybe a couple and landed a fish on zero of those flies, but they look kind of cool and, let’s be honest, pretty flies catch more anglers than fish. Still, this is a well traveled fly and has stuck many a tarpon and should I get a shot, I’d like to throw one of these again.

 


02
Jun 14

Rethinking flies

I’ve been rethinking some of my bonefish flies. Normally, I love a bit of rubber legs, some embellishment, some movement. However, I’ve come to worry a bit about fouling. I’m thinking it does little good to tie up a fancy fly that fouls and swims wrong and freaks out the fish you made said fancy fly for in the first place.

Flies are designed to catch fisherman, not really to catch fish, it has been said. I tend to agree with this. Presentation has a lot more to do with catching than fly design, at least in most places and in most situations.

I’d love to hear from you guys. Fouling an issue? Do you think about that as you build your speculative patterns? Do you put movement in the fly in a way so it won’t foul?

That's a lot of fur and thread.

That’s a lot of fur and thread.


13
Mar 14

Can I get a disable sticker for this?

It sure feels like something is wrong with my mental state.

That's a lot of fur and thread.
That’s a lot of fur and thread.

These are the flies I’m bringing to Long Island, but I can’t help but feel like I should be tying more. I feel like I might be missing something here and I’ll end up on a flat with an 8 pound bonefish (unlikely on Long, but it’s my fantasy, so I’m just going to roll with it) cruising up ahead and the guide is going to ask for the one fly I don’t have.

The shot will be lost.

I’ll probably cry a little bit. Not a lot and mostly on the inside.

The funny thing is I think I usually end up using 12-14 flies in a week of bonefishing. It usually doesn’t matter that much what you are throwing as long as it is about the right size and isn’t in some crazy color. It is more HOW you fish something, and yet I am still filled with a degree of anxiety.

Maybe I should get back to the vice…

 


07
Mar 14

A box for BTT

The flies from the Fly Swap are in and they look great. There are some really good, fish-catching flies, tied with care.

Good looking flies there.
Good looking flies there.

We have a box of those flies (4x in most cases) and a beautiful box from Cliff Outdoors which they donated to the cause (these are the boxes I use, by the way). Give Cliff Outdoors a like on Facebook, if you do such things.

The Cliff Box
The Cliff Box

It makes sense for the beneficiary of our efforts to be the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. They are the ones who are out there trying to protect the fish we love.

So, we need someone to buy this. I put this up on Facebook and I think the last bid was $130. A steal. I’ll keep this up until Monday, when we’ll take the highest bid (from here or the BOTB Facebook Page) and we’ll arrange for the donation and the shipping of the box.

So… who is going to bid on this beautiful box???


05
Mar 14

The Swap, again

We are one tier short at this point. Sam… if you are out there, get in touch. Otherwise, I’m going to put the packages together and get them out to you fine, fine people.

That, or I’ll just keep them all for myself and pretend there was no swap… but probably I’ll actually just send them out.

There they are...

There they are…