16
Jul 17

On finishing

I do a lot of cooking and so I buy the big spice containers. I have to say, when I finish one, a big container of garlic powder or onion powder or cumin, there is a sense of accomplishment. Finishing one of those says “You are serious about it. You have put in your time.”

Running out of ink in a favorite pen or running out of paper in a work journal is the manifestation of effort expended. It is evidence. Proof.

So it is with a spool of thread at the tying desk. I like finishing spools of thread. I like running out of hooks and craft fur and crystal flash.

I’m putting in the time. I am putting in the wraps.

Not much left of this one.


15
Jul 17

Time with my vice

I forget just how much I enjoy sitting at the vice and pounding out some flies. My vice and tying table don’t live in the house. I’m relegated to the garage, but that means I can be a bit messier than my wife would allow inside, so it could be all for the best.

The desk is something I’ve had for 13 years now. I used it as a computer desk at one point before I saw the obvious and converted it into my tying desk. I’ve gone through a few vices, even one that was sent to me by a reader of the blog. This vice works well. I’m not sure of the brand, as that has never been really important to me. I just need it to work and this works.

I’ve been tying for Mexico, which happens in about a week. I need to go through my existing boxes and pull out flies that I know I won’t fish. Some flies have been sitting there for years and are rusty, others I have consistently bypassed for the past 5 years so should probably take out of the box in favor of something I might actually fish.

I like tying. I like creating. I like sitting there in my garage and watching a fly take shape with a few wraps of thread and bits of fur. It is “crafting for dudes.” For those of you who still aren’t in to tying, I recommend it. It brings you just one step further into the game. Catching a fish on a fly you tied is pretty awesome.

Here is what I’ve been tying up.

All of these are new ties for Mexico and the box in general.

Some different patterns.

Trying to bring some order to what I’m tying.

 


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?

 


23
May 15

Ruined

I just can’t get into tying trout flies anymore. I just can’t do it. The salt stuff is just too much fun. It’s so big and expressive and substantial. I don’t want to tie any more #16’s.

I know which I'd rather tie.

I know which I’d rather tie.


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.

 


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…

 


15
Dec 13

simple vs. complex

I’ve been spending some time at the vice lately and looking at putting some new patterns in my box. I was looking at Dick Brown’s Bonefish Fly Patterns and I was struck by just how simple some of the patterns were, and by complex others were.

Here are a couple of examples from my desk from last night.

A crab pattern I tied up last night. Inspired by, but not very similar to Peterson’s Peeking Crab (from Dicks book). Lots of steps involved.

A lot of steps in that there lil crab.

A lot of steps in that there lil crab.

Jim’s Rubber Band Worm (from Dick Brown’s book). Just about as simple as it gets. Anyone ever caught a fish on this fly?

It's a frigging rubber band...

It’s a frigging rubber band…

What’s the simplest patter you tie or have caught fish on?


21
Nov 13

How my fly boxes are like my marriages

 

The box needs love.

The box needs love.

 

I was thinking recently about my fly boxes. I was contemplating what I needed to fill them with and what, maybe, I might need to remove.

Over the last couple years I’ve started to put fewer experimental patterns in my boxes. I’m more into patterns I know have worked, patterns I have confidence in, that I feel good about through experience, not just because they are pretty. The total number of patterns is probably dropping off too. I’m concentrating on having more of the patterns I depend on.

Your fly boxes need attention. You can’t just grab for it when you need it without any maintenance. The flies will rust, the fur will deteriorate, the choose patterns might be gone. You have to reassess from time to time and make sure what you have with you is what you need. If not… well… time to put in the work and get your box where you need it to be.


19
Nov 13

One of my favorite flies

This might not be a Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp, but I think it is close enough.

I like this fly. A lot.

I like this fly. A lot.

There are a few things I like in this fly. I prefer bunny to craft fur, I like orange the orange. I like this kind of leg. I like the eyes. Figure most fish are going to see this mostly from behind and it starts to look really yummy.

I also put a keel on these flies using a clear UV strip on the bottom. I just like doing that. I don’t know that I get more or fewer fish because of it, but I like the thought of it.

So much of what we put into our flies ranges somewhere on the scale from Fancy to Theory, but not so much at Fact. We tie what we think looks good and if we catch a fish on it we confirm our own assumptions and then we tie more things like that in the future.

It is fun to think about all this and we can be pretty sure we put a lot more thought into it than the fish does.