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.

 


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.


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.


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.


16
Dec 13

Mono Eyes

I like tying with mono eyes, but my attempts to actually burn mono have not really looked right. Because of this failure on my part, I’ve bought them (at $5.50 a pack) instead of making them.

This weekend I suddenly figured out how to make mono eyes using UV cure stuff (I use the loon UV Clear Fly Finish).

All you have to do is just dip a single piece of mono into the UV gel, set it and then dip it again and then set that. Repeat the process about 4-5 times and you’ll have a really nice round eye on a stalk. Get some black nail polish and paint the eyes, wait for them to dry and then coat them one more time with the UV cure gel.

The final product is a pretty good looking mono eye.

Not bad.

Not bad.

There are other ways to make the eyes, as I found out on the Facebook page, but I think this one is going to be how I do these myself.


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?


08
Oct 13

Scott’s favorite flies

I’m not the only one thinking about flies, it seems. Here’s a post from Scott Heywood about one of his favorites. He gets pretty deep.

I should love this fly. Afterall, the Shane in Shane’s Psycho Puff is my friend Shane. Still, I haven’t had luck with this fly, but that may be because I don’t fish it often and tend to reach for it when everything else hasn’t worked, which isn’t the best testing ground.

I may need to give this fly a second look.


07
Oct 13

I like tying

But I have to get in the right state of mind to do it. If I’m going to try and pound out a bunch of flies (and Dan, I’m starting on that task, fyi), I need to prepare the space. I need to clean up all the bits and snips from previous sessions. I need to clean up my desk and get things ready.

I do like tying though. I like the process of creating. I’ve always loved sculpture, as an art, but I’m no sculptor. Tying, though, tying is building something which, in the right light, can look a little bit like discrete pieces of art, purpose built and intended for personal, private moments of greatness.

Production.

Production.


19
Mar 13

Tying an EP Crab variation

Here is the EP crab variation that I tied up recently. The video… yeah… a little rough. I have way too much Hand in there and I need to get closer in on the actual fly, change the perspective of the camera… but this is a start. I’ll likely do more of these videos as they appear to be fairly popular.