Welcome To Burnt Drags ! Your Place For The Latest In Fly Fishing And Tying ! Also Up To The Minute Stream Conditions And Fishing Reports..

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tying with Matt Grobert at Shannon's Fly Shop

        Took the opportunity to tye with fellow fly fisherman and friend Matt Grobert today at Shannon's fly shop in Califon NJ. He came armed with a great line up of flys that not only fish well but are easy to tye..
       First up to bat was a great little larva pattern the Chimarra Caddis Larva. It uses three tying materials well four once you count head cement or hard as hull to finish the fly.Tying the fly is rather simple and is done with the following materials; hook size 18 , thread yellow or bright orange for the under body, uni-flex in a red orange and brown or black thread to finish the head.When you are finished tying the fly coat the entire body and head with hard as hull to give it that great translucent look .
    Next was one of Matts favorite flys to fish the Sparkle Caddis pupa. This was good as I have never tied this fly, I have a few in stock given to me by Matt and Jessy whom tye these beautifully.
   I can vouch for the effectiveness of this fly it just down right produces. I have taken many fish with this fly on top as well as pulling it under and letting it pop back to the surface.These are typically tied on a size 14-18 dry fly hook.

    And last but not least the Snow Shoe Hendrickson emerger . Which is a great early season pattern here in the Northeast as it is one of the first and best mayfly hatches of the year. These can be tied on a curved or straight shank hook in sizes 12-14.

    All I can say is we had great time tying with Matt and learning a few of his tying tricks along the way . He also shared a few fish tales with some funny jokes peppered in that got everyone going.It was definitely worth getting up early Sunday morning and driving down to Shannon's Fly Shop in Califon NJ for their free fly tying class. I know I walked away with some newly gained knowledge and had fun to boot!

    If you would like the recipes for the patterns above they can be found in Matts book Fly Fishing New Jersey Trout Streams. It can be purchased online at Shannon's Fly Shop. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tying The Perfect Wing

        If you are a seasoned tyer or just beginning, winging a fly consistently can be difficult. Here are a few tricks that I have learned from years of tying dry flies. 
        The first being where to start your tying thread on the hook . I like to get it started where I am going to mount the wing or post on a fly.As you can see in the picture below it is generally one to one and a half hook eye widths behind the eye of the hook . If you do this each time your wings will become consistent .

    After you start your tying thread it is time to measure up your wing material . No matter what you are using for the wing it is the same procedure . I hold the material to the hook to see that there is at least about 3/16 of and inch of the wing past the hook eye.In this case it is CDC for a parachute fly. If you do this it will give you a perfect wing height every time.

    Now it's time to tye your wing in, hold it firmly between your thumb and index finger. Bring your first wrap of  thread loosely up and over your wing material . Once you make this wrap tighten the thread buy pulling your bobbin straight down and slightly to the rear of the fly.This will keep your wing material on top of the hook.Now make a few more tight wraps to hold it in place.These wraps always go right over the area that you started your thread to tye the fly.
       When you are finished securing the wing trim off the waist . Tye down the exposed wing material and wrap your thread back to the starting point. Now stand your wing up and wrap your thread in front of the wing tightly several times to build a little dam of thread to hold your wing upright . This is done the same for Catskill winged dry flies as well.

    The final step is to wrap the post and place a drop of head cement to keep it in place and make it a more durable fly.


       Now you are all set with the perfect height wing and ready to finish your fly.Again this process will work with any dry fly you tye,be it a hackle tip,CDC or what ever you choose to wing your fly with.....So give a try next time you sit down to tye...And happy tying !!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Partridge And Orange

    I was tying a few of these age old patterns today , The Partridge And Orange . This simple little soft hackle fly has accounted for many a saved day for countless fly fisherman over the years.
   This fly was brought to my attention about 10 years ago by my good friend and fishing partner Nick . We were fishing the Little Lehigh and we were both having a tough day. We knew the fish were there but they didn't want anything to do with our offerings.
  So we do what you do when this occurs start changing flies .. It wasn't long till I heard that inevitable war cry from Nick fish on! I looked up and he was into a very nice rainbow trout . He had that giddy look on his face you know the one ... He was proud of beating me to the first fish of the day, as there is always a little friendly competition between fishing buddies.
    When he was done playing , landing and releasing his catch , I asked the the question . What fly did you catch it on ? And his reply was the partridge and orange and offered me one in the same breath.I cut the fly I was using off the tippet and tied on his partridge and orange and began to fish. As we worked our way down the stream casting and swinging , I finally got into a fish of my own a nice little brown that was full of fight.
    Needless to say Nick proved his prowess on this stream as he's fished it many times before. It showed in the days tally, he landed 8 fish or so that day to my two.And they were both on a fly he had given me!
    When I arrived home I headed straight for the vise and tied up a bunch to put in my box for the next trip. Since then I have fished the partridge and orange and found it to be effective on most every stream I fish . It has found a permanent spot in my fly box.
    There are many ways to fish this fly and they all produce. You can swing it just like a wet fly,put a little weight on and roll it on the bottom like a nymph or trail it in a tandem tied off the bend of your favorite dry fly.Tye a few up and give them a shot you will be glad you did..

Recipe for Partridge and Orange
Hook  wet fly nymph hook of your choice sizes 12 -20
Thread orange 6-8/0
Body orange silk or floss
Ribbing fine gold or copper wire
Thorax a small amount of dubbing if you like
Hackle one or two turns or partridge

Friday, March 11, 2011

Snow Shoe Emergers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As most people know Snowshoe Hare emergers are very effective . The first ones brought to my attention were a hand full of Fran Betters pattern know as the Usual.I fished these neat little flies and had great success with them. Catching trout on every stream that I fished them from the small streams to big open rivers, they worked everywhere.
    This in turn got the creative juices flowing, so myself along with many other tyers began to experiment with different hook styles and dubbing colors . To come up with some cool fish catching snowshoe hare patterns..I tye them dubbed mostly in these three colors olive , golden yellow and natural gray or dun . In sizes 12 down to 18, The fly in the picture above is tied on a Dohiku 301 size 14.

   Depending on how you want your fly to present you can fish totally dry on top , or you can sink the body under the film which is deadly.You accomplish by taking some of your saliva and apply it to the body and shuck only while keeping the wing dry.This allows the shuck and the body to sink into the film leaving just the wing on top.If you have never tried this give it a go on a fish you pass this fly over and it doesn't take.You will be pleasantly surprised as this presentation usually gets a picky fish to come to the fly. The fine brown trout in the picture below was taken using this method.           
      My friend Joe and I hit the Farmington River in Connecticut and the fish refused to take a standard dry or even a parachute pattern. So we switched up to the very fly above and it saved the day ! We each caught several beautiful Farmington River browns.If it weren't for this fly I'm convinced we would have returned home with the skunk. 

      Above is Joe with another beautiful Farmington River brown taken the same day as mine on a similar fly as you can see the snowshoe emerger is a productive fly.... I have provided below the recipe for this emerger so you can tye some up for your next outing..

      Recipe for the snowshoe emerger is as follows ;

Hook Dohiku 301 size 12-18 (or hook of your choice)
Thead 6 or 8/0 black uni
Shuck antron or snowshoe
Dubbing olive seal (You can sub any type of dubbing and color you would like to match the hatch)
Wing snowshoe guard hair taken from the rabbits foot
Dubbing in front of wing natural under fur from a snowshoe hares foot

Friday, March 4, 2011

Small Stream Fishing WTS At Their Best !

      So you want to have some fun ? Break out your short rod and do some small stream fishing for wild trout..

     Last spring I got a call from my friend John Parise to go fishing.He said he was looking do something a little different and asked if I would take him to one of my favorite small streams.                                          
     Me being me said yes,at which point I told him that he would have to be blindfolded for the ride to this little gem.And if he told anyone about it he would have to be shot.
     After a brief moment of silence he agreed to the rules and said he would meet me in a hour or so.
     While I was waiting for him I got all the necessary gear together for our trip. Consisting of a 6'6" 5wt fly rod and a bunch of flys and tippet as you tend to get hung up a lot on these brush and tree choked streams.When John arrived we loaded up and headed out with an air of excitement . It couldn't have been a more beautiful day to be out,early spring on a sun bathed wild trout stream. What more could you want it was perfect..
     On the way to our destination we stopped and picked up some usual supplies coffee , candy and a few bottles of water.You need this to keep you going when fishing these types of streams because there is generally a bit of hiking involved.The stream we fished is tucked away in a state park and requires a 15 to 20 minute walk to where we were going to begin our day.
    As we were walking in I described to John how we would approach this stream and fish it. There is some stealth involved in this type of fishing ,due to the spooky nature of wild trout.So explained to him we will be keeping a low profile and do all our fishing upstream to maximize our efforts.

        Above you can see John in position and fishing upstream. You can break the water down into three categories much like their big stream counterparts. Pockets , pools and riffles and despite the size of the water you still fish them same as you would on a large stream.Here John is fishing the riffle even though is about 6 inches deep here it still holds fish .In this riffle he picked up a nice little brown trout which he was ecstatic about as we had just began.He couldn't get over the fact that these fish would hold in water this thin,,

         John had a blast the fishing was great!As we continued on every stop we made was much the same beautiful water and willing wild brown and brook trout pouncing on our offerings.We fished dries and nymphs as well as dry dropper combinations and all produced. 

       Needless to say John will be back, he couldn't believe how much fun this type of fishing could be ! He talked about it nonstop on our trip home. I couldn't think of a better way to begin the season then this.So next time you are looking for something new to try out make it a small stream adventure for some wild trout.You'll love it!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Give Away

           An idea sprung into my head yesterday to give a gift at each stage of growth to this blog. So for the first give away it will be to the 50th person to sign on as follower . And the prize will be a custom tied trolling streamer suitable for framing . You can choose the fly you would like from the fly gallery on the right and I'll mail it out to you . Simple as that!! So keep checking back and I will continue to do give aways at every interval of 50 there after so the 100 follower will get a gift as well . 
          While you are visiting here please check out the other great blogs and fly shop links ! As well as getting the local weather and up to the minute water levels from USGS !


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tying with porcupine quills

         A little on tying with porcupine quills natures answer to a beautiful quill body fly.
         The cute little rodent in the picture to the left known as a porcupine. The porcupine inhabits most of the upper regions of  North America and can be seen roaming about usually in early evening and morning hours, as it is mostly a nocturnal creature .
        I learned sometime ago about tying with porcupine quills reading an article about extended body flys . But was more interested in tying with the much thinner guard hairs and smaller quills to create segmented bodies on small dry flys.
     So I set out on a hunt to find if there was an available source for these quills online. The only source for dyed porcupine quills was from Rob McLean in the form of McLean's Quills. Which are great quills to tye with but got costly quick as I was tying dozens of flys with them.
One day my fellow fly fisher,fly tyer and friend Jessy tossed out a great idea.. To keep a eye out for some road kill rodents of the porcupine persuasion . We were on our way to fish Catskills and it was in early spring so a perfect time to find one roadside, as they are stretching their legs from the long winters nap. It wasn't long before we found one Jessy was driving so she pulled over, we both got out and ran like little kids running to pick up the candy as if it were falling from a piƱata.

    When we got to the little guy that found his fate beneath the wheels of a car , we each got out a zip lock bag which we were carrying for just such an event. We each plucked the quills we wanted to tye with, there are many different sizes and lenghths and hundreds of them , so it wasn't long before we had our fill of porcupine quills.

   I decided I would like to dye mine different colors to match the hatch . So I got out the Rit and mixed up a few dye baths in the colors I wanted to do. I dyed them in the following colors with good results, golden yellow,olive green , wine and orange yellow. Dying them requires a little time and patience as it takes more than just a few minutes for the dye to penetrate into the quill. I like to put the quills along with the dye into a small bowl with a lid and heat it every so often  to keep the dye bath warm.This enables the quills to absorb the dye a little quicker. Be sure the bowl you use is only to make dye baths in as you do not want to eat from it .

  Once they are dyed and dried it's time to tye ! I use porcupine quills in many of my standard dry fly patterns as well as parachute flys. I have posted here a few examples of my favorites to tye sulphurs and olives.

                As you can see porcupine quills create a beautifully segmented body with a great two toned appearance.  They are very durable as porcupine quills are very strong and bite resistant.They float like a cork and the fish love them!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Finishing Touches

   As I write this I am putting the finishing touches on my first presentation of the year Fly Fishing The Brodhead Creek.I ventured out today to take a walk and get some pictures to add to the presentation . As you can never have enough a good photograph speaks volumes.

  My first stop is a story in and of it's self the original home of the Henryville Fly Fishers Club .Now know as the Henryville Conservation Club which is one of the oldest fly fishing clubs still in existence in America today. Many of fly fishings greats have strolled the banks to enjoy the fantastic hatches and fishing this club water provides. Some of them to include Ernie Schwiebert , James Lisenring and Eric Leiser among some of the best known fly fisherman and fly tyers of the day.

        I took a few shots of some of the most mouth watering water that I could access with out trespassing. This group really works hard to maintain their water and create habitat for its many inhabitants.It has great characteristics lots of runs , riffles , pools , pocket water and bends. Just great classic water for sure ! Ask how I know? I am fortunate to have some great friends who belong to the club and take me as a guest each year to fish it . After which usually follows a great cigar four fingers of fine single malt and dinner. Couple that with some great fishing stories from all over the world and you've got yourself one superb day.

      Needless to say it was a beautiful day out of doors today ! It was good to get out and take in some fresh air and hear the water run by . It got the fond memories rolling in my head and the juices flowing to tye on a dry fly after a long winter of nymphing. I am now poised and waiting for the first hatches of the year to occur, with the same excitement of my youth.