On my Vise: The Abbey

The Abbey

“The Abbey”

Body: Red Floss

Tag: Gold Tinsel

Ribbing: Gold Tinsel

(I usually tie with wide tinsel for low light conditions)

Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet

Hackle: Brown/Red Hen

Wing: Grey Mallard

“The Abbey. In America, the Abbey is credited to, and named after Mr. Charles Abbey, of Abbey & Imbrie, a New York firm of fishing – tackle dealers. The fly has been popular in this country many years. It is claimed that it is an English pattern of old standing, which received its name from a building,not from an individual ; also that long before it was called the Abbey fly it was in general use, known as the Jew fly.” Quote from-(Mary Orvis Marbury in Favourite flies and their histories (1892)

The Abbey may not be a new pattern, but its just as effective today. I’m a huge fan of tying, fishing and learning more about the Classic Ray Bergman collection and while there may be some variants to this fly as compared to the ones in the books. I have fished this fly on the swing, and stripped it like a streamer with great results.


On My Vise: “The October Frenchie” 

october frenchie
October is almost here! The leaves are turning! the weather is cooling! 

Yes..yes…to some folks..  fall means immediately skipping to the nearest coffee shop in a pair of uggs, sprinkling leaves in your hair and singing about pumpkin spice mochalattaskinnyfatfrappachinos.. 😂


But to the rest of us who are thinking flies.. October means, October caddis! Granted this year they’re out early, I saw many in the Catskills over the weekend.. But don’t worry! There’s still time to tie em up.  



Sweater weather! 

Deer hunting! 

Trout fishing!.. 

(That reminds me, we need a new hunting blind )🤔

When Those water temperatures cool down, and the trout become more active we begin selecting different flies to fish with. 


But one of those flies that I can’t seem to stray from are the frenchies.

I fish frenchies as an anchor fly a lot when there isn’t much going on. And while the mystery behind why they work so well, may very well be nothing more than the idea that they are a generic all around pattern; aka- they matches many nymphs found under rocks. 

And the ice dub adds a little “psssst. Hey! Over here! check me out!”

Whatever it may be; they are always one of my go to flies. 

a mayfly nymph found this weekend

But when you can’t decide between swinging a Lafontaine caddis pupa  as an anchor in the hopes that they’re about to hatch.. Or a frenchie.. 

What do you do? Fish both? Two tungsten bead heads? Sounds great! Can’t wait to loose them on every rock 😂


You can Combine them! Two birds with one stone so to speak.

This keeps that generic backside of a pheasant tail and rib while adding movement to the front, And that orange trigger that Trout know and love! It’s the best of both worlds!

gold wire rib

October Frenchie

Hook: Caddis

Bead: Tungsten to match hook

Thread: Brown

Tail/body: Orange Dyed Pheasant Tail fibers tied in at the bend and then wrapped forward towards the eye.

Rib: Small gold wire

Thorax: Orange hare/mix Dubbing

Hackle: Orange CDC feather tied in and wrapped around.

 Experiment with the CDC! because based on the length of the fibers and thickness of the stem on your feathers, tying it in by the tip or the base will make a difference. 

*tutorial will also be posted this week!*

I hope that this pattern catches you some fish this fall, and don’t spill those lattes on your fly boxes! 😂

“On My Vise”- The Pompadour Wiggle Emerger

Yesterday was the Dette Trout Flies Partridge Days Show at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum.

It’s always a fun show as many of them are, and you get to see “the usual suspects” behind the vise! 😂 Which is awesome because it translates into laughing, Sharing patterns and tying tricks; and talking to many new people coming in the door.

But Every time I tie at show I tie something different, and I do it for a few different reasons. Boredom? filling up my own boxes? Inability to sit still? Tying for a Project healing waters trip? Trying something new that I can see in my head but haven’t put to a hook yet..?

So the night before my drive up as I packed I thought to myself.. “What should I tie? Maybe I should tie some of my articulated nymphs that have been producing so well?”

Sounds good I decided.

But Before I walked out the door I had a better idea, and grabbed a pack of CDC oily puffs.

And the entire drive up all I could think about was I couldn’t wait to get there and turn those wiggle nymphs into emergers!

pompadour wiggle emerger

As we know, CDC is a great material for keeping flies afloat. I also like to use the Marc Petitjean CDC Oil on my CDC flies when I fish them (dont use traditional dry fly floatant on CDC!)

An oily puff is different than a standard CDC feather and when Tied in backwards, leaving the feather stem intact it looks somewhat like an Elvis pompadour!

An added stripe for an Iso that just cant escape
Close up of the tail

Tied in this manner the CDC oily puff will also hold an air bubble inside of it which helps with buoyancy.

looks like a little floating pearl onion! 😂

An emerging insect makes quite a scene when trying to break free of its shuck.

To make a long story short and skip all the technical talk:

It swims as fast as it can towards the surface and as it drifts back down it will once again fight on its way back up. While fishing you will see them floating past you in an erratic up and down motion. This is also why soft hackles are such great fish catchers during a hatch!

Once reaching the surface of the water it splits open its back and climbs out..all while floating in the surface film. Its upon that escape that they transform from nymph to adult. But its a race against time! This is a very vulnerable time as The shuck is left sub surface, while the internal insect wiggles free and crawls out so that it can escape the prying eyes of a hungry trout.

And All that ruckus seen from below will usually trigger a trout to take a closer look.

fly from below

Other emerging insects such as an isonychia tend to crawl out on to the rocks to transform, but even so.. they still have to get there! So this pattern with a white stripe is another option.

Many emergers I have fished work fine with out the extra movement from a wiggle shank tail. But every so often when they do stop working.. this may be just what triggers that missing strike.

underwater shot

Other mayflies dont emerge at all. They get to the surface film and thats as far as they go.

“Im shot. no sense in carrying on.”

“Too tired.”

and While floating along in the current at the top of the water, a trout nabs them.


underwater shot

Either way, they’re lunch! Or dinner depending on what time you’re fishing. I look forward to experimenting and fishing with these more and hope this post inspires you to tie something a little different!

A step by step  for this pattern can be found here!

On My Vise: “Brassies- the unloved little fly”


Either you love em or you hate em:

an assorted collection of brassies

Personally.. I love em.

When it comes to quilting and sewing, I like to stay between three and six months ahead of schedule, it breaks things up a little bit. In the summer I’m sewing Halloween quilts or a winter wall hanging. And in the dead of winter I’m sewing throw blankets for the spring.I like to do the same thing with my flies. I’m tying either three or six months ahead of time because if not, I just can’t seem to find the time to do it right before a trip.If I am fishing in fall, means I’m tying for the spring.And these Brassies are what’s currently on the schedule for my winter fishing/end of summer tying.

In the winter I fish a lot of Caddis and midges, and while these are not exactly zebra midges (which I tie up as well) they do help cover a few bases. Between the shape and the color scheme here it’ll pretty much cover a lot of your caddis patterns and a few midges. The red one works as a midge, the copper one same thing or maybe a tan caddis.. And the pink one?

 Hell if I know, but they like it.

 Before I really started to fish with them there had been plenty of times that I had opened my fly box and Passed right over them. Laughing to myself at those “things” then I would move them around from one spot to another and never use em. But Why? Because they  took two seconds to tie? Maybe just because they’re so small and My eyesight is so bad I just didn’t notice and smashed into they’re holding spot between a slice in the foam?

Or Because they just don’t look fancy enough to work?  Good flies don’t need to take 15 Minutes to tie.

And the brassie is one of those good flies. 


Hook: Caddis/scud

Thread: black 8/0

Thorax: peacock herl

Body and ribbing: wire in your color choices.

These flies are simple to tie because the ribbing is included in the body.

Just start the wire and run it to the back and then wrap it forward in wide turns.

I hope the next time you come across a brassie in your line of vision you’ll Tie one on instead of passing over.

The fish like em, so we might as well learn to also. 😂

On My Vise: “The BWO Senyo Dub Spider”

Just enough attention grabbing flash for a cloudy BWO day

The Blue Wing Olive Senyo Dub Spider

Hook: 18-22 wet fly hook

Thread: Olive 8/0

Hackle: Black starling

Dubbing: Olive Senyo Laser dub (change the color for BWO in your area)

While many of us use Senyos laser dub for  different patterns, I hear more often than not people telling me that when they think of using laser dub, they think that it can only be used for streamers.

Sure; it is an excellent material to use for the heads on streamers since it can be shaped and brushed out,  I do a lot of bass fishing and I go through a ton of it for streamers. And If you have ever seen Mike Schmidt of Anglers Choice Flies tie at a show you’ll see just how great a streamer head this material can make. (especially the streamer he ties called Mikes Meal Ticket! One of my favorites to tie and fish)

A Laser Dub laden bass streamer after taking a dip in the lake!


But That isn’t the only way to use it, another way is for dubbing on small flies!

The Stewart’s black spider below is a great pattern using minimal materials and it’s tied small. Quite small sometimes.


some of my Stewart’s black spiders tied for the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild’s table during Somerset

The thing is that when I’m fishing a black spider in every day sunny type weather, it works great; but that weather isn’t always so.

I find that small flies on dismal cloudy days (especially when blue wings olives are present since they love that weather) do well when you add a little bit of sparkle to them.

And thats where that material comes into play. Its fine enough for small flies, finer than the usual ice dub we use and gives just enough to get the attention of a hungry trout.

So instead of wrapping that Hackle back like on a normal Stewart’s spider you just keep with a couple minimal wraps up front and dub the body with only that of Senyos Laser Dub in olive.


I hope this will inspire you to experiment with this laser dub in a new way!

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