CFFCM Summerfest 2016.. and the mystery box!

Another summer, another year at Summerfest!

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museums Main Office/Gift Shop

Every year the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum holds their annual Summerfest.

This is a fun celebration for the whole family where they hold a Hardy Cup Bamboo Rod Casting Competition along with fiberglass and graphite which is open to everyone, a barbecue (this year was a pig roast), plenty of vendors, and Agnes Van Put turned 100 this year! Happy Birthday Agnes!

As you walked around the museum grounds there were many friends you havent seen in a while, and new faces to talk tying and fishing with.

Its always nice to see everyone at these events.

Not to mention, Everywhere you turned you could find great buys.

Plenty of fly boxes

I always make a beeline to the books, knowledge is never lost when acquiring the older volumes!

Book sales: My Weakness!
They had a great collection

You didnt have to go far to find something else to catch your eye.

Fine deer hair, great for tying
Quite the table full of bagged hides! I picked up a scrap bag of assorted pieces

Dette Trout Flies had his “always full” display!

His shop is one stop shopping for Partridge hooks, not to mention he has tonsssss of hackle and the best selection of Polish Quills that I have ever seen. Many people ask where I get them when I tie at shows, and this is the place.

Dette Trout Flies with a large selection of material

Hardy Fly Fishing was there in full force! John Shaner was manning Tables full of rods and reels, along with plenty of laughter and fishing stories all around.

Hardy Fly Fishing
Under the Pavilion

Another great place to stop, and honestly it’s a place I cant pass by without shopping is where Mike Hogue of Badger Creek Outfitters sets up a selection of materials, especially those hard to find items.

When I was there I had to drag myself away from a beautiful Dark Olive dyed partridge skin (that I’m still kicking myself for not buying) and continued purchasing my other materials.

Ill grab that next time Mike!

Badger Creek Outfitters
Badger Creek Outfitters

On to the casting competition! This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting and learning quite  alot to improve my casting from Craig Buckbee. He was one of the judges for the tournament and one serious (as these photos clearly show) caster! Ive never seen such casts! Throwing line over 110 feet!

All the judges were having a fun time measuring casts, almost as much fun as some of us casters did as we were dumping piles of lines mid laugh when someone said something funny.

Its always interesting to watch others cast, and to have a handful of professional tournament casters and instructors right there to give you pointers.

Before I left Sunday I made my rounds through the crowds and said my goodbyes.. when something caught my eye.. it was this  Mystery box with a “$25.00 takes the whole box” sign on it..

I flipped through the mass of envelopes, some marked many not and walked .. eh ok maybe I almost ran.. to my truck to grab the few dollars that I was short to purchase it.

Surely Id find enough quarters on the floor!? And i did! So I paid for it and I took it home.

What a find!

When I got home I took a closer look.. and …. !?

well…that surprise, Ill leave for another post!

If you haven’t attended Summerfest, you may want to take a trip to Livingston Manor next time you’re headed out for a weekend in the Catskills.

On My Vise: There’s just something about a soft hackle..

What is it about soft hackle patterns that makes them such great fish catchers?

“the close enough”

The other night I was sitting at my vise trying to figure out what to tie, and once again I found myself migrating over to soft hackles.

I love them. I Love to tie them and I love to fish them.

For me, when tying this type of fly a “close enough” It doesn’t matter what kind or what type of materials; or that it’s an exact replica of what insect it’s trying to imitate. Just that it has movement and The characteristics of a generic food source for trout.

These are tied to imitate; as I call, a “close enough “rendition of something that’s ‘swimming for its life’, or is at the end of it’s life.

soft hackles; they catch fish.

This pattern here is nothing specific but it works.

Some may say “well what is it?”

“In the water what it represents is what?”

Close view.
Close up

“But what’s it supposed to be?”

-One of the many insects caught in the current that have drown?

-An emerging insect that is swimming up to the surface?

The truth is I don’t know and we may never know. It’s all about trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t. And if it doesn’t? Well.. then you were just taught a lesson on what doesn’t work.

“Smash and Grab”

Sometimes when I’m on the river, I’ll grab a mayfly out of the air.. smash it in my hand and inspect it. Not so much that is destroyed, but enough that it’s crippled.

Then I flip through that soft hackle fly box and find what I consider to be “close enough “

And this here is what I call one of those “close enough “soft hackles.

Gold tinsel adds a little flash.
Gold tinsel adds a little flash.

I could give you a recipe here to tie this, which I will; but in reality it’s whatever you think looks like something where you fish.

What I like to tell beginner tyers, and also the participants in our project healing waters group is to just Have fun. Have fun tying soft hackled flies, because you will have fun fishing them, and when that fish grabs onto that fly at the end of your swing.. you’ll know..because they don’t take soft hackles with an easy bite.

Oversized partridge feathers are always a great choice

Hook: Wet/Nymph hook or a Light Nymph Hook (if you will be fishing it higher in the water column or with dry fly floatant to fish in the film)

Dubbing: a mixture of squirrel from the body and rabbit mix from the mask in your colors of choice

Ribbing: wide gold tinsel

Hackle: an oversize partridge feather on the lighter side usually found closer to the neck.

Soft Hackle Tutorials

How to wrap a soft hackle

Too much hackle, not enough hook -Part 1

Too much hackle, not enough hook -Part 2

The Kept: A book review 

This book takes place in upstate New York in the snow belt but has all the dangers of a family living in the western plains.

When the wife returns to her family’s remote homestead in far upstate New York in a snowstorm to find four of her five children and her husband shot dead and left where they fell. She finds her 5th child hiding In a closet and the mystery goes from there.

I’m not always one for mysteries since they tend to go down the same redundant path, but my love of westerns drew me to this one and I wasn’t disappointed. 

PHWFF July 27, 2016-Isonychias


July 27, 2016 6pm-8pm PHWFF New City New York

We had a full house at tonight’s meeting! Some members returned after a hiatus, others returned after a trip to Alaska and we even had a few new tyers!

On the lesson today was the Isonychia Soft Hackle fly pattern and a bead head version. img_5193

We will be taking a trip in a month or so to the Catskills and its one of the flies we will be fishing with.

Some of the techniques we went over today were wrapping a soft hackle and tying in tailing. Anyone who missed this group please feel free to take a look at the tutorials and contact me with any questions.

On My Vise: The Beadhead Lafontaine Deep Sparkle Pupa

The LaFontaine Deep Sparkle Pupa is such a great pattern that it doesn’t really need too much change. Like te old saying goes “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but doesn’t mean you can just add a bead head 😂 .. And a little ice dub under that “bubble”.. . I’m surely not the first one to do this and I wont be the last but is really is an effective pattern!

Lafontaine Deep Sparkle Pupae
LaFontaine Deep Sparkle Pupae

The caddis pupae is an excellent pattern to fish when caddis are hatching; since the ones that you see in the air and on the waters surface are only a small number of the ones which are consumed.

Caddis will be emerging left and right and the majority of those are taken by trout before they ever reach the surface! The caddis make their scramble to the waters surface to emerge, then even drift back down only to be lifted back up again; and the trout are ready to feed.

This fly is best fished deep in the water and then lifted on the swing towards the end. The majority of the trout that I have caught on this fly have been on the lift, but I will also use it as an anchor fly with a soft hackle tied above it on a tippet ring.

I started tying it in tan and green then I began adding a little more orange and moving away from the tan because that shade of orange/tan has fished good for me all the way through the fall with the October caddis hatching.

This guy couldn’t help himself! He was fooled!

But Let’s also not forget the green shade of the bead head LaFontaine Caddis..

Got one. Just not what I intended to catch!

Which tends to catch me more Caddis… Than it does trout 😂

“The Lafontaine Beadhead Caddis”

Thread: Orange 6/0

Hook: Caddis/Scud (here I used a size 12 but use what’s relevant for your area)

Bead: Tungsten bead to match hook

Dubbing: Mix of natural rabbit with orange sow scud dubbing

Bubble: Light tan Antron tied in at the tail and wrapped over before hackling

Hackle: oversized partridge feather

And Dont worry about stray antron fibers coming out the back of this fly to the point that they’re almost a tail, I tend to find that the more beat up it gets from the trout the better it fishes.

Other LaFontaine Patterns:

Lafontaine Cased Caddis


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