PHWFF April 26, 2017 Meeting Recap – Michael takes over the evening with an Adams! ..or Gray Wulff..? or.. comparaduns..? or..”

I couldn’t make it to our April 26th meeting but our newest volunteer Michael Signorelli took over for me and the guys had an awesome time!

Photo and fly by Michael Signorelli

“We had a full house at the April 26th meeting, which took place a few days before our trip up to the Upper Delaware system. The guides told us to tie up some Adams in preparation. But, guess what, we tied some Gray Wulff variations instead. It was perhaps a fitting choice, since Lee Wulff created the fly in the Catskills almost 90 years ago. The group learned a few tricks when it comes to tying wings on a Wulff. [As we progressed through the steps, some of the tyers morphed the pattern into Comparaduns, Bombers, and even a Neversink Skater.] It was a very productive session that turned out a few very decent flies. Spirits were high at the end of the night. And the trip up to the Catskills promises to be a classic. ” -Michael Signorelli

On My Vise: The March Brown Floating Nymph

March Brown Floating Nymph
March Brown Floating Nymph

The March Brown Floating Nymph

Hook: Firehole #633 Nymph/Wet Hook Size 12

Thread: Brown 6/0

Wing: Brown Deer body Hair

Tail: Pheasant tail fibers

Body: Possum, Fox and Ice dub Mix

Legs: Brown Partridge fibers

Spring has arrived in the Catskills, and that means the hatches are coming!

The Willowemoc

This also means that many mayflies which are in the process of emerging.. just aren’t going to make it.

Your days are numbered nymph..

They’ll either get stuck in that shuck and drown in the film, or become picked off by a hungry trout. This is why emerging flies are so effective when fished with a little movement, or even just a slight twitch in the line every so often.

The floating nymph has been around for quite a number of years, but the first time this pattern was brought to my attention was while reading “The Dettes: A Catskill Legend” by Eric Leiser.  Its an excellent book, loaded with history and trout patterns. You can read more about my review of the book “here” and be sure to stop by to see Bryn and Joe at Dette Trout Flies  to grab a copy the next time you’re in Roscoe!

The March Brown Floating Nymph: Creating the wing

Start your thread about one eye length behind the eye. Take 5 or 6 thread wraps, and then select a small clump of brown deer body hair.

Tying in your wing
Take 5 or 6 touching thread wraps about one hook eye space behind the eye, then select a clump of brown deer body hair.

Stack your deer hair to align the tips, then get ready to tie in the wing.

Place your clump of deer hair over the hook shank, and measure it so that the tips land a little past the halfway mark.
Place your clump of deer hair over the hook shank, and measure it so that the tips land a little past the halfway mark.

 

Securing the wing.
Take one or two loose wraps just to position the deer hair, and then continue taking tighter wraps to secure it down.

Once you have the wing secured you are going to need to prop it up. If you were to leave it like this, it will begin to fall down onto the hook shank. Not only will that make it harder to wrap the materials under it, it will also hinder it from floating properly.

In order to do this, you will take wraps around the base of the wing.

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Once you have the wing secured and propped, hold the waste ends that hang over the eye up, and bring the thread to the front of the eye. Take a number of wraps here, as it will push the waste ends up and keep them off of the eye itself.

With the waste ends now secured, you can snip the butt ends off at an angle.

Snip the waste ends off at an angle.
Snip the waste ends off at an angle.

 

Creating the tail:

Grab a hold of a few pheasant tail fibers and tie them in at the base of the hook shank right before it begins to bend.

Attach a few pheasant tail fibers at the base of the shank for a tail.
Attach a few pheasant tail fibers at the base of the shank for a tail.

Creating the body of your fly.

The dubbing originally used in this fly was beige brown fox fur, but I have used a mixture of possum, fox and ice dub here.

Begin dubbing your fly at the base of the shank.
Begin dubbing your fly at the base of the shank.

Here’s where that regal comes in handy! There are many flies that are tricky to tie without a rotary vise and this is surely one of them. Create your dubbing noodle, then rotate your vise upside down and get ready to create the body.

With your vise inverted, bring the dubbing noodle towards the bend then under the wing.
With your vise inverted, bring the dubbing noodle towards the bend then under the wing.

Bring that dubbing noodle under the wing, and then straight up in the air before repeating. Continue wrapping in this way, being careful not to mat down the wing; until the body is completely dubbed.

Once you have dubbed the body, return your vise to its normal position and take one or two wraps infront of the wing.
Once you have dubbed the body, return your vise to its normal position and take one or two wraps in front of the wing.
Dubbed body finished! Time for the legs.
Dubbed body finished! Time for the legs.

Adding the legs:

This is a great fly to use up some of those “not so perfect” partridge feathers. Since we are only using it for legs on this fly, I normally find myself scanning the floor or the  scrap bin for one.

Select a partridge feather.
Select a partridge feather, and either grab a few fibers and rip them from the stem or snip the tip of the feathers spine off to leave a “V” shape. Now invert your vise, and tie it in under the fly.
Tie the partridge fibers in underneath the fly, snip the excess and whip finish your fly.
Tie the partridge fibers in underneath the fly, snip the excess and whip finish your fly.

 Fly complete!

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A completed March Brown Floating Nymph

This is a great fly to fish during a hatch and you can change the coloration and size to match whats hatching in your area.

It’s good to be back to these tutorials now that we have unpacked and settled into the new home!

Happy Tying!

PHWFF April 12, 2017- Meeting Recap “Evening casting lessons”

Casting lessons in the Park

The April 12, 2017 meeting of our Project Healing Waters group was spent outside for the first day of mild weather to improve some casting! We had a fishing trip coming up in May and it was great to get out and brush up on those skills

Learning to double haul.

On My Vise: “The Starry Eyed Crawdad”

These cold winter months have me longing for an afternoon of sitting in my boat, catching a bad tan and some smallmouth bass. A few weeks ago had I posted a step-by-step for The Smallmouth Sparkle Grub and today I’d like to share with you one more great smallmouth fly.

Crayfish change color throughout the year, and there is no shortage of reasoning behind this. For example: During a molt a crayfish will change colors, you can find them anywhere from the olive/brown camouflage with blue to a red/orange. Depending on your location the colors may vary again, on top of that it also depends on their vitamin intake, and what microscopic organisms they are ingesting. Darker color/muddy waters will also change this color as well, so tying them in assorted colors is a good choice.

This is why this pattern is so versatile, because all you need to do is change the colors and size to match them throughout the year. I will get into more detail on the life-cycle and habits of crayfish in a later post, but for now just know that this pattern is a must have for the summer months!

A riverside crawdad boneyard
A riverside crawdad boneyard

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Starry Eyed Crawdad

Hook:Daiichi 1260 size 08-04 but that may vary depending on the size of the naturals where you live, so adjust it to meet your needs (In this tutorial I am using a size 04)

Thread: Black Uni thread or black UTC

Lacquer: Glitter Nail Art/Polish (Found in the 1$ store)

 Eyes: Black Nickle Barbell Eyes to match hook size

Body: Cohen’s Carp Dubbing Blaze Orange

“Claws”: Barred Crazy Legs Golden Yellow/Pearl Flake

Hairwing: Orange/Brown/Black Bucktail Stacked and slightly blended

Beginning your fly

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Lash your dumbell eyes to the top of the hook shank. This fly will ride hook point up when finished, but be sure to leave ample room in the front to attach the hairwing later. Advance your thread 1/3 of the way down the shank and use the slide loop technique to add one folded over rubber leg to either side of where you have stopped the thread. With the legs attached, pull them tight towards the bend and take wraps down the hook shank to cover the waste ends.

*Here’s a quick tip if you find your material to be sliding around the hook shank*

If your material is sliding towards one side of the hook shank, you can fix the problem by pulling the material in the opposite direction that the thread is going.
If your material is sliding towards one side of the hook shank, you can fix the problem by pulling the material in the opposite direction that the thread is going.

Dubbing the body

When dubbing the body on this fly I recommend using the dubbing loop method. For smaller sizes use the split thread dubbing loop technique, but here we will use the regular loop. You will also need to create more than one dubbing loop, so dont worry if you don’t think you have enough as you wrap, because when I tie this fly in a larger size; I actually aim to get halfway down the hook shank before tying it off and creating one more dubbing loop.

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Grab a pinch of Cohen’s Carp Dub

When you take a closer look at Cohen’s Carp Dubbing you can see that not only is it made of a great buggy material that can be brushed out, it also has rubber strands mixed in, to give a little extra movement under the water. I find that this dubbing works best in a loop as opposed to touch dubbing.

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After laying your dubbing in-between the two strands of thread, give it a spin. Then use your piece of velcro to brush it out a bit. (Leave any stray fibers on the velcro! We will be using these in a minute)

Advance your thread up behind the eyes and start wrapping your dubbing loop forward, be sure to brush back the fibers with each wrap so that the rubber strands in the dubbing don't become matted down.
Advance your thread up behind the eyes and start wrapping your dubbing loop forward. Be sure to brush back the fibers with each wrap so that the rubber strands in the dubbing don’t become matted down.

Once you have reached the halfway point, use your best judgement to decide of you have enough dubbing on the loop to make it all the way to just behind the eyes. If not, then tie your loop off at the halfway point, cut the excess and create one more. Continue with the next loop in the same manner to finish your dubbed body.

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Dub the body forward, stopping right behind the dumbell eyes. Tie off your dubbing rope and cut the excess.

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If you are finding that you have a small gap of space behind the dumbell eyes,

simply take the stray fibers of excess dubbing off of your piece of velcro, apply it to your thread with a dubbing noodle and wrap it to fill the gap. The dubbing that is in your velcro should dub easily now since its only small fibers.

Brush your fly out one more time, rotating your vise so that you can see the underside as well to be sure you have covered all the bases.

Now its time to grab your bucktails!

The way in which this material is being tied in, is done so that the finished placement will allow it to sit on an angle. Tying it down in this manner is done so that it wont be in the way of the hook gap itself.  If you have never secured a “hairwing” to a hook shank before, feel free to scroll down before continuing; so that you will have a better understanding before we begin. Sometimes what happens if you have to adjust and readjust it too many times, is that the batch of bucktail in your fingers may fall apart.

Once you are ready, grab your two bucktails and lets begin!

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You will need one black and one Orange/Brown bucktail for this pattern
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You will want to clip the orange with some brown mixed into it.

After snipping off a little bit of orange/brown mixed bucktail, Stack a few strands of black bucktail on top of it and bring it over to your vise.

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Stack your bucktail and mix it a little bit so the colors can mingle..

Make sure that your thread is advanced to the FRONT of the dumbell eyes, then hold the  stack of bucktail over the hook. What you are looking for, is for those bucktail tips to extend about half a hook shank in length over the hook POINT. If you need a reference photo, take a look at the finished flies at the end of this page.

Securing the hairwing

This part may take a little practice or readjustment to get it just right, but dont give up, you’ll get it! If you are having trouble with slipping material, try using a “dry” thread such as a 6/0 UNI thread which is un-waxed. But before you try to secure it to the hook, be aware of the space behind the hook eye itself. You DON’T want this crowded!

Pay attention to how much room you have in the gap between the dumbell eyes and the hook eye.
Pay attention to how much room you have in the gap between the dumbell eyes and the hook eye.
Pay attention to how much room you have in the gap between the dumbell eyes and the hook eye.
Take one loose wrap and then one secure wrap, never letting go of the bucktail until you are sure it’s in place.
Once you have it in place, you can wiggle it a little bit to realign, you begin to take slow, tight wraps over it. Take those wraps close to the dumbell eyes first. This will give you enough room behind the hook eye, help you to keep it from crowding.
Once you have it in place, you can wiggle it a little bit to realign, you begin to take slow, tight wraps over it. Take those wraps close to the dumbell eyes first. This will give you enough room behind the hook eye, help you to keep it from crowding.

Here’s where you can simplify this pattern, if you are tying this is a small size simply cut off the excess bucktail right behind the hook eye, create a neat head over the waste ends and be done with it. Same goes for tying them in the baitfish patterns I have added at the end of this post, as they wont need a craw tail.

On the other hand if you are looking to create a “tail-like” silhouette on this crawdad pattern and wish to figure 8 the ‘tail’ over the eye, then you can continue with the step by step below.

Creating the “tail”

Pull the bucktail back over the eye and take touching turns in front of it.
Pull the bucktail back over the eye and take touching turns in front of it.

By doing this you will push the bucktail up over the hook eye and you will be able to separate it easier into the two sections.With the waste ends lifted you can now split them in two sections.

Bring your thread up between the bucktail waste ends, separate it into two
Bring your thread up between the bucktail waste ends, separate it into two
Continue with your figure 8's to secure the bucktail, every so often be sure to pull it back a little so you can get the thread snug underneath it. Doing so will keep the hook eye clear.
Continue with your figure 8’s to secure the bucktail, every so often be sure to pull it back a little so you can get the thread snug underneath it. Doing so will keep the hook eye clear.
Once you have completed securing the bucktail you can whip finish right in-front of the barbell eyes/behind tail and cut your thread
Once you have completed securing the bucktail you can whip finish right in-front of the barbell eyes/behind tail and cut your thread
You dont have to add anything else to this fly, it will fish just fine without any extra flash to it but for those of you who had messaged me about a photo on how I added the glitter, I will show you what I use.
You dont have to add anything else to this fly, it will fish just fine without any extra flash to it but for those of you who had messaged me about a photo on how I added the glitter, I will show you what I use.

A quick note on the starry “head cement”.

I dont always use head cement or a UV resin, usually a few whip finishes are sufficient enough. Every once in a while though I like to add a little something else, and when I do, I reach for the glitter nail art! The reason I use this as opposed to regular nail polish is that its more concentrated and the applicator brush is minuscule.

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Glitter Head

Is this necessary? Not that I am aware of. Do I find it effective? Yes, but what particular reason its effective; is a mystery only the trout will know. I have never had a problem fishing this fly without it, it just became something I liked to add from time to time.

I find these in the 1$ store and this is a lifetime supply! Its basically a glittery concentrated bottle of lacquer that I have dabbed a little onto wing cases and dumbell eyes ect.
I find these in the 1$ store and this is a lifetime supply! Its basically a glittery concentrated bottle of lacquer that I have dabbed a little onto wing cases and dumbell eyes ect.
Crawdad with no starry eyes.
Crawdad with no starry eyes.

However you tie this, be sure you keep some on hand in many sizes and fish them with confidence.

Smaller version with no ‘tail’

Lake Fishing Tips:

In a lake for smallmouth I will cast out and let them sink near the bank. I then strip them slowly – strip-pause-strip-pause- bouncing them down rock slopes… then every so often I move them quicker, as if they were trying to escape, grab the fishes attention – then stop. Do nothing, let it sink again and twitch. More often than not those smallmouth will slam that fly on the twitch. But if i could give you one piece of advice, be aware that if you feel a bump and there’s no take when you strip the line, wait. Let it sink again. Smallmouth have a tendency to stun their prey by picking them up and spitting them back out, before actually taking it.

I have included a YouTube video that’s pretty interesting if you haven’t been able to witness this first hand. Studying the way different species eat their prey will also help you know when to set that hook a second time.

River Fishing Tips:

In rivers I honestly can say, that I cast this fly out and start to day dream. This is such a simple fly to fish in a river that its ok to do that!

Depending on the water depth I will fish this on a floating line with a sinking Versa Leader or just a floating line. In skinny water It will move on its own as its drifting in the current, then you can once again strip-pause-strip. Deeper pockets I will either add tungsten barbells or pinch weights on the line to bring it down and repeat the same retrieve, strip-pause-strip.Add a mend, strip the line quicker, but honestly there’s not too many bad ways to fish this fly.

Just keep it moving, then pause it.

I hope these flies make their way to your fly box, and if so, let me know how they do!

PHWFF February 22,2017- Meeting Recap for New City, NY: “Rod Building, A Speech by Bill , Charlie’s Flies and a new volunteer!”

Our PHWFF New City meeting on February 22, 2017 was a busy one!

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Half the room was filled with participants who were working on their rods for the Competition and the other half was set up for our fly tying group. We worked on wrapping quill bodies by stripping a peacock eye herl. If you need a little more help or a brush up on what we did in relation to the tying in and wrapping of quills, please see this link. I will have a quill stripping tutorial up this week.

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Bill getting ready to whip finish
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Quill body nymphs!

If you haven’t seen our very own Bill Hayes giving his speech during the Mossy Creek Invitational outing I have added a link below!

I would also like to take a second to say thank you to our newest volunteer, Michael Signorelli. For those of you who haven’t met Michael yet he will be helping with our meetings and some outings, so look for a new face in the group!

And if you haven’t seen some of Charlies newest flies, take a look! He has been tying up a storm in class and at home. I remember Charlie’s first day with us,  and to see someone take to fly tying with the enthusiasm and obsession that Charlie has taken to it, is simply awesome!  Charlie has been tying flies less than a year with our program and continues to improve everyday.

A baitfish imitation
This would be great for bass fishing!
The red and white combo are always deadly

Charlie has also started his own blog called Healing on the Fly  so if you haven’t already seen it check it out.

I hope everyone has been enjoying our 2017 sessions so far, Harry and I look forward to the upcoming year. See you at the next meeting!

 Stay tuned for information on an earlier meeting for those of you who are interested in working more on your contest flies, during an open tying session before group.

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