Monday, November 28, 2016


It's been more than a little hectic over the past two weeks.  The week prior to Thanksgiving, right before my wife and I were about to watch our Ohio Bobcats play a Tuesday night football game on TV, I felt some pain in my back and ribs while I was finishing up a new bluegill fly I am experimenting with at the bench.  I think the pattern will produce when I get a chance to test.

I managed to squirm my way through the game, but the pain was getting worse as the night went on.  By 11PM, I woke up my wife and said it was time to go to the emergency room.  My assumption was kidney stone, but it turned out to be gallstones.  Lots of them.  I was slated for surgery to remove the gallbladder the following day.  Recovery has gone pretty well, but vise time was pretty non-existent due to the pain post-surgery and an inability to comfortably sit in my tying chair.

When I finally was able to get in the tying room, I decided to tie a few throwback streamers.  Not the bulky, water-pushing modern streamers, but more classically designed hair wing streamers that I enjoy fishing on light weight fly rods in smaller streams.  I added a little modern flair with some Ice Dub and 3D eyes, but the guts of the patterns are classic bucktail and squirrel tail with cheeks of mallard flank.

On our last few trips into town to shop for groceries and other household necessities, I have kept my eyes peeled for the newest sensation in tying materials: mops.  I have a few ideas for "mop fly" designs a little different than the standard patterns.  I expect to have some fun with these.  The auto detailing mitt came from WalMart, the green duster from Kroger.  Both were under $5.  Once I get some flies tied, I will post them up here. 


Monday, November 14, 2016

Chasing Brown Fish on Veteran's Day

Last Friday, Veteran's Day, I took advantage of the day off from work to avoid all of the digital noise and chaos to try to double down on brown trout and smallmouth bass.  My local stream, the Hocking River, has some decent smallmouth fishing in the upper reaches.  A small tributary of the Hocking, Clear Creek, receives some stocked brown trout every fall.  My plan was to hit the creek early, before any crowds (hopefully), then find an unoccupied section of the Hocking to try to find a November bronze back.  I managed to reach the parking area at Clear Creek at daybreak, and I was alone.  I rigged up my 4wt and headed to my favorite stretch of water.

It did not take long to find action.  The fish were willing to cooperate, but ran on the short side...the extremely short side.  To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure why this creek is receiving such small trout.  The holdover rate is very poor, with the trout essentially lasting only until the flows slow and the water warms in the summer.  It makes more sense to me to stock with the same rainbows the state stocks in local warmwater lakes for put-and-take fisheries.  Regardless, if I want to catch a trout, this is the closest place to do it.  The popular flies were a tan squirmy wormie, pheasant tail nymph, and both black and white wooly buggers.

The highlight of the creek fishing was when a large sucker picked up my wooly bugger.  This was my first sucker on the fly (and I'm not 100% sure which exact species), and it put a real hefty flex in my 10' 4wt.

After a few hours of tormenting the dinks, I drove out past the leaning rock and went in search of some bronze.  Expecting the smallies to be grouped up in wintering holes by now, I ignored a lot of the shallower, moving water I hit during the summer and went in search of the deepest pools I could find.  

On the stretch of water I chose, I knew of two distinct spots that I expected to hold fish.  The first stop yielded nothing, although the new fly I was testing looked incredibly seductive in the water.  More on that at a later date.  I headed downstream to the other deep pool, and again came up empty handed in the deeper portions where I typically find fish.  I finished by hitting a logjam at the lower end of that pool, and on the first cast to it finally got a take.  It ended up being a gorgeous 16" smallie that made my little glass 3wt bend nearly to the cork.  The fish took an HD Craw, which is typical considering that fly caught most of my smallies this summer.

It was a great day to be outside, away from all the online turmoil that can consume folks' lives.  We live in a very connected world, but most of the time I feel best when I can completely disconnect for a few hours and just wander a stream with a fly rod.  Special thanks to all those who serve and have served our great nation!  We all owe you a debt of gratitude that we struggle to fully pay.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Squirt Video Tutorial

Here is the completed video tutorial on the Squirt micro streamer.  It's a pretty simple pattern to tie.  Give it a shot on small stream fish and panfish, you won't be disappointed! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Squirt: New Micro Streamer

For the past few weeks, one of the pattern concepts kicking around between the ears has been a truly micro streamer for small stream fishing, as well as panfish like crappie and larger sunfish.  Saturday morning, I put concept to reality and got out to field test a bit on my local Ohio River tributary.  The goal was to mimic the profile, size, and effectiveness of arguably the best conventional artificial lure for these species/locations: the 1.5" tube jig.  Pre-fly fishing, I fished these little tubes on light jig heads for everything from bluegills to crappies to saugers to small stream bass, and they always caught fish.  Here's the recipe I went with which tested quite well, as you will see below.

Hook - DaiRiki 700B size 10
Bead - 1/8" tungsten, secured just ahead of the bend in the hook shank
Tail - rubber centipede legs
Body - Ice Dub in a dubbing loop, picked out and trimmed to profile
Collar - rabbit strip in a dubbing loop
Head - 4mm Fish Mask

The purpose of the bead on the bent shank hook is to get the fly down (obviously) but also help the fly ride point-up by positioning it just ahead of the 20* bend in the hook shank.  If you used a straight shank hook, I'd recommend tying the bead in belly scratcher style (see FlyFishFood's site) to help keel it by getting the bead on the underside of the shank.  With the small tungsten bead, the bead is easily hidden under the collar, small in size, but helps the fly get down without it sinking like a rock.  I even tested the fly under an indicator (small Thingamabobber), allowing it to hang subtly without sinking the indicator.  In a little over 2 hours of fishing, this fly caught: crappie, bluegill, smallmouth bass, and one sauger.

This pattern will definitely find its way into my boxes for the smaller creeks and panfish applications.  It's a pretty easy, quick fly to tie, and there are lots and lots of color options available to you.  I'll be doing a video tutorial on this one in the not-so-distant future, and I'll post the link here when it's done.  If you fish for similar species in similar waters, give this one a shot!