Waters & words

Fly Tying

You really have to watch yourself

I read somewhere recently that the character trait in which one favours nostalgia, is in direct contrast to to the trait in which one seeks new adventure. Put another way:  If you spend your time in fond reminiscence, you are less likely to be trying new fly patterns, and new tippet rigs and heading out to new fishing destinations.

It had me thinking. I have to watch myself!

I am a nostalgic. By that very definition, I am at risk of being an old fart.

So to comfort myself I stay abreast with things and keep my mind open to new tricks and new fandangled tackle and methods. Its how you hold back on the old fart label. And it is about as effective as holding back the sea with a fork.

Just last week I had the good fortune of spending time with Marc Petitjean. As we chatted I was in a state of mind in which I was open to learning and new things. Marc is the epitome of new things in fly fishing.

As we chatted, the subject turned to a visit to South Africa some 20 years ago by Darrel Martin, Lee and Joan Wulff, Taff Price, and Gary Borger.  I told how Darrel had given me a packet of CDC all those years ago, and how, at the time, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with that packet of fluff. I gave Darrel a packet of Klipspringer in exchange, thinking to myself “Well, at least he can do something with that!”.  As I relayed that story, Marc excitedly showed me the small multi-tool on a lanyard around his neck. Darrel  Martin had given it to him 25 years earlier! Darrel was also a great support to Marc in the years in which he  first espoused the use of CDC. He included it in his books, and apparently he gave packets of CDC to people across the globe.

I mentioned that I had recently been on Skype with Darrel, and immediately Marc said “We have to take a photo of you and I and this multi tool….I want Darrel to see that I am still using it after all these years”. 

Marc Petitjean-1-2

After the photo I took out the penknife that my father gave me 25 years ago, and I started to regale Marc with stories of all the times I lost it and found it again, and how I still have it after all these years.

The next morning I coudn’t find my precious talisman anywhere, and I searched high and low…..I have since found it, and upon doing so, I turned it over lovingly in my hand and reminisced all over again.

I really have to watch myself!


Midge emergers

 

Which way up?  CDC vs Deer Hair?   Roy Christie style vs Bob Wyatt style?

Grip hook vs Hanak?  Tail breather vs none?

I am leaning towards the reverse fly, which puts the tippet below the surface, and I like the CDC for its delicacy and movement. The Hanak hook has a wider gape, which I like. The hackle on the CDC fly should help float it, but I am thinking I could go with more sparse and longer hackle. 

There are worse ways to occupy an evening…..

 

DHE Midge-1-2Midge (2 of 2)Reverse CDC midge-1-2Reverse CDC midge-1-3


The Troglodyte

While I have previously written about the “Honey Troglodyte”, it is the black one that is my real go-to pattern on a swiftly flowing stream.

My son James did a photo session recently, while I tied up some samples for an article on the fly.

See this LINK for the full story and tying instructions.

Troglodyte (1 of 1)-2Troglodyte (1 of 1)-3Troglodyte (1 of 2)Troglodyte (1 of 1)-4Troglodyte (1 of 1)-5Troglodyte (1 of 2)-2Troglodyte (1 of 1)-6Troglodyte (1 of 1)-7

Troglodyte (1 of 1)-8

Photos by James Fowler


Image

Stolen flies (4)

Tom Sutcliffe (1 of 1)


Image

Stolen flies (3)

Peter Briggs Wolf Spider (1 of 1)


Bill Miller’s flies

My Friend Jay Smit recently returned from the States, bearing gifts from his host in Boise, a week or two earlier. 

The ever generous Jay, invited me to put my paws in the cookie jar, and take a look at what I pulled out!…….

Bill Miller (6 of 8)

Bill Miller (1 of 8)Bill Miller (2 of 8)Bill Miller (3 of 8)Bill Miller (4 of 8) Bill Miller (5 of 8)Bill Miller (7 of 8)Bill Miller (8 of 8)

Wow!

Thank you Jay, and thank you Bill!


Reverse flies: Upside down and the other way around.

In April this year, a man by the name of Kenneth Einars posted these pictures on Facebook:

Kenneth Einars (1 of 1)Kenneth Einars (1 of 1)-2

Interesting aren’t they!  And beautifully tied too.

These immediately sparked my interest, because I had recently read Peter Hayes’ excellent book “Fly Fishing outside the box”, where, in chapter 3 he makes a rock solid argument for having your adult dun imitation  facing upstream if there happens to be a downstream wind. Hayes is a deep thinker, and a great writer, and throws old ideas wide open for re-consideration. That’s what he has done with the idea of having your adult mayfly imitation tied on the hook in such a way that you “pull it” from its nose.

Hayes makes a great case for the reverse fly, at least 50% of the time (when the wind is bowing downstream).

But like so much common sense, it is far from common, and a search on the internet for reverse flies turned up lots of women in their gym clothes doing a particular exercise, and very few pictures of flies.

What I did find was reference to a man named Roy Christie, and I then found reference to him in Hayes book too.

Roy Christie is a reverse fly aficionado. In fact he is credited with inventing the reverse parachute fly. See his video on how to tie the Reversed Parachute HERE  or see his blog (albeit dormant now) HERE

https://i2.wp.com/hatchesmagazine.com/blogs/Hatches/files/2010/11/19-Roy-reverse-para-550x382.png

 

Interestingly, Christie makes a case for the reverse fly partly because it places your tippet, on his emerger (not an adult) pattern BELOW the surface.  Hayes makes a solid case for floating your tippet elsewhere in his book. Yes, I Know, it is controversial, and many of us want the tippet sunk, but that is not the topic here.

Hayes’ book refers to the reverse fly in the context of the dun, but Christie is tying it as an emerger.  This got me thinking about the angle of the tail on a reverse fly, and the angle you might want the fly to float at if you wanted a dry fly, rather than an emerger.  In other words, do you want its butt under the surface, or do you want it up on top, with the tail fibres supporting the flotation?

Which gets me thinking about Kenneth’s flies…the ones I started this piece with. Kenneth Einars confirmed that he intended them to be duns, but he hasn’t tried them yet.

They are superbly tied, but they are “no-hackle” flies, and may need some more flotation, and Christies are emergers, and if they were to be converted to duns somehow, they may need a different angle to get the fly up  on the surface of the water.

The reverse flies I did find on the net all seemed to have their butts in the soup. That is not a bad thing, but I saw a fly tying challenge emerging (excuse the awful pun).

So, first I tied these reverse flies the easy way:

Reverse dry flies (1 of 1)-4

Only afterwards I found that the fly above has already been invented, by none other than Christie, and is called the “Avon Special”, with the hook flipped around as I had done.  I recommend you click on that link above to read all about Roy Christie and the invention of his excellent fly, which is pictured below: 

image

 

The only thing is, the tails may or may not sit on top. The fly is pictured here at the right angle, but look at the angle of the hackle.  To test, I filled a glass of water and tossed my version of the Avon Spinner in there. It floated like a cork, but sure enough, the tails were below the surface.  (I can’t help wondering: a greased leader (as promoted by Hayes) might help keep the bum up. I wonder if an ungreased one , tied to a #18 as pictured here, will sink below the surface on the strength of just the eye of the hook being under the meniscus……)

reverse duns (1 of 2)

I really like this fly as an emerger, and have tied up a bunch, but I have not lost the quest for the high floating dun: the one that floats like a sailboat, and facing upstream when thrown upstream. I did however like the fact that the hook point was hidden up there in the hackle.To get them up there on top though, with tails on the meniscus,  I needed a better angle.

So I tied these:

Reverse dry flies (1 of 1)

Reverse dry flies (1 of 1)-2

I have just tossed these in a glass of water.

reverse duns (2 of 2)

 

Voila!

But as Roy asked me over a bowl of stir fry last night: “Aren’t we over analysing things?”

Hell yes Roy, but it is fun isn’t it!


Image

Stolen flies (2)

Rogers dragon (1 of 1)


It’s a midge thing

Midge (1 of 1)-5Midge (1 of 1)-6Midge (1 of 1)-7Midge (1 of 1)-8Midge (1 of 1)-9Midge (1 of 1)-10Midge (1 of 1)-13Midge (1 of 1)-15Midge (1 of 1)-16


Image

Stolen flies (1)

Darryl Lampert (1 of 1)


Image

Photo of the moment (61)

GHRE (1 of 1)-2


Hook thoughts

TTP (2)

Tips, Theories & Pointers

Back in the day, nymph hooks were quite the thing: we started getting hooks that  had a longer shank to accommodate the nymph patterns we were all tying, and I for one, went crazy on them.

hooks n tippet (1 of 4)

Our human aesthetics (and tunnel vision on the matter) dictated that a nice long hook fitted with the nymph shape.

But nowadays it seems to have gone full circle, and for good reason I think.

Take a look at these: the shank lengths are about the same (so we can tie the same nymph on them right?). But look at the gape of the top hook (old style nymph hook) vs the bottom two hooks …the middle (modern) hook in particular:

hooks n tippet (2 of 4)

Here are the hook models by the way:

hooks n tippet (3 of 4)

The sizes are somewhat irrelevant aren’t they!  Just pick how long you want your nymph to be, and then tie it on a hook with a nice big fish catching gape. Many times, you will find you are tying what you see as a #12, on a hook of say #10. I say it doesn’t matter.

Note:  a TTP topic still to come: Tying your materials offset so as not to block that gape….and the release this week by BIDOZ of their offset beads will no doubt feature in this upcoming topic.


Image

Photo of the moment (57)

Briarmains (11 of 24)


Candy parachutes: a photo essay

 

Paravhute dry flies (6 of 13)

Andrew Fowler (1 of 1)

Paravhute dry flies (3 of 13)Paravhute dry flies (7 of 13)Paravhute dry flies (8 of 13)Paravhute dry flies (10 of 13)Paravhute dry flies (11 of 13)Paravhute dry flies (9 of 13)Paravhute dry flies (13 of 13)Whip finisher (1 of 1)

Paravhute dry flies (2 of 13)

Paravhute dry flies (1 of 13)Paravhute dry flies (4 of 13)Paravhute dry flies (5 of 13)


Image

Photo of the moment (53)

Hopper (1 of 1)-3


Ant ideas

a photo essay

Ant (1 of 1)-7

Ant (1 of 1)-8

 

Ant (1 of 1)-5

Ant (1 of 1)-13

 

Ant (1 of 1)

Ant (1 of 1)-10

Ant (1 of 1)-12

 

Ant (1 of 1)-3


The first edition

Even my patience was waning, but I am happy to tell you that the limited edition, hard cover version of my book arrived yesterday.

hard cover (1 of 1)-3

To those who have already pre-ordered: Thank you for your support. Your books will be making their way to you by courier, personal delivery, or whatever else you requested or arranged.

Those who would like to buy a limited edition book, or a soft cover second edition, which will be available within days…..….please click on the “Book launch” tab at the top of this page and follow the ordering instructions there.

I am very pleased with how the hard cover limited edition has come out. It is not cheap (R1,295 + courier if applicable), but the canvas cover and print quality are outstanding, even if I say so myself. The soft cover second edition, at R380 should make a pleasant Christmas gift, and the order form has been updated: you can now place an order for one of those too (just 2 days away from being able to deliver those too!).

Thank you to all who have sent me messages of support and congratulations. In this strange endeavor of trying to sell my wares without being pretentious about it, encouragement is my haven and asylum!


Tying tips: Dubbing loops

There is a lot of hype around the splitting of threads to form a dubbing loop. In my opinion, if you are using fine enough thread, you can simply create a loop in the thread, and you, or anyone else looking at your flies, will never be able to tell the difference.

To create a loop, simply use your fingers to hold a loop of thread away from the shank, and return the bobbin lead thread, to the shank, wind it around the base of the loop so formed, and continue winding. You could also introduce a thread loop using a separate thread of finer diameter than that which you are using to tie.

I use 14/0 thread most of the time. On delicate nymphs I use one of the “spider threads” for the dubbing loop.

dubbing loops (1 of 2)

dubbing loops (2 of 2)

One advantage of making a loop instead of splitting the thread, is that the winding up of your dubbing in the loop, will definitely not wind up the thread you tie with thereafter, meaning that it will continue to lay flat. There is a technique for ensuring that the split thread doesn’t remain wound up (and rope-like) after wrapping your dubbing, but I don’t think it is failsafe.


Image

Photo of the moment (43)

Heptageniidae (1 of 1)


Aside

Stippled Beauties: Seasons, Landscapes & Trout.

To read about the book, or to order a copy  click here.

Stippled Beauties (6 of 7)

Visit the Facebook page