Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 108 - What to Expect in the Future

I apologize everyone. The blog is moving one more time. I ended up getting my own domain and started the switch to This will be the new site and after the first of the year, this site will no longer be updated. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience, but in the end I think it will prove to be the better decision. Thank you.

Yesterday, as you probably know, I registered the domain name of With this step up in commitment, comes a step up in pursuing my passion (along with sharing it). I'm starting to take this technology thing to the next level in my passion.

For example, you all remember last week I tied up the Wonder Woman pattern. The picture I took was what I thought was sub par. As a refresher, here is what that picture looked like:
The Wonder Woman

As you can tell, there is a lot going on in the background and you really can't distinguish the black feather from something black in the background. After doing a little research on the Internet, I found out that you can make a simple box studio for around $10 with a box, some tracing paper, and some flashlights. I also used a tripod to help stablize the camera. The end result is below:

Wonder Woman II

I think we can all agree that this is a much better photo. In the future, I plan on capturing all my photos this way and hope that it passes muster with all of you.

Also, I found myself with a little extra time before my wife came home this evening. I got an early Christmas present, and decided to have some fun. My wife gave me a Kodak Zi8 camcorder that is capable of recording in 1080 high definition. With a little experimentation on camera placement, I was able to start a first in a series of recording revolving fly tying. So all those out there who have been a little hesitant about how to fly tie, here's your first lesson on how to start the thread on the hook.

So, as a recap you can expect some improved things in the future. I hope you enjoy, and if anybody has some suggestions on what they would like to see, feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 107 - Big Things Happening

I apologize everyone. The blog is moving one more time. I ended up getting my own domain and started the switch to This will be the new site and after the first of the year, this site will no longer be updated. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience, but in the end I think it will prove to be the better decision. Thank you.

A good portion of my day was spent right here in this office. I spent a great amount of time on my cell phone today to call AT&T that my service was out. A few hours later, I was back on the phone to complain that my Internet service was down. The end result was that somebody had cut a cable and hundreds of people were experiencing outages. It just seemed odd that one was down while the other worked. The other part of my day was spent shoveling the last bit of snow off my driveway and walkway, installing a vent hose to my dryer, vacuuming, and otherwise getting ready for Christmas.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I now own my domain. That's right, is completely mine. That means you can expect some big things to happen in the next few weeks. Part of that means that the website will be a little shaky for the next couple of days while I work out some of the bugs, but it is up and running. I'm sorry to do this one more time, but the move is official.

Now that the news has been updated, let's talk about fishing.

A couple of days ago I told you that I was starting to read the book on how to catch big trophy trout. It's not that I want to catch the uber trout, but I'd like to add some heft to my catches. Something that might bend the pole a little more if you know what I mean. Anyway, the first chapter essentially talks about how go where the fish are.

Now that seems obvious and the author even states that. However, since I'm not catching big trout on a regular basis, it must mean that I'm doing something wrong. Therefore, I read the chapter with more student and less skepticism. The chapter goes on to talk about the different types of body of water: oligotrophic, mesotrophic, and eutrophic. It also proceeds to talk in great length the need to control fish introduction into water, as certain fish are genetically coded to eat different biomass.

The one thing that truly "clicked" with me is that trout switch to different food types after a certain size. I did not know this. According to the author, the Lake Michigan Brown Trout Diet changes around 11.8 inches. Brown trout over 11.8 inches basically stop eating invertebrates and move primarily towards Alewife (a sort of minnow type fish). Now this may not hold true over all regions and bodies of water, however it does give me something to think about. Especially when the average trout that I catch is around 11 inches or so.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 106 - Man's Best Friend (and Woman's too)

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

The other day I was reading a friend's tweet about how his dog is getting old and how its health is declining. He wanted to take his lab out one last time with him fishing before he couldn't anymore. His post the next day said that his dog was too tired and lacked the energy to do so. I'm saddened by this as the Wonderpup named Nash is my constant companion.

When I was searching out undergrad programs, I ended up talking to the professor for the Outdoor Leadership program at Colorado Christian University. After he laid out the coursework to me, he asked some questions about my own personal experiences in the outdoors. I told him that my family was big into hunting and fishing, and that I had made Eagle Scout in 1993. I asked him what the hunting was like in Colorado and he said that it was good if you knew where to go, however just recently he suffered a great loss as his hunting dog had to be put down. He admitted that he wasn't ashamed to say that he cried.

While reading a blog entry from Up'North Maine Fly Casting a few days ago, I noticed that he defended his decision to call his black lab his best friend. He made a pretty good point saying that if you want the title you have to sit at the end of his driveway every afternoon and wait for him to come home, follow him around all day just because, sleep on his feet to keep them warm, and never complain when he takes you fly fishing.

My first dog was an English Springer Spaniel named Max. There are stories that my family shares about how loyal and protective this dog was. Later, after Max had died, my family acquired a Chocolate Lab/German Shorthair puppy. He was named Bear, and was the most gentle animal that I ever had the pleasure of knowing and it was a sad day in the Campbell household when the decision to euthanize Bear had to be made. This past March, my wife and I got the Wonderpup. He's been at my side ever since then, and I can't imagine not having him in my life. His excitement over car rides, chasing cats, and chasing balls surprises me on a daily basis.

As a sportsman (or woman) a dog is so much more than just the family pet. They transcend into soul companions, sharing our excitement, our exploration, and our love. They humbly show their loyalty to us a thousand times over, and all they ask in return is our love. To be honest, I'm not skilled in enough in verse to fully convey what I am trying to impart on you. My words fall short of meaning, and I just end up tripping all over the place. That said, I will leave you a quote from the movie "Marley & Me".

A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water log stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if your rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 105 - A Visit From Superman

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

It is yet another day of Super Hero inspired flies. Today, I was visited by the Son of Krypton himself: Superman. The allure to have a fly box themed to DC comics is starting to become a reality. I now have a couple of Wonder Woman patterns tied up, and am starting my collection of Superman patterns. I did manage to coax the wallet open for $7.50 to purchase some blue wire, fuschia holographic tinsel, black micro tubing (couldn't find blue), and some red floss.

I was amazed at how well this pattern came together. Normally I can't find the right hook or the right bead or whatever. I usually end up having to tie an interpretation built around what I have versus what the pattern calls for. I actually ended up having the majority of the material, and only had to purchase a few items.

While tying the pattern, it ended up coming together pretty well. I was afraid that I might have to pitch the first few patterns into the Crap Jar, but the photograph above is actually the first fly. The shellback is a little off center, but I can work on that for the next patterns. Everything else was pretty easy. I was afraid that I was going to have some uneven legs, but I realized that if I tie them long in the back I can just trim them. Problem solved.

Up next on the docket for the Super Hero list is the Green Arrow pattern. I'll finish tying up a few more Superman patterns and Wonder Woman patterns, but the Green Arrow is next. While I do have the exact materials for the Green Arrow, I've already decided that I am going to make a variation. Through my sample acquiring, I managed to gather some olive quick sink dubbing. It's basically steel wool that has been colored. I plan on using the olive color for the body. I figure it will help weigh down the fly and I really like the color of it. When I get it tied up I'll let you all vote on whether or not you like the color as well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 104 - Feeling Blue

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

Blue seems to be on my mind lately. Not the feeling, but the color. It's probably one of my favorite colors (I have no qualms about breaking fashion faux pas by wearing a blue shirt with blue jeans). The color is everywhere from October skies to college team colors. So it really can't come to anybody's surprise that the color has been making a debut into the fly fishing world. Make that the fly tying world.

I first heard about fishing blue patterns last month when tying up egg patterns. I was told that a popular egg color is blue, and that it entices some pretty good strikes from fish. Yesterday, I'm re-reading the Fly Tyer article about the Superman fly and was surpised to read that blue has been making appearances into the fly fishing world for quite some time.

Now I'm not talking about Blue Winged Olives or Blue Duns. The color blue in those patterns are more muted and gray looking. I'm talking about serious blue. Blue as in Pepsi can blue. Metallic, bold, and definitive. There's no mistaking this color for an off colored gray.

Now this gets my creative juices flowing and tempts my pocketbook to open. I want to experiment and try out variations of patterns. I'd like to see a whole fly box filled with blue. I'd like to see mounds of materials dyed, stained, colored blue. Beads, wires, feathers, dubbing... blue, blue, blue. I'd like to take some scissors and cut a Pepsi can and transform that into a fly.

OK... I'm better now and I have replaced the wild look in eyes (which are blue) with a little more control. Like Picasso, I may be in a blue period. After tying the Wonder Woman with that beautiful Kingfisher Blue feather, I'm looking forward to seeing what else may be in store. The biggest test will be whether or not they catch fish. Afterall if they can't do that, then it really doesn't have value.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 103 - The Unveiling!!

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

So there it is, the idea manifested into reality. After writing yesterday's post, I started to think more about how I would like this pattern to be. I ultimately changed a few things, and I may still tinker with the idea some more. Here's a run down of what I changed.

I ended up changing the overall pattern to more of a streamer pattern. As such, I tied it on a Daiichi 2220, size 8. It's the same hook that I tied the Pink Slumpbuster on. It has a 4x-long shank and a 1x-strong wire. To keep this pattern more in character, I figured Wonder Woman is an Amazonian woman and as such they are big and strong. Figured this wasn't a bad way to go. I may have to tie a variation of this pattern if I want to tie in tandem with a Superman nymph.

Instead of using flat tinsel for the ribbing I decided to use wire. That's mainly a personal touch as I like the wire look better than the tinsel. You could say that I wanted to incorporate real metal into the design, but whatever... I think the outcome made it look pretty good.

I debated on how I wanted to do the black wings on the pattern. The two feather hackles over the back seemed to be a better approach for a streamer pattern versus tying in some paired feathers, such as black duck feathers. I imagine that the feathers will give the pattern a little "life" to the pattern when in the water.

Overall, I'm really proud of how this fly pattern came out. I may just have to tie up a box of them, that's how proud I am. I'd like to hear some feedback from some people, and would love to test this pattern out on different water. Any takers?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 102 - Creating Wonder Woman

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

Ever since I read that article in Fly Tyer magazine about creating Super Hero flies, I've been preoccupied with that idea. My wife is a big fan of Wonder Woman, and I've been trying to think how I would create a Wonder Woman inspired fly pattern.

I guess I should answer whether I want this fly pattern to be a wet fly, dry fly, or a terrestial. Now Fly Tyer magazine only listed nymphs in their article, but I don't want that to bias my decision making. I am partial to nymph fishing however so that may play a factor. But what about the character herself. Would Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman) be a nymph? There's some humor in that question and I beg your forgiveness for phrasing the question in that matter. Would Wonder Woman be better represented as a dry fly, a nymph, or a terrestial. I can see the merit in all three styles, but I think I'm going to have to say a wet fly as I like the idea of Wonder Woman being active, and the way you fish a wet fly pattern is a little more active than a dry fly pattern.

OK, the Wonder Woman pattern is going to be a wet fly pattern. Let's break this down even farther. Should I stay with a traditional wet fly or do I move to a nymph pattern. In my head, I see the merits of staying with a wet fly pattern because of the movement that it will create in the water. However, there is still something to be said that the Wonder Woman should be a nymph (there I go again, please forgive my insolence).

Color is the next thing to choose. I've posted a picture of Wonder Woman for a little inspiration on the subject.

It looks like our heroine is decked out in red, gold, blue, and white. Of course we can't forget her signature jet black hair. Also, how are we going to incorporate her golden lasso, boomerang tiara, and bullet bouncing bracelts? Hmmm... let's get the thought machine going, shall we?

Maybe we should discuss what makes up a wet fly? That way we can start to look at what materials should go where. A traditional wet fly pattern typically includes: a tag (a couple wraps at the end of the hook with some sort of material), a tail, a rib (usually wire that is wrapped over the body), the main body itself, a hackle (sometimes called a beard), and a wing. There are some other variations that include cheeks, butts, and married wings (feathers from differnt birds carefully aligned together).

Looking at the picture, I can see that her costume is blue on the bottom. What if I were to give the pattern a blue tail. I could either use some dyed feathers in Kingfisher blue, or use some Peacock Swords. Both sound like good ideas, but I plan on fishing this pattern, and I love the allure of peacock. Still, I've never used dyed Kingfisher blue feathers. Choices. I just went to my tying chest and pulled out the hackle and peacock. I think I really like the looks fo the Kingfisher blue. That's locked in.

I've been thinking about the golden lasso and how to incorporate that into the pattern. When you look at the picture above you can see the lasso tied in at her hip. The geography of the tag is at the rear of the hook below the tail. It seems to me that the tag would be a great place to incorporate the golden lasso. Therefore, lets go ahead and tie the tag with flat gold tinsel.

So far, so good. On to the body. Looking at the picture, it is clear that her body is in red. So it would be an obvious choice to use some red floss. As for the rib, lets continue to use the gold tinsel as Wonder Woman has the Golden Bra and Belt thing going on there. I'm sure there is a technical name for that, but it escapes me.

Now, the only things left in the traditional wet fly pattern are the wing and the hackle. Looking at Wonder Woman, she has that lovely jet black hair. It makes sense that the wing should be black. As for the hackle, why not use some yellow feather fibers to imitate her Golden Bracelets? Sounds good to me. I think I'll get to work on that pattern tomorrow and see how it goes. If it looks good, I'll post it. However, if it looks like garbage off to the Crap Jar and we shall never speak of this again (at least until the next time).

So here is what I figure the Wonder Woman recipe should be:

Wonder Woman
: Traditional Wet Fly Hook; size 12-18
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Kingfisher Blue Hackle Fibers
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Red Floss
Hackle/Throat: Yellow Hackle Fibers
Wing: Black

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 101 - Working for the man... maybe!

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

The majority of my day today has revolved around a certain someone getting a contract position in Winston-Salem. That's right I received an email today from a head hunter here in Greensboro who said they were looking for someone to do some database SQL stuff for an international company. A questionnaire was sent over and I responded a little apprehensive about the correctness of my answers. The questions were all based upon using queries within databases. Not necessarily my strongest business skills, but ones that I wouldn't mind building up with a six month contract.

Needless to say, I didn't do a whole lot of thinking about fly fishing today. I still thought about fly fishing, but it wasn't always at the foremost part of my brain. For instance, knowing that I needed to bone up on SQL I decided that I should buy a book on the subject. While at the bookstore, I found my feet taking me to the fly fishing section and I glanced over the titles to see if anything new has been added since my last visit (nothing was, schucks!).

An unexpected surprise did occur today that got my ego going a bit. My angling buddy John received the flies that I sent him today. In a bit of excitement he tweeted about them and how he looked forward to trying them out. It made me happy and I had to puff out my chest a little bit. It is always nice to have your work appreciated/admired. I may have to open a sideline business to keep my hands from being idle, especially if the response is this good. I think maybe that might not be a bad idea. At the least it will provide me with some beer money and some material for my own patterns.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 100 - Trophy Trout

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

Wow. Milestone today. 100 days without a miss. That might be a record for me.

They say that certain fish will haunt you. They will slowly creep up on you while taking a shower, driving to work, or while sitting in front of a computer typing a blog. I don't know who "they" are but "they" are right. For me, this trout that has been haunting me is the big rainbow from Stone Mountain State Park. I can still see the hazy scarlet cheeks of that fish as I used my rod to lift its nose out of the water. I think the part that haunts me the most is that I never got a good luck at it. Instead, my machismo got the best of me and I tried to heft it out of the water with just the line. Hook pulled free and into the inky abyss it slipped into, leaving me feel a little ashamed for not taking the time to net the fish properly.

Usually, the size of my fish are not something to write home to mom about. I catch my fair share, and have even eeked out a few fish when no one else have. However, the size of my fish are a little diminutive. The typically range from 8" to 14" (weighted heavily towards the 8" in most cases). Normally this hasn't bothered me. In fact, when I was working at the HQ for a certain Hunt, Fish, Camp retailer I was teased that the size of the fish that I caught could be considered bait to many of the fishermen (and women) that I worked with. Living in Minnesota, the typical angler there fishes for walleye, pike, and muskie. I never really cared, because I thought my fish were more difficult to catch.

Then there came the day that I volunteered to "shock" fish on the Vermillion River, just south of the Twin Cities. I showed up, put my waders on, grabbed a net, and scooped trout as they came to the surface. I should explain that shocking fish is a way to count fish in a section of a stream to diagnose the health of the river. The fish are mildly disoriented by an electrical current, then weighed or measured. They are released back into the river with as little stress as possible.

Anyway, the size of the fish that we were pulling out of there were huge. Some measured over 26" and were taken from sections of the river that didn't look to me as fishy. Some of them were way under banks. As soon as I started seeing the quantities of these trophy fish, I recalled some hearsay about an angler in the area who only fished with an 8 weight rod. At the time of hearing this, I thought this was a Paul Bunyan tale and laughed at the idea. When I saw those fish, I thought maybe there was more truth than tale.

After that fish shocking, I was never quite able to go back and fish that section. Even if I had, I doubt that I would have caught anything of size and would have left feeling frustrated. To be truly honest, I never had trophy trout fever. I just assumed that the people that caught large fish were just luckier than me. Now I believe that I may have been mislead on that idea too.

I have a book in my library called, "Big Trout: How and Where to Target Trophies" by Bernie Taylor. Like some books in my library I purchased this one along the way, put it on the shelf and completely forgot about it. I pulled it down the other day and it now sits at the top of my reading pile. I thumbed through the chapters and I'm kicking myself for not taking it down sooner.

My wife and I say that there are things I don't know that I don't know, things I know that I don't know, things that I know that I know, and finally things that I don't know that I know. This is a simplified dumbed down version of a learning process. While it is easy for me to say that I know that I don't know how to catch trophy trout, it really comes down to I don't know that I don't know. There are so many things that factor into catching fish that I feel that I am back in elementary school learning my A-B-C's. Weather, moon cycles, water temp, water color, water speed, time of day, season... they go on and on. To be honest, I just thought it revolved around one idea: Structure. But that my friend is only a very small piece of the very large puzzle.

Consequently, I will read this book and study it's secrets. If for no other reasons that it will at least allow me to increase the quantity of my fish if not the size. I will learn the crazy notions of wind direction and zooplankton, the difference between green water days and blue water days, and other such madness. And if I find something that is truly impressive, I might even share it here. Afterall, I don't fish with all of you so you might as well learn to catch the big one as well. Just do me a favor, if I am fishing with you, let me catch the big one. I have an ego that needs to be fed and I don't want to be haunted by any other fish that got away.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 99 - Discovery

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

I may have mentioned in passing that I once tied a pattern using filoplume. Filoplume is the webby soft underfeather from the hide of a pheasant. It's incredibly soft and creates perfect gills for nymphs. The downside is that this feather tears apart with little effort so most fly tyers disregard this feather.

Anyway, I managed to find the recipe today by accident. I was searching through boxes in the garage looking for some documents for my wife. As I was searching through a plastic bin of my old youth ministry papers and coursework, I noticed a few pages weren't in binders or folders so I grabbed them to see what their deal was. The deal was that these photocopies were actually patterns that I began tying years ago (close to 7 years actually). Excited about this find, I made a concentrated effort to tie the Filoplume Mayfly for all of you.

The Filoplume Mayfly
Hook: Curved-shank nymph hook, sizes 20 to 12.
Thread: Color to match the body, size 8/0
Tail: A bunch of marabou - olive, brown, black, or gray
Body: Marabou to match the tail
Rib: Copper wire
Thorax: Filoplume from the base of a pheasant body feather
Wing Case: Peacock sword fibers

The other patterns that I will probably tie over the next few days include the Double Sparrow, Terrible Troth, and Iwamasa's Tarcher Nymph. I've admitted it before that I always find fly fishing related items stashed everywhere throughout my house in boxes or bags or tackle boxes or books... the discovery of these patterns make me happy and helps me remember where I started out in my fly tying.

As an FYI, the Filoplume Mayfly was designed by David Klausmeyer and was featured in Fly Tyer magazine, page 32. Unfortunately I'm unable to give full credit to the tyer and/or the magazine as I only have a photocopy of the original pattern and am unable to tell what issue. If anybody knows it, I'd love to be able to update the blog and give credit where credit is due.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 98 - Holy Grail

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

I stopped by the fly shop to pick up some additional materials and a fly box for a friend. The manager of the fly fishing section happened to be there, and we ended up exchanging phone numbers. He's got a better setup then I do for fly tying, and he happens to live in the neighborhood. The plan is to meet up and tie some patterns in the future.

It seems lately that I can't get to the stream as much as I'd like. However, I've noticed that I've kicked up my fly tying a notch. I've now tied more in the last weekend than I've tied all year (well, maybe not but pretty close). Most of what I've tied has been with the intent of selling to friends.

Over the last few weeks I've tied over 3 dozen Slumpbusters in size 6-8, close to two dozen Pink Squirrels size 12-18, about 2 dozen Y2K size 14-18, a dozen Zebra Midges, half dozen Blood Worms size 24, and quite a few patterns that I've experimented with. I've tied with thread, beads, holographic braid, dubbing, wire, peacock herl, partridge feathers, zonkers (rabbit strips), non-lead wire, pheasant tail, goose biots, and even a condom or two.

I've found this increased time at the vise to be somewhat relaxing. I sit down, listen to some classic rock, and crank out flies. My learning curve has been greatly accelerated the last few weeks and I'm starting to be able to figure out a few tricks of my own which give my flies a personal distinctiveness. I imagine that all fly tyers have their secrets which are sort of a signature to that tier. These nuances can be that you always cover the hook shank with thread, whip finish the fly with two sets of five turns, double the material around the thread to multiply the number of tail, dub with no wax, or help stand up your parachute post by wrapping under the post. The end result is uniquely you.

Maybe I've been doing this tying as a way to help find the Holy Grail of Flies. I know some of you out there have found your Holy Grail of Flies. Someone mentioned to me recently that the Holy Grail is the Grey Ghost, a classic salmon/steelhead pattern. It definitely is something to look at, and it may be fun to tie. I'll give it a try, but I have a hunch that it may not be the pattern for me.

I'd be interested in hearing what your Holy Grail Fly is. I'd be willing to try just about any pattern and would be willing to discuss it here on the blog. So, go on and submit a comment below and let's get things rolling.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day 97 - Comedy and Super Heroes

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

Today started out in a comedy of errors sort of way. A couple of days ago I was invited to go fishing today. Unfortunately at the time I had made other plans with some new friends and wasn't able to go. Last night, these new friends were not able to meet today as family members unexpectedly showed up in town and my friends were forced to reschedule with us (me and my wife). So, like any good fly angler I contacted my friend who wanted to go fishing and said, "Ummm... do you still want to go tomorrow?" As an FYI, this was around 10:00 PM last night. I received a reply shortly after saying sure. The plan was for me to meet at his place at 8:00 AM this morning. This would require me leaving my house around 6:00 AM. Because this if for fishing it's not a problem.

I wake up at 5:30 AM and check my iPhone. I have a new message stating that there was a hiccup and that the fishing trip was going to have to be postponed. A few more hours of sleep, sweet. Now I'm a little disappointed that I'm not able to go, however I still don't have all the Slumpbusters that I need to tie up finished, so it worked out OK.

While getting Christmas presents for my niece and nephew, we ended up stopping at Books-A-Million. As I always do at this store, I made my way back to the magazine stand and took a look at the latest fly fishing magazines. Fly Tyer has an interesting article about Super Hero flies. The article is about flies that are inspired by comic book super heroes. The Superman nymph is complete with classic Superman outstretched arms in blue. The Green Arrow and The Dynamic Duo (Batman & Robin for you non comic book educated readers) also appear in the article. The article showed numerous pictures of other heroes, but said they would like to hear from the readers and were directed to the Fly Tyer Forum online.

Now I grew up reading comic books. I love the idea and I miss my Superman sheets (however I'm sure my wife is glad that they are a thing of the past). Superman has always been my hero of choice and Wonder Woman has been my wife. So you can still see that they influence me on some level. What a novel idea to combine fly fishing with comic book heroes. Now, if the fly patterns catch fish it would be an intriguing concept to have a fly box full of these patterns. Maybe you could even add a few stickers or decals to the fly box to add a little pizzazz. Nothing like catching a monster brookie with a Wolverine inspired fly. A big brown with a Green Lantern? How about a rainbow trout on a Wonder Woman? Yeah, I'm really digging this idea.

Kudos to they men and women at Fly Tyer for coming up with this idea, it may not be a thing for everybody, but I think it is something I might be able to get behind.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 96 - Repetitive Motion

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

Today has been pretty much been a day of fly tying for me (that and pot roast, but that's another story). After getting a few comments on yesterday's Slumpbuster, I agreed to tie some patterns for a few people. So a quick check of current supplies on hand and I realized that I was in need of some materials. So off to the store I go. The Wonderpup was happy to get out of the house for a little bit, even if he did stay in the Trout-mobile the entire time.

After picking up some material (zonkers in pink, black, and olive, some conehead beads, and hooks in #6 & #8) I was off to go finish a few other errands before I could get going at the vise. I finally made it back home around noon time, but then spent the next 30 minutes prepping the pot roast that was dinner tonight (got to love crock pots).

By 2:00 I had eaten lunch, had the crockpot up and stewing, and had finished the tail end of an old B&W comedy movie on AMC. It was now time to sit down at the vise. To be honest, I've never taken on such a project before and didn't know what I was really getting myself into. But with valiant spirit and dogged determination and I settled into the chair and got started.

One of the first things I did was to do a little prep work. As a student of lean & agile (a business philosophy for production) it made sense to get everything ready. I divided my hooks up into piles of twelve and then slipped the coneheads onto the hooks. After this I set aside one pile for my work in progress and started to get moving. I tied the black version of the Slumpbuster first.
It's interesting how a person thinks about modification to the process when they know that they will be doing a lot of it. Let me reword that: when things become a pain in the butt, you learn quickly how to change your process. Yesterday's tying session required the tying on of both holographic braid and zonker at the same time. I have a rotary vise and a Scottish inclination towards being thrifty (some say cheap). When I tied on the zonker, I couldn't use the rotary vise to build the body with the braid as the zonker would get all tangled up. I wasn't an expert of how much the zonker had to be so I couldn't trim the zonker down before hand.

I reviewed the steps for this pattern in my head and realized that I could tie on the braid, build the body, and then come back over the body with the thread in large spiral loops and then tie on the zonker strip. Doing it this way kept the zonker from tangling up, and allowed me to focus on one material at a time. I think the end result actually turned out better than the ones that I tied up yesterday.

I either read or heard from a professional fly tyer that it takes at least a dozen flies before you get some of the kinks out of the way. I have to say that is true. While the first dozen came out pretty smoothly for the most part, I do have to admit that I was having trouble with the last step of wrapping the zonker strip to create the collar of the fly. It wasn't until I was in my second dozen that I realized that a 90 degree turn of the zonker strip and then butting wraps towards the conehead eliminated my problem. I also learned that to get a wrap done so that it looked right required that the last few wraps of the zonker had to be wedged under the conehead. After that it was just a matter of time to finish that dozen.

The next dozen is still under way. I moved to the gold tungsten beads that I used yesterday instead of the coneheads. I also dropped down a size from #6 to #8. These will be the pink Slumpbusters. The holographic braid that I'll be using is in claret. The thread is a new brand that I'm using and I will probably not purchase again. I forget the namebrand, but it keeps breaking on me. I bought it because it matched the flourescent pink zonkers. It is so brittle that I'm considering going to the red thread that I used for the Woody Troutpecker pattern that I tie. I've only tied up two flies and the thread has broke about 5 times on me. The first two times that it happend I thought I was putting too much stress on the thread, the next time it broke with very little tension. Hmmmm...

I think before I head to bed that I will tie a few more up. I might not get the whole lot done tonight as I'm getting a little tired and I'd like to spend some time with my wife as well. It's all about finding the rhythm of fly fishing and family life.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

Sometimes we do things just because we can. Tying the Slumpbuster was just that sort of thing for me today. For those of you who know me, this fly pattern isn't the kind of fly that I normally fish (streamer pattern). This is really funny, because when I fish with a Panther Martin or a Mepps, I can catch fish out of the air if I wanted to.

I've been curious about this pattern ever since my friend John told me that he had been catching some decent fish on it. To be honest, I never heard about this pattern until he told me about it that day. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I managed to pull up the recipe and found it simple enough to tie.

After watching how the fly was tied the other day, I finally managed to go to my fly material drawers and sort through the product list for this pattern. I was surprised to find that I had all sorts of different colors of sparkle braid. However, I was disappointed when I could only find rabbit zonkers in red and hot pink. I thought I had a whole bag of these things, and now I can't seem to find them. Why couldn't I have misplaced the faux fur?

Anyway, I found some streamer hooks (in size 6) and found some gold tungsten beads that would work for this size. It isn't a conehead bead (which the pattern calls for) but it was the right size and definitely heavy enough. The hardest problem for me tying this pattern is that I only had 8/0 red thread (it's a little too small for a pattern this robust). I managed to muggle through it.

I tied on my zonker strip towards the rear of the fly and then tied in the red sparkle braid. Moved the thread forward to the eye of the hook and then built a tapered body with the braid. I moved the thread back the first third of the hook and then tied the zonker strip into place. Move the thread a little more forward and then secured the zonker again. At this point I moved the thread back towards the eye. After securing the thread with a small half hitch, I wound the zonker strip around the hook creating that buggy look. At the eye I secured the zonker down and snipped off the excess. A whip finish later and the fly was done.

After the fly was completed I went and showed my wife the end result. Her comment was that the fly looked awfully big. She also asked where would I fish this pattern at. My reply was I'd fish it at that big pool where I caught that massive rainbow at. She still looked skeptical but seemed to trust that I knew what I was talking about. Maybe I do...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 94 - Strange How Life Works

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

It is late, and I'll keep this short.

It's strange how life can work out sometimes. This evening I was at M'Coul's Pub in downtown Greensboro with the young adult crew. One of the ladies invited her cousin to join us this evening. She had told me earlier in the week that one of them had just come back from New Zealand and was thinking about attending grad school in the area. I was excited to meet him as he might be able to tell me if the myths of huge trout below the equator truly exist. Alas, he wasn't an angler and couldn't substantiate the hearsay.

Our brief conversation included a comment by him that said that he had lived in Montana and New Zealand and had never fished. My angling heart cringed when I heard this. Here he has lived in two of the largest Mecca's of fly fishing lore and he never wet a line. I on the other hand lived in Iowa and Minnesota and now central North Carolina and I can't find a decent stream without having to drive a couple of hours. A brief point in my life did allow me to be relatively close to some good streams in Denver, but I was too green and didn't know any better.

I guess this just goes to show that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I mean, I viewed this gentleman through an angler's perception and thought a man living in Montana and New Zealand would have great epic tales of giant trout. I was presumptuous and assumed my lifestyle would have been his. Lesson learned, and I will not judge a book by its cover again (unless it has a picture of a trout on it).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 93 - Hatch Charts

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

I was reading an article in one of the fly fishing magazines that I either purchase or subscribe to today. The article was on identifying the big autumn caddis hatch. The article goes on to detail the prime hatch for this caddis is during the months of October and November. The issue that I was reading is the November/December 2009 issue of American Angler. It just came out within the last few weeks, and I find it rather funny that the article they published would have been of more use in the previous issue. Oh well...

The article did get me thinking about the seasonal emergence of flies. In case you don't know, many of the bugs and creepy crawlers that anglers try to imitate have a pretty good seasonal clock. Like my dog the Wonderpup knowing that it is 7:00 (breakfast or dinner time) so do mayflies, stoneflies, caddis, midges know the seasons of the year. It really is pretty amazing when you think about it. You would think that weather related events would cause serious detriment to this schedule, but they (as far as I can tell) only affect the hatch mildly.

With this in mind, you would think that I would study the hatch charts and prep my fly boxes with the correct patterns for the correct seasons of the year. You'd be wrong if you thought that. In fact, you'd be wrong if you think that I have a hatch chart. I thought maybe I did, but when I reviewed my bookshelves I was found to be without. Curious and curious-er.

Part of my problem maybe that I'm self-taught and never really gave an inkling towards this idea. It could be that I've lived in four states in the last ten years. Or it could be that I find hatch charts boring and would rather tie on a general searching pattern than to come prepared. More than likely it is a mix of these and a few other that are unnamed and unidentified.

This isn't to say that I walked into a trout stream entirely clueless. I know enough to stock my fly boxes with Blue Winged Olives in various sizes and Elk Hair Caddis in various sizes. I know that certain nymph patterns almost always produce. I know that if I head up to the Bois Brule around the middle of June I should have a variety of Brown Drake flies ready to throw (and that it occurs during the late night hours of fishing). I know that after July a hopper pattern might be an effective pattern to tie on. Midges usually work well during the winter months. So I guess I have general ideas on what to tie on, but I couldn't really tell you when the Acentrella (family Baetidae) hatch is occurring.

So what does this mean? In short, I should probably bone up on some hatch charts if I want to step up my fly fishing game to the next level. Maybe that will be my New Year's Resolution for the upcoming year, that and to spend more time on the water. It can't hurt, and at least I'll sound smart the next time I bump into an angler on the stream. After all, you can't show off to the fish so you might as well show off to your buddy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 92 - Technology and Fly Fishing Marriage

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

I've mentioned this before: I'm a techno junkie. I love my iPhone and Wii and laptop and TomTom GPS and Facebook and Twitter and... I know that it is kind of odd for a person who is so connected to the outdoors to also be in love with technology, but I am.

But what I'd really like would be a marriage of my passion of Fly Fishing with my love of technology. Take my iPhone for example (well don't really take it). My iPhone is with me almost from the moment I wake up in the morning to right before I go to bed. In fact, it is now sitting next to me charging up. There are dozens of cool ideas that I could do with an iPhone if this marriage would occur.

I'd love to have a mobile fly fishing diary with me. Something that I could reference when I was on the stream. I've done database building before in MS Access, and theoretically it wouldn't be hard to do. I would love a place to write down what the stream temp was, what rod I was using, the weather was like, what time the first fish was landed, what fly was used successfully and unsuccessfully, how it was fished... I don't have something like that now, and I probably really should. The problem with written notes is that you can't easily search for information, and the current problem with technology is that you can't take it to the stream easily. So, I'm left to go fishing without any real experience to fall back on other than my memory (which is starting to falter).

My (and my wife's) Wii is another example. The cordless remote equipped with an accelerometer would be a perfect thing to help me practice my cast during crappy days, or days when it just isn't feasible to hit the streams. I mean think about it for a second, with the new sensors these things are super sensitive. It can detect the faintest movements and could really aid in casting if the program was done correctly. What if Lefty Kreh could endorse a Wii Fly Fishing Game? It could use his casting style as a guide line for correct casts. It's just physics couldn't someone come up with this game? I'd buy it and I'm sure others would too. You could even add an option for realistic casting and "video game" casting.

I'm sure that these million dollar ideas will soon be snatched up from me and I'll be left penniless on any royalties. However, I would still use these items as they are super great ideas (at least to me they are). If someone has the backing, I'd be willing to consult on the specifics of my ideas. Anyway, until then I'll think about buying a notebook for my fly fishing adventures and setup some frisbees in my backyard to practice my casting.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 91 - Downward Dog?

As is the latest custom in the last few week, I ended up going out for lunch with some of the young adults from church. We ended up going to Harris Teeter for lunch and then spent the next hour and a half socializing. One of the guys that was there teaches yoga and we talked for a little bit about maybe getting me to participate in some of his classes.

Now if you've seen my photo, you'd have to admit that I'm not what you think of when you picture someone practicing yoga. I'm not very lithe anymore, and I prefer meat and potatoes to tofu and veggies. However, I'm willing to break through the stereotype if it translates to better performance on the stream.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a thing about yoga. I know a few basic postures that the Wii Fit taught me, and that there is a posture called Downward Dog. I also know that a large portion of yoga is based around breathing correctly, flexibility, and meditation. It is those three benefits that I think can directly improve my fly fishing abilities.

I get the idea of breathing, I've been doing it for almost 35 years. However, breathing from the depths of my body I don't do. If I understand things correctly, it is this breathing that can slow down the nervous energy, ground a person, and allow a person to relax. And as my fellow anglers know, you cast better when you are at ease versus uptight and frustrated.

Flexibility, huh... I can see that as more of a survival thing. I'm sure that it can play some importance in the skill arena of casting, but I think it will probably play more out in the stream. I mean when you are wading in the stream, and the current is pushing you, and the rocks are slippery... you can see where I'm going with this. Of course, the more I think about it, flexibility might not be the correct choice of words. Maybe it should be body aware. Aware of what your body is doing. That might play a better role in casting and maneuvering in a stream.

Finally, meditation is such an intricate part of fly fishing that it makes sense. I'm sure not everyone would think that fly fishing is sort of a meditation, but when you realize that you are emptying yourself of all thoughts other than fly fishing, it kind of makes sense. So, if I can better enter a meditative state, then it makes sense that I can turn on the fly fishing thinking faster, which hopefully means more fish.

And so, I think I'll have to break out and purchase a pair of sweat pants and a yoga mat in the next few weeks. Who knows, maybe I'll even try tofu and eat more veggies. Although, I wouldn't count on it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 90 - The Woods

When I was 7 years old, my parents moved me and my brother from the small white house on Adams Street to a dark green house on one acre surrounded by second or third growth trees. The house was on a hill that looked at an intersection of three ravines, with a small creek bed meandering through the bottom. Our dinner table was situated in front of a "sliding glass door to nowhere" that overlooked the backwoods. When my brother and I would act up during dinner, my dad would stare off into the woods and comment that he could see three squirrels and would challenge us to find them.

Growing up, my brother and I would "explore" the woods. Sometimes we would be visited by our distant cousin Jeff who lived across the road from us. We first started our explorations directly behind the sliding glass doors, discovering the familiar. We would stay within eyesight of the house, but would jump, crawl, leap, run, and explore that ravine. Big brown flaky vines, as thick as fireman rope, would serve as swings or modified bucking broncos. As we grew up and our exploration furthered from the house, we discovered a downed tree that spanned across a ravine that served as a detour to the longer arduous path. Falling from this log would only be a few feet, but the log spanned across some impassable briars which forced us to take the longer path.

Our first real exploration occurred during a winter visit from my cousins (Amanda & Ela). We tromped through the snow and ended up going further than we had ever been before. The trees quickly obscured my parents house and we were left in the wild country. Wild being defined as new territory, not true wilderness. We explored an old ski lift (we had an eccentric neighbor in our area who also converted his front yard into a three hole golf course), and managed to get ourselves "lost". My cousins weren't too keen on the idea that we were lost, but to me it was an excitement.

I can remember another winter day when my parents had gone to go grocery shopping and left me and my brother home. Thad and I would slide down on our butts in our overalls and create trenches in the snow. With seasonal changes, these troughs would then turn icy and turn into great sledding runs. The end of these chutes would deposit us about 6 feet above the creek bed, and if enough speed was gained we could jump to the other side.

Anyway, that afternoon, my brother found my dad's stash of bottle rockets. They must have been there for a couple of years, because I couldn't remember in recent memory when the last time my dad did a fireworks show. One of us, probably me, decided it would be really cool if we took our G.I. Joe toys and slid them down the chute with the bottle rockets attached. The resulting bang from the firework didn't destroy the toy, but merely popped them apart. After grabbing the pieces we merely popped them back together and repeated the process. Everything was going pretty fine, until we could hear a loud voice clear his voice. Busted! Years later we found out that both mom and dad had been watching us for about five to ten minutes and were laughing quite hard.

Towards the end of our stay out in the woods, my brother and I had taken a few longer day trips into the woods. We discovered ATV trails and herds of deer. We battled fatigue as we climbed ravines and were occasionally rewarded by shed antlers. Looking through 20 years of experience, I remember that this place was where my love for the outdoors was nurtured. I won't stay started because my dad and grandpa instilled that in me from hunting and fishing trips. I say nurtured as it developed a free spirit of adventure and exploration that continues even to this day. Without those woods, I wonder if I would still love the outdoors and thus fly fishing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 89 - Not going to try to top yesterday

Well, I don't know how I'm going to top yesterday's blog. After the ruckus that I raised with my euphemisms I've completely turned a would be fly tyer away from the tying passion, but I did manage to gain some international awareness. So... what would you call that? A push?

As an FYI, I did manage to tie a pattern with my new found material, and I'm giving the resulting fly the nickname of Candy Cane. I'll do a piece on that in the future. Also, I'm told the lubricated variety works quite well. Something to ponder for the future.

Tonight, I managed to DVR the show How It's Made on the Science Channel. I was tipped off by a tweet that tonight's episode would show the production of a Ross Reel. This tripped my trigger in two ways: A) I happen to love Ross Reels B) As a student of the concepts of Lean & Agile, I love to see how processes are being done.

The show left me feeling a little wanting. I guess I was expecting more to come from the show, how it was made during every step. They did provide a little background on fly reels, but the narrator did very little to distinguish a fly reel from a spinning or a baitcaster. It was just lumped as fishing reel. I guess this just adds another proof that the general masses lumps fishing into one catch all category, and doesn't care one iota that as fly anglers we feel the need to differentiate ourselves from the normal worm dunkers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 88 - It's Called A Condom

OK, I swear I didn't set this photo up. I just happened to be perusing the local bookstore and found these two books together. I found it hilarious. I think someone was trying to decide on saving a marriage or catching a big trout. The sex book is here and a slot for the fly tying book is missing... Hmmmmm, I think there is a broken marriage out there.

Somehow, I thought this beginning would be a perfect way to start off today's blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I had writing it.

So today I spent more time than I would normally care to standing in numerous stores staring at their family planning section (that would be the section were they carry a Soldier's Raincoat). Now I'm not trying to drop a hint about my love life. I was in search of a new fly tying material. Yeah... I know... (shakes head bashfully)

It all started a few weeks ago when I was searching YouTube videos for Czech Euro Nymphing techniques and tactics. I stumbled upon Vladi's worm. Vladi, in case you're not in the know, is pretty much the founder of the Czech Euro Nymphing style. I was curious about this worm and discovered that it was tied with the Purple Warrior's Armor. I laughed out loud.

Then I met up with my new buddy John. During our conversation and introduction, he presented me with a Vladi worm. What I had seen on the Internet was now pinned on my vest. Something about this screamed wrong. Yet still, it was a pretty good looking pattern even if it was tied using a Weenie Beanie.

To top it off, today I was reviewing one of the blogs I subscribe to. In it was a pike pattern that has a full Missile Mask tied to the rear of the hook as a giant "rubber" tail. I kid you not (no pun intended there), check out the photo (and blog) here.

After being bombarded with all these Muzzle Loaders, I decided that I should give it a whirl. Now there's just one problem, the video doesn't mention what brand to use. Furthermore, should the Acorn Shell be of the lubricated variety? After some thought, I decided that it probably would be best if it wasn't. Besides the fact that it might make it difficult to handle during the wrapping of the fly, I figure it just wouldn't be polite to the trout.

Off to Target I went. I stood in the aisle (stunned by the variety) searching for a package that didn't say lubricated. I found one, at least so I thought. After purchasing the box of Gent Tents, I headed to my car. Curious (it did kill the cat), I opened the box only to find that I did in fact purchase the lubricated variety. Shoot! Can't really return this product now can I?

Off to the grocery store. No dice. Really?? Is it that hard not to find a Pickle Jar in the non lubricated variety? Evidently so. At this point, I took a break and got my haircut. Afterwards, I headed to the corner drugstore. Success! I managed to find the Greek Warriors brand in the non lubricated.

Hurrying home, I headed to my vise and put a #12 3x long nymph hook in the vise. I opened the package only to find my Chicken Coop to be of the pale white variety. The Vladi worm is tied in pink. Now what?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 87 - Realistic Flies

I subscribe to a handful of blogs. The other day I ran across a blog that talked about how to make realistic ant flies. I perused through the blog and was intrigued by how they made the fly out of monofilament and markers. (If you'd like, here is the link to that blog.)

As I was reading the blog I remembered that Fly Tyer magazine had an article a few years ago about tying realistic flies. In fact, I think the author was from England and was coming to the United States for a competition. As he was coming through customs his flies were confiscated as the officer didn't believe that they were fake. They looked too much like the real deal.

Now I've had friends tell me that these flies don't fish very well. They don't provide the right movement or float the right way. So it seems to me that the only reason you'd tie a fly like this would be to mimic the actual species. At this point it stops being a fly pattern, and becomes mini art. At least I think it does.

It stands to reason that people take the different aspects of fly fishing and hyper focus on one aspect or another. There are anglers who love to cast and practice daily to master the control of line, rod, and reel. Yet, those same people sometimes never actually fish. And then there are those people who are so absorbed at looking/identifying the micro organisms of a stream that they don't know how to effectively present a fly. Then there are others, who can tie wonderful patterns, but can't fish a streamer. Yet in spite of this hyper focusing, we all count ourselves as anglers.

As for me, I like to dabble in just about everything. I like to tie my own flies. I love to stand in a stream and read the currents and figure out how the water will move the fly. I even love the feel of casting and how it "centers" my soul. So maybe this dabbling in everything prevents me from truly mastering one skill. However, I feel that if I can focus a little bit on everything somehow that will elevate my skills as an angler overall. At least, that's what I hope.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 86 - Gear Hound

With Christmas fast approaching the number of magazines or catalogs that have shown up at my door advertising new fly fishing gear is invasive. In a previous post, I make no bones about my passion for fly fishing gear. The new, the sparkly, the ingenious... they all make me smile and beckon me to open my wallet (however this year I am saying nay-nay).

In a previous work life, I got to play with all the new cool stuff (and if the occasion was right it even came home with me). In fact, there was one instance where I got to be the impetus for one particular gear bag that is being offered by a particular hunting, fishing, and camping retailer. I had always heard about men and women who did these fly trips and then would take off for a day trip for this species or that species. I thought it would be nice to have a "base camp" for all your gear. And if you go to one of these stores you can see the outcome for this idea.

I digress. The point that I am trying to make is that I am a Gear Hound of the highest degree. I love the interesting the new the exciting the impossible made possible... arrgh! I get excited just thinking about it.

I'm thumbing through the Dec 09/Jan 10 issue of FlyRod&Reel. Fishpond's Trailhead Gear Bag gets me dreaming of a new bag for the Trout-mobile. It looks as if it will hold four rod tubes (9 foot rods broken down into 4 pieces). It rolls, has two inner compartments and a couple of exterior pockets.

My thoughts on this bag is that it is close to perfection. If I was the designer, I'd keep the rod tube compartment, but I'd add a lower compartment that is waterproof & has a net webbing for waders and boots. The top compartment would then allow you to pack your fly vest, a couple extra fly boxes, a travel vise for on stream creativity, and maybe even a change of clothes. I picture this bag as being my base camp from the back of my Saturn Vue. Just a thought.

Another interesting piece of gear advertised/promoted in the magazine is the Lamson Konic Reel. It's a cast aluminum alloy reel that is really supposed to hold up under the fishing pressure. A 5-weight will cost about $130 from the world's foremost outfitter. Seems to be a decent price for a solid reel.

And now moving to my personal favorite piece of gear: Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Fly Line. I have to be honest and say that I am partial to Scientific Anglers. In case you don't know they are a subsidiary company of 3M, and I used to live almost right across the street from the corporate headquarters (right behind the Sonic actually). I was still working on the buying team for the fly fishing department when this product was being introduced. It was crazy to hear about all the buzz around this one item.

I used to hear that the fly line would cut through poor fly guides (or at least leave grooves in the good ones), that it would slice through your fingers after a long day of fishing, and that you had to sell your firstborn to even afford the line. OK, that last one I made up, but at $100 you can kind of get my meaning. I brought these questions up once when I met some guys at a fly fishing expo. Some were true, some exaggerations, and some completely false. However, I was never able to get a hold of a sample, so I'm left to speculate.

Even within this last year I've been in some conversations of some pretty cool gear ideas that are trying to come to market. I can't say too much due to confidentiality, but I would expect that the next few years may seem some new rule changes in fly fishing tournaments if these products do as well as the hype that I've been hearing. Should be a lot of fun for us all.