Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tying Season is winding down and fishing season approaches

It's only nine days until our opener here in VT.  It will probably still be weeks before I catch my first fish, but that won't stop me from getting out there.  Even the big storm due in tomorrow for the central part of the state (8"-12" of snow) will divert me to skiing this weekend, but next weekend is all about fishing.

I had my annual eye exam recently.  I usually rotate between 3 pairs of reading glasses (my distance vision stubbornly remains at 20/15 as my close vision continues to deteriorate), and I replace one pair per year.  One pair is for computer work - 18" or so from my eyes.  One pair is for books, phone, tablets, remote controls, etc. - closer to 12".  And then, I have my fishing glasses, which are designed for use at about 6" - perfect for tying flies and tying knots on the river.

This year, it was time to replace the fishing glasses.  I got them home earlier this week and looked at the flies I'd been tying.  I was amazed at the detail I could see in some of the flies - details that had eluded me while tying.  So, I'm glad to have these upgrades for the rest of my tying and fishing season.

Here are a few recent flies from the vise:

At the top are some Frenchies.  In the middle are two-tone Perdigon nymphs.  At the bottom are single color perdigon nymphs, designed mostly for cloudy, early season water.

I still want to tie some more Frenchies, including some with non-orange hot spots.  Plus, some without the collars.

And, some final juju baetis.  I'm hoping the new glasses will help me with that tiny little fly.  I am usually comfortable tying them down to a 16 or so, but I like to fish them in 18 or 20, so I need a little refinement.

Of course, these are all tiny flies.  The first fly that I cast this year is going to be much different.  I'm sure I'll start out the season with a Kelly Galloup pattern - probably a Sex Dungeon or a Circus Peanut.  But, if the water is clear enough, the flies above will get some action on opening day, along with some Navy Divers, San Juan Worms (shudder!), and maybe some woolly buggers.

Maybe this will even be the year where I ski and catch a trout on the same day.  That goal has remained elusive for me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Just a few more flies and I should be ready

I've been tying a lot of different flies this winter and fewer of my old stand-bys.  This has included, as mentioned before, a number of competition or attractor patterns, and fewer insect-specific ties.

Some of the flies that I'm tying, such as the Juju Baetis, have a very specific purpose.  The same is true with wooly buggers.  But, some of my newer patterns have included Navy Divers, Neon Firestormers, Frenchies, and Perdigon flies.  The last two are the two I'm most curious about for this coming season.  Both are sparse, quick sinking flies used internationally in competitions.  They are easy ties - a Coq de Leon tail, a bead, and a bright collar are the core of the fly.

The Perdigon uses a Sharpie to create a dark wing case and it has a simple thread body.  It is designed to plummet to the bottom.

The Frenchie is really a form of a Pheasant Tail and uses a PT and wire body, an optional ice dub thorax, and then the collar.  If you use the ice dub, the key is to match it somewhat to the color of the thread used for the collar.

I've pretty much decided that all of these patterns will inhabit a new box in my pack - a box of just attractor and competition nymphs.  I'll see how these do vs. my normal nymphs (PT's, Prince, hare's ear, zug bug, and my various BWO nymphs).  I'll simply adjust my fishing from there based on what works.

I ordered some hooks this morning and some slotted tungsten beads.  Those should be the last supplies I need to finish up my tying for the winter.  With 19 days left to opening day, it's crunch time.

Although, to be honest, opening weekend I'll most likely be stripping gaudy Kelly Galloup streamers for a shot at a big brown.  The new nymphs will come into play as the nymph fishing picks up when water levels drop and the water clears up a bit.  This will mostly be in May and June, so it may be a while before I know if this new focus will work or not.

This has been a winter of re-thinking a lot of flies and techniques I use.  It's completely possible that I'm overthinking everything and I'll end up wishing I had tied more traditional flies over the winter. Or, just maybe, these new flies and some tight line nymphing will elevate my game to the next level.

That's why we call it fishing, I suppose, rather than catching.  Until I get onto the water, I honestly have no idea what will happen with the fish.  Either way, I'm going to have fun pursuing them.