As I stood preparing for what lies ahead I took careful note of my gear. I had slipped on my first layer of protective clothing. Next came a high performance pair of protective footwear. After that a second, heavier layer, again to protect me. Next came the outer layer designed not to let anything tough, tough as nails, and designed specifically for this task. Protective boots with cleats, High performance head gear, gloves and special glasses to protect my eyes rounded my preparation. You might think I was getting ready to do battle in the Roman Colosseum or out on the gridiron. No no, unfortunately it was not that dramatic! I was just going out for the third time to shovel the 20" of snow Mother Nature saw fit to dump on us this weekend! River time has been scarce the past few weeks, but the tying bench has been red hot. So here is the third and final installment of the Winter Tying Project. The Tacky Day Pack is full with all of my favorite winter patterns and I am set to go fishing for the next few months. As you can imagine the box is full of smaller flies, the biggest is a #16 that I will use as an attractor. Over the past several seasons one of my favorite attractor nymphs has been the Rainbow Warrior from Lance Egan. I first saw this pattern in George Daniels first book "Dynamic Nymphing". It was one of those patterns that just "spoke" to me as soon as I saw it. In the right situation I just knew this fly would produce. I have made a minor departure from the original using red Pheasant Tail fibers for the tail instead of the natural, but other than that this is the original pattern. Here is the recipe.
Hook: Dohiku #302 size 14
Bead: Silver Tungsten sized to match hook
Thread: Red flat waxed 6/0
Tail: Pheasant Tail Fibers
Body: UTC Pearl Tinsel
Thorax: Rainbow Sow - Scud Dub
Wing Case: UTC Pearl Tinsel
The next pattern I filled this box with is a Beatis pattern called the Cinnamon Toast. From the mind of Kevin Compton at Performance flies this little powerhouse is a must have if you fish rivers where the Beatis are abundant. There seems to be some debate as to the grouping of Beatis and BWO's as the same family of flies. About the best explanation of this can be found here on Trout Nut .com. I try to stay away from debates like this, for me if I can identify the size and basic coloration of the natural, that is good enough for me. What I do know is this fly catches fish! Here is the recipe.
Hook: HANAK Nymph Hook H230BL #16.
Thread: 140D flat waxed olive
Bead: Copper Tungsten 7/64
Tails: Coq de Leon Fibers.
Ribbing: X Fine Copper Wire.
Body: Brown-Olive Condor Substitute.
Thorax: Jan Siman Peacock Dubbing, Peacock Bronze
To see more great patterns from Kevin visit Performance Flies by clicking HERE.
The last pattern I chose to fill the Winter box with is my all time favorite Midge Pattern, the Frostbite Midge. Similar to the way I discovered the Rainbow Warrior I first saw the Frostbite Midge in the book Modern Midges. In the way the "Warrior" captured my attention the Frostbite Midge was an instant hit. I Anything tied with Peacock Hurl will catch Trout as it has become one of my favorite tying materials. Deadly on my home waters of the White Clay I can comfortably say this pattern has accounted for more fish for me locally than any other fly. Do yourself a favor and tie some of these up, you will be glad you did.
Hook: TMC 2499SP-BL #20
Thread: Red Flat Waxed 6/0
Bead: Copper Tungsten 1/16
Ribbing: X Fine Copper Wire.
Body: Red Midge Diamond Braid
Thorax: Peacock Hurl
Gills; White Z-Lon
Well, there you have it, my Tacky Day Pack box full and ready to fish. Some may say "I see empty spaces in there, that is not full". Well, one thing I am doing this year is leaving a few spaces open in each box so I can add patterns and re-arrange them when necessary. You never know when that next Pattern will "speak" to you. Till next time...
Last Tuesday night I had the privilege of being one of the featured tiers at the first meeting of 2016 for the Delco Manning chapter of Trout Unlimited. Anytime I get to tie in front of an audience I get excited. When I get to do it for one of the great local clubs, well, it is even better. As mentioned this was the first meeting of 2016 for TU #320. it was decided this would be a "fly tying" themed meeting. We had 5 fly tiers set up at 5 individual tables and the club broke into 5 small groups and rotated around the room. Someone mentioned it was kinda like speed dating for the fly tying world. It was exactly like that as each group spent approximately 15 minutes at each table to watch each tyer construct their pattern. As we were tying we were giving explanations as to why we did certain things. This would typically start some questions going back and forth and a thoughtful and informative conversation would ensue. The entire evening was great, but the highlight for me had to be the in-depth conversation I had with Mary K. and Gary C. about "positive mental attitude". This is a subject I have been giving a lot of thought to lately and I really enjoyed their insights.
The format of this meeting was exceptional for, I believe, both the tyers and the people observing. It is amazing how much YOU can learn by teaching someone else, and when the spotlight is on you while you are tying flies you will learn a lot. Check out some of the pictures from the meeting.
I would like to give a big thank you to all of the members of Delco Manning TU for allowing me to come out and tie. I truly hope you got as much out of the evening as I did. I also need to thank my buddy "One Boot" Ed Hays. Ed usually travels with me as I am out giving a presentation or performing a seminar. Always there to help out with anything I need from bringing things in or out, to setting up to taking pictures (Ed took all of the pictures for this post) to tearing down, He does what ever is necessary to help me. His help has become commonplace so much so that often times I totally forget to say a single "thank you" at the end of the night. IN closing this post I would like to say thank you to the board members of TU #320 for having me out, thank you to all of the club members that came out last Tuesday night to watch us tie, and last but not least a big thank you to Ed Hays, I couldn't do a lot of what I do without your help! Till Next time...
Well, here we sit in the days after Christmas and New Years. This is a funny time of year as we aren't quite through the Holiday Season yet, but it is close. What waits for us next are the long Winter months of January, February and March. With the weather we have been having I don't know if we can say these will be "Winter" months this year or not, I mean 75 degrees on Christmas day! What is that about? I am curious to see if this weather will set us up for a great Winter Trout season or if it will present a unique set of challenges. Eiher way you can bet I will be out there trying to match wits with as many wild Trout as I can.
Our kids are older now, Santa Clause doesn't hold the same allure as he used to and that makes for a quite Christmas morning. We did the customary "opening of the presents" which at this point consists of basically gift cards to places we like to shop. After that we sat down to our traditional breakfast of Sausage Gravy and biscuits. You Yankees might not know about this, but the guys from the south will. Hillbilly soul food is some of the best cooking you will ever eat, if you have never had a traditional southern style breakfast (I am not from the south, but my wife's family is and to quote my father "she sure can grease a pan") you are missing out on something good. Later in the day we all met at my brothers house (the spin Fisherman) for a nice spread of food and family fun. It is nice to have both of my parents and brothers and all of my nieces and nephews in the same place. All of our kids are getting older, starting lives of their own and we just don't get together as much as we used to.
As much as I like good food and family I do enjoy my fishing gear and it didn't take long for me to start trolling the internet looking for the prefect piece of gear to spend the gift cards that were burning a hole in my pocket. I actually had a plan of the gear I wanted to buy.
Chest Pack vs Sling Pack;
As many of you may know I have been fishing a chest pack (for Trout) for the past 3 seasons. The Umpqua Overlook 500 has served me well and I really didn't need to change. With sling packs being all the rage I wanted to give one a try.
After spending too much time and thought on the subject I finally decided on the Simms Waypoints Sling Pack. As mentioned I really didn't "need" a new pack, but I have been looking at slings for a while now and this was a great time to pull the trigger. The 2 major benefits of a sling as I see it are it will ride higher up on your back so your stuff wont get wet which can happen with a hip or fanny pack and a sling pack will leave your chest area free and clear of any obstructions that might get in the way of proper casting. This is especially true if you are Spey casting with one of the new ultra light 2 handed rods, something I plan to do this spring.
I must say after looking at all of the packs out there in detail this one fit my needs the best. It was the the size I was looking for and you just can't go wrong with anything from Simms. Another big reason I purchased the Waypoints pack is the option to buy direct from Simms. Many people don't realize you no longer need to go into an authorized Simms dealer to purchase their products. Simms started direct sales a few years ago and purchasing couldn't be easier. No longer do you need to drive (sometimes great distance) to your shop only to find they don't have the color or size of item you are looking for. Gone are the days of conforming to shop hours, inaccurate opening times or "gone fishing" signs on the door. You can browse Simms entire inventory and pay the same price for the item you are looking for right from the comfort of your own home. Better yet it comes right to your front door a few days later. What could be easier?
My gear has been transferred from my old Umpqua pack to my new Simms pack and I must say I do like the layout. I have not fished out of it yet, but I am sure I will be happy with it. Other presents include a pair of Simms nippers and a new line for my Tight Line Nymphing rig...
I went old school on the reel on the left with the Cortland 444 classic double taper line. It has been a while since I have fished a Cortland line, I am excited to get out there and try it out.
I would be remiss if I didnt mention my favorite present of all. You may remember in my last blog post I was giving my mother a hard time about not making my favorite Christmas cookies for the past 3 years. Well Christmas morning she showed up with this...
Thanks mom, you are the best! I hope you all have had an enjoyable Christmas holiday and I hope Santa brought you all of the things you were looking for. Winter Trout fishing is one of my favorite times of year. As we sit here with crappy weather and chocolate milk rivers take this time to fill your boxes, maintain your gear and get ready for a few months of 6X tippet and size 22 midge patterns. till next time...
In an effort to kick off their Winter fly tying classes Delco Manning Trout Unlimited is hosting a "fly tying evening" for the first meeting of 2016. Several club members will have tying stations set up and will be demonstrating their favorite patterns. I am honored to have been invited to tie one of my patterns during this evening of fun and flies.
How often do you get the opportunity to see quality fly tiers up close and personal? This meeting will be set up so all tying and non tying members will have an opportunity to observe, up close, the tying process for each fly. If you have been thinking about taking the plunge into fly tying this is a great opportunity to see what we do and ask questions as we tie the patterns. I will bet the beginning fly tier as well as the seasoned vet will get something out of this evening.
This event will take place Tuesday evening, January 5th starting at 6:30. (note the earlier start time) The Delco Manning chapter of Trout Unlimited meets at the Delaware County Field and Stream Association clubhouse, 713 Chester Creek Road, Brookhaven, PA 19015. for directions click here. This promises to be a great evening, I hope to see you there. Till Next time...