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...
Well, all of the excitement of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all over as I type this. I hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. If you chose to go out to the stores on Black Friday (you are crazy) I hope you found what you were looking for, and if you were shopping online today when you should have been working, I hope you didn't get caught. We had a great holiday in the Irish Flies household. I had a great dinner with my wife on Thursday, got caught up on some work, and even got out on the water a couple of times. Before we talk about the fishing lets talk about the progress on my Winter fly tying project.
My new Tacky Fly Fishing Day Pack is now full and I will be posting more of the fly recipes in the coming weeks. Tonight I am going to share a new Olive Nymph I have been working on and an old standby.
A few years ago Hareline Dubbin came out with a product called Synthetic Quill Body Wrap. I believe this was originally designed to be used for dry fly bodies. Well, it makes a great nymph body also. I tie this pattern with and without a hot spot (although I am gravitating toward the hot spot as a favorite) A dead ringer for the small Baetis nymphs that are a staple in the winter diets of our local Trout, this fly will quickly become a go to pattern. Here is the recipe...
Hook; TMC2499SP-BL #16
Bead; Tungsten Black 3/32
Tail; Coq De Leon Light Speckled
Abdomen; Hareline Synthetic Quill Body Wrap BWO (SQB28)
Hot Spot; UTC florescent orange thread (optional)
Thorax; Senyo's Laser dub Sculpin Olive
The second pattern I would like to share is a pattern I have been fishing for a long time. I really don't know if it has a name or the origin of the fly, I have seen versions of this pattern everywhere. Basically a buggy, dark nymph this fly can represent a plethora of aquatic insects. The biggest fly in my winter box. The buggy, dubbed abdomen and thorax on this pattern make it easy to hide a under body of lead. I will often use this as an anchor fly in a triple nymph rig.
Hook; Dohiku #302 size 14
Bead; Black Tungsten 7/64
Under body; 10 wraps of .015 LEAD wire
Tail; Coq De Leon Light Speckled
Abdomen; SLF Fox Squirrel Thorax dubbing
Rib; Lateral Line Flashabou
Thorax; SLF Dragonfly Dark dubbing
As mentioned I got to get out on the water a few times this past weekend. On Sunday my buddy Ed and I headed to our favorite wild Brown Trout tail water. We arrived at around 10:30 and fished till just about dark. It was a great day on the water with several fish landed. I fished a "tight line" rig the entire day. I had a Rainbow Warrior on as a point fly, and a Cinnamon Toast and the Hot Spot BWO as droppers. (I will highlight the Rainbow Warrior and Cinnamon Toast in my next post in this series) I guess I must have guessed correctly, because I landed several fish on each of the three flies.
Now is the time to get your Winter boxes in order. I just looked at the extended forecast for December and it looks like we will have mild weather at least until the first of the year. Winter fishing can be some of the "hottest" fishing of the year. Till Next time...
If you are interested of any of the patterns in this post custom orders are available. Please use the links at the bottom of the page to call or contact me.
I was in the my local Cabelas shop the other day. I was poking around the fly fishing section and aside from the usual lines, leaders, and fly tying materials a new product caught my eye. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past six or 8 months you must have seen the phenomenon that is sweeping the fly fishing industry. (that last sentence got your attention didn't it)? Now, having worked in the outdoor sales industry off and on for the past 3 decades I have come to be aware of the "latest and greatest" Often times these products touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread wind up on the discount rack before they fade off into obscurity.
The product I am speaking of are the new Tacky Fly Boxes www.tackyflyfishing.com. These boxes are taking the industry by storm, and for good reason. These boxes have all of the features a fly fisherman is looking for in a premium fly box. Best of all they don't carry a premium price tag. As I looked at the box I got an idea. I have been wanting to add a "winter" box to my arsenal for a while now. I was looking for a small box I could fill with smaller Nymph patterns we typically use during the winter months.
Measuring 5" X 3" X 1/2" the Tacky Day Pack The perfect size for a project like this. Here are some features of this box.
Small, light, sleek, compact
Clear lid for visible access to flies
New bi-directional slit design holds up to 180 flies
Latch-less magnetic closure system
Long lasting durability
Extremely durable poly-carbonate box
Double sided lanyard hook system
New hinge stop
The next time you are in your local fly shop give these boxes a look, you will be glad you did.
The first pattern I decided to fill my new Tacky box with is the Al's Rat. The Rat is a great pattern I have been using for several years now. Here is the recipe...
Hook: TMC 3761 #18
Abdomen: UTC Watery Olive or Brown Olive tying thread.
Thorax: Senyo's laser dub, color to match
Each color will get a full row as I go through quite a few of these each winter.
The second fly I tied for my winter box is a micro Pheasant Tail. I truly believe you can't have too many Pheasant Tails. My standard Nymph box is stuffed full of PT's in sizes from 12 to 16 and colors ranging from black to tan. My PFN is a version of a Pheasant Tail with a hot orange thorax I have been doing well since I designed the pattern. (For a step by step of the PFN click here). For the winter box I used the same base design as the PFN only I left the black wing case off. This fly is tied on a #18 hook. When tying smaller flies some things just are not necessary to make an effective pattern. Here is the recipe for my micro hot spot PT...
Hook: TMC 2499SP-BL
Bead: Copper Tungsten
Tail: Coq De Leon light
Abdomen: Spirit River UV PT
Rib: Copper Brassie wire
Thorax: Senyo's Laser Dub; orange
These also will get a full row as many of these will be donated to the riverbed this winter.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I fill this box with some of my favorite winter patterns. Some are old classics, some are newer designs, all have proven themselves. In the meantime check out some of the great products from Tacky Fly Fishing. To visit their website here. If you are a Facebook type of person check out their page here and give them a "like" while you are there. You will be glad you did. Till next time...
If you are interested in any custom fly orders please use the links at the bottom of this page to contact me.