This coming Tuesday, March 8th I will be at Trout Unlimited #468 giving my presentation "The Brandywine, a Tale of three rivers." The Brandywine river is the jewel of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Located right in our back yard, this river's beauty is matched only by it's diversity. A cold water wild Trout river in the upper reaches, a blue ribbon Smallmouth river through the main section and tidal river in the lower end, the Brandywine has something to offer everybody.
Trout Unlimited #468, The Southeastern Montgomery County chapter meet at the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust Visitor's Center at 2955 Edge Hill Road in Huntingdon Valley, PA, at 7:30 PM every second Tuesday of each month. The visitor center is located just off of the Willow Grove exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, just a short drive from Philadelphia and it's suburbs.
If you are looking to learn more about this great river, would like to expand your fishing season, or you just love to talk Fly Fishing you won't want to miss this. I hope to see you next Tuesday night.
If you have any questions about Tuesday night please feel free to contact me. For directions to the club house, click HERE. Till next time...
I can't help but to think of the great Willie Nelson when I typed the title to this post. I am taking the Irish Flies "Shad Fishing 101" on the road, all the way to central Pennsylvania. 2 Presentations, 10 patterns, an overnight stay at a beautiful lodge, and all the food, friends and fly fishing discussion we can cram into a weekend. On March 19th and 20th I will be hosting the class in Eric Stroup's beautiful Gorge view lodge. I have stayed here and let me tell you it is awesome! Everyone that participates in this class will have an opportunity, later in the year, to come and fish the Shad run. Check out the flier for more details. Space for this class is limited to the first 6 people that commit. If you are interested in learning more about this fantastic, but often overlooked fishery you wont want to miss this class. Staying in a beautiful lodge located in the heart of central Pennsylvania's limestone waters isn't a bad thing ether. Eric's operation is top notch. come check out the lodge and the class, you will be glad you did!
The Spring Shad run can be one of the most prolific fisheries of the year. It can also be one of the most overlooked. Stop out to the Rolling Meadows Clubhouse, just off of Rt 1 in Lewes next Wednesday night February 10th. This presentation will cover all aspects of Shad fishing including; species, gear, rigging, flies, and locations.
The Rolling Meadows Clubhouse is located at 99 Chesterfield Drive in Lewes, Delaware 19958 (just off of rt 1 by the Wawa) for directions click here. The meeting will start at 7:00 with club business, the presentation will follow shortly after.
If you have never fished the Shad run you could be missing out on some of the best fishing of the year! When it is on, it is ON and a triple digit day is not out of the question. Stop out Wednesday night and I promise you will gain the knowledge to chase the "Poor Man's Tarpon". I hope to see you there. Till next time...
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...
As we bid farewell to 2015 and prepare to ring in 2016 our thoughts turn to the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Season. So many things are happening (or still need to happen) at this time of year. As soon as Thanksgiving is over the onslaught commences. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas lights, trees, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, (I hope my mom makes my favorite this year...hint #1) planing family get together's, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes I do believe, as a society, we may have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas, giving back. Well, here at Irish Flies I would like to help with a few of these challenges. While I can't help with the dis-functionality of family gatherings, and if my mom does make my favorite Christmas cookies this year (hint #2) you won't be getting any, as I haven't had any for THREE YEARS I can help in a few areas.
What to get the person that has everything????
A good friend of mine once said "At this point in my life I really don't need any more fly fishing gear, I am going to spend my money on fly fishing experiences". Well Dale, I think that is a great idea, at least until I go into a well inventoried fly shop! In all seriousness, my friends statement holds a lot of truth. In today's day and age, expendable money, money you can spend on something other than bills can be a rare commodity. How many times have you spent your hard earned greenbacks on the latest and greatest piece of gear only to have it fade into obscurity shortly after you bought it? Well, if you are interested in a way to get more bang for your buck and possibly knock out some Christmas shopping, read on...
Give a man a fish...
I am putting together a class schedule for 2016. Building off of the success of "Shad Fishing 101" I am hopeful to fill 5 classes starting in January. All classes will be held at the Christiana Cabelas store in the conference room. The exact dates for each class is TBT at this point, I will say I am shooting for the 3rd or 4th weekend of the month, it all depends on when each class fills up and when the room is available. Here is the schedule and a brief summary of each class...
January; Nymph Fishing 101. The holy grail of fly fishing is taking Trout that are feeding on top. I love it as much as the next guy. Problem is this only happened about 20% of the time. If you want to be consistently successful on the Trout river, you better learn to fish under the surface. This class will cover the three most popular methods of Nymphing; High Stick (or tight lining), indicator, and dry and dropper fishing. After the "class room" portion of the presentation we will then tie several of my favorite nymph patterns.
February; Basic Entomology. One of the most intimidating things in our sport seems to be "What pattern do I fish and when do I fish it?" I have always said you don't need to be a certified Entomologist to be successful at fly fishing. You do need a basic understanding of the bugs we have in our area and how to apply that knowledge to a fishing scenario. This class will give you that basic knowledge as well as several patterns to fill your boxes.
March; Introduction to Fly Fishing. As great as this sport is getting started can be a daunting task. In this class we will discuss all of the basics needed to get started down the road to become a successful fly fisher. Gear set-up, casting, knots, reading the water, and rigging will all be a part of this class. My goal with this class is for you to gain the knowledge to start putting the odds in your favor so you can start to have successful days on the river.
April; Shad fishing 101. Do to the success of this class last year very little will change. Check out the blog post from last years class here.
May; Local Bronze, a guide to catching Smallmouth. I have always said if I could only fish for one fish ever again it would be Smallmouth Bass. Pound for pound there is no "true" freshwater fish that pulls harder than a Smallie. We have several Blue Ribbon Smallmouth rivers right in our back yard to take advantage of. This class will give you the information you need to take advantage of this great, summer fishery. After the presentation we will tie several of my favorite Bronzeback patterns. I believe this will be my favorite class!
All classes will follow the same basic format. A Power Point presentation lasting approximately 1 hour will be followed by (I hope) a spirited question and answer session. After a break for lunch we will then sit down and tie several flies (excluding the beginner class). Irish Flies will provide the presentation, all of the tying materials, and lunch at the Brandywine Grille. You are asked to provide a tying vise, bobbin, bodkin, scissors, thread, and an open mind. (participants of the Shad Class will need to provide additional gear as we will actually go to the river to fish in this class). Cost for each class is $125.00. As mentioned, all classes will be held at the Christiana, Delaware Cabala's store located in the Christiana Mall complex. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have.
Well, I hope you will find something interesting in this selection of classes. Perhaps you may use them to cross an item or two off of your Christmas list. Don't you think one of these classes would make a great gift idea? I do. And, not to loose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, anyone registering for a 2016 Irish Flies seminar before December 25th will receive an additional 20% off of the price. Pick a class, any class and you get all this for a hundred bucks! There aren't too many better ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Remember...Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, give a man a Irish Flies seminar and he will think you are the best friend they have ever had. That is an Irish Flies guarantee! Till next time...
BTW mom...remember these????????
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.