Thursday, February 23, 2017

Making it All Worth it.

After sitting at the vise for longer than I'd like to admit, I finally got out to test some of the new creations, and fish some old standbys. Brian, Andy, and I hit the river last Sunday to try our hand at some winter smallmouth. Winter conditions can be a bit tricky with a fly, so we took a spinning rod or two just in case. We ended up getting fish on both flies and tube jigs, everything needed to be super super slow and the takes were extremely subtle. Even though the takes were soft, as soon as they were hooked they still pulled like crazy in 44 degree water. Smallmouth fishing, in any condition is and always will be my favorite!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

From the Vise - Smallmouth

Thinking about smallmouth more and more this winter. The crew and I are headed out this Sunday, to try to dredge some up with the 63 degree weather. It seems the more I think about trout fishing in the winter the more I miss flip flops and board shorts fishing for smallies. So below are a few flies I have been messing around with this winter, as well as a few standbys that needed some replenishing. Many of these flies have been in my box for a long while now, but some are newer and very noteworthy. One is Pat Cohen's Jiggy Craw, this fly is awesome for early season jigging and slow crawling on the bottom, lots of movement, and a a great profile. The Roamer, which is an awesome baitfish pattern to toss at some pre spawn fish. The Freeze Dried Sculpin (New) which is going to be an awesome all season bug to crawl low and slow in the deeper water. Lastly, the Orange Belly River Crawler, this one took a hiatus from the box last year, but has always been a staple in my warm water boxes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Three Favorites - Go to Jig Flies

To continue with the jig theme, here are three of my favorite jigs. The little winter stone is a great anchor fly for smaller streams that you can't fish bigger flies on. However it can be fished just about anywhere. The Sow Bug jig is one of my favorites for all spring creeks, I tie this without a bead and jig hook and it is my go to fly. So having some on a jig is much better for getting down in fast water. The last one is the Double Squirrel, it has a simple but buggy profile. Having 2 small hot spots are great triggers for fish in cloudy water. Check them out and start adding them to your boxes. 

Little Winter Black Stone Jig 

Hook: Partridge / Orvis Jig Hook 
Thread: UNI Thread 6/0 - Black 
Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead - Black
Tail/Antenna: Goose Biots - Black 
Body: Ultra Wire - Br. Black 
Legs: Krystal Flash - Black/Pearl 
Thorax: SLF Squirrel - Black 


Hook: Partridge / Orvis Jig Hook
Thread: UNI Thread 6/0 - Tan 
Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead - Copper 
Underbody: Lead Wire - .025
Body: Sow Scud Dubbing - Sow Bug 
Shellback: Loon UV - Flow

Double Squirrel Jig

Hook: Partridge / Orvis Jig Hook 
Thread: UNI Thread 6/0 - Fl. Fire Orange 
Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead - Black
Tail: CDL Fibers 
Rib: Opal Tinsel - Small
Body: SLF Squirrel - Nat. Fox Squirrel 
Thorax: SLF Squirrel - Drk. Brown 
Hotspots: UNI Thread 6/0 - Fl. Fire Orange 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Jigs - Riding Low

To go along with Boiling Springs last Brew n Bugs, Im going to do a some talking about different jig flies. It is quite simple really, when it comes to jigs its really just an upside down fly. Nothing changes except you have a small bed in the shank with a slotted bead.

Most of my jigs are fairly simple flies, that don't have a lot of detail, but hold a nice natural profile in the water. This simplicity really helps simplify the fly design and stops many frustrated moments at the vice. I have tied jig style Prince Nymphs to large jig style Stoneflies, all have their own challenges. However if you stay way from flies that require a lot of detail on the bottom of the fly or in this case the top, it will lead to a much more enjoyable tying experience.

Most of my jig flies are Pheasant tails tied "in the round", Hare's Ears without a shellback, Quill Bodies with just dubbing and a little flash for the legs. You can add shellbacks to jig on the larger flies, but its a headache and unnecessary for the smaller ones. I tie a small winter black stone nymph on both a standard nymph hook and a jig style, the only difference is no shell back, this is because dealing with a hook point in your way vs. a wide open shank makes a huge difference, and you won't have to worry about stabbing yourself every 2 seconds with the hook.

Another key to success with jig flies is to secure the bead from flopping around while you are starting to tie. One way I have found to keep the bead in place and stop it from spinning around is adding a few lead wraps behind the bead and pushing it tight to the bead. The other way is to make a small thread dam behind it. I do this often times when I'm trying to make a smaller, lighter jig. I will use this dam to also the start of my body taper for the fly.

Jigs are used as anchor flies most of the time. This is also why I try to keep it simple, for restocking purposes. I have found that if you start with a larger jig hook (8-12) with the style flies you are trying to tie, this will help you get proportions right before you start into the smaller sizes (14-18). I often times will tie one style of fly in 3 to 4 sizes, always starting with the larger ones first, again to help with proportions but also help with your tying movements around the hook point and tying inverted.

These are 3 tips that have made tying jig flies fun for me with the least amount of frustration. Hope this helps.

Over the next moth I will be posting more on jigs to give everyone some ideas on simple ones to tie. Maybe even a tutorial or video.