Friday, March 29, 2013

First Flyrod Fish of 2013!

Got back from a family Spring Break vacation earlier this week (will blog about that soon!).  Finally, the local ponds and lakes are starting to open up.  Some still have ice on them, a few are completely ice-free.

Wednesday (March 27) after work, I visited a local pond with my flyrod for about 45 minutes.  There was ice covering about 1/4 of the pond.  I walked beyond it to start fishing.  First cast with a chartreuse microjig/indicator resulted in a Crappie.
Not a jumbo, but fun all the same.  I ended up with 10 crappies and 4 bluegills.

On Thursday, I flyfished a different pond during my lunch hour.  That pond was 60%+ ice-covered, and the open water shoreline was ringed with about 20' of floating weedy/algae/gunk.  Messy fishing.  I landed just one Bluegill.

Thursday evening I flyfished the same pond as the previous evening.  All the ice was gone, although a neighboring pond about 100 feet away was still 50% ice-covered.  I flyfished for @ 2.25 hours.  For awhile it was a fish on nearly every cast.  I ended up catching at least 30 Crappies and at least 23 Bluegills.

The fish were in shallow water near shore and were aggressive.  Most fish came on the chartreuse microjig/indicator rig, but I also caught a few of each species on this:

I am SO glad to once again be flyfishing in open water!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tying with Odd Materials

While the season/weather conspires against me actually doing any flyfishing, I continue to tie a fly or two.

This past week, I went to a Michael's craft store to pick up some items for a project my son wanted to do.  While there, I walked through the yarn section.  They had the usual great selection of wool yarns...but the yarn skeins that caught my eye on this trip was their excellent color selection of Patons Bohemian Yarns and Martha Stewart Glitter Eyelash yarns.

The Bohemian yarns are a really thick, heavy chenille-type yarn.  Some really great patterns that use this material are Rich McElligott's Wonder Worms and Shannon's Streamer.  I have some white already, so although I turned an appreciative eye towards the other colors I saw, I didn't buy any.  I think I might go back and remedy that this week, though.

I've never been a fan of Eyelash Yarns.  I personally don't think their action is that good in the water for what I would use them for.  On the other hand, I did see some pretty cool "bass jig flies" tied with the stuff, and it looks like that would be a perfect fit for this material.  The GLITTER Eyelash yarn has a lot of mylar flash built right into it, and it started some ideas in my head, so I bought 4 colors:

I've only tied up a few flies with it so far.  Here's what they look like dry:

...and here's what they look like AFTER getting wet:

I like the wet look on these.  I think they will be especially good fished quickly in still water...or in the river, since the current will help them keep a streamlined shape.

In the clearance yarn rack, I saw a single skein of a HUGE yarn called Loops and Threads "Festive Fur" an excellent chartreuse color.  (To quote Left Kreh...."If it ain't Chartreuse, it ain't no use!").  This is a super-thick yarn that makes Bohemian Yarn look malnourished. I measured the Festive Fur...and it is 1/2" diameter when dry.  I wasn't sure how best to show scale of this yarn, so I stuck a pair of my fly-tying scissors in the skein:

Its so thick...I envision using this for heads on baitfish patterns.  It should really push a lot of water.  I also tied up a furled-tail pattern that I hope fishes similar to a Senko.  One problem is this pattern might be pretty heavy to cast once it gets soaked with water!  We shall see.  I'm hoping the bass will LOVE it!  The smaller fly below...I hope is small enough to attract Crappies.  It should work great after dark, when the fly pushes a lot of water making it easy for the fish to find at night.

The color is definitely lights up under a UV light!

I'm open to suggestions anyone might have on patterns to tie with ANY of these materials.  For example, I think the orange-colored Glitter Chenille might make a decent body on a crayfish already has built-in legs!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Crayfish Fly Patterns

Confession....I have only used crayfish fly patterns a couple of times.  The first time, a large fish broke me off just a few seconds after the hook-set.  Crayfish are a great food source when fish can find them, so I keep looking for better patterns to tie...with plans of eventually fishing them.

Last week I was searching the web for fly patterns for Largemouth Bass, and I ran across a pattern that REALLY caught my eye.  Although the colors are different, as near as I could determine that pattern is called May's Clearwater Crayfish.  I couldn't find a recipe or tying instructions, only pictures on the Orvis website, where they are sold.  Here's a screen capture of the one that I saw in a video that originally caught my eye (its the one on the far right):

The Orvis website shows this:

I did the best I could with trying to figure out how to tie the pattern, and made some material substitutions.

Although the pictures appeared to use a 60-degree jig hook, I used Mustad 32756 90-degree jig hooks.  The first one I tied on a #4 hook.  I made my own eyes for these.  On this one, I used Turkey as the carapace.
Really doesn't look much like the original.  Hey, it was a first attempt!  :)

Next, I tied one on a #1 Mustad 32756 90-degree jig hooks (#4 and #1 were the only sizes I had).  For this one, I used brown Furry Foam for the carapace:

I tied up a 3rd one, also on the #1 hook, and once again I used Turkey for the carapace:

I compared the last two:
I like them both.  The Fuzzy Fur is easier to work with, and a softer feel for the fish.  But I like the mottled color of the Turkey carapace.

Here's a comparison of those crayfish (which as you may have noticed do NOT have claws, but are still unmistakably crayfish), and some of "Rough Dub Crayfish" that I tied (if they don't look good, its my fault).  My Rough Dub's are smaller in overall size than my May's Clearwater's.  The Rough Dubs also have claws, and are MUCH quicker to tie.  I like them, too.

I'd still like to figure out how to tie them so they look like the one on the right side of the 3rd picture in this post.  For now, I like the May's Clearwater AND the Rough Dub crayfish I guess I will keep tying a few of both.  And then hopefully I can try them out on the fish later this year!