Friday, October 31, 2008

Homer Goes Fishing

I think this will be my Halloween costume. D'oh

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fly Tying Materials On The Roam

A few months ago I wrote about using porcupine hair for quill bodies. Check out this gargantuan porcupine. I also use a lot of rooster and squirrel.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Flies Are Not Just For Fish

It's true, fish are not the only connoisseurs of fine flies. Plants love 'em too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Getting Even Colder Out

The weather is getting colder here in New England. Perhaps it is time to start thinking about cleaning my gear and giving it a rest. The fall has seen some good action on New England lakes and streams, but with the days getting shorter, I find that I am spending more and more time at the bench. The up side of that is that I have had time to create a few new patterns, and have a few last days to test them on the fish. The Dark Vader has already proven its mettle.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kevin Compton Flies

Kevin Compton is a friend of mine. We met in 2006 in Portugal while I was tying flies for Team USA at the Fly Fishing World Championships. He has just put up a website and it looks fabulous. Kevin's flies are some of the best that I have seen and he is a good egg. He designs flies and has some very cool patterns. Check out Kevin's work at

Friday, October 24, 2008

LaFontaine's Legacy: The Last Flies From An American Master


LaFontaine's Legacy: The Last Flies From An American Master (2008, New York, New York, The Lyons Press) by Al and Gretchen Beatty.

Gary LaFontaine was an innovative and world-famous fly tyer who, sadly, died in 2002 at the age of 56 of Lou Gerhig's Disease. He is known for many flies like the Deep Sparkle Pupa, Diving Caddis and Emergent Sparkle Pupa. Gary is well-respected for his work as a writer, having authored five books, most notably Caddisflies (1981), which received the United Fly Tyers' Book of the Year Award, and well over 100 articles. His book The Dry Fly-New Angles received the 1990 United Fly Tyers' Book of the Year Award. As a researcher, he used a very scientific method to look at fishing by approaching fly design and tying by first studying the underwater behaviors of trout and then designing flies that would elicit feeding activity. He revolutionized the way anglers tye and fish the caddis. One might say he was a student of the trout and the trout were students of his flies.

LaFontaine's Legacy is a posthumous collection of Gary's flies that were previously unpublished. In the months before his death, Gary enlisted the help of friends, Al and Gretchen Beatty, who themselves are well renowned in the fly tying world, to help document the final chapter of his life's work. It was his wish that his final patterns be published and this book is just what he had wished for.

The Beattys have given us 26 of Gary's last patterns. Each pattern is illustrated with superb full-color photographs and easy to follow tying instructions that show each step of the tying process. Each chapter is dedicated to an individual fly and the text is peppered with personal stories about Gary's tying and angling life. The step-by-step instructions are terrific and the stories bring Gary back to us.

This is an important and wonderful book that is one of the first volumes in the new Fly Tyer Library series of books. LaFontaine's Legacy is a valuable resource for all fly tyers and students of the art. It provides the final chapter in Gary LaFontaine's illustrious fly tying career and is important work on American fly tying history and technique.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fly Fishing The Bahamas

Where are your angling dreams taking you on vacation this winter? If the Bahamas is your destination or bonefish are your quarry, then you'll need a nice selection of flies to take along. Check out the selection of flies above. This is a rugged Cliff Outdoors Crab Shack filled with 36 flies that are matched for color and size needed in most situations you will encounter. Flies include: Crazy Charlies, Merkin Crabs, Squimps, Puglisi Crabs, Exuma Mini Puffs, Bonefish Bitters, Chico's Bonefish Specials and Bonefish Clousers. $165.00+s/h

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fly Fishing Art Work By Jim Roszel

Heads up about artist James Roszel. Jim is an awesome painter who has a wonderful range of his fishing artwork available on his website at Largely he paints with watercolors and has many superb fly paintings. Jim is a great guy and a fine artist.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fly Tying Tools

People ask me, "What tools should I get to tye flies?" There are a lot of tools out there. One mistake a lot of folks make when they are new to tying, is to go out and buy a bunch of tools that they do not need or do not ever use. Don't get me wrong; if you are into tools and gadgets then go for it and shop till you drop. If you prefer a more sparse approach, as I do, then you do not need all that much.

You need a good vice if you are to be serious about fly tying. A lot of beginner vices just don't hold the hook well and, I think, can turn people off to tying as the vices simply don't perform well. Try out different ones at clubs, shows and shops and find one that feels comfortable to you. I tye on Regal. Next you need good sharp scissors that fit your hands and have a very fine point. I cut with Dr. Slick. The bobbin is very important. The best ones have a ceramic insert that keeps the thread from being sliced by nicks in plain metal tubing. I bob with Griffen, Dr. Slick and Rite. Next you need hackle pliers. I have no idea what brand mine are, but I know they are very basic and I added a bit of heat shrink tube to one side to assist in gripping the materials. Now get yourself a very basic metal hair stacker. There are several good heavy-bottomed ones out there. Finally a bodkin will be handy to have. I picked up a ceramics tool at an art store for about a dollar. You can also take a scrap of wooden dowel, drill a fine hole in it, fill the hole with glue and put a sewing needle in the end. There you have it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vladi's Polish Worm

This is one cool fly. I learned about this from Vladi Trezbunia, 1989 Fly Fishing World Champion and current coach for Fly Fishing Team USA. Vladi is quite famous for his flies and his nymphing techniques. The fly has an offset point for better hooking potential. It is heavily weighted and rides point up, thus reducing snags on the bottom. It tends to hook fish in the upper jaw. Because it is made out of latex, it bounces along rocks like a jelly ball and feels natural in the mouth of the fish. Well, I imagine it feels natural to the fish. They never say it does not. It is a killer on trout and many other freshwater species in both still and moving waters. I have made a large supply of these flies and have them available for immediate shipment. Email me at to order.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Getting Cold in New England

Yesterday I had my last day of fishing on my secret lake in New Hampshire. It was absolutely freezing out there. My friend, Jen, is taking her boat out of the water this weekend. Thus ends another very fun and productive season of angling on "the lake." I have many happy memories of fishing this fall. Thanks Jen. Now it is time to turn more of my attention to tying flies. We will return to the lake in the winter for ice skating and ice fishing for perch and pike.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mustad Announces Signature Line Of Hooks

Mustad has announced some changes and a new line of hooks for 2009. Signature Fly Hooks will be available beginning January 1, 2009. The existing Signature Hook line will be expanded, while some previously available Signature Hooks will be discontinued. More on that in a moment.

So, what's the real deal you ask? Here it is: Mustad Signature patterns are classic hooks redesigned with precise proportions in shank length, wire diameter, gape and bend. The bottom line is that Mustad is going to be offering a new line of vastly improved hooks that have exact proportions. All hooks have the advanced, chemically sharpened Signature point with an easy piercing micro-barb. The saltwater hooks are redesigned in "Z- Steel" to be more corrosion resistant. Also, the new tempering process will make the hooks about 30% stronger than the classic hooks.

Mustad has converted classic model hooks to the improved Signature line. This will happen with dry fly hooks, nymph hooks and some streamers and salt water hooks. For example, the old salt water standbys, 34007 and 34011 will be done away with and merge into Signature as S71SZ-34007 and S74SZ-34011. Essentially the Classic hook identification number will be added to the end of the Signature line prefix. The prefix is a series of letters and numbers that describe wire diameter, shank length, bend, eye and finish. Promotional materials will be out to show the coding, so watch for that at fly shops and shows this winter.

What are they doing away with? Classic models 9575, 33900 and 94859. Current Signature hooks that will be discontinued are: C51S BLN, CK52 S, CK74S SS, R48, R52S and R72. Almost all of the old-model classic hooks will no longer be made and whatever is out there now is all that will be available. Stock up if you are a fan of these hooks. When they are gone they are gone.

I received the 2009 product catalogue and literature about these changes the other day. I have yet to see, tye with or fish these new hooks, but I image Mustad has greatly improved their tying hooks. I'll let you know when I have a chance to preview the Signature Series.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Teton Reels Suspends Operation

I just read that Teton has suspended production of its line of fly reels. I have a Teton Tioga and have mixed opinions about the reel. I purchased it because I needed a salt water reel and did not have a lot of cash to spend. The price was good and the reel works fine for what I need it for. Granted I am not hauling in the salt water speedsters that rip line off at breakneck speeds and destroy reels. The tolerances on the reel are not very tight and the reel needs a lot of extra attention to keep it from freezing up. For example, never leave the spool on the frame, it must be cleaned thoroughly (not just rinsed off) every day it is used and it seems to do better with more frequent use of oil. Not a bad reel, but a very modestly priced reel with the usual expected maintenance issues associated with that price range. I'm sure Teton will be purchased; the reels will be re-engineered and the price will go up. Goodbye to another affordable product.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Trumpet Fish

A friend sent this cool picture to me. She tells me that it is a trumpet fish. Never heard of it. Anyone out there know for sure? Oh, and check out those lips

Monday, October 13, 2008

Barbless Hooks, The Way To Fish

I was reading the most recent edition of Hatches magazine. In it there is a good article by Kevin Compton about barbless hooks. Barbless is the way to go. It inflicts less harm on the fish. As fly anglers and fly tyers we should demand more models of hooks be made with the barbless option. Further to that let's see more barbless hooks manufactured with longer, offset beaks and wider gapes so we can retain fish better on the hooks. Tiemco and Gamakatsu have some good barb-free hooks. I have used a lot of Knapek hooks too. Knapeks are from the Czech Republic and are hand made hooks designed for barbless competition angling. They are expensive, but the high quality is worth every penny.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fly Tying With The Boy Scouts

Whew, what a day! Another lovely, warm fall in New England experience. I spent the morning at the MASS Jam, which is a gathering of several thousand Boy Scouts all camping and doing their Scouting activities at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds. One of the activities was fly tying and several of us from the Northeast Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers were on hand teaching the tying of woollie buggers. It was controlled chaos. Lots and lots of youngsters eager to find out about the ancient art of fly tying. Thanks to Mike Stewart and Bob Ford for helping out with teaching. Later in the day the NEC/FFF sponsored fly casting lessons. It was a great day for all. Don't forget to pass our sport on to the younger folks as they are the future of fly angling.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Assabet River

A friend and I went out to Concord, MA today to fish the Assabet River. Rumor had it that it was recently stocked, so we were looking to connect with some fish. Oh, I connected with some fish, four chubs; no trout. I threw out an arsenal of flies: midges, dries, nymphs and streamers. The chubs were willing to bite at anything. Ugh. It was a beautiful New England day despite the fish count. The fall foliage is out in full force.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fly Brooches

I've been tying up brooches. A perfect gift for a fly fishing friend or colleague. These are available with the pictured red tail and also with a yellow tail. If you are interested in ordering shoot me an email.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Newest Simms Wading Staff

The most recent wading staff has arrived from Simms. This is the second replacement staff. I wonder what the future holds for this one. Oh, and I got a free gift from Simms along with the staff. It is a video cassette called "Wading Safety." Do you think they are giving this to me because they think I am a swell gal or should it be construed as a hint that my wading skills are in question? Hum?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mel Krieger Passes Away

World-renowned angler and casting instructor, Mel Krieger, died today. According to his wife, Fanny, he died at home of a recently diagnosed brain cancer. Mel, thank you for all of your great contributions to our fine sport. Your legacy will live on for decades to come.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tying, Tying, Tying

These days I am hard at work at the vise tying flies for the upcoming show season. Production is in full swing so that I may bring you new and exciting patterns and also some of my old reliable patterns. Too many to mention them all, but I will have stonefly nymphs available. This fly sells out very quickly so if you want to do a preshow order just shoot me an email. Contact me through my website at

Thursday, October 2, 2008

United Fly Tyers

Join the country’s oldest continuously operating fly tying club. UFT has been in existence since 1959 providing fly tying instructions, presentations, and fly fishing know how to its members.

Meetings are held the first Thursday of the month September through May. Guests and non-members are invited to attend for a fee. Membership is encouraged but if you would like to attend a meeting before joining come once or as many times as you like.

Meeting Location:
Holiday Inn Select
15 Middlesex Canal Park Road
Woburn, MA 01801
tel: 781-935-8760
web address:

Take Exit 35 off 128, Continue on Circle to
Main St/Rt 38S towards Woburn Center.
Approximately 0.1 turn right on Middlesex
Canal Park, Holiday Inn Select is the first
business on the right, less than 1/4 mile off
the highway, easy on easy off.