Soft-Hackled Flatwings, Ready to Swim

Fresh off the vise and ready to be eaten. Grey dun/fluorescent yellow, pink/chartreuse/olive, and white/blue/mallard flank. Of course, endless color variations are possible. Sparse, yet full. These are all three-and-one-half inches long.

SH FW Hybrids

Here’s the basic template:

Hook: Eagle Claw 253 1/0
Thread: 6/0
Platform: 30 bucktail hairs
Tail: Flatwing saddle to match platform color, under 2-4 strands flashabou
Body: Braid
Wing: 30-45 bucktail hairs, under 10-20 hairs contrasting color, under 2-4 strands Krystal Flash or flashabou
Collar: Blood quill marabou, tied in at tip, 3-4 turns; 1 turn mallard flank (optional)
This is one of my favorite patterns for early season stripers.

Three Fly Tying Materials I Can’t Get Enough Of

Your humble scribe is now a guest blogger on the J.Stockard Fly Fishing website. (If you’re unfamiliar with J.Stockard, they have a huge selection of mail-order fly tying materials.) They’ve asked me to make regular contributions to their blog, and this is the first.

The three fly tying materials I can’t get enough of are blood quill marabou, Angora goat, and Ice Dub. You can read all about it here:

This weekend is supposed to be nice. I hope you’re all able to get out and fish.

I can’t get enough red fox squirrel, either.

S&G ready to finish

A Floating Line Myth. Sunk.

Striped bass don’t read internet forums or hang out in breachway parking lots. This fifteen-pounder was part of school that was feeding in a strong rip. The bait, sand eels, was trapped between the rip and the shore and the stripers were feeding with impunity. It was one of those magic moments (rather, episodes — it lasted close to 90 minutes) where it was a fish on every cast. You guessed it. I was using a floating line.

Knights of the CFFA Fly Tyers Roundtable

Camelot it is not. But if it’s a laid-back evening of fly tying, fly fishing talk and meet-and-greet, the CFFA Fly Tyers Roundtable in East Hartford is a fine place to be. Tonight I focused on soft-hackled streamers for stripers and trout. Some thanks are in order:

To the CFFA for the delicious dinner (man does not live on bread alone, but it sure helps) and for asking me to tie again;

To Bill Keister for letting me bogart his light;

And to everyone who came out on a cold, wet, rainy night. I think I can speak for every tyer when I say we appreciate it.

I don’t know what point I was trying to make, but I look pretty convincing. I think. Tying a Hi-Liter trout streamer.


Thank you, NYC TU for last night’s Farmington River presentation

Many thanks to the New York City Trout Unlimited chapter for hosting me last night. We got off to a fine start with a cheeseburger, fries and Shackmeister Ale at the Shake Shack at Grand Central. As you have no doubt read here before, a fed presenter is a happy presenter. Then, a short two-blocks-and-change walk to the Orvis store in Manhattan. How convenient.

Dim the lights and we’ll get this party started (photo courtesy of Rob Ceccarini).


The presentation’s formal title is “The West Branch: Southern New England’s Blue Ribbon Trout Stream.” But we like to keep things fun and loose, so there’s very little formality other than talking about what magically pops up on the screen. It’s always gratifying to have a strong turnout, and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to listen, talk to me, and ask questions.

Now, all this Farmington River business has got me in the mood for some fishing. Maybe later this week.

Reminder: My next appearance is tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 8, at the CFFA Tyers’ Roundtable, 7pm at Veterans Memorial Clubhouse, East Hartford, CT. Hope to see you there.

Striper Report 4/3/15: Fifty Shades of Skunk

If you read your Bible, or if you’ve been paying attention in church over the years, you know that St. Peter had two jobs. I don’t know how good a fisherman he was, but I like that he fished for a living. I’ve gotten it into my head that given Peter’s involvement in the crucifixion, Good Friday is an appropriate day to honor him by going fishing. Striper fishing, specifically. So I’ve been doing that for years now.

With our prolonged winter and spring’s current refusal to make a proper stand on the issue of warm and sunny, I figured it would be a little early to find linesiders at Ye Olde Striper Spot. But you don’t know if you don’t go. Besides, I could shake off the big rod casting rust. And there was that EP Carrillo Golossos I had been saving.

Rain and wind, followed by mist and fog and utter calm. You could probably count fifty shades of grey here, but the only spanking was handed out by the bass. 50 Shades of Grey

The water was loaded with organic flotsam: leaves and sticks and bark and reeds. I was surprised to see 42 degrees on my thermometer. No bass that I could find, nor any reported by the three other anglers who had the good sense to leave ninety minutes before I did. But I was glad that they left, because I got to fish in this gorgeous greyness all by myself. Well, just me and St. Peter.

Yes, it was wet out there. I love Ken Abrames’ RLS Easterly color scheme (grey, silver, peacock, and a touch of fluorescent yellow) on days like this. A little color goes a long way. The fly is a sparse, soft-hackled flatwing.  Rod-Fly-Grey