Everyone’s invited to tomorrow night’s “Trout Fishing for Striped Bass” presentation.

The Long Island Flyrodders have graciously offered to open my Tuesday evening presentation to all currentseams followers. So, that’s tomorrow night, September 4, 8pm in Levittown, NY. Hope to see you there, and in fine Steve Somers fashion, directions here.

Want to catch more — and bigger — stripers? Then come to this presentation.

TFFSB_Cover

 

Revisiting the Herr Blue: a three-feather flatwing-bucktail hybrid

Many years ago I adapted Ken Abrames’ R.L.S. Herr Blue bucktail into a large nine-feather flatwing. I was pleased with the result, and that fly produced many large bass for me. But the recent acquisition of a ginger saddle brought out the tinkerer in me. And since I never did a three feather flatwing-bucktail version of the Herr Blue, I went to work.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a flatwing/bucktail hybrid combines the seductive motion and swimming action of a flatwing (using three contrasting saddles) and the color-blending deliciousness and adding-the-illusion-of-mass properties of bucktail. I originally started tying these not only as a way to conserve precious flatwing saddles, but also to use bucktail in place of saddle colors I did not have. The template is Razzle Dazzle, with all strands of flash extending at least 3/4″ beyond the longest feather. (See the Rock Island and Crazy Menhaden three-feather flatwings.)  Bonus: they’re easy to cast for their size, and they swim beautifully on the greased line swing.

Obviously this fly is intended to imitate a river herring or alewife; it could also easily pass for other larger baitfish like menhaden. I tied two, one 8″ and the other 10″. So without further ado, I present the Herr Blue three-feather flawing. DIA. (Danke In Advance.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hook: Eagle Claw 253 3/0
Thread: White 6/0
Platform: White bucktail, 30 hairs
Tail: First, a white saddle; second, 2 strands silver flash; third, a pink saddle; fourth, a ginger saddle; fifth, 2 strands light green flash; sixth, 15 hairs light blue and 15 hairs pink bucktail, mixed; seventh, 10 hairs light blue and 10 hairs violet bucktail, mixed; eighth, 2 strands purple flash; ninth, 10 hairs orange and 10 hairs emerald green bucktail, mixed.
Body: Silver braid
Collar: White and ginger bucktail, mixed about 5:1 respectively
Wing: 15 hairs smoky gray bucktail and 30 hairs dark blue bucktail, mixed
Topping: 7-8 stands peacock herl
Eyes: Jungle cock

~

A closer look at the blend of nine different colors of bucktail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Tip of the Week: Change it up

One of my favorite old saws from my days in advertising creative was, “You cannot bore someone into buying your product.” The same could be said of fly fishing: you cannot bore a fish into eating your fly.

I was recently reminded of this — twice, actually. Both times I was fishing over water that I knew held good-sized fish. Streamers was the method, and although I had induced some bumps, there were no wholesale takes. Even a variation in presentation or resting the fish did not produce. In both cases, what did produce was changing the fly. Fish are curious, often to a fault. Off with the old, on with the new, and Ka-POW!

Sometimes it’s the simple, little things that make the difference between fishing and catching.

I’m giving the above advice an enthusiastic striper thumb’s up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Four things striper anglers could learn from wet fly anglers.

Wednesday night I fished for stripers in the kind of water that I love: current, structure, and bass feeding on station. The bait was silversides, and the stripers had them cornered. All the predators had to do was wait for the meal to come to them. I did very well; the spinning guy to my right with the plug did poorly (wrong presentation, wrong size lure) and the guy to my left with the intermediate line and the stripped sinking fly did poorly (wrong presentation, fishing in the wrong part of the water column) as well.

After they left, I started thinking about how I approached the situation. I realized that all I had been doing was fishing wet flies. If more striper anglers applied wet fly principles to their fishing, they would surely catch more bass. Here’s where anglers using wet fly tactics have an unfair advantage:

Wet fly anglers know that they can master the current with a floating line. The simple act of mending slows the swing of the fly to a speed that is far more agreeable to fish — especially those unwilling to chase. By casting to the outer edges of the bait ball, and mending, I was able to make my flies swim along its periphery, moving at the same pace as the naturals.

Wet fly anglers know the value of sparse, impressionistic, unweighted patterns. The Partridge and Orange. The Starling and Herl. The Pale Watery Wingless. None of them look exactly like what they’re supposed to imitate. None of them are bulky. But they can be fished anywhere in the water column, particularly just below the surface where the fish are feeding. The flies I was fishing looked and did likewise.

Wet fly anglers know that droppers are the fastest way to find out what the fish want. I was fishing a team of three. Top dropper was an Orange Ruthless. Middle dropper was The Tick (small isopod/crab larva/shrimp). Point was a September Night or a Morning Glory. The bass eagerly took the top dropper and point flies. And I was covered in case they switched to something small.

Wet fly anglers know that sometimes the best retrieve is no retrieve. I’m lazy. So are predators. I didn’t catch any fish on the stripped fly. It was all on the swing, mended swing, or dangle. Explosive hits generated by fish feeding in confidence. Why would a fish chase bait when it is being delivered to them by the current?

Where’s the beef? Nowhere on this sparse, impressionistic single-feather flatwing, the Morning Glory. (You can find the recipe by doing an internet search for “Morning Glory striper fly”.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Coastal Flyrodders awarded the Order of the Burrito with Negra Modelo clusters

Many thanks to the Coastal Flyrodders of Wyckoff, New Jersey for their hospitality last night. The pre-game Mexican dinner was terrific, as were the libations. I presented  The Little Things, and I’m pretty sure we all had a swell time. Not only do the Coastal Flyrodders understand that a fed presenter is a happy presenter — they have also set the questions bar at a new height. I don’t remember ever getting so many good questions, or having such engaging post-presentation discussions. Well done, all!

A beer for breakfast after a night of striper fishing doesn’t suck. But it doesn’t beat a beer with dinner.

Block Island All-Nighter Beer

Later this week: The Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, MA. I will be appearing at the Destination Theater on Friday, January 22 and Saturday, January 23 and presenting “Wet Flies 101.” This is one of my more popular presentations, and as the title suggests, it serves as a wet fly primer. Presentation times are as follows: Friday, January 22, 2:00pm, Destination Theater Room A. Saturday, January 23, 10:00am, Destination Theater Room A. The show takes place at the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough. For more information, visit http://flyfishingshow.com/marlborough-ma/

Date change: my tying demo at The Compleat Angler in Darien has been moved from March 5 to February 27. It will focus on flatwings, bucktails, and soft hackles for striped bass.