During last night’s Zoom we talked about Cased Caddis being an important food item for trout this time of year. Here’s a dirt-simple pattern you can try. If you don’t use a bead, just make the body longer before you add the green wormy head. If you wanted to underweight the fly with heavy wire, that’s another option. Have at it, and catch ’em up!
Hook: 2x strong, 2x-3x long, size 10-14
Tail: Brownish mottled game bird feather fibers
Body: Underweighted with heavy wire (optional); pheasant tail fibers ribbed with copper wire
The transition from late winter to early spring often means hard times for the erstwhile trout angler. This Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom will focus on some of the conditions and bugs you may encounter, and how to best unlock those pesky salmo jaws. If you haven’t been getting the Zoom links — I send them out Tuesday late afternoon — please check your spam box. If you’re sending a request to get on the list, please don’t wait until 7:45 p.m. Tuesday night…I won’t be checking my email that late. Thanks!
I had to change the time of the class to 3:30 p.m., so I thank everyone who signed up for being so flexible. We’re going to be tying “Favorite Nymphs,” proven patterns that get a lot of action when I’m in the mood to go low and slow. There’s still time to join us if you like; the cost is $10 and you register by sending me the fee through PayPal. See you at 3:30.
I have a private gig with the Ottawa Fly Fishers tomorrow night, so no public Zoom. We’ll go for normal resumption of services (I like the way that sounds) on Tuesday Feb. 23. In the meantime, I’d like to hear from you. What subjects would you like me to talk about? If I see something that looks like it has wide appeal — and it’s something I feel comfortable talking about, I’ll certainly consider it. Last week’s Small Stream talk was well-attended, so I many do another variation on that theme. The ball’s in your court.
Busy-busy-busy is the word around currentseams headquarters these days. I’m pleased to announce that I have a couple projects in the works for Field & Stream. Both are striped bass related. The first is how to make a best fishing days striper calendar; the second on lessons that striper fly anglers can glean from surfcasters. I’ll let you know when they come out and how you can read them. But since I have not yet taken fingers to keyboard, off I go to my lonely writer’s garret…
This is my third (I think) year participating in On The Water magazine‘s “Guide Flies” column, written by Tony Lolli. You’re familiar with he concept of a guide fly — a pattern that is typically simple to tie and can be relied upon to produce day in and day out. (Or night after night, as it were.) The Big Eelie delivers the goods. Developed by Ken Abrames, this pattern imitates larger sand eels. Part flatwing, part soft hackle, the Big Eelie is understated elegance at its finest. I think what I like most about the Big Eelie is that its template — four pencil-thin saddles and a marabou collar — lends itself to as many color combination as your inner artist can conjure up. My Rat a Tat Big Eelie, based on Ken’s larger flatwing, is just one example. Have at it and hold on tight!
My third winter fly tying pay-per-Zoom event is Saturday, February 20 at 1pm. Like the others, this will be about 90 minutes of fly tying/tie-along instruction. The cost is $10. To “register,” you send 10 bucks to me at PayPal (ID is email@example.com) and I’ll send you the link to the meeting. Favorite Nymphs will cover some basic, useful patterns that are proven producers. Again, the focus is on template and technique. You should have different color threads, different hooks, beads, tools, etc. You should have at least one hen hackle/hen cape — Whiting makes a good basic hen hackle — or some other kind of soft hackle, whether it’s grouse, starling, partridge, etc. The “right” color is not critical, but if you want to go all in you should have grey or brown or black. The point is, if you don’t have a specific color hackle, you can find it later. Questions? You know where to find me.
Many of you will want a complete materials list, so let’s plan on these patterns: Soft-Hackled Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Bead Head Squirrel and Ginger, Frenchy Variant, Blue Glass Bead Midge. You’ll need 2x short scud hooks (anything from sz 12-16 for the first three and a size 18 or smaller for the last); metallic beads, your choice color, to match hook size; blue glass seed beads (mine are the Mill Hill brand; you can find them online or at a fabric/craft store, sized to your hook, and if you can’t find them you can substitute a tiny metallic bead of your choice); small copper wire; extra small silver wire; pheasant tail; ginger/orange dubbing (I like Angora goat); a squirrel skin if you have one (if not you can substitute a small soft hackle); bright contrasting color Ice Dub, your choice of color; high tack wax (like Loon Swax). Again, if you don’t have some of these specific materials you can substitute/make do as we are just learning some basic patterns and techniques.
I also like the Rainbow Warrior variant, a high confidence pattern. Scud hook, silver bead, PT, opal tinsel, rainbow sow scud dubbing if you have it. Maybe if we’re ambitious we’ll get to this one, too.
Small streams and wild trout are a passion, so tomorrow night I’ll be talking about thin blue lines and the exquisite gems that live in them. If you haven’t been getting the Zoom links — I send them out Tuesday late afternoon — please check your spam box. See you Tuesday night!
Many thanks to The Fisherman magazine New England Region Editor Toby Lapinski for giving this piece a home. This was originally intended to be part of my series of “Little Things” articles in American Angler. But with that pub’s demise, I’m happy to call The Fisherman its new home. “Stacking the Deck: The Little Things” continues the theme of seemingly insignificant things that can have a huge impact on your fishing success. Stay tuned as there will be more from me in future issues of The Fisherman.