500 Followers Contest Winners

Drew landed as first seed. He passed on the North Country Spiders and will get a selection of early season Farmington River bugs.

Old pro Pete Simoni took the second slot and snapped up those NoCo Spiders like hot cakes. Smart man.

Greg Tarris, where are you? I sent an email to the address I have on file but have not heard back from you. You are the third lucky winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Thanks for your readership. And thanks for your loyalty. It’s much appreciated. And now, on to 600.

Second place swag. Picture any of them seated perfectly in the corner of a trout’s mouth.

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Five Hundred Faithful Followers. Let’s celebrate!

TGIF, fellow Currentseamsers. And thank you for being part of the Faithful Five Hundred! To celebrate, we’re doing our customary flies-tied-by-Steve giveaway. Here are the contest rules:

1) No purchase necessary.

2) You must be a follower of currentseams to enter. (If you’re not one already, you become a follower by clicking on the “Stay current with currentseams” button on the home page.)

3) To enter, leave a comment on this thread saying you wish to enter AND share with us the name of a favorite fly pattern. One entry per person. Deadline for entering is 11:59pm March 31, 2017 (no foolin’). Three winners will be chosen at random. The winners will be notified in the comments section of this thread or by email, and will be responsible for sending me their address so I can ship the flies out. Sorry, I can only ship to U.S. addresses.

4) All decisions by me are final.

Thanks again for reading and following currentseams.

A dozen classic North Country spiders — and they could be yours. One lucky winner will get to swim these in a river this spring. They’re tied on light wire hooks with Pearsall’s Gossamer silks. Left cork: Winter Brown, Black Magic. Right cork, clockwise from 3 o’clock: Orange Partridge, Snipe and Purple, Grey Partridge, Poult Bloa.

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Tying video: Snipe and Purple North Country Spider

The Snipe and Purple (sometimes called the Dark Snipe) is a classic North Country spider. North Country spiders aren’t particularly hard to tie, but there are some techniques you can use to help create the classic umbrella shape of the hackle fibers and keep the body neat and trim. This Snipe and Purple is often referred to as a good match for the Iron Blue Dun. The Iron Blue is frequently mentioned in older texts, from numerous Yorkshire anglers to Pennsylvania’s  James Leisenring,  but you hardly ever hear about it today. I like the Snipe and Purple for small, dark stoneflies and especially midges. I also tie this fly on a 1x short, 2x stout hook, add a gold rib, and fish it for steelhead.

Intro to wet flies and beyond : Essential reading from Sylvester Nemes and Dave Hughes

If you want to learn how to tie and fish wet flies, soft hackles, and fuzzy nymphs for trout, you can start by reading The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles by Sylvester Nemes and Wet Flies: Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackles, Winged and Wingless Wets, and Fuzzy Nymphs by Dave Hughes. That’s what I did a long time ago, and I’m a better angler for it.

Too many fly fishing how-to books read like the dictionary — or worse, a quantum physics monograph. Not the case here. Both Hughes and Nemes write with a conversational style, perfectly weaving anecdotes with critical know-how.

The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles is a combination of two of Nemes’ earlier works. It’s a pattern book for sure, but there’s also plenty of relevant storytelling. It’s loaded with peals of wisdom (“If you have never tied flies before, I urge you to start immediately. The practice is exhilarating.”) and hidden gems like using North Country spiders for steelhead. The purchase price alone is worth being able to tell someone that you’re catching all those trout on a size 20 Smut No. 1.

NemesSHF

~

Hughes’ Wet Flies is likewise a pattern book, with multiple step-by-step photos and clear instructions. But it also covers history, wet fly types, and how to fish them. It’s a user-friendly read that exudes confidence in the patterns and the methods. My only complaint is that it’s a more western US-centric view of the subject. But wherever you live, you’ll find Wet Flies relevant (“Trout aren’t interested in neatness”). Note that there is now a second edition of Wet Flies, with new photos and patterns. I haven’t read it; I trust that it’s pretty darned good, too.

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Works-in-progress: Hendrickson spiders

I don’t usually share patterns in the development stage, but the energy of these flies and the promise of spring has me feeling reckless. I’ve been prototyping some Hendrickson spiders, playing around with different colored threads and silks, hackles, and tailing materials. The one constant is the body fur, a moderate dusting of muskrat over the waxed thread or silk. These will get a test run this spring, and I’ll let you know what I — and the trout — think.

A nod to the tradition of North Country spiders and legacy American patterns like the Dark Hendrickson winged wet.

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Impressions from a tying demo

Here are a few things from yesterday’s tying demo at the Compleat Angler that are top of mind with me this snowy afternoon:

Wet flies tied in the North Country style are admired both for their simplicity and bugginess. (And trout like them, too.) By the way, group, I was wrong about the Snipe and Purple: the feather in the hackle is not an under covert, it’s from the top of the wing. Nonetheless, I’ll fish that fly with its horrible botched head and catch a trout.

It’s amazing how you can change the energy of a fly simply by altering the color of the hackle. Two Partridge and Light Cahills, the same but different.

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The more I use the rotodubber, the more I like it for fur hackles. Like the NoCo spiders, people gravitate toward the Squirrel and Ginger, and with good reason. It’s one of my most consistent producers.

No two Usuals I tie seem to come out the same.

Confidence catches fish.

I really enjoy the questions and discussions during a demo, both fishing and tying related. I’m humbled — and grateful — that people take the time to come out and connect with me. Thanks to everyone who showed up, and thanks to the Compleat Angler for being such swell hosts.

By the way, I was impressed by the shop’s selection of hackles — and fly tying materials in general. Lots of wonderful wet fly capes in stock, and I left with a lovely Light Ginger hen neck. Check them out at 541 Post Road in Darien, CT.

Marabou adds a little magic to any fly. All that’s missing on this Deep Threat is the Ice Dub collar. Thanks for the photo, Mina.

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Thanks TVTU and on to Marlborough

The threat of freezing rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the members of the Thames Valley Chapter of TU. We had a great crowd for “The Little Things,” and some intriguing post-presentation discussions. This is a group that is passionate about fly fishing. A thousand apologies for forgetting your name, but I’ll balance that with a thousand thank yous to the gentleman who gave me the Nat Sherman Metropolitan Selection Explorer. I’ll be enjoying that on a future Farmington River outing.

On to Marlborough! Hard to believe that The Fly Fishing Show is already here.

“Wet Flies 101,” at the Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA, Friday, January 20, 1pm, Catch Room. We’re in the big room for this one, so come out and support your friendly local fly fishing writer guy! For more information, visit the Fly Fishing Show website.

“Wet Flies 101,” at the Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA, Saturday, January 21, 10am, Destination Theater, Room A. Smaller room, same energy and information. I may be tying after the presentation and will let you know if that’s the case. For more information, visit the Fly Fishing Show website.

Wet Flies 101