Last Night’s Fly Fishing “Good Reads Part 2” Books List

Many thanks to the dedicated virtual crowd who joined me last night for my Tuesday Night Zoom, “Good Reads Part 2.” In case you missed it, I talked about nine more books that have had a major influence on my fly fishing approach/philosophy/success. Noteworthy inclusions are two books about striped bass that aren’t fly fishing books at all. Nonetheless, they both contain a wealth of information for keen students of all things stripers. I’ve marked those two with an asterisk. Here’s the list: The Art of Tying the Wet Fly & Fishing the Flymph by James Leisenring and Vernon S. Hidy; Fly Patterns of Alaska by the Alaska Flyfishers; Tying Small Flies by Ed Engle; The Hunt for Giant Trout by Landon Mayer; Steelhead Guide by John Nagy; Greased Line Fishing for Salmon [and Steelhead] by Jock Scott; Stripers and Streamers by Ray Bondorew; Night Tides* by Michael G. Cinquemani; Surfcasting Around The Block* by Dennis Zambrotta.

Striper fly anglers can learn a lot from striper plug anglers — and vice versa.

Getting (Winged and Wingless) Wet on a Saturday

Many thanks for the enthusiastic group of students who attended yesterday’s virtual fly tying class. We tackled the subject of winged and wingless wets (both how to tie and how to fish, although the focus was largely on the tying part). I appreciate your passion and energy, and I’ve received some excellent questions via email. Next tying class is TBD, both date and subject, although we discussed topics like streamers, proven local nymphs, and some saltwater/flatwings, too. Of course, I’d love to hear from you, since you’re the customer. Tie on, and dream about those sharp tugs that are coming this April.

The fruits of our labor, clockwise from bottom: Red or Brown Hackle, Pale Watery Wingless (AKA The Magic Fly), Dark Hendrickson winged wet.

Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Blue Dun Hackle

First cousin to the Old Blue Dun, the Blue Dun Hackle trades buttonhole twist for gold tinsel and muskrat for mole fur. While the North Country spider influence is readily visible, you can see how Leisenring is taking these flies firmly into wingless wet territory with the spikey body and prominent ribbing. Imitator or attractor…or both? You decide, and let the trout kibbitz.

Blue Dun Hackle

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Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-14
Silk: Primrose yellow
Hackle: Light blue dun hen
Tail: 2-3 blue dun fibers optional
Rib: Very narrow flat gold tinsel
Body: Mole fur spun on primrose yellow silk, a little of the silk exposed at the tail
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Tying Notes: A mole skin is pretty cheap and will keep you in wet flies and nymphs for years. You want a natural colored fur (kind of a dark blue-grey dun), not a dyed skin. XS tinsel works. I did a better job on this fly of letting the yellow silk show through at the tail.

Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Brown or Red Hackle

I can’t make up my mind whether this is a beetle or an attractor. Leisenring must have had some trouble deciding on the pattern as well. Brown hackle? Or red hackle? Ah, what the heck. While we’re pondering these delicious mysteries, let’s go with this: the Brown or Red Hackle looks like something that’s alive and good to eat.

Brown or Red Hackle

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Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-14
Silk: Crimson or claret
Hackle: Red furnace
Rib: Narrow gold tinsel
Body: Bronze peacock herl
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Tying Notes: I have a nice reddish brown Whiting wet fly hen neck. It’s more badger (feathers with a dark center, lighter toward the tips) than furnace (dark center, lighter middle, dark tips) but it’s close enough. I used two strands of herl to wind the body, and I used the technique of pressure from the thread in front of the herl to make a nice, compact wind (you can see that technique in Tim Flagler’s excellent Squirrel and Herl video.)

Wingless Wet Fly Video Sampler

A short tour through the art form that features classic wingless wet fly patterns developed by James Leisenring and others. This clip will be part of my revamped “Wet Flies 101” presentation.

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The sulphur hatch seems a long way off on this frigid January day. Still, an angler can dream…

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