Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Redington Butter Stick

Boy, I have a good wife. She gave me a fiberglass rod for Christmas. I love bamboo rods except for the weight and the issues associated with having to maintain them, price is also a issue. This is where the modern fiberglass rods can really shine.
This is where I must say I also adore some of the fast graphite rods out there,  I have a Winston that is amazing and I have cast some incredible rods from Sage and others but the rods I enjoy most when conditions allow are typically rods that flex right down into the handle.

Are bamboo or fiberglass rods for everyone? 
No, but if you fish a lot of dries at medium to close range you should give them a long hard look. 

What do they do better than graphite rods?
Nothing other than protect your tippet a little and even that could be argued.

Why do you like them if they are not better?
because they offer a more relaxed feel, the rods tend be more of a full flex than the current trend of high end rocket launchers. The best comparison I can come up with is comparing a something like a Mercedes 190sl to a Subaru STI. Everything about the Subaru would be better but that Mercedes would just still be a pleasure to drive and to some just more enjoyable because of what it lacks.

over at the fiberglass manifesto there's a review check it out!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The AuSable Wulff and a bit about its creator.

Fran Betters was a guy who knew what worked and seemed not to conform to convention if convention did not agree with him.
He came up with many patterns, the haystack for example was ahead of its time. Would we have a comparadun if Fran didn't come up with the Haystack first? 

He's probably best known for the AuSable Wulff, a fly that is pretty standard except for the color. Orange thread and dyed rusty orange opossum dubbing. That said Fran's flies did have odd proportions as well.  The way he tied it the wings were placed further back and he also put a longer hackle section on his flies. I do not do either things and mostly for aesthetics. 
Anyway, here's mine, I conform to the standard proportions more than he did. Bet his fly would float better though! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Red Ghost Tandem, A New England Favorite.

Messing with tandems, I don't troll but I'll tie them and I suspect they'd work well in the salt and tied with a synthetic wing would be great for pike.
The Red Ghost is a classic Maine pattern but without the widespread fame that the Black Ghost and the Grey Ghost have.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The jungle clock.....

Whiting Cree, frying pan, jungle cock and some flies makes a nice little clock

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


He tried to forget about it and just be present in the moment, to enjoy the place and its quality. "This is what you need" is what he told himself over and over.She was vague, uncertain in everything but her desire to run.

The first steelhead exploded on the surface of the water with fury and rage coursing through her every cavity. "How could you do this to me" she thought.She ran. She ran so far downstream through the chop and the gut of the river that he feared was already losing all touch and contact, into the backing of the flyline and gone.She was unhappy and was taking control, its was much more than her showing him what she was capable of, it was survival, it was primal.It was pure emotion and strength and it seemed unstoppable to him.What else could she do but run?

He went blank in those first moments, almost completely unable to fight back or even respond to her action."I dont want to fight you" he thought as she continued to tear away from him downriver. "I just want to hold you in my hands, look into your eyes, marvel in your colors. I dont want to hurt you". He wondered why he was there at all in those terrifying moments when he lost control. Its these moments he remembered, these brief moments imprinted into my being that become part of the solution to everything, thats why he was there.

"I cant conquer this thing. I cant force her. Its a dance not a fight" She stopped. In the eddy of a midstream boulder she breathed deeply, still in panic and in survival mode but more composed and sure of herself now. The line went completely slack and silent while she hid there.His heart fell when life connection between the two creatures had lost its movement and grace. He reeled and reeled and ran and ran downstream, he hadn't realized how quickly it had happened and how much space had separated the two. "Its still slack, I've totally lost her. The most beautiful thing I have ever seen is gone" Frustrated and tormented he slapped his rod on the water and threw up his free line hand the air, pleading with the living river to help him. The river never answers prayers." This cant be it, I let her do all the right things!" He was right, he had applied just enough pressure, the drag was perfect, he didn't try to force her in too quickly. "Just relax, let her make the moves. You know where you stand and what you want" She had to want it too in order for it to happen. Its not a fight.

The unfamiliar vibrations of his frustrated flailing on the bank stirred something inside her.The line went tight again, he feels a head shake, a sweet harmonious head shake and his heart grew. He was connected again,the fly was still in her mouth. The initial prick that bound the two from the beginning was still there even when the connection of rod and line that telegraphed their dance had vanished. The fly was still in her mouth,That space and slack that had devastated him had given her enough time to remember the prod of the fly in her mouth and the emotion that it stirred within.

Now there was hope, dangerous hope though, because it was far from over. "This will never end" he thought. " Thats not the point " she thought. He came tight on the line and was directly across the river from her and her boulder home. He felt it again and his heart continued to soar. She ran. This time upstream, out of the heavy flow and up through the walking paced current closest to the bank. He saw her shape for the first time without having to imagine it. "Shit....Shit shit!" She was far more than he could handle, than he deserves. Felling the pressure again, she turned downstream in another furious run, determined to put thousands of miles between then, for her to return to her center of peace, to find herself free again. But the fly was still in her mouth and she felt that pull nagging on her,she couldn't possible ignore it. Still, she ran towards the end, the head of the riffle that was the precursor to the brawling rapids downstream. It has to go down at the riffle."If she goes down there and into the rapids, its all over" he thought. Is that what she wants? But the fly was still in her mouth.

"I have got to do this. This is the fish." The one that explained why he was there at all. Vicious head shakes vibrate through the line and rod, throbbing deep as her run slowed. She senses the riffle as well. Something inside her made her stop. She knew that to descend that torrent meant more pain. She didn't want pain. He can feel her torment below the surface through their connection of rod, reel and fly.

He makes his move and clamps down. The net man is there by his side knee deep in the high, fast and turbid water. The first attempt is always worthless, its almost like she knows and wants to toy with you in those moment, one last chance to break your heart. She races towards the light and glare with her whole body in motion and her life comes into a surreal slow blur.He senses this moment only because he has let go of his mind now, its primal now. Something deeper controls his movement, actions and reactions. A deep roar in him wants it so bad.It all seems so mysterious to him, her whole life cycle and its purpose. " I fucking love everything about her" he finally says out loud. The net man is so focused he doesn't hear the lament.

More debris floats down the river. It all happened moments after a white out hailstorm thrashes the valley. Its one of the most beautiful things he has ever seen. Dead and dying salmon litter the banks and lifeless corpses of fish float down the main river channel. Their smell is pungent but seems full of life and hope at the same time. The side channels of the river seem magical to him and he spends a lot of time walking their banks and watching. Here, the mystery is revealed in plain sight. Everything seems much clearer when he comes back from those walks after watching spawning salmon. There, he does not intrude into their task and is content to observe their majesty. They have made it, this is it and they deserve peace. He could sit and watch them spawn forever. He was 3 casts in after taking a walk on the backwater to watch them when he hooked her. Even now in the seemingly end of their dance, his mind wanders to the slower currents of the side channel and a sense of peace overwhelms him.None of this matters, yet it is somehow the most important thing he has ever done. Its all worth it."Please.....I just want to hold you." They will both remember these moments for the rest of their lives.

He applies more and more pressure and reels in faster now. It will be over soon. The fly in her mouth is too much for her to ignore. She allows it to lead her and no longer fights it.The net man lunges and she slides into the net. The net mans unfamiliar touch frightens her into a fury. "This is the end" she thinks. Now, he slides his hand under her slowly and he can feel her relax. He places his hand gently under her head to support her beautifully massive and strong head. The other hand firmly encompasses the base of her tail. These things deserve respect and attention. If you dont respect them, you dont deserve them. This moment when they are both in each others embrace is what the very climax of it all and they both have accepted it now. She relaxes under his gentle yet firm grip that holds her in control.

What she did was so impressive. He is awe that any of it came together at all. There was a purpose all along but the result is always unsure. His mind comes back into focus again and the slight shake in his hands begin to fade and settle.The image of the side channel is no longer with him. She has to continue and he knows that deep down. He cannot possess this creature, it is not his to have. He knows his place in her time has ended. He wants to kiss her so bad.

Fully back in the water now he takes his hand slowly away from under her head where he had cradled her through the final moments of their time. She pulses and he feels her whole life force shake throughout her body. "Jesus Christ. She is so beautiful." he says to the net man.He releases his hand from the base of her tail when she throbs again and he lets go loosely while his index finger faintly touches her tail as she slide away and beings to disappear into the depths of the raging river again.The cold damp smell of fall and rotten salmon fills his nose and the rain starts up again as he watches longingly as she vanishes from sight.

He sits on the bank and smokes a cigarette and wonders if he will ever feel that way again. They are steelhead afterall.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Fly Clock, Or, A Way To Sell Your Work For A Liitle More

Just finished up my first fly clock. I happen to live in a place that sees a lot of tourists and they like this sort of thing. I like doing these clocks because it gives me the the chance to mess with classic flies, techniques and materials that I normally would not bother with because I'd have no way to use or sell said flies.
Married wings are so fun to do and I really like the aesthetics of the classic wet flies.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Viking dreams.......

Phallus museum and giant browns, my wife and I would enjoy Iceland.
This german guy landed this tank of a brown trout on the

Minnivallalaekur River

check this out at http://www.anglers.is tons of info on fishing Iceland on the site and some great pics of guys gunning char and browns.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Doctor Swinglove, or, how I learned to stop worrying about convention and love the genetic soft hackle.

Does it look different?

Does it work better?

Does it cost more?
No, in fact, genetic soft hackle probably costs a lot less if you consider what a grouse or partridge skin in good shape is gonna cost you and then consider how many feathers on them are not all that useful.

What is it? the hens from from dry fly operations in most cases. sometimes it's also the trim from roosters or hens from from streamer hackle lines.

Where do I get it? your local fly shop, online, or, in the case of collins http://www.collinshacklefarm.com and clearwater http://www.clearwaterhackle.com direct.

Why do I like it so much?
Well, I feel softhackles are under utilized, most shops have few if any patterns available so that means even if I wanted to buy them I have few options. Because of this I need to tie them for myself and in the past used partridge, pheasant, guinea and a few others but they are all a pain to work with. mostly because the quills are hard to work with for a few reasons and often the feathers are so short they are impossible to work with for smaller flies. On the other hand hen hackle from genetic lines tend to be consistent quality, a much finer and stronger stem, available in many colors, more pliable stem and a much more broad size range of feathers that look the same throughout.

My favorite are probably the the JV hens from Clearwater Hackle. The Collins, Whiting and Metz options are great too. With Whiting there are a bunch of hen options from different lines. I really like the brahma hens that Whiting does if I am looking for a speckled look.

As with rooster hackle you get a great range of size on necks and with saddles you have only a few.......
If you are so inclined to get the whiting or collins products go to http://rangeleyflyshop.com if you don't see what you're after give them a call, there's a ton of stuff not on the website yet. they are truly one of the best shops out there.

here are some pictures of various hen products. A Metz speckled hen saddle and two jv hens from Conranch which is now called Clearwater Hackle

And here we have the whiting products a hen saddle, brahma hen neck and some of the contents of a whiting variety pack. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

this guy is my friggin' hero

don't mess with Kyle Deneen. skinned a snake after it bit him. a diamondback. THEN went to the hospital.
he's a bad ass!
don't bite me, asshole!

Chop 'N' Drop: A Collaboration to Improve Stream Habitat for Brook Trout

Makes sense! Most people seem to think Maine is this vast untouched wilderness but the truth is that although wooded the vast majority of what people think is wilderness is actually pretty trashed in terms of what it was prior to logging.

the Game Changer is, well, a game changer

I tied a couple. I can confirm brook trout and salmon do like them. Blane Chocklett, hats off to you sir. BEST ACTION I HAVE EVER SEEN. The video just can not do it justice!
Next week I'm gonna hit Upper Dam and the Sandy River with these beasts.

and how to tie if you are so interested.......

The Klinkhamer, my favorite dry emerger

Sorry about the bad picture! 
Anyway, this pattern is amazing both when there's not much going on and during a hatch. Works well for both caddis and mayfly hatches. Carry some, they can save the day! I keep sizes 12, 14 and 16 on the standard hooks but I also carry them in size 15 on a tmc 212y which comes in odd sizes but is a incredible hook. As usual you can find the ones I ties at. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Three killer patterns for fall.

From top to bottom
Slump Buster, the same guy that gave us the copper john came up with this one. John Barr, has helped me catch many fish. 

Lime Trude. No idea of the origin but it's one of the better attractors around.…

Turck's Tarrantula. Great hopper, great stonefly and works well as a streamer. There's a reason it won the Jackson Hole one fly contest. 

You can find the ones I tie at http://rangeleyflyshop.com

Double bunnies

Love these things! Great anywhere but really shine in Stillwaters. the double bunny is tough to beat! I LOVE rabbit strips, look great in the water and are easy to work with.
Tying instructions to follow and I'll post my zonker variant as well. 
Want some? Maybe even one I tied? Get them here http://rangeleyflyshop.com

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dry fly hackle, a guide to selecting the best hackle and in turn tyingbetter flies, maybe even saving some money too!

Well, as I sit here pondering what I need to tie my next batch of flies I thought I'd share some knowledge. Learning the hard way with hackle sucks, it's expensive and can really hurt your progress as a tyer. So, I'm offering a bit of help. Keep in mind there's usually exceptions to the rule and this is a whole lot of opinion with some fact.

1, color. I have about a dozen colors here in my stash. The truth is though you really only need four, maybe, five or six.....  White/cream, brown, grizzly and dun. The optional niceties are ginger and black. Those first four are the basics and I'd say by far the most important. Now, that said there's a ton of shades of natural colors that are really nice to have some of those are medium dun, blue dun, light ginger, dark ginger, badger, furnace and just for the rarity as well as the unique effect, cree. In truth it can be hard to tell some of them apart once wrapped. I really can't stress the first four enough though. 
I always use barred colors if I can. I think barred colors usually look better and some go as far as to say barred colors give a appearance of movement. I'm not sure of the last point but I WANT to believe!
Dyed colors, it gets crazy right here! You can find many colors like yellow, olive, orange and many more. The two I use are grizzly dyed olive and grizzly dyed brown. If you live on a tail water yellow might be a good one to have, I used to tie a lot of sulphurs with a yellow hackle when I lived close to a great tail water but remember that light ginger or cream also caught just as many fish....

  Did I mention the first four? I really want that to stick with you.... Hell, you could get just three colors and be set for most patterns. Cream, grizzly and brown. 

2, Quill. this is the make or break issue for me and thus why I really only will blindly buy necks from two growers, with everyone else's I want to really get my hands on them before I commit to buy. What I look for is a very fine quill that is not prone to twisting but is still strong enough that I'm not breaking them all the time. This sounds easy but its not always! 

The quill on a good neck is almost always going to be thicker than the worst saddle this point is one of the two major reasons I like to tie with saddle if I can. If you get to take a few necks out of the package and gently brush some feathers aside you can get a good look at the quill if its fine you will be able to see this but also you'll notice that after moving the hackle over its not going to move back into position quite as much due to a more supple quill. If the quill is thick and stiff you may end up with ugly flies.

  Twist, this one is harder to pick up on and you really just don't know until you tie with it! If you know of a way to spot a hackle that's gonna twist please clue me in!

3, Length. This one for the most part is pretty obvious assuming there's very little web. As a example I have a neck that the feathers are not in the least short but have much less web free hackle than most of my other necks. This combined with the hackle from this neck is prone to twisting makes it a neck I wish I had not bought. 
While we're on length I'll talk about saddle, good saddle is the shit! Long feathers that are so long you don't need hackle pliers when you use the stuff and has a finer quill than just about any neck. Hard to beat! There are some disadvantages to saddle those being that a saddle usually only has hackle that is going to tie flies in two or three hook sizes and has been hard to get due to the salons buying it up. The feather fad is about done so this year you should be able to get what you need if you know where to look.

4, Where am I gonna find the good stuff? 
Well, many places. You have a couple good options and a few that are not bad just more a crap shoot. 
Online, eBay can be a great way screwed but if you look hard you can find some real deals from great sellers but if I've told you anything you don't know in this article eBay may not be a good option for you. Elsewhere on the Internet you can find great retailers usually the smaller operations are more willing to give you more personalized service. The shop I work at is one of them. If you need something specific, call and we'll go pick a neck or saddle to suit your needs. in particular with saddles this is very important because of the narrow size range. Generally if you say to a commercial fly tyer I need material x for pattern y they can  probably find you what will work well, this is where the mom and pop fly shops that tie a lot of flies in house really are unbeatable even if you're half way across the country. 

Direct from the grower. A few operations offer direct sales, the two I am willing to vouch for are Collins Hackle Farm and Clearwater Hackle(formerly Conranch Hackle). 
Collins necks tend to have incredibly fine stems that don't twist and the necks come with the saddle patch included, killer value! Call Charlie, he'll get you setup!
Clearwater, I have not ordered anything from them since the new owners have bought the flock but the saddles are good and the older necks I have from Conranch were pretty similar to metz stuff of the same vintage but the quill seemed stronger and a touch more pliable. They do offer some unique soft hackle products worth checking out but that's another article! 

A update on Clearwater Hackle. Great people and good stuff! 
Lars sent me a whole skin, unreal amount of hackle there!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Some bamboo love.....

Check it, some video of a bamboo rod build.... Yup, reposting from moldychum.com, awesome video.

'boo from scumliner media on Vimeo.

Yeah, I like getting freaky. I present to you the Sex Dungeon.

  I tied a few of these earlier this week as well as a few Zoo Cougars. Mr Galloup knows a thing or two about designing a great fly, comes up with great names too!
Here's a video of the process of tying one, not my video!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Yes, it's good, real good.

The magalloway, the jewel of western Maine. Intense caddis hatches as of late, stones popping off here and there and I have sixty or so flies to tie that I should of had done months of go.

stay tuned.....

Did I mention brook trout?  Well, those too.