I recently started fly tying. Its a complete blast. Its satisfying, frustrating, a creative outlet and yet another good reason to settle in with a few beers.
This is my third attempt at tying flys. The others suffered due to lack of patience and understanding. I decided adding Beer to the process would most likely aid in my endeavor and I was right. ( I’m amazing..)
I fired up a few videos on Youtube, set up my Fly Tying gear ( virtually untouched from buying it all almost 2 years ago ) and tied up a few traditional flies. They didn’t come out great. They DID resemble the fly I was after however. Kind of. It was at that point, as most undisciplined Fly Tyers can relate, I tied up a custom fly. Actually three.
The first two were like inbred children that are to be locked in a basement, never to feel the warmth of the midday sun. When I was complete I uttered “Have I learned nothing?” I was hasty and excited and just wrapping thread around whatever I could. layer upon layer of craft crap. I realized I was too excited, too electric. I needed another beer. I watched a few more videos that concentrated on techniques ( does NO ONE do a SLO-MO vid anymore?!!!) I drank them and my beer in. I had a few AHA! moments and got back to the vise.
I present to you my first complete “I would totally use this!” Fly.
Marabou is great. Its life like and flutters gracefully and is easy to use. Wrapping feathers to get that spikey body is also easy. Using Red is a must. There is a little Flash under the white Marabous as well and I probably should have added a bit more to the back or the body but it came out great in my eyes. When Fly Fishing for anything its about depth and profile for me.
- “Am I deep enough? Am I too deep?”
- “Is it big enough? Is it too big?”
- “Should I switch to something larger? Smaller? Lighter? Darker?”
These are thoughts I have on the river or stream bank when I cant seem to find fish. I alternate between nymphs and weightless, Light to dark, big to small. I decided to attempt to tie all options into one fly. White, Black, size 12 hook with a size 6 profile. Tiny beadhead for weight, but light enough to be pulled just below the surface.
Lacking any kind of confidence, even with my well thought out fly, I hit the creek yesterday in search of Smallies. I waded upstream for about an hour with not even a hit. Alternating between Craw Flies, weighted buggers and Black Leech articulated patterns, nothing seemed to work. I invited Richard fishing.
He was pretty jazzed to give this creek a shot. I tied him on and casted him in front of a boulder Ive been working. Really active riffles being blocked and calmed by a large boulder. There HAS to be a smallie in front of that boulder! I took off a weighted craw pattern and gave Richard a shot.
He dove right in just above the boulder, rode the riffles down in front of the boulder and was chased by a leaping Smallie. It was a miss but Richard was determined! I flung him in the same path again and he nailed him!
We continued to have fun until the rain was too hard to continue and we spent a good 45mins to an hour trying to stay dry under a bridge. Richard got into 7 more nice Smallies in that run before I retired him for the day.
In the pouring rain on the wade back to the car I thought of how I could improve the fly. Different materials, more of this, less of this etc. Its a great feeling knowing you can create whatever you want in minutes. Its also inspiring to know the patterns you search for and are proven can be duplicated by YOU which is a greater investment when your on the creek flinging your own fly. Its one step closer to diving in and catching the fish with your bare hands. But still removed well enough to keep you dry..
I walked back to the car at a hurried pace and I actually said -out lout- ( which Im known to do..)
“Hilarious! My waders are leaking and my feet are soaking wet, its pouring rain and my shirt is soaking wet! The only thing my waders are doing is keeping my shorts dry!”
It was LITERALLY at that moment I tripped over a boulder in 3′ of water.
I fell, headfirst mind you, into the flow. My entire body submerged. I struggled to stand back up but my legs were up across the boulder still and my torso was well BELOW the boulder and waterline. My arms flailing and my body twisting I scrambled to get my head above water.
With a knee now below me I could start to try and stand and as I did, arms still flailing around to get my torso above the water I looked up at the bridge to see a car passing by. I little dark haired kid had his face plastered against the passenger seat window and saw me. I saw his face explode with a “HOLY CRAP!!!” expression as the car zoomed by.
I finally stood upright and half expected that car to turn back because Im sure it looked like I was drowning.
Nope. Humanity = 0.
I walked back to the car with my waders full up to my waist. What an odd feeling! It was like walking in a fat suit.
Waders tip #1.
- Always bring a change of clothes.
I stripped out of my waders, dumped the water out and sat on a blanket in my car. I had a windbreaker that I put on instead of my soaking wet shirt. All was well.
Still, a great day, a great wade and some great smallies caught by Richard and I. Cant wait to fish with him again, he taught me a lot.