Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dave Shenk tying event

Last night was the first annual Dave Shenk tying event held by the Donegal Trout Unlimited. Dave just passed away this fall in a tragic accident. Donegal TU dedicated the evening in his memory and are making it an annual event.

It was a very enjoyable evening. We watched a video that he was working on to provide instruction on one of his patterns that he created. Then they broke everyone into groups to watch a couple different tiers demonstrate their patterns. I was one of the presenters and got to meet a lot of good people.

I also broke out my new fly display for the first time. It worked great and I got a lot of nice compliments on it.

I hope to be asked back again next year.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Here are some Kermits that went in the mail recently. Enjoyed tying this trusty old pattern.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New creations

Here are a bunch of flies that are on their way to a friend to be field tested in western pa.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Small flies

I get a kick out of tying some small flies. They are a lot of fun as I try to pay attention to the detail of the small patterns.

Just finished up some more flies for a fly shop. Here are some tellico nymphs, y2k eggs, zebra midges #20, and some stripper midges #24.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ribbit, Ribbit

I got a little time today to fish a farm pond. I had a couple new fly patterns I wanted to test. I had one fly that did an outstanding job for me that I didn't even try the other patterns. The fish gave their approval on my swimming frog pattern. I was even surprised with a couple catfish that just hammered this fly. Here are some of the fish that fell to the swimming frog. The fly is still a work in progress and I don't have a good picture of it yet but you can see it in the pictures.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stuck my Hiney in the Piney

I recently spent some time with extended family up in Blackwell, PA.  Every year we have a family gathering of my wife's family at a cabin that sits within walking distance of the Big Pine Creek and the rails to trails path that follows along this creek.  A lot of the family likes to spend time on the bikes enjoying the scenery.  They ride up through portions of the PA Grand Canyon or they ride down to Cedar Run for ice cream.  Sometimes I tag along but other times I would rather be in the creek. 

Unfortunately I forgot my camera.  I had some awesome experiences on the water the one evening.  I had a black bear cross the creek just down stream of me.  Then I had a bald eagle fly overhead.  And then I had a mother pin tail duck swim by me with her brood of young.  She had 24, yes 24 babies that she guided up around me.  Oh and the fishing was good too.

Sometimes I can get into a few trout but it wouldn't be happening this time.  There hasn't been a lot of rain and the water was really low.  I knew right away as I stepped into the creek that this would be a bass day.  The water felt like a mildly warm bath.  The air temps were in the 90's and the water had to be close to 80.  It didn't even feel refreshing as I was wet wading in this water.  I was trying some new popper designs and they produced well for me.  I also was using the ice magic, which is a new design I have been working on.  It produced well on the smallies.  It was a black and chartreuse model.  Most of the smallies that I caught were on the smaller side.  I have never caught any that were too large.  I know they are there but they have never cooperated with me very well. 

This night was different though.  But I found out that this fish was better than I was tonight.  I was using this new popper.  I had been catching small fish on it and was used to their little splash takes.  All of the sudden my popper was engulfed by a large fish.  I had a good fight on my hands.  This fish got down and dirty in the fight, then would rocket out of the water!  He did this three times that he launched himself out of the creek.  This smallie was the largest fish I had ever hooked on this creek.  It's depth of body told me it was the king of this section of water for sure!  And he proved to be too tough to handle.  Just before he jumped the third time he started spooling line.  Something happened with my drag and when he stopped running, the reel didn't and there was some slack line.  It took this opportunity to jump, spit the hook and say C-YA!  I was bummed that I didn't get it to hand but was happy to know I can hook up with the big boys.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4th

I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday today!

Sorry I have been absent from here for a while. Life has been crazy lately. My son was playing baseball this spring and then was selected to the Allstar team. Helping to coach that team took a lot of my spare time. Now that it is over I hope to have more time fishing and posting here of my new patterns.

Have a great holiday.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Recent May ties

Here are a few of my recent patterns I have tied. I had a client that wanted his killer streamer pattern replicated. I also was playing around with some poppers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Warm water bite is on

My friend Mike and I spent some time on the West Branch of the Susquehanna this Memorial Day weekend. Saturday when we went out on his boat, it was a great day of fishing. The water was crystal clear and was running about 68 degrees.  The water was a little up from the average flows but it was great for fishing.  You could see to the bottom in 7' of water with no problems.  Actually we could see several large smallies just swimming along the bottom.  Mike had some outstanding fish.  He was using either spinner baits or tubes.  One of the crazy, exciting moments was when we had the fantastic double.  We both hooked up at the same time.  As we were bringing in our fish, both fish danced on the water side by side at the same time!  It was awesome to see that. 

I didn't have the quantity he had but I liked the results of some of the new patterns.  The Stoned Claw Crazy did well to bring several to hand.  We were catching several smallies and we got into some really big red eyes, rock bass, or whatever other names you have for these fish.  I was using the brown and also tried a new color, orange/brown. 

I got some fish on the modified clouser. I extend the body with a bead chain body.  I have some flash and arctic fox at the end of the bead chain. 

I had tied up a few of this new pattern.  It is basically rabbit strips, flashabou, craft fur head, and pheasant feather for the cheek.  I used a worm hook.  It does good for getting in and around weeds.  Not that it is completely weedless but it did well being fished around thick stuff.  I also got a positive response from the fish!  Here is one of the rock bass that attacked this new pattern.  My problem I had with this pattern is that I lost a couple due to the fact that I forgot to check my tippet and knots often.  With dragging it in and around the thick stuff the line got weak and I lost them.  I know for sure that I will be tying up more of this pattern! 

On Monday morning we went out at first light and fished till about 10:00 before we headed home for the weekend.  There was a haze or fog cover and cloudy when we first started but when the sun burned through the fog, it was clear blue skies.  The high pressure that moved in had the fish reacting sluggish.  Mike was picking up several fish on tubes.  He mentioned that he could hardly feel the bite on several of his fish, which was totally opposite of Saturday's fishing experience.  I have heard of guys saying the bite was soft but this was just crazy.  I felt like I was trout fishing, as I got a lot of refusals and short strikes on all the patterns I used. 

Here was one of Mike's nice bass from this morning.  The way it was going for me, I thought I was going to get skunked.  Luckily, I brought out the "Ice Magic" and it ended the drought.  Here was my lone bass for Monday.  It wasn't very big but it put on a great fight.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fly on the run

I was invited to participate in the Fly On The Run annual fund raiser event again this year. This event is a fund raiser for Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (LCCTC). This is a great school for kids to learn a specific trade. This is a two day event. The evening before the fishing day, there is an awesome meal that is made by the student and hosted by the student. This event allows the students real life experience in the specialties of hosting, pastries, restaurant planning, and lots of other positions. Tonight they served Lobster tail, prime rib,and lots of other great food. The desserts were out of this world! Here was one of the cake pieces. The fish image on top was all hand done with white and regular chocolate. It was on each piece. And it was very delicious.

There is an auction that is of all kinds of donated items.  one of the items was a cake made by the students. Everything on the cake is edible. Here is the item I donated.  It is a wooden 4"x6" wooden fly box.  I put in some of the chain gang nymphs (Hares Ear, Copper John, Stonefly, and two new patterns: Prince and Royal Prince) and my favorite caddis dry fly which works great on the Lititz Run, the Opal Caddis.  I also put in a Stoned Claw Crazy, a new sculpin pattern, and the Wooly Skull. This box raised $150 for future scholarships given to some of the students.

There are browns, brookies, and rainbows in this Lititz Run. This creek is a stream restoration success. It is a spring creek that was a really warm water because of thermal pollution and also suffered a lot of chemical pollution. Donegal Trout Unlimited and others put a lot of time and effort into cleaning it up and is now a first rate stream. The bug life had disappeared but in the last couple years have seen lots of bug life return. There are now several caddis varieties, a cahill hatch, and tricos.

This event is a one fly tournament. It is setup as a competition of teams of four. There are four session times to fish. Two rods are allowed during each session. We had a lot of rain on Monday and Tuesday. This allowed the stream to have a nice amount of water, which was nice because before this there was very little water in the Lititz Run.

I tried a new streamer design (Ice Magic) and did well with it. The wooly skull also did well and brought fish to hand. The new design of chain gang prince nymph also caught fish. I was really happy with how some of these new designs worked today. We had really good fishing for about forty five minutes and then the sun hit the water and it definitely slowed things down. It was bright blue bird skies. The weather was wonderful to be outside and enjoy the friendships of the guys on my team. The lunker award went to a 23.5" brown. There were a couple teams that just knocked em dead. They must have had some beats that had a ton of fish.

The event was well worth attending and was enjoyed by all. Last year they raised over $50,000 for the school and to provide kids with scholarships to further their education.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

This weekend I am really looking forward to. We always go to a friend's cabin. There are a bunch of kids and they have a blast hanging out and playing together. There is nothing like creating your own games and fun times in the mountains. They will also get some of the older kids to take them on golf cart rides. They take the carts out on the groomed paths around the cabin. This always seems to be one of the highlights from the weekend.

While the kids are doing their thing my friend and I head out to do some fishing. We often take his boat out on the Susquehanna river and do some bass fishing. I am always fly fishing and he spin casts. Last year we had an epic day bass of fishing. The water was rising. I don't think we ever caught so many smallies in the 15-18" range as we did that day. I would love to experience another day like that one! I will also head to Big Fishing Creek or Spring Creek to try and hit some of the mayfly hatches. This year my son said he would like to join me. So I hope to get him on his first trout on the fly rod. We may see the sulphurs and caddis on Spring or if the water comes down we may hit Fishing Creek. The green drakes are soon to arrive. They are also seeing some slate drakes, sulphurs, and tan caddis right now. This could lead to some exciting dry fly action.

If the water is still high on these creeks I may be doing some testing on some of my newer streamers that have done well in other locations. I am also anxious to try out some of my bass patterns.

Here is one of my newest ideas.  I haven't decided on an official name for this fly yet but I am thinking of "Ice Minnow", "Polar Express", or if you have a suggestion let me know.  I want to see if I get as good a response from some trout and would like to also test it on the bass to see if they like the looks of it.

I also have some sculpin patterns I want to try.  I have fished these a little but haven't received any feedback on them yet.  Others that have fished them have like them though.

I have a couple newer chain gang nymphs I would like to test.  Below are the prince and royal prince.  They have brought some to hand but need to continue testing these.  Also is a bead head chain gang stonefly pattern.  May have to see if I get any response from it as well. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bloop, Bloop.......Gulp!

I love top water bass fishing! Casting poppers and other top water flies to bass and sunnies is a blast. If you ever get the chance to do it, take the opportunity to do it.

Sometimes the strikes come right after the pop when you are letting it just sit there. This retrieve worked a little but I got more strikes when, after the cast and just letting all the rings disappear from the fly landing, to just slowly pulling the fly back to me. Then the big gulp would come. It is such a thrill to me to see their aggressive takes!  Water splashing every where as they come up to kill that popper that is bothering them. 

Today I had an all white popper drawing the strikes.  I caught several decent large mouths and I even had a few sunnies that joined in the action.  I didn't get anything monsterous, but anytime you can get the surface bite, it is really exciting. 

It was also thrilling to watch the bass feeding along the edges of the pond.  There would be a couple bass swimming about 4-5 feet from the bank.  This would push the minnows up to the edge with very little room to escape.  Then all of the sudden you would see big splashes as the bass would zoom into the shallow water to go for their next meal.  I wish my camera had a better zoom.  As I was watching this feeding action of the bass, a snake joined in.  As the minnows would be in the shallow, this snake would swim through and was attempting to snag his next meal.  It wasn't as successful but it was interesting to watch.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Conestoga 4/29/2012

I went out on the Conestoga River to do some more exploring and try to find some more water I can take my son to fish safely. A friend was showing me some good spots. It was a clear blue sky and outside temps were just great for fishing. We riffle hopped trying to find some cooperative fish. I only found one that was willing to cooperate. The water temps were still really cool. It only reached mid 50's. I think it was just a bit cool for them to be too active yep. And it seems like it is pre spawn yet here even though we have had such warm weather and low water conditions.

I guess I should have had a different fly box with me. This is a warm water stream but we were seeing some large cahills. They looked like size 14 or even size 12. To my surprise the bass were taking them off the top! I guess I should put a few cahills in my warm water box for next time!

I only got one bass, but it did come on one of my new streamers. It was the darter pattern I posted recently. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera available but it was a nice healthy 10+ incher.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Creations

I have been doing some creating lately. I have had a lot of new concepts running through my head. I finally got some time and put some of these patterns to life. I am anxious to test them out and get the fish approval.

First is the sculpin.  I got some of the sculpin helmets and just had to tie some up.  They are really awesome heads to work with and they fish really well. 

The next thing I was wanting to come up with was cicada imitations.  I had gotten some of the "ThingAMaBody" and I came up with these imitations.  I had gotten one of the cicadas that we see every year around our place.  Should be fun this summer when they show up again.  I  also heard that in the next year or two there are going to be some of the 13 or 17 year cicadas showing up in certain locations.  So I was playing around with ideas for them as well. 

Here is a modification to the clouser or even a deceiver.  I have beed chain and on the end of the chain I put artic fox or marabou.  It has some nice action.  I am hoping the fish like it as much as I do. 

I was playing around with some minnow imitations for my next bass trip.  There are some greenside darters and some other small minnows that I am trying to imitate.  These patterns are just a little over 2".  I am hoping the bass find them tasty. 

There are a lot of frogs around in the summer.  One of my son's friends was fishing with a little rubber frog last summer and did really well on the bass on our pond.  I thought I need to have my own imitation that we can fish.  I am excited to try this one out. 

I got some professional photos taken of my new crayfish pattern "Stoned Claw Crazy".  I have been having a lot of fun with this pattern.  The fish have given me some good feedback on it.  :)