Friday, June 28, 2013

Warm water prep

Here are some flies that I make sure that are always available in my fly box for warm water fishing.  As you can see I started with some popper production. 
Then I started the job of painting them and then finished them off with a little fox for the tail and then wrapped some hackle.  You should always have some yellow, olive, chartruese and black when you are going for smallies.  I am trying red this year too.  Will have to see how they all work.  

Then I moved on to replentishing my clouser patterns.  They are always fun to tie.  I am trying a couple of the clousers with rabbit strips.  I am really anxious to see how they work.  I like to have at least the gray/white, chartruese/white, and fire tiger (green/yellow/orange) in my box.  I added a few extra colors with the white/red/white, and brown/orange.

Never leave home without a few crayfish patterns.
This year, I added a few Hammer Head Croakers.  These subsurface frog flies have produced well for me when chasing large mouths and catfish.  I want to see how the smallies react to them this year.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cicada Hatch

Since there is a lot of talk these days about the cicada hatch, I thought I would try my hand at a few of these to see what this hatch is like. Well here are my ties. If you have any interest in either of these styles, let me know. I would be willing to sell some. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lititz Run 5/19/2013

On Sunday morning a friend and I decided to hit the little stream of Lititz Run to celebrate the day our kids were born :).  We decided to meet at 5am.  I was going to fish until 7:00.  This would give me enough time to get back to the house to feed horses and be ready for church.  The way the sun has been lighting up the morning, it would be a nice start to the morning.  Well, this day was different. 
When I got to the stream at 5, it was still pitch dark.  There was a lot of cloud cover and small showers that moved in and made it impossible to see your indicator at this time.  So we talked a little before we hit the stream.  I decided to work this stream using the Chain Gang Caddis as my point fly and putting a new design, scud missile, as a dropper off of this.  It turned out to be a winning combination for today for me. 
I was super happy with how the fish liked the scud missile!! 
 I also picked a couple up on the  Chain Gang Caddis
Today was not a day for large fish, but I had my best numbers day ever.  It was a fishing time filled with fiesty fighters though.  Most of the fish were rainbows but I also picked up a couple nice looking brookies. 

This is a stream that has had a lot of work done on it.  It is a spring creek that is one of the local success stories of what can happen to a creek when you put work and effort into it.  There was several occasions that killed all the bugs that could have lived in this water.  Now, there are several bugs returning to this stream.  While we were there, I was observing what looked like a pale morning dun hatch.  There were not any fish rising to these mayflies but it was absolutely thrilling to watch this hatch as it progressed.  It wasn't prolific but it was a thrill to see.

These last couple photos show some of the rainbows we were catching.  Oh wait, only one photo shows.  The other photo shows how fiesty they were as just before the pic was taken it figured a way to be released out of my hands before proof could be had of being caught.  :)  Well, I was having such a great morning that I lost track of time.  I didn't leave the stream until 7:30 and almost was late getting my chores done.  But it was an exceptional morning as I was enjoying God's creation and also got home to celebrate my son's 12th birthday.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blastin & Castin

A couple months ago, I received an invite from a good friend of mine to spend some time up at his cabin in Tioga County that is not far from Wellsboro, PA.  We decided to take an extended weekend to do some of the things we both enjoy, fishing and hunting.  I did a lot of dreaming for this trip.  I felt like it was going to be about the perfect time to see the gobblers in action in the woods and it was also about the right time to see some mayflies and caddis on the stream. 
When the time finally came to leave, I was busting at the seams.  The weather they were calling for was absolutely perfect every day that we were to be there.  The water levels were decent and dropping.  We got to the stream and I was in heaven.  The caddis were everywhere but it turned out the fish didn't want anything with them.  We didn't catch anything but the best part was we had the local eagle fly over our head about 30 feet.  That was supper exciting. 
Saturday morning was quiet in the woods.  There were no toms talking and we only saw one lonely hen.  We made up for that quiet time though in the creek.  Both my friend and I did well catching a lot of rainbows, one brown and a couple small mouth bass.  I had received a tip from Big Meadows Fly Shop owner that copper johns were taking fish.  That is what brought most of my fish to hand.  The other patterns that caught fish for me this day were the Chain Gang Pheasant Tail and the Ice Magic in brown/orange and Olive/yellow.  My friend even managed a bullfrog he caught with his hand.
                                    Ice Magic

Sunday morning, since we couldn't hunt we decided to take a walk out to the field and just scope things out to see if it was worth hunting this field edge again.  Well, what we saw I feel was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  There were four hens and a gobbler that was in full strut.  They were about two hundred yards away in the open field.  With the sun shining on him, he was an absolutely gorgeous sight with his fan spread out and gleaming beauty reflecting in the sun.  The hens walked out of the field and he started to follow.  But interestingly enough, he ended up turning around and going the opposite direction.  We soon found out why.  There were two jakes that came into the field that came running at him, challenging him for his control over this nice group of hens.  What proceeded to happen absolutely shocked us.  These two jakes proceeded to take advantage of the numbers.  For about 5 to 10 minutes, there was a major battle going on between these three birds.  The one jake would take the gobbler's focus and the other bird proceeded to sneak up behind him and sucker punch him.  It is amazing what kind of sounds these birds made vocally, and with their wings as they would hit each other.  It was a super loud fight that saw the bigger, older bird cowering away in defeat. 
As we fished that evening, we decided to use this as a sign that we needed to stay in this field for the next day's hunt on our final morning there.  We didn't do as well Sunday night fishing as we did Saturday but we were happy with how we did.  All the fish we caught this weekend were in the 11" to 16". Now we were crazy excited for the next morning. 

Neither of us slept all that great in our anticipation of seeing any of those three birds we saw Sunday morning.  When we got to our spot along the field it wasn't very long before there were gobblers talking in the trees.  We were getting more excited by the minute.  We waited till it became a little more day light and started calling to the birds with a slate call.  I sat in anticipation looking over the field figuring that as they got closer they would pop out in front of me.  My friend decided to face the opposite direction just incase the bird would circle in behind us.  Well, as it turned out it was two gobblers that came in together and they were in my friend's sight.  He was able to harvest a really nice bird at 25 yards away.  It was a 16 pound bird with a 9.5" beard at 6:15 am.
We still had a lot of hope for the rest of the day.  We stayed at the same spot with our hen decoys in the open field and the sun coming up and drying the grass off.  We made several attempts to bring in birds alternating through the different calls we had with us by using the slate call, box call and even a mouth call every 15 to 20 minutes from the time he shot his bird until about 10:00.  At this time we put them all together and brought out all the stops.  We had also put his bird out with the hen decoys and propped up his bird's fan to maybe draw in any a bird willing to challenge him for the two hens.  Waiting about 15 minutes after this calling spree, there seemed to be no response. 
As we were getting ready to head back to the cabin, I went out to gather up the hen decoys.  I was stopped in my tracks as I looked up to the far corner of the field and there stood two birds at 335 yards away.  I crawled back to my spot and we gave a few calls on the slate.  It got these two birds' attention and the started to work our way.  We could see with binoculars that the one bird was a nice mature tom.  The other bird looked small enough to be a hen but we couldn't tell for sure. 
It took a half an hour with a couple calls to make sure they were interested in continuing to close the gap.  At about 40 to 50 yards away we could see that the one bird was a small jake.  I now was super hopeful for my first time turkey hunting that I should be able to get a shot at one of these birds.  Well, the gobbler kept coming and headed right for the dead tom that was now used as a decoy.  He was starting to puff up his body feathers and ready to go into a strut.  I decided at 30 yards I was going to take him now before he put up his fan.  My friend gave a couple purr calls to get him to stop and put his head up.  My first shot stunned him and he spun in a circle.  Then he gave me a half second and I was able to finalize the deal with a second shot that sent him waddle over spurs.  Here is my first ever spring gobbler, a 19 pound bird with an 8.5" beard. 
What an awesome weekend of Blastin & Castin!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tulpehocken - 4/17/2013

I planned a morning of fishing with Bill M., a good friend of mine.  We met in Ephrata and traveled together to the Tulpehocken to fish the special regs area of this stream.  We got there a little after daylight and got suited up.  It was a couple weeks since I last hit the water and I was really looking forward to it.  The water level was just perfect.  We knew there were fish in the water because when we got there the Blue Herons were trying to take claim to certain spots along the water. 

The water temps were perfect at about 51 degrees.  The water flows were about 140 cfs which turned out to be an awesome level.  As soon as we were on the water, it didn't take long till I had my first fish of the day.  It was a nice rainbow that took a pink and white Y2K egg.  I have to admit, I am not the best fisherman around.  I am a better tier than I am a fisherman.  I would have had double the numbers brought to hand if I would have done better at giving good hook sets.  There were several flies that brought fish to hand for me today.  Anything from the Y2K (yellow/orange and pink/white), Chain Gang Pheasant Tail, Chain Gang Hares Ear, Double Duty, and even a #24 stripper midge.  The two that did the best were the stripper midge and the Y2K, and actually the stripper midge brought the biggest fish of the day for me. 

There were spent midges on the water everywhere.  And actually the fish were rising to them all over the place.  Although, I couldn't break off my rust and connect with any of the rises.  I did a great job of missing every rise that came to my small BWO Foam Biot Emerger, which happened to be the smallest dry fly I had with me.  I wasn't expecting any surface action today.  I used my ice magic and managed some short hookups but nothing to hand.  Like I had said earlier, there are some things I need to work on so that I can have more fish come to hand. 

Well, I hope everyone gets the chance to be out on the water soon.  It was a great morning for being outside and especially to be out fishing.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Replenishing fly boxes

Things have been crazy lately as spring time rolls around. There have been a lot of people thinking about what is empty in their fly boxes and so have either been ordering through MyFlies.Com or have been visiting their local shops. Fly shops have been contacting me for flies to replentish their supplies and clients have been trying to fill their empty slots in their fly boxes. Here are some of the most recent orders that have gone out the door.

Monday, March 18, 2013

CRO Flies

When I was at the "Tie One On" event a couple weeks ago, I received an invite from the guys at CRO Flies to go fishing on the Tulpehocken. This is a stream I have fished somewhat but at limited locations and for short amounts of time. There is a section of this stream that is a couple miles long that is designated by the state of PA to be delayed harvest. This means that for most of the year it is a catch and release stream only. And for the month of March till the opening day of trout, special regulation streams are the only streams you are allowed to fish on for trout.

I was looking at my schedule and wanted to take my son out to test out his new waders. Well, I notified these guys that I was going to get on the water for the first time this year. They worked it out for their schedule to meet me on the water Sunday. Unfortunately for my son, he got a cold and had to miss out on this opportunity.

I found out from Luke where to meet along the stream. Even though he forgot what his brother drives, I was able to get to the correct parking lot and met these guys along the stream. They were at this one spot that was to be good. There wasn't too much action there so we hopped on over to another location.

At this next location there were a few other fishermen that had the same idea as us. But there was plenty of room for us all. These guys know this stream like the back of their hand. They might even have each rock and each hole named. They put me in a great spot but I have to say I am probably a better tier than I am a fisherman. These guys though, knew where to put their fly and get great drifts. I was excited to see both of them connecting with fish on both sides of me. I did pick up my first fish of the year out of this spot. I was using the Double Duty in brown with copper bead and copper ribbing. Josh got the big fish award for the day, when he picked up a real thick shouldered 17" or so, holdover rainbow.

We finished the rest of the evening out at one more great little spot. I rolled a couple fish and got into a good fighting sucker. All in all, it was a great day of fishing and a great time with some new friends. Thanks CRO Flies.

If you ever need a day on the water and want some cool dudes to guide you, I highly recommend you schedule a trip with the guys at CRO Flies. They know how to put you on fish. But you need to be able to set the hook and keep them on your line if you want to put them in your net. And maybe if you fish with them you will use a new pattern that I put them onto, even if Josh gets a good laugh at this crazy simple pattern! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tie One On

Today was the Tie On One event that was held at Woods Creek Grill. It was an awesome day of tying and listening to tying presentations.

The location was great. It was the first time I was ever at Woods Creek Grill. They have a unique menu. You can get anything from elk chili, to alligator, and even rattle snake. There was one guy that tried the rattle snake. They have a neat way of presenting this entree. I had a cup of the trouder(trout chowder). This was an item on their special menu for the day. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There were a lot of great instructions presented on how to tie a multitude of patterns. Anything from eggs, nymphs or streamers. There were a lot great pointers on how to make each pattern better.

It was nice of everyone to make me feel good about my presentation. I have never struggled through my pattern as much as I did today. I think I snapped my thread at least twice, I fumbled through my talking and I had to borrow a white shirt cause no one could see the fly against my dark shirt. Besides this I had fun doing this presentation for the first time. Hopefully I can become a better speaker if I can get rude of my nerves of public speaking.

I want thank Tyler Frantz and Josh Ott for hosting such a great event. It was a great time and I look forward to doing this again and meeting you guys along the stream sometime soon.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fly Fishing Show - Lancaster

I was tying this weekend at the Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster PA. This was the first I did this for this show. I had a blast. I met some great people that stopped by my table and also talked with the other great tiers that worked the show. These shows have so much to offer. If you engage the people at the stands they always seem so willing to share some great info. You can learn a lot from them to enhance any aspect of your fishing needs, whether it be for casting, tying, and other things. If you get any chance to attend these shows I highly recommend it. Plus it gets you out of the house and thinking of spring!

I did a lot of tying my chain gang stonefly. There was a lot of questions about this pattern from how to fish them, how to tie the bead chain on, etc. I had a great time discussing these answers to these questions and hopefully those guys can enjoy this pattern as much as I have.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I received a unique request this week. A lady asked if I would be willing to design a fly for her wedding. They want a fly to wear as the boutonnière for their wedding. She provided me with the colors of the tartan he will be wearing. He does a lot of muskie fishing, so I came up with a design using some green, blue and some gold flash. I thought it looked great. As well as she did.