I know, its been a while since I've posted. The winter has been long, hard, and cold, I have other hardships in my life that I'm dealing with, life in itself has been a pretty bitter pill to swallow lately. Spring is just about here, the water will be warming up and melting the thick ice soon, and the Steelhead will be making their runs very soon. Luckily this winter, I had lots of time to prepare for them. You might say I took Stanley's reply to this thread in stride and did exactly what he said: spent the whole winter tying flies, even a few that were my own ideas. Some came out great, some I still have to practice, others were a complete bust but thats how we learn. I wanted to share this batch with you guys because this is where it all started for me and I value you guys' opinions tremendously. Hey, gotta make sure I do ya'll proud! I apologize ahead of time if this post is super-pic-intensive. I was trying to resize these pics but for some odd reason the changes didn't save
. So without further adieu, here is what I have been up to in my absence!
First up, I bought a new fly rod and reel! Its a 9', 8wt rod that I got from Cabela's on sale for $69, original price $130! Couldn't pass up that deal! I also find from my 5/6 wt Wild Water combo that I prefer metal, large arbor reels, and this one works very, very well. Super easy to change the retrieve direction, which I always have to change them because I cast left handed and retrieve with my right. They are alway set up for left retrieve! The rod has a nice action to it, and it casts very nicely. Double hauls made this thing soar!
Now for the flies. I will try to explain any as best I can. After tons of research and asking questions to local guides and others, besides the obvious ones, I found patterns that were the most commonly used by fly fishermen in these parts. So that is what I have concentrated most of my tying on. I also now see the great importance of Woolly Buggers and their many variations. Seems lots of fish in this area are quite partial to Buggers.
A little Black Beetle that I added hackle to for a fine leg look. Should work well on still water, especially over bedded Bluegills:
Two CDC Emergers, one tied with a basic tan dubbing:
...and one tied with olive ice dub:
A little prototype beetle I was messing around with. Tied in the legs to use as a surface fly with some serious action:
...did a black one too, and it came out really nice IMO. Lets hope the fish think so too LOL
Another prototype, though unpainted. Was kinda going for a dragonfly laying eggs look, as noted by the curled tail. Gotta work with this one a bit still:
Recognize this little guy?
I tied a few of these in different sizes, though this is the first run. Emerald Shiner pattern I came up with using olive bucktail, pearl and light gray ice dub, mirage eyes and a little Liquid Fusion. Big time forage fish in the Great Lakes region, I will improve on this one:
A couple of Egg Sucking Leech patterns. I also plan to try this one using Rabbit Zonker strips in the next coming days. More on that in a second:
(note the new vise on this one! Got a nice Orvis rotary vise!)
As I had said, I am gonna try to do one or two with two different methods here using Rabbit Zonkers, because I love the way this Purple Conehead Rabbit streamer came out:
...also tied an olive and black one with marabou added in for some extra flair. It was a little wet still in this pic:
A little scud pattern using ice dub:
...and this attractor pattern I came up with on a night that I couldn't sleep:
This one here is the first Deer Hair Popper I attempted. Everything was going perfectly fine until the very end, when I accidentally cut the thread holding the tail. I did everything I was able to think of to fix it such as getting a Jam Knot and a couple of Hitch knots over it, even tied in some saddle hackle to try and hide it better, but I don't think it will hold up to the jaws of a Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass too well. Also, gotta get better at tightening up the deer hair. Oh well, would of been nice. Practice makes perfect and learn from mistakes, right?
And this is the first Foam Body Popper I've tied. This one came out really nice IMO, especially for a first effort. I wanted to add in some legs to the body, but found out the hard way that getting a bodkin through the body is quite tough. I guess its hard foam. Still, I think with its size and color, the soon-to-be-spawning Northern Pike won't object too much, and I'm almost certain it will be a Bass killer!
Now for the ever-popular Woolly Buggers. Speaking of Pike and Bass, I tied these two on the larger side for that specific reason:
Two white ones I tied for my cousin, 6 each (of course I tied myself 2 of each as well LOL):
Thin Mint Bugger:
More Steelhead prep, a couple of San Juan Worms, tied using pearl core braid instead of chenille. LOVE the way these guys look! The little flash given by the pearl core is wicked in water!
..and of course, it would be wrong to not have a few Egg patterns. Here is a bunch of Blood Dot Eggs:
OK, will leave at that for now. I still have to get used to palmering overall, I actually did get much better at it since these pics were taken. Overall, as you can tell I am enjoying fly tying immensely and feel I am doing pretty good, though far from a pro LOL. I still have lots to learn and am definitely putting my time in the workshed. I am really hoping and looking forward to catching fish on these. As alway, all of your thoughts and suggestions are welcome. And of course, I am glad you are all doing well!