Monday, May 30, 2011

Are you a new Fly Tyer?

We all started somewhere.  Do you remember how you got started in fly tying?  I do.  It was all on my own.  Read about it here.
If you are a new tyer, there are a couple of things I'd like to share with you about some tools and materials.
First, if you are looking at some items to start off with and some patterns to tie, we will start with bobbins, scissors and a couple of easy patterns.

Bobbins: As far as bobbins go, I highly recommend spending the extra money for a ceramic bobbin.  There are many types out there and I use a Tiemco Standard Bobbin.  It fits my hand and I have used it since day one.  The cheaper metal tubes get little burs in them and those burrs can create terrible frustration.  Just when you are ready to tie off the best Elk Hair Caddis you have ever tied, the thread gets cut by the bobbin and your best tied fly goes "poof".   Believe me, it's worth the extra money.

IMG 3234
Ceramic Bobbin & materials for a San Juan Worm.
Scissors:  Again, I cannot stress the importance of having a good tool to work with.  Having a poor pair of scissors can create more frustration than you ever though possiblewhile tying flies.  Save up your money, maybe by taking your lunch to work for a week or two and get yourself some good quality scissors.  A pair of Dr. Slick Arrow or Standard scissors will last you a log time and are great for starting out.  Montana Fly Company (MFC) also offers the same type of scissors if you can find them.  Anvil is another scissor company that offers great tools for use.
IMG 3436
Good, Sharp Scissors are a must!
Materials:  As far as materials go, you can get better quality if you do a little looking around.  Hooks are one of the first places people try to skimp.  Looking at a wall in the fly shop, there may be a couple of brands to choose from.  TMC, Dia-Riki, Mustad, and Diiachi are just a few of the ones you may see.  Dia-Riki and Mustad offer some great prices and will work well for you.  I tie most on Dia Riki and MFC hooks and have had good results with them.  In my opinion, TMC offers the best quality but that quality comes at a price.
IMG 0134
Just one type of hook model and brand.
Threads:  I use three brands of theads:  UTC 70 Deiner, Uni Thread 8/0 & MFC 8/0 threads.  I am now using more of the MFC threads as they offer a great combination of the other two mentioned above and give me great colors. The other two brands are more widely available and will do  you just fine for all your tying needs.  Gordon Griffiths is also one I use a lot of.
IMG 2808
Uni Thread, Gordon Griffiths, UTC and MFC threads.  
Easy patterns:  A San Juan Worm is a good place to start for a useful pattrern.  Thread Midges are simple and are the only game in town during the winter months.  By using a few different colored threads and maybe some brass and glass beads, you can fill up a box for cheap.
IMG 4210
Thread Midges are easy to tie and fish eat them up.
IMG 3455
Pink San Juan Worm
Don't get carried away with trying to tie one fly of each pattern.  Tie at least a few dozen before moving on.  If you tie midges and jump to parachutes, there is a lot of valuable information you are missing in between the two.  Take it easy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More on Mountain Snowpack, 2005-2011

Here is a follow-up to the earlier post.  This is the Western US over the last 7 years for the month of May.  Interesting how year-to-year it changes.  Take a look.

Lots of water still up there!

Usually this time of the year, most of the water stored high in the peaks of the Rockies is thinning and coming downhill, on it's way to the theory.  This year is a bit different though.  It's still snowing and the snowpack is still growing.  While the depth of the snow may not be growing much, the water content is.  May 1st is usually when the collection totals "peak" for snowfall.  This year is different.  With a total snowpack over 200% for this time of the year, when the sun turns on full blast, it's going to come down and come down fast!  Find a lake and practice on your stillwater fishing as I think most rivers will be flowing high for a while.  Even the tailwaters will be affected as some room may need to be made to hold the "extra" runoff water.  Flows are currently up on the S. Platte, as expected, to move water downstream.  Good fishing can be had in the higher tailwater flows and a good flushing is always helpful for the system.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What? It's almost June?

So where did I put those reels?  It's been so long since I used them, I can't remember!  As many of you can tell, I haven't been able to get out much this year.  Life seems to be getting in the way of my fishing. I just finished my last tying demo today and looking back, if I counted those as fishing days, (and my wife does count them as "fishing days") I'd probably be doing just fine.  I've been messing around with some fly patterns and trying to come up with the next "hot thing" as well as supplying Colorado Springs fly fishers with great patterns to buy and fish with.   The crazy thing about tying tons of flies, is that you get in a rut and it becomes a job!  Oh well, I am the one driven so hard to improve, it's my own fault.  Other than tying flies, I have been working a lot on our garden. We started a square foot garden this year and it's our first attempt at doing this, but something tells me it's going to produce like crazy!  Mixing all the composts and soils, I just keep think in terms of rivers.  A regular garden is like a freestone river and the square foot garden is like a tailwater.  Just looking at it, you know it is pretty damn fertile.  I can't wait!  I have plans to fish more as June gets here.  I can't miss out on some of the best fishing of the year.  I have already missed out on the first half of the best fishing.  I have to test some more fly designs and just enjoy life now that I made it through the Rapture.    

 Today was about Soft Hackles and enjoying natural materials.  
 Ah, a nice piece of deer hair.  
 Playing at the park today.  Fishing can wait, but they won't.  
Jackson prepares to launch off the swing.  
I am going to shave her head as she gets older and maybe buy a "street sweeper" and play that 
song by Rodney Atkins:  
Come on in boy sit on down
And tell me about yourself
So you like my daughter do you now?
Yeah we think she's something else
She's her daddy's girl
Her momma's world
She deserves respect
That’s what she'll get
Ain’t it son?
Hey y'all run along and have some fun
I'll see you when you get back
Bet I’ll be up all night
Still cleanin' this gun

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ghillies 7th Anniversary Shop Party

Ghillies Fly Shop will be celebrating with their 7th year in business this Saturday.  If you are in the area and not fishing, stop by and check it out.  Steve Schweiter, author of "A Fly Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park" will be here to discuss fishing in RMNP.

Also there will be some tying demos including Carl Pennington, Jimbo Busse and some guy called Hopper Juan.  Hope to see you there.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dr. Slick Winner!

Trout Tickler come on down!  You are the winner of the Dr. Slick scissors.
After a bit of research, I realized that I know Trout Tickler and she is a local.
So Kim, shoot me an e-mail and let me know where or how you want to get the scissors.  Congratulations!

Kim has a blog located here:  Trout Tickler's Blog Site

Stay tuned for more free schwag from Spirit River, Scott Fly Rod Co., and Dr. Slick and MFC!

Thanks for all who played and thanks again to Dr. Slick for helping out!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Trouble with the giveaway.

Well guys, it looks like Blogger had some trouble and the site was down for a while. It is back up now but all the comments, around 24 or so are missing. So, I guess I'll have to cap this to the 25 people who have commented up to this point. I will use my e-mails to see who posted and see what # they would be. So you have a 1 in 25 chance. Not bad. I'll let you know when that happens. Sorry for the hassle! Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dr. Slick Random Drawing

Steve Fournier over at Dr. Slick has agreed to sponsor the giveaways with some scissors.  Thank you Steve and Dr. Slick!  This drawing is for a pair of 3.5" bent shaft scissors.  As most of you know, Dr. Slick makes the best scissors out there and has been the benchmark for fly tying scissors for years.

If you want to have a shot at winning these, leave a comment about your favorite fly to tie and fish.  Include any info you think we would like to hear. If it's your own creation, give us the recipe.  make sure to leave your name also. I will draw a random number on Sunday so make sure to stay tuned.  You will have 24 hours to claim, if not, then it goes to someone else.

Have fun and thanks for playing!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Tailing Loop/PHW Raffle

Here is another raffle you guys might be interested in.  Take a look at what is going down at The Tailing Loop.  There is a raffle for two items and all proceeds are going to benefit Project Healing Waters, an organization that is near and dear to many of us. Check out the raffle here.