Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bugs from the Bench....Smallmouth Ties

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I've been changing gears at the tying bench here recently , anything with a hook smaller than a #2 is pretty much tabled until the snow starts to fly again next Fall. There may still be snow on the ground outside my window but I can feel it in my bones...seasons are a changing. For me that means a switch from fishing for trout to fishing for my new favorite quarry , smallmouth bass.
I started off tying up a few of one of my old stand-bys that I just love to fish for Spring smallmouth , the double deceiver.
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Most everyone that fishes streamers for trout or smallmouth is probably familiar with this fly ,something about the profile and action just seem to provoke eats when other streamers have failed for me. If I was told to choose one streamer pattern for agressive springtime smallies it would undoubtedly be this fly. I like to keep my boxes stocked with several different sizes and color variations but an olive/white has probably caught more smallmouth for me than any other combination.
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The second pattern I decided to work on doesn't have a name as of yet. Nothing special , just a weighted single hook pattern that I came up with last year to go along with my un-weighted Simple Baitfish streamer. Bucktail , marabou and crystal flash are used to create the main body and then rubber legs are tied in just in front of this section. I finish up the fly by palmering a schlappen feather to just behind the dumbell eyes and then using Laser Dub or an E.P. Brush to form the head on the fly.
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I only started using this fly late last summer on a floating line and had some very good reactions from my local bass. The color combinations are endless on this one and even the materials can be altered to give you the desired effect you're looking for. For me though , it's hard to beat good old marabou for the main body , it gives the fly that sexy movement in the water that fish just can't resist.
For those of you who are fly fishing purists (you've probably already quit reading if you're one of those dry-fly snobs) you might want to avert your eyes for this next pattern. I call it the Creature Fly , due to the fact that I got the idea from watching the guys on those Sunday morning fishing shows sticking bass after bass on what they called creature baits. It's basically the flyrod version of a jig-n-pig that I have yet to try out but have very high hopes for.
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It just looks too good to me to not work. I tied these on a size #1/0 Gama hook with a large set of dumbell eyes placed to make the fly ride hook point up. For the tail section I used two clumps of marabou , one tied on each side of the fly , just as you would for a crayfish claw. For the main body I used two different colors of cactus chenille twisted together and wrapped up to just behind the dumbell eyes , followed by a schlappen feather palmered up to the same point. This next step is where I may lose the interest of some of the more purist types. Using round rubber legs, I tie them in behind the eyes and basically create a rubber skirt of sorts for the fly. Generally I like to put about six to eight sets of rubber legs in a circular pattern to cover all sides of the fly.
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This number can vary depending on how large of a fly you're tying up. After the legs are tied in I use a second schlappen feather of a contrasting color to wrap just in front of the legs and up to the tie off point. I started off tying three each of the two colors shown and really like the way they look , more color combinations are definitely in order after seeing the final result.
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If the fish like it half as much as I do it'll be a winner for sure!
While there's still lots of empty space to fill in those smallmouth flyboxes , at least I've got a head-start on the season. The weather forecast looks miserable around here for the next few days (bitterly cold and chances of snow/sleet each day) so it looks like I'll have some more time to work on filling those empty spots. I've been given a directive by the wife to clean up my tying room first though , several back to back nights spent hunkered down at the desk has left the space looking like a chicken just went through a wood-chipper!!
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Until next time...good tying.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Indian Summer in February??? Sounds good to me....

In case you missed was 70 degrees and mostly sunny both Saturday and Sunday of this past weekend. Enough said , right? Of course I snuck out of the house for a little time on the water , didn't you just read the first sentence of this post. It was a short trip this time as a couple of days was all I could swing , arriving saturday morning and heading back Sunday around noon (thanks to a tire leaking air on my buddys vehicle).
The weekend was spent hanging out with the boys from Oklahoma on one of Missouri's best Blue Ribbon trout waters. We bobber fished and caught lots of small wild rainbows and spent part of each day throwing streamers for a few browns as well. The best part of the weekend though was just being out on a beautiful Missouri river in February , with weather that felt more like June, and getting to share it with some good friends and a big cooler full of beer.
I'm not feeling too wordy this morning and the boss keeps walking through and looking at me like he wants me to actually do some form of work , so here's a few shots from the weekend that will tell the story better than I can anyway.
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