Saturday, December 10, 2011

Celtic Beauty...Doubles Destined for the Dee

A fellow from the SalmonFishingForum requested some Celtic Beauties, tied on double hooks, for his trips next year to the Dee as well as to the Findhorn.  Sizes 8 to 14, please.  Yikes!  I've never tied on doubles before and they took a little getting used to.  Half way through the first fly I felt like I needed to install a blood gutter below my vise!  And cut thread much???  However, after about the third fly (good thing I started with the 8's first) I got things under control and quit stabbing myself and cutting the thread on the rear hook every third wrap.

Doubles are hard to find over here.  Only my friend Wally would have a stash, though, that included everything I needed down to the #14.  His fly tying materials closet is a bottomless pit!  Also bought a few Daiichi 7130's; they have a longer shank than the Partridge Double Wilson's Wally had.  Daiichi is pretty proud of those hooks, apparently, at a cost of more than a dollar each!

 All told, a learning experience!  Click on the pic for a larger view.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Beauty

Trying to work myself up for a more festive season and throwing the crutches out the window, I sat down at the vise and came up with my holiday (I'm getting so Politically Correct in my old age) fly, The Holiday Beauty:

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Famous Grouse Fly

One of my oldest friends, Bill H., sent me a ruffed grouse tail feather sometime ago.  A momento of a long ago hunt, he asked me if I would make a fly out of it.  I've always wanted to tie a fly called "The Famous Grouse" after my blended scotch of choice, and here was the ideal opportunity.  I knew I wanted to make it - from a feather standpoint - exclusively of ruffed grouse feathers.  I have a fairly healthy stash of those, having been a hardcore grouse hunter for many years.  Oh, for those years in the mid-1980's when I hunted 100 days/year over my little string of 3 great english setters!  LOL, oh to be able to  hunt at all last year or this year!  Health problems keep getting in the way.

Anyway,  The Famous Grouse (don't forget to double click on the pics to supersize):

The taill is from any part of the bird that looks good to you (I think I used a back feather), the hackle is an upper tail covert, and the wings are a tail feather.   I would use paired tail feathers in the future, but I need to make the wings on Bill's fly out of just the one I had.

The body material is some stuff I had stashed in a drawer.  It came as a freebie in an order from Scott's Fly Shop on Ebay (not sure that exists anymore).  It strikes me as perfect for this fly; I like the touch of claret that runs through the brown:

I'm pretty happy with this reminds me of a ruffed grouse.  I got pretty up close and personal with them for a few years doing grouse research in grad school:

Man, that was a lifetime or two ago, eh?   Well, it will be fun to find out what this fly does next season.  Looks great for trout, salmon maybe not so much.  Time will tell!

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's All in the Hat!

Several weeks ago I fished for landlocked salmon in northern New York State with my friend John, who hails from Montreal.  As I noted in an earlier thread, we had a great day.  I gave him one of my hats (the logo is based on my Celtic Beauty):

Well, the hat is still working!  He landed 3 fish just the other day, including a 6 pounder, and gives credit to the hat.  Here's a pic he sent me, taken by another fellow SpeyPages forum user:

AND, I caught my largest atlantic salmon to date wearing one last month, so they gotta have what it takes!

Oh, wait, that's right, Linda got her top fish of the week wearing one, too!

Oh, yeah, it also works in tan!

Don't you wish you had one, too?  LOL

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When New Friends Get Together

You can just tell when you've met a kindred spirit.  I frequent the Spey Pages forum, and have learned a lot, particularly about fly tying and materials dyeing I've met, electronically, some interesting folks.  On Friday, I finally got to meet and fish with a fellow I've corresponded with over the past year.  John lives in Montreal and of course, I live in southern Vermont.  He invited me up to fish with him for landlocked salmon on a river he visits often.

It was a beautiful Friday, lots of sun - not always the best weather for fishing - but winter's coming, enjoy it while we can!  John suggested using my Deep Green Beauty, and it was moving fish and making them roll, but no hookups. 

We were fishing a pool where you can see the fish come to the surface quite clearly; John watched for fish while I cast.  After rolling several fish, he said, "Quick, put on something with some color and flash!"   So I reeled in and tied this on, my take on the Mickey Finn:

I cover the hook shank with silver mylar, then create the body out of natural pearl E-Z body braid.  The wing is that lovely translucent polar bear.

Well, on the second cast (I flubbed the first one), it was fish on!  The fish didn't realize it was hooked for a few moments, but when she did, she was quite the acrobat.   It pays to know the river and its fish, and John certainly does!  Note that #2 Mickey Finn (click on the pic once to enlarge, click again to supersize)!

John also landed a fish, and we rolled a bunch more.  AND I got some great tutoring from him on two-handed casting, using my switch rod.  All told, it was a great day.  I had a blast, and I don't think John minded lugging me around...I'm easily old enough to be his father (ugh.).

Earlier this year, I also got to fish with  "forum friend" Rob up on the Miramichi...I think another good time was had by all.  And that's what I think fly fishing forums should/could/wish they would be all about: making new friends and learning new things.  I know I do!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumn in Vermont

Sure, some of it's about those calendar shots of the Green Mountains in blazing fall color, but it's also about a cool damp morning with the sounds and smell of splitting wood, Canada geese honking overhead.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Autumn Week on the Miramichi

Finally - after missing the best July on the river in years and a quick trip up in August that was mostly sightseeing and casting practice - our September trip to the Miramichi was here.  We arrived on 9/18 to beautiful weather and plenty of water in the river.

We're fishing out of Bullock's Lodge, formerly known as Tuckaway Cabins, in Boiestown, New Brunswick.  Booting up the first morning, Bridget, Linda and myself:

Fly selection was a no-brainer for me the first morning out.  Back in July, I  sent a batch of my new fly, the Celtic Beauty up to Renate Bullock, guide extraordinaire and a principal in Bullock's Lodge.  As I've noted before, its first morning out of the fly box, 3 anglers hooked 14 fish with it.  Now its my turn!

The lovely and talented Celtic Beauty:

I cast my way down through Home Pool, and when I got to the end of the pool, at a spot variously called Dreyer's Point (by Bill D.) or Tanner's Point (by yours truly), I got a massive grab and, as they say, it was "game on!"  Dan Bullock came quickly with the net...this was a good fish.

This was a very big fish.  He wasn't a leaper, but when he boiled on the surface, it was easy to see he was a force to be reckoned with.  Finally, taping at 37 inches, if you check your salmometer, you'll find that he's a twenty pounder!

During my rest from the big fight, Bridget hooked up with a feisty grilse:

Dan Bullock doing the guiding/netting chores:

Success!  First fish of the week for Bridget:

Linda Warren, the FAR better half of fly tyer and good friend Bob Warren, hooked up Monday morning, too, with a nice male grilse.  She was fishing Bob's Golden Pheasant Spey fly:

It was a beautiful morning on the Miramichi with good friends swinging through the pool together:

Tuesday morning and I'm still fishing my Celtic Beauty at, if memory serves (and it usually doesn't), Elbow Pool.   It was another gorgeous day, still plenty of water in the river, water temp 50 degrees first thing in the morning.   Suddenly, a great pull and we're off and running with another big fish. 

My, uh, fish-playing technique has been variously described as either odd, unusual, or ridiculous:

However, it does get the job done.  A fine 12 pound hen:

Not to be outdone, Bob got into a nice fish, too:

But wait, it's my turn again!  Nice male grilse:

At this point, the days start to run together for me.  I've never been any good at keeping a daily journal, so photos tell the story, regardless of the exact day and time. 

I believe it was Wednesday, though, the Bridget landed another grilse, with a big assist from Bob:

I believe it was also Wednesday that Linda trumped us all with this 22 pounder with great friend and guide Vin Swayze at the net:

Bob's Golden Pheasant Spey does it again!

Bob Warren's Golden Pheasant Spey, waiting to get back in the game:

Thursday, good friends Wally Murray, Renate, Bridget and I:

head down to Camp Pool:

My very good friend, excellent fly tyer and wonderful guide, Renate Bullock:

Walt Scheffler and a couple of his friends were in camp fishing as well.  And occasionally, Walt actually gets out of his riverside easy chair and lands a fish! (on a Celtic Beauty, of course)

Bridget hooked and landed a couple nice brook trout:

Fly-wise, I ended up landing a 20 and a 10 pounder, plus a grilse, on the Celtic Beauty.  I hooked and landed a 12 pound hen on the Golden Pheasant Spey.  I also fished, and had a hook-up and several grabs, on a McCormack's Shrimp.  Don't forget you can click on these pics and enlarge them, click again and they'll fill your screen:

We hooked several more fish than I've shown, and had a great week on one of the treasures of this planet.

Many of the photos in this post are courtesy Renate Bullock and I thank her dearly for supplying them.

A fellow name of Brendan from County Waterford, Ireland, recently sent me this thought:

The great thing about about salmon fishing is its a great leveller, young or old, prince or pauper, the salmon doesn't care and when you are in the water you get totally immersed everything else just fades into the background until you get that jolt...
then there is the fishing hut and meeting guys that are passionate about their sport; enthusiasm rubs off and you end up spending half of your allotted fishing time chatting. You are right - life with salmon fishing is good.