Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer means Bombers for Atlantic Salmon!

Early last August, I got a call from my friend Dan Bullock, manager of Bullock's Lodge (formerly Vin Swayze's Tuckaway Cabins).  Dan related that water and weather conditions were just right for Bomber fishing in his pools on the Miramichi...did I want to come up for a few days?  I was there 24 hours later.

I love Bomber fishing for atlantic salmon. When a big, bright salmon comes up to my drifting Bomber,  you can hear my shouts and laughter a mile downriver, I bet.  Even a grilse rising to a Bomber fished dry is quite an event in my eyes.

My first morning on the river was warm, but it was drizzling rain off and on.  No real need for rain jacket; it was a warm summer rain.  Rummaging through my Bomber box, I decided to tie on the smallest fly in the box, one of a few I hung on to after tying up a bunch at the suggestion of my fishing and bird hunting buddy Jamie Woods.  With a natural tan deer hair body, white tail and split horns, and brown hackle, Jamie liked to think of this version as a "locating" fly.  One thing is for sure with a Bomber this small: if it only located fish, it would be easy to move up in size to entice a strike!


The little brown Bomber (tied on Mustad 3906B number 6 hook):

Dan was right about it being great conditions for dead drifting a Bomber.  Within minutes, it was fish on!

As much as I love connecting to a nice salmon, somehow this feisty grilse fit the morning's mood.  Dan, his mom Renate, Vin Swayze and I all seemed to be in light-hearted, "let's just have fun" mindsets, and a jumping, running grilse fit right into the picture.  I tend to laugh a lot when I'm into fish and with good friends; this morning was no exception.

The grilse did not appear to find Dan and his net all that welcoming:

I guess the action and my usual fumbling was enough to get Vin to reel in and come downriver for a little kibbitzing:

Vin must have gotten Dan and I on our toes; within a minute or so the grilse was happily (for me, if not for the grisle) in hand:

And while much of the fun for me is in the fishing, it's the releasing that's best of all:

There'll be no summer fishing for me this year, but photos like these will carry me along 'til September when I can fish again.  And unable to do much else besides tie flies, you can bet the boxes will be full!

River photos courtesy Renate Bullock

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's Under Your Floss?

A recent Speypages thread concerning floss had the usual array of differing ideas on how to apply floss, and more importantly for the purposes of this post, what underlayment for floss bodies and butts gives the best results.  "Best results" usually meaning "most satisfying to the tyer's eye".   But occasionally, and hopefully, meaning "best for fooling fish."   Well, the old researcher in me got the best of me, and I decided to try a little test:  put the three most commonly mentioned underlayments individually on hooks and wrap with (in this instance) my favorite floss, Gordon Griffiths.  I used flourescent orange and green (click on the pic to supersize the image):

The top hook has a silver mylar base, the middle a white thread base, and the bottom hook has a black thread base.  Dry, they all look pretty much the same to my eye.

So next, I soaked all three hooks in a cup of tapwater for a few minutes.  The results:

Pretty obviously, the floss with the mylar underlayment really "shines" over the flosses underlain with thread.  For my money, floss butts and bodies create a "target of opportunity" for the fish you are after; might as well give them as glowing a target as you can!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


It's true, might as well hang up all your rods and reels, put the waders away appropriately, and get settled back at the tying bench, because fishing season has been cancelled!!!

Oh, wait, that's right.  Just MY fishing season has been cancelled.  I have to have a core decompression done to my left hip while YOU guys are out there flailing the water to a froth.  Fine, be that way.  But send me pictures.  I'm out of commission until September.  No, no biggie...only had to cancel one week in Maine and three different weeks in New Brunswick.  I can handle it.  Not depressed.   Why, think of all the money I'll save!   And I'm happy to put my boat back in mothballs again.  Usually its all cold and uncomfortable when I do that.  Tomorrow its supposed to be a sunny 90 degree Vermont day; perfect day to put the boat away. 

Yup, you guys have fun out there and don't worry one little bit about me.  I'll just be sitting here taking percocet and surfing the fishing forums.  Another perfect summer.