Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Cave

Things are never very tidy down here in the Cave, but Tucker and I are quite comfortable in our cluttered little world.  Click on the pics for the Big Picture (lol, if you dare.  Clutter-sensitive individuals may wish to refrain).

When the spirit moves me, it's always nice to have smoke.  And a place to pile stuff that I'll have to organize one of these days.  Or find a place for.  On the other hand, piles of neat stuff like this create an ambience that I'm quite comfortable with, thank you very much!

And from my desk, its comforting to glance over and see a nice heap of good tackle.

Oh, the desk.  Bartered from my friend Jamie.  Big old oak thing.  It has a great green top.  See it?

Nice to be able to just grab a hat and a vest and go.

Books are good to have around.  The un-digitized kind, I mean.

Art.  I have to be surrounded by it.


And a coupla dead grouse to round out the decor (PITA members not welcome here, by the way)

Maybe the coziest niche within the Cave's confines, the tying corner.

The bench.  I built it out of 200 year old longleaf heart pine, leftover scraps from the floor we put in the South Carolina house.  Isn't that wood pretty?  Well, it is, take my word for it.

For the most part, Tucker just hangs out.  He'll be thirteen in April.

Thus endeth our tour.  Just seemed like a fun thing to do today.  Instead of some sort of gainful activity or, dare I say it, money-making activity.  We'll do that tomorrow, right, Tuck?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Size 10 Hook Comparison Chart Upgrade

Anticipating (but loathing the possibility of) another low water summer on the Miramichi, I've added some new size 10 hooks to the stash.  I'm liking The Fly Shop's hook, especially it's price: $4.95/25 hook package.  Bob Warren turned me onto the hook a year or so ago.  The Tiemco 7999 is still the beefiest of the bunch, and the Daiichi 2421 the most diminutive of the lot, with the Mustad a close second in that category.  Glad I don't use doubles; the Daiichi is almost a buck per hook!  Hope the chart has some utility for you.  Larger size comparisons can still be found at: http://theriverscourse.blogspot.com/2011/08/salmon-fly-hooksor-when-is-10-8.html.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Barred Owl at the house today!

Came home after errands to see this nice big Barred Owl surveying the couple acre lawn below it.  Pity the mouse or vole that ventures out today!

Got 'im going away too...guess he didn't appreciate my company!

Wonder if its the same one that likes to set up shop right outside the bedroom window on the occasional night and hoot.  and hoot.  and hoot.   The call sounds like "Who cooks for you....Who cooks for you all?"   No, really, it does.

Tying the Celtic Beauty

I've seen some great ties of my Celtic Beauty by some fine fly tyers recently.  With that in mind, and since it is tying season, I thought I'd share my method of tying the fly.  First of course, we have to gather the materials:

The list of materials:
Hook: My choices would be Daiichi 2441 or Gamakatsu T10-6H for regular ties, Daiichi's Bob Veverka 2139 for low water.
Thread:  I like Gordon Griffiths 14/0 or Benecchi 12/0, in black
Tag and Rib:  Lagartun's gold oval tinsel, size small for a #6 hook
Butt: Dubbed black beaver underfur
Body:  Uni-Floss Bright Yellow
Underthroat: Hareline's UV Minnow Belly
Throat: Whiting's American Hen Cape dyed Claret
Underwing: Flashabou Grizzly Pearl and Black Accent
Wing: Dark green hair of choice

Get started by chucking your hook of choice (to paraphrase a comment oft heard on Speypages, "Your vise, your rules") and tying in your thread just above the hook point and running it back such that it will underlie 7 turns of the small gold oval tinsel:

Tie in the tinsel.  I like to hold it under the hook, wrapping to the foward extent of the thread:

And wrap the tinsel 7 turns forward and tie down:

Take a tiny bit of the black beaver dubbing, wax the thread, and spin it on the thread:

Wrap the dubbing to get a nice tight little butt (did that come out wrong??)

Run the thread forward short of the head, tie off and cut off:

I use the floss on a bobbin for bodies like the Beauty's.  I start it the same way you do when you tie in thread, but I don't cut the tag end off until I have run the floss back to the butt.  I like a smoother body, so I am constantly twirling the bobbin counter clockwise as I'm wrapping it to take the twist out of it, making it lie flatter.  Some good friends like a "ribbier" look to the body (hello Jack Skelley) so they don't do the untwisty thingy.  "Your hook, your rules."

Cut the tag end off at the butt:

Begin wrapping forward:

Wrap forward leaving room for a good head and tie off:

Wrap the rib, going for the traditional but completely reasonless 5 turns (I know somebody is going to come up with a reason now):

This just in from Jack Skelley: "There is an odd number of turns of ribbing on any body. Doesn't have to be 5. On small flies 3 and larger streamers 7 or even 9! The reason you ask! So the ribbing is evenly distributed giving s somewhat balanced look and to hold the body material in place in the case of a fish's tooth hits the body material (and I think it is also a standard convention!). The middle turn (either 2, 3,4,or 5) should be 'exactly' in the middle of the body with all the turns equally spaced."

It's all about a balanced appearance to the angler's eye.  Why didn't I think of that?  Miramichi friend Rob Feeney recently explained it similarly.  When oh when will I ever listen??

Now tie in the UV Minnow Belly (I have a sneaking suspicion that this is one of the keys to the Beauty's success.  As soon as I learn how to converse with atlantic salmon, I'll let you know if it really is or not.)

Here's a little how-to within a how-to on how I make throats when called for on a fly.  I think it's described also in one of Dick Talleur's books, but I don't think he came up with it.  Maybe somebody like Charlie DeFeo or somebody.  Dunno.  (edit:  I do know now.  Fellow forum-goer Eric Pepper was taught this method BY Charlie DeFeo at a Theodore Gordon Fly Fishers fly tying event.  Thanks for clarifying for us, Eric.)   Anyway, saves all that wrapping and pulling down stuff you have to get into if you wrap the throat versus this method:

Take a couple hen neck feathers (or whatever type of chicken you like to make your throats with...and this method also works with pheasant rump, etc), pull off the fuzz, and snip the stems so that you have a V-shaped pair:

Hold them under the hook so that the natural curve faces down and make a couple loose thread wraps around them:

Pull the stems forward 'til you have the throat length you think will drive salmon crazy:

Tie off, cut off the stems, and you have yourself a throat.  None of the tugging and pulling and yanking trying to get a wrapped hackle to behave!

So now we have a throat:

We're nearing the finish line.  Tie in the very hard to find Flashabou Grizzly Accent Pearl and Black flash.  Why they call it Pearl and Black is beyond me.  It is Green and Black.  Only two places I know you can get it.  Jann's netcraft and a place in Canada that I can't remember.  Trust me, I own every single flash brand/color that even approaches this stuff from back when I was trying to buy more of the unlabeled stuff I first started tying the Beauty with.  I have it on good authority that this is the only brand of flash to use if you want the Beauty to perform optimally.

Tie in your wing material du jour:

Trim and put a good dab of head cement on the butt ends before wrapping the head:

Wrap and varnish (I use 3-4 coats of Clear Cellire, which is now up to about 5 bucks/dinky little bottle!) and you are done.

The Celtic Beauty has some endearing qualities:  it doesn't take long to tie, it is very durable, and kind of importantly, it makes atlantic salmon want to bite it.  Give it a try this summer...you'll be glad you did!