Monday, March 28, 2016

New Sherriff in Town...Brodie, by name.

Brodie came to our home as a birthday present to me from my ever-thoughtful Bridget.  She understood the loss I felt when Tucker passed away back in November, and this is her way of bringing back English setter life and love to our home.

I picked Brodie up on March 23, 2016 way up in the Colebrook, NH area at Deadwater Gundogs of New England ( ) .  It just so happened that they had a litter of 13 ready to go and sold, but had two last minute cancellations.  Scott from Deadwater sent us a video of the two pups left (a male and a female); the little male, with his half mask, was an instant hit with us.  One of the deciding factors was that in the video, he knocked over a broom, and it didn't phase him one bit; he went right to it to inspect.

Brodie's mother is Deadwater Zee, a hard-working dog in Deadwater's guiding string.  His father is 4X Champion Long Gone Buckwheat, winner of the National Amateur Woodcock Championship and the Grand National Grouse Championship.  Lots of horse dog power between those two.  And yes, I have a lot to handle on my hands!  Brodie is a beautiful tricolor, my favorite of the setter color schemes.

Anyway, here's Brodie during his first visit to his new backyard:

Brodie's schedule has pretty much worked out to an hour as a blur, then an hour of this:

I love the wavy hair of a setter's ears.  A little secret:  I've also always loved the smell of a setter's ears:

Tucker left behind an almost astounding collection of stuffed toys for the next guy in line.  Brodie particularly likes mauling the polar bear:

It didn't take him long to pick out his own easy chair (we have absolutely no problem with that; Bridget even piled up a couple pillows to help him figure out how to get up there:

After almost a week here, I figured it was time to get Brodie acquainted with the Cave (after a semi-massive clean-up of feathers and fur - thank heavens for that big closet!)

I believe he's found the Cave to his liking:

So that's our Brodie.  I look forward to sharing the journey from puppy to gundog over the years.  Brodie is only the sixth setter I've trained, but they all turned out to be great bird dogs and friends.  I hope you'll enjoy the ups and downs of it all as the years pass.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Updated Size 10 salmon hook comparison chart

Well, with nothing better to do (not) on a beautiful early Spring morning here in southern Vermont, I decided to update my size 10 hook comparison chart.  There's a couple new hooks in the stable, a result of my searches to replace the lamented loss of the Tiemco 7999 (stupid Tiemco), which I thought I'd bring to your tying bench.

This go 'round, I've included prices, either from where I bought the hooks, or from quick Google searches.  My winner (by just the slim margin of a finer return eye) to replace the 7999 is the Akita AK305.  I prefer a heavy size 10; I've just had too much good luck with it not to stick with it.  An example of its staying power is the Celtic Beauty tied on it with which Bridget hooked 7 salmon a couple Septembers ago:

I've broken down the price per hook.  It's eye opening.  Good thing I like the Akita and Maruto more than any of the Partridges (which I suppose are OK if you're on the Partridge Pro Staff and get them for free or at a discount) because they are priced WAY above my paygrade (Prices are U.S. dollars; foreign shipping for some of the hooks increases the cost per hook somewhat dramatically - not taken into consideration here):

 Akita A305:                           29 cents/hook
Maruto M30:                          19   "          "
Tiemco 7999:                          good luck
Partridge M2:                         80 cents/hook
Partridge single Wilson:         51   "         "
Partridge Bartleet Supreme:   70   "         "
Mustad  SL53 UBL                28   "         "
Daiichi 2421                           38   "         "
Partridge CS42 Bomber         28   "         "

Missing from the chart this time (where'd they go?) is the Gaelic Supreme hook.  Sixty cents a pop.

Where can you buy the Akita and Maruto hooks?  Not telling.  But easy enough Google.

So...the chart.  Hope it's helpful. (click on it to make it bigger)


Friday, March 11, 2016

Another Famous Grouse Fly

The similarity I noticed in my last blog post between Bob Warren's Glenlivet salmon fly and a Glenlivet bottle got me to thinking that I should make another stab at a Famous Grouse fly, this time more modeled on that scotch's logo bird than my last effort and more "spey style":

Several years ago, a "forum acquaintance" from a U.K.-based atlantic salmon fishing forum (  sent me some samples of claret seal fur dubbing.  One of the packages came from Frankie McPhillips Traditional Irish dubbing.  It was lovely dubbing.  Fast forward to this project.  The package of McPhillips' dubbing I had looked perfect for the project, but not the right shade.  I wanted the body of the fly to go from darker at the butt to lighter towards the head, like the logo bird.  A quick google and I was at Frankie's website
(  Great color photos of all his dubbing; I was able to order the two I wanted and received them promptly.

Here's where it gets "it's a small world" cool.  My partner Bridget's parents came over from Northern Ireland many moons ago.  She is the first of her family born here.  I thought she'd get a kick out something I'd bought from Ireland.  She read the package and burst out laughing.  "Enniskillen, that's where the family farm is...I've been there twice!"  And that's where McPhillips' Irish dubbing is made.  Some one on the U.K. salmon forum told me that Frankie has a nice fly shop there.  We need to go.

Back to the Fly.  I selected Fiery Brown dubbing for the rear third of the body, and Ballinderry Brown for the front two thirds.  I wanted to use feathers from the red grouse skin I have for hackling but they are all too brown to match the logo bird.  I went with ringneck pheasant rump dyed orange for the body hackle, and mallard for the throat hackle.  Tag and ribbing are gold oval Lagartun's tinsel.  I did manage to use a tail feather from the red grouse for the wing and of course Jungle cock for the eye.

I still have a bit of a tremor in my hands, so the head isn't the best, but it'll pass.  Here ya go (click on the pic for a larger version):

I think we'll give it a swim this fall on the Miramichi.