Friday, December 20, 2013

Congratulations to Shea Gunkel

My hero, Shea Gunkel is now the newest contract tier for Umpqua. I have no idea when the ink will be set, but expect his patterns in stores around 2015-2016. This guy has paid his dues, and deserves this as much as any other tier I have met. Lesson learned here, if you want something bad enough go get it, and if you fail do not quit trying.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

How a fly comes into existance part 3: Protein Shake Mysis

Hook: Gamakatsu C12U size 16, smaller sizes tied on TMC 2488H
Eyes: small black rubber legs, or red micro tubing
Beard/feelers: white Senyo's Laser dub
Legs: white ostrich herl
Body: glow in the dark mylar or flashabou covered on top with thin layer of epoxy

This is the original version of the fly I came up with in 2010. Since then the hook eye has the two end pieces of flashabou cut at angles to look like the terminal flipper or fin on a real shrimp. I also tie more with red/orange eyes then black eyes. I was inspired to come up with my own mysis after fishing the few major mysis tailwaters and finding the large fish turn off of the Sand's epoxy mysis, Craven's mysis, and Tim Heng's Mysis. I needed one or two more patterns to mix it up. The first pattern I came up with I called the Garcia Blanco, and will not show that today. That pattern is an ultimate attractor and doesn't look that realistic as a mysis. The second pattern was a Mike Tucker scud tied in white. I thought I was on to something until Brent Boyd gave me a Mike Tucker mysis. After collecting many samples of shrimp and taking a look at their size, color, and movement, Shea Gunkel and I decided to try to make some realistic mysis patterns. Obviously the Mayer's Mysis, Will Sand's epoxy Mysis, Tim Heng's Mysis, Craven's Mysis, the HMG Mysis, Stalcup's Mysis and Murphy's Mysis all influenced my design.  Mayer's Mysis with his rubber feelers intrigued me but the flash back seemed too much; Craven's Mysis is still the most productive shrimp I have ever fished; and the HMG mysis is deadly realistic but lacks movement. So I decided to take certain attributes from each. Also when Mysis start to die they turn from clear to white, so a mixture of epoxy and white seemed to look like a mixture of the two. The Ostrich and the Laser dub create the movement, and the secret weapon of the fly (until Jon Kleis introduced it in his Kleis's mysis) is its "glow in the dark" nature. As we have seen trophy fish get more selective due to increased angling pressure on our Colorado tailwaters, fish feed heavier under the cover of night, and we now fish 24 hours a day. Shea Gunkel and Jon Kleis definitely helped me develop this pattern, as you can clearly see in its sister pattern the Kleis's mysis. I remember a day I took my girlfriend fishing at the Frying Pan flats. It was her second day fishing ever, and in three casts she had hooked three fish on the Protein Shake. Her rig had two other mysis on it. I have also seen pressured, lock-jawed fish cut over a foot and inhale it. Its just something a little different then you can pick up at Taylor Creek Fly Shop, Cutthroat Angler's, or Almont Anglers. Overall I would say its my most effective mysis behind Craven's mysis.

                               The first fish I caught on the protein shake mysis. Spring 2010

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How a fly comes into existance part 2: CGP midge

Captain Glitter Pants
Hook: red 18-22 of your choice
body:  holographic flashabou of your color choice
rib: stripped peacock herl
thread: black
head: black thread head covered with purple glitter nail polish
top coat: sally Hanson's, brushable Clear Cure, or whatever protects the rib and gives it a translucent finish

Larry Kingrey has the wonderful midge, Cap'N'hook. I was having a session tying them, when I started using different types and colors of flash for the body wrap. the holographic flash especially black and purple seemed to look really interesting. Well I fished those as well for a couple years until I was introduced to Joe Nicklo's Glitter midge. The Glitter midge has hooked many large fish for me on tailwaters, and I believe the key was in the glittery head. It's the same concept as a mercury bead, but a different look: the glitter mimics the air bubble and other pupae-adult body transformations. Of course I fished this version and it did well. But eventually I wanted to make a more realistic body. I have used stripped peacock herl on mercury black beauties and dry flies before, and when when it is wet, it really gives a realistic segmented body. It looks even better when coated with some sort of glossy finish. I must also thank Shea, for he and I were tying a ton of midges on red hooks, and his Mollie's Midge slays as much or more than the CGP. Putting ultra floss at the head like Garcia's rojo midge for an emerging insect works well too.

On Colorado tailwaters in the winter, a true 22 or 24 works the best, sometimes tied on a non-colored hook, but in spring, summer, and fall, nothing beats the red hook in an 18-22. I don't have one specific fish story about this fly, but everyone who has tied one up has done well with it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How a fly comes into existance part 1

I have talked to many up-and-coming tiers, experienced tiers, legendary tiers, and I like to ask them how did they come up with their patterns. Usually its a mixture of trying to match some bug or fish, taking an older pattern and tweaking it, or a collaborative effort between tiers.

While helping with Project Healing Waters on BVR, I asked John Barr if he had any new flies brewing? He said flies will just come to him, whether its driving or in the shower, or on the water. I was frustrated with his brief answer, hoping for some insight into the successful tying career of JB himself. If you are an up-and-coming tier read Barr flies!!! Specifically, look at the development of the Copper John. The CJ was crafted for a specific purpose, a first generation dropper off of a dry fly. The most modern CJ is more durable then the original, and a million of us tiers have made our own variations to fulfill our needs.

Every Pattern I have created has some Craven, Gunkel, Garcia, Tucker, Galloup, Ramirez, Kingrey, etc. in it. I have come up with maybe a half dozen productive patterns I consider my own. But every single one is only partly mine. I will showcase each of the patterns for a couple of purposes. Number 1, I want them documented so they can't be ripped off (which has happened before), and Number 2, I want them to be tested and fished. This series will include,

Captain Glitter Pants midge (CGP midge)

Protein Shake Mysis

Freemont Scud

"Picture Coming Soon"

Sexzilla Streamer

Santa's Skagit Sculpin

Change Up Baetis,

 s'Gulp'n tube Sculpin

I am not a talented tier, I am not even a fast tier, I do not produce a lot of flies. I tie as many flies in a year as Shea Gunkel ties in two weeks. I cannot tie more than a couple of a certain pattern before I get bored and start making variations, and most of the flies I come up with end up in a bin to be stripped and salvaged for future flies. The reality is I only tie when I can't go fishing, but have some free time, or panicking at 1 am to replace half a dozen of the "hot fly" for a float trip the next day.

I would love to share the story of each of my flies: including their inspiration, their collaborators, their development, as well as an on water story. And some of these flies have changed since I first posted them on Trout Pursuit. I would appreciate any feedback on these flies, how they fish, their design, etc.