Sunday, August 28, 2016

Later Summer Distractions ... and Flies

Late Summer Ghost
Late Summer Ghost
Late summer and the vocational pursuits trump piscatorial adventure. Sadly.

Everybody has the summer blues. We need to be fishing but the weeks slip away with the other required activities of daily life. At first family, then the heat, and now the day job.

It's how it goes until we reach season's end and wish that we'd found one more outing, one more fish.

So, next best thing: the vise in the evening. (As my spouse would say: the vice).

Steve has a great fly over on the Soft-Hackle Journal here called the Turkey & Starling Nymph.

I've just received a huge handful of cock pheasant tails from a friend and so, used what was at hand.

The fly pictured here is a size 16 pheasant-tail soft-hackle using a peacock herl head for my friends: the brookies.  It is wire-ribbed and designed specifically for a buddy who likes to fish the same fly all afternoon.

This will do it.

I've increasingly come to like soft-hackles tied in the style of having the herl in front of the hackle. Some of the old spiders in Robert Smith's The North Country Fly: Yorkshire's Soft Hackle Tradition clearly follow this line of approach. I like the style because it enforces a clean-eye design. Summer flies for me often become over-crowded so much so that I have a box of "not quite" flies that didn't make the cut. Eye-crowding is the most common offense.

I should say it is only a varient of the pheasant-tail soft-hackle flymph so hardly anything original or distinctive. I do like the lighter hackles in fall and they seem to work (I've only done the lighter hackle for two seasons though so we're early in the objective evidence stage).

Late Summer Ghost:
Hook: Umpqua #16 (any)
Thread: Pearsall's in scarlet.
Tail: generous pheasant tail barbs more than you'd think would look good on any mayfly.
Abdomen: Pheasant tail ribbed with ultrafine in gold or silver.
Hackle: Ginger or bleached hen. Three wraps (which you'll think too many as you tie).
Collar: three strands herl counter-wrapped short and secured with a couple thread wraps running through.

This fly really isn't a very good spider. It is however a damn fine micro-streamer, iso, or pupae in the drift. It works. I don't know why but when in the water it looks "buggy."

Bushy tail. Longish active hackle. Herl. 

Weighted, this Late Summer Ghost is nice in a snap-jig motion. I'll tie some this week with four-to-six wraps of non-lead at the rear of the shank to be covered with larger pheasant-tail barbs. Sacrilege!   Weighted soft-hackle! Yep. There it is. 12, 14, 16, 18 and unweighted in 20.

I'll tie these aplenty and some Cougs (the coug) and some 18/20 CDC-only Caddis  [with thanks to Ed Engle for the pattern (Ed's book: Tying Small Flies)]. These should take care of my buddy at fall fish camp and give him plenty to fish even if he only ties on one pattern a day.

Now if I can just do a little more field research on the water I'd be all set. I've got some fox-squirrel and bucktail streamers I'm anxious to try.

In the meantime ... the vice. Er ... vise.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weather Has Broken

The weather broke here about 8 days ago. It started raining again.

Today's highs will be in the low 70's.

It's time to think of trout again -- since we won't be killing them on the release.

The little beast at left is "The Coug."

The tiny bit of herl and a grey soft-hackle hen just killed brookies for me last fall. 14/16/18.

I used scarlet floss to wrap the body and create the tag. Pearsall's silk in scarlet is used on the fly but any thread will do. Old fat brookies need glasses to read so use that to your advantage. This follows the GISS principal for nothing at all. Pure attractor play.

I'm reading Ed Engle and his small fly tactics. Time to think of "the coug" in size 22. I'd love to hear from small fly fisherman who have used the small-fly in the soft-hackle variants.  I'm wondering about drift and drag though I take plenty of fish tight-line so just haven't sorted the small fly business in my mind. I've thought myself a presentationist from early dry-fly training but fish a tight line a little less than half the time with little difference in results.

Can it be that trout just don't care?

Local Hatch:

Ephoron's are hatching here on the Huron. In two weeks they'll be up north.  I'm tying soft-hackle Ephoron's after finishing this entry. Sunday morning at the vise. You commune with your gods. I'll commune with mine.

Mill Creek:

The shocking mid-summer in my Mill Creek restoration stream was disappointing. Few fish found in the public access part which runs through Dexter. Heat. Hopefully, the fish went upstream to springs and holes. Hopefully.

Good news is that shocking efforts far upstream in cooperation with some local landowners showed good fish including a 23" - 25" trophy trout. They're in there and for a small stream, this is the sort of fish-of-a-lifetime which makes a small stream angler's pulse quicken.

I'm eating berries and nuts for breakfast. I am however dreaming of campfire cooking. It'll be a couple weeks until I can make a dash north to trout-land. Vocational commitments.  You have to pay the trout bills sometime.

Soon time for this (Lou the foxhound is helping in the picture). I could use some fall.

From the Field:

And lastly , a series of action photos from our last Amber Angler outing. Cast, drift, screw with your gear. It's a technique Amber Liquid guys use all the time. Strike inducing, even. Maybe as much as the Leisenring Lift. I know you've used it. We should give it a name. Suggestions?