Saturday, December 13, 2014

How to tie one of my favorite Winter Rogue River fly... "Punch in the Face!"

I have tried a bunch of patterns over the years, some worked some didn't. Those years of experimentation taught me there are several different characteristics that lead to catching fish on the Rogue.

 The most important characteristic is weight. I have found that I can adjust the depth of weighted flies by line tension, but its hard to control a neutral buoyant fly--even on the end of a sink tip. You will never catch a Steelhead if you can't present the fly in a way that will produce a strike regardless of color or movement. This is where the wire came in. In the early days I couldn't match conditions as the only color I had was copper,but nowadays, with all the colors on Uni Wire you can tie a fly to match any condition.

This is the second most important characteristic...Color. The fish has to be able to see your offering. There are times when fish will  key on one color or another, but most of the time I have found that color plays an important role in what the fish can see.   From Silver for bright and sunny days, to black and blue for low light conditions and everything in between Uni has it covered.  

Besides weight and color, movement is an important characteristic. Steelhead can be like your house cat at get your cat to attack you have to add more movement to your taunting. The thin body profile that the wire allows helps the hackles pulsate...they are unrestricted by the thick chenille bodies that traditional patterns boast.   

Now that you have seen some of the thought behind my wired patterns tie some up and give them a'll be surprised how they will become one of your go to patterns. I have included a video showcasing my favorite high off colored water wired fly, Punch In The Face. Its Black and Blue color provides the shadow and low light color that the fish can see. Its one of my alternative flies for people who don't like to cast intruders....Get out there.....


Thursday, December 11, 2014

LTS Fly Fishing is at the forefront of innovation!

I can’t say how happy I am that I asked Donna O’Sullivan of fishon-sports  to test one of the LTS rods last year.  I was so taken in by the LTS 8126-4 explosive that I knew I had to have one. When she offered me a prostaff spot I was ecstatic as I could tell that LTS was on the cutting edge of graphite and taper innovation. Their “Secret Squirrel,” Graphite has produced a ultra-light rod that’s full of power with the right amount of dampening—making LTS one of the most efficient sticks I have ever laid my hands on!

Innovation continues, as the 2015 LTS lineup is absolutely amazing! I recently got to play with a special prototype rod that I wish I could have kept—even know it was in its naked Prototype form. It is a 6/7126-4. That’s right, 6/7 weight that encompasses all the Explosive characteristics of its bigger brothers, (all pun intended). It feels like the 8126 Explosive, with the catapult tip and all, but is a tad softer in the butt to please casters that like their rods to flex more to the grip. The 6/7 is a versatile tool that masters  all forms of Spey casting and fishing. It loves the LTS 6 IIIs Scandi FHI (also new for 2015) as well as all the 6wt Skagit’s we put on it. I am extremely excited for this rod to come out as it’s the perfect all around Summer Stick for the Pacific Northwest. If you want to see the 6/7126 and other innovative LTS rods in action checkout the video below. If you haven’t casted any of LTS’s stuff yet you owe it to yourself to do so. Contact Donna or I and we’ll let you play with some of the most innovative rods out there…You’ll be glad you did!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why fish wired flies?

The slight tug told me there was a fish in the emerald depths, but the abrupt slack left me burning for a better setup. I was around 14 at the time, and just as enthused about steelhead as I am today, but the fish came way harder back then then they do now. Just the gear alone made a day on the river exhausting to a 120lb 14 year old. Spending the day throwing a honey yellow 9wt Lamiglas was enough to tear off anyone’s arm, but add some mono and lead core and your just asking for trouble. Standing in the river was just as bad in those days--I could never afford the fancy new neoprene waders so I was stuck with the good ole heat sapping latex Sealdri's. To lose a steelhead back then proved to be far more disappointing than today to say the least. We never caught many, so to lose one meant weeks’ worth of work, and more than 1000 cast. I almost gave the sport up completely until a good friend of mine introduced me to a book titled Dry Line Steelhead and Other Subjects written by Bill McMillan. This book was a revelation for me, and my buddy Jim Newton, as we were looking for any way to stop throwing the old chuck and duck. It just made sense to use a floating line, long leader, and heavy fly, but the hooks we relied on to plunge feathered offering through the chilled currents were so thick and dull that hooksets became a major issue; So much so, that I searched for another way.  

The Wired Flies became the answer to my epic fly journey. I could fish a regular wired hook, taking advantages of its sharp needle like point, yet maintain the weight and profile I knew would induce a strike. I tried the whole dubbing and chenille over led wire bit, but I lost the profile I was used to—so back to the drawing board. The search for the Holy Grail of patterns, ended for me when I started making my bodies out of wire. I discovered it by accident. I had run out of lead wire, so I wrapped the biggest copper wire I could find on the hook then decided it looked too good to cover. I almost forgot about the fly until a boat in front of me was saying fish on copper colored hot shots. As luck would have it the wired copper fly I had tied that spring was the only fly I had of that color, so I tied it on halfheartedly, and fished it.  Within a few minutes I was hooked up.

I was only after the weight inducing aspect of the wire, but after using them for years I found wired body flies to have a several qualities that I never banked on.

1.       They allowed me to fish several different depths. With one fly, I could cover the whole run from top to bottom. Half hitch the head and the fly would skate, throw a couple of mends on top of it and it will dead drift the bottom.  Throw less aggressive mends and you can swim it through your favorite mid strata lie.

2.       They are extremely durable, a property that comes in handy when you have hit the mother load, or have been bouncing your offering across the stone ridden steelhead seams.  

3.       With all the wire colors out there you can cover any fishing condition known to man.

The next time you sit down to tie some steelhead patterns, whip out some Uni and give it a try, I bet you ask yourself why you didn’t fish wired flies before.

Great profile with all the weight you need

My wired flies have progressed a long ways from the first copper that hit my box.
Fish are a bit easier to come by nowadays.