Lately I've been thinking about a new fly to tie up and use for fishing at night. The fly is eel like in nature with a lot of movement and a couple of features to increase it's apparent bulk in the water and noise. The fly has a rough deerbody hair collar to increase the bulk of the fly in the water and to create turbulence to activate the body and tail materials. Not so much to increase its buoyancy to the point where the fly will float. I was aiming for a fly with slightly less than neutral buoyancy. The fly is finished up with a big set of beadchain eyes which whistle on the cast and hopefully make a distinct sound in the water. The first one I tied up is all black but I have some ideas for other color variations. For dark nights I think black is the way to go. I don't think the fish see much for color then anyway. After tying it up and looking at it, the fly looks a lot like a blackbird to me so I think that's what I'll call it.
The fly proved itself the last time I got out fishing. My time on the water has been very limited so John and I decided to get an early start and fish a few hours in the dark to give us some more time. We splashed the boat around 2am but since it was such a dark night with overcast skies and fog it took us a while to get to where we wanted to fish. We still had a good hour or more before there was even a hint of light. Night fishing on a dark night without any moonlight or other ambient light is a strange experience. Everything is done by feel. I could barely make out the rocky shoreline and couldn't even begin to see my flyline as I was casting. I hooked up about 4 fish in the dark. They all were very weird strikes. Most of the time I just felt the weight of the fish and set the hook. The fish didn't move very much and I loaded my rod right up and the fish dogged it out. I like a slow steady retrieve at night to allow the fish to hone in on the fly. I think the fish just come up slowly and engulf the fly so that's why the strikes aren't very ferocious. During the day the fish feed more by sight and can strike from a longer distance and continue on which can give a much more solid feeling of the take.
My supposedly good camera is having issues so most of the shots aren't coming out very well. I sent it in to hopefully get it fixed under warranty. Here's a couple of pics of a fish caught on the blackbird.
As it got light out I switched over to fishing some different deceiver like patterns and picked up a few more fish. John and I ventured out to fish the outer islands and ledges but didn't find too much going on.
We headed back in to fish the where we caught the fish early in the day. I switched over to a guitar minnow and got into a few more fish. Sometimes with this pattern and the retrieve the fish can take the fly deep.
Got this solid stripe not long before I had to call it a day.
I have some time to fish this weekend and hope to get out and fling some flies around some of my favorite rocks. Got the striper school at the flyshop with Lou Tabory on Sunday to look forward also.