Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tying with the boys

I've been busy with the holidays and not doing a whole lot of flyfishing related stuff.  I've spent a little time organizing my gear and flytying stuff and tying a few pike and saltwater flies lately.  Mostly I've been spending my time teaching my boys how to tie flies and tying with them.  They have actually started to ask to do it more often and become much more interested in learning about it.  Of course they always want to try to tie the most complicated flies with rare or expensive materials that I don't have on hand so I try to convince them some of the more basic flies would be better to start with.  They really like the looks of some of my deerhair bass bugs so we compromised and tried tying one up.  We had fun and we all liked the results.  We also tied up a few steelhead type leeches that day.

Another time we got to tying a version of Jeff's road kill flies over at with a few material substitutions according to what I had on hand.  These should catch us some nice bass and panfish next summer.  Keegan also wanted to tie up a woolley bugger since his brother tied one up another day he wasn't feeling well.

I have some time off over the holidays and hope to get to some more tying and posting.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A little late

Tied these guys a little late to fish for stripers this year considering we got about 8" of snow last night.  I'll be prepared for next year.  Can't have enough.  I'd hate to run out when there are big stripers around.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Steelhead time

With the striper season behind me it's time to get ready for steelhead!  I went through and organized some of my boxes to see if there were any flies I feel like I need for this season.  This box is looking pretty good filled with sculpins and flashy leeches.  One week away from a full week of swinging flies looking for a tug from some NY and MI steel.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A day to remember

I figure if I keep going fishing eventually I'll have a good day.  Last time out striper fishing I had a day I'll be sure to remember for a while.  Headed out with my friend John on a beautiful, fall day that felt more like July than the end of September it was so warm and humid.  The day started slowly with no sign of fish at the first spot and it took a while to hook up in the second spot where John caught a small striper.  It got a little more interesting when John hooked up a much larger fish that broke him off in a frenzied thrashing on the surface at the end of a long cast.  From there it was my turn and I experienced some of the best big striper fishing I've had on the Maine coast.  For the next couple of hours I spent more time fighting fish than I did actually casting.  The only disappointment I had was losing what I think was the largest striper I've ever hooked.  After landing a few good fish I hooked one that didn't feel anything like the others.  It was a whole other class of fish.  It powered it's way out into my backing with a few slight pauses.  I put a lot of pressure on the fish but never felt like I had any control over it.  At one of the pauses my line went slack and at that moment I thought I broke the fish off only to find out after retrieving my line that it pulled the hook.  I was a little in shock but was happy to get the chance to even play with such a beast.  Here are a few pics from the morning that I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guitar Minnows

Guitar minnows are my go to fly for stripers in lots of different conditions. I turn to this fly when I'm done fooling around and feel like I need to get a fish in the boat. It is a clouser variation developed by Jim Bernstein at Eldredge Bros. Flyshop in Cape Neddick, Maine. One might think it is nothing more than a clouser minnow at first glance but there has been a lot of thought that has gone into this fly. There are subtle differences that come to mind such as the weight and placement of the eyes, the gills, and angle of the bottom bucktail to give balance to the fly and probably more that Jim could point out. He even has fine tuned the presentation of the fly. Put all these things together and this fly is deadly.

This fly is more commonly tied with white neck hackle for the tail.  The fly can have a little different wobbling or twitching action when tied with the feathers.  I prefer the bucktail version since most of the fly is bucktail already, the fly body swims and flows in the same motion.  Olive/seafoam/white is the original basic color scheme I was shown and fished although a bronze top is quite popular.  I tied up a few more variations to match other basic baitfish color schemes and also to test out additional flash.

Here is a very good, detailed step by step video and recipe from youtube done by Jim.

I added a link to striper flies in the navigation bar at the top of the blog with some more guitar minnow pics.  I hope to keep adding more striper flies to this page as I get around to tying and photographing them.

Striper taken on a guitar minnow Sunday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer shots

Few more shots from this summer.  It's been a good one for sure.  Looking forward to the fall.  I've started filling in some holes in the flybox for what I'm hoping is a good fall run.  I put up a few pics to remember what stripers look like.  Just has been tough but not that tough.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sign of fall

School of small baitfish I found stacked up in a corner made by a beach and jetty last night.  No game fish around unfortunately but they can't be far behind.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August slump

Fishing seems to have slowed.  The water inshore has really warmed up and I've been on foot a lot lately which has made it challenging.  I'm still finding fish but not the same numbers and they sure aren't biting as well.  I've tried fishing off the rocks a little and working the higher incoming tides to find some cooler water.  Lots of bait around still especially especially mackerel and sandeels.  I don't mind a little slow fishing this time of year.  I'm still enjoying the sunrises and warm sunny days.  I've taken a lot more pics of sunrises than fish lately.

Picked this one up first thing in the morning.  Should keep me motivated until the fall.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

July stripers

Got a late start on the striper season this year due mostly to family commitments but since late June and right through July I've been fishing as much as possible.  I made about a dozen trips out to the salt both from the boat and shore.  This July has been some of the best mid summer fishing I've ever had.  The numbers of fish weren't the same as past years but the consistency of the fishing, quality of the fish and the different fishing opportunities that presented itself have been amazing.  In all those trips I only got shut out once and that was on the shortest trip which consisted of a quick couple of hours before work.

I've had a chance to fish with a few new people.  James from Big Pike Flies visited all the way from Iowa to give striper fishing a try.  We worked hard for them but he ended up catching the big striper of the day 2 days in a row.  I also got to fish with a new friend of mine Travis who is becoming a pretty hard core chaser of stripers on the fly.

Lots of bait around this year especially sandeels.  It seems like they have brought the fish into the shallow flats after them.  Crabs continue to be effective also.  Sight fishing on the flats has been very good.  The size of the fish combined with how shallow they have been going and the bright sun have made for a lot of fun.  I've had many schools of fish and large singles swim right up to me this summer.  Sometimes all I need to do is get a fly out to them and they'll eat and other times they don't seem as interested and need a more precise presentation.

The more I get out the more in touch with what is going on I get and the success and enjoyment increases.  Here are a just a few pics from this season.
 Solid striper taken first outing of the year on a foggy morning.

Blackbird fools another one in the dark.

Ridiculous day of 30"+ fish.

Grocery pollock gets chewed on by this 32 incher.

John releasing another one.

Flats release

James hooked up again.

Big striper flies is more like it.

Another one sent back.

Working the rocks.

Travis with an early morning flats fish.

Sand eels on the flats.

Chased these little guys in the surf one beautiful, sunny morning while they chased around scattered schools of sandeels.

Had to work hard for this one which I could see swim up and eat a crab.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tying with the boys

My twin 7 year old boys have become more interested in flytying this winter.  They have actually started to ask to tie flies occasionally.  Usually it's some pattern they see in a picture or magazine that is so complicated and requires dozens of rare and expensive materials.  By the time we sit down to tie I can usually convince them to try something a little more simple.  Over the winter we've tied up various streamers, nymphs and foam bugs.  This weekend they saw some crease flies and gurglers I have stuck in some foam on the wall and they wanted to give them a try.  First Keegan had to tie up a foam ant since his brother tied one up a couple weeks ago and he didn't have one in his collection yet.  After we got through that I helped Kai tie up a crease fly and Keegan a gurgler.  The best part to them was tying the flies with white foam so they could color them up with permanent markers after.  We caught a few little native brook trout in a local stream on worms this weekend.  We'll have to start trying a few flies soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Couple of favorite pike flies

Ken at Pike Adventures asked me what's been working for me for pike flies so I threw up a few pics.  These flies might seem a little fancy and fragile compared to most pike flies but I really enjoy tying them.  I love tying with natural materials like bucktail, marabou and feathers and mixing all the different colors together...oh and they usually need to have lots of mixed flash although I noticed I cut back on flash on one of these.  These guys really swim fished fast or slow.  I try to balance them so they don't immediately dive nose down on the pause and instead sit there horizontal or slowly glide downward.  For this reason I don't normally add eyes or epoxy towards the front and try to use lighter wire hooks.  Yellow perch and other combos with orange and chartreuse have worked best for me.  I can't wait to get out there and fish them.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Still around

I'm still around fishing and tying when I can fit in the time.  Got geared up to do some steelhead fishing but the river blew out and the predicted weather called for 15-25 mph winds and heavy rain so I ditched that plan last minute and decided to do a little pike fishing instead before the nasty weather hit home. 

Launched a driftboat with a friend on a perfect, spring morning at one of the few spots that wasn't still locked down with ice.  There was just enough wind to slowly push the driftboat along the shallow flats as we fan casted the area trying to cover as much water as possible. Had a solid bump early on that sure felt like a fish but might have been a log or weeds even though the fly came back clean.  It served to increase my focus on the presentation.  It wasn't long before I actually hooked up with my fly about half way back to the boat.  The fish made a series of short 5-10' bursts and took most of my loose flyline before I gained the upper hand and slowly worked the fish back to the boat.  I was surprised by the size of the fish as it was the largest I've landed in the short time I've been chasing pike.  Unfortunately the fish was hooked deeply and we both lost a little blood in the process.  Hopefully the fish survived after a quick pic and release in the cold water.
Caught a few more average sized pike including one that didn't want to give my fly back.
The wind really started to pick up later in the morning as the storm came in that kept me from going steelhead fishing.  We fought the wind the best we could and called it a day around mid afternoon.  Good first day on the water it was great to fish some new flies tied up over the winter.  Of course I got some new ideas about flies I want to tie and tweaks that need to be done to existing flies making the ones I have already in my box somewhat obsolete.  I don't mind at all since this process keeps my mind actively thinking about this great sport.

I also got to try out a new Rio striper intermediate line which replaced a very worn out older version.  It's a great feeling to cast a nice, slick line that doesn't tangle constantly.  The bad news is I managed to step on it or get it caught on something over the course of the day, stripping off some of the coating of the running line.  The core of the line seems solid still so I'll keep on fishing it.

I've been so busy and while sneaking in a little fishing and tying I haven't felt like writing here much.  I want to thank everyone else for regularly updating their blogs with great reports, stories and flies.  Won't be long and some better weather will be here along with a few stripers making life a little more interesting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eldredge Bros. Flyshop Expo

8th Annual Expo at Eldredge Bros. Flyshop in Cape Neddick, ME Saturday April 2

Great way to kick off the fishing season here in Maine. Gives me a chance to catch up with friends and make plans for fishing trips this year.  There will be plenty of free food like donuts, burgers and dogs.  Manufacturer reps are available with rods to cast and new gear to check out.  There will be spey casting and flytying demos, antique rod appraisals, entomology seminars, and a bunch of gear giveaways (rods, reels, flies, etc.)

For the those of you who aren't local there is an especially sweet deal.  Any purchase over $300 gets a free flyline up to $85 value, any regularly priced fly rod and reel outfit that totals over $300.00 gets a free fly line and backing, any two handed rod and reel outfit gets a free spey line of your choice (versitips not included).  This deal is good for the weekend even for phone and email orders.  Contact the shop for details.

This is the best show of the year in our area. Check out the link for more details -

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Square head poppers

These square headed poppers have intrigued me so I tied a few up in different sizes for largemouth to pike to musky.  I'm looking forward to see what kind of pop and disturbance they make.  I used similar flies last year with deerhair heads that caught fish but didn't stay above the surface for long especially with an intermediate line.  I'm thinking these will float high even with an intermediate.  Shouldn't be long until I can give them a try if we ever get some warm weather.  Need to tie a few up for stripers too although the green one has a mackerel feel to it and should do the trick.

Last year John caught a few pike with me on a twin tailed yellow deer hair popper so I tied one with the yellow foam head as well.

 Directions and more info on tying these flies can be found on the Zero 2 Hero blog.