Thursday, January 31, 2019

Soft~Hackle Journal February 2019

        Winter's Vise 

     Hope ya’ll are wintering better than the old Ford here. You who live in the northern tier may be suffering snow & cold, but in the lush coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest it is rain, rain, & more rain. Jeff Cottrell sent us this photo from the Olympic Peninsula, taken in the vicinity of the Quinalt River. Incidentally, an area with not only the most precipitation, but also one of the highest suicide rates in America. A paradise for writers, steelheaders (in good years), & fly tyers. The great Syd Glasso comes immediately to mind. But whoever you are & wherever you live in trout country, if you are a fly tyer February is a fly tying month &, chances are, a lot of you are at the vise stocking up for the coming season. For that reason, I’m devoting this month to highlighting what I’ve been tying lately.

#8 Mustad 3366 ~ black hen hackle ~ black rooster hackle barbs & asian
 jay tailing ~ fine silver wire rib ~ silver tinsel body ~ black saddle palmer ~
pinch of asian jay as a sparse half-wing (blue guinea substitutes)

     Irish Flies For Winter

      I love the Irish style wetflies for Winter fishing. The style lends itself perfectly to creating wee lures meant for swinging. The Irish tie this style for lake, stream, trout, seatrout & salmon fishing.

#6 TMC 200R ~ rust-brown UNI 8/0 thread ~ ringnech pheasant church
window hackle ~ copper tinsel tag ~ golden pheasant tippet tailing ~
copper wire rib ~ dark olive hares mask body ~ rust-brown grizzly pakmer ~
jungle cock cheeks
     As stream flies the traditional Irish flies are generally tied on standard wetfly hooks, however, for swinging, I sometimes like a bit of iron hanging back in the tail area for dealing with noncommittal tail-grabbers. I usually tie these on #6-#10 TMC 200R or salmon/steelhead style hooks, but also standard wetfly in those sizes. These make great lures to fill the gap between large streamers & wee flies. 

#8 TMC 200R ~ brown UNI 8/0 thread ~ pheasant church window hackle ~
green tinsel tag ~ copper wire rib ~ sulfur dubbing body ~ rust-brown grizzly
palmer ~ brown pheasant rump rear hackle collar

     The basic design frame of the Irish wetflies is thus: One to three collar hackles (many patterns use pheasant church window as the front hackle collar); sometimes a clump wing; a body of tinsel or dubbing; palmer hackle over the body; sometimes without tailing, though most often tailed, & often with more than one tailing material. Jungle cock or biots are often added as cheeks. Forgive me for not including the dressings for these. For anybody interested in tying the Irish flies, I'd suggest the Frankie McPhilips videos available on youtube. And if you'd like the dressing for any featured here, let me know in the comment box below & I'll be glad to write it out. 

#6 TMC 200R ~ yellow UNI 8/0 thread ~ ginger front collar ~ copper tinsel tag ~ yellow marabou/pheasant tail swords tailing ~ gold tinsel body ~ yellow shlappen palmer ~ brown pheasant rump rear hackle collar ~ bronze mallard wing 
# 8 TMC 200R ~ rust-brown UNI 8/0 ~ red guinea front hackle collar ~ copper tinsel tag ~ red guinea hackle fibers/golden pheasant tippet tailing ~ copper wire rib ~ golden orange dubbing ~ orange saddle palmer ~ golden pheasant tippet half-wing ~ orange hen rear hackle collar
#4 TMC 200R ~ olive UNI 8/0 ~ olive grizzly front hackle collar ~ copper tinsel tag ~ peacock herl/olive marabou tailing ~ silver wire rib ~ green tinsel body ~ brown saddle palmer ~ olive guinea rear hackle collar 
#6 TMC 200R ~ wine UNI 8/0 ~ black hen front collar ~ orange tinsel tag ~ peacock herl/red saddle tailing ~ silver wire rib ~ orange tinsel body ~ red saddle palmer ~ golden pheasant tippet half-wing ~ red guinea rear hackle collar 
#8 TMC 200R ~ wine UNI 8/0 ~ pheasant church window hackle collar ~ copper tinsel tag ~ silver wire rib ~ peacock herl body ~ brown saddle palmer
#8 TMC 200R ~ yellow UNI 8/0 thread ~ golden plover front hackle collar ~ gold tinsel tag ~ turkey tail swords tailing ~ gold french oval rib ~ hares mask body with squirrel thorax ~ brown partridge rear hackle collar

        Partridge & Yellow

     Drifting the river, we encounter back-eddies that, in summer, accumulate organic slicks composed, mostly, of the oil & debris of decayed & decaying insects from past nights hatches. Mixed with that dusty miasma are a number of still-living & edible wee insects. There are usually some trouts cruising the back-eddy slicks, tipping & sipping. The other guides, with their bobbers & beadheads, generally avoid these fish because they know they are difficult & won't eat that gear. We call these fish "scum suckers," & I love them. I carry a 10', 5wt rigged with a DT & 15' leader tipped with a single Partridge & Yellow, especially for scum suckers. Thread bodies fish cleaner in the scum, as dubbing tends to gather it.

I can't think of anything more zen simple than this fly, nor as difficult to tie. It is buck naked & there's no hiding in the details. I think the trick with this, or any fly, is to get it 'right' without resorting to primness. When tying, making bait, I don't think about a rigid metric of correctness while I work. I've seen it. I'm visualizing perfect-circle grabs under lowering skies, on those summer scummed seam-lines. Trying to put that mojo into the fly in my vise. Constantly washing my hands while handling the yellow silk, it still colors with my doings.

                                             The Reel News

Strange visitor?

Is Donald Trump really a self-made man?

World’s largest gathering of humans.

California sea rise.


      In the book, Art of the Wet Fly, Leisenring & Hidy introduce the concept of ‘translucence’ as a desirable quality in an artificial fly. This is meant as the fly having a look of semi-transparency, this usually accomplished with a contrasting silk providing an undertone to sparsely dubbed bodies twisted on the silk. This ambiguous quality works very well in designs meant to simulate fairly drab colored stream-born insects like caddis & mayflies.

      But what of ‘contrast’ alone, without veiling dubbing? Not all insects exhibit translucency. Many present a hard outline, exhibiting a more plastique quality in which contrast may be stark & immediately apparent as a triggering/keying characteristic. A good example of contrast is the color banding we see on some stream-born bugs, & more often on terrestrials often found around trout streams – wasps, sweat bees, false bees & deer flies come immediately to mind – & these are often found in trout stomachs during the warmer months. Those deer flies orbiting our heads while we try to fish, waiting for a lapse in our attention, may actually be good bait.

       Might be a good searching pattern for fishing the water in high summer, when water-born insect hatches have diminished.

Deer Fly/Sweat Bee

I tyed a couple versions of this, using UNI spooled yarn for one, & 'C' rod wrapping thread for a smaller version.

Hook: #10-#14
Thread: Rust-brown or olive UNI 8/0
Hackle: English grouse
Body: Yarn or thread wound together to create alternating bands
Head: Peacock herl

Monday, December 31, 2018

Soft~Hackle Journal January 2019

               Happy New Year

“…We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet…”

Hope somebody gave you some good sipping whiskey for Christmas, & that you haven’t made any overly brash & severe New Year resolutions.

Though not old enough to vote, the fine single-malt in the photo is as smooth as a dimpled glide, bearing haunting tones of peat, seaweed & furrowed earth, with melancholic undertones of dark moor, salmon water & the smoke of ancient battles.

Of course, one must be discerning. More than a wee dram may lead to shocking, salacious behavior.

Bill Shuck photo

                               Leisenring’s Cow Dung ~ Bill Shuck

Don’t know where he got the dung fly porn, & didn’t ask, yet the estimable Mr. Shuck arises presciently on-cue with an instructional/inspirational follow-up to the above whiskey passages. Bill, we doff our collective hat.

Not a very elegant fly? Hey it’s a dung fly.

Leisenring nailed the color & texture of the dung fly; his version serving as a better imitation than the dark olive, floss-body version common in fly bins not too many years ago. In the early 70’s I used to fish a creek that meandered through several miles of pasture abundantly mined with ‘meadow muffins’ loaded with dung flies. It was a breezy place & a lot of the weak-flying poop-flies ended up in the water & trout were used to seeing them. Being a severely indoctrinated Leisenring disciple at the time, of course I tied & fished his version of the Cow Dung, & it did turn the trick on that little meadow creek.  And really, I believe that was the only place I ever fished a Cow Dung with any success, certain that my fly was being taken for the natural. Still, if you fish such a place, this is a worthwhile pattern. Here’s Bill’s take on it:

Looking through various listings of patterns tabulated by fly fishing writers over the years, “Cow Dung” appears frequently, appearing in the literature at least as far back as 1836 in Alfred Ronald’s “Fly Fishers Entomology”. The insect it is intended to mimic is a true fly (order Diptera), which have a single pair of wings that originate behind the legs and lie flat and crossed when the insect is at rest. Despite this, all the images I have seen of dressings show the same profile as that traditionally used for winged mayflies, with only the concession of having the wing slanted back at a severe angle.

 Also, various dressings call for body color ranging from lemon to green, with materials varying from worsted (crewel) wool to peacock herl. This seeming discrepancy can be explained by the fact that while the male dung fly common in Britain is a yellowish orange, the female is a dull olive. There are also differences about the material to be used for the wing, with at least one specifying dark mallard wing slips. I attribute this to the fact that the wings of the dung fly are a color best mimicked by slips from the secondary wing feathers of the landrail, a bird that is today universally protected. (Until the starling was declared endangered in Britain and placed on the protected list, Veniard used to sell starling wings dyed brown as a credible sub for the landrail; even those are in short supply these days.)

I have relied pretty much on Jim Leisenring’s version of the pattern as put forth in “The Art of Tying the Wet Fly”:

Cow Dung

Hook: #12, #13 (I used a Mustad 94840, Size #12)

Thread: Orange silk

Hackle: Ginger similar to body color

Body: Yellow crewel wool, seal fur, or mohair mixed with a little brown fur to … give the whole a dirty orange tinge (I used a blend of 85% yellow wool, 10% medium orange seal, and 5% medium brown Aussie possum)

Wings: Landrail (slips) slightly longer than body sloping back close over body with glossy side out (I used Veniard dyed brown starling as sub) ~Bill Shuck

                       The Tying Of The Flies                                

#18 Greenwells ~Steven Bird

“We fish for pleasure, I for mine, & you for yours.”  ~James Leisenring

Angling writers are fond of creating dichotomy. Dryfly versus Wetfly, for example. You guys who’ve been around awhile may remember the famous Halford versus Skues ‘debate’, which outdoor magazine writers riffed off of for decades. There were even reenactments of the famous showdown. Trueblood versus Laycock, in Field & Stream, is one I recall reading when I was a kid. And more recently the Presentation versus Fly Choice debate. Somebody says: “Presentation is everything.” And somebody else says: “Sure. As long as you’re presenting the right fly.” This type of article creates a construct out of really nothing & attempts to conflagrate it to Cold War status. Division creates conflict/drama/tension/excitement - & that does entertain, hence, it sells. (Sound like a familiar tactic?)

“What’s better? Dryfly or Wetfly?

phffft  !

The very premise is shady to begin with. As if there was some static, empirical, absolute metric for better regarding fly-angling methods. No country for sane men. And the way I read the famous debate: Halford, the proselytizer-in-chief, revealed that he was for the most part an air-filled mo-mo, with little actual knowledge of streamborn insects &, in fact, a Presentationist, his reputation founded on that. While the polite, respectful, obviously more advanced & vastly fishier wetfly man, Skues, really couldn’t of cared less &, I think, would happily have done without the whole thing.        

Medusa float indicator tied by Mark Hagopian
I love a good article &, faffing through internut stuff on old flies, I came across this excellent 1957 Sports Illustrated article by John McDonald, titled: The Tying Of The Flies. Not quite five years old when this article appeared, I am impressed with both the quality of the writing, the subject matter, & how well it has held up. I’ve rarely found an article of this caliber in a contemporary outdoor periodical.  McDonald does not construct a dichotomy, the nexus of his subject is interpreting the text in an effort to recreate the ambiguous ancient flies described by Dame Juliana Berners, however in doing so the author posits & explores two schools of fly design: the Classicists & the Innovators. And no doubt these two schools exist today. There are those who tie & fish nothing but the old classics, & get a lot of satisfaction from that. Then there are those who incline toward the fanciful, operating outside of any frame & having a lot of fun with that.  

These things are to be taken with a grain of salt, but I would suggest a third school: the Neoclassicist. A category into which, probably, most SHJ readers fit. The Neoclassicist stands midstream in tradition, knowing & taking what is useful from the past & both defining & refining it in new ways. The Neoclassicist is versatile & flexible – good & useful attributes for one involved in the tying of the flies. I would put forth that there are probably a lot more innovative Neoclassicists than there are pure-D Innovators. No matter. Together we spiral toward good designs.

                                                The Reel News

Considering the planetary tipping point.

The key to having it made is being able to realize when you have it made.

Thought Mexico was supposed to be paying for The Wall… But do we really need a wall? Consider roughly half of the southern border with Mexico is the Rio Grande River (water shared by both countries) & that the Bush administration already built a wall wherever it is possible do so, short of building it down the center of the river.  So?…


                                       Winter/Spring Trout Spey Spiders

Like a lot of you I am at the Winter vise, dreaming of warmer months, sure, but not in any real hurry to get there. Savoring the last of the Christmas whiskey, the home fire, the slow pace, & the tying of the flies. Here’s a few lures I’ll swing in early Spring before the insect hatches get going. Plenty of red. Red’s a trigger on pre-spawn rainbows in the mood for a tussle.

          Spruce Spider

Hook: #10 salmon/steelhead

Thread: Wine UNI 8/0

Hackle: Furnace

Body: Pac Bay Ruby 'C' rod wrapping thread -- forward 1/3 peacock herl 


            Winter Fly

Hook: #8 TMC 200R

Thread: Wine UNI 8/0

Hackle: Brahma hen

Tail: Golden pheasant crest

Rib: Gold tinsel

Body: Olive rabbit; blue dubbing; claret dubbing

           Olive Gun

Hook: #8 salmon/steelhead

Thread: Olive UNI 8/0

Hackle: Guinea

Tail: black yarn

Rib: Silver tinsel

Body: Dark olive floss/peacock herl 

Red Ass Redux

Hook: #8 salmon/steelhead

Thread: Wine UNI 8/0

Hackle: Brahma hen

Tail: Red yarn

Rib: Red wire

Body: Red tinsel/peacock herl

Black/Red Spider

Hook: #8 TMC 200R

Thread: Black UNI 8/0

Hackle: Red Guinea

Tail: Golden pheasant tippet

Rib: Red wire

Body: Black rabbit/mixed red & black seal

Friday, November 30, 2018

Soft~Hackle Journal December 2018

Peace On Earth
                      Goodwill To Men

     Barred Surfperch Season 

    I admit to being a saltwater junkie & a frequenter of the wet sand. You’ve heard of the Fountain Of Youth? Right there. Over on the other side of HWY 1 spread out to the horizon like a spilled Margarita. Having settled in for winter on the Cali coast, where jowser barred surfperch hunt the surf line, I’m heading to the beach on days when the tides are right.

Barred surfperch here average 1 to two pounds, with a better grade in the mix during the Winter months, with occasional fish to 4 pounds. Adapted to life in the rough neighborhood of the surf zone, barred perch are incredibly strong fighters – & they eat the fly very well. A 2-pounder might rip you into the backing. A 3 or 4-pounder will jelly your knees & make a believer of you.

Long rods have always been the choice of surfcasters, & for wet sand fly casters, long, two-handed rods are a fun tool, able to throw heavy flies the necessary distance in the buffeting & often windy conditions encountered on the beach. I’m seeing increasing numbers of two-handed casters on the central & northern California beaches theses days, & a distinct methodology developing.  The beaches of Monterey Bay, with good fishing for striped bass, halibut, & surfperch, have probably inspired the greatest refinements to the game.        

The cast of choice is the two-handed overhead cast, or ‘switch’ cast. This is essentially the same as the ‘conventional’ overhead cast we make with a single-hand rod, but with the addition of a hand on the rear grip to lever the forward cast. Rods of 10 to 12 feet are best for this. The overhead cast is necessary for throwing the 15 to 30-foot fast-sinking heads needed to get a fly down & keep it down in the turbulent surf zone. It is extremely difficult to pick up & aerialize a 30-foot sink-tip & heavily weighted fly with an anchor-point cast, particularly in the waves – hence the switch cast. Open space for the backcast is not a problem. But watch for Cali mermaids walking their Labs.  

Light Spey or switch rods in the #3-#4 weight class are popular in the surf, though I prefer a little more rod, my favorite, a 12’6” #5 Spey. But any longer than that & it becomes difficult to throw the overhead cast.

 Sand, & micro-sand, are ever present in the surf environment, & it gets into everything. Having sacrificed a couple of expensive reels equipped with sealed bearings & disc drags, I’ve come to rely on inexpensive click-pawl models lacking those delicate mechanisms subject to ruination.

Though shooting heads are serviceable, most experienced surf casters come to prefer integrated lines. Surfperch are often very close in, requiring the fly to be stripped nearly to the leader connection, & an integrated line accomplishes this without the irritation of loop-to-loop line connections bumping & catching through the guides. Also, windy conditions on the beach raise hell blowing coils of light shooting line out of the stripping basket, & the heavier running sections of integrated lines stay put in the basket & are easier to handle with cold, wet hands. Though shooting heads generally cast farther, the difference in casting distance is negligible, I think. And a well-matched integrated line will cast better than a not-so-well-matched shooting head.

Remember, it takes a lot less weight to load a rod performing the overhead cast than it does to load a rod with an anchor-point cast, so it’s best to choose a designated surf line with a weight rating near the lightest end of a rod’s grain window. For example, my #5 Spey has a grain window of 350-550 grains. The Cortland Compact Type 9 (sink-rate, 9ips) with 30-foot sink-tip I’m using is rated at 375 grains.          

The leader is simple. I rig a semi-permanent, 2-foot leader butt of stiff, 20 pound test fluorocarbon with a small barrel swivel attached to the tippet end. (Seagar Red Label is the best I’ve used, & available at any Walmart). The swivel is necessary, as the surf will tumble the fly & twist the casting line without it. A 2 to 3-foot tippet of 12 or 15 pound test fluoro, depending on conditions, is knotted to the swivel. Though I’m not real fond of multiple fly rigs as they do tangle, I often prospect with a second fly tied dropshot style at about the middle of the tippet section. The dropper works best unweighted.

 Surfperch baits include Clouser types, Girdle Bugs, Surf Merkins, Mole Crab imitations, & Comet style flies. All but those used as droppers are weighted, either under the body, or with coneheads or dumbells. Shades of dark olive, blue, purple, rootbeer, red & pink, & combinations of these, are good perch colors.

Are surfperch good to eat? No fish better. Surfperch are the ingredient of choice in the original Baja fish taco. They are fairly plentiful & I drop a few in the pack & we enjoy a lot of fresh fish tacos while wintering in Cali.

Mark Hagopian

       Winter Spade Flies 
        ~ Mark Hagopian

Fellow saltwater junky, SHJ East Coast correspondent, & talented fly designer, Mark Hagopian, kindly shares these two elegant herl-body spiders with us. Though Mark tied them with Great Lakes steelhead in mind, I think they show promise as good bait for pre-spawn rainbows, cutthroat, & landlocked salmon as well. Combinations of various hackle & dyed ostrich herl create a spectrum of possibilities for colorations on these. Lots of enticing breathe & pulse in the materials. We all recognize the effectiveness of the soft-hackle design frame in simulating stream-born insects, but Mark’s flies serve as a good example of the simple spider design as a wee lure (attractor), an effective & often overlooked approach to soft-hackle designs. If trout aren’t eating bugs, try swinging a lure. The dressing is simple: a bit of imagination, an ostrich herl body, & a soft hackle or two.

                                                  The Reel News
Patagonia: A company above & beyond.

The Loss Of Animalness: Experiencing smaller & fewer insect hatches?

Bill Shuck
Tying With Rod Wrapping Thread

  Long a staple of soft-hackle tyers, Pearsall’s is no longer selling Gossamer Silk. Huge bummer, to be sure. But don’t worry, necessity is the mother of substitutions. Embroidery thread can be useful. And though it may not be the perfect substitute, I’ve found size ‘A’ rod wrapping thread to be a fine substitute for silk applications, & at a fraction of the cost. ‘A’ thread has the strength & gloss of silk, though slightly larger in diameter, & is available in every color imaginable. It can be dubbed on & is perfect for split-thread dubbing. I use it in ‘A’ & also the larger ‘D’, which is excellent for bodies or ribbing on larger patterns. And the metallic rod threads are as good as the finest French oval, yet less expensive & available in many more colors. Check out the threads from Pac Bay.

Bill Shuck
In a correspondence with the estimable Bill Shuck, I suggested rod wrapping thread for tying, but of course he was already on to it, & sent the two examples featured here, tied with ‘A’ thread. As you can see, the bodies are a bit heavier than those tied with Pearsall’s, though not overly fat to my eye, with a ‘juicy’, segmented look. Bill’s version of the Tup’s Indispensable looks like it’d be at least as effective as the original.

Fortunately for us, Bill picked up the cue &, in addition to the rod thread examples, sent along the following two articles. Bill is one of the great Mid-Atlantic tyers in the Leisenring/Hidy tradition. For those interested in how James Leisenring constructed his flies & the philosophy behind them, Bill Shuck’s flies serve as stellar examples. I’ll let Bill take it from here: 

  Baby Sunfly ~ Bill Shuck

An English clergyman, Rev. Edward Powell, fished streams in the Shropshire region in the Welsh borderlands of England on a regular basis during the 1920’s – 1950’s. He is credited by author Christopher Knowles in his book (Orange Otter, Medlar Press, Ellesmere, England 2006) and others with developing as many as 26 fly patterns that were especially killing on these waters. He named one of these the “Baby Sunfly” since it was a smaller, slightly modified version of a D. Lewis pattern called “Sunfly”. It was strictly a generic pattern, as Powell was convinced that fish mostly just wanted black and brown flies. The original dry fly pattern was (more or less) as follows:   

Hook: Sizes 12 – 18
Thread: Brown or black
Tail: Black or coch-y-bondhu cock hackle barbs
Body: Dubbed rabbit face, from triangle of nose & eyes, very dark, tied full
Rib: Brown thread, 3 turns
Hackle: Black or coch-y-bondhu cock hackle, as many turns as possible

It is interesting to note that the fur used for the body of the fly was the quite dark underfur found on the face of the English rabbit, not the better-known-to-fly-tiers English hare -- a different critter. It is necessary to trim away the grey/tan outer portion of the fur to get at the dark, bluish black underfur.

Answering the challenge of a fellow member on the Flymph Forum site, I’ve attempted to tie this pattern as a soft hackle wet fly. I’ve tied it on a vintage Herter’s 423 TDE hook, Size #14 using Pearsall’s Gossamer #17 brown thread. The tail whisks were taken from an iridescent black feather found at the back of a coch-y-bondhu hen saddle and the collar is a combination of that same black feather and a black and 'red' feather from further up the saddle. Since I do not have an English rabbit mask, the body is a blend of hare’s poll and black wool spun in #17 Gossamer on a Clark block.
 ~Bill Shuck     

 Hen Saddle Palmer ~ Bill Shuck

Hen ‘saddle’, or elongate hen neck hackle, is a choice feather for dressing flymphs or palmered flies. Bill gives us a fine example serving as a short tutorial on how it’s done. The method Bill describes here is the basic palmering method I use for all types of flies.  

The nondescript brown buzz-hackle looks like a lot of things one might encounter on a freestone, & a worthwhile type to carry. These fish well drifted or swung. Also a good pattern fished deep to simulate medium sized stonefly nymphs. Bill describes the dressing:

 Hook: Vintage Mustad 38932 #10

Thread: Pearsall’s Gossamer #6a, light orange; leave long (6” or so) thread tag for use as reinforcing rib over the palmered hackle.

Hackle: Tip section from webby, pointed hen saddle feather (base of hen neck) tied in slightly behind the hook eye, by the stem w/tip extended out over the eye. Wrap tying silk to rear, leaving the tag hanging at the start of the hook bend.

Shank Tag: Tying silk wraps

Tail: Light ginger cock hackle barbs, longish

Body: Blend of 80% hare’s poll dyed gold and 20% brownish-orange wool spun on #6a on Clark’s block; tie in just in front of tail and bring tying thread forward to just behind the hackle and tie off/trim excess hackle – wind thread tag forward as a rib over (through) the palmered hackle to the front.

Head: Thread wraps, preferably conical shape per Leisenring/Hidy
~Bill Shuck

See more examples of Bill’s fine work here:

Thanks for sharing, Mark & Bill.

Wishing all of you & yours health & happiness through the Holidays & in the coming New Year.       ~Steve