Thursday, February 28, 2019

Soft~Hackle Journal March 2019

Leisenring March Brown copied from a photo, tried to tie it exactly as
Leisenring, down to the elongated head.  Orange silk ~ partridge hackle
~ tailing: 3 cock pheasant tail swords, short ~ fine wire rib ~ body: 3 or 4
cock pheasant tail swords twisted with the tying silk, & hares mask thorax 
      Vernon ‘Pete’ Hidy: 
      The Chronology of a             Reluctant Fishing Icon

     It is true that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. In their seminal work, The Art of Tying the Wet Fly, James Leisenring & Vernon S. Hidy defined the American soft-hackle style. Their emphasis on the importance of ‘profile’ was instrumental on bringing soft-hackle designs to the next level. I still consider their book the most important on the subject ever written in America. Lance Hidy, writing for The American Fly Fisher ~ Journal of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, celebrates the life of his father, the great Pete Hidy, in this must-read for anybody interested in the history of our game & the wetflies of legends, Jim Leisenring & Pete Hidy: 

         Down the Coast ~ 
         Barred Surfperch

     Upper Columbia Spey-man, James Fish, sent me a photo of a nice UC redband he recently swung up. Made me homesick, until I checked the weather forecast for home. Think I’ll remain content working the Central Cali surf for another month. Waves of storms this year aren’t allowing many days on the beach, but at least the temps aren’t down into the single digits.

Nevertheless, when conditions are right, the perch are there. Central Coast surf fishing holds all of the elements that combine to create what I consider ‘world class’ flyfishing – no crowds; beautiful scenery; moving water that must be read; good numbers of hard-fighting fish willing to take the fly – & as a bonus they are superb table fare.

Though they will take attractors, shrimp, & baitfish imitations, barred surfperch feed mainly on mole crabs (sand crabs), so a good mole crab imitation is essential. Surfperch can be canny & selective. I’m always trying out new fly designs on them in an effort to improve the arsenal of baits (which always seems somehow lacking). The two patterns posted here are my current favorites. The Mole Crab patt (I swear) should be illegal. 

      Proof Fly Fishing ~ 
 Quality Rod Building Stuff             
     Soft~Hackle Journal posts no paid advertisements, but we do occasionally post links to marketers we consider exemplary resources in both quality of goods & service. Getting ready to build a 10’ 6wt for fishing the upper Columbia, I went shopping for components online & came across Proof Fly Fishing, an outfit that sells nothing but fly rod building materials. I wasn’t shopping for jewelry. I was looking for an affordable, quality reel seat & cork grips. Proof exhibits a zen clean catalogue. There isn’t a confusing number of choices. They offer several styles of reel seats, all well made. I ordered a couple of winding checks, an aluminum reel seat, full-wells foregrip, & short butt. These arrived within a few days, well-packaged. A couple of the small zip-locks holding components were tacked together with a nicely tied #14 Yellow Humpy. I was also pleasantly impressed at the quality of the materials. The grips are truly A grade cork & well shaped. The reel seat is beautifully machined, cut threads at proper tolerance, the knurling clean cut. At about the price of a cheap-o reel seat, this one would be at home on any rod. Truly good stuff.

You can check out Proof Fly Fishing here:

Bird's Swinging October Caddis ~ Rainy's Flies

          Rainy’s Flies ~
         October Caddis

     All guides are fly tiers, however when the season gets going it is nearly impossible to keep up with tying, you go through so many flies, so most guides stock up with bought flies. Quality is essential, & Rainy’s Flies are the choice of all the guides I know.  Had the pleasure of fishing with sales rep Dick Sagara & Jesse Rider awhile back. Both of these gentlemen are hard-core anglers & great fun to fish with. Jesse heads up Rainy’s Flies, the company his mom, Rainy Rider started while she attended college in Utah. In the beginning Rainy did all of the tying, & is the creator of quite a few good fly patterns, as well as a pioneer in the use of closed-cell foam in fly tying.

Bird's Octoberfest Caddis ~ Rainy's Flies

We fished during October Caddis season, & both Dick & Jesse agreed that the market was lacking in effective patterns for meeting this important hatch. Jesse asked me if I’d submit a couple patterns, & I agreed, sending him samples of a wet & a dry October Caddis. Happy to say, these are now in production & available from Rainy’s. Jesse, a great tyer in his own right, personally oversees the tying operation. He sent me production samples & at first glance I thought he’d sent me back the samples I’d tied & sent him, initially. Closer examination revealed they are well-tied & a bit neater than mine. Not a problem. A fish or two & they’ll look exactly like mine.

Rainy’s Premium Flies :     

Henry David Thoreau
                               The Reel News

Losing waterborn bugs.

Losing more bugs.

Columbia River Treaty update:

March Brown ~ #12-#14 Mustad 3366 ~ orange silk ~ partridge hackle ~ tail whisps: gadwall flank ~ rib: UNI burnt orange floss ~ body: hares mask with a bit of UV shrimp pink dub mixed in   

                                               From the Tying Bench

     Spring is around the corner so, for the most part, my focus at the vise has been devoted to the wee flies of the early season. In the southern precincts of trout country March Browns will be coming off this month, so of course I’ve included a couple in this issue of SHJ, Leisenring’s version, & my own, in the photo above.  Here’s a few other patterns I've been tying: 

Hares Lug & Plover #14 ~ yellow silk ~ plover hackle ~ body: hares mask &
ear lug touched on the tying silk

Black Sedge (grannom) ~ This one fishes for spent or in-trouble adult
grannom egg layers ~ #14 ~ black thread ~ partridge hackle ~ egg sack:
hunter green yarn ~ body: a few strands of black midge flash twisted with
the tag of the tying thread, & thorax of dark brown dubbing

Partridge & Peacock ~ If I could only have three, this would be one of them.
~ #10-#18 ~ brown thread ~ fine wire rib ~ body: peacock herl twisted with
the tag of the tying thread

Purple Haze ~ #12 ~ purple silk ~ partridge hackle ~ fine silver wire rib ~
body: a few strands of pearl midge flash twisted with the tag of the
tying silk

Allgrouse ~ #12-#14 ~ tan thread ~ ruffed grouse wing covert hackle ~
tail whisps: 3 ruffed grouse tail swords ~ body: 6 ruffed grouse tail swords &
one strand of pearl midge flash twisted with the tag of the tying thread