The Rats Nest

Friday, January 27, 2012

Recent Orders, Big One's This Weekend, And General Musings

Recent Order Of Dries Heading To Southern Connecticut

Been a busy week to say the least, barreling through fly orders in an attempt to catch up so to speak.  Momma comes home tonight as my daughters would say, so life will assume some sense of normal again.  Although tying mixed orders of flies is a tedious task, I really enjoy tying selections of dry flies.  As you can see, one rather lucky customer will be all set for just about any major hatch in the Northeast this season.  Comparadun Emergers, Spinner Things, Shucked Up Emergers, R-F Caddis and Busted Stones to round out a nice eastern compliment.  All major hatches are covered in the pile above and will hopefully provide the owner some memorable and successful outings.

Staging Elk Hair For Comparadun Emergers

 Although they are an acquired skill, comparadun style hair wings are a lot of fun to tie and are effective patterns as you all know.  When I am tying them en-mass, I typically like to set up 6 to 12 hair stacker's at a time and then tie the number of hair wings I have prepped.  Although the big Fly Fishing Show is this weekend at Somerset, and I am a bit bummed that I won't be there to tie or visit with some of the friends that I have made across the country, I am also a bit relieved as the commute, preparation time and all that goes with it are a daunting task when you have to juggle little ones, work and everything else.  To all you out there going this weekend, have a safe trip and a good time, it's usually a great show packed with all kinds of great stuff.

A Close Look At A few Of The Flies Tied

If you've noticed I have re-entered the realm of social media albeit apprehensively.  I have put the fan page back up on Facebook and started a twitter account too, of which I plan on doing some cool updates during the season.  If you are a fan of my flies, videos, blog etc, and are on Facebook or Twitter, show your support by becoming a fan.  As the fan base grows, I plan on offering up some rewards so to speak, fly selections materials etc, so spread the word, grow the brand as it will be greatly appreciated.

A Few Spent Spools And Refuse In The Background Of The HMH From This Week.
On a final note, I have some more custom streamer orders in check to tie this week, and I am going to get the remainder of my patterns up on the new store front.  When that dust settles, I plan on putting together a couple of new tying videos as well as digging my heels in on the DVD project.  It will be a learning process, a lot of work but a lot of fun as well.  Good things on the horizon in 2012 for Catching-Shadows....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Playing Mr. Mom, New Digs, And Other Cool Stuff......

Dubbing Bags Measured In Ounces...
Been a little quiet this week, Fly Deals are sold out, and I haven't posted a new one yet as I am a bit behind.  My apologies, but the wife's in Vegas for the week on business, or so she says, you know how that goes, not a bad place for a business meeting eh?  I could think of a few hundred other places that run through some stellar watersheds that would be more my speed, but I guess that one wasn't up to me.  At any rate, this week is work and the girls, Tessa and Nora that is, my two energizer bunnies who are both closing in on the ages of 4 and 2, always keeping life interesting everyday.  Aside from that, I am officially in the hole on fly orders as I write this.  I am currently about halfway through a rather sizable dry fly order and then it's turn and burn on a pile of streamers, hence the bulk dubbing bags in the above picture.  Should be some fun going on there, pictures and posts to follow.
The New Nymph Stick Ready For Water
On another front, it was a busy weekend to say the least, I had two tying lessons that went well and both students are already well on their way to spinning up great patterns that are sure to catch fish.   It is always a pleasure to assist with others who are building quite the fly fishing and tying sickness; keep at it boys, it just keeps on getting better, stick with it and experiment, the rest will follow.   On the flip side, some new schwag showed up on the doorstep in the last week.  My new Sage ESN 10 foot 3 weight and Hatch Finatic 4 Plus to compliment.  If I had a few spare hours I would be out fishing with this set up this week, but it appears that this may very well not happen till next week once I catch up and things are back to normal.  I am very curious to see just how this set up stacks up to my personal favorite Echo Shadow PE.  Should be interesting to say the least.

New 4 Plus Finatic, Perfection. 
As usual, both Hatch and Sage have produced some really sweet looking products and the old adage I seemingly find myself saying will most likely ring true once again;  "You get what you pay for".  Time will tell on that front but so far I like what I see; nice on the eyes, light in hand and one heck of a nice action to the rod, should live up to the hype as Sage has never upset me in the past, nor has Hatch.
Hatch Never Disappoints
Lastly, two other things to talk about.  The first is you have probably noticed that my store is changing, and once again is a work in progress.  Over the next few weeks I will be transitioning my entire store front to the new Fly Store tab listed.  I am very happy with how the new store is turning out, and once I get the initial items and pictures done, I plan on adding a few deals to the deals page.  I will most likely be steering towards a mixed assortment of stoneflies as we are in the season for stonefly nymphs in various colors and sizes depending on water conditions.  Secondly,  I have just added a second Farmington Go To Patterns class at Upcountry.  It is slated for Saturday February 25 from 9-1 and will have a class limit of 8 people.  All deposits and reservations can be made directly through Upcountry, and more details are on the Events Tab.  I plan on getting out on the water again soon and will post any and all updates here and on the River reports tab.  Be well.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sometimes You Have To Have A Backup Plan

 Sometimes when mother nature deals you a bad hand, it pays to have a backup plan, today was one of those days.  When I spoke to friend Dan Harrison at Harrison Anglers a few days ago, and our schedules matched up to do some fishing, we established "Plan A" as I would call it.  Mother nature thought otherwise, and Plan A was soon scrapped when our original destination was an iceberg and slush factory.  Overnight lows around zero changed things drastically, but having a tailwater fishery in our back pockets saved what could have been just a wasted tank of gas.
Not Bad For Below Freezing Fishing

Within the first hundred foot stretch on Dan's home water, I hooked that guy above and the day was saved.   What iced the cake so to speak was the fish came on one of my Shimmer Stones, a pattern that just continues to plain catch fish, and good ones for that matter.  It's nice to see a fly continually turn out quality fish from time to time, seemingly eluding that dreaded category of the "One Hit Wonder".

We are in that time of year when if the fish aren't eating small stuff, the temps are low, or the water is up a bit, golden stonefly nymphs can be staple patterns day in and day out.  One thing is certain, the weatherman was full s*@% so to speak as the reported high for the day was supposed to be 32, while our thermometers never went above 21.  As Dan would say, thank god the wind stayed down otherwise we probably would have bagged it,  as it was just plain bitter all day.  Another pot of moms  famous recipe beef barley soup hit the spot and recharged the batteries on an otherwise uncomfortable day.

On another note, a few months back I mentioned that my storefront situation with my fly patterns would be changing.  The first dozen patterns are now in place and eventually all  will be available through MyFlies.  I am still brainstorming other avenues to provide all of my patterns for purchase as my main site will only be up for another five or so months before I have to adjust things.  I am looking forward to this new partnership, and really appreciate all of the support in the last 2 years with the launch of my patterns to the general fishing public.  The number of success stories, fish photos and kind emails over the last few seasons have made it all more than worthwhile, and I thank each and everyone of you for your continued support.
Head Shot With Shimmer Stone Antennae Hanging Out His Gums

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Couple Small Orders, Custom Streamers, Other Stuff

Going To Tame Some Browns On The Cumberland River
 Been tying a good number of articulated flies for a change as a result of my recent orders.   Some consisting of patterns from last year,  some new ones including the "Snare".   A few of these are customized, one batch heading out to a guy who likes to chase large Browns on the Cumberland Tailwater in Kentucky and Tennessee.  Curious to see how they pan out, black and white was all he wanted, so he got em.   Black and white Articulated Ice Picks, and black and white Hog Snare Streamers.  Hopefully these guys will result in some great fish pictures.

Mixed Bag Heading To Missouri
 Another smaller order of Ice Picks, Articulated Ice Picks, Bloodied Baitfish and Cellar Dweller Streamers heading out to Missouri, most likely as a result of the Brian Wise Picture from the other day.  Thanks Brian, hopefully these flies will be happily fished as well.
Custom Hog Snares To Be Used On The White River
 And lastly, I got an email from a big fish chaser who hits the White River in Arkansas every year, usually with the end result being grip n grins with some big browns.  Even though they will most likely get broken in on the White, the home waters in Michigan that this particular fellow guides on produce giant browns every year.  Big streamers are the only way that he chases these big nasty browns,  and the Snare once again piqued interest, just only in a custom color combo.  Sometime next month I hope to see one of these white n pink snares hanging out of the grille of a gnarly brown, stay tuned.
And Some Staged Tan & Yellow Snares For Later
I have even managed to spin some more up for myself in the mix, typically I try to spin a couple extras for myself to add to the box.  The tan and yellow snares have been a favorite of mine, and although I had a few to tie up for some other trusty customers, I squeezed in a handful for myself.  I had originally planned on getting out today on the water, but highs not even reaching freezing, quickly changed my mind, even though I wanted to try out my new Sage ESN.  Guess I'll have to wait till Thursday.

On another note, I have about 4 Woven Mayfly Selections left on hand for those of you looking to pick one up.  I'll keep them listed on the Deal page till weeks end and then I will have another deal up and ready to go.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Catching-Shadows Flies In the News

 So I got a nice email from an acquaintance I made a little over a year ago from Missouri, another guy bitten bad by the fly fishing bug.   Brian Wise from Fly fishing The Ozarks dropped in the other day to report that he and many of his customers are having continued success in his neck of the woods on the Ice Pick Streamer.  Being a bit selfish I asked Brian to send over any pictures he had with fish taken on the "Pick".  A few minutes later he sent over this great photo of himself with one his recent catches on an Ice Pick, pretty nice yellow belly if I do say so myself. 

I love Ice Picks....

On another note, friend and local guide Rob Nicholas of Housatonic Anglers inquired late last year about some bigger articulated flies tied in shades reminiscent of a juvenile Rainbow Trout.  Always enjoying some tinkering, I conjured up these tasty morsels for Rob's annual Chilean Excursions.
Rainbow Snares & Articulated Ice Picks For Some Big Chilean Browns
Rob has been hosting trips to Chile for over a decade and this year he plans on hanging some pigs on the Yelcho; a big brown trout fishery where the fish are measured in pounds not inches.  Hopefully when he returns he'll have some fish porn with one of these flies hanging out of the grille of something gnarly and brown.  For more on Rob's trips to Chile, checkout his other site at Angling In The Andes.      I shall have some more custom morsels to post in the ensuing weeks with flies going to some other cool places, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Note To Self, Don't Leave Home Without A Memory Card In Your Camera.

 For January, I would have to say the fishing today was very good.  I set off for the river after picking up my oldest from preschool and was stream side at about noon.  The first spot I started was devoid of fisherman; god I love the winter.  From the second I ran my first series of drifts, I knew I was going to have a nice little afternoon on the river. 

The photos attached are only a smattering of the fish I managed to bring to hand today as these were all taken on the built in memory on my digital camera, or later with my IPhone (didn't even remember I had it in my pocket till near the end of the day).  That's right, I left the house without a memory card in my camera, what a toolbox.  Fortunately I had my phone with me or else I might not have had any photos for today's post.

The mild weather has had the fish on the bite and today was everything I could have asked for considering I've been cooped up like a chicken for the past 3-4 weeks.

As you can see I had a nice mixed bag of holdover and wild medium sized browns with a few bows in the mix.  I did manage to stick a couple of nicer fish that were in the 19 inch class, only one however made film.

As for bugs, there were some midges mid afternoon, and loads of winter caddis on the rocks dancing around.   I stayed underneath all day, drifting small weighted midges and winter stones in a tight line rig in water that was medium paced and riffled.  I'd say half of my catch fell to my Winter Stone in black while the other half fell to various beaded midge larva.

 I still to this day enjoy catching trout on tiny flies.  This is something I did much more frequently about 5-6 years ago, but have found myself migrating back to when I am not faced with a good day of streamer conditions.

Enjoy the last day of warmer weather while you can, as winter is finally coming and staying for a bit later this week.  The only nice thing is the stones are getting active earlier than normal this year so adjust accordingly.
Before I forget, I have a new "stick" in transit for the nymph arsenal.  Although I have grown extremely fond of my Echo Shadow 10-1/2 foot 3 weight for all of my tight line tactics, I just couldn't resist from grabbing one of the new ESN rods from Sage.  I have to admit, I have a bundle of sticks for nymph fishing, and I have found myself grabbing the Shadow, prefering it over the competition.  I even like it better than it's competitors 11 foot rods, that's how much I trust that stick.  I went with the 3 weight as it falls somewhere in the middle as a multi use tight line rod

So, I guess we will have to wait and see where the ESN falls in my personal preferences, not that my opinion really matters.  From what I have read, it is "the" rod right now for tight line tactics.  That is a pretty bold statement, but, I will say that Sage does produce some of the finest rods on the market today, and I have been pretty partial to several of their series' over the years.  I shall report my findings after I spend some time on the water with the new rod.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Deal Of The Week, And Upcoming Stuff

So as you probably figured, I was pretty much confined to the house last week, hence the bombarding of posts.  A major sinus infection requiring antibiotics and then the stomach flu rendered me stuck inside for the New Year.  What I did manage to do is get started on a few projects for the new year, one of which is bringing back the fly promos.

12 Woven Mayfly Nymphs, Two colors Each In Size 8-12

These deals may run for more than a week at a time and will typically be geared for upcoming hatches or fishing events, or they might be solely around what I felt like tying that week.  Right now I currently have two working for you on the "Deal Of The Week"  page.  The woven mayflies above are weighted and are great mayfly imitations for fishing in a tight line or "Euro" nymph rig.  

The Tiny Dancer's are flying out the door, I think I sent out 8 dozen last week and am currently waiting on the hooks to finish off the balance of the orders, and am expecting them any day now.  On a side note, a good friend of mine is headed out to his annual Chile excursions and will be going armed with some special order Hog Snares and Articulated Ice Picks.  When he said he was going to be fishing a system that coughs up Browns measured in pounds not inches, some big flies were on the agenda.  Hopefully we will have some fish porn with those flies stuffed in the mugs of some gnarly browns next month.  

Lastly, I am beginning work on a Tying DVD showcasing in detail with some added flare, as I stated I would be.  This project is going to take some time, and I will periodically update you all on my efforts.  This should be fun and I am tentatively shooting for 6-8 patterns in the video.  Having a bit of OCD, I am planning this one out for a few weeks now and I hope to produce a series of videos that are even better than the ones I currently have on Vimeo.  The whole idea is to really let you all walk away from the video a better tier.  Stay tuned.  

Also, again this year I will be tying at the Compleat Angler in Darien on March 31, 2012.  This is always a good time and a great turnout, hope to see you there and I will post the details on the events page once they are firmed up.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Catching-Shadows In Print(Shameless Self-Promotion) , And Flies Out The Door

 A few small orders as of late, mostly mixed bags, Hog Snares, Winter Stones, Tiny Dancer Caddis etc etc.  I'll keep the post picture laden and less text. 

 Looks like winter has finally reared it's ugly head, as it is going to below zero tonight with the wind chill.  I may hit the water tomorrow, but I may also chicken out and stay home to tie.  As you can see I brought back the fly promotion page, aka Deal of the week.  So far it's working out well.

To my surprise, my Ice Pick Article hit the pages of the Winter 2012 Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine this month.  I found out through a few friends over the holidays that they had seen it in their local shops, and in the mail today my copy arrived.  Pretty stoked once again to see another one of my patterns in print, pretty humbling too. 


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