The Rats Nest

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Catching Shadows Fly Store, Showcasing Euro-Style Weighted Nymphs

I thought it would be fitting to periodically showcase a section of my Online Fly Store.  I can say that I am very happy with the online storefront I created with Goodsie, and I look forward to adding new and old patterns to the storefront in the coming months.

I thought to kick the showcase off, it would be fitting to highlight a genre of fly patterns that are really gaining momentum in the last couple of years.  Weighted nymphs are just plain old fish catchers if employed in the proper rig, and they account for fish pretty much every day of the year.  The only problem for most of the anglers out there who don't tie is finding a place to purchase an array of various effective weighted flies.

Case Closed Weighted Cased Caddis

The nice thing about the Euro-style nymphs for sale in my storefront is most of them are not what I would call mainstream patterns.  What I am referring to is the fact that they are not in every one's fly box, yet.  Some of the patterns are in the Pacific Fly Group Catalog, but most of them aren't and are only found for sale here.  Check out the Euro Nymph Section of my Goodsie store, and hopefully you will find what you are looking for.  Questions are always welcome, so feel free to drop a line.   

Jig Style Nymph

Woven Mayfly Nymph
Rock Candy Larva

Monday, February 27, 2012

Catching-Shadows Flies In the News, And February's Tying Video

Let me first start by saying, I am happy that this month has almost come to an end.  Between people in my house being sick, work being crazy and a rather hectic 8 weeks of tying orders, it will be nice to ring in March later this week and hopefully get out and do some fishing myself.  Speaking of fishing, friendly neighbor Zack just got home from some Steelhead action on the Salmon River in New York.  Zack has been over a couple of times cutting his teeth in the realm of fly tying, and I must say his flies are coming along nicely.  Zack shot this picture over the weekend of a nice Steelhead that he hooked and landed on A Shimmer Stone that he tied himself.  Keep up the good work Zack, I told you persistence and practice would pay off. I guess the fishing was good despite the bitter cold.

Shimmer Stone Eating Steelhead

On a side note, I finally managed to get around to loading up a new tying video for all of you my faithful followers.  This is a rather timely pattern that should have some use in the weeks to come.  The Quill Bodied BWO Dun is a really simply and effective fly that should be in every one's dry fly box.   This pattern like most that I tie can be altered in size and color to cover an assortment of mayfly emergence's.  Tie some up and hang on.  Stay tuned for another cool video later this week for you "Swingers".

Click The Photo To Watch The Video

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Crazy Week, Some Fly Order Pictures And Karma

Aside from being stuck in bed with the stomach virus, go figure on my days off, I managed to wrap up a few mixed orders of flies.  Some cool new gear filtered in with the fly orders, a couple of new Airflo lines for the fresh and saltwater trips, as well as a couple of new projects that I have to get cracking on.  One of these is already full speed ahead and underway, the other of which I have to get cracking on ASAP!  Here are a few photos from this weeks fly tying ventures.

Ice Picks, Articulated Ice Picks, H-A Snares,Meat Helmets, Shucked Up Emergers, R-F Caddis, Classified Caddis and Rich's Winter Stones
No fishing unfortunately, been hit with some bad luck on the days off for the last 3 weeks.  Hopefully the words of encouragement from my buddy  earlier this week will ring true,  I think it went something like "That is a few trips in a row that something has come up for you.  Karma says you should lay the smack down when you get out next".   You can bet your ass when I get out there I am gonna try and make good on that one......

Mopheads, Dirt Darts, Hog Snares, Articulated Ice Picks and Meat Helmet Sculpins

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 To-Do List, H-A Snare Unveiled

So I have had some apprehensive customers recently.  I guess the thought of a 6-7 inch double jointed streamer induced some fear in the minds of some prospective buyers.  Questions like, "You throw that on a 6weight"?  Or, "That's an awfully big streamer", have been a few of the recurring statements.  If some of those people looked at what  my buddy Mike Schmidt is tying they might lose their minds.

So, whats a guy to do?  Well, offer up the same fly only pared down a bit.  So, without further adieu, I introduce to you the H-A Snare, the baby brother to ole Mr. Hog Snare himself.  What's the H-A stand for you ask?  Excuse me for the profanity, but it stands for Half Assed Hog Snare as this guy is a little more than half the size of his big brother.

The H-A Snare Available In The Fly Store
The H-A comes in all the same colors as his big brother and is now available in the fly store, take a peek if you are interested.  For you tiers, just drop the shank in the middle and you got the recipe, no heavy lifting here folks.   Enough on that, lets get to some other relevant junk.

So, it's that time of year for most anglers, you all know it well, go through your gear, weed out the beaten lines, rusted flies, patch the holes in your waders, replace those tattered laces in your boots, ready your new gear for the slowly approaching fishing season, heck, even tie or buy some new flies you've seen.

I fish year round, so I periodically do this on several occassions throughout the season as I am one of those types who batters gear.  If you don't fish all year round, you probably haven't done much of this yet, and will be doing so over the course of the next few weeks.
Gear, Never Enough And Always Room To Replace

  While cleaning up my stuff it's really hard not to get excited for what the season may bring.  Doing battle with that one that got away, fish a new locale, try something new or just  fine tune your skills, and each and every year the technology keeps getting better, new and exciting products are out there for all of us to tinker with so to speak.

Here is my list of things to do, buy or play with this season in no particular order.

1.  Fish more.  I have already begun to do so since I stepped away from guiding for a while.
2.  Add the 7 weight Scott S4s to the 6,8, and 9 weight's that I already own.  Hands down, the best streamer/big fly rod I have ever thrown.  I have turned several clients and friends on to this stick and it is worth every penny.
3.  Add a couple of new lines to my streamer outfits.  The first of which is the new Streamer Max Line by Airflo.  The length and grain weights intrigue me, and Airflo has put out some good lines over the years.  I will say this though, I got away from their sinking lines as the connections from running line to sinking line habitually broke.  Hopefully they figured this out and fixed the problem.  More on that at a later date.
4.  Continue to fish my switch rods more frequently.  I plan on bringing my switch rod skills to a new level this year and fishing them about 75% of the time.  I spent the entire fall fishing with my 2 handers and I really enjoyed myself.  I plan on doing so in the salt this year too,  see 5...
5.  Get back in the saltwater and use the switch rod off the beaches and in the surf.  With that in mind, aside from my Rio Skagit Flight Heads and Mow Tips I plan on fishing with the new Airflo Sniper Line.  Although I am not by any means a saltwater expert, I will say this, out of all the lines that I have used, the Airflo Ridge and 40+ Saltwater fly lines are the nicest  and the least likely to tangle.  If you fish the salt on foot, you probably know all too well about line tangle, its a bitch, and can ruin even the best of days.
6.  Get back into fishing at night hardcore again.  As you all may or may not know, I have a penchant for night fishing.  This past year, it never really materialized, this year I plan on changing that.
7.  Take my dad fishing again, and get my 4 year old daughter her first fly rod caught trout.  Self explanatory.

Night Time Hog Chasing, More Of This In 2012

These are some things I plan on doing or adding to the list this year, hopefully I get around to most of it.  Oh and by the way to those of you who have found my humor, I'm not quitting my day job :).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Streamers, Nymphs And Customer Reports.

It's been a little quiet over here on my end this week, mostly because I have a full plate once again (seemingly this is a recurring theme in my life).  I won't bore you with the non-fishing related stuff, so I'll show you a few of the orders that were completed this week.  CS Flies are heading to a few lucky customers in Connecticut,  Texas, and Pennsylvania.

Mixed Selection of Single Streamers Headed To A Prospective Streamer Convert
Looks like we are going to get some snow for a change.  It's amazing the difference in weather patterns from year to year.  If I remember correctly, I think I had about four feet of snow on the ground in my front yard around this time last year.  Right now, the grass is showing, well, until tomorrow morning that is.

An Order Of Mixed Nymphs And A Few Mopheads
As a result of the mild weather, aside from fishing myself, some local fly customers have reported back with continual success with the Micro Stones in black and brown.  Another order of these little morsels will be spun up tomorrow and in the mail for Monday.  Aside from that, the juvenile trout colored Articulated Ice Picks created a buzz last week, and I had a handful of orders come in looking for more of the same.  As a result, I added the color combos to the fly store and have received some orders of them as a result.   Enjoy the pictures, these orders were a lot of fun to piece together.

Meat Helmets And Articulated Brown & Rainbow Trout Ice Picks Headed To Texas

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sage ESN 3 Weight, Fishing Is Good, Stoneflies Are Bountiful

I was lucky enough to get some time on the water today.  With the unseasonable weather, the byproduct has been exceptional fishing for February.  Having the day off,  I ventured out and gave the new Sage ESN 3 weight and Hatch 4 Plus Finatic I posted a few weeks back a trial run.  I won't bore you with technical jargon, but for what it's worth, the rod is very nice.  I fished entirely with a coil today and the rod was spot on with casting and presentation.  Although there were no real bruisers in the mix, I think the top end fish was right at the 17 inch mark, the rod played them with ease.  So far I really like the action of the rod, and the way that it rebounds from a cast is second to none.  I can honestly say that I think I have found the rod that I will be fishing weighted nymphs most this year.

Micro Brown Stone Eating Rainbow Trout

All fish were taken  today on my Micro Stone in shades of brown or black.  There were several stones hatching today, fluttering across the surface.  A skated stone imitation would have worked well as I witnessed several boils on the river while I was fishing.  If I had a few of my 2-Fly-Dries in brown and black with me today, I would've definitely skated some as the fish were having a field day on the adults in certain areas of the river.    Although I didn't take many pictures today as I was thoroughly enjoying the nice weather, I did snap a few of some of the pretty little fish that I managed to bring to hand.  

Couple Dozen Of Browns In This Size Class Today

The fishing was so good, that I knocked off early today.  This is a rare occasion this time of year so I didn't want to take the day for granted.  I arrived home at a reasonable hour, whipped up a nice Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad with homemade Caesar dressing and enjoyed it with the girls in my life,  and now off to catching up with my fly orders.  For all of you in the class from this weekend, I will have that materials list compiled by weeks end.  For now its back to the tying bench to keep on top of things.  I am waiting on a rather large shipment of hooks to complete some of my pending streamer orders I received last week, hope to be back on track by weeks end there too and will post some of the orders I have in the works.

Flawless Little Browns

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Scenes From Todays Fly Tying Class

I'll keep it short and sweet, although we only tied 3 patterns, the class as a whole was packed with useful information in regards to constructing sound articulated streamers.  I had intentions of teaching 4-6 patterns today, but the numbers of questions in regards to these style of flies construction were bountiful but more than necessary.  Tying large flies is one thing, teaching them is another, and time flies by quickly while doing so.  Aside from talking about the flies themselves, we also covered all types of related fishing situations, terminal tackle and gear and just about anything else related to these flies.

View Of The Class
Aside from a few of my own patterns, I decided to kick the class off right by beginning with a fly from a guy who is synonymous with articulated streamers.  Good friend, and top shelf fly dresser Mike Schmidt is known for his articulated concoctions.  Mike is the owner of Anglers Choice Flies, his personally owned business where he sells his flies and other fishing related items.  Take a peak at his site when you get a chance and you'll soon find out that his patterns are outside the box  and are continually seen hanging out of the mouths of trophy fish from all over the globe.  Mike has a few patterns that are in my "Streamer Rotation" as I like to call it. One of them, is currently in my top 6 favorite articulated streamers.  Mike's Red Rocket as it's called, is a fly that belongs in any serious streamer fisherman's fly box.  I Kicked the class off with this particular pattern, and the rest was history.

The View From My Vise
 Although I personally would have liked to have covered a few more patterns, the tools and techniques that are pivotal in creating solid articulated streamers was covered.  Hope to see some more of the guys from this group again, as they all produced some quality articulated flies.  Good job guys, enjoy the rest of the pictures.   A big thank you to all that attended, I hope you had as much fun as I did.

A Finished Articulated Ice Pick

Mikes Red Rocket Hanging Out

A Hog Snare Flanked By A Rocket

From Double Points To Single, The Fare From Today

All flies in the photos are from todays students, great job.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fly Tying Updates, Fly Orders And The Start Of February...

Been a busy guy lately.  2012 has started out on fire and I am very thankful for every body's interest in my fly patterns.  I have been fortunate enough to have been given some leeway with some of my orders recently, and have had some really cool things coming off the vise. When I get the opportunity to customize an order it is a lot of fun.   Coming up with new color combinations and designs within designs really keeps the creative juices flowing.   In all actuality, it really breaks things up after tying dozens and dozens of the same fly over and over again.

If you recall, a couple of months ago I spun up a small selection of customized Meat Helmet Sculpins for a fellow out in Idaho.   After having success with those flies, he reached out again for something different;  some customized Articulated Ice Pick Streamers in color combinations that represented smaller Brook, Brown, Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout after seeing the mini rainbows I posted a few weeks back that are on their way to Chile.  Giving me free reign with this project, I got right on it and below is what I came up with.  My thought was to try and hit on one or two key elements that set each fish aside from the rest while also parlaying that into a sort of trigger.  Here is what I came up with, hope you like them.

All Four Color Combos Together

Rainbow Trout

Brown Trout

Brook Trout

Cutthroat Trout
Aside from the custom streamers above, I have a new deal to announce for the next few weeks.  I call it the Stonefly Madness Selection. The selection consists of what you see below, a mixed bag of my personal stone fly patterns that are good choices for this time of year.  The selection gives the angler a wide variety of small to large patterns for all conditions that can be encountered in the winter months.  These patterns will also work throughout the season so don't feel like this is a one month setup.  There is a mixed bag of weighted and non weighted nymphs for all disciplines of nymph fishing.  For more details on the Stonefly Madness Selection , check out the Fly Deals page.

February Stone Fly Selection

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