The Rats Nest

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Keeping It Real

This weekend thus far has been a rather interesting one. The pollen count on the Cape has been off the charts, seas of green pollen filled the air, while clogging up our sinus cavities. Thankfully, the weather has been a little bit more enjoyable than hot humid conditions back home. 60-70 degree days with variable winds.

Nora with the goods
Sounds like picture perfect conditions to chase striped bass right? Well, if you are the casual saltwater fisherman like myself, sometimes hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to decision making. Having limited time to fish and always wanting to explore new areas of the Cape as there is a plethora of places to fish, sometimes this isn't the best choice when you know of other areas that are consistently producing fish. In a nutshell, new areas explored turned up blanks, and the places I was chomping at the bit to fish were forecasted to have thunderstorms. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the storms never came and I sat there wishing I had ventured out. The only saving grace is I have four days of nothing but fishing with a good friend in the next week so its all good.
Swimming At White Pond

What transpired was some great time spent with the kids, birthday celebrations and some fantastic family feasts. There was some really cool fishing stories with kids though, better than any day I have ever had on the water myself.

The Yaks In Pleasant Bay
My oldest had a blast at the pond catching perch, even catching a whopper largemouth that ended up snapping the line.
Perch Time!

Tessa Bent Rod And All
My niece Ashlynn had the catch of the weekend with this monster bucket mouth.

Ashlyn With Her Monster
The ear to ear smiles that these fish brought everyone are priceless, and there's nothing better than getting the kids interested in the outdoors.

In between my daughters naps I managed to spend some vise time trying to catch up on some orders. I should be caught up this coming week and just in time to finish off my saltwater boxes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Have A Great Memorial Day Weekend

Hope you all have a great holiday weekend.  I will be out of town again for the second weekend in a row, slipping away to a rather scenic shoreline are of New England once again.  I will have my vise in tow with me this weekend for all of you who placed orders this week, just not sure how much time I will be able to devote to fly orders.  On a side note, I managed to squeeze in a quick saltwater tie for all of you in the last day.
Click The Picture To Watch The Video

This is a pretty simple pattern that has worked pretty darn good for me for flats fishing for stripers.  With the introduction of light curing adhesives like Clear Cure Goo, I have been able to omit the use of dreaded epoxy, and as you can see is much more enjoyable to work with as you will not have to speedily work through any sort of set up times.  Enjoy the video, tie some up and catch some fish.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Couple of New Patterns Added To The Fly Store

So, with things being a little hectic, I haven't had the opportunity to keep things flowing with the store.  I had promised to add a couple of heavier anchor patterns to the storefront after several customers were inquiring about heavier and larger weighted nymphs.  Well I am finally coming through with my promise so to speak.  To go hand in hand with one of the recent videos, I added the Prince Style Jig, as well as the version of the western favorite, the Rubber Leg Stone.  You can see them in the store here:
Rubber Leg Stone

As you can tell from the photo, I prefer to use a dubbing blend in the versions of both patterns when I tie them.  I think the taper achieved by doing so makes for a more natural profile in my opinion, but that is just my personal preference.  It seems to work so why not, right?  As you can see from the picture of the stone, it is a much buggier pattern than the standard chenille bodied version.  This particular fly has taken hundreds of fish for me over the years, and next to my Rock Candy Larva is probabaly my second favorite large anchor fly.  Brown is typically my first choice but all three other colors (golden, black, rusty) have their moments as well.
Prince Nymph Jig

To kick things off with a bang, I figured I would introduce both patterns in a fly selection with a discounted price tag with special shipping as usual.  So with that being said, here is the deal.  1 selection will include 6 of each pattern; that's 6 weighted prince jigs, 6 rubber leg stones in a mixed array of sizes.  $20 out the door for out of state residents, $21.27 for in state residents.   For orders of 2 or more selections, shipping is free, otherwise standard shipping rates will apply.  As usual, just send me an email titled Weighted Nymph Special and we can take it from there.  As always, paypal, google checkout or check are accepted, just please let me know how you would like to settle up, and also provide a valid and current mailing address.

On another note, I plan on adding a full compliment of saltwater options to the fly store in the months to come to fill the void.  I have a pile of patterns that I have a lot of faith in, some old, some new and some with some Strolis flare.  Don't be surprised to see some saltwater tying videos as well.   I will keep you all posted on the progress on that front periodically.  Once again, happy fishing and thanks again everyone.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend #1 Update

Spent some great quality time this weekend with my girls on the shores of Cape Cod.  Tessa and Nora not only wore my wife and I out, but they burned themselves out too.  Exploring the estuaries, swimming at the pond and just having fun.  I did manage to get out once this weekend for some salt action with my good friend Chris, and as usual it was a great time.  Let the pictures do the talking.

Friday, May 18, 2012

First Of Three

Down the cape with wife n kids, first weekend of a few. I've been pretty quiet on the blogging scene as I've been busy tying flies for myself and getting geared up for some saltwater fishing.

I will be wading some flats and beaches in between spending some time with my girls. Here are a few of the flies I've been tying lately. I'll keep you posted.

To be continued...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Caddis, Caddis And More Caddis, And A New Video

Happy Mother's Day out there to all the mom's.  May you all have a nice relaxing day, you deserve it.  Let's just say the title says it all.  I have tied more caddis patterns in the last four weeks then I care to remember, and I swear I am having nightmares about these moth-like insects because of it.  I guess you could say they are on everyones mind around here in the northeast this year, and earlier than expected.  Mother's day caddis have been hatching for about two weeks already in the Catskills, and there are all kinds fluttering around here in Connecticut.
Frolicking Caddis

Maybe my picture from last week with all those Rock Candy Larva sparked some interest, as once again that appears to be the hot item as of late.  Caddis have been the food of choice on the Housatonic for a few now as well, so adjust your sizes and colors accordingly.
Mixed Order Of Various Rock Candy Larva Heading To Central Connecticut

One word of advice when choosing your caddis adult imitations though; be sure to actually grab one off the waters surface before you make a quick selection.  Why do you ask?  The wings on many caddis can be very deceptive, sometimes the wings can be tan and one will automatically think a tan bodied caddis will do the trick.  Not so fast Johnny, flip that little bugger over and check the body out before you make a quick pick out of your fly box.  Case in point, the caddis hatching on my last outing all displayed tan wings but when turned over had dark olive to dark green bodies.  I guess that's why it pays to tie your own sometimes as you can mix and match wings and bodies to get what the fish are eating.
Caddis Resting After Emergence

Thomas Ames references this in his Caddisflies book, stating that on several occasions the same insect may have different wing colors from fishery to fishery, as well as experiencing color changes to the wings after emergence.  I have seen this happen on several occasions myself while fishing or guiding.  I can vividly remember experiencing solid hatches of mother's day caddis with tan wings to literally change to a light or dark dun in a matter of minutes.  Take the extra time and check the undersides of these little devils before you tie one on.
Another Viable Color Option, Olive & Black

I will apologize now for the lack of new video content, I plan on rectifying that in the next week.  Expect a couple at once as I work on the next installment with Front Range Anglers.   I also plan on doing a couple of videos showcasing a couple of patterns not of my own, so stay tuned, but till then here is the third installment in the Jig series of nymphs.  This video displays how to tie a variation of the Prince Nymph on a weighted jig hook.  If you like the prince nymph, this will be a nice variation to add to your arsenal.
Click The Photo To Get To The Video
  I will be doing a bunch of fishing in the weeks to follow, and not in my normal locales(rivers).   The trout stuff is going on vacation for a few to chase some saltwater critters so to speak.  Mixed into my orders I have been chipping away at my Striper selections for yours truly.  Hopefully by next Thursday I will have a size-able collection of flies for my adventures.
Saltwater Sized Picks....
That being said, expect my turnaround times on orders to go up a few days if I get swamped.  I will bring the vise with me if need be to keep afloat, but I can't make any promises.  I will say this, tying various baitfish imitations instead of bugs is a nice change of pace.  Working with epoxy, Clear Cure Goo, Softex and the like is actually got the gears turning in my melon-head for some new freshwater streamer ideas.  If I get some free time, who knows what I may conjure up.
Clear Cure Goo Sand Eel

Same Fly Different Lighting
Small Streamer Order 
Mixed Order Of Weighted Nymphs, Jigs and Emergers

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Camp As Seen From The Dock

Lately, my life has been consumed with numbers.  18, 19, 20.  Inches for fish, magic marks so to speak, not your typical numbers associated with the fish I was chasing, well unless you're in the woods of Maine.  $4.10, about the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas, saw that quite a bit on my way up and  back.  And, 549, the title of this blog,  which is the number of miles round trip from my house to the boat launch on the Androscoggin River en-route to camp Ijis on lake Umbagog.
The View From The Porch Overlooking Lake Umbagog

Sometimes, it seems we as fisherman put a lot of emphasis on numbers in various aspects of our endeavors.  I'll admit it, I do it myself, I guess it's actually not a bad thing, as long as you keep it tasteful. Although 549 miles sounds like quite a jaunt, it really is a short hop skip and a jump to a place I find myself longing for time and time again.
Part The Arsenal That Followed Me Up River

It was almost 5 years to the day when I was last on the shores of Umbagog and the Rapid River, chasing square tails and landlocked salmon.  This particular trip did not disappoint, even if it was a long time in the making.  I guess you could say I had some redemption this year.   On my last visit, I managed to destroy my camera and erase all of my memories from that last trip.  With a memory stick full of wonderful trout, landscapes and camp memories, it was a heart breaker to say the least.  And not knowing if I was going to make it back again, I always wondered if I would ever have anything of substance to remind myself of just how wonderful this place really is.
Pocket Water Paradise

The 5 hour drive north went quicker than anticipated and I was a few hours early to meet my host, Dick Celli,  in the quaint town of Errol.  We had to grab his pontoon boat at the local airport, gather up our goods and then make the run across the lake, a mere 50 minute ride to heaven.  There would be no fishing on Wednesday as we had to unpack camp, get the docks in place and settle into our home away from home.  Taking part in all of these festivities really gives one a true sense of just how much work went into backwoods life a mere century or more ago.
Our Transportation

Even though it is hard work, It gives one a sense of accomplishment, and it also teaches you to not take your creature comforts for granted back home.  After a long day of getting things in order, my host (Mr. Celli) and I called it a night early, opted for a few quick snacks instead of dinner and hit the rack around 8:00 PM.  To say I had the best night of sleep in a long time is an understatement; 10 solid hours of shut eye, can't remember for the life of me when that happened last.
Taking It All In

Thursday Morning arrived, and after a good pot of camp coffee and some hearty breakfast, I headed up to the mouth of the river where it met the lake for some fishing.  Now I know this may sound a bit odd to some of you who follow my blog, as it seems that I am very partial to Brown Trout, but in all honesty, Brook Trout are probably are my favorite fish.  I grew up fishing for small brookies on mountain streams in Western Massachusetts, and every time I get to fish for these wonderful creatures it reminds me of my youth.

There are some wonderful blogs out there that are based upon the premise of small stream fishing and chasing brook trout, and I adore the content.  I guess I am paying homage to them as I write this, I know the pictures that follow do not come remotely close to doing justice to the sheer beauty and size of some of the brook trout I was lucky enough to experience this past weekend.  But I hope that you all understand just how magical it is to witness such beautiful creatures as the one's in the pictures to follow, especially when most of them are twice to three times the average length of the specimens I tangled with as a young boy.

Friday came and my brother in law Jeff and I decided we would hike up river to Middle Dam.  We both hadn't been there in 10 years, back when the remnants of the dam were still in place.  In fact I still have an 8 by 10 photo of myself casting in front of that piece of history.  Even though I knew I would be disappointed when I finally arrived back there due to the dam's absence, I just had to get back to the place again.

A 50 minute brisk hike found us in Aldro French's camp, the old Louis Dickinson Rich homestead, a place steeped in history, where the book "We Took To The Woods" described backwoods living in the heart of Maine's Wilderness.  If you haven't  read this particular book yet, I highly recommend doing so as it paints a very vivid picture of what life was like back then.

Even though I was 5 hours away from home in the middle of wilderness, I managed to run into an old customer of mine on the banks of the river whom I guided a few years back.  A few friendly gestures, and a handful of my flies passed on made me realize how crazy little things like this can happen.  We met up again on my second to last day, and a handshake ensued, not to mention the approval that the flies I handed him were also a hit with the fish.  The shimmer stone struck again, it was a hit with the fish all weekend long.

To go hand in hand with the title of this entry, I will not however delve into the proportions of my catch.  It is safe to say my streak is still going strong if that sheds any light on things for those of you that are wondering, but for the rest I will let you ponder the dimensions for yourself.  In short, it was a spectacular weekend of fishing, probably the best to date that I have experienced in that particular area.  The fishing although great, was secondary to my heightened senses, surreal surroundings and mind clearing experiences in the back woods of Maine.

My first day on the river was shared with not a single other soul, just the Bald Eagles, Osprey and Brook Trout and Landlocked Salmon that were so kind enough to pay me a visit.  Solitude, rushing water and clean mountain air do wonders for the soul, it was truly a remarkable experience to know that for a small period of time, I was there by myself, taking it all in.

Every night at camp we ate well and were serenaded by the sounds of Loons both near and far from different reaches of the lake.  As my host would say, there's only one rule at camp and that is when the Loons are talking, nobody else speaks as their song is a a gift from God.  Whether you believe that or not is on you, but I think we will all agree it is truly a sound that shakes you to your core.  Here's to a great weekend from heaven on Earth......

Sunset From Camp

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