The Rats Nest

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fishing Report And Some Other Flytying Tidbits

If you saw the Twitter post recently, you probably know that I have a bit of a hole to dig out of.  I am also waiting on a shipment of tungsten beads to polish off the remainder of the orders from last weeks deal, so I hope all of you who have not received your flies can bear with me.  Once the beads come in I can finish up and catch up, sort of.....
Nymph Order with Some Iso's 

I just came back from a day or two of fishing in the Catskills and boy was the weather brutal.  Watching the guides row their clients in less than desireable flows with brutal sun and hot weather further cemented the fact that I made the right decision this year to hang them up for a while.  To all you guys out there, I do not envy you one bit, you truly earn your money and my hats are off to you.
Spinners Anyone?

This brings me to another quick tidbit, I was absolutely shocked at the number of fisherman up there the past couple of days. I thought our home waters were crowded, boy was I mistaken.  At any rate everyone seemed to play nice with the exception of a few clueless anglers but that is to be expected.  There is a plethora of insects hatching and eager fish if you know where to look.
Daybreak and Fish Already Working

On my last night I managed to catch the tail end of the Dobsonflies and I had some decent fishing to go along with it.  It is always a pleasure throwing big surface flies in the light of the moon.
Sunset On A Rather Miserably Hot Day

Should be caught up on the current round of orders by weeks end, and then on to some projects I have been putting off for a while.   I will most likely put the next deal on hold for a few as I have to get cracking on that promised video.  Stay tuned as I will keep you up to date on that front and another which involves a timely clinic for the fall.  Check the proper page on the menu to find out a little more....
MMMM, I love Me Some Dobsonfly

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 2012 DDT Weighted Nymph Video

Click The Picture To See The Video
Well, I apologize for being a little behind the 8-ball on tying videos these days.  This thing is blowing up so to speak, and I am finding that I am tying more and more each and every week in between everything else I have going on, just to keep on top of things.  Above is a link (picture) to the latest tying tutorial for my DDT nymph (which I am tying hundreds of right now).  As you can see it is a very simple pattern and is just a slightly modified version of the DT nymph.  Alter your colors and sizes accordingly and you can cover all of your smaller mayflies. 

For you locals, this particular fly is working well right now.  Happy tying and thanks for watching.  I have a really good video and fly deal up next on the horizon, and it is based off of your feedback on the poll.  Streamers anyone?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Customer Success, Streamer Fishing, HOT Weather And The Latest Deal

Frequent customer and past guided client Steve Lynch has been having a blast these days getting out on the water at a rather regular clip.  If you haven't checked out his fishing blog, The Weary Angler, I suggest you do.  It melds the perfect combination of everyday life and fishing in a no nonsense manner.  Steve sent me a couple of pictures of some nice browns that he has had the pleasure of tangling with, courtesy of my H-A Snare streamer pattern.
Farmington River Fatty, Courtesy of The H-A Snare
Let the pictures do the talking, as those are some really nice fish.  Steve was also featured on the Orvis blog recently after being the highest bidder for a great cause.  Steve was fortunate enough to spend the day with Phil Monahan on the Battenkill and other local Vermont waters, and he introduced this lovely brown to the H-A Snare as well.  Good work Steve, check out his full blog post here:  Phishing with Phil.
Battenkill Butter Belly, Also Courtesy of The H-A Snare

I have been out pretty regularly myself these days.   Up before the sun comes up, watch it rise as I fish.  What I have found is some aggressive fish who have a penchant for BIG flies.  Here are just a few of the browns I have had the pleasure of tangling with lately, some nicer than others.  A few really busted breeders in there too, hideous, but fun to say the least.  Hog Snares, HA Snares, Meat Helmet Sculpins and a new one you'll read about later have been the most productive flies.
Handful Of Butter

Big Ole Ugly Breeder

Psychedelic Brown

Aside from the bombs eating meat, the morning caddis activity has been nothing short of epic.  Yesterday when I left the river it was full on surface feeding frenzy. Aside from the morning caddis, big iso's have been around in full force on some days, and the summer micros are here.  Various mini mayflies are about and hatching varying times of the day.  That being said, I have filled a few mini mayfly nymph orders.
Mini Weighted RS2's

More Tungsten Trico Spinners

As the little guys are around, I figured it would be a great time to unleash another fly deal, oriented towards the same.  My DT Nymph, which is not super flashy, simple to tie and just plain catches fish is one I never leave home without this time of year.  When I was guiding, this particular fly was a staple for me in the summer months and it often provided banner days, and the inevitable pull out on the tougher ones.  Figuring that everyone as of late is looking for tungsten nymphs, I decided to do a quick and equally effective tungsten variation.   What I derived is the DDT, or Deep DT nymph.

So, as I promised, here is this months fly deal.  For $30 out the door,   $31.90 for CT residents plus shipping you get a dozen DDT nymphs, and a dozen tungsten RS2's in what I deem staple mini sizes.   Two or more orders qualifies for free shipping as usual.   As usual, an email to titled mini nymph special, how you want to pay, check or paypal, google checkout, your mailing address and I will send out the invoice.  Also, you can indicate in the body of the email if you want some of those unweighted as I will split them up.  Just let me know and I will tie them accordingly
Morning Fog On The Farmington
On another note, I have developed another cool and very effective streamer utilizing the sculpin helmet.  I have yet to find a name for the fly, but I soon will.  This particular pattern tore them up on it's maiden voyage, and fish of all sizes fell to this guy.  As most of my helmet patterns this one is meant to be fished jig style off the bottom on a floating line and stout leader.  Here are a few pictures, and standby for these in the store with a forthcoming tying video.  The fly is a spin off of my Snare pattern so to speak, and it has proved it's one that needs to be in the rotation.
Even The Smaller Guys Ate This Guy

18 On The Nose In Inches Of Water

Close Up

Tiny Tim

I'll leave you with a few other parting photos from the last week, enjoy and thanks for reading....
Before The Heat

Olive N Black Hog Snares For Breakfast

The Set Up Rigged With New Streamer Max Line......$$

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Fathers Day, An Exciting New Fly Tying Product And More.

Happy Father's Day out there to all you dads, I hope you all are enjoying your day taking part in some fishing or just hanging  with friends, family, or whomever you are close with.   My creative daughters and wife Megan gave me a great gift that they made together.  The picture below is one of my under armour shirts that I wear to work, as you can see they spruced it up a bit to remind me every time I put it on that they are with me, pretty awesome.

Back to fishing related stuff.  I recently received a few sample spools of the highly touted Veevus threads from Kevin at Performance Flies.  If you know me at all, there are certain items in my massive and ever growing stock of tying materials that I seem to never have enough of.  Aside from various dubbing's of all sorts, tying threads are one of my favorite things to collect.  I literally have dozens and dozens of boxes filled with various threads, some I use often, others I use sparingly.  Overall though,  I burn through dozens of spools every month just filling orders.
A selection of various diameter threads.

I was very excited to try this new thread as I had been hearing some wonderful things about it.  Some of the banter relayed that it has  tremendous breaking strength, a sheen like UTC (one of my favorites) and is easily flattened out and split for dubbing loops, a technique I use daily.  After tying with it a bit, I came to the conclusion that Veevus thread can best be described as a combination of UTC and UNI-thread which is difficult to break, will spin into a tight cord if need be and while also splitting with ease.  This is by far the easiest thread to split for loops, and on numerous occasions when I have just touched UTC to the beak on a Dohiku the thread will fray or break, this stuff on the other hand is like the armor on a tank as it just will just bounce off the hook point.  I guess you could say I am very impressed so far.  I tied several dozen of my last jig orders on this thread and it was a pleasure.   Just look below, this is a picture of the 8/0 veevus that I am wrenching on with a Dohiku size 6 streamer hook.  It is literally bending the hook shank onto the point, something you could never do with straight up UTC 140 or 8/0 UNI.  For tyers of all abilities, this is just a great thread.
Strong as Hell!!

On a final note, Schmidt and I a few months back were bouncing patterns and ideas off each other in an attempt to try and concoct a multi jointed streamer that would really swim nicely.  We both worked out the kinks on a variation of his Red Rocket, as it is a fantastic pattern but one that we both consider on the smaller end of the articulated streamer spectrum.  After some trial and error we both came up with this guy pictured  below.  Three articulations, two small shanks, and lots of motion.  What we will call it is still up in the air, but it is the rockets big brother at a whopping 7-1/2 - 8 inches in overall length.  Don't let that scare you too much, it is extremely light and can be thrown on a 6 weight no problem, honest.   This exact fly took several fish including that nice brown on the Housy the other day,  so it works like a charm.
Mucho Grande Trout Snack, Nom Nom Nom

I will have that fly deal I spoke of last week up and ready by mid week, expect another post showcasing the selection in a few days...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't Stop Believing...........

Mike and I were strapped for time, which pretty much sealed the deal for both of us in terms of where we were going to fish today.  Having enough water, and both really wanting to float somewhere, we opted for our now once a year Housy Float.  Pretty sad really as we used to float the river often every season.
Hoping For A Few Of These Guys

We had been hearing glowing reviews from a few of our friends, so we figured maybe it was time we gave it a shot.  Well, the fishing was good, just not for the species we intended to target.  12 River miles, and a couple of sore arms later and we had a day in the books.  We opted for the streamer route, leaving all the other gear at home.  The 6 and 8 weight rods were out in full force, rigged with grained lines for medium to mucho sized articulated streamers.  I guess you could say it was a go for broke trip; go big or go home.
Mike With The Mini Of The Day

One thing that was certain though, the smallmouth are eating and eating hard.  Mike and I were literally pulling our flies away from fish today as they were almost menacing.  That's how active they were, and no exaggeration either.  We managed dozens of them, from tiny Tim like Mike's holding above, to several of the larger one's below.  It was pretty cool even while we were trying to find some deep shouldered Browns.  We both kidded that if we put a floating line and a jig style streamer on it would have been out of hand good.
One Of Several Nice Smallmouth

Say what you will about smallmouth bass, but they are a lot of fun to catch.   I use to never quite understand the negative comments that would often come from some of my guided clients when we would boat a few of these fine fish.  I still to this day don't quite get why some people frown upon catching these fish; they fight hard, are often acrobatic and will eat just about anything when they are on.  They can be ultra finicky at times too, even more so than trout on occasion.
The Rigs, Scott S4S 6 & 8 Weights, With Hatch 5 and 7 Plus Reels and SA Grained Lines

 Even though we were on the water to target some browns, and only managed a handful of trout, the smallies kept us busy throughout the day, and thankfully so.  We were both very impressed with the numbers and size of the fish, looks like they are prospering.   I always get a chuckle out of the attitude these fish have.  I was throwing 6-7 inch articulated flies all day and I had smallmouth smaller than that hitting the fly.
The Crown Jewel Of The Day, On A New 8 Inch Multi-Jointed Streamer...
We ended our day with a few Rainbows, and one decent Butter Belly in the boat with a few hooked and lost.  We both realized that we were on the river at the tail end of the good water temps and bugs, but it is still a tough pill to swallow when not so long ago those fish above appeared to be much more plentiful.   Back to the vise, as I am a few orders behind.  For those of you still waiting on your orders from last week, I should have them done and out the door by Saturday, just in time for a fly deal.....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Being Dealt A Bad Hand Courtesy Of Mother Nature

Nothing beats the anticipation and planning involved in a fishing trip, especially when it involves a friend coming out to visit and chase a species of fish that he has never had the opportunity to tangle with before.  The plan was for Mike to fly in Saturday night, scoop him at the airport and drive to the Cape where we would set up base camp at one of the family cottages in hopes of some mixed bag Striper fishing. Planning our trip around the full moon, we were figuring on some pretty consistent fishing.  Months of talking back and forth, filling fly boxes in between orders, and constant eyes on fishing reports, weather etc., it was looking like things were going to come together nicely.  When my buddy Chris showed signs of concern with the ever changing weather, the gears in my head instantly began turning.  I think the phrase he used was, "It's blowing snot here" rolled off his tongue when I called him on Friday.  Trying to remain positive despite the ever changing and dismal weather forecast, we made the run regardless.  We arrived on the cape around 2 AM Sunday, had a couple of beers, exchanged views at each others fly collections and hit the rack around 3:30, hoping that the weatherman was wrong.  The week prior we were slated for thunderstorms all weekend and we didn't see a single one, maybe we would be graced with another bogus forecast.
The Only Bait We Encountered, Washed Up In The Grass
Boy was that wishful thinking.  We awoke mid morning to stiff winds and sideways rain.  The rain subsided but the winds however did not.  When we arrived at our first location, a usually friendly flat that has fish and lots of bait, we were instantly punched in the face with steady 20 mph Northeasterly winds.  3-4 foot rollers and white caps greeted us and my heart began to sink.  We decided to give it a shot in hopes that things would change as the tide began to recede.  As we waded out and got into position it was very apparent that this just wasn't going to happen.   The winds intensified to an easy 30 mph making pinpoint presentations impossible and the lack of sunlight was making visibility even worse.  No fish, no bait and a turned upside down flat was the outcome.  We headed in early, licked our wounds, showered up and decided to get some sustenance.  A visit to the Chatham Squire was on the menu and it didn't disappoint, cold Guinness, and some seafood combined with some live Irish music saved the day.  After our gluttony we read and heard the weather report and were forced into making a decision we weren't too enthused about.  Rain and 40 knot Northeasterly winds were slated for the next day, and the extended forecast rang much of the same with winds at 15-25 mph; what was forecasted for today.  Do we stick it out and roll the dice, hoping for a change, or bag it entirely and chase some trout?  Plan B.....
Schmidt Locked Into A Farmington Brown.
Day 2 found us getting up early, hitting the Corner Store in Harwich at opening and grabbing a couple of their stellar breakfast burritos for the 3 hour ride home.  The food hit the spot for a rather sour ride home.   I mean, don't take this the wrong way but it did suck entirely having to leave the cape to head home to fish waters I can fish anytime.  This isn't the first time though that Mike and I have had our plans changed, you just roll with it and make the most of it.  When I went out his way in April of 2011 for some spring steelhead, we were hit with less than desireable conditions with a day of 60 mph winds, so it was all too familiar to us both.   We arrived at the house around 9:30 AM, swapped out our gear and decided that the overcast and rainy conditions would be worthy for rigging the streamer rods and throwing some meat all day on the Farmington.
Schmidt's Bush Brown With A Mouthful of Conrad 

Although the fishing was not red hot, we managed to stick some respectable fish.  We may not have stuck "The" fish, we did net a handful of nice quality browns.   The most notable was a wild looking 18 inch brown that Mike pretty much called like Ted Williams last homer.  Looking at a nice overhanging bush on the waters edge, Schmidt launched his Conrad Sculpin tight into the forage while saying that's where I would be if I was a brown trout.  One strip later and he was connected to a fine Farmington Specimen.
Close Up

We broke for lunch at the Pavilion in Peoples, called home and decided on staying for a few hours more before heading home for a traditional American meal of steaks on the grille.  We hit another stretch of water that was the most consistent fishing we had all day, netting a half dozen more fish, on of which was a long slender holdover brown with  a partially removed green elastomer.  I knew fully well that if we drifted nymphs all day we would have most definitely put several fish in the net, but we decided to hold fast with our plan and it payed off fairly well.  As Mike always says, "I'm willing to take the donut when I throw streamers, as you never know when that monster may show itself".  We moved some pigs today that never fully committed to the fly, so we figured a second day of the same might be in order.
Holdover Who Approved Of The Conrad

Day 3 greeted us with overcast skies, cooler temps and no rain to speak of, just intermittent bouts of drizzle.
Day 3 was a very long and tiring day.  Lots of casts with very little to show for it, well sort of.  Early on it looked like we might have a banner day but it never really panned out.  We did manage one fish, and boy was it a dandy.  Lets just say my largest brown of the season to date presented itself, and it fell to a Brown Hog Snare Streamer, a mouthful so to speak.  The hit, the fight and landing this slob was a rather surreal experience, and I was happy to have Mike there with me when it happened, despite the bittersweet outcome.  Mike has an affinity to large browns like myself, so it was really cool to share the experience with somebody who appreciates these fish as much if not more than I do.  Once the fish was in hand, we both kind of sat there  taking in the moment.  A few high fives, a bunch of pictures and then the tape measure broke out, and the fish stretched the tape to 26 inches on the nose.   Here are a few photos to wet your appetite, if you have doubts on the proportions of this fish, just take into account the fly in its mouth is 7 inches long, and my hand that is in it's mouth is roughly 8 inches long.....

Although it was the only fish of the day, it was a good one and we had a half day left of fishing before Mike had to depart home.  Pizza and beer at Little City Pizza was our plan that night as we reflected on our excursions, discussing fly designs and when the next trip together would be.   We spent our last day nymphing runs and riffles on the Farmington instead of chucking meat, and we had some decent success with nothing really large to speak of, just a nice mix of 12-14 inch browns.  The weather was the best we encountered the 4 days of our fishing trip, with sun and clouds and variable winds.

At the end of it all, we both agreed that a return trip was in order as Mike has a date with some Striped Bass that needs to be settled.  The only saving grace is he has about 10 dozen striper flies tied and ready for that day.  On a final note, we were faced with some unfortunate but funny circumstances on several occasions throughout the duration of fishing trip.  I won't dwell on the negative as there was some rather awesome positives that came as a result.  At any rate, we ate well, laughed hard and still managed to catch some fish so it was a success in my book.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Some Small Flies, And Some Fishing With A Friend

So far this spring, I have managed to keep myself rather busy with orders, catching up with the kids and doing some fishing so to speak.  I have taken a bit of a vacation from the trout streams, in fact, I think the last time I fished my local waters was somewhere around the third week of April.  I guess you could say a slew of things have contributed to that problem so to speak, but most of it all boils down to personal decision.  
Tungsten Trico's

The one thing that has been going rather well surprisingly, has been the little fly "promos" that I offer from time to time.  They are a double edged sword mind you, but one that has really been the backbone of my fly business.  My thoughts are to unveil another next week, probably near the end of the week to be exact. So that being said, stay tuned for another rather timely fly selection for you hatch matchers.  A few of my repeat customers have really caught on, and have gotten into the habit of ordering flies well in advance of the naturals presence on the river, case in point the little weighted Trico's you see above.  We still have quite a few weeks before we see these guys on my local waters, but it is never too early to start thinking about what is coming down the pike. 

Size 24 Tungsten Beaded RS-2's
As you can see, some of the flies I have been tying lately are on the smaller side, which goes hand in hand with many of the hatches on our beloved Farmington River.  On average, most of our major hatches typically run a size or two smaller than the bugs you might encounter on other rivers.  Sometimes it makes the world of difference in your catch rates, other days it doesn't, but one thing I do know is it never hurts to have a few little guys on hand when you fish there.  
About Time To Chase Some More Of These Guys Again

In a few hours I will be picking up a good friend and fellow tyer from the airport and making a caffeine induced pilgrimage of sorts to the Cape.  Mike Schmidt, aka, the streamer nut, big fish chaser, meat thrower, whatever else you could come up with, the owner of Anglers Choice Flies, will be joining me.  Our hopes are to do battle with some Striped Bass as Mike has never had the opportunity to chase these fine fish.   Mike was so kind enough to extend the invitation last year to chase spring steelhead on some of his local haunts, so it was only fitting to have him come on out my way for something a bit different.
Evening Fishing Is In Full Gear Now

We are gonna give it our best and have fun doing it, that's the plan at least, despite an ever changing weather forecast.  It's times like these that really make me realize just how lucky us folks in New England are.  In all actuality we have an array of options for fishing if you sit back and think about it.  If you were to draw a circle with an epicenter of Hartford that extends out in a 5 hour drive in any direction, the diversity of fisheries is pretty amazing.  Lake Ontario migratory fish, to Striped Bass, Tuna and False Albacore to name a few off the coast, to hundreds of top shelf trout fisheries, and that is only the tip of the iceberg.  When the dust settles, and you sit back and look at the big picture, we New Englanders have it pretty damn good.  I never forget just how lucky I am to live practically on a top shelf tail water trout fishery.   Wish us luck and see you sometime next week.
The Yak Rigged Up For Battle

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