The Rats Nest

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Mother Load Of Flies And The Vise Is Shut Down For The Next Five Days.....

As of right now the vise will be getting some much needed rest.  Why you ask?  I will be away for the next 5-6 days for a family wedding, wife's side of the family that is, so tying will be out the picture for a few.  Oh, did I mention that the wedding is in Bozemon, Montana?  Oh, geez, how unfortunate, just kidding.  Oh yes, some fishing is in the equation for me and the wife, probably hit Yellowstone too as I have yet to spend any time there.
 If you haven't figured out why I have been so quiet over here lately, let me bring you up to speed a bit.  A flurry of orders and some rather large one's have pretty much occupied all of my free time for the last 10 days, and for many more when I return.  Although it is really awesome to watch the business literally blow up overnight, it can be a little daunting when you get hit with 21 orders in 24 hours.  Here are just  a few pictures of some of the recent fly orders.
Olive DDT 
Super Simple Nymphs

Olive DDT Close up

Super Simple Nymph Close up


Micro Madness

I have also had a little time to mess around with the macro lens that I picked up for the camera.  I managed to burn off a few close up shots of some of my father's flowers from his quite expansive gardens, and of course a couple with the new 35 mm fixed lens of my two girls.

Big hugs.

I can't hear you daddy.

Lastly, before I hop on a plane at O dark thirty, let me leave you with a few images and stats from the unveiling of the Headbanger Sculpin.  I had to tie 110 of these bad boys and they accounted for the bulk of my time this past week in between work, the girls and spending time with the wife.
Mother Load o Headbangers...

One of my friends asked me in the middle of the "Sculpin Marathon",  just how much material goes into an order of flies like this.  Well, I couldn't give him an accurate answer at the time, but after some thought I figured it out.  Here is the total:

110 Size 2 Gamakatsu SP11-3H hooks
110 Size 1 Gamakatsu B10s hooks
110 Olive marabou plumes
110 Black marabou plumes
110 Tan marabou plumes
110 Rusty Brown marabou plumes
330 Black strands of Holographic flashabou
330 Brown strands of Holographic flashabou
3 packages of medium olive cactus chenille
3 packages of medium root beer cactus chenille
110 black schlappen feathers
110 fiery brown schlappen feathers
220 yellow/gold barred crazy legs
220 olive/brown barred crazy legs
1 dark olive arctic fox tail
1 fiery brown arctic fox tail
7 packages olive sculpin helmets
7 packages brown sculpin helmets
110 olive colored 3d pro eye beads
110 brown colored 3d pro eye beads
3 spools of 19 strand beadalon
4 packages olive colored senyo laser dub
4 packages sculpin olive colored senyo laser dub
3 spools of rusty brown utc 140
3 spools of olive utc 140.

As the late Kurt Cobain once said, "I'm on a plane".  Till my return....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Insect Report, Fishing, Flies....

One word pretty much sums it up for me these days.....  Busy.  The wife's been away across the country for work since last Saturday, so it's been a rather hectic week on all accounts.  The girls and I can't wait for her return tomorrow, even though it will be short lived.  I guess you could say things have been good on the fly front too.  It is rather apparent that many of you were waiting for that new streamer to come out, as I currently have well over a hundred of them to tie.  I should be getting to all of those sometime this weekend.
Sculpin  Helmets Ready To Go

For those of you who took me up on the deal, I plan on tying all of them together and then mailing them all out once.  It's just plain easier that way so I hope you all can bear with me on this as I literally got sucker punched with roughly 16 orders the other day.  That's not a misprint, and three of them are rather lengthy.  I  won't bore you with the particulars, but let's just say I had to order a thousand emerger hooks the other day if that sheds some light on things.
Mixed Bag Of Big Nasties

On another note, here is a picture of a nice selection of articulated streamers I tied up for a local customer/friend/fishing buddy.  I am pretty certain these will get some serious use in the months to come as I think he really started to get the streamer bug.  It's a good thing for him, he's a heck of a nymph fisherman but that's pretty much all he does.  Glad to see you're branching out buddy.
Macro Photography Fun

Lastly, I got out on the water once again for an early morning short lived jaunt.  I drummed up some nice browns but nothing really big so to speak.  I scoped out some water I hadn't fished in quite some time, and I reckon  it holds a couple of leviathans, I just need to do some recon on how to figure out their feeding lies and habits, and a game plan as to how to best fish for them as they are in a very large and deep expanse of water.  A little challenge of sorts you could say.

I will leave you with some bug pictures from today.  Being a self taught photographer is a very tedious  trial and error based endeavor so please bear with me, I am below amateur at best, but in due time I should be able to pump out some fairly good stuff as my equipment is much better and my skills are doing the same.  The insect photos are from today, and should shed some light on what is going on bug wise on the local watershed.  The winter/summer caddis hatch this morning was nothing short of epic, and the fish were on them pretty good.  They were one of the bugs that gave me great fits with the point n shoot Pentax, so I omitted the photos.  Enjoy the pictures and get out there and fish while we still have some cold water...

Trico's If You Know Where To Look 
Cahills Virtually Everywhere

Mystery Bug, Blue Wing Olive Species???

Monday, July 9, 2012

Headbanger Sculpin Unveiled

The long wait and anticipation is over.  My latest articulated streamer, the Headbanger Sculpin is now available for purchase in the fly store.  For a limited time only, till this Friday (07/13/12), the headbanger will be available at a discounted price.  To kick this thing off right, you will all be able to purchase the headbanger for $5.00 each.  After Friday, the regular price will be $6.00 each.  Like all of my streamers, these are very durable and will catch multiple fish without issue.  In fact, I am still fishing the same first few prototypes that I tied over a month ago. 
The Brown N Tan and Olive N Black Headbanger

I will add a tying video in the future, most likely sometime in August as this month is straight up crazy for me and the family (more on that one later).  To take advantage of this offer you have to send an email as usual to  Title the email Headbanger Special, in the body of the email tell me how many you want, what colors (olive n black or brown n tan or both), a good mailing address and how you would like to pay, if you live in or out of state (Connecticut).  As always, an invoice via paypal will follow regardless of how you pay.  Lastly, orders are on a case by case basis so the order they come in is the order they get tied and fulfilled. 

Included in the order will be an added surprise for all who purchase them, I won't let the cat out of the bag on that one, it will be for those of you who take advantage of the deal to find out.  I'll give you a hint though, lets just say it will give the buyer an idea of how to maximize your ability to fish these bad boys.

This fly has been a real winner, and the design already has me thinking ahead to some new patterns.  Thanks again to everyone for the continued support.

****UPDATE 07/10/12***

As a result of several orders yesterday, and a 3 rather massive ones, the typical turnaround on orders is going to be pushed back to about 4-6 weeks.  thanks again everyone for the overwhelming support

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Customer Feedback And Some Other Things

Another week in the books, thankfully.  After last nights round of tying, I capped this week off at a cool 43 dozen flies tied.  Needless to say, I am glad they are behind me as it was starting to get a little crazy.  I am very happy to move away from micro nymphs and on to some big streamers this week.  Here are a few photos of the last batch of orders, some larger anchors for some local fishermen.
Anchors, Anchors Anchors

Pocket Base Full Of Staged Nymphs Ready To Be Finished 

Tungsten Rubber Legs

On a side note, I received a bunch of emails from customers and tiers this week, and I figured I should share some of them with you.  The first of which is local, and should be a bit of good news for all of you in the area who ordered some of those nymphs last week.  Jason Shook, past guided client and frequent fly customer wrote this;


Picked off about a half dozen on the bridge at Church Pool, all except one on the DDT. Here's the highlight - no survivor markings, full finned, etc.

Actually had the double with this one on the dropper and another on the anchor (an offshoot of a Vladi Worm) but didn't land both. My net opening is 20", this guy just fit in.

The DDT Victim.  Photo Courtesy of Jason
Great looking brown there Jason, thanks for sharing.  If you forgot what the DDT looked like, let me refresh your memory.
DDT Nymph, Trout Candy

These flies as I stated a few weeks ago are one of my top producers in the summer months, and I guess you could say I have a lot of faith in them.

On another note, I received this series of photos from Jeff Kolb from the west coast.  Jeff has been a very kind and vocal fan of my patterns and has reached out on several occasions.  Jeff mentioned recently that he and his friend have been doing damage on the Meat Helmet Sculpin.  Jeff sent these photos of his friend Matt who just got back from fishing the Sauk River in Washington, where he lit up the Bully's on Meat Helmets Sculpins.  Olive was the hot color, and all were tied by Jeff.


Nice Bull Trout

Lastly, if you hadn't noticed, I uploaded a new video file to the CDC Loopwing Emerger from earlier this week.  The loopwing is also available in the Fly Store now too, so check it out.  I think I finally have my process dialed in and ready to go for my DVD project.  Messing around with file sizes and frame rates on the Nikon is behind me, and I feel pretty confident in my ability to produce a really quality DVD for all of you who have inquired.  I will probably add another lens to the camera bag and then I should be good.  Take a peek for yourself, and enjoy the video.  Any and all feedback will be welcomed, as I am all ears.  Thanks again, and the next post should be a rather good one.....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Don't Let A Little Adversity Ruin Your Trip......

4:25 AM and I am once again awoken to that sound that rattles you to the core.  The dreaded alarm clock, echoing off the four walls of my room, essentially feeling like somebody banging a gong inside my head.  Luckily, I was smart enough to set up the timer on the coffee maker so I was greeted with a nice pot of fresh strong mud to get me going.  Getting up early after getting home late from work (midnight), just seems to get harder and harder the older I get.   Splash the face, fill the travel mug, don the waders and I'm stream bound by 4:45.  I am literally at the waters edge at 5:00 AM and decide to hit a stretch that I haven't fished in a while.  The water wasn't to my liking so I head elsewhere.  I pick my poison, find a deep bank side pocket with a nice overhanging bush.  First cast, and BAMM!! I'm into a solid fish.
Headbanger Sculpin Strikes Again

Fat 2 Year Old, Nice But Not What I Had In Mind

A quick picture and the fish is back in the drink.  I turn a couple more fish in the same run, but I see an overhanging tree that just screams big boy.  I take a couple of casts into the cover and then inevitably hook something solid.  Not what I am intending to hook, as there are no violent head shakes that follow.  Instead, my fly is solidly seated into a submerged limb.   Being fully secure with the fact that real streamer fishing requires the angler to be alright with losing some gear, I figure I can get this guy back.  I am totally comfortable with throwing my flies into deep cover as I know the risks are far outweighed by the rewards, but what ensued was not what I had in mind.  I figure that I can probably wade out, reel up the line right to the tip of the rod and force the fly out with the tip.  Although most rod manufacturers would probably cringe at what I just wrote, it works and has saved many of streamers for me over the years.  Even if it jeopardizes the integrity of the rod, I am not going to give up easily on a good fly.  As I do so, I quickly find out that the hole my fly is buried in, is actually a bottomless abyss and I am now standing in a hole that is clearly over my waders.  The cold water rushing into my waders is a chilling reminder, as is the force of the fast current that is trying to take me downriver, that the river is going to win this time.
Something Wrong Here????

As I try to undue my problem, my rod comes apart and the line snaps.  I reach back and realize that I just lost the tip to my favorite rod.  Pissed to say the least, I frantically look around, flail with my net etc etc.  But to my dismay the tip is gone and I can't even get close to where it may be if it is indeed still there.  So, now with my now 6.75 foot 6 weight, I trudge back to my truck like a beat dog wondering how long I will go without my favorite stick.  Sometimes the river reminds us that we are in fact mortal, the older and wiser I get the more I realize this.  So what's a guy to do?  Well one of two things came to mind, either give up and call it a day, go home lick the wounds and get started on figuring out what I have to do to get a new tip to my javelin or grab the 8 weight from the truck and get back on the horse.  I chose the latter and ended up salvaging the outing, and quite nicely I may add.  What ensued was some very fast and furious streamer fishing.  I managed to do battle with a bunch of nice fish;  a couple more recent 2 year olds, a couple snake like holdovers, one of which had a yellow elastomer over its left eye, and one absolutely spectacular wild brown.  Here are a few photos to wet your whistle, all of these fish were taken in some of the most bewildering pieces of water too.  Enjoy the photos, and yes the big stuff is still working quite well....
Go Home Buddy

Snaky Holdover

Decent Holdover

Token Catching Shadows Logo Shot

Another Snaky Brown

A Perfect Specimen

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day. Here's My Gift To You

Happy Independence Day to all of you out there in cyberspace reading this post.  Take the time and reflect on how fortunate we all are to live in such a great country (even in these times).  I am as usual, busy busy busy.  I feel like my ass is growing into my tying chair lately, but it is fun for me so don't take that the wrong way.  I have few order pictures to show you as well as a link to the latest video, the CDC Loop wing Emerger, a very time tested pattern.   I added my own little spin to the fly, you fly experts out there will know what that is.  Just click the Spinner below and you'll be redirected to the video.

I will leave you with a few shots of some fly porn, lol.  You've heard of fish porn, I'm kicking it to another level with some fly porn for you out there.  I have about cleaned up the mess of mini nymph orders and should have the last one in the mail by Thursday morning.  Hmmmmm, what to do next?  Couple of gear reviews are on the horizon, maybe something else....
An Army Of Miniture Mayfly Madness
Iso Comparaduns

Monday, July 2, 2012

Product Testing......

You all are probably getting sick and tired of listening to me talk about this new streamer I've yet to unveil. I know, I know, enough already Rich, let the cat out of the bag, let us have it.  Like all my patterns, I like to make sure that they pass the test, while also experimenting with the pattern in various techniques, water types, times of day, conditions etc. etc.    I guess you could say that I like to be positive that I am putting out quality patterns that not only look good, but are proven fish catchers.
The First of the day

I guess this last outing sealed the deal for the Headbanger Sculpin.  Yes, that's it, I finally got a good name for this pattern, courtesy of a good friend and former guided client Josh.   Why the name you might ask?  This fly really reminds me of a mullet wearing 80's rocker, so I wanted something that was fitting.  The fly isn't available in the store yet, nor have I put the video together either.  I want to kick the pattern off with a promotion, but due to my current situation; waiting on a large shipment of tungsten beads to finish off last weeks deal, I will have to wait a few before I do so.  I'll end the post here, just check the photos that follow, those are all from the same outing, and don't let anyone fool you into believing that streamers are only good during high water in the spring and fall.   All fish were caught and released in the last 24 hours.......
Mug Shot #1

Mug Shot #2

First Wild Brown

Second Wild Brown

Mug Shot #3

Big Ugly...

Recent 2 Year Old


Handful Of Fatty

Mug Shot #4

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