The Rats Nest

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Parting Image For The Holiday Weekend

I'll keep it very brief.  This picture is what I am currently partaking in after a good friend was so kind enough to bring me a back a few of these lovely brews, and something that you cannot get here in the Nutmeg State.  May you all have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend, I will be away for the next couple myself with family.  Oh, and of course the vise, for some tying while my little ladies are getting their beauty sleep.  I shall have some good fly porn pictures for you upon my return as well as some new and exciting materials that came across my desk this week.  Until then, bottoms up.....

A Toast To You all

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Streamer Tactics For Trophy Trout Class Announcement

Got the itch for big fish?

Here is the official announcement for the Streamer class that I have been talking about lately.  As of right now we have 2 different dates available.   Both dates are Saturdays and are for two (2) separate classes, each 4-5 hours in duration.

First Date Saturday October 6,  7 AM @  Upcountry Sportfishing in New Hartford.
Second Date Saturday October 20, 7 AM @ Upcountry Sportfishing in New Hartford.

Tuition: $100 per person, 4 person maximum for each class.  50% Deposits secure your seat, and can be made through Upcountry at 352 Main Street, Route 44, New Hartford Connecticut or by calling: (860)-379-1952, just be cognizant that the remainder will be due on the day of the class.
Duration:  4-5 hours

Curriculum: This class will  consist of one part classroom/PowerPoint presentation and one part on stream hands on instruction.  The class is limited to 4 people as it will benefit all who attend in a smaller setting.  The class will require the participant to bring their fly rod of choice, waders and all terminal tackle they have for fishing streamers.  It is encouraged that participants bring a notepad and pen as the class is a 100% open forum participatory scenario.  Such things as gear, terminal tackle, leader construction, fly selection, reading water, theory and practice, various tackle and techniques for an array of scenarios and situations as well as angler approach and seasons will be covered.   If the two classes fill quickly and there is enough interest, additional classes will be offered.

IF you have been under the assumption that streamer fishing is a last ditch effort when all else fails, a high water only tactic or anything of the like, your home waters aren't good for streamers, then this class should answer any of the questions that you may have.  Remember, the class title says it all, so be prepared to walk away from this class with a new outlook on fishing streamers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Latest With Front Range Anglers

Ok, alright, the cats out of the bag.  Here is why the Ice Pick video was updated.  Once again, a pleasant and fun project, hope it answers a few questions for you all and just in time for my favorite season of the year..  Click the banner to read more.

Friday, August 24, 2012

What's New On The C.S. Front, Streamer Class Forthcoming

Quiet again, you can probably understand why.  It's been fun burning through spools of thread daily and countless piles of materials to fulfill orders.  As the result of some custom orders going out the door, I have added a few more patterns to the store, continuing on the idea of building a fairly extensive selection for you my customers.  As I said before, orders can be customized in various ways so if you don't see what you are looking for, just ask, I can work with you.
Chinchilla Zonker, New In The Store

Two patterns that I just added to the storefront are very familiar to you all, and are both streamers that have stood the test of time and deserve a place in any serious streamer fishing arsenal.  The Zonker and Double Bunny.  If you look at the two versions that I am offering, they have been "spruced up" a bit.  Super pearl eyes, clear cure goo heads, two lovely additions to a couple of already deadly patterns.
Olive Zonker

As you can see in the storefront, I offer a full compliment of color options for both, and more pictures will follow for you all to see.  The fly library has been getting slowly but surely updated as I tie and photograph several of these patterns day in and day out.
Olive/Chinchilla Double Bunny

Brown/Yellow Double Bunny

Because the flies have kept me rather busy, I am going to be 100% honest with you all, the DVD may very well get put on the back burner till next year.  I don't want to just slap something together, I want to do it right, and in order for me to do so I will have to devote a rather large chunk of my time to it, something that I don't have a lot of at the moment.  Before you know it, show season will be here, tying classes, and most importantly, the fall which is my favorite season to fish.  I hope you all understand.
Updated Meat Helmet Sculpin Picture, Small And Large

In the meantime, I will leave you with a couple of shots of a few of the more notable fly orders that I have recently completed, check the captions for their stories.  Thanks again and see you in the next post which will release the dates for the upcoming Streamer Tactics For Trophy Trout class....
Roughly 25 Dozen Mixed Fly Order

Double Bunnies

Double Bunnies


Mixed Dries And Nymphs 
Natural Colored Quill Jig

Customized Headbangers And Snares For Some Bull Trout...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Product Updates.

So I promised a couple of new colors for a few of my patterns.  I'm letting the cat out of the bag on just two tonight, got a few more to follow in the weeks to come, and just in time for the forthcoming fall season.  Also if you've been paying attention to the store front, I have began the tedious task of updating the photos for all of the flies, here is one of the few that I did recently.
One Of My Personal Favorites

The first new color option I am unveiling today is a black  shucked up emerger.  I am offering this guy in both and 18 and 20 and it can be used for the trico, and even a midge.  I have had several people out on the Western side of the country tell me how great this fly is for any dark midge hatch, so I figured why not offer it on the store.

The second color option is for my HA-Snare and Hog Snare streamer.  Burnt orange is a great fall color for gnarly browns, so I figured it was long overdue to add this option to the store as well.  I have another couple colors in store for you all for these guys, so keep your eyes on the blog in the weeks to follow.
Burnt Orange n Black

For now, it's back on the vise.   Here are a few photos of some of what I have been spinning up by the dozens lately.......
Black Shucked Up Emergers

Two Dozen Light Olive Shucked Up Emergers

Small Portion Of Staged HA Snares....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ice Pick Redux. The Updated Video

In between tying, I have been tinkering around with my new camera and editing software, and gathering advice from many whom I trust in an effort to start kicking up the videos a notch.   Why might you ask?  Well, it's easy to settle with what already works, but I am always trying to get better in many facets of my life, so I figured why not improve upon what I have already done.  Here is what I plan on doing with my videos from this point forward.  I think this format makes the most sense as it is shot in the first person, or as seen if you were seated in your chair behind your vise.  I am looking for some feedback here, good, bad or indifferent.  Please feel free to comment below, click HERE to see the video.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Piece Of Equipment

As I get a little older, still what some consider a young buck at 37, I find that I have started to slowly but surely grow out of the "Gotta have new gear" phase.  Maybe becoming a parent had something to do with it, or just realizing that you can only fish with one rod, reel and line at a time, and whatever else you can strap on your back superseded the need to always get something new.  Granted, although I have a full complement of whatever I may need in the truck while stream side, those who know me well recognize my minimalist mentality once stream side.

There are however a few pieces of equipment that are crucial to one's enjoyment on the river.  Once you get your paws on the right rod with that action you just fall in love with, everything else just seems to flow from there.  Me on the other hand, I put more stock in a well tied fly or hand made piece of equipment more than most.

There are a few things in life that I truly appreciate maybe more than the average Joe;  A good strong cup of coffee, a nice craft beer, a finely tied fly and last but not least, fine woodworking.  Woodworking you say? I guess coming from a long line of woodworkers, some of which are true artisans, my dad for example, even though I am a bit biased, I have grown to truly appreciate exceptional craftsmanship.  Earlier this year, my friend Mike Schmidt was out for a few days of fishing that if you remember, kinda didn't go as planned.  In the course of Mike's visit a particular piece of his gear really caught my eye, and it just so happened that the one I owned was in desperate need of replacement for various reasons.

You see, hanging off the back of Mike's massive frame was a net I just couldn't be without.  When I asked Mike where he acquired such a fine net as I had never seen one like it anywhere, he told me about Sam Lacina from Grand Rapids Michigan; the guy who constructed the net for Mike.  To say that I was blown away by the net is an understatement.  I have been sporting nets from another well known manufacturer for over a decade now, and although nice, they just weren't cutting it anymore.  If you recall, that trip graced me with another quality brown trout that was literally spilling out my net.

So, when I got home that night, I did a google search for Sam and found his website,   Sam's logo speaks for itself;  "Nets That Honor The Fish".  Once I laid eyes on Mike's custom tailored net, there was just no way that I couldn't have one, and when Mike said that Sam will custom make the hoop and handle to whatever size and shape you want, I was sold.

Once Mike left back in early June, I immediately contacted Sam and inquired about putting something together.  I explained to Sam how I like to chase larger fish, even steelhead and salmon from time to time, and that I needed something with a larger than average opening and bag.  Mike had mentioned that he had his ghost bag zip tied to the hoop, as strung nets have the tendency to weaken the frame once the holes are boared through.  I opted for the same, and a few weeks later I received and email with some photos of a few prototypes that Sam had put together.

Sam had made two nets, both similar but a shade different in hoop size and handle length with different dimensions, and he basically said pick the one you like best.  I opted for the 12.5 inch handled model over the longer handled one as I like to slip the net along my back and from experience the longer handle has a tendency of dragging the back of my knees.

Well, yesterday Sam's masterpiece arrived, and to say that I am blown away once again is an understatement.  The net is so nice I am almost afraid to get it wet, but I know that once I scoop up my first big brown in it this fall, I'll be glad that I did.  The beauty of it is she arrived the day after my favorite 6 weight came back from repair, if you don't remember that blog post, read it HERE.  If you are looking for a truly heirloom quality net, trust me when I say look no further, as Sam is a master at what he crafts.  Enjoy the pictures, and if you end up having Sam customize you one of his nets, tell him I sent ya.  And these nets truly do honor the fish, and it is an honor to own one as well......

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Feedback, Updates, And Other Babbling Flyfishing Talk

I apologize for the silence around these parts lately.  I guess you could say I have been wading against the tide trying to keep  my head above water with a rather busy schedule these days.  The waters around here are warm and low, and I have made the command decision to put the rod down till the middle of September when (hopefully) things change for the better.  For now I am surrounded in a sea of material clippings everyday before and after work, finding my "zone" as I fulfill orders.

On the feedback front, I have been getting outstanding feedback from last months DDT special.  After tying a little over 100 dozen of them for the special, it has been a steady flow of emails with happy customers.  One of my mainstay customers wrote the other day, "Your DDT nymph has been my best fly of the summer accounting for 80% of all of my fish on the Farmington.  Thanks for a great pattern!"  There is nothing better than getting emails with positive feedback and photographs to back up the stories, keep em coming folks. 

Here is a recent letter from Mark Wittman that really made my day:


Earlier this year you sent me a collection of your top Euro nymphs.  I've used them as guides along with your videos and have been experimenting with the technique.  I was out on the Farmington yesterday and things were quiet in the afternoon so I decided to get a little practice in.  After getting the hang of leading the flies I manged to pick up a few fish on the DDT and the Rock Candy including a very nice brook trout that took the Rock Candy.  Just thought you might like to see one stuck in the jaw of Farmy brookie

thanks for the flies and the videos !"

If you didn't know, Mark has a really cool blog called Fishing Small Streams,  I suggest you check it out. 
Photo credit Mark Wittman

Photo credit Mark Wittman
Another cool piece I completely missed until recently was an update from Dave Henry over at 2Handed Trout.  If you recall, Dave featured my shanked version of the Ice Pick in an article on his blog a few months back.   Well, Dave's been out fishing these flies and apparently some fish out his way approved.  Check out the story by clicking the picture
A Battalion of Shanked Ice Picks
On another note, I have been intermittently attempting to work on the DVD project.  I will admit, it appears as though this project will take a little longer than I had anticipated.  But, in order to put something of quality together it usually takes time.  I am optimistic,  and will make all efforts to reach my November deadline, so wish me luck in the meantime.  I am afraid something will have to give in order for me to get this done, most likely a break from the videos on my Vimeo Channel.  Hopefully this won't be for too long a time.

When I get around to it, I plan on shooting a series of new photos for all of the flies in the storefront, with various color sequences and such so that any new customers can get a really good look at the products that I offer.  On top of that, I have a few new color schemes to unveil for some of my more popular jointed streamers, so check back soon for those, I won't let the cat out of the bag so to speak just yet.

I am currently immersed in one of a few "Box" projects as I like to call them.  This one although on paper isn't very large, it is still a time consuming effort as every fly is articulated and is full of all kinds of good fish catching stuff.  Here's a looksie of what I just spun up for a good friend/customer who had a huge void in his streamer arsenal.   I will most likely be adding a special section to the store front in regards to what you see below.  Seems lately that more people are looking for a full complement of flies for their home waters or abroad and I am always open to putting together that must have selection, heck, I can even get the fly box for you as well, or offer up my personal suggestion as you see here.

 Big flies require a big box, hence the Bugger Beast, or streamer suitcase as I like to call it.   If this is something that interests you, feel free to send me an email and we can put together that selection of patterns to fit the bill.  Till next time....

Just add water....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm Back From The Great Land.......

 Meg and I returned late on Monday night, and spent the day decompressing from an eventful and jam packed few days in Montana.  Our sole reason for the trip was to attend her  cousin Jaime's wedding, but we managed to parlay that into a mini vacation of sorts.  Being our first time away from our two little girls for more than a few hours, it was a little difficult for the two of us.  In true form, we were struck with a little adversity from the get go.
View Off Our Back Deck

My wife at the last minute due to a slight position change at work, had to fly to Florida on the previous Sunday, to meet me in Bozemon on Wednesday.  As the connecting flights unfolded it looked like it wasn't going to be too much of a big deal as we met in Minneapolis and managed to connect on the same flight with a decent layover allowing us to enjoy a bite to eat together.  As we worked our way to our terminal we noticed that the waiting area for our Bozemon connection was rather packed.  In short order we learned that our flight was overbooked and the airline was looking for five volunteers to defer their flight.  In return for doing so those who volunteered would receive Airline Ticket Vouchers and Meal Vouchers as the next flight to Bozemon wouldn't depart for about 10 hours.

Never ever having this offer work out for us in the past, my wife and I were torn tremendously.  After realizing that we really weren't going to miss out on anything that day, we opted for the vouchers (more on that one later).  So we spent the day in the Minneapolis airport, drinks, dinner and even a little pampering with massages at the Express spa.  It wasn't my idea of the beginning of a short vacation, but the reward was worth it.  We ended up getting into town around midnight, scooping our rental car a little cross eyed and then making the run up Bridger Canyon Road to our Bed and Breakfast at the Silver Forest Inn.

A six hour snooze later and we woke to blue bird skies and Belgian Waffles by our host Autumn.  Boy could she make a mean breakfast, as we learned that first morning that we were in for a treat every day we awoke.

After our breakfast we headed into town, grabbed some food for the road and made the trek to the northern entrance to Yellowstone Park to meet up with Meg's siblings for a day in the park.  Every trip to Montana for me prior to this excursion was always with one thing in mind and that was fishing and fishing only.  I have always wanted to explore the state and the many things aside from fishing that it had to offer.  I probably could have done an entire post on just what we experienced that day in the park, which for all intensive purposes was merely a scratching of the surface of what the park has to offer.  One could spend a lifetime exploring the park and probably not see everything it is just that vast.  Here are a few of the things that left an a permanent mark on me and my wife, and the pictures should tell you why.
The Locals

Mammoth Springs

The Ride To Roosevelt Tower

Tower Falls

As we panned through the park from the eastern edge towards West Yellowstone, we realized that there just weren't enough hours in the day.  We pulled into Old Faithful at around 8 PM narrowly missing the geysers display by roughly five minutes.  Bummed to say the least, we knew that staying in that particular area for another 90 minutes just wasn't in the cards as we didn't want to get back to our place any later than we already were going to, we decided to take the western entrance out the park and grab something to eat in the town of West Yellowstone before the trek home.
Upper Great Falls Of The Yellowstone

Looking Down The 309 Foot Drop Of Lower Falls

Alternate View From Lower Falls

Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone

A quick bite at a local brew pub, and we were northbound to Bozemon.  Although we left the park with all sorts of great new experiences, there was an entire side of the park that we didn't get to experience and will have to return someday to do so. We strolled into our place around 12:30 AM and slept in so to speak the next morning till about 9 AM.

Not quite sure what we were to do on our second day of the trip, we opted for a road trip towards the town of Dillon, and maybe a quick stint on the nearby Beaverhead river for some fishing as most of the rivers in the Bozemon area were running warm with the recent drought-like conditions.

We dropped in at Frontier Anglers in the town of Dillon, a place I had visited a year prior with my buddy Mike.  The owner Tim Tollett was in house as was another really hospitable fellow named Jeff who I ended up talking with and giving a handful of my bugs (big meaty stuff).  Although the sky was looking really dark, we decided to give it a go and expect the worse, hoping for the best.  I guess you could say that we were lucky, the front split in half, seeming to use the river as a an axe so to speak, with rain coming on either mountain range that flanked the river.  We got spit on a little, but managed to escape the massive front that pushed through.   At the end of our short stint, Meg managed to strike up a conversation with this nice fellow who just finished guiding.

A few moments later Graham asked us if we wanted to float and we headed out for a few more hours on the river via his Clacka.  Even though the short float didn't yield anything of note, it was cool for Meg to experience the river from the boat and we were very thankful for the opportunity.  I handed Graham a handfull of my meatier streamers and we departed exchanging business cards.  If you're in the area and in need of a guide, look up Graham Skipp, he's a salt of the earth kind of guy.
Meg At The Pipe Organ Bridge Pool

View Of The Pipe Organ Rock Formation
Meg Locked Into A Nice Brown That Got Away

Obligatory Grip n Grin

Fatty Browns...
Me On The Sticks For Our Gracious Host

The hot flies of the day were the Acetate Floss PMD Nymph, and the Micro Stone in Brown.  These two flies seemed to do the trick nicely, and accounted for all of our fish.  There were literally hundreds of PMD's and Yellow Sallies hatching and the fish were definitely keyed in.  Once again, we made it a late night returning to the room around midnight after stopping for a burrito at the Burrito Bus in Dillon (highly recommended).
A Tattered Micro Stone From The Beaverhead

Saturday was the wedding so you can guess what we had in store, it was really cool to be at a wedding that was completely different from the what I have been accustomed to.  Cowboy hats, boots and jeans, outside in the mountains around Bridger Canyon, loads of fun.

Sunday came and went rather quickly, spending some more time with family and friends before capping it off right at Montana Ale Works in the center of town.  Good beers, good eats, great atmosphere about sum up the Ale works.  When it's available, grab the Bison Tenderloin, as it is second to none.

A Double Rainbow To Send Us Off

Monday came and with it the anxiety of flying, coming back to the busy northeast and all the stuff waiting when I return to work and the bench.  The only saving grace was the excitement on Tuesday morning when Meg and I got to see our two girls for the first time in about a week.  As a result of our overbooked flight, we have come to the conclusion that around this time next year we will head back to Big Sky to see all the things that we missed.  Only difference is we plan on staying longer and bringing our two girls along for the trip.  Here are a few more photos from the trip, I'd put em all up, but 500 pictures is a bit ridiculous.

Just Some Scale Of How Big These Guys Are

Firehole River

 So Close

Old Faithful
On a final note, I have been busily tying away for those of you still waiting on flies.  I am working out about an order a day (typically), unless they are large.  Lastly for those of you that are interested, I started work on the first tutorial for my DVD project.  Let's just say although it is going slowly, it is going to be well worth the wait.  I am very pleased in the results thus far and I think those of you who do pick it up will be pleased with the product.  More to follow....
A Pair Of 6 x 6 Elk Who Crossed In Front Of Us For  Drink

Upper Yellowstone

Yellowstone Lake

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