The Rats Nest

Monday, October 29, 2012

Streamer Fishing Presentation November 28, 2012 With The F.R.A.A.

Well, for those of you who were bummed about missing out on the two streamer classes this month, don't fret.  The Farmington River Anglers Association (FRAA) has invited me along to their monthly meeting in November, where I will be giving the presentation portion of the class.

For obvious reasons (time constraints) this will not be as comprehensive as the course itself, but will have a lot of information packed into the presentation that will be useful to the angler.   If all goes well, who knows, maybe we can set up some more dates for the class as a result of it.  The classroom portion will be the body of the presentation, so in essence you will see the presentation section just pared down a bit.

The FRAA welcomes members and non-members alike, and the doors open at 6:30 PM, and there is no door fee, so come on out, bring a friend too.   I will be tying flies before the presentation for those  of you interested, and the show kicks off a little after 7 PM.  The meetings are held at the Farmington Senior Center located at 321 New Britain Avenue, Unionville, CT 06085.  Detailed directions can be found here

For more information about the club meetings, how to join and such, check out at their website at

Lastly, Hurricane Sandy is slated to hit my area pretty hard per the meteorologists.  As a result I may not be home much due to work, so that being said the vise may not see much time until the storm passes.  So, I hope those of you who have pending fly orders understand.  Thanks again, and stay safe out there in the storm.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Special Announcement Coming.....

I'll have more details in a few days, but for all of you that couldn't make the streamer class this month, you just might be interested in what is on the horizon for the end of November.  When this week is over and I am not being pulled in 50 directions I will have a full detailed post for you.  For now, back to the vise, and wondering what work will have in store for me this week with Old Mother Nature's swift kick to the peaches,  AKA Hurricane Sandy (W@#$*)....
Full Listing On This Bad Boy Soon Too.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Streamer Class Yesterday

Honored, is the first word that comes to mind after yesterday's class.  For all of you who attended (we packed the house by the way), I am truly honored that you all came to the class and some of you drove from quite a ways away, getting up very early to make the trip.  That speaks volumes, and I am very gracious. 16 people in two classes is pretty cool, I wish I could have worked it out for those that had scheduling conflicts, drop a line when things calm down for you and we can maybe piece another class together.

Over the last 10 years, my involvement in Fly Fishing has given me the opportunity to cross paths with some very awesome people, I never would have guessed in a million years that fly fishing, my passion, would have presented me with so many wonderful opportunities, and the chance to make some great friendships along the way.  I guess when you truly love something, you shouldn't be surprised as good things will happen.

The class went a little longer than the first installment from a few weeks prior, but from what I gathered it was very well received.  A few of those in attendance actually reported back later in the day as they stayed out and fished streamers afterwards, and here is what they had to say.


Thanks again for the class today. I got a lot out of it, specifically how to read the water and how aggressively you need to work the fly.

I did get out afterward with Chris - Figured for ease of wading and access we'd hit the top of Church Pool. I dropped one and brought this guy to net on a yellow Zoo Cougar (brightest fly I had), both on the edge of the faster water on the west side of the river. No trophy, about 14", but success. Chris had the fish of the day, his year I think, I'm sure he already sent you the pic!

After that I went down to center riffle and switched to an olive hog snare, dropped one right in front of that rock in the middle where the two channels rejoin (heavy leaf hatch), moved two more where the back channel dumps in. Caught myself raising the rod instead of strip setting, but it was nice just to see and feel some action. Going to try and hit it early tomorrow......"

Photo credit Jason Shook


Caught this 18+ at church pool on a brown and red BS Swinger after class today.... Class was great...thanks again.."


Photo Credit Jason Shook


Just wanted to let you know that the class today was excellent. Power Point was full of information and on stream was eye opening. Don't remember learning more in such a short period of time...... Enjoy the Suds"


Oh, and besides the great reports, I was also graciously given some wonderful brews from Andrew, and as you can tell, when I got home from work last night I couldn't help but have one.  I guess you could say it was a great day all around.

Wheat Ale and Double IPA  OH MAN!
Looks Even Better In That New Pint Glass


"Hi, Rich.
Thank you for your excellent streamer class, and demonstration. It taught me a lot, and I’m glad I could share your experience.

After the class, I hit the spot you mentioned which is Spare Tire. I started fishing upstream on the left bank above from small island. As you said, a few cast on one spot, and move up few steps using Head Banger. No action at all. 17:30. started a lot of caddis hatching. it was very tempting to cast caddis fly after seeing more than a few trout taking those, but kept casting streamer. changed it into your mop head streamer that I tied for top water. I started casting it into deeper side of run aiming where I think there was submerged rocks. After a few cast, Bang! Mop head got smashed. Really good size, but it didn’t take it. As you said, waited a bit, and cast it dead drift. Bingo!!! It was quite heavy one with my cheap 5 weight mid flex rod. I enjoyed the fight. The guy below was quite fat healthy looking one. 19-20 inch because it was much bigger than my net. That was the only one I got that day but I really had fun. The one below was that one I got next day. big head but skinny body about 17inch.
Rich, I’d try to come up soon to practice streamer! Thanks again, see you soon!"

-Shinobu-(photo credits for all 6 following photos)

"Hey Rich,

Thanks again for the great streamer class on Saturday.  I have to say, when my alarm clock rang at 4:30 it took all I had not to snooze away.  But after I rubbed my eyes and realized I was about to expand my capacity as a fly fisherman, I was up and at 'em.  Your presentation was great and the on stream demo was even better.  I only wish we had more time to cover different pieces of water so it could gel even further in my mind.  Now all I need to do is get motivated, get a bugger beast and start filling up my box.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this aspect of fishing which always intrigued me.  It is rare that you come across people that are truly decent, w/o hidden agendas in fly fishing.  Thanks for being a stand up, trust worthy guy we need more people like you in the sport.

As far as the rest of my fishing day, I got 2 really thick browns in the 16-17" range on an articulated ice pick that I tied up in your tying class.  It was the barred grey over white.  Although I must say, I wish I had caught them differently.  The first one was was ripping through some soft water, the line got tight and I set, heavy fish.  When it first got to the surface I saw the dorsal fin horizontally and I knew that I had foul hooked it.  I would like to think he was going for the streamer and turned on it, but more than likely I just snagged it.  Removed the hook from it's flank, and right back in the water.  Then towards the end of my day, I was thinking about packing it in and the fly was just dangling behind me when all the sudden it got crushed.  It was still a nice fish.  I rarely get photos when I'm by myself.

Thanks again and see you at the tying symposium."


Friday, October 19, 2012

Quick Reminder

Just a reminder to all attending the class tomorrow, be there at the shop by 7:00 AM, have a notebook and pen, your streamer gear so we can go over it all and make sure your set up is in check, and any and all questions you may have.  See you then......

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rainbow Trout

This week I found myself knee deep in water I hadn't fished in quite some time.  Heading 30 minutes north of the border, I managed to position myself in some familiar water I used to call home many years ago.  2012 has been a year of exploration for me, as I have spent more time on rivers old and new more so than on my home waters of the Farmington.

I have also made a conscious effort to employ methods other than nymphs a priority this year as evidenced by my blog posts if you've been following.  A personal decision for many reasons, the two most defining are as follows;  the pull and the often visual attack from a streamer caught fish is to me the coolest thing in the sport, and secondly I thoroughly enjoy the challenges that streamers provide under various conditions presented.  This is especially true this season where we have experienced below average river flows and conditions that present all sorts of challenges. 

To get back on track, this particular watershed is not one typically associated with large quantities of trout, but one that can however cough up a river giant from time to time.  A true New England cobble stone filled fishery with the potential for a large brown is always intriguing to me, regardless of the river's size.  Did I mention that cobble filled rivers aren't the most pleasant to wade?

I know, to some this may sound like a recipe for disaster considering I live approximately 11 minutes from the upper TMA on the Farmington.  You're probably thinking why pass up a fish factory to target a river where the trout population in 15 miles may not even equal that of 1 mile to the Farmington? Too many reasons actually, but I will let you the reader figure out the answer to that riddle.

My first location didn't disappoint, a short walk through the thickets and I was on a long stretch of untouched water.  A large riffled bend dumping into a distinct bucket with a  pair of back eddies on either shore.  The obvious sweet seam was positioned at the head of the run and was created by a pair of semi submerged wheelbarrow sized boulders.  A nymph fishermans paradise, I was certain I could have put a hurtin' on some fish if I was drifting some weighted nymphs through the run, but I instead decided to stick to the game plan and launch streamers into the run.

On the second pass I managed one of three very nicely colored up Rainbows, and the fact that they all  ate a 4 inch jointed streamer made it that much more satisfying.

After thoroughly picking this piece of water apart, I headed to another pair of large pools of similar structure.  I wish I could say that they produced, but unfortunately they did not, only showing me a few fish that were only intersted in inspecting the fly and not so much into eating it.

Well, back to the vise I go, I just finished up some weighted nymphs last night and am about to starte a rather lengthy order of tiny nymphs with some big streamers mixed in.  My goal right now is to set aside a little time to fill my own stocks for some upcoming trips.  I anticipate on having some pictures up soon of what I am tying, and I also plan on putting the orders on hold soon so that I can tie up some stuff to bring for sale at the upcoming International Fly Tying Symposium.   And hey by the way, who ever said Rainbow's don't eat streamers...........

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Headbanger Sculpin Update

Just a quick post here, my headbanger sculpin is now available in three sizes.  Mini, Standard and Mega. 
Mini Sized Headbanger

The mini utilizes a the small sculpin helmet and is tied in a length of approximately 4 inches.  The standard you all know comes in at about 5-5 1/2 inches.  And the newly offered Mega, has 2 articulation points and comes in around the 7 inch mark making a mighty nice meal for some bigger fare.  Check em out in the storefront..
Mega Sized Headbanger

Sunday, October 14, 2012

News, And Daily Rituals

I wish I could tell you that this was going to be an exciting action packed post, but it just isn't the case.  If you're looking for some pictures with grip n grins, and some text describing an outing, you'll be disappointed.

Those who know me well, understand my addiction to coffee.  I am in complete denial that I am an addict, explaining to others that I drink coffee regularly as I just plain relish the flavor.  I mean, honestly, there's nothing like a rich cup of java pretty much anytime of the day in my book.  Luckily for me, I have built up some sort of superhuman immunity to the effects of caffeine, as I can drink a triple shot of espresso late at night and immediately fall asleep minutes later. 

So where am I going with this?  To go hand in hand with my coffee, I am a very superstitious guy.  I like things a certain way, and my coffee routinely has to be consumed by the same cup every morning.  I "Had" a great brown trout mug that was a staple for several years.  It was a stout cup, short and stocky but it held a generous amount of "Mud" so to speak, and it was the one I turned to daily.  Well it fell to it's demise a few months ago, and I was forced to drink my coffee in one of the many plain, non fishing related mugs we have in our cabinet (boring, sorry Meg).

Well, yesterday my new cup arrived in the mail.  I am certain many of you have heard of Derek DeYoung, the very talented artist who specializes in fishing related images.  If not, you can see his work at his website  Canvas Fish.    I guess it's safe to say my coffee is being honored these days, kinda like the trout I now catch with that wonderful new net I picked up a few months back. 
I couldn't just get a coffee mug when I checked out Derek's site, he has just too many awesome products to salivate over.  I ended up grabbing a pair of his pint glasses too as they were just unlike any pint glass that I had ever seen before.   Hopefully, these last a long time as they are really bad ass, and I am certain that beer will taste much better in them.

Speaking of beer, this past week the wife and I took the girls over to our favorite pizza place for dinner.  On tap was a new locally crafted Amber from the folks at Back East Brewing Company.   If you recall, I gave them a mention about a year ago after I met Tony (owner) and his wife Shannon through mutual friends.  Tony and Shannon are awesome people and the "brews" that Tony has crafted are very good.  The amber is fantastic, and I put it right up there with several of my favorites.  If you're looking for something different, I highly recommend giving their brews a taste, as they are very tasty and locally crafted. 

On a final note, I will give you a sneak peek into something that I will be off loading very shortly.  If you saw the Facebook post then you already know about it.  My Hyde drift boat will be going on the market in the next couple of weeks.  Once I go through her thoroughly, an extensive and detailed post will go up on the site.  More on that shortly.....

Here is a little sneak peak, as you can see she's been garaged but has become a storage container for most of this season as we just haven't had the water to use her.  More on this soon, and why I am offloading this guy so stay tuned....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Headbanger Sculpin Video

Here she is for all of you who requested it.  Enjoy the video, I hope it answers any and all questions you all have had about this streamer.  Tie a few, it's been a good one!
Click The Picture To Go To The Video
On a side note, I have had some people overly thankful in the past 3 years for the videos that I have completed and put up for your enjoyment.  There is a new function via Vimeo called tip jar.  I am not expecting or asking anyone to go there and make a deposit, but, if you like the videos a lot and they give you the urge to say thanks, by all means drop a tip in the tip jar.   The proceeds will be put to good use towards better equipment for future videos and other fishing related stuff.  Once again, thanks again for following..

-Rich Strolis-

Monday, October 8, 2012

Late Fishing Report

So my good friend Mike and I ventured out for our annual "Fall Float" on one of our favorite streams.  With water levels up, just not up enough for my liking, the streamer fishing was pretty much a non event compared to the year prior.  When not on the oars, I was busy playing with the panorama function on my new IPhone.
Mike Frantically Changing Flies

Getting Mike out of the woods this time of year is a feat in and of itself, so when he said he was putting together a pot of Venison Stew, I couldn't pass this one up.  The day would pan out to be perfect weather wise, however, the fishing was another thing on the stretch that we floated.

As I stated earlier, the fish never really turned on to the streamers that day.  I ran the gamut of techniques, patterns and retrieves and it just didn't produce.  So after we anchored up at the sweet spot of a really nice pool, fired up the stove on the shore and choked down some of the best venison stew I have had to date, we rigged up a dry fly rod as we saw the beginning of a nice hatch of olives.

The rises were very subtle, nothing more than slight dimples in the film and it was pretty apparent that the fish were keying in on these rather small olive bodied sailboats migrating down the water's surface.

It just so happened it was my turn on the rod, and I got extremely lucky.  I really nice rainbow was poking his nose through the meniscus about 40 feet off the side of the boat right off a nice seam created by a submerged rock.  On the second cast the fish ate and it was on.  After a couple of long runs, jumps and barrel rolls I wrangled this guy to the boat, and on a size 20 olive on 6x, a tippet you don't often hear roll off the likes of my tongue.
20 Inches On The Dot

This was the only trout we brought to the boat this day, Mike turned into the Fall Fish slayer, doing battle with several that were surface feeding.  We hooked a handful of other trout, but due to equipment issues (mikes dry line was sticky like grip tape) we booted or lost them.

It was a very nice change from what I have been doing lately, surface feeding trout never get old for me, even when my latest addiction has been moving big streamers for aggressive fish (also never gets old).
Would Have Liked A Few Of These Guys

The day ended at a reasonable hour, and I made the trek back in time to put my girls to bed.  The 2 plus hour drive got me to thinking of some new pattern ideas for the next year.  A couple of them if they come to fruition could be really cool.  Once I catch up a bit, I should get started on them.

On another note, the initial streamer class went off this weekend without a hitch, I even landed a nice brown during the on stream portion despite the excessive leaf hatch we had.
Class Fish.  Photo Courtesy of "JJ"

 For all of you that are attending the second round on the 20th, I think you will all have a great time.  For the sake of not letting the cat out of the bag, I will save the rest till the class.   As a result of reworking the on stream portion a bit, I have room for 2 more people in the class.  If you are interested just call the shop and secure the seat. 
Olive Classified Caddis Pupa

Oh, and before I forget, I completed the first of 8 tutorials for the DVD project.  I will not disclose what pattern I have done, but I will say that I am very pleased with the end product.   If I can keep on target at 1 video a week, then I should have this thing wrapped up and ready to go by January 1.  I have also still continued the process of shooting and loading higher quality photos of the flies in the store front, hope to keep on pace with this concept as well and continue to add new products to the store in the months to come. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Quick Reminder

Just a quick reminder to all attending the class on Saturday at Upcountry, it starts at 7 AM bring a notepad, pen, and any questions you have about the topic and be ready for a good time.

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