The Rats Nest

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More Predator Chasing

I think I've come to terms with a new addiction, Pike.  The beauty of this addiction is it nicely fills the void when many trout streams run hot.   Granted, I live near a damn good tail water that fishes all year, so trout fishing never really leaves my vocabulary, but it's really hard to pass up what Pike bring to the table, something no trout can even come close to replicating.

So what is "that thing" I speak of?   Hitting flies like they want to hurt them, and big flies too.  You all know my love for the big streamers, this particular facet allows me to go even bigger.  Is that possible?

Hammer Handle With A BIG Appetite
Now I know the thoughts of throwing flies the size of chickens several hundred times in between hook ups may not interest many, in fact, it might even give you a sore arm just thinking about.  But when you throw that 499th cast and one of these apex predators inflicts pure pain upon the 12 inch or bigger fly that you are working.  All it takes is one, and its well worth all 498 prior casts for that one vicious display of fury. 

Pike are hands down one of the best fish to target via the fly rod.  I've slowly found that I can manage most if not all situations with a floating line, and the takes are beyond visual.  The larger rocket today was one for the memory bank.  My fishing partner Danny explained it best, "It was like a great white chasing down a harbor seal".

 I feel like a kid again with anticipation every time I know I'm going to fish for these wonderful creatures.  But, don't you worry, I'm not putting the trout stuff away or getting rid of all my equipment, I'll be doing some more of that periodically once things continue to cool off a bit.  But for now, here's to the apex predator, who eats the fish most enjoy to catch......

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Headcase Crayfish Video Live

The highly anticipated video for my latest pattern is now live.  Click the photo to check it out. 


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Shop Rebuild Update

Slowly but surely I completed the monumental task of reorganizing my tying station.  I am pleased to say that all came together as I had planned.   Now that this is done, I can get back to business as a few orders have begun to pile up once again.  Here are a few pictures of the madness.
Got A Tying Problem?  Nah

Now that Phase 1 is complete, I can continue to draw up the plans for the new desk that I plan on building this winter.  I have gotten ideas for this venture from several of my tying buddies, and I think once complete, I will have a self contained tying station for at least 3 people (classes in mind), a mini studio for shooting videos, and a section for my computer to run invoices right at the desk.  Should be a streamlined operation.  Just a few more shelves and storage containers for some of my irons and I will be done 100% with this part. 

On another note, I acquired this wonderful full skin from a gent I met on Instagram.  Evan is in the process of raising birds for feathers and we did some bargaining.  There are a slew of great feathers in this skin, and I plan on putting them all to good use for dry flies and toothy treats.  Can't wait.

On a final note, I am booking up my calendar pretty solid already for the winter show season.  I already have about 1/2 dozen speaking engagements on the books and a bunch of tying appearances as well.  As of right now I will only be attending the Fly Tying Symposium and Somerset Fly Fishing Show in the northeast this winter.  I will let you know about a couple other appearances as they get finalized.  Till then, stay cool.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fun In The Sun, Predator Hunting

Snot Rockets, Always A Good Time
We really do have it good here in southern New England.  The variety of species we can target is pretty broad, and if you're like me, getting a kick out of throwing big flies at fish that like to hurt what your chucking, there's nothing finer.  Had a little fun later in the day out of the boat yesterday with my buddy Matt.  Although we didn't boat any real monsters, we had a great time and the river to ourselves.
Lots Of These Guys

We not only caught a nice sampling of smallmouth bass, but a few hammer handle pike with big appetites, and a couple at the 30 inch mark too. 
Need A Tan To Go With My Goofy Hat

This particular smallmouth, was the largest bronze back of the day at 17-1/2".  He also had a big appetite too, inhaling a 8 inch hang time minnow when it hit the water.
The Better Smallmouth Of The Float

The best thing about this fish was watching the 40+ inch gator pike that followed him to the boat.  I guess I'll have to wait till next time to stick him.  The Headcase Crayfish continues to earn it's keep, taking this pike in the first 100 yards of our float. 
This Dog Should Be A Tank In A Few Years
We also marked dozens of carp, looking forward to going back and targeting them next time out, might even have some carp snacks up my sleeve.......

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Shop Organization

Some Toothy Flies For My Own Box

One thing I've learned over the course of my fly fishing and tying endeavors is it doesn't take long to amass a large amount of stuff.  Since I started delving into the realm of commercial tying, the amount of stuff I have acquired has easily quadrupled.  You also have to figure into the equation that the amount of space that I have has gotten smaller since the introduction of my two little daughters.  It's safe to say I'm outnumbered 3 to 1 and easily 2 to 3 times that in space the women in my life currently rule the landscape of our household.
Pile Of HA Snares

I've tried a lot of different things to organize my gear in the last few seasons, Tupperware bins, plastic drawer units, shelves you name it,  and none of them have really panned out.  Today I think I found the solution and I started work on phase 1 of  a 3 phase project geared toward an entire fly shop rebuild.   The first sheet of pegboard went up today and it's already almost filled.  
First Section Of Pegboard In Place

Since my tying business has grown, I found that although I can still tie quickly, I'm getting less and less efficient overall  as my materials are just not organized the way I'd  like them to be.  You can say that Peter and Tim at S.S. Flies are my inspiration in getting organized as they run a top shelf outfit,  and I envy their cleanliness and organizational skills.  Less time searching for stuff equals more time tying and turning things out.  
Filling The Pegs Up Nicely

If I want to continue to tie commercially, and eventually get back on the water as a guide(retirement from the day job is about 6-1/2 years out),  I've  got to get my act together, and figured I better do it sooner than later.  I'll keep you posted as my organizational situation progresses, phase 2 will be sometime this winter when I sit down with my master carpenter father and build out a top shelf tying station.  

My father and I have spoken about this at length, and are both at work combining our ideas into making a very practical and efficient tying station so that I can pump out flies much quicker and in a much neater manner. The secondary byproduct  is to build enough space so that I have a nice neat area for students when they come over to learn how to tie.  Essentially,    you all are also getting a little bit out of this not just myself.  Once phase 2 is complete you'll see a new updated curriculum on the website and I plan on offering very specific tying classes.  

Aside from tying,  I have been getting out on the water pretty much weekly and the fishing been pretty good despite the crazy weather we've had.  But true to self, while out there I've also been testing out some new flies I've been tinkering with in hopes of finding some more killer patterns to share with you all.  Once I finish this phase of the shop I'll be working on a couple of videos for some of the latest patterns I have, and things will probably get quiet again as I continue to write in my book.  Here's a few pictures of some orders and recent catches to wet your whistle, stay tuned for some new tying videos in the weeks to come.  

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