The Rats Nest

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ending 2013 On A High Note

When an idea at the vise creeps up in your head, you gotta strike while the irons hot.  Two nights ago, I had one of those moments, and a little free time to boot.  So you guessed it, I put the two together and managed to rip out a fly that was  exactly what I was imagining.
Kype Nasty

In a nutshell, I was looking for an alternative bottom oriented articulated/weighted streamer that could fill in for the Headbanger Sculpin when the going got tough.  My thoughts were to create a pattern that was a little more streamlined, heavier (ya you read that right) to penetrate through even the deepest and heaviest water.  The last thing that is very important, is the fly must be tied in under 10 minutes.  I have made this my number one focus moving forward on all my larger streamers, I guess you could say that is my forward challenge in 2014.   What I came up with actually only took about 6 minutes to tie which is pretty good for a two part jointed pattern, and I really think this one will earn a spot in the rotation, but I guess the pictures might have me a bit biased.
Mouthful Of Mystery Goodness...

About 8:30 that night I had my idea dialed in and it just so happened I was going to be river bound the next day, and what better than giving the fly some water time to see if she behaves as intended.  It just so happens this fly didn't disappoint.  In the first run I threw the fly in I dropped a fairly nice brown who annihilated the fly on the drop after an aggressive strip.  The dreaded drop hit got me good and there I was shaking like a leaf after my fly was rocked by a buttery beast.  At the end of the day under some pretty decent conditions the fly went 2 for 4, landing 2 and dropping the same as the strikes were on the drop while the fly was dropping after a retrieve.  When you get two fish that combine for 48" of trout, one a couple inches bigger than the other, I guess you could say that it was worth it.

It was a good start, and the fly has a lot of promise, I guess time will tell on that one.  I plan on working out some different color combos on this guy and running her through the paces this next season while I work out a good name for her.

On another note, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the year long contest to win a stuffed bugger beast of meaty streamers.  JT Lauer was the winner and the proud recipient of a box of "Meat" as us streamer fanatics like to call it.  Congratulations JT, hope you put these big dogs to work!  Here's to many memorable fish in 2014, and a safe and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Kicking The Rust Off

If you read the last post, you probably recognized that I am having major withdrawals as I hadn't wet a line since October.  Pretty safe to say I had the crackhead shakes this week with the warm up, so off to the river I went.  No bombs to hand today, but I dropped a fish in the 20 inch class at the net, and followed the day up with roughly a 1/2 dozen quality fish.  I'd say it was a good start, and an even better way to get my mind off a few things.  Hopefully if all goes as planned, you'll see more of this here regularly. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

What To Expect For 2014

Pretty silent around here lately, I know, I know, shame on me, it's not by choice believe me, just life has the best of me right now.  Holiday season has been nothing short of a blur in the Strolis household.   I feel like yesterday I was in New Jersey at the Symposium and now BAAM!, it's Christmas time.  Where did all that time go?  Good question, I don't know the answer to that, so I'll motor on.

2013 was a great year for a variety of reasons, but it was also another year of trial and error as well.  I made some good choices, a few that I am still scratching my head on, but most of them were very much worthwhile.  If you don't mind I'd like to break down some of the highlights and falters quickly before I get to the meat and potatoes of this post.

I'll start with the falters but keep em short and sweet so as not to dwell on the negative.  I got burned by a guide from far away west, I realized that wholesale orders for shops are just not feasible for me right now, I didn't allow enough time to spend on the water, I didn't get out with my wife n kids on the water nearly enough, I did not fish in the salt at all, and I also did not fish the Delaware this year for the first year in about 10 (really stupid).

Now for the good, I was asked earlier this year to contribute to a compilation book by Bob Mallard on the 50 Best Places To Fly Fish In The Northeast.  I was tasked with writing two of the chapters and contributing some photos.  Although this was really cool in and of itself, I had no idea that one of my photos was going to wind up being the cover shot.  This was by far a very pleasant surprise to say the least.

Another really cool thing that transpired this past year was being able to find out that I would be joining the team at Montana Fly Company as a Signature Fly Designer.   This should be a rather exciting venture, and I hope to pump that catalog with a bunch of the flies you've all supported here. 

Being featured in Field & Stream with the likes of Kelly Galloup, Mike Schmidt and Thomas Harvey was another awesome surprise as well.  I never would have imagined this in a million years, and it was also really cool to put in there amongst those fellow streamer fanatics. 

Spending some time with Greg Hoover at Penn State was a real highlight.  Even though we didn't spend anytime together fishing, we had some great conversations over a couple of great meals both prior to and after presenting for his Penn State Fly Fishing Club.  Greg, if you read this, I really look forward to doing that again sometime soon, it is always a pleasure.

In that same couple of days I managed to wet a line with George Daniel on Fishing Creek, which is safe to say Georges pet river.  It was really cool to talk fishing with George, the fishing was secondary to me even though George was working really hard (totally not necessary George) on me hooking up.  I'll be honest, the next paragraph will explain it all, I will admit I had some alterior motives there as I wanted to talk to George about being an author as I had major anxiety at that point.  George, I gotta thank you now, even though it's premature, but you gave me clarity and made me realize that although it appears to be daunting, I can get it done.  George, if you read this, you and I have some unfinished business on a few trout streams this coming year, hopefully we can orchestrate that run out to Mr. Lynch's neck of the woods.  

Pat Cohen and I talked about it all year, and we managed to finally make it work, almost didn't happen due mostly in part to myself being a busy bee, but we did get out there and fish together.  Pat, and I became good friends a year or two ago after the Symposium, and I am happy that we converse regularly.  2014, Pat and I plan on fishing regularly, and he has pretty much twisted my ear about how much I NEED to fish carp on the fly.  I think that is a definite target species in 2014, along with a bunch of other stuff we plan on doing....

If you remember, Mike Schmidt and I had seasonal back to back seed punches by good ole mother nature.  First in April of 2011 when I went out his way for spring steelhead, and then again in the summer of 2012 when he came out to hopefully catch his first striped bass.   If you recall, the wind was experienced on both occassions was on average 45-50 mph on both occassions and completely took a dump on our plans.  In 2013, we talked alot, shared ideas on streamers and thought long and hard about what we should do that third time around, in hopes of making it the charm so to speak.  Well, I'm not at liberty to discuss what we hope to do, but if we pull it off, it will be beyond EPIC.  More on that later, but in 2014, Mike and I will try and hit some water this coming year, where, that's up in the air, but hope to make that a reality. 
Probably some of the funnest times this year was taking my two girls out in our new boat, The Ladybug as they like to call her.  It tickles me pink to have two little girls that love to fish and spend time with their daddy.  This by far takes the cake, and I think in 2014 it will be the year they get their first fishies via the fly rod.  Wish us luck. 

Now, the biggest ordeal for me this past year aside from that last paragraph was most definitely the book deal with Stackpole.  I have completed about 1/5 of what I need to get done chapters wise, and this particular project is going to be my primary focus in 2014.   Unfortunately, in order for me to complete this project, amy fly operation will be shut down indefinitely.  You all realize that I tend to burn the candle at both ends, and I have to stop doing this as it's beginning to catch up with me. 

Hopefully, if all goes well, I will be able to get the store back up and running sooner than later, but I am not setting any dates, deadlines or promises on that one.  What you will see here this coming year, will be photos from my fishing excursions, and random updates on the book.  This past year I didn't get to take part in what I enjoy the most about our sport, and that's getting out there on the water.  Even though my time was limited, I did have some very memorable fish and times spent with others.  To keep this all positive, I'' leave you with some pictures of some of my more memorable days on the water in 2013.  May you all have a wonderful Holiday Season with your family and friends, and I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.  Cheers friends.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Streamer Fishing For Trophy Trout

I thought that I would start December off on the right foot, seeing as how this particular presentation has been without a doubt, the one that has gotten a tremendous amount of positive feedback.  Next week, Wednesday, December 11th, I will be giving my Streamer Fishing For Trophy Trout presentation for the Connecticut Fly Fisherman's Association. 
Got Donkey's?

If you are in the area and have missed this one, try and make it this time as the presentation is jam packed with all sorts of beneficial information that will get you into my mindset when I fish streamers.  Bring a pen and a note pad as you will most likely wanna write down some of things that I discuss.  At the end of this presentation, you should be able to walk into a river with the tools to do this on your own.

As usual, I will be tying a streamer or two beforehand, and the cost of admission is free.  The meeting starts at 7:00 PM, but the doors open earlier I believe so get there before then to see me tie. 

The meeting is located at the Veterans Memorial Clubhouse, 100 Sunset Ridge, East Hartford, CT 06118.  I hope to see a bunch of you there, I figured I'd get this one out there a week in advance as I dropped the ball on advertising a few of the others this year.  

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