Tying the Blood Knot

The Blood Knot is a standard in all type of fishing from freshwater to saltwater.  Use it to join two strands of line together that are of similar diameter.  The Blood Knot creates a really nice, low profile that goes through your guides easily.

  1. Lay the two tag ends side-by-side, facing the opposite direction.
  2. Wrap one of the tag ends around the other line several times and then bring it back through the “V” created.  It is important to remember whether you went down into the “V” or up from underneath.  Either is fine, we just need to do the opposite with the other tag end.
  3. Take the other tag end and wrap it around the other line several times then through the hole (that used to be the “V”).  Again make sure you take it through the opposite direction from the original tag end.
  4. Lubricate the knot and pull everything tight.
  5. Trim the tag ends.

 

Illustrations by Greg Pearson

 

 

Clear Cure Goo Kit

Ten Things That Should Be On Every Fly Tying Desk

Tying desk, dungeon, fly lair, man cave, the place you lock yourself in away from the kids and wife. What ever you call it you probably spend too much time there as do I. If you’re going to spend that much time somewhere you might as well make it a nice place to be. Ya know maybe add some nice lighting or a place to store some tasty malted beverages close to hand? Over the years my fly room has changed and morphed to improve productivity and comfort. Here are the top 10 essentials at my desk. I didn’t include music because that is a absolute must and a given! May I recommend some Black Keys or a little Black Sabbath?

  1. Griffin Montana Mongoose: I tied for years on a Renzetti until I got some vise time on a Mongoose 3 years back. I’ve been tying on one ever since and haven’t looked back. From sub 20’s all the way up to 8/0 hooks I’ve never had a problem with holding power. Considering it comes with a stem extension, c-clamp, pedestal base, a supreme bobbin and a hackle gauge I’d say it’s also one of the best values in vise out as well.
  2. Clear Cure Goo: Because epoxy or a UV curing adhesive is a must at the tying desk. And if you’re going to have one you might as well have the best. The best part is that it comes in flexible, thick, thin, brush-able and a few different kinds of tack free.
  3. Yarn indicator brush: I use this tool as much or more than anything else at the vise. It’s the ultimate tool for picking and teasing out materials.
  4. Mini Fridge full of PBR: What else are you going to stock it with! Natty light or Coors? I don’t think so.
  5. Loctite: Almost every fly I tie gets some loctite somewhere. I use it to prevent flash from fouling, glue in a rattle, stick on some eyes or finish a head.
  6. Ottlite: Probably one of my favorite things in the tying dungeon! Errrr um I mean favorite 3 things now that I’ve added a couple since the first. There is nothing worse than tying under some dim cheap light at night matching colors for hours just to find out when you get on the water the next morning to find out all the colors are off. Natural is key while at the vises!
  7. Box of Sharpies: I color a lot of materials in my flies. Foam to craft fur I’ve found sharpies to be extremely effect and color fast.
  8. Gamakatsu B10’s hooks: In my opinion one of the best tying hooks ever made. I go through them in 100 packs and they are my default hook for streamers. Extremely sharp, strong and a excellent gape there isn’t much more you ask for out of this hook. Well except maybe some 3/0 – 6/0 since the largest is a 2/0.
  9. 30 Lb Fluorocarbon: This is my go to for junctions on my articulated flies. I also use it for weed-guards, body extensions and making eyes.
  10. Henckles 3” embroidery scissors: By far the best tying scissors I’ve found. Period end of story!

 

 

rob4

Quija Nymphing

Last year, I took a friend who had never floated in a drift boat to float the A-section of the Green River.  It was mid-week, which meant that there were very few Floaties on the river.

I had placed my friend the pole position in the front of the boat in order to ensure he would have the best chance at an epic day.  My son was happily perched at the rear, with me on the oars. For anyone aspiring to boat ownership, this is where you end up most of the time; trading your fly-rod for graphite sticks of a much larger diameter.  The sun was intense and the water was high, but the incessant wind was noticeably absent.  The only action on the surface belonged to the fiberglass monsters flogging the water with strips of nylon.  After serving up almost every dry-fly on the menu; the usual suspects like cicadas, hoppers, and crickets, I started visually poaching for ideas by watching the guides in other boats.  I really wanted my friend, who is a capable angler, to catch something, anything.  If someone tells you they haven’t been skunked on the water, they are either lying or selling something, or both.  Most of the guides had their clients nymphing,  DEEP.  A couple of them were throwing rigs fished with weights which looked more at home at Gold’s Gym than on a river.  That being said, their sports were catching fish. My friend didn’t want to nymph fish and instead opted to throw a streamer.  I understood, as it is a lot more fun to cast and strip than to lob barbells.  As effective as nymph fishing is, and I do it all the time, it is a bit like using a Ouija Board, or having sex with a condom; you are never really sure you are communicating with the other side until something dramatic happens.

After a few hours without so much as a sniff, I began to feel the pressure.  I set my son up with a nymph rig hoping to change our luck. He is a novice fly-fisher who, prior to this trip had only thrown dry flies. Within two casts, the drought was over. He proved to be surprisingly adept at hooking the anchor line.  After three repeat performances, he asked for a beetle pattern and a sandwich.

Again, I turned my attention to the other boats, specifically the ones routinely catching fish.  Ethics aside, I made a mental note to throw a pair of binoculars in the boat for the next trip. The closest boat was racking up double hook-ups faster than a fish increases in size when it is “unintentionally released”. I noticed that the anglers consistently catching fish were set up with a two fly rig with the weights tied below the flies, sometimes called dredge or bounce nymphing rig.  Not sure how I feel about this set up. I can’t help but assume that the angler in the front of the boat was bonking fish on the head with his weights while the angler in the back was snagging them.  At the time, my friend decided to stick with the streamer, which eventually yielded some results, not epic results, but results nonetheless. Speaking of results, the guides who set up their clients with the dredge rig were definitely achieving them, which for them is their living.  Far be it for me to deprive a person from earning a living. Ethical questions are rarely black and white, so it appears we have another issue upon which to float, and wade, into the gray.

 

 

Bimini Twist Loop Knot

The Bimini Twist is one of the most important knots most fly fisherman should know, but it is also one of the most intimidating.  Well, it shouldn’t be.  With a little practice almost anyone can become quite proficient at it.  The Bimini Twist is great for creating loops in mono or backing while maintaining the materials full breaking strength.

  1. Begin by creating a loop and twist it using your hand to rotate inside the loop.  You should create 20-25 twists in the line.
  2. Attach the loop to something secure (ie-a cleat in the boat, your knee, your toe, a post of some kind), just be sure you don’t damage the line in the process. Our anchor is notated by “A” in our diagram.
  3. This is the tricky part…use your finger or a pen (“B” in the diagram) to pull the wraps (making the loop slightly larger).  The tension from the tightening of the wraps will allow the tag end to spin or wrap back down over the original wraps.  Cover the entire length of the original wraps with the new.
  4. Tie a half hitch around one of the legs.
  5. Tie a half hitch around the other leg.
  6. Tie a jam knot around both legs of the loop.
  7. Gently tighten the jam knot down towards the wraps.
  8. Trim the tag end.
  9. Secure the knot with super glue, Loon UV Knot Sense or Clear Cure Goo Flexible.

 

Illustrations by Greg Pearson

 

You can blend dubbing to achieve any color.

Fur Burger Fly Tying Tutorial

Hook: Gamakatsu B10s # 2
Eyes: Pseudo Eyes Plus Large
Tail: Craft Fur
Foul Guard: Calves Tail
Body and Head: Custom Blended Dubbing, one part wool one part mixed ice wing fiber.

I developed this baitfish pattern while fishing for late season Wipers. In the fall they feed heavily on gizzard shad and often times form surface boils. Even though it’s a total feeding frenzy they get selective on size and profile, especially later on in the season after they’ve been heavily pressured by conventional tackle anglers with plugs and large crank baits. Many of my friends do well on EP and Clouser Minnow but thats a little to plain jane for me and I prefer a pattern with maximum movement at rest as well on the move. This patter proved extremely effect and can be tied in any size, color or profile to match any bait fish you’d like to imitate.

 

 

 

You can read more about Nick Granato on his blog at http://www.flyobsession.com

Always great conversation during floats...

A Short List of Fly Fishers that I would love to have lunch with…

…or, even better, spend a day on the water with.  Honestly, this was a very difficult list to come up with.  Not because there are few, but because there are so many accomplished anglers both past and present.  One could easily list their top 25, or even top 50, and still feel like important people are being left out.   That all being said, my list is a little skewed (as yours will be too) based on my current angling pursuits.  Here are mine, in no specific order:

Lefty Kreh – What hasn’t Lefty done?  He is a pioneer in just about every aspect of fly fishing techniques, but especially in saltwater.  He developed the fly “Lefty’s Deceiver” and it was featured on  a US Postal Service Stamp.  Lefty has become synonymous with fly casting instruction.  http://www.leftykreh.com

Lee Wulff – Of course we all know Lee Wulff as the father of catch and release and his famous quote “game fish are too valuable to be only caught once.”  The other aspect about Lee Wulff was his constant pushing of the envelope with equipment.  He led the charge of fishing for Atlantic Salmon with a single hand rod, bucking the English trend of using two-handers.  He was also rumored to be able to tie size a size 28 fly WITHOUT the use of a vise.

Brian O’Keefe – Brian has traveled the world fishing all of the places and for all the fish that we all dream of.  If there is an angler we should live through vicariously, it is Brian.  And, just when we are in complete awe of his accomplishments, he will make a beautiful cast just to prove he is completely untouchable.  Photography is also a big part of Brian’s repertoire and it would be great to pick his brain about all of the above.  http://www.brianokeefephotos.com/

Andy Mill – All I can say is Tarpon.  Andy, literally wrote the modern day book on fishing for Tarpon with a fly rod (A Passion For Tarpon).  He was a world class downhill ski racer before turning his focus on the Silver King.  His dedication to the art and preservation of these great fish is a wonderful thing to see in these modern times.  If nothing else, Andy will teach you a reverence for Tarpon.

Dec Hogan – Dec has written the bible for Steelhead (A Passion For Steelhead).  If you consider yourself a steelheader and have not read this book, shame on you.  Dec has immersed his life in the art of two-handed casting, tying steelhead flies, understanding the species and their preservation.  I would love to sit on a bank and watch him dissect and work a steelhead run.

Billy Pate – Another legend in Tarpon fishing, Billy was a very accomplished saltwater angler.  In addition to his world record tarpon, he is the first to ever catch a Black Marlin on a fly and the first to catch all six species of billfish on a fly.  An accomplishment that likely required an awful lot of patience and persistence.

Bob Clouser – Can you say Clouser Minnow?!?  I am such a fan of this fly, that I think I could fish an entire year with nothing but variations of it.  From Trout to Muskie to Saltwater, everything eats Clouser Minnows.  http://www.clouserflyfishing.com/

Scott Sanchez – If ever there is a mad-scientist of fly tying, Scott would definitely be in the running for the title.  A master innovator at the vise, his flies are different and effective.  One of my favorite quotes from Scott reads something like this: “Most of my flies are illegal in California from all the lead and chemicals that are used in tying them.”  Many of his flies are effective on multiple species as Scott likes to chase just about anything that swims and will eat a fly.

Barry Reynolds – Another authority on his respective subject, Barry has become an expert on catching pike and muskie with a fly rod.  His book “Mastering Pike on the Fly” is loaded with so much information, it is really a testament to the time and effort that he has put into pursuing his quarry.  Barry has travelled extensively to chase the long fish and it shows in his knowledge and effectiveness.  http://www.barryreynoldsflyfishing.com/

Tom Bie – Here is an angler that has done it all (if not all, most of it), but his real accomplishment is his network within the fly fishing industry and creating THE magazine for the soul of fly fishing.  There are lots of fly fishing magazines out there, but none capture the essence like the Drake.  Others have popped up, but the Drake is still the benchmark…imitation is the purest form of flattery.  http://www.drakemag.com/

I must close by saying that there are many people that I currently have the honor to spend time on the water with that could very easily be on this list.  I have also fished with some amazing guides that, regardless of how good the fishing was, are the kind of people that I want to call friends.  To those that I am constantly learning from, comparing notes and just plain having a good time with…  Thank you!

Now, who would be on your list?  Comment below…

 

Ten Questions with SA’s Jeff Wieringa

We sat down with Scientific Angler’s Jeff Wieringa and asked him ten questions.  If you don’t know Jeff, you should.  You probably owe a lot of the innovations in fly fishing to his mad-scientist type mind.  He is inventor of Sharkskin and the designer of the new Scientific Anglers waterproof fly boxes.  Jeff was the owner of JW Outfitters before being acquired by 3M/Scientific Anglers.  Enjoy!

  1. FW: Tell us about your start in the angling trade.
    JW:
    My real start was when I was 12 years old and I invented a device that put Zeks floating cheese on a treble hook and compressed it on so it wouldn’t falloff when you cast it . It was very simple made from a 30 cal bullet shell. (See image below). I called it the Master Baiter, I of course had no idea why my mother got so mad about the name. My real start in fly fishing was in 1989 when I designed and manufactured a line of packs, tying bags and pontoon boats under the name of JW Outfitters. That business grew very fast and after 11 years I sold that company to 3M/Scientific Anglers. This is where I still work to this day. I have spent 9 years in the lab designing and engineering products for Scientific Anglers. I now am the Business Development Manager for the business.
  2. FW: What can you tell us about the ideas behind coming out with sharkskin and textured fly lines?
    JW :
    While working in the lab at SA we wanted to try and make a fly line float better. I knew we had taken a line about as far as it could go with floatation with micro balloons and  AST. I started to research how insects are able to walk on water. There is where I learned that roughness can reverse the adhesive properties of water known as Meniscus Force. So the challenge began.I started trying to figure out how small of a profile I needed to emboss onto the line to start making a difference. After figuring that out I had to devise a way to put the texture into the line surface. Not easy. It took two years with dozens of failures and one day it seemed to all come together and I was able to build lines one after another with out any defects.Then all of us in the lab went out fishing the new lines and we were all in shock of how easy they cast, floated, roll cast and had low memory. That was the beginning of the Sharkskin revolution.
  3. FW: The afore mention lines are giving anglers a new advantage. Do you worry about any enemies you might have made in the animal kingdom? i.e gang of back alley tarpon or a posse of burly permit.
    JW:
    I am sure there are some that have an issue with the advantages that our lines bring. I cannot say if those are all fish or not. I did see a guy hook a gator once with a fly using our line.
  4. FW: In the credits of the movie Drift by Confluence Films it gives thanks to “jw and the lab rats at SA”.  Can you elaborate on who the rats are/ what they do at SA?
    JW:Sure, When you take on a project of this magnitude you have a vast amount of talented individuals to pull help from here in the 3M labs. We have PHDs and fish heads here. They (we) are affectionately known as lab rats. There is Del Kauss (line designer) Tim Pommer (product developer and assisted with the sharkskin development) Dale Wiehe ( chemical engineer for SA) John Stark (head lab rat) Bruce Richards ( rock star, line developer and probably one of the top 10 casters in the world) Brett Fortier ( assisted in Sharkskin development).So there is a full team here at SA working on lines, fly boxes and many other accessories. The producer of the movie Drift is a personal friend of mine and also worked at SA many years ago. So we sponsored him by giving lines to him and the crew to use during the filming. So he wanted to thank all of us here at SA.
  5. FW: Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, or Kenny G? And Why?
    JW:
    Kenny Rogers is OK because he dated Dolly Parton. I wouldn’t listen to Kenny G because that is Dustin Carlson’s fav. It would have to be Kenny Loggins for “I’m All Right” from Caddy Shack, which is the best golf movie every made.
  6. FW: Scientific Anglers always seems to be on the forefront of new fly line design. What can you tell us about the development/ testing that goes into new fly line design?
    JW:
    Our lab is constantly working on fly lines. People would be in shock if they new how many lines we destroy on a daily basis. It is our number one priority to develop new lines continuously. This does not include new tapers and colors but also includes new compositions and surface technologies such as Sharkskin. It is important to remember that Scientific Anglers is the company that made modern day lines float with micro-balloons and to sink with tungsten. That is what the foundation of our mother company 3M provides us.
  7. FW: Can you confirm or deny any rumors that 3M might be involved in time travel?
    JW:
    We invented the time travel machine that was used in Napoleon Dynamite but abandoned the project for obvious reasons. That engineer is now developing a device that will be able to tie flys with out any humans involved. We will finally be able to sell flies that will be 100% machined tied. Just think we will soon be able to remove the word Hand from Hand Tied Flies.
  8. FW: What is your home-water?
    JW: I am from California and did almost all of my fly fishing in the Sierras. I actually combined my love of backpacking with fly fishing.
  9. FW: Random fact?
    JW: I hate liver, but doesn’t everyone? Afraid of clowns and mimes. I have been married twenty eight years to the same woman, Connie. Wish I would have bought Apple stock at $12.
  10. FW: Favorite Scientific Anglers product?
    JW: I think the old school System II reels are awesome. For current stuff it would have to be Sharkskin GPX or the new Mastery Textured Nymph for the new DRYTIP that we have incorporated in them. Actually all of our Sharkskin and Mastery Textured floating lines include the new DRYTIP improved technology. Another shamless plug is our lines now have SA ID which in short is writing on the line to tell you what model and weight the line is.

 

A special thanks to Scott “Scoot” Silvers for his help with this article.

 

 

Loop-to-Loop Splice Knot

This knot is used for splicing a spey line for loop to loop tips or customizing the rear of a scandi head or front of a skagit amongst other uses.  It is also used a lot on shooting heads of all kinds.

  1. The loop is made out of 50 lb braided mono.
  2. Splice it back into itself and then braided handcuff over the end of the fly line, sink tip, etc.
  3. Then do 2-3 nail knots with 10-12 lb maxima or floro.
  4. Then trim flush the braided mono ends.
  5. A thin bit of glue to cover the knots and the spot where the fly line terminates within the loop.   Note: You do not want to glue over the rest as it needs to have the handcuff effect.

 

Illustrations by Greg Pearson

 

 

First Sleepwalking, Now Sleep Fly Tying???

Doctors Orders: Take one Ambien (a sleeping pill with apparently some side effects) before bedtime and tie a fly while you sleep.

Apparently, I did just that.  I awoke to find this little size #18 baetis nymph in my vise.  Different from the baetis I normally tie, I vaguely remember dreaming about tying this fly and blending the dubbing to form the thorax.  Sure enough, the thorax is blended just as I remember in the dream.

Now, where did that entire ham that was in the refrigerator go?

 

 

Scoot realizes the results - knows he should have done it sooner.

More Non-Fishing Uses For Fly Tying Materials

With the craze of all the ladies putting feathers in their hair (see our recent post about this), we started thinking about all the materials we have in our fly tying department.  Our findings…the fly tying selection also doubles as a fashion gold mine!  As we stood looking at all the possibilities, we were overwhelmed with all good that we could do in the world, fashion and otherwise.  We thought we could take great fly tying materials and use them to improve a few unfortunate soul’s quality of life.  Here is a sampling of our experiments and case studies.

Case Study #1

Hillary, being a girl and all, has always had a bad case of mustache envy. She considered taking some heavy doses of hormones, but that could lead to some pretty bad side-effects.  A risk that she wasn’t willing to take.  Not to worry…we chose a nice  juicy patch of arctic fox hair and with the help of a little swax (fly tying wax), we were able to shape this beauty. The best part is how well the color matches her hair, it could easily be mistaken for her own.  A mustache this epic hides her smile, but you can see the happiness in her eyes.  Now she has to learn how to eat without leaving bits of food for later…

Case Study #2

Jason was tragically born without eyebrows.  We know, we know…tragedy doesn’t even begin to describe the pain.  We thought about drawing some on for him- a la Uncle Leo…”Woah, woah, no need to get angry.  I don’t care for your demeanor.”- but we knew we could do better.  He is shown here wearing our newly designed rabbit-strip eyebrows.  Now Jason, go out into the world, be proud and show it what you are made of!

Case Study #3

Lara has always been unable to get her ears pierced, due to a strange fear of straight sharp needles. Well Lara, you are in luck! From a distance, we can make a perfect cast and “pierce” your ear before you even know what happened.  “Most” of the time, we are dead-on with our cast and Lara was the lucky one.  Even better, we didn’t use a straight needle…our tool of choice was a size two intruder hook.   The question is, can we complete the impossible and take care of the other ear without any trips to the emergency room.  Enjoy your new intruder-style bling!

Case Study # 4

This may very well be our proudest accomplishment.  Scoot has always had trouble with his confidence, which translated into trouble with the ladies.  We couldn’t figure out what the problem was and after a few mistrials, we were pretty frustrated.  Like everything we do, we never, ever gave up.  Then…BAM…we got it!  Let us introduce you to the new and improved Scoot sporting our very stylish bucktail chest hair implants.  So natural, so long, so sexy…this did the trick and the proof is in the pudding.  He is now the talk of the town and life couldn’t be better.  Go get ‘em Scoot!

Just a few of the great things that can be done, right out of the fly shop. When you are ready to move up in the world, come see us.

 

Cold Feet, Forsaken Fish and the Morning After…