Tag Archives: How To

Esox Essentials : Don’t Fish For Long Fish Without These Items

Being prepared and on point while fishing for esox is paramount. Over the years here is a list of essential items that I keep accessible and ready at all times while fishing for Tiger Musky.

William Joseph Hemocuts – Great for cutting leader, tightening knots and removing hooks.

Fluorocarbon and Hard Mason (or Hard Mono) – Fluoro for leaders and  bite-guards, I usually have 20 – 80 LB on hand. Mason for use as a breaking section in your leaders, I use 20 and 25 LB. My typical leader set up is 60lb fluoro butt section of 2′, 20 lb section of hard mason of 2′  and 2′ of 40-80 LB bite-guard. Since hard mason is much thicker, 20-25 lb can easily be tied to 40-80 fluoro, resulting in a powerful leader that can turn over large flies easily.

Jaw Spreaders – Having two on hand for difficult hook removals is always a good idea.

Large Landing Cradle Or Net – I usually tail most of the fish I land but having one of the two is always nice to have as a option. Which ever one you decide to use make sure it’s rubber or has a coating since traditional nets with knots can seriously damage a fishes fins and eyes.

Rising Lippa – Great for lipping a fish when needed and does not damage fish like a Boga Grip. It’s also a good idea to tie a strap with a float to the handle because eventually you will drop it in to the water.

Long Nose Pliers and Berkley Hook Remover – I always have 10” long nose pliers and a pistol style grip hook remover on hand for hook removal. I use the the Berkley hook remover mostly since it’s easy to use and is gentler on flies.

Super Glue, Scissors and Markers  – I often color, enforce, trim and repair flies on the water. Sometimes a trim and color job can make all the difference in the world.

A Pliable Tape Measure – Easier to handle and on the fish in addition to measuring the girth of the fish more accurately.

Hooks Cutters – Sometimes the best choice is to cut the hook instead of removing it. Make sure you have something strong enough to go through heavy gage hooks.

Two Small Bags – One bag for all your retying and rigging items and one for all of your handling and releasing tools.

P7040662

Bridle Path Emerger Tying Directions

Bridle Path Dressing:

Hook: 10-18 TMC 205 BL or similar; a slightly curved, down-eye hook works well.
Head: Spun, clipped deer or antelope hair.
Wings: tie calf body wings with the tips pointing forward, towards the hook eye; spun hair forms a base in front of the wings.
Tail: antron or similar for trailing shuck, or mono dropper loop.
Thread: Use your favorite thread color and body material; they should match the naturals.
Body: Use your favorite thread color and body material; they should match the naturals.
Hackle: Color should match naturals; wrap it as illustrated, through the trimmed path, behind the wings, and under the hook—in front of the clipped hair.

Step 1: Mount and wrap the thread; then spin a clump of deer, elk, or antelope hair on the front of the hook as shown. Trim the hair to imitate the bulging thorax of an emerging insect.

Step 2: Tie a pair of calf hair wings behind the spun hair. After separating these with figure 8 wraps, instead of standing the wings upright, let them slant forward over the spun deer. The wing angle is a key for the configuration of this pattern.

Step 3: After trimming the wing butts, cover them with thread wraps. Tie in the tail. Since this is an emerger, I like an antron trailing shuck. In this instance, I tied in yellow mono which doubles as a dropper loop.

Step 4: Attach and wrap the body material.

Step 5: Tie off the body and complete it with a whip finish near the base of the wings. Cut the thread. Dab a little head cement over the knot at the wing base for stability.

Step 6: Carefully trim & part the hackle path through the spun hair on both sides of the fly, from behind the eye under the hook, toward the back of the wings as shown.

Step 7: Re-attach tying thread just behind the hook eye. Then secure the hackle under the hook & in front of the spun hair.

Step 8: Wrap the hackle two or three times through the near path, behind the wings, through the opposite path, and in front of the spun hair. The angle in which the hackle is secured positions the fly in the surface film with a bearing or nautical attitude that imitates a natural emerger.

Step 9: Wrapping the hackle through the path creates a durable, highly buoyant emerger pattern, as can be observed from the underside view.

Step 10: Secure & trim the hackle, then build a thread head.

Step 11: Whip finish and apply head cement.

 

An Emerger That You Can Actually See!

Remember the emerger pattern craze that erupted in the 90’s? Me too! I jumped on board with everyone else, tying and fishing emergers–catching trout that had become “standard-dry shy.” However, after a few years of this, I grew tired of rigging a two-fly setup, or managing strike indicators, for an emerger pattern that sat partially on the surface. I yearned for the old days when I fished a dry fly on top, where I could see the fish take the fly. Fly fishing has always been very visual to me. I found myself drawn by memories of seeing a trout inhale a dry attractor pattern off the surface.

Therefore, I set out to design a pattern that combined the effectiveness of an emerger with the visibility characteristics of a dry fly. My first few designs worked well, and I have seen similar ideas from other tiers in magazines and on the web. After years of experimentation, including several as a professional river guide, I had an epiphany for a design that fit the bill, and it has been very effective for me. I coined the design the Bridle Path Emerger, because of its similarities with manipulating horse hair to accommodate the animals’ bridle.

Tying tip: under sizing the hackle one hook size will compensate for the bulk of the spun hair for more refined patterns.

 

Recipe:

Hook: 10-16 TMC 205 BL or similar; a slightly curved, down-eye hook works well.

Thread: Use your favorite thread color and body material; they should match the naturals.

Head: Spun, clipped deer or antelope hair.

Wings: tie calf body wings with the tips pointing forward, towards the hook eye; spun hair forms a base in front of the wings.

Tail: antron or similar for trailing shuck, or mono dropper loop.

Hackle: color should match naturals; wrap it as illustrated, through the trimmed path, behind the wings, and under the hook—in front of the clipped hair.

Remember the emerger pattern craze that erupted in the 90’s? Me too! I jumped on board with everyone else, tying and fishing emergers–catching trout that had become “standard-dry shy.” However, after a few years of this, I grew tired of rigging a two-fly setup, or managing strike indicators, for an emerger pattern that sat partially on the surface. I yearned for the old days when I fished a dry fly on top, where I could see the fish take the fly. Fly fishing has always been very visual to me. I found myself drawn by memories of seeing a trout inhale a dry attractor pattern off the surface.

Therefore, I set out to design a pattern that combined the effectiveness of an emerger with the visibility characteristics of a dry fly. My first few designs worked well, and I have seen similar ideas from other tiers in magazines and on the web. After several years of experimentation, including several as a professional riverguide, I had an epiphany for a design that fit the bill, and has been very effective for me. I coined the design the Bridle Path Emerger, because of it’s similarities with manipulating horse hair to accommodate the animals’ bridle.

An Emerger that you can actually see!

Tying The Triple Surgeon Knot

This knot is useful for connecting two pieces of tippet, leader or other line materials together.  It is pretty fast and easily done stream side.  The line will also come out of this knot pretty straight in both directions.

  1. Lay the two butt ends of the lines next to each other, but in opposing directions.
  2. Create a loop using both tag ends.
  3. Wrap the tag ends through the loop three times (that is where the “triple” comes from).
  4. Pull all four legs of the knot to tighten.  Lubricate with water or saliva as necessary.

 

Illustrations by Greg Pearson

 

 

 

Summertime and the Streamers are Easy…

Typically no one thinks of fishing streamers in the middle of summer. Especially not when fish are looking up for terrestrials, caddis or large stoneflies. In all honesty several of my best streamers days have been had in June through September, not late fall like typically thought. Last year one of my nicest and most memorable fish came after a stellar morning of fishing large attractor dries while floating the South Fork of the Snake . The morning started out great and the fish were eating hoppers and attractor dries very well, until the gale force winds kicked up in the afternoon. After 45 minutes of struggling to deliver a bushy dry inches from the bank I decided it was time for a articulated streamer, a 7 wt and a 250 grain sinking tip. Knowing the fish were tight in on the bank we didn’t change anything but switch from a dry to a streamer. In all honesty the action was much slower on the streamer but the fish that did show up to play were much bigger than that were interested in our dry offerings. We came around a eroded outside bend with some downed trees, my buddy placed the boat excellently and I made a cast back up stream into the pocket of a downed tree, just like I would with a hopper. As the streamer hit the water a large brown came off the bottom for a closer look, with one strip he closed the distance and on the second strip he committed to the eat. It was just as much or more of a visual eat than any of the dry fly eats from the morning and reminded me yet again to never underestimate summer time streamer fishing.

So if the wind is howling, the fish aren’t looking up, rain has stained the water or like this year with everything being 3-10 times higher than usual mix it up and throw on a streamer. I think you all might be pleasantly surprised.

In the summertime I like to fish a lot of white and other bright colors like yellow. But often times like the day mentioned above, olive is hard to beat.

Top three streamers you won’t catch me without in the summer. Sasquatch in white and olive, Circus Peanut in olive and crawdad , Chubby Muffin Sculpin in olive and brown.

 

 

 

Typically no one thinks of fishing streamers in the middle of summer. Especially not when fish are looking up for terrestrials, caddis or large stoneflies. In all honesty several of my best streamers days have been had in June through September, not late fall like typically thought. Last year one of my nicest and most memorable fish came after a stelar morning of fishing large attractor dries while floating the South Fork of the Snake . The morning started out great and the fish were eating hoppers and attractor dries very well, until the gale force winds kicked up in the afternoon. After 45 minutes of struggling to deliver a bushy dry inches from the bank I decided it was time for a articulated streamer, a 7 wt and a 250 grain sinking tip. Knowing the fish were tight in on the bank we didn’t change anything but switch from a dry to a streamer. In all honesty the action was much slower on the streamer but the fish that did show up to play were much bigger than that were interested in our dry offerings. We came around a eroded outside bend with some downed trees, my buddy placed the boat excellently and I made a cast back up stream into the pocket of a downed tree, just like I would with a hopper. As the streamer hit the water a large brown came off the bottom for a closer look, with one strip he closed the distance and on the second strip he committed to the eat. It was just as much or more of a visual eat than any of the dry fly eats from the morning and reminded me yet again to never underestimate summer time streamer fishing.

So if the wind is howling, the fish aren’t looking up, rain has stained the water or like this year with everything being 3-10 times higher than usual mix it up and throw on a streamer. I think you all might be pleasantly surprised.

Summer time I like to fish a lot of white and other bright colors like yellow. But often times like the day mentioned olive is hard to beat.

Tope three streamers you won’t catch me without in the summer. Sasquatch in white and olive, Circus Peanut in olive and crawdad , Chubby Muffin Sculpin in olive and brown.

Tying The Albright Knot

The Albright Knot is a very strong connection from your fly line to your leader or butt section.  It can also be used to attach a fly line to backing.  The strength of this knot comes from the core of the fly line being doubled over and incorporated in the knot.  Some knots rely simply on tightening into the coating of the line which, under high pressure, can slip off.

  1. Start by doubling the fly line over and threading your butt section material though the loop that was created.
  2. Wrap the tag end back around both legs of the loop and the butt section material several times.
  3. Thread the tag end back through the loop the same direction it came through initially.
  4. As the knot is tightened, work the wraps as close to the top of the loop as possible (without the butt section material slipping off the fly line loop).  Pull everything tight and trim the end of the fly line that is exposed from the knot.
  5. In theory, that is the end of the Albright Knot, but it tends to have a pretty abrupt edge that doesn’t feed through the eyes of the fly rod very well.  To remedy this we can tie a quick jam-knot using the tag end of the butt section material.  Wrap the tag around the main line four times.
  6. Now, wrap the loop around the main line as well.
  7. Slowly pull the tag end to tighten everything down.  Use saliva or water to moisten the knot as it is secured.
  8. Trim the final tag end.

 

Illustrations by Greg Pearson

 

 

Tying The Homer Rhode Double Overhand Loop Knot

The Homer Rhode Double Overhand Loop Knot is a great variation on the basic Homer Rhode Loop Knot.  This knot adds one more tightening point in the knot to keep it from slipping out.  A good solid loop knot is invaluable when fishing streamers and saltwater flies and you need them to have the best action possible.  A traditional clinch-type knot will restrict fly movement, where a loop will allow it to perform at its best.

  1. Before threading the line through the eye of the hook, tie a double overhand knot and slowly tighten it (but not all the way).  Often times the know will flip into a figure-eight on its own.  If it doesn’t, you may need to encourage it to do so.
  2. Now take the line through the eye of the hook and back through the figure-eight as shown.
  3. Slowly tighten the figure-eight now and slide it down so that it is up against the eye of the hook.
  4. Tie a single overhand around the main line with the tag end.  Snug it fairly tight.
  5. Simply hold the fly and pull the main line and the two knots will slide together and tighten, while leaving a nice loop between the knot and the fly.

 

Illustrations by Greg Pearson

 

 

Color combinations are endless.

Dubbing Mixing Tutorial

When Senyo’s Laser Yarn first hit the market I snatched some up and hit the vise. Great product and I really dig the concept. But there were a few things I wasn’t quite stoked on like color options, the flash used and the short wispy yarn like base. So as always my first thought was “make your own”. But we all know how easy blending long natural fibers with synthetics or flash can be. Until now I just blended small amounts by hand like everyone else since all other methods either tangle of break the fibers. It was a tedious method and I hated it so my mind started to chew on a better method. Then bam, while thinking I needed to brush the dog it hit me, what about working two brushes like paddles against each other hopefully aligning and blending the fibers together without tangles or broken fibers? Within 5 minutes I had a ziplock bag full of the good stuff and haven’t looked back since.

 

 

 

Tying the Improved Blood Knot

The Improved Blood Knot is great for connecting a smaller line to a larger line (like lighter class tippet to heavy shock or bite material).

  1. Double your lighter tippet over to create a loop and lay the two tag ends side-by-side, facing the opposite direction.
  2. Wrap the loop 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, you 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 simultaneously.
  5. Trim the tag ends.

 

Illustrations by Greg Pearson

 

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