Get Down and Get Ugly: Chris Dore’s Creeper Fly

dorecreeper

 

Chris Dore is one of New Zealand’s top guides; specialising in the south of the South Island of New Zealand. He has a a very refreshing attitude to fishing and fly tying – and ‘keep it simple’ seems to be his watch-word. But making things simple requires a lot of knowledge and experience – Chris has a heap of both.

Chris ties these ugly brutes for early season headwaters on size 6 to 10 long shank hooks ( I think I will use Tiemco 200R to give a slight bend). The rest you can pretty much work out for yourself.

Wrap some lead (or substitute) around the hook, tie in a bunch of black hair or fur for a tail, tie in copper (or gold?) wire, and some black flexi-body or any stretchy sheet, dub up to 2/3 with hares ear, then some black dubbing, for thorax and head. Pull the back over the fly and tie down at the head. (Quick tip: before you cut off the back, pull the excess back towards the tail and throw in a few ‘locking turns’ to really secure the back). Follow with the wire to form segments, and tie off at the head, whip finish and give it a dab or two of head cement. Simple. Quick. Done.

I suggested adding some wriggly rubber legs – Chris said he used to, but now does not bother because the fly is just as effective naked. Simplicity again.

Chris describes the fly as his ‘get noticed fly’, to fish in edge waters and boulder runs. Go easy on the lead, you want the fly to move through where heavier flies would snag.

That is about. I will be tying up a bunch of Creepers and Glister Nymphs for a trip to the central North island in early October, as Spring gets into full swing here.

Tenkara and European nymphing, a link?

Tenkara fishing is getting a lot of press, but the link to an ancient Japanese method to ‘modern’ techniques is very interesting.

Tenkara and European nymphing – where the old becomes new.

Sometimes it happens that some apparently disconnected events come together to open a door to something new. A case in point.

First apparently disconnected event.

I had been reading a lot about the Japanese Tenkara style fishing, and had bought a Tenkara rod and used it a few times, with some success. It is fun!

Then a few months on I was reading an UK fly-fishing magazine. Two articles in the same edition of that magazine, apparently disconnected, except that both were about fly-fishing, melded together to open a door neither author knew tenkarafly1existed.

The first article by a well known fly-fishing author and fly-tyer, was taking someone to task about his notion that wet flies tied with hackles pointing forward over the eye of the hook were ‘invented’ about 25 years ago. Not so wrote our eminent author, they were invented about 50 years ago in the Clydeside area, in the UK.

Both these gentlemen were only about 2000 years out. Japanese ‘Tenkara’ fishermen have been using wet and dry flies with hackles tied forward for around that many years.

O.K. So a marginally interesting, piscatorial and historical matter cleared up.

However this historical fact becomes more interesting when melded with the second article, on the ‘European’ fishing style.

Read on..

A worm – a fly by any other name?

A_shky-09[1]There are a number of worm imitations available for fly fishing – and they can produce fish. But for many more-traditional fly fishers, using this kind of fly, or lure, or artificial bait, your name call, will most certainly not get you into fly fishing heaven.

This worm ‘fly’  sold by the venerable Orvis company is called the Skaky Worm.

Here is Orvis’s take on using a worm imitation:

“This is not fly fishing heresy. The fact is trout eat worms and not just the ones we fish with. Worms exist in the stream and imitating a worm with artificial patterns is no different than imitating an insect. If it works, use it.”

So I guess the problem, if there is one, is just what constitutes the difference between a fly and lure. I am happy to produce from the 1000+ fishing quotes page this gem that will clear the matter up once and for all. Or not.

The artificial, the ‘winged lure’, the ‘feathered Judas’: a fly is a fly is a fly…except when it is a lure.
The terminology is difficult, because fly, as well as referring to the artificial copy of a natural insect, also refers to an artificial copy of a small fish (a ‘lure’).
Therefore all flies are lures, some flies as ‘lures’, and all lures are not ‘flies’.
Another way of putting this is to say that all flies (artificial) are lures (i.e. represent or purport to represent small fish, or leeches, or other non-insecty creatures; and all ‘lures’ are not flies (since they represent fish etc.).”
– C B McCully – A Dictionary of fly-fishing 1992

Everybody clear now? Good. Let’s move on.

How to Get Started in Saltwater Fly-Fishing

It May Be Easier To Start Than You think.

Saltwater fly-fishing gets a lot of press. An exciting branch of our sport it is too. Marlin on a fly rod -  tuna, sharks and yellowtail kingfish  too. But maybe all these stories of going toe to toe with big game fish on the specialist gear required, rather than encouraging people into this sport, has actually discouraged them?

This may be especially true when many articles talk about complicated leader set-ups and the like. Most of this stuff is about complying with the rules to register record fish. If you are not chasing records, or fishing in a contest, none of these rules apply.

A pair of average kahawai that provided great sport on a fly rod

Here is some good news – just as in all other aspects of fishing – there are horses for courses. Fact is the majority of fishermen have never, and may never, go fishing for big-game fish, whether with big-game fishing gear or on a fly rod.

In fact it is highly likely that the majority of big-game fishermen have never and will never chase big-game fish with a fly rod. Fishing for big-game fish with a fly rod is a specialised branch of a sport that is already specialised.

Salt water fly-fishing is not necessarily about catching big-game fish on fly rods: for most, it is about catching exciting fish like kahawai, trevally, snapper and  smaller  yellowtail kingfish on fly rods.

Here is some even better news – the gear for catching these exciting fish can be the same gear that you could use to catch trout as well.

Here is what you need to chase snapper, kahawai, small kingfish, trevally, and the like in salt water.

[Read full article]

Fugly Foam Flies for Fabulous Fishing

I was first introduced to foam flies around ten years ago. One of my favourite dry flies up to that point was the big ugly ‘Madam X’, which is basically a big clump of deer or elk hair, over a yellow body, with rubber legs in the shape of an X, hence the name.

Madam X was very successful for me, but it had a major drawback, the same one that affects all fur, hair and feather dry-flies, you have to dry the damn things every five seconds.montanahopper

So when I saw foam flies I was hooked, and as it transpires so were plenty of fish. I would back a big fugly foam fly splashed down over fish feeding on miniscule somethings, to an imitative pattern any day.

Read the rest of the story here.

Trash Flies for Fly Fishing

No, not the flies that gather round your rubbish bags in Summer, but flies to catch fish using items found in trash.

junkcaddis

Fly Fish Magazine has an interesting article on tying flies using  materials rescued from all sorts of discarded stuff that would usually end up in the rubbish tip.

Carolina fly tyer, Brad Sprinkle shows that a bit of creative recycling can be a real asset at the fly tying bench. The fact that it can save a bit of money on materials is a definite bonus as well.

What About That Hook

A while ago I penned an article posing the question, why don’t fish seem to take any notice of the hook hanging down below a fly? It is not like it is not in plain view.

yhst-13414106903171_1856_2500

So I was intrigued to read this article which postulated…

“Hooks are not part of the trout’s developed searching or matching image. Therefore, in grossly oversimplified form, trout don’t care about the hook.”

The Mystery of the Ratty Fly

“It’s an ages-old question: Do trout sometimes prefer a beat-up pattern?”
The excellent MidCurrent blog features an excellent (of course) article by Paul Schullery on the old question of whether ratty, beat-up flies catch more fish than neat’n’tidy offerings.

I’m a believer. I have written a couple of articles on this theme, Rufazgutz, and Imitation or Approximation.

If you buy store-bought flies, have a read of these articles and then take to your flies with something rough like a piece of hacksaw blade or a piece of Velcro. Picking out some fur with a pin or needle will help too. And as the article says if your fly gets a bit ratty, but is still catching fish, for goodness sake keep using it.

Commercially tied flies are tied to meet the demands of the first rule of fishing tackle retailing; ‘First Catch Your Fisherman’. I should know – I owned a tackle shop for ten years.