Flies to Tie

                                                                                                                       


                                                                          Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited
                                         
                                 Chapter #696
                                                                          Blue Ridge, GA
                                                                                                      

Blue Ridge TU chapter member  . . .

                                                                    among fly tying contest winners

Blue Ridge Trout Unlimited chapter member John Pool has been notified by the Chattahoochee/Nantahala TU Chapter that the flies he submitted for the Southern Appalachian Fly Tying Championship received second place from the panel of judges evaluating the entries. First place in the Blairsville TU group’s event went to Louis Kasamis, New City, NY. Others placing in this first annual event included: 3rd – Pat Patillo, Dahlonega, Ga.; 4th – John A McKee, Elizabethton, Tenn.; 5th – Michel Paguin, Toris-Rivieres, Q.C., Canada.

 

For Chapter #692’s contest, each tyer was required to submit two patterns, one mandatory – a Hazel Creek (traditional Southern Appalachian pattern) -- and the second, any pattern of the tier’s choice. Pool chose a Tennessee Madam (an adaptation of his based on a Madam X) for his optional entry. Tying instructions for both flies follow.


 

HAZEL CREEK

Hook                 Dry fly hook/size of your choice

Thread              Light yellow 6/0 or 8/0

Wings               White hackle tips

Tail                   Golden pheasant tippet

Body                 Yellow dubbing

Hackle              Grizzle and brown, mixed




 

TENNESSEE MADAM

Her mother is a Madam X and her father is a Tennessee Wulff

 

Hook:                #14 or 16 Tiemco 200R or similar       

Thread:             Black 6X

Tail and Wing:   Natural Coastal Deer Hair

Tag & Thorax:    Peacock Herl

Body:                Green Floss

Rib:                  Fine gold wire

Hackle:             Grizzly

Wing Post:        Fluorescent Green Antron Yarn

Legs:                Tan Rubber

 

 

 

 

 



In an email informing Pool that he had placed in the contest, Blairsville TU member Steve Banakas wrote: “Congratulations on finishing second in the tying contest!   Having labored over more that a few Madam X's I can really appreciate the job that you did on the Tennessee Madam... what good work! In a few days we'll have your fly, along with the third and first place flies photographed and published on our web site, www.ngatu692.com.  And our president, Ken Bachman will have your $50.00 check in the mail soon as well. Congratulation once again, and thanks so much for participating.  I hope to meet you before long.   And perhaps we can start to get a little more interaction between the Blue Ridge and Blairsville chapters in the future.”










Fly Tying Practical Tips

By Stony Brooks

March 2009

 

                This is the first in a series of articles with practical tips for tying flies that work.  The feature is directed toward amateur fly aficionados who want to tie their own patterns for use in fishing for trout in coldwater streams.  We will start with a set of general observations for getting started or getting restarted in fly tying.  If you are already an accomplished tier or just beginning, read on and email me through the Chapter President at skywayra@tds.net if you think this information is on the mark or not.  Also, we would like to hear your practical suggestions to share with others as this series progresses.  Our chapter is tying together the third Thursday of each month at Unicoi Outfitters starting at 5:30 for beginners and those who are willing to help the beginners and 6:30 for the moderate to advanced tier who wants to learn more or share your skills.  Last week we had 10 folks together and we had a blast and even came out with a few good fishable flies.  We began the program with a few general pointers about embarking on the fly tying adventure that are universal:

1.       There is no mystery to tying flies.  While, like many vocations and avocations, including fly-fishing, there is a specialized vocabulary and core of insiders who make it seem difficult and mysterious when the terms relate to items and skills that are rather common.  For example, chenille is simply fuzzy material on string that’s easy to apply to a hook.  Once you become familiar with the terminology and a basic set of skills, with practice you can build on knowledge and skill just like you did with fly fishing.  The point is, do not be scared away or put off by those who act like it takes a special talent.  You do need decent vision (which can be enhanced with glasses and magnifiers), some digital dexterity that most humans possess, and patience as will be described below.  Some tiers, like artists can tie better flies faster than others.  But almost anyone who applies themselves can become skillful enough to tie flies that catch fish.  And it’s fun to catch a fish on a fly you tied, no matter how primitive the product.

2.       To be good at fly tying, it takes practice.  Like many things in life, doing it well takes persistence and practice.  For most of us, finesse in fly tying required learning, application, and most of all repetition.  To master a given fly normally takes repeated effort.  Often the first try will be less attractive and effective than subsequent efforts.  You need to deal with that, as even accomplished tiers face challenges with new patterns if they require new or unfamiliar skills, which many times they do because tying evolves like everything else in our world.

3.       Persistence is essential to success.  Especially when first learning to tie flies and then with the mounting of each new level of skill sets necessary to tie more complicated patterns, it is essential to overcome adversity.  Thread will break.  Feathers will become unattached.  Flies will lack proportion.  The tier needs to stick with it to break through to success.  Sometimes that will take a pause to overcome fatigue or frustration.  It may mean going back to relearn a basic skill, or it may require help from an experienced colleague.  But to succeed you need to not give up.

4.       Learn in Steps and Go Back to Basics.  Like many skills, the best way to learn fly tying is to take a progressive approach of attaining basic skills and building on what you learn.  Trying more difficult patterns or advanced skills before mastering the basics can lead to frustration and actually impede progress.  Try to take a step-by-step approach and be patient enough to fully learn basic patterns before going to the next step.  If you experience difficulty with a new pattern or skill, try to identify a basic step or skill that closely relates to the new skill and master the basic skill before going to the next level.  The good thing is that many books and other learning aids are organized in the step-by-step approach.  Another alternative is to take a fly tying course or tie with a group like the chapter workshop to identify necessary skills to master.

 

5.       Try New Things After You Master the Basics.  Tying the same fly over and over can be boring, so try new flies with new skills or try improving the fly you already tie well.  If you can tie a serviceable nymph, try adding a soft hackle collar or rubber legs to a few of the flies you tie.  This advances your skills and can be really rewarding when you get to the point of tying your own versions that really work in the water.  This is, in my view, the nirvana of fly tying:  coming up with flies that are not available in the fly shop that work.   It may even be your secret pattern.  If it is easy to tie and economical, you may even be able to add to our sport by sharing it with the world.  Even if you do not aspire to be a Bob Clouser or Dave Whitlock, if one of your friends on the stream says “this little fly of yours really works,” it will be a proud moment indeed.  It happened to me, and I am neither artist nor expert fisherman.

 

                    Join us at a Blue Ridge Mountain TU Fly Tying Workshop.  It’s fun.  It’s free. It works.

 


___________________________________________________________________________



Fly of the Month

January 2009

by Stony Brooks    

It’s winter in the Georgia Mountains, and the temperatures can vary from  the   teens to close to 70 from one day to the next.  Hatches occur, but tend to be of the minute variety:  size 22 and smaller.  One of the more consistent flies used as a dropper from dry indicator flies or as droppers from nymphs and streamers is the Zebra Midge. 

The fly may mimic the rising manifestation of some of the midges that are hatching or the little black stones that are present on the Toccoa in winter.  Regardless, it’s a proven winner on the Toccoa Tailwater, the Toccoa above the dam, and the Nantahahla in my personal experience.  On January 5, 2009, a black and silver zebra midge with a silver bead size 20 fooled a 23 inch kype-jawed male rainbow who was hanging out in about 1 foot of slightly broken water.  The fly is easy to tie, but I suggest magnification.  My $39 loupe magnifiers purchased from Orvis do the trick for my sixty-one year old eyes to make sure I can wrap the wire with even spacing.  Perfect winds of wire may not be super important, as chewed up flies seem to work just fine.  But my personality makes me want to have a proportional and pretty fly when I remove it from the vise.  The zebra midge can be tied silver and black, silver and red, silver and green, black and red, and other combinations.  I prefer silver and black, size 18-22, scud hook, and tie it two ways.

The fly may mimic the rising manifestation of some of the midges that are hatching or the little black stones that are present on the Toccoa in winter.Regardless, it’s a proven winner on the Toccoa Tailwater, the Toccoa above the dam, and the Nantahahla in my personal experience.On January 5, 2009, a black and silver zebra midge with a silver bead size 20 fooled a 23 inch kype-jawed male rainbow who was hanging out in about 1 foot of slightly broken water.The fly is easy to tie, but I suggest magnification.My $39 loupe magnifiers purchased from Orvis do the trick for my sixty-one year old eyes to make sure I can wrap the wire with even spacing.Perfect winds of wire may not be super important, as chewed up flies seem to work just fine.But my personality makes me want to have a proportional and pretty fly when I remove it from the vise.The zebra midge can be tied silver and black, silver and red, silver and green, black and red, and other combinations.I prefer silver and black, size 18-22, scud hook, and tie it two ways.

The fly may mimic the rising manifestation of some of the midges that are hatching or the little black stones that are present on the Toccoa in winter.Regardless, it’s a proven winner on the Toccoa Tailwater, the Toccoa above the dam, and the Nantahahla in my personal experience.On January 5, 2009, a black and silver zebra midge with a silver bead size 20 fooled a 23 inch kype-jawed male rainbow who was hanging out in about 1 foot of slightly broken water.The fly is easy to tie, but I suggest magnification.My $39 loupe magnifiers purchased from Orvis do the trick for my sixty-one year old eyes to make sure I can wrap the wire with even spacing.Perfect winds of wire may not be super important, as chewed up flies seem to work just fine.But my personality makes me want to have a proportional and pretty fly when I remove it from the vise.The zebra midge can be tied silver and black, silver and red, silver and green, black and red, and other combinations.I prefer silver and black, size 18-22, scud hook, and tie it two ways.

 

The fly may mimic the rising manifestation of some of the midges that are hatching or the little black stones that are present on the Toccoa in winter.Regardless, it’s a proven winner on the Toccoa Tailwater, the Toccoa above the dam, and the Nantahahla in my personal experience.On January 5, 2009, a black and silver zebra midge with a silver bead size 20 fooled a 23 inch kype-jawed male rainbow who was hanging out in about 1 foot of slightly broken water.The fly is easy to tie, but I suggest magnification.My $39 loupe magnifiers purchased from Orvis do the trick for my sixty-one year old eyes to make sure I can wrap the wire with even spacing.Perfect winds of wire may not be super important, as chewed up flies seem to work just fine.But my personality makes me want to have a proportional and pretty fly when I remove it from the vise.The zebra midge can be tied silver and black, silver and red, silver and green, black and red, and other combinations.I prefer silver and black, size 18-22, scud hook, and tie it two ways.

 

The fly may mimic the rising manifestation of some of the midges that are hatching or the little black stones that are present on the Toccoa in winter.Regardless, it’s a proven winner on the Toccoa Tailwater, the Toccoa above the dam, and the Nantahahla in my personal experience.On January 5, 2009, a black and silver zebra midge with a silver bead size 20 fooled a 23 inch kype-jawed male rainbow who was hanging out in about 1 foot of slightly broken water.The fly is easy to tie, but I suggest magnification.My $39 loupe magnifiers purchased from Orvis do the trick for my sixty-one year old eyes to make sure I can wrap the wire with even spacing.Perfect winds of wire may not be super important, as chewed up flies seem to work just fine.But my personality makes me want to have a proportional and pretty fly when I remove it from the vise.The zebra midge can be tied silver and black, silver and red, silver and green, black and red, and other combinations.I prefer silver and black, size 18-22, scud hook, and tie it two ways.

 

The fly may mimic the rising manifestation of some of the midges that are hatching or the little black stones that are present on the Toccoa in winter.Regardless, it’s a proven winner on the Toccoa Tailwater, the Toccoa above the dam, and the Nantahahla in my personal experience.On January 5, 2009, a black and silver zebra midge with a silver bead size 20 fooled a 23 inch kype-jawed male rainbow who was hanging out in about 1 foot of slightly broken water.The fly is easy to tie, but I suggest magnification.My $39 loupe magnifiers purchased from Orvis do the trick for my sixty-one year old eyes to make sure I can wrap the wire with even spacing.Perfect winds of wire may not be super important, as chewed up flies seem to work just fine.But my personality makes me want to have a proportional and pretty fly when I remove it from the vise.The zebra midge can be tied silver and black, silver and red, silver and green, black and red, and other combinations.I prefer silver and black, size 18-22, scud hook, and tie it two ways.

 

The fly may mimic the rising manifestation of some of the midges that are hatching or the little black stones that are present on the Toccoa in winter.Regardless, it’s a proven winner on the Toccoa Tailwater, the Toccoa above the dam, and the Nantahahla in my personal experience.On January 5, 2009, a black and silver zebra midge with a silver bead size 20 fooled a 23 inch kype-jawed male rainbow who was hanging out in about 1 foot of slightly broken water.The fly is easy to tie, but I suggest magnification.My $39 loupe magnifiers purchased from Orvis do the trick for my sixty-one year old eyes to make sure I can wrap the wire with even spacing.Perfect winds of wire may not be super important, as chewed up flies seem to work just fine.But my personality makes me want to have a proportional and pretty fly when I remove it from the vise.The zebra midge can be tied silver and black, silver and red, silver and green, black and red, and other combinations.I prefer silver and black, size 18-22, scud hook, and tie it two ways.

 

First method:  BLACK AND SILVER- I use a scud or shrimp style hook because its open gape has better hooking potential and looks more naturally midge-like in the water.  Start with a silver bead head [or tungsten if you have rich blood and tie expensive flies]; super glue the bead head on and then wrap black thread back to the middle of the bend covering the hook completely.  Tie in fine silver wire securely as you wrap the thread uniformly forward for a flat surface followed by the wire in open loops leaving black gaps about 1-2 times the size of the wire.  That’s it.  If you want to be fancy, you can wrap a small ball of fine black dubbing behind the bead.  It looks good, but it never has seemed to make a difference for me in catching fish.  It may help keeping the bead in place, however.  Tie off behind the bead head and glue.  Go fish.

Second method:  also BLACK AND SILVER- I use a scud or shrimp style hook because its open gape has better hooking potential and looks more naturally midge-like in the water.  Start with a silver bead head [or tungsten if you have rich blood and tie expensive flies]; super glue the bead head on and then wrap black thread back to the middle of the bend covering the hook completely.  Tie in silver fine wire and black fine wire securely as you wrap the thread uniformly forward for a flat surface followed by the two wires wrapped forward together side by side in tight wraps right next to each other so there is a 1 to 1 black-silver-black wrapping covering the thread completely to the head.  If you want to be fancy, you can wrap a small ball of fine black dubbing behind the bead.  It looks good, but it never has seemed to make a difference for me in catching fish.  It may help keeping the bead in place, however.  Tie off behind the bead head and glue.  Go fish.  This method, carefully performed, makes a durable and extremely proportional fly with uniform wraps.  I do not think it makes a difference in catching fish, however.  Use the same diameter wire in both colors for the best result.  It also works with black and red wire, which makes a cool-looking fly.  I don’t know yet if it will catch fish, but I tied some anyway because they look soooooo good.

If you look up this fly on the internet or at Cabela’s, you will see it tied in open loops with gold or white bead heads.  By personal preference, I use standard silver bead heads and have had success with black and silver under various conditions on the Toccoa and Nantahahla.  Not so with red and silver in my experience.  They must work somewhere, as that combo is prevalent.  But for today, I am talking about a good fly for winter fishing on the Toccoa.  I know this one works.   I tried it on recommendation in a writing by  Becky Hulsey of Unicoi fly shop, and my on-stream results proved it works on really big fish, at least on January 5, overcast skies, 65 degree temperature, … you get the picture.

For a picture of the aforementioned magnifying loupes, see http://www.orvis.com/store/productchoice.aspx?pf_id=05BH&dir_id=1273&group_id=12545&cat_id=12546&subcat_id=12547