Friday, April 18, 2014

I am getting so tired of posting pictures of flies.  But if the rumors are true we will be getting up to 50 degrees in the next few days and our chances at fish will increase radically soon.  It is fun though to fish the river mouths and see big ore boats and Coast Guard boats stuck in the ice.  Until that happens fly posts and pictures.

Often when you first start tying flies you get a flash of inspiration and throw a bunch of materials on a hook.  The flies often look awesome but are rarely any good.  In fact, I recently was told that Kelly Galloup has over 80% of his flies fail.  I don't feel so bad anymore but this isn't about making great flies.  Its about having fun at the vice and not really caring about the results. 

With this in mind: Tarpon Toad + Tarpon Snake + GhettoSuperStar + Whiskey = it's gonna be awesome.  I don't care about the results, it looks awesome in my head.  What do you think it will look like in the end? 

Monday, March 17, 2014


According to Webster (that is a dictionary to all you young folk) cabin fever is defined as  extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or confined indoor area for a prolonged time.  

This 2013-2014 Winter has been one for the history books- over 80 days in a row below zero, the Great Lakes Frozen over, heavy shelf ice on all the rivers, people going miles out on Lake Superior to go ice fishing.  Now I know that the ice was probably stable, safe and all but can you imagine the pucker factor when going 20 miles out on Lake Superior.  But it has not been all bad….really.  
The skiing has been great, we should have plenty of water for the summer, the dog sled races had plenty of snow, Ice Fest had well plenty of ice, ice caves that haven't formed in years were awesome and runoff is going to be interesting to watch.  Will it come quickly, slowly….never do- not say that.  Even as a Winter lover summer will be a fun time.  That is if we get a summer this year.  Not if we have another epically awful time with ticks, black flies and other biting bastards.  

But I digress.  What happens when you wake up in the middle of night in a cold sweat.  Dude my fly boxes for the summer are empty.  Crack the music, open a Dew and getting tying.  Embrace the fever and tie some flies that is if you are to soft to go outside.  Now where are my fleece pants its going to be cold wading today. 


Monday, March 10, 2014

A Child’s Dream of toothy critters

Growing up I loved watched nature shows about Africa.   It seemed raw totally primal, so unlike my Midwest surroundings, surely it was another planet.  Being awake for school the next day paled in comparison to reading about the endless Sahara, sweltering Congo jungles, mystic Egyptians, Moroccan horse stables and endless herds - I read late into the night under the covers with a flashlight.  After fly fishing took over being a hunter facing down a charging lion or stalking a water buffalo some what paled in comparison to toothy critters that swim the rivers and lakes.  

There are so many opportunities to fish in Africa: the Nubian salty flats, the Lesotho Three Rivers system, tarpon on the Atlantic side, the Seychelles, the Red Sea, the Nile, the Zambezi- a list that does not end.  Fishing opportunities abound and the more I learn the more I am amazed.  The toothy critters in the water are almost as formidable,  as those that roam the land.  

Tigerfish are brutal looking they make muskie and pike look positively domestic.  The largest of the tigerfish species, the goliath can reach well over 100 pounds while others top out around 40 pounds.  Tigerfish are apex predators they have powerful tails, sharp replaceable teeth and acute eyesight.  While they prefer small fast moving prey (I hope you are  thinking streamers and baitfish flies) prey almost twice as big as themselves is not safe.  Their fellow tigers are not safe cannibalism is not uncommon.  Parents do not let your children play in these waters tigerfish have been documented to attack humans.  

Why fish for them.  They fight dirty, jump high and pull like a pissed off locomotive.   Any fish that chases down a fly and hits it like an A Bomb is a worthy adversary.  Match the hatch your fly should represent the most common forage around at the time and match the light conditions of the day.  Many flies are weighted to get the fish down quickly- it seems tigerfish like rivers that are super pushie.  

Like most people I am fighting cabin fever.  My fly boxes are overflowing and I troll the internet for anything toothy critter related to get my mind off the epic ice still on the rivers.  Even my redfish box is filling up I just tyed a few flies based on the St Simons Scampi for Georgia reds.  But late at night I hear the roar of lions, the bellow of hippos and scary call of hyenas.    Like a kid again I cannot get the majesty of Africa out of my mind: tigerfish, yellowfish, nile perch, bohar snapper, GTs…...

The Black Death Tigerfish Fly is tied by a guide from Tourette Fishing, a great looking outfit in Africa.  It is a relatively easy fly to tie and most materials you will already have.  On the left is the replica and on right my version- someday if I dream big enough I will be able to see which version works best.  Either way it will look good in the mouth of tiger fish.  Enjoy

Friday, February 7, 2014

DREAM ON- Part One


Today I talked with an old friend whom I have not seen in years.  During high school and much of college we had  elaborate dreams for travel to exotic places- Nepal, Alaska, Baffin Island, Patagonia, Thailand…. the list does not end.  Lucky for both us we have been able to check off some of these locations sadly none together.  

It got me thinking.  While maybe not as sexy as another country, South  Carolina has always been high on my fishing list.  Redfish, sea trout, flounder, cobia, and shark OOOHHH BUDDDDY.  And best of all my friend lives kind of close to some great South Carolina fisheries.  If I am lucky enough I will be able to drag him any from his successful job and amazing family for a few days.  I decided to look up flies that are used down there and start tying some up.

Great minds think a like.  This redfish pattern is super close to my CopyCat (a carp killer fly).  Not an exact copy but close enough.  And yes the head was colored with a Sharpie I had no blue thread.  I guess redfish eyes pick out blue really well and flies can always benefit with a splash of blue.

Cobia are simply ball busting brutes and fly shop owners dream  They shatter rods, tear lines on structure, and mangle flies- keep local shops in business fish for cobia.  A tying forum promises that this pattern in yellow and red is a killer combination for cobia.  I know I know never trust forums but if it fails in the salt I am sure there is some stupid pike out there that will crush it.  


Now every few tying sessions when I have the time and materials I am gonna spin flies with dreams in mind.  And in the words of Aerosmith “Dream until your dreams come true”