All Dubbed Out and ready to Go

as promised earlier, Fly Tying: A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial is back and running as before.
all images are, i believe, where they should be… and Dennis Shaw’s fantastico-ultimate dubbing reference is back, available for all to see, use and learn from.
whew… to be honest, it was a royal pain in the butt because, ehh, it’s not worth going into technical details but i’m glad it’s over and i can move on to simpler things like going back to Special Stream and drink in its beauty. enjoy !

Filed under: Announcements, Nature Photos Tagged: Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Fly Tying Step by Steps, Fly Tying Tips and Tricks, Fly Tying: A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial by Dennis Shaw, forests in Aude France, Images, Lecanoscopy, Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 Asph. images, love, Lumix GX8 images, Nature, Nature Photos, Outdoors, Recreation, reflections, Special Stream

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Two Bit Stone

Two Bit StoneIt’s always a good idea to have a plan and, indeed, I had a great plan in mind when I first sat down to tie the Two Bit Stone. I reasoned that since my Two Bit Hooker is constantly on the end of my tippet when there are a lot of mayfly-size aquatic insects around, creating a larger version to imitate a Golden Stone was a logical progression. I even thought it would be easy. But then, like so many times before, reality reared its ugly head. While I thought I would be able to simply alter the colors and the size and come up with a slim, heavy representation of a Golden Stone, what I first ended up with was really just a yellow version of the standard Two Bit Hooker. It was too short, too fat, and looked too cartoonish to be acceptable. I hate it when that happens.

It’s this process of trial and error with thread and feathers that I love so much about fly design. Honestly, the further the final version is from my original idea, the more excited I am, because I know I allowed myself to just go with the flow and actually improve the pattern instead of just sticking to a rigid game plan.

Two Bit StoneObviously, I wanted a fly that would be heavy, so working off the design of the original Two Bit Hooker, I started with two tungsten beads. After several prototypes, the profile still wasn’t right and I considered going a whole new direction and using just a single bead, when it occurred to me to try using a longer hook to stretch the fly out. Using a 2XL Tiemco 5262 gave me a longer chassis to more closely match the naturals’ profile, but beta versions tied with two beads were still too blocky and stout.

I began perusing pictures of Golden Stone nymphs to refresh my memory of their overall shape and size. A Golden Stonefly is a pretty cylindrical critter when you really take a close look. It’s no wonder flies like Pat’s Rubber Legs are so popular. A stonefly, at its essence, is really just a tube with some legs, tails, and antennae flailing about in the water, and chenille patterns really do match that basic outline ­pretty well.

But I am a fly tier above all else, and I just can’t settle for something so simple, even if it is effective. I wanted something smaller in the size 12 to 16 range anyway, so I could fish it on a dropper, and match with the juvenile Golden Stones that are common year-round in Colorado, so I kept at it.

Two Bit StoneWith the cylindrical idea in mind, it occurred to me to use three beads to finish the thorax, divide the legs, and create inherent weight in the fly. Using an appropriately sized bead for the hook size made the fly a bit too thick in my opinion so I downsized the beads and now use the next size down per hook size to streamline the thorax. To clarify, on a size 12 stone, I use a 7/64″ bead, the size I would typically use for a size 14 fly.

It was this single final alteration that made all the difference. While my first few versions were tied with three tungsten beads, about ten minutes of fishing proved that you can indeed make a fly too heavy. Triple-tungsten bombs dragged down even large foam Charlie Boy Hoppers, as they plummeted straight down to the center of the earth. Nearly all of them ended up stuck in the river bottom.

The final version uses a single tungsten bead paired with two of brass to create just enough weight to drift the fly low in the water column, but stay off the sticks and rocks along the bottom. I also carry a few in my box tied with two tungsten and one brass bead, as a heavier version for deep, fast-water fishing, but have decided that three tungsten beads are just too much in most scenarios.

Two Bit StoneAlong the way I played with a few different tail materials, finally settling on gold-dyed wild turkey biots. These biots have beautiful mottling and being somewhat thinner and softer than goose biots, are more durable and less prone to breakage. Small black wire created a perfect, three-dimensional rib over the abdomen and a wingcase of Golden Stone Thin Skin topped with a single strand of 1/100″ Mirage Flashabou added for the final accent completed the front end.

The thorax is Superfine Dry Fly Dubbing because it can be applied sparsely and twisted tight to the thread, allowing me to fill the gaps between the beads and build a solid foundation for the Whiting Coq de León hen saddle hackle legs.
Softer dubbings just didn’t cut it as they compressed too much under the thread turns.

To toughen the body, magnify the flash and rib, as well as to help create the overall shape of the fly, I finish the Two Bit Stone with a head-to-tail coat of Solarez UV resin along the top surface of the fly. The finished product is accurate, slim, heavy, and durable. That was my plan all along.

Charlie Craven co-owns Charlie’s Fly Box in Arvada, Colorado. His latest book is Tying Nymphs: Essential Flies and Techniques for the Top Patterns (Stackpole Books/Headwater Books, 2016).

The post Two Bit Stone appeared first on Fly Fisherman.

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Big Flies for (Really) Big Fish

When I came back from Guyana and showed friends and family photos of some of the fish we caught, the first question was often, “What kind of fly do you use to catch something like that!?”

Arapaima are the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world, but when you fly fish for them, they are just like any other predator. Your strategy is to use your creativity to make a fly that imitates the prevalent food sources. In the Rupununi wetlands near Rewa, Guyana, that means flies that imitate red-bellied piranha and small peacock bass.

The method is the same as with tying any large-profile baitfish pattern. You stack the EP Fibers on the top and bottom of the hook shank to create a fly that has a large profile when viewed from the side, but it’s narrow when viewed from top and bottom. This imitates the shape of many baitfish species, and is crucial to making a “large” fly you can actually cast.

The key to a good arapaima fly, says Oliver White, is the Owner Aki 8/0 hook. Getting these fish to eat the fly isn’t all that difficult, but sticking that hook into something solid is. White has caught more (and probably also lost more) of these fish on a fly rod than any other person alive, and he’s very particular about the hook. If you’re flying halfway across the world to catch the biggest fish of your life, it’s a good idea to pay attention to these small details that will make a big difference in your success.

For more info on arapaima fishing in Guyana, see my story “1 Guy with a Fly Rod” in the Oct-Dec 2017 issue of FLY FISHERMAN or watch the film by Outside TV we shot on location in March 2017. The fly-tying short you see here is an out-take from that shoot.

The post Big Flies for (Really) Big Fish appeared first on Fly Fisherman.

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World’s Top 13 Pike Flies

Pike live in a green chiaroscuro. Their own green coloration adds to the effect while hiding them perfectly. Pike, therefore, are accustomed to seeing things swim too close. Dangerously close.

Pike live and grow large by this philosophy: The less energy spent, the better. When things casually feed dangerously close to pike, the better they like it. Dead baits work best in spring, before the water hits 50°F. The next best thing, late spring until ice-up, is a fly. Suspending suckers under a bobber are the next best thing, yet pale in comparison. Suckers know when pike are dangerously close, and they react accordingly.

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Tweaking the Adams Fly

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To me, one of the most compelling things about tying flies is that no matter how long you’ve done it or how many flies you’ve tied, there are always little tricks you learn as you go. This phenomenon happens on your twentieth Elk-hair Caddis as well as your four thousandth, and countless times between. A detailed tier is always looking for those little tweaks that make a fly one step closer to perfect and after decades of attempts, I’ve finally arrived (for now) at the perfect Parachute Adams.

Even though I wrote an article on a similar subject in this space several years ago, I’ve tied a few thousand more of them since then, demonstrated the fly a bunch of times, and taught it in my classes over these intervening years and hopefully I can pass along some of the tweaks and tricks as well as some of the new teaching methods I’ve learned during that time.

A lot of tiers are surprised to learn that one of my favorite summertime drys is the Parachute Adams. I guess they’re expecting me to have some secret pattern up my sleeve, and I’m not saying I don’t, but I do fish a size 14 or 16 Parachute Adams at some point almost every day I go fishing during the summer. It’s not the conventional version, because have a few modifications I’ve added over the years to improve its fishability, floatation, and durability.

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