The Fisherman

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Everything posted by The Fisherman

  1. Sad news: Mike Oliver's beloved Kelly Kettle has gone to meet the great tea maker in the sky. We managed one last cuppa on the beach before it passed on. These shots are from midnight tea the night before its demise. The Maestro setting up shop. ~ Or perhaps he's a wizard or warlock, conjuring a spell to place on the stripers. ~ More ritual brewing alchemy. ~ To quote from the Book of Colin: "Tea without milk is so uncivilized." Thus fortified, we went and slayed them on the outgoing. Steve Culton
  2. My Grass Shrimp Solution fly fits that bill nicely. You can probably find the pattern on this site and certainly on mine. If you do a web search for "Soft Hackles for Striped Bass" you'll find an article I wrote several years ago for American Angler. Steve Culton
  3. It depends on the place and conditions and where the bass are in relation to my position. Sometimes it's a simple dangle off a dock in the current, letting the flies wake on the surface. Sometimes it's a mended swing and dangle (Cam was doing this the other night and drew some strikes by raising and lowering the rod tip). Sometimes you need to fish them like a dry fly on a natural drag-free drift right in the feeding lane. Glad you liked the book. Ray's a good guy. Steve Culton
  4. Old hat for me, but others may want to try these if they're looking to go small. My son caught stripers on all three flies last night during a grass shrimp swarm. For perspective, the deer hair head fly is 1" long. Steve Culton
  5. Your answer can be found in the last photo caption. :-) Steve Culton
  6. I do very well with this one. Steve Culton
  7. You can fish a flatwing any way you choose. You can fish a trout nymph any way you choose. Both fly styles have their wheelhouse, and the flatwing's wheelhouse lies within traditional line handling presentations and dead drifts. An intermediate line is not an ideal choice, not because it will pull the fly down too far -- intermediate lines sink at a very slow rate -- but because once you cast it you have little control over it or the fly other than to strip the fly in. If you're going to be fishing in a river, you will have current, and once the current grabs your intermediate line, you will have little control over it. The fly will race down and across current, and eventually upward. Can you catch fish this way? Sure. There's always a hyper-aggressive fish around that's willing to chase. But you will find that you will struggle catching the bass that are not willing to chase. Those fish will want the fly brought to them. If you really want to explore the possibilities of flatwings, you should get a floating line and learn how to use it. There are several articles on my website regarding floating lines and traditional presentations. Or, just do a search for "Mainly Misunderstood." To your fly: the dog will hunt. Bucktail length is fine. The peacock herl is a tad short -- you've got a long tail and longer herl would complete the look. Kind of like this: Definitely check out Joe's video and I'm hoping to have a few up soon. Hope that helps, and I'm excited that you're interested in flatwings. Steve Culton
  8. Sage advice from an old salt. The famous Jimi Hendrix Trippy Acid Flash photo is a 38" fish that ate a 4.5" sparse sand eel. She was part of a school that was feeding on smaller bait. John, my fishing partner that night, caught bass in a similar size class on 11 consecutive casts. He was using a 3 1/4" sand eel fly. Of course, when the bait is large, match it likewise. Noteworthy: large flies that night produced zero strikes for me. Steve Culton
  9. I depends. They aren't any good for tying larger (7" and beyond) flatwings. You also need to pick and choose feathers (and packages) -- you might find anywhere from a couple to a couple dozen good flatwing feathers in a strung saddle package. Those gems may be just right for tying smaller flatwings like the Orange Ruthless or Morning Glory or Ray's Featherwing, etc. Steve Culton
  10. For those interested in this trout/smallmouth fishery, there's a new article in the current (March/April 2019) issue of Eastern Fly Fly Fishing. :-) Steve Culton
  11. Very respectfully, I was using a sinking line long before you ever started fly fishing. In fact I used one on my last outing. You're entitled to your opinion, but I catch hundreds of stripers every year, many of them large, on a floating line, in all kinds of places and conditions. Steve Culton
  12. Hi Bigfish. You can buy the best intermediate line in the world, and it will still be a poor choice for achieving depth, especially in current. If getting deep is your goal, a floating line with a longer leader, or a full sink line with a shorter leader are better choices. I'd also place an emphasis on "can be." Understand that none of us have seen where you're fishing, so it's hard to armchair QB these situations. Just for perspective, I fly fish from the shore, and of the dozens of stripers I caught last year over 28", all of them took close to the surface. Depth may or may not be key. But there's one way to find out. Careful. Bigger flies are indeed a way to cull smaller fish -- it's called the protein payoff -- but that doesn't mean bigger bass won't eat smaller flies. One of the biggest, fattest stripers I ever caught came on a sand eel that was under 5". Again, one way to find out. Nothing beats time on the water. Experiment, play around, test theories, and have fun with the puzzle. Steve Culton
  13. Hang in there, friend. We're all looking forward to that snook shot! Steve Culton
  14. No worries on the name. I thought it was funny (in a good way). :-) First, I'm glad that you're interested in flatwings. I'm happy to help. Some of your questions have no one good answer. For example, you can strip a flatwing in to your heart's content. But, like beer that isn't consumed, the fly has missed its purpose. I fish a 10" Rock Island differently than I fish a 4.5" Big Eelie, and I fish both differently than I fish an Orange Ruthless clam worm. There's no one way. Flatwings shine in traditional presentations like greased line swings and dangles. Always ask yourself these questions: What is the bait? How are the stripers eating it? What do I have in my box that resembles the bait in terms of size, color and profile? How can I present my fly to behave like the naturals? Therein are the answers you seek. A properly tied flatwing (that includes selecting the right hook) is not prone to fouling. I would never use the hook you're using for a flatwing. It's too heavy and out of balance. btw, I am constantly checking my hook points, whenever and wherever I'm fishing. I do not find it disturbing, but rather, reassuring. I know I'm not going to lose a good fish to a compromised hook point. Anyone who's seen my original "Little Things" presentation will tell you a sharp hook is point #1. By all means, tweak away. But you should be prepared for (and embrace) failure. Michael Jordan missed thousands of shots in his career. As others have pointed out, it's hard to give useful information about a fly that I haven't seen in person. Similarly, I can't speak to what you think your flatwing's action should be. The ones I tie swim and wiggle and create the illusion of life. You've seen my big fish pictures on this site. All those bass thought the fly looked alive and like something good to eat. Lastly, I want to return to impressionism. Flatwings are impressionistic, not trompe l'oiel. Sometimes they are caricatures. If you want to get into specifics like eyes and fins and scales, that's just not the flatwing energy. Hope that helps, Steve Culton
  15. Culton here. Should I call you Green? :-) So. The objective big picture is: welcome to fly pattern prototyping. I may go through many versions of a fly before I get it where I like it. Different colors, proportions, materials -- all of these are variables to contend with. Rather than fighting it, embrace going back to the drawing board. When you say, "these flies," are you talking about flatwings? It depends on many things such as: what bait are you copying, how is that bait behaving, how are the fish feeding on it, what size fish are you targeting, etc. I tend to do lot of greased line swings with flatwings, and precious little rip-and-strip if that helps. There's a certain channel in RI where I like to fish squid flies -- it's a greased line swing, then a dangle along the edge of the channel -- perhaps a couple pop strips, but mostly dangle and then a hand twist retrieve. Hooks matter. If it were me, I would be using the Eagle Claw 253. Good luck with your project, and I hope this helped. Ken takes a highly impressionistic approach to his squid flies, hence no eyes, which have always done a better job of catching anglers than fish. Most of his flies tend to be sparse; an exception is the Banana Squid. But there are sparse elements, such as the bucktail veil. This fly moves and pulses and breathes in the current, creating a wonderful illusion of life. (And a much different profile when wet.) Steve Culton
  16. Yes. Delicious. Steve Culton
  17. EFF has been around for a long time. Yes, I wrote it. One coming on the Farmington in the same pub later this year. :-) Steve Culton
  18. That's a question you'd have to ask them. The url is on the cover photo. :-) Steve Culton
  19. There's absolutely no reason for you to abandon that -- nor is there any compelling reason for you to become an "armpit angler" by default. Steve Culton
  20. Several years ago I wrote a piece for the now-defunct Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Journal titled "Ten Things You Should Know About Nighttime Fly Fishing For Big Trout." Much of it applies to stripers or night fishing in general. You can find it online if you do a search. :-) Steve Culton
  21. Legal in FW in multiple states, and fouls far less trout/salmon than Euro-type rigs. Hard to imagine trying snag a fish with a single BB shot. Steve Culton
  22. My first suggestion is to try another method of rigging, specifically drop shot. Do a web search for "drop shot nymph rig" and you'll find plenty of diagrams. With drop shot, your weight is on the bottom, and your point fly is 6" off the bottom, right where it should be. Using the 1.5-2x distance formula, measure it from indicator to the bottom-most element, in this case (drop shot) the weight. I'm not sure what kind of indicator you're using, but if it's going under a lot, you're either hooking up and missing strikes (look for a reason to set the hook on every drift!) or you're using way too much weight. Learn your indicator's nuances so that you can tell bottom return from hookups. If you're not hooking up and your indicator isn't going down every 10 casts or so, you're fishing too shallow or with insufficient weight. Hope that helps, Steve Culton
  23. Oops. Forgot the Skinny Mack, too. A little sparser with 3 feathers. Steve Culton
  24. Go get 'em, Dan. Steve Culton
  25. If you have a copy of A Perfect Fish, the Rosey Mack. Steve Culton