HillTop

2020 All Things Fly Fishing

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81 posts in this topic

40 mins ago, Suave said:

Very different from what I tie. But what the heck, the real proof is in the catching or not. And from what I see (the pictures) and read on your very interesting posts (but more from the seeing), your flies put you in the catching much more than in the not. So... good show. And anyway the fish should be the ones pressing the thumbs up or down on posts showing flies we've tied! 

than in the not 

Its very interesting what works for each angler on flies.  I keep trying new things because you never want limit yourself.  This is the year I put a lot of effort into learning flat wings.  We have Steve Culton coming to present to our fly club in February and I plan to do some guided trips with Joe Cordiero this year.  You cannot have too many tricks in your bag.  One thought from 2019: All stripers caught 36-39" were on flies that had rattled in them.  The flies I used were 50/50 on rattles in them or not.  And these fish were spread out over multiple weeks.  So I can say its worth trying adding rattles to any pattern you use.  @HillTop rattles were the most durable ones I have used they survived the entire season without breaking or losing there sound

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2 hours ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

No fishing so far this year, but have been back at the vise.  I have been messing with these a bit, but due to my big fly kick in 2019 gave all the 2nd generation prototypes to my buddy for testing.  They did pretty well for him so these are refined third generation versions.  

 

 

Dan,   What's the final verdict on the "big fly" experiment.    Assuming since you're tie these that you going to modify your approach for 2020 ?

 

HT

 

ps:  Still haven't forgotten that I owe ya.... you mentioned files but maybe some more stainless rattles when I get back in the groove.

 

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3 hours ago, HillTop said:

 

Dan,   What's the final verdict on the "big fly" experiment.    Assuming since you're tie these that you going to modify your approach for 2020 ?

 

HT

 

ps:  Still haven't forgotten that I owe ya.... you mentioned files but maybe some more stainless rattles when I get back in the groove.

 

Well its hard to make solid comparisons because 2019 was such a poor year for my local area compared to 2017/2018.  I base that statement off of my surfcasting friends who fished relatively consistently game plans all three seasons and finding big bass was very tough for them too in 2019.  There are some definitely lessons learned that I can share.

 

1. When big bait is present you need to throw big flies.  Finding patterns where big bait is close to shore is critical to catching big fish consistently.  River herring, shad, and bunker all present opportunities where one needs to throw 10-16" flies to prevail.  All my big fish were when one of those three bait types was know to be in the area I was fishing.  2018 American eels were a factor and one of my 2 fish over 40" came on a 12" eel pattern.  2019 the eel bite never materialized its seemed the big fish stayed on the bunker schools religiously out in the shipping channels.  The two times bunker came in close to shore I connected with big fish but failed to land them one I had leader in hand (that fish was 45-47" class and would have been a new PB fly rod fish).  Spring herring bite produced four out of my five fish over 35" and I landed no fish over 40" (39.5" was biggest of season)

 

2.  Big flies definitely deter hits from schoolies, but not always and hook position determines whether you catch schoolies or not.  Head hook position will tend to cause small fish strike and miss hook up.  One night I went 0/16 fishing a 12 inch slider fly with a head hook placement. Damage to fly indicated schoolie size mouths and generally grabbing tail section.  My single hook head placement flies had poor schoolie hook up rates, but connected well when 30" or bigger bass were around.  Also during the herring runs there is a first light bite window and I saw many of the hits were schoolies attacking from behind and they inhale half of fly missing front hook.  A 10" double hook bucktail gamechanger from Nightmare Musky flies had excellent hookup ratio all season with very few missed hits. It caught one keeper and that fish took front hook.  All other fish were schoolies and took trail hook 7" into a 10" long fly.

 

3. Big flies work well in places with structure and ripping current for getting bass to commit.  In this case a rear 1/3 hook placement is what you want and I found a big meal gets bass to come up and take a swing.  So inlets are another area that big flies are always worth considering.

 

4. Big flies when big bait is not around is low percentage.  The biggest reason for my big fly experiment was its technically challenging to cast and present these flies.  I figured it would take an entire seasons worth of effort to

master and I did not really hit my stride until August.  The fall I was able to catch fish in nasty conditions and connect with quality fish despite wind and big swell so I feel I gained the technical abilities and confidence I needed to.  That said staying big all year was mentally exhausting so I wont do it again now that my skills are up to par.  When I think I need to go big I now can with confidence going forward.   

 

5. Full and New Moons will be when I throw big flies in inlets when current is at its peak and extreme tides activate structure that normal tides leave out of play.  That is my best shot at finding true trophy sized fish so when those limited opportunities arise I am going big. During off peak tides I am gonna focus on just catching fish matching prevalent forage and having fun to keep my mental health in order.  I will always have one squid, one shad, one eel, and one bunker fly on me because sometimes you hook them when throwing small flies or notice their presence.  If I know big bait is present I will always switch to big flies to match and see if a cow is shadowing that bait.

 

2019 had 50% less keeper sized fish landed than 2018.  My surfcasting friends were down majorly as well so I mainly attribute this to issues with breeder population not my fishing approach.

Edited by The Graveyard Shift

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13 hours ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

Its very interesting what works for each angler on flies.  I keep trying new things because you never want limit yourself.  This is the year I put a lot of effort into learning flat wings.  We have Steve Culton coming to present to our fly club in February and I plan to do some guided trips with Joe Cordiero this year.  You cannot have too many tricks in your bag.  One thought from 2019: All stripers caught 36-39" were on flies that had rattled in them.  The flies I used were 50/50 on rattles in them or not.  And these fish were spread out over multiple weeks.  So I can say its worth trying adding rattles to any pattern you use.  @HillTop rattles were the most durable ones I have used they survived the entire season without breaking or losing there sound

Dan: I wish you as much fun and satisfaction I had (in my case, the most I've had in 40 years of flytying) in learning how to and tying muti-feather flatwings. I did that about 4 years ago after discovering these most beautiful flies on Steve's website which led me to hearing about Ken Abrames (I now have his "Striper Moon" book) and finding Joe Cordiero's videos on how to. So you're lucky to have direct access to such "mentors" which will greatly shorten the learning curve, not so much in learning how to but rather in choosing the proper hackles, and finding where to get them (virtually impossible up here as very few fly tiers even know about flatwings, so no demand-no supply).

 

And, if like me, you tie flies as a hobby more than for producing what you need for fishing, you'll end up with a big box of flatwings. I did.20200105_093209.jpg.7c624df9279eb0c5a05c84620a6e90ab.jpg20200105_093748.jpg.fd6d0199c5c13f37ecc6ed5fa4b88c32.jpg

Have fun! 

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10 hours ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

Well its hard to make solid comparisons because 2019 was such a poor year for my local area compared to 2017/2018.  I base that statement off of my surfcasting friends who fished relatively consistently game plans all three seasons and finding big bass was very tough for them too in 2019.  There are some definitely lessons learned that I can share.

 

1. When big bait is present you need to throw big flies.  Finding patterns where big bait is close to shore is critical to catching big fish consistently.  River herring, shad, and bunker all present opportunities where one needs to throw 10-16" flies to prevail.  All my big fish were when one of those three bait types was know to be in the area I was fishing.  2018 American eels were a factor and one of my 2 fish over 40" came on a 12" eel pattern.  2019 the eel bite never materialized its seemed the big fish stayed on the bunker schools religiously out in the shipping channels.  The two times bunker came in close to shore I connected with big fish but failed to land them one I had leader in hand (that fish was 45-47" class and would have been a new PB fly rod fish).  Spring herring bite produced four out of my five fish over 35" and I landed no fish over 40" (39.5" was biggest of season)

 

2.  Big flies definitely deter hits from schoolies, but not always and hook position determines whether you catch schoolies or not.  Head hook position will tend to cause small fish strike and miss hook up.  One night I went 0/16 fishing a 12 inch slider fly with a head hook placement. Damage to fly indicated schoolie size mouths and generally grabbing tail section.  My single hook head placement flies had poor schoolie hook up rates, but connected well when 30" or bigger bass were around.  Also during the herring runs there is a first light bite window and I saw many of the hits were schoolies attacking from behind and they inhale half of fly missing front hook.  A 10" double hook bucktail gamechanger from Nightmare Musky flies had excellent hookup ratio all season with very few missed hits. It caught one keeper and that fish took front hook.  All other fish were schoolies and took trail hook 7" into a 10" long fly.

 

3. Big flies work well in places with structure and ripping current for getting bass to commit.  In this case a rear 1/3 hook placement is what you want and I found a big meal gets bass to come up and take a swing.  So inlets are another area that big flies are always worth considering.

 

4. Big flies when big bait is not around is low percentage.  The biggest reason for my big fly experiment was its technically challenging to cast and present these flies.  I figured it would take an entire seasons worth of effort to

master and I did not really hit my stride until August.  The fall I was able to catch fish in nasty conditions and connect with quality fish despite wind and big swell so I feel I gained the technical abilities and confidence I needed to.  That said staying big all year was mentally exhausting so I wont do it again now that my skills are up to par.  When I think I need to go big I now can with confidence going forward.   

 

5. Full and New Moons will be when I throw big flies in inlets when current is at its peak and extreme tides activate structure that normal tides leave out of play.  That is my best shot at finding true trophy sized fish so when those limited opportunities arise I am going big. During off peak tides I am gonna focus on just catching fish matching prevalent forage and having fun to keep my mental health in order.  I will always have one squid, one shad, one eel, and one bunker fly on me because sometimes you hook them when throwing small flies or notice their presence.  If I know big bait is present I will always switch to big flies to match and see if a cow is shadowing that bait.

 

2019 had 50% less keeper sized fish landed than 2018.  My surfcasting friends were down majorly as well so I mainly attribute this to issues with breeder population not my fishing approach.

Dan,  

 

Thanks for the detailed review.  I wish I had the time, (and patience),  to get that involved with the finer details like you've been doing.    You've put in the time and the results are obvious.  Nice work.

 

HT

 

 

 

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On ‎1‎/‎3‎/‎2020 at 3:05 PM, Suave said:

Curious: where is this club located? (I googled its name and ended up with.... a lot of club sandwich recipes!) 

Suave-  The B Pool is on the Veazie side of the Penobscot River upstream of Bangor.  The club still exists, although you can fish for salmon.  With the removal of the dam in Veazie, the rebound of other sea run fish in the Penobscot has been remarkable ( stripers, shad, river herring). 2019 was the best year of returns for salmon in several years also.

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1 hour ago, titleguy said:

Suave-  The B Pool is on the Veazie side of the Penobscot River upstream of Bangor.  The club still exists, although you can fish for salmon.  With the removal of the dam in Veazie, the rebound of other sea run fish in the Penobscot has been remarkable ( stripers, shad, river herring). 2019 was the best year of returns for salmon in several years also.

Thank you. And because of your post I read the history of the Penobscot on Wikipedia and went on Google maps to "look" at it , includine its two branches. Seems to be an impressIve river and not only because of its total lenght (with the branches) of 264 miles.

Edited by Suave
Typo

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18 hours ago, HillTop said:

 

Dan,   What's the final verdict on the "big fly" experiment.    Assuming since you're tie these that you going to modify your approach for 2020 ?

 

HT

 

ps:  Still haven't forgotten that I owe ya.... you mentioned files but maybe some more stainless rattles when I get back in the groove.

 

HT & all - am having trouble finding SS rattles, who's got 'em ???

 

Thanks & HNY '20

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2 hours ago, frazerp said:

HT & all - am having trouble finding SS rattles, who's got 'em ???

 

Thanks & HNY '20

Hi Frazer,  

Not sure they are commercially available.   I saw a need for something more durable seeing my crease flies with rattles couldn't survive more and one to three fish before breaking so I tried the better mouse trap route and did my own.  

 

I gave some to GraveyardShift at one of his club meetings as I knew he'd put them to the test and my time on the water would be limited due to work.  To me they sound as good as glass but Dan would have to attest to their functionality as I never had the time to put them in flies. :( and fish them myself :( :(

 

This is what I posted when I made them up.

HT

 

Edited by HillTop

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40 mins ago, HillTop said:

Hi Frazer,  

Not sure they are commercially available.   I saw a need for something more durable seeing my crease flies with rattles couldn't survive more and one to three fish before breaking so I tried the better mouse trap route and did my own.  

 

I gave some to GraveyardShift at one of his club meetings as I knew he'd put them to the test and my time on the water would be limited due to work.  To me they sound as good as glass but Dan would have to attest to their functionality as I never had the time to put them in flies. :( and fish them myself :( :(

 

This is what I posted when I made them up.

HT

 

HT they work just as good pyrex based on last year.  The two flies I used them

in worked very well and caught stripers just as well as flies with the jig rattles.  They survived all year.  Pyrex don't make it more than a few fish.  Plastic survive fish fine but an errant cast against stony beach can crack them.  One of the flies the hook got destroyed before your rattle did fishing rocky area and hitting rocks on backcast

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22 hours ago, Suave said:

Thank you. And because of your post I read the history of the Penobscot on Wikipedia and went on Google maps to "look" at it , includine its two branches. Seems to be an impressIve river and not only because of its total lenght (with the branches) of 264 miles.

It's quite a river.  The West Branch is a fantastic LL salmon fishery. albeit dam controlled.  The East Branch is dammed lower down, but free flowing above.  Good LL salmon, brook trout and tremendous smallmouth.

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3528.jpeg.9f7817787fde6f0061e4dd7f43ea437d.jpegGentlemen,

If any of you are on Scussett Beach, turn left at the end of the boardwalk and walk down the beach to the Private Beach Sign and look behind the sign on the grassy edge of the sand dune for the memorial to Bone fish Dick placed there by some of his fishing friends last Fall. May he rest in peace and forever be catching Stripers.

 

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24 mins ago, dblhauler said:

3528.jpeg.9f7817787fde6f0061e4dd7f43ea437d.jpegGentlemen,

If any of you are on Scussett Beach, turn left at the end of the boardwalk and walk down the beach to the Private Beach Sign and look behind the sign on the grassy edge of the sand dune for the memorial to Bone fish Dick placed there by some of his fishing friends last Fall. May he rest in peace and forever be catching Stripers.

 

Yep....

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23 hours ago, frazerp said:

How's  about this way - see 'jiggy rattle baitfish fly' on YouTube ...

interesting fly using free weight movement for noise.  Would be interested in testing concept.  Thanks for sharing

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