Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Little Yellow Fly

This will be my last post of September. We are about to take a trip down south to fish a few streams in Shenandoah National Park. Along with fishing, hiking and a lot of walking have been planned.

We also hope to pay a visit to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to spend some time in Amish country.

I have tied this fly for this trip, and I hope it does the trick.

The Little Yellow Fly

See you all in about a week.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The other "Black Ghost"

Well its not really another Black Ghost, but a variation. The Black Ghost was originated by Herb Welch of Oquossoc Maine back in 1927. It was tied with a featherwing, and was a pattern that has gained prominence world wide for its ability to take game fish. Its early years saw many landlocked salmon and trophy brook trout taken with it. It soon began working its magic on brown, and rainbow trout as well as Atlantic salmon and bass. There have been anglers who have tied these extra long and used them in the salt water for striped bass.

This is a variation of that Herb Welch classic. It's the Black Ghost Marabou. This fly uses the same materials as the featherwing version only the wing material is marabou. Marabou is that soft downy feather from a turkey. It's probably best know for its use in the wooly bugger. I'm not sure who created the Black Ghost Marabou, but I can say that the first fly tyer to use marabou in this fashion was A.W. Ballou of Litchfield Maine. He created a marabou streamer to represent a smelt, in 1921. The fly was known as the Ballou Special.

I tied these Black Ghost Marabou streamers using the materials pictured in the first photo. I tie them in size 10, 8, and 6. In the water these flies come alive, their marabou wings move ever so seductively bringing vicious strikes.

While the pattern does not require eyes, some tyers will paint an eye or some will use Jungle Cock. The fly below I tied with a Jungle Cock feather, and photographed it wet to show the working profile.

Any serious streamer angler will have the Black Ghost Marabou in their box.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cape Cod brook trout..part 2

One of the sunsets we enjoyed, this one taking place at Cape Cod Bay in the town of Sandwich. Late afternoon and evening into the darkness anglers fished here, both from the beaches as well as boats. They patrolled the waters in search of that big striped bass.

I saw a few hookups, but there were more as darkness fell.

While most cast their flies to striped bass I was along this stream casting streamers to sea run brook trout.

From out of the shadows they would swiftly strike. The Mickey Finn was a good producer.

This brook trout has a slight blueish color to it.

Looking like an interstate highway a strip of gravel lies between to cress beds. Just under those cress beds lie the brook trout.

I truly enjoyed my time on Red Brook. A place that gifted this angler with some very special brook trout.

She sang it so well..."you'll fall in love with old Cape Cod"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Red Brook, Salters Sept 2014 part 1

Just got back from three beautiful days on Cape Cod. The weather was gorgeous, sunny days with temps in the 60's and the nights were oh so refreshingly cool. As we were driving we noticed the leaves starting to show some color, in fact in the town of Foxboro it almost looked like mid October. As we closed in on Buzzards Bay the foliage was not the same. While there was a splash of color here and there it was quite a bit behind areas further west and north.

Cape Cod is a Mecca for salt water anglers and this is the season of early migration of striped bass and bluefish. The bays and the seacoast draw anglers in search of these big fellows. Well this angler is drawn to another semi salt water fish, one that lives in the salty bay and is also at home in the small fresh water stream known as Red Brook. I found the stream in pristine condition. The tide had been going out for some time and the first run-pool I fished was in tide water. Several casts were made, the streamer fly working perfectly. On one of the swings the fly was absolutely smashed. A second later the fish was on and what a fish it was. I finally got control and as I brought the fish close I was shocked at what was there. Looking into the water I saw a perfect specimen of a wild salter brook trout. A heavy fish of about 14 inches. His color was showing signs of a male at this time of year. Jeanette who was standing on the bridge watching, commented that's a nice one. I placed the net into the water to lift the fish out when he suddenly broke for open water. I thought the streamer was still in his lip but it was not. This was a great way to start your day even if your catch eluded you.

Moving upstream the brook took on the look of a spring creek. Bright clear water with lots of watercress and other vegetation. The water temps were a constant 48-50 degrees. I saw no signs of insect activity, which is not uncommon for me...I never see insects here, but none the less I know there are brook trout here.

Though it may look like a weedy jungle there are clear cut channels of water. These channels are where you want to work your streamer. The brook trout hold in the undercuts and under the the vegetation and will strike with swift authority when it darts by. Many hits and many hookups happen but it's tough bringing one to hand.

A true gift. Wild salter brook trout. The Mickey Finn was to much to let pass. This guy was taken from the pool pictured above, under the tree branch to the right in the photo. The stream depth here is thigh deep and over the days gave up some nice trout.

I had one or two brookies take a blaze orange wet fly. They like those colors.

The fly box. I could have brought four patterns with me and had more than enough. Streamers are key.

I fished mornings and late afternoon with the latter being best as far as hits are concerned.

More Red Brook in part two.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We're Off

Jeanette and I are off to an Autumn visit to a couple of streams on Cape Cod. We will be in a walking mode as well as the seeking of the sea run brook trout that inhabit these streams.

A wild sea run brook trout
Our quest.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Going Fishing With A Few" Whores"

Good morning. I have to be careful how I continue with this post. The words will be key, and I hope I don't offend anyone. It's true I'm going fishing this day with a few whores. I have fished with these before and have been very lucky.

I'm going to give you some background on these whores. I'm not certain if they are from Montreal. I first came in contact with them in Maine. They were made very popular by Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville. I first fished these on the Kennebago River just below Little Kennebago lake. They were tossed into the cold waters in the last week of September.. The very first one to bite was a 16 inch salmon.

Below I'll give you some details on how to get these whores to work for you. They love working days, especially in the Autumn time.

Let me introduce you to the "Montreal Whore". This is an attractor pattern that gets attention. I have fished this streamer many times in Maine and has proven itself as a fish taker. The fly is a pretty simple pattern to tie, and the materials are readily available and inexpensive. A lot of shops as well as anglers have gone politically correct in renaming it the "Montreal Floozie" There will be none of that here. and blue bucktail, red Uni-Stretch, silver tinsel, and white marabou.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Few Hours on the Farmington 9-12-14

I fished the Farmington today for a few hours. The overnight temps got into the upper 40's and this morning was a time for the wool shirt. I started fishing a pair of soft hackles, one a Grouse and Flash and the other a Partridge and Flash. I will say the two flies exceeded my expectations. They were hit and hit hard. There was an equal representation of wild browns and brookies. The fish were on the small size but absolutely gorgeous.

I don't keep a tally of the fish I catch but I did keep count of which fly worked best, and today it was the Partridge and Flash.

By the way there is a good feature on the Grouse and Flash in Thomas Ames book "Hatch Guide For New England Streams". There is a good photo of the fly on page 151, as well as the recipe on page 248.

These are awesome flies. I strongly urge you to try them.

The Farmington moving some water.

A wonderful pre-Autumn day. A wild brown that liked that slight shade of pink.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"The Fisherman"

"in their simplest form".....that is part of the subtitle of this blog. It has been my way of fishing from the start and is still the way I do it.

I had tied up some flies last week and was anxious to give them a try. I had planned on fishing them entirely leaving my trusted flies in the box. I arrived at the river and geared up. The fly on the the tippet was the fly I fished last, an elk hair caddis and that was the fly I fished first. The caddis was given ample time to bring some action but failed. Flies were changed, and changed again but the result was the same and although a strike or two occurred I felt it was not happening.

While fishing I took notice of an angler close by who was apparently watching me for some time. The angler was not your typical fisher in both looks and garb but one who has had some success in catching his share.

The look on the fishers face told me that I need to simplify and that all would be well. Looking into the fly box I selected one of the soft hackles I had tied. The light came on and I tied on one of the flies.

Now I'm not going to tell you that I fooled every trout in the river that day, but I will tell you this the day was indeed fruitful. The pure simplicity of these flies is what make them so appealing both to fish and fly fisher.

As I brought my third trout to hand that morning my angler friend seemed to have a smile on his face..."simplicity"....

Monday, September 8, 2014

Harvest time, locally.

We are now into the month of September and well into the harvest season. Local farms have been producing some of summers finest, everything from corn to squash along with peppers and tomatoes and a dozen other fresh veggies that I have not mentioned. I have been fortunate to have friends who grow home gardens and offer up some of their pride.

Here are a few of our favorite veggie plus dishes along with some incredible cheeses in the mix.

Also if you get the chance in the next day or so take a look at the awesome "Harvest Moon"

Simple fried zucchini with seasoned bread crumbs and a bit of grated Romano.

I can't begin to describe the wonderful taste of this egg dish. The eggs are local, from Tom's "Hard Rain Farm" in Burlington Connecticut. These eggs are tops, a double yoker in every carton. There is also in the mix fresh tomato, onion, zucchini, eggplant, ham, and Colby cheese we picked up in Vermont. Crowley Farm raw milk sharp Colby.

One of the 5 best comfort foods around. Eggplant Parmigiana. We were given a few of these eggplants the other day and were put to use pronto. Again, seasoned bread crumbs, mozzarella, grated Parmesan and a light tomato sauce. Baked for about 10 minutes and served nice and hot.

So folks take advantage of this local bounty while it's at it's peak. We can get most anything at anytime of the year, but it's not "local"

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"This Happened To Me"

Years ago when I was an avid reader of "Outdoor Life" I was very fond of a feature in each issue that was titled "This Happened To Me". It would feature outdoor mishaps, wild animal encounters, and various other nasty and hair raising experiences of outdoors people. The story I'm about to tell probably would not fit the terms mentioned, but it is quite special none the less.

Thursday evening I was at the vise and was in the process of tying a soft hackle fly that I saw somewhere in my surfing the net. The fly was called a "Partridge and Flash". The pattern was so simple, "something I love" that I had to give it a try. The pattern calls for a little holographic tinsel for the body and a turn or two of partridge. After tying it I took it to the window where I do a lot of my photos of flies. I placed it on the board and then took the camera to take the shot. As I moved the camera the carry strap hit the small fly and it was gone. I took the area apart searching for it but no luck. I suppose I should have tied another but I didn't.

Friday morning I was on the Farmington fishing at a favorite run. The water was near perfect, with wonderful flows. I began fishing wet flies, then streamers, followed by various dries and then a few soft hackle patterns. In about 2 plus hours of fishing I managed one salmon, which was about 14 inches, he took a streamer and really showed some jumping style. A brown that slipped off at my hand, and several decent hits.

As I gazed at my open fly box for the next candidate I noticed some sparkle. Pushing aside the flies surrounding the sparkle I saw the "Partridge and Flash" soft hackle I had tied the night before. I think it may have fallen into the fly box, or perhaps something else was at play. Needless to say I tied on the fly and began to fish. It did not take long and I was into some trout. In an hour I had several beautiful brook trout to hand. There were also a few salmon parr in the mix.

This was a very productive spot for me that day. Fish were taken in every area, with the best action coming from the area just below the riffles.

The "Partridge and Flash", simple and so deadly.

A wild male brook trout. Can you see the hump that is starting to form on his back? He's going to be awesome come late October.

The photo says it all.

The remains of the "Partridge and Flash" after doing battle. This warrior will be put into retirement and placed in the "Journal"

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fish the seams, it seems.

So much water, where should I fish?
Fishing large waters can be somewhat intimidating. The shear volume of water flowing, those large boulders and the unseen drops and holes can make it a challenge to locate fish. When I fish such rivers I like to stop and give a good look to the way the waters are flowing. Rivers have varying speeds and create these seams that can be seen on the surface. Sometimes these seams can be readily detected and other times they are very subtle. The currents below the surface in these seams provide fish a holding spot for fish that may be moving upstream, they also provide an ideal place to ambush bait fish and insects that will get caught in the various currents.

To fish these seams can be a bit of a challenge because of the various speeds at which the river flows. To try and get that nice natural drift with a dry fly can be almost impossible and requires a lot of line mending. But the streamer and wet fly angler these seams can be a delight and very productive.

When a streamer is cast and allowed to drift through a seam the varying speeds of the river currents make the fly rush through at times and will make the fly look to be a darting bait fish trying to escape. Then there are times when the current will cause the streamer to swing through very fast and suddenly hesitate as it meets another current representing a tired minnow. These movements do not go unseen by the trout and a hard strike usually takes place.

There a 3 easily seen currents in this section of the Farmington river. I fished this section the other day and hooked several beautiful trout. Can you see the seams?

A wild Farmy brown, taken in a seam.
So the next time your fishing a larger river look for these seams and give them a try.