January always feels long. It was a good start to the new year, and there were some new experimentations coming off the vice. One of the big things was working with bucktail for the first time, which ended up being a lot of fun and a material that I want to use more and more. It’s also been a good time to start restocking the standard nymph and dry fly boxes as well.
Some highlights of the patterns:
One of my goals for the winter months is to get better at using bucktail and using deer hair on bigger bugs (not caddis). Bucktail is pretty fun to work with (I know that I’m late to the game on this revelation) – the one that I’m using is from a deer I harvested a few seasons ago. First I started with a few regular ol’ Clouser Deep Minnows – not a new pattern for me to tie, but I’ve always used synthetic hair instead of natural bucktail. From there I tried tying up three Swim Bait Envy’s (a Justin Pribanic pattern), which uses the “hollow fleye” approach of Bob Popovics. February is going to be for spinning deer hair heads and making good collars.
The Menominee Mud Bug came from reading Smallmouth by Dave Karczynski and Tim Landwehr (which is a great book). I found a blog post on the Menominee Mud Bug, and a second rough recipe list somewhere on a fly fishing forum. Between the two I tied two of them based on what I had (medium tungsten predator eyes instead of a molded jig hook, for one). Just from the looks of them, I’m sure they’re going to have good movement in the water between the rubber legs and split rabbit zonker claws.
The Bonefish Bitters are a pattern I’ve been wanting to try for awhile, and finally got around to it. I tried using UV resin over the eyes before I tied everything else on, as well as trying it after I had tied everything on. I wouldn’t say either way is easiest, or makes the most sense – even if I apply the resin before tying in the body, I still put another coat over it when I’m done.
The other flies, in a nutshell: The Clousers were from reading Bob Clouser’s book, Fly Fishing for Smallmouth in Rivers and Streams, only I used Craft Fur and synthetic fur on a few of them. Schmidt’s Red Rocket and Senyo’s Swinger’s Hex both come from Greg Senyo’s Fusion Fly Tying, which is a great resource (Justin’s S.B.E. also comes from there). Galloup’s Sump just looks fishy, so I tied a few to ride with the hook point up, opposite of the original.
New patterns are fun to tie, but restocking the “regular” boxes is also a necessity during these months. In the past week and a half I picked away at a dozen Frenchies (size 16), and close to two dozen generic-looking larger nymphs (size 12 standard nymph for bigger sulphurs, Hendricksons, etc.). I also tried some March Brown Variants, since I realized my non-caddis, non-Sulphur dry fly assortment needs some loving. One of the Variants uses tan dubbing, the other two have two strands of Flymen Fishing Company’s Faux Bucktail for the body (instead of a quill body – just to see how it works).
Note: all of these patterns have yet to be fished – I’m looking forward to getting out soon!