Monday, December 27, 2010


I had planned on spending the day after Christmas on the water but Mother Nature had other plans. I spent the day digging out and hopefully will be able to make my way out to the river in the next few days if I can get day time high temperatures out of the twenties.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Another way to add color...

A more subtle way to add an attractor color to the fly is to add a little thread dam before mounting the bead on the hook.  I like this method better than adding a band of color behind the bead.

Hook:  Scud 14-16
Thread:  Fire Orange 6/0 Uni
Bead:  Gold tungsten
Abdomen:  Turkey tail fibers
Ribbing:  Gold tinsel
Thorax:  Hares ear dubbing with extra guard hairs added

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Aaron Jasper's Fire Fly

The Fire Fly
This is a new pattern for the box this year, although I have tied and fished very similar patterns I like this particular fly a lot.  At the International Fly Tying Symposium I ran into my friend Aaron Jasper.  Aaron, who is become well known as a master of Euro Nymphing techniques, was tying this pattern.  I like the looks of it so I added a dozen of them to this year's box.  I have only fished it for a few weeks but it has been fishing well enough to earn it a compartment in "the box".  
Aaron Will be releasing a new DVD this month entitled European Nymphing Techniques and Fly Tying  I plan on reviewing this video on the blog once it becomes available so stay tuned.
Aaron Jasper's Fire Fly
Rather than post the recipe you can see the originator tie it himself.  My buddy Lou from the Fly and Fin blog posted a video of Aaron tying this pattern at the show.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Nymph Box - Hot Beads

Hot Bead Nymph
Another way to add some color to a fly pattern is a "hot bead".  You can now find fluorescent beads in both brass and tungsten in what ever colors you desire.  Some of my favorite colors for these Euro patterns are hot orange, red, & chartreuse.  This blue wing olive nymph is transformed into an attractor pattern with the addition of a hot orange tungsten bead.

Hook:  Scud size 14-16
Bead:  Tungsten (hot orange) sized according to hook
Thread:  Brown 8/0 Uni
Tail:  Brown hackle fibers
Abdomen:  Olive biot
Ribbing: X-small black wire
Thorax:  Hares ear dubbing
Wing Case:  Black thin skin

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another variation on a hot spot micro-nymph

Micro Hot Spot Nymph
This pattern is very similar to the one in the previous post.  Substituting materials makes this version a much brighter fly with more flash.

Pattern Recipe:

Hook: DOHIKU bead hook (14-16 can substitute a standard scud hook)
Bead:  Gold tungsten
Tail:  Woodduck flank fibers
Hotspot:  Hot Orange Uni 6/0
Ribbing:  Synthetic pearl quill
Abdomen:  Synthetic brown quill
Thorax:  Synthetic peacock " eye"dubbing (it has a gold tint to it that does not pick up well in the photo)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back to the box...

Hot Butt Micro Nymphs
The next group of flies I refer to as Micro Nymphs.  They really don't represent any particular species of aquatic insect.  The flies are small and buggy looking, never larger that a 14 or smaller size 22.  I will fish these flies in the point position or on a dropper on a three fly rig.  They need a substantial anchor fly to bring them down in swift water.  I will also fish them on a long spanish or french style leader in skinny water especially in the low flows of fall and early winter.

Hot Butt Micro Nymph
Pattern Recipe:

Hook: DOHIKU bead hook (14-16 can substitute a standard scud hook)
Bead:  Black tungsten
Tail:  Woodduck flank fibers
Hotspot:  Hot Orange Uni 6/0
Ribbing:  Synthetic pearl
Abdomen:  Turkey tail fibers
Thorax:  Synthetic peacock dubbing

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Box...

Pink Czech Nymphs
Another compartment in one of my Czech nymph boxes that needed to be filled is the one that held Pink Czech Nymphs.  For reasons known only to the fish, this particular color combination was particularly effective this past season.  I tie four variations of this pattern, tan back or pearl flash back with either a bead head or thread head.  Interestingly enough, my friend Lou from Fly and Fin posted about a Bugs of the Underworld video segment that appeared to show a caddis larva with a pinkish hue.  I know he does well on the same water with a similar pink grub.

Pink Czech Nymph
Hook:  Knapek Czech nymph hook size 12 or 14
Thread:  Uni 6/0 brown
Bead:  Black tungsten (optional)
Underbody: Sticky back lead tape
Shell Back:  Tan Thin Skin or pearl flash back
Rib (inner):  Small gold wire
Rib (outer): Small red wire
Abdomen:  Pink UV pink Ice Dub
Hot Spot: Yellow synthetic dubbing
Thorax:  Olive and black hares ear dubbing
Gills:  Light gray after shaft feather

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Peek in the Nymph Box...

Big Bead Flashback Pheasant Tail

This odd looking fly is one of my all time top producers.  Another anchor fly this pattern was originally designed to bring other flies on a Czech nymph rig to the bottom.  The shocker was that it almost always out produced the other flies in the set.  I tie it in two versions the flashy gold bead version shown above and a more subdued version with a black bead and hot spot (shown below).  A slotted tungsten bead is essential to this pattern.  It will allow mounting an oversized bead on a smaller hook and you can position the bead so it will not interfere with the hook gap.  This fly also has a couple turns of .20 lead wire on it that helps hold the bead in place.  In a word...HEAVY!

The Big Bead Flashback Pheasant Tail

Hook:  Dai Riki 730 size 12
Bead: 3/16" Slotted Tungsten (gold or black/faceted or smooth)
Thread: Uni 6/0 brown
Rib: Gold wire
Tail:  Pheasant Tail fibers
Abdomen:  Pheasant Tail fibers
Thorax:  Peacock herl
Flashback:  Green flashabou

If you look through some of my fish images on this site you will see this fly hanging off a lot of fish lips! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Peek Into The Nymph Box...

I had high hopes of getting out several times over the holiday weekend but a nasty cold kept me close to home.  So instead of fishing I started my late season fly tying in earnest.  I have loads of near empty fly boxes that need refilling and a few new patterns to add to the arsenal.

I did get out the day after Thanksgiving but I paid for it dearly over the weekend.  The fly that produced the best that day was a anchor pattern inspired by fly tier Kevin Compton owner of Performance Flies.  This slim pattern sinks like a rock and is an effective fish catcher.  Dubbed the "Copper Bead" by my friend Aaron Jasper, one of the founders of Trout Predator Online, it is now one of my go to flies for fish holding in deeper fast water.

"The Copper Bead"
The Copper Bead

Hook:  DOHIKU model 302 size 6-12
Bead:  Copper tungsten
Thread: Brown 6/0 Uni
Tail:  Wood duck fibers
Rib: Pearl synthetic ribbing
Abdomen:  Hares ear dubbing mixed with copper flash or copper metallic dubbing (dub the body as thin as possible with slight taper.
Thorax:  "Tiger Beetle" (black/orange) zelon dubbing

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I'm already looking forward to that leftover turkey sandwich served stream side tomorrow!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The International Fly Tying Symposium

Work In Progress
I attended the International Fly Tying Symposium this past weekend.  I actually enjoy this show a little more than its big brother The Fly Fishing Show, which takes place in January.  This event is smaller and more intimate.  You have an opportunity to spend more time with the tiers and not feel like you need to move on so someone else and step up to the booth and take a peak or ask a question.  It's also a great place to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  It seems I can't walk down an aisle without bumping into someone that I know.  I spent a lot of time with various tiers and picked their brains.  There is an incredible amount of talent at this event.  The event attracts world class fly tiers from around the globe.  Some of the talent at this event are not the featured celebrity tiers, it's the folks attending the show.  Strike up a conversation with someone and they are likely to reach into their bag and produce their latest secret weapons in the world of fly tying.  Some of the best ideas I walked away with came from folks like me who were their to learn but brought along some of their own work to show off.  Over the next week or so I'll put up some photographs and share some of the wisdom I gathered.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

Thank you to all of our Veterans out there.  For all that serve and have served, your service and sacrifice to protect our freedoms goes unnoticed by many, but not by me...THANK YOU

New Jersey’s First Annual NJ Fly Fisherman of the Year Contest

I've have been meaning to put up a post on last weekend's one fly tournament. I'm not big on the whole competitive fishing scene but since this event was for charity I decided to participate. I had a great time but I was a little disappointed in myself. I finished first during the qualifications for the finals, but I was a few inches shy of taking it in the finals. The pisser is I only needed an 8 or 10 inch fish to take first place. I had that opportunity many times throughout the day. In fact I lost over 100 inches of fish before I had the first fish in the net. I lost five fish in the 20" class before in had my first fish officially measured. Including one that was actually in the net but managed to get hooked to the net as well and was able to leverage itself out. During the finals I had a 21" rainbow that was hooked out side of the mouth and could not be scored. In fact in the last seconds of the tournament i missed a fish on my last cast (you can see the missed strike at the end of the video on the Fly and Fin blog). I did however earn the title of "The Most Exciting Fisherman", on account that I definitely had the most fish hooked but my landing game was not up to par. To modify a line from the movie Jaws, "I think I need a bigger net". Rather than recap the whole event I have copied a write up on the event from the new site

"The One-Fly contest took place on November 6, 2010 at the Raritan Inn Bed & Breakfast, Califon, NJ. The Inn showcases nearly a mile of private waters on the South Branch of the Raritan River. A fully restored 1850’s barn housed the Traditional Angler Day and a presentation dinner.

Each NJ Trout Unlimited chapter and three Watershed Associations - Upper Raritan, Musconetcong and So. Branch - were invited to select one member each to participate. The 13 participants had a beautiful day on the river. A tough battle in the qualifying rounds identified three finalists for the afternoon. Bart Lombardo of Central Jersey was the most exciting fisherman of the day working a crayfish pattern with lots of fish on and garnered a slot in the finals. Keith Bologno representing the Uppper Raritan Watershed was a focused and skilled vaccum in the waters catching lots with a crafty selection of an emerger fly pattern. Bill Silvia landed in the finals with an 18" rainbow in the final minutes. After a hearty lunch the three hit the waters with a fanfare and audience on the banks. As the finals wound down Keith Bologno was a clear leader. With one minute to go Bill Silvia tied into a 21" bright rainbow streaming down the river. Bill landed him to lead to an unanticipated and dramatic tie. After consultation of the judges / guides of Jim Holland, Brian Cowden, and Don Tredski a one-fly, first fish final was set and the two leading sportsman headed back to the waters. An epic 2 1/4 hour stretch of catch, hook, land (nearly) drama closed out the afternoon with BILL SILVIA landing an 18" rainbow to capture the honors of 2010 NJ Flyfisherman of the Year. Many thanks to all who supported their contestant, attended Traditional Angler Day, enjoyed the dinner presentations, or plan to attend next year !"

If you want to check out some video from the event visit the Fly and Fin blog. Lou was on hand with his new camera and shot some footage of me in action. Fortunately he did a good job editing and didn't post any of my blunders.

The folks at Hardy North America , Shannon's Fly Shop and the Raritan Inn really did a great job putting this event together. I am looking forward to next year's event!

To wrap up congrats to Bill Silva from the Ken Lockwood Gorge chapter of Trout Unlimited the New Jersey Fly Fisherman Of The Year!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Jersey Angler's First Year

The Jersey Angler is one year old today.  This blog started out as an experiment.  The motivation was driven by friends of mine from other parts of the country that wanted to keep in touch with the fly fishing scene here in New Jersey.  As it turned out I enjoyed the blogging experience and the process of recording my various adventures on the water and sessions at the tying bench.

What really amazes me is the readership.  At the time of this writing, the blog is being read by folks in all fifty states and over eighty countries. If I can believe google analytics over ten thousand unique individuals have checked in at least one time to read what I have posted and I have scores of folks that check in on a regular basis.  I never dreamed that my words would reach so many people in such a short time.  That's not to bad for a blog that was designed to keep a couple of friends up to date on the goings on here in New Jersey.

Looking back there were a couple bumps in the road.  Dry spells that were created when life or work got in the way.  For the future I will try to avoid that by having material prepared in a advance so I can keep posts coming on a regular basis.

So what's in store for the Jersey Angler in the future?  I have learned a lot in the past twelve months.  And hopefully that knowledge will enrich the content on this blog. I may be transitioning from my present career to one more inline with this blog's content in the near future.  I am unsure exactly how that will pan out but I am excited about the prospect.

I've met a lot of great folks in the last year and have made some new friends along the way.   I'm looking forward to many more years of sharing information on the pursuit of fish with hook and feather.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Getting Fat...

The fish are busy putting on their winter fat.  Our fish are in great shape this fall.  The ones that made it through the hot dry summer still managed to put on some weight.  Now that things have cooled off a bit they are eating machines, bulking up for the leaner times of winter.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The End of the Rainbow

End of the Rainbow

This simple pattern has proven deadly of rainbow trout.  After years of this fishing this pattern it has caught nothing but rainbow trout.  No browns, no brookies only rainbows and quite a few at that.

Hook: Standard Nymph size 12-16
Bead: Tungsten
Thread: Grey 6/0 uni
Body:  Tapered body of gray uni-stretch, gray floss or gray thread
Rib: Small gold wire
Thorax:  UV pink ice-dub

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bigger Fish...More Leaves

I headed out to the river expecting the worse.  Bright sun and a river ladened with leaves.  When I first arrived, things didn't look so bad, some leaves but definitely fishable.  Then the wind picked up...leaves started tumbling from the sky by the bushel.  In no time at all the river was once again leaf soup.

Soup's On

This time there would be no messing with streamers or wet flies.  It was time to get underneath this mess. Nymphing, though still difficult with all the stream borne debris, produced some bigger fish than the previous trip.  No monsters but definitely better fish.  Effective patterns were the Pheasant Tail Anchor and the End of the Rainbow (I'll describe it in a future post).

Leaves were not the only things in the water

My buddy Lou of the Fly and Fin got top honors of the day with this fat male rainbow.  This fish was taken on a caddis larva out of a foot of water.


Friday, October 29, 2010

More Fall Fishing

This trip could have been one of the best of the year, conditions were perfect if not for one thing...leaves.  The day dawned cloudy, wet and warm.  The forecast was a 80% chance of rain but no wind and temps in the mid 70's. I thought for sure it would be the perfect day for chucking big meaty streamers or swinging big bright soft hackles.  When I arrived on the banks of the stream my hopes were dashed, it was literally a flowing soup of leaves.  

There was absolutely no way to retrieve a streamer or work a set of wet flies with out fouling on the debris floating down stream. By picking out current seams out of the main flow you could find clearer water and willing fish.  But since these were not prime lies the fish were smaller.  I did get smashed by one bruiser of a brown trout as he grabbed a 10" rainbow I had hooked.  The fish had fought it's way into a deeper pool and the brown came up to eat.  It chased that fish right up to my feet and just waited there for almost a minute.  I could have touched him with the tip of my rod.  I guess he could not figure out where his lunch went and was expecting it would scoot out from some unseen hiding place.  I tossed the rainbow back into another current seam and hoped he made it back to the safety of shallow water. The day produced loads of fish but nothing bigger than 12".

Winged wets proved more successful than soft hackles.  Due to the leaves in the water my usual soft hackle presentations were out of the question.  So it was short casts to small sections of open water and a hand twist retrieve of the flies.  The winged wet fly presented a better profile under these conditions.  Drab colors with some flash seemed to work the best.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The International Fly Tying Symposium

If you are in the North East in late November you may want to consider attending the International Fly Tying Symposium.  This event is touted as the "World's Largest Fly Tying Show".  There are fly shops and manufacturers selling their products and over 100 fly tiers from around the world showing off their skills.  This show has always been a place to stock up on needed supplies for my winter tying season.  I already have a long list going of needed materials for the long winter months of fly tying.

In addition to the show itself there are classes available, some free, some will set you back $70.00 or so.  I have taken a few of these classes over the years and have always walked away with a smile and a little more knowledge.  This year I plan on sitting in on my friend Bob Jacklin's class.  Bob has a fly shop by the same name in West Yellowstone.  He is giving a class on West Yellowstone Patterns.  This is an area I visit very often so I am looking forward to spending some time with Bob.  For those that don't know Bob is a transplant form NJ and was actually one of the early members of my TU Chapter, Central Jersey Trout Unlimited.

One of the biggest draws to the show is their program venue.  Many big names in the industry will be on hand to present on a variety of fly tying topics.  Another good friend "Ozzie" Ozefovich  will be presenting one of his fantastic underwater videos “Underwater World of Trout - See Flies from Perspective of the Trout, not the Angler”.  I have actually had the honor of a cameo role in one of his videos.

So come on out to New Jersey and check it out.  If you live in the state you have no excuse.  If your heading out to the show drop me a line, I would love to meet up with some of you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bamboo Day

Over the weekend my club on the South Branch of the Raritan River did something a little different.  We rolled back the clock 50 or 60 years.  Fishing would be done with bamboo rods and the only flies that could be used were dry flies or wet flies.  Fortunately I had recently taken possession of my first bamboo rod.  This rod was built by a local rob builder and friend, Art Port.  Art had fished with me last fall and at the end of the day he opened up his truck and let me look over the 30 or so rods he had in the vehicle.  I was looking for a 5wt primarily for fishing wet flies.  So we picked out a half a dozen rods, strung them up with some soft hackles and cast them in the "home pool" of our club.  I stood in the river making a few casts and actually connecting with a few fish and Art stood on the bank handing me the different rods to try.  It was a tough decision but I settled on a Garrison 209E, a 7'9", 5 wt designed by Everett Garrison and written about in Hoagy B. Carmichael's book, A Master's Guide to Building a Bamboo Fly Rod.  Art built an identical rob for me with the only changes made being a flamed blank and blued hardware.

Yesterday was my first opportunity to fish this rod, and it performed wonderfully.  Fishing wet flies is my favorite way to target fall trout here in New Jersey.  I prefer a longer rod for this style of fishing and bamboo has some limitations when it comes to length especially if you want to keep the weight down.
But the softer action of bamboo is absolutely perfect for fishing wet flies.  The action on this rod was perfect for fishing wet flies.  Yesterday the fish preferred soft hackles on the swing.  The fly patterns I picked up from Blue Ribbon Flies worked very well.  These two patterns were the top producers of the day.
 Full Dressed Red
September's Song

This fly rod handled fish up to about 20" in length with ease and despite its softer feel had quite a bit of backbone which helped in bringing some of the larger fish to hand.

At the end of the day I had the opportunity to do a little dry fly fishing although my "dry fly" was a size 18 Starling and Purple fished in the film.  The rod was a pleasure to fish dries with as well.  We could never identify what the fish were taking but it did not matter since they eagerly gobbled up the small soft hackles on a dead drift.  

I gave the rod to my buddy Lou from Fly and Fin at the end of the day and he did well picking up these surface feeders on small soft hackles, picking up a couple of fish in a few casts.  
  This could be the start of a very expensive addiction...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Jersey Fly Fisherman of the Year Contest

I learned last week that I had been selected by my TU chapter to participate in the 1st Annual New Jersey Fly Fisherman of the Year Contest. This event is taking place on November 6th, 2010 on the South Branch of the Raritan River at the Raritan Inn

This is basically a catch and release "one fly" tournament, although you may bring three of the same flies out on the water with you. So I guess it is technically a "three fly" tournament. So the question is dry fly, nymph, streamer or wet?

Also occurring at this site is a "Traditional Angler Day" open to the public and hosted by Hardy North America. Hardy will be showcasing their bamboo line of fly rods. Hopefully they will bring along their glass series as well. I feel that glass rods are as much a traditional component of fly fishing as bamboo. Once I figure out the fly dilemma the next question will be glass or bamboo.

Later that evening there is a banquet which is also open to the public. The proceeds from this event are going to improving the local watersheds. I am looking forward to this it should be a good time.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Tenkara Net

(Photo from Tenkara USA)
I recently acquired a traditional Tenkara net from Tenkara U.S.A. Actually I received the net from my buddy Rick who shares my passion for all things Tenkara. Tenkara U.S.A.'s net appears to be well constructed. The fit and finish of this product is far above the $67.95 price point. It is a beautiful looking piece of equipment.

(Photo from Tenkara USA)
Two things intrigue me about this design. First is the overall shape of the net. The circular hoop and the bent handle are different from it's western counterparts. The circular hoop stems from the fact that traditionally these nets are constructed from a single tree branch with a pair of perpendicular branches (Tenkara U.S.A.'s net appears to be made from two pieces of wood). These branches are brought together and fused to form the circular hoop for the netting. From what I have learned the bent handle allows the net to be carried on a belt by simply inserting the handle behind the belt. This design keeps the net at the ready and keeps the actual net away from the body allowing the fisherman to move about freely. Another benefit allows you to quickly tuck the net into your belt or under your knee when kneeling to go hands free which would come in handy for photographing your catch, reaching for your forceps, etc.

The net is a fine almost monofilament type material with an ultra fine 2mm mesh. It's claim to fame is that hooks will not snag in it and the fine mesh is gentle on fish. Since the net is still unused I cannot attest to either claim yet. The fine mesh looks like it would be destroyed if a hook did catch in it and the coarseness of the net material has me wondering about the "gentle on fish" issue. By all accounts this is a net designed for smaller fish. It would feel right at home on some of the smaller wild trout waters in my state. I think if I attempted to use it on my home river I would be staring at a jagged hole in the bottom of the net after my first attempt to land a larger fish.

The blog at Tenkara U.S.A. has some interesting posts on how these nets are made. As well as more details on the design behind these interesting pieces of angling equipment.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Great Wet Fly Blog

Since the last few posts have been on the subject of wet flies, I thought I would share a relatively new blog with you. Don Bastian ,is in my opinion, one of the best wet fly tiers on the planet. His work is unbelievably precise and his flies are truly works of art. I have known Don for years, I have fished with him a time or two and even received some tying instruction from him. His passion is the classic Ray Bergman patterns. He is solely responsible for introducing me these classic flies which I fish on a regular basis. If your interested in wet flies check out his site .
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Wet Flies

Fall is my favorite time to swing wet flies for trout. In past years I have found that during the autumn, trout aggressively take large wet flies fished on the swing. The fish seen to prefer the bright gaudy stuff, red and orange being some of the most effective colors. One of my favorites is the Queen of the Waters

On my trip out to Montana this year I was speaking to the folks at Blue Ribbon Flies and they are big fans of fishing big soft hackles in the fall as well. The patterns that they use on the big lake fish coming up into the Madison and it's tributaries are also brightly colored, with red and orange being common themes.

This year I will be trying some of these western patterns on my home waters.

Full Dressed Red

Shakey Beeley

Lucky Bucky

September's Song

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