Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 NJ Fly Fisherman of the Year Wrap Up

Tightline Productions has just released a short video that summarized this year's Fly Fisherman of the Year One Fly Tournament.  The video does an excellent job capturing the true essence of the event.  Take a look at it when you get a chance, especially if your a NJ angler and would like to get involved next year!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Book Announcement

I ran into my good friend Don Bastian at the Fly Tying Symposium over the weekend.  He was excited to announce that he was working on a new book highlighting 19th century fly patterns. The exact publishing date has not been announced yet, but I am looking forward to this one.

Some info on the new book from Don's website Don Bastian Wet Flies   ...

Don Bastian
The Whitefish Press
Have entered into a contract to publish a book on 19th Century Fly Patterns titled:
The Favorite Flies of
Mary Orvis Marbury
All 291 of the fly patterns from Marbury’s 1892 book will be replicated in a fly tier-
friendly volume including tying recipes.
Hackles, Salmon Flies, Lake Flies, Trout Flies, and Bass Flies –
Dressed by:
Eric Austin, Tom Baltz, Don Bastian, Dave Benoit, Scott Bleiler, John “CJ” Bonasera, Austin Clayton, Matt Crompton, Chris Del Plato, Ronn Lucas, Mike Martinek, Stanley Miller, Ed Muzeroll, Ted Patlen, Bob Petti, Roger Plourde, Paul Rossman, Dave Schmezer, Mike Schmidt, Bill Shuck, Leigh Shuman, Royce Stearns, Kat Rollin, Rick Whorwood, and Sharon Wright.
I would like to personally thank each of these contributing fly tiers. Their individual and diverse fly tying talents will enrich and enhance this project.
This book will present high-resolution photographs of the actual antique flies from all 32 of the original 1892 Orvis Fly Plates used for the painted lithographs in Marbury’s book,Favorite Flies and Their Histories, plus close to 100 additional 19th Century fly pattern recipes. For this privilege, a special acknowledgement and huge thank-you goes out to Catherine Comar, Executive Director, and Yoshi Akiyama, Deputy Director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont, for their permission, assistance, and cooperation of The Museum.
This book will include an instructional chapter and notes on pattern origins.
The Favorite Flies of Mary Orvis Marbury
Don Bastian
The Whitefish Press
The Favorite Flies of Mary Orvis Marbury will present replications of all 291 of the historic 19th Century fly patterns from Mary Orvis Marbury’s 1892 book, including written and in some instances, updated dressings in a fly tier-friendly format. This combination of photographs and tying recipes will be available to the public for the first time since the publication of Forgotten Flies in 1999.
Exact publication date for The Favorite Flies of Mary Orvis Marbury is not yet determined. However, to reserve your copy of the Limited Edition, please contact:
The Whitefish Press
whitefishpress@yahoo.com – or by writing:
The Whitefish Press,
4240 Minmor Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45217

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tightline Productions

I recently discovered what I think are some of the best fly tying videos being shown on the web these days.  These videos are being produced by Tim and Joan Flagler of Tightline Productions.  It just so happens that this is also a local company which makes it kind of cool.  I was introduced to Tim and Joan as well as their fly tying videos at the NJ Fly Fisherman of the Year event.  My jar dropped when I saw the quality of the HD tying video being displayed on a large TV at the event.  I have bumped into Tim and Joan a few times since then and recently asked them for permission to share one of their videos (which they were more than happy to oblige, in fact they encouraged it).  Many of you may already be familiar with their work, since it has been featured on MidCurrent and other blogs like Matt Grobert's Caddis Chronicles.

I love this scud pattern.  Its simple, effective and very similar to a pattern I tie and use myself.  Enjoy the clip and check out some of their other videos on Vimeo

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another one bites the dust!

The Finesville Dam on the Musconetcong River is coming down!  This project began in 2007 with a letter supporting the dam's removal from the owner. Then came feasibility studies, grants, years of public meetings and of course the ever elusive permits.

Finally work has begun on the dam's removal.  Once the structure is removed there will be plenty more work to be done restoring the river to its original condition.

This dam removal is the latest in a series of dam removal projects on this river.  A number of them have been successfully removed to date and more ambitious projects are waiting in the wings.

My hat is off to all of the individuals and organization that made this happen!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

He Could Have Been a Contender...

Actually, I'm just poking a little fun at my buddy Lou DiGena from the Fly and Fin blog who made a fine showing at the 2nd Annual New Jersey Fly Fisherman of the Year competition this past weekend.  I'm poking fun because I am actually a little bit jealous that he made a better showing then me during last year's competition.  Lou went into the finals in second place and missed taking all the glory by eight tenths of an inch!  Had he been allowed to retain his score from the morning session he would have taken first with a comfortable lead, but the rules called for all contestants to start with a clean slate for the final round of fishing.

This years event also coincided with the 40th Anniversary of the formation of New Jersey's State Council of Trout Unlimited.  The fly fishing event and the subsequent banquet was sponsored and hosted by The Raritan Inn and Shannon's Fly Shop.  They really put on a fine event and the fund raising banquet for the State Council was a blast.  My hat goes off to them for everything they did!

Although yours truly did not participate in this year's fishing competition, I did participate in the post event, fly casting competition.   Unbelievably, I took first place!  I say it was unbelievable because I competed against some world class casters, but the gods and the winds were on my side (sorry Darren!).

I would also like to congratulate this year's winner.   Angelo Conti from the Ernest Schwiebert Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  Angelo is only seventeen years old but he out fished them all.  Hats off to Angelo, New Jersey's Fly Fisherman of the Year!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reflections of Summer

Summer is officially over, for the first time since last winter I froze my ass off while out fishing.  It wasn't extremely cold but I was still in summer mode and did not dress as warmly as I should have.  The fishing was good, but I am already missing those golden days of summer.  As I stood in the rapidly cooling water, with melting snow slowly dripping down my neck, thoughts drifted back to warm sunlit days on the Madison River.

Three Dollar Bridge can get a little crowded (by Montana standards, not New Jersey) on a July afternoon but the fishing can be remarkably good.  I will usually walk a distance from the parking areas before fishing, but on this day I just walked to the river bank and started fishing my way upstream.  No doubt, fishing in the footsteps of many anglers who proceeded me.  It did not seem to make a difference though.  The fish came very regularly to small nymphs drifted through likely looking lies.

Some big...

Some small...

But they were plentiful and in a 100 yards of river I bagged a dozen or more fish under a blazing mid day sun. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  But there were signs that this section of river is maybe seeing too much angling activity.  More than once I observed fish that should signs of being hooked a few times. Then I caught this emancipated looking fellow.

More snake than trout, not a very healthy looking fish, I doubt it survived the summer.  This was the only day we fished that section of river.  After that we looked for water off the beaten track to give these fish a break.  More anglers should do the same.  The Madison is a big river with fish everywhere.  It still amazes me how many people (myself included) flock to this particular place, and how good the fishing could be inspite of it all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank a Veteran Today!

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

George Orwell

Thank a Veteran Today!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fishing Companions

I had a little company on the river this weekend!  Although there are only three bears in this picture there were actually four, mama and three cubs.  It was tough to get them all in the same frame as the cubs always seemed to wander off.  They were very well behaved and spent the afternoon routing around on the far bank, looking for what ever bears look for in the leaves.  They seemed to be finding plenty to eat as they always seemed to be chewing on something.

Its great to see these guys on a regular basis.  I know a lot of folks have mixed feelings on the rebounding bear population here in New Jersey, but I like having them around.  As long as they stay on their side of the river!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall Colors

Forget the foilage , this is what fall colors are all about!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Buffalo Bug

While fishing the Gardner River this summer in Yellowstone National Park I observed a lot of buffalo under fur in the sage brush around the river.  When I returned from my trip and was putting away my gear I observed a small amount of this fur jammed into the corner of my pack's waist belt.  It must snagged there while we were busting through some heavy brush on our way down to the river.  This particular area was loaded with clumps of fur hanging off the brush so I am guessing that is where it came from.

I was just about to dump it into the trash when it dawned on me to try and use it in a fly pattern.  The fur in its original form consisted of long crinkled hairs with a light brown color.  I don't know if this the original color or if it was bleached out somewhat by the sun.  I raked out the bits of debris that where present, gave it a course chop with a pair of scissors and through it in my fur blender (AKA my wife's missing coffee blender) and gave it a whirl.  I threw it in a tiny baggie and forgot about it until it resurfaced a few days ago.

My original thoughts were to mix it with another fur since it did not look like it would dub very  well on its own.   I tried it straight up and discovered I was dead wrong, it goes on thread (even unwaxed thread) like a dream.  It produced a very buggy looking thorax on the first fly I tied.  I liked the way it came out but I'm not the one eating it.

I had an opportunity to fish it this past weekend and it performed like a champ.  I tied the pattern in two versions, one for clear water and one with a splash of color for off color or high water conditions.  Flows were running a little high and clear and takes by the fish were about fifty/fifty, so they are both keepers.

The Buffalo Bug

Hook:  TMC 100SP-BL
Bead:  Montana Fly Lucent 7/64" Coffee
Thread:  Uni 8/0 Camel
Tail: Wood duck flank feather fibers
Ribbing:  Fine gold wire
Abdomen: DK Quill Body 02
Thorax:  Gardner River Valley Buffalo underfur dubbing
Hot Spot: Optional - band of hot orange thread behind the bead

I'm now experimenting with the addition of wing cases of different types.  So far a pearl and green flash material is showing promise.

My only dilema is the miniscule amount of material that I have.  I'll be lucky to get a couple dozen flies out of it if I'm lucky.  When it's gone it's gone!