Monday, February 22, 2016

Lafontaine's Single Marabou Egg

Single Marabou Egg Burnt Orange and Hot Pink

Truth be told I have never been a big fan of egg patterns. Does that mean I don't use them?  Hell no!  There is no denying their fish catching abilities. Most patterns are incredibly easy to tie, and are absolutely deadly on the end of the line. Maybe that's part of the problem, they can be too effective at times.  It's a stretch to call some modern variants of the egg patterns actual flies.  I recently caught a large rainbow with not one but two "egg flies" broken off in his jaw. These "flies" consisted of a gummy translucent egg glued to a hook.  Realistic? Yes.  Effective? Obviously.  Flies?  I'm not quite sure.  The person fishing obviously felt they were, as this fish was caught in fly fishing only water.

There is one egg pattern that I regularly fish without guilt. Gary Lafontaine's Single Marabou Egg.  It's guilt free for me because it feels more like a fly to me than your traditional glo bug style fly.  It involves multiple materials none of which have any egg like qualities on their own. But, when tied in combination they create an illusion of an egg at least to the fish. I have fished this pattern side by side with traditional glo bug style patterns and have found it produces as well, if not better, in most conditions.  One reason is the way the the fly performs underwater. Real fish eggs are naturally dense by design, nature built them that way. Once released from the fish they quickly settle to the bottom where they settle into the substrate and eventually hatch. The materials used in the Marabou Single Egg absorb water and in conjunction with the weighted hook this fly rapidly descends and rolls along the bottom realistically. Yarn style patterns are often made of hydrophobic materials which hinder the fly's ability to perform as well, at least when they are first tied on the leader.

According to its creator the fly is tied with three materials.  The hook is always a size 16. The color of the marabou "wing" changes to meet the needs of the angler to imitate the primary color of the egg. The pink sparkle yarn body and red hackle are constants.  I have strayed from this in my versions of this pattern. I have been known to change hook size, body and hackle colors even omitting the hackle at times. My most effective version is probably a chartreuse marabou wing tied over a white sparkle yarn body with or without the red hackle.

The Single Marabou Egg
Hook: Size 16
Body:  Pink Sparkle Yarn (if tying on a size 16 unravel the yarn and use one strand)
Wing:  Several strands of marabou (color matching the primary color of the egg you wish to imitate)
Hackle: Red hackle (one turn, slightly oversized)

Monday, February 15, 2016

There is a New REGAL VISE in the House!

REGAL Revolution with stainless steel jaws
I recently picked up a new vise from REGAL VISE.  To date, I have done most of my fly tying on probably one of the most sought after vises  ever made - a LAW vise.  The value of the LAW vise has sky rocketed since they stopped being manufactured.  Not that they were ever really "manufactured"  in the sense of the word.  Each vise was hand made by a gentleman named Lawrence A. Waldren,  a British precision machinist  who, for a while, made a limited number of high quality tools for cane rod building and fly-tying.  He also made fly reels, which I understand are quite impressive. Every vise, as well as his other products, were individually made to order by Lawrence, and each one was characterized by a very high quality level in design, construction and materials.  It is without question the finest vise ever made.  

If the LAW vise is so great why stop using it?  I'll tell you...I do a lot of tying.  I am not a commercial tier but I tie a lot.  There are few flies in my boxes that have not been made by my own hands.  For over 15 years the LAW vise has been the only vice I tied on.  And I own quite a few high quality vises, Renzetti, Dyna-King, as well as two other REGAL vises.  They have been collecting dust on a shelf waiting for my two sons to show an real interest in fly tying (I'm happy to say that the Dyna-King Barracuda has found its way up to my 13 year old's room!).  As I mentioned earlier, the LAW vise is highly sought after and its no longer made.  That means its value keeps increasing.  In 2014 I was offered $3,800.00 for the vise at a show in New Jersey.  If the guy had cash instead of a personal check I probably would have sold it right then and there. Recently the price for these vises is nearing the $5,000 which is insane.  I don't know if the trend will continue but this may be something to put away or at least not wear out (though I doubt I could).

The big question was, what to replace the LAW vise with?  For me the answer was easy.  I own a number of high end vises that I could have brought out of retirement, but I had been longing for a particular vise for some time now.  The REGAL Revolution particularly, the model with stainless steel jaws.  Having owned  and used REGAL vises previously, I was very familiar with their hook holding power and ease of operation.  Even since purchasing the LAW vise REGAL vises have long been my vise of choice for spinning deer hair and salt water patterns where extreme hook holding power is important.  I also turn to a REGAL vise when I get into a "production tying" mood and need to turn out flies quickly.  The hook holding mechanism of the REGAL vises make them the fastest when it comes to setting and removing hooks. 

I have been using the new Revolution model for a couple of days now and I love it!  The stainless jaws are a big improvement for me over the standard jaws.  I can confidently say that with this new vise on my tying desk the LAW vise can start enjoying an early retirement.  Obviously a tool like the LAW vise is meant to be used and it still will be, but the REGAL is the new work horse.  REGAL Engineering did a great job designing this vise and the custom anodizing really makes it an attractive tool.  I'm looking forward to a lot of time spent behind it! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ginger Quill by Mathew Grobert and Tightline Productions

Ginger Quill from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.

I have to share this fly tying video.  My friends Mathew Grobert and Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions just released this video for a Quill Gordon.  Excellent fly tying and video work gentlemen.  Nicely done!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Snow Day Fruit Salad

I woke up to a half foot of snow Friday morning, so the work I had planned to do outside was put on the back burner.  It was the perfect opportunity to catch up on some fly tying.  I  had committed to tying two dozen nymphs for a fly swap in my local TU chapter (Central Jersey Trout Unlimited) and this was as good a time as any to get it done.  I thought I would share with them a pattern that was a good producer for me this fall, the Fruit Salad.

Small dish of fruit salad.

I discovered the pattern on a fellow blogger's site back in October.  The fly, originally tied as a jig pattern, was designed for grayling and was featured on the blog North Country Angler . You can get the story on the fly's design and take a look at the original pattern here.  I tied and fished this on a size 16 jig hook and had a lot of success on late fall rainbows in my area.  I thought I would include it as my contribution to CJTU's fly swap.  Unfortunately,  I was a little short on jig hooks so I tried the pattern out on a standard nymph/wet hook (a Mustad 3906).  I'm happy with the way they came out.  I'll be looking forward to see if they performed as good as the jig version.

Fruit Salad on Mustad 3906

Fruit Salad tied as I fished it on a Umpqua C400BL jig hook
Pattern Recipe: (mine differs slightly from the original)

Hook:  Umpqua C400BL #16
Bead:  Faceted tungsten sized to hook
Thread:  Olive 70 denier UTC
Tail:  Two strands of glowbrite #1 (pink) over two strands of glowbrite #7 (orange)
Rib:  Fine black wire
Body:  Dark hares mask dubbing
Thorax:  Arizona synthetic dubbing natural peacock #59
Legs:  Dark dun CDC wound as a collar (I like keeping them on the long side)

This rainbow enjoyed a little fruit salad

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tenkara Angler Winter 2016

The 2016 winter issue of Tenkara Magazine has hit the digital news stands.  It is a great read with over 100 pages of tenkara goodness.  Covering everything from techniques, fly tying, and everything in between it is a great read if you have any interest in tenkara.   

 You can check out the winter edition for yourself here.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Riversong Nets

John Parise, the owner of Riversong Nets is a friend of mine that has been making nets for a few years now. I recently had a chance to look at some of his most recent work at the Somerset Fly Fishing Show last weekend. I have to say, I was really impressed. John is producing some incredible looking nets. He has a standard line of nets on his website and is always open to custom builds. Riversong Nets recently released a video that features John's work and craftsmanship of Riversong Nets. After seeing his latest work in person, I'll be putting in my own order soon! You can check out the video below.