DANIE ERASMUS: SMALL NYMPHS FOR HUGE RESULTS
HANGING ON TO MORE STEELHEAD
REECE'S SUBSURFACE SENSATIONS
by Landon Mayer
The Titan is the giant of the Tube Midge family, meant to represent Chironomids, one of the most important food supplies in any stillwater. The Titan is larger – ranging from #12 to #16, and has two pieces of small coloured wire inserted into clear Micro Tubing and three wraps of two coloured wires at the bend of the hook to secure. This allows it to look like a slim body inside a clear case. Unlike other chironomid imitations the white in this tie is not a bead, but white ostrich wrapped three times around the thorax and secured by white 8/0 Uni-Thread. A single wrap of tinsel behind adds a hint of flash. The ostrich moves like the gills on a natural and attracts cruising giants to the fly.
Chironomids in still water are on the move. When I set up a rig I always keep that in mind. One of my favourite ways to maximize movement in a fly is by using a non-slip mono loop knot. This allows the fly to move naturally and encourages the fish to react and strike. In addition to movement I believe in removing anything unnatural from my rig to prevent making the fish wary. This is why the tungsten bead works well – it’s a lot of weight in a small package.
If I’m using a single fly set-up I typically use a 9 foot, 3X fluorocarbon leader connected to the fly with a non-slip loop knot. This is a favourite when using a slow finger-over-finger retrieve. But I often use two- or three-fly rigs. In shallow water I typically use two flies to prevent snags and have a better chance of landing trout that go into the weeds. In deep water I prefer to cover more water depths with three flies to find out where the trout are feeding. When building a two-fly rig, I attach a two-to-three foot piece of 3X or 4X fluorocarbon tippet using a triple surgeons knot, leaving six-to-eight inch tag ends. When the knot is complete I cut off one of the tags and connect the fly to the other tag with a non-slip loop knot. The second fly is then attached to the long end using the same knot. With a three-fly rig I repeat the same process with a second piece of 3X or 4X fluorocarbon and connect the second fly to the short tag end off the surgeons knot, then attach the third fly to the final long tag end. The advantage to the flies on short tag end with an anchor fly below is maximum movement whether the rig is hanging still, bouncing in chop, or being retrieved with strips or twitches. The final ingredient is a large, medium, or small, clear or white Thingamabobber indicator to suspend the flies. If I am casting longer distances I use an orange Thingamabobber to improve visibility.
Today the fly-fishing community mourns the loss of Bernard Victor “Lefty” Kreh, who passed away at the age of 93 at his home in Cockeysville, Maryland. It’s unlikely fly fishing is ever going to see an individual who will contribute as much as Lefty. Because of his contributions he earned numerous achievement awards including the American Sportfishing Association “Lifetime Achievement Award” and the Fly Tackle Trade Association “Lifetime Contribution Award”. In addition to his awards he also served as a Senior Advisor to Trout Unlimited and Fly Fishers International. Members of the Fly Fusion staff had the opportunity to cross paths with Lefty and always enjoyed the time spent with him. Fly Fusion’s President, Chris Bird, said, “It is a sad day today as the fly-fishing community deals with this loss. Lefty is an irreplaceable legend and we are grateful for him. We have been given an opportunity to create a life within fly-fishing only because of his tremendous contributions to the sport. He is to fly fishing what Michael Jordan was for basketball,” said Bird. “We lost the best today.” The Bird family sends its thoughts and prayers to Lefty’s family and those close to him.
by Landon Mayer
Leeches are an important part of a trout’s diet, especially in high water conditions. Similar to worms, leeches are swept off the river’s edge and bottom, supplying an easy food for the fish. While some leeches are large, exceeding one inch, there are many that are less than an inch long, making the common two-inch leech patterns un-productive in many circumstances. I designed the Mayer’s Mini Leech to match the small freshwater leeches that trout feed on in freestone rivers, tailwater streams, and stillwaters. With micro pine squirrel attached only near the eye of the Tiemco 2488 #14 or16 hook, the extending material constantly moves as does the ostrich herl collar. A Krystal Flash body adds a little shine as the fly drifts and wiggles.
This fly is also versatile. You can dead drift it like a nymph, swing it as a nymph, trail it behind a larger streamer using a stripping retrieve, or even hang it below a hopper. The constant pulsating and undulating action matched with the tapered profile of a real leech will fool many trout, bass, and carp. It is my go-to pattern for landing large trout in the tight quarters of undercut banks, around structure, and at the heads of drop offs or riffled runs.
What makes this design universal is its ability to match so many food supplies other than just leeches. Use it in a ginger colour to match dead, floating flesh in the salmon-rich waters of Alaska. Use it in olive, rust, brown or tan to mimic drifting vegetation that is packed with bugs or crustaceans. Finally, in natural colour it can match the darting fry and baitfish along the river’s and reservoir’s edges.
When nymphing the Mini Leech I prefer to connect this fly either with a tag end from a triple surgeons knot as the lead fly and trail a second fly off the remaining tag end, or as a trailing fly when connected to the second piece of tippet attached at the bend of the hook on the first fly. The first fly is weighted and the trailing leech is unweighted to maximize movement. As part of a hopper-copper-dropper set-up that good friend and mentor John Barr developed, I replace the last fly with a leech. This allows the trailing leech to swing and wiggle while the large dry gets the trout’s, attention. In skinny water I simply drop the leech off the bend of the hopper hook using a two-foot piece of tippet and placing a micro-shot six inches above the leech to keep the leech itself free of weight, which maximizes movement.
I also like to fish the Mini Leech with a streamer. I attach the leech in front of a large streamer by tying a piece of 0X tippet to the bend of the leech and tying the streamer to that. I prefer this rig when I know I will be retrieving the flies. This makes it appear that a biatfish is chasing a leech, which can really turn on big trout. If I am going to dead drift my streamer or retrieve it slowly with pauses, I reverse the fly’s positions, attaching the streamer to the tippet and tying the leech to a piece of 0X or 1X that’s tied to the bend of the streamer hook.
Over the winter months and into spring Fly Fusion tested Orvis’ Pro Wading Jacket, which is available in two colour combinations: black with ash, and grain with ash. Testers appreciated many features the coat offered. Orvis designed the coat specifically for the fly fisher who spends a lot of time on the water, and many of the features reflect this. There are anchor points for forceps on either side of the chest, making this essential tool very accessible. Below the hood, there’s a D-ring net-attachment for easy access. The waterproof jacket is also very comfortable, and has room for under-layers for those who fish in colder temperatures and need a waterproof shell. With water-resistant zippers and cuff systems, this jacket is built to withstand nasty fall, winter, and spring days. The coat has two hand-warmer pockets and two gear pockets. This coat is a great buy for anglers who spend lots of time on the water in inclement weather. (USD $349)
RIO–The fifth episode of season two of RIO’s “How To” series features RIO brand manager Simon Gawesworth explaining and demonstrating the basics of Spey casting with a single-handed rod. This film doesn’t delve into any particular Spey cast, rather it shows the concept of how to make a Spey cast with a single-handed rod, and lays a very solid foundation for improving casting skills.
Many fly fishers believe that Spey casting is a tool only for salmon and steelhead anglers, and for using with long, two-handed rods, but Simon shows how important it is for trout anglers to have a knowledge of the Spey cast in their armory. In addition, Simon explains how this knowledge can help a caster make more efficient casts with obstructions behind, make angle changes with ease, and introduces the evolution a caster should go through form the humble roll cast, to the powerful single handed Spey casts.
by Jeremy Davies
This past spring and early summer I fished many streams that were loaded with small brook trout. Unlike many anglers, I really enjoy fishing for brookies as I believe they are the most beautiful trout and can be caught when the more cagy brown and rainbow trout are not cooperating. Most of the streams that I fished exhibited two main properties: they had a lot of woody “trash” on the bottom which made nymphing with an indicator tough, and had few if any fish rising. The best strategy was to carefully flip a relatively heavy fly near a likely spot and strip it in. I fished an especially pretty little creek in late July ,and an Olive Brookie Wart in size 12 worked very well. Most of the brookies were six to ten inches long and could easily ambush and inhale this little streamer. I also had good luck in several other small streams for browns, brookies, and even a few bull trout and whitefish.
The Brookie Wart is very simple to tie if you can get your head around how tiny it is. Use a 2X long nymph hook in sizes 10 or 12 and tie in some micro lead eyes at the head. Then take some Wooley Bugger Marabou and make a tail about the length of the hook shank. Next tie in some hackle and rubber legs right behind the lead eyes. Then dub the body with Light Peacock Arizona Dubbing and wrap the hackle toward the bend as the wire is wrapped forward to secure the hackle. If you are fishing this fly in deeper water you may want to wrap the front half of the body with lead so it will get near the bottom.
Brookie Wart Recipe
Hook: 2X long nymph hook, #10-12
Thread: Black or olive Uni-Thread, 8/0
Head: Micro eyes, brass or lead
Body: Light Peacock Arizona Dubbing
Hackle: Grizzly or black
Rib: Fine gold wire
Legs: Uni-Flexx, dark brown or black
Tail: Olive marabou, Krystal Flash (optional)
Cranbrook, BC (March 1, 2018)—Eggs and bacon, peanut butter and jam, the Pittsburg Penguins and the Stanley Cup—some things are meant for each other just like Derek Olthuis and Fly Fusion Magazine.
Derek Olthuis of InTents Media recently joined the Fly Fusion team as the travel and destination field editor. Olthuis is a natural fit for the position. As a fly-fishing photographer, cinematographer, and writer who’s always seeking to inspire audiences with huge fish in untouched and remote landscapes, Olthuis brings a wealth of experience to the position.
His travel column will make its inaugural appearance in Fly Fusion’s upcoming summer issue. Olthuis said, “Readers can look forward to coming along on some of my adventures and sharing moments that shaped the trip. The column will be photo rich and portray victories and failures.”
“My goal is to relate the overall experience of the trip, including travel and cultural aspects. My desire…is to motivate anglers to find their own special places and experience moments that fuel their passion for fly fishing,” said Olthuis.
Founding editor, Derek Bird, said, “It’s such a natural fit. Our team has spent lots of time with Derek over the last number of years. As the magazine grows and matures, we’re always looking for different ways to create a finished product that not only drives fly-fishing culture but also reflects the culture. Adding Derek to the team fulfills both aspects of this goal. That, and he’s pretty much one of the coolest and most genuine fly anglers I’ve ever met.”
The spring edition of Fly Fusion Magazine is on newsstands, so make sure you pick up a copy or click here to subscribe. The issue is loaded with techniques to take your nymphing game to the next level. You’ll also find lots new and innovative subsurface patterns. For those anglers who plan on spending more time on lakes this spring, you’ll want to make sure you check out Brian Chan’s thoughts on early spring tactics. And for the steelhead angler, author Dana Sturn explores a number of ways you can hold onto more steelhead once you’ve hooked into one. All this plus new PMD emerger patterns, spring gear reviews, and so much more. (Image below from the photo essay “Seriously North” by Derek Olthuis featured in this issue of Fly Fusion Magazine).
Cranbrook, BC (February 22, 2018)—As a general rule, an angler’s fly box is extremely personal. Like a woman’s purse, it’s not a place to simply rummage through uninvited. That is unless you’re a professional fly tier like Bob Reece.
Fly Fusion is excited to announce that its readers will have the opportunity to see what’s new in Reece’s fly box on a consistent basis because he’s now part of the distinguished list of field editors.
Reece brings a wealth of fly-tying experience to the Fly Fusion team. He’s an Umpqua Signature Fly Designer. He’s also a respected writer who contributes regularly to the pages of the magazine, and he runs Thin Air Angler at Horse Creek Ranch.
Reece’s new column will appear in the summer issue. Reece said, “”Fly tying provides endless creative opportunities. I look forward to joining Fly Fusion readers in their lifelong journey as fly tiers. We’ll be exploring the constantly expanding horizon of tying resources and their possible applications.”
“Additionally, we’ll be delving into the minds of fresh industry professionals and their newly created bugs that are driving the forward movement of fly pattern development. All of this will be done with the aim of improving on-the-water success,” said Reece.
Fly Fusion’s founding editor Derek Bird said, “I’m super excited on a number of different levels that Bob has joined our team. On a selfish level, I love the fact I get to test out his new flies, and for our readers, especially for the ones who tie, I’m excited that they’re going get a look into the mind of an extremely innovative tier. Bringing Bob on board is a win-win scenario for everyone involved.”
by Jeremy Davies
The Mickey Finn is one of my favourite brown-trout streamers because it is easy to tie and has yellow in it, which is a colour that seems to attract these wily trout. I have never been one to settle on a pattern if I feel I can make it more effective. The standard Mickey Finn relies on the angler to give it enticing action via a quick retrieve. I wanted to adapt the pattern to have more built-in action. Over the past two or three seasons I have been exchanging the standard bucktail on the original Mickey Finn for the more “juicy” or lifelike marabou. I tried this streamer in May of 2016. It was a cloudy drizzly day which made me hopeful that big brown trout would cooperate. On my third cast in a deeper run a large brown chased my fly but wasn’t hooked. I kept peppering the run with casts and eventually I hit paydirt as a 19-inch brown crushed this fly and jumped 18 inches in the air before slipping into the net. Over the next three hours I landed several more good fish.
The Marabou Mickey is like a marabou hybrid of a Mickey Finn and a Matuka. The first step is to place a bead on the hook, which can be gold, red, or even black. I first tie in some yellow marabou and a few strands of Krystal flash to form the tail. The next step is really a threefold sequence of dubbing the body with Minnow Body Ice Dub and tying in the marabou on top of the body to form the wings. After you have tied in three yellow marabou wings, make one more wing out of red marabou to give it the colour of the standard Mickey Finn. Then dub a little more Ice Dub behind the bead and tie off.
Marabou Mickey Recipe:
Hook: 3X long streamer hook, # 8-12
Thread: 8/0 Uni-Thread, black or tan
Weight: Lead (optional)
Head: Bead in gold, red or black
Body: Ice Dub Minnow Belly
Wings: Yellow and red marabou
Tail: Yellow marabou with Krystal Flash
British Columbia–Have you ever wanted to spend a day on the water with Phil Rowley and Brian Chan? Here’s your chance to have them join you!
Phil Rowley and Brian Chan, two of North America’s most respected Stillwater fly fishers, are excited to announce the release of their long-awaited Stillwater Fly Fishing App. Phil and Brian have combined their 75 years of experience fly fishing for trout and char in lakes to develop this valuable educational tool. This App will become an essential tool in the toolbox for anglers of all skill levels.
The app is broken down into six chapters covering such topics as the freshwater fishing regulations for all states and provinces, entomology, leaders and knots, techniques and tactics, equipment and favourite stillwater flies. Each topic is presented in video format that can be easily downloaded and saved to your mobile device.
Once downloaded, the video tips can be watched anywhere. No Wi-Fi connection is required to view the tips once they have been downloaded.
- How to fish a drop-off
- How to use a throat pump
- How to fish the hang
- Choosing chironomid pupa patterns
- Plus on camera tying of 23 proven stillwater patterns
Download at Apple’s App store or at Android App on Google Play.
RIO DirectCore Flats Pro line impressed the testers on many different levels. Simon Gawesworth and the team at RIO created this line specifically for the demanding saltwater environment. The Flats Pro rides very high in the water so it’s easy to pick up and quickly recast to fast-moving targets. The line is available in a couple of different versions, including a full-floating model and a clear “stealth tip,” which has a six-foot clear intermediate tip. If you’re planning on chasing tarpon, bonefish, or permit on the flats, you’ll want to check out the RIO Flats Pro. Click here