Tag: fly tying

Carp Fly – It’s All In The Name

The last fly tying video you will ever need…

Only Nate O. could pull off an “oopsie” during such an epic production.

MG signing off (because the name is all you need to know)

Mass quantities of precious Free Range Dubbing pilfered from central California vault

Free Range Dubbing fly tying materialThere is no other way to explain the package I just retrieved from the mailbox, particularly given the fact it is common knowledge I mingle with the criminal element. But having admitted as much, there is probably no use in sending it back to the rightful owner, one Keith Barton of Singlebarbed fame, as he’s already distributed samples to the likes of Alex Cerveniak and Pete McDonald. Expecting their more honorable opinions, I imagine.

The bounty purloined on my behalf included the following colors: Caddis Green, Pea Green, Medium Green, Dusky Olive, Dark Olive, Rusty Olive, Brown Olive, Honey Mustard, Yellow Mustard, Caramel Brown, Rust, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Gray Brown, Light Gray, Dark Gray, Carbon Gray, and Black Claret. It’s a veritable cornucopia of thorax and abdominal, with the latter being something I can certainly use some work on. Sadly, however, I have little experience with such shades – tan and pink are all I know, and I spend every spare moment tying bonefish flies with it regardless of what putrid carp water I’m fishing the following day. Therefore, I solicited the opinions of bona fide experts in the field of body material, and here is what they had to say…


Recycling flies

fly-fishing flies recyclingEver rifled through your fly box and asked yourself…”what the f**k was I thinking?”  You know this or that fly isn’t going to work, or at least you know something else will and you aren’t willing to waste a cast.  Or you might be far from home, which would only exacerbate the pain of bad fly choice – do you play with fire, or hedge your bets?

I burn easily, so may I suggest making some room in your box…by reclaiming those hooks and bead chain eyes.

MG signing off (to recycle some flies)

The “957” Fly Tying Vise


It’s a puzzle that has intrigued me for months – how to build a really cheap fly tying vise (like less than $25) out of readily available components. This last weekend I was wandering aimlessly through Staples when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the primer – the soon-to-be-infamous X-Acto Knife #2. I quickly hopped next door to Home Depot, picked up a few more parts, and rushed home for assembly.

Introducing the Model 957 fly tying vise…

homemade fly tying vise

The parts

– One X-Acto Knife, size #2
– One 6-inch Parson’s Table leg
– One Waddell Straight Top Plate #2751
– A piece of scrap 1×4 out of the 50-cent bin

Total cost…$9.57 (including tax).

I made a big mistake along the way, but nothing that’ll cost me more than a few bucks to rectify. I used a 3/8ths drill bit for the angled hole, but I should have used a 7/16ths instead. The hole in the table leg was just a bit too narrow, so like any impatient engineer I took a rubber mallet to the X-acto handle – in the process I split the wood AND bent the knife handle. Further, I didn’t account for the head rotation when securing the hook. A snug but not jammed in fit would have allowed for that – now I need a pliers handy to twist the X-Acto handle after the hook is secured.

But heck…it works! I ran through a number of Gamakatsu SC15 #1’s without issue, and think this particular setup would probably work from 1/0 down to about #14. If I used an X-Acto #1 (which is a bit smaller) I could easily hold hooks down into the 18-22 range. The next mod will probably be fixing the mess above, as well as adding an additional hole for that smaller handle.

It will of course be a different model number, and labeled deluxe.

MG signing off (to tie some flies on the cheap)

Got Clams?™

In the never ending quest to get a leg up on my fellow fly-fishers, not to mention those sewer trout whose IQ’s easily exceed that of the anglers chasing them, I’ve delved into a microcosm of prospective inanity. While others logically debate dubbing color, rubber leg count, and the positive and negative aspects of the use of flash, I’ve stuck my bare hands into the murky bottom of the urban South Platte River and come up with this…

I took cues from clam-master Jean-Paul Lipton, and then added two dashes of ugly and extracted any and all fly tying skills I might have accumulated in a past life. The result is indubitably clam-tastic.

MG signing off (to develop proprietary fly-fishing methodologies to go along with my clams)

Editor’s note: Got Clams? “That there is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby, Inc.”

I’m betting largemouth bass will eat just about anything

Fly Master David “Butters” Luna took one look at it and said…

Damn that’s good. You are years ahead of [NAME REDACTED] when it comes to spinning deer hair Gracie!

Still, I thought it pretty ugly, and on closer inspection (via photo and flash) I noticed the body is not packed nearly as tight as some of the professional jobs. I could use some trimming practice too, although I doubt the bass really care.

Yesterday evening it was tested, and it didn’t sink. Nothing ate it, but the piggy bass I know are in there didn’t eat much else either. Any tips or tricks to get that hair packed tighter, and shaped nicer, is welcome and appreciated.

MG signing off (to spin some more)

Tying with David: Luna’s Titanic

David Luna has struck again. First he went “dirty bird” with the Cheap Hooker, and now he’s taking MG to task with something (God forbid) that floats on the surface.

Call it a dry fly if you like, but it is still chunky meat as far as the author is concerned. Mr. Luna got fed up with hoppers always sinking on him, so he conjured this cruise-liner. It’s got all the fuss but can withstand slow water and fast water, deep swirls and shallow.

David has built the fly so it holds up in even the harshest environments (maiden voyages, zero visibility, and near freezing water notwithstanding). The construction engineer can also make tweaks as needed – under-wing color, indicator and under-body are open for interpretation. Crashing it into a logjam on the drift is not – you’ll lose it for sure, but at least you’ll have someone else to point the finger at (like the tippet supplier).


Ssshhh…don’t tell Bob

Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp is a favorite at Andros South, and since I’ll be headed there for FIBFest in less than 24 hours I thought it wise to screw up a few more flies prior to departure.

I’ve already tied a handful of Bob Veverka’s brilliant creation, but after staring at them a bit I thought they were missing something (besides, of course, the application of actual fly tying skills).

This go-round I went for short shank #1 hooks (Gamy SC15s), and added flash antennae. For the body I used UV tan dubbing instead of plain ol’ light tan, and packed the tail end (or front end, depending on whether you are a fly fisher or a hungry bonefish) a wee bit fuller.

Our FIBFest host says that South Andros Island bonefish will eat just about anything. If those torpedoes of the flats take this critter down, I’ll be eating nothing but words.

MG signing off (to check my list twice)

Tying with David: Luna’s Cheap Hooker

When David “Butters” Luna isn’t hanging with his lovely wife Alex and his cool kid Diego, he’s catching monster grass carp on the fly. Everyone who’s anyone knows this. But what hardly anyone knows is that Mr. Luna is a crafty fly tyer too.

Maybe one of the finest around.

David found out I was tying flies again myself, and offered me some lessons. All it’s costing me is 20 kegs of Corona my pride. We’ll be showcasing one of Mr. Luna’s flies here roughly every other week, until David runs out of fresh pattern ideas or I run out of ego, which ever comes first.

In other words, we’ll be doing this bit till we’re six feet under.

For the matinee show, we’re going to explain how to tie Luna’s Cheap Hooker. David got the idea for the Cheap Hooker from Kelly Galloup‘s Sex Dungeon. The only difference between the two flies: the Cheap Hooker is half the cost and has almost as much action.


A pathetic first fly

At approximately 11:30pm yesterday, after struggling with database queries for most of the evening, I poured a lightly dressed cocktail. The vise was mounted, and I attempted to tie a carp pattern I’ve been thinking about. The vision was a small crawfish, lacking color, much as I’ve seen darting about in certain environs.

Using a size 6 Gamakatsu SL45 hook, I piled on some artificial everything, then sat back with drink in hand gazing at my creation.

It was not what I had planned.

While the tint and general size was precisely as imagined, the fly appeared anorexic. I need to figure out a way to make it much fuller. Maybe more material, or different materials altogether. And the final wraps near the eye are downright awful. I could blame it on the alcohol, but that was only two fingers and some ice – it’s my own digits that must take the heat.

I’ve tied ten flies in the last half-decade, and most of those were San Juan Worms, but I’m not going easy on myself. I need practice, lots of practice. And a few suggestions wouldn’t hurt either.

This fly goes straight into the bonefish box – no surprise because it is on a bonefish hook, but sad considering that particular box is in sore need of use.

MG signing off (to rethink, while panhandling for ideas)