Sunday, November 15, 2009

Signature Flies

Most of all fly shops and famous fly-fishing authors have their own creation = signature flies that they promote or that have made them famous. Also, professional guides and those who work at fly-shops have their own "go-to" flies. I have tied those myself and fished with them. Those flies are simply great and work anywhere.

Here are the good list of my favorite authors and their flies, only just to name a few.
Craig Mathews: Sparkle Dun, Iris Caddis, X Caddis
Kelly Galloup: Zoo Couger, Heifer Groomer
Sylvester Nemes: Syl's Midge and misc soft-hackle patterns
Scott Sanchez: Double Bunny

I have tied these and fished with them. I have pictures for each but they have been anywhere. Here's just one. My own adoptation of Double Bunny. I tied a barbell eye on top of the hook so it will be upside-down in the water for less snagging the bottom. Shown is the "Integration" of black and white.
Been fishing and tying with my best, I was thinking "wouldn't it be nice if I creat my own fly, fish with it, and show it to others". I was not looking for specific "hatch-mathcers". That's pros' job in their own specific areas. I have been interested in more "free area to explore" such as streamers and soft-hackles, and maybe terrestrial patterns. Ideally, I wanted to see what I can do for my true obcession = soft-hackles.
It came to me out of sudden, truly unexpected, yet really restrained me at my tying bench to do something.
December 2008, my friends, a couple who reside by Jefferson River, Three Forks, MT, sent me a holiday greeting with some pheasant feathers so I can tie some flies with them. They say the hen pheasant (no tails) would have been killed by a coyote in their property. But who knows? They are avid good hunters who often shoot a bird or two for dinner with their bow & arrow!! I wasn't sure what I can do but as I opened a zip-lock bag, I saw nice soft hackles (probably from shoulders) and plumes of aftershaft...............!!!!

This meant more than a joke to me. I just felt I had to do something with these lovely feathers. Then I started to gather and combine all the knowledge and patterns in my head. At the same time, I read and read again Jack Gartiside's pheasant description. I clarified what was going on in my head. It would be a large soft-hackle. Talking about large soft-hackles, I had to think about Madison River in the fall, swinging large soft-hackles for run-up spawners. Then I had two beautiful patterns that I learned from Blue Ribbon Flies.

Here's "Shakey Beeley". I wanted to copy its whole silhoutte.

And here's "Lucky Bucky Soft Hackle". I love its pheasant use.

Along with BRF's foremost product, Zelon, that I though I could use for flash and color, I drew my idea with a pen on the paper. I came up with this. And I named it "Coyoted Phesant Soft Hackle", hoping I can hunt some big trout like coyotes attack their prey.

It didn't look bad all. But I couldn't ignore a little touch at the tying point of its tail; pheasnt fibers, Zelon under-tail, and ribbing gold wire were all in one spot. Also I had to see that I did some complication and over-dressing for thorax before I tie in and wrap pheasant hackle and aftershaft. Still look OK but too much labor and materials are not for my style nor for any other famous patterns. I wondered if there were any techniques or materials to improve it........

Then I learned another BRF creation, called September Song. It employs a built-up body of silk thread, which is nicely tapered.

This seemed to be the last piece I was missing. This way, I don't have to dub a body and it essentially forms a thorax. And then, rather than topping a tuft of Zelon on top of the shank, I made figure-eight wraps on a longer tuft of Zelon and then made it into a swept back style. This really seemed to combine everything in my head. Highly improved and perfect for my eyes!!

Spending lots of time on my tying bench, I figured shoulder feathers from cock is not soft enough for this fly. Then, not everybody has access to the hen feathers that killed by coyotes!! I came up with that cock's ramp feathers are perfect.

See what I have done from the top and rear.

Also, with its large silhoutte and color, I thought it might look like a drowned Salmonfly.
When it gets wet, it looks like this. With orange silk thread and color and flash of Zelon, I believe it dose look like a minnow/smolt.

I needed an answer to what I got along with theory and my tying techniques. This was what I brought to the Madison. For the rest of story, please take a look at my previous post about how I did with it. Here are two re-used pics from there.
The debut was with this 19-inch fat rainbow at Barn's Pool #1. It was a beautiful run-up trout.

It was dark into evening. This rainbow might have mistaken my Coyote as other proven patterns, who knows? But this picture shows the solid hook at the corner of trout's mouth, which is the typical spot while swinging. So this trout must have chased it, at least my Coyote would have enticed something.

I tried a self-timer as a proof. It looks like both me and trout are cut. But I had to let her go, anyway, it's mostly in my head.

Well, this is why I like my Coyote so much. I think I might as well post a few more about soft-hackles; materials, tools, and spots.

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