Sunday, November 24, 2013

Flies & Antlers Then Fishing

It's been cold all week! Winds didn't help the situation. I just felt it was a bit colder for this time of year in Paradise Valley. Well, fortunately I have lots of things to do inside! Since the last post, I'm more deeply into and more dedicated to the world of Atlantic Salmon Flies. It's just something, which is somewhat beyond description for the space of blog post......... Just in a short (and cheap) expression, one could call it New Passion...... Let me show you my progress!

Durham Ranger

 Dusty Miller

 Lady Amherst


For some of you who haven't actually seen "Married Wings", here's a close up picture before mounting on the hook.
With these flies, I went fishing!!..........No just kidding.
I was busy with flies above then again weathers were discouraging. I couldn't get out to DePuy's ( for a week. Today, it was some of the greatest November afternoon I ever recall!! In terms of weather and fishing!! After spending hours at my tying bench, fishing the creek is truly relaxing and enjoyable. An OK rainbow to get started.
GOTCHA!! Another nicest brown during this fall!! Measured 23"!! You know browns and Atlantic salmons are closely related!? So tying Atlantic salmon flies help me understand and catch browns too!?..............maybe!
Steelhead too!?
Last but not the least, I'm working on my deer antler art projects. Here's my factory. Left one hanged on the wall is in a painting process and the other one on the right is in a finishing process. I will post about what these will be.

I think what I did this week would be typical of my life through this week........hence so would be my blog updates. I actually enjoy it!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ask The Expert

As I've been rambling since this spring, I finally started working on Atlantic Salmon Flies (hereafter ASF). This is really a hobby. Also it's my objective to pursue more in fly-tying world and to develop myself into a higher level. However, ASF is one of those "saying is an easy part, actually doing is THE HARDEST part" thing, really......

Just like my guiding. The beginning of my guiding career was very humble. I was a good fisherman and willing to work but......... getting trips, making living, etc...... it wasn't smooth. There I met someone who was willing to teach me and share his knowledge and experience. Now, besides him, I work with some of the best & most renowned outfitters in the area.

The same goes with ASF. I've got instructional videos and books. I bought materials, including some exotic materials (been posted here as you may recall). Since this was started as a hobby level, I started tying and experimenting myself. Well, it didn't come as it was supposed to be or as I expected. I could keep doing and someday it would come to pieces, maybe. But for certain level of fly-tyers, wasting materials, especially exotic ones!!, is hard to accept.......... Also, even if I would think I am doing well and my fly is OK, is it really? I needed someone that I can ask for evaluation and critiques.

There I came to know THE Expert. At that point, little did I know he was counted as one of THE BEST ASF tyers in THE WORLD!! The more I was interested in ASF, the more I saw and heard his name. He is one of those quiet individuals. So I don't mention his name (for now) as I don't want you to think I'm trading his name. Just like my guide mentors, he's willing to teach me and share his techniques and knowledge. I asked him for an assignment for me to complete. His first assignment is Green Highlander.

So I got an objective to pursue. But then again, it was humble....... I knew the first step was to do it on my own but also I had to get better without wasting good materials. For the first several ones, it was painful toward the end as they just didn't look good even in the middle of tying. I re-read books and re-watched videos. Then I asked The Master for a hint. He pointed out my problems and taught me solutions. I started to work again on Green Highlander. Just after his valuable advises in one email, my ties started improved, even presentable!!

This is Green Highlander with practice materials = different colors and less expensive materials, yet I was still using some of hard-to-get materials
 Practice tie #2
Practice tie #3

I finally sat down with formal materials. This is my first ever Green Highlander!! Not bad, huh?? And this is my 14th attempt to tie since this spring!! From that humble beginning, I couldn't believe I came up like this!!

Another one!! Some improvements accomplished but also new homework........

This is so far my best, that I have tied last night.
I owe great gratuities of mine to my Master. I'm still working on Green Highlander but the one for evaluation will be done soon.

Although I have merely opened the door of The Greater ASF world, I have already found one thing. Tying ASF is a true commitment. Yes, it's still a hobby for me (as I'm not trading or anything) but without strong commitment and willingness to pursue and get them done, they don't come. And I have developed a mind-set to do so. For the last several ties, I've been happy to sit down for 3 to 4 hours just to complete one fly . I have even started to adjust my life so I can tie one fly in the morning and another one in the evening. This is the commitment, isn't it?

Of course I still fish!! and will do so through winter!! After spending many hours at my tying bench, visiting DePuy's ( and catching a few trout is truly enjoyable and relaxing.........

Indeed relaxing to fish with simply tied flies........

I have also started working on my antler projects too. Let me see what I come up with this winter.

So I will keep updateing ASF, fishing report, and antler projects.
Also I'm tying trout flies and shooting videos of me tying........ WOW that's a lot!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week 4 Report

NEWS: As some of you might have already noticed, I resumed my Winter Fly Shop and YouTube video posting. You can find my videos on the side bar, which shows the latest updates. I have updated my fly catalog a lot: I have accumulated substantial amounts of my own patterns so I deleted most of general and someone's patterns. I still like those patterns and tie them but this is my fly-shop to show my patterns. And I believe my patterns make my shop unique. So check out my catalog and ask me any questions.

I have also started working on my writing. I just submitted the summary of this fall's baetis hatch at DePuy's Spring Creek to Fly Anglers OnLine ( That will appear soon. Starting with that, I will be working on next series of columns for next year. Anyway, there are bunch of informative articles there, so bookmark it and keep checking their updates!!
For those reasons above, I have started to visit DePuy's ( slightly less and stay shorter than past three weeks. Yet I have fished the creek 4 different days so I guess I'm still qualified to make a weekly report.

Baetis is still hanging in there. Here's another coloration for this fall........... Another species? What are vivid eyes of yours?? Do I need to mimic for my flies or what?

I've been trying to fish till the hatch is rally gone for the season. I will never forget this fall's lesson & experience.

FA Nymph!! (in catalog now!!)
No wonder it works!!

I finally conquered this fall's "techiest" spot with "pickiest" trout!! There will be a detailed writing in an article that I submitted to FAOL!!

See.........this is what I'm talking about.......... This and one above must be in totally different Genus, don't you agree?

I just got back from the creek. I don't know when would be the last hatch & the last dry-fly action for the year so I fished very hard while it lasted.
Small but feisty!!
 Not bad for the last one, if this would be the one..........

As it was on my Improved Pheasant Puff (PP2)!! - updated on catalog also!!

If you observe carefully, you should be able to tell that stomach contents are changing.......
Something other than mayfly duns/nymphs are getting more common....... This will tell us the season.......
 Fall-Run browns still continue!! Now he is the No. 1 candidate for the KING to match the QUEEN!! 23-incher!!
Fine fish!!
 What are you looking at!?
Last several days, I have noticed my right forearm has been sore. I thought about the cause. Being Lefty, I net my catch with my right arm........Ahhhhhh...... I must have developed "net-a-rthritis". It's caused by scooping 20+ inch & 4+ pound trout frequently!!

Anyway he was another fine catch!! 22" Dandy!!
What are you looking at!!??

Here's another one with my new egg....... Hint: it's already in my YouTube library.

So Baetis hatch may end soon but I will still pursue BIG fall-runners for the rest of month!!
To be continued.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Week 3 Report - Fall Baetis

Boy, this fall's Baetis hatch is very challenging and technical!!  That's the way I like it!! I still haven't quite deciphered the situation. Not just because I have no idea, but rather, trout mood is complicated and changes every day!! Anyway I keep working till the hatch is totally done for the year. Let's look back how I did last week.

Very late PMD!!

Good start!! Sign of Victory!!

Learning the contents.........
Nice brwony!!
Dun eater......
Another one was a Dun-&-Nymph eater........ This is what I mean: each individual trout has its own "Today's Special", furthermore it changes every day!! It's just like people order different menu at the restaurant, really.

Further-further-furthermore, this fall's baetis is really a troublemaker. As I've been reporting, they are not typical dark-olive but gray, light gray, and light olive. But on one particular afternoon, they appeared like this......... Light color, almost like Sulphur.

Yet once in a while, I could be lucky and happy!! I set for the rise on my fly and felt it seemed bigger than I expected. This is when my Measure Net comes in super handy in terms of reach and quick measurement!!
Not from this one but the stomach sample from a small one caught on the same day...... As you can see, trout were feeding EXCLUSIVELY on EMERGERS, not duns or ascending nymphs.........

I'm tying and inventing some more patterns. Also I'm tying the patterns I already use in different colors. Sorry, no pictures yet. Meanwhile, you can review patterns I posted in the last post.

November is known to be the "Windiest" month of the year in Paradise Valley. I can tolerate cold air temperature but when it's combined with winds, it gets really tough..... Not to mention, it wouldn't be good for insect hatches and rising actions of trout. So hopefully weather stays cooperated some more........ And let me get close and tap into bugs' behavior and trout's brains!!