January 2012 Salon - Johnson's Beach Fly

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Steve, when I get around to the photos, I'll throw in a shot of one. Its nothing special. Besides adding some red hackle fibers to the tail, I clip the mallard flank on the very bottom to make room for a short red beard. That's not necessary, but I did that to help my fly ride upright. Otherwise it resembles a Knudsen Spider.
I lost all my good ones (only tied up a few...bad habit of mine is to tie up minimal # before a trip... one extra is usually good enough), except for one trolling version with a gold beadhead. I discovered that I could troll at a high paddling speed on my way into the back of my local estuary and get strikes, so I whipped up a couple with beadheads to help 'em stay a little lower in the water column. I think I might try dragging a gurgler on the surface this year, when paddling.

Going thru my supplies... I have used up all of the larger natural Mallard flank I had that I was tying my #8 and #6 flies. (I need to get some more). I have some with which I can whip up a size 10, though, so I'll tie a new one.
Here's my "secret" beach fly using Les's color scheme. I usually tie this 12-inches behind a Gurgler or Clouser.

Hook: SC15 (size 4 or 6)
Thread: Orange 12/0
Tail: One strand of orange Krystal flash
Rib: Fine flat gold Lagartun
Body: 60/40 orange finn raccon underfur and orange Halo dubbing
Hackle: Partridge dyed orange
Wing: White finn raccon underfur slightly longer than normal.

The finer guard hairs of finn raccoon are extremely translucent. The whole wing moves like nothing else! Excellent winging material!


Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Steve, I should get mine done and posted sometime this evening. I found a stash of mallard flank and was able to tie up two bleeding white Knudsen Spiders. Between skirmishes with work, death, and taxes, I've gotten my fly desk cleared off enough to tie, and have exhumed and organized some of my tying materials. Got my fingers limbered up. I hope to get down to tying by dusk.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
One more time, I hope to post a pic of my Bleeding Ghost. :beer1: I was having trouble getting decent pics, and then I bungled uploading them several times. I hope this works...:beathead: Oops, you must click on the pic to see a larger version.

Hook: Size 6 3x streamer hook
Thread: Fire Orange 6/0 UNI-Thread
Tail: Natural Mallard Flank over red-dyed saddle hackle fibers
Body: White-Pearl New Age Chenille
Beard: Red-dyed saddle hackle
Hackle: Natural Mallard Flank

View attachment 48033

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Here's a ribbed version. I often get lazy and skip the ribbing, since I use white pearl new age chenille for the body. It has flash built into it. However the ribbing does add that segmented look. This one came out with the body a little long and with too many ribs. I might do the next one with only 4 or 5 wraps of flat gold tinsel. I've been using white reversed spiders, too. If nothing else is working, try white with a touch of red!

View attachment 48034

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I was attempting a sculpin, but it came out looking like a yellow perch, so I'm saving that one for bass and heading back to the bench. The "Bleeding Ghost" is my "default entry." I didn't invent the style, and I've seen a lot of similar ties, but I like it! Mainly because it, as well as a gold bead head version, have been working well for me out here the last couple of seasons.

Baitfish, that fly of yours is a beaut!

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher

STEVE KNAPP - ORANGE PROTUBE POPPER Steve has taken the Miyawaki Popper and converted it to a ProTube MicroTube. For someone in his first year as a fly tier Steve has developed great skills and an eye for flies that catch fish. This fly with the bright orange head and multiple natural materials will feature lots of movement and the fixed trailing hook will produce a high percentage of hook-ups. Finalist

kelvin - ORANGE FLAT WING Kelvin is an accomplished tier that is comfortable creating flies with great color, shape and life. His Orange Flat Wing is a fly that would make Les Johnson proud. The flat wing style is full of life and will produce a lot of movement. He tied it sparse and with multiple colors that will blend in the water. He also used a subtle amount of flash. This fly is also economical substituting a 3D eye and epoxy instead of a Jungle Cock eye. Finalist

Big E - Polar Shrimp/Thor hybrid called The Orange Creme Big E drew upon tradition with his combination of a Polar Shrimp and Thor that evoke feelings of the Johnson Beach Fly. His inspiration is a fry pattern that will be targeted by multiple saltwater species this spring. I like the sparseness. The bronze wire rib is elegant and I love the Pearl Krystal Flash tail. A fly I would be pleased to fish.

THOMAS MITCHELL’S BEACH FLY - CONFIDENCE BEACH FLY Thomas did a great job describing the inspiration for his fly in the writings of Les Johnson and the influence of Abrames, Atherton and Ward. I love the blending of natural materials and color. The description of the fly exploding like a Medusa’s head really got my attention. I am sure it gets the attention of many SRC and Resident Coho. Finalist

BAITFISH - SECRET BEACH FLY Baitfish shared a beautiful small orange fly that shares a lot with the Johnson’s Beach Fly while having a look of its own. I like the buggy look of the dubbed body. The Partridge hackle adds an elegant look and the white Finn Racoon wing looks like it will add a lot of motion.

JIM WALLACE - BLEEDING GHOST Jim came on strong with a great looking Spider variant called the Bleeding Ghost. I am impressed with the look of this fly and know that the white will attract many species. The Mallard feather will do a nice job of bluring the red saddle giving flashes of red. I will tie this myself for the beach this spring.

I greatly appreciate the creativity that the entrants exhibited in creating their special Beach Fly. I know that Les Johnson would like many of the flies that were submitted.

The three finalists all inspired me to hit the vise and add their special fly to my Puget Sound Box.

Steve Knapp showed great vision in taking a proven fly and converting it to a tube pattern while improving performance with a static trailing hook.
Kelvin was prolific with three flies tied. I selected the one that appealed the most to me. I love Puget Sound Flat Wing flies. Kelvin took Les Johnson’s colors and applied them to a flat wing with the added benefit of a cost effective epoxy head and eyes.

Thomas Mitchell was bold in tying a very different Beach Fly but his articulation of the inspiration for his fly hit upon three of my favorite influences in Abrames, Atherton and Ward.

I would be less than honest if I said it was a clear choice. I have wavered back and forth between Thomas and Kelvin several times. As much as I love the flat wing, Thomas swayed me with his great description of how he created the fly.

Great breakdown Steve, thanks for showing how much thought you put into this, just like Thomas did in January. The Monthly Salon is an awesome idea and thanks to everybody who contributes I have a Ton of new ideas and fly's to work on.

Congrats to Thomas on the win, I look forward to Feb.
Hello All. Since did the judging so recently, I asked Kelvin to step in and judge this time.

He should have a new topic up soon.

Thanks Steve for the your time considering the topic and the flies!

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
iagree Participating in this lit a fire and got me back to my vice, and I'm going to try to keep some momentum going on my tying. (I am going to tie up some lake flies today, for tomorrow's fishing). I am going to keep tying beach flies, too.
Thanks for the kind words about the Bleeding Ghost version of the Knudsen Spider, Steve. After I got my desk and tying materials organized, I started in on a sculpin attempt, which crashed and burned. And in the final hour, I discovered that I need to practice at and refine my close-up fly photography, too.

Great breakdown Steve, thanks for showing how much thought you put into this, just like Thomas did in January. The Monthly Salon is an awesome idea and thanks to everybody who contributes.

Congrats to Thomas on the win, I look forward to Feb.