January 2012 Salon - Johnson's Beach Fly

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Steve Rohrbach, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. I agree
    Thomas your ties always inspire me
  2. Your flatwing is awesomely beautiful. Your patterns are works of art. That Steelhead Nymph looks like some kind of invasive alien, though. Almost scary. I just want to swat the damn thing, before it multiplies!
    This is a well-conceived theme. A fly to honor Les Johnson. I'm not sure I'm worthy, but I might give this a try. I'm now reorganizing the disaster area formerly known as my fly-tying desk.

    Steve Knapp's Popper, Kelvin's Flatwing, and Big E's use of Polar Bear are all setting a high bar! Dang! It is my understanding that Les came up with this pattern while exploring the idea of a beach fly that is relatively quick and easy to tie. That's right up my alley, and I am going to attempt to stick with that theme and do it justice!

    OK, I've been letting this concept ferment in the backwaters of my mind, with the help of some Pyramid Snow Cap, and I at least have come up with a name for my fly (which is yet progressively metamorphosing in said stained backwaters). A simple name for what I hope will remain a simple tie: "Jimbo's Beach Bimbo" (Even a blonde could tie it)!

    Lot of latitude here on the color phase, like you never know when that beach bimbo is gonna change her color. This can be tied in various redhead, natural blonde, and bleached blonde shades, so you can tie on whatever is seducing.

    OK, so now I'd better get primpin' on it!
  3. My fly is influenced more by Les' writing's than the actual Johnson's Beach Fly. More specifically the idea of shaping a fly to the environment of near shore beach fishing at my favorite Puget Sound spots including food sources like the sand lance and other slim baitfish as well as bottom structure and currents/tidal action.

    In general, all my original (term used loosely) patterns are just a mishmash of ideas that I appropriated from past masters and put to use to suit my own fishing objectives. For this fly the main influences were:

    1) Les' writings in Fly-Fishing for Coastal Cutthroat Trout: Flies, Techniques, Conservation and Fly-Fishing for Pacific Salmon II
    2) Ken Abrams ideas about the impressionistic use of color and blended materials for Striper flies in A Perfect Fish: Illusions in Fly Tying which were probably influenced by
    3) artist/fly tier/author John Atherton's ideas on color blending in trout flies in The Fly and the Fish
    4) The Intruder steelhead fly pattern created by Ed Ward

    This is my 'confidence fly' for beaches, both sea-run cutthroat and resident coho once they are big enough for baitfish. The primary difference from most other baitfish emulators is the use of rhea and ostrich plume for the body instead of bucktail or synthetics. I like to fish lighter flies (no clousers) that have a lot of action when swung or stripped in the milder currents off the beaches (compared to rivers). The herl body of this fly stays slim and wiggly when the fly is under tension but the moment it stops moving, it expodes like Medusa's head, the herl spreading out with great action.

    The body consists of 9 different shades of rhea and ostrich her, approx 3-5 strands each topped of by 5 strands of peacock herl taken from an eye-feather. Also, there are several strands of UV Minnow Belly mixed in with the herl. Early versions of this fly immediately caught fish but also fouled a lot. I started tying the fly on short shanked hooks and using a bunch of coarse white bucktail as a foul-guard. Lately, I have been experimenting with a small mono-loop which doesn't go limp after a while and seems to work well. I used chartruese Amnesia in this instance.

    This has been my 'secret fly' the last few seasons. Hopefully, it will works as well for someone else as it has for me.

    Mitchell's Beach Fly
  4. Thomas, a Beauty as always from you
  5. No kidding! That things a work of art, and I'd almost be reluctant to fish it.

    I'm still deciding on how I'm going to 'dress this idea.
  6. Great blending Thomas, I like it a lot.
  7. bump for Steve's excellent theme...
  8. Coming up with a unique pattern is turning out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I've been going over my favorite searun cutt patterns, trying to come up with something original, but my faves are all based on pre-existing proven patterns. Last year, for example, a Knudsen Spider similar to a "White Ghost," but with a red tail and beard, was my "go to" fly. I tie up Reversed Spiders in a lot of different color phases. The baitfish patterns I tie look generic or attempt to be true to existing recipes.

    This week I have been trying to figure out an easy sculpin tie, to try to get in the groove. Something quicker and easier than having to spin a deer hair head. Not sure if I'm running with that one yet, though. I'll try to get mine done and pic posted by Monday. I'll be working on it Sunday, and maybe today.
  9. Jim, every fly has some connection with what has been done before. I am sure you will come up with something that is a fish catching machine. I for one, would love to see a photo of your Knudsen Spider as it sounds great.

    Good tying.

  10. 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.
  11. 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!

  12. nice fly Great photo
    what kind os camera are you using?
  13. The camera is a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H9 I've had for 6-yers or so.
  14. Still time to get your fly entered. Winner will be selected tomorrow on national college football letter of intent day.

    Good tying.
  15. 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.
  16. Looking forward to it Jim.
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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!

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