Winter tying

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by troutpocket, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. So I ordered a bunch of Jay Fair tying materials and have been messing around at the vise. I'm a hack, I know, but good materials do help. Anyway, here are some my recent efforts at replicating Fair and Rickards patterns.
  2. You did a nice job tying those up. Should catch fish.
  3. very nice, i really need to start tying
  4. Good for your for experimenting. As suggestion, those long maribou tails are likely to result in short strikes but few fish to the net. Why? The fish grab the fly from behind and get a mouthful of tail but no hook since the barb is more than halfway towards the eye.

    Once you tie in the tail, pinch it between your thumb and forefinger on the tie-in side and then use your other thumb and forefinger to pinch off the excess, leaving a tail no more than 1/2 to 3/4" long. The shorter tail may not look as nice, but it'll result in landing more fish.

    Just sayin' . . .

  5. Now Kent, I didn't track down nice marabou in cool colors just to pinch off the ends :)

    Your point is taken. I've seen the fly boxes of a few great stillwater fly fishers and noticed an abundance of stubby tails.

  6. troutpocket,

    Nice colors/combos. As another constructive criticism, many of the palmered hackles seem to be quite clumped. The may need to be wrapped tighter, or perhaps try stripping all of the barbs off the inside portion of the quill to thin them out a bit.

  7. They look pretty "buggy" to me. I'm not much of a lake fisherman but they should catch fish. I'll go along with the short strikes. Maybe you could tie those with a stinger loop and cut off the base hook to guard against the short strikes. Kinda like a Miyawaki beach popper.
  8. I agree that you get some short strikes with longer tails but I also believe you get more strikes. I find that more than 1/2 of the short striking fish come back if you don't jerk it away. I have taken Rickards to NZ twice and my "long tails" keep up with the shorter version. Just my $.02. Good luck.

    BTW...the flies look good but no more than 2.5 wraps of hackle. W
  9. Thanks. I asked Rickards about long tails once and his reply was that if a 5lb trout wants to eat your #8 fly, an extra 1/2 inch of tail isn't going to stop it.

    I assume the 2.5 wraps of hackle comment applies to the stillwater nymph?

  10. I wouldn't say you are a "hack". It looks like you did a pretty good job. I have two criteria for a well tied fly. 1)does it catch fish and 2)will it stay together after you catch a couple. IMHO if it passes those two test then it is a worthy, well tied fly. I often find that the flies that do the best are the ones that have been half chewed by the previous fish I have caught.
    Too many flies are tied to please the fisheman and not the fish.
    Tie flies. Try them. If they catch fish, tie some more.
  11. nice ties they look great man! glad to see someone fill a box with something other than size 8 olive wooly buggers! i dont stress too much about short strikes. i think that has more to do with a fish not commiting to the eat because something is amiss. size, color, retrieve. often by changing one of those i dont get those short strikes. im also a firm believer that big trout just dont miss.

    keep at it. next up... bunny fur.
  12. iagree
  13. I like 'em TP. I am a fan of longer tails. I have also become a fan of the burnt orange tails like you have done in a couple of your pics. I have tied bodies with black, claret, even olive, and still use an orange tail. Has worked great for me.
    Not that I get out much anymore though, so take that with a grain of salt.
  14. Two solutions to short strikes, cut the tail short should short strikes begin to happen or retrieve / troll slower. Either one will often work with more hook ups. The tails did seem a bit long. Good looking flies and I'm sure you'll get share of strikes and hook ups. Way to go.
  15. Very nice. Very buggy.

  16. Ask 10 fly fishermen and you'll get 10 answers! I was about to say if you're getting short strikes to speed up the retrieve. The fish will have to close on the fly a little more quickly and is less likely to pick at it like it's some dainty hors d'oeuvre. I was out a couple times on a cold lake this January and had most of my hook-ups on a fast retrieve.
  17. Not what I'm posting about, but worth considering for a second. Richard makes a great point, and I'm a fanatic on fast retrieves...not obnoxious but "fast." Most have the "hit the fish" with your cast mentality, coupled with slow retrieves. A recipe for disaster if you ask me (or at least a big handicap on your day's results). Not that you can usually see them, but having the mindset of landing in your target's field of vision, not his physical location, then a short stunned pause followed by hastened escape lends much greater appeal to a hungry predator. And I like to think of trout as just that instead of timid creatures that don't see well, swim fast or react offensively to their surroundings. What I know is it works.


    Glad someone mentioned the subject of short strikes. And great call on presentation/retrieve vs. fly as culprit. By and large, the fly (pattern/size/color/etc.) is given way too much credit (or blame) for what happens in the water. To be a broken record: drawing a strike is 80% location (finding active fish), 19 to 20% presentation, and zero to 1% bait or fly… if you ask me but I’m open to outside opinion. Granted I’ve never tied a fly, and draw almost my entire perspective from stillwater these days.

    That said, I’d take the short strike argument one step further. From what I’ve witnessed on a number of occasions, and experimented a lot with, the short strike phenomenon tends to be the product of a short term behavioral pattern (the cycle usually occurs within a day). That means they “ain’t hungry” but are still actively displaying territorial or aggressive behavior. And just like active committed feeding they do this collectively. So if you find onesy-twosey doing it you’ll generally experience it among the majority if you get that far. It happens a small fraction of the time but I’ve seen it enough to experiment with (and usually rule out) varying patterns and retrieves. Interestingly, the ones that are landed tend to be barely hooked, usually on the outer lip to one side of the mouth. Suggests more of a swat or sweeping motion than a committed take or gulp. In other words, when they go into this mode it really doesn’t matter how you fish for them…the problem is them, not you. Cause of the behavior? Got me but I have theories…best guess is a period just after major feeding has taken place. And perhaps they’re “full,” yet for a time the aggressive predatory behavior continues. Yes, short strikes are occasionally caused by fly selection or presentation, however in my experience that accounts for a small fraction of the time.

    What to do…well…the only thing you can do beyond quitting or breaking something. Adjust your expectations and attitude. Generally 80% landed is about right (for me) so I know something is up when that drops significantly. I’m getting a lot better at recognizing the situation when it occurs and lowering my expectations, but I’m working on the attitude part. Though I know better, when I’ve hunted them down, presented correctly, earned the strike, played them by the book and still come up empty, I can’t help but get RFP’d. Guess that makes me normal.

    Anyhow, I don’t claim to be preaching the gospel here. Just what I’ve observed from experimentation and a lot of hours on the water. Curious to see if others have experienced something similar or completely different…?
  18. Interesting notions Ford, especially your observation about the occasional benefits fast stripping. I've had some recent experiences that both confirm and dispel that notion. But to stay on topic, I'll respond to your comments about short strikes instead.

    The one thing that's missing from yours and others' theories about short strikes is the failure to take into account the added dimension of the fish's ability to taste what's in its mouth. When a fish takes a fly, I'm convinced that they can immediately identify whether what they're tasting is food or non-food, and perhaps dangerous as well. When they taste a long maribou tail, they're immediately able to tell it's not food (thanks to minute residues of oils and chemicals from our hands, the materials used to tie the fly and the chemicals used to process and store them) and almost instantly release it.

    If the tail is long enough that that taste is not close to a hook point, then the result is usually a short strike. The advantage of having a relatively short tail is that the hook point is near enough that it's in the best possible position to hook the fish anyway, even though he may already have decided not to ingest the fly.

    A fish's sense of taste is much more acute than ours and I'm convinced that they're able to make these sorts of value decisions in small fractions of a second, one more reason to have the point of the hook as close a possible to the end of the tail. To put it another way, it's not by accident that Leland decided to tie his famous Miyawaki beach popper with a stinger hook near the end of the tail.

  19. FF,
    In your largest paragraph of your last post you've identified what I believe to be the main cause of feeding behaviour fishermen call short strikes. Yes, there is more than one reason for this feeding response as is true for other feeding responses. I've been fortunate to have a facility that enables me to observe trout (mostly rainbow) during different feeding times and conditions. Also play with trout and test different types of flies and lures at different times of the day and season. It doesn't take long before one sees that fly size and style has little to do with how and when a fish takes a fly/lure. Most feeding respones are triggered by a combination of instinct and immediate environment. We know that trout are very manipulated by the amount of food available along with other environmental factors all occuring at the same time. Trout have a strong predatorial instinct which causes them to continue feeding even when their stomacks are full. Older fish have a tendency to stop feeding when they are full (not all) and younger trout will continue feeding with gusto after their stomacks are full. How and what a fish is feeling does have a direct effect on how they feed. There is an interesting read on this subject, a book entitled "The Ways of Trout", don't remember the author at the moment. He did a pretty good study (in England) on how trout feed and the different characteristics of their feeding habits.
    Just wanted to say, my observations and laymans experience have born out much of what you're saying.
  20. Ford_Fenders and scottflycst are on the right track. I fish a minnow imitation about 98% of the time when I'm on stillwaters. I tell anyone and everyone to fish it with a fast retrieve. I watch them for awhile and usually end up telling them to retrieve it faster. I believe you can not pull a minnow pattern too fast. Fish are predators and they will react to any escaping prey. Think of it this way, fish have sex once a year and the rest of the time they eat. (Hmm, sounds like me.) Some days they eat more than other days. But if their prey is trying to get away from them they will eat it before another fish does. When I see a rise on a lake, I always cast the minnow near and strip like a madman. More often than not I draw a strike. And as far as Kent's theory on fish being able to taste what they are eating, I'll have to disagree. Several years ago I caught a male Coho on the Klickitat. When I got home I found a wad of aluminum foil the size of a handball inside the fish. I assumed someone had tossed their sandwich wrapper in the river and Mr. Coho hammered it as it floated by. I'm not sure what aluminum tastes like and I doubt the coho did either. SS

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