January 2012 Salon - Johnson's Beach Fly

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
#16
Thomas, it is to create your own beach fly. Les's fly is the inspiration but I suggest using creativity to come up with a fly that will catch fish and have the potential to become historic.
 
#19
Thomas, it is to create your own beach fly. Les's fly is the inspiration but I suggest using creativity to come up with a fly that will catch fish and have the potential to become historic.
Awesome. Historically bad maybe...

I already have my 'secret beach fly' that I never talk about. Finally giving that one up was my first thought but I'll put my thinking cap on. Like many others, I owe Les a debt of gratitude. My worn copy of his book has been through many many readings.
 

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
#20
Thomas, I have seen your flies and you have no worries about historically bad. I think we can all come up with something that honors Les and gives us something to work on. I still have a long way to go to figure this one out. I look forward to your fly, Secret or New!
 

kelvin

Active Member
#21
Thomas, I have seen your flies and you have no worries about historically bad. I think we can all come up with something that honors Les and gives us something to work on. I still have a long way to go to figure this one out. I look forward to your fly, Secret or New!
I agree
Thomas your ties always inspire me
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#23
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!
 
#24
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
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#29
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.
 

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
#30
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.

Steve
 

Latest posts