Monday, March 26, 2012

Fluttering Minnow Step By Step

Steps 1-2: Tie in the dumbbell eyes about 1/4 of an inch behind the eye of the hook. This will leave you room for adding Silky Fibers later on. Next, move toward the back of the fly and tie in a small clump of Root Beer Silky Fibers as you would a marabou tail.

Steps 3-4: Continue moving forward on the hook, tying on clumps of Grey Silky Fibers on in a Dubbing Loop fashion. Stop adding when you hit the eye, but make sure to add only a bit at a time so you don't overcrowd the hook. Next, use a piece of marabou to Spey around the eye. For the fly shown, I switched the marabou to some Hareline Dubbing. 

Step 5-Finish: Dubbing Loop on another clump of Root Beer Silky Fibers in front of the dumbbell eyes. Whip finish the fly and add a drop of head cement. Now dip the thing in the water to get the shape looking right before you throw up. Seriously, that thing looks gross right now.

Fluttering Minnow

Hook: Dai-Riki Streamer, Size 2
Eyes: Silver Dumbbell, Large
Body: EP Silky Fibers, Grey and Root Beer
Collar: Marabou, Olive

Don't worry about what this bad boy looks like dry. Dip it in some water and see if you like the shape. The variations possible on this fly are endless as well!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Snapping Cane: Part Two; The Crazy Butt Plane (Not to be Confused with Magic School Bus

Planing is difficult. It is repetitive enough to let your mind wander, but when you're just about to reach enlightenment, you catch the edge of the cane on the back step and have to go into focus mode. That, mixed with the fact that it does require some "grunt work" (as Frank called it), makes the planing days pretty tiring. Am I enjoying it? I'm loving it. I'm always up for a challenge. First we calculated out the rough measurements for the cane and set the planing form. Since early morning math hurts my head, Frank got to do the numbers while I wrote them down. Next we measured the first piece of cane to see which side needed planing. Enamel away it was, if my brain is right. You plane, then re-clamp and back plane. After that you flip and move up the form, then repeat the first step. Voila! You're 1/24th of halfway done! After we had all the mids and butts planed (tips get something different, not sure what yet), you move on to final dimensions. You reset the planing form and repeat what you did earlier with a smaller, more delicate plane. In eight solid hours, I got all the mids and butts to rough dimensions and finalized six strips. Somewhere around 3:30, Frank said to me, "Your arms will hurt tomorrow". I woke up this morning and couldn't even lift myself out of bed. I have to remember Frank's saying: "It's not the power, it's the technique. Like casting a fly rod". Have to remember...

Friday, March 16, 2012

One Second...

Temp at the Blue Read 55 Earlier... Get Out and Fish!

Just wanted to give you guys a head's up:

I will hopefully be posting my "Snapping Cane: Part Two" this weekend, and then I will be off the blogosphere for a week. Time for a class trip. When we get back to that it's off to the Pan, where I will hopefully find some nice fish pics for you. Peace out, and don't get hit by a bus.

Monday, March 12, 2012


3:00 am:
Wake up, get dressed, head out. Our destination? The Dream Stream, Hartsel, Colorado. Our mission? Catch a bunch of huge fish. The fishing reports I had gotten from two different people said the rainbows were heading up the river. Hell, what could go wrong? I had already double checked to make sure I had all my gear, all the warm clothes I owned were packed, and even went as far as buying a fancy new spool of 4x fluorocarbon for the trip. Now, all we had to do was get to the river and catch a few fish.

6:30 am:
Arrive at the Dream Stream, with only one car other than us. Luckily, they are not in the hole I was hoping to fish. I rig up, walk down to the water, and put in my first cast. Within five minutes, the ice is built up in my guides. What did the laziness of not taking my time to de-ice the guides cost? My rod tip. I head back to the lot, where there are now over 20 cars. Grab my backup and head out.

10:00 am:
Still no fish. I've seen one lake runner all day, and it was no more than 18 inches. Time to make a call. I get reception and call my buddy Tad, who was here yesterday.

"Hey Tad. What's up with the DS?"
"Dude, I feel your pain. The fish just aren't there. They were a few days ago, but now they've just vanished. My guess is that they headed back to the lake."

I head back to the car and think about my options. No reason to waste two days casting for nothing, right? We decide the best bet is to head over to the Blue. We drive out of the lot just as I count the 32nd car enter.

11:30 am:
We arrive at the Blue, tired and down. Its really crowded here as well. I pick my spot and fish for awhile. One 12 inch bow, that's it. Time for a break. I've decided my fate is sealed for today around 3:30 p.m., and head to the hotel.

9:00 am:
Time for another shot at this. Today brings us to one of my favorite secret spots on the Blue, but it seems someone has caught on. There is another car parked toward the lower section of the stretch.

11:00 am:
After two hours of casting and numerous fly changes, not even a strike. I've been contemplating the existence of man way too much for one weekend by now. We decide to head back to the section right below Dillon.

12:00 pm:
Things look a little brighter. There is only one other fisherman on the stretch, a rarity on this section. Also, I'm starting to spot more fish. I fish my way up to the infamous gage hole, and still see no one. I pick my spot, sit down, and re-rig. No indicator, 7x tippet, and a size 20 mysis shrimp. The fifth fish I cast on, I see the white of a mouth open. The line goes tight. The net dips down. Success.

Sunday Evening:
Where is my f#$%ing net?!?! Back on the banks of the gage hole at the Blue. Of course.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ugly Bugly

Ugly Bugly Streamer

Tube: Small Clear Tube
Tail: Olive Marabou
Body: Caddis Green Hareline Dubbing in between two strips of Sand Rabbit Strips
Head: Olive Hareline Dubbing
Eyes: Large Silver Dumbbell Eyes

Pre: Tie on Dumbbell eyes
1) Tie in Marabou at back of tube
2) Tie in backs of each piece of rabbit strip, dub any showing thread
3) Dub to front of fly
4) Tie off+ epoxy Rabbit Strips
5) Dub front of head and whip finish

This fly doesn't look great in the box, but it starts to look great when it hits the water! The fly pictures is wet. I recommend a size 6 short-shank hook.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Snapping Cane (Parody of "Splitting Cane")

After  a few missed tries at opening the door, I managed to ACTUALLY get myself inside the Laughing Grizzly. I was quickly greeted by Jake, the guard dog, and his companions Mike and Frank (not dogs). After quick introductions between me and Frank, it was time to get down to work. What work, you ask?
Bamboo fly rod making. Yesterday, I started the art of turning one stick into many small sticks, then back into fewer, slightly larger sticks. As Frank told me about the art of bamboo rod making, and helped me pick just the right piece of cane, some thoughts went through my head. They sounded like this: 1) Is this really going to be my home every saturday for the next few months? 2) That big rod on the table (shown below) looks a little big for Boulder Creek, and 3) Will I still have all my fingers at the end of today?

First, we measured out the length of the bamboo, which I didn't understand due to the fact that I'm not great at math. Frank learned this when he asked me some sort of multiplication. Umm, uh, well, what's the length of the average wiper? Then maybe divide that by 2?

Frank got the early measuring done fast, and before I knew it we were cutting the cane into halves, then thirds. What this left us with was pile of chopped wood. Chopped wood which Jake immediately grabbed a piece of and ran off with. We managed to get that piece back, not so much because we needed it (extra wood for the trash) but because we didn't want Jake to get any splinters.

One of my buddies, Rob Kolanda, was doing a tying demo in the morning. This meant that we couldn't run the belt sander and drown out his voice. This meant that I got to spend half an hour hand-sanding the nodes off the bamboo. After that was over, my arms needed a break.

We decided to pick out some pieces of cork and start building the handle of the rod. I listened to Frank's instruction carefully: Don't use pieces with cracks in them. The less holes, the better. Measure every piece individually. Don't eat that cork. 

Keeping all of Frank's words in mind, I started numbering the cork cylinders and stacking them upon one another. At this point I got to meet Brian. Brian is also building a rod, and stopped by today to work for awhile. Speaking of work, I'm still not really sure what he does. Something with phones I believe.

Our next step was having a nice, healthy lunch from the place down the road. You got it, a double cheese burger from Wendy's.

After lunch, we continued splitting cane until we had 48 small pieces of bamboo. This, Frank explained, was enough for two rods in case we made errors. Obviously, he knew about my previous work with splitting the other fine material: PVC for the kayak.

We ended the day by filing the tops of the nodes down to where they were almost invisible. So, to end on a fitting note, I leave you with a question: Will I survive the building of the rod? I will be taking bets on how many fingers hit the floor as of 8 pm Sunday night.