Monday, February 23, 2015

Thanks Atlas!

UPDATE - 3/2/2015: I just saw via CTflyAngler  and PondStalker that Atlas has unexpectedly passed on.  Very sad news.  Very, very sad news.  The post below was laid out a week or so ago, after finally getting to spin up some flies Atlas had described on his blog.  He was the first to comment here, and has been a real pleasure to communicate with over the past year or so.  Sympathy goes out to his family!

Recently Atlas over at posted about a nymph he really liked called the "Shop Vac".  One of my favorite part's of blogdom, is learning about patterns I had not known of prior, or seeing other's creativity with hook, feather and fur.

What I loved about the Shop Vac, was that it was simple, used tried and true materials (pheasant tail, gold ribbing, peacock hearl and gold beads just can not be used wrong)... but added something I love:

A little white tuft.  Now, do fish think this is a wing case emerging or does it just catch their eye or does it look like LaFontain's "air bubble sheen"?  I have no idea.  But I'm pretty sure that it's a reason so many flies that could be a nymph but could be an emerger or even a small streamer (picket pin anyone) are so successful.

So, seeing this, I had to try it.  Fast, easy and fun to tie.  Thanks Atlas - I look forward to trying these out when it's possible to access our streams and rivers again!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

We all have our vices... and hopefully, our Dad's as well.

Well, winter is sure rolling strong here in the north east.  Nice storm tonight with 5-8" and some rain/sleet.  There's 4 feet of snow near the streams and just as much sheet ice... Fingers crossed March brings a good change.

That complaining aside... Something hit's me every time I tie flies... How much I love my vices!

The pic below was my first "nice" vice.  Like any one, I started with a very basic clamp vice with really big jaw face that came in a kit I was given for Christmas in the third or fourth grade.

I loved the heck out of that kit, but ultimately, an attempt to fix the paint on a bass jig's head resulted in a broken Jaw and the vice has long since left my "stuff box".

My parents have always felt that the way to help me find me - when I was growing up - was to observe what I loved, and foster that.  Sure, the pushed me with things that were needed and that I was not real into (school impacts fishing and mountain biking time... ), but, the felt I'd read more, learn more, and find myself better if they helped me foster MY interests.  They just didn't like the idea of pushing me to do what they did or they wanted... And it's good they did that.  I developed a unique career (endurance sports coach) as a result, and I've got some passions beyond my family which have stayed with me - because they were mine in the first place.

Love those two amazing parents of mine!

Any way, seeing I was over the moon for tying and fly fishing... and knowing there was a company a couple towns over that made very high quality vices, in either the 4th or 5th grade, my dad brought me the 15 miles over to Orange MA, and we knocked on the doors of the machine shop where they built Regal Vices at the time.  Bear in mind, I'm a hair over a month out from my 41st birthday, and Regal has moved a couple times and shifted ownership a few times as well.  Well, my dad always felt like, if you loved doing something, having really good tools was invaluable.  Both of my folks were teachers, neither came from money... But they knew quality was important.  So, that Christmas, my dad and I got a great tour of the Regal facility, saw the amazing machined aluminum body with cork drag reel they used to make, and to the immeasurable pride of a young boy, we walked out of there with a Regal vice and brass base.
This is that first Regal Vice.  A little worn and tarnished after close to 3 decades of work, and still very very well loved!  It's now my big fly / saltwater / bass / pike vice.

I tied with that vice non stop from that day until last summer.  Point blank, I'd not have changed vices - it still worked great.  Regals are bomb proof!

While walking around a fly shop in Maine on my side of the family's annual vacation, my dad saw me checking out a new stainless steel jawed regal with the pocket brass base.  I then moved on to pick up some pheasant cape and some other odd's and ends... I came back, and he'd bought me the vice.  After our son had been sick, he knew how stressful things had been, how tired we were and how much of a stress release tying was for me.  He just noted those things, and noted that, he'd bought me my first vice, and maybe I could give this one to my son some day.

I love that new vice.  It's so functional, but the finer jaw's allow tying of smaller flies to be simpler, and tying of average sized flies easier.  I didnt know I wanted it, until I had it!  But the part that's even more amazing, is that some time in the next 10-15 years my dad likely will be gone (hard swallow)... He's in his mid 70's, so you just don't know...  But I have these two amazing vices, and they are made far, far more amazing, by the story's, and the love that are "behind" them.

Thanks Dad.  For everything... And for my vices as well.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Guess The Location

Ok... As I await the eighth (or more) foot of snow to hit our humble region over the last month... I find myself thinking of a fun time last summer.

The pic below was not a fishing trip, though it would have been fun to seriously fish vs the 5' I fished about a half mile down stream just to "say I fished here"...

It was so lush, and it was a warm summer day.  The kind of day that is pleasantly warm, not uncomfortable.  The cabin window's were open that night, and the breeze off Gull Lake was awesome...

So, back on track... where was this stream?  It's about 18" to 3 feet deep here.  Solid current.  I could hold position well, but the 3 year old's needed to hold a hand for sure, or they were going over!

This pic is about 80 yards, maybe a hair less, from the exit of Lake Itasca in Itasca SF in north central Minnesota.  The stream... Is the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

Yep, this little 10-15' wide stream becomes one of the worlds great rivers.  Heck, even just 40-50 miles south in Little Fall's MN, the river is a very big, strong river.

Then again, consider the size the river reaches, the fact that it was such a substantial stream from it's start does guide you to realize it's on it's way to greatness!

I was a little sad checking this spot out, I'd hoped for a quieter environment... But there were at least a hundred other tourists like us checking it out... even having said that, It was really cool to see.  And, if you are ever in central MN, add in the trip north to Itasca to check it out.  It's really cool to see the start, of something with so much history!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Great Video

My wife is from Minnesota.  Prior to our relationship, I'd never been there... I'm glad I have been now - it's amazing!

A few years ago I started to follow the Winnoaflyfactory blog.  He does a great job with the photo's and text - the story's.

Today he had an amazing video about the driftless area of MN where he lives and loves to fish.  But the video touches on what I suspect all of us feel for our home waters and favorite places.

Take 10' and enjoy this - it's worth every second!  Just in case inserting the video does not work, I'm putting the link below.

Be well -