It got real cold here last weekend, and again this weekend. The wind has blown too. Not a little either... Windy like I dont remember it being kind of wind. It's knocked over 3 sections of a fence in our yard, and, blow the roof off the chicken coop too - ugh. Got the coop fixed but the fence may be beyond repair regrettably. C'mon April - lets ditch the wind!
That said, I took a couple hours last saturday and went "shed" hunting. If you are not familiar with this, it's the practice of hiking good wintering grounds for deer, and looking for the antlers which "shed" off the bucks heads every winter - generally between January and early March... Though my best "finds" have occurred in the first few weeks of January or even the week before or after Christmas. The ones just prior to the holidays were most often found while black powder hunting... That all said, it's a fun way to get a nice walk in the forest in. While I didnt find any antlers this trip, I found this old bucket - no idea how long it's been there. This land has been protected for about 50 years, maybe a little more, so I dont know if it's some how lasted longer than that, or if someone had it for some reason in here in the decades since. Neat to wonder about though...
If you try shed hunting, bring binoculars. They make it a lot easier to see antlers on the ground even 40-50yds away.
Ive been working on some flies too. A baby brookie variant I've been working on is below. This is on a size 10 finesse hook, with a #3 fish mask (I'm growing to like these even more). I've done this with an epoxy or UV resin head the last year, and this version I like better, a bit less weight at the head due to the fish mask and I think that will enhance the action of this fly. It's a craft fur tail over a light tail of pink shrimp ice dubbing (which is slightly orange more than pink). Then the fur and additional dubbing are blended and fed into a dubbing loop to make the body. Trim and walla - done. Earlier renditions have worked great on a localish tailwater with a booming wild brookie population... I think this one will be even better.
Later this spring, we will be heading to Florida to see my mother in law. So the itch to fill my Florida box is growing. Did up a few shrimp last night. The bigger ones are a variant of a fly that Lefty Kreh created. I did these as Lefty described in the version I originally learned about, but, I wanted to try the fish tails (I've been on a Flymen Fishing Company spree lately as you can tell) vs bead chain eyes. The larger ones are all tan craft fur. Marker colors the tail, the body is just spun in a dubbing loop and wrapped up the shank. Super easy fly... And just ugly enough to realize Lefty's genius :). the smaller ones I came up with at the vice last night as an experiment. Some rubber legs and pink shrimp ice dub bodies - super simple.
These little guys are a sort of variant. They are very similar to a fly I fish for trout and smallies a lot I call the Ugly Damsel, but these are white, bigger and intend to be fish like in the water - more Bronze Goddess ish I'd say... Good little warm water flies.
These are an experiment. Just a baitfish... white craft fur tail, pearl ice dub body CCG dumbbell eyes and some red flashabou for a throat - I tied these thinking of my local Crappie pond, but knowing they could catch anything.
Right now it looks like cold and some snow tomorrow, REAL cold this weekend (like 20 F for a high - ouch) and then low 30's next week with some solid snow possible Tuesday. I suspect I wont get to try these little guys out for a bit...
Have a super day!