Monday, May 21, 2018

Paul's June 2018 Fly of the Month

Quasimodo Pheasant Tail

Hook:  Tiemco 2488 or curved nymph hook of choice size #14 to #20.
Bead:  Gold bead or bead of choice to match the size of hook.  A slightly over oversized bead is needed for this pattern.
Tying thread:   Brown UTC 70 or thread of choice.
Tail:  Pheasant tail fibers.
Rib:  Copper small wire.
Abdomen:  Wrapped Pheasant tail fibers.
Thorax:  Peacock Herl.
Flash back/Wing case:  Pearl Flashabou or pearl tinsel.
Legs:  Pheasant tail fibers.

Sometimes slight variations in the material and/or the profile of a fly can make a difference in enticing a fish to bite.  This fly is really a traditional Pheasant Tail Nymph with three (3) small variations.   First, it’s tied on a curved short shank hook rather than straight hook.   Secondly, the bead on the Quasimodo is slightly oversized.  Finally, the wing case consists of  Pearl Flashabou or pearl tinsel instead of Pheasant tail fibers.  I like to tie the Quasimodo’s as small as possible.  It is one of my ‘go to nymphs’ on the Farmington River.  There has been a great development with regard to Pheasant Tail fibers in the last 4-5 years.  YOU CAN BUY THEM IN DYED COLORS.  My two favorite colors are orange & olive. 

To tie this fly, begin by placing a slightly oversized bead on your hook.  The recipe calls for a gold bead, but I often use copper or sometimes black.  I believe it’s good to change up your bead color on a heavily fished tail water like the Farmington.  Also, because these flies are so small, adding lead is impossible.  To get them down I make sure I use a tungsten bead.  Next, wrap the shank of the hook with your thread.  Tie in three (3) Pheasant tail fibers for the tail.  They should be roughly a hook shank gap in length.   Tie in your small copper rib.  If I’m tying my fly in dyed orange pheasant tail fibers, I might use red wire.  If I’m tying the fly in olive, I might use chartreuse.  Next, tie in 1-3 more pheasant tail fibers by the tip.  Wrap them forward approximately 2/3rds down the hook shank to form the abdomen.  Tie and clip the excess off.  Counter rib your fly with the wire.  Tie and clip off.  You are now going to tie in approximately six (6) pheasant tail fibers for your legs (just like a standard pheasant tail nymph).  The tips should extend beyond your bead.  Ultimately, you are going to fold them back for your legs.  Measure them carefully for the proper leg length.  Trim and cut the butts.  Next, tie in 1-2 strands of pearl flashabou for your wing case.  Next, tie in 1-2 strands of peacock herl for your thorax.  Wrap the peacock herl forward and tie it off behind the bead.  Next, bring your flash/wing case forward and split your legs.  Tie & clip it off behind the bead.  When you tie it off you must fold your ‘legs’ back.  Secure and position them with additional wraps.  Whip finish and clip off your thread. If you like ad a dab of head cement to your wraps.

In The Riffle has a great video on how to tie this pattern below:

They also have a great website at . 

If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a Fly of the Month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or at .

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Paul's May 2018 Fly of the Month

Paul's Hair Bug

Hook:  Mustad #34011 (SW) size # 1/0 or 2/0 or preferred long shank hook.
Tying thread:   Salt Water grade thread such as Danville’s Flat Waxed Nylon, Big Fly Thread, or GSP.
Tail:  Small bunch of pencil size white buck tail extending 1 ½ times the length of the hook shank from the bend of the hook, over which is 4-6 white saddle hackles tied in deceiver style, topped by a small amount of white buck tail extending ¾ the length of the tail.
Body:  3 to 4 wraps of Bill’s Body Braid or metallic braid material of choice.  Just make sure that whatever you use is durable.  The body material should extend from your tail tie in point and cover 2/3rds the hook shank, leaving the last 3rd of the fly exposed.
Flash:  6-8 strands of Silver Holographic Tinsel.
Belly:  White Deer Hair tied in at the end of the body wrap.  It should extend to approximately ½ the length of the tail.
Cheeks:  On both sides of the hook shank tie in equal parts of chartreuse deer hair extending approximately ½ the length of the tail.
Wing:  Chartreuse deer hair extending approximately ½ the length of the tail.  (Belly, cheeks, and wing are all the same length.)    
Head:  Spun Chartreuse deer hair trimmed to a sedge shape (muddler head).  After trimming the head dab liberal amounts of head cement all over it to increase durability.  

This is one of my top 5 salt water flies.  Not only does it catch great numbers of fish, it is a “big fish” catching fly!  There is not much original about this fly but I’m still calling it Paul’s Hair Bug.  I have done a lot of reading about very similar such as the Black Angus & Snake fly.  Both have deer hair heads and are great flies.  The heads push a lot of water and the ‘movement’ of these flies really entices fish to bite.  One thing I have never read about is one technique that I use to fish this fly.  Many times I’ve fished over very deep ‘cuts’ at river mouths or in estuaries.  These are prime spots and there are usually a few other fly fishermen fishing there.  Almost all are using intermediate lines.  At times they may be catching some stripers but I know that at these locations most fish are located in the very lower portion of the water column.  So I fish a sinking line, maybe a 250 to 350 grain.  A possible problem is that you may now be getting your fly down to the fish, but standard flies such as deceivers and even clousers, tend to hang up if your fly is all the way down on the bottom.  By using a ‘Hair Bug’ your fly is so buoyant it stays 1-3 feet above the bottom, but still within strike distance to the fish.  It also moves side to side like a spin fisherman’s bomber lure and up and down between strips of the fly.  This technique has let me catch stripers when others could not get their flies within striking distance to the fish.

When tying this fly, think of it as a deceiver on steroids with a deer hair head.  Begin by tying in your white buck tail at the bend of the hook.  This helps to prevent the fouling of the saddle hackles you are going to tie in next.  Tie in 4-6 white saddle hackle deceiver style.  Now take a smaller amount of white buck tail and tie it on top.  Before you really bind it down use your finger nail by pressing against it to envelope the saddle hackles.  Next, tie in your body braid material.  Wrap it forward and tie it off leaving the final 1/3 of the hook shank exposed.  This will assist you in spinning your deer hair head later.  Now tie in 6-8 strands of Holographic Silver Tinsel.  The tinsel should extend to the tip of the tail.   Next, tie in equal lengths of White Buck Tail for the Belly, and Chartreuse Buck Tail for the Cheeks and Wing.  Now spin your deer hair (belly hair) muddler head on the fly.  The key to spinning a good deer hair head is to hold the hair in place for 1 1/2 tight wraps, then letting it go for your second and third wrap. Continue this process by pushing as much spun hair back towards the bend of the hook that you can. You want a very full spun head.  After you reach the eye of the hook, tie off your fly.  Now it’s time to trim the head.   When you trim it, clip the bottom of the head flat with a scissors or razor blade.  Trim the top into a round shape tapering down to the hook eye.  After trimming the head, place some head cement on your bodkin and dab it onto your head for greater durability.  

If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a Fly of the Month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or at .  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Paul's April 2018 Fly of the Month

Paul's Everything Hare's Ear Nymph

Hook:  TMC 102Y Size #13 hook.  This is a black hook in ‘off’ sizes.  Or just use any preferred nymph hook.

Tying thread:  Black or brown thread.  Collar hot spot of fluorescent orange thread.

Bead:  Tungsten 3.0 mm copper bead.

Weight:  Optional.

Tail:  Barred Wood Duck or dyed Mallard flank feathers.

Rib:  Red ultra wire ‘Brassie Size’.

Abdomen:  70% Hare’s Ear (sheared from mask), mixed with 10% gray squirrel, mixed with 10% Hare’s Ear Antron dubbing, and mixed with 10% assorted Ice Bub/Prism Dubbing (browns, tan, gray, olive-brown).  This blend was developed by Torrey Collins. I first posted it for tying Torrey’s Bead Head Hares Ear Caddis (found elsewhere on this blog).

Thorax:  Tan Ice Dub.

Collar:  2-3 wraps of Dun CDC feather.

Hot Spot:  Fluorescent Orange thread.    

I’ve said this a lot lately for recent ‘Fly of the Month’ patterns, “there is nothing original about this fly”.  I’ve stolen, borrowed, and copied the components of this fly from patterns.  I’ve tweaked and used alternative ingredients that differ from a traditional Hare’s Ear.  What led me to these changes?  Quite honestly, I never did all that well fishing a traditional Hare’s Ear Nymph.  I started fishing this pattern last year and now it’s an indispensible fly in my box. 

Begin by placing your copper tungsten bead on your hook.  Add 5-6 wraps of lead behind the bead if you so desire.  Start your thread behind the bead, cover you lead wraps and hook shank to the bend.  Tie in your wood duck or mallard fibers for your tail.  They should extend approximately the length of the hook shank beyond the bend.  Next, tie in your red wire rib.  Dub the abdomen leaving approximately 1/3 of the hook shank behind the bead.  You will need this remaining area for your thorax, collar, & hot spot.  Next, rib the abdomen with your red wire.  Tie and clip it off.  Dub your thorax with Tan Ice Dubbing.  Behind the bead tie in a Dun CDC feather by the tip.  Give it two wraps around the hook shank then tie it off and clip the butt end. Assuming you are tying this fly with black or brown thread, tie & clip it off.  Now affix your Fluorescent Orange Thread behind the bead, forming a ‘hot spot’ behind the bead.  Tie & clip off the thread.  Apply some head cement to your orange hot spot. 

If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a Fly of the Month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or at . 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Paul's March 2018 Fly of the Month

Monahan's Mangum Dragon Fly

Hook:  Gamakatsu B10S size #1/0 or hook of choice.

Tying thread:   Flat waxed tying thread or heavy tying thread of choice.  Color to match dragon tail.

Tail:  Mangum dragon Tail.  This is an Orvis product now carried by numerous fly shops.

Foul Guard:  50lb. test mono.

Body:  Cross Cut rabbit strip.

Collar:  ‘Bait Fish Emulator’ flash.

Head:  Fish Skull Mask #7 with 7 mm eyes.

Adhesive:  Tip of tail should be treated with super glue, ‘fusion glue’ or adhesive of choice.  It is also needed to glue the ‘mask’ to the fly. 

 You want a big fish fly that’s easy to tie.  Well this is it.  I first started using this fly last fall.  I only fished it in white but will be trying additional colors this spring.  
It’s easy to tie & cast.  I’m calling this fly the ‘Monahan Magnum Dragon’.  The recipe and tying instructions are based upon my friend Fred Monahan’s submission.  Fred is an HFFA member who is also very active in Cape Cod Trout Unlimited.  I know he is really looking forward to using this fly on the Cape. 

Begin by winding a layer of thread from the eye of the hook to the hook bend.  Next take a length of mono and crimp the ends flat. You are going to tie it in at the hook bend to create a horizontal foul guard. It should extend approximately 1 ½” from the hook bend.  After tying it in you might want to use an adhesive of choice for durability.  Next tie in your mangum dragon tail starting at the bend of the hook.  You can shorten the tail by simply clipping it if you like.  The species I’m going after with this fly are stripers.  I see no need to shorten the tail for them.  Some do use this fly for other species such as fresh water bass and you may want to reduce the length of the fly.  Also, for durability apply some super glue or fusion to the very tip of the tail. I have had an issue of the tail materials unraveling with heavy use.  You also have the option of applying a drop of super glue to the end of your foul guard and gluing the tail to it.  With your tail tied in near the bend attach your rabbit strip and give it a few wraps forward to create the body.  Tie and clip it off.  Now tie in your collar of ‘Bait Fish Emulator’ flash.  Give that a couple of wraps.  Tie & clip it off.  Your next step is to build up a fly head so that the fish mask will fit snugly onto the hook.  I usually take a few test mountings prior to affixing the Fish Mask.  Once you’re sure that it will fit properly, apply some fusion glue or adhesive of choice to the fly head.  Slip on your Skull Mask.  Use your thread to make a couple of wraps in front of the Mask. Tie off your thread.   Apply an adhesive to those wraps as well.  Apply your eyes to the Fish Mask.  Glue them in with adhesive, epoxy, or UV resin.   

You can see what great action this fly has in the water in the video below: 

If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a Fly of the Month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or at .  

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Presentation on Winter Fly Fishing March 7, 2018 - New Date

Naugatuck-Pomperaug Trout Unlimited
Ion Bank Community Center Building
270 Church Street
Naugatuck, CT 

Due to inclement weather in February, This presentation will take place on Wednesday, March 7, 2018.   The presentation is on 'Winter Fly Fishing'.  This program covers the preparation needed for Winter Fly Fishing.  It includes wearing the proper apparel, the needed gear, what flies to use, and the techniques needed to be successful in the winter.  Learn how the behavior of trout changes in the winter months.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the presentation at 7:00 p.m.  If you have any questions I can be contacted at .

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Paul's February 2018 Fly of the Month

The Usual

Hook:  Standard Dry Fly Hook.  Size #8 to #22.
Tying thread:   Fluorescent Orange 6/0 or 8/0 related to the fly size.
Tail:  Small bunch of hair from a rabbit’s foot pad.
Wing:  Larger bunch of hair from a rabbit’s foot pad.  Tied full as an upright clump, almost compara-style.
Body:  Under fur from rabbit’s foot.  Be sure to include some guard hairs to increase floatability.  Rabbit foots come in a variety of colors.  Grey/tans work great.  Also, I strongly recommend tying some up with a body of peacock herl. 
Head:  Tying Thread.

This is a mangy, scraggly, fantastic pattern. It originally appeared as a “Fly of the Month” over 25 years ago.  Recently, my local TU Chapter tied it at one of it’s Fly Tying Workshops.  It reminded me of how special and productive this fly can be.  It was developed by Mr. Fran Betters of Wilmington, NY.  He was also the inventor of the “’Haystack’ type flies which were the precursors to the ‘comparadun’.   

I’ve had such great luck with this fly over the years and tie them down to a #22.  I also tie them in size #8 and everything in between.  Why even the large size #8 ?   Well many years ago, HFFA member Max Ruggiero and I made the journey to Roscoe NY to fish the Beaverkill River for a week.   Late in the afternoons we would hit a ‘Green Drake’ hatch in a particularly slow section of the river.  The first afternoon we had very little luck landing fish during this hatch.  The trout had plenty of time to look at the flies that drifted by them and traditional green drake patterns were not working for us, or for any other fly fisherman on that section of the river.  My fly tying supplies on that trip were very limited but I did have a rabbit’s foot.  That first night I tied up a bunch of Green Drake sized Usuals.  Despite unusually long drifts, literally 3-4 minutes, Max and I did very well with that big usual pattern saving the day.

Here’s what I wrote about this fly more than 25 years ago.  Please note that back then I thought this fly could only be used to imitate sulphers, but it’s much more than that.  Change the colors to match the naturals on the water.

“This particular pattern is designed for emerging sulphers.  It has been particularly effective at dusk.  It gives the trout a very low profile on the surface.  Also, the orange thread shows translucently through the dubbed body when it hits the water.

Begin by wrapping the thread from the eye to approximately 2/3rds down hook.  1/3rd down the hook shank tie in a clump of pad hairs ‘comparadun’ style for your wing.  Measure the length carefully so that the wing is ‘mayfly sized’ when you stand it up.  Bring your tying thread in front of the wing and make wraps to stand it upright.  Next, tie in a clump of pad hairs for the tail.  Don’t be skimpy.  Remember the tail, and wing clump on top are the only means of floating the fly.  The tail should be approximately 2/3rds the length of the hook shank.  From the tail, dub the rabbit dubbing up the hook shank for the body.  Make sure to take 2-3 wraps of dubbing in front of the wing pad.  Tie and cut your thread off. 

This is probably the original rabbit’s foot emerger.  You will find that the pad hairs float the fly very nicely.  This fly is a double killer.  At the end of  your drift, try fishing it back wet with some twitches just below the surface.  Sometimes the fish can really zero in on this pattern and technique.  When I first started fly fishing I never fished this pattern much.  What a mistake.  If you are just learning to tie,  you can tie this pattern for virtually every hatch by simply matching the size and color of the natural.  A rabbit’s foot and dubbing can be purchased very cheaply.  You won’t have to mortgage your house purchasing expensive necks to imitate all the various may flies which can emerge throughout the course of the season.  As a searching pattern or during a caddis hatch, try substituting peacock herl instead of the white rabbit dubbing.”

Piscator Flies has a great instructional video on how to tie the Usual below:

If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a Fly of the Month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or at .  This fly can also be viewed on my website at .

Friday, December 15, 2017

Paul's January 2018 Fly of the Month


Hook:  Standard Dry Fly Hook.  Size #12 to #18.
Tying thread:   Cream or brown 8/0.
Tag:  Gold Mylar Tinsel, extra-small.
Rear Hackle:  Brown Hackle.
Front Hackle:  Cream or White Hackle.
Body:  Peacock Herl.
Head:  Tying Thread.

It is believed that this fly was invented in Wyoming by a man named Taylor “Beartracks” Williams in the 1920’s.  It was also a favorite of Ernest Hemingway.  This was one of the first dry flies I attempted when I was first learning to tie flies.  Why this fly?   Well, I was an inexperienced tier.  The Renegade had no wings so I thought it would be an easier pattern to tie.

The Renegade is a great classic fly.  Many fly fishers believe this fly doesn’t mimic anything on the water.  Some believe it represents midges mating.  Others maintain that it represents aquatic “snails”, of all things.  I only know it catches a lot of fish! 

The Renegade has two hackles so it floats very well and is visible in many lighting conditions.  Now I’m going to tell you about a little secret on how to fish this fly.  At the end of your “dry fly drift” don’t pick it up.  Drag the fly under the water and give it a few short strips.  You can also sink it early on in your drift and fish it like a wet fly.  I’ve had great luck with both these fishing techniques. 

Begin by wrapping your thread from behind the eye to slightly beyond the bend of the hook.  Tie in your Mylar Gold Tinsel.  Wrap it approximately ¼ down the bend and back.  Now tie it off.  Next you’re going to tie in your rear Brown Hackle.  Make about 4-5 tight wraps in front of the gold tag.  Tie off and cut off the tag end of your hackle.  Now it’s time to tie in the peacock body.  Tie in a couple strands of Peacock Herl.  Before I wrap it forward I twist it around my tying thread to create better durability.  Now wrap it forward.  Make sure you leave enough room behind the eye to tie in and wrap your Cream/White Hackle.  Tie in your front hackle.  Again 4-5 tight wraps.  Tie it off and cut off the tag end.  Create a head with thread wraps.

Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions has a great instructional video on how to tie this Bivisible below:

If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a Fly of the Month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or at .