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 .  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Paul's November 2017 Fly of the Month

Dave Whitlock's Red Fox Squirrel Nymph

Hook:  Tiemco 5262 or Nymph hook of choice.  Whitlock ties them in  Sizes #2 to #20.  It can also be tied on a curved emerger hook.
Tying thread:   Black or Orange thread.
Lead wire:  Approximately 8-10 wraps of lead wire.
Bead:  Optional gold, copper or black brass or tungsten bead to match hook size.
Abdomen:  Belly fur from a red fox squirrel skin mixed 50/50 with sienna or fox tan Antron dubbing or Dave Whitlock SLF Dubbing #1.  Abdomen should be ½ to 2/3 of the overall body length. 
Thorax:  Back fur from a red fox squirrel skin mixed 50/50 with charcoal Antron dubbing or Dave Whitlock SLF Dubbing #2.
Rib:  Oval gold tinsel or orange pearlescent Flash-a-bou.  For nymphs #16 to #20 use gold wire.
Tail:   Small tuft of back fur from a red fox squirrel skin.
Legs:  (on sizes #10 and larger) Metz dark ginger back hackle or back hackle of partridge, one turn. 
*Feel free to add additional materials like legs, antennae or shucks if you want to imitate stones flies or caddis pupa.

When I first started tying flies many years ago, there were a handful of well known ‘go to nymphs’.  Pheasant tails, Hare’s ear and Prince Nymphs were subsurface staples.  There was another ‘go to fly’ that is sometimes now overlooked by present day fly fisherman.  It’s Dave Whitlock’s Red Fox Squirrel.  Whitlock calls this nymph an impressionistic imitation.  It doesn’t imitate a specific insect but ‘looks alive, vulnerable, and edible to fish’.  Some fly fishermen/tyers swear that this pattern imitates stone flies and, when tied on a curved hook, caddis.

If your tying a bead head fly, affix the bead behind the hook eye.  If not place the hook in the vice and make 8-10 wraps of lead.  Place it in the middle part of the hook shank.  Cover with thread wraps.   Next tie in your tail.  The tail is comprised of a small tuft of 3 or 4 red fox squirrel back guard hairs and under-fur.  The tail length should be approximately ½ a hook shank length.  Next tie in your rib.  Now dub the abdomen.  In ‘the old days’ I would make my own dubbing in a coffee grinder.  In recent years I’ve just used Whitlock’s Dubbing blend.  If you make it yourself you can customize it to the type of fly your tying.  The diameter of your abdomen should be larger as you get closer to the eye of the hook.  It should be ½ to 2/3rds the length of the hook shank.  Next, rib your fly.  N ow dub your thorax, leaving room for your leg hackle.  Tie in your hackle and give it no more than one wrap.  Form a head with your thread, tie and cut it off, apply some head cement to your wraps.  You can fish this fly deep as a nymph or swing it as a wet fly.

Elkhorn Fly Fishing has a great instructional video on how to tie a Red Fox Squirrel Nymph 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 .  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Paul's September 2017 Fly of the Month

Paul's Golden Stone Fly

Hook:  Curved nymph hook of choice.  I use a TMC 200R.  Size #4 to #12.
Tying thread:   Wood duck, yellow, or brown thread.
Lead wire:  Approximately 10-12 wraps of .025 lead wire  (For size #6 hook).  Crimped and flattened with pliers to give the nymph body a wide appearance.
Bead:  Gold Tungston bead to match hook size.
Antennae & Tail:  Brown rubber legs.  Super floss can also be used.
Rib:  Medium Black Ultrawire.
Body:   Spiky Golden Stone Squirrel Dubbing.  Harline SLF Dave Whitlock dubbing in Golden Stone is also recommended.
Shell back & Wingcase:  Oak Golden Stone ‘Thin Skin’, covered with a coat of Solarez UV Resin
Legs:  Pheasant rump feather hackle.  Brown hen hackle can also be used.
Head:   Same as Body.

I hate tying Golden Stones, but I have no choice.  You cannot do without this fly in your box!  It’s an extremely large fly which requires more materials & more tying steps than most other nymphs.  The pattern is just a killer on the Housatonic & Farmington Rivers.  At times trout hit this fly viciously.  There are countless “Golden Stone Nymph” patterns out there and they all work.  Over the years I’ve tried to simplify the tying of my ‘golden stone’ and incorporate features that have proven to trigger hits and make the fly as durable as possible.  Whether you decided to tie this pattern or another version of a “golden stone” nymph, make sure you heavily weight it to get down deep.  That’s one of the most important techniques in fishing this fly.   You’re going to lose a lot of them, but it’s more than worth the price.  I use Brown Rubber legs for the antennae & tail.  I recently discovered how productive “Montana type rubber leg” nymphs are on the Hous & Farmy.   It led me to start substituting rubber legs for what traditionally would be goose biots on the nymph.  I also stopped tying in wing pads from hen feathers and found no drop in my catch rate.  Finally, I incorporated the use of Thin Skin for my shell back and wing cases.  I also treat it with a UV resin.  This increased the durability of the fly and gives it an appearance which mimics the insect better than traditional natural materials.

To tie this fly begin by placing the bead on the hook.  Before sliding it forward to the eye tie in two pieces of rubber legs behind the eye for antennae.   They should extend at least 1 ½ the length of the hook shank.  You don’t want to cut them too short.  You want them to provide movement in the water.  Half hitch your thread, cut the tag end, and put a drop of head cement on the wraps.  Then slide the bead forward to the eye.  Be careful not to wrap the antennae with too much thread. 

Next, with your lead wire, make approximately 15 wraps around the hook shank.  Slide it up behind the bead.  Affix your thread to the hook shank and anchor your lead in place.  Next take your needle nose pliers and flatten your lead to give the nymph a flat/wide profile.   Cover the lead with thread wraps and bring it to the bend of the hook.  Create a small dubbing ball and tie in two more rubber legs for your tail.  Tie in your black wire rib.  Next, tie in a piece of ‘thin skin’ and let it trail behind the hook bend.  The shell back/wing case must be long enough to extend the length of the fly.  It should be 2/3rds the hook gap wide.

Now, dub your abdomen/body.  It should extend from the tail to the midpoint of the nymph.  With your thread at the middle of the nymph, fold your shell back forward.  Tie it down but do not cut it.  Wrap your black wire rib forward to create a segmented effect on the body.  Tie and clip it off at the mid section of the nymph.

The remaining half of the nymph will be divided into 4 tying segments.  Dub the first quarter of the thorax.  It should be dubbed heavier than the abdomen.  Affix your ‘legs’ on each side of the fly.  You can do this by ‘notching’ your feather and tying both sides in at once, or one side at a time with feather fibers.  Repeat this process two more times, leaving the final ¼ of the thorax for the head of the fly.

Again bring your ‘thin skin’ wing case forward and tie it down before you dub your head.  Dub your nymph head and bring your wing case forward again.  Tie and cut it off behind the bead.  Use a little more dubbing to mask your thread wraps and whip fishing your fly.  Apply a thin coat of UV resin to the shell back/wing case and cure it with the curing light.  Finally, brush out your dubbing to make the nymph as buggy as possible.

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 .