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 . 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Paul's June 2017 Fly of the Month

Fly of the Month
 Joe Calcavecchia’s Striper Dragon

Hook:  Short shank salt water hook.  I prefer Gamakatsu SC-15 hooks.  This is a big fly.  Tie them on size 3/0 to 6/0 hooks.

Thread:  Heavy thread like Danville Fly Master plus 3/0.

Tail:  White bucktail extending 2-3” beyond the bend of the hook.

Tail wing:  4 saddle feathers – two white saddles with two chartreuse saddles paired on the side.  They should extend approximately 7-9” beyond the bend of the hook.

Flash:  Top the feather wing with 3-4 strands of holographic flash-a-bou, topped with 3-4 strands of pearlescent krystal flash.

Collar:  White bucktail.

Head:  White deer belly hair.

Eyes:  3 D eyes.

This is a great striper fly.  If you can master spinning a deer head, it’s a very easy tie. It’s a big meal and it will catch big fish!  I’ve tied this fly in white and chartreuse but feel free to experiment with whatever colors you prefer.  Black, yellow, and olive colors work well too. 

To tie this fly begin by placing your hook in the vice.  Lay a base of thread along the rear ½ of the hook shank.  Take a clump of white bucktail.  Stack it to even the tips and tie it on the hook shank extending beyond the bend of the hook.   This will be the support for your feather tail wing.  Next, pair two white saddle hackles, then place two chartreuse saddle hackles on the side of the white saddles.  You want to use long and thin saddles.  Tie them in above the white bucktail.  The feather tail should be approximately 7-9” long.  Above the tail wing tie in 3-4 strands of holographic flash-a-bou.  Top that with 3-4 strands of pearlescent krystal flash.  Next, tie in your collar of white bucktail.  This will prevent the tail wing from fouling.  When you tie it on the top of the hook  shank, after a few wraps, spread it around the shank with your finger nail.  Now continue to tie it down with harder wraps.  Now that you have the collar in place around the hook shank, takes clumps of white deer belly fibers and spin your deer head.  Tie off your thread and then trim a nice bullet shaped head.  Once the head is trimmed and shaped, apply your head cement of choice to the deer head fibers behind the eye of the hook.  Next, take your 3 D eyes and glue them onto your head.  You want to use a pliable cement to affix the eyes.  I  like to use goop.  Apply the glue to the back of the eyes.  Put them on the fly head but let the glue cure for about 5 minutes before you apply pressure to make sure they stick on the head.  That’s it. Go catch that monster striper !

Joe Calcavecchia of Salt Water Custom Flies has a great video on how to tie the Striper Dragon.  You can view it below:

He also has 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 . 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Paul's May 2017 Fly of the Month

PT3 UV BL Nymph

(Pheasant Tail Variation)

Hook:  Your favorite nymph hook.  Tie and fish these in sizes #12 to #16.
Thread:  Black or brown 8/0 uni thread.
Tail:  Natural CDC feather fibers.
Body:  For size #14 nymph, 4-5 fibers of Pheasant tail.
Rib: Thin UV mylar tinsel or krsytal flash
Thorax:  Synthetic UV peacock dubbing or UV peacock black dubbing.
Bead:  Gold tungsten or color of choice.
Hot Spot:  Red thread.

This is just one of the best nymphs going without any improvements.  Why mess with a fly that works so well?  Well there are a few added “Trout Triggers” here.  If your fishing a lot of TMA’s, sometimes you can do a lot better fishing something just a little different than anyone else.  So what’s different about this fly?  First, the tail with it’s CDC fibers, create movement.  Secondly, the UV enhancement makes the fly extremely visible.  Finally, it has a hot spot, one that is very unique in that it is located in front of the bead.

To tie this fly begin by placing the bead on your hook.  Place it in the vice.  Take your red thread and create a “hot spot” in front of the bead.  Tie and cut off your thread.  Behind the bead start your black or brown thread.  Wrap down to the tail.  Tie in your natural CDC fibers.  For a size #14 Nymph I use almost an entire feather.  It should be a little more than a hook gap long.  Now tie in your UV rib.  Next, tie in 4-5 pheasant tail fibers.  Wrap them forward with hackle pliers just as you would for a standard pheasant tail nymph.  Leave enough room for your thorax.  Dub a thorax with your UV dubbing.  Tie and cut off your thread and your done.  How simple is that.

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, April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017 Fishing Report & Video of Will Stone landed a Hous striper.

Fishing Report April 17, 2017

Upper Housatonic – The upper river is flowing at 1,800 CFS this morning.  Keep an eye on flow.  As soon gets down to around 1,500 CFS you can wade most areas.  Reports I’m getting that the first Hendricksons have been spotted.  I love to fish this river the first time it gets to a fishable level in the Spring.  I’ve always done well fishing to fish that haven’t seen a fly in a long time.

Farmington River – As with most rivers the recent rain should improve fishing on this river.   The reservoir finally has a decent amount of water.  Water flow is high than we’ve seen in a very long time. The river is chock full of fish, hold overs and recent stockies.  That being said, the reports of fish being caught have been less than stellar.  This may be the result of the water temps being too cold at the moment.  Also due to the increased flows.  Hard to tell.  With this heat spell the water should warm up and the fish should become more active.  There should be a lot more insect activity too.  The first Hendricksons have also been spotted. 

Smaller Streams – This is a great time of year to fish smaller streams in your area.  They are loaded with fish.  I’ve been out a bunch of times fishing the ones in my vicinity.  Unfortunately, I have not been doing well fishing them.  Most are flowing at higher than normal levels and the water temps are on the high side.  I’ve seen a ton of “little black stones” on all the streams I’ve fished, but the trout haven’t been on them.  Again, keep your eye on warmer water temps and increased insect activity. 

Lower Housatonic – The lower Hous is fishing extremely well right now.  You don’t have to match the hatch,  traditional ties of deceivers & clousers will do the trick.  Migratory fish haven’t arrived in strong numbers yet but the river is full of hold over fish.  Some of them are decent size fish.  I landed my first keeper the other night.  Unfortunately I sliced my finger open on the striper’s gill plated.  A new first for me.  I went home all bloody and looking like a serial killer.  Best time to fish the river is on the outgoing tide. 

Below is a video of friend Will Stone landing a spring Hous Striper:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Paul's April 2017 Fly of the Month

Blowtorch Tag Nymph

Hook:  Favorite jig, nymph, or wet fly hook.  I prefer to tie mine on a jig hook such as an Allen Size #10 -#16.
Thread:  Veevus 8/0 fluorescent orange.
Bead:  Copper slotted tungsten bead to match hook size, or bead & color of choice.
Tag:  Glo Brite fluorescent orange floss.  Three to four strands.
Weight (optional):  3-10 lead wraps of 0.015” for size 16 & 14, 0.020” lead for size 12, and 0.025” lead for size 10.
 Hackle:  Mottled India brown hen  hackle or CDC feather.
Ribbing:  Opal or pearl mirage micro-flashabou or krystal flash.
Counter-ribbing:  5x tippet.
Dubbing:  Hareline peacock black ice dub.

This is a nymph that produced a lot of fish for me last year.  It was “designed” by a fly fisher by the name of Devin Olsen.  He is a member of Fly Fishing Team USA.  On a trip to the Czech Republic, a similar soft hackle fly was being used by fly fishermen there.   He modified the fly design/materials slightly and the “blowtorch” was born.  In the past I’ve tied all of my blowtorches on a size #14 hook.  This year I’m also going to fish them on a smaller size #16.

To tie this fly begin by placing the bead on your hook.  Next, make your wraps of lead around the hook shank.  Push it forward tight against the bead.  Lock it in place with thread wraps behind and over the lead wraps.  Now wrap your thread down to the bend of the hook.  Take 3 strands of your fluorescent orange floss and pinch tie it in behind the lead.  Wrap your thread down the hook shank to the bend. Next, cut your floss (tag) just slightly longer than the bend of the hook.  Tie in your 5x tippet on the far side of the hook.  Tie in your opel/pearl flashabou on the near side of the fly.  Now, dub a body with your peacock black ice dub.   Leave a small gap behind the bead for your hackle.  Rib the fly first with the opel/pearl flashabou.  Tie and cut it off.  Counter-rib the fly with the 5x tippet.   Cut the tag end.  Take a prepared mottled brown India hen feather for your hackle fibers.  The feather is not tied on the hook shank and wrapped.  Instead, the center is cut out of the feather, creating a V wedge of fibers.  The fibers are then splayed over the hook shank, tied in, and pressed around the hook shank.  Cut off the butt ends of the fibers and create a hot spot collar with your thread.  Tie it off and apply some head cement.

Devin Olsen has a great video on how to tie this fly below:

He also has a great website at .

If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a pattern of the month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or e-mail me at . 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Paul's March 2017 Fly of the Month

Greg's Big Up Shrimp

Hook:  Size #4 Gamakatsu SL45 Bonefish hook.
Tying thread:   UTC 140 Shell Pink thread.
Weight:  .025 lead wire.
Body:  Spirit River Mo Hair Yarn, Muskrat Grey.
Legs:  White Mallard flank; topped with 4-5 fibers of yellow buck tail, topped with 4-5 fibers pink buck tail
Egg sack:  Slf dubbing soft shell dubbing (orange/pink color).
Eyes:  30 lb mono, melt ends for eyes.
Antennae:  Two strands of peacock krystal flash.
Body:  Spirit River Mo Hair Yarn, Muskrat Grey.

I don’t know why but there are very few fly fisherman out there fishing crab or shrimp patterns.  This particular shrimp pattern is a magic one.  It was developed by a fellow fly fisherman by the name of Greg Mattioli of Califon New Jersey.  I met Greg on one of my trips to Cape Cod.  We met fishing the Bass River during the May striper run.  He was really nailing big numbers of fish with this fly.  He was kind enough to give me one.  We’ve kept in touch since. The friendships through the sport of fly fishing are truly remarkable.

Begin by lashing two strips of lead wire to the bottom of the hook shank.  The lead is not wrapped around the hook shank.  Two strips are lashed on the bottom of the hook shank.  Next, tie in the mallard flank fibers.  The thickness of the fibers should be approximately ¼ inch wide.  Tie it in on top just around the bend.  It should extend about a hook shank length beyond the bend and angled slightly downward.  Scrape it with your finger nail to flair it out.  Next, tie in some yellow buck tail, 4-5 hairs max.  It should be the same length as the mallard.  Now tie in your pink buck tail, again 4-5 fibers.  It should extend slightly beyond the yellow buck tail.  Next, dub a little dubbing ball with the slf dubbing.  Now, tie in your mono eyes.  They should extend about about a ¼ inch beyond the bend of the hook.  Next, tie in two strands of peacock crystal flash for the antennae.  Next, tie in your Mo Hair yarn.  Wrap the body from behind the dubbing ball to just behind the eye.  A rotary vise comes in handy for this step.  Stroke the mohair fibers back as you wrap the yarn.  Finally, wrap, whip finish, and tie off your thread.  At each stage of tying this fly apply hard as nails or choice of head cement to make it as durable as possible.
To fish this fly, make a couple short strips, stop and wait.  It is particularly effective in estuaries, back bays, and anywhere else where there are shrimp populations.   This fly is a great producer.

If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a pattern of the month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or e-mail me at . 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Paul's February 2017 Fly of the Month

Charlie Place's Yellow Mustache Streamer

Hook:  Mustad 3665A Size #6. 

Body:  Silver mylar body wrapped from the eye to the bend of the hook and back to the eye.

 Gill/cheeks:  Bright red thread started from the eye and wrapped about a half inch toward the hook bend.

 Wing:  Yellow marabou on top of the hook.  Extends about twice the hook shank.

 “I make the bodies then cover them with head cement or whatever you use.  Then put the marabou on”.  – Charlie Place.

 A few months back a fly fishing friend asked me if I knew the instructions for tying Charlie Place’s Yellow Mustache Streamer.  Charlie passed away some years ago, and I didn’t know or remember how to tie the fly.  So I got in contact with a friend who knew friends that did.  Above is the recipe for the streamer.  An easy tie for even a novice fly tyer and it sure catches fish. 

I didn’t know Charlie very well.  Just enough to say hi and bye at fly fishing functions and meetings.   A few times we spoke briefly about fly fishing Cape Cod, a passion for both of us.  Unfortunately the timing was never right for prolonged conversations.  We were both very involved in the events that we attended.  That was my loss.  In seeking out the “Yellow Mustache” I went through some old magazines in my basement.  I came across a few articles that Charlie had written for On the Water magazine.  I had loved reading them back then.  Re-reading some of them now, I appreciate them even more.  I think Charlie captured the essence of what fly fishing is all about.  He viewed fly fishing as more of a life experience.  He wrote as much about his friends, his fishing surroundings, and passion for the sport, as he did catching fish.  I wish I had taken advantage of getting to know him better.  He was my “kinda’ of fly fisherman”.
You can view a tribute to Charlie Place on-line at  It also includes one of Charlie’s articles that gives you a great sense of what he was all about.

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 e-mail me at .

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Paul's January 2017 Fly of the Month

Pliva Perdigon Nymph

Hook:  Nymph Hook of choice Size #12-#16. 
Bead:  Copper, silver or gold tungsten 2.3 to 3.3 mm tungsten bead.
Additional Weight:  0.015” lead wire.
Tail:  Coq de leon fibers.
Body and thread:  Olive Veevus body quill.
Rib:   Chartreuse Veevus 140D power thread.
Hot Spot:  Fluorescent orange thread.
Wing case:  Black nail polish.
Finish:  UV resin.
Varnish:  Hard as nails.
This fly is originated from Spanish fly fishers and is very popular with “euro-nymphers”.  Why?  Well it sinks like a rock and gets down fast, one of the important factors in euro-nymphing.  There is no dubbing or hackle fibers to slow its decent in the water. 
Begin by placing your bead on the hook.  Immediately behind the bead wrap your lead wire.  Make 3-4 wraps with your lead and slide it tight behind the bead.  Move it right behind the bead to hold it in place.  Start your Veevus body quill thread behind the lead.  Tie in your coq de leon fibers for your tail.  Next, tie in your chartreuse rib.  Form a tapered body with your body quill.  Tie it off behind the bead.  Start your fluorescent orange thread behind the eye.  Using even wraps, rib the fly with your chartreuse thread. Tie and cut it off.  Wrap and form your hot spot with your orange fluorescent thread.  Whip finish and cut off.  With black nail polish paint a wing case on the top of the fly.  Coat the entire fly with UV resin, then harden the finish with your UV lamp.  Finally, coat the entire fly with “Hard as Nails” clear polish.  This will help prevent your UV resin from clouding or cracking. 
Devin Olsen of Fly Tying 123 has a great instructional video on how to tie this fly at below:

The video and instructions on how to tie this fly can also be viewed 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 e-mail me at .