Thursday, December 29, 2011

In The Spirit Of Winter Angling

New Year's Day is often shrouded in a blanket of deep snow here in New England.  Arriving at the river early usually means frozen guides and enough layers of clothing to make mobility a bit harder than usual.  The only things that will stop me from being out, this hallowed season opener, will be single digit temperatures or very dangerous driving conditions.  It's looking pretty good on both counts right now with clear skies and temperatures in the mid to upper thirties..

This is a day that can be very special and seems to be gaining interest, as my email has been active with inquiries from friends wanting to be out and on the water.   January 1 is imprinted in my being and is not one I want to miss.

Today, I had the dog out back for a walk and it is the first time this year the trees were cracking in a stiff wind.  The pond down the street should be solid with skaters playing hockey but is still open water.  I keep thinking that the law of averages is going to be demanded and January is going to be hard to take.  The North Atlantic Oscillation is telling me the colder temps should hold off for a few days at least.

For now, I am in front of a fire reflecting on one of the finest angling years of my life and looking forward to Sunday to get it started again.  My fly box has been readied for a month now with a great winter selection of proven winners.  The high water of early December has leveled to a perfect flow and the snow cover starting to accumulate in the North Country will keep levels safe.

There are many great places to fish during winter.  So many avid anglers don't take part in the off season and are missing some great fun.  Think about the possibilities near you.  Is there a post spawn Brown Trout river with a dam above the area you fish.  How about a lake with a dam that releases water to meet winter levels and harbors Landlocked Salmon and trout that might emigrate.  Good places to swing a Black Ghost for sure.  Think about where the fish would be during the middle of winter and you just might find a rainbow.........I'm just saying...........

Wishing you a safe and wonderful New Year with many adventures and a few big fish......


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Joy Of Tube Flies

In my opinion, tube flies are just plain fun. I don't need any other reason to tie them and try them. I will do my best to offer the pro's and con's.


A tube fly, based on material, length and shape can be both lighter or heavier than flies tied on hooks.

A tube fly can be much longer with the hook in the back of the fly without creating damaging leverage.

The hook size of a tube fly can be changed according to situation and fish species.

You can make plastic tube flies hitch or skitter for salmon.

A tube fly will accept cone heads, bead chain and baffles with ease directly on the tube as you are tying.


Sorry, I can't think of any.

There are many different size and weight of tubes available on the commercial market. The range of fly structure is substantial. From straight style ranging in plastic to tungsten, from H.M.H., to the various shapes of metal from Eumer and ProTube, to all the different bottle tubes made in Europe. Your choices are endless.

Here is a tube within a tube constructed Scandinavian style fly that I would use for salmon on heavy rivers as well as Steelhead everywhere.

The reason for using tubes on long flies is the most important positive characteristic to me. Take a Carrie Stevens style streamer for example. These well noted and documented gems of New England lore and crafted on special long hooks were made this way so that the point is at the back of the streamer. The leverage from line to hook point caused by the long shank of these hooks is very damaging when the fish is thrashing about. A tube fly separates from the hook and causes less damage toward a live release practice. Also you will land more fish, should you like the table fare, because the leverage does not rip out the hook.

Tube flies will get weight added as you are tying the fly. Stacking cones with a palmared hackel between each is possible. With hooks you must apply the weight first and then tie toward the weight.

A tube fly is made with a small diameter connecting tube that holds the hook in place. This allows for quick change of a tail that can have different materials and colors for accent to the fly. Adding that little plume of red marabou with a bit of crystal flash just might be the ticket.

Hitching for salmon in summer is as simple as drilling holes at the side of the head and threading your leader through the hole.

I have now tied many tubes over the last ten years for Atlantic Salmon and am working on steelhead patterns to swing with an 8 weight switch rod. I will give you an up date as soon as I have a few flies to show. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

If you want to know more about tube flies please e-mail me a

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fly Tying Tip #124

I find it very hard to be purchasing my tying materials on line.  Standard items like brand name hooks and a number of synthetics that I know well are not the issue.  Fur, feathers and the vast array of new items becomes a factor.   A smarter way, be it more time consuming, is to visit your best fly shop and bring the materials with you that you intend for a pattern.  Compare color vibrancy and contrast with the materials you need to purchase to complete the fly.  This will also give you a good idea if the items you purchased in the past are of high enough quality as well.  Size and quality can be worked around but color and dying variation can not.  Inspect the entire inventory at the shop and pick what will be the best.  Ask the shop owner their opinion.  Having that person to talk with is worth the price of admission.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sometimes At Berry Brook They Are Just An Illusion.........

Each year I spend some time at Berry Brook in Rye, New Hampshire.  This location has the possibility to reward you with a sea run Brown Trout that can be as large as eight pounds.   I always try to fit in a day or two during December to stop and watch the water.  I don't even take the rod from the car unless I see a fish.  The rod has left the car three times over the last fifteen years.

Today was just a beautiful morning with the sun shinning and a constant wisp of high clouds moving from the South West.  From Brackett Street you have a good vantage point by standing on the river right up stream corner of the bridge.  Remember these are large fish you are hunting and the slightest turn will cause the water to move.  I keep my eyes moving from above to below the bridge.  Fifteen minutes moves to an hour and I am now forcing myself to stay.  On the down river side I am doing my best to wait for the tide to start to build with the hope of a fish moving up.  On the up river side I am hoping for a fish that has traveled and is in the deeper holding pool.  I have seen them in both these locations yet the only action has been below the bridge on an in coming tide.

As angling accomplishments go, the illusive Brown Trout of Berry Brook still rank high on my stringer list.  Hooking two and landing none has kept it out of reach.  I'm sure that I will continue to show up a few times a year when the time is right.  Today was just another day spent with an illusion.......