You’re Once, Twice, Three Times a…what?

I just couldn’t resit the temptation to quote a famous song from Lionel Richie but I’ve noticed that for the most part; when I decide to try a new fly pattern, it takes me about three attempts before I “get it right.” That means three times to get my length right, three times to get the proportions right, and everything else that makes a fly attract fish and get them to eat. That goes for most flies I’ve tied, from clouser minnows to fluff butts to crab patterns and wooly buggers too.

Most of you who read this blog know that as of late, I have mainly been spinning and stacking deer hair to make poppers and frog imitations. For the most part, the same rule has applied to my poppers. It’s just I don’t always get the picture of my “first” attempt. In case you haven’t seen them, here are a few of my successfully-tied deer hair poppers.

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The good thing about deer hair is, if I am not totally pleased with my end result, I can just take the razor blade and completely give it a scalping and start over. Now, there have been exceptions to my “three times” theory…like for my first mouse fly: IMG_2687.jpg
My first baby birdIMG_2481.jpg

and my first frog imitation IMG_2691.jpg
where I actually got it pretty darned good the first time I tried the pattern.

That brings me to a variation of the deer hair popper that has been quite frankly, elusive to me, the Dahlberg Diver. Up until now, I haven’t tied them simply because I don’t fish divers very much. I love the topwater bite and the frog imitations and straight-up poppers have provided me with all the action I can afford. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t  try new variations and color patterns. So I decided to try the Dahlberg Diver. I researched the internet for various color patterns and even looked at a couple video “how tos” for some inspiration. Well, I have to admit. I nearly gave up tying divers all together. I wish I would have taken a picture of the monstrosities that I came up with. They were so badly proportioned and I even had two tries where I cut my tying thread while trimming the thing and then had to cut everything else off and start over. Finally, after what was probably my fifth attempt, I got it right.IMG_2684.jpg

I ended up tying two of those in the same color scheme before I figured I had it licked. IMG_2713.jpg

Then I played around with a couple different color schemes. IMG_2702.jpg
ChartreuseIMG_2716.jpg
And Fire Tiger.

In hand, and tied to the end of my fly rod, I am pleased with the results. After photographing and zooming in, I can see where I need to clean up my trimming, but to be honest, the bass will not care! However, with this heat pattern we are in right now, I may have to wait until the fall to give them a try.

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Redefining the word, EPIC!

I find the word, epic, is over used by many people. We see it used to describe many things and in all types of media. I think I’ve even used it on a couple occasions to describe a few of my fly fishing trips. My son-in-law has been married to my daughter for over 3 years and he still hasn’t been on an off-shore fishing trip. This man, who loves my daughter and granddaughter unconditionally, has NEVER really been fishing! WHAT!!! Well that all changed this weekend. We had a truly epic trip!!

First of all, Nandi, is a “city boy,” born and raised in Houston, Texas. For probably five years now, we have been trying to show him some of our South Louisiana culture. He has eaten the food, danced at the fais do dos, and he has even caught a fish from a kayak, but I wanted to put him on some real fish from our coastal estuaries. IMG_1109.jpg

We went on a chartered trip with arguably the best captain in south Louisiana, Captain Chris Moran. I have fished with Chris once before (ten years ago) when we chartered him to do a senior fishing trip for my son, Dustin.P1181383.jpg There are only three guys in the picture, but I can tell you we had six fishermen on board and we were happy with the snapper, grouper and amberjack we caught that day. This weekend’s trip blew that one literally out the water. The morning began when we pulled up to a couple of rigs to catch mangrove snapper.

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Here is Nandi with one of the 60 nice mangrove snapper we landed that morning. After that, we targeted big red snapper in deep water. We quickly caught a two person limit (12 fish) and then headed toward a couple of shrimp boats we saw out there. Shrimp boats are usually a place you can stop to put a couple of tuna in the boat. I wanted to catch a few tuna and watch Nandi eat some fresh sushi on the boat. That didn’t happen because the tuna didn’t show up. However, the sharks were very thick (I’ll post a video soon). We didn’t stay long and decided to try to catch some grouper. Meanwhile, I put my fly rod together and passed the time catching hard tails on a streamer that I tied for the trip. Sorry…no picture. We caught one grouper a cobra and a sea bass when we noticed a line of seaweed in the distance. That is the tell-tale sign of the “rip,” an area of water where the somewhat dirty water mixes with the beautiful blue water that sits off the “shelf.” We motored slowly near the weeds lookin for dolphin. No… not bottle nosed dolphin, but dorado or Mahi Mahi.  I kept seeing some small ones but Chris would not stop. Finally, we got to the edge of the weed line and I saw a few more larger dolphin. He slowed the boat and I hooked up with a small almco jack. I released it and all hell broke loose as a school of nice dolphin showed up on the other side of the boat. I made a cast and hooked up on a leaping 24-inch dolphin. After putting that fish in the cooler, I managed to catch five more before Nandi hooked a very large wahoo. We cleared the lines and watched him fight a man-sized fish for a change. He landed a really nice one. I’ve never caught one myself 🙂

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After the rest of the boat caught a few more mahi mahi, two bull dolphin showed up. The captain went nuts and started ordering us around. We kept baiting up with live croakers and sure enough, Nandi hooked up on one. His drag was set too tight and Chris thought he would loose the fish. He ordered someone to take the rod from Nandi. It was OK, because Nandi really didn’t know what was going on anyway. We landed the two bulls and called it a day. Our tally for the day was a six-man limit of red snapper (probably averaging 15 pounds each), a six-man limit of mangrove snapper, a couple of small grouper, another type of snapper (I heard was really tasty), a sea bass, 3 big trigger fish, about 15 chicken dolphin (5 caught on my fly rod), two bull dolphin, a cobia, and a wahoo. THAT my friends is truly, an epic fishing day!IMG_2664.jpg
I wish I would have taken a few more snapshots of some of the fish. Here are couple. The first is a hard tail I caught and the second is one of the dolphin I caught. IMG_9246.JPGIMG_2653.jpg

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The first red snapper of the day…not caught on a fly rod 🙂