In-creasing your odds

I was recently featured in an article in the Louisiana Sportsman Magazine about the popularity of the crease fly. This fly has been my “GO-TO” fly the past year-and-a-half and I’ve caught over 100 bass on it in a year. The really cool part is, I don’t like spending money on a lot of flies. This fly is:

  • Durable – I haven’t kept count, but I’ve been able to catch 30 or so more bass on a single fly as long as a big one doesn’t break me off 🙂
  • Inexpensive to make – Hobby Lobby is my friend!
  • Quick and easy to make – Here goes

First, let me write this disclaimer. I did not invent this fly, so it’s not mine. I actually have to give most of the credit to Bill Laminack for showing me how he tied his and for turning me on to the beauty and simplicity of Lame

Materials list:

  • Gamakatsu B10S (stinger) hook in a size 2
    Thread (any color will do)
    The thin white craft foam with peel back sticky side (I measured mine and it was about 16th inch. It’s probably labeled in mm in the stores)
    The next size up craft foam (1/8 in)
    Craft fur (or buck tail)
    Pearl Lame (to imitate baitfish scales)
    Super glue (thin and gel)
    Mirage stick-on eyes (easy peel 7/72″)
    Permanent markers to color your fly
    Your finish of choice (Sally Hansens, epoxy, delta satin varnish)
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Step 1 – lay down a thread base, tie in a small amount of craft foam (or buck tail)  and secure with thin super glue. You don’t want the foam to spin around the hook when the big bass eat. If you don’t have thin super glue, you can use Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails.
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Step 2 – tie in about a 1/2 by 1/4 in piece of the thicker foam to the front of the hook. I believe this serves two purposes. It gives the finished foam more surface area to adhere to and it helps to make the front of the popper more buoyant. Whip finish and cut your thread. That’s all the tying you will need to do.IMG_0999
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Nothing Pretty Here. Doesn’t Need to Be!

Step 3 – I created a teardrop shaped templet out of card-stock to create the body of the foam fly. Trim the foam to the dimensions of the templet and remove the backing paper. Firmly adhere a piece of Lame and trim.
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Step 4 – fold the foam in have and cut a small piece off the tail to allow the tail material to pass freely.
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You Can See How This Material Imitates the Scale Pattern of Baitfish

Step 5 – carefully superglue the foam body over the hook to form your crease fly. It is important NOT to put too much glue or your foam will not stick and you will end up with a mess and probably glue your fingers to the fly. 🙂

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If you have trouble getting the foam to stick you can try using some mini clamps. (did I tell you that Harbor Freight is my friend too?)
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Step 6 – use a bodkin to apply stick on eyes, use a marker to color them up, and seal it with several coats of your favorite finishing product, being sure to coat it where the lame meets the foam.IMG_1008.JPG
IMG_1009.JPGI find that Sally Hansens is durable enough to do this with several applications but if you want to really break a record, by all means use epoxy, a very strong tippet, and this may be the last fly you’ll ever need.  AND you’ll catch hundreds of these. GOPR3548.jpg

IMG_1012.JPG           Here’s my saltwater version, jointed and measures 4 inches from tip to tail.

My Version of the Round Dinny

 

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I’ve been invited to demonstrate some fly tying for the CENLA (Central Louisiana) Fly Fishing Club in Alexandria at the end of the month and I’ve been thinking about what kind of flies I wanted to tie. I’ve tied simple foam spiders and other bream flies so I thought I’d do a more advanced session this time. I’m going to tie some Round Dinnys and probably some foam crease flies. To help with my tutorial, I’m going to present my recipe on this blog so tiers can use it to reference later.

First, I purchased some round cork balls on the internet. I think I got mine from Canada. 14mm-Cork-Balls.jpg

Here are the rest of the materials:

#10 kink hooks (http://www.jsflyfishing.com/mustad-signature-ck52s-fly-hook)
Marabou (http://www.jsflyfishing.com/hareline-extra-select-strung-marabou)
Black Whiting Farms Bugger Hackle (http://www.jsflyfishing.com/whiting-farms-bugger-pack)
Micro Rubber legs (I think I bought mine from Bass Pro)
Various colors of craft paint (Hobby Lobby is my friend 🙂 )

First, I cut a small slot in the cork with a hobby saw (again…Hobby Lobby is…)
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Then I used a thin super glue to set the #10 shank hook in the slot. I think I got my glue from a hobby store that sells radio control air planes.

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Then I use some Elmers wood filler to fill the slot and any other small imperfections in the cork.

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I then paint it with several coats of hobby craft paint and create the eyes. See this link to my friend, Ron Breaux’s tools for creating painted dots and eyes.(http://www.flytyingforum.com/index.php?showtopic=58016)

One it’s painted, I then put a coat of epoxy on it.

To tie the fly, simply start a thread base

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Add a small tuft of marabou (about a hook’s length)
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Add the legs:

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Tie in the hackle like this:

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At this point, I add a small amount of Sally Hansen’s or head cement to secure my legs and marabou.

Palmer it up (I use hackle pliers so I don’t break the hackle), whip finish, and add a couple drops of your choice of head cement. I use a bodkin to apply it. IMG_0656.JPG

You can get real creative with your choice of colors. I think the fish really don’t matter. The reason I use this chartreuse pattern is because I kept having fish hit my chartreuse VOSI (vertical oriented strike indicator). It’s a killer fly for all species of panfish and bass.

Happy Tying!

 

Spring Break Pond Hopping

Spring Break normally affords me several opportunities to get on the water. With a band trip to Disney schedule for the back half of the week, I made sure to get as much fishing in during the front part of my break as I could. I started with and after school/Good Friday trip to the lake behind a friend of mine’s house. The wind was a bit strong but I was determined to find some sacalait. I targeted the usual downed limbs and stumps and was able to land two nice ones on a fluff butt. FullSizeRender
On Good Friday, I was determined to catch a few more to fry for supper. I was able to catch one 14-inch sacalait and an 8 inch bream so Lisa and I had more fish than we really could eat. I caught and released dozens of small bream but wasn’t able to get one bass to play.

I woke up Easter Monday with the intention of trying to go down to Leeville for some speckled trout and redfish action. When I got up though, the wind was blowing just a little bit too hard for my taste, so I decided to hit the dam by my neighborhood lake to see if the bass wanted to play. After the heavy rains for Easter, there was a considerable waterfall by the dam. For about 20 minutes the bass action was crazy! It was like someone had thrown feed in the water. The “feed” was actually schools of tiny shad. I tied on a crease fly (Bill Laminack version) and was able to fool three hungry bass.

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This one was about 19 inches and was pretty close to three pounds!

Later that morning, I found myself up to my ears in work for school but I put everything down, decided not to answer any more emails or texts from band parents, and I went to my cousin’s house to fish their neighborhood pond. That pond has been “money” for me during past spring breaks. It was a very slow afternoon of fishing, but I did manage three bass, one sacalait, and about a half dozen nice bream.

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Shows pond bass

Tuesday morning, I decided to try a new fly that I had been working on. I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to “match the hatch” with these shad and I came up with this
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I had a hungry bass eat my new creation on about my fourth cast! I then hooked and lost a really nice one. The bite wasn’t as fierce as Monday’s (the water was only at a slight trickle) and I ended up breaking my fly off on the concrete dam itself. No worries, because I had the rest of the morning to explore the upper lake to see if the chinquapin bite had started. They weren’t plentiful but the six I did keep for supper were chunks. Three were over 9 inches and three were 10 inches plus! With the predicted rain for tonight and tomorrow, my spring break fishing is over for 2016. Time to take my band to Disneyworld for competition! Hmmm, maybe I can bring my fly rod! 🙂

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DIY Fly Drying Wheel Tutorial

In my opinion, nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment of catching fish on flies that I make myself. My favorite flies for bass are poppers and my go-to fly for redfish has been my gold spoon flies. Both of these flies require time on a drying wheel to cure the epoxy correctly. These commercial drying wheels can be purchased from anywhere form $40 – $100. I was looking to make one on my own for about $15.

Here is how I did it:

First, I disassembled my broken dryer and took the wheel and foam (thin piece of plywood with foam glued on it so I could reuse it. Then I headed to the party store and purchased a disco ball for $15.

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The unit has a colored plastic piece that screws on to a round black base that is then attached to the bottom base that houses the motor. I then predrilled and screwed my old wheel to the round base and then screwed the bottom assembly to a piece of small plywood that I attached to a stand.

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You can see in this picture the small stand where I attached my plywood wheel (I even reused the screws that came with the rainbow light for this). I then predrilled holes on another piece of plywood and attached the base mount to it using the three screws from my old dryer. I made a quick stand for it and I was in business.IMG_3214
I even chose to keep the light which will come in handy when I’m not doing this in our kitchen (don’t tell my wife 🙂 ) You can see old drops of epoxy on the wheel from previous use. I hope this helps anyone considering making one of these. It was a lot easier to assemble than the first one I make years ago. Since it came with that plastic round base (the one that screwed to the plastic bulb assembly, it made the whole project so much easier.

Dam it! Bass!

Well, I’ve given the neighborhood fish a bit of a break but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to fish the bottom dam again this morning after the torrential rains we had yesterday. It didn’t take long for me to be hooked up on a big bass…and it didn’t take long for me to try to overpower the fish and have the fish break my line. 😦 I never saw this one but he had to be 2 and a half to three pounds. A few minutes later, I had another one smash my fly but miss the hook. I started thinking that this would be another one of those mornings when the fish would beat me. I foul-hooked a shad and curiosity got the best of me. I cast the now wounded shad out where all the action was and let it sit for a spell. Seconds later, I hooked a small bass. It made one jump and threw my bait back at me.

Well, I remained patient and kept reminding myself, “strip set.” “Don’t try to overpower the fish.”  Minutes later, I was hooked up again. I kept my mantra going. “Take your time.” “Don’t try to overpower the fish.” I landed my personal best on my fly rod at 20 inches. I didn’t have my scale with me 😦 but it had to go over 3 pounds. It was early and overcast so my picture came out disappointingly blurry.

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I caught a second bass by the dam before the feeding frenzy stopped. It was 6:15 so I decided to put my kayak in and test the bream. I wasn’t disappointed as I caught a half dozen over 8 inches. The two biggest went over 10 inches.

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I noticed last week I had a few fish that tried to inhale my VOSI. I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased (on sale) a fluorescent green which was nearly identical to the color of the VOSI. For some time now, I’ve been thinking about tying an Accardo Round Dinny so I put together a couple of those and fished one this morning. I caught about a dozen feisty bluegill on it and a couple of spunky bass too. Looks like I’ll be tying a few more of those soon!

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Cute little bug, isn’t it!

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Summer Fishing 2014

Now that school is out, I’ve been getting more opportunities to fish in-between “honey-dos” and other chores. That means quick hour-and-a-half jaunts out to the neighborhood lakes either by foot or by kayak. If I get out very early, I can usually find some bass willing to eat a fly. By early I mean 5:45 – 6:30. After 6:30, they get lockjaw but I can usually get a few bream to play.

I did make a cool trip with my friend, Glen “Catch” Cormier last week on up to Lake Cotille and Toledo Bend, via Pirates’ Cove. We brought only the fly rods. The bream bite was pretty good, but like I told Catch, if I don’t see another 3-inch bream for a long time, it won’t be long enough! I did manage to catch 6 bass and get an entry in the Massey’s Tournament at 13.5 inches. Image

It’s nothing compared to the 18-inch bass I’ve been catching in my neighborhood lake but those aren’t eligible for this tournament.  I have been using shad flies on the neighborhood lakes early in the morning with some success. As for the bream, small poppers and a hare’s ear nymph have been the ticket. I tried my hand at tying the Cormier version of the hair’s ear and came up with three very ugly flies. I had a concert to play at White Oak Plantation today and I threw my hare’s ear at some bream today between my rehearsal the the performance. The baby bream were very willing to play as I caught and released around 25 small bluegill. I couldn’t believe the fish were eating my UGLY fly. I really need to post a picture here but I’m telling you it’s embarrassing. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures. I’m hoping to try my hare’s ear on some bigger bream in our neighborhood lakes. I’ll try to post some pics up when that happens.

 

Black and Gold Charlie

This is my first fly tutorial. I found myself sitting at home, two days before Christmas, without a car (it was in the shop) with nothing to do. I couldn’t fish, my school work was completed…so, I decided to try to invent my own redfish fly.

First of all, it’s really a combination of a gold fly that Stephen Robert ties and a Charlie that Mike LaFleur ties. I have to give them credit for the inspiration.  Here’s the recipe:

First, I started with some gold ribbon from an old Christmas present saved from last year, thinking that it looked like it would make good fly-tying material.

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Attach a gold cone head to a size two hook with some gold metallic thread. (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago). I actually didn’t get a picture of that but here’s one with the gold thread on it. I tied this fly with gold hooks and stainless hooks. I figure the gold will get destroyed by a redfish before it rusts 🙂

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I then tied in a thread base down to a spot just past the bend of the hook and cinched down the end of some of the gold ribbon.

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Wrap the gold foil ribbon to the cone, tie it in, and then push the cone back down on the ribbon and tie a jam on the other end by the hook eye. Be sure to push the cone down over the gold foil far enough to leave a place to tie in the wing material.Image

Then tie in the wing material. Here I used a small dump of black craft fur. Be sure to flip the fly and tie it on the correct side.

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Finally, whip finish and coat with your favorite head cement (zap-a-gap, Sally’s, or whatever you use). The finished product:

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I can’t wait to get to the marsh to try these.