Posts Tagged Fly Patterns

Better Late

Better Late . . .

Low Water: September

Low Water: September

The clay bank, high and vertical, gives way at intervals over time. Trees do follow. The other side, temporarily bridged by timber, emerges as a shallow grade of washed gravel and cobblestone. Low water, dry stones, holding sprouts of green in the shallows and cracks. Crayfish abound in the back puddles as do nymphs of caddis, mayflies, and dragonflies.

Riffles call for some kebari pale and fluffy to the casual eye. Many tenkara anglers tie and fish one fly only. September finds me most often opening the wallet or bottle for one best knotted onto 6x or 7x tippet: a primitive September Trico Spinner of black thread and rabbit on a curved hook in some size between 18 and 22. Another choice would be a size 16 or 18 dry fly hook dressed in Olive and Rabbit with or without a thorax of Peacock Herl: the September White Wing X Caddis. A streamer for slower water and meatier game goes to my standard Green Guarantee, size 6, 8, or 10. The body of Leech Yarn gives the Bucktail added motion, as this fly begs to be twitched and animated in authentic tenkara fashion.

September Trico Spinner

September Trico

September White Wing X Caddis

September White Wing X Caddis

Green Guarantee

Green Guarantee

My target, the quarry, this time became the fallfish, Semotilus corporalis, the grayling of the Mid-Atlantic states. Ones of size, like a fish I just encountered along a freestone creek over Labor Day Weekend, gives dry fly fishing an ultimate experience. The fish, strong, attractive, over a foot in length, sipped in a size 18 September Trico, one tied in a Manhattan flat.

“The grayling of the Mid-Atlantic states.”

The other fish of late summer, the Smallmouth Bass, Micropterus dolomieu, made its presence known to me on the very next cast. This one fell for a Green Guarantee tied on after sighting a smallmouth bass twice the size of the one in net.

Smallmouth Bass: September

Smallmouth Bass: September

More fallfish and smallmouth followed into a still evening that grew at a quicker pace than in July. A few deer showed off white tail and flushed. The green canopy held a dark gray where rays of sun once streamed. By the bank, the spot where I chose to cross for home, came first a pause for a large snapping turtle. Slow, dark and cragged, a small dinosaur, basically, cruised down the steam’s middle lane until the turn for a tree fallen and half submerged.

Turtle, home.

For me, above the opposite bank, began the walk down a gravel road toward town.

Angler, prepared to say: “Better late . . .”

– rPs 09 15 2015

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My “One Only” Fly

My “One Only” Fly . . .

Three variations of my "one only" fly pattern: Deer Hair and White Thread; Deer Hair and Orange Floss; Deer Hair and Gray Wool. (photo taken 02 28 2013)

Three variations of my “one only” fly pattern: Deer Hair and White Thread; Deer Hair and Orange Floss; Deer Hair and Gray Wool. (photo taken 02 28 2013)

The pattern that has best served me well and best represents my tying philosophy is a simple hybrid of a soft hackle and micro streamer. I use a wet fly nymph hook in sizes 10 through 14, thread and floss or knitting wool for the body, and a sparse hackle of natural deer hair. These combinations carry the same silhouette: one short in the body and long in the wing. Very effective when twitched in still water, or hung in a stream’s current, I would choose this style as my “one only” tenkara fly if pressed to do so. The pattern has worked consistently in pond environments for panfish and has always helped me hook chubs, fallfish, and trout along coldwater freestone streams.

The General Recipe:

Hook: standard wet fly nymph, size 10-14
Thread: 6/0 thread
Body: 6/0 thread; floss; or baby ull knitting wool
Hackle: natural deer hair; or Hungarian partridge

– rPs 02 28 2013

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