Featured Fly: San Juan Worm + Variations

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San Juan Worm Material List:

Hook: Hanak Superb Jig Hook Size 16
Bead: Anodized Pink Slotted Tungsten 3/32
Thread: Red 6/0 Uni
Ribbing: UTC Small Red Wire
Body: Red Vernille (Burning the ends with a lighter can add to the attractiveness of the profile.)

Sparkle Worm Variation:

A #14 Sparkle Worm tied using Pink Pearl Core Braid.

Body Material: Hareline Pearl Core Braid

Tip: Melting the ends with a lighter will increase durability and add to the profile. Pearl Core Braid melts quickly. Be careful this melting process doesn’t leave your worm ends too short.

Squirmy Worm Variation:

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A Pink Squirmy Worm tied on a Hanak 450BL Superb Jig # 14 with a 7/64 Anodized Pink Slotted Tungsten Bead.

Body Material: Hareline Casters Squirmito

Tips:

  1. Exposing this material to head cement or excessive heat will cause your worm to melt or deteriorate.
  2. Using thin thread, or tight thread wraps will cut this material while you are tying it in. Try larger sizes of thread and start with loose thread wraps to avoid frustration.
  3. Purists Beware. If you are too “pure” of a fly fisherman these patterns will be certain to ruin your soul.

Whether or not you consider it a fly, there are few flies better suited to fly fishing high water than the San Juan Worm. I have no problem carrying worm patterns to effectively fish high water, or low water for that matter. To me, fishing a San Juan style fly to match the real worms that trout have no problem eating just makes sense. But then again, that’s me. If you refuse to fish San Juan Worms then so be it.

If you dislike a San Juan Worm, you will most certainly hate a Squirmy Worm. And come to think of it you will probably dislike the Sparkle Worm also. Both of them are other variations of the San Juan Worm that I also like to carry.

In pretty much every style of worm that I tie, I am prepared to fish in Red, Pink, and Tan colors. Although, other colors get thrown into the mix from time to time, such as Purple, or Burnt Orange.

Over the years, I’ve played around with using or not using beads on my worm patterns. In lower, clear water I tend to stay away from beadhead style patterns. In higher, dirtier water I tend to almost always use beadhead style patterns. I’ve really become a fan of using an Anodized Pink bead on many of the patterns. An Anodized Pink bead can be a great addition to red, pink, purple, and even tan worm patterns. Not only does it provide weight, but an Anodized Pink bead could be a trigger point, or hot spot. Some of this I think could be because the clitellum of an earthworm is sort of a differentiated “pinkish” segment.

Another interesting material that I have been playing around with is the “Glow in the Dark” Squirmy Worm. I doubt the material glows in muddy water the way it would in the dark of night, but maybe there is some effect. I have had success with them in dark, dirty water so I carry a few.

If you’re not to much of a “purist”, spin up a few San Juan Worms and the other variations to try. These flies could catch fish any day, but when you find yourself faced with high, muddy water you’ll be glad you have them. Tight wraps!

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Featured Fly: Frenchie Perdigon

Frenchie Perdigon Material List:

Hook: Hanak 260BL #16
Bead: Copper Slotted Tungsten 5/64
Lead Wire: 4 wraps of 0.10
Thread: Veevus Brown 14/0
Tail: Coq de Leon
Ribbing: UTC Extra Small Copper Wire
Body: Veevus Brown 14/0 Coated with Loon UV Flow.
Hot Spot Thorax: Danville Fly Master 6/0 Fl. Orange


I was made aware of the term Perdigon when I read a blog post by Devin Olsen of Tactical Fly Fisher. Devin has been a member of the USA Fly Fishing Team since 2006. From what I understand, Perdigons are Spanish style flies that worked well at the Bosnia World Championships, where Devin finished with an individual bronze medal.

Perdigon’s seem to be a new craze. To me, a “Perdigon” is a new name for a style of flies that are not necessarily entirely new. To me, a Perdigon could be defined as a style of fly created with a thread, or equivalent, style body coated with a cement or resin. For example, a Zebra Midge coated with cement could be considered a Perdigon of sorts. But that’s to me.

If you know me at all, it’s no secret that I place a load of confidence in Frenchie style patterns. When I was active in fly fishing competitions, I relied heavily on Frenchie’s. I originally started tying thread body style Frenchie’s coated with cement for durability purposes. I have recently added the classification of Perdigon to name this style of Frenchie pattern.

In 2013, I fished in a Team USA Fly Fishing NE Regional Qualifier. One stream in the competition consists of trout that are very drift sensitive in fast, deep water with tight hydraulics. This stream tends to be responsible for giving anglers “blanks”, or sessions without scoring a fish. I was able to catch a couple fish in this stream on the fly I am now calling a Frenchie Perdigon, which helped me finish 5th overall in the competition.

While the fly that I am now calling a Frenchie Perdigon is somewhat different than typical Perdigon flies, it has very similar properties. Thinly tied, thread body flies coated with resin sink quickly due to minimal resistance while falling through water. This gives an angler the ability to fish less weight in fast, deep water. Being able to achieve depth with less weight allows anglers to get slightly better drifts to help fool technical trout. For this reasoning, I feel that Perdigon style flies have a place in my nymph boxes.

This Frenchie Perdigon works well for me in the fast, deep water that I fish. I prefer smaller sizes such as the fly above that’s tied on a Hanak 260BL #16. Perdigon flies are fun to tie, and can be very effective when fished in the right situations. Tight wraps.

 

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Featured Fly: Compton’s Peeking Caddis

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Compton’s Peeking Caddis tied on Hanak 450Bl Superb Jig # 14.

Compton’s Peeking Caddis Material List:

Hook: Hanak 400BL Jig Classic #12-16 (Any jig or nymph hook of your preference would work.)
Bead: Copper Slotted Tungsten 7/64 (Match bead size to hook size.)
Lead Wire: 8 wraps of 0.15
Thread: Dark Brown Giorgio Benecchi 12/0
Rear Hot Spot: Glo-Brite Fuorescent Floss Lime Green #12 (Coated with Loon UV Flow or equivalent resin.)
Body: Jack Mickievicz Red Fox Squirrel, Antron, and Orange Flash Blend Dubbing


As I state before I introduce any of Kevin Compton’s patterns…

As per usual, there are never ending lessons to be learned about fly fishing that stem around resources from the small town of Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania. The newest addition to these resources is Kevin Compton of Performance Flies. I am thrilled to have such a great selection of fly tying materials from a great shop so close to “home”. Having become good friends with Kevin, we bounce a lot of ideas and patterns off each other. It’s always amazing how much can be learned from other anglers through conversing and exchanging thoughts, which is a great reason to stop by his shop. I’m always interested in discussing fly patterns with other tyers. An experienced angler knows that the thoughts around the design of the fly are just as valuable as the material list alone.

A peeking caddis is an especially great fly to use during the winter and early spring, but this pattern could really serve as a general attractor any time of the year. On the streams that I fish in Central Pennsylvania, the Grannom Caddis could be considered one of the major hatches of the spring. Compton’s Peeking Caddis has become a favorite pattern of mine to match this life cycle stage, and meet the demand of having an abundance of cased caddis.

Jack Mickievicz’s dubbing products are top shelf. Kevin uses the Red Fox Squirrel, Antron, and Orange Flash Blend Dubbing for his Peeking Caddis, and if you want the same results I would recommend using it also. Jack’s dubbing blends are easy to work with, unique, and just plain catch fish. If you are unfamiliar with Jack Mickievicz’s dubbing, check out his full line. If you already use Jack’s dubbing, right on!

The important Hot Spot, or trigger, in Compton’s Peeking Caddis is the Glo-Brite Floss wrapped in the rear. When I was chatting with Kevin about publishing a post for this pattern, the Glo-Brite Hot Spot was the area he wanted me to include some specific advice from him on.

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Lined them up in a Tacky Fly Box, and coated them with Loon UV Flow all at once.

Kevin said, “Make sure to note that to increase the durability of this fly it’s very important to coat the Glo-Brite Floss with some type of cement, or resin. I’ve found that when I tie them it’s much quicker and more efficient to line uncoated flies up in a fly box. After you have tied your set number of flies, then hit them each with a drop of resin all at once while they are lined up in a fly box.”

I also use this method while tying this fly. It’s easier, quicker, and a lot less messier. This is a solid method to use with many of the different patterns out there today that incorporate a coat of cement or resin.

Compton’s Peeking Caddis is simple, and effective. This is a great pattern from an excellent tyer. Don’t hesitate to stop in Kevin’s shop to pick his brain, and see a few of his flies in person. In the mean time, add Compton’s Peeking Caddis to your fly box. Tight wraps!

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Featured Fly: UV Braider PT (Pheasant Tail)

UVB PT tied on #14 Fulling Mill Jig Force.
UV Braider PT tied on #14 Fulling Mill Jig Force.

UV Braider PT Material List:

Hook: Fulling Mill Jig Force #14 (A jig or nymph hook of your preference would work.)
Bead: Silver Slotted Tungsten 7/64 (Match bead size to hook size.)
Lead Wire: 6 wraps of 0.15 (Match wire diameter to hook wire diameter.)
Thread: Veevus Brown 14/0
Tail: Coq de Leon
Ribbing: UTC Small Silver Wire
Body: Natural Pheasant Tail Fibers (Pictured is a clump of 4 fibers.)
Wingcase: Sybai Pearl Braidback 2.5mm – Dark Ultraviolet
Thorax: Wapsi SLF Squirrel Dubbing Dark Brown


As I state before I introduce any pheasant tail variation…

Pheasant tail variations are not new. Many fish have been caught on flies much like this one. This pheasant tail variation is really nothing special, but that’s exactly why it’s special. It’s a simple & effective fly that I have developed a lot of confidence in. If you took a glance at my fly boxes, it would not take you very long to realize that I carry a large number of pheasant tail variations. Is it really necessary to have so many similarly tied flies with just little discrepancies? Maybe not, but there are times that I feel they all have their place.

A lot of fly patterns and variations are a result of acquiring new materials. I stumbled upon Sybai Dark Ultraviolet Pearl Braidback in Kevin’s Performance Flies Shop in Spruce Creek. I thought a silver bead and silver wire rib would suite the color of the the Dark UV Braidback on a pheasant tail variation. During 2016 the UV Braider PT accounted for many trout in the net, and earned a permanent spot in my nymph boxes.

Orange is a favorite "hot spot" color of mine. Sybai Pearl Braidback is available in a variety of colors such as Orange.
Orange is a favorite “hot spot” color of mine. Sybai Pearl Braidback is available in a variety of colors such as Orange, Green, Brown, Light Pink, etc .

Is it just a flashback pheasant tail with different material? Sure, but I think Sybai Pearl Braidback holds a slighty different appeal to the trout. One characteristic of the Sybai Pearl Braidback that I feel is unique is how translucent it appears after being coated with Loon UV Flow. What I love about simple little variations like the UV Braider PT is this fly could work any given day on any water. It’s a simple, effective fly that is a bit differentiated from typical pheasant tail patterns. Tight wraps!

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Featured Fly: Pat’s Rubber Legs

Ginger/White tied on Knapek Jig Hook #4.
Ginger/White tied on Knapek Jig Hook #4.

Pat’s Rubber Legs Material List:

Hook: Jig or Long Nymph Hook #4-10 (TMC 200R or equivalent would work.)
Bead: Gold Tungsten or Brass (Match bead size to hook size.)
Lead Wire: 8-12 wraps (Match Diameter to Hook Wire Diameter.)
Thread: Brown 6/0
Body: Wapsi Variegated Chenille Medium
Legs: Wapsi Spanflex (Medium for #4-6, Small for #8-10)


Tying stonefly patterns can be complex, very time consuming, and give many fly tyers a headache. A Pat’s Rubber Legs, or Girdle Bug, is a simple stonefly nymph that is a solution to that problem. While complex stoneflies can be very fun to attempt, trout will still eat the simple stuff. Not only is this style of stonefly nymph easy to tie, but I truthfully think it out fishes many more complex patterns on most days.

On a stream where stoneflies are a major source of food, you will never find me without patterns such as a Pat’s Rubber Leg’s or Girdle Bug. I find these flies to be especially effective during the winter mouths when trout can find it hard to pass up a larger meal. There is a wide range of color options for this pattern, but I usually do the best with Ginger/White, Black/Coffee, Brown/Yellow, and Light Olive/Brown. I almost always use Brown Wapsi Spanflex for legs on all the color options I tie.

The only part of this fly that can be a bit problematic to master are the 3 sets of legs in the front. Some tyers use more or less, but I have found 2 tails in the back and 3 sets of legs on the front to be proficient. I like to tie in one set of legs at a time by placing the Spanflex perpendicular to the hook shank, and securing it with a couple of figure eight wraps. See image below:

To me, tying the sets of legs in using this method seems quicker and easier to position them properly. It also seems to make quickly wrapping the chenille between each set of legs a little less of a hassle. If this method works for you, great. If not, there are certainly many ways to achieve the desired result. Tight wraps!

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