Drowned Hopper – a Life Saver Fly

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

dh-jasonEarlier this year I invited a new friend, Jason, I made at church to join me on one of my favorite stretches. There was an ulterior motive; a beaver family resides in that stretch and kept scaring the living bajeebies out of me (not that I have any of those, or that they are living) when they slap their tails a few feet away from me in the dark. My friend is a trapper. He is also a spin caster who is at least open to the better way of fly fishing.

It was early in the season and it turned out the fish were very lethargic. I mostly guided him for the first hour or so hoping he would connect with a couple of fish. He never turned  or saw a fish with a variety of spinners and small minnow crankbaits. Eventually I sent him downstream to another hole that should have been good. While he was gone I refished the last stretch he had fished; I knew fish were probably there. Sure enough, by the time he returned fishless from the other hole, I had already landed three fish. I gave him a quick casting lesson and he landed his first fly rod caught trout in short order. We traded the fly rod back and forth for the remainder of the outing and caught several more fish. By the end of the outing it was clear he was an excellent fisherman.

Because of that first trip we compare notes every so often as he goes back to the same area to fish. Late in August, he texted me the photo of himself with a 16” brown he had caught that afternoon with his father. I quickly responded and asked what he had caught it on.

His response was short and to the point, “Grasshopper!”

I saw him at church later that week and I asked how he was able to cast the grasshopper with his spin casting rod.

He replied, “It wasn’t hard as the grasshopper is so light.”

Continue reading → Drowned Hopper – a Life Saver Fly

Reel Aggravation

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

Please indulge me while I verbosely ease my way into a useful little gear tip:

I learned a long time ago that 50% of most kinds of physical pain is fear.  Take a fall, something hurts like blue blazes, you find yourself limping and grimacing and groaning into the doctor’s office to get an x-ray…then you hear “just a deep bruise, nothing to worry about,” and as you leave it suddenly doesn’t hurt half as much.

Aggravation can be like that too, and I’m here to offer that “just a bruise, easily resolved” assurance for one particular fly fishing annoyance.

The aggravation I have in mind fell out of a few gear decisions I’d made.  I typically use a 5-weight rod of my own build, which worked fine for years until I fought a big Chinook on it for over three hours…and realized later that I could feel a “shifting” in the cork grip, left, right, left, whenever I cranked in line.  Maybe just a millimeter each way, but I could feel it.  Naturally I was terrified that the cork grip of a rod I’d spent hundreds of hours building had broken loose inside and was no longer glued firmly to the blank.  I feared that the epoxy I’d used had been old and had come loose under that epic battle’s load.

Figure 1 – Extraneous Motion

Continue reading → Reel Aggravation

Chat With Pro Tyer Tim O’Neil

By: Paul Beel, J. Stockard Pro Tyer Team Leader; Interview with Tim O’Neil, Hockessin, DE, You can find Tim @: www.instagram.com/oneillsflyfishing/

This post is part of a series of interviews with our J. Stockard Pro Tyers. We hope the series gives you some ideas on various materials, tools, flies or styles of tying you may want to try yourself. We also want to focus on our Pros thoughts on tying for a specific species of fish.

We appreciate you reading our blog and hope you might submit a blog yourself. You can use the form link to the right or send your blog post straight to [email protected]. Thank you!

1. What type of trends in tying have affected you in the past or at this time?
The big, articulated flies are a favorite of mine. I love the stuff by Kelly Galloup, Mike Schmidt, and Blane Chocklett.

2. Are there any newer tools or materials out right now that you really enjoy tying with?
I really like the great dubbing brushes from Enrico Puglisi and Fair Flies.

3. What are some of your favorite materials and why are they your favorite?
I love Marabou. It is such a versatile material, you can use it in many different ways, it comes in every color in the rainbow, it is cheap and very readily available.

4. What is your favorite fly tying vise? Tell us about it. Do you have more than one favorite?
There are other vises other than the Norvise???

5. Is there a specific fishing trip that really stands out in your mind? Do you have any upcoming trips planned?
We have Steelhead, Albie and Redfish trips on the books as of now. My dream would be Golden Dorado in Bolivia.

6. What are some of your favorite flies to tie?
I love tying all types of flies, I really enjoy Trout Nymphs. Smallmouth poppers are fun as well. Right now I am REALLY into Intruder type swinging flies for Steelhead.

7. What are some of your favorite fish species and why?
Trout because that is what I learned on, Smallmouth because that is what I fish for the most and my “new” favorite are Redfish just because sight fishing off of a bow of a skiff is AWESOME!

8. What type of fly rod do you like to use? Can you tell us a little about a couple of your setups? Rod, reel, line, leader?
I am an ambassador for TFO. I really like the Axiom II X series as well as the new Legacy series. My go to rod would be a 9′ 7 weight with an Intermediate line. I do 95% of my smallmouth fishing with this rig.

9. Are there any classic flies that you take inspiration from?
Every fly out there today draws inspiration from a classic pattern.

10. If you tied some flies to fill a fly box to target your favorite river, what specific flies would be in it?
It would be a Smallmouth box for sure, there would be Clouser Minnows, O’Neill’s JR Snot Rocket, Viking Midge, Game Changers, O’Neills Twist-N-pop, Clawdad, and swinging D’s.