Largemouth Bass Lineup

Largemouth Bass Lineup

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Care Package Heading Out To AFA

Here is a care package I put together to send to the African Fly Angler. AFA has been fly fishing for a while now but only recently started pursuing the bass.  I thought I would whip up some poppers, bees, and Road Kills for him to use.  I can't wait to see how the bass react to these flies down there.

A Day in the Life of J & M Flies-The Bench!

As I was sidelined from work again today with diverticulitis, I was able to get some work done on the flies.  I have been tying up a storm regarding popper bodies.  We are building our stock up for the coming season.  So hooks were threaded, bodies were seated and glued and eyes were painted.  I figure before I do any tying for me, I need to do some for the business.

I started looking around and thought I would share a day in the life at J & M Flies, specifically the bench.  First up, my trusty companion.  He actually isn't even my dog.  He is the youngest one's dog.  Mine couldn't be bothered to get up off her couch to come and see me.

The bench area itself:

The Poppers.  These are painted and are having their eyes done.  After this post it will be on the stippling.

I think I need more paint.  All this paint and we really only do eight body colors currently.  Hoping to change that this winter:

Foam, Dubbing, and Chenille:

Last but not least this mess.  I refuse to open the drawers and photograph them.  It will only reaffirm my wife's belief that I am addicted to buying fly tying supplies and have too much stuff.  These drawers contain all my deer hair, bucktail, squirrel, rabbit, calf, fox, hackle, legs, and other stuff I can't even remember.

So there you have it.  I have been up to my eyeballs in poppers today.  You also got a peek at our bench and   the company we keep!  Hope you enjoyed it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Gill Or Not To Gill... That Is The Question

Still working on the streamer pattern.  I broke down and bought some Clear Cure Goo yesterday.  While waiting, I wanted to play around with some color combos.  Here is one I have been working on.  The chartreuse got a little washed out with the lighting but I think the photo does it justice.  Now, should I add red Congo Hair for the gills or not?  Let me know.

Harman's Day 4 Round 2 2011-Morning Session

My last day at Harman's.  Usually, as this was our third trip, I fish in the morning while the wife packs up.  We have to be out of the cabin by 1100 so I tend to fish until 0930 or 1000.  This leaves me enough time to pack the car and hit the head before leaving.

I woke up and as I always do, I peeked outside.  It was raining.  I wasn't surprised to see the rain as it had started the night before.  I checked the stream from the porch and it looked fish able.  This, however, did surprise me based upon the rain we got the night before.  I looked around for a bit and noticed some other people fishing.  I could see that the water was still clear.  It looked fine to fish.  I, however, did not fish it.  I decided that since I didn't bring a raincoat and I had done well, I would sit this one out.  There is something about angering the fish gods and pushing your luck.  Up until this point, I had caught 25 fish.  The break down went like this: 8 creek chubs/fall fish, 1 smallie, 3 browns, and 13 rainbows.  Some of those rainbows were the biggest I have ever caught.  Period.  So I guess what I am saying is that I couldn't complain.  I had a great time and I caught more fish, bigger fish at that, than I expected.  The weather was fine for November, maybe even great.  The rain held off until the last night!  So, I decided to sit and read some fly fishing and tying magazines, drink coffee, and smoke a cigar.  I needed to catch up on my reading and I wanted to savor the moment of what was some wonderful fishing.  I know it sounds lame but I know some of you will understand and can relate.

So there you have it.  The second round of fishing at Harman's was complete.  Another 25 fish added to the log book.  I had a great time.  Some of those fish took me for a ride on my 3wt.  It was awesome.  I can't wait to come back again.  I am hoping to make the trip again in May of 2012 but we will have to wait and see.  If I do, I will need a bigger rod for sure!

Here are some views of Harman's with some being from the porch of cabin 12:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Harman's Day 3 Round 2 2011-Evening Session

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up.  I got benched recently with another case of diverticulitis.  Now back to our feature presentation.

So, after my meal, the wife and I sat out on the front porch while I smoked my cigar.  It wasn't long before I noticed two fly fishermen journey up from across the bridge and over to where we were.  I checked the back of our cabin and noticed some people there as well.  Given that, I decided to roll out earlier and head back to the big pool I was fishing before I quit the morning session.  Waders on, rod and cigar in hand, I headed out.

I got to the big pool, and as I always do, I stopped and watched the water for a while.  It was just as I suspected.  I should never have left.  The fish were not sipping and gulping like they were when I left.  Just to make sure, I sat on some rocks and waited for a while.  I smoked my cigar and just waited.  I was able to pick up a few bows on the move here and there.  They appeared to be cruising.  So I finished my cigar and started chucking the bug.  I decided to stay with the size 18 black fly with white wings.  I also moved up some and finished the top of the pool where the faster water is.  Like I said, I could see them cruising and holding in the area.  Almost immediately, I hooked up with a bow.  I lost it just as fast too.  Cursing the fish and my luck, I kept throwing the same fly in the same general area.  I couldn't hook up with anything else in the area so I moved back to the middle of the pool.

I watched and waited again.  My patience paid off.  I observed a brown who was sipping and gulping on the far side of the stream and a little ways up from where I was.  I was shocked to watch him rocket out of the water straight up and come back down.  He must have gone up in the air a good two or three feet.  I stripped out more line, and moved up a little.  The water is very deep here and where I was standing, it was already approaching chest level.  So I watched and the brown rose again.  I cast to where he was and got an immediate rise and take on my fly.  After a quick head shake or two I lost him as well.  Now I was becoming pissed.  We have all been there right?  It is so frustrating at times when this happens.  I know it is all part of the game but damn does it piss me off at times.  So I put a new fly and started looking again.  I decided to try a rusty spinner for a change of pace.  No one was rising so I just started casting where they had been.  I was rewarded with a brown and a creek chub/fall fish.  Here is the brownie:

After a while, I switched back to the black fly with white wings.  I noticed that a decent sized bow was now feeding below me.  I decided to chase that fish.  I moved out of the water and headed down stream.  I could see this fish working it and realized that it was a bigger fish.  I spent the next five or so minutes, just watching, planning and waiting.  After I got the pattern down, I moved in.  It only took four or five drifts before the fish struck.  I played this one for a while.  I actually saw a bigger bow swimming right beside it as I attempted to reel it in.  I was so worried I was going to lose it but I didn't.  I managed to net the bow.  Here is a photo:

I actually measured this fish and it was 17.5".  Not a bad fish at all.  As you can see, bad weather was moving in so I decided to call it a day.  Only three fish landed in the evening session.  One bow, brown and one creek chub/fall fish.  Slow but worth it.  As you can see from the photo, rain was a coming:

One morning session left.  Will I be able to fish?  We shall see.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Website Shout Out

I started posting recently in the Fly Fishing Community on Facebook.  While doing so, I got a message from Andrew over at asking if he could post some of my photos on his site.  I told him sure, no problem.  I hopped over to his site and checked it out.  People, I have to say I like it.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.  I have only scratched the surface regarding my knowledge of the site but what I have seen so far, I like.  This site contains information for both warm and cold water species.  It has articles, fly recipes, videos, a forum, links to other sites and even a contest for the largest bluegill caught in 2011 right now.  It seems Andrew is quite the accomplished tyer to boot!  Hop over to and take a tour.  I am sure you will like it as well as I do.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunfish Streamer Pattern 2.0

I have been working on a streamer pattern for some time now.  When I fish for smallies, I usually end up catching fish in say the 10-14 inch range.  This doesn't bother me as the river I fish is an under rated smallmouth fishery anyways and doesn't hold big fish or large numbers of medium size fish.  Well at least not where I fish it.  Typically I use flies in sizes 8, 10 or 12 to catch these smallies.  Some of my biggest smallies have come on the Monocacy Bumble Bee in size 10.  Go figure.  So I didn't want to be a one trick pony regarding the poppers.  I have always enjoyed streamer fishing and have found that the fish will bite on streamers when they won't hit anything else.  A while back, I tried making some of these guys in size 10.  It was tough to say the least given the size.  I wanted to give it another whirl using some size 8 streamer hooks I forgot I had.  I actually like them a lot. I am just not in love with the nose but I have to remember it is hard to shove all that material in one place under thread and not have it stick out a little.  Please tell me what you all think.  Again, I posted something similar some time ago but this is the new and improved version.

Thread-Uni Olive 6/0
Lead Wire for Weight-.015
Tail,Spine and Head-Micro Pine Squirrel in Olive
Body-Cactus Chenille in Hot Orange
Gills/Blood-Congo Hair Red

Harman's Day 3 Round 2 2011-Morning Session

I managed to get up early again to chase the trout today.  Man mornings are struggle for me.  I really do hate them.  Anyways, it was supposed to rain all day.  Please take note that I said supposed to.  It didn't.  I got up and looked out the window.  It was overcast, gray, and a little windy but no rain.  I torpedoed my medicine, getting old sucks, and headed out to the porch to get dressed so as not to wake the wife up.  As soon as I got out on the porch, I noticed that the person in cabin 9 was gearing up as well.  Doing as well as I did with the pool below our cabin, I felt as though it became a race of sorts.  I had noticed last night that as I left the pool, he moved into it.  This story replays itself the world over I am sure.  One person catches one fish in one location and every other fishermen in the area flocks to it.  What gives?  We both looked at each other as we got dressed.  I am sure he was judging me and my progress as much as I was doing the same to him.  Some times, it pays to be lazy.  I had left my rod rigged the night before so I had less to do.  This in turn meant that I was ready quicker than he was.  Off I went straight to the pool I fished until last light the night before.  Oh and for those that are wondering, I managed to beat the other guy to the pool.

Problem was that the pool was fishing like crap.  I am guessing it was the cold front that moved in over night.  I could see the fish stacked up like cord wood in the pool as well as in the run below it but nothing would bite.  Well let me correct myself.  No self respecting trout would bite.  I managed to catch this guy which made me laugh out loud:

Damn you blogger!  Stop rotating my photos.  Well you all get the idea.  The fly was as big if not bigger than this little guy.  I spent over an hour at this pool working those fish.  I could see them everywhere.  At one point I looked down and saw a brown and a rainbow holding not six feet from me.  Craziness!  Despite that there were fish everywhere, I could not connect with a trout.  At first I got quite a few follows than nothing.  I tried everything.  I threw a ton of nymphs at them.  I could see one bow holding behind a huge rock.  I chucked a size 14 Bead Head Pheasant Tail over there.  Again another perfect drift.  The fly went right over the rock and I watched as the fish swam up to greet it.  I set the hook and the fight was on.  For all of about 10 seconds.  A few quick head shakes and the bow spit the hook out and headed back down towards the bottom.  No luck.  Over an hour at this pool, I decided it was time to move.  All I had to show for the past hour were four creek chubs/fall fish.  Nothing special for sure.

After seeing all the fish rise yesterday at the pool behind cabin 15 I decided to head there.  I got there and noticed that the fish were sipping and  gulping like crazy off the surface.  I, once again, threw everything I could at them to no avail.  I didn't even get a look.  I spent hours there too.  I noticed that the time was approaching 1130.  I had to make a decision soon.  Do I go back, get the dries and come back or just quit for lunch and try again later?  These fish were driving me crazy.  They seemed to be everywhere eating.  I couldn't wait nor could I risk someone getting in the hole.  Therefore, I ran back to the cabin and got the dries.  A quick check of the inventory caused me to spy this gem:
This guy is probably a size 18 black body with white wings and a split tail.  It looked like a winner to me.  I tied it on and headed back to the pool.  You may notice that the knot is rather large for such a small fly.  I was using 5x tippet.  I was afraid to go any lower based on the fish that I saw and the fish that I lost on 6x the days prior.

New fly in hand, I entered the pool and waited.  I decided to pick off the trout so to speak.  I would wait for them to break the surface and then throw the fly towards them and their feeding lane.  It seemed to work as almost immediately I started landing fish.  Over the next hour, I landed four rainbows and lost a number of others.  Not great I know but it was better than nothing at all.  It was already after 1 so I figured I had better head back for some grub.  I have to be honest, I was hesitant to leave.  The wind was calm, it was over cast but in the mid 50's.  Most importantly, the fish were biting.  I was sure they would be biting again in a few hours when I returned.  Stay tuned to see if they were or not.  Here are the photos of the bows:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flies From The Bench

Just a quick update to let you all know what I have been doing today.  I have been busy tying up a storm.  Got some Road Kills, Monocacy Bumble Bees done along with a crap load of popper bodies prepped.  I am saving the popper bodies for a later post.  Here is everyone in their glory:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Harman's Day 2 Round 2 2011-Evening Session

Well when I got back to the cabin from my morning session, the wife had hot food waiting for me.  My favorite too, pancakes.  Plus bacon and hot coffee.  Good times!  I had breakfast with the wife, drank some coffee, and smoked a cigar.  With time approaching 2, I decided to head back out again.  I figured I would try below the bridge this go around.  I always love fishing this section of the stream.  It really is beautiful.  I usually don't do well there though.  So I jumped in the car, cause I am to lazy to walk, and drove down to the other section.  Here is what the water looked like from the bridge looking back up towards our cabin:

Here is what the water looks like below the bridge from where I was standing which was a little above the deck for those that have been there:

Fantastic scenery!  Well, I stayed with the black woolly bugger and over the course of the next hour and a half landed some more fish.  Fishing the runs, I managed to pick up 4 fall fish/creek chubs/stone rollers and 1 brown.  Not bad but not great.  I could see the bows again, but couldn't get them to hit on the bugger.  Again, they were breaking the surface and sipping stuff but I had no clue what it was.  Here are some photos of the fish I landed:

I give up!  This whole thing with blogger rotating the photos is killing me!  Does anyone else go through this as well?

Back to the story.....5 fish netted, I decided to go back to the area above the bridge.  When I got there, I noticed that more people were fishing out behind cabins 12 and 13.  Remembering an article I read years ago, I decided to walk down stream for a bit to get away from people.  I figured there had to be some fish down stream that no one had touched yet.  As it turned out, I was right.  I managed to locate a shallow run not to far above the bridge that held at least 10 rainbows.  I could see them just laying on the bottom.  I continued to chuck the black woolly bugger.  I actually had a few follows but no takers.  I decided to switch to a brown woolly bugger and give that a whirl!  I managed to see a bow hiding under a rock waiting to ambush something.  So, I threw my fly towards him and for once I got the perfect drift.  The bow slid out and slammed the woolly bugger.  Here he is:

After I released him, he didn't go far.  Here he is.  Can you see him?

I released that guy and started searching for more.  This was sight fishing at its finest.  I would locate a bow and cast above it.  Letting the woolly bugger swing down til it was right in front of their noses, I would then strip it and get them to chase it.  Out of this run, I managed to land two more bows.  They were big.  Well big for me at least.  I will let you be the judge. 

I should have brought a bigger net!  This last guy or girl took me about 5 minutes to land.  I struggled with it using my 3wt.  I just didn't have enough power in the 7 foot rod to turn the fish or bring it in.  It made several reel screaming, heart stopping runs.  I was sure I was going to lose it at any moment.  It is by far my biggest rainbow I have ever landed.  Actually the biggest trout I have ever landed!  I didn't feel that the net really did the fish justice.  Against my better judgment, I brought the fish out and set it on a rock next to my rod for a quick photo.  For me at least, it was the fish of a life time and no one around to snap a photo of it.  Here it is next to my rod:

Again the whole photo turning thing but I think you get the idea.  After this fish, I figured I pushed my luck and decided to move back up stream.  A check revealed that the other fishermen had called it quits so I was left all alone.  I hit another pool and on the first cast I landed this guy:

Nice little brownie that came to the net.  A few casts later, I picked up this guy:

This one was beautiful!  In the end, I managed to bring 4 creek chubs, 4 rainbows and 2 browns to the net during the evening session.  Those bows were huge.  Well to me they were.  It was a great evening.  I couldn't wait to get up Tuesday morning and hit the stream again.  Stay tuned for more.