Largemouth Bass Lineup

Largemouth Bass Lineup

Monday, January 30, 2012

Two More Gurglers Fresh From The Production Line

Here are two more color combos I have been working on.  First up is an all black number.  Not a bad looking guy.  I used some new chenille which has a green sheen to it.  Kind of reminds me of a beetle or something along those lines.  I went with the standard calf tail for the tail as well.  No need to fix it if it isn't broken right?  I do love using calf tail.  I think on both flies the tail needs to be longer.  Maybe the legs as well.  The second fly is merely a bigger version of one we do in size 10.  I really wasn't wild about the chartreuse colored legs I had.  They almost looked yellow.  So I decided to go with all orange.  Again, I need to extend the tail some and the legs or so I think.  Let me know what you all think please.  Here they are:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jay Ask and Ye Shall Receive......

Played around today with some more color combos.  After reading Jay's suggestion, I developed a "frog" pattern.  I also decided to do one in just white, more of a baitfish pattern I suppose.  These are only prototypes so I tend to be a little sloppy with my tying.  That being said, let me know what you all think about these colors.

I would like to point out that the legs on the "frog" are actually a neon green and not yellow as they seem to appear in the first photo.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bigger Gurglers with New Color Combos

At the request of a fellow blogger, I have tied up some bigger gurglers in some different color combos.  This blogger wanted gurglers in sizes 2 and 4.  I tie my gurglers on a TMC 200R hook and I couldn't find anything larger than a 4.  So I bought the 4s and some 6s as well.  The wife and I talked a lot about this.  For us, this is outside of our comfort zone.  We typically tie our warm water flies in sizes 8 and 10.  I have had a number of requests to tie poppers in sizes 4 and 6 but I have been hesitant to do so.  I recently bought some in that size and I am going to try making some in the near future.  Regarding our foam flies, we felt that this was a good opportunity to branch out size wise and try some new color combos.  I am always willing to try new color combos or do a special request.  It was fun for me and good to be back at the bench again.  So, here are the new color combos in size 4.  Please let me know what you all think.  I was trying to think of color combos that are largemouth favorites and are on lures that I used many years ago.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Year in Review: 2011

As I sit here and type this at the island in my kitchen it is halfway through January and I am just getting to post my year in review for 2011.  Winter has arrived and life has been busy.  I haven't even had time at the bench.  Yesterday was a forced family fun day.  Many errands were ran and items of necessity obtained.  A power point for work was worked on yet again.  Today was a clean the basement and deal with the clutter kind of day.  I am beat.  The wife is beat.  The kids are pissed cause we made them help and ruined their day.  Whatever!

Needing to catch up on my log book, I thought I would take a look back at 2011.  One of my New Year's resolutions for 2011 was to spend 100 days on the water.  Checking facts and statistics, I can honestly say I didn't even come close.  I made it out for a total of 26 days in 2011.  I will say that on seven of those days, I had both day and evening sessions.  This made for a total of 33 fishing trips during those 26 days.  While some of the blame can be placed on work, a large majority of the blame goes to the weather.  It rained, or so it seemed to me, more than it had in the last couple of years here in Maryland.  Maybe it was just that it rained on my days off.  Who knows?

I managed to bring to hand quite a variety of fish species in both cold and warm water.  I was lucky enough to land the following: bluegill, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, tiger trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, long eared sunfish, red eyed rock bass, crappie, warmouth, fallfish and yellow perch.  I spent time with old friends, met new friends and was there for my daughter's first fish on the fly rod.  I did lose my work camera, take a spill a time or two (or twenty), and lose more fish than I brought to hand.  The wife and I managed to get to Harman's twice and I was able to give salt water fishing a go!  Damn, I forgot to count my saltwater fish and trip!  That would bring me to 28 days on the water.  Despite what was an epic fail regarding the amount of time on the water, it was a great year.  J & M Flies took off so to speak and we are now branching out.  I need to get a total from the wife as to how many flies we have sold.

So here are the totals for the fish.  In 28 days of fishing, I managed to land 692 fish.  If you are wondering, how I know this, it is because I keep a log book and document my outings.  It is worth its weight in gold as I often go back and see what I was using fly wise in years past and when the fish were most active.  The fish are broken down as follows:
Long eared-143
Red Eyed Rock-27
Yellow Perch-3
Sea Trout-1

Looking at the numbers and species, it is clear that I am a warm water fly fisherman through and through.  Welcome to the dark side!  However, I will admit that chasing the trout has its own appeal from time to time.  Watching those browns and rainbows rise to the size 18 spinner I was throwing at them at Harman's was heart stopping.  God forbid they refuse it!  They can be some very challenging and frustrating fish to chase with a fly rod which I know is why we do it.  For those that don't understand this, wait until you are hip deep in a stream with trout sipping and gulping insects all around you but your fly.  The you will understand.  Brookies are by far my favorite trout.  It was a shame that I only chased them twice in 2011.  I hope to change that in 2012.  I would like to get back to my roots regarding the brookies.  I found that chasing them in the mountains was more rewarding, and a hell of a lot more fun than say bows or browns.  It also improved my casting given the small stream setting with a ton of underbrush and trees about.  For warm water fishing nothing beats the smallie!  They are my favorite.  I am sad to see and know that I only brought 51 to hand.  I saw more people on the water I fish this year with a large percentage of them taking fish home with them.  I watched one individual take a 8 inch smallie home and I asked why.  The answer was because he caught it and it was a bass.  I really just don't get it.  I would also like to catch more red eyed rocks.  They are my second favorite warm water fish.  The river in which I do most of my fishing was polluted badly in the 80's and 90's.  Only now is it starting to come back and seeing these fish who thrive in clean environments does my heart good.

Well there you have it.  My year in review for 2011.  I sincerely hope 2012 brings me more fish to hand and more days on the water.  So how was your year and what are your plans for 2012?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Get Out and Vote Darn It!

Please come out and vote for your favorite fishing timeline over at Windknots and Tangled Lines.  Howard is hosting a contest for the best fishing timeline.  I threw my hat into the ring and wrote mine as you have seen.  I would hate (not really) to tell you all to vote for me.  I noticed a lot of people included photos in their timeline.  I did not which I think will hurt me in the long run.  There are some great stories so come out and vote.  You can find the contest here

Sunday, January 8, 2012

30 Years of Fishing History

Windknots & Tangled Lines is holding a contest regarding each participant's fishing history/timeline.  I have decided to throw my hat in the ring and give it a whirl.

My first fishing trip came in 1979.  I was five years old and my father had planned a big trip for us.  We were going to Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland on a camping and fishing trip. My father had always been a fisherman.   He grew up dirt poor living in the projects of Detroit.  He and his brothers would hitchhike out to the Great Lakes to fish for anything they could in order to put some food on the table.  Since they were poor, my father would use hand lines and cane poles to fish.  When my parents discovered they were having a boy, my father raced out and bought me a tackle box and three hand made wooden lures.  He was so excited to share his love of fishing with his boy.  So we went to Deep Creek Lake for my first fishing adventure.  My father had bought us cane poles to use, which we did.  I caught my very first bluegill fishing off a dock at the lake.  Man was I excited and proud!  Throughout the weekend we managed to land several bluegill and yellow perch.  We even had a good ole' fashioned fish fry.  It was a great time and I believe I was truly hooked on fishing from that point forward.

The 80's
As I advanced in age and skill I was able to move from the cane pole (which I thought was boring) to a shiny new Zebco 202 rod and reel combo.  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  It was white with green trim.  I was so proud and happy with that thing.  I had it for years.  Come to think of it, I wonder what happened to it.  Anyway... I digress.  So with my Zebco 202 I set out with the other neighborhood kids to explore the waters around us.  There really wasn't much.  There was one pond that was about a twenty minute walk from our neighborhood.  It had largemouth bass and bluegill in it and was your typical farm pond.  It had one small dock on it that we used to fish from.  In order to get to it, we would come in from the road side rather than walk in the fields where all the horses were.  The pond was on a hill that we had to walk up in order to reach it.  I can still remember how excited I always got as I walked up the last part of the hill and could finally see the pond.  I always thought about the possibility of landing the big one out of there.  That very first glimpse held such potential for me.  We used every kind of bait possible.  I fished with cheese, hot dogs, crickets, bologna and other assorted "fine" foods.  We always did well and we used to bring the fish home.  I caught my very first bass out of that pond.  I am ashamed now to say that I kept it and had it for dinner.  It was a whopping eight inches but damn was I proud of my fishing skills in catching it.  

Throughout the 80s I pursued the bass and panfish in that pond.  I did manage to land a 13 inch bluegill on a cricket once.  My father and I would venture out on day trips to Cunningham Falls and fish the lake there.  We only ever made it back to Deep Creek Lake once.  I am sad to say
it just wasn't the same as that first magical trip.   We did fish a few times from the pier at Virginia Beach while we were there on vacation but never really had much luck.  We almost always used live bait.  A stop on the way at the local 7-11 for live bait was required.  Looking back on it now, these were some of the best times I ever spent with my father.  We would stop for live bait and snacks.  Since my mother was at home, I pretty much could get whatever I wanted.  This would usually include donuts or something similar and chocolate milk.  An occasional Slim Jim would make its way in the vehicle as well.  My father and I were (and still are) junk food junkies.  There was a bond between us and an oath was taken never to let Mom know what we were doing.  I am sure she wasn't fooled.  My father was injured rather severely in a car accident toward the end of the 80's and our fishing became rather limited.

The 90's
This was the time of girls, sports and the end of high school.  I continued to fish but not as much as I had as a boy.  Time became limited and girls were first and foremost in my mind.

After high school, I seemed to have moved to artificial bait at some point.  I am not sure when exactly this happened but I think it was when I was fishing farm ponds with the friend mentioned above.  I found a new pond in the area and took my father there one day.  I had learned to use plastic worms Texas rigged and other assorted lures with much success.  I enjoyed it cause I didn't have to sit and wait for the bobber to be pulled under by some small panfish.  Stuck in his ways, my father continued to use live bait.  For the life of me I can't remember how we did but I don't think it even matters.  Times such as those between a father and son tend to be more about the bonding and less about the catching of fish.

In the mid 90's I discovered fly fishing.  I was fishing a small stream for trout one day when I ran into a fly fisherman.  He and I were talking and he was kind enough to give me a couple of the grasshoppers he had tied up.  I have no idea why as I didn't have a fly rod but I appreciated the offer none the less.  After seeing and speaking with him, I ran out to Walmart and bought my first fly rod and reel.  I have to admit that I had no idea what the hell I was doing.  I couldn't even put the line on the reel.  I had to get some books from the library and ask a coworker for help.  After finally getting everything up and running, I started stalking the trout... without much success I might add.  It took me over two years to catch my first trout on the fly rod.  Saying it now, I realize how sad that is.  In fairness though, I did it without any help or lessons.  I can see in my mind exactly where that rainbow is in the stream and the way he surged skyward as my size 14 white fly drifted over his feeding lane.  After I landed him, I literally ran all the way back to the car to tell my girlfriend about it.  Needless to say, I was hooked.  A year after that I got my first fly tying kit and bought a Cortland 3wt.  It was time to upgrade from the Walmart special anyway.

In speaking with the owner of the fly shop where I bought the 3wt, I learned of a "secret stream" that held wild brookies.  It was up in the mountains and could be a challenge to work I was told.  Sounded fun to me.  I spent the last part of the 90's working this stream and cutting my teeth fly fishing for the brookies. This is the same stream I still visit today.  Every run, pool or riffle holds a memory.  It is also a place I plan to visit more than I have been recently.  

2000 and Beyond
As with most, work and family got in the way of my fishing and tying.  I was married, became a
parent, divorced and became a single Dad during this time frame.  I also got re-married to a wonderful woman who is the light of my life.  I probably don't tell her that enough but she is something special.  In 2004, she took me away on a surprise fly fishing weekend at a Bed and Breakfast in VA for my 30th birthday.  I pursued smallmouth and panfish on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.  It was such a great time.  While I had caught smallies and panfish before on the fly rod, it was nothing like landing them in this river.  I was thrilled and came home with a new appreciation of the darker side of fly fishing.  Since that time, my wife and I have traveled back to that first place as well as out to West Virginia in search of warmwater fish.  My wife doesn't fish but allows me to plan our vacations around my obsession which is really awesome.  

Fly fishing and tying are more than just an obsession with me, they are becoming a way of life.  I truly love them and can't imagine not being able to do either.  For those that have this passion, you know exactly what I am talking about.  For those that don't, it can be rather hard to put into words what one actually feels.

August 5, 2007
That is the date I made and fished my first popper.  I, of course, did a sloppy, rush job in order to get it out on the water.  I used a cork body in size 10, black and yellow paint (I didn't bother to let it dry), as well as yellow and black hackle but no legs.  I used the yellow hackle for the tail.  I later got away from this by using squirrel or calf for the tail. I also was initially using 3mm doll eyes for the eyes which are now next to impossible to find.   I managed to catch 9 sunfish and one smallie on that sad looking popper before it started to rain really hard.  Leaving the river, I realized that I was hooked on making my own poppers.  That was over four years ago.  My first popper now sits proudly in my display case.  

J&M Flies was born in 2011 out of my love for chasing the smallies with poppers.  I still get excited seeing my poppers being fished with success by people who buy them.  It is something my wife and I do together which makes it that much more special to me.  I am looking forward to doing more in 2012 and branching out to other markets.  This really is an exciting time for us.

I now fish almost exclusively with a fly rod.  Every once in a great while, I will use my 5 foot Ugly Stick and 4 pound test line but it is rare.  I really love fly fishing.  There is something magical about it.  It becomes so much more special when you are able to tie your own flies and catch fish using them.  

In some ways the cycle of fishing has come full circle for me.  I have taken my kids fishing using live bait.  My daughter now wants to learn how to fly fish and for the most part uses artificial lures when we do fish together.  My son has his own Batman rod and reel combo and will be coming with us this year, or so I hope.  Last year he wouldn't come cause he didn't want to get his hands dirty.  

My father has gotten worse health-wise over the years.  He doesn't even fish anymore despite the fact that my parents own a lake house.  Given my job and family, I never get to see them as much as I should or could.  Regardless though, I still remember those times we spent together fishing with fondness and a smile on my face.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Exciting News....

A show of hands, how many of you out there watch Curtis Fleming and Fly Rod Chronicles (FRC)?  OK I see a few here and there.  Have any of you ever heard of the fly fishing competition Harman's North Fork Invitational?  If you are a follower of Curtis Fleming or a viewer of FRC, then I know you have.  The competition has been featured on FRC both times it has happened.  This competition was one of the reason's my wife and I started actually going to Harman's as I had watched it on FRC.

The first year the competition was held, the participants could only use three flies that were provided to them by the judges.  If they lost those flies, they were done.  For those that don't know, Harman's has almost two miles of private trout stream.  So the stream is divided up into four beats or areas.  The competitors fish two beats each day with each beat being fished for about 3 or so hours.  Only one person from each two man team can fish the beat at a time.  Last year the rules looked like this regarding the beats: 

SteamWorks/Riverbum OLD SCHOOL - Each fisherman will be provided 6 flys. These are the only flies that may be used. If you lose them you are done fishing. 
Fish What You Brung - base rules and any state rules are all that apply
So You Thing You Can Fish - No strike indicators, to external weights (sinkers). Dropper flies may not be tied to the bend of the hook or eye to eye. You may not fish beads in excess of 4mm
2-Fly fisherman will be able to use 2 flies of their choice. If they are lost the fishing is done.

The 3rd annual Harman's North Fork Invitational will be held this year May 17-20.  The fishing will be on May 18th and 19th.  A few of you other there might have figured it out already but some readers still may be wondering why I am writing about this.  Well the day after Christmas, I got an email from the hosts of the contest.  I had been selected to participate in the competition.  This is a great honor and privilege for me.  I am very excited about this opportunity.  Greg will be fishing the competition with me.  We will also be on television as Curtis Fleming and FRC will be doing a show on the competition.  I am so very excited about this and just wanted to share with the readers and followers of the blog.  Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jay and Keith Come On Down.....

You both are winners.  The contest is over and the family has voted.  We picked names for two of the three poppers.  We picked Jay's Sunrise Slammer for the Yellow and Orange Popper.  We loved Keith's Chili Frog for the Green and Orange Popper.  Unfortunately we could not decide on a name for the teal popper so it will therefore go unnamed for the time being.  Congrats to Jay and Keith and thanks to all who entered.  Jay and Keith, contact us at and send us your address.  We will let you know when they ship.