Is It Really That Close

Its not very often I don’t keep track of time but just recently I’ve been really busy and suddenly today it hit me. Its less than 3 weeks before I make my annual trip to Cape Cod USA for Striperheads. I have done so little for this trip I cann’t believe it. Sure I got the flight booked, the passport and other documents checked but flies? Nope, so Sunday saw the first of this years Striper flies done. One thing that has come from the trip from last year was the searching of new waters was that a rethink re flies and tactics was needed. While I was fishing one spot last year I really wished that I had a flat wing because the situation was perfect, possibly I could use these in other locations but where the water flows they apparently work well. So I tied a razzle dazzle, well a variation off one because a couple of hackle colours were missing so near enough colours were used and crystal flash used instead.


Anyway, I have mentioned Striperheads before, I really cann’t wait, friends, fishing and a break from work!



Blended Congo baitfish

In preparation of any future trip to Cape Cod for the Stripped Bass I felt that some baitfish that I have posted about before needed to be updated both in size and appearance. By that I mean they had something lacking, flash or the way that it was included within the hair itself. The congo flash mixes went some way towards this but many colours that I wanted along with the affect weren’t quite there or missing  this was largely because the colours that I had were solid colours. The answer lay in the baitfish blends, a mix of colours but no flash. I found that this was easy to mix in. This is done in a very similar way to the Farrar blends as well as the dubbing hand mixing technique.

So I started playing around with various ideas and got the results that I was looking for. What I got was a fly with the perfect flash that I like, it can also be varied depending on how much flash that you use. It also occurred to me that out of the Congo blends available, there wasn’t really a tan one that I really liked. So I played some more by blending the Congo mixes myself to get the coloration that I wanted. The whole idea is that you take the colours that you want from the skeins of solid colour, not equal amounts from each but what you want to achieve the final result and while you ‘mix’ the hair you also add a flash material that compliments the colour that you want. The variations are limitless so either go mad and tie lots and lots and be over run with baitfish or concentrate on the colours found in the wild.

A selection of baitfish

A selection of baitfish

What is missing from the flies is a tail. I may go the extra mile and find a way to do this but these flies look just fine for fishing.


The Forest Sandeel

A few months ago I bought myself a few bits of corsair and Secret stuff from Jack Gartsides website. Although the man himself is sadly no longer with us ( a big influence on my tying and fishing), the web master has kept the site alive and is still selling the books and materials. A was a little while before I could get to the package thanks to the nice big order that I was working on, but I had ideas! The first was a sandeel pattern which was a slight variation on Jacks and others which I have seen, mostly in the head area.

Forest Sandeel

               Forest Sandeel

The fly is tied on standard saltwater hooks in this case a size 4 but 2’s and 6’s may also be useful. The fly is tied by tying a bunch of the hair around the rear half of the fly and tying down, then add a second colour above for the back. Don’t restrict to the colours in the photograph, try a darker back or the pink colour. I would suggest using Awesome hair which is very similar and I am convinced is the same stuff may be used as well or in stead off but I can no longer find a supplier since disappeared of the face of the earth.

The first time I fished it was on Forest Beach (hence the flies name), Cape Cod the day that the albies were winding me and a friend up. After that I tried it on the bluefish and actually caught some of those on this fly. But I will admit that I have a problem taking Beastmasters of the end of the line because I catch so many fish on them that I really didn’t try this fly enough…must fish more!


RIP Fly Fishing in Saltwaters

No, I’m not talking about my saltwater fly fishing as it is something I’m deeply passionate about. I’m talking about the magazine Fly Fishing in Saltwaters. I heard rumours on the internet before Christmas about its demise and a couple of weeks ago I received an email confirming it. The email said that it was being amalgamated with another magazine, one that is for bait fishers. I don’t know about you but I won’t be buying it as I’m not interested in baitfishing.
When I started out flyfishing in the salt there was two excellent magazines and now there is none, zilch and I am unhappy about this! A few years ago the saltwater flyfisher also had an excellent flytying website that acted as a central point for all things saltwater but not now. Everything we want is scattered across the internet and nothing really dedicated to the subject.

I was thinking the other day, wouldn’t it be nice if I could change this. An on-line saltwater magazine that covered saltwater flyfishing for the normal guy. Articles about adventure, tying and various other things that are off concern to the saltwater flyfisher. I welcome thoughts on this so please comment.


Caped Crusader Returns Part 1.

I returned from trip a few days ago and now is the time to report. The trip was the first time in 6 years or so that I have been to Cape Cod fishing the salt with Striped Bass as the primary target although Bluefish are also welcome for their strength. As the report will show, the fishing was a little patchy. The weather was generally good with a few days of slightly stronger wind. This was more than a mere fishing trip it was to attend the Striperheads clave and to see friends that I hadn’t seen for a few years.

The trip began on Tuesday17th September when I took a BA flight direct to Boston where I caught the bus down to Hyannis with a further bus connection or two direct to Nickersons campsite. No fishing was done when I arrived as it was late afternoon.
On the Wednesday I hooked up with another clave attendee Howard, we took a trip to the Sandwich Harbour  close to the Cape Cod canal and fished the last hour or 2 of the incoming and a little of the out going but left as no fish had been seen. I had fished the mouth of the inlet but nothing. Despite looking interesting I didn’t fish the open beach, just has we were leaving we spoke to someone else and they told us that the inlet and the inside of the harbour area were the most productive areas with very little fishing taking place on the outer beach. Don’t know why as it really does look fishy. From here we moved on to a beach on the ocean side, all we found was pesky Seals which apparently are very friendly towards fisherman when they hook a fish which we didn’t!

Thursday dawned the same as the day before, warm and little wind…mocking the clave Meister who was without boat. Todays was the turn for Pamet Harbour, again no fish visible and blind casting produced nothing, so a trip to Ballston Beach was made. Again, no fish but seals were again present.

Friday, similar conditions, it was time to fish south beach, I have had good fishing here before but today was no the case. Seals, again! I had heard of the Striper population crash but the Bluefish as well? The beach was reach by parking on the road to Morris Island and walking around what is know as the Bowl. I was kind of hoping that the fishing would have improved with the opening of the new cut last February due a storm. Again, I saw no fish but another friend who was kayaking did see a few fish.
Another old favourite, Brewster Flats, was fished in the evening. I was dropped of by friends Mel and Mike so they could go of and deal with a breakage or something. While I was waiting I got talking (I seemed to do alot of that this trip but I learnt a few new bits of info). Interestingly I was told that I had timed the trip just right as this year was the one when the Striper population would begin improving (I was told a couple of days that it was still declining). Anyway, I was told the new lay out which proved useful and was also given 4 flies to try. Actually, I kept them to copy and they looked good. I may cover these in more detail when I do tie some of my own.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce the water had dropped with the tide I made myself out on to the flat, fishing as I went. I have to admit that I finally saw fish. Bluefish, but they were only snappers. Once I got out to the outer channel I saw someone hook into a what appeared to be a Striper. Later, the Snapper blue struck and I actually had a few myself. Mostly on a Madeel. Roughly an hour before low tide and not long before sunset, a few fish were seen busting bait but this didn’t seem to last very long. This activity resulted in the fishers suddenly springing to life for a short burst but nothing result apart from another striper in the other channel. It was shortly after this that I packed up due to my shoulder injury.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASaturday dawned much the same as the previous days although the wind was found to have changed to a north, north-easterly and somewhat stronger, again I was able to team up with Mel and Mike. First port of call was Forest Beach. The wind was found to be blowing directly onto the beach. It was decided that to benefit the less strong casters to move to a location on the Bay side. It did however, remind me of a day a few years ago when I visited Hardy’s beach with Sponge Bob  (the main difference was that it was bad rain) and found the Blues hitting baitfish up onto the beach. Today I should have looked closer. We later learnt from Bill that the Blues were at it again, although he had his success at Hardings. We made our way to Sesuit harbour. Plenty of bait was seen but no Stripers or Blues were in evidence. Apart from the titchy Snappers further along the beach. I thought that I would go exploring and found the beach further along  rocky and very fishy looking. I pinned this place into my mind for later exploration.

Towards Pains Creek

The view towards Pains Creek looked even better with plenty of gulls awaiting around for something to happen by the looks of things. The fishing stopped about 2 ish as we had to get back for the pot luck meal/get togeather. As is the tradition, we all went of fishing after. Most seemed to favour going to Hardings thanks to Bill’s earlier success but nothing was caught..

Thus ended week one, to be continued..


The Mad Series

With just over a week to go before I travel to Cape Cod for the Striperheads Clave I’m just about done with the flies. Sure there will likely be new ideas to try before now and then but I think I’m done. The ‘new’ baitfish I’ve been working on are ready. I’ve done variations of these before and are still a work in progress because I keep trying to make them better and more pleasing to the eye.

MadMac2The MadMac2 is a fly that I did an earlier version of but wasn’t that happy with it but with the addition of SF Blended black material I have the effect that I am after. The first stage of the fly is to tie it in a similar way to Puglise baitfish but done my way. The technique is along the same lines from what I remember from when I saw Enrico Puglise at the BFFI a few years ago. The fly gets its name from the congo flash blend that I have mentioned before. The effect that I get from this material is perfect for what I am after.


This fly is really an undeveloped version of the fly above (I plan on updated it when I get time). started the same way I have tried to get a colour variation like a baitfish but I don’t think this style of fly gives the proper effect. Although I am happy with what you see I will be adding a back of colour blended congo hair (similar to the MadNorm).


The MadNorm is your general basic baitfish tied with congo hair in various colours including the newish baitfish blend. If two of the baitfish blends are combined in a single fly then you get a very pleasing affect that looks like a baitfish…no natural prey is a single colour but several and the blends help get the effect that I am after.There are two variations in style. One is a normal style of tying the hair to the hook the other involves a cone of flexi-tube tied in first and folded over to create a forming cone that splays and gives the hair some lift to help with the shape of the baitfish pattern.


Salty Prawn

With a renewed interest, possibly due to possible trip next year, I return to the tying of saltwater patterns. New materials are also sat on my tying table and with the arrival of the dark evenings, its time for fun with large flies. In this case I saw a possibility of Sea Dragon dubbing and some legs alive (micro). A suggestion in the introduction of the dubbing material suggested that it would be ideal for shrimp patterns. I thought shrimp flies would be a good place to start, the Ultra Shrimp would be a good place to start (solely because it was the only one I could think of), but as things go, things roller coastered and the fly changed slightly.


Most flies have the burnt nylon eyes but another way which produces the same effect is the artificial flower stamens from craft shops. These are a couple of bucks for a pack. I originally thought that the ones I had were too big but on the finished fly they look fine. it may pay to have these things in varying sizes if available. Unless the stamens that you buy are plastic, I would strongly suggest that you varnish them before tying the fly to water proof them.


On this fly I have used  clear hot glue but I’m thinking of trying some with glitter. I have some but need to find a supplier in the near future (suggestions please).

Hook – Fishguy saltwater 925ss or Daiichi 2546

Thread – nylon thread, fine (or invisible thread from the sewing/craft shop)

Tail – Tan bucktail, Tan legs alive and Tan crystal flash (continue the flash over the body and tie in at the head once the body is tied in).

Body – Tan Sea Dragon Dubbing, well picked out underneath.

Back – Clear hot melt glue, when applying the glue make sure that that glue gun as been on for a while and that the glue is runny. I have messed up several flies by applying glue that is not hot enough to produce the required shape/effect. The back in the picture is slightly cloudy but if you require a completely clear back immerse the the in cold water straight after applying the glue. When applying the glue, pull the dubbed body material down and the glue will hold it in place creating the legs of the imitation

Note – For the example I have used tan but these critters also come in other colours, I suggest tying to match those in the waters that you fish. Maybe try some others like chartreuse, pink and orange.