Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Archive for the ‘Saltwater’ Category

Keeled Jerk

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closeup keeled jerk DSC1566First lets credit those who have developed this pattern.

  1. I have always wanted to try Dave Whitlock’s Sheep Minnow Streamer pattern, which has a long body and hook point up for “weedy” water.
  2. As noted in an earlier post, I really like Gunnar’s Youtube videos, including his keel jerk, see video below, which has the long body and hook up look that Dave’s fly has.

Now, I offer my observations after tying a few flies:

  1. (I) Prefer Steve Farrar’s Blend over Craft Fur.  The former has volume without bulk, and allows for a light clean taper baitfish. The latter has a lot of junk at the base that needs to be clean (lots of prep) and difficult to build a long base. I may revise this after a summer of fishing, but I want to step away from Craft Fur.
    1. As you may recall, I already stated I have moved alway from Craft Fur for bonefish flies.
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  2. The excellent materials that this pattern has introduced me include:
    1. Ahrex PR380 Texas Predator Hook – sharp and well built: A+
    2. Ice Dub Shimmer Fringe – creates a nice veil: B
    3. Tear Mender as a rubber cement: B+
    4. Pro Flex UV Resin, I will do some testing latter and report, but it is a good resin, that is “hard and flexible”, as it works into the material (thin): A.
      1. Oh yes, I do use my cactus to hold the flies in the Sun to help set the UV Resign.
  3. As far as eyes are considered, get a set of 8mm and 10mm. I also suggest you will get better value if you purchase these in bulk from ebay or another supplier.

And now for some images, but first Gunnar’s video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch

From the web, another individual trying this pattern for the first time. He/She has done a marvelous job (better than me) in layering the craft fur or the central tail. If there is a lesson for me, thicker tail and less craft fur.

keeled jerk nme

Now, I do recommend you buy flies from Gunnar. All of the Shad (Grey-White) Flies are from Gunnar, and are very well done as illustrated below.

gunnars DSC1560

So here is my attempt with Craft Fur, and develop my handling skill with UV Resin.

The head in front is with a thicker Solarex Flex UV Resin, and eventually standardize to the thin Pro Thin Flex. In review, I would look to less craft fur and more internal tail (in this case, bucktail).

As you can see, I also use ties (and moisture) to hold the hair in, as I work on the fly.

green keeled jerk in cactus_DSC1535

green _DSC1561

And then moving to Steve Farrar’s blend.

blue DSC1557

which has a hollow, translucent look to it.

blue backlight _DSC1563

So what is next?  I am liking the path with using Steve Farrar’s blend and the Pro UV Thin Flex, but will consider some of the following tweaks in future:

  1. Stagger the fibers more (the blue stack is to uniform).
  2. Given it translucent qualities, add a touch of red on the inside. Consider more inner tail.
  3. Play with lengths – should the blue top be shorter? Never-the-less,tIt does pull to a nice taper as is.

last blue_DSC1567

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/01/03 at 04:09

Rigging an 8wt Silk Line

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As I preparing for my next bonefish trip, I have added a Phoenix Silk WF 8wt Line. This is very atypical, but there are many properties of silk that appeals to me in these fishing conditions ….

  • Line is thin, so it will cut through wind
  • Intermediate, slow sink – not planning to treat it to float.
  • Colour is straw and a natural colour, like a flat (though more yellow)

Unlike our modern plastic lines, there is no loop – so you either have to nail knot your leader on or add a loop. Trying and testing different combinations (nail knots slipped off), I settled on

  • Using Miracle Braid, Albright Knot onto the Silk Line
  • Leader Loop, Perfection Loop

MBraid Phoenix DSC1526.jpg

For the rear of the line, repeat with Albright.  You can put in a Perfection Loop or created a knotless loop – YouTube Miracle Braid Loop. I keep to the perfection loop.

Last, a couple of shout-outs:

  • Making silk lines is a craft, done by a few artisans. Thanks to Mike and Jean at Phoenix for continuing this tradition.
  • Tim Rajeff the lead at Airflo USA is a class act. Provides good products and good support. I have been a returned customer for 2 decades now.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/12/24 at 21:11

Hollow Fly Update

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As earlier posted, I started building large flies for saltwater and pike and my early results was a pleasant surprise.

I used one of the most under-used tools to correct the lateral line, the surgical scalpel and with respect to using tab eyes from China (eBay: lifefly-outdoor) and the UK (Funky Eye Tying) – just do it!. The UK supplier has greater diversity, but the eyes from China seem fantastic as well at a great price.

I used for the first time, the video feature in my camera and hopefully this video will provide a sense of the form of the fly.

And yes, if you are tying hollow flies, please go with tab eyes. No they are not common or easy to find, but they do not crush the body you just created.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/29 at 06:23

Hollow Flies

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Early Review – as earlier stated, I do not like doing reviews until I have an extended time with the product or experience, et cetera.  In this case, I am impressed enough to provide some feedback before the usual year has gone.

    1. Gunnar Brammer Flies – Excellent!  I have really enjoyed fishing his Catnip and Jerk Jr.  90+% of the flies I fish with I tie, but I have, will and continue to use well-tied flies by others.
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    2. Gunnar Brammer Fly Tying Video – Excellent. The information provided is not just to tie a fly, but how to improve as a tyer.
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    3. Steve Farrar Fiber Blend – Excellent for Hollow-Point Flies.

So here is my first hollow fly (preparing for Pike Season for next spring), and even though this was an experiment (with some errors and improvements are required (see notes below)), it is an excellent and fishable pike 6″ (150cm) long fly.

 

hollow 1_DSC1490

hollow 2_DSC1484

Notes:

  • Hook – Mustad 34007 1/0 (some of my spares), but probably would goto the Ahrex Aberdeen Predator PR330 (once all of my 34007 are gone) or Partridge ACS/E Attitude Hook.
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  • Tail – Old Standby – White Deer.  This is a fine choice, but if you want a really long tail, consider some robust (saltwater) rooster saddles.
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  • Top Body – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Olive. Until this week, I have not had a good word for artificial winging hairs, but I have changed my view. These “hairs” are light, do no absorb water and with the wave pattern you can build bulk-shape easily. I have a limited selection of colours (as illustrate above), but I will be investing more.
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    Like EP fibers, SF Blend is not cheap, but this material allows you to build a large fly that will not be heavy!
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  • Under Body – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Off-White.  Of the starting 5 colours I have, this one did not have the same pattern and does not build up as well. I will be looking at other light colours that have the same “volume” as the Olive.
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    These materials are not available to me locally, so I have to mail order them, and sometimes you are disappointed.
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  • Top Wing – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Bleeding Black. Excellent.
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  • Tie in Technique – The fibers were tied to the back and given the body of the SF Hairs, this worked well. Never-the-less, traditionally Hollow Point flies are tied points forward, then push back and held in place by a thread dam. I will need try this on test 2.
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  • Lateral Scale – I should been more careful on the placement, length and clipped off the curl. My bad and I got sloppy as I was so focus on the artificial hair.
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  • Eyes – And though not illustrated, my initial experiments with traditional eyes was not satisfactory. Yes, compressing flies to the head is great for “jerk” flies, but destroys the body for a hollow fly.  So either go with no eyes or tab eyes.
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    I have some tab eyes on order, and will experiment with them.

So, some experiments are still outstanding, but if you are looking to some large flies for Pike or the Salt, look at Gunnar’s site and give Steve Farrar Flash Blend a try.

If you want to get some additional pointers from youtube, then search for ” aswfstevefarrar  “, and my intent is still stick with this, and improve.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/08 at 23:45

Simms’ Flats Boots

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First and last: Recommended, but you must fit your boats in a store or be prepared to ship back boots!

I pick these boots up for saltwater fishing, but having using them extensively as my water boats launching, handling et cetera, Judy’s boat this summer, I have had enough time to “bond” with them. With the neoprene socks (ordered separately), they are great.

I would note that Judy’s Seadoo boats did not last 5 days in the Bahamas before they fell apart, but mine dp show some wear, but are in great shape, protect my feet, easy to walk in, and keep the sand out.

Any warnings or disappointments:

  • As others pointed out, Simms sizing is way out to lunch!  I usually fit in a size a Size 10 to 10 1/2 wide shoe.  In this case, I am in a Size 13 Boat and a Large thin Simms Neoprene sock.
  • Availability – though I live near a city of a Million People, there was no store that had any. I was able to get my, while travelling through Dallas last year at a Bass Pro.
  • Size again, no-one makes a boot for a small lady (my wife, hence the try with the poor Seadoo boot).

simms boats_DSC0436

Yes, this is a great boot and sock combination, but as others noted, the sizing information does not reflect what you may be wearing in shoes, boots, waders, et cetera. Find a store.

As a reference, this year, I also purchased a new pair of walking shoes (Merrell’s size 10) and dress shoes (ECCO, size 44 (10 1/2)), and the SIMMs are 13s.

I hope this helps.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/22 at 00:01

Scott Meridian 8wt

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I have not posted for some time, with the rain this summer and the deer eating my garden, I have little to post on the usual subjects. Never-the-less there are some updates, which I like to share.

I bought the Scott Meridian 8wt last winter as a backup rod for bonefishing, and now it is my preferred rod for Saltwater, Pike and Bass. It has displaced a 20+ year favoured Loomis GL3 and a more current Winston BL5.

Why has it gain such favour? It is light, responsive and I can really feel the load in the rod, allowing me to time my cast well. It is fun!

It does not have the stiff body as my older Sage RPLXi, where you need to over-line the rod to feel it, but feels alive with the designated line weight. Being responsive, you can apply some complex setups with ease.

Like my new Meiser 13668 (previous post), and the Guideline in the picture below, it has exploited the new fast recovery graphite’s available to the rod designers.

As I get no gain or advantage et cetera with any posting, I share my thoughts, as a individual with no pressure to produce, but forcing me to solidified my thoughts. Hopefully a reader or two will benefit.

I do recommend (like the many fly fishing pundits), if you are looking for a 8wt, fresh or saltwater, get a Scott Meridan.

I did buy a second rod, for Judy and I.

 

rods_DSC0437

Is there any concern? Small one, maybe as a result of the mass of the flies, maybe an error in production or my cast, my sections do come lose after a few hours. You can use the standard spey two-hand long-rod technique of some wax, a little tape. or keep an eye on your rod.

meridan_DSC0440

scott_DSC0439

It is a light rod, so I encourage you to look for a light reel.  As I self declared earlier this spring, I prefer the engineering and supply stability from Danielsson, so on my rod is a L5W 8twelve, suited for the salt and any other other challenge I can put on her.

Right now, I am using the Airflo Beach 8wt for Bass and Pike. Once you get the head to the tip, the line just flies over the water.

airflo

And yes, I am using a Streamside Furled Leader. In some of the forums, I see debate (often not so kind and focus on the flotation issue) from several of the furled leader manufacturers, but Mike Moline at Streamside lays low and just delivers a very nice leader MADE TO ORDER, and suitable for a 8wt.

Judy more than I likes how these leaders cast too and presents a fly.

So another set of recommendations for my Meridian 8 wt – Airflo Beach and Streamside Furled Leaders

On furled leaders, if dry fly fishing, may I suggest you use the Phoenix Braided Leader and use a little Red Muclin to support it if you feel it is necessary. I would also contend, a leader that is under the surface and NOT dragging your dry fly under is better than a mono-leader on top when fishing slick water for trout. Maybe I have not spent enough time dry fishing on slick water to get annoy about leaders not floating and prefer the subtle look of a furled leader in the water.

All of these recommendations-comments has been based on months to years of use, so hopefully this helps, if you are searching for a new rod for Bonefish, Bass or Pike.  The Meridan is a great rod, for fresh or saltwater.

Oh yes, the 11wt Guideline RSi Rod in the above picture is new, and has not seen the same usage as the Meridian. I like it, but it has not seen the same level of punishment as the 8wt, so I reserve any recommendation until it has seen a season or two.

Last comment for today and to close up the opening message. It has been a cool and wet year, so it has been a banner year for our local tree frogs.  I scared this one our of my Lemongrass pot on the deck, in the back.

tree frog_DSC0446

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/20 at 02:17

Light and small crab bonefish flies

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700 Crabd Weights_DSC8681.jpg

Most commercial crab fly patterns for bonefish are big and heavy – great to cast off a boat into 2-6’s water.  And yet, when you are walking on the flats in shadow water, when the fish are spooky, you need something that is small, light, still sink and will lay down softly.

From left to right, we have

  • Wilson’s micro-crab – size 8 hook – 0.21grams
  • Commercial Blue Yarn Crab – size 6 – 0.80grams
  • Commercial Veverka’s Corsair Crabby – size 4 -1.44g
  • Commercial Borski’s Crab  – size 2 – 1.79grams

So what is important?

  • Small hook – Size 6 or 8
  • Body material that will shed water and not imped sinking – EP Brush
  • Trimmed wide body shape.
  • Small to medium bead chain eyes

As this is for shallow water, with the expectation the fly is being pulled away from the bonefish, one needs to consider the view will be low and from the back.  If necessary, you can trim the top flat, but as I saw many crabs position themselves up, I did not believe this was a critical feature.

700 top_DSC8666.jpg

So what is the recipe:

  • Size 8 Hook
  • Pink Thread
  • Krystal Flash – Optional – think hybrid shrimp-crab pattern
  • Grizzly Hackle Stripped – Optional  – length of body
  • Hen Hackle splayed open – natural – similar to fly
  • Small-Medium Bead Chain Eyes – Consider Black – mounted at back of fly and such that the hook rides up
  • Small Hen hackle – Yellow , Orange, Pink or Chartreuse – Wrapped around shank.
  • Prepare shank with a tapered body of pink thread.
  • EP (Shrimp Dub) Brush tightly wound from back to eye.
    • Trim body to shape
    • Trim base flat

700_DSC8653.jpg

I would like to have a lighter colour Hen Hackle.

crab 700_DSC8631.jpg

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shrimp 700_DSC8611.jpg

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/02/02 at 09:41