Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

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Spring snow

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It may be spring, but we are still seeing snow.  From last night, the snow on the trees before sunrise, with the glow of dawn through the dark forest.



Written by raspberryfisher

2017/03/25 at 16:13

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


I would like to have a lighter colour Hen Hackle.

crab 700_DSC8631.jpg


shrimp 700_DSC8611.jpg




Written by raspberryfisher

2017/02/02 at 09:41

Bonefish Eyes – my solution

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image 2IMG_5216.jpg

So I prefer small eyes with black pupils, and my making my own, as I have better control of colour. If you have the material, then the actual cost is a fraction of buying premade eyes.

Materials and Equipment, see picture below.

  • Monofilament Tippet from 0.024″ to 0.28″
  • Small Bead Seed Beads
  • UV Resin (Solarex is my choice) and a bright UV light
  • Cutters
  • Lighter
  • Permanent Black Marker
  • Measuring Spoon
  • Thread
  • Loop
  • Scissors


  • For efficiency, I will work in batches.
  • Pull out 60+cm of mono and straighten.
    • You can leave some curl, as it will help place the eyes out from the hook.
  • Put a angle cut on mono.
  • Thread 10 beads in the colour(s) of your choosing.
  • Moving to a one eye stalk at a time
  • Burn a small end-stub on the mono, which traps the eye.
  • Pull down a bead to the end.
  • Cut off 6cm – stalk, with burnt end and one bead.
  • Repeat until all beads on the mono length is consumed.
  • With the batch, paint end of stalk (burnt end) with black marker.
    • You want to avoid placing your marker on a hot mono end, tp preserve your marker.
  • Pour UV Resin into a small pool.
    • I use a measuring spoon so I can submerge the eye completely.
  • Dip and drag eye in resin, such that bead is completely submerged in resin.
    • You are trying to pull the heavy resin around the bead.
  • Pull out and let resin settle into a shape you want – I keep the eye pointed down, so as I form a tear drop shape (ideally)
    • Alternative is to place it on a drying wheel and go for a more uniform ball.
  • When shape is formed, hit it with the UV light.
  • Repeat for batch.
  • Most of my eyes are tack-free, but I like to place them in a sunny window for a day. The sun is so much more stronger than my 3W LED UV flashlight!
  • I bind the eyes together into a bundle with thread, and using a loop to create a whip finish knot to secure the thread.
  • Use.

Q: Is there anything unique in this message versus the various YouTube instructional videos I have seen?

A: One, the size of the mono that nicely fits (my seed beads), allowing for a quick and easy small burnt eye stalk.   do find it is easier to straighten the RIO Saltwater material, so I prefer this, but the Mason’s is just fine.

Oh yes, using my machinist Mitutoyo Micrometer, the actual thickness measured should the Mason’s was true to the labeling, while the RIO was slightly thicker (0.025″ versus the label 0.024″).

eye 1 IMG_5212.jpg

Picture with an iphone, so optical clarity, grain and sharpness is fair.


Update – I have found some seed beads of the same size with smaller holes, so sometimes, I need to downsize to 12 or 16b tippet.

Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/27 at 20:02

Bonefisher Leaders – IMHO

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There are constructions, formulas, et cetera, so mine is just another voice in the wind. But as the conditions we are dealing with does need to manage wind, my formulas are based on turn over into a wind and acknowledging material preference.


  • RIO – Hard Mono Saltwater for the body.
    • Available in
      • 0.019″ for 30#
      • 0.017″ for 25#
      • 0.015″ for 20#
      • 0.013# for 16#
      • 0.011″ for 12#
    • Masons is well known and it is stiffer, but it is harder to straighten which is further aggravated by the small spools they use.  If you do buy Mason’s, tryto get it in loose coils.  (also takes more effort to get a tight knot).
    • Maxima Chameleon – Absolutely great material from 12lb and up, but it is brown, so I will keep it for steelhead.
  • Seaquar Blue Fluorocarbon for Tippet
    • Using
      • 0.011″ for 15#
      • 0.009″ for 12#
    • Years ago, I had some break offs steelhead fishing and then began a detailed review of product.  Maybe it was a bad patch or me, but in the end, I learnt to trust Seaquar Blue.  The alternative is P-Line.
  • All formulas are based on
    • Expect the first fly to reduce the leader by 4-6″
    • The top end has a Perfection Loop and length includes the loop.
  • Formula 1 – Wind with Strong Tippet – 7.5′ (90″) – 15#
    • 42″ Section – 0.019″ – 30# with Perfection Loop – RIO Hard Mono
    • 10″ Section – 0.017″ – 25# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 10″ Section – 0.015″ – 20# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 10″ Section – 0.013″ – 16#  – RIO Hard Mono
    • 18″ Section – 0.011″ – 15# – Seaquar Blue
  • Formula 1 – Alternative – 7.6′ (92″) – 12#
    • 42″ Section – 0.019″ – 30# with Perfection Loop – RIO Hard Mono
    • 8″ Section – 0.017″ – 25# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 8″ Section – 0.015″ – 20# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 8″ Section – 0.013″ – 16# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 8″ Section – 0.011″ – 12# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 18″ Section – 0.011″ – 15# Tippet – Seaquar Blue
  • Formula 2 – Standard – 15′ (180″) – 12#
    • 84″ Section – 0.019″ – 30# with Perfection Loop – RIO Hard Mono
    • 24″ Section – 0.017″ – 25# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 18″ Section – 0.015″ – 20# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 12″ Section – 0.013″ – 16# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 12″ Section – 0.011″ – 12# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 30″ Section – 0.009″ – 12# Tippet – Seaquar Blue
  • Formula 2 – Alternative – 14′ (168″) -15#
    • 84″ Section – 0.019″ – 30# with Perfection Loop – RIO Hard Mono
    • 24″ Section – 0.017″ – 25# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 18″ Section – 0.015″ – 20# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 12″ Section – 0.013″ – 16# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 30″ Section – 0.011″ – 15# Tippet – Seaquar Blue
  • These formulas are similar to the guidelines that Chico Fernandez’s uses and also reference by Rod Hamilton.  There are other formula’s, such as Bruce Chard’s or Jim Vincent’s that has a slow progression, but I have chosen to go with stronger butt and a more rapid dropped to the tippet and fly.
    Why?  The fly should be stripped away from the fish, so the leader is on the far slide, so getting a straight layout ready for stripping on landing is more important than a very fine tippet.  Anyway, that is my opinion – right or wrong.co Fernandez leader formula

Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/16 at 20:45

Posted in Uncategorized

folstaff hack

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For Judy (and me in fast pocket water) a wading staff is an absolute for safety, and recently I picked up a folding staff for Judy so we can take in on airline flights, without having to deal with oversized baggage.

But there was one feature desired, adding a mounting point for a GoPro camera. So here is my hack to adding a 1/4-20 thread insert into the top of the staff.

Remove the top 2.5cm (1″) cork, with a dozuki (stiff, fine tooth blade) and clean. Note that the top of the shaft, the manufacturer uses epoxy to secure the shock cord inplace.

folstaff top.jpgIn a standard chuck in a lathe, using an acrylic round, drill in the holes for the threaded insert and to fit the staff shaft. (2 different diameters and drilled to depth of each joint),

Continue with the standard chuck, shape the base with a slight concave, so as when you press to fit the top onto the cord, you will provide mild compression of the cork to handle any “un-even” cutting of the cork.

Using a Beall Collet, secure the round to shape the outer diameter and turn to shape – in this case the diameter of the cork and break the edges at the top and bottom.

Using micro-mesh, finish wet sand (15000).

folstaff turn.jpg

Secure with an epoxy paste and clamp clean with a mild compression.  Please note orientation, as I do not want any excess flow to go where I am going to put the threaded insert.

folstaff epoxy.jpg

After some fooling around, I decided to epoxy in a brass 1/4-20 insert with exterior thread versus a press fit.  The press fit is cleaner, but the bond was not as strong.


folstaff insert 2.jpg

One more step, not shown, using a syringe, going into the well below the threaded insert, put in some warm low fluid epoxy, so the bottom thread is capture in epoxy. Set upright.

If you get some “splash” onto the thread, use a 1/4-20 tap to clean out the thread.

Most tripod heads are female, as is this solution, so you will need to use a 1/4″ thread bar to make the final connection.


  • 1/4-20 Brass Threaded Insert
  • 1/4-20 Rod
  • 1 1/2″Round – it will get wet, so think of your finish
  • Epoxy Paste
  • Epoxy


  • Lathe with Chuck and Centre / Drill Chuck
  • Drill Bits for shaft and threaded insert
  • Turning Tools – Used a parting tool and Skew.
  • Beall Collet
  • Finishing Paper or Mesh
  • As it was Acrylic, no varnish required.
  • Bar-Pipe Clamp – 6′ or longer
  • Epoxy Mixing and Cleaning Materials (inc Spatula)
  • Syringe
  • 1/4-20 tap

… anyway, incase, you want to do a similar hack, this gives a good start for any handy person.

Written by raspberryfisher

2016/10/14 at 00:31

Posted in Uncategorized

Root Beer Gotacha s

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Over the past 3 months, tied over 200 flies for Judy and I, in preparation for our trip to the Bahamas this December; and it is time to stop.  We have enough, and ideally, what we have will work, but I doubt tying more will make us any better fisher-people or improve the fishing.

I have  mixture of light and heavy, from small to large, in many colours.

In general bonefish flies are the simplest to tie.  You do not need many different threads, but Danville 6/0 thread is excellent.

The old standard hooks from Mustad (34007) are dull, but with a good Japanese Feather Edge Saw File, you can make this hooks sharp!  I got my files from Lee Valley, which I will state are better than any hook sharpening file you are going to get at a fishing store.  Otherwise, I would suggest Daiichi 2546 hook (in silver) or Gamakatsu SL45 (black).  For long shank hooks, I still have not made my mind up what is best for the salt.

rootbeer g DSC_8002.jpg

rootbeer g DSC_7987.jpg

Since, I took a picture of these flies, I completed tying brown gotachas and light olive spawning shrimp – EP style.

So, time to work on some other endeavors.





Written by raspberryfisher

2016/08/14 at 23:37

Daylily – Yellow

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It is August 1, and my daylilies have past their peak. Never-the-less, what remains shows the colour and luminance that I have strived for.

daylily DSC_7944.jpg

daylily yellow DSC_7951.jpg

Is it hard to pick a favourite flower, but daylilies do rate on my list, not just for colour and endurance in Eastern Ontario, but also I have flowers from my father and it is the bed that Caitlan (daughter) helped me create.

Written by raspberryfisher

2016/08/01 at 22:27

Posted in Uncategorized