Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Bonefish Eyes – my solution

leave a comment »

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

Light Bonefish Flies – some Principles

leave a comment »

So I have been doing some experiments, since our return from the Bahamas. A couple of lessons learnt was:

  • The common and promoted synthetic “Craft Fur” is lifeless in water.
  • I need, as DYI fisherman walking the flats, a greater selection of light flies.

So I wanted to know how light can I got, so some experiments were under-taken.  My conclusions:

  1. Stay with the traditional size saltwater hook – size 8, such as a Daiichi 2546.
    1. I tried tubeless and found it is possible to tie a fly too light (it floated). Eventually, I got to a sinking fly, but I saw no advantage gain with a tube fly, so I reverted back to a traditional saltwater hook with the small bead chain eye. (no picture)
  2. If using anything more than a few hairs, use a bead chain weights. The final target dry weight for a spare fly should be 0.28grams.
    1. If you want to use no weight, stay with feathers!
  3. In experimenting with eyes, I will continue with my homemade eyes – lower cost and better looking. (See picture, and you judge for yourself).
  4. Rabbit will have more life sitting in the water, but it will float on a lightly weighted fly, until it is soaked.  So, if you are holding a fly in your hand, as you scan and hunt for bonefish, you maybe casting a fly that will not get to the sea floor.

So what will I tie for small and light spawning shrimp, other than using Rudy’s:

  • Daiichi 2546
  • Small bead-chain weight
  • Black Pupil Eyes – splayed
  • fine crystal flash – 4 strands
  • tailing feathers – 3 pairs stagger in length
  • hair casing, such as deer tail

A fly in construction in my vise, showing the splayed tailing feathers.  Two changes in the final build is smaller bead-chain and use my own black pupil eyes.

small fly midbuild 700 IMG_5191.jpg

More pictures and some weights.

Dry – from top left:

  • Shrimp – Craft Hair casing – 0.47g
  • Deer Hair casing with medium bead-chain eyes – 0.30g
  • Rabbit Fur casing with small bead-chain eyes – 0.25g

small flies 1 dry DSC8343.jpg

Same flies, but in water and looking into the fly, as would a chasing bonefish would look.

small fly 1 wet _DSC8348.jpg


Some other flies – dry and reference dry weights – from left to right

  • Pop’s Bitters with medium bead-chain and epoxy head – 0.45g
  • Gorel’s (?) Feather Hackle with large bead-chain – 0.47g
  • Rudy’s Spawning Shrimp with small bead-chain – 0.37g
  • Small Antron Crab with small barbell weight – 0.76g


small flies - dry DSC8353.jpg

and a Daiichi 2546 Size 8 hook weighs 0.10g.

Oh yes, use fluorocarbon tippet and wonder if a intermediate airflow leader would assist.


Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/26 at 06:21

Spey (items) for Sale

leave a comment »

I am not getting any use out of the following items, so I might as well put them up for sale. Prices are on the SpeyClave Board, as per board rules.

First up, is a G.Loomis GLX Roaring River 15′ 9-10 Rod. A very fine rod and the very first spey rod that I really like. But, as progress in my skills and learning, I decided to keep to a Scandi style (versus this long line), but more significantly a lighter line.

I would contend this rod is great for large rivers and when pursuing King or Atlantic Salmon. A new Loomis Long-Belly 15′ rod currently retails for over 1000 USD, while a TFO 2H is over 460 USD. Posted sales in 2016 had prices from 400 to 600 USD.

Loomis 1 700 IMG_5205.jpg

Loomis 2 700  IMG_5207.jpg

Loomis 3 700 IMG_5208.jpg

Loomis 4 700 IMG_5209.jpg

In support of this rod are 2 Delta Spey Lines – Long Belly with Tip and Standard.  These lines had light usage and in good condition. In fact, I never did use the tips on the long, other than the floating line.  Delta Spey lines currently sell for 130 USD without tips, and I do not believe they offer a version with tips (except the UltraSpey at 270 USD).

Sales in 2016 provided 40 to 80 USD, top price for the multi-tip.

Delta 700 IMG_5175.jpgDelta Spely Long 700 IMG_5176.jpg

Up next, thought less loved is a “seconds” reel.  In my learning phase, I kept my forward arm choked down, so a heavy reel was desired. As many people, expressed their admiration for pawl-click reels, I had “a go” with this, but have decided to keep with my closed drag Nautilus reels enabling palming.

I found the start-up inertia high, so I reduce the springs (which are included), but also note there was an imperfection on the surface of the interior plate that I reduce.

This reel weighs 15.9oz empty, and believe it to be a Symmetry, which currently retails for 500 USD new.

Speyco 1 700 IMG_5164.jpg

Speyco 2 700 IMG_5174.jpg

Speyco 3 700 IMG_5171.jpg

Speyco 4 700 IMG_5167.jpg

Speyco 5 700 IMG_5165.jpg

Last are almost new Ambush lines. Water casted with my customer build fiberglass James Green. After some testing, I decided to go with the OPST, so my experiments are your gain. New lines retails for 80 USD, and appears 2016 sales on the board was 40-50 USD/

Ambush 700 IMG_5178.jpg

Ambush 700 IMG_5177.jpg

Terms ….

  • Paypal or Money Order. I will take the Paypal fees.
  • Buyer pays for shipping, and shall define terms – signature, insurance, et cetera.
  • I will ship by Friday of the week sold
  • Buyer may return for refund, minus fees taken by me.


Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/25 at 23:34

Posted in Spey

Short Rib Ragu

leave a comment »

Judy got the new oven and last weekend, we installed it.  So my first test was small, roasted garlic, but 2 nights ago, I made a Short-Rib Ragu.

ragu 3.jpg

Sorry, I had no fettuccine in the pantry, so I resorted to penne.

Yes, this is Ragu in the northern Italian tradition, versus what we get in the North American stores – vegetable base with little to no meat.


  • 3-4 lb Short Ribs (English Cut)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 oz Pancetta, thick slice
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Carrot, Chopped
  • 2c Mushrooms Sliced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Large
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp Green Tabsco
  • 1/2c Vermouth
  • 1 28oz Can of Whole Peeled Tomatos


  1. Add olive oil to dutch oven-pot
  2. Heat pot on stove to medium
  3. Cut off exterior fat off ribs
  4. Brown ribs as individual ribs (and remove)
  5. After browning is complete and ribs removed, reduce heat
  6. Add pancetta and onion, stir and ensure onions are well oiled
  7. Add onions soften, add celery, mushroom and garlic
  8. Cook for 15-30 minutes, occasionally mixing
  9. Add tomato paste and tabsco.
  10. Turn to medium-high
  11. Add wine
  12. Remove any bits off bottom
  13. Add tomatoes
  14. Bring to simmer
  15. Remove off stove
  16. Add in meat and juices
  17. If necessary, add stock to cover ribs
  18. Add a parchment, such that it is just above the ragu
  19. Bake in Oven at 275F
  20. Turn every 45 minutes
  21.  Add stock to cover ribs, if necessary
  22.  Skim fat, if necessary
  23. Cook until meat falls off bones (typically 3+ hrs)
  24. Remove from oven, set aside for 15+ minutes
  25. Remove meat and set aside
  26.  If necessary, use wood spoon to break up tomoatoes
  27. If serving that day, keep sauce warm on stove
  28. When meat is cool enough to handle,
    1.  Remove meat from bones
    2. Dispose of any fat
    3.  Break into bite size chunks
  29. Return meat to pot

Good for 3 days and may be frozen for future pasta dishes.  You can make it a sandwich out of it or as Judy prefers, eat it with Mash Potatoes.


Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/23 at 23:30

Posted in Weekend Cooking

Cream of Carrot Soup

leave a comment »

Carrot Soup IMG_5162.jpg

I recently tried another variant, but the following soup has subtle complex and complimentary tastes with orange, ginger, curry and cream that it remains my favourite.


  • 5 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Onion, Coarsely Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger, Minced
  • 1/2 Tsp Curry (free to adjust to taste and the curry you have)
  • 1c Orange Juice
  • 1.5 lbs Carrots, Chopped.
  • 1/2c Cream, Heavy.


  • At medium to low heat, add butter into 1/4 c stock into your soup pot
  • Melt the butter.
  • Add onion, ginger and curry.
  • Cook until tender, 10+ minutes.
  • Add reminder of stock.
  • Add orange juice.
  • Add carrots.
  • Bring to boil.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Puree.
  • Add cream.
  • Good for 3 days.
  • Add Croutons when serving.

There are so many different curries, but pick your favourite or experiment. With the Ginger and Orange, the flavours hint of South-East Asia, but some of the curries from the Madras (or Garam Masalas) can be a good pick to. Just remember, the idea is blending a complex set of flavours and not create a “hot” soup.


Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/21 at 22:56

Posted in Weekend Cooking

Tagged with

Bonefish Flies – Acklins, Bahamas

leave a comment »

The following comments reflect what I learnt about the specific conditions on Acklins we found.

  1. Sand and Tan is the dominant colour, and add a splash of orange or pink to the fly.
    1. The need for green, brown, orange and olive is limited.
  2. For DIY – focus on ightly weighted or no weight.
    1. On the boat have weighted flies.
  3. Focus on shrimp and then small crabs patterns.
  4. Despite its wide historical use for Bonefish flies, forgo synthetic craft hair, for it has no life. I would consider it as a body in a streamer for its shape, but for small flies, move to natural hairs from rabbit, squirrel, deer, fox or other!
  5. Bonefish are easily spooked, but they are more receptive to flies than trout, so selection of a fly is simple ….
    1. Minimize the splash down.
      1. Lightest weight fly that will get to the bottom in a seconds,.
    2. Then select a fly the colour of surroundings.
    3. Sharp debarb fly.
    4. If Bonefish refuses, change colour of fly.
  6. Sharp hooks!  The mouth of this fish is tough and will not spit out a fly quickly, like a trout, so the hook set is done after it has started its run, but the hook must be sharp to penetrate their hard mouth.

The Flies

First up, the only pattern I fished that I did not tie.  A fantastic tie by Rudy at Hidden Hook Fly, and do recommend it, but place your order early, as he may be out some adventure fishing. (Oh yes, in the video from Rudy, this is also Fedel (our guide and teacher)).

Blog 4 DSC8266.jpg

Blog 4 DSC8269.jpg

A fly that shall a lot of action is this Wilson variant of the spawning shrimp. I would consider a few notes …

  • Replace the craft hair with a natural hair (see next fly).
  • Reduce the dark mouth band, id est few darker hairs mixed with white hairs.
  • Eyes are perfect .. created using 12b hard mono with a burnt end, plus amber bead and over-coated with epoxy.

Blog 4 DSC8271.jpg

Another spawning shrimp is below with the above pattern, adapted from my crawfish pattern for smallmouth bass. I had one hook-up with this pattern, but lost the fish about 30 seconds in the fight on his first run.  Was this a poor hook-up on my part or a function using the jig hook?

Other than the lost fish, I like the feather front with polar bear hairs and the deer hair wing.  In this case, the deer hair also provides a mild weed guard, as it is pushed up by the “bushy” chennile body.

Blog 4 DSC8273.jpg

And a darker variant showing the fish’s view, with a clear illustration of the feather front.  The chennile is finer, so the wing (squirrel tail) rides lower and provides less weed-fouling protection to the hook.

Blog 4 DSC8282.jpg

Though, I am mentioning weeds, Acklins does not have many weed or turtle grass beds.

Another spawning shrimp variant – Petersen’s – showing the larger weight variant with the light small shrimp, but using fox.  Typically tied with rabbit, but here I am using fox.

Blog 4 DSC8292.jpg

Blog 4 DSC8288.jpg

and then another successful fly, Petersen’s tied with Rabbit.  I will be tying more.

Now a shout-out to Henrik Larsson who took a few flies and hope they brought him good luck, but as a good fisherman – he does not need luck!  Henrik of Göteborg also stayed with Fidel Johnson on the Acklins, so we enjoyed dinner, conversation on fishing and my home away from home – Sweden.

large tan DSC_7969

As noted, I was not thrilled with synthetics, for wings, but there was one exception – EP Saltwater brushes that become a fine veil, like a grass shrimp, when wet. Below is a picture of the fly dry and wet, and also teaches a lesson when tying with this material, pay attention to how the body will look when wet.

Blog 4 DSC8304.jpg


The only crab pattern we fished was the Pop Bitters.

Blog 4 DSC8302.jpg

And a pattern I had and liked, but never fished as it was too dark was my pheasant top crab fly. So I like to create additional flies using this recipe, but I must find a light top shell feather with the right marking, maybe from a silver pheasant or a hen.

Blog 4 DSC8297.jpg

Blog 4 DSC8301.jpg

And what was missing in my box? Answer, I needed some small light flies. These size 8 flies would have been fine if they had light bead-chain eyes. So next trip, I would tie 9 of these flies with light eyes and a lighter tan body.

Blog 4 DSC8295.jpg

Writing these lessons learnt help me, and may some one else to.



Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/20 at 02:21

Wilson’s New England Seafood Chowder

leave a comment »

seafood chowder IMG_5139.jpg

Despite the title, the key ingredient of any New-England style Seafood Chowder is Bacon.  So do not skip on the bacon, and use your favourite Bacon or Pancetta, as it compliments the clams; otherwise the chowder lacks it hearty meat taste that makes it a winter favourite.  What is my favourite bacon, Danish Style Bacon from Dundas Ontario’s Country Meat Packaging.


As this does not go through a blender or food processor, remember to chop your meat and vegetables to portions that you want on the soup spoon.


Best done in a dutch oven on a stove.


  • 12-24 small red-skin potatoes – chopped
  • 12 slices of bacon – sliced in thin sections
  • 1 large onion- chopped
  • 4-8 tablespoons of flour
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1-2 kg of cod or haddock
  • 2 10 oz cans of Cloverleaf Baby Clams
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of table cream (18% fat)
  • Optional:
    • 36 mussels – steam them before. I usually remove the shells.
    • 12 Small Stone Clams. Clean and with cooks with shells.


  1. In Pot 1 > Boil Potatoes in lightly salted water – cook, but still firm (10 minutes?). Drain and set aside when complete.
  2. In Dutch Oven > Fry bacon until soft and lightly cook.
  3. Add onion, and cook until translucent.
  4. Add flour to create a fine covering and absorb all fat juices.
  5. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Add Baby Clams and Juices. Can add in the optional mussels and Stone Clams.
  7. Add milk, cream and butter.
  8. Add potatoes
  9. Add fish.
  10. Add salt to taste.
  11. Do not let it boil.
  12. Ready in fish is cooked minutes,


  1. You can add in Shrimp, but shrimp becomes rubbery if kept in a soup over night.
  2. Soup is good for 2 days.
  3. With quality seafood, this is not a cheap soup (seafood here in central Ontario is not cheap).
  4. A traditional hard crust bread goes great with the soup.

Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/17 at 21:02

Posted in Weekend Cooking

Tagged with