Seasonal Preparation [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Seasonal Preparation

04-08-2000, 11:11 PM
Since my ritual early spring trip to the PNW, I am back in black for the striper's arrival to my home waters. It goes without saying that you are too... after another winter.

To prepare for the onslaught of linesiders, I've finally been able to crank out a few flies for the spring. Looking back at past years experiences, the exhuberance of the spring arrivals makes fly pattern choices not a big deal when the fish are feeding actively and openly on Nantucket Sound. Spots where I have had great luck finding fish this time of year run from Nobska all the way to Hardings on the sound side, and big fish aren't far behind the herring runs on both sides of the cape.

I always tie and use large herring patterns in spring around the runs and this tactic has payed off over the years. These are big flies (Jay Horton dubbed one of these flies "the chicken fly" due to the amount of materials on the tie during the outer beaches clave). Two-handed rods are a definite advantage for fishing such large flies.

Soon thereafter the arrival of sand eels on the scene co-incides in large part with the arrival of larger fish on the flats, and there is a pre-Father's Day bonanza of big fish on small flies on the flats before they warm up and the big bass move off to Billingsgate.

In conclusion, my tying patterns co-incide with this sequence:

- easy, good fish grabber flies in April for schoolies
- large alewife and blueback patterns for April / May
- sand eel patterns in June

Then as mid-summer progresses the crab flies come to the vise and finally the YOY pogies and YOLY (last year) forage species which I imagine we will see a lot of - will be the ticket through autumn.

What are your thoughts?

04-09-2000, 09:51 AM
Other than Spring patterns, what other pre-season preparations are people going? I ask this, because I started SWFF mid-season last year, So this is my first time getting my Fly gear ready for the spring run! So far, I have cleaned and stretched my lines, checked all of my knots from the backing on out, tied up some Floro leaders and oiled my reels.

For my fly lines, I used a small butt section (12") of heavey mono with a loop connection. These look fine from last season, but should I nail knot on NEW butts to my fly lines?

Are there other pre-season maintainance iteams that I didn't think to do?

04-10-2000, 09:20 AM
1. I built a stripping basket over the winter. Followed a cross between Sully's and Lou Tabory's design. Do it! Best $4.00 I ever spent.

2. Patched hole in waders with 3M 5200 Marine Sealant.

3. Built new leaders for my new flylines. (nailknots, surgeon loops).

4. New Flashlight. Went to REI in Reading and bought a "Pelican" for $16.00. Clips on your Baseball hat brim, or pocket, vest etc. Plenty Water resistant too.
5. I also got a waterproof disposable camera for xmas.

Damn I'm ready.

04-10-2000, 11:45 AM
My preparations have involved getting out and doing some casting for trout and casting on the lawn with the new 8wt. My neighbors must think I am a nut-case with all the 'lawn-fishing' I have been doing.

Need to get back and tie some more flies - but seem to have a good enough supply of clousers and sand eels to last a while, have to focus on those herring flies some more. BTW I love that sheep hair for those flies - very nice translucency when wet and a good profile.

Here is a picture of the new toy - boy does it zip line!!
Wish it was a better picture - Diamondback Backwater with garnet wraps and silver accents.


04-10-2000, 11:31 PM
Great stuff! Hey Sully, ever think about patenting the epoxy dryer design? As I recall there were several designs at your tying clave... anyone?

An option would be to post the recipes to compare and contrast them if nothing else. Of course if there are any plans to mass produce please don't post them, I'd hate to have anything to do with diluting the potential of a good idea.

On a related note, I've come across several good loop recipes lately and will post them all. Ed Ward, "the steelhead bum", recently inspired me to keep the experimentation going, there's no place for complacency with fly-tinkerers. MikeF has a great recipe on . There is no one killer loop as far as I can see, but there are many good ones. It would be great to document them all!

(If you have any loop recipes, feel free to post them as well)

04-11-2000, 06:55 AM

With regard to loop recipies, are you referring to loop knots to attach fly to tippet, which improves the action of the fly? If so, I'm very interested in learning at least one (preferably easy) technique. GregO.

04-11-2000, 08:27 AM
At the UFT meeting last week, Lefty gave a short talk on knots. He's a big advocator of the Surgeons Loop. Says they are strong as anything. But you have to tighten them correctly, pulling out the slack on all 4 legs (2 legs being the loop itself). I've carried over Blod Knots from trout fishing but noticed I was the only one using them in the salt. So I've tied up some surgeon loops this year, I find it weird having bulky loops in the leader, but maybe I'll get used to them.


04-11-2000, 09:41 PM
grego -

I am referring to loops for joining lines to lines, and lines to butt sections. I've been meeting more and more folks who prefer the loop knot of which you speak (terminal to fly) to enhance the action.

Basically, you tie an overhand knot into the tippet as a stopper, then tie a clinch knot above the stopper knot. (Brian - care to clarify for grego?)

I tend to try to design flies to be active in the water as opposed to changing the terminal knot. This all depends on the fly, in other words the best knot in one case is different than in others. For instance, I prefer to use a double turle for upturned loop eyes on steelhead / salmon flies. This also suits the riffle hitch for skating the same fly where the loop knot would not. But that's another story and I guess I am not staying on topic...

As far as stripers are concerned, I think the heavy tippets and motion in the water (ie: surf) make loop knots a good idea. But you don't need a loop knot for a felt crab. Sand eel patterns don't typically move in the front section, but you want a lot of motion in the second half of the body. I don't think a loop will help for many of my solid forward body sand eel patterns. For a popper, I probably prefer a nice solid tie to a stiff tippet. Juvies, on the other hand are probably a good fly for loop knots although I feel confident that the marabou abdomen I tie in makes the hackle tips dance in the foil regardless of the terminal knot.

I'll try them out this season and see if it makes a believer out of me. We should have a lessons learned season-ending discussion for the record as well!


04-12-2000, 10:32 AM

Thanks. I'll try the clinch with the overhand stopper. I also think Lou T. had some terminal loop recipies in his latest book, I'll have to look.

As far as loop-to-loop connections, I like the perfoection loop, as it is very stright (i.e., in-line with the line). I've heard that it isn't the strongest knot, but for butts and the heavey ends of leaders this should not be a problem.

The perfection loop is very hard to describe how to tie it, but very easy to SHOW. I've even found a little trick to make'm really small, but it's a show not a tell.

04-12-2000, 11:01 AM
Perf / is a great knot, and maybe we can put it on video so I can put the clip into the "knowledge" section as we start to build that up over the next few weeks.

The other line-line loop of note is the loop connector, which can be either store bought or constructed for better performance. The ones from the guys in the northwest are really well thought out because they are very important to the hybrid line systems used out there. It would be interesting to document these techniques as well.

Good luck this weekend! (wish I were going)