: Prawn and Shrimp imitations??
03-09-2000, 12:59 PM
Hey . . I'm curious. I've had a chance to look in our esteemed host's fly box a couple times and have noticed that he ties an especially innovative shrimp pattern (Sinktip - I sure one of these will be included in your dozen <g>).
Now to my question - do you fish 'em? Do you tie your own variations or stick to the standard patterns (General Practitioner, Squamish Poacher, Sauk River Shrimp, etc)?
I'm just curious, as I really like my black mariobou GPs (major confidence fly) and am currently experimenting with my own version of the Sauk River Shrimp with white yarn, salmon hackle, pink/white diamond braid.
You know how I feel about my G.P.'s. There are virtually 3 patterns in my fly box - Black Marabou G.P.'s, Purple/Black Marabou G.P.'s and Orange G.P.'s. You have seen my Pecarry version of the Marabou G.P., but until recently my Orange G.P.'s were the Sean's Prawn version. I'm now working on a marabou version of mixed marabou in orange and red - its looking good. I much prefer the apparent bulk and action of marabou in the water over the standard tie. I also use Wooley Bugger Marabou to tie these flies - its cheaper and has plenty of length for the relatively short wings.
I also believe in tinkering with, and combining patterns and styles. Another recent variation borrows from your "Rat" and my subsequent "Chest Beast". It is in essence the zonker strip rat-tail with a Marabou G.P. style wing and body. This is a scary looking fly with a great silhouette and movement - I think it will, in the black/purple version be my "first light" fly of choice on the Thompson next fall - not to mention a good call on the Skagit this spring!
Tight lines - tyler
Tyler and Brian -
Cool how the insight of the steelheader can be seen in the patterns he ties and invents, as well as his approach to finding and mining the intricacies of a river's holding water. As I read these insightful designs and recall Brian's patterns, my thoughts run through my own patterns then end up in the mystery of the steelhead's mind and the triggers that are embedded deep in it's psyche, perhaps from a caddis hatch during smolthood or a feast of krill on the open Aleutian seas, but thankfully for us - there for the lucky and able to trigger with a good fly and a smart presentation.
I'd love to see some of these patterns scanned!
I do love to tinker, scheme and plan so as to entice the wily steelhead. However, in the back of my mind I have this nagging feeling that a hunk of yarn knotted to a bait hook would probably be just as acceptable to a steelhead in the mood to take. That said, I know I will continue to search for the killer pattern - 'cause once I catch that lightening in a bottle I will positively SLAY them! Tight lines-tyler.
Can't deny what you point out... although I love to romanticize. Maybe it's because for every time the chrome one makes a wake across the pool to hit my fly, a thousand have not so much as swiveled their eye at my very best offerings. Somewhere in the void between those two extremes is the impetus for today's steelhead fly culture, a more practical rennaisance of the gaudy salmon days of old. As a recent evacuation victim from the PNW, I now know that the magic behind steely fly experimentation is having a stream to swing them on. Thank heavens for the internet, the streams feel almost within reach!
Enough waxing, I'll put up a recipe and a scan of my prawn this weekend (for what it's worth!) Here's one in the jaw of a Snoqualmie chromer...
Well, you can't see the fly but you can see the pink tone of the Scintilla dubbing.
03-10-2000, 06:00 PM
"It is good to remember there will be a lot more steelehead caught on a piece of yarn than on all the fancies flies ever fished." -- Roderick Haig-Brown
As much as I hate to believe this, it is probably sadly true. But since I see no satisfaction in spending my non-fishing moments simply lashing yarn to a hook, I will keep tieing, tinkering and searching for that pattern that will prove irresistable to the wiley steelhead. And even if I never find it, I will settle for one or two that makes me confident that a fish will take it. After all, isn't that half the battle? Besides, my three year old son has recently taken up tieing with his dad and that is too cool. It does make for some interesting patterns though :)
03-10-2000, 06:15 PM
Just as an aside to both your comments - I agree with both, that mostly steelhead (especially winter) will take any hunk of stuff floating downriver if they're in the mood (assuming ideal presentation) and yet there is a *big* gap between the number of takers and the number of steelhead that actually see your fly. And I've heard enough stories to prove to me that, yes, there are also times when steelhead discriminate between what flies they'll hit and the rest they ignore.
As much as anything else, if I have confidence in a fly (or excitement about trying out a new promising pattern) I stay much more involved in it's journey downstream. I also find that flies I tie to imitate something ~natural~ are much more exciting for me to fish - maybe that's just a carry-over from my trout flyfishing roots?
Anyway . . . an informal Skagit clave is planned for mid March and I'll plan to get macro shots of a couple of Tyler's creations (I especially want a shot of The Chest Beast) if he's agreeable, as well as a pic of my own new tie.
Juro - this is actually much closer to your own prawn than it is to the Sauk River Shrimp. Tie in a tail of pinkish white maribou with 2 strands of bright orange (saltwater) krystal flash, then three segments of (1) pearlescent pink diamond braid (2) a thin clump of white yarn to provide a translucent cover for the braid and (3) 2 wraps of salmon pink hackle.
It looks frighteningly lifelike in the water - like it wants to crawl right up your boot!
Hope to post a trip report soon with one of them babies hanging out of a big chrome spring native's mouth!
03-10-2000, 06:25 PM
Bet you'll be a proud daddy when you're able to catch a fish with one of your son's ties (that is if he doesn't beat you to it<g>)
Scott ODonnell, a Skagit river guide, once bragged to me that he'd taken a 20lb native from the Mixer just after we'd floated past him and his client on a cold April day a couple years ago. Caught it on a fly his wife had tied - "One of the butt-ugliest things you've ever seen on a hook!" as he put it.
He'd been showing her how to tie and had made the mistake of complimenting her first attempt.
She replied, "But you wouldn't fish it . . . WOULD YOU?????"
Backed into the proverbial corner, he boldly stated "Of course I would - in fact, it'll be the first fly I fish today!"
Meant to get three prawn flies in over the weekend (scanned and recipe'd)... but due to the fly show and the rod test, couldn't find my wheatley in the alloted time. Pretty bad state of affairs when a self-proclaimed steelhead junkie can't find his flybox in mid-March... I think I'm getting depressed. http://22.214.171.124/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif
I wish i could tell you where i read this, as i'd like to credit the author. I can't even quote him very accurately, but his point was that what they might hit isn't important as what they deserve - an honest effort to tie something worthy of them.
Hey Bill -
I also frequently heard the lore of Syd Glasso laying each fly that caught a steelhead on the riverbank when he kept a fish. His legacy is pretty cool - a Forks Elementary School Principal who did snail mail flyswaps with Col. Bates in the UK (see the Bates book for color plates) and other renoun classic tyers of his day, pioneered the resurgence of Spey flies in the Northwest through his own designs, and gave a logging town the notoriety it has as a historic place where 'worthy' flies and wild steelhead meet.
Can't wait to stomp those river banks again!
03-24-2000, 11:33 AM
I know Dec Hogan's made a lot of comments to this effect in recent years (publications). The upshot is that, while you can catch a steelhead on almost any hunk of foam or yarn, the Steelhead gives it his/her all in the fight and you should too -at the vice. He's also a big proponent of creative personal expression and innovation in his tying.
Juro - check out Ed's flies when you get the chance ('specially the Intruder). I hear a lot of the ideas Dec Hogan incorporates in his flies come from Ed! I'm sure you're tyin like crazy right now, and doing the Spey Shuffle in the halls! Only 1 more week and you'll be out here swinging those flies through familiar runs!
I will be elated to be looking in Ed's flybox, standing in glacial water in the shadows of the north cascades mountains, electrified with the prospect of giant mercuric trout coming to my fly.
When considering the things we anglers get to experience and appreciate, it's no wonder there's so much camaraderie in the sport.
See ya soon!
03-26-2000, 08:12 PM
from what I've read Ed's vest is even more impressive than his fly box. Rumor has it he'll fish a theory for much of a season if successful then he stores it away in his pockets. Makes for a 30lb vest and all the gear you could ever want.
I'm a bit saddened by the realization that like Ed I used to spend seasons proving things out. Now I get tourist-like sorties in spring and/or fall and that's it! Luckily, I've had luck when I visit but there's nothing like a the four seasons of steelheading to burn subtle realities into the mental logbook.
Thanks to guy like you I will keep the pilot light burning until such time that I can continue my 'research' in earnest.
see you on the river,