Second-Half Strategies? (What flies should I be tying?) - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 02-04-2002, 09:13 AM
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Quentin Quentin is offline
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Second-Half Strategies? (What flies should I be tying?)

OK. Halftime's over and we're into the 3rd quarter of winter. I need to put some more flies on the board before I can even think about running out the clock and moving on to the post-winter celebration. (Sorry, must have football on the brain after last night's INCREDIBLE Superbowl!)

Any suggestions as to what sizes, types and numbers of flies I should be tying as we wish for spring? I guess I'm looking for some guidelines such as "At least a dozen #2 deceivers in white, white/olive."

I saw Lefty's "My Fly Box is a Mess" thread and Striblue's "100 flies in Two Weeks" thread and found some good info there, but I'm looking for more info about the specific sizes and numbers of each size/color that I should be shooting for. Specifics are important because I still need to buy most of the supplies and I need to know what to buy.
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Old 02-04-2002, 10:33 AM
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Adrian Adrian is offline
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A couple of years ago I made a radical decision - reduce the number of patterns I carry when going out fishing and have a specific reason/situation for having each pattern in my box!

My personal experience was that I had so many patterns to choose from I spent more time changing flies than trying to figure out what's really going on under the surface:eyecrazy:

Whilst every day offers a new set of experiences, there are definite "seasons" which tend to recur each year coinciding with baitfish migrations. I would set out a plan to cover each of these with a couple of patterns in a range of sizes and maybe lighter/darker shades.

The anchor pattern for me will be a sandeel imitation and I'll probably carry more lengths/weights and color combos than any other pattern. Your deceivers in lengths from a couple of inches up to seven or more will cover a lot of situations. You can also vary the color combos to immitate different species like Herring, Mullet & Mackerel.

I would add clouser minnows in white/olive and white/chartreuse in a similar range of sizes.

There will always be certain situations which call for something special - like the squid patterns which the guys swear by for the rip trips. If I have a trip planned I like to tie a few "specials" up specifically for the trip or even take some fly tying gear along - it adds to the fun!
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Old 02-04-2002, 11:05 AM
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Lefty Lefty is offline
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Yup, gotta add some Clousers. Easy fly to tie. Do some sparse, especially with chartreuse bucktail.
Hook forget. I think 2 to 1/0.
Once you get that clouser pattern down have I got a big fly for you. It's called "Leftys Deep Eel Chatham Skunk Fly". When fished at Chatham you get nada. Fished everywhere else you do pretty well.

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Old 02-04-2002, 11:21 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Quentin -

Sounds like you are thinkin' ahead, good idea. First showing of spring fish are pretty aggressive, smaller fish are tuned into the sand eels and other small baits around the shore while the larger fish are tuned into the adult herring returning to spawn. That's not to say that large fish can't be caught on small patterns, they sure can - but you should have at least one big slab sided fly in among the standard fare in springtime.

May thru mid-June is a great time of year, stripers are anything but finicky. If it looks good, eat it seems to be the motto for linesiders as they encroach on our waters from the south. Fly selection can be tuned to your purposes as much as the fish's preferences at this time of year - in other words you can fish poppers over rocky shores and they will come. You can fish pretty much what you want and they will grab it in spring.

Once July comes around they can get wary, my favorite time to chase stripers. It becomes much more important to have the right fly and presentation from July through August. This is the time of year when most people get aggravated at the selectiveness of the fish, even when they are in plain sight. I get infinitely more joy out of hooking a lockjawed flats 40" than a gullible spring racer anyday.

Then as the bunker start coming around things blow up again and you need to start thinking about tunoid flies and bunker patterns. Even then the fish get tuned into whirling bait balls and any approximation of the bait they are attacking fished on the periphery will be taken by fish feeding on cripples; the ones actively herding will ignore your offering anyway.

As fall rolls thru town the fat fish are back into the eat everything mode as they run back down the coast. Again, imitation or stimulation gets the same great results.

The only time you really need to be right on the money with the fly you use is from late June thru mid August if you ask me. Any detail beyond that will not be posted publicly anytime soon on the web, but if you'd care to join me out there I can show you what I know on the topic.
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Old 02-05-2002, 08:44 AM
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Quentin Quentin is offline
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Thanks for the input guys. Now I just need to stock some supplies and crank up the assembly line!

Clousers . . . Hmm. Hey Juro, am I allowed to throw clousers with that fly rod? I don't want to be the one to knock the tip off the rod! :hehe:

Lefty, I'd love to have the recipe for your Chatham Skunk Fly -- I'll use it when I *don't* go to Chatham!

Adrian, as a (former ) spin fisherman, I used to carry a small assortment of lures that I *might* use and a suitable supply of the lures I used most often. Still, I usually ended up carrying way more stuff than I needed because I just used the "go to" lure the whole time. I often tried to lighten the load by taking out the stuff I never used, but then I'd end up putting most of the stuff back in "just in case". I can only imagine what my fly box will look like in a couple of years!
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Old 02-05-2002, 09:20 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Q -

You will NEVER hit that rod with a clouser if you remember one simple rule...

Always keep the wind blowing off your casting shoulder. In other words onto your other shoulder.

This might mean you should turn around and fish your backcast when the wind demands it, or else stroll to another angle to fish if you can.

Just a few years back before the Forum existed I mentioned casting backwards on another website and the idea was met with rejection, today you see everyone doing it on the beach - it's the smart thing to do. Back when I moonlighted at a flyshop I always taught everyone to fish both directions right from the start. If you teach someone, you should too.

It only takes one peek at a picture from your brother the eye surgeon to get you casting on the safer side of the wind! Also, he advises to wear polycarbonate lenses. Shattered glass only adds to the damage.
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Old 02-05-2002, 09:22 AM
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striblue striblue is offline
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Remember to tye your Clousers long and sparse.
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Old 02-05-2002, 09:30 AM
John Desjardins John Desjardins is offline
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Location: Central MA
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This is a bit off topic, but, the backwards cast is also usefull on very bushy streams. Aim the flies at the holes in the bushes and drop it in the water on the back cast. It can save many flies.

Juro, I remember that a couple of years ago you mentioned on that other board that you were writing an article on eye safety including those pictures, did it ever get finished?
John Desjardins
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