Well, it’s time to fish again and Guy Allen released a beautiful wild winter steelhead today and it is 11:08 PM and I’ve been up since 3:30 AM and can’t sleep and I didn’t get a grab but maybe tomorrow and i’ll start with a tube intruder I tied this morning at 4 AM.
I decided to lay down my thoughts on several new products or techniques to share with folks, these are just going to flow so bear with me please.
1. Adding more wiggle to your bunny strips. Wow this is a simple technique that really works—first cut your rabbit strip and I use a 1/8″ but you may prefer a 1/4″ depending on circumstances. hold the tip of the strip securely in your fly vise, and mark the hide with a black sharpie or some other color of your choice, then with a razor blade, carefully and slowly slit the strip down the middle. Now tie in the un-split end as you normally would. You will find that the twosides of the split strip wiggle independently and you basically get twice the wiggle and motion from your rabbit strip flies. Deadly.
2. Eumer Tube adaptor as dubbing pick and hackle folder tool. Yes you heard it here. This has become my favorite dubbing pick plus the rectangular butt is fantastic (the best I’ve ever found) for folding hackles from saddle to schlappen to guinea prior to winding them by the tip. I prefer the small and medium sizes and find that I like these better than any of the tools Ive used before.
3.OPST Dumbell shanks. These are very nice shanks with a return eye that is perfect for lashing on dumbbell eyes especially when tying Intruder style shank flies. I also tie unweighted flies with a trailer hook on these shanks.
4. Greg Senyo’s Fusion Dub. Egads. As if this madman didn’t already confuse me with the range of his products—I was in the shop recently and saw some of this new Senyo material in an customers order ready to ship. This material provides without question my most favorite colors for steelhead flies hands down. The Eat a Peach shines, the surf is super steelhead blue. The Grape is a purple beyond hope. I formerly was driven to blend my own dubbing to achieve these colors but Greg Senyo did the work for me on this one. Try it, you can not fail to love the colors.
5. Ostrich. OK let’s face the facts. Ostrich is tricky stuff. The various distributors struggle to get the best ostrich they can, but the nature of the plumes each distributor can obtain varies day-by-day. Month by month. Whatever. Point is the marabou you buy today may look different than the ostrich you buy a month from now. I’ve been tying steelhead flies with ostrich lately, and using OPST and MFC brands most often. I found that the OPST ostrich quality seems to have taken a turn for the better of late, and the MFC seems to alway always be of uniform nature. OPST is generally fluffier, and the MFC is very slender, a property based on how it is processed—so it is very much like Rhea. OPST offers barred and spotted ostrich. MFC offers a wide variety of barred and solid colors. I use both OPST and MFC ostrich and recommend it highly.
6. Senyo’s Barred Predator Wrap. This stuff is crazy good incorporated in composite dubbing loops to provide both substance and motion to the fly’s body or hackle. You can wrap the stuff if you need it long or spin it in a loop if you want it shorter. I love this stuff.
7. EP Game Change UV Blend. Im a big fan of Steve Farrar’s Blend materials for my saltwater flies and immediately recognized that Enrico Puglesi is now providing a very attractivve alternate that has slightly different properties and color shades to add to our palate of baitfish pattern materials. The EP Gamechange does NOT have UV Ice fibers added but the Gamechange blend is very sparkly. I’m just getting started with these materials but I guarantee that my boxes this season will feature many flies with this stuff, It is moderately stiff and will hold its shape well and can be trimmed as you wish. I’d venture that the textures of these two materials is more consistent than you see from color to color in the Farrar’s blend—where three different colors can have three completely different textures.
I hope you find something interesting here and are able to incorporate the inspiration into your own flies this season.
Jay Nicholas, January 2016.