Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FE Freshwater August Fly of the Month: Glo Bubble Caddis Pupa

August Fly of the Month: Glo Bubble Caddis Pupa

One of my favorite parts about this business is researching lure makers and fly tiers from around the world.  The August Fly of the Month served as no exception, and I found myself reading all about Mike Mercer, the creator of the Glo Bubble Caddis Pupa, and one of the West's leading fly designers.  Over the years, Mike has created over 60 first rate flies, many of which are being used in streams throughout the world!  He currently is an Umpqua Feather Merchant and also works with the Fly Shop (www.theflyshop.com), where he has worked for nearly 30 years - working his way up from a stock boy to a top fly tier.

In 2010, Mike wrote a book entitled Creative Fly Tying that details his creations and expertise in the fly trying world.  Mercer has developed many of his flies in the tradition of Gary LaFontaine - with thorough research, much trial and error,  and then practical application of contemporary materials available to him.  And then he goes and tries them out! Not a bad gig if you ask me. His book includes a "How to" portion on how to tie some of his flies but, judging by many of my failures at tying my own, that won't be of much use to me.

Check out his book Creative Fly Tying by Mike Mercer to see if you have any better luck than I do!

Mike Mercer's Glo-Bubble Caddis - Olive
Hook: TFS 3769, sizes 12-18
Thread: 8/0 Tying Thread, olive
Bead: Copper Bead, match to size
Body "Bubble": Z Yarn, light olive
Body: Midge Tubing, olive
Legs: Hen Back
Wingcase: Thin Skin, brown
Thorax: Peacock Herl

Sunday, August 21, 2011

FishingEnthusiast.com's July Fly of the Month: Emergent Sparkle Pupa

July 2011
Fly of the Month
Emergent Sparkle Pupa

Excerpted from the book: Trout Flies, Proven Patterns. By Gary LaFontaine

What is my most original creation? On four points, the Emergent Sparkle Pupa. Some sharp historian might find precedents for three of the points, the the fourth one, the most important, can safely be called an innovation (for obvious reasons). The technique of dubbing the underbody, the Touch Method, creates a sparser, fuzzier covering than any other method of dubbing. The trick of a 'loose' overbody is unusual even now. The Emergent, half in and half out of the water, is the first caddis pupa designed to mimic the hesitation of the escaping natural at the surface film.

The underbody has to be "touch" dubbed. The dubbing mix of half sparkle yarn and half fur is hand-cut in 1/8-inch lengths, and then blended together in a mixer. The tier holds a puff of this specially prepared dubbing and pats the waxed thread lightly. He wraps the thread on the hook shank. No other method of dubbing, - not noodle dubbing and not loop dubbing - creates such a sparse, fuzzy body.

The overbody, plies of sparkle yarn pulled forward to envelope the underbody, has to be loose and sparse. A size 10 hook uses a full ply of yarn on top and a full ply of yarn on the bottom on the shank. On smaller sizes the tier pulls more and more fibers off of the plies. Each ply is combed completely out and spread over the top or bottom half of the hook shank. The tier loosens the overbody with a scissors point or a dubbing needle (the puffed out "ball" fills half of the hook gap). For the final test the tier holds the finished fly up to the light. He should be able to see the underbody through the overbody; he shouldn't be able to see any light or solid bands of yarn.

Materials: Emergent Sparkle Pupa
Hook:  6-20 (standard dry fly, TMC 100).
Thread:  To match underbody.
Overbody:  Sparkle yarn.
Underbody:   Half sparkle yarn and half fur (a finely chopped dubbing blend).
Wing:  Deer hair.
Head:  Dubbed fur or wrapped marabou fibers.

Happy Fishing!

July Saltwater Lure of the Month: Johnson Silver Minnow

July 2011
Johnson Silver Minnow
Saltwater Lure of the Month

The ingeniuous and deceivingly simple Johnson Silver Minno was born of necessity in 1920 by Louis Jackson. Frustrated by the thick late-summer weed beds in his local lake, Johnson began to tinker in his spare time in search of a solution. The eventual result was the very first Silver Minnow, designed by Johnson to feel right at home in thick vegetation where other lures simply failed to perform.  Starting with the business end of a tablespoon, Johnson added a hook and a simple weed guard to complete his early prototype. Yet even with these rather clever modifications to the spoon, the lure was still not quite what Johnson was looking for.

Eventually, Johnson began to forge an oblong spoon-shaped lure from a copper/zinc alloy. He designed the prototype to be thicker in the middle than at the edges and a bit more elongated than his original tablespoon creation. Johnson’s reengineered design put the weight along the center of the lure.  This kept the single hook ridding upright and giving the lure a side-to-side wobbling action. The vertical position of the hook actually enhanced the weedless characteristics of the spoon and the wobbling action added tantalizing fish-attraction. Still the choice of fisherman– in saltwater and freshwater alike– around the world for over 75 years after its introduction, the silver minnow has earned its “classic” status the old fashioned way. Johnson’s spoon as caught fish after fish in all types of conditions for decades.

Featured lure: Johnson’s Silver Minnow
Created by: Louis Johnson
Created: 1920
Manufacturer: Johnson Outdoors, Inc.

Cast the Silver Minnow directly into or around weed beds and other forms of natural cover. Often a slow, steady retrieve will produce the most consistent results. But don’t hesitate to experiement with the rate and pattern of your retrieve. 

And lastly, enjoy the beautiful water around you!

Happy Fishing!

July Freshwater Lure of the Month: Chug Bug

July 2011
Chug Bug
Freshwater Lure of the Month
Storm Lures rightly touts their sensational Rattlin Chug Bug as a lure for all species of fish when they're feeding on the surface. “From panfish to snook” as they put it.  Founded in Oklahoma, Storm’s been manufacturing innovative lures since the 1960’s. Their first lure was the ThinFin, which began shipping in the 1960’s. About twenty years later, Storm introduced the enclosed topwater sensation. The Chug Bug comes from a long line of successful lures including Storm’s Thunderstick, Wiggle Wart, and Hot ‘N Tot, to name just a few. Normark, makers of the legendary Rapala lures, recently acquired Storm. We believe that Storm is now stronger and more innovative than ever.
The versatile Chug Bug is a favorite of professional and amateur anglers because it can be fished as a popper or as a surface chugger. Bass and walleye anglers find the Chug Bug to be very effective when fished in smaller sizes at night. Oklahoma pro Tom Morton has had success fishing the Chug Bug with a high-speed technique. Morton ties the line at the bottom of the line-tie (without a snap or split ring) and fishes the lure “real, real fast”. This technique makes the Chug Bug spit and skip wildly because the nose is kept unusually high in the water due to the position of the knot. The technique provokes explosive strikes according to Morton, who won the 1992 Oklahoma Invitational with many copies of this lure in his tackle box. Anglers can currently choose from three sizes of Chug Bugs dressed in dozens of colors.

Featured Lure: Chug Bug

Created: C. 1980’s

Manufacturer: Storm Manufacturing

Type: Topwater Plug

Experiment with your retrieve. Anything goes with top water lures, i.e. Tom Morton’s high-speed technique. That having been said, the most often mentioned retrieve associated with the Chug Bug is a splash-and-stop technique. Cast the Chug Bug out. Let it settle quietly on the water. Wait some more. With your rod tip down so the wind doesn’t catch your line, give your Chug Bug a solid pull to create its fish attracting splash. Then wait. Let the lure rest a good long time in a motionless position before repeating. The most vicious strikes often occur just after the Chug Bug begins to move again.

Want to join the fun? Visit www.FishingEnthusiast.com and sign up a friend for the Freshwater Lure of the Month Club!