February 27, 2010

The roughfisher speaks

pirate, alt
Check out the latest issue of USCARPPRO Magazine; the roughfisher debuts his new fly tying column.

That's right beotches, some poor fool let me put my words in print. Good thing a subscription is free or he'd want his money back. Nooch.

February 26, 2010

the Roughfisher Squirrel

Not my forte by any means, the Pink Squirrel is one of those patterns that may prove my nemesis. It is a painfully elementary pattern to tie, yet I still struggle with its simplicity. Nothing like a little humility to quaff an ego at the vise. Nothing wrong with a cold, hard bitch slap of the truth once in awhile to keep things real. It's those challenges that help keep me sharp.

Roughfisher Squirrels
The only way to confidently tie up a squirrel is to make it my own. A killer pattern local to the Driftless Area, I never really found much success fishing this fly "up north". Every instance that I've drifted this pattern in local creeks resulted in spooked fish. Since the prairie creeks and streams of the Northwoods vary greatly from the spring creeks of Southeastern Minnesota, the Pink Squirrel needs a little tweaking.

Roughfisher Squirrels
Roughfisher Squirrels
The genesis of the Pink Squirrel is allegedly due to the tendency of trout in the SE to strike at the brightly colored indicators. Leave it to a local angler to put that same brightly colored material on a fly and slay the trout. Pink, however, has never been a hot color in my experience. I've heard of anglers doing well with pink for smallmouth on the Otter Tail, but I've never shared those same successes. It's possible that warmwater fish may not defensively strike at strike indicators the way salmonids do. I do know that most any fish will feed on an orange scud though, even a pike. I modified the pink hotspot on the squirrel with some orange Angelina. In case the fish want a bit more girth, I tinkered with a few flies and added some glimmer flash chenille to the thorax, just behind the hotspot. In a feat of awesomeness, I crafted a peacock version, complete with peacock flash tail, peacock glimmer flash chenille thorax, and peacock Angelina hotspot.

peacock squirrel

February 25, 2010

squirrel's nest

pink squirrels
Inspired by the recent international version of the pink squirrel, I set to work at the vise and crafted up a few of my own. I don't know what the deal is, but mine always end up looking so bland. Perhaps that's the simple beauty of this pattern.

pink squirrel
pink squirrel
grapefruit squirrel
I know I can do better...

February 24, 2010

Pink Squirrels: Romanian Edition

SH pink squirrel, alt
soft hackled pink squirrel
Thanks to SwittersB I stumbled upon this page of nymphs. Though written in Romanian, fly fishing transcends all language barriers. You can check out the English translated version here. The author, cooldany, has a veritable collection of Pink Squirrels all pimped out, including a few tasty soft hackled versions. There's even a very familiar looking rubber legged PT nymph. Now this is the inspiration I need to get back to the vise. A simple pattern that has been take to a new level with the simple addition of partridge, grouse, and Angelina.

soft hackled pink squirrel
legion of squirrels
From the looks of his past conquests on the water, Dany is not afraid to through a brown line either. A certified roughfisher in my book.

All photos courtesy of http://cooldany.wordpress.com/

February 23, 2010

Signs of spring?

Spring is creeping about, haunting my thoughts. The National Weather Service is busy forecasting for another major flood on the Red this spring as FEMA and the local media are busy hawking, pushing flood insurance down homeowner's throats. As people are starting to prep sandbags for a flood a month away, all this talk of melting snow and spring runoff has got me thinking sucker, white sucker.

WTS aquarium
Last year I made it out on February 25. Even though we are near the same amount of snow pack as this time last year (20+ inches), temps have remained fairly cool making it hard to think outside winter mode. Regardless, river flows are well above last period. The Otter Tail has been above the 80th percentile all winter long, and is now at record flows downstream of Fergus Falls as the Corps of Engineers plans maximum drawdown before spring run off. Flows will be high again this spring and will likely prove a challenge locating concentrated fish, and even harder getting a fly to them.

WTS aquarium 2
I've still got a few more winter missions planned before ice out. Late ice is always a hot time for filling the freezer and smoked fish. I need to get my share of tullibees this year. Meanwhile, I've been casual at the vise and my flies haven't really amounted to much other than a few Czech style nymphs ready for the first sign of the spring sucker run. Maybe it's the gray-skied daze or the stockpile of unused flies piled in my boxes from last year, but I'm just not motivated. Yet.

WTS litho
Maybe the first robin sighting or a day above freezing will break me from this funk. Just Maybe.

February 22, 2010

February 21, 2010

damn roughfish

Nothing but the state fish, Sander vitreus, and their cousins, Perca flavescens. I was holding out for some delicious burbot but their ship never came in. Foiled again.

February 17, 2010

More Czech Nymphs

Super Psyche
What would a czech nymph from the roughfisher be without some glimmer flash chenille. Super Psyche!

Monkeyed around with some leftover orange 6# Suffix ice line. Even for an ice line, this line is not as supple as the UNI-Mono, and a bit thicker too at 0.08" diameter. It works, but I can find better. The 2# line may be more suitable for nymphs smaller than size 10.

cyanide pill
Tied a few nymphs up on the 2X long curved shank nymph hook. Kind of boring; I'll stick to a scud or egg hook.

Czech Bomb
Singlebarbed griped about my last batch not being laced with tungsten. Relax buddy, I've not gone mad. I'm always good for a few Czech Bombs. Here's your tungsten infused nymphs you bitch. Tied on some nasty Mustad Signature C67 hooks. Gots to pick me up some more of those.

February 14, 2010

Don't take candy from strangers

tow rig
Finally took to the ice for the first fishing expedition of 2010. A bit slacking behind years past, but the roughfisher has been plenty busy this winter. Got the tow rig set up, hooked up the portable, and hit the lake. Plenty of powder on the lake; I can't remember the last time there had been this much snow on the lakes at this time of year. Typically, the snows blow of the lake and drift along the edges, leaving only a hard pack on the open portion.

female YEP
The first spot I stopped is a known tullibee spot. Drilled a bunch of holes and marked nothing. Typical, as it was already 1000. Those tullies, like many salmonids, seem to favor the sunrise period for high activity. I moved on. Got to the next spot and found some perch. The first fish of 2010 was a short little stubber. When I grabbed her from the hole she dropped some eggs; getting ready for the spawn.

Kept moving in search of some tullibees, crappies, anything that'd take a waxie. The slush was bad in some spots and the powder was almost knee deep. I've never seen the sled have to work so hard to get anywhere. She let me know too, the water temp light came on after a 20 mile ride across the lake. Between high powder, deep slush, and wide open throttle riding, the tunnel started to ice up and she was getting hot.

yellow perch
These little runts were everywhere. If only their mothers knew that they were having contact with strangers. They need a few more ice cream seasons before I'll consider getting serious. Until then, they'll make a mighty fine snack for any esocid or larger percid.

February 11, 2010

Hopping down the bunny trail....

krystal chenille
Found me some more of that krystal-style "glitter" chenille at the craft store. Much like the Christmas stuff I found a few months back, except in Peter Cottontail pastels. Not sure what I can do with the Baby Blue variety, but the the pink and green are money for worms and caddis. White is always a winner.

krystal chenille, zoom
I'm just hoping there'll be more Easter scores coming my way. I could use some St. Patty's day Kelly green tinsel too. I heart Hobby Lobby.

February 9, 2010

CZE Nymphz

Czech Nymphs
Czech nymphs, plain and simple. Scud hook, lead wire wrapped shank, Singlebarbed's dyed Angelina dubbed body, latex scud backing, UNI-Mono Fine/Clear (0.004") rib, 6/0 UNI-Thread dark brown head. Not as svelte as Singlebarbed's wonder nymphs, but they'll get the job done.

Orange CZE
Olive CZE
Dark Olive CZE
bright green CZE
I've already got an assignment for them, some unsuspecting white suckers on their vernal spawning ritual. I'll have the pool boiling in a frenzy.

February 8, 2010

Pimp My Sled

Before & After: For an improved riding experience.

Ripped out all the two-up components and turned my sled into a single seater since I only ride solo. Ditched a few unnecessary pounds, reduced clutter, and improved rider room to maneuver. Slapped on a roughfisher.com sticker to boot. The increased storage area on the rear of the tunnel will come in handy when hauling cargo on expeditionary fishing excursions. May even ditch the molded plastic side rails for a more spartan look. Any pounds that can be shed from this tank is a bonus. Looks like I got myself a custom long track trail machine.

February 6, 2010

Just the Thing

Looks like I finally got my hands on some of Singlebarbed's custom dyed Angelina, and it only cost me my third born too!

custom dyed Angelina
Ever since the Son of Satan and I went in to cahoots and procured a lifetime supply of Angelina, I'd had the itch to fill my kitchen wall to wall with all sorts of concocted varieties of dubbing blends. I've capitalized upon several scores of interesting dubbing materials since then, the only thing stopping me has been time. Unfortunately, I've recently come down with LOA, lack of ambition. Hopefully this will be just the kick I need to get back on the wagon and behind the vise again.

Lurex Fringe
Singlebarbed included a "gift with purchase" inside the care pacakge, some Fringe Lurex by Ice Yarns. The multicolor yarn is a 85% Polyester, 15% Lurex Flag type yarn that is 50 gr. per 65 m skein. The properties of this style yarn should allow for it to be tied in similar to pseudo hackle or chenille, from creating thoraxes to palmered-hackle bodies like wooly buggers. The material would also be suitable for use as wings, tails and legs on many a nymph pattern; should make for some killer caddis nymphs. Cheers!

February 3, 2010

holding pattern

The fly tying is currently on hiatus. Pretty hard to get motivated for anything really, during the doldrums of a long dark spell; a funk. New snow and freshly groomed trails trump the fly tying card in the dead of winter. Maybe later. For now, I've got some pow to ride. Get 'em started young.

Abby T660

February 1, 2010

the brownline 2010.02.01

Reading Edition:
  • Brand spanking new online mag from Sleeping In The Dirt. As the opening statement reads, "No Sponsors, No Advertisements, No Limits..... No shit", the magazine follows true to course. Solid. The bar has been raised.
  • More fly porn courtesy of Simon Graham. Check out Issue 3, due out 2010.02.02, for some half chickens and meaty tube flies. Simon always ties up the nastiest esocid patterns. Well done mate.
  • Blood Knot Magazine. Close-to-the-bone articles from real anglers. No bullshit.
    "Designed to give fly anglers a fresh, unrestricted avenue to pursue their passion, these candid articles, photos and videos are for the enjoyment of other addicts."
    Keep your eyes out for the first digital issue due out this spring. Subscription is free.