November 29, 2010

Zeebs redux

reverse Zebras, ventral view
Thanks for the head's up from Captain Brownstain DP for some alternative variegation on those Zebra patterns. The running theory is that the stripes should run horizontal to the "D" shape shell of the zebra mussel pattern, as opposed to the vertical orientation found on my earlier prototypes. Will it make any difference which way the stripes lay to a fish? Maybe, maybe not, but I've got to give it at least the old college try. And of course, brutha Drew and I will have to take one for the team and field test these patterns to those unsuspecting molluscivorous fish to ensure sure that you, the public, receive the finest in authentic roughfish fly patterns.

reverse Zebras, dorsal view
Sometimes appearance can be everything.

November 26, 2010

Fly Box Porn Friday

Fly Box Porn
If you're still in a food coma from yesterday or are trying escape from the wrath of Black Friday, fix yourself up a turkey sammich and head on over to Fly Fish Ohio for some fresh flybox porn and a Q&A with yours truly.

Fly Fish Ohio

November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Last year's Thanks were a classic, so why would you want to mess with a good thing? Here's an updated list of thanks for 2010 and a ghettofabulous clipart image:

roughfisher turkey
Time for the roughfisher to throw around some thank yous:
I give thanks for the little roughfishers,
and the fact that Mrs. Roughfisher stuck around for another year.
Thank you for Columbia River carp, surviving death on the DSP, spectral dubbing, and my new stash of antron.
Thank you Phil, Bobby, Jeff C., John, Joe, Sunshine and Jeff P. for futhuring the unbroken chain of music on stage and in my ears.
Thank you High Gravity malt beverages.
Thanks for cleavage, tight shirts, and cold breezes.
Thank you carnitas.
Thanks to my 5 eight readers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2010

The Great Migration

The beauty of the fall is that when it's too cold or windy to fly fish, or flows are not ideal, you can pursue your hand at other quarry like pheasants, ducks, geese, or grouse. With the recent passage of a strong cold front, I was fortunate to bear witness to the beginnings of the great migration. Mallards filled the sky, circling the freshly combined crops of corn, forming a great vortex as they spiraled out of the sky competing with each other over the corn rubble. Canadian geese, both lessers and greaters, amassed in giant flocks, darkening the sky with their silhouettes. Real estate on the earthen fields was a precious commodity as ganders of honkers gathered to feed and rest before their long trip south. Rivers and larger bodies of water that remained free of ice, held dozens upon dozens of trumpeter swans at bay.

The Great Migration is a wondrous feat of nature, worthy of capturing in person at least once in your lifetime. I was fortunate to be present for this spectacle with a pair of lenses to capture it all. Here is my account:

puddle jumpers
bon voyage

November 22, 2010


Time is running out. The lakes are beginning to lock up and the river banks have started to form a crust of shore ice. Snow is on the ground with more on the way. Usually this would not bring the death knell to the roughfisher. To the contrary, this is the time when you bust out the cold weather gear and heat packs for the hands. You bust out the Chapstick, Pam, Armour All, whatever trick you have up your sleeve to minimize ice build up on your guides. This is when the big gals come out to play fo' real; during normal flows.

battle ready
Maybe I'm getting soft, but the record flows blasting through the Otter Tail are nothing sort of frustrating. As it is no longer possible to wade most reaches, flows are six times the median for this time of year. I shudder to think what flow will be like this winter and next spring. If the long term forecast of a La Niña winter hold true, then below average temps and above average snowpack will surely lead to a spring and summer of high flows. Again. I don't mind freezing the nards off if the water is low and clear and the fish are schooled up and concentrated as is typical in low winter flows. But as tough as it was this summer and fall to conjure up the fish from the depths, it is not going to get any easier this winter. I will not torture myself in the bitter wind and cold for naught.

Unless there is an prolonged warm spell this winter with temps above freezing and lower flows (not bloody likely), I'm done for the season. That's always a bitter pill to swallow. Better to wash it down with some suds and cherish a satisfying 2010 season full of new adventures and experiences and many new friends. Here's to a fine season of fly fishing in 2011.

Á votre santé!
Á la votre!

November 20, 2010

The High Five

The High Five
Not content that Hurricane High Gravity is the cheapest tastiest swill out there on the market, I took a few reader's suggestions and recently diversified with a few different brands of high gravity malt beverages. I picked up the royal sampler for some taste tasting and review, because that's the kind of service we provide.

The Lineup:
Hurricane High Gravity, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 8.1% ABV
Steel Reserve High Gravity Lager, Steel Brewing Company, 8.1% ABV
Schlitz High Gravity V.S.L., JOS. Schlitz Brewing Co. (Pabst), 8.5% ABV
Camo Black Ice, Camo Brewing Company, 10.5% ABV
Earthquake High Gravity Lager, City Brewing Company, LLC, 12% ABV

The criterion for testing is simple. First, each product needs to be classified as a High Gravity Lager, with a minimum ABV of 8.0%. Second, the product needs to be cheaper than $2.00 per can and something that is easily concealed and transportable. Nothing wrong with 40oz. bottles, but 24 oz. cans are more portable and help minimize the burning sip of death, commonly associated with the last vile sip of piss-warm malt liquor that's been warmed from your hand holding the glass bottle. Finally, the beverage must be one that is available year round and easy to find in stores. No sense in getting your hopes up for a drink that is only available on rare occasions. This is a daily driver beer.

The current reigning champion is Hurricane High Gravity, but only because it has been previously uncontested. I am not going to go out on a limb and pick a predict winner just yet, though Earthquake gets the early lead simply for its high alcohol by volume rating. Only one with a refined palate such as myself will be able to assess and rank each entry fairly, unless you happen to be an expert critique of turpentine and mineral spirits. If so, we can form a consortium of swillers, a brain trust, if you will. I'll follow up with the rank and file of each candidate, as well as all the nefarious and putrid details of each beverage, and reveal my choice in a future post. There are no losers; All five of these drinks rang up for less than $10, with enough change left over to buy a lucky lotto ticket or a slim jim.

Now these are the kind of product reviews we can handle.

Caveat Emptor: The above mentioned beverages were purchased at full retail price by the roughfisher. There is no incentive or financial gain to be made from the review, other than a hopeful roughfisher wishing to be picked up for sponsorship by one of these beverage companies.

November 19, 2010

How to be a playah: the scoundrel's guide to fly fishing

DJ Liptonite
How to be a pimp-ass playah on the river:

Gear up. Outfit yourself with a Sage Zn+1 = Zn2 + c Axis and an Abel Super Series reel with custom "Mountain Whitefish" finish. Spool up Rio's new Trout Whisperer fly line on 200 yards of 30# gelspun backing.

Start a blog; brag about how sweet you are. Master Photoshop and throw up some mad fish porn with extendo arm shots. Grip and grin. Butcher a hero shot and abuse monster wild fish for extra bonus points.

Indicator nymphing: Fish big ass bobbers the size of a globe. Start a flame war on your blog and internet message boards against anyone who calls your
bobber a bobber.

Fish with guys like MC Gracie Jones, Rice-cakes or Smithhammerzilla to boost your street cred. Anything you do will make you look like a champ compared to those dudes.

PBR? Step up to Hurricane High Gravity beotch.

Fish for weird shit in odd places like finescale dace on size 32 emerger patterns with a 000-weight glass rod. Be so obscure that no one knows what the fuck you are talking about. Who needs taimen when you can dredge for Sea Donkeys at the municipal cesspool?

Become burrito brothers with Singlebarbed and exchange dubbing "samples".

Post videos, movie trailers, photos, and links to other fishing sites on your blog, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, and no original content. Proceed to dub yourself the "King of Social Media".

Show up at the retailer show and hang out at The Drake Magazine booth all weekend, trying to pick up any leftover crumbs of coolness left on the show floor. Buy them all drinks at the bar after the show and then proceed to tell them why you're awesome and a better angler than all y'all combined. Bonus points for sniffing Mueller's aviator glasses.

Wax poetic about Mesopotamian culture with your streamside captives.

Write in your blog that you wax poetic about Mesopotamian culture.

Join the two-hander bandwagon craze. Swing intruders with a 16' spey rod on your fav spring creek. Tie up a bunch of articulated tube flies for those gnarly creek chubs.

Get decked out in Simms gear, but switch to Patagonia because things were getting too "political" on the Drake message board.

Proclaim yourself bigger than Jebus and Orvis, retreat to your mountain compound, and become a recluse pursuing stunted brookies and golden's with parr marks. You are your own island.

Actually support the Pebble Mine efforts: You need that bling for your diamond teeth so you can be just like Kanye.

Become a bass hater. Smallies are the new mountain whitefish.

Start calling carp "caprs" so everyone will think your an edgy hipster. Golden bonefish is so 2007.

Hot spot the shit out of your honey hole. GPS coordinates and Google Maps are even better. Get a story published in Fly Fisherman, American Angler, or Fly Rod & Reel about your favorite 6" brookie spot so you can have hordes of Orvis Boys hog your pool. Have a heli pad installed as well as a Starbucks kiosk streamside. Dean & Deluca caters lunch.

Have more Facebook friends than real life friends.

Elope with April Vokey.

Caveat Emptor: The roughfisher may be found guilty of several of the listed infractions.

November 18, 2010


Stupid water rats.
Always stealing my damn flies.
This was not for you.

November 17, 2010

golden nugget

The prairie sun has slowly been sinking across the sky, slung low in the horizon, almost lost amongst the tall grass and cottonwoods lining the river bank. This time of year, the sun's angle of incidence is so great that much of the solar energy is dissipated by the time it reaches' the earth's surface. In addition, the low angle of the sun off the horizon makes it extremely difficult to read the water and even tougher to spot fish. Reflection, refraction, it doesn't matter; when the sun is low, the water's surface is cursed with a glare that not even high performance optics can overcome. Unless fishing in gin clear water, this is nymph fishing time.

fly box porn
Equipped with my standard arsenal of flies, I grabbed a dozen of my favorites and tossed them into my day's worth box. I grabbed my rod and hit the bank of the river. Amazing that at this time of year, flows on the Otter Tail can be higher than they were this spring after spring runoff. Here comes the broken record again, but this is just plain ridonkulous. With flows topping 1700 cfs, simply put, the river is unwadeable. I perched up on the bank to try and spot any congregated schools of fish to no avail. Scattered.

rhyacophila sp.
With high water on the banks and water temps near 40°F fish were scarce. Carp were hiding in the flooded grass, smallmouth sought shelter within rocky confines, the only fish that were seemingly active were redhorse. I fished an orange Carp Crack that I had tied on a Korda hook and set to work dredging bottom. I hit bottom a few times and managed to get snagged on a submerged branch. As I pulled the woody debris to the surface, I spotted a few Rhyacophila sp. clinging its branches. I resumed nymphing and manage to foul hook a shorthead and a greater redhorse. I finally got my first take at the end of the drift; a nice golden.

golden redhorse
After scrubbing bottom so many times, I had wondered if my hook was still sharp. The teflon coated finish had rubbed clean where the hook had penetrated so it was possible that the point had dulled a bit. Much to my chagrin, I answered my question a bit later when my fly line caught my shoe while preparing for a cast, driving the fly into my pinky, well past the barb. The hook point had lodged itself all the way to the hook bend with ease, like a hot knife through butter, resulting in possibly the deepest I have ever been hooked. The hook was so sharp that I didn't even feel any pain. Fortunately, I pulled out the deeply embedded hook with ease, as I always make it a point to crimp any barbs at the vise; not for the fish's benefit, but for mine. The bottom line is, those Korda hooks are the sharpest hooks I've ever seen or fished. Impressive.

Some redhorse fish porn to finish off the story:

golden redhorse
golden redhorse
golden redhorse
Redhorse love the rise.

November 16, 2010

Best Sign Ever

No Bow Fishing
Don't know when or where these signs came from but a bunch of them recently showed up at my favorite stretch of river. And they're totally legit, mang. I'm glad someone besides me finally had enough of those slovenly pigs tossing their fish up on the banks to rot. Victory never smelled so sweet.

November 15, 2010

November 12, 2010

Same story, new steel

Korda hooks on Crack...

carp crack
Classic roughfisher patterns on tasty teflon coated steel. Time for a field trial.

November 11, 2010

Brothers in Arms

Achtung! SgtMjr Drew Price from the 802nd Mountain Battalion, Vermont Brownliner Brigade has taken his battle to the interwebs. Read the latest propaganda coming from deep within the Green Mountains.

Don't ask to touch his bear.

November 10, 2010

PT Bruisers

PT nymphs
The PT Bruiser. The bigger badder cousin of the pheasant tail nymph. Now with extra flash.

PT Bruiser
PT Bruiser:

Hook: 2X Strong 1X Long (Curved optional), Size 8
Bead: Tungsten 4mm
Thread: 6/0 UNI, black
Tail/Body: Pheasant tail
Rib: Copper Ultra Wire, Brassie
Wing: Krystal Flash, UV Pearl
Thorax: Seal Substitute Dub, Peacock
Hackle: Pheasant body feather
Head: Seal Substitute Dub, Peacock

November 8, 2010


A simple twist of fate on a classic midge pattern, the Serendipity.

November 7, 2010

Carnitas Michoacan

carnitas tacos
Pork tenderloin tips and Mojo marinade, slow cooked for four hours. Fried finish, traditional garnish of onion, cilantro, radish, and lime. Served on corn tortillas with guac and fire roasted salsa verde.
carnitas tacos
¡Estos pinche tacos estan lo más chingón! ¡Estan divina del coño! Cause that's how we roll...

November 6, 2010

Product Review: Sixth Finger 5.5" Tungsten scissor

It's been nearly six month's since I laid my greasy mitts on one of Singlebarbed's “General Purpose” Sixth Finger 5.5" Tungsten scissors. I figure that's more than ample time behind the vise to give an honest review of what these tungsten laced snippers are capable of. Let's see how they fared.

Sixth Finger 5.5
I'm not gonna sit here and pimp these scissors to you; I'll let the consummate salesman Singlebarbed hock his own products. But I will give a brief rundown on the meat of these scissors. Here are the specs:

Sixth Finger 5.5" Tungsten scissor
5.5" length
Large, heavy jaw
Adjustable screw allows disassembly for blade sharpening or retightening
Tungsten carbide edges

Put into commercial service, these scissors have been put through their paces, seeing more than their fair share of abuse. Feather rachi, chenille, furry foam, latex, heavy wire, these blades have seen it all. No less than a half-thousand flies have passed before the tips of these blades over the past few months. To no surprise, these "GeneralPurpose" scissors have held up to the claim of being beefy, burly and brawny. The tungsten carbide tips have held up beautifully, cutting through 26 gauge wire without consequence. Following Singlebarbed's warning, I have refrained from cutting bead chain with these scissors, as I agree that a heavy duty shears or wire cutters is a more appropriate tool for that task. However, I did test them once to see if they would cut through bead chain, and they cut through a link of #8 bead chain with some flex of the blades. The body of these scissors has just the right amount of stiffness and flex that allows for strain-free use, especially under heavy sessions behind the vise. That's good if you want to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome like me.

still lookin' sharp
The finish of these scissors is what has seen the most abuse. The blue paint that these scissors were coated in has started to chip off the metal in the high wear and exposed areas. Short of anodizing these scissors, flaking paint is difficult to remedy in scissors used heavily or commercially. It's possible that the salt residue from my hands and fingers led to the paint weakening, however, the likely culprits are damage occurring from repeatedly setting down the scissors on my tying tray/table, and the other metal tools I store these scissors with in my traveling fly tying bag bumping against each other. Regardless, the fit and function of these scissors are not the least bit affected, and this is merely a cosmetic issue.

banged up, but not broke
You can pick up the General Purpose or any of the other Sixth Finger scissors over at Singlebarbed's e-commerce site. $29 will get you a pair of tungsten laced scissor goodness. Take it from me, if these scissors can pass the roughfisher test of abuse, then they will surely outperform any other scissors that you currently have at your vise.

Caveat Emptor: Singlebarbed gave me two pairs of "General Purpose" scissors for product testing, free of charge. He gave them to me not because he "likes" me, or thinks that I'm a "good guy", but rather because he knows that my penchant for burritos, malt liquor, and heavy metals will give these badboys the beatings that they deserve. The fact that these scissors were free had no effect on the outcome of this review. On the contrary, this review was completely subjective due to the fact that I had no financial investment in the product and little regard if they would have blown up at the vise.