With the onslaught of digital photography and inexpensive HD cameras, it seems like just about every fly fisherman has ambitions of becoming a film maker, resulting in, thousands of hours of voyeur “fishing porn” being released for sale. Don’t get me wrong! I have nothing against anyone expressing themselves through the cinematographic art form, quite the opposite in fact. But like poor Hollywood productions that go straight to DVD, with a few exceptions, most of these fishing films should go straight to Youtube.
Gaula, River of Silver and Gold, is one of the exceptions!
Following the river through the clearly defined Norwegian seasons, this film gives the fly fisherman a front row seat, on the journey of the salmon and fly fishing a legendary river. Through the use of elegant underwater and spectacular ariel photography you get to see Gaula, as never seen before!
The production of Gaula is sharp, yet flows as smoothly as the river itself and unlike most other fishing films, it is complimented by an unobtrusive but yet refreshing and pleasant sound track. My only criticism is the somewhat clinical narrative, but this is fortunately camouflaged by the seductive voice-over in english by Susan Tackenberg. That being said! This is a film for fly fishermen by fly fishermen and anyone who chases silver in Gaula or anywhere else for that matter will be spellbound.
I cant wait to see more from this team.
Daniel Göz & Anton Hamacher: Time 43 min. DVD. Blueray. 29.95 €
In Ungava Bay a two hours flight north of Montreal in Quebec, swim the worlds largest Arctic char.
Don’t expect too much of the cabin! these are the last worlds of the legendary bush pilot Johnny May as we unload the last of our gear from the plane and he wishes us farewell with a smile. We don´t really care about the condition of a cabin as long as his stories about char of 7, 8 and 9 kilos are for real. We climb aboard a bright red De Havilland DHC-3 Otter – better known as a Single Otter. A few minutes later our bush-pilot, Jonny´s brother Billy, throttles up and accelerates against the wind. Then the planes pontoons lift of the water, we are on our way from Kuujjuaq, to the Arctic Char adventure on the Nunavik tundra.
After three quarters of an hour flying over the endless tundra and endless lakes and rivers, we finally get to our destination which is the small river that runs out from Lake Dulhut out into the powerful Pelledeu River. When Billy makes a sharp turn to land against the wind I see the flash of white tipped red fins in the clear water beneath us. Jon, my fishing companion who has been Billy´s co-pilot turns to me with his cap on backwards and gives me the thumbs up. We have been travelling for three days, Oslo – London – Montreal – Kuujiuaq – Dulhut and now he is suffering from a very high fishing fever. The only cure is a fix of Arctic char, and he needs it quick.
Only a few casts:
First when the August night came rolling in over the tundra and the glow of the cleaned-up campfire was dying out we are ready to fish. In a small waterfall which was only two flycasts north of the cabin Jon hooked a very powerful fish on his first cast.
From my previous experience of fishing these Arctic giants, they not only refuse large flies but they are spooked by them. Jon’s first fish took the size 14 shrimp imitation in orange glimmer chenille and had total control for the first few minutes. His #7 rod was bent deep into the handle under the power of this mighty fish..
Having caught a few fish we had the fever under control and more important it had been confirmed that Dulhut could offer world class Arctic Char fishing.
Both red and silver:
After a breakfast of toasted white bread and scrambled eggs, we spend the first half of the day in the river mouth just above the cottage. We fished with the same flies as the evening before but soon realised that the fishing was even better if we fished a bit deeper – as we fish for char in Norway and Iceland.
Many fly fishers choose bead head nymphs for fishing like this, but we have a simpler technique, simple by threading the required amount of loose tungsten beads on the leader above the fly. This technique makes it possible to fish more varied and you can manage with much less flies.
During this first half of the day there was one big happening with consequence. The steady wind we had had the night before and in the morning died down and in only a few minutes clouds of meat eating black-flies swarmed in to feast on the Norwegian buffet. We are experienced travellers and can read the signs, so it only took us a few seconds to kit ourselves out
– 100 % DEET – mosquito jackets, waders and fleece mittens.
The fishing continued to be fantastic and we experienced that there were two kinds of Arctic char on the way up-to the spawning grounds. The large males who had arrived early in the river and already taken on their spawning colours and fresh run females where a rich silver grey.
The largest fish of the day? yes, Jon played it for a long time, but he eventually lost it, right by his feet without ever being able to get a look at it.! First it ran straight across the current like a sailing boat and confidently stripped meter after meter of fly line from his already screaming reel, until he was down to the last few turns of backing. After a few minutes he managed to pump the the fish closer and put line back onto the reel, I could see Jon´s rod tip bouncing up and down from the fish shaking his head, but when he wanted he made a run stripping more line from my reel. It was a strong as a dolphin and Jon began shouting somthing about saving his fly line! He was worried the fish would break it off and disappear with it. After 15 minutes of hard fighting his rod sprung to attention and his line fell slack. The knot on his fly gave and the heavy leader slipped away. And so did the fish. He later told me that, that was the strongest fish he had ever played….
Above the river mouth from the hut, the river runs several hundred meters through large boulders which the last ice-age left there ten thousand years ago.
Here the Arctic char follow the deepest runs and pools, where they often stood like bonefish with their fins above the waters surface watching each other like Olympic sprinters at the starting line waiting for the sound of the pistol. And even if their behavior showed that spawning was just around the corner, they willingly took our small bright coloured imitations of gammarus in chartreuse, pink and orange. Here it was a great advantage to stand and fish from the top of large stones as it was impossible to wade and follow a hooked fish.- Some places the bottom was like a garden path of fine shingle, but other places large sharp edged stones. To break a leg out here seemed like not such a good idea. So the tactic was to tighten the brake, lean backwards and hope for a quick raw explosive fight.
We hadn´t seen any wild life the first few days, but the first caribou showed itself on a hilltop just above the lower pool. Then there were several more- Soon a flock of cows and calves came between me and the hut. Then on top of the hillside in the east three or four bulls appeared with antlers that would have made Norwegian reindeer hunters stand with open jaws and rub their eyes. The herds of caribou continued to trek for three days and how many thousands of animals passed us is difficult to say.
A more detailed check list of equipment is available from the outfitters along with prices and all other information.
I will be posting a step by step for the char grub later.
The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognised the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet realistic imitation for most smaller bait fish. The original pattern used a lead or tin sheet that was folded and glued over the hook shank and then cut to shape to make the underbody. This melt glue body technique gives the zonker a new life. If viewed by a fish in reflected light the shine and flashing of the maylar mixed with the animation of the pulsating fur strip, makes it a first class bait fish attractor pattern. But when viewed by a fish in a back-lit situation ( in silhouette ) this pattern really comes to life, with the light penetrating through the transparent melt glue / maylar body and fur guard hairs.
Hook: Mustad S74S SS Salt water R74 freshwater # 6
Under body: Melt glue
Over Body: Mylar tubeing
Wing/tail: Fur zonker strip
Eyes: Prizma tape eyes.
The flexibility of the Zonker as a bait fish imitation pattern is only limited to your own imagination. There are a huge amount of rabbit fur strip materials on the market in just about every colour imaginable, not to mention fox, squirrel, mink etc. Along with the vast array of tubing materials available the combination possibilities are endless.
I was first shown this melt glue body technique in 1993 by the innovative Danish fly tyer Dennis Jensen who developed it for salt water sea trout fishing in Denmark. He used a home made mould constructed from plastic padding. He would insert the hook in the mould and then inject melt glue into it and wait a few seconds for it to dry before removing it. The result was a perfect and identical minnow body every time. Dennis also made very clever subtle body colour changes to his flies by wrapping the hook shank first with tying thread in fluorescent orange, green or blue. Orange when he was imitating sticklebacks, green for other small fish and eels and blue when fishing in deep water.
This technique shown here requires no mould. It does take a little practice to master and a few minutes longer, but still produces the same effect.
Another advantage with the zonker, unlike bucktail and feather wing streamers, is that it is an extremely robust pattern. If tied correctly the fly will normally outlive the hook, although the eyes and Mylar tubing are somewhat vulnerable to the small sharp teeth of trout. This can be improved by coating the eyes and Mylar body with varnish or head cement.
When fishing this pattern or any long tailed streamers in general for that matter. Many fly fishermen are of the thought, that when fishing a long tailed streamer the fish tend to “Nap” at the tail and won´t take the fly properly! This can be the case for smaller trout but generally speaking a large trout will take this pattern hard and fast. If you do experience napping at the tail when fishing, stop the retrieve dead and let the fly sink a little for two or three seconds, nine times out of ten the attacking fish will pick it up on the drop.
Keeping on the theme of melt glue I thought I would show you this pattern that has a little different technique than the Mutant. Here I combine the material into the melt glue. It does take a little practice and time to master these melt glue techniques but the results are worth it! For more general info on caddis pupa take a look at the Bee Cee caddis in the archive.
Melt Glue Caddis Pupa:
Hook: Mustad C49SNP-BR # 12-8
Body: Melt Glue
Gills/rib: Olive Ostrich herl
Thorax/Head: Black and brown Antron dubbing and CdC
I belive that many great trout patterns have several things in common: they are quick and easy to tie, no special tecniques or tools required. The materials are easy to obtain, that would say available from most fly tying stores. They cast without problems and last but not least they catch fish. This legendary pattern comes from the vice of the Swedish fly tying Guru, Lennart Bergquist.
The bullet shaped aero and aqua dynimic form of this pattern makes casting a dream and presentation precise, for me there is somthing magical from the moment my SC lands on the water with a its distinctive “plop” that attracts attention, even from resting or lethargic fish. The body semi submerged and the wing and head floating high. This I always follow with a pause, let the fly rest on the surface for 5-10 seconds, allowing the leader time to sink and the fly to settel and hang. Then comes the retrieve. With your rod tip down, close to the water, and your line taut, start with short jerky retreives streaking the fly 10-15cm at a time, creating a small wake behind the fly as you pull. After you have covered a meter or so of water, take another short pause. Follow this procedure until the cast is fished out. When fished as an attractor pattern, you increase the speed and length of your retreive plouging the streaking caddis just under the surface causing it to pop and gurggle as it goes. This can induce fast and aggresive takes, even when there is little fish activity to be seen.
The shear “fishability” of this pattern just has to be tried to be belived. Firstly, as it was ment to be fished, under a caddis fly hatch. Where adult caddis are streaking across the waters surface.But in recent years the streaking caddis has also found its way into the fly boxes of sea trout and salmon fishermen. Fished in the same way, as a wake fly, it has teased up fish from the bottom of otherwise dead pools of many a salmon and sea trout river.
Hook: Mustad 94840 # 8
Body: Poly dubbing
Wing: Deer hair
Head: Spun and clipped deer hair
Hook: Mustad R 30 94833 # 12-14
Tying Thread: Dyneema
Body: Black & red melt glue
Wing : CdC
Hackle: Black cock
On the warmest summer days the tempreture rises in the south facing ant hills and triggers the annual swarming. Ants are not good flyers, so they leave the nest in large numbers to increase the chances of establishing a new colony. When they take to the wing they are at the mercy of the wind and end up where it takes them.
If they are unlucky and land on water, the fish go into a feeding frenzy. In extreme situations I have experienced that the trout will take just about any fly that is presented for them. But other times they can be so selective that they will only take the perfect pattern with the right silhouette, colour and behavior. Therefor its important to to have a good imitation too hand, and a more realistic ant imitation than this is difficult to find. Without of course going way over the realistic boundaries and tying a ultra realistic pattern. This is after all a fishing fly! Here I have made the two most characteristic body parts with melt glue, that shine just like the natural in the summer sun. I have also coloured one half black and the other red, I have found that this works under both colours of ant swarming.
This pattern has i in built drowning affect. Right after a ant has crash landed on the water, the rear body part begins to sink, while it’s legs and wings hold it afloat a short while. If you are going to fish this pattern ‘dry’ I recommend that you that you impregnate it well with floatant.
For those of you that are not familiar with melt glue and Dyneema tying thread here´s a little technical information that should help you get started.
Tying with melt glue does require a little more practice and patience than most regular materials. Melt glue is a material that one has to get used to using. Once its mastered, it can be put to use not only in developing new patterns but also as a substitute in existing ones. Melt glue guns come in various sizes from hobby to industrial, I find the hobby size not only the cheapest but also the easiest to employ. Another advantage with the hobby gun is the amount of different glue that is available. Although for this pattern I use a coloured glue, in most patterns I use the transparent or “regular” glue that can also be coloured with waterproof felt markers. The regular glue is also much easier to handle and shape than the coloured. In most cases, It has a lower melting temperature and a shorter drying time than the glues with added colour and glitter.
After tying with melt glue for over a decade and a half, nowadays I seldom use my gun to apply the glue, only for patterns where a large amount of glue is required. Otherwise I melt the glue direct from the “glue stick” with a lighter, or I first cut the required amount of glue from the stick with scissors, hold one end of the glue fragment with needle nose tweezers and warm the other end with the lighter and apply it to the hook. I then continue to melt and form the glue with the lighter on the hook. The clear glue can also be coloured by applying a foundation of coloured tying thread over the hook shank before you apply the glue.
For the past five years I have used only one tying thread for all my fly tying, for everything from the smallest size 28 dry´s to the largest salt water patterns. There are so many advantages with tying with Dyneema it would require an article all on it´s own. Maybe I will publish that later?
Fly Photography service:
When you have spent several hours or even days, tying a fly for a competition or commissioned sale, its a real shame to have no record of it! Now is your chance to correct that!
Being a professional photographer and fly tyer I know exactly what’s needed when it comes to fly photography. I offer a service for simple fly archive photography on white background or artistic fly photography for framing.
Archive photography (white background) Euro 30 per fly.
Artistic fly photography (still life) Euro 150 per fly.
Step by step tying photography Euro 200 per pattern.
I can also offer a service for catalogue photography for materials and tackle.
e mail email@example.com
A short excerpt from ‘The Ant Eater’ by Roald Dahl
The ant-eater arrived half-dead.
It looked at Roy and softly said,
“I’m famished. Do you think you could
“Please give me just a little food?
“A crust of bread, a bit of meat?
“I haven’t had anything to eat
“In all the time I was at sea,
“For nobody looked after me,”
Roy shouted, “No! No bread or meat!
“Go find some ants! They’re what you eat!”
The starving creature crawled away.
It searched the garden night and day,
It hunted every inch of ground,
But not one single ant it found,
“Please give me food!” the creature cried.
“Go find an ant!” the boy replied.
By chance, upon that very day,
Roy’s father’s sister came to stay –
A foul old hag of eighty-three
Whose name, it seems, was Dorothy.
She said to Roy, “Come let us sit
“Out in the sun and talk a bit,”
Roy said, “I don’t believe you’ve met
“My new and most unusual pet?”
He pointed down among the stones
Where something lay, all skin and bones.
“Ant-eater!” He yelled. “Don’t lie there yawning!
“This is my ant! Come say good-morning!”
(Some people in the U.S.A.
Have trouble with the words they say.
However hard they try, they can’t
Pronounce simple words like AUNT.
Instead of AUNT, they call it ANT,
Instead of CAN’T, they call it KANT.)
Roy yelled, “Come here, you so and so!
“My ant would like to say hello!”
Slowly, the creature raised its head.
“D’you mean that that’s an ant?” it said.
“Of course!” cried Roy. “Ant Dorothy!
“This ant is over eighty-three.”
The creature smiled. Its tummy rumbled.
It licked its starving lips and mumbled,
“A giant ant! By gosh, a winner!
“At last I’ll get a decent dinner!
“No matter if it’s eighty-three.
“If that’s an ant, then it’s for me!”
Then, taking very careful aim,
It pounced upon the startled dame.
It grabbed her firmly by the hair
And ate her up right then and there,
Murmuring as it chewed the feet,
“The largest ant I’ll ever eat.”
The step by step for my melt glue Mutantz, will follow shortly
This is one of my most popular posts, that I made when I first started blogging, but here it is again in three parts, updated with new techniques and images.
Deer hair is normally described as hollow, This doesn´t mean that it´s hollow
like a drinking straw, but that each hair is built up of hundreds of small air ﬁlled
This type of hair structure is most deﬁned in deer from areas with an
extreme winter climate. The result, the colder it is, the better the spinning
qualities, with some exceptions. The hair from our own reindeer and the north
american caribou. In order to achieve optimal insulation, these hairs hold so
many air cells that they have a tendency to be brittle, and break under the
pressure of tying thread.
A cross section of European Roe deer hair which I photographed with the help of a microscope at X40. You can see that the hair isn’t hollow as most people believe, but filled with many small air filled cells.
The winter coat of the Norwegian roe deer has many air ﬁlled cells and is ideal for spinning, packing and clipping.
While the hair from the summer coat is somewhat stiffer and extremely ﬁne. A ﬁrst class hair for tails and winging dry
The colour varies from light red brown on the summer coat to dark grey
with darker barred tips on the winter coat.
The best hair for spinning is found
on the back of the roe along the spine. This hair is extremely dense, not at all
brittle, and ﬂoats like a cork. The chalk white hair on the rump is excellent for
dying, or for patterns that require white deer hair.
You should also be aware that the roe mask has a diversity of hair that is
difﬁcult to equal. Here you will ﬁnd hair in many different lengths, shades of
brown and coarseness. Ideal for dry´s from # 10 and down to the very smallest
comparaduns. Anyone who ties caddis ﬂies shouldn’t be without a roe mask.
If you know a hunter or a game keeper, try and secure yourself a whole roe
skin, you wont be disappointed.
My top tools for deer hair:
These are a must if you want neat, tidy and well balanced flies. I use three, a small one for tails and wings, a medium one for heavier wings and spinning and a long one for streamers, tubes and salt water patterns. The stacker you choose should be well engineered. Its extremly important that insert and inner tube are flush and that the stackers are heavy and robust.
Throughout my many years tying flies, I quickly understood that one of the most important tools are the scissors you use. During this time I have accumulated several dozen pairs of scissors, in all forms, shapes and sizes, but if I am honest, I have only four scissors that are constantly in use.
1. A pair of small extra fine pointed cuticle scissors for all the small detailed work and thread.
2. A General purpose serrated scissors for cutting tinsel, wire and heavier gauge materials.
3. A pair of long bladed straight scissors for larger jobs like preparing materials for dubbing loops.
4. A medium pair of sharp pointed serrated scissors for deer hair work.
Tomorrow I will be publishing the best techniques for making deer do what you want it to do!
The feather bender is a blog focusing on ﬂy
tying & materials for ﬂy-tyers by ﬂy-tyers.
Fly tying for many is a hobby, for others it´s a means of ﬁlling
their ﬂy box with ﬁne tuned and well tested patterns, that
would be otherwise unavailable. For many of us who read this blog
it´s more of a passion, and for some, even a
way of life…
The aim of the feather bender is to connect ﬂy-tyers all over the world, to
share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge. To
help the new beginner, to our craft, exchange frustration for
inspiration, and give the advanced tyer a chance to
communicate and enlighten others with tips, tricks,
techniques and maybe even, a few well kept secrets.
I will also feature historic patterns along
side more contemporary patterns and techniques, with
reviews of new tools, materials and books, and not forgetting
The whole idea of the feather bender concept relies on all you ﬂy-
tyers, wherever you are, who are now reading this, We need
your input in order to make this work. So don´t be shy, we
can´t wait to see your own patterns, ideas and techniques.
So please like and share…
All photographs and text on this blog are copyrighted by Barry Ord Clarke if not otherwise stated.
Bee Cee Caddis Pupa
Hook Mustad C49S curved caddis # 6 -14
Gills Ostrich herl
Body Fine leather strip (chamois)
Under body Dubbing / Lead free wire if required
Legs Partridge hackle & CDC
Collar/Head Hares ear dubbing & CDC Dubbing
Each summer a few fishing freinds and I make the annual fishing trip from our home town Skien in southern Norway to Lofsdalen in Sweden. A journey that under normal circumstances will take six hours driving, from door to door.
Lofsdalen is acctually known for two things, skiing and bears. During the winter, when the bears are sleeping, Lofsdalen is a Mecca for ski and snowboard enthusiasts and becomes a throbbing white metropolis of snow scooters, snow cats and ski lifts. But at the time of our annual trip, the first week of July, most of the snow, and all of the winter turists have long gone, and the bears along with the vast amounts of mosquitoes awake hungry from their long winter sleep.
The timing of our trip is not coincidental, with the help of the internet and telephone, 14 days before our trip we start a network of weather information between us. Sending web cam links weather forcasts and any other related info as to the conditions in Lofsdalen. Beacause each year around the first week of July ephemera vulgata can start hatching in fantastic numbers on these mountain lakes, and the big brown trout that have also spent a long winter, under the ice, are also hungry.
Yes, I know what you might be thinking, ephemera vulgata is a mayfly and this is a piece about caddis pupa ? well the past two years we havent managed to get our timing right, because of freak weather conditions, Lofsdalen is from 600 -1200m above sea level, and is subsiquently, subject to dramatic weather changes.
The back up plan, if you like, for not getting our mayfly timming right is the hatches of aeuropes largest caddis fly Phygania Grandis or great red sedge. These first hatches are not as proliphic as the vulagta hatches and no where near as challanging for the fly fisherman, but a emerging pupa fished correctly, just under the surface can result in fantastic sport.
A good caddis pupa pattern can make the difference between no fish and fish !
When the caddis fly hatches into the adult insect the species are more or less, divided into two. The ones that hatch at the surface in open water and the those that make there way to the shore, where they climb out on plants or any other structure that is available. When this occurs and caddis pupa are on the move this pattern fishes extremely well.
When fishing this pattern, I like to dress only the head and collar with a good floatant ie: cdc oil, this also creates a perfect air bubble around the head just like the natural, and only when the pattern has soaked a little water does it begin to fish correctly. When the porus leather and dubbed underbody have taken on water and the head is dressed with floatant, this pattern sinks so slowly that it almost “hangs” just under the surface. I like to let it sink for 10-12 seconds or so, but you should keep alert during this “free fall” period, as criusing fish will also pick this pattern up “on the drop”. After the pupa has had time to sink I carefully mend the slack out of my fly lineand then lift the tip of my rod so that the pupa rushes towards the surface, this is when the take normally comes.
Decpite the multitude of families, sub families and species of caddis flies, the only thing you have to change is the colour and size, the pattern can remain the same.
July 18, 2012 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Photography, Step by Step | Tags: Bee Cee Caddis, Caddis pupa, CdC, dubbing, Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Realistic, small flies, spinning, Step by Step | 2 Comments