The ragworms wedding as it is known, is called the springs most exciting adventure for the sea trout fisherman. And if you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, there is no danger for you not connecting with fish. Although ragworms are on the sea trouts menu the whole year round, its in the spring under the annual swarming that the sea trout will go on a feeding frenzy and gorge themselves on the worms.
There are many patterns known to sea trout fishermen to imitate the worm, some better than others, some simple to tie and some, not so simple to tie. I believe the original pattern from the tying bench of innovative Swedish fly tyer Robert Lai is still for me, without a doubt the best. Robert´s pattern is probably one of the most challenging patterns, many fly tyers will ever learn to tie, but the rewards are great. No other worm pattern swims and pulsates in the water like his, imitating the natural swimming worm as closely as humanly possible with feather and steel.
Although we are not 100% sure, and thats not for lack of theories! But the spring swarming is due to the worms spawning season and seems to be triggered by two main factors. A rise in water temperature 6-7 degrees, and the arrival of a new lunar phase, (full moon) from anywhere around mid March and into April. The female ragworm broods her eggs within her long flattened body and as the eggs develop her body becomes brittle and eventually splits, releasing the eggs. The male ragworms are attracted to the egg laying by following pheromones, that are also released by the females. After spawning, both male and female ragworms die.
Ragg worm swarming can be very local in most situations, and it’s not easy to know where. Then you should look to the sky, beacause the greedy and forever hungry sea gulls can show you the way. If you can see that screaming sea gulls are flocking and circle around a area of coast, this shows you where to fish – just like the pelicans when tarpon fishing. Consider also when the strong spring sun has been high in the sky all day and warming up the shallow’s, especially with dark muddy bottoms. Most sea trout fishermen, including myself, prefer sight fishing during the day looking for rises as you fish systematically, possible holding spots in small bays and inlets as the tide rises and falls. But if you are, as most sea trout fishermen, hoping to connect with larger fish that are normally wiser and more sceptical about entering the shallower coastal waters during the hours of daylight. These shallow areas retain the days heat during the first couple of hours of darkness. It’s during this period that larger sea trout dare to venture into the shallows to feed. You should fish at least a couple of hours into the night.
The pattern I have tied here started off, 15 years ago, as a direct copy of Robert´s original pattern, but over the years it has changed a little, but this had more to do with receding memory on my part, than anything to do with developing the pattern. But the basic original principal is still there and the pattern still works. There are a few rules one must follow when tying this pattern. The tail hook should be small and light in weight. Because the worm has an extremely flexible body, a larger and heavier tail hook has a tendency to “Hang-up” on the body under casting, which results in you fishing a ball of marabou with the hook out of-line. A heavier tail hook also reduces the animation and swimming motion of the worm by restricting the tail from lifting when the bead head sinks. Another point is the central core of the fly, not the loop that you spun the marabou onto but the Dyneema spine that holds the front hook to the tail hook. This is Alfa and Omega regarding the success of tying this pattern. If the spine is not securely attached to the front hook, you can risk loosing, not only the business end of your worm but also fish. So make sure that you tie this in as well as you can and don´t be afraid to use super glue. The Latin name for the common ragworm is Nereis diversicolor, meaning they are quite variable in colour, but typically reddish brown and turning more on the green side during the spawning season. So the rule for colour is that there is no rule, you can tie the worm in any colour you like! Personally I have found the two most successful colours for me are the one shown here and bright orange. And don´t forget that ragworms are on the sea trout menu the whole year, so don´t restrict your fishing with it just to the spring, it´s also a deadly pattern for regular trout fishing.
Hook Tail: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 8
Hook Head: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 6
Tying Thread: Dyneema
Central Core: Dyneema
Tail: Black and Olive brown marabou
Body: Black and Olive brown marabou
Head: Brass or Tungsten bead
October 31, 2012 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly fishing photography, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Material Reviews, Step by Step | Tags: bøstemark flue, Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, hooks, marabou, Rag worm fly, Realistic, sea trout flies, spring, Step by Step, the worm | 1 Comment
Hook Mustad S74SZ # 2/0-4/0
Body E-Z Body XL filled with 3-5 beads
Under wing White buck tail
Wing Chartreuse and white Icelandic sheep
Over wing Lime green Big fish fiber
Sides Grizzle cock hackles coloured yellow
Eyes Large mobile eyes and bug bond or epoxy
I developed the Heltor skeltor to maximize all the attractor elements possible in one fly.
The Icelandic sheep and big fly fiber are extremely mobile in water, but their effect is enhanced by the weight of the brass beads that roll back and forth in the body tube giving not only a sporadic jerky swimming action but also rattle against each other sending out an audial signal to predators. Not forgetting the eyes which are an attack point, are oversized for additional predator impact. If you keep all these factors in mind when designing predatory patterns you wont go wrong.
October 31, 2012 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly fishing photography, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Material Reviews, Step by Step, Uncategorized | Tags: big flies Pike jig, brass beads, Bug Bond, cock hackles, E-Z Body, Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Helter Skelter, hooks, Icelandic sheep, pike flies | Leave a comment
House building caddis larva are available in most waters all year round, and are an important segment of the diet of trout and grayling. There are many techniques that have been developed over the years from fly tying benches all over the world to imitate the house of the caddis larva, but this technique really gives the right impression. This is a pattern I believe was developed in the US, but other than that I cant find any other information about it. The great thing about this pattern is if you trim the rubber legs close to the body you get the impression of a caddis larva house built out of gravel, but if you spin the rubber legs not so tight and trim them a little longer it makes for a great house made of vegetation and sticks. Also the rubber gives that extra needed weight when you need to get down deep and not least extremely durable.
You may find that this isn´t the easiest pattern to tie at the first attempt as the rubber legs seem to have a life of their own, but after a few attempts is no more difficult then any other pattern. Try mixing colours and rubber types to achieve different effects.
Hook Mustad R72NP-BR # 12-6 with Bead head
Tying thread Dyneema
Body Rubber legs
Head Course antron dubbing
October 30, 2012 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing art, Fly fishing photography, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Step by Step | Tags: bead head, Caddis, CdC, dubbing, Elasticaddis, Fly Tying, Materials, Rubber legs, Step by Step | 6 Comments
This is a quick and easy salt water crab pattern that I haven’t done any text for, other than the step by step. Enjoy.
Hook Mustad circle streamer
Tying thread Dyneema
Beard Siberian squirrel & Grizzle hen hackle
Eyes EP crab eyes
Claws Red fox zonker
Body Muskrat crosscut zonker
October 16, 2012 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly fishing photography, Fly Tying, Step by Step, Uncategorized | Tags: crab flies, crabs, Fly Tying, fur crab, hooks, Realistic, salt water, spinning, Step by Step, Zonker | Leave a comment
This is a quick Friday night, simple and realistic melt glue caddis pupa. Although it takes a little practice to master the use of melt glue, once mastered its a great material.
October 12, 2012 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Step by Step | Tags: Caddis pupa, CdC, Fly Tying, hooks, Materials, Melt Glue, photography, Realistic, Realistic patterns, Step by Step | 6 Comments
Pike candy anyone!
For a long time after I began fishing with poppers, I was constantly disappointed with how little water the pre-made cork and foam heads actually moved – when yanked, after all, optimal popping, gurgling and splashing is what we are trying to achieve!
I then experimented with cutting my own popper heads from foam blocks, but found it difficult to sculpt the heads symmetrical enough to get a balanced presentation so the popper fished on an even keel. But that wasn’t the only problem – they were ugly – they looked like they had been carved by Freddy Kruger!
After much trial and error, I started gluing three pre-made popper heads together to attain the desired volume. Through this I achieved what I was looking for. By increasing the overall bulk of the head, I increased the buoyancy – and by tripling the surface area of the nose (or the bulldozer end of the popper), my popper now pushed three times as much water when retrieved. Hence the name Bulldozer.
Gluing pre-made popper heads together also considerably increases the overall dimensions of the finished fly, if required.
“Steaming is term given to a style of mugging where an unsuspecting victim is chosen, followed and attacked suddenly at great speed without warning”.
The art of camouflage, surprise and speed are the pikes most powerful weapons for securing a meal. Of course some meals are obtained easier than others, but generally speaking the freshwater crocodile wont say no to a free meal. Like the muggers victims the pikes are chosen for much the same reasons, easy pickings! weak and old, or both, unable to move fast or get away, once attacked and of course the bounty.
The idea behind this pattern is to work on all the pikes predatory instincts, and make the victim (the fly) as attractive and irresistible as possible. I do this through fly design and presentation. When designing predatory patterns there are several things to consider and a few key elements that all patterns should have. If you want a general pattern that you could use just about anywhere for anything, then you should choose to imitate a natural food that is widely available – like small bait fish. Then you have to consider the four most important attractor factors:
Movement… colour… eyes… and sound.
The movement in this pattern is achieved through a combination of materials. Both the marabou and Icelandic sheep hair are extremely mobile in water, but their effect is enhanced by the weight of the Epoxy head. Predators find this swimming action, irresistible.
The eyes, which are always an attack point, are oversized for additional predator impact.
If you keep all these factors in mind when designing predatory patterns you won’t go wrong.
During a three week fly fishing tip to the Amazon, home of more fresh water predatory fish than anywhere else on the planet, I developed a technique using surface splashing to stimulate feeding and awareness of my streamer, which works just as well for our own pike. Maybe you’d like to add this technique to your own armoury of tactics.
It requires though a specific leader set-up to work at it’s best, especially when fishing large flies. And it’s simplicity in itself – take around 1.5m of 30lb mono, and connect the fly to the mono with a Rapala knot. This will give a better swimming action on the stiff mono. (By the way, I have never encountered a leader shy pike, and seldom use a wire trace.)
This short, stiff leader will not only give bigger flies better turn-over when casting, but also better control and precision in presentation, and (touch wood), I have never had a break-off. The following technique is only possible with such a leader.
Firstly, find a likely spot on the water, where there’s maybe a pike lying in wait, or resting after a hunt. Before casting, make sure that your streamer is well-soaked and all air removed. This will not only make it sink quicker but also make it more aerodynamic and so easier to cast. Then with a short, hard and direct cast, shoot your streamer into the water as hard as you can – then repeat this three or four times in the same area of water. Splash that fly and heavy leader as loud as you like, it will surely attract the immediate attention of any pike within spitting distance.
Make one last cast and this time let your streamer sink… and then retrieve as normal. If there’s a pike in the vicinity it will come to the fly, the rest, as they say, is up to you…
Hook: Mustad S71SNP-ZS # 3/0-5/0
Wing: Icelandic sheep hair
Flash: Holographic tinsel
Over wing: Light Brite
Collar: Spun rabbit
Cheeks: 2 Grizzle hackles
Wing topping: Five strands of long natural peacock herl
Hackle: Spun Marabou Yellow
Eyes: Large mobile eyes coated with resin
October 11, 2012 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly fishing photography, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Photography, Step by Step | Tags: Bug Bond, Fly Fishing, Fly photgraphy, Fly Tying, Fly tying books, hooks, Materials, photography, Pike, pike flies, spinning, Step by Step, streamer | 5 Comments
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.
October 5, 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 | Leave a comment