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Archive for July 2014


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I can’t believe it. I’m here in Colorado, land of overly ambitious hills, “A list” mountains, endless wildlife sitings and seemingly infinite trout fishing oppurtunities.

Once again the base of operations is my parents place in Monument, Colorado. Per usual, the first stop was nearby Red Tooth Reservoir. Although all my hopes for this trip were hinging on fish on my first day in the mountains, ultimately i hiked out of the canyon skunked after five hours of casting to rising fish, when not taking shelter in the trees during the multiple thunder / lightning storms.

In case you’re wondering why “Red Tooth Reservoir” instead of “North Monument Creek” as found on internet maps, there are multiple reasons.

One. It’s the closest fishing spot to my parents house, with a deadly hike in (for us sea level folks) that affords me the chance to quickly soak in the ambience of the Rockies, and the trout, usually while enjoying my favorite drink, port, that i only enjoy when above 7,000 feet and in cooler climes.

Two. There is a magnificent rock (below) on the trail that guards the entrance to Red Tooth, and strangely enough looks like the reservoirs namesake.

Three. A secret. Obviously i must have said to much to somebody because i walked away from hours of trial and tribulation with nothing to show, other than a skunk and a slightly tense, yet happy smile, that at least i’d been skunked in surroundings that would make most folks weep with joy.

One day down, many more to go.

Stay tuned…

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Incredible moving pictures of spey action from the Hooké crew up north!

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There is a definite sense of serenity that comes from tying natural and synthetic fibers around a hook with nothing but some thread and an ever expanding knowledge of hitches, wraps and finely honed skills.

However, since it’s hard to always have fly tying material at hand, i’ve found myself countless times sketching flies on to restaurant napkins in much the same way that i used to sketch endless amounts of waves during the years i lived in Oregon and surfing dominated my world view. Those sketches, much like these, were never anything that was meant as any sort of artistic expression, instead they were more an extension of the feeling that happened during those surfing excursions that i was then laying out on paper, napkin, or store receipt.

Recently i’ve taken to performing the same act with flies, still with pen and ink, but more frequently with iPad or iPhone and a stylus.

While it’s obviously a 2D world, once you start “wrapping” with your pen or stylus, it’s easy to add the third dimension in your mind and get into the fluid flow that truly feels as though you are “tying” with pen and paper. While it’s hard to explain in words the act of using ink as thread and paper as your fly, i hope that the following examples make it easier to understand and get you started on the path of endless doodling and refinement.

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Example of tying in material (above):  Just like tying in craft fur for a good streamer, you can see at points 1 and 2 that material has been locked down and that at step 3 there are extra wraps to form a good head and push the fibers back. In addition the watercolor brush from the Paper app adds color to the fibers.

Working on Ideas (top image)Also as you can see in the title image (very top) it’s a good way to come up with variations on flies you might already tie. While the top image looks like a crazy mess of lines, it was actually how i quickly jotted down an idea and remembered to modify my gar flies by tying mini loops within the body to better snare the gar.

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Example of using brushes for different materials (above): A simple app like Paper allows you only a handful of brushes, but it’s easy to use different ones to represent different materials. In this case the watercolor brush adds the body that chenille might. You can also see the chaotic thread wraps in this one as well as the rubber legs.

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Example of more complicated brushes (above): Apps like SketchBook provide more brush options and can allow you to come up with some stuff that is much more realistic and detailed.

While it is obviously no replacement for the tactile and creative world of actual fly tying, “virtual fly tying” is a wonderful way to pass the hours sitting in airports, airplanes, waiting rooms, or boring business meetings. Whether its’s pen and paper or stylus and a tablet, i highly recommend trying it out, you just might be surprised what you come up with and how immersive it can be.

Plus, it’s way more rewarding than tapping your screen like a crack head.

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A great video with some wonderful editing, sick beats and good tying advice. Love it. For more excellent videos including some great fly tying videos, go to Norbert Renaud’s Vimeo site. These “Simple Baitfish” patterns would be excellent flies for so many fishing situations that everyone would benefit by tying a few of these.