Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kids and Fly Tying

     Over the last few weeks I’ve learned a lot about teaching very young children how to tie flies.  With my oldest daughter (now five), she was easy… a couple times playing with all the tools and materials, then learning to wrap thread, and finally onto specific techniques of tying materials on.  She wanted to learn how to do things the right way, and much of the motivation internal making my job a breeze.  At a little over a year old she was wrapping thread and sitting alone at the bench a few times a week. 

     My youngest daughter (now 18 months) is a completely different story.  The fly tying vise is the last thing she wants to deal with, and wrapping thread seems an impossible task for her.  I almost gave up at this point, and figured, I’d try again in a few more months, but I found if I take away the vise, she loves to sit and play with all the other (safe) tools and materials.  She spends 10-30 minutes at the desk, moving bobbins around, playing with the hair stacker, checking out all the feathers and fur, etc..  This is a victory in my book!  She’s getting familiar with fly tying, and she is excited for her time at the desk.  This will all translate nicely when she's ready to start tying. 

     If you’ve never tried to tie flies with your children, please do it!  You can never start too young (or too old for that matter), it doesn't take a lot of time or effort either (seriously just a bit of extra clean up that's it!).  Start small and do not expect much.  Find ways to make it fun, and most importantly find ways to make it their own.  They will thank you in the end, and it will help establish fly fishing roots deep into their lives and give you a better connection with them as well.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Roll of Film and a Video

Last fall I started a roll of film (Tmax100) with my old Nikon N2000.  It lasted until my move here to California this summer, and documented fly tying and film making with my Raw Water Productions partner Adam Kryder.  Below is a slideshow of each exposure on the roll, and a short video I recently put together.

Untitled from Lucas Carroll on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Traditional Swing Flies

I have been tying traditional spey, dee, and hair wing flies lately, preparing for this upcoming salmon/steelhead season.  Most are by the book patterns that I have tweaked a bit, and a couple are my own creations.  Feel free to click the pics for a better view.  

Body:  Silver Mylar and Silver SM Wire
Hackle:  Black Pheasant Rump
Collar: Teal
Wing:  Black Hackle Tips
Eyes: Jungle Cock
Tail:  Purple Hackle Fibers
Body:  Yellow / Purple SLF
Rib: Gold Mylar
Hackle: Brown Spey
Wing: Bronze Mallard 
Tag: Silver Mylar
Tail: Peacock
Body: Orange Thread/Peacock
Hackle: Soft Grizzle
Wing:  Squirrel Tail  
Tail:  Golden Pheasant Fibers Red
Body: Olive Dubbing
Rib: Gold Oval
Hackle: Golden Pheasant Red and Brown Spey
Wing:  Bronze Mallard 
Tag:  Silver Mylar
Tail:  Golden Pheasant
Body:  Yellow/Green/Orange Dubbing
Rib: Silver Mylar
Hackle: Black Pheasant Rump
Wing: White Turkey
Eyes: Jungle Cock 
Tag: Gold Mylar
Body: Black Thread / Black Dubbing
Rib: Gold Mylar / Gold Oval
Hackle: Black Pheasant Rump with Bronze Mallard Fibers
Wing: Black Turkey
Eyes: Jungle Cock
Tag: Bright Orange Thread
Tail: Elk Hair
Body: Orange Dubbing
Rib: Orange Thread
Hackle: Brown Neck
Wing: Elk Hair

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Trouthunter Trip

On my one-way road trip west I had the opportunity to stay at the Trounthunter lodge in Island Park, Idaho. I can't say enough good things about this lodge, the river that runs behind it, and the people that fill it up.  All first class and worth many more trips.

Top notch CDC in bulk and small packs in the fly shop.  Yes I patronized. 
I arrived meer weeks before the river was expected to really turn on, so you could call it the off-season there, which was fine by me.  Many of the guides were still waiting on their busy schedule to start, so I had the pleasure of fishing and hanging out with some awesome people.

Shrimp pad thai w/ custom heat.
The weather was pretty crazy, high winds, freezing temps, hail storms, and a solid plain old snow storm.  It was a blast taking photos in the nasty stuff though, and we all caught some fish.  After each day we settled into the Trouthunter restaurant/bar and sampled the diversely awesome food.

In the fly shop w/ the Rooster and Chris Andelin aka Grizz 
Yup.. Rene Harrop's patterns tied by him and his family.
I even had the chance to meet Rene Harrop!  As a fly tier that is something I will never forget.  Although I did not get to wade fish and throw some hatch matching dries because of the nasty weather and early season, I will try my best to get back again.

View of the Henry's Fork from the Trouthunter lodge.
I would like to thank the owners of the lodge, Jon and Rich for the great trip.  Also Bryan Gregson for setting it all up.  If you are looking for a fly fishing trip this season or any season, give Trouthunter a call, or browse their website for more info.

A few pics from the trip...

Or click here for a full size slideshow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SIMMS Shoot Out Film

First let me apologize for the lack of posting.  My family is in the process of a big move across the country so I've been pulled away from a few of my projects, Proven Patterns being one.

Adam and I from Raw Water Productions have also been in Montana recently making a short film for a SIMMS guide event, called the Shoot Out.  We were very fortunate to work with Brant Oswald who is a fellow bug fanatic and excellent fly tier.  Take a second and view some of his work, and if you are in Montana looking for a dry fly guide, he is your man.  The films are online for a People's Choice Award.   Check em out and cast your vote!

I should continue blogging when we settle in CA sometime in June.  Thanks for sticking with me, I'm excited to move to a different part of the country and research the bugs and flies of a new region!

Monday, February 6, 2012

First Tying Vid

First off I'd like to thank Adam Kryder for the editing here.  Adam and I have been working on a film together for many months now, and he has encouraged me to learn all things video.  You can see what we are up to on our new website... http://www.rawwaterproductions.com/.

Also have to thank Davie McPhail (he doesn't know me but I'm a huge fan) for not only influencing my tying, but also inspiring me to use my photo gear to shoot some vids.  If you've never browsed his youtube channel, you need to.

Below are instructions for a low water steelhead/salmon fly that I made up one late night at the bench, and it became the day saver on one of the slower winter sessions of the year.  I hope you enjoy, and feel free to comment if you'd like more info on the fly, or have suggestions on other videos you'd like to see.

Next time I'll get back on track and finish off the tube fly tutorial...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tube Flies 101

I've been addicted to tube flies lately and here's why...

You can tie flies as big as you want, and the hook (generally short shanked and wide gaped) remains constant.  I believe this makes a big difference with large fish.  Last season I had too many fish pop off due to large shanked streamer hooks, and the forces heavy rolling fish can put on them.  Using almost exclusively tube flies this year my landing ratio of these huge lake run fish has increased dramatically.

Another bonus of using tubes is they can be done on the cheap.  Can you spend tons of money on a fancy tube vise, metal pre-shaped tubes, and oversized cones?  Sure can, but you don't have to.  Below are steps to make my tube starter kit that can be used with any fly tying vise, and directions to tie a basic fly, enjoy!

As always feel free to click the photos to get a larger view to help with your tying, but do not use any of the photos without my written permission. 
Step 1:  Go to the craft store and buy large embroidery needles check my pack above for good sizes (around $2.00 - $4.00 for a mixed pack).  Then your local fly shop for HMH rigid plastic tubes size Small (around $4.00). 
Step 2:  A little prep work here, first find the right size needle for the tubes (all sizes of plastic tubes are covered by the variety pack of needles). Wrap the eye in a tapered fashion with 8/0 thread, and seal with superglue.  Let it dry.  
Step 3:  Close up here, trick is to go very light with the thread, one trip down and back does the trick as long as your initial needle size is correct.   
Step 4:  Cut plastic tube to desired length, melt the rear section slightly, and push tube on the needle.  Make sure it goes onto the thread (you'll feel the click of each wrap), the goal here being it will not spin when you tie.  You can use your tying desk for leverage to push the tube on, but do not put the tube on too tight or it will be almost impossible to get off.  
Step 5:  Start flash (or comparable body material) near the head and work it back.  Do the same with the wire rib.  Try and keep the thread underbody smooth.  Add weighted wraps to the body prior to all this if you'd like.  
Step 6:  Wrap the flash forward, and counter rib the wire.  You can add some superglue or UV epoxy here to really lock down the body.  Remember these flies (potentially) can last much longer then traditionally tied hook flies.  
Step 7:  Add eyes, and a collar of hackle behind the eyes.  Make sure you leave room for a head, and additional room to melt the tube back to the head.  Check the picture for appropriate left over space. 
Step 8:  Prepare a barred feather of your choice.  Most of the time I use Mallard Flank because it's cheap, there are however, many options out there.  Teal, Guinea, and Gadwall are other great choices.  
Step 9:  Tie in by the tip, trim, and wrap the barred collar.  
Step 10:  Add a wing.  In this case I used Arctic Fox, but you can substitute other materials here.  Rabbit strip, marabou, and all of the synthetic streamer fibers will work too.  
Step 11:  Add a couple strands of flash if desired, and finish off the head.  Push the tube off the needle (again you can use your tying desk for leverage to pop it off the needle), and melt the head back with a lighter (do this slowly with the flame away from the tube, as over-melting can be big trouble).  That's it! 
Next post I will show you some other tube flies that have worked well for me this year and why (in theory) they have worked, and I'll also lay down the basics of rigging them up.  Thanks for reading!