Monday, February 1, 2016

Fishing Limbo = Tying Times

  Weather conditions late last week had finally come together in a wintry way to make 5"-8" of safe, black ice on Cook's Bay, prompting Tackle Shop and I to plan our first trip of the season out for jumbo perch. We spent Thursday night charging batteries, swapping reels over to the short rods, and generally organizing tackle and sleds. My phone rang long before sunup Friday morning with the news from TS that there were 50kph wind gusts out on the bay and even the ice hut operators were hesitant to venture out on the slick , barren ice under such conditions. Since then we've taken another ride on this winter's weird weather roller-coaster. This afternoon it was shirt sleeve temperatures out and our start to the 2016 ice fishing season has taken another giant leap backwards. door closes, another door opens. While waiting for optimal ice and weather conditions I've continued to over pack my fly boxes with new creations. The other day I found a few things that had worked their way to the back of a couple drawers: some popper bodies and some Fish Skull Sculpin Heads.
  These were tied with marabou tails, mohair leech yarn bodies and collars of either marabou or polar ice chenille.

  I suppose the "art" in tying popper bodies lies primarily in painting and to a lesser degree in material selection for the tail. I don't own an air brush or any paints, just a couple bottles of nail polish but I've got tail materials coming out of my tail.
  While at Bass Pro Shops a few weeks ago I made a point of re-stocking my supply of deer belly hair. hoping to get more practice in spinning and stacking. My first project was an exercise to practice shaving the hair to it's final shape using a double edged razor blade, so I chose to do a simple bomber.
  Using the flexible blade is far faster and easier than clippers and allows for a smother curved surface but requires a subtle, practiced hand. Once the material's removed, there's no putting it back.

 You really couldn't call this a popper as it doesn't have the classic cupped face. I'd over trimmed the deer hair around the hook eye to the point where a cupped face was impossible to make so I left a lip projecting above the eye and applied a thin coat of 5 minute epoxy to stiffen it up. One door closes... this gave me a brainstorm for my next tie.
Before trimming
After trimming

   After trimming I made several thin coats of epoxy on the lip, gently shaping it into a slightly cupped shape that you might find on a crank bait. My aim was to create a fly that would dive with a gentle side to side wobble on the strip and bob back to the surface on a slack line. Whatever the final results may be when I finally get a chance to try it, I made a huge pile of shaved hair and had a great time in the process of making it! What else are you going to do when you find yourself in fishing limbo?


  1. Very creative John.
    Groundhog around these parts says we are going to have an early spring.

    1. Thanks Alan.
      Our gh predicted a long winter. It's 61 degrees out as I write this!

  2. Some interesting creative patterns you've whipped up. The lip on that fly intrigues me, and I wonder how the action will be on that. You'll have to do a review on that, I'll be looking forward to it. Kudos to you for being able to stack hair. I have not attempted to do such a thing, yet. It doesn't look easy.

    Fly tying is a great way to keep your head in the game and your mind fishy.

    1. Ihanks Justin
      My mind's so fishy these days that it's attracting flies.
      Stacking's not that difficult, but it's heartbreaking when you trim through the thread!

    2. I hate doing that tying up streamers, so, I can only imagine.

  3. LOVE the spinning! Very nicely done. Keep them coming!

  4. Thanks Ralph.
    With this weird weather, warm water fishing might not be that far off. Now's the time to stock up on bugs.