Thursday, October 30, 2014

Non Specific

Non Specific

This is the first of many incarnations of this pattern. Without the initial success of this original fly none of the other marabou flies found on my website would exist. The success of this pattern lies in the triggers that marabou inherently possesses. It is not intended to closely mimic any particular insect or food item though it often does. In most situations this pattern just looks buggy and alive. The constant movement of the tail, the silhouette of the fly, the semi- transparent glow and the pulse of the body all add to its effectiveness.
Olive

I first used this pattern on stillwater trout in four of Wyoming’s most heavily fished trout lakes just outside of Cody. All have been featured in multiple magazine articles over the years and receive a huge amount of pressure from both locals and visitors to the area. Subsequently the trout residing in these lakes are highly conditioned to anglers, flies and the consequences of taking a false food item. In other words on almost any given day they are tough to catch.
Dark Olive

The very first incarnation, a size 10 dark olive version was used to imitate the damselfly nymphs present in the lakes. With it I was able to land numerous trout on multiple occasions when other more elaborate patterns would fail and other anglers were having little or no success. It didn’t take long before I was carrying multiple color and size combinations. This pattern consistently caught numerous fish under multiple hatch conditions and stages even when other more elaborate patterns failed. This caused me to explore the possibilities of other small marabou flies. The Twisted Damsel, Not Much, Twisted Emerger and Soft Hackle  Debutante are all immediate descendants of the Non Specific.
Ginger

I now use a Non Specific for much of my searching and it is frequently my starting point on unfamiliar lakes and streams.













FISHING
The Non Specific is a do-all catch-all fly. You can fish this fly effectively in almost any situation including hatches with great success. From top to bottom coldwater or warmwater it will do the trick. Dead-drift or swing it in rivers to elicit strikes. Strip it or suspend it in stillwaters to take everything from trout to largemouth bass and carp.
Pale Olive

This may sound a bit vague but when I started trying to describe all the ways I've caught fish with this fly it turned into a book.

Available in - Dark Olive, Olive, Light Olive, Yellow Olive, Olive Brown, Pale Olive, Black, Red, Brown, Ginger, Tan, Insect Green, Bright Yellow

Size 10 -24


Yellow Olive

Bright Eyed Damsel

Damselfly nymphs are one of the staples of the stillwater fish diet throughout the spring and summer. The Bright Eyed Damsel is a deceptively simple looking fly compared to how effective it is. This fly has accounted for everything from bluegills to trophy trout. Tie one on and see how you like it, or better yet how the fish like it!

HISTORY
The Bright Eyed Damsel is a resulting incarnation that came from my first outings with the Non Specific and later the Twisted Damsel. On bright, sunny midday outings I found the need to go deep even when the damselfly nymphs could be seen high in the water column. As with the Twisted Damsel I experimented with the fly adding all sorts of appendages with a plethora of materials trying to devise a perfect deep water damsel pattern to be fished on a floating line. All the experimentation kept bringing me back to this point. A simple, no frills fly that catches fish very consistently and has repeatedly out fished more elaborate deep damsel nymph patterns.
Olive Brown

During the spring and early summer damselfly nymphs migrate from deep to shallow water. Once in the shallows they seek out vegetation, rocks or anything else that protrudes above the water’s surface. Cattails, lily pads, bank willows and a multitude of others are perfect locations for them to exit the water, climb aboard and emerge into adults. Once out of the water the damselfly nymph sheds its outer husk and transforms into an adult. The final stage of transformation is of little interest to feeding fish however the migration stage is of great interest.
Light Olive

Damselfly nymphs live for up to two years in lakes and some very slow-flowing streams as aquatic carnivores. They go virtually unnoticed by fish throughout this stage of their lives. They stay within the aquatic vegetation feeding on other insect larvae and nymphs. Their natural camouflage is to take on a shade of olive, green, yellow, brown or tan that helps them to blend completely with the vegetation. It’s not until nature urges them to transform into adults that they become vulnerable to feeding fish.
Dark Olive

Damselfly nymphs are slow swimmers making them easy pickings for feeding fish as they swim in open water. The fish will pick them off at any stage in their migration. Leaving deep water they make their way toward the water’s surface. Once they near the surface they are big, tasty, slow swimming morsels silhouetted against the sky. This makes them easy to see and easy to consume.


FISHING
The Bright Eyed Damsel is a simple fly to fish. On bright sunny days in extremely clear water the damsel nymphs may be migrating but the fish can be reluctant to make the move close to the surface in water of 6 feet or more in depth. When this is the case use a Bright Eyed Damsel. Use a long leader of approximately one and one half times the depth you are trying to reach. Allow the fly to sink using the countdown method.
Yellow Olive

Once the fly has reached depth use a retrieve that consists of long, extremely slow pulls. Slow cannot be overemphasized! Because of the weight of the fly long pauses can be troublesome, especially over vegetation, so keep the fly moving but ever so slowly.

As for color selection I've found that a counter intuitive approach works far more often than not. If the vegetation and subsequently damselfly nymphs are dark colored use a light colored fly. If the vegetation is a lighter shade use a very dark fly. I am not sure if the color contrast makes the fly easier to see or the unusual color triggers the take because the fly stands out among the naturals. Either way it works! Because this is not always the case I will often start with a Dancing Damsel as a “dropper” in a color that more closely matches the naturals.
Pale Olive


Available in - Dark Olive, Light Olive, Yellow Olive, Olive Brown, Pale Olive, Ginger, Tan

Size 10, 14


Ginger

Dancing Damsel

Damselfly nymphs are one of the staples of the stillwater fish diet in the spring and summer. The Bright Eyed Damsel is a deceptively simple looking fly compared to how effective it is. This fly has accounted for everything from bluegills to trophy trout. Tie one on and see how you like it, or better yet how the fish like it!

HISTORY
Slowly paddling my float tube across a high prairie lake a wriggling form caught my eye several feet away. I changed course and paddled toward it. Swimming practically in the surface film was a damselfly nymph. Though this was my initial firsthand encounter it was obvious what it was from all the literature I had read on them.
The first thing that struck me is how hard it appeared to be working compared to the trifling distance it was covering.
Light Olive

The second thing I noticed was the slender profile this creature had with its legs tucked while swimming. It wasn’t until it stopped briefly that the legs appeared at all. This encounter is one of many that led to the design of the Twisted Damsel and Bright Eyed Damsel. It was quite some time later however before I tied up my first Dancing Damsel. Like the Twisted Damsel I have added and subsequently taken away features because the first and most simple version elicits more takes than the more elaborate versions.
Olive Brown

During the spring and early summer damselfly nymphs migrate from deep to shallow water. Once in the shallows they seek out vegetation that protrudes above the water’s surface. Cattails, lily pads, bank willows and a multitude of others are perfect locations for them to exit the water, climb aboard and emerge into adults. Once out of the water the damselfly nymph sheds its outer husk and transforms into an adult. The final stage after transformation, the adult, is of interest to feeding fish and anglers however the nymph migration stage is of greatest interest.
Damselfly nymphs live for up to two years in lakes and some very slow-flowing streams as aquatic carnivores. They go virtually unnoticed by fish throughout this stage of their lives. They stay within the aquatic vegetation feeding on other insect larvae and nymphs. Their natural camouflage is to take on a shade of olive, green, yellow, brown or tan that helps them to blend completely with the vegetation. It’s not until nature urges them to transform into adults that they become vulnerable to feeding fish.
Yellow Olive

Damselfly nymphs are extremely slow swimmers making them easy pickings for feeding fish as they swim in open water. The fish will pick them off at any stage in their migration. Leaving deep water they make their way toward the water’s surface. Once they near the surface they are big, tasty, slow swimming morsels silhouetted against the sky. This makes them easy to see and easy to consume.

FISHING
Originally the Dancing Damsel was designed to fish in the surface film which has proven very effective but using different techniques it can be fished at any level successfully.
Surface fishing is the simplest technique to use with the Dancing Damsel. A cloudy day with a light breeze is the perfect time to surface fish a Dancing Damsel. Using a floating line the fly is simply cast out and retrieved with an excruciatingly slow retrieve interspersed with long pauses. The “Booby” eyes allow it to hang in the surface just like a natural at rest. Days when a light breeze is creating the slightest ripple are prime time to fish it at the surface. During pauses the ripple action imparts a movement that can’t be mimicked by any line action or retrieve.
Dark Olive

Though the inclination is to fish a surface fly with light tippet, that practice is hard to advise when fishing the Dancing Damsel at the surface. The majority of takes will be, if not violent, robust. A large morsel hanging helplessly at the surface can do that!
As a general rule as wind speeds increase so should the retrieve rate but once the wind picks up to more than 10 mph the fly loses its effectiveness.
Ginger

On bright, sunny days on clear lakes the Dancing Damsel can be fished English “Booby” style. This technique in effect involves swimming the fly just above the vegetation along the bottom of the lake. This can be done using a full sinking line and a leader of a length that is one and one half to two times the suspected depth of the vegetation. Alternately a high density sinking head on a mono running line can be used just as effectively.

Pale Olive

Cast the fly out and allow the line or sinking head to sink fully to the bottom. As the line sinks the fly stays suspended off the bottom above the vegetation. At rest the fly will float up away from the bottom. When the line is retrieved the fly is pulled downward as if diving toward the vegetation. This action can cause some highly aggressive takes because the fish sees perceives the fly to be retreating and grabs it quickly. For this reason 3X to 0X leaders are advised. Because of the heavy leader use an open loop connection to attach the fly. This will allow it to move and “dance” freely during the retrieve.
Tan

On days when the fish are suspended and lethargic the Booby style of fishing can save the day like few other techniques. The enticing action right at the level of the fish is all but irresistible. Think of it as having a cheeseburger in front of you even when you’re not that hungry. It’s very tempting!

Available in - Dark Olive, Light Olive, Yellow Olive, Olive Brown, Pale Olive, Ginger, Tan

Size 10, 14

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lamson Liquid Review

A while back I was surfing the internet and happened to end up over at the Waterworks-Lamson site. Watching the slideshow banner I notice a couple of new reels, one of which turned out to be the Liquid. Curiosity got me to reading about it and doing a little more investigating. I suppose the first thing about the Liquid that caught my attention is the price. The second is the use of Lamson’s conical drag system. The third is the look and finish of the reel.

For those of you who have not followed me here or at the DragonflyAngler blog I love fly fishing gear (who doesn't) but like most of the working stiffs out there I have a limited budget to draw from. I've been fishing pretty much the same reels for decades now because I just can’t afford to pay what most reel makers want for new quality reels with a good drag. Until now!

When I saw that Lamson is offering a reel for $99.95 I had to get my hands on one and check it out. For my personal use there are three requirements for a fly reel; 1- it needs to have a good drag, 2-it needs to be fairly light and 3- it has to fit my budget. The Lamson Liquid easily fits all three of these requirements. Another thing that drew me to the Liquid so quickly is the Liquid 3-pack that Lamson is offering with this reel. The 3-pack offers you a reel and two spare spools for the price of a reel and one spare spool and you also get a handy, dandy carrying case. This is very appealing for those like myself that frequently fish different lines.

Immediately after reading about the Liquid I called our local fly shop and after a short wait for the first ones to arrive I had one in my hands. The reel features a pressure cast spool and frame. You can read about it here. The finish is matte black which I really like for stealth purposes. The center of this reel however is the Waterworks-Lamson conical drag system. This is the drag system they use on all their reels from top to bottom.

When I got the 1.5, 3-pack home I immediately put line and backing on all three spools. The 1.5 is designed for 3 and 4 weight lines. I spooled up a WF3F, WF4F and WF5F line on the three spools. For the past three years I've been using a Guru 1.5 as my go to 5 weight reel. Personally I want the smallest, lightest reel I can get an adequate amount of backing and let’s face it if you need more than 75 yards of backing on a trout reel you’re probably not going to land that trout anyway.

While loading the spools, which I do manually, I was impressed with the smoothness of operation. I was also impressed with the weight or should I say the lack there of. There is a slight amount of play between the spool and frame but not enough to concern me at all. The real test of the reel would be when in use under pressure from a nice, fat trout.

This past week I was able to get out and apply the pressure needed to test the reel in use. It took several hours on a local tailwater to hook into a trout large enough to put it to the test but once I did I was completely unaware of the play I had noticed on the bench when loading the spools. After 5 hours of constant casting I was very happy with the lack of weight and casting fatigue. This reel balance very well with an Orvis 8’ 6” PM10 5 weight that weighs in at a paltry 2 5/8 ounces.
The bottom line here is that I am more than thrilled with the 1.5 Liquid. I honestly believe that you will be hard pressed to find a reel that performs like the Liquid for 2-3 times the cost. Waterworks-Lamson has definitely come up with a winner here. I am just glad I don’t work for another reel company. If you’re looking for a great reel at an even greater price find a dealer near you and check them out. Keep in mind that at the moment you may have to wait a bit, I did and it was worth it!
If this sounds like a commercial I won’t apologize. It has been a long time since a piece of fly fishing gear has got me so excited. In case you’re wondering I am not on the Lamson payroll although it’s a thought.


 I already have plans to add another 3-pack to my arsenal very soon, with a Liquid 2 in the not too distant future. If these hold up to extended use I will be adding a 3.5 to the arsenal in the slightly more distant future. They are selling 3-packs in the 1.5 and 2 models for $149.95 and the 3.5 model for $159.95. I could scrimp and save and fret and worry about spending the money to buy more expensive reels but why would I? So far, and mind you this after only a few hours on the water, I absolutely love this reel. For me it has everything I want in a fly and nothing I don’t, specifically an astronomical price tag.

Before I forget there's one more thing about the Liquid that I really like. It looks really cool. What more could you ask for?