Bob Jacklin: Muddler Minnow

Bob Jacklin has always been one of my favorite fly tyers. He purchased the fly shop that Pat Barnes owned and started back in the 1950s in West Yellowstone, Montana. Today, Bob still owns and runs Jacklin’s Fly Shop. I was lucky enough to meet and talk with Bob at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo 2 years ago. So this gives me a chance to post the photo of him and I as well! Anyway, check out Bob Jacklin tying the classic Muddler Minnow.

This classic pattern was pulled as a sample from “Bob Jacklin: Classic Flies and Their Stories”. Available for purchase here: . In that HD Downloadable collection Bob discusses the history of 6 classic patterns as well as demonstrating how to tie these famous patterns using available materials.
Find more about Bob at

Bob Jacklin and Paul J Beel

Bob Jacklin and Paul J Beel

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Sideling Hill Hackle by Evan Brant

I’ve been raising chickens as long as I can remember, my parents have pictures of me sitting with chicks when I was hardly able to walk. So when I decided in college that I wanted to come home and work with my dad on my family’s dairy farm, hackle chickens was a natural fit.

I grew up with a trout stream and a pond in my backyard. Opening day of fishing season was always close to the same level as the opening day of rifle season with my family, no one worked and we always made it a “holiday”. Once I was old enough to get to the “crick” by myself I was there almost every evening until past dark in the spring and summer.

In the summer before my 12th birthday a friend from church showed me his fly tying kit he had. After playing with it a little bit I told my dad that I would like to get one. He in turn told me if I caught 2 trout on a fly that I had tied from my friend’s kit with my spincast rod he would buy me one for my birthday in the fall. Needless to say, it was challenge accepted and within a few weeks time I had my fish caught. Later that fall he held up his end of the bargain.

Evan's Dad

David Strait with one of Evan’s beautiful birds

I spent that winter tying flies and by the spring opener I was well stocked and ready to catch fish. It took me 3 years to finally get a fly rod, but I used my spin rod with a wet fly, time and time again, to catch fish in those early years. Tying flies was usually something that would go on the back burner through the busy season on the farm, but when the winter rolled around and evenings were spent in the house, it was back to tying.

b3Fast forward a few years to the end of high school and I had decided that I wanted to attend Penn State for a degree in Ag business. Little did I know what I was about to do to myself. When I started at main campus I heard they had a fly fishing club, and that was where my winter hobby turned into full blown obsession. I was instantly hooked on central Pennsylvania’s limestone streams and these “new to me” wild brown trout that had colors like I had only seen in magazine articles. I spent hours tying flies between classes and when I should have been in class. Then I would rush off to Spring Creek to try them out.

When it was time to make the big decision on where the next chapter of my life was to take place I was ready to take on working beside my father on our farm. We had a few chicken coops sitting empty on the farm and I started scouring the internet looking for hackle chickens. After a year of looking I had a dozen eggs purchased and shipped from Idaho from Dustin Pond who got his birds from Alvin Theriaul. Out of that original hatch in June of 2012 I had 8 out of 12 grizzly chicks hatch, 6 were roosters, and I was off and running. The next spring I paired my best two roosters with hens and hatched somewhere around 35 or 40 chicks. Jumping to the spring of 2014 I had hatched about 40 again of my own and also got eggs shipped in from my buddy Kevin from out in Nevada. We had done some swapping and he had sent me eggs from his stock stemming from Joel Alsdorf. I added brown and barred ginger to the color palate. That year, I also met my friend Anthony, who introduced me to my mentor, Jan Pickel.

Barred red ginger

Barred red ginger

Jan owns Bob’s Hackle Farm which he purchased from Robert “Bob” Wetzel in 1990. Bob had got his stock in the early years from names you have read about in hackle history, Harry Darbee, Bill Tobin, Charlie Collins, Andy Miner, Keough, and Chris Baker to name a few.

Jan came out in the spring of 2014 on his way to fish the “Drakes” in central PA and helped me pick out my brood stock for the year. He is the one that really showed me what I needed to look for in a good feather. We talked that year and at the fly fishing show in Lancaster in 2015, Jan said he would be willing to help me out and get me some eggs to add the colors I was missing. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but looking back it’s easy to see Jan boosted my flock by at least 10 years worth of breeding, probably more than that. From him I was able to add a whole multitude of colors of a quality of dry fly hackle I had been dreaming of.

Hatching season of 2015, I added around 35 birds, I had hatched out from Jan and recruited my friend, Dave Strait, to help me raise chickens. We hatched around 180 that year total and shifted gears into trying to make Sideling Hill Hackle into something more than a few birds in the back yard. I also started looking into the feed we were using and had a real lightbulb of an idea by making my own feed using the crops I grow on my farm to cut costs and be able to keep my hackle priced lower than some. It was an experimental year to see how things would grow on the new feed but it worked, and it worked well! Jan made the drive up from New Park, PA in the late fall and spent a day here showing me his method of cleaning and preparing hackle. By the time I was done skinning birds in the early months of 2016, everything was sold for the most part and I decided it was time to change gears again, this time in numbers.

We started hatching late winter of 2016 choosing all of the best roosters and hens in the early winter with the aid of Jan in breeder selection in the late fall. After the smoke settled in the late spring there were somewhere around 750 chicks running around between my place and David’s. Driving back home from Jan’s place in the spring it hit me that this is what I wanted to do with my life. With the dairy industry in shambles most years it’s an easy choice for me. If the good Lord allows it, I plan on growing the flock more and more until eventually it takes its place as the farm’s main source of income along with beef cows and crops. It’s going to take some time to get things there and there are some changes I would like to see to the feather structure. Until that happens, the train is off and moving in the right direction, to say the least.

If it wasn’t for Jan, that would not be the case, so that’s where credit is due. I’m very optimistic and excited to see where the next few years take things!

Tight lines!

Check out Sideling Hill Hackle’s Etsy page here:

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Tasty Bug Tying Competition for Streamers!

Fly Shop of the Bighorns is hosting a fly tying competition for streamers! Check out the pdfs below to find out all of the details. This is a chance to show your stuff and there are some awesome prizes! Get pumped and get behind that vise!

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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Brita Fordice Interview!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the world of fly fishing?

I learned from my dad and grandfather when I was very young.   I grew up with a cabin we spent most weekends at on the Stillaguamish river in Washington state.  I learned to fly fish at the age of 8, and I never truly learned to throw a spinning rod until 2016…..    Spinning rods scared me. Too easy to knot up.

Did you have a mentor of any kind? Someone that you learned a lot from or was inspired by when fly fishing or fly tying?

I wouldn’t say I necessarily had a mentor, however one person that I highly respect that continues to challenge me in my fly tying even from a few states away is my old work colleague Andrew Grillos.  He is also the single best fly naming person I’ve ever met.

How long have you been tying flies?

I taught myself at ten.

What species do you fish for most often these days?

Sea Run Cutthroat and Salmon in Puget Sound

Searun Cutthroat

Sea Run Cutthroat

Would you describe a couple of your rod setups? For example, the size and type of fly rod, line, and leader you use?

I use a Sage 690 X rod with a RIO Coastal Quickshooter intermediate fly line or a RIO Outbound with a 5-10’ versileader and a 4 foot section of 10lb fluorocarbon tippet.

Have you designed your own fly patterns?

Yes.  All of the flies on my Instagram I’ve created.  I have specific Umpqua flies that are copyrighted.

What is your process like when designing a new fly?

There aren’t many things I will admit I am good at. And being self-taught with no formal casting instruction for 25 years I am by no means a perfect fly caster….   But the one thing that has always come very easy to me is tying, and I’ve worked hard at it. There are few baitfish in the world that I can’t look at the fish and duplicate it in a fly form. I have never used recipes, and it bores me to try to follow a recipe. I don’t cook well either for that reason 😉   It challenges me daily to find fish to recreate, and I love the physics involved in order to enable it to ride correctly in the water.

Saltwater Squid

Saltwater Squid

What are some of the things you are thinking about when designing a fly for steelhead specifically? 

“Texture and colors” are what I usually like to consider…  In that I always want lots of movement in the water, and different forms of movement.    I also want different colors that compliment the pattern, yet also give a “depth” to the fly pattern.

What type of fly tying vise do you use?

Beat up old Renzetti Traveler….  One day I’ll upgrade, but this vise won’t die and I love it.

Could you describe a couple of your most memorable fish that you have caught?

I generally look back on certain fish as being memorable not because of the fish necessarily, but because of the company too.   One fish was my Clearwater steelhead hooked on a skated muddler.   The fish wasn’t that great, but the whole weekend was amazing fishing with my friend and guide Brian Styskal.

Steelhead on Skated Muddler

Steelhead on Skated Muddler

I read that you are an encyclopedia of fly tying materials of classic and modern flies. Can you explain a little about this?

I joke with people that I’m a plethora of useless knowledge…   I spent decades ordering tying materials for the fly shop I worked at.    We were and still are the most eager shop I’ve ever encountered to special order tying materials for customers, which required me to memorize every catalog that came through over the years. I can look at virtually any synthetic and most natural tying material and tell you exactly what it is. I used to have people bring in boxes of materials consistently for me to look over and label what the fur and feathers were.

Do you still fish any classic flies?

Yes.   Most are renditions of classics and my own take on them. I love Alec Jacksons Spade fly, the Orange Heron, and Dec Hogans versions of the Akroyd fly. I tie a large number of Dee flies for my own use as well.

Can you explain a little about what spey fishing is for those that do not know? 

In general, it is a technique for casting that originally was developed on the river Spey with heavy rods that were upwards of 20 feet initially. It utilizes a water load as opposed to false casting in the air like a single hand rod. Spey casting allows an angler to cast a great distance with little back casting room, and allows more control over the speed of the swing of the fly.

Custom Bronze and Blue Spey Fly tied by Brita

Custom Bronze and Blue Spey Fly tied by Brita

I notice you tie various flatwing flies. Could you explain what that is?

This is a technique for tying that was developed and created by the legendary Kenney Abrames for stripers on the east coast. It is not one fly specifically, but a technique and fishing method. There is nothing I have ever found that fishes the way a correctly tied flatwing fishes. Many claim to tie flatwings… But there is a method to the madness, and without the correct order and specifically placed materials it just isn’t a flatwing.

traditional flatwing

traditional flatwing

Thank you for doing this interview for FrankenFly Brita, it was a pleasure!

Brita is a fly fishing guide at The Avid Angler in Washington. She also teaches classes there and works for Far Bank(Sage Rods) full time during the week. Be sure to look her up for your next trip to Washington!

Flatwing Sand Shrimp

Flatwing Sand Shrimp


Filed under Fly Fishing, Foam, Interview, Poppers, Realistic, Saltwater, Steelhead, Streamers

Polar Fiber Minnow

NOTE: Where he uses the epoxy at the end, I would use UV resin. Much easier and faster with the same effect. -Paul

Ole Florida Fly Shop says, “One of our favorite all around baitfish patterns, the Polar Fiber Minnow has an unmistakably fishy profile that breathes and twitches with pure fluidity. We’d go so far as to call this fly a modern Lefty’s Deceiver due to its effectiveness in nearly every situation where larger fish are eating smaller fish.”

Polar Fiber Minnow Materials:
Hook: Gamakatsu C14S #4

Thread: Monofilament Thread .006

Eyes: Sticky Eyes 7/32″ Offset Pupil

Flash: Gliss ‘N Glow Silver

Gills: Fluoro Fiber Hot Orange

Body: Polar Fiber White

Head: Z-Poxy 5 Min

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A Tight Loop magazine – Fall 2016 edition


The Fall 2016 edition of A Tight Loop Magazine, check it out!

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The Laughing Fly by Andrew Nelson

I was born and raised in Minnesota and grew up spin, fly, and ice fishing under both of my grandfathers’ careful watch. We lived on Forest Lake, just north of the Twin Cities, and fishing was always my escape. I had a 16’ Crestliner Nighthawk boat that my parents would let me take out essentially whenever I wanted. When I was in 9th grade my mom purchased a portable Clam ice fishing shack for me and I was given a very long leash to explore and fish the lake. We took many trips to Lake Superior every year and I even worked for some time as a first mate on a charter fishing boat out of Bayfield, WI. Never during this time did I raise any farm animals or spend much time around livestock.

In our late twenties my wife and I moved back to her family’s farm in the mountains of West Virginia. I took a job working for a university autism program and began to fly fish much more as trout fishing opportunities abound in the Mountain State. My fishing buddy lent me his fly tying kit one winter and I began to tie very mediocre flies. It is a very common progression and a yarn you have likely heard a million times before.


It got decidedly more interesting for me when we found out our third child was on the way. I quit playing guitar and mandolin in a local band and looked for more steady part time work to help balance our budget. That is when my friends David Moran and Lori Wall approached me and asked if I was interested in coming to work part time on their alpaca and sheep farm. I immediately said yes and have been with them and the animals at Crimson Shamrock Ranch ever since.

One day, when preparing for the annual shearing of the alpaca, I got the idea to try to take their fine fiber and work with it to create fly tying dubbing. Aileen Lane of MK Flies had tweeted that alpaca was one of her favorite materials and I decided I would try to work on some colorways to send her. That is when my small home grown fly tying materials business, The Laughing Fly, was born. I think back to those early samples now and realize how much I have learned since then.

Over the years we have taken our animals and fiber arts to various festivals and shows and I was always on the lookout for interesting animals that had fibers which would work well for tying large predator flies and streamers. That is when I first laid eyes on Monty, a Pygora goat.


Pygora are crosses between angora and pygmy goats. They are bred to carry the long lustrous fiber of angora goats while having the hearty toughness the pygmy breed brings to the table. Monty produces about 4lbs. of fleece per shearing. That does not sound like much, and in the grand scheme of things it is not. However, about 3-4 of his large locks when hand washed, dyed, carded, blended, and packaged on my small 2 acre farm make for a nice product for tying streamers. The fibers are not as soft and thin as alpaca or as stiff as yak or bucktail…they fall somewhere in between. Daniel Seaman of Bug Wild and Gunnar Brammer of Brammer’s Custom Flies have been very helpful in the development of this product. With their help, the help of others, and information from my own tying sessions I know what potential these fibers bring to the vise. I also know what they lack and this information will inform our goat breeding program moving forward.

Pygora Streamer Blends

Pygora Streamer Blends

Homegrown fly I tied using Pygora Streamer blends and goat beard fibers.

Homegrown fly I tied using Pygora Streamer blends and goat beard fibers.

Flies by Gunnar Brammer (top) and Daniel Seaman (bottom) incorporating Pygora Blends

Flies by Gunnar Brammer (top) and Daniel Seaman (bottom)
incorporating Pygora Blends

One of the things I enjoy most about this process is that my small two acre farm is perfectly self-sustaining. I have a small herd of goats. The hay my land produces is exactly what is needed to get the herd through the cold winters in the mountains here. The grazing paddocks in the summer provide enough to see us through the warm season as well. This process adds meaning and peace to a busy life. Bringing homegrown materials like the alpaca dubbing and Pygora Goat Streamer Blends to the fly tying market contributes to the creative community of fly tyers and fishers. We believe in this small farm concept so much, in fact, that a small group of us started something called the Fly Farm Coalition ( to help small scale producers, those sourcing unique materials, and tyers who are open to using locally produced materials network and get their products and ideas out to the masses.

Andrew with his Pygora Goat

Andrew with his Pygora Goat

There is nothing like catching a fish on a fly you tied…except, maybe, for catching a fish on a fly you tied using materials from an animal you raised or a material you created. It is primal and fun and I dream every day about the materials I am developing playing a role in your life as you fool a fish in your home waters.
Have a great time out there everybody and come see us in the mountains of West Virginia if you are ever in the area!

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Smoke Jumper – Peter Steen

Smoke Jumper tied by Peter Steen

Smoke Jumper tied by Peter Steen

This is a sweet emerger fly from Peter Steen. Below, Peter briefly explains how he normally fishes this fly and provides the list of materials for us. You can keep up on Pete’s tying on Instagram @fly_fishing_pete
Definitely follow him on Instagram, he is a great up and coming fly tyer!

“I’ve been encountering rising fish in slow moving water above beaver dams on the small streams I fish here in Utah when no bugs are visible on the water. I like to drift this pattern down to the fish behind a small parachute pattern or a tuft of New Zealand strike indicator wool.
I often get strikes on the swing of the fly or even as I strip it in.”

Hook: Umpqua size 16 U201 curved hook
Thread: Sheer 14/0 gray
Body: Olive Polish Quill sealed with 2 coats of Loon Thin UV Clear.
Wing: Light dun CDC
Thorax: Awesome Possum Natural Brown dubbing

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Filed under Trout flies

Grizzly Burbot tube fly

Ilias says that the grizzly burbot is probably one of the easiest flies to tie, but extremly effective, especially when tied on a tube so that you can modify it so it suits your situation.
It’s a fly that’s quick , easy and just made so you can make a bunch of them in an evening. Swap the colors around and you can make whatever color combo you want.

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Streamer Chronicles: Mike Schmidt

This is a new series that Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks has started. His first episode is with Mike Schmidt. Years ago Mike is actually the fly tyer that I talked to and I went to one of his tying classes and picked his brain when it came to tying articulated streamers. Mike knows his stuff!

Here is the excerpt from Brian:

The First Episode of Streamer Chronicles features Mike Schmidt. Mike Schmidt is the owner and tyer at Anglers Choice Flies Follow along as we pick Mike’s brain about how he got started fly fishing and tying, his favorite flies, how he comes up with the names of his flies, and more.

Find Mike on Facebook HERE:

Find Mike on the Interwebs HERE:

Find Mike on Instagram HERE:

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