Monthly Archives: October 2016

Green Bus Designs

Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Michael Williams studied Art Education at Michigan State University and has been teaching 6th-12th Grade Art and U.S. History for the past 15 years. Once he began his teaching career, his art projects included requests from friends and colleagues at school, project examples for students, and t-shirt designs for various clubs and organizations. It wasn’t until one of his students recently asked him to help draw a Rapala that he really started to pursue art for himself again.

“I found that I really had a great time with not only the process of creating these images, but also sharing my work with others, which was something I typically didn’t care to do. My classroom and kitchen table became littered with drawings of my favorite flies and lures, covered in Sharpies and watercolors.”


His love for fishing and art really started at about the same time in his life,

“My great grandpa and mom fostered my love for drawing and my grandpa Jack introduced me to my love of fishing. I became obsessed with fishing at the age of 7 when I took a trip to a family cabin in Ontario, chasing Pink Salmon and Brook Trout.”

His love of fishing has since grown into a year-round pursuit of steelhead, kings and browns with a close-knit group of friends who have the same love of the river. Williams has spent the past 26 years fishing the Big Two Hearted River, still with his 80-year-old grandpa in tow. Michael explains,

“Being surrounded by the beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, enjoying my grandpa’s stories of the river and the fish, and appreciating the walls of a green 1960 GMC school bus that was our fish camp, will always feel like home.”


Now living in Oscoda, Michigan for the past 10 years, he spends most of his time on the hallowed Au Sable River and the rivers of North-East Michigan.

“I would have never imagined that a few doodles for my personal enjoyment, would lead to the creation of stickers for anglers, and ultimately so many great conversations and opportunities. For this, I have to thank my friends and family, most importantly my wife and twin sons.”

If you are interested in purchasing decals, art, or want a custom piece by Michael, head over to the Green Bus Designs website.



Filed under fly art

Slop Buster – Bowfin Fly

Joe Cermele of Field & Stream and Hook Shots came up with his own version of a weedless style fly to chase bowfin.
Note here from me. If you haven’t ever caught a bowfin, I definitely recommend it. This is one mean and nasty fish that gives you a good fight. When I’ve caught them before, I first think I have a 7 pound bass on the line. One more thing, they have teeth, so beware because I’ve had them snap at me when trying to take the hook out.

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Filed under Bowfin

Revive Magazine – Fall 2016 Issue


Check out the new issue of Revive Magazine!

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Magneto Stone Steelhead Nymph

Tactical Fly Fisher notes: “During my steelhead fishing over the last few years there have been two mainstay flies, which are almost always on my rig. The Magneto Stone is one of them. I generally fish it as the top dropper on a two or three fly Euro nymphing or Czech nymphing rig but it would work just as well with a strike indictor rig. In addition to a lot of steelhead, the Magneto Stone has also caught resident rainbow trout, bull trout, whitefish, and smallmouth bass for me.

In this tutorial you will learn how to tie this fly as well as some helpful tying tips for handling rubber legs and making a more durable fly.”

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Filed under nymphs, Steelhead

Deer Hair Megalolipop – 239 Flies

Nick Davis of 239 Flies shows us how to tie the Deer Hair Megalolipop.


Medium cactus chenille
Palmer chenille
Arctic fox tail
Deer body hair
Bead chain or lead eyes
Thread 1
Thread 2 (optional)
Daiichi 2546 size 2

All featured material can be purchased at

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Filed under Saltwater, Streamers

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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Filed under Classic, Streamers

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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Filed under fly tying materials

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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