Category Archives: Foam

Grayling, Michigan 2017 – FrankenFly


Well, another trip up to Grayling in Northern Michigan is in the books. This trip will definitely be one to remember because I couldn’t have asked for better fishing. Although, there was a really big one that got away, but I’ll explain that in a bit.

We stayed at a nice place right on the Au Sable River, which supplied nice wade fishing. I went out right away and caught a handful of brookies. The largest being about 9 inches long. Which is not too bad in this stream. What was great about this stretch, was that my son was enticed enough to ask me to take him fly fishing for the first time. He had used a Zebco type setup in the past, when he was around 7, but hasn’t fished in a couple of years. He is now 12. To my surprise, he came out and asked me to teach him how to fly fish. So I tied on a bright foam Chernobyl dry fly and taught him how to dry fly fish. He was moving down the stream and casting really well. We were able to land him a little brookie and he loved it! This was a fabulous part of the trip and another experience that made this trip memorable.

One day, I met up with Brian Kozminski of True North Trout, for an evening float. Brian’s truck was in the shop because of a collision with a deer, so one of Brian’s other guides, Randy Monchilov, brought his Adipose drift boat for us to use. All three of us went out and had a nice evening of fishing, catching many brookies and browns. I have to say, the Adipose boat is a dream to float in. It has great stability and I like the low side walls. One other item to mention, is that Brian had the Temple Fork Outfitters Axiom II fly rod with him, so I was able to cast this and get the feel for the rod. I loved it! I like the backbone this rod has. If you are familiar with TFO rods, it was like a BVK but with more backbone.
Brian and Randy are nice guys and know their stuff. If you are looking for a guide up in Northern Michigan or you want to use some TFO fly rods or float in an Adipose boat, contact True North Trout. They will no doubt get you into some fish!

In between fishing, I made some other stops into some fly shops, like Gates Au Sable Lodge & Fly Shop, Ron’s Fly Shop, and even drove over to Traverse City and visited The Northern Angler.

I went out on a couple of other special fly fishing excursions, with my good friend, Chris Lessway. First, we spent an entire day and evening fishing for smallmouth bass. We floated in Chris’s older, but still quite capable, Hyde drift boat. I shared time on the sticks, so Chris could fish as well. I want to thank Chris for putting up with my rowing. Even though I’m getting better in this area, I am still learning to keep the boat in the fishing zone. It takes time.

We were catching fish right off the bat using my Thunder Mutt streamer. As we fished throughout the day, we learned that the smallies were a little finicky on that day. They were always hitting on the pause. It helped that we were able to see them most of the time. So I would pause it for even longer and wait until they hit, to try and set the hook. We switched up and went through many flies, trying to find a fly they might like better. But in the end, it was the Thunder Mutt which I had in a Chartreuse/Olive and a white streamer that worked the best.

However, things changed when the evening came. Since the sun was going down, we decided to start throwing poppers. Besides morning, this is the best time to do this. We were also on a different stretch of river. The pause didn’t change in this regard either. I was getting most of my fish by doing a pop, a twitch, and then letting it sit. Then BAM!

So this brings me to the fish I mentioned in the beginning. I did a pop, twitch, and then let it sit. I saw this smallie coming up from the side and munch down on the popper. I set the hook and it felt like a nice fish, but I didn’t realize how nice. Then it started pulling line out and then it took its first jump and Chris and I at the same time, said, “Holy Crap!” This thing was a monster. I have never seen a smallie this big. It proceded to take 4 more jumps and I continued to fight it and give it line when needed. After the 5th jump, it pulled a bit and the line came loose. The thing you never want to happen, happened. The biggest smallie I had ever seen, broke the line and was gone. It was gut wrenching. Chris and I talked about that fish the rest of the week and I stil think about it. What a fish…

Then Chris said, “We will get another one.” So we continued on downstream and I continued to throw a Rainy’s popper that I had tied. Chris was right, we did get another good one. Granted, it was not near as big as the one we lost, but it was a really nice fish! This time, I was able to land it after a great fight.

Chris netted it for me and it was in the boat. This is the smallie that is pictured. I was extremely happy to get that fish. Needless to say, it was a fantastic day of smallie fishing.

The final time I went out with Chris, was a quick morning float, we did early one morning. This time we were after some trout. It was an overcast morning with slight sprinkles of rain at first, but that tapered off to be just a cloudy morning. We tried some streamers at first, but with no luck, we switched back to dry flies. Terrestrials seemed to be what was on the menu, so I stuck with that, catching some brookies and a nice little brown trout. As we made out way downstream, I kept casting to various spots, and then it happened. My personal best, brown trout, sipped in my dry fly and doubled my 7 weight rod over. Of course, after losing that monster smallmouth, Chris and I were on the edge of our seats, as I tried working this brown trout to the boat. Chris was calling out logs that the fish was trying to run under and I would guide it away from. Finally, I worked him to the side of the boat while Chris had the net ready and I was able to guide him in. The largest brown I had ever hooked, was landed!


Chris Lessway guides for the North Branch Outing Club, located in a small area called Lovells, right outside Grayling, Michigan. The NBOC provides lodging, a guide service, and a fly shop right on the Au Sable River. Chris is the head guide there. So, if you are looking for a terrific guide, give Chris a call at the North Branch Outing Club.

So this ended an awesome trip up to Northern Michigan. I want to apologize for not having the time to meet up with Jeff Marsh of High on the Fly and Michael Williams of Green Bus Designs. I had to cancel, but will definitely meet up with these two the next time for some fly fishing action!

Thank you for reading FrankenFly!

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Filed under Dry Fly, Fly Fishing, Foam, FrankenFly, Michigan, Poppers, Smallmouth, Streamers, Trout flies

Chernobyl ant with easy new parachute technique

Ruben Martin shows how to tie his Chernobyl ant with a new and easy parachute techniques for foam flies.

Materials list:
Hook: AHREX NS156 – TRADITIONAL SHRIMP
Back: tan and Brown foam 2 mm
Body: senyo fusión dubbing rainbow
Hackle: whiting golden badger rooster saddle
Legs: Barred sili legs
Parachutes: whiting golden badger rooster saddle
Thread: Uni 8/0

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Filed under Dry Fly, Foam

NEW Surface Seducer Howitzer baitfish popper heads

Offer predatory fish a vulnerable easy meal.

From Flymen Fishing Company:
The Howitzer is a next-generation soft foam popper head that provides new options for tying articulated baitfish poppers.

The Howitzer imitates the head of a small minnow (or baitfish) that is splashing and sipping at the surface of the water. It’s designed with a deep recess at the back of the head so that an articulated body and tail of a minnow can be embedded seamlessly into the back of the head. As a result, the body of the minnow hangs down in the water (roughly at a 45-degree angle) and moves enticingly in a position that can be seen by predatory fish from a long distance and offers them an irresistible profile and an easy opportunity for a meal!

Combine the Howitzer with Surface Seducer® Dragon Eyes™,  Surface Seducer® Popper Hooks, and the Fish-Skull® Articulated Shank family to tie a variety of articulated foam flies.

Want to learn more?

Read Inside Look: Designing the Surface Seducer Howitzer by Martin Bawden for a behind-the-scenes look at developing this new material, as well as videos demonstrating how to tie with it.

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Flies Around the Net – May 2017

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Filed under Deer Hair, Dry Fly, Foam, Hoppers, Intruders, nymphs, Poppers, Saltwater, Streamers

Flies Around the Net – April 2017

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Filed under Carp flies, Dry Fly, Foam, Muskie, nymphs, Pike, Realistic, Saltwater, Streamers

Flies Around the Net – March 2017

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Filed under Dry Fly, Foam, Muskie, nymphs, Pike, Salmon, Saltwater, Steelhead, Streamers, Trout flies

Foam Panfish Popper

Note:
I think the way he shows how to cup the foam in the front on this popper is a nice idea.
-Paul

From Kast:
The Foam Panfish Popper is an easy to tie and very effective popper. It can be tied in a variety of different colors and sizes to match any situation you might find yourself in.

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Filed under Foam, Poppers

Panther Creek Hopper – Brandon Bailes

Topwater foam

Posted by Brandon Bailes on Thursday, January 5, 2017

Brandon has been doing a live tying session usually about one day a week on Facebook. In this one, he shows how to tie his Panther Creek Hopper. This is a fly pattern that Orvis has picked up. This live tying session from Brandon was back on January 5th. Check it out, it’s a very nice hopper pattern.

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Filed under Foam, Hoppers

Brita Fordice Interview!

brita
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

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

Vote Now – FFC Surface Seducer fly tying contest

The finalists have been decided, now it is time for you to vote for the best in the Surface Seducer fly tying contest by Flymen Fishing Company. Vote by going to the Flymen Fishing Company Instagram page and liking the fly of your choice. http://flymenfishingcompany.com/pages/surface-seducer-fly-tying-contest

Here are the finalists.

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Filed under Foam, Poppers