Having designed commercial patterns for Rainy’s Flies for two years now, I am constantly pushing the boundaries of movement and effectiveness with my patterns. Being a Bass guy my whole life, my eyes weren’t opened to the whole long rod thing until a family trip to Montana in high school changed my perception of what fly fishing is. Big streamers for aggressive brown trout was the ticket. I quickly learned that these trout can be fished very similar to smallies on a river system by quickly ripping streamers through pockets, over drops, and around cover. I was a convert almost instantly.
When I got back home I picked up a simple tying kit and began to experiment. I will admit I tied a lot of awful buggers and some terrible Adams before I had something that resembled a decently tied fly. I would go to Chris Helm’s shop in Toledo, Ohio and watch a true master spin and stack deer hair and go to Cabela’s on Saturday mornings to watch guys like Bear Andrews and Dennis Potter tie and after a while, all the time and energy paid off. I was able to design patterns and go fish with moderate success. I really started getting into Pike with their nasty attitude and speed. The tug is the drug when you fight these toothy, slime bullets. The more time on the water I spent, the more I started to notice things and by the time I was in college I pretty much had my home waters figured out.
I have learned a lot along the way and now that I am getting waist deep into the waters of the business side of things, I am learning the fly industry can be fickle and tough. You always have to self-advocate and no matter how many patterns you have on the commercial side, you always have to keep being creative and inventive. I do a fair amount of realistic tying but those flies never see the water. The real bread and butter is being able to tie a fly that works for the intended species and is easily repeatable. For the most part, my flies are developed for the way I fish. The people that I take fishing and my friends always get annoyed with me because I fly fish for bass like a tournament bass fisherman. I rip streamers or drift a nymph through a hole and if no takes I move on. I really like to cover water when I fish, especially if I’m wading. When I tie a streamer, I want the movement to be instantaneous when entering the water, get the attention of the fish, and then trigger a strike. Things like the movement of rabbit and hackle together or my addictive and generous use of ice dub in a dubbing loop to create collars and bodies lends to this method. I generally fish clear water so the patterns must not spook fish but have a good draw from a distance.
I was a teacher by trade so I love teaching the art of fly tying as well. The trick to becoming a good tier is always simply doing it. Instead of just trying to tie a wooly bugger, tie seven or eight in a row. You have to work out the kinks in the process whether it be rushing the eye or overly bulky bodies. You will tie a bunch of ugly fuglies before you tie something decent so be prepared for that. Have fun while you are at the vise. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a $500 vise and expensive tools to tie. The same goes for gear, it is really nice to have a $300 fly rod, but it simply isn’t a necessity. Get something in your price range and go fish. It’s as simple as that. A little extra information though, for big or tough fish you don’t want to skimp and be outgunned.
For tying tips, questions, and inquiries folks can visit my facebook business page River Raisin Fly Company or email me at RiverRaisinFlyCompany13@gmail.com for water levels, suggested patterns, and additional information about myself, my patterns, and the adventure we all call fly fishing.
Thread 100d GSP white
Bucktail in white and medium dunn
Nayat (Snow Runner) in grey and black
Red wool roving
Black wool roving mixed with black angelina fibre
White Deer Creek Mega Lazer dub ( or use white wool roving mixed with silver angelina fibre)
Metz Natural grizzly saddle
Hedron Magnum Flashabou in Moonlight
Hedron standard Flashabou in silver and black
Hedron Mirage in pink
Holofusion in opal
Jerkbaitmania 12mm eyes
“Spending some time making big brushes for pike flies.A base of funky hairs, middle body is thicker with a bit of funky fibres (closer to the wire).A generous mixture of different flash, freckle flash and shimmer flash mostly used.Wire is stainless steel 0.2mm. These brushes will be used for making extra large game changers.”
I’ve been following Tony and NightMare Musky Flies (on Instagram mainly), for quite awhile now, and I’ve been very impressed with the quality of flies Tony is tying and putting out there. He has several types of modern musky flies that look killer and are catching big fish! Flies like Kraken, Beast Changer, Darkhorse, Dingle Barry, and Zero Gravity. Below Tony tells us a little more about himself and how NightMare Musky Flies got started. You can follow NightMare Musky Flies on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nightmaremuskyflies/ or on Instagram @nightmaremuskyflies
From Tony Sandrone:
“I have been an avid fisherman since I was a child. I grew up in Southern Wisconsin, moved to central Wisconsin in 1998 and was introduced to fly fishing by a buddy in 2007. It was all over from there! I started fishing for panfish, but quickly progressed into targeting larger fish with a fly rod. After moving to Eagle River in 2010, I found myself working at local fishing shops and guiding. Once I realized I could not purchase a predator fly locally to fit my needs, my mission began. Which led to the start of Nightmare Musky Flies.
Being immersed in the world of conventional fishing gear has played a pivotal role in my fly tying style. Conventional lures such as the Bulldog, Mag 10 Bucktails, and the Bucher Shallow Raider all play a role in my design process. My flies are heavily influenced by tyers such as Blane Chocklett, Niklaus Bauer, and Brian Wise to name a few. My main focus is on large articulated flies. There’s nothing quite like seeing a fly the size of a muppet getting inhaled boatside by a crocodile!
Being fortunate enough to work with great companies such as; Flymen Fishing Co, Superfly, Partridge Hooks, Hareline, and Wiggle Tails, allows me to produce the quality flies that I do. With the advancement of fly tying materials and the caliber of tyers today, I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
Beast Changer – chartreuse
Beast Changer – White Belly Sucker
Beast Changer – crappie
Darkhorse – Fire Tiger color
Darkhorse – Largemouth color
Darkhorse – group
Darkhorse – group
Kraken – Peanut Butter
Kraken – Rainbow Trout
Kraken – Walleye style
Eric Grajewski caught this beast on a Peanut Butter Kraken
Here are the final Flies Around the Net for 2016. It has been a year of good vibes and good times for FrankenFly. I want to thank all of you for coming and visiting the website. I’m glad all of you are finding it interesting enough to come back to the site to get even more into fly fishing! I love this sport and I’m glad all of you do too! Here’s to an even better 2017!