Archive for February, 2013

I posted a picture of a pile of foam frogs that I made during my snow day last week… after some positive feedback that the flies did in fact look as cool as I thought they did, I decided to throw up a fly tie for them!

I didn’t invent this pattern… I don’t know who did. I was just searching on Google Image Search looking for “foam frog flies” and a photo similar to this popped up. It didn’t have tying instructions, but I have gotten good enough at fly tying that I can recreate a fly just from one picture.

That is a pretty good feeling when you are fly tying!

I love foam flies, but I haven’t found a lot that have been extremely useful; except for some tiny foam ants, beatles, and bugs. I have high hopes for this foam frog. The last foam frog pattern I tried was a flop (despite the YouTube video praising it)… but I have the feeling this one will be MUCH better.

I intend to use this fly fishing for bass around heavy cover; similar to how a spin caster would a regular old top water frog. I didn’t tie weed guards on this fly, but they could easily be added.

Materials:

Hook: Mustad C52S BLN Size 2 (although if I had a fly shop closer, I would probably get a larger hook…)

Body: Sheet foam with sticky backs, red and green

Tail: Red Marabou

Underbody: Red Chenille Cord

Legs: Rubber Legs (I prefer a stiffer leg)

Eyes: Googly Craft Eyes

Step 1:

Cut two equal size pieces of craft foam about 3 inches by 3/4 inch. Remove tape on both pieces and stick back to back.

(The only tape measure I had handy was the one in my fly vest… that is a little rusty. Sorry…)

Step 2:

Run the hook through the foam; with the red piece of foam toward the eye of the hook.

Step 3:

Put hook in vise and tie on thread behind foam. I find it much easier to keep foam in the horizontal position for most of the tie.

Step 4:

Add marabou tail at the end of the hook shank. After it is secure, I half hitch the thread to seal it off and remove it.

Step 5:

Push the foam body over the newly wrapped thread. Reattach thread at eye of hook and work back to foam.

Step 6:

Tie in chenille cord at the foam.

Step 7:

Wrap chenille cord forward to about 3 head spaces short of the eye. Secure chenille to hook and remove excess.

Step 8:

Tie in several long strands of rubber legs using a figure 8 tie. I like to tie it in right on top of the end of the chenille cord. Make sure that your legs will stretch well beyond the end of the fly (I like having them end about where the tail ends).

Step 9:

Rotate foam vertically and carefully pinch down. Be careful not to scratch the foam on the hook point!

Step 10:

Carefully start wrapping the thread around the foam to hold it together and form the head of the fly… this is above and by far the most difficult part. The first couple wraps should be light, and each wrap should get tighter. I like to make two wraps at a time; then carefull add pressure to the thread to pull it tight to the hook shank. I will do this 6-10 times as needed. Be very careful not to break your thread as you apply the pressure! (If you do break your thread, you can reattach right over the top of the thread; just make sure you give youself several wraps before applying pressure again, and make sure the broken end is secure under the new wraps). Secure the thread with 2-3 half hitches and remove thread.

Step 11:

Trim the top and bottom parts of the head so they are even. The “lips” should form a nice “V” pattern.

Step 12:

Foam flies always have a habit of rotating around the hook shank; or at least mine do. I like to secure the foam body to the hook shank by apply a “healthy” amount of supper glue to the back of the foam body. I apply glue directly to the hook shank on both sides of the fly; inside the foam body.

Step 13:

Apply craft eyes to the top of the head. I like to use a drop of super glue here too; to help secure the eyes to the fly.

Step 14:

Using a Sharpie, add black spots to the body of the fly. I like to add spots to the top and the bottom of the fly.

Also, make sure that the eye of the hook is centered in the fly’s mouth. If it is not, you can apply gentle pressure to the body and the hook eye to adjust the location.

After this, just tie on to your favorite bass fly rod and hit the water!

Or wait until the spring, and then hit the water…

That might be more productive!

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-Wagon Train State Recreation Area; Hickman, Nebraska; May 19th, 2012

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FROGS!!!

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…Or what I did with my snow day from work.

Okay, this and a TON of other flies.

There wasn’t much to do today…

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Something I have wanted to do for a while is put up some information on what works for me fly fishing… Today I started the first in this series. I have posted a page about the tactics and flies I use for Crappies. You can read more about it here… I have also added a menu at the top of the blog for quick reference.

I know that a good chunk of my readers don’t fish themselves, and that is okay. I don’t want to clutter up my main feed with a bunch of technical information. But this way my blog can still meet both of its goals… a little bit of the “how” to fly fish; but a lot of the “why” fly fish.

Hopefully this information I am adding inspires someone else to pick up a fly rod!

See you reviewing previous posts remembering what flies I used to catch certain fish!

E

Thanks to Wikicommons for the above image…

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With spring being right around the corner, that means the annual opening of open water fishing season is about to start. It also means that another tradition takes place…

My annual “jumping-the-gun” fishing trip.

As soon as there is an opening in the ice big enough to cast a fly line into, I feel the need to strap on the waders and give it a try. Call it cabin fever. Or fishing withdraw. Or both.

Of course, all common sense goes right out the window… like the fact that it snowed last night…

Or the fact that the air temperature was below freezing… the cold doesn’t bother me; but trying to keep the guides on a fly rod from freezing up makes the experience a little more interesting.

No; undaunted, the eternal optimist in me says “if you can just get a fly in the water, you can catch a fish”… “You have a new fishing pole you bought this winter, and it hasn’t caught a fish yet”… “what else are you going to do today anyways”…

So I wade out into high 30 – low 40 degree water, crunching through 1/4” ice on the banks, to get to a place where I hope the fish are.

I say “hope” because I know that the vast majority of fish are hugging the bottom of the deepest part of the lake. In the middle. 6 to 10 feet deeper then I can deliver a fly to; even with my sink-tip line.

“But hey, I caught fish standing in this exact spot this summer,” I say to myself. “And eventually the fish will start to come up to the shallows to spawn. And when they do, I will be the first to catch them!”

Needless to say, I didn’t catch any fish.

But to be honest, I didn’t really expect to. It was nice to get outside for a while and spend some time at one of my favorite lakes. To actually tie on a fly and cast it into the water. To practice casting on the lake instead of my snow-covered lawn.

Knowing that I *might* catch a fish is all I need to get me out of the house; however slim that chance might be. The only time that you are guaranteed not to catch a fish is when you don’t have a line in the water.

Fishing is not always about the fish. Sometimes just trying to catch one is all you need.

And if I do this enough times, I might be the first to catch one after all…

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Ice Out…

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The ice is starting to melt…

That means open water fishing (and by extension, fly fishing) is getting close…

And that makes me happy…

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TenkaraUSA

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Many of my readers know that recently purchased a Tenkara fly fishing pole from TenkaraUSA. I have to give a quick shout out to the company…

Shortly after receiving the rod, I immediately wanted to start practicing with it… Even though it was raining. I went out and tried the rod out, and understandably the rod got wet.

Now I know better then to put fishing tackle away wet. I disassembled the rod and dried it before returning it to the tube. But the next time I went I went to practice, the rod had developed bumps all along its finish. I went to clean the rod with soap and water, and the finish came completely off on part of the rod…

Now I am not telling you this because I was mad about the rod. This is clearly a manufacturing error. That happens. What I was worried about was working with the company to get an exchange…

This is where TenkaraUSA dropped my jaw.

I emailed their customer service that night to inquire what my options were. I knew they had an exchange/return policy. I was hoping when I emailed them that they would replace the damaged pieces. I was also worried about the hoops I would have to jump through to get this done.

Right away the next day, I received an email…

TenkaraUSA apologized for the problem… And without hassling or asking stated that they placed an entire replacement rod in the mail. Their response to my inquiry that I think I had a problem was: “That’s not right, we’ll fix it now.” Nothing to prove, no paperwork, no hoops to jump through…

I was blown away by their service.

I work for a the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. We pay very close attention to what represents good service… As we hope to instill these traits in our students.

In my opinion, good customer service is something that companies either get or not. Lots of companies actively work to improve customer service; but the best companies get it. And it shines through effortlessly.

TenkaraUSA gets it.

They are a great company. Now that I have my replacement rod, I also have a great product that lives up to my expectations.

Their rods are very reasonably priced compared to “western” fly rods; so if you have been thinking about picking up Tenkara, I would do it.

The product, and the company, have exceeded my expectations so far.

Now I just need ice out so I can go fishing!

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