Monday, April 10, 2017

BC Flyfishers “simply tie” with guide flies

BCFF Broome County, NY

The BC Flyfishers (BCFF) chapter of IFFF just completed another innovative fly tying class. But unlike the previous two classes the chapter has offered, this one focused on very simple flies. Fly tying, after all, doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or arduous and time-consuming. And contrary to what some might think, the best flies are simple in design and less than perfectly imitative. These flies are often termed “guide flies”. Why, you may ask?



Frank Sawyer’s Killer Bug is an example of an extremely simple fly that was designed to catch greyling in English streams. The BCFF Guide Fly Tying class included a U.S. version of this fly, called the Utah Killer Bug.
In order to be effective, guides must be efficient. The rigs they tie for clients must work, and the flies used must catch fish for all clients, even for those with little to no fly fishing experience. While a guide can’t promise fish, repeated trips with poor results will mean less referrals and less income. As is said with any kind of business; no margin – no mission. So guide flies make for quick, inexpensive ties that catch fish. And the BC Flyfishers last tying class focused exclusively on these fly fishing marvels.
The Guide Flies fly tying class consisted of four weekly tying “chapters”, each taught by different tiers: John Trainor (BCFF board member and local angler), Tim Barrett (BCFF board member and NY State Guide), Joe Cambridge (Local angler and author), and Kevin Gilroy (Local angler and commercial tier). The classes ranged from a refresher on tying basics to tying simple nymphs, wets, streamers, and a few more involved dry flies. In addition to the lead fly tiers for each class, up to seven helpers – BCFF members with fly tying experience – were on hand to assist each participant with tying issues.
Week One, led by John Trainor, started with a refresher on tying basics that included starting the thread on the hook, pinch wraps, dubbing techniques, and whip finishing. Along with the basics was a primer on nymph guide flies. The featured fly for this class was the Frenchie. Derived from the Pheasant tail, The Frenchie is used in competition nymphing and is a great guide fly because it is fast to tie. It typically sports a hot spot and sometimes a collar, as shown below:


 

“The Frenchie”
Other patterns tied in the class were Walt’s Worm (a classic), Ackourey’s Nymph (Joe Ackourey is a PA guide), and the Utah killer Bug.


The Utah Killer Bug
Week Two, led by Tim Barrett, featured some proven patterns that are fast to tie and are used not only by guides, but in competition fly fishing as well. Some are modified versions of flies that have been simplified so many can be tied in an hour’s time. The featured fly was Tim Barrett’s favorite, Tim’s Simpupa. This fly originally is tied with a soft hackle collar but for simplicity’s sake, the hackle can be substituted with a coarsely dubbed collar or peacock herl,  as shown below


Tim’s Simpupa
Also included was another of Tim’s favorite fish-catcher’s – The Turd. The Turd imitates a variety of stoneflies or can be fished as an attractor. The pattern’s rubber legs seem to be a good trigger for fish.


The Turd. Tim Barrett likes to tie in a hot spot collar below the 
bead and use differently colored or finished beads,
 his favorite being black. The chenille body color can also be 
varied. Tim also demonstrated tying Tim’s Carpet Fly, 
Doppelganger, and Glass-O–Wine – all great nymph patterns.

Week Three, led by local fly fishing legend Joe Cambridge, focused on tying soft hackle flies and one streamer pattern. Cambridge started his class with soft hackles, a favorite fly type of his, and in his opinion, very underrated. Cambridge was first introduced to soft hackles by an uncle while fly fishing in the UK. Like most people who first see these sparsely tied flies, Cambridge dismissed their effectiveness but brought some back with him to the states at his uncle’s urging. He stashed the tin of flies in his vest but never touched them until he encountered a fish-less day on a Catskill river. As Joe tells it, fish were rising everywhere and refusing EVERYTHING he threw at them. He then thought of his uncle’s soft hackles and figured “what do I have to lose.” The trout jumped these sparsely tied flies with abandon and he was sold forevermore on their effectiveness.
Soft hackles are simple but can be a bit more challenging to tie. They are generally nothing more than silk thread, dubbing in some cases, and hackle. And they can be fished in a variety of ways.


Joe’s last fly was a streamer that he considers absolutely deadly on his home water – the Finger Lakes trbis. The Fatal Attraction, shown below, is actually a Don Blanton pattern that originates on the West Coast.


In the last class, Week Four, the class was introduced to some very fishy dry flies, courtesy of Kevin Gilroy, a commercial fly tier. From the classic Red Quill to Kelly Galloup’s Butch Caddis…


Galloup’s Butch Caddis (courtesy of slideinn.com)
…all of the patterns tied belong in every serious angler’s fly box. One featured fly, the Sparkle Dun, is similar to the famous Comparadun. This fly has had its share of success and can be tied in several variations to simulate different types of bugs.


The Sparkle Dun
So there you have it: take four weekly sessions of learning to tie guide flies, add 4 top-notch fly tying teachers, instructional material and videos, pre-made tying kits for each of 16 fly patterns, and spend 16 hours at the vise practicing, and what does one get? 19 happy fly tiers with a new perspective on fly tying; good fish-catching flies can be cheap, fast and easy to tie, AND effective…


Happy Guide Fly graduates…

Sunday, April 9, 2017

IFFF in London



An IFFF team of 19 strong, including 10 MCI's and 5 THCI's, ran a booth, provided free instruction all day and put on 15 demonstrations at the inaugural London Fly Fishing Fair ("LFFF") on March 10-11, 2017.  The team, whose members travelled from as far as Scotland and Switzerland, was also assisted by some trusted colleagues from GAIA and AAPGAI.  The IFFF team also made presentations on becoming a certified instructor in the LFFF talks area and answered many questions from members of the public about casting, the instructor program, fishing and tackle.  

The LFFF is the brainchild of the visionary father and son team of entrepreneurs John and Fergus Kelley.  It is the only major UK fly fishing fair to be held in Western Europe's largest city.

The IFFF demonstrations at the Fair were:
Power - Brian McGlashan
Roll Casting - Bryan Martin
Tip Path-On the Straight and Narrow - Phil Ratcliffe Two Handin' it - Ally Bremner, Phil Ratcliffe, Chris Hague Saltwater Casting - Chris Hague, Sekhar Bahadur Single Handed Spey Casting - Christopher Rownes Switch Rods - Christopher Rownes When the Wind Blows - Paul Brown

On Sunday March 12, the day after the Fair, the team held an IFFF Instructors' Day at Sportfish in Reading, England, about a 45 minute drive west of London.  Around 30 people attended.

The day started with 5 short workshops and then the participants fortified themselves with bacon sandwiches expertly grilled by Rob Doyle, APGAI before open casting and mentoring sessions in the afternoon.

The workshops were:

Presenting with Impact - Phil Ratcliffe
Distance Casting - James Evans and Tracy Thomas, British Fly Casting Club Skagit Casting - Alun Rees The Five Essentials Over Time - Sekhar Bahadur Who Am I? A Two Handed Game of Charades - Ally Bremner


(Picture captions left to right or up to down.) Photographs by Paul Brown, MCI

The spectacular setting of the Business Design Centre, Islington, London.  Courtesy of the London Fly Fishing Fair.

Sekhar Bahadur, MCI on the casting pool with LFFF Ambassador Marina Gibson.  Marina was one of many ladies of all ages at the Fair!

Bryan Martin, MCI, THCI, CBOG doing his demo on roll casting

Two of the travellers, Christopher Rownes, MCI from Switzerland (L) and Brian McGlashan, MCI, THCI, CBOG from Scotland (R)

The legendary author, artist, fisherman, casting instructor and IFFF Ambassador Award winner Charles Jardine doing his trademark barefoot wade in the casting pool demo

A treasured memento of the Fair

LFFF founder John Kelley (front) at the IFFF booth with (L-R) Mike Heritage, MCI, Brian McGlashan, Phil Ratcliffe MCI, THCI, Chris Hague, MCI, THCI, Bryan Martin, Sekhar Bahadur, Bob Goble, GAIA, and Keith Jones, IFFF, with fishing notables Marina Gibson and Matt Hayes flanking Roger Miles, MCI. 

Alun Rees MCI, THCI giving an Instructors' Day Workshop on Skagit style casting.

World distance championship finalist James Evans and 2016 ladies 5 wt distance world bronze medalist Tracy Thomas (to the left behind James) of the British Fly Casting Club wow the Instructors' Day crowd with their workshop on distance casting

The IFFF team for the LFFF
Alex Adams, CI
Alex Titov, AAPGAI
Ally Bremner, THCI
Bernie Ratcliffe, GAIA
Bob Goble, GAIA
Brian McGlashan, MCI, THCI, CBOG
Bryan Martin, MCI, THCI, CBOG
Chris Hague, MCI, THCI
Chris Rownes, MCI
Dominic Hewitt, GAIA
Ian Pople, GAIA
Keith Jones, IFFF
Mark Surtees, MCI
Mike Heritage, MCI
Paul Brown, MCI
Phil Ratcliffe, MCI, THCI
Roger Miles, MCI
Sekhar Bahadur, MCI
Steve Yeomans, CI

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Welcome New Affiliate Clubs

Welcome to these new affiliate clubs that have joined over the past several months.  

Fidalgo Fly Fishers           
Anacortes           WA

Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers     
Wenatchee        WA

Delaware Valley Fly Fishers         
North Wales       PA

Kisatchie Fly Fishers       
Boyce    LA