PAFF epic spotburn in full effect! Eat it!
|Stupid flies done stupid cheap. The|
Usual tutorial after the jump.
But, a quick switch up on work oncall rotation and a generous offer from one of the fellow forumites, and I was enroute. So, what's the verdict?
A fanfuckintastic time, really. I didn't get a chance to really take in the splendour of the local fishing (conditions sucked), leaving me with the inflated opinion that I don't have to drive to have awesome fishing, but the time with the 70+ people who came in as far as Florida made it worth the time, effort, and inflated fuel prices.
|Navigate my shit home, Pigeon.|
Hell, I'll do it again.
What followed a three hour drive was a 72 hour bender, which included some fishing, alot of bullshitting, the burying of a few hatchets, the bemusement of the look when people meet the person behind the bitching, and as my faciliatator, guide, and cabin mate said, ample smoked meat products. Putting the faces to the names is more important than you think, and its also pretty astounding that such a widely diverse group of hilljacks, jackholes, old men, good ole boys, the token hipster (you know who you are) and associated misfits can get along so damned well. Where as the fishing was meh, who's gonna argue with a live blues jam from the only man who fishes in a three piece suit while the grill is pumping and the flask is passed?
I guess fishing culminated in the sulphur spinnerfall on the Little J for most of us, but despite the fact that Spring being the popular destination on Sunday's end, I wanted to catch a brook trout before I left. Also, you can take the boy out of the valley, but you can't break my fear of travel, and the big streams were 30+ minutes from the campground, except for the little brookie stream within walking distance of the camp ground.
|I went to SCPA to fish for|
carp and crappie.
Anyways, as I'm despertly trying to get more trouts to eat my fly amongst the horde of ravenous panfish, a couple of little kids walked up to the pond to fish. They were pretty excited by the crappies I was otherwise not excited about, so as I packed up to begin the long ride home so I could be home in time to put my own boys to sleep. And I thought about it for a moment, and I remembered something long ago from when I was about 10 on my local stream not catching dick while some fly fishing guy was nailing them.
|Happy kids prove I'm not a|
|A special sulphur box. The Usual is center |
bottom, compartively speaking, notice just
how many of these things I've tied, eh?
The Usual is deceptively simple, and highly versatile. With alittle tweaking you can emulate just about any bug out there, and like the flies that I feel are best, its just about as generic and buggy as a artifical fly needs to be to make fish want to eat it. As I've been told, its an outgrowth of the Haystack fly, originally tied with deer hair (and the clear inspiration for the Comparadun). The apocyphal story I've been told for the fly's name comes from the fact that it was a local favourite in Betters' home waters of the Ausable.
|Bam! One rabbit foot, and you're in.|
So, being that it was designed as a sulphur mayfly imitation, its just about perfect for this time of year. First up, assemble your shit. Its a one material fly, and that material is snow shoe rabbit foot. You will need a good wax and that's about it. Fran used orange thread, and you can tell I did too. Again, experiment if you want. The thread will show through the underbody, so its a good way to tint the fly and give it a natural look. I like using grey thread to make an Adams-looking Usual, or black thread for caddis variations.
|Tail and wing.|
Its important to note there's no stacking of hair, just take out the short ones and throw 'em in a pile, You could throw them out, but a
skinflint cheap thrifty efficient and clever fellow such as myself would never waste that. C'mon, those rabbit feet are pricey, I think I paid $6 for two at an Orvis shop, I'm not made of money here.
Fran wanted you to wax and touch dub the thread, but that's too much work. Instead, create a dubbing loop and wax it. Next, you'll use that little pile of scrap hair up. If you blend it together, you'll find you've got all the makings of a awesomely floaty dubbing. You may find that a little clipping of hair from the back of the foot, the heel area, is all it takes to really bring that pile to life. I blend it by just dropping the stuff into my hand and picking it a part and rolling it up and breaking it apart.
Spin it up, then wrap it to the head, tie down. That's it. The Usual.
While on the Sulphur subject, I had awesome success on an old wet fly last year. When I show up on a good evening, I will usually tie a Usual to the line to play indicator, and then will procede to fish a dropper under it. I like wet flies, and this is a good time to make one of my favourites really work into its own.
The dropper in question? A little known soft hackle wet called the Yellow Pennell.
Its not that its a particularly secret fly, its that most people never seem to move beyond the most well known of the series, because like the Usual, its an idea to be morphed to effect the use you want.
|Wrapped loop, tied off. Fish it!|
Basically, you'll create a body of floss or tying silk, ribbed with silver oval tinsel. A tag of silver tinsel is placed under a tail of golden pheasant tippet, and the hackle is provided by soft hen, grouse, or partridge. My preferred variation included a small ball of orange dubbing for a thorax behind the hackle, but this wasn't a part of the original pattern.
Remember that floss will take on the hue of the thread underbody. Classically tied floss bodied flies should be done on white thread, and then switched to black thread for the building of a head, but one could use floss' translucent qualities to their advantage. By wrapping the yellow floss around an orange thread, or olive thread, the overall tone of the fly will be changed when wet giving it an even more realistic, living appeal.
Pennell flies can be made in many ways, including green, claret, orange and yellow bodies with corresponding and complimenting hackle colour choices. I've seen variations which have done away with the floss body and replaced it with wool, seal, or rabbit dubbing. Like the Usual, its effective, (mostly) simple, and highly versatile being a series or pattern rather than an exact recipe.
|We called it "the tackle tree." It made us laugh.|