Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tying with Squimpish hair


I'm sure most of you guys that follow me on social media know that I'm a big fly tying geek. Tying flies is a big big part of this whole fly fishing "lifestyle" I try to live. That big passion for tying flies has one drawback, you end up buying and trying a lot of materials you don't actually use all that much. Rooster feathers, basic flash materials, bucktail, ostrich and a few selected synthetics cover most of my fishing and tying needs year after year. However, at times you stumble on something that you actually end up using a lot and fish a lot. One new material like that is Squimpish hair.

A decent pike caught with a Squimpish hair bug.
Squimpish hair has been found and distributed by master tier David Nelson aka Mr.Squimpish. David has a very unique and absolutely beautiful tying style both in freshwater and saltwater streamers. David is a "naturals first" kinda guy similar to myself, but when he found the Squimpish hair he was instantly sold. He was very drawn to similar attributes found on natural materials like bucktail and how easy it was to use like bucktail . He thought that even though nothing can and really shouldn't ever replace bucktail, this material acts as a very good add on or substitute to it. I can personally relate to this statement very much. 


Here it is. Some of the colors have really long fibers with the longest ones reaching 32 cm or 13".

It's a carpet like product.
Squimpish hair is a tapered synthetic hair that's attached to a carpet like platform a bit like craft fur. It has a feel very similar to big fly fiber with the exception that it is tapered. To be more exact I would put the feel somewhere between big fly fiber and long fibered craft fur. The length seems to vary from color to color and piece to piece a bit with some colors having a whopping 13-14" of hair on them while others have 7-10" of hair on them. 

10-112 Marlin tube tied out of Squimp and bucktail.

Squimpish hair has a growing range of colors available and David is bringing on more all the time to really make it a complete selection. The material retains water and is very lively in the water. It is also very durable which makes it a good choice when you are up against teeth. Take a look at Davids Etsy shop to find out the latest colors available: shop

A really fat pike caught with a Squimpish hair Hollow fly



The material is also easily adaptable to several different patterns. Flex flies, Surf candies, Clousers, Hollow flies and Deceivers to name a few.





Here's list of Pro's and Con's that I've noticed so far followed by a SBS of a Hollow fly that uses Squimpish hair as one of it's components.

+ Very easy to Hollow tie.
+ Blends perfectly with natural materials like bucktail, feathers and ostrich
+ Durable, but not as quick to tangle like other synthetics.
+ Movement
+ Length
+ Feel and texture
+ Sinks very fast and does not hold up air so the fly will sink right after it hits the water
+ Can be easily cut to shape

+- Retains water. This means that it will hold a small profile in the air, will sink fast and move like nothing else. It also means that if you tie them too full or big they will end up heavy. Keep it sparse and if doing very large flies fill in the gaps with bucktail or something similar that's light.

- A bit slippery to tie. I recommend using super glue to secure all the tie ins when using this material.
- The carpet like thing that the material is attached to is not perfect and can be a bit tricky to use.
- There are some variables between colors when it comes to the amount of "under fur" and taper they have
- As said before, can end up being a bit heavy if you use too much of it.

Here's the SBS as promised:

Finished fly

Start off by tying some bt 360degrees around the hook

Add some holo silver SW angel hair

Tie in some Squimp hair. Hollow style

Secure the tie in with super glue

Fold

Brush

Tie in a few wraps of thread in front and secure with super glue. With Squimp hair you don't need a big thread cone in front of the material as it's softer then bucktail.

BT hollow style

Fold and tie + add flash

Hollow tie some more Squimp hair

Add blueish green flash on top

Lateral scales on the sides

Hollow tie some Squimp. White on the bottom and blue gray on top.

fold and secure

Brush out the fly, add eyes, go fishing!


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sage

The Dream team of Sage rods ready to hit the water at the Harkers Island marina.

I've had the pleasure of fishing with Sage fly rods and reels a lot in the last 4-5 years. I currently own 4 Sages, but have the luxury of trying out most of the SW line up every year when I do my pilgrimage to the fabled waters of Cape Lookout, North Carolina. My buddy and mentor Brian Horsley and he's wife Sarah Gardner are Sage ambassadors and they let me play around with their gear.

The Boss man Brian with a hefty Albie caught on a Sage rod

Sarah with a full grown Albie. Sarah is one of my fly fishing idols. Not only can she fish and cast like a hero, she's also a very good captain that will get you on the fish.
  When it comes to top notch rods, Sage is a company that is very hard to beat. The components used are always the best in the market, blanks are light and responsive and they really make an effort to make rods that will give the angler the most they can hope for in a fly rod. From the very extensive line up of different fly rods they offer, most will find a rod that matches their fishing style perfectly. You do have to pay top dollar for most of the rods in Sage's line up but they offer a great mid price SW rod with their Motive line up. The 12wt Motive for example is one of the best sinking line rods I've ever tested regardless of price.
My buddy Ike putting a bend to the Motive.
To be honest with you there was really no other point making this post other than singing Sage's praises. There's a lot of really good company's in this business and I'm not really a brand guy as I use stuff from many company's like Vision and Echo. That said I feel like Sage is extra special. I'll just end the post with a myriad of picture that feature Sage products. Take a look at the line up here

Doing the Albie dance with a Sage Salt in my hands

Big Albies are easily tamed with the 11wt Method.

Ike posing with a Red while I'm busy putting a big bend on my 13wt Xi2


The 11wt Method is a true cannon. Light as a feather at 4,2oz or 132grams. That makes it lighter then many of my 9weights.
The ten weight Xi3 is in my opinion the best allround ten weight ever made. It has just the right amount of stiffness in it's tip to carry sinking lines and big flies, but still allows enough bend in it's top third to initiate and feel the cast right away.

The SaltHD is the updated version of the Salt series. Even though I kinda liked the old ones, some didn't like the distinct "kick" that you got  from the middle of the rod with the older ones, so they stiffened the mid section a bit on these and made them a bit lighter with the same tech they use on the X series. I had a chance to fish the new 10wt but really don't know if it was at all better then the older models. But that's just me.
I've used the 9wt Motive a lot for top water pike.
Old faithful 13wt Xi2. It throws the same lines as most modern 12wt's. A very reliable rod. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The ups and downs



Every long time angler knows that this sport is seasonal. You get hot streaks and cold streaks. Just the nature of the sport. We hit a cold one on our Blue Fin Tuna trip this time. It was literally the coldest trip we have done to our spot. The average temps were 5-7 degrees(Celsius) colder then normal. When we landed in Barcelona it was only 7 degrees!! 7!! People were wearing big down jackets outside the airport.

The fishing was even colder then the weather. There just were very few fish around and the ones that were around stayed up for very little time. Lots and lots of bait but no fish on them. The chances of catching one was very slim. We kept at it for most of the week and tried our best. Our captain worked he's ass of for us. A big thank you for that.



Anyone who has fished for feeding BFT with a fly rod knows that the sport is super hard 90% of the time. It's like fishing for Key West Tarpon, but you have to cast from a moving skiff in a 6feet swell. They are just so picky and see everything with their big eyes in the crystal clear waters of the MED. They are magnificent creatures that can drive you crazy! It really gives a fresh perspective on things when you fish for them. I have never been disappointed when I have cast'd almost all of my fly line to a fish in to the wind, but when chasing BFT you always feel like you should do better then your doing. I have been lucky to fish with some of the worlds best fly casters and even they feel the same frustration of not getting the fly far enough to really work on the fish before they see and feel the boat and go down. That sport really makes you feel like a shitty angler at times, but I can assure you that the reward is totally worth all that.


We ended up having a nice holiday even though the fishing was bad.

After the tuna trip I did not touch a fly rod for a week and stayed off the tying bench for two. Eventually the post tuna trip "trauma" faded and I hit the vise again and started going to the lake after some post spawn pike. I have only managed to do short trips between work and family stuff. There's lots of pike around, but all are small. Good fun though.

The real up side has been my tying. I am preparing for my Cape Cod Striper trip and with all the great reports of the amounts of big fish around there, it got me on a fly tying frenzy. I have tied every day before and after work. The amount of ideas and motivation has been huge. Every fly tier knows that when the tying is good its real good. When it's bad, it's the worst thing you can do. When it's good it's almost as good as the actual fishing! Here's a few examples of what I've been doing.









I even managed to do a SBS of a basic, BIG synthetic fly. It's a mix Bob Popovics Spread fly and Mark Sedotti's slammer. Give it a try!


Start off by tying a sparse clump of fibers 360 around the hook. I am using a mix of long off white Slinky, Sybai SW angel hair and gray Chinese cheap ass fibers.

Add some resin to keep the fly foul proof and add some weight to it. A flexible resin like DC Builder is my favorite for this stuff. 

Angle the fibers a bit before hitting it with the light.

Hollow tie the rest and use resin on it too.

Add some lead to the bottom of the hook. This will keel and make the fly cast better. It will also keep the fly down better.

Cover the lead with silver braid and glue it. Make a smooth surface that you can tie on.

Tie another clump of fibers. Use a bit more material on this one and taper them to be a tad shorter then the previous ones.

Use resin to angle and secure the fibers.

Turn and hollow tie. Angle and secure with resin

The last clump. I am using bait fish belly Mirror Image, Sculpting fiber and Gliss&Glint in silver color on this one. If I remember correctly. 

Olive SF blend, gray Slinky and sculpting fiber on top. Maybe?

Brush and angle it with resin.

The finishing tie can be left out if you want a bullet shaped head on your fly. On this one I am adding a tie of soft and short sculpting fiber to make a really round, big head on the fly that will push some water.

Reverse and secure.

Add some color with markers and Jerkbaitmania eyes with gel super glue. Finish off the fly with a nice coat of Liquid Fusion that will leave the fly with a big and flexible finish.