Sunday, February 15, 2015

3rd Annual FlyFishingNewEngland.net Fly Swap

-- 3rd Annual FFNE Fly Swap --
The tradition continues. After finding Ryan's board three years ago, signing up for the 1st FFNE Fly Swap and meeting a bunch of great local fly anglers, I look forward to this winter event every year.

The highlight of the swap this year came from our host, Matt, who recently has ventured in to the world of tying classic salmon flies. Matt consistently produces killer, big meaty, pike and bass flies, but wanted to explore the deep and beautiful realm of the salmon fly. As one of the most creative tiers I know, Matt knocked out 11 unique patterns for each swap participant and himself based on stories shared on the FlyFishingNewEngland.net board.


In addition to Matt's incredible flies, each swap participant delivered some excellent ties again this year. We had a record turnout this year despite the deep snow.
Deep Snow and 20 MPH Winds kept us from casting practice this year
Only Rob from Florida missed the event, but he did send us warm southern thoughts along with his flies. Of course, we also shared fun stories, drank a few brews and ate spicy food to keep our souls warm. More about that after the flies.

Below are the swap flies from each participant along with Matt's personalized fly and the story for each. First up is Matt's (Matt B) fly tied for himself.
Matt B's 11th Fly to Complete the Swap Set
Ryan (Shakeyfly) – “Tiny Miracle”, was intended as a fly to represent the upcoming birth of his daughter.  So mostly, pinks, purples etc... Congrats on the upcoming new Human Resource, Ryan!
Shakeyfly's "Tiny Miracle" by Matt B
Nutcracker by Shakeyfly
Chris (Chris M) – “Fat Albert”, a tip of the cap to Chris’ great albie fishing trips this past year (and other years).  Cool feature is it has an underwing/belly of back to back peacock sword feathers tied in matuka style.  Matt also used a neat feature where you strip one side of the feather in the wing to keep the color only on top.
Chris M's "Fat Albert" by Matt B
Olive Rubber Legged Clouser by Chris M
Dean (Ginclear) – “Twins” was a nod to Dean and his son’s cool story of both catching a landlocked salmon on the same day.  It uses the coloration of the black nosed dace (fly that caught both fish), and a silk body to represent the state colors where each fish was caught.  Blue, green and red for MA, and blue and gold for NY.
Ginclear's "Twins" by Matt B
My swap flies where The Betsy, a killer striper pattern (see previous post for tying info and its story). and a Klinkhammer, one of my most successful dry flies. I tied enough pink and yellow Betsy's to give everyone a choice of color.
Pink Betsy by Ginclear
Yellow Betsy by Ginclear
Klinkhammer by Ginclear
Jeff (JeffSkilz) – “Flats Ghost”, Matt tied this basically so it would look like something that would be creeping along the bottom of the Brewster flats in May.  Uses different ring neck pheasant feathers, and browns and olives.
JeffSkilz's "Flats Ghost" by Matt B
SF Blend Crab/Founder Fly by JeffSkilz
JeffSkilz contributed some great notes and motivation behind his fly. I've copied them below.

Last year I contributed a crab/flounder. It was similar in profile but tied with natural materials... Rabbit and fox tail. I used to fish them almost exclusively on the flats.

So, this past spring I wake up on the cape find myself basically with no flies. So I sit down to whip out a couple real quick and I don't have the right materials. I peer in my bag and do my best to replicate it with what I had with me... Synthetics. I used SF Blend in alternating colors... V tying it on the top of the shank. I tied exactly 3 and went out with two other guys. 

I started with sandeel clousers and other go to favorites for flats before trying one of these. Success came almost instantly and before I knew it I had give the other two, one each to my fishing companions. We had a stellar day in a crowd of boats and no one else was really doing much.

It does fish a little different drifting between pure crab vs baitfish imitation. You can crawl it... Strip it fast etc. the key is simple... Get it on the bottom and keep it there... I fish it on fast sink line and drag it through the sand... Attempting to kick a little up with each strip.

Materials:
Hook: Use whatever you like. I tie them on TMC 800S size 4. I love these hooks.
Thread: I use 210 to tie down the lead eyes and mono for everything else.
Wing: It's all SF Blend alternating colors. I like light olive, mackerel, tan, etc...

Tyler (Trico22) – “Roccus Saxatilis”, this was a tribute to all the great striper reports Tyler posts up. Matt tried to get it nearly monochrome, but made sure it had a couple green iridescent elements that a striper has when you look at it up close.
Trico22's "Roccus Saxatilis" by Matt B
CCG Shrimp by Trico22
Rob (Robwillfish) – “Sunshine State”, obvious?  The man lives in florida where its nice lol...went with the state colors and riff on the state flag.  Has a woven silk floss body.
Robwillfish's "Sunshine State" by Matt B
Flats Shrimp by Robwillfish
Dennis (Fishtaco) – “Quick trip”, was a coloration take on his fly (the disco frog) that works awesome in a small place that Matt & Dennis both fish.
Fishtaco's "Quick Trip" by Matt B
Purple Backed Surf Candy by Fishtaco
Chad (Chadroc) – “The Local”, was a tribute to Chad’s sweet local river fish he gets to fish for (both brookies and browns), and has a series of “brookie fin” married wings along the belly, and some other hidden elements like spots with halos, golds and coppers, and a wing with CDL feathers to get that spotted looked.
Chadroc's "The Local" by Matt B
Olive Bunny Gold Headed EP Zuddler by Chradroc
Alan (Albcorb) – “King of the Jungle”, Matt's idea of the jungle don as a tribute to his insane tiger trout he caught a couple years ago.  So it has a graduated series of back to back jungle cock nails on the belly, and a simple wing of yellow and CDL.
Alcorb's "King of the Jungle" by Matt B
Cricket by Alcorb
Belly Scratcher Baitfish with a 3 Bead and Estaz Body, Bared Zonker Tail, Artic Fox and Ice Dub Head by Alcorb
Jeff (Jeffsod) – “Old School”, it’s a muddler pattern, over a royal coachman-esque body.  Uses moose maine as a long collar that extends out beyond the back of the wing/hook.
Jeffsod's "Old School" by Matt B
Saltwater Flashdancer from Jeffsod
Before closing the post, I did update the Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos recipe (with help from my better half) which were a hit at last years fly swap.
Updated Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Recipe
The new stuffing was made with two grated cheeses, Habanero Cheddar and Jalapeno Monterey Jack, chopped scallions, garlic powder, bread crumbs, salt and an egg to bind it.
Cut the Jalapenos in half, scrape out the pith and seeds and fill with stuffing.
Cut the bacon strips into thirds, wrap the stuffed jalapenos, and place on baking rack on cookie sheet.
Fill up racks/cookies sheets and bake at 425 for about 30-40 minutes.
Remove from oven when bacon is done.
This is another great winter event that I'll cherish and look forward to every year. Our board host Ryan keeps the fires burning at FlyFishingNewEngland.net and we sincerely thank him for that.
Shakeyfly divvys up the goods
Admiring one of Matt B's beautiful ties
Piles of goodness sorted
Matt B, Trico22 and Jeffsod
Chris M, Fishtaco and Trico22
Couple of Matt B's meatly pike flies need a bib to eat
As we dig out from our second blizzard and what is now number 3 in the record books for snowfall totals in the Boston area, we are all looking forward to wetting these flies during what will be a phenomenal spring fishing season in New England.